The Infinite Way
Chapter - Putting on Immortality
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word was made flesh."
"The Word was made flesh" -- but it still is the Word. By being made flesh it does not change its nature, character, or substance. Cause becomes visible as effect, but the essence or substance is still the Word, Spirit or Consciousness.
In this wise, do we understand that there is not a spiritual universe and a material world, but rather that what appears as our world is the Word made flesh, Spirit made visible, or Consciousness expressed as idea.
All the error that has existed down the ages is founded on the theory or belief of two worlds, one the heavenly kingdom, or spiritual life, and the other a material world or mortal existence, each separate from the other.
In spite of this sense of two worlds, men have always attempted to bring harmony into the discords of human existence through an attempt, by prayer, to contact this other world, or spiritual realm, and to bring Spirit, or God, to act upon the so-called material existence.
Let us begin with the understanding that our world is not an erroneous one, but rather that the universe in which we live is the realm of reality about which man entertains a false concept. The work of bringing health and harmony into our experience is not, then, getting rid of, or even changing, a mortal material universe, but correcting the finite concept of our existence.
The seeker of Truth begins his search with a problem -- perhaps with many problems. The first years of his search are devoted to overcoming discords and healing disease through prayer to some higher Power or the application of spiritual laws or truth to these mortal conditions. The day arrives, however, when he perhaps discovers that the application of truth to human problems either does not "work" or does not work as it once did, or else he finds there is now less of satisfaction and inspiration in his study. Eventually, he is led to the great revelation that mortals put on immortality only as mortality disappears -- they do not add immortal spiritual harmony to human conditions. God does not create, nor does He control material affairs. "But the natural [human] man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Are we seeking "the things of the Spirit of God" for some human purpose, or are we really endeavoring to "put off" the mortal in order that we may behold the harmony of the spiritual realm?
While we strive and struggle and contend with the so-called powers of this world, combating sickness and sin or lack, spiritual sense reveals that "My kingdom is not of this world." Only as we transcend the desire to improve our humanhood do we understand this vital statement. When, however, we leave the realm of human betterment, we catch the first glimpse of the meaning of "I have overcome the world."
We have not overcome the world while we are seeking to have less of the world's pains and more of the world's pleasures and profits. And if we are not overcoming the sense of struggle over worldly affairs, we are not entering the realm of heavenly affairs.
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world." Spiritual consciousness overcomes the world -- both the pains and pleasures of the world. We cannot accomplish this evangelization of humanhood by mental might or physical power, but by the spiritual sense of existence which all may cultivate through devotion of thought to the things of the Spirit. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." Here is the guide. Watch your thoughts, aims, and ambitions for just a short while and see if your mind is on your health, the pleasures of senses, or worldly gain. Then as these worldly thoughts appear, learn to reject them because now we are no longer set on the path of improving our human affairs, but on attaining the spiritual kingdom.
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Does this sound as if we were becoming ascetic? Do we appear now to be desiring a life apart from the normal, joyous, successful walks of life? Do not be deceived. Only those who have learned to keep their attention on spiritual things have tasted the full joys of home, companionship, and successful enterprise. Only those who have in a measure become centered in God have found safety, security, and peace right in the midst of a war torn world. Spiritual sense does not remove us from our normal surroundings, nor does it deprive us of the love and companionship so necessary to a full life. It merely places it on a higher level where it is no longer at the mercy of chance or change or loss, and where the spiritual value of the so-called human scene is made manifest.
"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life. . . . For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
When confronted with any human problem, instead of laboring for an improved human condition, turn from the picture and realize the presence of the divine Spirit in you. This Spirit dissolves the human seeming and reveals spiritual harmony, though to sight this harmony will appear as improved human health or wealth. When Jesus fed the multitude, it was his spiritual consciousness of abundance that appeared as loaves and fishes. When he healed the sick, it was his feeling of the divine Presence that appeared as health, strength, and harmony.
This may all be summed up in Paul's words: "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
We are living in a spiritual universe, but the finite sense has set a picture before us of limitation. While thought is on the picture before us - "this world" -- we are engaged in the constant effort to improve or change it. As soon as we lift our vision -- take thought off what we shall eat and drink and wear -- we begin to behold spiritual reality which appears to us as improved beliefs, but which really is more-appearing of reality. This more-appearing reality brings with it joys untold here and now, pleasures beyond our wildest imagination and the love of all with whom we come in contact, even the love of those who do not know the source of the new life we have discovered.
"Peace I leave with, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you."
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God. . . . Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth. . . . But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
How often do we go on the rocks on this point! How frequently do we attempt to understand spiritual wisdom with our human intellect! This leads to mental indigestion because we are attempting to digest spiritual food with our educated mentality. It will not work. Truth is not a reasoning process; therefore, it must be spiritually discerned. Truth does not as a rule appeal to our reason, and when it appears to do so, we must search deeply to see if it really is truth. Be suspicious of a truth that seems reasonable.
Jesus, walking on the water, feeding the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes, healing the sick and raising the dead--does all this seem reasonable to you? If the principle underlying these experiences could be understood through reason, all the churches would be teaching it as a present possibility and they would recommend its practice. But this principle is apparent only to spiritual sense, and this cultivated spiritual consciousness can do the things that the Christ has ever done. What was possible to Christ-consciousness in Jesus' time is possible to the same Consciousness now.
We now are engaged in the cultivation of that spiritual sense and we shall succeed in proportion as we relax our mental struggle and become receptive to those things which the Spirit of God teaches. Instead of trying to make Spirit operate upon our human bodies and material affairs, let us learn to disregard these mortal pictures and keep our vision on things above. When we "come down to earth again," we shall find the discords and limitations of sense disappearing and more of reality appearing.
The kingdom of God does not consist of more and better matter, nor does it necessarily include a greater vocabulary of truth. Yet the fruitage of spiritual understanding is greater harmony, peace, prosperity, joy, and more ideal companionships and relationships.
"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe"--understand.
To receive the word of God or spiritual sense, we need to feel rather than reason. This is referred to biblically as receiving the word "in the heart." Note here that the development of spiritual consciousness results in a greater gift of feeling the harmony of being. We understand that neither seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, nor smelling will reveal spiritual truth or its harmonies to us; therefore, it must come through a different faculty, the intuitive faculty which acts through feeling. Heretofore, we have sat down to pray or to meditate and immediately a stream of words and thought started to flow. Perhaps we began to affirm truth and deny error. You can see that this is wholly in the realm of the human mind.
In cultivating our spiritual sense we become receptive to thoughts which come to us from within. We become hearers of the Word rather than speakers. We become so attuned to Spirit that we feel the divine harmony of being; we feel the actual presence of God. Having transcended the five physical senses, our intuitive faculty is alert, receptive and responsive to the things of the Spirit, and we begin our new existence as a result of this spiritual rebirth.
Heretofore, we have been concerned with the letter of truth, now only with the spirit of truth. We are not so concerned now with what is truth as with feeling truth. This is accomplished in proportion as we give less thought to the letter and more receptivity to the feel. This word "feel" incidentally, refers also to the awareness, consciousness, or a sense of truth. We are not now speaking truth but receiving truth, and that which we receive in silence we may speak from the housetops with authority.
Spiritual healing is the natural result of a divinely illumined consciousness. We are illumined only as we are receptive and responsive to spiritual illumination.
We misunderstand immortality when we think of it as the immortality of the human personality, or personal sense. Death does not produce immortality or end personal sense, nor does the continuation of human existence mean the attainment of immortality.
Immortality is attained in proportion as personal sense is overcome, whether here or hereafter. As we put off the personal ego and attain the consciousness of our real Self--the Reality of us, divine Consciousness--we attain immortality. And that can be achieved here and now.
The desire to perpetuate our false sense of body and wealth ensnares us into death, or mortality.
The first step in the attainment of immortality is living out from the center of our being, as in the idea of unfoldment from within, rather than accretion: It is the giving sense rather than getting; being rather than attaining. In this consciousness, there is no condemnation, judgment, hatred, or fear, but rather a continuous feeling of love and forgiveness.
It is not a simple matter to show forth the joy and peace of immortality, because to those intent on preserving their present concepts of being, immortality would appear to be extinction. This is not the case: It is the eternal preservation of all that is real, fine, noble, harmonious, gracious, unselfish, and peaceful. It is reality brought to light in place of the illusion of sense. It is the conscious awareness of the infinity of individual being replacing the finite sense of existence.
Selfishness and conceit fall away in the realization of the divinity of our being.
This realization brings forth patience and forbearance with those still struggling in mortal, material consciousness. It is being in the world but not of it.
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