Talk covers: Seeing the parable of the talents on a different level
[brackets for comments]
One of the things that the world seems to continually suggest is that one has already achieved what one needs, that everything is rather easy; and we think when we have achieved a little, that that is all there is to achieve. However, the Kingdom of Spirit is untold riches that continue to unfold as one works? The idea of work, of doing something with the material one receives, is continually stressed in the teaching. In this age of intellectualism, we are quite prone to buy some idea because we "think" about it, feel we have understood it, and "know" about it. However, only as one experiments with something, works with it, spends time and effort on it and finds out for self its value, does anything really worthwhile and lasting (that aids the development of the spiritual body and the growth of the body) really come into being.
We will read a parable from the Book of Matthew, Chapter 25, Verses 14-30:
"For it is like a man going abroad who called his servants and handed over his goods to them. To one he gave 5 talents, to another one he gave 2 talents, and to another one he gave 1 talent--each according to his particular ability; and then he went on his journey. He who had received the 5 talents, traded with them and gained 5 more. In like manner he who had received the 2 talents gained 2 more, but he who had received the 1 talent went away and dug in the earth and hid his master's money."
"Then after a long time the master came and settled accounts with them. He who had received the 5 talents brought 5 other talents, saying: 'Master, thou handed over to me 5 talents. Behold, I have gained 5 others in addition.' His master said to him: 'Well done, good and faithful servant. Because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many. Enter into the joy of thy master!'
He who had received the 2 talents said: 'Master, thou handed over to me 2 talents. Behold I have gained 2 more.' His master said to him: 'Well done, good and faithful servant. Because thou has been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many. Enter into the joy of thy master!'
But he who had received the 1 talent said: 'Master, I know thou art a stern man, reaping where thou has not sowed and gathered where thou hast not planted. I was afraid, and I hid thy talent in the earth. Behold, thou hast what is thine.' His master answered him: 'Wicked and slothful servant, thou dost know that I reaped what I did not sow and gather where I have not harvested. Thou should, therefore, have entrusted my money to the bankers; and on my return I should have at least got back my own with interest. Take away, therefore, the talent from him and give it to him who has the 10 talents; and to everyone who has, it shall be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from him who does not have, even that which he seems to have, shall be taken away. As for the unprofitable servant cast him forth into the darkness outside where there will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth.'"
So, obviously, this story is about something of value given to three different people. A master gave to his servants something very worthwhile to see what they would do with it, using the symbol of money, which the world considered to be valuable, and that will acquire things. So he gave to them according to their abilities. To one man who had been working hard and had a certain amount of ability, he gave 5 talents.
Let's see what these talents could be in relation to the teachings and to the understanding of man and his own growth:
First off, we are all given the idea of SELF-KNOWING. Then after that, is DISIDENTIFYING.
So we will say that is what the man given 1 talent received--the idea of self knowing and observing pride, vanity and greed--to be aware of self without trying to do anything in particular about it--just being aware of self.
The man receiving 2 talents, we will say, received the idea of
(1) SELF-KNOWING and
(2) OBSERVING UNPLEASANT EMOTIONS IN ACTION, how they come about, and how conflict starts within the inner state of the conditioned man, between "A" and "B."
We would say that the man who was given 5 talents, not only was told about
1. SELF-KNOWING, he was given the idea of
2. DISIDENTIFYING from the self and observing unpleasant emotions. He was also given the idea to
3. OBSERVE THE ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE that everybody builds against everybody else (a terrific burden that everyone has). He was given the idea of
4. OBSERVING EXPECTATIONS seeing that everyone expects the ideal and seeing the
5. VICIOUS CYCLE) in action; and observing temptation.[conflict within]
Now he has 5 talents to work with.
The man who received the 5 talents worked with these ideas. He applied them, he observed them in action, he spent his time on them; and, of course, what he had became of twice as much value to him because he had now experimented. He had the ideas and he saw the good of experimenting with these ideas. He had seen WHAT IS and had seen the VALUE of what is. So he now has 10 talents.
It's likewise with the man who received the 2 talents. He applied them, worked with them. He studied, he observed, he made notes, and he gained twice as much value because he had something given to him of value.
But the man who received the 1 talent, observed that the teacher didn't seem to have any full time occupation, so he figured he had some magic means of acquiring his needs. He felt he was a stern man because he was given only 1 talent; and he, no doubt; felt he was misjudged because of the vanity and pride within and he thought, "I should have received more--after all, I am every bit as good as these other guys:. "I am are quite as capable." "I am quite as grown up." "I have been around as long as they have."
But nevertheless, the master seemed to feel that each one had a certain capability. It says he gave the talents to them according to their various abilities. The one who received the 1 talent did not work with it. He buried it in the earth. He dug a hole--in other words, he stored it in the intelligence center. He could remember it, recall it, and play it back on command; but he didn't do anything with it at all. He didn't experiment with it, but he remembered it and knew exactly how to recall it, regain it, and bring it up to his hands again.
Then one day the master returned and checked to see what they had. The man who had received the five talents demonstrated with them that he had something twice as valuable. The master said to him: "Well done, good and faithful servant." Faithful means that he stayed on the job--he continued. It is used much in the same way as the word persevere, continue regardless of what he discovers--he keeps on using it. Even though he has understood much, he continues to use the five talents. He traded with them, he acted upon them, he worked with them, and he received five more. The master praised him for being a faithful man and said that he had been faithful over these few things, and that he could enter into the joy of the master. In other words, he began to experience the real things. He began to experience being a new man. He began to experience love-the joy of the master.
The second man who had received only two talents had worked with them and had diligently applied himself. He experimented, observed, made his notes, watched them in action, and saw them as valuable. He had put his time on them and had continued, and of course, changed his two talents into four. He had something twice as valuable also. And he was praised for being a good and faithful servant and passed into the joy of the master.
So you see, it is not how many ideas that one has. If one uses any one of the ideas of the teaching--and really applies it--it opens all the doors just the same.
Some can work with five ideas at a time, some with two; and some can work with only one idea at a time. But each of us have our own separate abilities; and being separate, no two people are alike. We are perfect, as we are, for the amount of ability we have; and it seems that it has much the same effect.
Following the story, it would seem that if the man who had received the 1 talent had made 2 out of it, he would have been told that he was a good and faithful servant and to enter into the joy of the master. But you see, he was very weak. That was why he was only given 1 talent. He could only handle one thing. His weakness was pride and vanity. You see, he had attempted to build a picture of himself as a prudent man who was capable of judging the master. His vanity showed that fact; and pride defended the opinion. So, he felt the thing to do was "to be safe", so he hid the money and brought it back (he recalled the idea and said: "here it is" but he had not worked with it, nor experimented with it). The master was not very kind with him, was he? He said he was a wicked and slothful servant. He was lazy and wicked because his inner state was full of pride, vanity and possibly greed and envy because the others had received more.
At any rate, he had done nothing but bury it in the earth. He had dropped it in the memory center. He was able to recall it and say, "I will remember this idea"; but he hadn't worked on it, so he had not increased its value within him. He had not seen to apply it nor to build a firm foundation on his own experimentation. He was called a wicked and slothful servant and the master said: "to take away even that which he had, and give it to the one with the 10."
So the one with the ten received the one idea that this vain man had been given. The vain man hadn't worked with the idea, but it can be assured that the man with the 10 ideas began to work on whatever it was the vain one had not. Possibly the idea was to begin to observe pride, vanity and greed within self. Apparently that idea was what the man required; and the Master was the one who could recognize their several abilities, so this was the one he could most work on, if he did. So he lost even that which he had and was cast into outer darkness. That means he was thrown out of the school.
Now, in real everyday existence man throws himself out of the school because he doesn't use it. He begins to lose the ideas because the ideas will not remain with one unless one sees the value in experimenting with them. One sees the ideas, can read them, can listen to them, can hear them many times over, can repeat them whenever one wants to (one can dig them up out of the earth) repeat or quote them, like using as kind of a "catch phrase" somewhere, but all of that is only burying it in the earth. It is not experimenting with it, it is not putting it into use, it is not putting value on it, and it is not seeing it as something valuable that can be increased in value by applying it. It is being a good and faithful servant when one takes it and works with it.
In being a servant, one serves something. One serves X first by being an objective observer of the self, observing "A" and "B," mammon, and their continual effort to control and take over the household. So one serves X by being aware, and one serves X by serving the teaching, by valuing it, by putting it to work because then one is increasing the value of the teaching--the talents that are about. Otherwise, they just remain as the man who had the one - he buries it in the earth.
The man with the 10 ideas is a man who works for all Life and he serves Life whenever he evolves--for the nature of Life is for a new man to be born. Man, as he is born on the earth, is raw material for the Kingdom of Heaven, not for mammon.
So one has three levels of work that one would do. One would read or hear the idea, one would act upon it and one would see the value of it as applied to the various aspects of life. One sees that the various material is valuable. The teaching is valuable - one sees it as talent.
A talent was a piece of gold money in the olden days that was worth in present day inflated currency about $90. So one man was given $450 if we were talking about literal money but, no, we are talking about something of value - a bit of teaching. They valued it, applied it and put it to work, but the one man who didn't use it, of course, soon lost any meaning of the work. He soon lost seeing any value at all in the information he had received. He did not apply it so he could not experience its value. It would double in value if he experimented with it and if one doesn't experiment with it, it is soon lost or taken away.
So in the parable, it says the talent was taken away. Actually, one loses it and one is no longer in the school. Even though one has all manner of books on the subject, even though one has all manner of material available to one, if one does not apply it and do the various things suggested--make notes, observe it, put it into action where it becomes valuable; and one does not see that value--then one casts oneself out of the school, outside the area where there is information? One is cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Now, it's not too hard to understand what is. One is not talking about something put beneath the earth or some mythical place called "hell."
One is talking about the world of the four ideas, the ideas of ideals, self-improvement, signs and wonders, and the idea of blaming. So there is darkness. One doesn't see any value.
One is struggling towards an illusion, a dream, and in a dream one is not seeing what is around one?
One is seeing a picture in one's sleep - the ideal. Then, of course, there is the gnashing of teeth because when there is blame--what goes on? The gnashing of teeth is used as a symbol of contention between people. If you have ever been around certain types of farm animals or wild animals, you know that when they feel that something has interfered with them (and is to blame for their being disturbed), they begin to gnash their teeth which says, "I'll" bite someone". We have the idea of "biting" those who interfere with our non-disturbance, causing them pain in someway or other to make them pay the account we have just established against them. Of course, when we do this, we are in outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth because every time one feels one has not received one's due or has failed in achieving the ideal, one is disappointed which is called "weeping." Of course some literally do weep. It is their form of complaining which is supposed to get them "their way". If somebody is weeping, somebody usually is made uncomfortable because weeping generally tends to make other people feel guilty--those around them who are conditioned. So where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, we see there is more and more reason that teaching has always been around and that the teaching by itself can be taken away or lost if it is not used. But when it is used, it doubles in value or possibly many times increases in value. In other places it says twenty-fold, sixty-fold, one-hundred-fold, but at least it doubles in value as when we have seen the truth of it, and as we have seen the facts involved, and have experimented with the ideas, we are finding the value of them.
So in this particular effort of applying, let's write down on a sheet of paper the ideas of the teaching that I have worked with this week. Let's work with various ideas. We have been given at least 5 talents and possibly a few more. We have the idea of SELF-KNOWING (being aware of the self as an object). We have seen to DISIDENTIFY from it (that I observe self, John or Mary); that I OBSERVE THE UNPLEASANT EMOTIONS (how they arise as a conflict between "A" and "B," each saying this is the way to gain the ideal, to serve mammon); that I OBSERVE also the ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE that have been added up against all those people that are blamed when one didn't achieve the ideal. As we observe these, we can observe when it comes up in self, and if we have really looked at it, or if we are watching it in all the people that we come in contact with in our daily activity all through the week--we will see people building accounts. Seeing it somewhere else is not to blame it, or justify it, but to be more aware of what goes on in the world.
It is to be more aware of relationships, which is to arise to a state of being called that of the artist and the beginning of objective consciousness. It is also to be aware of the internal considering within one meaning whether one is considering how other people feel, how other people are getting along, how they can be approached which is one of the aspects of agape, or love, considering, thinking about, looking from the other person's viewpoint, to understand them and their communications, or whether one might be considering only for "what's in this for me." "How did this happen to me?" "Why did this ever happen to me?"
And one might observe the expectation cycle where everything is based on an expectation. We'll observe these not only in the self--but in all other people we come in contact with. It gives us a much broader viewpoint. We begin to see relationships between the people's disorders and their expectation. We might also begin to observe temptation. We can definitely observe that in self because we are never quite far away. Always mammon is on the job and we can hear it a thousand ways.
So we might observe how we work on these ideas and what we see of it. We certainly can observe mammon's three great powerful steam or jet engines that he uses: PRIDE, VANITY and GREED. And we might OBSERVE what kind of IDEALS we hear. We might observe ideals as they are suggested to us; and as we see and hear other people totally identified with an ideal. We begin to understand the world in which man lives? As one observes this, one becomes more acquainted with it, makes some notes about it and sees relationships. This is working with the ideas. This makes it much more possible for one to be able to aid those many questioning people that one sees. Without having this awareness from every section of life; not only from within, but also all those about us, one really doesn't know how to work with people who come asking - and they are beginning to come asking. If one does not know how to experiment, and if one isn't working on it, one will fall back like the man who had one talent, taking it out of the earth, replaying it as a bunch of words; and when he does that, it really sounds hollow because it does not have the double value of having been applied.
You see, a person sounds altogether different when he is quoting something he doesn't understand than when he is working with teaching ideas he or she has experienced for self. It rings with value like a fine piece of gold, silver or a beautiful piece of crystal - it rings. But when one has not experienced it, one has only said the words, and it sounds dull like lead (Babbitt metal). It is then base metal.
One of the great efforts through the ages have been to change base metal into gold. The only way that base metal can be changed into gold is by working with it. Of course, the alchemists had some long complicated formula; but you see that formula was to have the man work with it. When he began to question, then he was taken into the school and given the ideas. So we can work with an idea which is still lead until we experiment with it and then it becomes gold. This, of course, is the story of the talents, increasing in value from 5 to 10, from 2 to 4 and the one which was not used and remained lead.