Now it isn’t only physical discords, but the ego itself is very dormant in most people, because it has no opportunity, or very little opportunity, to be catered to. You have perhaps heard some people give testimonies in a church, and find that when they got to their feet to speak that they couldn’t sit down. Well you usually find they didn’t have much opportunity at home to do any talking and now the ego’s given free rein, and it doesn’t know how to control itself.
So it is that people who ordinarily receive no honors, no glories are apt to be just little nobodies, like really all of us are in our true identity as humans. All of a sudden we begin to blossom out, and we either get to be the head of a committee or we get to be a teacher or a practitioner or something or other, and then the dear little ego starts to be fanned, and all of a sudden it begins to find itself with great dignities and titles and whatnots. And then comes the period of rebellion that I spoke about before; the inability to quiet itself, and a period of struggle ensues.
In other words, during the second, third, or fourth year of a very serious spiritual study, you can really expect the worst of us to come to the surface. Whether it’s a physical worst, a moral worst, a mental worst—yes, even a moral worst, because it is a very strange thing that a spiritual teaching engenders great love. It is a very great warmth, a very great relationship that takes place between students who are very seriously on the spiritual path; among practitioners and patients, teachers and students, and even among students themselves, and if this is not rightly interpreted, it can fool the very elect into believing that it’s really human love, and then follow many disastrous experiences on this metaphysical and spiritual path.
It is only if wisdom comes along and shows to the individual, yes, there is this great love; there is this great bond; but it’s of a spiritual nature, and it has to be kept channeled in spiritual lines, so that the human element does not rise to the surface, but eventually becomes refined and spiritualized. Then come the most wonderful relationships the world has ever known.
So it is that in many different ways, this second, third, fourth year is a troublesome one, troublesome two or troublesome three, and in many ways our worst side of ourselves comes to the surface, and if it’s not wisely handled we can find ourselves, not only like Lot’s wife looking back at the city, the state of consciousness she’d left, but we can also find ourselves walking back to those cities; walking back to those places of outgrown consciousness; places we’ve long since outgrown, but now, all of a sudden the goal looks so far away from us that we decide to turn back. And it is in these years that we need to watch ourselves most closely to be sure that we aren’t getting discouraged, that we aren’t discouraged with our problems, that we aren’t discouraged with the situations that face us, but that we continue forward.
Now it is at this period of unrest that doubts and questions come to our thought: Am I on the right path; is this my way? You would imagine that can’t happen, because you would say, “No, if I look back at this healing that I witnessed, I know that this is the Christ itself. Or if I see the change that’s taken place in my life, I know that this is the way. Or if I just remember some of the healings I’ve witnessed of other students, I know that regardless of what may or may not have happened to me, I know that this is still the way, whether or not I have found it.” But unfortunately that is not true. It is rather true that even if you raise them from the dead, they will not believe. When this period of doubt comes, people forget all about the wonderful healings they had or witnessed; they forget about all the evidences of the fact that this is their path. All of that is forgotten, because the things of God are foolishness with man, and man in his man estate cannot grasp the things of God.
So it is that we find so many students in those years turn away. Now there’s no harm in it, if they have merely found that the particular way they are following is not for them. I mean there would be no particular harm if an Infinite Way student at that time found that The Infinite Way is not his way, but either was convinced of some other way or was willing to make the continued search for his path. But usually discouragement is too great, and they lose the benefit of the years that they have built up. So it is that we come to this particular period of unrest.
Now it is at this point that I am led to say to you that those who are on the path of The Infinite Way must remember that its goal is not more or better matter; its goal is not merely adding more material good to you; its goal is not merely doubling your income or quadrupling it; its goal is not merely turning a sick body into a well body, because it is at this point that you’re apt to believe that that’s the goal and that you have failed. And if you judge by appearances, that is one of the things that can take you away from your studies.
The goal of The Infinite Way is God realization. I will illustrate that for you. As human beings we are entirely cut off from our source, which is God. A human being is something entirely separate and apart from God. As a matter of fact, a human being is not under the law of God; a human being cannot please God; a human being is not under the grace of God and does not benefit by God. That is the reason that a human being can be sinful, can be sick, can be poor, can have accidents. Why? Because there is no God-government—their lives are as the insurance companies calls them “statistics.” An insurance company can always tell you where you are—just tell them your age, your birth date, and they’ll tell you how close you are to the grave; what chance you have this year for an accident; how many, what percentage point there is of your having surgery.
Why? Because you’re living the life of a statistic, just a mathematical average. And out of a room full of fifty people: so many will be dead in twelve months, and so many will be in a hospital, and so many will have surgery, so many will have accidents, and so forth and so on. And all of this because there is no spiritual law governing them, guiding them, directing them, protecting them, sustaining them. In any given year, some people will be twice as well off financially at the end of the year as they were at the beginning, and some will be half as well off, and some will be completely broke, and some will be millionaires. The same reason, there’s no law of God operating; it is a matter of economics or chance or luck or fate or what have you.
Now an individual by some grace of God—and the reason for it no one knows. There are those, like myself, who have convictions, and that is that it is by grace of our former lives, that at any given point we are ready for the spiritual experience; we have evolved to a point of readiness, and then we are directed to a spiritual path. Makes no difference which one it is, because God is no respecter of persons, and once we are on the spiritual path, it would make no difference if we took a wrong one, we still would eventually evolve and arrive at the right one. Because once we’re on the path, we are destined to unfold to our complete spiritual reality.
Now we touch this spiritual path in one direction or another; we take one path or another; we evolve along that path as far as we can go, and then we find something that to us is higher—and we evolve then along a higher path. Some people may go two, three, four, five different paths before they ultimately find that one which is their life path. Some find it right with their first entrance into the spiritual life. It is relatively unimportant whether we find it with our first contact or with our twenty-first contact; it is only important that in one way or another, that we remain on the spiritual path until we arrive.
Now when we come to a spiritual path, never believe for a moment that we are anywhere near the point of arriving. In our spiritual identity it is true that we are already there.
I and my Father are one; the place whereon I stand is holy ground; all that God is I am.
That is true of my spiritual identity; that is not true of Joel, the businessman, walking up and down this earth as a human. It is not true of you as a businessman or a housewife or a businesswoman. It is only true of your spiritual identity, the reality of you which remains as a potentiality until the day comes when, as Paul tells us, the Spirit of God dwells in you and then you become the children of God.