We come to our time for morning service on this first Sunday of spring 1954, March 21. The pattern of our Meditation together has been designed to promote, in this season before Easter, a deeper self-examination, not so much from the standpoint of self-judgment, to see what is wrong or what is right with oneself, but as an objective analysis by which one may come to see what was not before seen, by which one may develop an alertness to see wherein inadvertently and unnecessarily we have fallen short of allowing the spirit of God to express; and to examine into the pattern of our relationships with others, so that through true attunement with the Christ spirit we may establish that attunement with others which shall have meaning in exerting the spiritual impulse in the realm of physical living.
I took occasion yesterday to glance at a certain book purporting to give the esoteric and the occult interpretation of the principles of life. It purported to speak with authority with respect to the real meaning of the Bible and certain orders that were supposed to be, at the time of our Master's birth. And it was stated there that these good people firmly believed that the body was the prison of the soul. In one way or another that idea tends to be quite prevalent; it is not at all new. But if the body is the prison of the soul, and if the primary purpose in life is to get out of prison—headed in the right direction when one gets out of prison—it makes the human being feel that fulfilment is not possible in this world. It makes the human being feel that he must get out of the earth, go to some heaven or hereafter, in order to begin to enjoy life or know the reality of what we call spirituality.
And I was wondering, to what degree do we here still suffer under the limitations that are established by this concept, in its many forms, in mass consciousness? This supposedly esoteric idea that the body is the prison of the soul is, in essence, the same as the idea of denying the material aspect of being. Whatever form the idea may take, it is a rejection of the relationship between physical things and spiritual things. And yet, as we pause to consider the basic principles that are inherent in the meditations of the Christian world in this Easter season, what is the real significance of Easter and the resurrection? Is it not the establishment of the reality of relationship between the invisible spiritual things and the visible physical or material things?
The very idea of Easter is based upon a recognition of the working of spiritual factors in the physical realm, in relationship particularly to the body of Jesus, but holding forth promise and assurance with respect to all human beings everywhere. The Easter season which comes to us in the springtime, the resurrection that is taking place in the earth, the grass that begins to appear, the leaves, the flowers which will soon be made manifest, the resurrection of the body of the earth into a pattern portraying the spiritual beauties which are invisible until they are given form, whether in the body of a flower, a tree, an animal, a bird or a human being—these invisible things which we classify as spiritual can have meaning in our lives only as they have body on earth.
If there is ugliness in life, if there is limitation, if there is sorrow, if there is turmoil, if there is insecurity, why? Because the body of the man, the body of the woman, was designed by God to allow the beauty of heavenly Being an opportunity of finding expression on earth. Not that the body of the man or the woman should somehow, by some magic, be lifted up into some other realm where it is not supposed to be, but that something invisible might become visible in you. Why do we give heed to the Master's words, to His life, and the resurrection of the Easter season? Because He made something that was invisible become visible where we could see it and know it and understand it and appreciate it—and welcome it into this world. And He said, “Follow me.”
The resurrection, the Easter story, establishes the basis of understanding: the relationship of the visible and the invisible, and the result which appears is allowed to be made manifest in the visible, is allowed to control. If there is lack or limitation in our lives, insecurity, uncertainty, turmoil, conflict, should we not remember that God made man in His own image, in His own likeness? The whole problem of the joyous, victorious life, then, is to recognize how it is that we may allow the invisible beauty, the invisible power, the invisible wisdom, the invisible aspects of Being, to be made visible through our bodies.
Let us begin to accept the idea, deep in our hearts, that the physical body was made by God not as a prison for the soul but as a means by which He Himself could be revealed on earth, as a means by which His love could have meaning on earth, His wisdom, His knowledge, His understanding, by which all of the joys of life, every lovely thing in heaven, could be translated into the earth. Now, human beings are always talking about being translated out of the earth into heaven, as if that were the answer. But the lovely things of heaven are in heaven, and it is here that we need the deeper realization of the relatedness between that which is ordinarily called spiritual and the physical. For to us the physical is spiritual. The physical body is spiritual. It is a part of the divine process of spiritual revelation, so that that which is coming down from God out of heaven into the earth may be made evident here.
If the process by which this is achieved in the individual life were fully understood, adequately accepted, there would not be one ugly word ever pass the lips of anyone here. There would not be any act which when seen under the microscope of the process of living would not be beautiful and lovely. I have looked into the heart of a Mariposa Lily with a magnifying glass, and those delicate shadings of color, the exquisite form, almost leap out in a still larger perfection when they are clearly seen. So it is with that which is divinely ordained, divinely designed for you. And if there is that which is not of such perfection there is an imitation. No matter how cleverly that imitation may be worked out, how nice it may appear, how many people may accept it as the genuine thing, we know the difference inside ourselves. And we can never be content with imitations. The only thing that brings a deep soul satisfaction is the genuine article, the real thing.
And so it behooves us in this Easter season to gain a still deeper understanding of the means by which we may let the invisible beauty be made manifest in the physical realm. Taking the physical to heaven is not going to increase the beauty of heaven very much. But bringing the heavenly into the earth is going to increase the beauty of the earth a great deal. So the translation that we are interested in is the translation of that heavenly flower into physical form. That does not take it out of heaven. It only projects it into the earth, where it may be seen here and enjoyed and appreciated, whether it be the flower that grows in Hawaii or the flower which you should be in the Garden of God. In order to allow this process to take place effectively in our lives we need to develop a higher sense of discretion, discrimination.
Human beings waste so much precious time. As things now are, few people live to be over a hundred years old—just a hundred years or less in such a magnificent period of time when so much is being accomplished. Such wonderful things around us all the time, wonderful opportunities, a meaningful period in the history of the world—the privilege of living in a grand and awful time, tremendous significance, and we waste so much of that time doing things that actually hinder the revelation of that for which we came into the world. Under the magnifying glass of the cycle of life itself, what is it that is revealed? Something ugly? The imitation? Or the exquisite beauty of the real thing?
Let us look back for a moment to 1953. How swiftly that year passed. It seemed that it had hardly begun, we had hardly welcomed it, until we had to bid it farewell. And already 1954. We have hardly gotten used to writing it down, and what? Over two and a half months of it have gone already. And at the best most of you can anticipate no more than a hundred years that you will have in this sphere of things to do the things you need to do. One year gone like a flash of the moment, and only a hundred of them. One, two, three, four, five—only a hundred of them at the best, and a year gone. And what are we going to do with these years? What is the revelation? What is the resurrection? Are we going to allow the manifestation of the spiritual things of God in our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our lives—the genuine article—that under the magnifying glass of living, in the processes of time, will be revealed as beautiful and enduring? Or will that process reveal that it was an imitation? Perhaps it looked all right on the surface, for the moment; but under the magnifying glass of time and life it is seen as ugly and unsatisfactory, empty.
We need to begin to be more alert, more consistent, in remembering the basic principles of reality which have stood the test of time, and stop wasting time trying to correlate ideas that have been slanted to a false premise, to try to make them fit the real premise. There is the stumbling point: the false idea, slanted to a false premise; for instance, that the body is the prison of the soul—one of the lies of the devil. And yet human beings take these ideas—which are presumably pretty good but slanted to a false concept—and then they try to fit those ideas with the basic truth, and it will not work. It only leads to confusion.
When we learn to think in the current of the spirit, and use our minds with intelligence and understanding as God intended, we can take the basic premise of truth, which has stood the test of time, and begin to let true ideas come into pattern in relationship to it. We can have an expanding consciousness. Not trying to pick up the rags and the bones out here and fit them into the pattern of things, but letting the debris go, letting it be cleared from our minds, not fearful that we will somehow be classified as dumb or something just because we have or do not have a headful of ideas. We will have enough ideas, but let us accept only that which is truly harmonious with the truth, the fundamental Laws of Being. And in that pattern of integrity we will find that nine-tenths of the problems which beset human beings in their efforts to make progress along the way of life simply vanish like mist before the morning sun.
We begin to realize that victory is much more easily attained than most human beings are inclined to believe; for we come to know the secret of the Master's prayer, where we acknowledge the Father and His hallowed name, where we indicate our willingness, yea our desire, to help to do our share in the coming of His kingdom, in letting His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Not just when we go to heaven, but let it be done in earth as it is in heaven. And we come to acknowledge, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever,” which includes this present moment here where we are. Having accepted that, knowing it, we stop wasting time. We begin to let the invisible things of God be made manifest in our lives.
There is no greater joy than this, no greater service to be rendered to the children of men. For if we let heaven and the things of heaven be made manifest because we live, then we shall surely inspire others to do the same. And that is what made the Master's life meaningful to us. He let the invisible be made manifest in His body, through His mind, through His heart of love. He let the things of God have form on earth in this physical realm where we dwell. And He said, “Follow me.”