The spiritual life can be lived here on earth, and as has already been indicated in previous articles, this spiritual life is made possible, in part, through an inner awakening on the subject of the nature of God which in its turn leads to an understanding of the true nature of prayer. It is through prayer that we come into the spiritual discernment which brings the kingdom of heaven on earth. This implies an entirely new concept of the word “prayer” because by prayer we do not mean any of the things which the world has come to accept as prayer. Prayer is not asking God for anything; prayer is not petitioning God, prayer is not repeating statements about Him which we hope to make true by our much speaking. Prayer is an actual inner experience which opens consciousness to receive an impartation of the Word. Prayer is what takes place between God and us. It is not a method of reaching God; it is a state of consciousness which enables God to reach us.
How do we arrive at such a place in our study and in our unfoldment? Early in my experience, it became clear to me that prayer must be the Word of God. It was through this word of God that everything was established in the beginning: God spoke the Word, and there was day, there was night, there was light; there was a universe, there was man. God spoke the Word, not man. God spoke the Word, and it happened. But how many times have we spoken, and nothing happened? Nothing ever happens when we, as human beings, speak. We ought to be weary of speaking words! We say to the storm, “Cease!” and the thunder and lightning keep right on. We say to the waves, “Cease!” but the waves roll on --- often with accelerated force. We have all spoken words, and nothing has happened. But what happens when God speaks the Word? “Let there be light, and there was light! Rise, pick up your bed and walk!” And he rose and picked up his bed and walked. Yes, but that does not happen when we speak. It is only when God speaks that it is done.
This realization of the potency of the Word spoken in the innermost part of the heart is what led to the revelation of The Infinite Way. I saw that when I could be quiet enough inside and could be sufficiently receptive to let God say the Word to me, patients were healed, students were healed, the unemployed found employment. Then, when I could be still enough, wonderful things happened in our work, such wonderful things that The Infinite Way has spread around the entire world. But I did not do that; my word did not do it; and what is more, I do not know any words that can do it; but after many, many years, I have learned how to become still and how to be receptive --- how to sit patiently, ever so patiently, until the Word is spoken.
With all of man’s opaqueness, something always happens when God speaks the Word, even though we do our best to block it because we do not really want God to have His way entirely with us. That might take away from us much of our human good when we are not ready to give it up. But even with all the blocks we put in God’s way, prayer will ultimately redeem us if we understand that prayer is the Word of God that is uttered through us or in us, and that it has nothing to do with any mental process --- it has nothing to do with what we know. The very moment we acknowledge: “I know not how to pray. I know not how to go in or come out, I do not know what to pray for,” the moment we stop trying to tell God what His business is, in that moment we have gained enough spiritual wisdom to prepare ourselves for the blessing we are seeking.
There is no way for me to know what my highest good is or what your highest good is, but I do know: The Word of God is quick and sharp and powerful. I know that when God speaks the Word, “Let there be light,” there is light; and if God says, “Pick up your bed and walk,” you pick it up and walk. I know that when the Spirit of God is upon us we are ordained and we can do great spiritual things by virtue of that Spirit. I also know that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Neither you nor I, nor anyone else, can create that Spirit of the Lord with affirmations, denials, or statements about It. It cannot be prayed into existence by begging and pleading, although there may be times when I am so mentally disturbed that for a few minutes I will actually turn to God and speak in human language in some such fashion as this: “God, please take over; take hold of me, I am wandering in the wilderness. Hold me.” But I am not saying that for the sake of God; that is just a method of getting myself out of the way. The ultimate good is when I am still and quiet enough, sufficiently at peace to say:
Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth. Thy grace is my sufficiency in all things. I do not ask for food, bread, butter, meat or wine; I do not ask for clothing, or raiment; I do not ask for success. Thy grace is my sufficiency in all things.
The miracle of prayer is attaining that state of consciousness, and in that state of consciousness, the Spirit of God can come and in that state of consciousness, the Spirit of God can come upon us, the Holy Ghost can descend upon us, the Spirit of the Lord can be present with us, and in that Spirit we find liberty.
Although I had had spiritual experiences --- many of them --- I did not begin to perceive the nature of Truth until I learned about meditation. Furthermore, even though I was doing spiritual healing, I did not know the nature of Truth. I could quote many truths found in books but that is a far cry from having a knowledge of Truth. Statements of truth are helpful in the early stages, but living on quotations is not a healthful diet.
It was only when I learned the art of meditation that I began to understand the secret of life. The two statements of Scripture, “I and my Father are one” and “Son, thou art ever with me and all that I have is thine,” should make all other Scripture obsolete and unnecessary; but even though we recognize their absolute Truth, we are still far from the realization of them. It requires more than knowing certain words; it takes actual experience. The Infinite Way is not another message about truth: It is the experience of God. Reading books is not the experience of God, but reading books can lead to a place in consciousness where we are ready for the exalted experience. Almost anything can be learned through the mind, but spiritual Truth cannot be demonstrated until, by means of meditation, we rise above the level of thought and mind into the intuitive faculty.
As deeper and deeper forms of meditation are practiced, eventually, we arrive at an actual communion with God. Communion is that depth of meditation in which we actually come into the experience of tabernacling with the Spirit of God and then it is possible to have conversations with God, to receive beautiful and inspiring impartations from God --- sometimes in words or thoughts and sometimes just as an awareness of the Presence. There seems to be a flow between God and us --- an incoming and outgoing, a turning and returning, a sweetness, a gentleness, a peacefulness. Sometimes it transcends all words and thoughts, and eventually the personal sense of self completely disappears, and there is nothing left but God. It is a sense of Self that has no finite or corporeal limitation --- a pure state of being. That is the goal of The Infinite Way.