IN OUR TEXTBOOK the Bible it is recorded of the time of Samuel: "The word of Jehovah was precious in those days; there was no frequent vision" (I Sam. 3:1). Yet in one place the "lamp of God was not yet gone out." In the temple (secret place) the child Samuel ("Heard of God") ministered (waited) before Jehovah. There in the silence of the holy place the boy learned, even as each of us must learn, the attitude of mind that says: "Speak, Jehovah, for thy servant heareth." He learned, even as each of us must learn, to still the self and wait and listen expectantly for God to speak. As Samuel received a message direct from Jehovah when he had learned to listen toward God, so shall we receive when we have made ourselves ready. Before this meeting with God in the night watches Samuel knew only how to turn to Eli (Eli: "foster son" or intellect) for guidance and instruction. Two calls came from his God before he understood, but once he had recognized and heard the voice of God, nothing else satisfied him. The intellect in its proper place took instruction and was guided by intuition, the inner voice, for after asking and listening to the message that was given to Samuel in the night watches Eli (intellect) said: "It is Jehovah: let him do what seemeth him good." Because he continued to seek from the only true source and was guided in all things by the One who spoke to him from the holy place, "Samuel
grew, and Jehovah was with him." Through Samuel Jehovah again appeared in Shiloh and made His teaching known so powerfully that none of His words were allowed to "fall to the ground." Samuel became the foremost figure of his age, a great prophet, serving God and being used by Him, always in close enough touch to hear and to be, as his name implies, "heard of God."
Many times it seems to us that we are living in an age similar to that of the boy Samuel and that the spoken or revealed word of Jehovah is precious (rare) because there is no frequent vision (looking Godward). The experience of Samuel is the experience of every soul, when on its way back to the Father's house it hears His voice, perhaps first unrecognized; then waiting expectantly, listening, he says as did Samuel: "Speak; for thy servant heareth." There is no mystery about God speaking to man, there should be no infrequency of it; for man was created to walk and talk with God in sweet communion, in the garden of his soul. To anyone high or low, rich or poor, great or small who turns expectantly to the Father, asking earnestly and looking to Him only, there will come an answer if he is still enough. At any moment when there is a need, at high noon or midnight, in the crowd of a busy thoroughfare, or when alone far from civilization, in a consciousness of "Thou, LORD only" any man can turn to the kingdom within him for his answer. Shut away from conflict, from doubt and fear, he can there "rest in Jehovah, and wait patiently for him."
From this inmost God and high God, which is one, will come the answer to any question, the supply for any need. We need only practice stillness, with our mind turned Godward, to experience such a calm, such a peace, such a joy that we recognize it is God's presence and wait eagerly for Him to speak. When the ear is opened Godward it shall hear, for the promise is "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Luke 11:9).
The silence is not inertia, not a drifting into something we know not about. It is true our body is relaxed, but it is alive and ready to act; our intellect is stilled, but it is alert and ready to be used. Through concentration and meditation on holy thoughts the mind is cleansed, and in a degree at least there is established within us the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, the mind that does know and can say, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). Then we are ready to speak meaningly, and understandingly, and expectantly: "Speak, Jehovah; for thy servant heareth." These words are not to be directed to a presence without, apart, somewhere unknown, but to a living, vital, understandable presence within, as much a part of us as the germ of life is a part of the seed. We need to remember the Master's last prayer to His father-God for His followers: "that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one" (John 17:21). We need to get a deeper realization of the indwelling Christ, for it is here within that we make union with the Giver; it is here within that we meet the Great Physician; it is
here within that healing comes to us. It is here within that we sense a knower; it is here within that a voice gives us guidance, omniscient wisdom to use. When we recognize that whatever we need is within ourselves, with the Christ, and when we turn here for our need to be fulfilled, the outer will take form according to the perfect pattern that the Christ holds. This perfection has been potentially ours always, but it is made plain to us at some time when we are waiting silent before the Creator, and when we become open and receptive it becomes in reality ours to have and to hold always.
When we come to the point in consciousness when we can say within ourselves, "Speak Jehovah," we shall expectantly await the answer as a little child waits for the food which he has asked and which he knows the parent will give him. The Master tells us that our Father is much more willing to give than is an earthly parent, but even God cannot give to those who come to Him with a consciousness closed by doubt and fear – closed through begging and pleading for the things that He is ever offering with outstretched hand – any more than a mother can give her child the bread and jam for which he has asked, if the child begs with his hands closed tight and held behind him. We should think this queer in a child, yet many grown people go to God asking in the same way. This is the method of a chattering mind which thinks idle thoughts and speaks meaningless words during prayer. A person in the silence must consciously cut out all noises, even the rattle of his
thoughts and the murmur of his words, no matter how pleasing these sounding brasses and clanging cymbals may be to his intellect, if he would receive the great message the omniscient mind of God has for him. "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exod. 3:5) is as surely meant for us when we are seeking to enter the silence as was the great message that Moses received when God appeared to him.
All thoughts of the material we must leave behind, no matter how great our needs, our desires, when we seek to enter the silence, for the material thought cannot find entrance to the spiritual realm. When we seek to enter the God presence filled with material desires, these desires close the channel through which the Giver "presses out" His gifts, which thus find no thoroughfare. "Thou, LORD, only" is the password that insures entrance to the storehouse of God, and we must use it in order to pass through the door into His presence. Ever the voice speaks to man, through turmoil, in his activities, his trials and temptations, his joys and happy times. "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalms 46:10). Being still and knowing is sufficient for anyone in any time of need, for to know God is to know of His omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, and that for the sake of expressing Him we are even as He is.
As we enter the silence we are in the thought world. When we let our mind dwell on our desires, we attract thoughts that are relevant in character. These thoughts come from many minds, in many
stages of growth, and sometimes we have unpleasant psychic (mental) experiences on the way to the silence. The radio fills the air with spoken words of all kinds. We can tune in as we choose, on the gay and foolish program, or on the lecture, the sermon, the concert. One thing that few of us realize is that within each of us is an invisible faculty, which may at any moment, unless controlled, tune in on thoughts. Our desires may attract to us the thoughts of others who have had like desires, and who may have used evil means in trying to bring them to pass, and these thoughts, if we are drifting with our desires, may enter our mind and fill us with terror. We may suffer such an emotion of fear in this mental contact that it will be felt in our body and affairs. For this reason we should always take such a high and holy thought that it may have the power to carry us quickly through the mental realm to the great white throne (Rev. 20:11). When we hold such a thought, nothing can touch our mental realm but thoughts of a similar kind, and with this thought as a light, guide, protector, the universal consciousness that surrounds us is cleansed for our passage.
Sometimes on this journey within us the inner ear is opened so that we hear voices. In our purity of thought we may touch a key that strikes the keynote of some sweet song of David or wise saying of Solomon. We may even pick up the words of the Lord Christ spoken when He dwelt among men. These come to the soul, to us, because of some need of strength or courage for the journey within or for
our life in the outer. Perhaps we may hear the sweet tone of His loving voice saying, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). Or it may be a reminder to you of the promise "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7). Blessed are we when we become well enough attuned to Spirit to hear the teachings of the Christ, for then shall we begin to become like Him.
On this journey within the inner vision may be so lifted that we may see with closed eyes such beauty of lights and colors as the open eyes have never glimpsed even in all the pictures that the invisible hand has painted to remind man of the glory of his spiritual home. The perfect rainbow, the glorious sunset, the forest afire with autumn colors are all pale as compared with the purity of the colors of the spiritual realm. Or again the vision may be of geometrical figures and shapes, all symbols of the harmony and order of the unseen world.
The physical may be spiritually roused during some period of relaxation and stillness until every part of it glows with the warmth of spiritual contact and there extends out from the redeemed body a beauty of holiness, an aura of the brilliance of sunset colors, making one appear truly as a son of God; or vibrations may shake every sleepy and darkened cell of inactivity or disease into an expression of life, and never again can the body function on a low plane.
Any of these or other pleasing experiences may or may not be yours at some time when you are standing
on the threshold of the silence. They are only symbols and signs that the senses are being lifted up into the spiritual realm, assuring you of progress toward the attainment of spiritual consciousness. They are not to be sought however, for our desire must be for the Highest even to enter the presence of God. If any of these signs do come, we should not seek to linger on the threshold where we stand; but giving thanks for this manifestation of spiritual growth, we must seek to pass on into the greater beauty and harmony that lies beyond, that we may no longer see as "in a mirror, darkly; but ... face to face:" "for we shall see him even as he is" (I Cor. 3:12).
When Elijah, fleeing in fear and jealousy, hid himself in a cave (downward visioning), he was commanded by the higher self to go forth and stand on the mount (even rise above fear and jealousy for the work of the Lord) (I Kings 19:9-14). As he obeyed, seeking to follow the Lord into His presence, a strong wind rent the mountain; after the wind came an earthquake, and after the earthquake came a fire. But he found not Jehovah in any of these. After the phenomena had passed, there came the "still small voice," which Elijah recognized as Jehovah speaking. This recognition caused Elijah to wrap his face in his mantle (withdraw from the world of sense phenomena) and stand in the entrance of the cave (open his consciousness more positively toward God). Then and then only was he free enough of desires and emotions to receive the message from his God. It is only when we too are lost to emotion and desire, to thinking
thoughts and seeing things, that we become "one-pointed" enough to hear the inner voice and receive its message.
You have at some time greatly listened. Perhaps you were alone in the deep woods and the crack of a bough startled you, causing you to stop; and forgetting all else what you were seeking or where you were going you listened intent on finding out if there was an unknown presence near you. Perhaps you were one of a great audience, sitting spellbound under the words of some fluent speaker, utterly unaware of those who were sitting beside you, in your desire to catch every word. Or you were so entranced with the flutelike notes of some wonderful singer that you found yourself on the very edge of your seat in the intensity of your listening. Perhaps it was in the night watches when you listened with your whole being for the call of a little child or a dearly beloved who might need you. Even more absorbed will be your attention, your listening, your stillness, even your alertness, when you have truly entered the silence and are waiting to hear the message from the Creator of your being. It is in such stillness, such waiting before the Creator, that the tiny sapling gathers the strength to become the mighty oak, for strength is for all creation. It is here that the flowers find their glorious colors and beautiful forms, for the beauty that the Creator possesses is for all that is His. It is here that trees blossom and blossoms fruit and form and ripen, it is here that the green of nature finds its clothing; for all things find their
being in God's silence. Here also is the key to our beauty of soul, our image and likeness, our power and dominion, our perfection. In the attitude of waiting we are receptive, and God makes Himself known in the form in which we are most able to receive Him. The assurance will come to us, as never before, that we are truly sons, joint heirs with Jesus Christ to all that the Father has. When we have entered this secret place often enough and abode long enough truly to behold the beauty of the Lord, it will spring forth as a living message of harmony in our life, a manifestation of wholeness, joy, abundance, and it will so fill our universe with the glory of God that all who cross our path or walk by our side will glimpse the God whose expression we are. Through the stillness of our being God will express Himself in the manifest plane: in our body, His temple, in our life, His activity, we shall express our likeness to Him.
O God, my creator, my Father, let me become so still in body and mind, so free of desire and emotion, that my soul may enter Thy presence unburdened. Silently I wait before Thee, Thou omnipresent One. To receive again from Thee the glory that was mine with Thee in the beginning before the world was.
I Am Free
I have found the light,
The wondrous light
That never shone on land or sea.
Christ walks with me;
The waves are still,
And I am free.
With outstretched hands
I touch the Christ.
He calms the troubled sea;
I hear His voice,
And I am free !
– Alice Truesdale Cable
"The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:16).
"Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5).
"I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; in paths that they know not will I lead them; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things will I do, and I will not forsake them." (Isa. 42:16)
"Behold ... my chosen, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him" (Isa. 42:1).
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee" (Isa. 60:1).
"Concerning the work of my hands, command ye me" (Isa. 45:11).