Obstructions to faith in everyday needs (Tape 32)
The past week our assignment has been to discover what would happen when some unusual, unexpected challenge came along that decidedly brought about disapproval, or some slander to us.
This week we will consider some more things that might be well to experiment with in our everyday existence. This will be in a slightly different field--a general idea of so many people that have not experimented with it and only dreamed about it. The idea or conclusion is that the spiritual life is one of ease--that one attains some state of consciousness [and that it is permanent]; and that all is reward thereafter.
But really the spiritual life is not a reward as is experienced by those who have been in the spiritual life for a long time. Actually, there is continually a greater challenge--ever a greater responsibility from everything that one experiences. Then one begins to experience still greater challenges and greater responsibilities. It seems that there is always a challenge that is, at least, a little beyond one's present place in the spiritual world regardless of what one has experienced. There is always just a little more challenge than one is quite capable of handling, because at that moment, one sees where there are still things in the self that are obstructing or interfering with the greater and deeper experiences. So one doesn't reach a plateau--a level-- or an exalted position; and thereafter sit down and say, "I have it made!" You see, it's not like the world when we get to retirement, but many seem to think it is like that.
The assignment for this week is from:
Luke, Chapter 12, starting at verse 13.
We will make comments along the way as it applies to each of us; and as to how we will apply it through the coming week--the coming month--the coming year--and the coming century.
"Now, one out of the crowd said to him; Master, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
Someone had passed away and the older brother had the inheritance and was probably the administrator of the estate, as we would say today; and a younger brother was saying, 'Master, get this brother of mine to give me what is rightfully my own so I can be happy. You know, the brother was the cause of all his trouble.
"But the Master said to him; Man, who has appointed me a judge or arbitrator over you? And He said to them; Take heed (pay attention) and guard yourself from all covetousness, for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
A man's life is his inner spiritual body, his inner spiritual frame of reference, the things he has experienced himself. But most generally we talk about how much a man is worth. He is worth $50,000 net--he's worth $500,000--that man is a millionaire. We generally evaluate a man according to his physical possessions. We don't even think of wondering about his inner state--his inner riches--his frame of reference--his spiritual body. We seldom give the spiritual body a passing thought--even in self.
"But he spoke a parable to them, saying: The land of a certain rich man brought forth abundant crops, and he began to take thought within himself, saying; what shall I do? For I have no room to store my crops."
I'm really in a predicament. Here the whole field has brought forth a bumper crop and I don't even have space to store it away. What in the world will I do?
"Then he said: I know what I'll do. I will pull down my barns and build larger ones and there I will store up all my grain and my goods; and I will say to my soul (his awareness), soul, thou has many good things laid up for many years. Take thy ease, eat, drink and be merry."
In other words, now I can retire and have an abundance. I can go to Florida in the winter, I can go to Minnesota in the summer; I can go to the coast and sail a boat; I can go to the mountains in the hot weather; and I can go to all the "in" spas in the world where the "jet set" goes. I've really got it made - I have truly self-improved. Now he has a sign and a demonstration that his "self-improvement towards the ideal of being non disturbed has been achieved". Isn't that wonderful?
"And I will say to my soul, soul, thou has many good things laid up for many years. Take thy ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him: Thou fool, this night do they demand thy soul of thee, and the things that thou has provided, whose will they be?"
In other words, he dies tonight. Was he so smart, after all? Because in his greed to have security, to have the signs and wonders that he had improved, thinking what a wonderful farmer he was that his crops were so big they couldn't be stored, he had to tear down the barns and build new ones. But now after this bumper crop, "I can retire - I have everything I need." This is called success, is it not?
"So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich as regards [toward] God."
He is not obedient to his nature, being an observer and a reporter to X. He is building no spiritual body by experimenting with seeing that this crippled spiritual body has usurped and taken over the being, that state of conditioning ruled by mammon. Obviously the man was thinking of mammon - the ideal to have everything where he would have pleasure and comfort, attention and approval, he was important, he had enough to control everything so that he could buy anything and everything and maybe every person he really wanted.
But what does all that amount to when a man falls dead from a heart attack tonight? Not very much, does it? Somebody else will spend the loot and really not much happens. So when our total idea is to be secure, or even when it is very small, as one may have experienced many things, and as the urge to be secure gets smaller; but the suggestion from every side is that security is the whole purpose of existence--that one should be secure and retire in one's latter years; and that one can then have social security checks, retirement checks, dividends--and that one can have annuities coming in - and then one can do as one pleases, can't one? Then one has really obtained success! One has a sign and a demonstration that one has somewhat nearly approached the ideal. There is still something that he didn't take into consideration - can he buy life?
"But he said to his students: Therefore, I say to you, do not be anxious for your life."
Now, here's where we start the assignment for this week. We are going to take these and see how many of them we can live by, without suddenly fouling up. In other words, it will tell us whether or not there are still many areas of the self that have been unobserved by I, the observer-- and reported to X. So let's take these and see how many of them occur in the next few weeks--that we can see them as they are.
"Therefore, I say to you, do not be anxious for your life - what you should eat, nor yet for your body what you should put on."
What kind of clothes you will wear. How am I going to get a new suit, etc?
"The life is a greater thing than the food, and the body than the clothing. Consider the ravens. They neither sow nor reap. They have neither storeroom nor barn; yet God feeds them. Oh, how much more value are you than they. But which of you by being anxious about it, (making it important and depending on it), can add to his stature a single cubit?"
We shall say today a single inch. How many of us, if we are 6'1"; can, by taking thought, even positive thought, and really thinking positive for many days, be 6'2"; that is, of course considering we are an adult, grown up?
"Therefore, if you are not able to do even a very little thing, why are you so anxious concerning the rest?"
Here is the reminder: we don't even know how to walk, we don't know how to grow, we don't know how to throw a ball, we don't know how to move an arm or a leg. We don't know how to eat; but still all of it takes place. If you can't even do these little things, why be so anxious about what is going to happen tomorrow-- the next day--the next week. Where is the money coming from to get new clothes? Where is the money coming from to buy food? Have enough food today? Have enough clothes today?
"Consider" (which means to think deeply about, take under due observation), how the lilies grow. They neither toil nor spin. Yet I say to you that not even Solomon, in all his glory, was arrayed like one of these. But if God so grows the grass, which is in the field today; but tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more are you? Oh, you of little faith!"
To one who has not experienced faith, here is the challenge to find out why one has not experienced more faith - why one has not experienced it in a greater degree. Something is obstructing it and where is that obstruction? It is some unobserved area of the self - some area where mammon can still get a word in and say, "But look, you must make arrangements so you will be comfortable later--you will have to have food, and you will have to have clothing, those are essential."
Of course, that sounds very logical. So here is the area where one is given a challenge. He said,
"Oh, you of little faith."
You have little faith--you have experienced very little or maybe none of faith. It is a spiritual experience that, it is said, is possible to man. We will find out by continually observing the self--the foxes [the not "I's"]; and the more cunning ways as they maneuver so that they cannot be observed as easily. It takes more acute observation and more acute listening to the inner speaking, that we commonly call thought, that goes on all the time. It is to be heedful--to pay attention to it. It is not as crude as it used to be; it's more subtle now. So we have to pay more attention and then when one has faith--not just a little or maybe none--then the things that are being challenged here, one can do.
Now, if you tried to do it by an act of will, by an act of appearing to be different; and you really didn't feel it within, or perhaps you think, "I will go ahead and do this. I'll put on the act." Then one might find oneself in a rather precarious position because one has not used the ordinary mammon's judgment; and neither has one faith--so one is in a state of neither. What is being challenged is not to be foolhardy--not to pretend, not to put on words--and certainly not to act as though one already had, but is to observe what the obstruction is that one does not have faith at this moment.
You see, it is a challenge and the challenge says: "Well, look, I don't know, I can't see how I'd have food and clothing if I didn't make these certain arrangements, if I didn't take precautions." So he says "little faith." All right, I have little faith. NOW I HAVE MADE A DISCOVERY. I have a very small amount of faith. I've only experienced very little; enough to get up and walk to the door--enough to turn the light switch and enough to depend on the car; but I haven't got enough to see that food, clothing and shelter will be provided for me the same as for the plants in the field and the birds in the air." So I must have an obstruction to faith; at least, it's worth looking at and finding out if that kind of faith is possible--to experience, not to force on oneself. We have observed a few who tried to pretend that they had faith when they didn't. The pretension always shows through; and it shows through very quickly. So we are not interested in pretending that we have faith. We are interested in having a challenge to see that we have little or no faith; and seeing that everything that hasn't occurred in the spiritual [faith] realm in man is because there is an obstruction to it. So now we will take up observing the self in all its hidden little corners and throwing more light in it so that we may discover the obstructions. It continues,
"And as for you, do not seek what you shall eat or what you shall drink and do not exalt yourself."
Saying, look here, I've really got food and clothing stored up. When one exalts oneself, one is saying, "I" have self-improved." and "I am approaching the ideal" - "look at me", "look at me", and "look at me!" And one goes and tells everyone how wonderful he is doing. Sometimes we call that bragging--sometimes it is called other things; but I have heard it called "testimony," I believe. "For after all these things the nations of the world seek" the definition of the world is the nations that seek for IDEALS, SELF-IMPROVEMENT, SIGNS AND DEMONSTRATIONS, AND FOR WHAT TO BLAME. [see note at end of tape]
"But your Father knows that you need these things."
X is well aware that one needs food, clothing, shelter, transportation--like when one is aware, I need a drink. And so, you get up and walk to the water fountain or where ever the source of the water is; and you drink, but you take that for granted. That process is an act of faith--it's a little faith to which we haven't paid much attention.
"But the Kingdom of Heaven and all these things shall be given you besides."
If you continue in that; in other words seek first the Kingdom of Heaven; and all these other things--these little insignificant things such as food, clothing, shelter and transportation--will be provided for you. It is rather strange that as soon as one is really diligently seeking that spiritual area of experience--when one is experiencing things freely, when one is seeking to remove the obstructions which are preventing of the various spiritual experiences; it seems that the necessities of life come fairly easy. They come from various and sundry unexpected sources. It is not a struggle or a strain for these necessities; and neither is it that one never works. There is just an opportunity that presents itself. This many have discovered. If you haven't already, you will.
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the Kingdom."
In other words, we have the teaching to work with; and so it must be pleasing to something [X] to give it to us.
"Sell what you have and give alms."
You don't need all the stored up things; enough for this week, this day, this month is enough. But you know, the things that we have stored up for our old age, and for security, and for vacations, and so forth. He says, "Sell them!"
"Make for yourself purses that do not grow old, a treasure unfailing in Heaven."
A spiritual body of the spiritual experiences. How do they come about? By removing the obstructions that are in the self to one experiencing THAT WHICH IS REAL. These, it says, are unfailing. They never die. They are not rusted; the moths do not eat it. But we could have all the things on the earth stored up, including gold, silver, diamonds and rubies, but the thieves can break in and steal them; and then we would have nothing. But every spiritual experience comes about and thus one is capable of experiencing day by day. CONFESSION, SURRENDER, REPENTANCE and BAPTISM, being a NEW MAN, seeing differently, AGAPE, maybe GRACE, maybe FAITH, as they come--then one has a completed spiritual body of experiences. [see note at bottom **] Then one is living! And when one is in the present moment, there is always spiritual work. And as far as we all know, there is always a challenge on beyond to use all those [experiences].
"Make for yourself purses that do not grow old, a treasure unfailing in heaven, where neither thief draws near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there also will be your heart."
That which is really valued by one--where one's heart or attention is--where one's whole awareness is concentrated. Now, is our awareness on experiencing the realities of spiritual experiences? If we do, our attention is on the self to observe where there are still dark corners, where there are new suggestions or "ideals" falling into the self in moments "when one is taking a nap," so to speak--when one isn't paying attention; and the suggestion finds lodging and falls within. Or we can be striving for physical wealth--physical objects that represent wealth--buildings, land, stocks, bonds, coupons, money and various and sundry kinds of properties. Now, all of these are fairly well to use - it is only when one makes them "important" or "depends upon them", or "looks to them as a source of what is worthwhile" rather than to use them as tools for the benefit of all mankind.
Say one has a business, and that business provides a service or a product that other people everywhere roundabout want. One is making a contribution. But if one is using that same business for a place to accumulate security--then it is an entirely different thing. It is always the inner meaning of a thing that counts--not the outward form in either place. For instance, there are two men, running a business side by side. One man is seeing that his business is making a contribution to the community. To him flows enough money that he has what he needs. He may not get rich; but he has food, clothing, shelter, probably transportation, and he is making a contribution to the community of beings thereabouts. The man next door has a similar store and provides something that people want; but he sees it as a means to accumulate wealth, so that he can be like the man with the barn; that he can store up sufficient--that he can say to his soul, "soul, take thy ease. You have things stored up for many years." These two businesses, on the outward appearance, are about two in the same type of business, run approximately in the same neighborhood. But the inner states of these two men are as different as noonday and midnight. One is building, at least to some degree, a spiritual body. The other is totally unaware of the spiritual body, is totally intent upon serving mammon. He is not thinking of serving the people or making a contribution. He is serving security - to accumulate. And those businesses are very very different in everything about them. But the main thing we are interested in is the inner state of the men who operate the business.
So it is not that one throws away things, disposes of it, and gives it to alms. Sometimes one gives more by operating a given business than one would by selling the business and giving to the poor families around the area. Sometimes he contributes more by setting up a place where people can work and provide a service for the community-this is making a contribution more than he would than if he gave everybody a few dollars. Suppose we consider, a man had $100,000,--we'll take a round number--and there were 100 families in the area that he knew about that were in the needy way. They have less than sufficient clothing, less than adequate nutrition, and possibly less than adequate housing. He decided to give his $100,000 away. He takes $1,000 and gives it to each of the needy families, and nobody knows it but him. So he's done something very worthwhile, one might say. But very shortly the $1,000 will be gone and while the families have had some relief from their discomforts, they are still unable to provide for themselves and shortly will be back in the same needy way.
Suppose he took the $100,000 and invested it in tools so that he could put 100 men to work. He would still have the $100,000 in the form of tools; and he could hire the l00 men. He would be making a much greater contribution, possibly, than he did when he was "helpful," and gave them all $1,000. So when it says dispose of something or sell it, it means to cease to identify with it--cease to see it as important; and to see it now as a tool--to see it as something to work with that does not belong to me--it is a means and a way of making a contribution. So one can dispose of everything one owns and still use some tools and possibly make a very decided contribution.
So let's see this week if we can discover how little faith we have or how much. Then we will see, possibly, that there is still need and requirement to be observing the self to see the obstructions to faith.
*note From "Place of Language in the teachings"
FOUR IDEAS OF THE WORLD WHICH ARE CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL
1. The "reality" that there is an IDEAL
2. The ability and necessity for self to SELF-IMPROVE towards the ideal.
3. The need for SIGNS and DEMONSTRATIONS to show degree of self-improvement.
4. The necessity to find the CAUSE TO BLAME and make it pay-justice.
THE FOUR BASIC IDEAS OF THE TEACHING
1. SELF-KNOWING Seeing the illusions & false values of conditioning.
2. FAITH Ability to make up the mind.
3. GRACE Thankfulness for unearned, undeserved goods.
4. AGAPE Sees that each is doing, has been and will do, what at that moment of doing seems right or proper or justifiable according to which "i" is in charge at that moment.
**note Those these terms have been explained previously in the Basic 48 tapes, you can review the meanings at this link to Harmony Workshop-Place of Language in the Teachings.