WE HAVE been asked this question, "Why are all who long to serve the Great Cause of Humanity so oppressed by lack and limitation of one kind or another?"
The title to this paper will give a hint to our answer, and while it may be quite satisfying to some, yet until it is fully realized and its application to one's individual case is clearly understood it is but a sorry fact, if it can be proved to be a fact.
This we hope to prove to you, and we first would remind you that we have shown in previous articles how all earnest aspirants and especially all true disciples seek to be cleansed of all qualities of self and separateness that prevent the unhindered use of the personality by the Higher Self; and that they actually ask and invite such cleansing- at least in their hearts they do if not in definite prayers-so that they may become perfect instruments for His use. Remember this must be so, with true disciples of Christ, for we must give up all of self if we would follow Him. And that means we must give up all of those things that hold us to the world, the flesh and the devil; for self is the only devil and self is wholly of the flesh and of the world.
Now try to realize that to have reached the stage of spiritual growth where we gladly do this, we must know that we have had little to do with such growth. It was something within us that was growing, and in order to grow some of the old confining and conflicting qualities of soul and the thoughts and ideas they engendered had to be loosened from our consciousness and be left behind-that such was part of the cleansing process. And if such loosing and freeing hurt, which is natural, we should be glad, and should at once seek to learn why it hurt-and the quality of self that was being hurt and was refusing to let go and was thus holding us back from the goal that awaits.
Keeping in mind the unconscious growth within taking place, we can then see if health departed, or financial reverses came, or some loved one was taken away, or one of the cherished desires of our hearts was suddenly removed, that it was necessary to bring such about first in order to awaken the soul, and then when that was accomplished the mind's attention could be turned to the Lord within, the Giver of all good things.
But, some may say, why should any of these things be taken away in order to turn us to God? We will let you yourself answer that question. Why did you not turn to Him before-really turn to Him? When you had health and money and loved ones and the desires of your heart, where and when did God come into your thoughts? Was He not then but a vague term, an abstract ideal, who intellectually stood as the fountain of all religious thought, but who actually had no real existence in your life? Yes, you accepted Him as the author of your being and that He was responsible for all things in your life. But did you really know Him?
Well, the time had come when He, within you, could prepare your human mind so that it could become conscious of Him, could learn to know Him as He is, and could eventually co-operate with Him; by first letting Him use you and all that you are and have, and then giving to you those qualities of mind and soul and later those things in the outer which He can use, not for your good alone, but for the purpose He intended from the beginning-for the good of all.
All must come to that consciousness, and if you have been brought to that place where He has accepted you at your word, has begun the cleansing process and has taken some things away that meant very much to you, it is a sure sign that He has called you, has chosen you, and is not only trying to gain your mind's and heart's attention, but is verily drawing you to Him.
The Standard Dictionary defines chasten as "to discipline by pain or trial; to make chaste, to refine, purify." Now none of the above means much unless you fully realize that the Lord is your Self-your Divine Self, that One within who has been growing you, who has been putting you through all the experiences of life, in order to teach, discipline, chasten, refine and purify your human and supposed separate mind, so that it knows its identity with You and Your Mind. It is no outside God doing this, no Great Being somewhere apart from you, but is the Real You abiding within the soul and from there directing all, inspiring every needed helpful thought, and permitting other kinds only for your mind's disciplining and its learning from the mistakes they cause it to make.
Until you have taught it thus to turn within to the Lord-the Self within, and to look to Him only there for everything, to wait upon His every will and word, God is not real to you and has no actual part in your conscious life.
"The Impersonal Life" has taught you all this, and if you have not already proved it, it is time that you begin to know that the I AM of you is your Lord, that He is your Self- your only Self. Many of you have earnestly studied the helps provided in the preceding articles and have faithfully striven to grasp the realization intended, but cannot quite close the gap between your human and divine centers of consciousness. Some, however, have been able to draw their minds back into conscious Oneness, where they recognize I AM as their Self, and their human minds as but instruments or channels formed for use in outer work on planes of consciousness outside the Kingdom.
We will try to give herewith a few additional helps for those who feel they need only a little more light to enable them to close the gap.