Given in the Temple by Eleanor L. Shumway, Sunday, August 18, 2012
Convention 2012 has come and gone, and we are now in the process of evaluating and assimilating the forces generated during this sacred time The Master told us, “This year I have asked you to concentrate or Acceptance. This means a total receiving of each other without the intent to change or judge yourself, your brother or your sister. Time and time again have I told you that when you imagine some act of yours is such a “little thing” that it is of no consequence In the Divine Scheme of Life, you forget the Divine Scheme is built of the small courtesies, the kindnesses, the smiles, the complete acceptance of each other, the recognition of the unity of all created life. The Divine Scheme is torn apart by anything less.”
How do we develop this recognition? We can talk about the process, we can mentally acknowledge that it should happen, but how do we actually do it? This is one of those situations where we have to tackle the subject from all sides, all dimensions. We do need to talk about the recognition process, but we must not get lost in the maze of words. A lesson in vol 2 of the Temple Teachings tells us that our minds are bound by words, by definitions springing from the depths of life, and that we have become slaves of the false rendering we give to words, even so far as to deal death and poison to our fellow human beings using the forces bound up in those words. This is the negative side of words, but there is a positive side. We have all experienced words that heal, Illuminate, comfort, bring joy, and uplift the human spirit, pointing the way to reunion with God. And then, we are given the choice to use words with as much care as a fine jeweler chooses the gems he sets into an intricate piece he is crafting.
Our fifth rule of Discipleship states, Thou shalt not speak falsely, unnecessarily or critically against thy neighbor, and the Master elaborated on that in a later writing, saying that there is nothing a human being can do which will invite the forces of disruption and disintegration as readily as unkind criticism of each other. By lying, criticizing, or idle voicing waste energy in unnecessary chatter, we bring the energy of sound and word back upon ourselves with intensified force. Then, we often blame others for the very thing we ourselves have put into action.
In the Master’s message to the Convention He further says: “The Divine Scheme is built not by large deeds on heroic scale, but rather by small dally, hourly acts of thought, words and deeds with and for each other. By conscious choice you must exercise Spiritual Will. I tell you yet again that the Will is a spiritual attribute which must be cultivated more assiduously than a corresponding mental faculty if it is to evolve power and expression. It is an attribute which belongs to the spiritual man or woman, and which in addition to other spiritual attributes, the Soul is striving to correlate with corresponding attributes in the lower man or woman, in order to enable the individual to function simultaneously and perfectly on all planes of manifestation. But, my children, do not confuse Will with stubbornness. The latter belongs to the mental plane, the former to the spiritual.” I had to chuckle when I read the following in an interview with the Master on January 7, 1904, when He was asked: “In our anxiety to do the right thing, it is so difficult to know sometimes what is the right thing?”
He replied, “Yes, I know it is difficult to know. If it were not difficult it would not be worth doing.”
He speaks further in the interview about the forces of opposition when He is asked by Dr. Dower, “Cannot you give us some idea, Father, of your method in meeting the opposing forces and neutralizing them?”
The answer: “You would scarcely understand me, as the forces brought into action are not such as you are familiar with. I can only put it into such words as you are familiar with, to convey even the lightest idea of it. But still, it is a method which you must learn to use. Whenever a disrupting force is sent in towards any degree of the Lodge, the Masters of that degree are called together to present, as it were, a solid front to the enemy. When the form of energy, as all such forces are, meets the front presented and strikes against this solid wall, it is thrown back immediately on itself. In other words, the very principle which governs the rebounding of a rubber ball against a wall is used by us in meeting and combating such forms of energy. Always remember it is never at the individuals we strike, never at a personality; it is always at the force or form of energy which is actuating that personality.”
Dr. Dower asks, “Does that form of energy thrown back hit the personality? And if possible, the Masters try to transmute that, do They not, without allowing it to go back?”
Answer: “Yes, it cannot fail to do so. [hit the personality] If it is possible to transmute it, it is transmuted by coming into contact with the aura of the Initiates and that solid front of will power generated by Them. If it cannot be transmuted it bounds back. We always strive to overcome hatred with love. If We cannot do this, the love serves as a shield or wall against which the hatred destroys itself. That is the secret in the words ‘Overcome evil with good.’ We do overcome it in just that way.”
Although we are a long distance from mastery at this point in time, we can endeavor to pattern ourselves along the lines They layout. We can learn to step back from the plane of personality onto the plane of forces and work there. I do not mean to sit down for hours away from everyone and go to work interiorly, although that is a valid technique also. I am suggesting in our walking around, talking, interacting, everyday life that after encountering the problem on the personality plane, we step back and see if we can recognize the problem on the plane of forces. Then the solid front of Love, Compassion, Understanding, and Insight comes into play. The emotional heat dissipates and the situation often resolves itself, rather than escalating into a wildfire. Like learning to play the piano, or becoming proficient in tennis, this is one of those techniques that one improves with practice. This stepping back to look at a problem from another plane and another angle also involves taking a clear and honest look at one’s own part in the situation, and freeing oneself from an attitude of judging the actions of the other person.
In that same interview of 1904, when the Master was speaking of how to work with the forces of disruption, He gave a technique that suggests that He may do some surfing when He is relaxing when He says, “Do not try to stand still as the wave [of disruptive forces] comes toward you. Let it lift you bodily so that you may ride on its crest. In other words, do not let it disrupt you.”
We have been given an awesome responsibility. There is a very human part of us that wants to be told what to do, to be taken care of, and then of course, if it doesn’t quite work out, we can tell ourselves that it is because the caretaker or instructor is wrong. We have been told what to do, and in broad outline, how to do it. The Master told us in 1904, “What I have said to you, I say from my Father’s heart, not from the heart of a Master, or an Initiate, talking down at his chelas. I say it from the depths of my love for you, from the depths of my wide experience in, with, and for you. I know, as you cannot know, that you cannot go up that path separate from each other; you have got to go together or not at all. You have got to go together because you are part of myself, and I cannot go without you. Every difference which amounts to anything between any of you makes a division which cannot be closed up until time and effort have done it, and it puts both you and me back until it is accomplished. It is so difficult for me to convey to your finite understanding the importance of what I say, the truth and verity of my statements. You are as much a part of myself as the fingers on your hands are a part of your hands. I cannot bear to see anything divide you, knowing what I do know, to say nothing of its effect on those who come after you.”
These words are as applicable to our lives this morning, as they were ninety-four years ago when they were written. We know the Ten Rules of Discipleship are the foundation for life, strong and permanent, and they tell it like it is. There is no room for negotiation. Our responsibility is to each other, to the Master, and to the future of the Temple. This is played out in every thought, word, and deed of every hour, every day. Indeed there are NO little things. That statement is made over and over again in our teachings. The responsibility of that statement is often overwhelming, and yet when we try to meet that responsibility minute by minute, we receive a flow of love and nurturing from the Master than honors our choices and helps us develop the strength for the next choice. He tells us how we approach our neighbor physically, mentally, or spiritually within the next twenty-four hours, indeed within the next single hour, will do more to affect our spiritual quest and our innate yearning for peace and unity than all our words, all our promises, all our seeming aspirations. We must be gentle; be understanding; use forbearance when tried; be patient; be truthful; be loyal; and above all be silent. It is not our assignment to make over our neighbor. There are many right ways. We must trust in the Divine Law working out a right way through each and every person. Do rather than tell, and do without expectation of reward, knowing it must be done; for if we see a need then it is our task to quietly fill that need. Simply accept each other in balance and trust.
Within certain broad parameters, Templars everywhere are asked to do what is right; that ‘right’ determined by active inner participation with the Higher Law. Our lower selves often want no part of that Higher Stuff. We are reminded of that old adage; Better the familiar darkness than the unfamiliar Light. In our journey toward that Light, we are asked to bring an adherence to principle, a sense of participating in something larger than ourselves to everything we do, be it weeding the garden, hammering a nail, talking to our neighbor, or attending a class or meeting when we would rather be somewhere else. Many of us here remember Harold saying, when we complained that we didn’t get anything out of a meeting or class, ‘It isn’t what you get out of it that matters, what matters is what you bring to it. ‘”
All of this requires that we listen actively, interact with each other actively, and bring all of our talents actively to the rich tapestry of daily living. In our classes, an open mind rather than a closed reading of the lessons leads to deeper insights, shared experiences, and more tools readily accessible. If we take things too literally we can lead ourselves astray. We are looking for balance, balance, balance.
I am reminded of a story that came to me recently by email: “Sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding drivers, a Hiway Patrolman sees a car puttering along at 22 MPH. He thinks to himself, ‘This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!’ so he turn on his lights and pulls the driver over.
‘Approaching the car, he notices that there are five very old ladies, two in the front seat and three in the back, wide-eyed and white as ghosts. The driver, obviously confused, says to him, ‘Officer , I don’t understand. I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?’
‘Ma’am,’ the officer replies, ‘You weren’t speeding but you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers.’
‘Slower than the speed limit? No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly: Twenty-two miles per hour!’ the old woman says, a bit proudly.
The Hiway Patrolman, trying to contain a chuckle, explains to her that 22 was the route number, not the speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.
‘But before I let you go, Ma’am, I have to ask, is everyone in this car OK? These women seem awfully shaken and they haven’t muttered a single peep this whole time,’ the officer asks.
‘Oh, they’ll be all right in a minute, Officer. We just got off Route 119!”’
We may feel as if we too have been going 119 MPH, but there is a way to step off the freeway and accept a more measured pace. Remember these words, “My Children, have I never said words of encouragement to you? Have I ever discouraged you, except to slow down your too rapidly moving feet? You know my heart as well you know that you live and breathe, that my arms are around you night and day, in the depths and out of them. I have never left one of my little ones alone; at times you have left me, but I shall never do so, neither can I when you are a part of myself, part of my life. From my soul I wish I could convey to you the love I feel for you, the desire I have for your advancement; but every mother knows that if her child is to grow strong it must walk by itself, it must learn all it knows of physical conditions by pain, and this process continues to the end. But there is no reason why you should not see the beauty, the good, the glory there is in life. It is around you on every side, it is yours to take and use as it seems best to you, always in the right spirit. I would not have you look at the hells of life, but at the heavens which also lie around you. Hold fast to me and to each other.”
The Master goes on to say, “True growth is slow growth guided by the intuition. Start with acceptance of yourselves. Hold yourself still in the silence of your inner beings, and without judging or using such words as “wrong or right,” “good or bad,” see yourself, with all your faults and strengths, as an expression of the Divine Scheme. With the clarity of your heart, acknowledge your strengths and use them to work consciously on other attributes you need to rectify. Next, use the same techniques to include all others in your clear vision and clear heart. Accept yourself and others as expressions of All That Is, being in the right place, at the right time, doing and saying the right thing. Do this in spite of what your mind is busy shouting at you to the contrary. The more you practice Acceptance, the more you can accept, and the more you become a conscious part of every cell of the manifested universe.
“Again I tell you, My faith in what you do grows as you grow, grows as you try. My dear children, such growing comes from the heart of each of us and is the very definition of time itself. Treasure it.”
Harold usually began his talk with a story, usually funny, always pointed. Today I am going to end with one, not funny, but poignant and pointed:
A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.
“Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”
“Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, “These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”
The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.
“I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”
“Sure,” said the farmer.. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called. Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur.
The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.
Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up …
“I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the runt. The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”
With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.
Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”
With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup.
Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.
“How much?” asked the little boy… “No charge,” answered the farmer, “There’s no charge for love.”
The world is full of people who need someone who understands.