The first step in the Silence is comparatively simple. It is only a matter of sustained, deep, penetrative attention upon the nature of God, his presence and power, his wisdom, his life, his love, and his substance, as a definite, available reality within the range of human contact. This all-permeating presence and power constitutes a field of investigation, speculation, and research that is exhaustless. The attention should be easily sustained in this direction because of the infinite possibilities which it holds for the earnest seeker.
The actual discovery of the possibilities which are contained within the presence of God and the attainment of that state where they are conscious and tangible factors working in the individual consciousness, is quite another thing. Under what conditions these facts and forces work through the
individual consciousness until man's being is a constant inlet and outlet for the Spirit, is a vastly important field for our earnest consideration and application.
The second phase of silent prayer is deeply mystical, for it deals with the forces of Spirit and the handling of these forces by means of which all outer results are attained. Truly all life IS mystical, for life is force, energy, and not merely form. Form is only the visible garment of life, that in which and through which life expresses itself. We cannot quicken life nor sustain its activity by merely looking to and caring for its garment. Life is only mystical because we are unaccustomed to the elements involved, and to the consideration of life from its inner aspect. Its mystery is in its utter simplicity; and when we see clearly, or become accustomed to its processes, we wonder why we have not seen and understood it before. We will endeavor to make the subject simple and understandable.
Silent prayer in its deeper sense deals with the creative process in the individual. It is the secret of dynamics, and is the actual means by which all things, whether they be good, bad, or indifferent are brought forth into outer expression. It is the "MOTHER" principle. It is therefore the secret of man's greatest power of attainment, the means of developing his greatest genius in accomplishing worth-while things in life. But in order to bring
forth only that which is desirable, he must understand what this process is, and then apply it to definite and well-established purposes. Shakespeare said: "All the graces of mind and heart slip through the grasp of an infirm purpose."
Before we proceed with the true application of this deeper principle of silent prayer, let us see if we cannot better prepare our minds to receive and understand it by studying the manner in which we have perverted its use in our unenlightened activities. It has to do with our broodings and deep moods as we call them. Take for instance, a man who becomes concerned about difficulties in his business. He begins to meditate upon the difficulties until, as a result of the intense application of attention, his being is overwhelmingly impressed with these difficulties. His emotions become literally impregnated with the sense of difficulty; and the first thing he knows, his entire thinking and feeling nature is involved with the problems confronting him. Then he begins brooding about it; he sits up nights, or tosses upon his bed, not realizing that all this time he is literally "mothering" the thing he does not really want to develop. He is giving all the creative energies and capacities of his being to bring about the thing he does not want. This emotional reaction accompanying thought is really the creative principle in life; and all the creative machinery in the nature of man goes to
work to reproduce in outward form that which has impregnated it.
It stands to reason that a man cannot apply his forces to constructive purposes in solving a problem, or to meeting a situation, when they have become completely involved in an objective which is the direct opposite in nature. Not only does this misdirection of man's creative forces destroy his capacity for success, but it also destroys his physical being. Convincing evidence has been presented through our public press, giving scientific proof of the destructive effects of worry and anxiety upon the physical organism. Destructive states of mind are not only futile but fatal, in that they are disintegrating factors within the human organism.
For a second example, some other person will give prolonged and intense attention to some condition that arouses anger. This in turn becomes deeply impressed upon the emotional nature, and then the brooding process begins. Such a one is not only misdirecting his own creative forces, but is actually laying the foundation of physical disease. Read some of the many reports of Dr. George W. Crile of the Cleveland Clinic, if there is any doubt in your mind regarding this fact.
And so we might go on with the entire list of destructive emotions which occupy our times of meditation, our broodings, our ponderings. Such an intense application of one's nature is vitally creative; and it reproduces in form according to
its own kind, whether it be in one's body or in his affairs. It is the working out of the creative law which operates in every plane of being. Wherever two forces are united in perfect agreement, there is a conception; and resulting from this conception there is a birth in the realm of manifest form. This outward form, when it is fulfilled, expresses the characteristics of the forces involved. It is this law of combined forces as the cause of all manifest forms that is being advanced by the world of Science today. And truly here is the secret of all creation and creative power.
To understand the forces of your own being, and to train yourself to the knowledge of how always to be divinely "pregnant," is the most vital secret of all achievements; and this is involved in the silent form of prayer. It is learning to reach that state defined by David in the words "and upon his law doth he meditate day and night." It is learning to "conceive" the things which God has prepared for us. As yet "It hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared."
It is apparent that there is a definite activity going on within the thinking process of the mind. It is also evident that there is a definite activity going on in the feeling nature of one's own emotions. No one is without the activity of thought, and no one is void of an emotional activity of some sort. But it is seldom that there is perfect agree ment
between these two lines of active force within the individual. This conflict, or disagreement, spells destruction, disintegration, for the individual. The point of agreement between these two lines of force comes through sustained attention until the activity of the mind penetrates through to some vital or intense phase of the subject or object, until the mentality accepts the facts discovered. Then this process must be followed until the individual reaches the point of conviction or an inner realization regarding the facts accepted by the mind. When these two phases of man's being are completely united in one objective, then accomplishing power in this direction is actually germinated, or conceived. Then this process of "mothering" the objective, or brooding upon it, finally results in definite action in harmony with it, and through this process the inward conception is fulfilled in outward form.
But the working out of this process into complete outward form is not always a matter of stated times; it is rather a matter of intensity. It often comes quickly; in other instances it "brews" for a considerable period and is born into being while the individual concerned scarcely realizes how such a thing could occur. Men have not realized that they have been carrying on for a long time a creative practice in their own secret longings, worries, anxieties, hatreds, jealousies, and fears, and therefore cannot account for their evil manifestations. Many
people say, "I have been a good man or woman for ever so many years, have never injured anyone, and have to the best of my ability been a good Christian. Why can such an evil thing happen to me?" The answer is that such a one has fathered and mothered the thing that has befallen him, and he himself has brought it forth. One may have been "good" according to standards outlined, but he has cherished secret fears, brooded and worried, harbored hatreds, and perhaps in many other ways which he may discover through self-study, adulterated the creative processes of his nature with all sorts of destructive thought and emotion. A true Christian, or a truly spiritual being, is not only "good" but is good for something; is master of himself and in control of the forces of his own being. He is possessed of the power and authority to direct his forces in channels which are in perfect accord with the Creator of all life. A true Christian is the highest form of Creative and Constructive character.
Christ gave the law back of this creative process when he said: "If two of you agree as touching any one thing you shall ask of the Heavenly Father, it shall be done." Now what could this mean? Does it simply mean that if you and I agree in asking God for something it shall be done? Perhaps -it might mean that, in a sense, but it has a much deeper meaning than this. Christ was a true mystic and to the individual who has trained his
mind to penetrate into that which is inferred, rather than becoming lost in the words which define inner facts, many of his statements are veiled phrases containing the very processes of life. "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." Words are futile unless there be a definite meaning to them, and it is their meaning that counts.
Let us study this statement of Christ as applying to your own individual nature. How many people do you seem to be? Is there but one of you, and are you content to be that one whom you define as "me"? Or does there not always seem to be two of you? How do you define these two, and are they always or ever in agreement? Of course there are a lot of words which we use to define these two people that seem to be included in our make-up. Some call it the spiritual man and the material man. Others call it soul and body. But the easiest and most simple way to define these two in a way that we may all easily understand is just as we put it in our every-day language: "The person I am, and the person I would like to be." Now again, "there are two ever in the field, one must be taken and the other left." Which have we "taken" and which have we "left," and which SHOULD be the choice? How can there be perfect agreement between these two sides of our nature, or how can they be reconciled until there is only ONE? Can you subject this person, the one "I long to be," to the one you define as "the person
I am"? No, you never have been able to make this reconciliation, nor can you ever do so. Then the only way a perfect agreement can be reached is to reconcile the person that "I am" with the person that "I would like to be." That is the only way in which peace can be established in one's nature. In other words, this person that I have called "me" and which I do not like, must surrender to and go the way of that person "I would like to be."
Christ said: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." When we say "I am not the person I would like to be," we are denying the Christ instead of the self. We should once and for all come to the knowledge that this person we have defined as "me" is nothing but an accumulation of false habits and experiences, and that it really is not "me." "This that I have called 'me' is nothing but a character that I have created through thinking and feeling and acting in a realm of world ignorance that never knew and never can know the real nature of man. That which is really 'me' is that habit formed within the power that fashioned me, and which is 'written in my heart.' That Self which I have always longed to be, is really and truly me, and this thing that I have resented being, is truly not me. That other side of my nature is really me, and I henceforth and forever 'take' that one, and this other one I leave forever out of my consideration." This in definitely denying yourself and "taking up
your cross" and following Christ. Paul said: "Inasmuch as Christ died, he died unto sin once, but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise, reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Christ Jesus, our Lord." Do not all these familiar statements take on an entirely new meaning?
But this is not all. The agreement must be carried on to the point of "touching" it. There are two degrees of progress in any direction which is really the beginning of all achievement, and they can be most simply explained in this way. The first step is the state of mental seeing. That is, you might read a statement or hear something and you might say, "Well, I do not see that," meaning you do not yet understand what is involved. But continuing to contemplate it, your mind penetrates more deeply into it, and then all of a sudden you say, "Oh, I see," meaning that you now understand. This establishes the first line of creative force in the individual. But though you often "see" what is inferred, you are not convinced regarding the truth, the possibility or advisability of the thing. So the process of penetrative attention must go on to the point of inward conviction. At the point of inward conviction is where the inward and outward forces of man agree, and this is the beginning of effective volitional action. Only as this agreement is sustained does its power increase. Let doubt, fear, worry, anxiety, or distrust enter
into the process, and an abortion is effected; and the individual's ability in this direction is destroyed.
Now in this matter of denying one's self and taking up his cross and following Christ's way, the individual who would rise to the highest sphere of achievement, must begin to study that side of his nature which he has defined as the "fellow I would like to be." How would you think, act, feel, look, if you were all you would really like to be? How would you meet life, how would you face life's tasks? Face that side of your nature as if you were really trying to bring back to your memory all that you once were — for you were created in the image and likeness of God. Keep reminding yourself that THAT side of your nature is really you. Keep it up until it dawns on you that THAT IS you, or until you "see" that to be the truth about your nature. This is the first step that aligns the forces of your mind in the direction you really wish to go. Now keep up the same practice until the idea has developed to the point of conviction, or until you actually feel that you at last ARE really that SELF. This is what the mystics defined as an immaculate conception. Here man conceives himself to be the embodiment of the law which God has written in his inward parts.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, employed this same practice and through it preserved for the boy Jesus the greatest heritage that a mother can give to her child. Mary did not give her time to "pondering"
the coming forth of a material son, but she "pondered in her heart" that which was revealed to her of the Spirit; that that which had begun in her was the beginning of a spiritual system, that that which was developing in her bosom was not a mere bodily form, but the gathering of spiritual force and power, the first development which ultimately was to become the fullness of the Godhead — the gathering of spiritual force and power, the very incarnation of God, who is Spirit. And Jesus came forth not as a bodily descendant of a material system, but the embodiment of the very spiritual forces which "Mary pondered in her heart."
This is the spiritual law also contained within the sign of the crucifix, the practice of passing the hand from the forehead to the solar plexus, and then from left to right across the heart. By this sign the mystics even before the Christian era meant to convey the idea that the processes of the thinking mind — the brain mind, wherein is centered the consciousness of the lesser self — must yield to the eternal longings of the heart, wherein are centered the forces and character of the spiritual man. Through this constant yielding of the outer to the inner, the personal man is crucified, or crossed out of man's nature, and the spiritual man comes forth in resurrection.
This is also the mystery of the crucifixion of the Christ, and the attending resurrection. The crucifixion was the complete and final surrender of the
outer self to the will of the Father within. "Unto thee do I yield my spirit," my personal mind, my willingness to be anything of myself. Through this practice the inner Divinity was awakened in all its illuminating power, which resurrected the outer man into that fullness of life which was and IS in Christ.
This phase of the Silence constitutes the dynamics of prayer, for it is that practice in which the former phases of prayer are converted into the dynamic forces of coordinated energies and capacities of the individual. Herein are developed the greatest capabilities within man, and through this practice they are converted into governing and authoritative ruling factors in all his outer being. This is the secret of the "Birth of Self," where "former things have passed away and all things made new" and the individual is a "new creature in Christ Jesus."
John discovered this same rule of procedure when he declared, "He must increase but I must decrease." Paul defined its fulfillment in his own experience when he said: "I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me."
In putting this silent form of prayer into practice, proceed as you might proceed with a group of pictures of yourself, but taken in various moods and expressions. As you go over the pictures one by one, you might well say, "this is not me," meaning that the picture does not embrace that idea
which you have of yourself. Then, when you arrive at the proper one, you would say, "That is me," meaning that that particular one embodied characteristics which you idealize as belonging to you. In studying over the various impulses and states of being within yourself, use the same discrimination. To everything in your nature that is undesirable, simply reject it: "That is not me." This is denying yourself. Then to everything that is desirable, that which indicates your highest ideal of yourself, be firm in proclaiming: "That is really me." "That is what I am in fact, in Truth." "That is the manner in which God created me; and if I am that in fact, THAT IS REALLY ME." Through this contemplation and attempt to penetrate deep down into the realm of your highest ideals and most secret longings, some glorious day the truth will dawn upon you and you will "see" and consciously know "I am that." Then this process is to be continued until it is not only something which you mentally "see," but until it is an absolute conviction. Agree until you "touch" it, or until it is your own realization of yourself — until you feel yourself to be that. Then continue to ponder and brood upon this fact until it is a radiant and expressed reality in all your being, until you have been literally born again.
This not only applies to your own nature, but the same principle applies to all your accomplishments. Instead of giving yourself to adulterous conceptions by contemplating the difficulties, hardships,
and undesirable states, try to see what outer conditions SHOULD be like. Contemplate these facts until you "see" that this is the state which really should prevail, and which does prevail in the God Mind and in the Divine Plan. Continue contemplating and brooding upon these facts until this new "land thou seest" becomes a deep-seated conviction, and therefore a controlling and motivating power which governs your outward action; and then see what marvelous changes this practice will bring about in all your life's activities.