Nona L. Brooks
Mysteries are shadows; only he who looks down sees the dark places. Tradition and superstition cast their shadows around them; but truth and wisdom dispel the gloom. Men have lingered too long in the dark places; truth is calling us into the light. Some of us are tempted to stay a little longer in the valleys of ignorance, even though the sunlit stretches of open country lie just above. There seems to be something that holds us in the valley, and Something that calls us to come up out of the limited places into the full light. The something that tells us to stay seems to be the voice of the self which race thought has implanted in us; and sometimes we stay a little longer becoming more mystified while we wait.
There has been an attempt in this volume to solve some of what the world calls the greatest mysteries by directing the searcher to follow the highway that leads to God.
Are you saying, "Yes, I can see that there is a solution for the mysteries connected with the general experiences of mankind--life, death, matter, sin, sickness, old age; but what about the mysteries connected with the personal experiences in the individual lives"? What are the answers to questions like the following: Why did this come to me and not to you? I am not responsible for this condition, why should I suffer? Why did my loved one have to leave me? Why, why, why? Are you trying to see why this experience came to you because it was you who was affected? Is one of these the mystery for which you demand a solution? The first step to take in solving what we call the personal mysteries is that of shifting our center of interest from the continual stress on self to a contemplation of the good of the whole. Instead of asking the question, why did this come to me; let our query be, what can I do with this situation? It is an opportunity for some kind of service or for a step in my development. It is by rising out of the personal self into the consciousness of our oneness with universal Life, that we solve all mysteries. Infinite Mind does not work in mysterious ways but in open and infinite ways, its wonders to perform. There is always the rising process we call the Resurrection. What is the goal to which we are lifting our lives? It is God-Consciousness.
The closing chapter of this book tells the story of the resurrection as attained by Jesus, a true son of God. I trust that we shall find here a practical method of coming up over limitation into the consciousness of resurrection. Resurrection, the greatest event in the individual's story, is also the greatest event in the history of the race. If we understood the principle back of the resurrection, we should touch truth universal which applies to every one of us at the present day. Jesus reached the culmination of life process in the individual.
Resurrection is the culmination of life process in the one who lives in the resurrection consciousness; it is the end of one process and the beginning of another. Since the process of resurrection is taking place in every one of us, the event which we speak of as the Resurrection is especially significant to each individual. We all feel the Law of Life working within us; it is urging us upward and on. As we are led by the spirit of light into more and more truth, our vision broadens, and we come into a clearer realization of what it means to live truth as Jesus did. There is great comfort and joy in knowing that we, too, share in the process of resurrection, and are capable of attaining to the glory of even a resurrection morn, as Jesus did.
The story of Jesus reveals to us the history of the life process from its earthly beginning to its glorious outcome, from the manger to the cross, through the sepulchre to resurrection, from the babe to the risen Jesus. The man Jesus attained as you and I must attain; he rose out of limitation moment by moment. Is it not interesting to watch Jesus' unfoldment as a lesson for our own lives. Think of the glory of the culmination--through the sepulchre into the resurrection morn.
How did Jesus accomplish the resurrection? He taught, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." He lived true to God-Presence; he realized the immediacy of the Presence. What do we mean by the immediate Presence and Power of God? It means knowing and feeling the Presence of God active in every moment of our lives. It means the realization of God's Presence in the smallest experiences of life as well as in the greatest. God's Presence is Life.
As God was a father to Jesus and the source of his living and of his thinking, so let it be with us. God was also the companion of Jesus always; therefore Jesus was never alone. You and I need never be alone either, if we think as Jesus thought. Jesus saw himself as God's opportunity for expression; he, the individual, was an opportunity for the expression of God---Wisdom, Love, Power, Life, Joy. Jesus was certain of God; hence when something came that needed a special exercise of power and love, Jesus spoke the word with authority. He knew the Father as immediate Presence, as the Source of all his individual power. His attitude was one of intimate association with the Father. There was one dark moment on the cross, and probably a short time in the struggle at Gethsemane when he may have felt a fleeting moment of separation. However, these experiences were so rare that they need not be dwelt upon.
Out of Jesus' deep love for God grew his first commandment, and out of his all inclusive love for his fellow men grew his second commandment. Jesus' love for God was expressed in his love for men. He understood the meaning of the great word love; we so often miss the true meaning of this most wonderful of all words. Love is God; and to touch a life radiant with love is to touch God. This greatest of all lives that was ever lived was radiant with love and beauty, power and joy. The two commandments which this great teacher gave us are the basis of all true living.
Jesus lived the most powerful life the world has ever known, because he kept these two commandments in letter and in spirit. Jesus was interested in the multitude; he was also interested in the individual. When he touched the multitude, his heart yearned over them; he was so eager to show all of his brother men the meaning of the great realization that he had come into. Some were not ready for his message, it is true; but nothing was lost. Through his living, Jesus put something into the race which has been the foundation of all the greatest movements that have arisen in the development of mankind. His teaching is embodied in all of the great ideals of mankind. The Christ ideal is steadily expanding into more and more practical movements for the benefit of mankind. There is a constant increase in the number of those who are consecrating their lives in human service. People are seeing the truth of the human family, and are realizing a greater love for its individual members. The message of brotherhood is being carried to the ends of the earth by followers of Jesus, the friend of God and man. We are getting together; even though there are wide distances still apparent. The coming together movement holds out great promise.
The teachings of Jesus are being embodied in more movements today than ever before. The Christ principle is practiced by many persons who are not church members. There is at present a feeling among many that the church is not fulfilling its mission. I like to attend general meetings even if there is opposition to the churches expressed by the speakers who feel that the church does not see and embody the message of Jesus.
There are many indictments against the church which accuse us of teaching Jesus but not living according to his precepts. If these indictments are true the church must listen to the charge, and change its methods. The ministers and the people are responsible for righting the wrong; we must see to it that the Christ principle is practiced as well as preached. It is interesting that in meetings and all kinds of gatherings where the church is criticized, one never hears a word against Jesus, the man. Every one agrees that the practice of the principles which he taught would accomplish immeasurable good. I listen to those who say that the church is not fulfilling its mission among men, and I feel that there is truth in what they are saying. However, I believe that it is not nearly so much a matter of not understanding the teachings of Jesus, as it is of not being willing to live up to as much as we understand, that gives ground for the charge.
Doubtless we are not living up to the best that we know; but there is this to be said: the fundamental principle of true living is eternal progression. There is no final attainment in progressive achieving. There is always the next achievement and the next. If we were satisfied that we are living up completely to the principles that Jesus taught, there would be no more steps to take. Our vision would not be as high as we in our ideal of eternal unfoldment in consciousness would have it. As I listen to what is being said of the Christian church today, I feel a greater call within me to hold up before our people the Christ principles and the Christ life, in order that we may be resurrecting our lives day by day with greater power.
The two great outstanding principles of Resurrection are conscious oneness with God and love of our fellow men. Establishing a steady realization of the immediate presence of God is the essential of true living. It is true that all Life is one; we must live up to this truth, and meet men as brothers in every experience of the day. You remember that Jesus fed the multitude spiritually, but also that when they hungered physically he gave them food. Some of us attain to a vivid consciousness of love for humanity; but others say to me, "Oh yes, I love all people, but there are certain individuals toward whom I cannot feel love." I say to you that there is still something else for you to accomplish. What are you going to do about the unlovable ones? We must love them as Jesus did, if we hope to attain to the resurrection consciousness. Jesus could never have attained to this consciousness, if he had divided people into two classes: those he loved and those he did not. Do you remember how patient Jesus was with Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews? He tried to give him a message of truth in a loving way. I like to think of the understanding that Jesus expressed for the woman of Samaria, and also for the loving spirit he showed toward the rich young man who appeared so eager to inherit eternal life, but who was so unwilling to give up his personal possessions. Again, I like to picture that day in Jerusalem, when Zaccheus, chief among the publicans, hence unpopular among the people, being small of stature but very eager to see Jesus as he passed that way, climbed a sycamore tree in order that he might have a better view of the great teacher. There was evidently in this man a deep desire to come into touch with Jesus; hence, he took this way of making his purpose sure. Can you imagine Zaccheus' surprise when Jesus, looking up and seeing him, said, "Make haste, and come down, for today I must abide at thy house"? Do you still say to me, "I love everybody--well, almost everybody"? I suppose that we would put Zaccheus into the almost everybody class; from the external he was not lovable, it is true, but he needed Jesus more than anyone else in the group; and this great one who always lived by principle, knew the need and acted accordingly. This is what I mean be love--a love that pours itself out, an all-inclusive love. If we are to attain to the resurrection consciousness, we, too, must have it.
The resurrection consciousness is the consciousness that raises the body from a belief in mortality to a certainty of Life Eternal. It is the consciousness of Universal Love. Love on the lips is good as far as it goes; but love in the heart, the love that calls Zaccheus and goes with him to his home, is necessary in order to attain. The love that met the need of every one around him is the love that Jesus felt and practiced and taught. As this love illumined the life of Jesus, so does it illumine yours and mine. It is the true light of the world.
Jesus met every human need. The fact that he experienced all phases of what we call our human problems brings him closer to us. The dark hour in Gethsemane when he went alone to pray at the time of deep need touches our hearts, and shows us that the Master was human, too. After the struggle in Gethsemane Jesus arose and went forth, saying, "Father, not my will, but thine be done." Can we follow him in this experience? It was his great resurrection moment. He had come up over personal feelings, and was standing in the consciousness of Divine Will. He yielded himself to the cross to show humanity the glory of the resurrection process. Perfect consecration and absolute faith were essential in his development, as they are in ours. Shall we rise with him up to that triumphant moment when none of the outer things can touch us?
Peter, who had not reached the resurrection consciousness, when the soldiers came to take Jesus, saw only the outer injustice of the proceeding and cut off a soldier's ear. Jesus, with great love, healed the ear. When just preceding the crucifixion the accusers of Jesus tried to humiliate him, Jesus met them with the same unswerving love. They did not really touch him. On the cross at the time when most of us would be saying, "Why, why, are they crucifying me? Why, why, why?" Jesus, who knew that why is a sign of unbelief, said, entirely free from any rebellious feeling, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do!" Are we forgiving as Jesus was? Are we praying that our ignorance may be lifted? Only then shall we know the truth of Being. Are we thinking of others with love and consideration? Do we see them as our brothers? When Jesus looked down from the cross, and saw his mother standing beside the disciple whom he loved, he said to her, "Woman, behold thy son." And to the beloved disciple he said, "Son, behold thy mother." Jesus saw that his mother would be lonely, and consequently he was entrusting her to his friend's care. Even on the cross Jesus' first thought was for others. He never failed to apply the principle of universal love; Jesus was consistent. His was the resurrection love.
When Jesus saw Mary weeping before the empty tomb, although he knew that if she could see the whole in the process, she would not weep, he sympathized with her human loneliness, and comforted her with the assurance, "I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God." Jesus, who had passed through the darkness of the sepulchre guided by Love supreme, still understood the human love of Mary. Because of this conscious love there came that first resurrection morning, the blessedness of which has been felt ever since.
The world today needs resurrection. Just as there was first century resurrection, so let there be a twentieth century resurrection. This resurrection time will be brought about by the spirit of consecration in your heart and in mine which says with Jesus, "Thy will be done in us." Resurrection will be brought about by our own thought process. It is that consciousness which loves without wavering. The resurrection consciousness is the complete consciousness; it includes the whole man--soul and body.
I hope that many of us who read this chapter will find that today is a day of resurrection--a day in which our lives are being lived closer to Divine Consciousness than ever before; as we attain to the resurrection consciousness our lives become radiations of unwavering love for our fellow men. Is this a day of resurrection for you? Test your attitude toward God and man--then answer to yourself. He who attains the resurrection consciousness becomes a saviour in whatever age he lives. Let us become twentieth century saviours. God is working through us; let us give Him an opportunity to speak and act through us to His highest purpose. We are God's opportunities. Consider well. Outstreaming love shining from our lives is proof that our day of resurrection is here. If we meet all demands of the days with love we shall rise out of our limitations for Love is Resurrection.
It is by the process of resurrection that we rise out of the contemplation of that which is hidden, the mysteries as we have called these, into the full light where everything is made clear. There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed to the one who sees the unity of Life. We are rising into a recognition of the glory of process when we stand before a blade of grass and see that even this is wonderful. Are we leaving the mysteries behind us as we rise, or are we lifting these old mysteries into the wonder of it all!
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Northwoods Spiritual Resource Center
Symphony of Love