The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
The Infinite Way is not a set of rules which must be accepted and followed. Rather does it set forth certain principles of spiritual living. It reveals that the experience of Christ is a present possibility and it explains what that experience is. The entire ministry of Jesus Christ shows that the mission of the Christ is to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to open our spiritual eyes and our spiritual ears to the reality of being, guiding us and leading us through the various steps of study, prayer, and meditation into an actual experience of that something which Jesus called the kingdom of God: “The kingdom of God is nigh at hand … the kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus was very clear in pointing out that “My kingdom” and “this world” are two different places, that “My peace” and the peace the world can give are entirely different. He further revealed that the nature of the Christ is not merely to gain material wealth, but that true health and true wealth --- “My peace” --- are brought to us through the attainment of that mind which was also in Christ Jesus and not through seeking the demonstration of food, clothing, housing, or companionship.
As we give up praying for things, conditions, and circumstances and center our entire prayer on developing that spiritual consciousness which can receive the word of God --- in proportion to the measure of our devotion to the attainment of that of that spiritual consciousness --- do we demonstrate heaven right here on earth. “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven,” but here and now we might just as well realize that that kingdom can never come to mortals. The things of God are foolishness to men: “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostril … Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”
The whole of the mission of the Christ is to transform our state of consciousness from a materialistic sense of values to a state of spiritual understanding and spiritual awareness. The Sermon on the Mount shows, at least in part, how this transformation of consciousness can be attained, and it reveals that the spiritual kingdom is demonstrable on this plane of life without waiting for death. Peace on earth, not merely intervals between wars, but actual peace on earth right while we are here can be achieved in this lifetime. Of course, no one can demonstrate it for the world, but each one of us can demonstrate it individually for himself.
When a person attains sufficient spiritual consciousness to demonstrate as much of that spiritual kingdom as a tiny grain of sand, that one individual can draw to himself, or there will be attracted to him, those who discern in him that tiny grain of spiritual wisdom. One individual, attaining only enough of that mind that was in Christ Jesus to be a tiny speck of light in the world, can bring to the consciousness of one or two others, or twelve others, something that those may in their turn show forth to the world, until one of these days it will be true: “I will overturn, overturn, overturn … until he come whose right it is” … the Christ-life on earth.
When we begin to realize the nature of God, the question naturally arises: If God is infinite good, what about sin, disease, death, poverty, and war? If God is an infinite power of good, that power being infinite precludes the possibility of other powers, and yet right before our very eyes there is sin, disease, death, lack, limitation. How can such contradictions be reconciled? What is this thing called sin? What is disease? Death? What is their nature?
As we contemplate this enigma, we may find ourselves doubting what we think we already know about God --- and if we are wise, we will doubt. We need never be afraid to doubt and, more especially, never fear to doubt what we thought we knew, because that very doubting is the beginning of wisdom. Otherwise we would have a blind faith and we might never come into any knowledge of truth. If we are ignorant of God, it is a sin to delude ourselves into believing that we know something about God and thereby keep our heads buried in the sand. On the other hand, if we really want to be on the God-path, let us not be afraid to say, “Yes, I have read all these things about God, but I have never met God face to face”; or “I have been saying all these years that there is no reality to evil and there is no reality to pain, but I do not know whether disease is real or not. All I know is what I have read in books about it, but from my own experience, I do not know.” Such an admission leads us to turn within ourselves in sincere humility:
Let me know Thee: let the light of Thy truth illumine my consciousness. Let Thy truth be a lamp unto my feet so that I may live truth and demonstrate it.
Father, intellectually, I can accept the truth that, in Thy infinite wisdom and love, sin, disease, and death cannot be real. This I say over and over again, but I
cannot demonstrate it. Is there any way in which I can learn the nature of these errors that plague mankind? Is there a way by which I can be de-hypnotized
so that I am not in eternal fear of dying or getting old or being sick or poor?
Such humility is the deepest of prayers, and the answer will always be given to the person who approached truth in that spirit. It may not come at once, but it will come. Anyone who holds to a path that is consonant with his own inner personal integrity will receive an answer from God. It is only when we try to fool ourselves that we shut out God. I know from actual experience --- many, many years of it --- that I only have to be honest with myself and turn to God. “Father, I know all the things that are in the books about this, but I am not experiencing it; I do not really know it. Is there a way to guide me to a sure and certain knowledge of it, to lead me into the experience of it, to show me the way of attainment?” It was by working in this way that, step by step, my own unfoldment proceeded.
If we are on the spiritual path, we must not be afraid of treading the path alone; we must not be afraid of lack and limitation. Experiencing a temporary period of lack or limitation or ill health is nothing to be ashamed of or to hide. Such experiences merely represent phases of our present development out of which we are working.
In the midst of his ministry, Jesus had three temptations in the wilderness and, near the end of his ministry, he was sorely tempted in the Garden of Gethsemane, and certainly there is no record of his being ashamed of these temptations. Problems are given to us to work out of, and there is no need to hide them. We have not made the claim that we have as yet wholly realized spiritual completeness or that we have achieved our full Christhood. Whatever the nature of our particular problems may be, let us not try to hide them: Let us face them and realize that we are on this path for the purpose of realizing our way out of material sense into spiritual consciousness. If we remember that, we shall find that the problem is not nearly as severe or as difficult or as unusual as it seemed at first.
Let us always remember, however, that it is not the nature of God to turn a sick body into a well body, or an empty purse into a full purse. That can only be brought about by a change of consciousness. As long as we retain even a measure of material consciousness, that measure must externalize itself, and it can externalize itself in forms of human good as well as human evil. Material sense has no intelligence. It can be a good experience today and a bad one tomorrow, because it is the nature of material conditions to be sometimes good and sometimes bad.
Whatever measure of material sense, or of what Paul called the carnal mind, remains in us is certain to externalize itself in a carnal condition, and that carnal condition can sometimes be good and sometimes evil. As we rise higher in the understanding of the nature of God and the nature of error that confronts us, and in proportion as we attain spiritual light, then not only will the discord of human existence leave us, but the harmonies of human existence as well. Everyone seems quite willing to give up the pains, the discords, and the limitations of human experience, but most people cling to human good. They are not ready to exchange their human good even for the kingdom of heaven. Human good is so much better than human evil that we have all come to think of human good as desirable and to want it, not realizing that there are far greater things in this world than man has ever dreamed of: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” No human being has any idea of the things that God has laid up for those who love God, Spirit.
The spiritual universe is not the human universe devoid of error or discord. The spiritual universe is the absence of human error and human good. It is the kingdom of God on earth, not the kingdom of good humanhood or good materiality. It is not the kingdom of more and better matter, but it is a rising above material sense, even good material sense, into spiritual consciousness. As we in The Infinite Way recognize that, we do not become ascetics and reject the human good that comes to us, even though the achievement of human good is not our purpose. Human good comes as “the added things.”
There is a spiritual kingdom, an inner kingdom, a kingdom about which mortal man knows nothing. By living and moving and having our being in spiritual awareness, that transformation of our mind, that transformation of consciousness is wrought which reveals to us the kingdom of heaven on earth.