The Infinite Way
Chapter - Spiritual Illumination
Spiritual illumination enables us to discern the spiritual reality where the human concept appears to be. Spiritual sense discerns the reality of that which is appearing as concept.
The development of spiritual consciousness begins with our first realization that what we are beholding through the senses of sight, hearing, taste, and smell is not the reality of things. Disregarding appearances entirely, the first ray of spiritual illumination brings us hints of the divine, the eternal and immortal. This in turn makes the appearance even less real to us, thereby admitting even greater illumination.
Our progress Spiritward is in proportion to the illumination which enables us to behold more and more of Reality. Because the human scene is entirely a misconception through misperception, any thought of helping, healing, correcting, or changing the material picture must be relinquished in order that we may see the ever-present Reality.
Spiritual illumination comes to us in a measure with our first investigation of truth. We believe that we are seeking good, or truth; whereas the light has begun to shine in our consciousness compelling us to take the steps we have since taken. Every increase of our spiritual understanding was more light appearing and dispelling the darkness of sense. This inflow of illumination will continue until we come to the full realization of our true identity as "the light of the world." Without illumination, we struggle with the forces of the world; we labor for a living; we struggle to maintain our place and position; we compete for riches or honors. Often we war with our own friends and even find ourselves at war with ourselves. There is no security in personal possessions even after the battle to acquire them has been won.
Illumination first brings peace, then confidence and assurance; it brings rest from the world's contests, and then all good flows to us through Grace. We see now that we do not live by acquiring, gaining, or achieving. We live by Grace; we possess all as the gift of God; we do not get our good, because we already have all good. "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine."
The pleasures and successes of the world are as nothing compared with the joys and treasures which now unfold to us through spiritual sense. In the light of truth, the greatest earthly happiness and triumph are as nothing, whereas the treasures of Soul have a glory unknown and unfathomed by sense.
Possessing the divine Light within him, man gains his freedom from the world and security from all earthly or human dangers. This period holds terrors and fears for many. The spiritually illumined will recognize that because no good can come or go, that because spiritual activity is always of the nature of fulfillment, that because their illumination has revealed the reality of things, they are anchored in Soul, in God-consciousness, in spiritual peace, security, and serenity.
We will fear no change in the outer picture because the outer is but the reflection of the allness within. Safe in the realization that we are individual though infinite spiritual consciousness embodying all good, we need give no consideration to the evidence of the senses.
Spiritual illumination reveals the harmony of being and dispels the evidence of material sense. It does not change anything in the universe for this is a spiritual universe peopled with children of God, but the illumination changes our concept of the universe.
This is but the beginning of this vast subject, and while we are discussing it, let us keep thought removed as far as possible from the world of sense and anchored in the conscious awareness of spiritual reality.
Always there have appeared men bearing the divine message of the presence of God and of the unreality of evil: Buddha of India; Lao-Tze of China; Jesus of Nazareth. These and many others brought the light of Truth to men, and always men have interpreted this Light as the messenger, failing to see that what they were beholding as a man "out there" was the light of Truth within their own consciousness.
In worshiping Jesus, men lost the Christ. In devotion to Jesus, men failed to apprehend the Christ. In seeking good through Jesus, men failed to find the omnipresent Christ in their own consciousness.
In every case, the messenger appearing to man is the advent of the Christ in individual consciousness, and when so understood, freedom from personal sense and personal limitation has been attained.
Jesus said, "If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you." Was this not clear enough for all to understand? If you do not look away from the personal sense of salvation, mediation, and guidance, you will not find the great Light within your own consciousness.
Spiritual illumination does not come from a person, but from the impersonal Christ, the universal Truth, the illumined consciousness of your Self.
Illumined consciousness dispels the personal sense of self with its problems, ills, age, and failures. It reveals the real Self, the I that I am, unlimited, unfettered, untroubled, harmonious, and free. This Selfhood is revealed as we retire within ourselves each day and there learn to "listen" and to watch. Likewise, instead of anxious care about the work of the day or the events of the future, we let the Soul, or our divine Spirit, go ahead of us to smooth and prepare the way; we let this divine Influence remain behind us to safeguard every step from the illusions of sense.
Illumined consciousness always knows that there is an infinite, all-powerful Presence prospering every act and blessing every thought. It knows that all who touch us on life's highway must feel the benediction of our thought.
When consciousness is afire with Truth and Love, it destroys all sense of fear, doubt, hate, envy, disease, and discord -- and this pure consciousness is felt by all whom we meet, and it lightens the load they carry. It is impossible to be "the light of the world" and not dispel the darkness of those about us.
Realize that all the good you experience is the shining forth of your own consciousness even when it appears to come from, or through, some other individual. Recognize every evil appearance as a false perception of harmony and therefore not to be feared or hated, and this will result in the disappearance of the illusion and the showing forth of reality. Only illumined consciousness can look upon an evil appearance and perceive the divine reality. Only the Christ in consciousness can strip error of its seeming reality and rob it of its sting.
Spiritual illumination reveals that we are not mortals--not even human beings--but that we are pure spiritual being, divine consciousness, self-sustaining life, all-inclusive mind. This light destroys the illusions of personal sense.
Illumination dissolves all material ties and binds men together with the golden chains of spiritual understanding; it acknowledges only the leadership of the Christ; it has no ritual or rule but the divine, impersonal, universal love, no other worship than the inner Flame that is ever lit at the shrine of Spirit. This union is the free state of spiritual brotherhood. The only restraint is the discipline of Soul; therefore, we know liberty without license; we are a united universe without physical limits, a divine service to God without ceremony or creed.
The illumined walk without fear -- by Grace.
To know that we are the fulfillment of God, that we are that place in consciousness where God shines through, is to be spiritually minded. The realization that every individual is the presence of God, that all that is, is God appearing, is spiritual consciousness. The understanding that what we see, hear, taste, touch, or smell through the five physical senses is but the finite concept of reality, and in no wise related to the spiritually real, is spiritual sense.
Christ-consciousness beholds God everywhere shining through the mist of personal sense. It recognizes no sinner to be reformed, no sick to heal, no poor to enrich. Spiritual illumination dispels the false concepts or images of finite sense and reveals all being as God appearing.
The light in individual consciousness reveals the world of God's creating, the universe of reality, the children of God. In this light, the mortal scene disappears, and the world of concepts, "this world," gives place to "My kingdom" -- the reality of things seen as they are.
Likewise, there is always the sense of an inner companionship. We feel an inner warmth, a living presence, a divine assurance. Sometimes we feel a strong hand in ours or behold a smiling face over our shoulder. We are never alone and we know it. This sweet Presence gives us an inner rest; It enables us to relax from the strain of the world and brings us the joy of peace. In truth, It is a "peace, be still" to every problem or strain of human existence. It is a healing influence within us, and yet It is felt by all those about us.
This inner Presence of which we are aware is Truth Itself interpreting Itself to us as presence, power, companion, light, peace, and healing influence--as the Christ. The consciousness of this inner Being is the result of our greater spiritual illumination, of our cultivated spiritual consciousness. This Truth is the God who healeth our diseases, and It goes ever before us to make smooth our path in life. This Truth is wealth and appears as our abundant supply. No human circumstance or condition can lessen our income and wealth while we abide in this consciousness of the presence of Love.
Establish this truth within you, and it becomes your real being, knowing neither birth nor death, youth nor age, health nor disease--but only the eternality of harmonious being. This truth dispels every illusion of sense and reveals the infinite harmony of your being; it dispels mortality and reveals your immortality. Whatever in your thought is unlike this divine Presence, Truth Itself, must yield in order that you may drink the pure water of Life and eat the spiritual meat of Truth.
To free our hearts from the errors of self--self-will, false desires, ambition, and greed--is to reflect the light of Truth as the perfect diamond reflects its own inner light.
About 500 B.C. it was written: "It easily happens that a man, when taking a bath, steps upon a wet rope and imagines that it is a snake. Horror will overcome him, and he will shake from fear, anticipating in his thought all the agonies caused by the serpent's venomous bite. What a relief does this man experience when he sees that the rope is no snake! The cause of his fright lies in his error, his ignorance, his illusion. If the true nature of the rope is recognized, his tranquility of mind will come back to him; he will feel relieved; he will be joyful and happy. This is the state of mind of one who has recognized that there is no personal self, that the cause of all his troubles, cares, and vanities is a mirage, a shadow, a dream."
So again, illumination reveals that there is no error, that what appears as the snake -- sin, disease, discord, death -- is reality itself misperceived by finite sense. Then discords are not to be hated, feared, or resented, but reinterpreted until the true nature of the rope -- reality -- is discerned through spiritual sense. The snake--disease or discord--is merely a state of mind, with no corresponding external reality. It must be understood that no illusion is, or ever can be, externalized.
Spiritual illumination may be attained by living constantly in the consciousness of the presence of perfection, by the continual translation of the visible picture into the reality. We are being faced with discordant appearances all through our days and nights, and these must immediately be translated through our understanding of the "new tongue," the language of Spirit.
Every incident of our daily experience offers fresh opportunities to use our spiritual understanding, and each use of the spiritual faculties results in greater spiritual perception, which in turn reveals more and more of the light of Truth. "Pray without ceasing. . . . And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Translate the pictures and incidents of daily existence into the new tongue, the language of Spirit, and consciousness will expand until translation occurs without even taking thought. It becomes a habitual state of consciousness, a constant awareness of Truth.
Only in this wise can we find our lives unfolding harmoniously from the center of our being without taking conscious thought. Instead of our existence being a continual round of "demonstrations," it becomes the natural, harmonious, joyous unfoldment of good. Instead of repeated efforts to make good come to us, our every good unfolds to view from the depths of our own being without conscious effort, either physical or mental. We are no longer dependent on person or circumstance, nor even on our personal effort. Spiritual illumination enables us to relax our personal efforts and rely more and more on Divinity unfolding and revealing Itself as us.
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