It is now known that from the time he was twelve until he was thirty he was in the Essenes monastery, and he graduated and was ordained a Hebrew rabbi of the Essenes sect. That was why he was in disfavor with the temple; because the temple was made up of the Scribes and the Pharisees, and the Essenes were at that time rather outcasts among the Hebrews. They were very unfavorably looked upon because of their extreme notions, their extreme teachings, and very extreme conduct at that time. Their monasteries were occupied entirely by men and no women were ever permitted there. For that reason, no one was ever born into the Essenes movement. They had to come in from outside. And the rules of the movement were strict, monastic. So it is that the Essenes were not in great favor. The one thing they had, however, that neither of the two sects had that controlled the temple and the temple religion; the one thing that they had was the truth about God. They knew the name and the nature, the identity of God. And that was not known in the Hebrew synagogue. It had been kept secret for so many centuries among the very, very high, high priests, that if there were any in the temple that knew it they also kept it secret. But on the whole, the Hebrews of the temple knew nothing about God, nor the nature of God, nor the functioning of God.
Now, in different ages there have been men and a very few women who have become known as mystics. The reason is that they attained a conscious union with their source; conscious oneness, or at-one-ment. Actually we are all one with God. Actually there is no separation between God and man. “I and my Father are one.” This is the universal relationship that exists between God and all men and all women, all children. But – and mark this – it is not a conscious relationship. You do not yourself know that this is your relationship, and even if someone tells you, you haven’t experienced it. For those who attain the actual experience of conscious oneness, or conscious union with God, are mystics. Some are mystics who are not publicly identified as such because it is the nature of the mystic to want to hide it, and in many, many cases they succeed. In some cases they do not. Because for one reason or another there are certain signs that make it obvious to those who know those signs. And so there are times when it is published. In our own country, we had a mystic who was known. And it doesn’t mean that there may not have been some other mystics, but if there were they are not known. There is only one individual in the history of the United States who is a known mystic, and that was Walt Whitman. It doesn’t mean that there haven’t been others. It only means that if there have been, they are not known. There is no record of them in our literature. A mystic is not of the same nature of those of the occult world, or what in some literature is termed “religious mystics”. Very few of the men and the women who are known as “religious mystics” ever were mystics. They were on the occult side of the path, which is the mental, and with spiritualistic contacts, and this is far, far different from the true mystic. It is far different from any life that we would ever be interested in following.
Our mission is first of all to discover the name and the nature of God, and the functioning of God, and secondly, to attain conscious union, or conscious oneness with God. It has been made very difficult for us because most teachings indicate a God in Heaven, a God above, a God to be sought in holy mountains or holy temples. And very seldom is it taught that the Kingdom of God is within you. Christ Jesus was one of those mystics who knew it. Because he not only knew absolute Truth, he not only experienced absolute Truth, but he was so consciously aware of his oneness that he could reveal; “I AM the Truth.” Now, you must remember that statement, along with “I AM the way”, “I AM the resurrection”. Because in years to come those statements are going to have tremendous meaning for you. Perhaps at this present time you are seeking the way to God, but if you attain it you will make the declaration; “I AM the way to God, and there is no other way than by me”. That sounds familiar to you too. At this moment you are undoubtedly seeking Truth. And when you find it you’ll say; “No wonder it took so long. The Kingdom of Truth is within me. And I have been looking for it in holy mountains, and holy temples and in books and in teachers.” And in the end I have to come to the realization that that which I am seeking, I am. “That which I am seeking, I am.” I AM that I am. That is the ultimate that happens when we reach the end of the trail, when we reach this conscious union with God and all of a sudden a still small voice within says; “Be still, and know that I AM God.” So it is that the goal of our work in the Infinite Way is the goal of realization of our true identity, the goal of realization of the name and nature of God, and the attainment of our conscious union with God. This is the goal.
One of the first lessons has to do with “how”. How do we reach this goal? How do we attain it? And it is at this very first step that we lose most of our seekers. I would say that more than half drop out at this first step. God can only be realized by impartation within us. In other words, when the revelation comes, it comes within our own being and it comes through the still small voice. God is not in the whirlwind. God is not out there in the storm. God is not in a problem. God is in the still small voice, and the reason so many drop away is they find it impossible to be still. Now, do you know that as a preparation for our class work, not only did I give hours and hours and hours of every day and night to silent meditation, but in every city where our work is conducted we have large groups of students who give four, five, six, seven and eight hours of meditation, silent meditation, before each of my lectures or classes in order to establish the atmosphere, in order to establish the spiritual peace necessary to receive it. It becomes necessary for each one of us eventually to so develop the inner listening ear that we are almost never engaged in outer conversation except such as is necessary to our daily living. In other words, this inner silence must be built. It is not natural to the natural man. On this point you may get your first shock, those of you who do not know it. And this is confirmed by Paul; “The natural man receiveth not the things of God. The natural man is not under the law of God, neither indeed can be.” And this is the explanation to you of why there is sin, disease, death, wars, depressions, crime, on earth. Because mankind is not under the law of God, neither indeed can be. And all of his praying and all of his church going is not going to bring him under the law of God, nor going to bring God’s Grace to him, nor going to enable him to receive the things of God. And that is why regardless of how good a human becomes, no matter how diligent in their ordinary religious practices, they are no nearer God in the end than they were in the beginning, because none of that is a preparation or qualification for receiving God.
“The natural man is not under the law of God, neither indeed can be.” “The natural man receiveth not the things of God.” And that is why although you may strive and you may call on the services of ministers and rabbis and priests, and yet not find that spiritual comfort or spiritual healing or spiritual freedom that you expect. Yet, when you find an individual who has attained some measure of spiritual illumination, you receive the healing you were seeking; the mental, the moral, the physical or the financial healing. The reason is that you have now touched the consciousness of an individual who is no longer the natural man, who is no longer the “man of earth” spoken of by Christ Jesus. You are now not the man of earth, you are now – Paul says this – the man who “has his being in Christ”. Again Paul, in referring to this natural man who is not under the law of God, says; “But if so be the spirit of God dwell in you, then do you become the child of God. Then do you become heir of God.” Then do you become joint-heir, if so be the spirit of God dwell in you. Until that time you are the natural man who is not under the law of God. Anything can happen and many things do happen. Not, however, after you have become the child of God. Now you were not born the child of God. And joining a church will not make you a child of God, nor will baptism, nor will communion. Only one thing will make you a child of God; if so be the spirit of God dwell in you. It is for this reason that all religious training should be leading us to that point where the spirit of God dwells in us.