CENTER, REALITY, LIFE

…religion springs from within.

The inner apprehension is the reality; the forms of service and thought in which the experience is expressed are the evidences that the reality has indeed been found. There is an inmost centre where dwells this reality, a well of water springing up into everlasting life. This is the true source of wisdom, love, and power. He whom the Father has touched finds himself in that centre, and knows by the fruits of life that it is the real heart.

To live from the centre consistently, hence to be religious through and through, is to be aware of a guidance emerging from the sacred recesses and reaching into the whole of life.

Thus to emphasise the inward light is not to minimise the special times and seasons which men have set apart for prayer, responsive service, and objective worship; or to ignore the creeds and institutions in which the religious life has been expressed. All these have their place. Yet there comes a time when the prayer that never ceases takes the place of occasional efforts, the silent prayer being expressive of the soul’s attitude in acknowledgment of the divine presence. There comes a time when work and worship are identical and constant. That is to say, life becomes centred once for all in the sources of all wisdom and power, no longer fluctuates between inner and outer. There may still be reasons for withdrawing from the multitude, not because the soul has lost hold of the sources, but that one may be newly strengthened to meet a severer test of faith. Thus to know, to live from and return to the centre is to have religion in the profoundest sense.

To realise the presence of God in the modern sense is to start with God as the centre, reality, life; and to find oneself all anew as grounded in His being, thinking only because of Him, living only through His life, loving because He loves.

We have a work to do in the world. Hence we need a method of development. Thus our definition of religion implies various interpretations of the divine nature, the human self, regeneration, meditation, service, and other aspects of the spiritual life.

What we become aware of is the life we are prompted to follow as our own…

 – excerpts, Horatio W. Dresser,“The Nature of Religion,”
The Religion of the Spirit in Modern Life, 1914.
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When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,
“Will you give me a drink?”
Jesus answered,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water
welling up to eternal life.”

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

John, chapter 4,
verses 7, 13-14, 23-24

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TEMPLE

Within the sanctuary of the heart there is a secret place where, if one listen and respond, there shall be revealed what the Father has provided; and one may think of the Father in the most immediately human sense, praying to Him when in urgent need as well as in the hour of grateful worship. … This applies to all men, all can enter the kingdom of prayer and obedience, all have been provided for.

The guidance which the inner light reveals to-day pertains to that of yesterday and last year, it relates to my spiritual welfare as a whole.

Jesus does not utter a code or found an institution. He takes little interest in facts, does not discuss problems. The affairs of the day concern him in the light of the kingdom of the Spirit that is to come in greater fulness. He first lives, then communicates of the life that is his. He touches those who are ready, and summons to life those who can become his disciples. He performs works that exemplify his teaching, and utters words of power that appeal to the soul. To come into his presence is to come into life, and he associates with any individual who can be quickened through an appeal to life. His indeed is the gospel of life in such wise that truth, words, and deeds are one in spirit.

The reality of the Spirit is the abiding presence, the presence which has always been with men to sustain them and lead them, although unrecognised. Since all events in the spiritual order belong together, and since all men belong to that order, I may give myself trustfully to it, knowing that there is wise provision for me. To be faithful it is incumbent on me to trust at every point. The essential consideration is the life which enters the soul from the intimately present Spirit. What it means to be wholly faithful to this life the Master has shown by his own fidelity and by the works he wrought.

The Spirit descends upon us, it stirs within the heart, and sends us forth to share its blessings. When we have been touched from within, we may turn to the physical organism and find it “the temple of the Holy Spirit.”

 – excerpts, Horatio W. Dresser, “The Spirit in Jesus,”
The Religion of the Spirit in Modern Life, 1914.


He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

He shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Psalm 91
verses 1 & 4

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CALMING PEACE

“Jesus taught us who God is.” – a very wise believer.

If you are going through a challenge right now, let me assure you that God is in this experience! He is within you as sustaining strength and calming peace. He is within you as the light of wisdom and perfect guidance. He goes before you as gentle protection and tender love. He is the very substance of supply for your need, the very essence of good that will emerge from the difficulty. God is in this experience!

Trust God’s plan for you. Place yourself and all those concerned under His protective Spirit of love. Visualize yourself, everyone, everything, surrounded by light and love. Take time apart from outer activities each day to rest from all conscious reasoning about the situation. Remind yourself patiently: God’s plan is good. I trust it. He is in full control of the experience. You will feel a wonderful calm within, and you will see new ways of help opening up.

When Jesus calmed the waves it was through His inner knowing that God was there as peace. When he healed the lame and blind and lifted the multitude to life and health it was because He saw the presence of God there as life. … Knowing this brought him triumphantly through Gethsemane and the Crucifixion and into our lives today as an ever-resurrecting presence and power. And what he knew then he wants us to know today: God is in every experience of life.

He is ready to open up the gates of heaven for you to see the Truth about yourself, which is that you are His beloved, His image and likeness, able to cope, to overcome, to move victoriously through every happening.

Mary Kupferle, “God is in this experience,”
God Will See You Through, copyright 1983


Then Jacob awoke from his sleep, and exclaimed:
“THE EVER-LIVING is certainly is in this place, and I knew it not.…
Is not this truly the House of GOD? and this the Gate of Heaven?”

excerpts, Genesis 28:16-17
The Five Books of Moses: The Bible in Modern English, 1901
Ferrar Fenton, translator

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BECOMING

The Bible passage from Jeremiah is repeated from the last post. It is a personal favorite: the promise that the Almighty already resides within each of us – the promise that our acceptance of the Presence is the beginning, not the conclusion of true life and reality. In a word, life evolves – not because God is changing, but because we grow in the depth of our reliance on the Voice and guidance of the One Eternal Life. The quote from Mark Nepo points in this direction. Life is ever a process. Perfection (completeness) is a way, never a point in time. For those who want to dig deeper I would recommend Psalm 139. For those who need a model, I would recommend the person of Christ Jesus.

– mjd


The journey of becoming who we were born to be never ends. It’s limitless, eternal. We don’t arrive–we grow.

…living with an open heart and bringing our being and doing together to form care is endless: waking, risking,, finding courage, finding our way back to an innate sense of God, and simply but deeply listening.

 – Mark Nepo
The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be
Copyright 2014


I will put My law within them,
and on their hearts will I write it;
and I will be their God,
and they shall be My people.

And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor
and each man his brother,
saying, Know the Lord;
for they shall all know me
–from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord;
for I will forgive their iniquity,
and I will remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:33b – 34a


And this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

John 17:3

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AGNOSTIC

Agnostics have said to me: “I can accomplish the same things without prayer that you can with prayer. You are just deluding yourself that you are getting help from God. Faith in yourself is all you need.”

Faith in one’s self is a first step. This you must have to achieve success in any worthwhile effort. But one’s faith in self, whether realized or not, is usually based upon faith in a higher power. You feel, in a moment of great need, that you can call upon what you may define as a “reserve.” You exercise a stronger belief in what you think to be yourself, and this extra demand brings new energy, new ideas, new and greater assurance, and you rise to meet an emergency in a way you ordinarily could not. God’s cooperation is so subtle that it is difficult to know just when your effort ends and God’s help begins. You actually, in your heartfelt aspiration, reach up to God, and he figuratively takes your hand and gives you a lift. This is a form of prayer without words. You have pictured fervently what you want and have sought mightily to get it–and then you have found a new area of power an attainment. Remain an agnostic, if you will; assume all the credit–but God was there in those moments and gave you the help of His power.

The God-given creative power within you is a limitless reservoir. No one has ever begun to tap its potential capacity. There is always more power available to the degree that any human learns how to draw upon it. This is the point in human consciousness wherein the individual soul touches infinity from the finite side.

 – Harold Sherman, “How to Re-establish Faith in Prayer,”
How to Use the Power of Prayer, 1958


I will put My law within them,
and on their hearts will I write it;
and I will be their God,
and they shall be My people.

And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor
and each man his brother,
saying, Know the Lord;
for they shall all know me
–from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord;
for I will forgive their iniquity,
and I will remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:33b – 34a

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ENERGY

… true effectual prayer has a range of influence far beyond the personal life of the one who prays. No person is ever isolated, unrelated and alone.

What we are and what we do flow out and help to determine what others shall be and shall do, and even so in the highest spiritual operations and activities of the soul we contribute some part toward the formation of the spiritual atmosphere in which others are to live and we help to release currents of spiritual energy for others than ourselves. If we belong, as I believe we do, in a real kingdom of God–an organic fellowship of inter-related lives–prayer should be as effective a force in this inter-related social world of ours as gravitation is in the world of matter. … We are no longer in the net of blind fate, in the realm of impersonal force–we are in a love-system where the aspiration of one member heightens the entire group, and the need of one–even the least–draws upon the resources of the whole–even the Infinite. We are in actual Divine-human fellowship.

Prayer releases energy as certainly as the closing of an electric circuit does. It heightens all human capacities. It refreshes and quickens life. It unlocks reservoirs of power. It opens invisible doors into new storehouses of spiritual force for the person to live by, and, as I believe, for others to live by as well.

Brother Lawrence [author, The Practice of the Presence of God] was right when he said: “It is into the soul permeated with living faith that God pours his graces and his favors plenteously. Into the soul they flow like an impetuous torrent, when it finds a passage for its pent up flood after being dammed back from its ordinary course by some obstacle.”

We must have faith in the Beyond.

 – excerpts, Rufus Jones, “Prayer as an Energy of Life,” The World Within, 1921


There was a man in Caesarea by the name of Cornelius, a centurion in what was called the Italian Regiment. He was a deeply religious man who reverenced God, as did all his household. He made many charitable gifts to the people and was a real man of prayer. About three o’clock one afternoon he saw perfectly clearly in a dream an angel of God coming into his room, approaching him, and saying, “Cornelius!”

He stared at the angel in terror, and said, “What is it, Lord?”

The angel replied, “Your prayers and your deeds of charity have gone up to Heaven and are remembered before God. Now send men to Joppa for a man called Simon, who is also known as Peter. He is staying as a guest with another Simon, a tanner, whose house is down by the sea.”

When the angel who had spoken to him had gone, Cornelius called out for two of his house-servants and a devout soldier, who was one of his personal attendants. He told them the whole story and then sent them off to Joppa.

Acts 10: 1-6
J. B. Phillips, translator,
The New Testament in Modern English, 1958.

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HEAVEN

Jesus tried to make the people of His day understand that the Kingdom of God is within, but few could really comprehend His great message. In the Lord’s Prayer, He said again, “On earth as it is in Heaven.” But, because most humans lacked inner vision, they looked for a Heaven outside themselves, not realizing that Heaven is actually a state of being.
When you are in harmony with the God Consciousness within you–you are in Heaven.

When your mind and heart and soul are filled with love for your fellow man and for God–you are in Heaven. When Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this earth,” He was referring to that Eternal Kingdom of oneness with God which exists within.

It is an incorruptible, indestructible Kingdom. It has always existed and it can never perish since you are a part of the God Consciousness which created it. It was conceived in love and it is eternally sustained by love. But you cannot enter into this Kingdom, and experience its transcendent joys and indescribable bounties, without love. Hate always drives you out of the Kingdom but love is the one unfailing key to your return.

Love is the key to everything good and lasting in life. When it replaces your feelings of hate and other destructive emotions, you instantly feel a release of mind and body tensions. The conflicts within your consciousness cease, and you sense a union with a power greater than yourself, a power now freed to serve you constructively, to bring you the right answer to prayer as opposed to the wrong answers you have been getting when your consciousness has been dominated by wrong feelings.

True love must be shared. It cannot be hoarded. To be blessed by love, it must be expressed, not repressed.

Love is your only means of communication with God.

 – Harold Sherman, “Love–The Essential Key to Prayer,”
How to Use the Power of Prayer, 1958


God is LOVE;
and whoever continues in love, dwells in God, and God in him.
His love with us will be perfected when we have free access in the Day of Judgment;
because as He Himself is, we also shall be, in that world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect [complete] love expels fear,
because fear is torture;
and whoever is in fear has not reached the perfection of love.
We love, because He first loved us.

I John 4:16-19
The New Testament in Modern English,
Fourth Edition, 1906
Translated by Ferrar Fenton

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SELF

In that painful moment when the finite self discovers its own nothingness it again turns by contrast to the larger Self …

(I can) perceive my all-knowing Self as a living intuition in those happy moments when I am lifted above mere finite self-consciousness.

Since then, such an absolute Self exists, I am fully known, I am known far better than I could ever know myself; and I rejoice that this is so. If I could thus see myself as I fully am, I should probably find myself as one among many individuals, standing for some idea which no other soul is so well adapted to represent, a character which all other souls probably share in their own way. It is enough for me to know that I am needed.

I am fated to miss my true self until, having exhausted mere self-scrutiny, I await in silence, and let myself be discovered as a moment embosomed in eternity, a word in the divine language, a quality of purest absolute being. That which a moment before seemed hard and fast limitation now appears in its true light as an element of beauty, inseparably and intimately relating the finite to the infinite. No self is complete until it thus becomes self-conscious. No self is in full self-possession until it knows itself in God. … Here is the joyous passage into the divine.

If at one moment I seem puny and ignorant, at another–in the ineffable moment of illumination–I am the heir of all the ages and of all wisdom. In these two moments I know myself first as finite, then as infinite. I did not seek out this my deepest truth. I did not reason it out. It sought me, and I recognized the Seeker.

 – excerpts, Horatio W. Dresser, The Perfect Whole:
An Essay on the Conduct and Meaning of Life,
1896


Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked (Jesus) a question, tempting him,
and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him,
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it,
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Matthew 22:35-40
The Bible, King James Version

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BIRTH

Christ came the first time into men’s vision by coming on the plane of their senses; He comes the second time into men’s vision by lifting men up to His plane of spiritual comprehension. This coming of Christ involves a new birth, a new creation, a new kingdom. It means a new step in the evolution of man. … Many times, in many ways, He declares, I am ‘from above.’ He is born a natural man, and yet possesses the life of the kingdom next higher, and proceeds to lift the natural man by a new birth into the kingdom of the spiritual man. He is born the son of man and the Son of God, bridging the chasm with his own being. … And so, the Christ life takes the character, the soul, the spirit of the natural man, which have developed through the ages–takes them through a new birth, this time with man’s consent.

The new birth of the natural man into the kingdom of the spiritual man, the reborning of his personality, making him a child of God after the type of Christ, is the tap-root of Christianity, is the chief artery. Cut that and all is gone. Keep that and let the ‘new creature’ grow toward his fulness, then Christ is recreated, reincarnated in him, and through him He is manifest again among men.”

– Isaac K. Funk, D.D., L.L.D., (co-founder of Funk & Wagnalls Company),
The Next Step in Evolution, 1902.
– Quoted by Ralph Waldo Trine, In the Hollow of His Hand, 1919.


Now when He (Jesus) was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said,
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation;
nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’
For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Luke 17: 20-21
The Bible, New King James version


It is indeed a new life, or birth into a new life; it is conversion and redemption combined, if you please, the moment any soul realises this one great central truth that Jesus brought within the realm of human knowledge and experience.

 – Trine, op. cit.

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THE WAY

It cannot be otherwise than well that we find the Kingdom while here; that we realise the reign of the Spirit, which is the reign of God in the mind and heart and life. It serves us here; and it may serve us better than we know, when we are through here, and when what lies beyond awaits us. With life thus under the Divine rule we are able better to preserve the true proportions of life.

There will be problems–there will always be problems. As desire, however, leads us to subordinate all things to this Kingdom of the Divine rule, and as will keeps us true to that desire, there come continually clearer perceptions through the leadings of the Spirit–the Holy Spirit of which the Master spoke–through which new insights and powers are awakened within; and there comes a fortitude of the soul that enables us to meet with calmness, and effectively to deal with each problem, as it comes.

There is a help in connection with the way that the Master has shown us, that is of inestimable value and that we could use to far better advantage than we do use it. It is the method or the practice that he made use of so frequently himself, whereby he was enabled to sense and to find the way, which, when he found, he revealed to us. So many times, we are told, he went alone into the mountain to pray–to commune with the Father. It is these quiet times alone, in communion with our Source, the Reality of our being, in communion with the Father–my Father and your Father–as Jesus taught us, which constitute effective and valuable prayer. Surely this is what he meant when he said: But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. [Matthew 6:6] It is thus that the deeper perceptions of the mind and spirit are awakened and developed. It is the greatest privilege or gift that we humans have.

A great secret of life, therefore, is to go daily into the mountain to pray, and then to go down to do each day a man’s or a woman’s work in the world. As is revealed to us, so we can reveal. As we receive, we can give, and we must give–thus we serve. … Thus do all things work together for good for those who love the Good [Romans 8:28] – and the way of the Christ is the highest that we know.

 – Ralph Waldo Trine, In the Hollow of His Hand, 1919


Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 143:8
The Bible
English Standard Version

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