10. Finding the Secret Place
1. How to seek the secret place -- where to find it -- how to abide in it -- these are the questions that today, more than at any other time in the history of the world, are engaging the hearts of men. More than anything else it is what I want. It is what you want.
2. All the steps that we are taking by speaking words of Truth and striving to manifest the light which we have already received are carrying us on swiftly to the time when we shall have consciously the perfect mind of Christ, with all the love and beauty and health and power which that implies.
3. We need not be anxious or in a hurry for the full manifestation. Let us not at any time lose sight of the fact that our desire, great as it is, is only God's desire in us. "No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him" (John 6:44). The Father in us desires to reveal to us the secret of His presence, else we had not known any hunger for the secret, or for Truth.
4. "Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit" (John 15:16).
5. Whoever you are that read these words, wherever you stand in the world, be it on the platform preaching the gospel, or in the humblest little home seeking Truth, that you may make it manifest in a sweeter, stronger, less selfish life, know once and forever that you are not seeking God, but God is seeking you. Your longing for greater manifestation is the eternal energy that holds the worlds in their orbits, outpushing through you to get into fuller manifestation. You need not worry. You need not be anxious. You need not strive. Only let it. Learn how to let it.
6. After all our beating about the bush, seeking here and there for our heart's desire, we must come right to Him who is the fulfillment of every desire; who waits to manifest more of Himself to us and through us. If you wanted my love or anything that I am (not that I have), you would not go to Tom Jones or to Mary Smith to get it. Either of those persons might tell you that I could and would give myself, but you would have to come directly to me, and receive of me that which only I am, because I am it.
7. In some way, after all our seeking for the light and Truth, we must learn to wait, each one for himself, upon God for this inner revelation of Truth and our oneness with Him.
8. The light that we want is not some thing that God has to give; it is God Himself. God does not give us life or love as a thing. God is life and light and love. More of Himself in our consciousness, then, is what we all want, no matter what other name we may give it.
9. My enduement of power must come from "on high," from a higher region within myself than my present conscious mind; so must yours. It must be a descent of the Holy (whole, entire, complete) Spirit at the center of your being into your conscious mind. The illumination we want can never come in any other way; nor can the power to make good manifest.
10. We hear a great deal about "sitting in the silence." To many it does not mean very much, for they have not yet learned how to "wait. . .in silence for God only" (Psalms 62:5), or to hear any voice except external ones. Noise belongs to the outside world, not to God. God works in the stillness, and we can so wait upon the Father of our being as to be conscious of the still, inner working -- conscious of the fulfillment of our desires. "They that seek Jehovah shall renew their strength" (Isa. 40:31).
11. In one of Edward Everett Hale's stories, he speaks of a little girl who, amidst her play with the butterflies and birds in a country place, used to run into a nearby chapel frequently to pray; and after praying always remained perfectly still a few minutes, "waiting," she said, "to see if God wanted to say anything" to her. Children are often nearest the kingdom.
12. When beginning the practice of sitting in the silence, do not feel that you must go and sit with some other person. The presence of another person is apt to distract the mind. Learn first how to commune alone with the Creator of the universe, who is all-companionship. When you are able to withdraw from the outside and be alone with Him, then sitting with others may be profitable to you and to them.
13. "Sitting in the silence" is not merely a sort of lazy drifting. It is a passive, but a definite, waiting upon God. When you want to do this, take a time when you can, for a little while, lay off all care. Begin your silence by lifting up your heart in prayer to the Father of your being. Do not be afraid that, if you begin to pray, you will be too "orthodox." You are not going to supplicate God, who has already given you things "whatsoever ye desire" (Mark 11:24 A.V.). You have already learned that before you call He has sent that which you desire; otherwise you would not desire it.
14. You know better than to plead with or to beseech God with an unbelieving prayer. But spending the first few moments of your silence in speaking directly to the Father centers your mind on the Eternal. Many who earnestly try to get still and wait upon God have found that, the moment they sit down and close their eyes, their thoughts, instead of being concentrated, are filled with every sort of vain imagination. The most trivial things, from the fixing of a shoestring to the gossipy conversation of a week ago, chase one another in rapid succession through their minds, and at the end of an hour the persons have gained nothing. This is to them discouraging.
15. This is but a natural result of trying not to think at all. Nature abhors a vacuum, and if you make (or try to make) your mind a vacuum, the thought images of others that fill the atmosphere about you will rush in to fill it, leaving you as far away from the consciousness of the divine presence as ever. You can prevent this by beginning your silence with prayer.
16. It is always easier for the mind to say realizingly, "Thy will is being done in me now," after having prayed, "Let Thy will be done in me." It is always easier to say with realization, "God flows through me as life and peace and power," after having prayed, "Let Thy life flow through me anew while I wait." Of course prayer does not change God's attitude toward us, but it is easier for the human mind to take several successive steps with firmness and assurance than for it to take one big, bold leap to a point of eminence and hold itself steady there. While you are thus concentrating your thoughts on God, in definite conversation with the author of your being, no outside thought images can possibly rush in to torment or distract you. Your mind, instead of being open toward the external, is closed to it, and open only to God, the source of all the good you desire.
17. Of course there is to be no set form of words used. But sometimes using words similar to the first few verses of the 103d Psalm, in the beginning of the silent communion, makes it a matter of face-to-face speaking: "Thou forgivest all mine iniquities (or mistakes); Thou healest all my diseases; Thou redeemest my life from destruction, and crownest me with loving kindness, now, now, while I wait upon Thee." Sometimes we may enter into the inner chamber with the words of a familiar hymn; as:
Thou art the life within me, O Christ, Thou King of Kings;
Thou art Thyself the answer
To all my questionings.
18. Repeat the words many times, not anxiously or with strained effort, not reaching out and up and away to an outside God; but let the petition be the quiet, earnest uplifting of the heart to a higher something right within itself, even to "the Father in me" (John 14:11). Let it be made with the quietness and assurance of a child speaking to his loving father.
19. Some persons carry in their faces a strained, white look that comes from an abnormal "sitting in the silence," as they term it. It is hard for them to know that God is right here within them, and while in the silence they fall into the way of reaching away out and up after Him. Such are earnest men truly feeling after God if haply they may find Him, when all the time He is near them, even in their very hearts. Do not reach out thus. This is as though a seed were planted in the earth, and just because it recognized a vivifying, life-giving principle in the sun's rays, it did nothing but strain and stretch itself upward and outward to get more of the sun. You can see at a glance that by so doing it would get no solid roots in the earth where God intended them to be. The seed needs to send roots downward while it keeps its face turned toward the sun, and lets itself be drawn upward by the sun.
20. Some of us, in our desire to grow, and having recognized the necessity of waiting upon God in the stillness for the vivifying and renewing of life, make the mistake of climbing up and away from our bodies. Such abnormal outstretching and upreaching is neither wise nor profitable. After a little of it, one begins to get cold feet and congested head. While one is thus reaching out, the body is left alone, and it becomes correspondingly weak and negative. This is all wrong. We are not to reach out away from the body even after the Son of righteousness. We are rather to be still, and let the Son shine on us right where we are. The sun draws the shoot up as fast as it can bear it and be strong. We do not need to grow ourselves, only to let the Son "grow" us.
21. But we are consciously to let it; not merely to take the attitude of negatively letting it by not opposing it, but to put ourselves consciously where the Son can shine on us, and then "be still, and know" (Psalms 46:10) that while we wait there it is doing the work. While waiting upon God, we should, as much as possible, relax ourselves both mentally and physically. To use a very homely but practical illustration, take much the attitude of the entire being as do the fowls when taking a sun bath in the sand. Yet there is something more than a lax passivity to be maintained through it all. There must be a sort of conscious, active taking of that which God gives freely to us.
22. Let me see if I can make it plain. We first withdraw ourselves bodily and mentally from the outside world. We "enter into thine inner chamber, and . . . shut thy door" (Matt. 6:6) (the closet of our being, the very innermost part of ourselves), by turning our thoughts within. Just say, "Thou abidest within me; Thou art alive there now; Thou has all power; Thou art now the answer to all I desire; Thou dost now radiate Thyself from the center of my being to the circumference, and out into the visible world as the fullness of my desire." Then be still, absolutely still. Relax every part of your being, and believe that it is being done. The divine substance does flow in at the center and out into the visible world every moment you wait; for it is an immutable law that "every one that asketh receiveth" (Matt. 7:8). And substance will come forth as the fulfillment of your desire if you expect it to. "According to your faith be it done unto you" (Matt. 9:29).
23. If you find your mind wandering, bring it right back by saying again: "It is being done; Thou art working in me; I am receiving that which I desire," and so forth. Do not look for signs and wonders, but just be still and know that the very thing you want is flowing in and will come forth into manifestation either at once or a little farther on.
24. Go even beyond this and speak words of thanksgiving to this innermost Presence, that it has heard and answered, that it does now come forth into visibility. There is something about the mental act of thanksgiving that seems to carry the human mind far beyond the region of doubt into the clear atmosphere of faith and trust, where "all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26). Even if at first you are not conscious of having received anything from God, do not worry or cease from your thanksgiving. Do not go back of it again to the asking, but continue giving thanks that while you waited you did receive, and that what you received is now manifest; and believe me, you will soon rejoice and give thanks, not rigidly from a sense of duty, but because of the sure manifest fulfillment of your desire.
25. Do not let waiting in the silence become a bondage to you. If you find yourself getting into a strained attitude of mind or "heady," get up and go about some external work for a time. Or, if you find that your mind will wander, do not insist on concentrating; for the moment you get into a rigid mental attitude you shut off all inflow of the Divine into your consciousness. There must be a sort of relaxed passivity and yet an active taking it by faith. Shall I call it active passivity?
26. Of course, as we go in spiritual understanding and desire, we very soon come to the place where we want more than anything else that the desires of infinite wisdom and love be fulfilled in us. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:8).
27. Our desires are God's desires, but in a limited degree. We soon throw aside our limitations, our circumscribed desires (as soon, at least, as we see that more of God means more of good and joy and happiness), and with all our hearts we cry out in the silent sitting: "Fulfill Thy highest thought in me now!" We make ourselves as clay in the potter's hands, willing to be molded anew, to be "transformed into the same image" (II Cor. 3:18), to be made after the mind of the indwelling Christ.
28. We repeat from time to time, while waiting, words something like these: "Thou art now renewing me according to Thy highest thought for me; Thou art radiating Thy very self throughout my entire being, making me like to Thyself -- for there is nothing else but Thee. Father, I thank Thee, I thank Thee." Be still, be still while He works. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of Hosts" (Zech. 4:6).
29. While you thus wait, and let Him, He will work marvelous changes in you. You will have a strange new consciousness of serenity and quiet, a feeling that something has been done, that some new power to overcome has come to you. You will be able to say, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30), with a new meaning, a new sense of reality and awe that will make you feel very still. Oh! how one conscious touch of the Oversoul makes all life seem different! All the hard things become easy; the troublesome things no longer have power to worry; the rasping people and things of the world lose all power to annoy. Why? Because, for a time, we see as He sees. We do not have to deny evil; we know in that moment that it is nothing at all. We no longer rigidly affirm the good from sense of duty, but with delight and spontaneity, because we cannot help it. It is revealed to us as good. Faith has become reality.
30. Do not be discouraged if you do not at once get conscious results in this silent sitting. Every moment that you wait, Spirit is working to make you a new creature in Christ -- a creature possessing consciously His very own qualities and powers. There may be a working for days before you see any change; but it will surely come. You will soon get so that you can go into the silence, into conscious communion with your Lord, at a moment's notice, at any time, in any place.
31. There is no conflict or inconsistency between this waiting upon God to be made perfect, and the way of "speaking the word" out toward the external to make perfection visible. Waiting upon and consciously receiving from the Source only make the outspeaking (holding of right thoughts and words) easy, instead of laborious. Try it and see.
32. Clear revelation -- the word made alive as Truth to the consciousness -- must come to every man who continues to wait upon God. But remember, there are two conditions imposed. You are to wait upon God, not simply to run in and out, but to abide, to dwell "in the secret place of the Most High" (Psalms 91:1).
33. Of course I do not mean that you are to give all the time to sitting alone in meditation and silence, but that your mind shall be continually in an attitude of waiting upon God, not an attitude of clamoring for things, but of listening for the Father's voice and expecting a manifestation of the Father to your consciousness.
34. Jesus, our Master in spiritual knowledge and power, had many hours of lone communion with the Father, and His greatest works were done after these. So may we, so must we, commune alone with the Father if we would manifest the Christ. But Jesus did not spend all His time in receiving. He poured forth into everyday use, among the children of men in the ordinary vocations of life, that which He received of the Father. His knowledge of spiritual things was used constantly to uplift and to help other persons. We must do likewise; for newness of life and of revelation flows in the faster as we give out that which we have to help others. "Go, preach. . .Heal the sick. . .freely ye received, freely give" (Matt. 10:7,8), He said. Go manifest the Christ within you, which you have received of the Father. God works in us to will and to do, but we must work out our own salvation.
35. The second indispensable condition to finding the secret place and abiding in it is "my expectation is from him":
"My soul, wait thou in silence for God only;
For my expectation is from him."
-- (Psalms 62:5)
"Truly in vain is the help that is looked for from the hills, the tumult on the mountains: truly in Jehovah our God is the salvation of Israel" (Jer. 3:23). It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
36. Is your expectation from Him, or is it from books, or teachers, or friends, or meetings, or societies?
37. "The King of Israel, even Jehovah is in the midst of thee" (Zeph. 3:15). Think of it; In the midst of you -- at the center of your being this moment while you read these words. Say it, say it, think it, dwell on it, whoever you are, wherever you are! In the midst of you! Then what need for all this running around? What need for all this strained outreaching after Him?
38. "Jehovah thy God is in the midst of thee (not God in the midst of another, but in the midst of you, standing right where you are) a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over thee with singing" (Zeph. 3:17). You are His love. It is you that He will rejoice in with singing if you will turn away from people to Him within you. His singing and joy will so fill you that your life will be a great thanksgiving.
39. Your Lord is not my Lord, nor is my Lord your Lord. Your Lord is the Christ within your own being. My Lord is the Christ within my own being.
40. There is one Spirit, one Father of all, in us all, but there are different manifestations or individualities. Your Lord is He who will deliver you out of all your troubles. Your Lord has no other business but to manifest Himself to you and through you, and so make you mighty with His own mightiness made visible; whole with His health; perfect by showing forth the Christ perfection.
41. Let all your expectation be from your Lord. Let your communion be with Him. Wait upon the inner abiding Christ often, just as you would wait upon any visible teacher. When you are sick "wait thou in silence for God only" (Psalms 62:5) as the Most High, rather than upon healers. When you lack wisdom in small or large matters, "wait thou in silence for God only," and see what marvelous wisdom for action will be given you. When desiring to speak the word that will deliver another from the bondage of sickness or sin or sorrow, "wait thou in silence for God only," and exactly the right word will be given you, and power will go with it, for it will be alive with the power of Spirit.
Preceding Entry: Lessons In Truth 9: 9. The Secret Place of the Most High
Following Entry: Lessons In Truth 11: 11. Spiritual Gifts