Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate'er you may believe.
There is an inmost center in us all,
Where truth abides in fulness;
. . . and, to know,
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.
ALL DOWN the ages man has been making the spiritual effort to realize conscious union with that innermost center where Truth in all its glory abides eternally. This realization can be accomplished only through true prayer.
The disciples of Jesus earnestly importuned, "Lord, teach us to pray." Today, as disciples of the Master, we are asking of Him to be taught the way of unifying our consciousness with God-Mind. We would find that inner Truth which sets us free.
What is true prayer?
His instructions to the disciples were "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee" (Matt. 6:6). It is difficult to improve upon
this simple method. Quietly entering the inner chamber within the soul, shutting the door to the external thoughts of daily life, and seeking conscious union with God is the highest form of prayer we know.
The purpose of the silence is to still the activity of the individual thought so that the still small voice of God may be heard. For in the silence Spirit speaks Truth to us and just that Truth of which we stand in need.
Prayer is man's steady effort to know God. There is an intimate connecting spirit that logically unites man and his source. This connecting spirit is the divine Logos, the Word of God, which in truth reveals the logic of Scripture. Because of this fact man instinctively feels and knows whence his help comes.
God-Mind, composed of radiant ideas, vibrant life, glorious new inspiration, is ours to use. Since we are the I will man in the supreme Godhead, let us through Jesus Christ realize our spiritual importance. Let us think deeply on the divine Logos, the Word of God! In it is the living impetus that is bound to vitalize the soul of man and enable him to develop his latent powers.
When we awaken even a very slight consciousness of this co-operative spirit, we become cocreators with God, and we find we can adjust any condition that comes into our life. Jesus was so completely unified with God-Mind that He could claim the words He spoke to be not His but those of the Father dwelling within Him.
Through prayer we gain the intimate relationship with God that Jesus must have enjoyed when He said, "I and the Father are one." Jesus Christ is our teacher and helper. In prayer what should be our attitude, our interest, as we approach the divine presence? If we knew that right now we were about to be ushered into the presence of Christ, to what extent would our spiritual expectancy be aroused? No doubt we should be thrilled through and through at the mere thought. Let us feel this same intense interest, this same concern, as we approach the divine presence within ourselves. It will add much to the readiness with which we receive Truth.
ENTERING THE SILENCE
How does one enter the silence?
When entering the silence, according to Hosea, the command is "Take with you words, and return unto Jehovah" (Hos. 14:2). After many centuries this instruction still stands approved today. To the metaphysician it means to close the eyes and ears to the without, to go within and hold the mind steadily on the word "Jehovah" until that word illumines the whole inner consciousness. Then affirm a prayer such as "Thy vitalizing energy floods my whole consciousness, and I am healed."
Think what the mighty vitalizing energy of God, released through Jesus Christ, really is. Penetrate deeper into God consciousness within you and hold the prayer steadily until you attain spiritual realization and the logic of your own mind is satisfied.
How are prayers fulfilled?
To realize an idea in the silence is to clothe it with life, substance, and intelligence. To realize a prayer is to actualize it. To realize it is to clothe it with soul, to know there is fulfillment.
The word of prayer has in it a living seed that is bound to impregnate the soil of the mind and cause it to bring forth fruit after its kind.
Through Christ man has the power to realize that as I AM or I AM "vitalizing health" he is the great central magnet functioning in omnipresence, around which all the healing powers of Spirit revolve. He has the power to realize this truth until the most sacred ethers respond, and he beholds himself as powerful, peaceful, perfect: healed through and through. It is after this fashion that we engraft the healing word into our very souls.
When we were in Florida a few years ago a citrus fruit grower told us many interesting things about the growth of his orchards. There are many swamps in Florida. He had instructed his men to go out into these swamps, into the muddy black waters infested with creeping things, there to dig up the wild-lemon saplings with their strong, vigorous roots, to transplant them into well-prepared soil, and then to graft into them buds from his prize domestic fruit trees. Thus new trees laden with golden fruit appeared in due time. The strong, vigorous root of the wild lemon gave the new fruit added flavor and quality.
Metaphysically the law is "If the root is holy, so are the branches" (Rom. 11:16) At least the branches are potentially
holy. We find that the natural man is usually physically strong and vigorous just as the root of the wild-lemon tree is. The natural man also struggles in a murky, negative, swampy atmosphere without power to bring forth spiritually, just as the wild-lemon sapling does.
But the natural man can take a word of Truth and through "one-pointed" mind concentration can penetrate into the invisible, can unite his consciousness with the mind of God, and can hold a realizing prayer until the truth it contains is engrafted into his very soul. Thus just as the citrus fruit is developed through the grafting process, so man, through the engrafted word, becomes a strong, positive spiritual character.
Why does God need man as an avenue of expression?
There is only one God, only one ruling power in all the universe; and the highest avenue through which God can express Himself is man. The hungering for God that is felt by man in his soul is really God hungering to express eternal life through man. God is always seeking to awaken man's very soul to His mighty presence. He thus expands the consciousness, offering man an opportunity more fully and more perfectly to express Him.
There is a partial unity with Spirit and there is a complete unity with Spirit. Whenever we wholly merge our mind with creative Mind we meet Christ in our consciousness, and it is when we are in this consciousness that our prayers are fulfilled. The ability to merge our mind into the one Mind makes a great man of us.
Every person hungers for eternal life, and in his effort to satisfy this hunger every soul makes its own concept of God. The ancients said that an honest man is the noblest work of God. Ingersoll said, "An honest God is the noblest work of man."
In deed and in truth prayer is man's spiritual approach to God, and effective prayer does not agonize. Neither Jesus nor any man who has fused his soul with the soul of God has suffered or agonized. The suffering comes as a result of separation and the effort to return to the consciousness of Omnipresence, "my Father's house."
"Consider the significance of silence: it is boundless, never by meditating to be exhausted, unspeakably profitable to thee! Cease that chaotic hubbub, wherein thy own soul runs to waste, to confused suicidal dislocation and stupor; out of silence comes thy strength. Speech is silvern, silence is golden; speech is human, silence is divine.
"Fool! thinkest thou that because no one stands near with parchment and black lead to note thy jargon, it therefore dies and is harmless? Nothing dies, nothing can die. No idlest word thou speakest but is a seed cast into Time, and grows through all eternity. The recording angel, consider it well, is no fable, but the truest of truths; the paper tablets thou canst burn; of the 'iron leaf' there is no burning."