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|Welcome to Conscious
Living, our newsletter designed to share our current activities
and growth, along with articles and information that we hope will be
supportive and encouraging in your efforts to live each moment with more
joy and satisfaction.
The leading article in this month's newsletter is entitled, "The Predicament, The Promise and The Process". Many of us believe in the power of thought and practice affirmations. However, in order to cause the universe to shift and move to manifest our goals, we need to become utterly convinced that our goals are manifesting. This article discusses the method of converting our ideas and hopes into that kind of conviction.
We are also pleased to offer another essay by Steve Roberts entitled, "The Heart of Social Responsibility". Steve is a regular contributor to our newsletter and his new book, Cool Mind, Warm Heart - Adventures With Life's Biggest Secret is available now on our website.
In this issue, we are officially announcing the availability of "The Conscious Word", our daily email containing an in-depth, focused affirmation to support your health, prosperity and general well-being. Reading and internalizing an affirmation each day can be an effective tool to uplift, inspire and counteract the experiences that can cause us to temporarily forget the positive truths behind outer appearances. The details are contained in our news release, below.
We are also announcing the release of our new spoken word CD entitled, "Embracing The Stillness - Lessons In Meditation". It is a tutorial on how to practice several meditation techniques and can also be used as a full guided meditation that includes using all the techniques previously learned.
In addition, CLF is announcing the addition of an entirely new and unique service - Tours and Pilgrimages. As we all know, certain locations around the globe hold a special significance and energy. While visiting such places we discover a deeper capacity within ourselves to focus, meditate, become receptive and recognize new evolving potentials. The first country which we will visit is India. Most people are already aware of the history and spiritual impact of that country and we are enthusiastic in offering this opportunity to you to experience India first hand.
Finally, we are happy to welcome Bill Belote to The Conscious Living Foundation website. Bill is a prolific musician who expresses his decades of spiritual experience in every note he writes and performs. We are now offering 5 of his albums and look forward to the addition of many more.
As always, we are so grateful to all of you who visit our website, and contribute through your generous donations, purchases, emails and article submissions. Thank you for letting us share with you.
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|Essay: The Predicament, The Promise and The Process by William Simpson|
We all seek improvement in our lives. Some of us seek improved health, a better job, deeper relationships, or a new home. Others seek better conditions for our children, our nation or the world.
Some seek to deepen their wisdom; to understand the meaning of our life, to attune with the will of God, to realize our divine nature – to learn how to effectively love and serve others.
Spirit has created the conditions within which we live. Spirit has created in us the desire to grow and deepen. But, how do we effectively go about finding that which we seek?
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are
children of the most High.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in
prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever
ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall
Imagine That It Is Possible – We begin by having a desire for a new good in our life. This is the first step; to merely have the idea in our minds is to begin the process of manifesting it in our lives. Conceive of your new goal with as much specificity as possible – get clarity and visualize the details.
Believe That It’s True – A belief is not a conviction, it is a hope that we continue to hold in our minds. This is an important step. We must bring awareness and persistence to our concept – minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, we must bring the idea of our new good to mind and heart, and trust and feel that the idea is coming to pass – that it is manifesting in our life.
Be Receptive To the New Good – As our belief deepens, we begin to open our being to receive the good of which we have conceived. We recognize that everything comes from Spirit and that Spirit will respond to our belief to the degree that we consciously accept what is given. We remove the barrier of our disbelief by consciously and continuously opening our mind and heart to receive our good.
Keep Your Eyes Open For Signs of Proof – As we increase in receptivity, we begin to watch for Spirit’s response. We look for subtle signs and synchronicities – evidence that our good is manifesting.
Be Confident Of Positive Change In Your Life – As we continue to apply ourselves to these steps, we begin to feel, in a new way, that our good is starting to manifest. Our expectation of increased good starts to blossom. As we become more and more confident that our good is coming – we amplify our expectation like a bellows blowing on a flame.
Recognize That Your Good Is Appearing – As our consciousness is filled more and more with genuine confidence and perception that our good is actually manifesting in our life, we recognize in a deeper way that Spirit loves us and will support and embrace us through a continuous flow of greater good in our life. As this recognition occurs, we feel a new constancy and assurance – a new knowledge that Spirit loves us in a practical way that actually manifests in our daily life on the physical plane.
Give Thanks Continuously For Everything – As this new recognition occurs, a spontaneous gratitude explodes in our heart. As we genuinely experience how much Spirit cares for us, in even the smallest details, our gratitude and love become overpowering. This depth of gratitude becomes an over-whelming magnet for further good to be drawn into our life.
Your Mind And Being Become “Fixed” That Your Good Is Manifesting – When this absolute conviction occurs, we experience genuine “faith”. We know, without doubt that the good which we seek – and even greater good beyond our conception – is expressing itself in our life right now.
Your Conception Becomes Reality – The good which you sought has arrived in your life!
The Practical Application:
The process described above can be used as a practical introspection tool to understand more clearly where you are in the process and what next step to take in order to move toward actualization of your good.
First, think of a particular desire or goal which you want to bring into your life. It can be anything – a change in psychological state, bodily health, work or money, relationships or spiritual growth. It can be for yourself or for another, but it is suggested that you work on yourself first until you experience the process of actualization and have confidence in it.
Secondly, it is necessary that one throw away wishful thinking as to your confidence and mental attitude regarding your goal. It is essential that you understand accurately, exactly where you are on the process chart regarding your goal.
You begin your understanding by going to the beginning of the chart – “Conceive”. Ask yourself, “Do I have a clear and detailed understanding of my goal?” If you do, write at least one typewritten page describing your goal. If you have done this, you have achieved the first step in the process and can move forward to the second step.
The second step in the process is “Believe”. Ask yourself, “Do I genuinely believe that my goal is coming to me?” Look deep within yourself and see if there is doubt or reasoning that gives you explanations for why your goal is not coming or might not come to you. If you do not genuinely believe that your goal is coming, here is where you must begin your work. Do you trust that God or the Universe will give you what you ask? Discover the basis for your disbelief. Create a set of affirmations designed to work with your mental attitudes and begin a persistent and regular practice of them. Watch your thoughts and words and make changes to support the attainment of your goal. If you have already developed positive belief, you have achieved the second step in the process and can move forward to the third step.
The third step in the actualization process is “Receive”. Ask yourself, “Am I open to receive my good?” Again, do not fool yourself. Look honestly at your feelings and attitudes. Are there self-imposed barriers to being open and vulnerable to receive your good? Do you feel worthy of receiving your good? To be open to receive is the opposite of being blocked, inhibited and closed. If you are open, then you have achieved this step in the process and can move forward to the fourth step.
The fourth step is “Perception”. Ask yourself, “Have I begun the consistent practice of confidently looking for evidence of my good to appear in my daily life?” If you have not begun this practice, begin now. If you have instilled the practice, and have started to discover signs of your good, you are ready to begin practicing the fifth step in the process.
The fifth step is “Expectation”. Ask yourself, “Do I confidently expect my good to appear in ever increasing ways?” In your answer, be careful that you don’t substitute a “positive attitude” for genuine expectancy. Our goal at this stage is not to “want” to expect good, but rather to genuinely feel a growing confidence that our good is appearing. If you have not yet developed this trait, stimulate its growth by carefully watching your attitudes and responses to each day’s experiences. Each time you discover yourself denying the possibility of improbable good coming to you or any situation – recognize that you are inhibiting your expectancy and resolve that you want to change this response and substitute a new one which confidently expects surprising good. This step can not usually be achieved over night. We are working with traits and habits that may have been developed over life times. But, conscious application of substituting the new feeling of hopeful confidence and actual expectation of good can be felt very quickly. When you feel that your good really is on the way, you are ready to move to the next step in the process.
The sixth step is “Recognition”. Ask yourself, “Have I recognized that my goal of good has actually started to arrive in my life?” This is the “ah hah” stage. There is a genuine sense that this whole thing really is working. There is a growing sense of assurance and confidence. If you have not achieved this stage, continue to practice the steps that have gone on before. Allow yourself to believe in miracles and to recognize that one is occurring right within your own life – allow yourself to feel a tremendous sense of being continually blessed – regardless of any reasons or beliefs your thoughts provide as to why you should not be blessed.
The seventh step is “Gratitude”. Ask yourself, “Do I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what is flowing into and through my life?” In every detail of our life we feel God’s nurturing hand. If we have not yet attained this stage, practice affirmations designed to enhance your sense of gratitude. In addition, practice saying “thank you Lord” or something similar during every experience of your day. Regardless of how your emotions or habits wish to respond – express thanks inwardly
and outwardly if possible. Look into each experience and see if you can find a reason to be grateful. When you feel gratitude whenever you look for it, you are ready to proceed to the eighth step.
The eighth step is “Conviction”. Ask yourself, “Am I utterly convinced that my intended good has begun coming to me and that it is continuing to flow toward me in ever increasing ways?” This is the key step. The mind, heart, body and soul must be integrated in a rock hard conviction that the intended good is arriving. There must be no doubt, no excuse, and no caveat. The mind and whole being must be “fixed” and set in stone. When this state of mind is achieved, you have done all that is necessary. Continue in this practice and watch the universe shift to manifest your conviction.
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
We are now offering "The Conscious Word", as one element of implementing the process described in this article. To read about how it works, click Here.
Essay: The Heart of Social Responsibility by Steve Roberts
“Who will I be, or die trying?”
The Heart of Social Responsibility
One day in St. Mike’s grammar school, the parish priest gave a little talk about what a good thing it was for us kids to give to the collection basket every Sunday. I raised my hand and asked what if somebody gave a dollar infected with smallpox and the congregation died, would that still be a good thing? The poor padre thought I was being a wiseguy, but I wasn’t (well, maybe a little). Even then I must have sensed that behavior without consciousness was incomplete.
Among the many things we can celebrate about humankind is our growing commitment to what is being called “social responsibility.” Vermont has one of the nation’s leading associations dedicated to this cause, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. There are those who feel the U.S. constitution should be amended to incorporate a commitment to the principle. You could probably find a “socially responsible” approach to almost every human activity from conception to cremation, which may make this movement among the most powerful in the world’s history. Still, “social responsibility” is a relatively new phenomenon, and so we continue to discover the depth of its meaning.
For instance, we are learning that social responsibility begins not with changing a single thing about the world, but rather with asking ourselves: Who am I committed to being?
We are learning that when we “make the world a better place” because we are angry, say, to pick a common motivation—what we’re doing as much as anything else is perpetuating anger. And if that weren’t enough, we are learning that making friends with anger (one of the indispensable steps toward actually managing it) may be harder than quelling terrorism or feeding the third of the world’s population that goes to bed hungry every night. How many of us would rather chop off our hand than give up our attachment to righteous indignation? How many of us light a candle for the planet while we hate those goddamn polluters?
When the Dalai Lama met a Tibetan monk who had been imprisoned and tortured by the Chinese for several years, His Holiness asked the monk if he had been afraid. The monk replied, “My only fear was that I wouldn’t have compassion for my captors.” We do ourselves a disservice if we think of this monk as somebody special. He’s just a guy trying to live the best life he knows how, like any of us. He knows that his life is not about his captors (the world outside of him), it is about himself—about who he is committed to being regardless of anything else.
A company here in Vermont has taken the courageous step of naming itself Seventh Generation, bowing to the Native American principle of making decisions with the awareness of our place at the center of a continuum that spans three generations before us and three generations after. This principle is especially powerful because it is impossible to know specifically how to realize it. Its value stems from how much the attempt to see our choices in a larger context becomes a conscious practice by every person who contributes to the organization’s well-being.
A friend of mine occasionally solicits my two cents about a non-profit he founded. His firm’s aspirations are noble, their accomplishments admirable. But my friend looks at me a little askance when I say that I would serve their worst enemy with the same commitment I offer him and his team: to help them bring an ever-increasing awareness of who they are and who they can become to every choice they make.
Today, we are learning that the measure of health, whether of an individual or the planet, is defined primarily by one thing: Resilience—the ability to respond in a positive way to any eventuality.
A healthy enterprise, then, like a healthy person, is one engaged in a never-ending assessment of those fundamental questions of purpose, values, and goals—and from that assessment, linking commitments to action. The key modifier here is “never-ending.”
It was a different though equally well-intentioned priest who, at my father’s wake, made the offhand remark that we are all sinners. I was 27. Speak for yourself, I said to him. Are you saying you’ve never sinned? he asked. Oh no, Father, I said. You name it, and I’m sure I’ve either done it or wanted to. But I’ve also played a lot of basketball, and I don’t consider myself a basketball player.As we grow in our understanding of what it takes to be socially responsible, we are learning that organizations that stagnate or die do so, at least in part, because they have neglected to address who they truly are. Their focus is primarily external, rather than within. Many of us who live lives of quiet desperation, as Thoreau calls it, do so for the same reason—shying away from the question that lies at the heart of not only social responsibility, but of life itself: Who will I be or die trying?
To find out more about Steve, see examples of his stone sculptures or read a chapter from his book, click Here.
Steve Roberts is the author of Cool Mind Warm Heart, a collection of essays, stories, and photographs of stone sculptures he builds on his Vermont farm. He can be found on the web at CoolMindWarmHeart.com and at TheHeartOfTheEarth.com.
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|News: The Conscious Word
is Now Available|
The Conscious Word is an email newsletter sent directly to you each day. Each issue contains an inspirational affirmation designed to help uplift your spirits and support your conscious efforts at personal and spiritual growth and development.
By practicing the affirmation which we email to you, for 3 to 4 minutes a day, you create an effective tool that will help you experience an ongoing positive change in your life.
We all “know” many things. However, “knowing” something, in and of itself, does not make it “true” to us. We can read all about oranges; we can look at pictures of oranges and we can talk to people who have eaten oranges. But, until we taste the orange ourselves, we do not truly understand the full truth about what an orange is.
Likewise, we can experience the “truth”, the real nature, of many more subtle and essential concepts by “tasting” them. One of the capabilities of an affirmation is to provide us with a “taste” of the subject matter of the affirmation.
However, something else is also at work in an affirmation. One of the secrets of the universe is that when a human believes something is so, it becomes what he or she believes.
Jesus said “Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, `Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea,' it shall be done. And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Book of Matthew verses 21 and 22)
The key words in this quote are “If ye have faith and doubt not..” and “all things whatsoever ye shall ask believing..”
Jesus is describing this receptivity of the universe to human belief. However, there are requirements for this belief to be effective. Jesus says we must have “faith” without doubt and that we must “believe” as we ask.
James Allen’s famous premise “As a man Thinketh, so it is” expresses this same truth.
In essence, when we become utterly convinced of the truth of something, which means we have absolutely no doubts about it, the universe will be molded and shaped to match our conviction. The challenging part is to find a way to become convinced of something that is not yet actualized. To cultivate our faith. This is where affirmations can help.
The lead article in this month's newsletter, "The Predicament, The Promise and The Process", lays out in great detail exactly how we can use affirmations to develop conviction.
By taking a thought or collection of thoughts and impressing them deeply upon the mind with persistence and concentration, a conviction can be cultivated. Developing our own personal convictions, especially about ourselves, and then deepening and persisting in those convictions is a major key to our health, happiness and success in life.
For More Information and A Two Week Free Trial, Click Here.
Tours and Pilgrimages To India!
In our attempt to offer new products and services which support your efforts at personal and spiritual growth, The Conscious Living Foundation is now offering for the first time, tours and pilgrimages to various parts of the world. Our first effort in this direction, is the following collection of escorted tours to India:
Tour No. 1 - Exotic India:
It is impossible not to be astonished by India. Experience luxurious palaces and romantic desert tents, chauffeurs and rickshaws, colorful bazaars and ancient forts, timeless observatory technology, temples, turbans, tribal dances and regional folk music, historic architecture, Mughal art, exquisite jewelry, sumptuous fabrics, incredible handicrafts, exotic foods, - the culture, the people, the land of Incredible India – it is all there for you to experience on your Exotic India tour!
Nowhere on Earth does humanity present itself in such a dizzying, creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues. Every aspect of the country presents itself on a massive, exaggerated scale, worthy in comparison only to the superlative mountains that overshadow it.
Visit - DELHI – AGRA – JAIPUR – JODHPUR -MANVAR– DELHI- -KOLKATA (formerly Calcutta)
The Exotic India escorted tour features 4 and 5 star hotels, to give you a taste of the Raj.
Next Exotic India Escorted Tour: February 10 -
(We are also planning our next escorted Exotic India tour for the fall of 2007, check back for details.)
For a complete itinerary and
details, click Here.
Tour No. 2 - Pilgrimage To India - A Journey of the Heart:
Recommended for those who wish to experience the spiritual side of India at it’s best. Focusing exclusively on reverential visits to the places associated with the great Guru Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda and His spiritual lineage, this journey of the heart takes you to northern India to visit many of the places described in the spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda.
You will thrill at seeing the lofty Himalayan mountains and you will blissfully float on the ancient holy Ganges River, but even greater experiences await you! On this soul-etching pilgrimage, you will soar in gratitude as you take the dust of Babaji’s Cave or sit under the litchi tree where The Master taught on the sacred grounds of Ranchi. Your heart will know the grandeur of immersion in lofty thoughts of The Great Ones as you visit the spots hallowed by Them, and you will be floating in joy each time you give your heart in stillness to the spiritual vibrations that abound in these holy places.
If you are wanting a spiritual boost or a new beginning, this journey of the heart is a trip of a lifetime, and for many the pilgrimage experience gives a new perspective on their spiritual life; it is a dream fulfilled for those wanting to say with The Guru ‘…I am hallowed, my body touched that sod.”
Next Pilgrimage: Oct.
21 - Nov. 18, 2006
(Our Spring Pilgrimage is scheduled for March 10 - 31, 2007)
NOTE: This fall’s Pilgrimage to India will be very special because it will include an historic event at the YSS Ranchi Ashram during their Sharad Sangam (Convocation). An expansive new YSS temple will be inaugurated during the week of classes and festivities. It is anticipated that at least one of the SRF Board of Directors will be going to India to dedicate the beautiful new temple on the YSS Ranchi Ashram grounds during the Sharad Sangam.
There are 2, 3 and 4 week itineraries available. Click Here for details.
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The Conscious Living Foundation's only source of income is your donations and purchase of our products. If you enjoy our newsletter and website, if you receive inspiration and encouragement from our efforts, we urge you to make a donation to help sustain and grow this work.
By helping us, you are supporting the spiritual growth of the tens of thousands of people from all over the world, who regularly visit our website.
Click Here for more information. Thank you!
by Dr. M. L. Lewis
As I always say, I approach this subject with fear and trembling. It’s a very difficult subject to prove whether reincarnation is true or not. Paramahansa Yogananda used to say so also, so I don’t feel too badly. He said, “Even I hate to talk about it.” If you will bear with me, let us see if we can’t come to some logical conclusion about reincarnation – and to have this subject on such a hot Sunday is terrible. But I even tried to offset that by bringing my big fan so at least we will feel a little more comfortable as we discuss this subject.
I always like to start it using Sri Yogananda’s own words and he said, “This is God’s most guarded secret, therefore difficult to solve.” You can see if we could easily understand it, the play would stop but it is that uncertainty – that delusion that causes us to follow desire and as all desires have to be fulfilled and if they are not fulfilled in this life, they have to be fulfilled sometime. And if we lay up certain causes due to the law of karma, the result must come and to do that we have to put on another coat, so to speak, or have another vehicle to carry out those desires.
Desire is the basis of reincarnation. Now what is reincarnation? Well, Yogananda has this to say about it and if you remember his words, it will help you. Reincarnation is a pilgrimage of the soul until all of its desires are fulfilled and it returns to the place from whence it comes. Just remember that much. It’s a pilgrimage of your soul, of my soul, which has come out of the one eternal spirit and presence of God – and because of desire, we have become attached to this plane of existence in which we find ourselves, or whatever plane of existence it is, it has become attached; it has to work out those desires through the law of cause and effect and return to the bosom of Spirit from whence it has come. You cannot improve on Master’s definition or statement about reincarnation.
Just remember that souls are rays of the eternal Spirit. Each one of us is a ray of the eternal Spirit of God which through desire has become identified with the particular vehicle and therefore has to work out and fulfill those desires through the law of cause and effect – or the Law of Reincarnation – that it return to the place from whence it has come. We came from the Infinite Father, all scriptures point that out. We will return to Him when we have removed the limitations which keep us attached to these planes of existence through desire. Master used to always say, “Watch your desires.” And with this returning comes births and deaths, putting on a new vehicle, putting on a new coat, taking on a new vehicle until finally we return to our Father’s house.
Now we might also say, and these are Yogananda’s words, “Reincarnation means the retrograde steps through which the Spirit returns to itself.” We came down from God. Although we seem separated from Him, we seem individual, we are not. We are still part of Him and it is none other than God that is in each one of us experiencing these things, enjoying the play, but He doesn’t get attached to it – sometimes we do. So it is the retrograde steps that we take as we return back home to Spirit. We came down from Him now we must go back through these various steps until we are once more one with Him in the great ocean of Spirit.
And so it is the delusion that makes us seem apart from God. That’s the terrible thing when the Truth is we are never apart from Him. Every night in sleep, where is your individuality? Where is your name and fame if you have any in this existence? But you are consciousness, peaceful and blissful especially in the state of deep sleep. That’s our natural state. Now we have to come and come and come again until we make that state dynamic to our consciousness – then we are free from the law of reincarnation. These are wonderful things and so although we do seem, especially in ego consciousness which is none other than the soul consciousness attached to the body, none other than Spirit itself, we do seem separated from God. But the truth is we are never apart from Him, but we think we are.
When we can break that thinking and realize that we are never apart from Him, never apart from The One Father, then we will once and for all be free – free from the attachment to this worldly existence. That’s why one of the great saints said, “Thou and I never apart, I am He, I am He, Blissful Spirit, I am He.” That’s all you have to do through effort, 25% your own, 25% of the channel God has sent to you and 50% by the Grace of God. Why not go to Him soon as fast as we can? And get above this reincarnation business with all of its trouble and all of its drawbacks.
Now I have a few references which I will give to substantiate what I have said. First from our own scripture, Proverbs 8th Chapter, 22nd and 23rd verses: The Lord possessed me (the Lord is Christ Consciousness) in the beginning of His way, before His works of old, before creation started even, we were with Him. Then He created and His own Consciousness and Light and Love are in all that Creation and we are a part of that Creation. And so from our Scripture, “I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning ere ever the earth was.” It is, remember, it is a ray of Cosmic Consciousness in Creation that reincarnates. Understand? It isn’t you as a personality – this has been brought on by living in the drama of life. It is a ray of Christ Consciousness that incarnates and you are that ray. So am I and we have to make it our own. So when you review reincarnation in that light, it isn’t half so bad, is it? Because it presupposes that we are one with the Infinite Father and a ray of His Presence.
So much for Proverbs. Also in St. John the 8th Chapter, Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily I say unto you before Abraham was, I am.” Now Jesus was not speaking of his personality or his personal consciousness because we know what they did with Jesus’ body, he was speaking of the Christ Consciousness within him, that’s what always was and will be, that’s why the disciples or the multitude didn’t understand him when he said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Not I was. I am! That’s what reincarnates. Christ Consciousness reincarnates. Therefore and also from the Bhagavad Gita, the Second Discourse, 20th and 22nd lines, “He is not born;” refers to the consciousness in you which reincarnates, the soul, spirit itself. “He is not born nor doth he die nor having been ceaseth he any more to be. Unborn, perpetual, ancient, he is not slain when the body is slaughtered. Finally as a man casting off worn out garments taketh new ones so the dweller in the body casting off worn out bodies entereth into others that are new.” Who is the dweller in the body? Not Mr. so and so, Mrs. so and so. It is a ray of God’s presence as the Christ Consciousness that is the dweller in the body known as Soul. That is what reincarnates.
And also from Revelation, 3rd Chapter, the 12th line, “Him that overcometh,” – overcometh what? Overcometh desires and frees himself from the births and deaths of this reincarnation! “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of God and he shall no more go out.” He shall no more reincarnate. “I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God.” What is the temple of God? That of which Jesus spoke, “In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you.” In other words, that’s the reality – that’s the place we are headed for. The process is the law of cause and effect or reincarnation. But the wonderful thing is to realize that we are one with God only we simply haven’t found it out yet. We must find it out by understanding this law of reincarnation.
Now the proof of reincarnation – the pros and cons. That is, those things that are so and point out that reincarnation is logical and those things that are contradictory. Now memory is not a deciding factor. People say, “Oh, I don’t remember anything about it. I guess that’s all there is to it – live and die and that’s it and be merry.” No. That is not it. Memory is not a deciding factor at all because although we can sharpen our memory so to speak, we can remember those things that have happened a short time ago or even from the beginning, but most of us cannot do that. Sometimes I can’t remember yesterday! Even so, memory has no standing as to judgment whether reincarnation is right or not.
If one recognizes the justice of the divine law of cause and effect, if you realize that, if you can recognize it through the intuition of your soul, then you will know that the concept of reincarnation is inescapable. As I will point out in a moment or two, one or two instances which could really show the law of cause and effect and the justice of that law. Otherwise that law is not just. The point is we do not see the whole of the law, the whole working of the law. We just see an immediate part.
Although many cannot remember as I have pointed out, there are those who can remember. There are those, the great saints and sages, who can remember and have shown that they remember. Just as in the Bhagavad Gita, in our reference this morning when Lord Krishna said to Arjuna, “Many births have passed between us both. You remember none of yours. I remember them all.” Who was Lord Krishna? He was an incarnation of Christ Consciousness itself. He was called the Blessed Lord just like Lord Christ Jesus had Christ Consciousness, so had Krishna, so had many of the great saints and sages. Now they, having Christ Consciousness, all memory is there – everything is there in the Omniscience of God, so if we remember that, perhaps we will be a little careful of what we do. Everything is there but who cares if this Lord of Great God himself, the Christ Consciousness, is dreaming this dream; and it’s a dream so it will pass away like our own dreams pass away. All we must realize and know is that we are one with the dreamer. What He dreams is His business. We are one with Him if we realize that reincarnation is really understood and we will not fear it or we will not wonder if it is so.
Now as to Paramahansa Yogananda, he had many experiences which he has told and some of these things he has written about in his Autobiography – one of which was read this morning where he found where the soul had entered into a new vehicle. I know – I believe all of those things because I have never found that the Master would tell me anything that did not come true. And I know he knew what he was saying. That much I’m sure of and he has told me many things myself. I don’t care whether it is so or not, but I know because he said so: it happened. And so the testimony of these great ones is wonderful to have to back up our personal experience and those personal fulfillments which we are longing for. In England, Master went to England with two boys (one of them was my son), and he went to Stonehenge which is outside of London I believe. I’ve forgotten just the town, Salisbury that is, and he was telling my son, He said, “You know, one of my incarnations was here where the Druids were.” They have the great stones where they have arranged them in a certain way and I know my son wrote back and he said, “You know, Dad, this was one of his incarnations. He was here about 4500 years ago.” That was what it meant to my son but to us it means something real. Then they went to the Tower of London. Some of you realize that Master was William the Conqueror, so they were in the Tower of London and the guard was showing them all around. And he came to this little corner several stories up, quite high, and he [Master] said, “What’s there?” The guard said that is nothing – it is just boarded in there. The Master said, “No. There must be something there. There is a toilet back there!” And so they took the boards off and there was the toilet. How? Because He remembered that place. He remembered being there and living there.
Therese Newman also remembers the vision of Christ on the cross. In other words, she went through that. I remember Yogananda told me she went through that and experienced it and experiences it every so often. Why? Because she lived that life as Mary Magdalene. So we have the testimony of these Great Ones which we cannot discard and those of you who have accepted Paramahansa Yogananda as your guru, you know he will never lead you astray. He has never led me astray – all things he has said have come true.
One other thing comes to mind. Just before Yogananda passed away, he said, out at the desert, “Remember how wonderful it was when I first came back in Boston?” He said, “Life’s a dream, isn’t it? Where’s your father, my father? Both gone, but that love that we both felt is the same.” And I said, “You bet it is. That’s the same.” Then he turned and he looked at me and said, “We’ll be apart a little, then together again.” What do I care about what’s coming? I know that the true guru is the voice of the Infinite Father. And when he said those things, that particular thing, I knew it was true. How? Because the soul knows. The soul responds to truth! So we have the testimony of the Great Ones to help us along as we travel this path of reincarnation.
Now the most convincing argument or pro-argument so to speak of reincarnation is as we view the injustices and the paradoxes of this worldly living. Why are some of the little ones snatched away before they have even started to live? And others live for a long, long age – old age. Why? Because causes were laid up and the effect came and that little soul had to once more return and start over. And also in different families – why are there these discrepancies? They eat the same food, they live in the same environment and yet many of them have entirely different dispositions and tendencies within themselves, motives for actions. Why? Because they laid up those causes and those effects are there to be worked out and they are worked out with good or bad results. And then in this worldly existence we find some people in a different social standing than others and those who usually are down wish they are up and the top ones will wish they are down, but nevertheless there are differences in the different standings in this worldly existence. Why? Some people, money just flows into them. Everything turns to gold and other intelligent good people can hardly make ends meet. Why? Because those causes have been laid up and the effects are now showing up in the way of tendencies and the fact they are born in certain environments. And these are the results of the law of cause and effect known to us as the law of reincarnation.
Then there are the cases of outstanding people – rulers and scientists and architects. Like Einstein! Where did he get that great understanding which he had, which he was able to exert on people? That didn’t come from ‘nowhere.’ I remember Master was in our house in Arlington, Massachusetts one time and he had a Hindu boy with him. And that Hindu boy could multiply right while you were getting your pencil and paper ready – he could multiply six digits by six digits. He said, “Go ahead, make all the noise you want,” and he would get his paper out and figure it out. Six figures times six figures. It scares me to think of it! He would get started and give you the answer as one million-whatever-it-was. Think of it! And he said, “Ask me any time within a year and I will give you that result.”
He said, “What’s the day of your birthday?” I said, “Mine’s the 26th of March, 1893.” And he said, “You were born on a Sunday,” which was true as I understand it. Why are these things possible? Because he brought that over with him. And one interesting thing comes to mind – that same Hindu boy right in our house there, Master was with us and he asked him and he went to the guru and he kept at it and at it and he told me with his own words that the wife came and stood by his side from the astral side. And the guru and he talked to her and she with him. So these things do not just happen. We have prepared ourselves to receive or not to receive, to act or not to act, in this great drama of life.
Now there are generalities as I have pointed out, the difference in temperament and such things, capacities and health in the same family, the same food under the same environment. Some will be healthy, some will not be healthy. Some will have a wonderful disposition and some will be cranks and crabs. Why? Reincarnation.
And then for instance, you take a man of 70 years of sin or 70 years of evil will not or cannot surely relegate that person to eternal hell or heaven. No. That man must return and work out those things and the good man, perhaps he will return for a little longer and fulfill those remaining desires which he has. These things are interesting and other things, Yogananda said a finite life cannot reap an infinite life. And what are we going to do with the people who are 50% good and 50% bad? Where are you going to put them in the House of Heaven? What floor are you going to put them on? Well, I suggested last year I think it was, put them on the Mezzanine Floor between First and Second Floor as I understand it or perhaps we will put a celestial label on them as we do in the post office: “Special Handling.”
Where are you going to put them? So this reincarnation, although it seems and surely is reasonable, plausible. It is very difficult to understand it like the – someone asked the little girl, “Do you believe in reincarnation?” And she thought and said, “No, but I like their ice cream!” So, just a little breathing spell – Isn’t that the ice cream place? Carnation?
The time is slipping on. Just a point that comes up here – remember that if you believe in reincarnation, you are not alone. Look at the 200 million Hindus who believe in reincarnation; 500 million Chinese and Japanese believe in reincarnation. The Druid priests believed in reincarnations. Many of the philosophers of East and West, Pythagoras, Plato, Schopenauer, Emerson – they all believed in reincarnation so we are not alone. Don’t be frightened. There are many, many who go along with us.
Now we come to one of the important interesting points which has quite a few figures which I would like to give you at this time. And I’ll condense it just as short as possible: Reincarnation in the Scriptures. You look through all the Scriptures – the Vedas, Zoroastrianism, Mohammedism, Buddhism – in all their books, they all accept reincarnation. All the old and ancient religions and even Christianity accepted it as I will point out at this time.
The Bible and Reincarnation. I’ll take especially the story of Elias or Elijah and Eleisha. Sometimes Elijah was called Elias or Elia – it refers to Elijah. Elijah came as John the Baptist. Eleisha came as Jesus the Christ. Referring to First Kings, 19th Chapter, 15th – 21st verses inclusive. If you take the trouble, you can read about these pertinent facts which I will point out. Elijah the Great Prophet, Elijah the Tishbite. Elias was raising 12 oxen and Elijah the Prophet found him and he cast his ‘mantle of spirit’ on Eleisha. ‘Mantle of spirit’ means the spiritual power which Elijah had. What happened? Eleisha followed Elijah, left all things and followed him. He represented the Christ of course, Eleisha – the 12 oxen represented the 12 disciples. He with the twelve – it speaks of in Kings – was to come again as Jesus the Christ with his 12 disciples. Now Eleisha followed Elijah after he cast his mantle of spirit upon him. He followed him and the divine drama went on. Now that, just in a few words, is the story in the Old Testament of Eleisha and Elijah. Remember Elijah cam as John the Baptist and Eleisha came as Jesus the Christ with 12 disciples. He recognized that after Elijah had cast his mantle of spirit upon him – that is the important thing to remember.
Now going on, in the New Testament there are similar activities of these two great souls. Similar points for instance, there was a similar dress between John and Elijah. John had a camel’s hair coat in Second Kings. Also Matthew, the third chapter, it speaks about him wearing a leather girdle. These are interesting points and bear looking into. There were similar miracles performed by Jesus and Eleisha, similar miracles almost identical, as another point of similarity. Coming down a little further, John whose coming was predicted in Malachi, the 4th Chapter, 5th verse. John’s coming predicted then, fulfilled in Matthew, the 11th Chapter and in Luke, 1st Chapter, 17th verse. Matthew, the 11th Chapter, 14th verse: “This John is Eleias who was to come.”
Now going on a little further, John, the guru of Jesus, knew Jesus was coming. John, who was Elijah previously, in the New Testament was John – knew Jesus was coming. And if you wish to corroborate it, you will find it in Matthew, the 3rd Chapter, 11th verse: “I John baptize with water of repentance he who cometh after me with the Holy Ghost and fire.” So there we can see that John knew – John, the guru of Jesus, when Jesus was coming. And Jesus knew his guru John had come because in Matthew, the 17th Chapter, the 12th and 13th verses, we read, “Elias is already come.” Remember, Elias meant Elijah or Elia. Those were similar words and names referring to Elijah in the Old Testament; John in the New Testament. And so what do we read? Elias is already come. Then the disciples understood he spoke of John the Baptist.
Now finally, the guru-disciple relationship between John and Jesus corresponding to the previous relationship between Elijah and Eleisha is very wonderful. It shows that that relationship is the same as your relationship, my relationship with the one guru who is God Himself. There is only one guru. Supreme Guru is the Omniscience of God, manifesting in various channels in different gurus in different ages – none other than God Himself. Now that relationship is most wonderful. At the baptism of Jesus, we find that relationship. John did not feel he should do it [baptize Jesus]. Jesus said, “Baptize me because this is the way of all righteousness.” The guru is never lost sight of – Yogananda in all his activities always claimed and gave the power to his guru or to God Himself.
And so that relationship is wonderful. Then we have these other words about what John said [to] his previous disciple Jesus, as he was “…not fit to unlatch his shoes.” And Jesus said, of his guru Elijah now as John the Baptist, “No man born of woman is as great as John the Baptist.” Now these are wonderful things to think about and they are taken from our own scriptures, our Bible.
So finally, how can reincarnation be understood? Surely these are arguments, the pros and cons, but they do not satisfy us fully, do they? The nearest thing that will satisfy us is the voice of the Master or the guru. He is the voice of the Infinite, that’s the spiritual law. That’s how spiritual law is carried on from one age to another through this method. And so when the guru says, and you know he is the voice of God, you know it is true.This is what Paramahansa Yogananda has said about reincarnation: “When you immortalize your consciousness, then you will know about reincarnation, for all memory will be yours. Reincarnation cannot be intellectually understood. One has to enter into the realm of intuition. When we, through meditation, and thereby through intuition, consciously contact the omniscient consciousness of God, all waves of lives – that is, incarnations – can be known. For all things are there.”
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"I entered and beheld with the eye of my soul,
Above the same eye of my soul
And above my mind,
The Light Unchangeable—not this common light,
Which shines for all flesh;
Nor as it were a greater of the same kind,
As though the brightness of this
Should shine out more and more brightly
And with its greatness take up all space.
Not such was this light,
But different, yea far different from all these.
Nor was it above my soul as oil is above water,
Nor yet as the sky is above the earth;
But it was above me
Because it made me, and I was below it
Because I was made by it.
He that knoweth the Truth, knoweth that Light;
And he that knoweth it, knoweth Eternity."
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However, the most complete expression of his approach to living is contained in his masterwork "Byways To Blessedness". This book is the most complete, detailed and in-depth expression of James Allen’s inspirational vision of the path to conscious evolution. As "As A Man Thinketh" was the introductory course to his thoughts and wisdom, "Byways To Blessedness" is James Allen's Master's thesis. Ours is the only complete audio version of this work available anywhere.
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by Elizabeth C. T.
|"Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my
voice; let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If
Thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there
is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord,
my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say more than they that watch for the morning.
Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities".
—Psalm 130, 1-8.
"Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy seven times".
—Matthew 18, 21-35.
A deaf mute was asked his interpretation of forgiveness; he wrote on a pad, "The perfume a flower yields when trampled on." There is something sublime in this answer. Think on it! "The perfume a flower yields when tramped on"—and a deaf mute made this answer. In a person, it is the love he still gives out in spite of injury, injustice or hurt. Even an effort to do this is an approach to the heights of the Soul’s attainment. To be able, no matter what has happened, to continue in loving regard of our fellow men is only just short of being Divine.
When we forgive a person, we place him back in the same regard that we formerly held him. To forgive is to give back; to place back in the same relation as before. Surely, when each of us has so much for which to be forgiven, we can seek to render forgiveness, else how can we expect to partake thereof? "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." We must forgive those who have debts against us, if we expect to be forgiven. Of course, this applies to moral debts. In no way could it be interpreted as meaning material debts; we are certainly expected to take care of our material debts and no one could ever absolve us from them.
In forgiveness, there is a largeness of heart, a breadth of mind, a depth of understanding, a nobility of tolerance, and a generosity of soul; only a kindly spirit can truly forgive—and we benefit ourselves when we do this, for there can be no one of these above attributes exercised without its being increased.
Jesus said to his disciples: "Whosoever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto them, but whosoever sins ye retain, they shall be retained." In the old usage of this word "remit" meant pardon. What weight these words have in them! If we forgive, the person is released from this act, but if we hold this thing against him it remains. What availeth vindictiveness? Nothing. We injure ourselves far more by such an attitude. If we have been wronged, injustice done us, injury done, the natural laws will take care of all of these. We are not here to condemn, but to work toward the light and help others so to do. "To be workers together with God, not judges." How many times we speak or act hastily, hurriedly, without deep thought, and many times we wound another’s feelings, and we seek forgiveness. Ought we not by the same token to render forgiveness? Until we give full pardon, we cannot expect to receive it, "for the measure ye mete shall be measured unto you again."
To be unforgiving is selfish, egotistical and blind. We hug our hurt feelings and are sorry for ourselves—this is sorrow’s crown of sorrows; this being sorry for ourselves—it is ingrowing, and the more we dwell on this injury the larger it becomes, and more difficult becomes the step of forgiveness. We put ourselves so far above the other person in importance—we think of what has been done to us, and magnify the hurt. We dwarf our vision and see not how the other person has hurt himself, and that by generosity we can help both with forgiveness.
How much closer are human hearts knitted together by forgiveness, how friendship takes on a new and larger meaning. How much deeper the understanding and how much more we feel at one with one another. Forgiveness is the healing balm of friendship—for human as we are, there are times when misunderstandings arise, but do we not each owe it to ourselves in largeness of heart and kindliness of spirit to forgive even as we would be forgiven?
Forgiveness is the approach to the throne and angels dwell close to the heart and mind that can forgive. Love is not love that hath not forgiveness in it. If we would travel the Master’s path truly, forgiveness must accompany, for we, too, are frail and must needs call for this benign grace from the Father, and as we receive it, may we also give of it, for every one that asketh shall receive it. As we expect to receive and ask for forgiveness time and again so are we to give forgiveness time and time again.
Mercy is not mercy that hath not forgiveness in it. If we wish our errors turned according to our efforts and our intent to be the measure of them, so let us have mercy that hath forgiveness in it, as we expect mercy.
Humility is the twin sister of forgiveness, for if we do but realize our many shortcomings, our own weak efforts, our many failings, we shall have the grace to be forgiving when we need so much ourselves, and in all humbleness seek to be replaced in Divine Regard. What a comfort it is to know that we can be so replaced! There is always the answer to the sincere desire for forgiveness. Ever ready is the Father to replace His children. So no matter how we fall away from the Path, or no matter where we turn from it, through the ever present grace of God’s mercy, can we obtain forgiveness, and be once more at-one with Him and with our fellow men.
Forgiveness is the healing balm of humanity. With no thought of Himself and in spite of curses, in spite of the hatred about Him, in spite of His enemies and betrayers, Jesus on the Cross breathed the most sublime petition in all history:
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
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