Love One Another As I Have Loved You
BY PAUL SOLOMON
I want to talk for a moment about the concept of the automatic occupation of the heart by God. You may never have heard of that, but it is well expressed in a song I know: “I made of my heart a temple…”and the singer described a temple with priests in sandals, bells sounding, a scene of tranquility that he has prepared in his heart. But then, he says, the temple is empty, its light reveals no God.
And in the songs second verse, he says “I made of my heart a stable, and the Savior came and smiled; the air was pure and pungent with the grass of the evening mild. I made of my heart a stable, and the Savior came and lived..”
That song is trying to express, I think, a warning about a mistake people tend to make in spiritual growth. It is common to may religions as well. We decide what we think God likes, and we usually think of this a spoetic, and old English, and even to me, dull. The God that we see alive and active in this universe does not fit that image at all. I see something far different at work when God reveals Himself.
In fact, the heart that is prepared for God-consciousness is automatically occupied by that consciousness. We have an idea that we must beg God first to forgive us and then move into our heart. Even when we have made ourselves right, we have to do something, some ritual, act of propitiation, or sacrifice; we think we must do this in order to be saved, or become spiritual or have a mystical experience. The Western mind is occupied by doing.
Now that is no worse than the Eastern mind, which is occupied with doing nothing. There is a balance there, but the doing is not doing something in order to obtain a mystical experience. The doing is preparing the heart,so that a mystical experience automatically happens. The occupation of the heart by the Living Presence is automatic when that heart becomes the vibration that Spirit can occupy.
In other words, if you want to reflect the Christ Sprit and be occupied by that consciousness, you must imitate Christ. You must imitate His vibration and His thoughts. And everytin we do in spiritual growth, as we attempt to elevate our consciousness and think as He did, is designed to accomplish this. It is not, “If you do this, you’ll have a mystical experience.” but rather, “If you live like this and think like this, you will have cultivated the kind of ground in which a mystical experience springs forth.” And then it is quite automatic.
You could almost say that a mystical experience only happens to a mystic, and further,that the mystic was already a mystic before the expereince happened. But it is not a mystical experience which makes a mystic; it is creating that ground in which a mystical experience can happen. And if any of us wants to become a mystic, we need not wait for some spontaneous, lightning-like experience, or an explosion that happens within; we simply become that particular vibration. And then the mystic experience wells up within us.
I want to note that many people who quote this verse, which says “Not a sparrow shall fall without the Father’s knowing it.” interpret it to mean that God knows when even a sparrow falls to the ground. That is not what that verse means. It means far more. It also means that He is there. He is there, and He cares. He cares to the extent that He manifests His caring even when a sparrow dies. There is God consciousness concerned with that occurrence.
So Mary Magdalene was a sparrow. Now, she might not have been serious. She might have turned out to be a detriment to Jesus’ teachings, and to his life. Others did. Some people whom He tried to work with, tried to help, turned against Him; Judas for instance. Jesus invested three years of His life in that man. He gave much more time than He gave even to the Seventy who went out and were were faithful.
“Jesus Knew What Judas Was, Yet Gave All”
Was He unaware of what Judas was? No, He knew. He knew from the beginning. Here we see the difference between discernment and judgment. Jesus knew what Judas was, yet gave all He had to him anyway. That is discernment. Judgment would have been to say, “You’ve been a devil from the beginning; I don’t want any part of you; stay away from my ministry. You’re trouble.”
Now, is such a response ever appropriate? It might be, but not as judgment nor because you do not love that person, but because you are discerning enough to see what your relationship is. And if that is your right relationship, then by all means, do withdraw your energies.
Jesus said that to the Seventy who went out. He said, “If there are those who don’t accept it, and who withdraw, then shake their dust from your feet,” in such a way as to say “I have dealt with this, I have met my responsibility. I am not hoping that anything wrong happens to you. I am simply turning my energies to another thing. I am withdrawing, having established my relationship.”
Discernment, then, is being able to see a person’s motive without being affected by it. Know then, a man’s weakness, without feeling that you have to make him responsible for it.
One reason people are reluctant to be more psychic is that it can be hard to handle. So many people feel that if they know another’s faults, they have to make him realize them. Such terrible thinking! In the first place, the person probably realizes it already. In fact, he is probably acutely and painfully aware of it. and it is the last thing he wants to hear from you. You can become spiritually discerning, or psychic (another term for the same thing) when you are ready to refrain from judging people, or putting them in categories, or pressuring them to stay in neat little boxes, safe from you while you remain spiritual!
WHO ARE THE SPIRITUALLY POOR?
The Master always found people who were spiritually poor to be very appealing. “Blessed are the people who are spiritually poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Who are the spiritually poor? Those who have an ability to listen and not be self-righteous.
Why? There are those who think that they are so spiritual that they cannot listen to a teacher. They have it all within themselves. Those with a pipeline to Heaven are in the most dangerous position on earth, for they are totally incapable of receiving spiritual growth. there is no such thing as a man having a direct pipeline. If there were, he would have to learn to communicate with other men, because God is in other people.
It is not God’s will that a man get himself a pipeline to God, shutting off other people as sources of information about God. He designed us in such a way that we must share with one another. No matter how much I get from a divine Source, no matter how much I get from mediation, no matter how much I get from listening within, it only comes to life when it is told to me again by you, in our relationship.
That is where I learn. That is where the spirit of truth enters matter, enters my life, and becomes practical as a working principle: Be careful of people who say, “I have it all within me. I can talk to Jesus there. I don’t need you, or groups, or people.” This is a lie. Scripture says it is a lie. Scripture says first that you do need groups. “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as a manner of some is; but exhort one another…”
Come together; study together; put your thoughts together. Together create the vacuum into which He can come. Together discuss the insights that you get, and let others make them come alive for you. Without others, you cannot possibly serve God. You do not serve Him in the stillness and in the quiet; you are fed in the stillness and in the quiet, and then He expects you to get up from the table and use the food that you have taken in by applying it to other people, but putting it to work in other lives.
People who feel that they can become spiritual by isolating themselves from others, going off somewhere to pray, are selfish. They are refusing to meet the responsibility that the Lord has put before them.
Solitude is a nice thought. We have all longed for it from time to time–whenever life gets rough. We think, “I will just go to some hold mountain in Tibet, sit in a cave and pray, and be a holy man. People will bring grapefruit and put it at my feet.” This is escapism. It always has been.
The path is service. The path is sharing. The path is knowing another man’s heart, even if it is black with malice, anger and jealousy, and being able to love and walk with him just as if it were not.
Discernment and judgment are not the same thing. Judgment involves condemnation. Discernment involves clear thinking, clear seeing, and a lot of love. And discernment only happens with the eyes of Christ. When you look through His eyes, He is able to see for you both the darkness in others and the Christ. If you see the darkness in another and fail to see the Christ, be careful. It is all right to see darkness, but not all right if you fail to see the Christ as well. Be sure you see that and relate to that, for that is the key to discernment, to preparing the heart for it s occupation by God.