exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
Commentary on Mark 11
"Believe that you have received
your request and it will be yours."
return to "Believe" main-page
Though I make Word Gems available to the world, it constitutes a personal collection of the best wisdom of history's stellar teachers; also, the best insights I've been privileged to receive. These "gold nuggets" of truth, offering glimpses of how the universe works, are to me beyond price. I would not part with this treasure-trove of heavenly gifts, no, not for a billion dollars.
It is difficult to rank and sort points of wisdom, but the information on this page is so important to me that, I know, it will serve as "internal guidance system" for the next million years and beyond. I hope it will benefit you as well.
"You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are."
You have so much going for you, so much potential, so much untapped goodness and ability. Your destiny is incredibly wonderful. You need to be told this every day - that's how wonderful you are. But we live in a world where you are not told this every day. In fact, dark forces array against you to make you feel less. This is a serious problem because your own healthy sense of personhood is all that you have, all that you need, all that you'll ever have and need; the absence of which - a healthy self-image - will make you vulnerable to all manner of abuse. Because wherever you find the opportunity for money, power, and control in this world, you will also find vicious spirits standing ready to make merchandise of you. And they will try to convince you that you are not fit, that you are not able to care for yourself, to think for yourself, to run your own life; that you are not smart enough, good enough, that God doesn't love you enough. And that you, defective and pitiful creature that you are, need these elites, these smartest people in the room, as your guardians and saviors - for the customary and usual fee, of course. A primary aim of my writings seeks to break down the roadblocks to freedom that vested interests have set in your way, and I hope to do this by convincing you of your own worth - for unless you develop a proper friendship with yourself, you will be unable to fulfill your destiny or to reach out to anyone else. And you will fall victim to the next generalissimo, often in a pin-striped suit or black robe, attempting to seduce you with nanny-promises of security and salvation.
You were created in the image of God. This message of human dignity and self-respect powered the early Church for its first 400 years - until it was hijacked by those seeking worldly power.
The message of "the image of God" is the message of the wonder of you - with the only barrier to your success as fear, low expectations, and lack of self-love. This hindrance to spiritual evolvement can seem formidable - a mountain in one's path. But our Brother Joshua is in the mountain-moving business.
Jesus and the Rock Cycle
If there's a mountain in our way, all we have to do is wait 100 million years, and we'll see it thoroughly weathered, ground to powder, and washed away. It's the birth-and-death of mountains, which earth scientists call the Rock Cycle.
But Jesus said that getting rid of mountains doesn't have to take quite that long. In fact, when we get the hang of it, we can receive a sense of absolute certainty regarding the removal of mountains.
There is a section in the New Testament, Mark 11, which I found to be extremely encouraging in this regard, and I'd like to present it to you.
- CLICK HERE for the text of Mark chapter 11 in four different translations
Why did Jesus curse a fig tree? Did he lose his temper after having a bad day? - I don't think so.
Shortly before Jesus' death, he entered the Temple in Jerusalem. And "he looked around and surveyed what was happening." (Mark 11: 11)
But here's a question for you. The next day ("on the morrow," vs. 12) he would famously throw the money-changers out of the Temple. Why didn't he create a scene the evening before? ("eventide was come," vs. 11)
Was he just a little too tired to mix-it-up late in the day? I think there's a lot more going on here. The next day's dramatic cleaning-house of the Temple was no intemperate fit of pique, no momentary loss of equanimity and cool, but a studied and calculated move.
The Teacher saw a grand opportunity to enact, as a kind of living parable, one of the most important lessons of the universe.
"in the morning, he was hungry..."
Why would this be mentioned? Is this vital news?
Mark tells us that in the morning, on their way from Bethany to Jerusalem - a mile or two walk - Jesus had not yet taken breakfast, and he was hungry (vs. 12).
Why hadn't he eaten something before leaving his host's home? There are other mornings mentioned in the gospels, but, in those instances, we are not informed as to the time of Jesus' first meal. Why is today different?
Dear reader, begin to feel the heavy aura of pedagogy in all this. We are being set up... for a teaching lesson.
Jesus comes to a fig tree (vs. 13). He knew it was there, this was not a surprise. He'd walked that path many times. But today he approaches it, searches for figs among the leaves, and finds none.
talking to fig trees
Seemingly with melodrama, Jesus addresses the fig tree: "No one is going to eat fruit from you ever again."
What are we to make of this declamation, this rhetorical elocution, one salted by seeming unreasonableness.
Is this theatrical performance necessary? Do we need to address fig trees? moreover, condemn them? Couldn't we just try another one over there? We presume, even allowing for the 'secret life of plants,' that the tree meant no harm to anyone.
I speak as a fool here to illustrate a point. Clearly, Jesus the zen-master is up to something.
Some biblical commentators, equally foolish, see undisciplined exasperation in Jesus: he's hungry, you know, who could blame him, peckish as he was, for cursing a little fig tree on an empty stomach.
Uh-huh. This is the same Man who, when slighted by a Samaritan village and demonstrating great forbearance, was approached by James and John who matter-of-factly suggested, "Why don't you just rain down fire on them and wipe them all out?" to which Jesus responded, "Guys, you are so far out in left field, you don't even understand the dark energy motivating you - raining down fire is not what we do." (Luke 9: 53-56)
Clearly, Jesus is setting us up for something. Notice, too, that this same fig tree is mentioned again later in the day (vs. 20). Yes, this is a big set-up.
early banking reform
Jesus, flanked by his students and looking for a fight now, strides into the Temple. Many times he had seen what he saw that day, but today was the day; and, without pause, but with contemplation aforethought, he instantly executes his already-devised plan...
Immediately on entering the Temple Jesus started throwing out everyone who had set up shop there, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of the bankers and the stalls of the pigeon merchants. He didn't let anyone even carry a basket through the Temple. And then he taught them, quoting this text, "My house was designated a house of prayer... You have turned it into a hangout for thieves!" (Mark 11: 15-17, The Message)
It is significant that the word “thieves” is used. The exploitive religious institutions of this world not only starve the people, fail to feed them (symbolized by the barren fig tree) but take from and rob the people (as per the reference to “thieves”).
The larceny comes in the form of appeals for money, and time as well, all under the guise, the fraudulence, “when you give to the church, you’re giving to God.” All this, with fear-based threats of God's punishment if you disagree. More than "thievery," it's highway robbery with a gun.
Jesus stepped on religious tradition going way back - how far back do you wanna go - to Abraham and his sacrifices? that's 2000 years; or, to Moses at Sinai? that's 1400 years; or, David and Solomon with the original Temple? 1000 years!
The clergy of Big Religion who controlled the Temple real estate, the tithe-and-offering income, and the priestly perks and salaries, were not impressed... You think you can just come waltzing in here with your high faluten 'spiritual this' and your 'grace-and-love that' and overthrow thousands of years of religious law and heritage?!
"...and they sought how they might destroy him (vs. 18)." If left unchecked, Jesus' insurrection would overturn a well-oiled money-machine.
meanwhile, back at the shriveled fig tree
Do we really need an update on the declining health of this fig tree? It fared not well after the morning bout with Jesus. The gospel writers say that they culled out and discarded a lot of information about Jesus and pared it down to only the most noteworthy - so why do we need to discuss the fig tree; even, for a second time.
Peter, with great amazement, sees that the fig tree is now just a mass of withered pulp, without even a fig-leaf to cover its own nakedness.
"Teacher, look! the fig tree you cursed this morning is all dried up!"
the well-staged teaching moment
And now, with the teaching-props all in place, Jesus finally comes to the didactic moment he'd carefully crafted. He wants them to understand something very important.
Responding directly to Peter's exclamation, he begins with (vs. 22), "Have the faith of God." (NKJV). Jesus does not mean, "Grit your teeth now, and try really hard to believe this."
No, Eugene Peterson's translation beautifully captures the sense: "Embrace this God-Life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you." (The Message)
This is a heavy statement from Jesus. Are his comments really about the small affair of destroying a fruit tree? or, is he speaking to a greater hidden symbolism?
There is a reason why the fig tree is mentioned twice, before and after the episode of the Temple cleansing.
I submit to you that Jesus' so-called cursing of the fig tree represents his steel-eyed intent to end the reign of Institutionalized Religious Deception and to replace it all with authentic spirituality.
This is the vision Jesus offered to the woman at the well (John 4); what Paul proclaimed in Galatians, his very first writing.
the barren fig tree
The fig tree that bore no fruit is a metaphor of the world's barren religions of legalism. Jesus was hungry - by which he meant to picture the famished masses of humanity, the soul-hungry, those searching for real spiritual sustenance; but, instead, these seekers of truth are turned away with nothing to eat.
Editor's note: The banking system associated with the Temple had become utterly corrupted. The ancient Jewish law stated that one's sacrificial animal must be "without blemish" - and here is where the fun starts, where Temple-politicians made their money. A rich man would offer a lamb, while a poor man might afford to sacrifice only a lowly pigeon. Lambs and pigeons were sold in the Temple courtyard to would-be offerors, but at over-the-market prices. But why not just bring a lamb or pigeon from home and offer that? Why buy from the scalpers in the Temple? Well, you see, there's that little matter of "without blemish." And who is to decide which pigeons and lambs have the good-housekeeping-seal-of-approval and those that do not? That would be the Temple priests, of course, who would officially deem all pigeons and lambs not purchased on-site as "with blemish." And it was policies such as these, the blatant oppression of the poor, that caused Jesus to take a strapping whip into his well-exercised carpenter hands, and not only the cattle started running for the exits that day, if you know what I mean.
the barren fig tree - with its curse upon all forms of legalism, all barriers to spirituality
Jesus brought a new age of grace, an end to ritualistic ways of approaching God. Paul said the time of liberation had finally come (Galatians 4: 2, 4). But, still today, there are thousands of old-testament styled religions and churches that operate, in principle, as those ancient systems of legalism.
the wider issue before us
But religious legalism was not the primary focus of Jesus' teaching that day. Addressing Peter and the others, the Teacher refers to the corruption of institutional religion only in passing, on the way to something more substantial.
As Jesus broaches the subject of the "God-Life," we sense, by his choice of emotive words, his heart beginning to race with excitement. He wants his students to understand the real issue before them.
mountain-moving? - no problemo
Jesus' comments about moving mountains are some of the most quoted in the gospels - but not often understood. I suggest that the "fig tree/Temple" incident points us to something very grand, an awesome glimpse of our own futures as maturing sons and daughters of God.
"Embrace this God-Life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you! This mountain, for instance: Just say, 'Go jump in the lake' - no shuffling or shilly-shallying - it's as good as done. That's why I urge you to pray... Include everything as you embrace this God-Life, and you'll get everything." (The Message)
Review these words also in the NKJV...
“Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
this is not The Secret
There are books and DVDs concerning a purported success-concept known as The Secret. Some will say that what I've spoken of is merely The Secret repackaged.
It is not.
There is a short clip in the The Secret DVD featuring a young boy who wishes, prays, and focuses his thoughts on a shiny new bicycle - and then goes outside to find the object of his desire on the front porch. Good luck to you.
This is not what Jesus is talking about.
"The world is filled with so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don't fall for that nonsense. [God] knows better than you what you need." (Matt. 6:7,8, The Message)
The Secret is just the latest iteration in a long sequence of "peddling techniques for getting what you want from God." It is a corrupted version of Jesus' teaching in Mark 11.
Prayer is not meant to be an exercise in egoic needing and wanting, a flight into dysfunctional perceptions of "I don't have enough, because I am not enough."
This is not Jesus' message in Mark 11.
the very funny movie, What About Bob?
"I need, I need, I need"
meanwhile, back at the mountain, Jesus responds to Peter...
Allow me to offer an expanded paraphrase of the sense of Jesus' instruction:
"Peter, you are impressed by what I did to the fig tree. Don't be. You and the others, and all of my mature students to come, will soon be doing the same and more. I don't mean that you'll be walking around blasting trees. That's not the point. I solicited the help of my friend, the fig tree, merely to teach an important principle.
"The barren fig tree represents the world's sterile religious establishments, now and in the future. They're all alike in attitude, though they say different things. What you call 'cursing the fig tree' is my way of symbolizing the coming end of ritualistic barren religion. I will be asking my brother Paul to speak of this in detail. I say 'coming end' of religion - not spirituality, of course - because religion's reign in this world will continue for a long time. That's because there are so many fearful people, so many immature spirits, who will succumb to religious propaganda. Even so, the days of religion are numbered. What I did to the fig tree was meant to picture what I did in the Temple. At least for a few hours, you might say, I 'cursed their barren and fruitless fig tree,' I shut them down. The clergy of the Temple were meant to feed God's children; instead, the priests have become a primary roadblock to finding God. The people are hungry for real teaching for their souls, but they will not find a good meal from the priests. I know that they'll be back in business tomorrow - but I wanted to make a statement and offer a living metaphor of what I ultimately intend to do to Despotic Ecclesia.
"Despite the drama today, however, I want all of you here to know that my work in this world is much more than merely being against something, and cursing something. Freeing people from the burdens of superstition, of fear and guilt, of dark religion, is what I really want to do for humanity. It's a deep passion with me. It's in my heart and soul. And I want you to understand a bigger picture here - what I did to the fig tree is meant to symbolize the bringing into reality any godly soul-desire that you might have.
"Some of you are not so spiritually-minded yet; some of you have some growing up to do and don't even know what I'm talking about right now. That's ok, just keep thinking, keep asking God to help you understand, it will all come to you in time. But when you finally understand, I want you to remember something. When you begin to access that spiritual part of you deep within, then you will start to think as God thinks, and you will want what God wants. And you will then pray the words that conform to God's own desires. It works like that. When you are linked to God's own energy, how could it be otherwise?
"This may sound fantastic to you, but that's because most of you are still spiritually very young. But when you grow up, when you tap those inner soul-energies, when you come into contact with the Divine via your own deepest self, then you will begin to see life as God sees it - and you will want certain things to be better in this world. That's what you were witnessing in me with the Temple incident. I so wish everyone could know God as I do, to experience the joy bubbling up from deep within. I live in this joy every moment of my life! How I wish I could just drop it into everyone's heart.
"But mark my words. Though it is a long road, I will see this through to the end. I will yet bring in God's harvest, and I don't care how many thousands of years it takes to make it happen. In my mind, the great dark forces of this world which block humankind from a more enlightened way are like a giant mountain in my path. It is true, mountains can be intimidating; and yet, in the quietness of my own soul, I hear the whispering voice of God telling me that this mountain of spiritual chaos, now massively imposing itself upon the peoples of the world, will yet be cast into the sea. One day, the curse of legalistic religion will be gone from the earth.
"Yes, this is not something that I merely believe as an opinion, it is something that I know. I know it because my own deepest person tells me that this is the way it will be; and because that deeper part of me is linked to God, I cannot be stopped, I cannot be defeated - that mountain will be cast into the sea, and I will yet be granted the joy of seeing all people, all of my friends, everyone, reach a great height of spirituality.
"My point is this: when you come to know the reality of God within your own sacred inner person, you will be granted a vision of something that your own true self will want to work on, something that will benefit all humankind - and it won't matter if this blessing to the world cannot be accomplished in a day; you won't mind because the joy of giving this gift to the world will activate and propel your life.
"People speak of praying to God - but what I've just described is the real prayer. It is tapping into the very consciousness of God, and reflecting God's own desires, and offering those desires back to very Divinity. Paul poetically speaks of 'praying always'. Some immature ones think that this means mumbling to oneself, repeating a prayer-script without end. But 'praying always' means living in a constant awareness of one's soul-energy link to God. And in this flow you will experience what some call 'the peace that passes understanding.' It is a serenity without basis in logic or material fact, a perception of well-being unfounded upon physical circumstance. At times your prayers will be expressed verbally, but the highest form, that prayer 'without ceasing,' prayer resulting in a soul-cradling sense of the Providentially-directed life, occurs when one's entire existence becomes a prayer - not a prayer of needing and wanting but of praise to God.
"God wants more than words. God wishes that your entire Being - your thoughts and actions, your intentions and goals, your reason for living - all this is to become a sanctified prayer. Yes, that is the real prayer, that is praying without ceasing."
"My house was designated a house of prayer."
In this short metaphorical statement, properly viewed, we find an entire God-centered life, one of continual communion. See my article on "Prayer."
"My house" has become a "den of thieves" is to say,
"You have turned what is meant to be a continual communion with God, a spiritual, private, and very personal nexus, into something gross and public, a swaggering and bloated corporation of the world, "pomp and revenue," a meretricious and gaudy display, constantly chattering about money, numbers, and materialistic concern. I have absolutely no part in any of this, and live to bring it all down."
See Pastor Leslie Weatherhead's writing on how Jesus changed his mind regarding the mission of the Church.
"I said that 'you'll get everything' with this kind of prayer. Do I mean that you will become a pampered sultan, an indulged billionaire? I do not need to answer that, you should know better. Maybe, by now, you can see that you will 'get everything' that your True Self craves; every truly good thing that you ought to crave - everything that a mind linked to God would want.
"But does this mean that you can never ask for mundane things for one's own life? - small things, big things, that preoccupy? Must we ever live as world citizens, public figures, with no personal life? I do not mean to say that. There are things that you need for your own private life, for your own personal happiness.
"I want to re-emphasize something. I said 'God knows better than you what you need.' Some of you are frightened by a comment like that; you are afraid that your deepest personal desires will go unheeded, a casualty of doing what you might see as the greater work of God. Dear friends, we, all of us here, to be sure, are in the business of serving the world; but never doubt that you are as deserving of love and God's blessings as anyone in the entire universe! In the divine economy, the individual is not sacrificed for the whole; at least, not permanently. If God operated that way, no individual would ever receive anything from God. Do not fear. You have spiritual Advisors, commissioned to guard you, and to guide you, with a view toward preparing you to receive all that your True Self requires. You can trust God, and his servants the Spirit Guides, to unfailingly deliver on this. God knows who you are, where you are, and knows your own personal definition of happiness - which is the only one meaningful to us. God is not a bureaucratic cheerleader-CEO interested only in the advancement of the group. If God were not cognizant of, and inclined toward, loving each of us in an individualized way, what point would there be in serving such a plastic and cold-hearted God?
"If you do harbor fears in this area it is because you have not yet met God via that soul-energy link. But when you do, you will be filled with a sense that all is well in hand and on track; and that all you have to do to maintain your Life is to flow in the artesian-spring waters of eternal refreshment [John 4]. Your willpower is not required to 'believe' in God - those who do not know God use the word 'believe' - tell me now, of what need is there of 'belief' when you can know God? By this I do not mean that you will see God face-to-face, but you will experience the Divine via your own deepest person. In this, you will be granted a sense of reality and certitude about God. And then you will have the confidence to move any mountain that your soul informs you needs moving. No power in the universe will stop you. Friends, how could it be otherwise? How can you fail? Who will stand against you when you become co-creator with the very God of the universe?"
"Believe that you have received your request and it will be yours."
Given its modern cultural baggage, "believe" becomes a poor translation that misses the sense of Jesus' meaning. The Greek behind the English "believe" is used for a range of words signifying "faith," "confidence," or "assurance" and a variant expression would serve us better here.
Big Religion has sullied the meaning of "believe," turning it into an oppressive tool to manage and control people. Its definition approaches "try very hard to adopt a mental consent." This exercise in will-power is not unlike the advice offered by the Queen of Hearts:
"There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things."
"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
But such mind-control technique takes us very far afield from the spirit of Jesus' message.
a real example of what Jesus is talking about
An actual example of Jesus' instruction will help us understand. I have often referenced the afterlife testimony of Elizabeth Fry and will commandeer it once again. Her wisdom will allow us to cut through the Orthodoxy-inspired misconceptions of "believe" - especially note the yellow-highlighted portions:
There is, in a sense, organization here [on the other side] -- there is a feeling that everything is in its place, but there is no conscious organization here… there is always the realization of greater possibilities… because nothing is static here, everything has the opportunity for change; and when a person begins to seek, begins to change in themselves, begins to desire things of a better order, so, automatically, gradually, they will find those things – it’s all a state of being, a state of mind. Every existence in which one might find himself is a state of mind, a state of awareness, a consciousness…
There are no actual leaders [here] as such – we have an organization which is so subtle and yet so natural – because, a person here, for instance, does not, in a sense, ‘give orders’; we have groups of souls who do special work – but we all realize, automatically, within ourselves, what our part is, what work we have to do; and we realize that we are all interwoven, one with another – I think it is [that] we are all very conscious of this oneness of spirit. Here, no one glories in being a leader – whereas in your world [in various organizations] you do get this sort of glorification of the individual [leader]; the first thing a person must learn here, if they are to progress, is to lose this idea of self-importance.
Those who are really progressed on this side never, never, give that impression -- because it is not even in their nature to appear, or want to appear, important. Everything that we talk about, everything that we do, is done in a complete love, in a complete harmony, one with another. No one wants to override another person; all of our influences for good are [done] in love; and therefore we don’t have, on this side, organization, as such. We don’t recognize leaders, in the sense that you do…
Christ himself had no intention, no desire, to found any religious organization. This is completely, absolutely, a man-made thing - which over the centuries has misled mankind; and, indeed, I think it is pretty obvious, that if you analyze the whole of Christ’s teaching, you will find that he was the most humble of souls; that he had no desire to form any kind of an organization; he chose his disciples among the most ordinary of men; he did not try to dictate; he did not suggest, in the sense that some people assume that he dictated that they should do this or do that – he gave them, completely and absolutely, free will -- free will to choose the path that they should follow.
I think that people will only recognize … what Christ really was, when they begin to discount a lot of untoward creeds and dogmas, tacked on over the centuries by men who desired power and position – I would say to you, above all things, if you want to discover truth, avoid men of power and position, because … [they desire] power and position because of their material perception of things - you cannot, surely, build a truly spiritual realization of God on something which is of a material conception – God is not found, in a sense, in buildings or places … God is found within one’s soul, within one’s inner consciousness.”
Editor's note: For more than 20 years I have reviewed a large number of afterlife reports, but the words of Elizabeth Fry, if I must choose, might be counted as among the wisest of the wise.
Elizabeth, in her charitable efforts, at times will ally herself with others, "groups of souls who do special work" in the service of the common good.
To that end, consider Elizabeth's emphasis on one's inner state of consciousness and how this self-knowledge leads, not just herself, but "we all," all of her work-mates, to "realize, automatically, within ourselves, what our part is, what work we have to do."
Elizabeth's assertion of self-realization takes us very close to Jesus' meaning regarding "believe." And this is why earlier I stated that Eugene Peterson's Message rendering, "Embrace this God-life," is well placed.
"nothing will be too much for you - this mountain, for instance"
"Embrace this God-Life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, 'Go jump in the lake' - no shuffling or shilly-shallying - it's as good as done. That's why I urge you to pray... Include everything as you embrace this God-Life, and you'll get everything." (The Message)
Coming into view now is a most grand vision of heroic altruism, one without border or boundary, wherein success is no mere possibility but foregone conclusion.
How does this process work?
Some of the translations of Jesus' instruction veer into contingency statements such as, "if you can believe," seemingly suggesting, "you can move that mountain if you grit your teeth hard enough, huff-and-puff, and then your will power will make it happen." And now we're back to the advice given to Alice - but this is absolutely errant and borne of the Small Ego. Elizabeth Fry is right and the Queen of Hearts is wrong.
- Jesus is not advising Peter, or us, to adopt rigid mental positions, to mindlessly agree. The Greek behind the English "believe," especially in the context of the discussion at the fig tree, is much more expansive in its dictates, reaching far beyond "think as I think," extending all the way to "live as I live, commit yourself as co-creator with God, allow it to envelop your spirit." This is why Eugene Peterson translated "believe" as "embrace this God-life."
Editor's note: What does it mean to "embrace" the God-life? It means, allow it to lead you, to dominate your thinking. It means putting away, not giving in to, the lower impulses of the "false self" but operating on the energies of the "true self." It means "become who you really are," that heir of the Divine Parents.
In effect, Jesus is saying this:
"Really immerse yourself in this God-centered way of living, thinking, and being. Allow its energies, as a naturally-flowing artesian spring [John 4] to bubble-up to the surface of consciousness. In this rising from the depths of being, you will come to know - seemingly, in spite of yourself - many wonderful things. As my sister Elizabeth stated so well, you will begin to realize, automatically, within yourself, what you are to do. This sense of direction will be yours as a result of meeting God within your deepest sacred person. As the 'heavens start to open' for you, you will catch a vision of your place in life and where you are to contribute. Every mature person in God's family is involved in service toward those less developed; some of these problems afflicting our wayward brothers and sisters are very big problems, indeed. The massive bulwarks of evil in this world are like mountains to overcome - and there are so many mountains besetting humankind, it's a whole mountain range.
well, you always wanted to be a Big Rock star anyway
"But do not be daunted as you survey these granite behemoths. With God as your partner, you cannot fail. Your part will be to move a particular 'mountain' of darkness. Which one to select? My advice is, do not make a choice. Allow this goal and direction for your life to 'percolate upward' from the depths, that is, allow it to be God's choice for you. If you do that, how could you possibly go wrong, and how could you fail when it is God's own directive leading you? And so I say to you, and to all of God's children - Embrace this God-life! Really embrace it! And when you do, you will begin to discern which particular 'mountain' has your name on it. It will be the one for you to scale and to conquer. Do not despair to know that moving a mountain might take a thousand years, as some of these service projects will require. The time to completion doesn't matter. The important point for you to understand is that your success is assured. It's as good as done. Therefore I encourage you, when you pray, include all of the details of what you want to accomplish with your particular mountain-moving project - include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get everything."
What do I really want? Where shall I serve?
The question becomes this: not "will I succeed?" but "what do I really want?" and "where do I see myself being led to serve?" This is what Elizabeth's service group understands and lives by.
Embrace this God-life and the answers will come to us regarding direction. Do not allow the Small Ego to choose; that way, we'll get everything wrong.
For those who enter the next world as an "adult," I think the freedom of self-expression to be experienced will approach something akin to what an outsider might deem to be anarchic - so vast will be our powers, with broad purview of discretion, concerning whatever our sacred intentions might dictate. The godly person will have absolute autonomy, offered wide latitude to express and to execute all that glows in the God-directed heart.
Editor's note: The word "autonomy" literally means, "a law unto oneself." This kind of freedom might be of concern to some, but there is no need for pause here.
The apostle Paul envisioned a day when "the law" would be written upon the hearts of God's people. And in that coming day of spiritual maturity, we will direct our lives by an internal guidance system, powered by a personal inner link to God.
Our very natures, "made in the image," will reflect a "law of love," a silent altruistic directive issuing in total autonomy, with broad-latitude mandate to creatively effect good in the universe, as we, loyal sons and daughters, see fit to execute the Divine Will.
What do you really want?
This question will be the unspoken dictum of our lives. Everyone will want to know. What do you really want? What do you plan to create? What good thing, even now, is brewing in that service-minded and loving heart of yours?
What great program of world beneficence will flow from those famous divine soul-energies of yours? We know you're thinking about it, you always do - we know this because we know the Family from which you come! And we know that, once you decide, once you receive clear, affirming direction from God within, you will be unstoppable, and no opposing power in the universe will dare stand in your way.
- Editor's note: I am reminded just now of Paul's teaching in Romans how the entire creation yearns and groans - the Greek, as I recall, suggests, "stands on tip-toe, stretching to see" - desperately waiting for the unveiling, the coming, of the glorified sons and daughters of God.
Two Years In Heaven, Dr. C.H. Carson, from his wife Rose, her experiences in the afterlife:
"My mind is filled with plans of what I hope to do. How glorious it will be to enter into active work and to realize that whatever I set out to do I shall be able to accomplish through the efforts I make! It seems good to be alive; to feel so well and strong that one’s whole being vibrates with new and wonderful life…
"Every moment of the time I spent in spirit life was occupied with something helpful and instructive… [to] furnish me with some helpful idea that I could impart to others to aid them in their progress toward higher, grander, and better things...
"My soul is alive and vibrant with plans for the future, and I am happy and more glad of life as each day passes, not for myself alone, but for those who are to follow after me and whom my influence is to lead heavenward... The consciousness that I have attained tells me this great truth: The soul aspiring for progress never retrogrades; it goes on and on, throughout all eternity, toward greater achievements and higher realizations."
Editor's note: How infectious is the joy and enthusiasm of this lady - her "soul ... alive and vibrant with plans for the future." Is this not the mind-set of The Great Teacher? And look at her supreme confidence: "whatever I set out to do I shall be able to accomplish." Is this not "mountain-moving" talk at its best? How "good" she says, "to be alive." What a wonderful example of "embrace this God-life, really embrace it."
'Embrace this God-life, really embrace it' - as expressed in the meditations of others:
a noble purpose will yet transform every injury into something sacred
The deed is the outward and momentary expression; the motive and purpose are the inner and permanent elements that build up life on the invisible side. One who holds his purpose true to this higher end of life is creating new conditions that will ultimately transform all circumstances. There is no limit to that which he may accomplish. He holds the key to unlimited stores of energy. All aims of a high character bring into being their own ways and means. Every noble purpose holds its own right of way. Lillian Whiting
thoughts shape and control, forge one’s life
Nothing conduces more to [success] than the quiet half-hour at night just before retiring. It is possible to absolutely create the next day [with] this silent concentrated energy. Thought shapes and controls everything. Events are plastic to its stamp… forged out of love [and] harmony. Lillian Whiting
Editor's last word:
How does one "embrace this God-life, really embrace it"? - by "going within" and discovering a sense of God in one's deepest sacred person.
Also, compare Jesus’ teaching of “Embrace this God-life, really embrace it,” with the message of the Spirit Guides channeled by William Stainton Moses. The similarity is striking. See a discussion of this under a heading “How Can We Know That We Are Beings With A Divine Heritage?” on the pages concerning the “True Self” and “Human Potential.”