|Book Two, Preface, Lesson One
Book II - Preface
In the preface of A Search for God, Book I, we have the explanation for the compilation of these lessons.
It was stated that twelve individuals (more at the beginning of the study) dedicated themselves to the task of giving to others the basic principles of soul development that came through the psychic readings of Edgar Cayce.
This they could do only through prayer, meditation, and endeavoring to live each lesson. For they must know that such lessons were workable in their own lives and therefore would be in the lives of others.
The Way made perfect is seen in the man Jesus who became the Christ; and who, through the spiritualization of the physical body by overcoming the desires of the flesh, was able to resurrect the body.
Hence, as there came the development of that first entity of flesh and blood through the earth plane, He became indeed the Son-through the things which He experienced in the varied planes, as the development came to the oneness with the position in that which man terms the Triune ...
In materiality we find some advance faster, some grow stronger, some become weaklings. Until there is redemption through the acceptance of the law (or love of God, as manifested through the Channel or the Way), there can be little or no development in a material or spiritual plane. But all must pass under the rod, even as He-who entered into materiality. 5749-3
In this course of study the following excerpt will be helpful to those seeking deeper understanding:
In giving that as might be significant in the experiences of [all], it is well that there be considered those conditions which exist in the world of thought, as well as in the political and economic situations throughout the world-if there is to be a practical application of the significance of the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ.
The life, the death, the resurrection of Jesus are as facts, in the hearts and minds of those here. The resurrection of Jesus, the Christ, is a significant fact to each individual only according to how he applies same (as it is significant to him) in his daily life, experience and conversation with his fellow man.
Then, in a material world-a world of hate, of divided opinions-what is the course that you each will pursue, in relationships to your fellow men?
Is it the course outlined by the tenets, the principles which He, the Teacher of teachers, gave as respecting the manner of life, of activity, that you each would give in your dealings and relationships with your fellow men?
We know, and only need to be reminded, that the whole law is in Him. For, as He gave that which is the basis, the principle, of the intent and desire and purpose which should prompt our activity, so we in our own world-as we live, as we speak, as we pray-are to let it be in that tempo, in that way and manner which was prompted by Him, as He taught His disciples how to pray.
Then as we analyze this prayer in our experience, we see what the life, the death, the resurrection of Jesus the Christ- who is the way, the truth, the light-must mean in this period in the experience of man.
Think not that He, God, will be mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that must he also reap. This was truly exemplified in the life of the Man of Galilee. For in Him we all live, we all move, we all die. So, in Him we are all made alive.
Then put away hate, malice, jealousy, or the taking sides with any that stir up strife.
Be ye rather on the Lord's side, knowing that no man is in any position of power or might save by the will of the Father, that there may be fulfilled that which has been promised of Him, by Him and through that advent of the man Jesus into a material world.
Then, as ye meditate upon the meaning of the resurrection of this man of God, know that the way is open to thee to approach the throne of God; not as an excuse, not as a justification, but rather in love, in harmony, in that which brings hope for a sin-sick world.
Each individual, then, may act, may live, may pray -in his or her own little sphere of activity-in such a manner as to bring peace and harmony, even among those who APPEAR to be at variance to the cause of the Christ in the material world.
Let not thy heart be troubled, then. Ye believe in God; believe also in Him-who came to bring peace, and the way to the Father, exemplifying same in the ability to take away death- that is as sin in the experience of man.
And thus may he (man) indeed love the Lord with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself. 5749-12
Lesson I - Opportunity
In seeking to magnify Thy Name, Thy Glory, through that Thou dost make manifest in me, О Lord, be Thou the Guide, and-day by day, as the opportunity is given-let my hands, my mind, my body, do that Thou wouldst have me do as Thine own in the earth; for, as I manifest, may Thy glory become known to those through the love, the promises Thou hast made in Thy Son. 262-49
[Based on Edgar Cayce readings 262-49 through 262-54]
Opportunity is a material manifestation of a spiritual ideal. Through a physical body the soul has an opportunity to express the attainments developed in other spheres of consciousness. Life in the earth becomes an opportunity for paralleling, correlating, cooperating, bringing into existence the effects of using all experience presented for the development of the soul. Hence, opportunity, primarily, is material manifestation of spiritual actions in conscious forces of the material plane. (See 262-50.)
Opportunities Come Through Cooperation
Cooperation is making ourselves a channel of blessings to others. Each day, each hour, in fact, each thought, provides an opportunity for "giving." What can we give? Peter said, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk."
Each one of us is in a particular job, a particular home, a particular city, state, and nation because we have prepared ourselves for this pattern. It is a time and place of our choice. We must begin our service here, now. A smile, a kind word, a healing thought, these we have and can give. For the life of self bespeaks the thoughts of the heart; and each shall so live that He, the Christ, becomes the opportunity for all who meet thee-whether at the table, in sleep, or walking in the street. (See 262-50.)
The Master went about doing good, making every opportunity a material manifestation of His spiritual ideal. Those who follow His example have placed upon themselves no great burden, for they have comfort in His words, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Thus, cooperation must be put into the pattern of our daily lives. Through simple thoughts and acts we prepare for the greater opportunities that lie ahead of each soul.
A Knowledge of Self Helps Us to Recognize More Opportunities
Spiritual forces have so long been considered as being in the misty realm of theory that we are, as children, just becoming aware that our soul faculties can be applied in everyday life, and that this awakening within makes us more useful in a material world. Therefore, being more conscious of our opportunities is a result of the awakening of our inner spiritual faculties-our entering into a new world, the world of spiritual youth. As we develop, there will come urges and aptitudes previously unknown. Calls to service will come. May we be ready and willing.
Each tried met and overcome is a means toward development We should realize that each experience is an opportunity to test, to train, and to strengthen us. It is only little by little that we are able to overcome all things.
In seeking to know that opportunity that is given each in the present, it is one thing to live that there may be presented to another that which will open another's opportunity; and it is for self to recognize and use the opportunity in self's own development. 262-50
Do ever in self that thou knowest to be right, though it may make of self even an outcast to thine neighbor. 373-2
If we do not watch ourselves and know that of ourselves we can do nothing, our life may become clogged with egotism, bitter resentment, petty jealousies, and evil thinking. We may fall so low that we can scarcely see good in any condition, person or thing. We should know self well enough to realize that the fault is within us, and that we have within just what we see in others, else how could we recognize it? We must open the door to our inner selves and let in the Christ light, let our wills be one with His, listen to His voice, heed His call. To know self is an opportunity. To know self to be one with God is the supreme opportunity of man.
The Higher the Ideal, the Greater Are the Opportunities
Each and every soul must come to the consciousness of being a service in the activities of that it, the soul, worships in the infinite sphere or spiritual force. 262-50
Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Light, is the highest ideal. By holding to any lesser ideal for thought and action we build a fence around ourselves; we confine ourselves to conventionalities; we block the gate to service.
We must be free-free to think our own thoughts, free to live our own lives-and this freedom must be born of an attunement with an unlimited idea. "Know the truth and the truth shall make you free." What is Truth?
Remember, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." "Without me ye can do nothing." Without Christ, we could not of ourselves even recognize our opportunities, so filled would we be with self and selfish interests.
Let the meditations of the heart, let those activities of the body, bespeak that thou wouldst offer in self as an opportunity or channel for another to seek, to know, thy God. 262-50
Faith Helps Us Grasp Opportunity
An opportunity to demonstrate spiritual truth may come our way. Our so-called better judgment, from the material standpoint, may suggest that it is wiser to step aside and let it pass; for if there is to be a failure, it would be better for another to have the experience rather than have it ourselves. There is lack of faith in such reasoning. Faith is the inner spiritual knowledge of the Creative Forces of the Universe. It cannot be recognized by others who do not have the same inner guidance. They may call it poor judgment.
With faith we can move mountains of doubt, prove that thoughts are things and that words have power. Physical, mental, and spiritual demonstrations take place when no way seems open.
Using what we have in hand, doing with all our might what our hands find to do, let us seize each opportunity. It is ours to act, to plan, to work; it is for Him, the author of faith, to give the increase. We may profess to have faith; but it is our actions that show how much we believe. As we study, as we meditate, as we seek to use each opportunity, our faith in Christ, in the Father, in our neighbor, in ourselves, will grow. He has promised that help, strength, and understanding sufficient for all our needs will be supplied.
There will come tests-in the physical, the mental, the spiritual life. At these times we should rely on His promise, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Are we to be carried about by every wind of doctrine? Shall we fear as those who have no hope? In the trials and tests through which the world is passing, where are we found? Are we stepping out on faith, knowing that His presence is with us? Are we giving hope, faith, and comfort to those who have not had our opportunities? Do we not feel that we are called at this time to let our light shine in the dark places of doubt and fear? Is our faith firm in what has been promised, and are we passing it on to others? If not, we are weaklings who are drifting, and falling short of the calling whereunto we have been called. "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." "For the day of the Lord is at hand."
Opportunities Found in Fellowship
What opportunity does fellowship with the Father offer? Surely we have experienced the relief that comes when we go to Him with our sorrows. It is there that our problems are solved, there that we find the peace that passes understanding.
The acknowledgment of our physical weaknesses becomes an opportunity for exercising our greater strength-the Divine within. As we take advantage of an opportunity in one direction, the Divine within helps us to recognize others. We know that we have fellowship with the Father if we love others and seek to serve them. Everywhere there are such opportunities, so we should be on our guard, to be sure that we use wisdom and discretion, to be sure that we recognize the opportunities that will take us onward toward the supreme opportunity, which is to be one with Him in desire and purpose. What is the Way? As He has given to those to whom He spoke, to whom He will speak, "... lovest thou me more than these?... feed my lambs... lovest thou me? ... feed my sheep."
[Symbolically] the sheep represent those that know of, and know, the Way. The lambs represent those that seek, that would know, that would find the Way, that would come if shown the tenderness expressed in The good shepherd feedeth the sheep; he tendeth the lambs." 262-51
We must both feed the sheep and tend the lambs.
Opportunities Are Recognized Through Virtue and Understanding
With virtue comes understanding and with understanding comes all the power and privilege of Divine Light. Armed with the weapons of spiritual warfare, we are able to enlarge our fields of helpfulness. We can, as with a two-edged sword, divide the right from the wrong, the true from the false, and be able to attempt greater things in His Name.
Life in the earth is a manifestation of God. It is no wonder, then, that we love to think of it as everlasting. Yet, when we misuse our opportunities, we misapply the knowledge we have of life and reap the results. If we do good, good must return to us, for "like begets like," not as a reward, but as a result of law. The result is spiritual understanding, which is a growth in spiritual development.
The direction in which we turn the activities of our life depends upon how we think, for "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he." All power, all force, all life is from one source; if we misuse any portion of it, either by thought or action, we do not destroy it for it is of God, but we darken our own way; we dim the light that might be a help to others.
Many are wise in their own conceit; and often, as the Master said, "the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light," since they use what light they have, even though they use it selfishly.
On such a basis the Athenians built an altar to the Unknown God. Paid declared that they ignorantly worshiped this Unknown God. For such a message he would have had to forfeit his life, if he had not clothed it in wisdom and delivered it with understanding. He knew the Athenian law against the introduction of other gods, so he took them where they were and preached God, the Father, "in him we live, and move, and have our being," whom, he said, "ye ignorantly worship." In the same manner we must watch our opportunities. We must be in such close touch with the infinite source of understanding that we at all times may render the right service in the right place.
Our Opportunities Should Be Met in Patience
In exercising patience we learn to recognize daily the little opportunities which are so important. Impatience to do great things blinds us. We should count it a privilege to be a servant of the servants in the Kingdom of God. Our servant is God's free individual; for in service to humanity we are making our wills one with His.
To do this requires patience with ourselves as well as with others. "In your patience possess ye your souls." It is possible to have a thing and yet not possess it. Our soul has within it all the attributes of the Divine. It is worth waiting, striving, working to understand and know ourselves to be individual and yet one with God. Let us not be in haste, but count each step as an opportunity.
The Open Door Is the Way into Greater Fields of Opportunity
Faint not in well doing, for there is being opened the door for greater opportunities. 262-51
Perception of truth is a growth in consciousness. Our finite minds cannot grasp all truth; however, doors are continually being opened through which we may go to greater concepts of truth, to greater understanding of the boundless love of the Father. There is being opened glory in the Spirit of Truth that convinces us of the knowledge of our relationship with the Father.
Now, as never before, there is open a door that none can close; for His word must be fulfilled,"... they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest."
It Is an Opportunity to Realize His Presence
When we seek to keep His Presence as a thing apart, something to be experienced, something to be aware of when we are disturbed in some manner, we lose sight of the fact that to abide in His Presence is the experience, the knowledge, the understanding, the opportunity of all as we seek to do His biddings. His Presence abides with us always, for it is in Him that we live and move and have our being. We must recognize this, come to know and understand it, to realize that we are children of the Most High. To be aware of His Presence is our heritage, our great opportunity in this material plane.
Opportunities Found in the Cross, in the Crown
Have we had a cross to bear lately? If we counted it an opportunity, it was easier to carry. Maybe we learned just the lesson we most needed in this experience. Know in whom thou hast believed, for the spirit of Right guards those who choose His way in directing the mental and spiritual life; "And know that all things work together for good to them that love God.. ." May we bear each cross with such a spirit and feel that all things are working together for our good.
This was exemplified in Him who is the Master of masters. It is a great opportunity to live day by day in such a manner that the Christ spirit may shine within, to heal and to bless.
The Opportunity to Know That the Lord Thy God Is One
When the divinity of Jesus was declared by Peter, Jesus said to him, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Just so, to realize the oneness of all force-the Lord thy God is one-is an opportunity that comes through divine inspiration.
In order to have this experience we must conform to the things of spirit. Peter forsook all and followed the Master. Do we? That is not easy to do when viewed from a worldy standpoint; but if we pay the price, we too may see the glory of the oneness made perfect in Him.
There should be gladness in our activities. We should be on fire to use every opportunity to show that we realize that, "Hear, 0 Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord." Are our wills one with His, or are they seeking to glorify our own desires, our own selfish interests? We should know that the way is not long, nor is the cross more grievous than we can bear, if our trust is in Him.
It Is an Opportunity to Love
We can recognize now as never before those attributes of the soul, that are ours to be used. Gradually, we come to realize the Presence of the Father, the oneness of all force, and the fact that the way back to perfection is through Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. This is made perfect in love. To love is the noblest expression of humankind. It is not simply of God, it is God; and as we manifest it, we manifest the God force that is within us. Whether in the physical, mental, or spiritual body, this power is the strongest and most dominant influence.
To love is our greatest opportunity. It brings happiness as nothing else does. All that is good is made a part of us as we seek to express love for our fellow human beings. Thoughts, words, acts, are opportunities for us to express this force day by day.
Consecrate yourselves, your bodies, your minds, your abilities in every direction, to the opportunities to be of service to those ye meet and contact day by day. 262-53
As we may ignorantly destroy a priceless painting with a few scratches, so may we, in misusing and misdirecting our forces, mar our bodies, our minds, our souls, in such a way that only a God of Love can recognize us. Though we may direct love into many channels, there is only One through whom there will be a realization of love made perfect, and that is found in Him, who said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another."
The time draws near, the time is at hand, when there is more and more seeking for light and understanding. Let us then, in His way, manifest from day to day the love that has been showered upon us. May we so live that our lives become an example to those who seek.
May we pray:
The Lord guide Thou [me] Thy servant in the ways [that he] should go.
"Let my going in, mine coming out, be wholly within the ways Thou would have me go. Direct my steps, direct my mind. Let Thy will be done in me; for, as the heart panteth after Thy own will, may my spirit bear witness-in the things my body does day by day-that the Lord is in His Holy Temple, and the rod has not passed from those that call on His name. For the glory of the Father to the sons of men may be expressed in those that would guide, guard and keep the holy ways." 262-51