The Inner Core
Robert L. Marshall
Chapter 1 — The Path of Mysticism
You are a mystic! You wouldn’t even be reading these words if you weren’t interested in the study of the invisible mysteries of life, the unknown that lies just beyond our reach. Yet if you are to immerse yourself in mysticism and not just dabble in phenomena, you will have to first determine your level of commitment. Pioneering is not easy. You will turn back before a major breakthrough if you are not totally committed.
I once watched a documentary of a young woman who was one of the top rock climbers in the country. This film followed her on a solo climb up a several-hundred-foot crevice. Much of the climb she made by stretching her legs across the narrow gap with one foot on each side. Keeping pressure on the opposite slabs, she would inch her way up between them. She had a safety rope around her waist and every so often would secure another clasp to the stone wall, so if she fell, the rope would break her fall.
About two-thirds of the way up, the rope became tangled at the bottom. No matter how she tried to dislodge it, the rope remained stuck and would stretch no higher. A dedicated climber would have reluctantly begun a descent. Instead, she untied the rope from her waist and continued; near the top, the gap became larger. She had to stretch across with hands on one side and feet on the other. I breathlessly applauded her courage and commitment as she cleared the top.
At the time the climber untied the rope, the stakes went up. Before, the climb was something she was doing with her life. After, it was her life! That is the commitment required to unlock your piece of Christ consciousness and give it to the world. It is not enough to be a dedicated student. You must have committed your whole life to God.
Once a teenager excitedly told me that she had just dedicated her whole life to God. It had been an important turning point for her, and she knew exactly when it happened.
As I contemplated this, I realized that in my own life, I could not pinpoint an exact moment when I completely committed my life to God, but it was true nonetheless. For me, it had come subtly, piece by piece, until that commitment was the deepest driving force of my life.
This is the time to ask yourself how committed you are to surrendering your life to God to be used as a spiritual experiment for the betterment of humankind. If you are unsure that you have ever made this total commitment before, you can proceed by making it now. You can untie the safety rope around your waist and abandon your life to serving God’s purposes wherever they may lead you.
Professing commitment and expressing commitment are often somewhat different phenomena. Consequently, I suggest that those who wish to join the ranks of the spiritual explorers make concrete commitments in three basic areas. In this way, you will open the doors to success. Unwillingness to make a commitment in these areas generally means you do not have sufficient stamina to endure very far down the path into the unknown.
The first area of commitment is service. Jesus stated quite clearly that anyone who would become great must learn to serve (Luke 22:25-27).
Beginning-stage Truth students center upon taking as much enlightenment as they can. “Feed me, feed me,” they cry—like baby birds. As they decide they are more advanced, they start roving from place to place seeking something they haven’t heard. They migrate from church to church, workshop to workshop, looking for the magic key. Each time they leave, they claim they have “outgrown” this church or that teacher.
What they fail to realize is that all the higher lessons come when we quit coming to “take” enlightenment and come to give something. You serve when you quit demanding that spiritual gatherings teach you something new. Rather, you go to give support, to help in any menial way you can, to be part of the group consciousness and, thus, give yourself to the group. Teaching is a way of serving, but be careful because it also has a way of making you feel important. If you are doing it for the adulation, you are still taking.
Choose a church or service organization and volunteer to help in some way, even silently giving your energies if no outer vehicle presents itself. In lieu of an organization, you must create a special plan for serving others all on your own.
The second area of commitment is finances. I include this because so many would rather leave it out. If any area of your life is too secular to be committed to God, you are not totally committed. You are starting down the river in a leaky boat.
Make sure you have discussed finances with God. Make a commitment between you and God (no one else) as to how you will share your abundance with God’s physical work on this earth plane. I tithe to be clear on my financial commitment. You must come to whatever agreement you and God can arrive at. Then fulfill it. Don’t be too tight here. You are asking for Gods full commitment to you on your journey ahead. You will receive the commitment you give.
The third area of commitment is integrity, to explore and teach what you learn. You are making the commitment to choose an area of consciousness. Dedicate your energies to it until you have tapped its hidden potentials, and condense all you have learned into a package that can be presented to others.
This is the foundation block upon which Inner Core groups are born. Those who plead inadequacy and come to the group only to learn what others have found rarely last long. You are committing to work. Even as a rank beginner, you have much to offer if you fulfill your commitment to do spiritual work.
The Inner Core gathering is not a class or discussion group, club or fraternity. None of these carries the level of commitment we are seeking or the sacredness of its mission. Were I to give it a name, I would say that each Inner Core group becomes a mystical order. Each member is held together with the others of the group by the highest of spiritual values. Each is totally committed to the other’s success in mystical exploration. Each is totally committed to putting his or her whole being into the spiritual work before them. Together, they are silently joining in consciousness with spiritual explorers everywhere. Remember the sacredness of the purposes you serve.
A Mission Statement
If one were asked for the mission statement of mystical exploration, it could be stated clearly by quoting one of Jesus’ power statements: “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (Jn. 12:32).
A number of years ago, I affirmed this statement hundreds of times a day for six weeks. I was on a quest to know what it felt like to be the man who made this powerful statement. Day by day the words filled with energy and became richer. The meaning behind them expanded to include volumes that could not be recorded. It became utter joy just to speak them.
I began to grasp the mission. We are all united. One cannot rise without lifting everyone around us. We ask not to be lifted above other people but to be the channel through which everyone is lifted. We make the joyous realization that as we succeed, so does all humankind.
“Father, allow me to rise out of limitation, knowing that all humanity will be irresistibly drawn up around me. Let me do it for the whole.” Through spiritual exploration, we carry on Jesus’ mission of lifting humanity to new heights.
I suggest that you affirm an updated version of this statement, I, if I be lifted up ... will draw all humanity unto me, until it resonates in your being. Use this statement individually, and use it as a group. It will keep you centered on your purpose.
As a mystic, you are a disciple of the Master, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the head of our mystical order. We need to explore the meaning of that disciple/Master relationship that is often referred to so glibly.
The Disciple/Master Relationship
As a disciple, you have committed to follow in the Masters footsteps ... to apply his teachings in every area of your life ... to emulate his consciousness ... to walk in his presence ... to accept the challenge of doing the things he did .. . reaching and trying until you succeed ... until you break through to the inner kingdom where he did his work ... until you join his ranks as a Master, an awakened child of God, worthy of being called brother or sister of Jesus Christ.
Quite a tall order. Discipleship is not for the faint of heart. It is like in moving a mountain of dirt, you begin that monstrous task with the first shovelful. Then just keep shoveling.
In return for your commitment as disciple, Jesus is there as your example, your friend, and your teacher. His presence is available to you as you meditate and pray. Ask him to sit with you. He can merge with you when you don’t feel up to the task at hand. His presence is with you in the difficult times. Truly, this disciple/Master relationship is worth cultivating.
Upon entering a committed spiritual path, the disciple is initiated into the ranks of the others who share the path. In the end, initiation is an inner experience that acts like a punctuation mark between one pattern of life and a new one. This mile marker may stand out boldly as with my young friend who knew exactly when she committed her life to God, or it may be so subtle as to be missed. For this reason, mystical movements celebrate initiation with outer traditions.
You may believe that you have never been through an outer initiation before. Yet that may be untrue. If you have ever joined a Christian church of any denomination or been baptized, you have received the first initiation into the ranks of those who follow Jesus Christ. Once again, let me remind you the real initiation took place within your heart when you made your commitment.
There are other initiations beyond that early one. When you accept responsibility in your spiritual family by serving or teaching, you accept a deeper commitment and initiation, though it may not be recognized in an outer way. Ordination is an initiation into the ranks of those who will serve God in a professional capacity, often by leading in a church structure. Thus ministers enter a brother-sisterhood of a particular path. Other mystical groups initiate aspirants in healing orders or agricultural orders (serving nature spiritually).
When you embrace the path of spiritual exploration, you are initiated into the ranks of all of those who have been spiritual pioneers—all of those whose goal is to expand and lift the consciousness of the planet, to serve the whole in this way. Essentially, you are initiated into the spiritual hierarchy.
Years ago, when I first heard the words spiritual hierarchy, something inside me responded with a joyous, “Yes!” In some form or other, all the great beings throughout the ages that have tried to lift humankind above animalistic drives to realization of our divine nature must still be working with the human-race consciousness of our planet. Their desire for the good of the whole would unite them. Add to them the angels and celestial beings serving the Earth and you have a massive hierarchy, all contributing at their level of awakening. Together, they are slowly guiding the ship of human consciousness toward a heavenly harbor ahead.
Jesus is at the wheel of this ship, but everyone is contributing a part to the whole. Beings incarnate in physical form must be part of this grand scheme of awakening, united with those beyond by that deep-seated desire for the good of the whole. Some stand out and are recognized. Others contribute silently—unheralded.
I remember as this vision took form in my mind’s eye, desire leapt in my heart: I want to serve the spiritual hierarchy. Let me just be a pencil sharpener for the hierarchy, and my life will be full!
When we accept initiation into spiritual exploration as our path of service, we humbly join the ranks of all the beings of Light that serve this planet. To be their pencil sharpener is worth all the drudgery and work our path may create.
A Full Pail
Lillian is a good friend of mine who has been interested in altruistic ideals all of her life. She envisions a gentler world where the beauty of spiritual ideals dominates. Her path has taken her through a number of mystics and charismatic teachers. In each case, she has been willing to sit at their feet and do whatever they would tell her in order to live in that more beautiful reality.
A number of years ago she attended an evening lecture given by a mystical teacher. His presentation was so inspiring that she felt led to approach him afterward. She offered her enthusiastic appreciation of his words and finally asked for his guidance by blurting out: “I want to help the world. What should I do?”
The teacher looked deeply into her energetic and naive enthusiasm with compassion. He paused and then replied quite directly, “Before you can quench the thirst of the masses, your own pail must be full.” He ended with a gentle smile and then turned to the next person waiting behind her.
In those few words, he had redirected her out of the fantasies of the spiritual path and into its realities. The task is not accomplished by simply catching the vision. All the enthusiasm in the world cannot replace good, hard work.
You who think you have come so far and are ready to embark upon the noble task of serving the world, recognize that your pail is empty. Only then can you choose wisely what you will put into it. Only when your pail contains something of worth can you truly serve the world.
Ask yourself: What will I put into my pail? In what particular area of consciousness will I do my good, hard work? It’s often a difficult choice. After all, there is so much to choose from. How can I narrow it down? How can I determine what I need to work on most?
Your Spiritual Assignment
If we are serving the hierarchy with our lives, then surely we want our efforts to blend with the needs of the whole. We want an “assignment,” something that is our particular contribution.
You have probably already recognized that God seems to be giving you assignments almost every day. People approach whom you can help in some way. You happen onto something that you have the skill to fix. You see the opportunity to create a little beauty. Life offers us these assignments automatically if we are looking for them. Your assignment for spiritual exploration is probably sitting right in front of you.
Realize that your assignment is to build a particular chunk of consciousness. As a group, we are building Christ into human awareness, block by block. You will meditate and integrate into your consciousness a certain higher energy or ability. You will take it far beyond the concept stage. You will build it into your guts until it is no longer something you think to do, but an energy you radiate without thinking.
Two Logical Approaches
There are two approaches you can take toward logically discovering your assignment.
The first is to consider what comes to you naturally. If healing is something for which you have a real affinity, maybe that’s where you should begin. If you are already tapping into prophetic dreaming, consider refining the experience and dissecting its components until you can teach others how to experience the same thing. Something that is already partially developed may give you a jumping-off spot for diving into the depths.
The second approach is quite the opposite. After having spent more than five years on my heart, I took a sincere look at my consciousness and tried to determine where I was weakest. The logic was that to balance my consciousness I needed to develop something I didn’t feel connected with yet.
Will was my strongest faculty. I’d worked with abundance and made some breakthroughs there. Though I was healthy, I realized I’d always accomplished it with will, not healing life.
I didn’t feel tightly connected to that life force that seemed to flow naturally through the lumberjack type of individual or the body-to-body communication that comes so naturally to some people. So I chose life force as my next assignment.
For those of you who find your assignment in your weakness rather than your strength, remember to be steadfast in your conviction to not give up until you succeed. It is a difficult task to develop a void in consciousness because you have little to start with. It can be tedious, even fruitless, for long periods of time. When you finally break through, you will know it was worth all the work. Even if you build only a meager flow of this energy through your life, things improve for you dramatically.
I worked with life force for months with no seeming success before I started to see small breakthroughs. Though my results seemed quite limited, I made some unusual discoveries that have proved valuable even to those who touch life force naturally.
The Universal Assignment
If after all is said and done, you do not feel directed to any particular assignment, consider working on opening your heart center. This project is universal. Jesus presented to his disciples the path of the heart. Open your heart and everything else will flow quite naturally. Future assignments will come into focus. An open heart is the springboard to everything else.
Once you have contemplated the possibilities that lie before you, fall back and regroup. The exploration chosen is an “assignment” because it is God-directed, not self-directed. Do your homework. Examine your consciousness ... your strengths ... your flaws ... what you are attracted to. Then consult God. Ask God to show you what to pursue or to confirm one of the choices before you. Be open, receptive, and willing to do the will of God, whatever it might be.
It is time to go into meditation, to dedicate your life to God, to experience the sacredness of the purpose you now take on, to receive your assignment, and to accept initiation into the brother-sisterhood of all the beings of light who serve the One.
The Initiation Meditation
Sit comfortably with your back erect. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and sigh it out slowly. Now feel your whole body relaxing more and more with every breath that you take.
“Peace, be still. Peace, be still.” Feel a flow of peace settling over your being. All the emotions of outer life depart, leaving only the deep, nurturing peace of God. You rest in the arms of Spirit and feel a wonderful sense of well-being. For a moment now, abandon your outer self and dwell totally in the inner kingdom.
Let your mind rest upon the words: I, if I be lifted up, will draw all humanity unto me... I, if I be lifted up, will draw all humanity unto me. Affirm the words silently: I, if I be lifted up, will draw all humanity unto me.
Keep repeating the words within until your whole being seems to thrill to the higher meaning and higher purpose they embody. I, if I be lifted up... Feel Spirit drawing you into the heights, feel yourself ascending in consciousness far beyond the confines of your present earthly life.
... will draw all humanity unto me. Sense that as you rise, everyone rises. Feel all human beings everywhere sharing your resurrection into higher consciousness. Feel them all joyously lifting out of limitation. Feel grateful that you are irresistibly tied to everyone else in the world. We rise together. And others will rise beyond us using the footholds we gain.
I, if I be lifted up, will draw all humanity unto me. Feel the high purpose you aspire to. Feel your dedication to becoming a bridge ... your dedication to fulfilling God’s highest purposes for your life.
Now, in your mind’s eye, let your quest take visual form. See yourself walking down a quiet, secluded walkway to the sacred inner Temple that lies within you. You know this is the place where you will come face-to-face with God and dedicate your life to the Divine.
As you approach the door, hesitate, contemplating the sacred step you are about to take. Center yourself in your spiritual commitment. Focus your whole being upon the experience before you and walk through the door into the Temple.
As you enter, you realize that there is a great gathering of Light beings in your honor. They fill the sanctuary. Before you lies the center aisle leading to the altar in the front, and focusing your attention upon it, slowly and ceremoniously you make your way forward until you stand beyond the gathered crowd and alone before the altar.
A silence that is dynamic and latent with power fills the room. You are in the presence of the Almighty—God, the One. That Presence floods you with emotions and energies that are beyond description. It is as if you stand isolated from all else, face-to-face with the indefinable Presence from which we draw our very life. You feel Divine Love enfolding you, Divine Light brilliantly swelling all around you, Infinite Power permeating the atmosphere.
In utter humility, you kneel before the altar and dedicate your whole life to God. Every aspect of it. “God, use me in whatever way You will. All that I am is Yours.” Offer your life as a spiritual explorer. “I will become Your spiritual laboratory that my struggles may become the means by which humanity discovers a piece of our higher identity and rises more fully into Thy presence. Fill me with the strength to serve Thy purposes in every event of my life. Help me to make a difference.” Now ask: “God, what would You have me do? What shall I explore? What shall be my assignment?” With expectation, open your mind to receive direction. Spend a few moments in silence, receptive to God’s inspiration.
Now ask God for inspiration as to how to pursue your spiritual goals. How will you fulfill your task? Where will you start? What research should you do? What practices will help you break through this virgin territory? How will you live it out in your life? Once again, take a few moments in silence to receive God’s divine inspiration.
Having received and taking that inspiration deep into your heart, rise and turn to face the gathering of angels, celestial beings, avatars, and great beings of Light. At their head is your teacher, Jesus Christ. Their attention is upon you, and they seem to be welcoming you directly from their hearts. The feeling of acceptance is overwhelming.
Joy rises in the room as you realize that you are joining the spiritual hierarchy. A voice resounds within your own being: “The Holy Spirit, moving through you, initiates you into the ranks of the Inner Core. Enter the spiritual hierarchy as a disciple of Jesus Christ, dedicated to spiritual awakening.”
After a moment you focus upon the doors at the entrance to the sanctuary and begin your path by resolutely walking down the aisle back into your outer life. With you, you take all the energy from your encounter with the Divine, your assignment, the inspirations that go along with it, and the shared consciousness of Light that you now dip into with all of those who gathered on your behalf.
Keep the feelings from your inner encounter but now sense your body once again. Feel yourself in your physical life, in this physical room, yet subtly merged with the spiritual experience you have just completed.
Take a deep breath. Sigh it out. Then another. Take joy in the feeling of well-being within your body and optimism for your life. Say out loud or silently: “Thank You, God, for Your presence with me now and always. Amen.”
Before you do anything else, take time to journal what you experienced, what assignment you received, and any inspirations as to how you will go about exploring in your designated area.
Follow Your Guidance
Your experience may not have been what you expected. You may have been quite sure what area you would be working in, only to have something else come up during the meditation. The key here is to follow any guidance received. That which came to you during the time when you were totally open and receptive to God’s direction has precedence over anything you figured out for yourself beforehand.
Liz had concluded that she would be approaching the central goal, that of awakening her Christ Self. Yet, during the initiation meditation, she was told to pursue her art—something she’d laid aside for some time. Mystified, she took up her paintbrush once again and was amazed at the joy that surged through her being as creativity was released.
She went on to do some “spirit drawing,” a practice she’d been inspired to pursue. Blindfolded, she would paint her feelings onto the canvas, then excitedly look to see what creations came out of her subconscious. Her artwork broke something loose within her that had clogged the flow. In the process, it had moved her much farther down the road toward awakening her Christ Self.
Tom was certain he would be opening his heart as a project. He emerged from meditation saying he had received something, but he wasn’t sure he liked it. “All I got was, ‘Work on silence.’ What does that mean? Is God telling me to be quiet?”
“Yes,” I answered, “but this is a high and wonderful assignment. Inner silence is where all the exciting stuff of Spirit happens.” Silence became for Tom his door into the heart. Anyone who has pursued silence has discovered that it leads to all the higher realms.
Once again, the assignment God gave him was truly a divine appointment.
What about the few of you who have returned from the initiation meditation with a wonderful experience but still no clarity on your assignment? Don’t fret or resign to failure. Some people take longer to receive their instructions. As long as you felt the commitment, you are already on your way.
Observe your life over the next few days and see if something comes into focus that Spirit seems to be showing you. Sometimes the inspiration comes in a delayed reaction. If after a week nothing comes, make the best decision you can on your own. Occasionally we are asked to make up our own minds with God interfering only if we head in a destructive direction.
If you find yourself in this position, read over the list of suggested frontiers in the next chapter. Pay attention to anything that seems to “catch hold of you” when you do. Watch to see if something jumps out at you. It might be an area that seems particularly exciting. Or it could be a subject that causes you distress, as if it were a lesson that lay ahead, but you are resisting.
One individual stated: “I got a lot of energy off the section on purification. I felt my body get hot and an uneasy energy rise in me when you were talking about it. It isn’t a subject I’m comfortable with, but I feel that’s where my life is leading me.”
Add all of your logic, inspiration, and contemplations together and come to some conclusions. Then take these results into meditation, seeking confirmation. If you realize that God is active in your mind, you can’t really make a mistake. You do need to make a decision.
If after all of this you are still running in circles trying to decide what to explore, remember my suggestion to take the assignment of opening your heart. You will be following Jesus’ instructions, and a little heart work should clear the way to perceive future assignments.
This brings up one last point. You may not stick with this one assignment. Down the road at any time, you may sense that you are finished for now and choose a new direction of exploration.
This is the natural flow of things, but it carries with it a pit-fall. There are so many wonderful spiritual energies beckoning to us. There is a temptation to switch from project to project when one gets a little bored. If you never make it through the dreary stage in developing a certain quality, you never gain the prize.
Remember, I spent between five and seven years with heart as my main focus before sensing it was time to move on. You won’t do this with everything, but you will do it with a few projects.
When you accept an assignment, you won’t give up all the other areas of spiritual learning. Life will continue to give you a well-balanced course of study. You simply choose to give emphasis to the spiritual exploration you have accepted, while giving only normal attention to all the other lessons demanded of you.
Keep in mind the words of one meditation teacher who stated: “When you dig a well, you don’t find water by digging three feet down in a hundred places. You must dig a hundred feet down in one place.”
© 2001, Robert L. Marshall
All rights reserved by the author.
Reprinted with permission.