Lessons In Truth - Lesson 8 - Annotation 7
What is the first step toward attaining spiritual understanding? Name other steps.
7. The first step toward attainment of anything is to desire it. We move toward attainment of spiritual understanding by desiring it with all our being, knowing it to be a part of the heritage that God gave us at our creation.
However, desire of itself does not bring understanding. Work has to be done in the soul to prepare it to accept the gift. The text brings out the point in the quotation from Emerson that "it comes to whomsoever will put off what is foreign and proud; it comes as insight" (Emilie Cady Lessons In Truth 8:13). When the desire for spiritual understanding is predominant in our consciousness, we begin to let go, through the process of denial, of all negative beliefs regarding ourselves; all thoughts of fear, envy, jealousy, anger fall away from us. We have a hunger to know more of spiritual things,
and we begin to study Truth principles by reading books, or by listening to teachers. We come to see the value of affirmations, and the importance of taking the words into meditation, so that our soul may "digest" the ideas back of them. We know we must take still another step. We must enter the silence where we listen to God as He fills the words of our meditation with life and meaning in order that we may feel the "spirit" of the words, which is spiritual understanding.
Perhaps no parable in the Bible points out more clearly the steps taken to attain spiritual understanding than does the story of the prodigal son. Until the prodigal son had the deep desire to get out of the condition in which he found himself in the "far country" he did not turn his thoughts toward his father. With this desire, however, "he came to himself" (Luke 15:17) and he was willing to let go (deny) the arrogant willfulness that had brought him to the wasting of his substance.
The prodigal's desire to go to his father and the denial of his error ways was followed by definite action, for we read, "And he arose, and came to his father" (Luke 15:20). As the son journeyed to the father's house, he went with a new purpose, not the selfish one he had started out with. Now he was willing to do what was right to put his life in order. After his return he heard the blessed words from his father,
"Bring forth quickly the best robe . . . and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring the fatted calf . . . for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:22, 23, 24).
When we are faithful to the steps that we must take to reach our Father's house, we too shall have the symbols of the robe, the ring, the shoes, and the fatted calf in the form of spiritual understanding to cover every phase of our existence.
Preceding Entry: When we ask for spiritual understanding and do not receive it, what is the reason?
Following Entry: What are some of the results experienced by us when we attain spiritual understanding?