The Prayer of Knowing

Our Journey Home

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“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Matthew 6:7-8

As we read this passage, there are two points that can help with our understanding of prayer. The first point is that prayer does not require many words. Prayer is a mindset, a mental and emotional process of releasing our reaction to negative appearances and affirming that greater good is unfolding.

The second point is a bit more subtle. Jesus does not say that your Father knows what you want. He says your Father knows what you need. There is often a difference between what we want and what may actually provide the greatest advances in our journey home.

We may, for example, be asking God for help in dealing with some obnoxious personality in our life. We want them to just go away. What we need, however, is the insight to rise above our negative reaction to this person. Why am I giving them power to control my thoughts and emotions? Why am I giving them power to make me feel as if I must defend myself?

Jesus would say that your Father knows what you need before you ask because your Father is your spiritual source that knows nothing but freedom. It stands to reason that your Father knows what you are doing to block the free expression of spirit. Its primary interest is freeing you from the consequences of that blockage. It is similar to building a small dam in a stream. You can stop the flow of water for a time, but the blockage will eventually be removed by the natural action of the water.

Carry your prayer throughout your day, not in words but in the attitude that the best and highest is now working through you. Add to your stated desire the understanding that that which you need is now being made clear. You know what to do, and you do it.  

A Personal Matter

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The question was raised about whether we will always retain our personality, even after we step from the body. NDE research indicates overwhelmingly that we retain our sense of personal identity, and that we recognize others who have gone before us. However, those who have had an NDE are often profoundly affected in the sense that they identify more with the reality of the soul. People who are close to them see a distinct, often drastic change in their personality.  

In my book, Native Soul, I state that the personality “… is actually an important function of the soul. It allows you to personalize and communicate at the material level the universal energy that rises from your depths.”

Unfortunately, much emphasis is placed on developing the winning personality that will help move us up the ladder in life. It is when we identify more with the personality than we do the soul that we run aground in the shallows of earth life.

“For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” Matthew 16:26

We are told that no two snowflakes are alike. Every daisy in a field of thousands has distinguishing features. You know that your pets have individual personalities. When we speak of spiritual oneness, God as the one source of all, we are not to think that all souls are destined to merge into indistinguishable, universal energy. Individualization is God’s method of expression.

You and I do this also. We have a mind capable of individualizing as ideas that become the manifestations we see on our human scene, from car to computer, to the meal we will prepare this evening. The function of the personality is to bring universal Mind into individual expression. Our journey home is truly a process of bringing our personality into alignment with what is true of the soul.    

The Hidden Treasure

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The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Matthew 13:44

What treasure do you suppose Jesus is referring to? I just read an article from a religious academic that said the treasure is Jesus Christ and the salvation he offers. Such an idea would have been foreign to Jesus. Based on evidence we glean from the mystical thread, the treasure represents a fully active spiritual dimension, the understanding of which would immeasurably enhance the quality of one’s life. Gaining this understanding requires total commitment, but, because the man understands its value, he pursues it in joy.  

We’re told the man, in his joy, sells all that he owns so he can buy the field containing the treasure. Compare this attitude of joy to another instance where Jesus advises a rich young man to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor, and then follow him. This is a depressing notion to the young man.

The difference in these two cases is that the man who discovered the treasure grasped its value on his own. He saw that the field and the treasure it contained was worth more than all his possessions, so in joy he could release the lesser for the greater. The wealthy young man, on the other hand, was simply responding to the instructions from another. He placed more value on his possessions than on the thing he hoped to acquire. In other words, his quest was conceptual while the other man’s was experiential.

With the theme, our journey home, we emphasize the need to make the spiritual quest our very own. In the beginning we are prompted by a pristine urge to know and experience something deeper than we have been taught, but we can easily slip back into following the advice of respected books and teachers. While these have their place, we should never forget that we are being guided by our own spiritual comforter and advocate. This is what brought us to the treasure-bearing field in the first place.

The Religion Factor

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There is something to be said for the increased level of morality that religious training inspires in people. For some, however, the motivation to do good is often driven by fear of the consequences for doing otherwise. For centuries, the church has used the fires of hell as a means of keeping their flocks on the straight and narrow. On our journey home, the time comes when we take a deeper look at the ideas we’ve been handed.

It should come as no surprise that Jesus had a different take on God and the notion of sin and punishment. God does not react to human behavior, good or bad.  “… for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). This statement is a clear contradiction to religion’s depiction of a capricious God. Our journey home begins with a healthy understanding of God. As Mark Twain pointed out, “It’s not what we don’t know that gets us in trouble. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”

While our understanding and attitude toward God can change many times, God is changeless. The purpose of meditation is to sensitize the mind to the point where we can observe and experience the subtle presence of God as the living energy from which our being rises.  St. Frances of Assisi suggested this when he wrote, “What you are looking for is what is looking.” Such direct exposure not only clarifies our understanding of God, it also sets us on the highest moral path.

We are under no obligation to settle for depictions of God filtered through religious institutions and professionals. These only pass on ideas that have been handed to them through so many generations that they treat them as truth and probably believe them to be so.

To love the lord your God is to seek direct revelation from within the “inner room” of your own being. It is up to each one of us to separate truth from fiction, to come to know our own indwelling lord as the advocate and comforter that is with us always.

The Adventure Begins

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“Do not be deceived by dimples and curls. I tell you that babe is a thousand years old.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We began our life on earth with an innate curiosity toward the world around us. As our senses developed, we found we had a natural attraction to colorful objects and fuzzy things that squeaked when squeezed. Later, we would gaze into the night sky and wonder where, amidst that vast expanse, we fit in. It may have been sometime later that we began to wonder how and why we came to be in this place.

In my own quest for understanding, Emilie Cady’s illustration comparing the soul to a pail of water drawn from the ocean made a lasting impression. She focused on the composition of water, using it to suggest that the soul shares the same elements as the cosmic ocean from which it is drawn. The illustration takes on an even more profound meaning when we consider the age of water. According to science, regardless of when a pail is drawn from the ocean, the age of the water remains 4.6 billion years. The water in the pail does not evolve to become as old and as wise as the water in the ocean. It has never been and will never be anything less.

The implications of this illustration present us with a spiritual model that raises significant new questions. If our soul is as complete as our spiritual source, then what is the objective of our quest? The short answer? Spiritual recovery – conscious recollection of who and what we are at the spiritual level. We are seeking a clearer understanding of how a spiritual being, equipped with a material interface in the form of a body, can best travel through this earthly experience with the deepest sense of meaning.

The best way to start this inquiry is not with an answer, but with a couple of questions. How and why did I come to be in this place? Am I here as the result of forces beyond my control, or am I here by choice? Am I here to simply collect more colorful objects and things that squeak, or did I choose to come, having a specific purpose in mind?

Search the world’s literature and you find affirmative support for both perspectives. However, it is your answer, your understanding that determines the way you approach your journey home.

The Rule of Order

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Part 5 of 5 Steps of the Manifestation Process

“Do calmly, without excitement, whatever the circumstance seems to require. This will lead to the further unfolding of other circumstances in the same direction. By addressing each one as it appears, you are moving step by step toward the accomplishment of your desire.”

Life is all about transformation. A seed is dropped in the ground in one form, and it emerges as another. And, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

So it is with the manifestation process. In a very real sense, this process is about dying to one state of being so that another may come forth. As you move from where you are to where you want to be, you must release the old and take on the new.

Watching the new emerge is an exciting process. When you see evidence of your desire beginning to manifest, it is easy to become overzealous in your attempt to hurry things along. External action can be addictive. Things begin to happen, and you want them to continue so you may start trying to “push the river” as someone put it. The writer of Psalms also warned against overzealousness when he wrote, “zeal for thy house has consumed me” (Psalms 69:9).

Every step toward your desired good offers something of value, even in those times when nothing seems to be happening. Hold your vision in an attitude of expectation, enthusiasm and in the knowledge that everything is working together for your good in right and perfect order.

Doing the Work

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Part 4 of 5 Steps of The Manifestation Process

Wait until some circumstance pointing in the desired direction begins to show itself. It may be small, but it is the type and not the magnitude of the circumstance that is important. This is the first sprouting of the seed.

Chalk it up to my rural Missouri upbringing, but I really appreciate the earthy simplicity of Thomas Troward’s approach. So many writers inject the element of magic into the subject of manifestation, over-looking the fact that we have all been engaged in the manifestation process from the day we were born.

When you set a goal, you are really telling yourself to start paying attention to opportunities, even small ones, that will enable you to move closer to that goal. Creating a vision is really the practice of creating awareness in the direction you want your life to unfold. Without this awareness, opportunities can and do pass by unnoticed.

Troward is pointing to a relaxed awareness, which is very different from a frantic search for opportunities to further the manifestation of your vision. There are, of course, times when you make things happen. You are inspired with an idea which you act upon until you bring it to a successful conclusion. There are other times when you are presented with ideas that are beyond your comfort zone. You may be tempted to rationalize your hesitancy to pursue it means it is not right for you.

This could be the very portion of the manifestation process that has been standing at your door knocking. When you take action, one of two things will happen. Either your initial discomfort will begin to dissolve, and you’ll find new strength and inspiration, or it will become crystal clear to you that the path represented by the idea is indeed one to be abandoned.

There really are no hard and fast rules concerning the choices you make in the manifestation process. It is a fact that this process is occurring right now, and you are steering it with choices you are making. Develop a keen awareness of your choices, and you will find your life unfolding in a way that is much more to your liking.

Embrace Your Desire

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Enter your daily routine with the calm assurance that conditions are either present already or will soon present themselves. If you do not see evidence at once, know that the spiritual prototype (your desire) is already in existence.

For many, this may be one of the most challenging steps in the manifestation process. The principle is illustrated in a gospel story when the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom would come. Jesus pointed out that the kingdom was already present, as the spiritual potential within each person. The implication is that the kingdom will manifest in accordance with the individual’s level of expectation.

Every time you think of your desire, get the feeling that it is complete even if you see no evidence to support it. Your vision and your accompanying feeling serve as the blueprint—or as Troward called it, the spiritual prototype—from which the manifestation evolves. By holding your vision, you become attentive to unfolding possibilities.

Jesus again expressed this principle of knowing in his story of the woman who had ten silver coins and lost one. She swept her house clean looking for it. She knew she had that coin. If she couldn’t remember whether she had ten, she would not have put the same kind of energy into her search.   

You are to think of your desire as the equivalent to your having the manifested version. Do not be frantic about looking for evidence of it. Just go about your life doing what you need to do while holding your desire in the back of your mind as a completed fact.

There is, of course, a certain excitement that accompanies your vision and the feeling that it is now present. You do not want to deny this, but you do not want to let it drain your energy either. Follow Troward’s suggestion of calm assurance. In due time, the evidence that it is coming forth will show itself.

Calm Expectation

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Part 2 of 5: The Manifestation Process

Know that you are working with law. With calm expectation of a corresponding result, you know that all necessary conditions will come about in proper order.

I have said many times that we can better understand the word faith by exchanging it with the word expectation. When you say, I have faith in God, you may not put yourself in the same assured mindset as when you say, I am working with divine law, therefore I expect results. When you say you have faith in God, you may be saying, I believe God will have mercy on me and act on my behalf. When you think of yourself as working with law—as in working a mathematical equation—you step out of the imposed perceived personality of God and enter the realm of cause and effect. Your desire becomes a cause and its manifestation is the effect. The attitude of calm expectation becomes a magnetic atmosphere of developing possibilities.   

How clear is your desire? Have you written it down? Can you see it and feel it the instant you think about it? If you cannot, then go back to step one and continue clarifying and developing your desire. The reason this is important is that your desire becomes a cause. If your cause is blurry, the effects that follow will be blurred as well. If you have clarified it, you can enter this second step of calm expectation with the assurance that you have set into motion a cause that will produce a specific effect.

Each morning as you awaken, picture your desire and give thanks that some aspect of it is working into your life this day. Do not be concerned if you see no evidence that this is happening. When you plant a seed you never see immediate evidence of its growth. But you plant with the calm expectation that it is growing.

Calm expectation of your good is like a computer program running in the background. You go about your daily life while holding this expectant attitude always. At night when you go to bed, you make your picture vivid, giving thanks that it unfolds even as you sleep. Living with calm expectation keeps your heart open and joyful.

Visualization

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Form a clear picture of your desire with the understanding that, by so doing, you impress your desire upon the Creative Life Force. This understanding takes this first step out of the region of fantasy.

Last week I gave an overview of five step of the manifestation process originally given by Thomas Troward in his book, The Edinburgh Lectures. There is value in further exploration of each of these steps so we may clearly understand their importance in bringing desired change to our own life.

This first step is agreed upon by nearly all who advocate visualization techniques associated with goal setting. In truth, we all carry a picture of the life we believe we deserve, and we are living out that life on a daily basis. The problem with this picture is that it may not be the one we really want. It may be driven by circumstances, talk of hard times, short-sighted opinions of others or the ratings-hungry media.

We need to put forth the effort to define our desire so clearly that we are aware when we drift away from it. A good way to do this is to write it down. Start with a general overview of the thing you would like to see manifest and then rework it until you feel you have a clear statement of the good you desire. Once you have this, ask yourself this question: How would I feel if this desire were manifested now? Spend time considering your feelings and then rewrite your statement in a way that includes them.

A vision consists of an image and a feeling. See yourself free and happy that your desired good has come about. Never see yourself struggling to make it happen. As the step points out, you are impressing your desire upon the Creative Life Force, infinite wisdom and intelligence that knows no restrictions and is never hindered by appearances. You are working in cooperation with God by forming and holding steady to this picture. Read your statement with conviction at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at bedtime, and then throughout your day when possible. Do not struggle to make it true. Know that it is true.