Individual Discovery of Truth
Throughout the centuries, it has been proved over and over again that there is nothing in this world that man can gain which will satisfy him for very long. If he could gain all the things of this world --- its health, its wealth, its fame --- he still would be left with a tremendous ache and void inside. Even if he has houses and barns filled to overflowing with treasures, what happens when one night he is called away?
History is filled with accounts of men who have conquered the whole world of their day and yet have known only unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and a gnawing lack of peace. Today, there are men and women who have attained everything that the world has to offer in the way of wealth and fame, and yet with all their success still know no peace. It is not that there is any evil in gaining the health and wealth of this world, nor yet in achieving the fame this world has to give; but, in and of themselves not all of these together comprise a fulfilled life unless they are accompanied by something else. Of themselves, they cannot satisfy.
Because of this sense of lack primitive men made gods for themselves. There was an inner compulsion to find an anchor in something greater than themselves, and so they created gods to reign over every activity of life --- the crops, weather, love, vitality, home. When the one God was preached to the Hebrews, it was not preached in such a manner as to be within the comprehension of the ignorant thought of that day. Therefore, in the absence of true spiritual leadership and in their need for a god, they made for themselves a golden calf. Men have always found it necessary to have something to worship, and so if they did not find the true God, they fashioned substitutes in order to avail themselves of something which would provide hope and temporary satisfaction.
Periodically, someone of tremendous stature comes into this world and reveals the nature of God as God truly is --- a God of nothing whatever like the God people worship, nothing like the God to who people pray, nothing like the God about whom people are taught. Whenever such a one comes into this world, he tells of a God that the human race cannot receive, cannot understand, cannot worship, and above all cannot demonstrate. For that reason, the revelation of God has not been a permanent dispensation: It is given to the one, the two, the twelve, the two hundred today, but tomorrow it has all but vanished from the earth.
God is a Spirit and God has to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. Man cannot find God through either a physical or mental approach; but in this life, he can develop himself to that place of spiritual consciousness where he can know God and avail himself of God and live in and of God now, not at some future time or after death. That spiritual state of consciousness can be achieved here and now, but not in the physical sense of existence. People interpret such a statement to mean that death is a prerequisite to spiritual consciousness; they labor under the erroneous belief that they are removed from the physical sense of existence by dying and thereby come into a spiritual sense of life. This, however, is a false assumption. The physical sense of life is not put off by dying: Both the physical sense and the mental sense of life are put off only by a change of consciousness, which may take place after death, but which certainly need not wait for death because such a state of consciousness is a present possibility.
John voiced that truth when he said, “Ye must be born again” --- born of the Spirit, reborn of the Spirit right here and now. Paul expressed it as dying daily; he said nothing about dying in order to go to heaven or dying to find God. Throughout his writings, Paul makes it clear the “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” and that statement has led many to believe that physical death is the gateway to the kingdom of God because the person who had died is no longer in the kingdom of flesh and blood. Such a belief is fallacious: We are just as much in the kingdom of flesh and blood after we die as when we are here, for the simple reason that that which the world calls death is merely a transition from the visible world to the invisible world without in any way changing the state of consciousness of the person who dies. Therefore, to die, materially minded, is also to awaken in what has been termed the afterlife just as mentally minded.
To evolve out of flesh and blood in order to inherit the kingdom of God does not necessarily mean to die. Its true meaning is the experiencing of a change of consciousness, a change which can take place only in consciousness, whether here or there. This transformation of consciousness is brought about by the renewing of the mind. It has nothing to do with dying: It has to do with a transformation of the mind. The secret of spiritual living is in no way related to dying. As a matter of fact, spiritual living may postpone for a long, long time the process which the world calls death because the secret of spiritual living is the transforming of consciousness from a material sense of existence to the spiritual consciousness of life everlasting. The Infinite Way sets forth certain principles of spiritual living which, if practiced, lead to the spiritualization of consciousness.
The development of an appreciation of music is an example of how this transformation occurs. A person with no awareness of the nuances of music cannot appreciate or enjoy good music. That does not mean, however, that a person has to die in order to understand music. If the person who at this moment does not enjoy good music or who has no ear for it, that is, no consciousness of it, is able to study under the guidance of a competent and inspired teacher, an appreciation and love of good music grows, and bit by bit a musical consciousness is developed.
So it is with the things of the Spirit. In a material sense of consciousness, there is no love for the things of God: The things of God are foolishness to man whose breath is in his nostrils. The things of God do not appeal to the materialist, and even when such a person goes to church to satisfy a member of his family, or because of superstition or fear of the future, or for one reason or another, that still does not imply a spiritual consciousness. Spiritual consciousness is developed in exactly the same way as a musical consciousness is developed. First, there must come a desire for it and next must come patience and perseverance while seeking and searching for spiritual realization. It takes most a long, long time to attain even a slight degree of spiritual appreciation, spiritual realization, or spiritual demonstration, because there are so many paths and so many attractions on the material path of life.
To be spiritually minded is life; to be materially minded is death --- the death of the soul, its stagnation during this period of our experience. At some time in our on-goingness, the desire comes for spiritual unfoldment. In some people, this desire is aroused here; some are born into this phase of life with the spiritual hunger in full flower; others die out of this existence without even the knowledge that there is such a thing as the spiritual realm. In our spiritual life, there is no such thing as time, and in the course of our spiritual on-going, it will eventually dawn in our consciousness that we have lived forever and that we shall continue to live forever. We can never know how rapidly we are progressing because at a certain stage time ceases. There is a part of us, our Soul, which is deathless and birthless --- timeless: It has never been born; it will never die. It is that part of us which was created in the beginning in the image and likeness of God.
To reveal through spiritual unfoldment that which was never born and which never dies, that which was “in the beginning,” is the purpose of The Infinite Way. The most important aspect of spiritual unfoldment as presented through the study of The Infinite Way and the one which always remains the deepest of all subjects is the nature of God. We are told that to know Him aright is life eternal, and to gain that knowledge is our great task.
In the first few years of my own spiritual life, when I was engaged in the healing work, I knew absolutely nothing about the nature of God. I did what most people do: I named God. “God is love,” John said, and according to the Hebrews, “God is law”. Others have given other names to God, and these I accepted; but accepting such names and believing in them is quite a different thing from knowing God and experiencing Him. One day in my meditation, the question presented itself to me, “What is God?” I began answering that question very quickly and glibly with such words as “Mind”, “Life”, “Truth”, “Love” and all the rest of the commonly accepted synonyms or names for God --- words, in the main which were the ideas or result of someone else’s experience or unfoldment of God. When I had completed this lengthy recital, I had to laugh at myself because I had voiced, repeated, and quoted words without even once knowing if they were true, that is, without knowing from my own experience.
That led to meditation on the subject of the nature of God. Through these meditations, I discovered that God is nothing at all like what most men think He is. In pondering the nature of God, eventually, it dawned upon me that, if we look around and observe creation in its varied forms, we can catch a glimpse of the nature of God. With enough time, enough thought, and enough meditation, we begin to notice that the days and the nights follow each other in a steady, orderly progression. There is an order to the movement of the sun, the moon and the stars, to the ebb and flow of the tides, and even to the swimming of the fish under the sea or the flying of the birds in the air.
As we ponder all these manifestations of natural phenomena, we are led to the conclusion that there must be an Intelligence operating --- an Intelligence greater than that of any man. As we plant rose bushes and observe that nothing but roses will grow on them or that lemons are the only fruit a lemon tree produces, we begin to see that there is an intelligence and a love behind the creations of this world, and we have our first glimpse of the nature of God and an infinite intelligence and a divine love, and with the first glimpse of that we begin to understand God as law. This understanding will come by actual observance of the myriad forms of creation and by pondering the nature of God as revealed through these forms.
As we mediate on the nature of God over a long period of time --- for at least a year --- and we discover things about God that the human mind has never dreamed of and that religious teachings have never expressed, the inescapable paradox in all our attempts at prayer will at once be evident: We have been praying to a God who is already an infinite intelligence and divine love and have been trying to tell that divine Wisdom, that great Intelligence, what we need, when we need it, and usually how much. Most of our prayers have really been in the nature of trying to persuade God to be more loving --- at least more loving to us and more thoughtful of us, if not quite so much more loving of our neighbor or our enemies. In fact, we shall discover that we have been making so many mistakes in our prayers that we are left only with wonder that we have had as much success as we have had thus far. And so we are led to spend another year or two on the subject of prayer. Through prayer and meditation spiritual awareness grows, and we begin to live a life in and through the Spirit.