This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Part of Lecture 21 given on February 27, 1976
8:22And they come unto Bethsaida. And they bring to him a blind man, and beseech him to touch him. 8:23And he took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village; and when he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, Seest thou aught? 8:24And he looked up, and said, I see men; for I behold them as trees, walking. 8:25Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes; and he looked stedfastly, and was restored, and saw all things clearly. 8:26And he sent him away to his home, saying, Do not even enter into the village.
This blind man was in Bethsaida. The two cities of Chroacin and Bethsaida both have the same metaphysical meaning, they both stand for a state of unbelief, a state of unwillingness. (Read here the whole passage).
The metaphysical meaning of that passage is pretty clear when you realize the meaning of Bethsaida and the fact that Jesus ends the incident with telling the man not to go back to that village or to that state of mind again. The people in the state of mind of Bethsaida suffer a type of blindness, a lack of a certain kind of insight, lack of comprehension or full understanding. This is often designated in the Bible as blindness and most of Jesus healings of blind eye balls are really illustrative of spiritual awareness or Christ power healing certain inner blindnesses. This particular type of blindness which I have designated as Bethsaida blindness is caused by our lack of belief in spiritual awareness or spiritual Truth but there is always a part of us that is willing to be healed. This man then would represent a person in an unbelieving state and yet who is willing to be convinced, willing to be helped and because of this he is singled out and treated by Jesus. But you notice that the treatment does not occur in Bethsaida, the man has to leave that village before he can be treated.
So that when a person is entrenched in an attitude of unbelief and unreceptivity, there is nothing that can be done for him. Where he chooses to reside is what will be his environment, his state of mind will determine his experiences and circumstances but if he is willing to leave that village then help can be offered. You and I might have something like this happening, I've seen people do this, they really don't believe in the efficacy of a certain type of spiritual treatment or spiritual help just through consciousness but they are willing to step out of that unbelief with the provisal that they can step back in as soon as they want to. Well, even that is better than refusing to (illegible word). Even if this guy came out of the village but left all the gates open so that he could make a fast return, nevertheless, he did let himself be taken out of it even if temporarily. The same thing can be done with persons we are trying to help spiritually. If you can get them to leave Bethsaida, even if they may say they want to run back as soon as they find out it doesn't work, alright, take that much, take that much, bring spiritual awareness to whatever part of them may be receptive.
John Strickland shares his experience about a young man who was in jail for heroin addiction. The Chaplaincy was working with him and found out that the boy was to a degree willing to leave the habit if it were possible. The boy was asked, "what is going to happen when they release you?" The answer was, "well, I'll go back to meet my friends."
Question, "But they will give you the heroin again, if you want to leave the heroin, you are going to have to give your friend up." The young man did not like the idea but he began working with it and saw the validity in it and he was able to be admitted instead in a psychiatric hospital in Texas and do away with his old friends.
Ed comments: Yes, and he had to move by stages because he could not get it all the first steps and this indicative of a certain kind of healing that can occur.
Do you notice that this man is out of that state of unwillingness and unbelief and in that predicament and in that slight improvement which wasn't a complete reformation or complete change of consciousness but just a stepping out of an impossible state of consciousness, Jesus was able to administer some degree of healing to this blindness, in other words, some light gets through and so Jesus in his incomparable way gives us a glimpse of how much has been accomplished and he asks, "seest thou aught?" and the man says, "I see men; for I behold them as trees walking." Some light has entered but full understanding is not yet achieved, there is still very much a distortion of vision or of insight.
"I am beginning to realize that men are men but I am not yet able to see them as men;" in other words," I am still not able to see myself in you, I see you as a person, but I see you as a person who is very different from me and because you are different from me, you are sort of like a tree walking, instead of "you are me and I am you, and all that I am is in you and all that you are is in me." When I have this kind of vision (20/20) inside, I don't see a tree I see I AM, I see the real person, but this does not come all at once. A lot of people think that when they come into Truth and when they are out of a state of unbelief and unwillingness and when Spiritual Awareness touches them, they immediately are supposed to have full comprehension, fullness of understanding, total insight into meaning but they don't.
Most people have distortion even after they come into Truth and have been touched by Spiritual Awareness. So, Jesus realizes that the healing of this kind of blindness has proceeded, there is light now where there used to be total darkness, there is still distortion, so his next stage of the healing is to continue the contact, this simply means persistence and faithfulness in letting Spiritual Awareness treat our distorted and incomplete inner insights and view points, then, the next stage is mention where there is the healing, the full light comes into the person and then it says, "he was restored and saw all things clearly," which is the ability to perceive true meaning within and behind all that appears and one of the most striking ways in which this gentleman straightens himself is exactly in the uses in this instance, he changes the way to see persons. We do this, we do not remain in a state of thinking of people as walking trees, it is not that trees are bad but to view a person in the way you view a tree is not seeing him clearly but distorted. Often this will happen when you are talking to large groups of people if you are not careful and constantly condition your consciousness you may begin to view audiences as audiences instead of each individual as a unique child of God who is my brother and sister. You could look at a large audience like you would look at a forest and this is not wise because it takes something out of the tone of your message. A dimension of rapport would be there had you really been looking at your people and thinking about them in terms of people, children of God, rather than trees or forest.
"Do not go back into that village." Don't let yourself go back into a stage of non-belief of non-receptivity toward the action of spirit in your life.
Text of the original transcript of the top of page 129 through the first two paragraphs of page 132.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-01-2014