Idols or Making Things Important or Depending on Things (Tape 29)
[brackets for comments]
One of the many ways that temptation comes to a person who is on the way, who has realized certain things, who has observed self, but who, then, is subject to more subtle means of being tempted by mammon that is of idolatry. Ordinarily, we think of idolatry as bowing down and worshiping some manmade image, some great stone statue or some great wood statue or something of that nature. We think of that as idolatry. However, idolatry has been described as making anything important or as depending on anything. Anything one depends on or anything that one makes important.
Now one of the things that has been described through the ages as an idol and things that one has made important or that one depends on, is the human physical body. Now, the physical body is an instrument of X, for expression of the things that X knows to do for the information it receives from awareness. However, inasmuch as the physical body is the source to awareness, it is the mediator through which vibrations of various kinds come from the environment and, therefore, [awareness experiences] has sensations. It is very easy to be identified with, and unless one is in a constant state of attention, of being heedful, of watching, it is very easy to begin to depend on the physical body.
Now other things that can slip up on a person that we make important are conversations, companionships and many other things of a like nature.
The Book of Wisdom
In order to describe some of these things in more detail, we will read from a book which possibly many of you are not familiar with. It is called the Book of Wisdom. It is a book that possibly antedates the Christian era, the birth of Christ, by some 150 years. The history of it is that it was written in Greek and that it was written for a school in Alexandria, Egypt, that was operated as a branch of the House of Israel. Now there was still some vitality in the various schools - they had not degenerated to the point of the Scribes and Pharisees when this book was written. So we will read from Chapter 13 in this book called the Book of Wisdom and we will make comments as we go along.
And we would like for you to keep a record on one of your sheets of paper, I am sure a fat notebook by now, that says "IDOLS". We will begin to be aware of the idols that we might be tempted to worship, or have been inadvertently tempted to worship or shall we say, to make something important or to depend upon, and we will observe all the people that we come in contact with; and what they are making idols of. This is the thing that leads man away from remembering that he is a servant of X, and that X does all the work--that Spirit does everything,
Spirit does the walking. Spirit does the talking. The physical body cannot walk, X walks it. The physical body cannot see, only X can have it where it is functioning seeing. Awareness can experience seeing, but no one knows how to see. This is X working. It is very easy for us to forget X because we are somewhat creatures of sense, and we are aware of the sense factors; but we do not pay attention to what makes the senses work. You have only to look at a dead body to see that the body does not see. The body doesn't sense, that it is only an instrument.
So we will read from Chapter 13 of the Book of Wisdom,
"But all men are vain."
In other words, all men have a false picture of themselves and a false picture of their capabilities.
"All men are vain in whom there is not the knowledge of God."
If one is aware that X, Spirit, God is doing all the function, that It (X, Spirit, God) does all the work, then one has ceased to be vain. But as long as one thinks "I" am doing this, one is vain. As the Christ said, "Of myself, I can do nothing. The Father within doeth all the work."
"All men are vain in whom there is not the knowledge of God; and who, by these things that are seen, could not understand Him that is, neither by attending to the works, have acknowledged who was the workman."
In other words, we see the works of walking, and we do not think who is the walker. We experience seeing and do not think who is the seer. We hear and we do not think of who the hearer is. So we begin to depend on eyes or we begin to depend on ears and not on the Hearer or the Seer.
"But have imagined either the fire, or the wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the great water, or the sun and the moon, to be the gods that rule the world."
If you doubt that, you can stop in most any store and see the many, many books and objects on astrology. You can also find many people who feel that the stars rule their lives. Usually, in most daily papers there is a horoscope, a daily column, so that people can see what the stars are doing, and they begin to feel that the stars control their destiny. Would you say this is a form of idolatry? Would you observe that it is a very common form of idolatry in this very day?
"With whose beauty, if they being delighted, took them to be gods; let them know how much the Lord of them is more beautiful than they. For the First Author of Beauty made all those things."
So all the things that one sees, such as the stars and the moon, have been made by Spirit, and they are only instruments by which something is done. They obviously have no power. The instrument never has any power. The greatest computer is a very fine instrument but has no power except that it is programmed and operated by intelligence and that intelligence comes from where? Is there intelligence in the human brain or is it , instead, that when intelligence departs, the brain is merely a piece of flesh?
"Art thee admired their power and their effects."
People saw the wind blow, the storms come, and saw there was power. So they said that there was a storm god, and there was a wind god, and they began to depend on them, or to honor them, or to fear them. In other words, they made them important in someway or other.
"Let them understand by them that He that hath made them is mightier than they", the wind, etc. "for by the greatness of the beauty of the creature, the Creator then may be seen, so as to be known thereby."
If one can see a beautiful human being, the human body, recognize the beauty of the Creator of that body. One sees graceful movements of a lovely dance or a performance or a great skill exercised with someone, who is doing the work? Do we honor the physical performer, or do we see that Spirit is behind the whole thing and does all the work, and that our whole effort is to be concerned with recognizing the Spirit within? As we see that, we cease to be idolaters. As long as we are fascinated by the sense objects, the objects that which we can sense, and do not see the motivating power within, we are then to a degree an idolization because we put value [on] or we make important things that can be sensed.
It continues, "But yet to these, they are less to be blamed."
In other words, the idolaters are not to be blamed. "..for they perhaps err seeking God." They really are looking for God. They understand there is a power, but never having had instruction of any kind, they are seeking wherever they can see an expression of power; and they don't see what is doing the expressing; they only see the instrument through which it is expressed.
"And they are being desirous to find God for being conversant among his works, they search and they are persuaded that the things are good which are seen."
In other words, the physical bodies, the storms, the rains and all of these - but what made them? What has them working? Without the intelligence of Spirit, nothing happens.
"But then again they are not to be pardoned."
Now he will say why they are not to be pardoned.
"For if they were able to know so much as to ask a judgment of the world, how did they not more easily find out the Lord thereof, but unhappy are they and their hope is among the dead." Things that are totally worthless, dead instruments of various kinds. "Who have called gods the works of the hands of men, gold and silver, the inventions of art and the resemblance of beasts, or an unprofitable stone, the work of an ancient hand."
In other words, sometimes people find an old, old statue and they begin to worship it because they feel it must have come from heaven. Many years ago there was a rough stone that fell out of the sky, and they called it "Diana of the Ephesians." It somewhat resembled a human form; but it was apparently a meteorite. Because it fell out of the heavens and had something of the resemblance of a human form, a great religious system was formed around it called "Diana of the Ephesians."
"..or if an artist, a carpenter, has cut down a tree proper for his use of the wood and has skillfully taken off all the bark thereof and with his art diligently formed a vessel profitable for the common uses of life."
He's made a bucket or a board or a table or a chair, or something of common use.
"And uses the chips of his work to dress his meat (to cook his meat with, he uses the chips) and taking what was left thereof which is good for nothing, being a crooked piece of wood and full of knots, he carved it diligently when he had nothing else to do, and by the skill of his art, fashioned it and made it like the image of a man."
A man took the scrap and because he had nothing else to do, and nothing else to fit with it, it would not even burn good, he made the image of a man ..or the resemblance of some beast laying it over with red paint and covering every spot that is in it. He made a convenient dwelling place for it and set it in a wall and fastened it up with iron."
He set him up a statue on his wall.
"And providing for it lest it should fall, knowing that it is unable to help itself for it is an image and has need of help."
We might not have to travel far to see people kneel before various and sundry statues that have to be fastened up and held in place with various forms of metal supports or some other kind of support to keep it from falling over. It is simply a piece of wood. But they bow down and make [say] prayers to it as an image.
"And then make a prayer to it, inquiring, concerning his substance or his children or his marriage."
They want all these things - tell me who to marry, make it known to me who I shall marry, make it known to me that my children will prosper, and make it known to me what business I shall go into so that I may prosper, and isn't it fairly easy to make all these things important?
A relationship, one makes it important and depends upon it for a state of being or one makes children important. They are very interesting. They are very wonderful little folks to observe growing up, but are they important? Only as they're an expression of Spirit.
And especially is it important that we make a business succeed? Or is it only important that we use that business as a place of relationships that we may apply and see in action all the principles of the teaching.
"And he is not ashamed to speak to that which has no life."
Man speaks to a wooden image sometimes and he pleads of it because it has no life at all! He is only working from an idea that because he has been told that it is an image of a certain figure maybe that has a reputation for being a very wonderful person, a saint, or something else or a resurrected being, or some other creature that he gives it due reverence, and would feel that he had committed a sacrilege if anything happened to it, or if it fell from its place off the wall.
"And for health he makes supplication to the weak."
Not only is that true of supplication towards a statue, but for health does one make supplication to an inner pill, to a stimulant, sedative or chemical which has no life in it - something that is toxic when put into the body. The body rebels against it and tries to throw it out; and thereby, all manner of changes take place. One attributes it to the drug but it is X throwing the remedy out of the body. You know, a person takes a laxative and thinks the laxative had an effect, but the laxative is a toxin and X, recognizing it from the sensations arising, makes every effort to throw it out of the body. So it throws it out and a few other things go with it and the person gives the credit to what? Carter's Little Liver Pills or to X?
"And for life he prays to that which is dead and for health calls upon that which is unprofitable."
Do we for health call on all manner of drugs and do we call on remedies? Do we call on the "horrible-scope" excuse me, the horoscope, or do we look to X? And do we need help? Or do we look to the teaching that shows us where we are erring in our reporting to X? Do we look for help from that which is weak, or do we look for that which is Real that when applied, then everything works right. Do we really need help, or is that only an idea that we are the victims of some evil something [a named disease or bug] that interfered with me, or that was it only a normal adaptation, pointing that somewhere I was not fully awake? I was awake to certain facts but certain ones are still not uncovered; and man has as his ever non-ending job to be aware of WHAT IS day by day. It is not a chore--it is not a struggle. It is to be divinely awake, to be ever alert, to be full of enthusiasm, to be vitally interested, to be seeing relationships where one has never seen relationships before. It is to be alive, where formerly one was dead and accepted everything for granted.
"Before a good journey he petitions him that cannot walk."
The wooden statue or possibly many other things one looks to for a good journey, does one not? What do you use today to be sure that you have a good journey? Do you start out merely observing what is and let things be, or do we make some kind of effort to be sure it will be a non disturbing journey--that there will be no second force. You know that's what we would call a good journey is one that didn't have any second force [resistance]; but I wonder if that really is a good journey or is it only a journey where there was no second force and thus I did not have too much of an opportunity to discover or to add to anything that would aid the evolving, growth and development of the spiritual body.
"And for getting and for working and for the events of all things, he asks him that is unable to do anything."
In other words, one appeals to something that couldn't do anything. Only X does everything. You see, this is possibly our greatest blind spot, and one in which we can spend very much time is observing that X does all the work. When one is walking, it is interesting to watch X walk the feet. One is aware that one does not have the faintest idea how to move the muscles that brings about walking and maintain the balance of this jointed frame that has so many joints, and yet here it stands erect and walks with the greatest of smoothness and grace. Who is walking? When one is eating, it is interesting to observe the food being taken into the mouth, to be chewed and to be swallowed, and to seeing that an intelligence, beyond anything of the awareness, is doing it. Awareness only sees what to do. Intelligence, Spirit, X, takes care of all the how. But we are quite prone to begin to give credit, honor, or shall we say "worship," to pay homage to something that cannot be done. We are prone to say: I can eat, I can drink water, I can walk, I can work, I can play the violin, I can play the piano; all of which, if one observes, that one sees that one doesn't have the faintest idea of how it is done and that one is observing X, Spirit at work.
So suppose for our practical application this week that we observe, first in self, all the things that X does. You may type, you may be cooking a meal, you may be walking, you may be driving an automobile and observe all the motions that go on and realize that I, the awareness, is only seeing WHAT TO DO and that something which we refer to as X, Spirit, some places referred to by other names, is doing the work. This is beginning to recognize the presence of God. It is somewhere on the start of one realizing the union or oneness with God. This may happen soon, it may happen sometime later, but not without being aware and ever paying attention to the greatest phenomena of all time, that Spirit is doing everything that I report to be doing.
I, the observing awareness, sees a rock in the road while driving is going on. All of a sudden the car is turned, moved, maneuvered out of the way of the rock in one form or another which one would never know how to do. Then watch something, the "self" take credit for it right quick "Boy, I really did that well. I missed that rock" and thousands of other things. But we would like to see X, Spirit, at work. We see that it does all the things that one reports as being true and of value. What is and the value of what is.
One is beginning to be possible to where one is serving X, Spirit, much more completely, much more fully. One is aware of the presence of Spirit. One is aware one is serving that Presence. This is the approach to what is called faith. Faith is not something we can do. We have said it is something one experiences. And in beginning to apply what we are discussing here, not for 10 minutes, not for 10 hours, but day after day, observing X doing all the work, that It does whatever one reports and It does the very appropriate thing for what one sees as what is and what is the value of what is. It always does that in accordance with it.
You might review one of our early talks that we discussed a long time ago that tells something of the nature of X. It doesn't say this is all, but it does discuss the nature of X. One thing being that X always does the appropriate thing for the information received from awareness as to what is and what is valuable or good about what is. When one has done this for a while, one will experience Faith. It has been quite a while since some of the other experiences of confession, surrender and repentance. One could possibly not suddenly justify something unexpectedly that one could sometime ago. You see, as one studies self, one has a tendency to be like Ecclesiastes, begin to think one knows much and has wisdom. But as one continues along, one sees that mammon can trick him and overcome him quite often. This is when one begins to experience being humble--experiencing true humility. If one really studies self and observes it over a period of time, one certainly doesn't have to try to be humble--one really is. One doesn't have to try to be as a little child. One realizes that one has been a little child all this time. So as we observe this, we will begin to experience Faith.
Keep a record and observe. Many times we cannot write it down, but let's write down enough to keep us aware of it - that all that is done is done by Spirit - that awareness can see only what and that only Spirit knows how. Spirit is the only one that can even move a finger. I, the awareness, may see that it is desirable to wiggle a finger - only X can wiggle the finger. And it will do it if awareness sees it as desirable. The more one is aware that one is serving X by being a reporter of what is and what is good [of value] in what is, one is nearer to Faith.