The Pathway of Roses/A Foretaste of Heaven
A FORETASTE OF HEAVEN
How to enter the silence is a problem that confronts every earnest seeker for that higher state of being, that more beautiful world of peace and joy, that inner realm where all is well, that secret place where dwells the soul with God. Prophets, illumined minds and great souls of every age have discovered that there exists a hidden somewhere in the cosmic life of man, the finding of which means the full realization of all the hopes of human life. In this inner realm there is healing for all ills, there is the peace that passeth understanding, the joy everlasting, and light, wisdom and power without end. To enter this sacred chamber of the soul is to find the answer to every prayer, the long sought fulfillment of every heart's desire; whatever the soul has longed for, the same will be found in this inner sanctuary of eternal life; and the path has been called the silence.
The will of the Father is to give us the kingdom; but we must go to Him if we would receive what is prepared for them that love Him. But how shall we go to God? We seem to be away from Him. There seems to be a gulf between our own life and the Infinite life. To bridge this gulf is the great need of the soul, and the silence seems to answer this need. Therefore, to know how to enter the silence becomes a great secret, both in the living of daily life and in the attainment of supreme spiritual life. To simply believe availeth nothing; we must actually go to God if we would receive what eternity holds in store. All things come from God, and he who enters into the presence of God will receive all that God can give. To go to God is to enter into the stillness of the spirit, into the silence of those secret places where the Infinite reigns in glory, where the Christ is enthroned On High.
Be still and know that I am God. This is the way, and no other path can be found. There are many who are trying to climb up some other way, but they will not find what they seek. The straight and narrow path alone leads to the Father's House. But there are few who find it, because the many try to reach the spirit without becoming spiritual. Man expects to gain the gifts of the spirit through methods, but never will he find the kingdom in this way. He alone receives the gifts of the spirit who becomes spiritual. He alone enters the kingdom who will live the life of the kingdom.
There are many who believe that psychical experiences constitute the "gates ajar" to the spiritual kingdom within, and multitudes have been lost in this sea of darkness and confusion. Such experiences never lead the soul to the kingdom, but they are, in many instances, the only obstacles in the way. So long as a person encourages those experiences and permits himself to be led by strange signs, he will remain in the without, and will suffer the usual ills of material man. The kingdom of heaven does not come by observation, neither tangible observations nor mysterious observations. The kingdom is found only in the spirit, and the spirit does not manifest itself in strange signs, but in the great and beautiful life. Jesus taught the existence of a spiritual realm within man, and emphasized again and again the necessity of living in this higher state if we would receive what real life can give. In this age, the entering of this secret place—the inner chamber of the soul, has been called the silence, or the true prayer of illumined faith— the prayer that not only asks of God but realizes eternal oneness with God. It is the prayer that is uttered in silence that is answered; it is the truth that is realized in the silence that gives freedom, peace and wholeness to man.
To enter the silence is to enter God's world, where everything is created in the image of God and manifests the likeness of God. To be in the silence is to know that you are spirit. To be in the silence is to know and feel that God is omnipresent and that you are one with God. To be in the silence is to actually be in the life eternal, and realize the divinity, the goodness and the perfection of all things. To enter the silence is to enter that sublime state where you know that God is in His Holy Temple and that all the world is silent before Him.
To enter the silence is not to have certain strange mental experiences for the space of a half an hour. You may have visions, you may realize the seeming reality of mystical realms, you may project thought, you may communicate with minds that are far away, you may have all kinds of super-physical sensations in mind and body; you may seemingly leave the form and be conscious of other worlds; you may imagine that your body is ether and that you can float upon the air; you may go into ecstacy and seem to receive wonderful revelations; you may have all of these experiences and many more, some of them real, some of them not, and never be in the silence for a single moment.
To enter the silence is to actually go to God; to enter into His presence and to know that He is ever with you. To enter the silence is to walk with God; to feel that His spirit protects you, leads you and keeps you, and that nothing but good can possibly come. To enter the silence is to awaken to the great truth that all that is real is good. To enter the silence is to become conscious of that cosmic state of existence where there is neither evil, sickness nor sin; where all is perfect and good; where life lacks nothing, and where the fullness of Infinite life reigns supremely through the all in all. To enter the silence is to see the soul-side of all things, to come face to face with the eternal, the changeless, the absolutely divine. In the silence you never look for experiences; you are above the world of experience; you are not in the presence of the passing; you are in the presence of the sublime stillness of that which ever and ever is as God is. When you are in a quiet state and have experiences you are not in the silence; but when passing thoughts are forgotten, and you find yourself face to face with the sublime stillness of eternal life, then you are in the silence. In that state all is silent and still; nothing is passing; all is; all is in Him; and all is illumined with the light and the glory of His radiant presence. Divine moments. Beautiful beyond human comprehension. A foretaste of heaven. A glimpse of the Many Mansions. Alone with God, and the Great White Throne.
To enter the silence there are no special methods, but there are many things, which if done, will prepare the way. The first of these is to live the life of the spirit every day as far as you know; live in the spirit of the prayer without ceasing, and desire eternally the coming forth of the soul. And inspire this desire with the great truth that your soul is the throne of God. When the soul comes forth the Word becomes flesh, the perfection of divinity manifests in personal form, and the Mind that was in Christ Jesus the same Mind will be in you. Every day for a few moments be alone with the Most High. Let those moments be sacred, and think only of Him. Do not permit another thought to enter consciousness. Fill your being through and through with such strong spiritual aspirations that the thought of the Infinite reigns supremely in your mind. Try to realize His presence, His life and His love. Give yourself up wholly to God, and know that you are absolutely in His care. Enter so deeply into the spirit of this realization that you can actually feel divine nearness—that God is closer to you than your own life. To feel this is to enter into the greatest joy of sublime existence. To be touched by the Spirit of God, if but for a single moment, produces a million thrills of divine ecstacy, and so great is the joy that one short moment feels as if it were an eternity. In brief, when you are in that sublime state you are in real eternity; time passes no more; every moment appears to be an eternity because it is in eternity; and being in eternity it gives to you an eternity of bliss—unbounded bliss from the highest heaven.
There is nothing that will prepare the way to this sublime spiritual silence more than this—to give a few moments every day to God, to think of Him only, and to think of Him with your whole life, with your whole strength, with your whole mind, with your whole heart and with your whole soul. To give up to God is to enter into the kingdom of God, and to enter the kingdom of God is to receive everything that God has to give. To give up everything for God is to receive everything from God. To place everything in the hands of God is to be guided and led by the hands of God, and God leads man into every good that the mind can imagine. God leads out of the lesser into the greater, out of limitations into the richness of the boundless, out of mere existence into the glories and splendors of empyrean heights. And it is the purpose of the silence to so deepen the consciousness of the spiritual life that we may live eternally in the very presence of God. Thus we shall ever walk with God and be guided by Him in all things.
To consecrate your entire being to the spiritual life and so live that everything you do draws you higher and higher into the very world of the spirit—this is another essential to the attainment of the true silence. When your life is consecrated to the spirit, all the powers of your being will constantly ascend towards the supreme heights of the spirit. Thus you become more and more spiritual, and to be truly spiritual is to be able to enter the secret places at any time. Another important essential is to live in the consciousness of the divine side of all things. Never for a moment permit the mind to forget that there is a divine side to everything in existence. No matter how imperfect things may seem to be on the surface, know that there is another and a better side, even to the least of these; and do not for a moment lose sight of the great truth that that better side is created in His image and likeness. This lofty mode of thought and life will not interfere in the least with the duties of every-day life, but will, instead, make all work and all life a great joy. To work when the mind is in the spirit is to work both wisely and well; and when you ascend to the supreme heights of the spirit your work becomes a great work. To live in the spirit is not to live apart from visible things, but to gain far greater mastery of things, and thus gain the power to do far greater things. To live in the silence is not to live in a dream; it is not to become oblivious to the realities of tangible existence, but to inspire tangible existence with all the power, with all the life, with all the truth, and with all of the beautiful that the soul can find when it soars to celestial realms on high. The purpose of the silence is to unite the world of things with the world of spirit, and thus give the fairest life in all the world to body, mind and soul.
Sun of my soul, eternal light,