February 1998


Contemplation is the preliminary step in meditation. Although we call it contemplative meditation at times, it's really the method used to quiet the mind or the mental activity of the mind, so we can reach a state of silence or stillness.

It's worthwhile for this to be pointed out over and over again. Far too many of us lapse into believing that our contemplative work is the real meditation, and it isn't. Then too, some of us indulge in the practice of sitting with eyes closed, having no specific conscious activity taking place within, waiting for the silence to descend upon us. This is taking the attitude and approach that we have no responsibility in attaining our peace.

We're the authors of whatever degree of heaven -- harmony -- well experience. There's no magic or mystery to it. This isn't to say that you and I, in our human identities, are powers or creators. It simply means that we must recognize that whatever power there is is within us; our recognition of this followed by our intelligent practice of developing or allowing it to break forth is an individual responsibility which can never be assumed by any agent or agency outside of us. In other words, we must come to know the truth that since the infinite pool of wisdom is within our consciousness, we must forsake seeking it in the outer world and instead turn to our SELF. With this established in our awareness, the next step is to discover how we can access that truth.

Omniscience in each one of us has brought us to the spiritual path. It must be apparent to each that he/she never had a hand in being on the path. I never knew such a thing existed prior to 1978. What I thought I was doing was simply attempting to find some solution to the emptiness I felt in my soul. At the time, I wouldn't have ever called it emptiness or mentioned it being in my soul. I couldn't describe it or pinpoint its location. This was how lost I was.

We have intelligence to use for our benefit. And no greater use can be made of it than learning the spiritual truth. Contemplation starts us on the way to the infinite unfoldment of spiritual truth within us.

The actual practice of contemplation is effortless. Relaxing into a mode of thought that concerns itself with some facet of truth need not be burdensome in the least. If there's any difficult aspect to it, that would be consciously catching our self at some point prior to getting too caught up in the mire of our human thinking. At the very outset preferably, or soon as possible, when we find our self agitated, frightened, perplexed or emotionally upset in any way, we must realize what's happening in us. We're being victimized by an impersonal belief which we label human consciousness. We're seeing good therefore loving or desiring it, and seeing evil consequently fearing, hating or alienating our self from it. All of which is the subtle operation of the acceptance of the belief in two powers -- good and evil. It's critical to realize that we're not doing something ourselves to bring about our distress. No constituted part of our essence is causing the troubles in our life because we're essentially pure spiritual BEING. An impersonal belief has been accepted and this is causing the problems. Here is where we can be effective in helping our self, by recognizing that since it isn't something we're doing, but actually something were failing, at least partly, to do -- think for ourselves, there must be some way we can offset what's happening since all power, law and cause is within us.

Our need then is to contact this withinness -- the source of Truth; we must open a way for It to pour out into our awareness. When It does, were flooded with Its wisdom. Always, darkness ceases to exist once light is permitted entry. So, when spiritual truth is allowed to enter our awareness everything unlike it dissolves. Light doesn't do anything to it for it was a nothingness from the start. It was a shadow being accepted as reality. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. The focus for the moment is contemplation.

The procedure for contemplation is as follows: when we want to get quiet or free our self from some troubling thoughts, first, we find some statement of truth or passage of scripture with which to begin. Many have found the Infinite Way wisdoms ideally suited for this purpose. Whatever is chosen should be our starting point to knowing the truth -- the letter of truth. Next, within our self we start with whatever thoughts we know about the truth we've selected. This can be carried out for as long and in as minute detail as it takes to reach the goal of inner quiet. Sometimes there may not be enough of our own thoughts on the initially chosen passage or statement to attain our peace. It's perfectly all right to take another passage or statement and start over with that. We're free to take all the time we need so let's not be ashamed if our thought seems to fade on one topic. In time and with this practice, we'll only have to prime the pump -- start the ball rolling -- and well soon be aware of thoughts coming to us from within. It won't be necessary to do a lot of thinking at this point. TRUTH will spontaneously gush up through the opening which we've created. We've opened out a way for TRUTH -- the imprisoned splendor -- to escape into our awareness.

The amount of time it will take for the individual to become quiet will be different. But, after a while it won't be a long drawn out process before our mind becomes still.

Perhaps now would be a good time to illustrate the contemplative process as taught by Joel. I'll select something and see where it leads. My peace I give unto you, My peace. Right away I want to know who or what is this MY which says it is ITs peace which IT gives me. Is there a man or woman somewhere in me? Why, that's absurd; it can't be possible for I alone occupy my mind and body. But I do indeed believe the writer who wrote this. I believe he heard something in himself. The question is, what exactly did he hear? What spoke within him? It was I! I in the midst of you was the very voice -- the still small voice -- that spoke in him. I have been that same voice which has uttered ITSELF in the receptive consciousness of men and women down through the ages who had ears to hear and eyes to see. I AM that which is the source of all. I AM the source of peace, therefore, it's MY peace which I offer. And to whom do I offer it? To any and all for I respect none but recognize all as MYSELF made manifest. Herein is the essence and source of the peace which I have to give. Since I know of nothing but MYSELF -- no separate beings -- only the one which I AM, there's no fear, competition, envy, animosity, wants, or needs anywhere in my kingdom. For I look around it and all I AM aware of is MYSELF. I AM whole and I know it. Therefore, I AM not really giving MY peace to anyone. If I did that I would be selective and I AM no respector of persons. Actually MY peace is a gift that is obtained when I am found. As I include all, when I am discovered every quality which I possess is discovered also. Only in this sense do I give. Etc, etc, etc.

This is contemplation. It needs no format for its free flowing. It doesn't have to flow out grammatically correct but it does so in accord with the individual's normal way of expressing himself. Just like it would flow forth in English to an English speaker and in some other language to a non-English speaker. This flowing should be allowed to continue for as long as it takes to rid the mind of any further thoughts on the selected topic. While our mind is busy with this our attention must be on it also. It's surprising how frequently we're aware of something yet not fully conscious of it because at the same time we're thinking about something else.

If our attention is fastened to these streams or statements of truth churning in us, it can't also be on some human problem. We can be fully attentive to only one thing at a time. We can't have a problem while we're in deep contemplation. Problems dissolve for the duration that we stay consciously immersed in the contemplation of spiritual things. Be assured that if we're contemplating and still have some thought of a problem in our mind, we're not thoroughly attentive to knowing the truth. This happens quite often, however.

Sometimes our problems seem so acute that it's almost impossible for us to break entirely free of them through our own metaphysical practice alone. Many times this occurs because we've not been vigilant when we are particularly susceptible to some conditioning in our human state of consciousness. For instance, we might find our self involved in some negative or heated conversation with a family member which then escalates into anger and feelings getting stepped on, whereas, if we had been watchful and, therefore, inwardly conscious of what's going on in us, instantly the admonition of the Master -- He who lives by the sword will die by the sword -- would flash across our mind and it would have the effect of turning us to the recognition that we're not dealing with a person but with the Christ. And since the Christ is one, to war with this individual is to make war not with someone separate from us but it's to create warfare right within our self. On the other hand, we might have fallen back into our comfort zone and before we know it we're caught up in some disturbing thought.

What do we do then? We would be wise to seek some help to gain our liberty. Being receptive to another's state of consciousness will lift us out of our momentary distress.

Many do not seek help as much as they should. The reasons for this are many and differ with the individual. As I look back, I didn't seek sufficient help myself. For I was unaccustomed to this way of behaving. Never having had someone to turn to for help, comfort or instruction, doing so felt totally out of character for me. I always found my own answers in the flames of trial and error. So, I think I was embarrassed to admit to anyone else my inadequacy, that here was something I wasn't able to handle myself. Then, too, not coming from a metaphysical background I was totally new and ignorant of what it really meant to seek help. Consequently, I sought very little help and as a result had to endure some things which could have been easily handled by a practitioner or teacher. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, my advice is still for each to follow what he is led to do. By trusting in that inner Teacher, even though you and I may not be 100 per cent acquainted with it, we can't go wrong; maybe we'll take some detours, but our experience will bring priceless rewards for we'll learn the truth in a way which no one else can teach us. We'll learn it from our own inner Teacher, the Christ of us, that Spirit within -- GOD.

But for those who aren't so led to forsake outer help, turning to others who can give it should be readily embraced. Why? There's already enough unavoidable disappointment and discouragement lurking in the alleys and bi-ways of the spiritual path, so any quick assistance in getting us over some rough spot should be sought. This isn't avoidance. It doesn't mean that we'll always be able to rely on someone else's developed consciousness to get us out of some jam. What freedom would there be in that? No, this is a temporary measure. Soon we'll find this won't do it for us. Ultimately, if we're to be that which we truly are, we'll have to fight the mighty battle of sloughing off this human state of consciousness for the spiritual. This is something each one must walk through without any external assistance. This is the reason why each must find his inner Source, Teacher, Guide, Savior, Protector, Friend and cast his wholehearted reliance on IT. Strangely though, we don't usually choose to do this but wait until we're pushed right up to the brink of collapse, in one form or another, before we'll truly put our hand in HIS hand in the attitude -- if you don't save me then it's all over for me.

Consciousness is the invigorating life source of everything. This is evident in everyday life. Ideas, whether for business or pleasure, find their source in the consciousness of some individual. Let him lose interest in the idea, withdrawing himself from it, then its demise or dissolution is near at hand. For it has life only so long as it is fueled by his consciousness. Our body lives or has life because consciousness animates it. Let consciousness depart and our physical form will dissolve. Such is the nature of consciousness. Where it exists there's life; In its absence is nothing.