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Life Without Strain III

THERE is a deep inner truth which is sometimes hinted at, but is never clearly and plainly expressed in words. It is a truth that is too deep for words or finite definitions. It has sometimes been spoken of as “achievement without effort.’’ The secret was known to Lao Tsze, and today it is engaging some of our greatest minds. But they will never solve it through the intellect, but they may do so through intuition. Intuition belongs to the same order as this so-called “achievement without effort.” It no doubt belongs to the world of four dimensions, or rather the consciousness of four or many dimensions. It belongs to the same order as those “happenings” that we call miracles. What it really is is so far beyond us as to make our brain reel if we attempt to understand it intellectually.

Although we cannot understand it, we can, however, know it, inwardly. By intuition, or an inward spiritual revelation, we can know and make contact with that which is entirely beyond the greatest human intellect. For instance, a simple unlearned person can know God and commune with Him inwardly through prayer, but what human intellect, no matter how profound, can understand Him? It is the same with the secret of effortless achievement, we may know how to use it and enjoy it, but we can never understand it intellectually.

There is an inner Divine Order which is the Reality and is always present. Everything that is not Reality has to disappear in the face of Reality. As soon as we leave off striving and resisting, becoming sufficiently quiet and receptive, the Divine Order appears. It is the Reality and must appear as soon as we become quiet enough. “In quietness . . . shall be your strength.’’ “Be still and know that I am God.’’

There is an inner realm of quietness to which, when we are sufficiently advanced, we may penetrate. The one who wrote or dictated the 91st Psalm knew all about it. But this inner secret place of calm is not only a place of safety, it also causes things to come to pass, in what we may truthfully call a miraculous manner. By miraculous we mean transcending ordinary physical and natural law.

In order to make use of this unknown law or power, we have first to give up all effort, especially mental effort. When we are surrounded by every possible difficulty, trouble, complication and confusion, if we give up our hopeless, fatiguing, wearying efforts, and sit down quietly and be still, thinking and knowing only God, letting everything else go, utterly and completely, then absolute stillness comes to the soul, and the peace which passeth all understanding possesses our minds.

All that we have to do is just to become quite still and know God. We have not to do anything else. All that is necessary is to let go so completely that our mind becomes as placid as a motionless lake. Just as when a lake is quite still it reflects perfectly the surrounding beauty of hill and sky, so also does our mind, when perfectly calm, reflect the beauty, harmony, perfection and order of the Divine. When we become completely still, our mind becomes attuned to the Infinite Mind, after which nothing else matters.

It does not matter how complicated our troubles may be, nor how many or difficult our tasks, if we become quiet, as already described, the whole of our life and work becomes perfectly adjusted. Whatever is discordant “passes in music out of sight”. Whatever is complicated becomes simple. Whatever is obscure becomes plain. Whatever seems impossible becomes easy of achievement. No matter how great one’s responsibilities, life becomes almost as easy as “falling off a log.”

How demoralizing! the uninitiated may say. It would be, no doubt, if the uninitiated could get within a hundred miles of it. But there is no fear of such a thing coming to pass. What we are speaking about has only, apparently, been known, in the past, to the most advanced souls of the race and there is even now no danger of beginners ever being able to use it. It is probably the most difficult thing in the spiritual life to enter the inner stillness in which we make actual contact with God. By the time that we can practise this most difficult art we are incapable of being demoralized by it. The sceptre of power is not given to the uninitiated, neither are the mysteries of the Kingdom of God revealed unto the neophyte. Apart from this it is so difficult, in one sense, to find this inner place of calm, and become sufficiently quiet to be attuned to it, that all who are not sufficiently advanced would far rather go on toiling and struggling, even though hopelessly, rather than attempt it.

We said just now that to be quiet and still, simply sitting and resting passively in the Divine Light and Presence, letting everything go, is Probably the most difficult thing in the spiritual life. It is difficult because we feel that something must be done. We feel that if we do not pray or strive for this, that or the other, or for this loved one or that person, and so on, they will suffer, or something will go wrong. We have to give up this finite idea entirely. Nothing of the kind is necessary. All that we have to do is to let go completely and know God. All sorts of cares and anxieties may claw at us, attempting to gain our attention, and numberless fears assail us, but they must all be brushed aside, everything must be let go, until at last we are perfectly quiet and still in the Divine Presence. When once we are able to relax in this way and be quite still and free, and severed from everything, then the miraculous can happen, and the apparently impossible be brought to pass.

The spiritual life is one long series of paradoxes, and this is one of them. The most difficult thing in the world is to be still, yet it makes life simple and easy. It removes all its cares, solves all its problems, takes away all its fears, relaxes all its strain. BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.


IT should be pointed out to beginners that the “quietness” which is spoken of in the foregoing chapter is not a negative passivity, but is the result of a reaching up to God. To sink down into a negative, passive state is to descend to the astral plane, and this is accompanied by certain dangers. This wrong “quietness” must be avoided at all costs. In prayer and meditation the heart and mind must be lifted up until a point of contact with the Divine is reached. and then the “quietness” should be practised. This is being still and knowing God. The negative form, on the other hand, is being still and contacting Hades. The stillness of the Inner Presence is not stagnation, but is the stillness of unimpeded activity. Example, a wheel, when revolved rapidly, appears to be motionless.


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