Posted by on July 22, 2012

Presented by the Gaurdian in Chief , Eleanor Shumway on July 22, 2012
It is July 22 today, and two weeks until Convention is formally opened.  In many respects it feels like yesterday that we finished the 2011 Convention.  And yet, it also feels as if a lifetime of experience has been lived through since August 2011.  What a paradox!
These words of John Varian speak of the forces that seem to swirl about us as we approach Convention Sunday:
By the power of the Bird of Life,
Carried by its wings of fate,
We are here together again,
Sensing the Powers and their mystery,
Reaching inward into ourselves for contacts imponderable,
Being unified and identified by high magnetic brotherhood.
The Gods are very close to us.  We can feel their hands
in blessing upon us.
They make magic harmonies within our hearts and minds.
We lift up our souls to them in love.
New doorways are opened inwardly, secret
Spirit doorways, where souls may enter into new
Vastness of comprehension, into new pathways of deeper lovingness.
We  drink deeply of the Holy Grail, the
Cup the High Gods draw for us out from the God Cauldron.
The convention passes, but the doorways need not close.
In the hurry and haste of life coming, if we keep the peace within
we can still be going in and coming out through them.
Battle may be about us and through us, yet we must keep the deep serenity and peace.
We must save the power, if we wish to go in through the spirit
We must help each other inward by loving our friends and comrades
and their deep beauties,
For if we see our own and their faults, we are in the outward life.
And the deeper and deeper the beauties we see in them
And ourselves, the wider the Gods will open the spirit doors.
More and more entrance they will open to us, grander and grander
countries to live within,
Greater and vaster vision in the Soul of Life.
Nine times nine our entrances inward may become.
Nine times ninety-nine increases in living power we may have.
Nine companies of nine times nine we will be in the end,
And we, passing through the last great doorway
Under the marvelous banner of the Lord Christ–
And we in conscious rank with the evolutionary hosts, the
Light Wielders.
Remember, brothers and sisters,
Do not let the opening doorways close.
By the power of the Bird of Life,
Carried by its wings of fate,
We are here together again,
Sensing the Powers and their mystery,
Reaching inward into ourselves for contacts imponderable,
Being unified and identified by high magnetic brotherhood.
He is describing the inner life of convention itself.  On another level he is describing life as it is lived  year round by anyone who has committed their life to consciously traveling the Path of Discipleship.   Convention has always been an uplifting battle of one sort or another.  As the Convention forces converge on this Center, all of us have felt at some point, those feelings of intense pressure that we misinterpret as being the result of our neighbor’s stereo or dog, or the wild chickens or peacocks, or someone’s remark about a particular act of ours.  Caught in the heat of the moment it is very difficult to step back onto the plane of forces to see how the high energy is impacting our actions.  But the most  important first step we can take is that of acknowledging that such a step is even possible and that we can then have a different kind of control over our own reactions.
During the Convention week as we meet together in both social and ceremonial gatherings, there is additional force generated by the focus of our aspirations and ideals.   Everyone seems to go the extra mile in every situation.  We hear the Master’s Message to the Convention and feel pulled by the heights, even while parts of our inmost selves are assailed by fear of the next step.  But that next step, shorn of the fear that magnifies it all out of proportion is clearly outlined by Master Hilarion,
“. . . your relationships one to another must be stripped of all pretense, all self-seeking, all selfishness. The tests you will continue to meet are based on the Law of Brother/Sisterhood and involve the finer courtesies of life, the gentle services for youth and age, the ability to withhold rather than to give ridicule or criticism, to bear with and not to provoke, to entertain the Christ within your hearts in such a way that you become the absolute embodiment of Light and Love.”
Living here on the physical plane is all about the processes of learning to live fully and deeply in accord with All That Is with a growing awareness of how we affect others.  This story, which I have told before,  is a marvelous illustration of this principle.  There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.  His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.  The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.  Over  the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.  He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.  Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all.  He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.  The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.  The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.  He said,”You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same.  When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.  You can put a knife in a man and draw it out.  It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.  A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”
Then, the next step is to forgive the offender and forget the offense.  This is not as easy as it sounds. Blue Star had this comment on forgiving and forgetting: “While memory is an inestimable blessing in some respects, it is a curse past telling in others.  If forgiveness is one of the essentials of a Godlike life, that quality is impossible of attainment while memory persists in pointing the finger of indebtedness at the one to be forgiven.  You have not fully forgiven an offense as long as you willingly retain memory of that offense, if it be against you personally, for every time memory brings a picture of it before your mental eyes–consciously or unconsciously–you begin to draw comparisons, forget your own liability to the same or a like offense and bring the offender before the judgment bar of your own lower nature.  Over and over the details of the offense trail through your own mind, adding mental energy to the same, giving more and more life to the mental picture first formed, making it more and more possible for that picture of wrongdoing to impress itself on other minds in the same vibration, and so tempt others to the commission of a like offense.”
Truth and direction are to be found everywhere.  When has there been such a time of teachings, guidelines, inspiration, and love poured out on the humanity of this planet?  Here in the Temple we have eight books in print, plus more than 100 years of Artisans at our fingertips.   The Master and the work of the White Lodge are everywhere, in everything.  Our teachings are full of the injunction,  “There are no little things,”  and so it is throughout the manifested universe.  With eyes that are beginning to truly see the connections of all life, we find Truth, Wisdom, and Love on all sides. No matter where you look, be it on the web, in all kinds of bookstores, in film, and in song, there is a shining kernel of Truth.  Of course, you can find the darkness in all these places, too.  But it takes no extra effort to keep within the Light. The choice is always up to us.
One teacher was asked, “How do we experience painful circumstances without becoming embittered by them?”   The reply: “By seeing them as lessons and not as retribution.  Trust life, my friends.  However far afield life seems to take you, this trip is necessary.  You have come to traverse a wide terrain of experience in order to verify where truth lies and where your distortion is in that terrain.  You will then be able to return to your home center, your soul self, refreshed and wiser.”
We can find that home center, our soul self, by accepting the responsibility  to  develop the strength to successfully battle the Powers of Darkness.  We are not given this strength but must develop it.   Remember, the Powers of Darkness, as well as the Powers of Light, are not outside of us somewhere, they are within our hearts. That is where the battle is fought, that is where the battle must be won. How often have we heard or read that it is our responsibility to take up the little things of life and do them wisely, gladly, with willing heart and loving, pure service. It is not our responsibility to ask others to do what we must do. Remember, the faults we see in another are not ours to correct, now or ever. As we correct our own faults,  we will be surprised to find our brother’s or sister’s faults are also disappearing.
We do not need to seek out dragons to slay, or big confrontations to overcome in order to develop strength of spiritual will.  We simply have to live each day,  giving of  the very best within ourselves.  It can be a gentle day, one of those days when “small miracles occur for ordinary people day by ordinary day.  There is grace in knowing what might have been but wasn’t and bliss in living a day when nothing special happens but life just works.”  If it is a day of turbulence or upset, we can endeavor to transcend personal feelings and grievances.  We need to remember that the turbulence is also a necessary part of the learning process and is not a jealous god bent on retribution or revenge.  We do have the power to learn and to overcome, and most importantly, we only need to do this learning and overcoming one step at a time.  Why do we make these things so difficult for ourselves?
As we strive to find self-awareness, we might remember Carl Jung’s statement, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” This work never ends because as we shine the Light of Consciousness into the dark, we  see another that needs our attention.  As we practice this use of consciousness, we grow in strength and discrimination.
The Mountain Top message says it a little differently, “Where shall I find God?  If I search the heavens and the earth and the waters under the earth, shall I find him?
“No!  But if thou wilt search the depths of thine own heart, all that thou findest of Love, of Beauty, of Unselfishness, all that thou findest of Love, of Beauty, of Unselfishness, all that thou knowest of Peace and Joy will open the pathway to God, and show thee the hidden places wherein thou wilt find all thou canst know and understand.”
My beloved godmother, Teddy, gave me guidance in these words,”…to be still does not mean to be idle but to prepare an environment where we can more easily hear that inner direction which the bible calls ‘the still small voice’.  . . to pause in our outer busyness and to take a good hard look at ourselves is a therapeutic process.  Our true teacher is not apart from us, it is the part of us that listens.  How often we have been instructed to listen to the still small voice, the incomparable teacher, but almost as often our automatic response is ‘yes, just as soon as I have time.   Think of how much of our living is done on the horizontal.  Going, doing, adjusting, shuttling back and forth between foresight and hindsight, forgetting to ‘look within’, forgetting even the reason for all this hectic activity.  How too bad.  It is sort of like dehydrating our life experience.  Could we not shift the reluctant gears of habit and change our direction so that our actions would be prefaced by an inward look?  If we could achieve this, think of how many false steps we would save ourselves and how much richness we could bring to the pattern of our daily lives.  There is no need to accept monotony as a part of our lives for each of us carries within us that divine spark that can change any dull activity into an inspiring experience once we learn to Look Within, and by so doing to add a whole new dimension to our lives.”
Jan Phillips, writer and photographer, while at a Buddhist monastery in Japan, asked Father Oshida, a Catholic priest turned Buddhist monk  about the problem of becoming like Christ.  He replied, “We are not called to be like Christ, but to BE Christ.  And we do this by being most truly ourselves, not by trying to be one way or another, but by being fully aware of who we are and responding to all things from that awareness.  You know if you are doing it well because you are at peace with yourself, having responded to the voice of your own heart.
“The point is not to convert the world, but to convert our souls to God, to see everything as the Incarnation.  It is not to interpret things literally with our minds, but to go deeper and experience wisdom.  Sometimes when we do that, it takes us away from the world, into our quiet places where we are not always available to people.  It is from that silence that we learn what is next for us, where our path is leading, and how we can be of service.”
Jan Phillips went on to say that during her few days of meditation, prayer, and silence in the monastery she learned a new framework for making choices, was given an invitation to sanctify her own life, and to value its worth.  She learned that our choices must rise up from within our hearts, not as gestures of self-surrender, but as expressions of our grandest selves, honoring the sacredness of who we are.  We do not live in a monastery or need to visit one, however, because we have been blessed with so many instructions on how we may learn to be responsible for our own choices, how to choose to sanctify our lives, and real insight on how to value the deep worth of our lives.
As we continue to process the pre, during, and post Convention Forces,  we must take this sacredness of who we are and find ways to express it in our lives, not once, but over and over, so often that we become the absolute embodiment of Light and Love, and see that same absolute embodiment in everyone else. The Master tells us, “There is no other way, and there can be no separateness with progress in the spiritual sense. One may keep back the many, due to the Law of the Unity of all life. Be true to yourself, be true to us, and you will hear my voice in your souls and feel my touch on your hearts. I give you my blessing, which is myself.”
These are expressions of Truth from many sources, but we find they are but myriad facets of the one Truth.  Truth simply IS.  Our responsibility is to  hold still, with balance and  . . “rest awhile and see the Father’s hand outstretched to thee and Me.  God’s great completeness flows around our uncompleted parts as flows the deep wide ocean round the rocks scattered in wild profusion in its wondrous depths, silent save for Nature’s undertone.  And so my Child, sit thee still and let the waters pass o’er thee and bring thee Patience, Faith and Power with which this whole wide world to bless.  For one is truly wondrous wise, a Master midst all My sons and daughters, who knoweth how and when to wait.”
Posted in: Temple Talks