from the teachings of Eugene Halliday
We have said that finally our deepest problems are those of motivation. What is motivation? It is that which causes a living being to move, to pass from a state of in-action to a condition of action. A motive is that in us which induces us to move.
Most of us prefer rather to live than to die. We have inbuilt in us a survival tendency. Survival we may call our basic motive. If we do not survive, we are generally convinced that we shall not do anything else. Hidden within this conviction is a belief that our survival is a precondition of every other thing we may do.
For most of us this survival motive has become tied to our physical body. When suddenly physically attacked we usually find that our body itself leaps to self-defensive action. It is as if our very body itself had an inbuilt survival tendency. We see this tendency very obviously exhibited in the sub-human animal world where the almost invariable response to any physical attack produces a fight, flight, or feign response. An animal under attack either fights its attacker, or takes flight, or feigns death by holding itself as still as possible in the hope that it will be overlooked. If it feels itself strong enough to fight successfully, it does so. If it does not feel strong enough for combat, it tends to flee from its attacker. If it feels that it cannot flee, it tends to “freeze”, to become immobile.
For most ordinary human beings this three-fold response possibility seems to be a “rule of life”. But some human beings show another kind of response, a response in which fight, flight and feign (which we may call the “Triple-F” response), do not show themselves. Instead there is a fourth kind of response, which we may call “the conscious intelligent self-response“. This is the kind of response we see so admirably exhibited in the life of certain great men, and for true Christians, in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. When attacked, he did not physically defend himself, nor did he take flight, nor did he freeze into immobility and a sham death, hoping his presence would be overlooked by his enemies.
The man of the fourth response, where he exists, exhibits a remarkable degree of self-control, a self-control based not on fear, but rooted in a superlatively high intelligent awareness of the true nature of reality. Above all, such a man knows himself intimately: he knows the real source of his life-power and intelligence: he knows that he is one with the Spiritual Source of all being.
For most people, certainly for materialists, physical survival is the only real thing of survival. For them, physical death is not only the end of life on earth; it is the end of life itself. The dead man is dead in all senses of the word, that is, incapable of response, physically, emotionally, mentally, conceptually, volitionally or spiritually. The totally dead body is like a stone, inert and insensate, a mere thing lying immobilely where it is.
But some people are less
conditioned by materialism
and the ideas that stem from it.
Some people believe that mere physical survival is not enough to justify the continuance of the human race. These people believe that there are values in the universe other than those of Mammon-worshippers. Accretion of material properties and other forms of physical wealth are seen to serve mankind only for the duration of life on the material plane, whether on earth, or on some other planet, or on some space-station somewhere in the physical world.
These people who believe in some form of life beyond that of the mere physical world have another purpose than that of merely material survival. They are not satisfied to live a life on earth or on another planet, or on a material man-built platform moving amongst the stars. They do not believe that a material one-plane existence is the whole of reality. They believe that there are dimensions of existence beyond all that may be conceived by materialist man. They feel in the very centre of their innermost being another reality, a multi-planar reality of spirit.
What do these non-materialist people mean by “spirit“? They mean Creative intelligent self-operative power, eternal, everywhere present; and they believe themselves essentially one with this spirit, one not as lost in it, but one as found and founded in it. They believe that whatever true, intelligent creativity there is in the universe, or in any being within it, it is of the original infinite creative spirit. They believe this spirit is eternal, and they are not afraid to call this eternal spirit “God”.
Jesus of Nazareth was such a man, one who declared himself one with this eternal spirit. One who called this same spirit, “Father”, and told his followers to do likewise, thus making them all into his spiritual brothers, Sons of the One true God.
Just as there are biological “blood brothers” on earth, so there are “spiritual brothers” in heaven; and by “heaven” we mean the perfect balance of infinite spiritual power. And just as amongst biological “blood brothers” there is possibility of co-operation of a particular kind, so with “spiritual brothers”, but here the possibility is always actual.
Earthly “blood brothers” may co-operate in action against a common enemy, or to attain some agreed aim; yet they may act against each other where their aims differ.
“Spiritual brothers”, true Sons of God, never strive against each other, never try to destroy each other; never work to bring each other’s purposes to nought. Always their eyes are upon the same goal, upon the furthering of the purpose of the eternal Spirit, upon the justification of the ways of God to mankind.
The earthly “blood brothers” lead an ambiguous life, tread an uncertain path with each other, one moment co-operating, the next working against each other, either openly or surreptitiously.
“Spiritual brothers” walk together along a unific path, known to them in all its tessellations, all the minute steps of life’s mosaic open to each one of them. There is no misunderstanding here, no mystery, no non-comprehension of each other’s part in the furtherance of God’s plan. “Spiritual brothers” know themselves to be the Sons of the One Universal Spirit, from whom nothing can be hidden. These Sons of the One Father walk in Light, the Light of Divine Intelligence, empowered by the One Infinite Power, source of all beings. These Sons know that the final victory of Light over Dark, of Wisdom over ignorance, was won before the foundation of the material world.
When we compare the two types of “brothers”, those of the “blood” and those of the “Spirit”, we find ourselves in the presence of the necessity of choice. Seeing the alternatives we must place ourselves on one side or the other. We must decide whether we shall tread warily with each other, as “blood brothers” do, sometimes agreeing and sometimes not; or whether we shall walk openly side by side in the light of the all-comprehending Spirit; exchanging all that we know with each other for the furthering of the Divine Purpose.
This Divine Purpose is nothing less than the creation of Sons of God by the reclamation of fallen men. With one man, our first human ancestor, all men fell. With one man as leader, all men can be raised again. This one man is he who was first to give himself totally to the Will of God. First to say with his whole being “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit”. “My will is to do the will of Him who sent me”. “I and my Father are one”.
Those human beings who see in reality more than a merely material world, those who feel within the centre of their heart the Spirit of God, those who desire to become one in their will with the creative eternal spirit, these have nothing to fear. However little energy they can gather together, however feeble the efforts they are able to make towards the furthering of the purpose of the Divine Spirit, they are assured of final victory.
It is not the actual physical performance
that a man can make
that determines his acceptability to God.
It is his preference for God’s Way.
This preference alone, no matter how weakly it may at first show itself to be, is like the seed of an invisible tree which must make itself ultimately visible by simply following the law of its own innermost being. The acorn becomes the Oak-tree. The tiny preference in man for spiritual life becomes finally the all-comprehending, all-encompassing Spiritual life itself.
The love-seed in the littlest heart
of man grows and becomes the
all-embracing love-tree of
the eternal spirit.
This love-seed, sown by God in the heart of fallen man, preferred by man to the hate-seed sown in the material world by the rebellious spirit of the Satanic impulse, must inevitably grow to its fullest stature. The man who nurtures in himself this love-seed must finally see it embodied in his whole being. Once preferred, it must grow. Like a tender shoot of a delicate plant that amazingly finds its way, upwards through a narrow crack in a concrete paving stone, and finally breaks apart that stone, so must the tiny preference for the creativity of the free spirit find its way through the interstices of the human material fabric and finally break through to blossom in the open light of the Divine Spirit.
“Blood brothers” of the material world have come to think physical force the final determinant of the relationships of mankind. “Spiritual brothers” know otherwise, and place their faith in the ever-present, supremely gentle preference for divine light. Just as certain kinds of fungus grow in the dark, but melt to nothingness in the presence of bright sunlight, so there are in the minds of materialist “blood brothers” certain kinds of erroneous ideas which may grow quite efficiently in a darkened, ignorant mind, but on exposure to the light of true knowledge vanish away and leave no trace.
It is possible for “blood brothers” to shake off false materialistic notions of their relations, and by a simple act of self-re-assessment convert themselves into “spiritual brothers” walking openly with each other the same straight path. Happy indeed are those who do so. There is a supreme delight in all those who see clearly where they are going, and what is the final spiritual destination of re-evaluated humanity. This delight is not for those who prefer darkness.
The essential characteristic of the materialist is a non-belief in any spiritual explanation of the phenomena of the universe. Today the oversimplified materialism of the nineteenth century, with its naive “atoms” of unsplittable nature, has gone. The atom has been split and found to be merely a manifestation of energy. Really, in today’s idea-context, it is no longer correct to talk of “materialism” as a tenable view of reality. Rather it would be safer to think in terms of “energism”. But the old inertias of thought will continue and people still hold to “materialism” as if it were a legitimate view of reality; and those who are content with their “materialism” lead lives based on the notion that at the death of the body, there is simply a cessation of the state called “living”. And until death comes, life is to be conceived as a struggle for survival, where each individual’s first consideration is to be for himself. If a degree of cooperation between individuals happens to be profitable for a time, then for a time there shall be co-operation, but if there is no profit, then cooperation is a waste of energy.
For diplomatic reasons the materialists shall not put their cards on the table face upwards, and all shall give lip-service to the idea of mutual helpfulness and fair dealing. What is not realised is that this kind of mental acrobatics leads to neurological disintegration, and with this the loss of psychological unity or harmony of self. In gaining the materialists’ world, one can lose one’s soul. But the convinced materialist does not care about this. He accepts Schizoid behaviour as part of ordinary social phenomena.
Schizoid behaviour is behaviour split into unrelated bits, separated activities not co-ordinated with each other. There is far more of this type of behaviour in the world than most of us care to realise. Not only in mental hospitals is it found. There it is just more obvious than outside. People at large have managed to conceal their mental departmentalism from each other and from themselves, sufficiently to conduct their lives in some socially acceptable manner.
But there is another kind of behaviour possible for us, a kind of activity of our being which is not departmentalised in such a way that parts of us do not know what the other parts are doing. This non-departmentalised behaviour is that which we are able to accomplish when we know ourselves thoroughly.
The Delphic oracle bore the words
It is certain that if we do not know ourselves, we shall not be able to become the kind of beings we would prefer ourselves to be. Full self-knowledge is the precondition of the wholeness of our being that we call “health“. Health means wholeness, of body, mind, soul and spirit. It implies harmonious interfunction of all the parts of our being.
Now, such harmonious interfunction is not easy to attain. It requires that we know what kind of beings we are, what kind of materials we are made of, what kind of forces are operative within us. Where we do not know what is activating us, we are at the mercy of the activating forces.
In its own system of symbology, the Bible tells of what mankind is made. It tells us that human beings are composites of Spirit and Matter, soul and body, that we have mind and feelings; and it tells us how to use these in the most efficient manner. It tells us also, and this is most important, what is our ultimate goal.
To lack a defined goal is to be aimless. To be aimless is to wander fruitlessly, to miss the real purpose of living. We are here on earth, not to expend our energies to no effect.
We are here to learn what kind
of beings we are, and to realise
all the potentials we have, and
so to make us into such kinds of
beings that we shall be glad to be.
As to our physical bodies, we are “dust of the ground”, merely the chemical materials of which the earth is composed. Our bodies obey the “law” of gravity, and of chemistry and electronics and various other “laws”. But we are not merely “dust of the ground”. These materials of which our physical bodies are composed are influenced by other forces than those of the material world that surrounds us and constitutes our physicality. And here is where the believer in spirit parts company with the merely materialistic scientist. “Intelligence” and “Will” are not material facts accessible to laboratory investigation. But they have accessibility to sincere introspection.
Introspection is a looking into the contents of our mind, a process of searching within ourselves to disclose our inner thoughts and feelings and motivations. What we find in our introspective self-examination we cannot find any other way.
Measuring our brain waves
and nerve impulses by electronic
devices does not tell us what we
think and feel and will.
It gives us readings on various kinds of dials or screens, but these readings do not tell us what ideas and likes and dislikes and volitions we have. The realities of our psychological self-experience are not accessible to electronic metering. Yet these realities are what make our lives worth living or not.
Let us realise, then, that external electronic devices have not displaced the need in us for introspective self-examination. Not external scientifically designed machines can save our souls. In spite of all scientific advances, and they have been many and marvellous, and will be more so in the future, we still are essentially what we always were: beings of thought and feeling and will. Needing inner self-knowledge in order-to be able to attain the inner and outer harmony we all know that we must find if our lives are to be lived purposefully, intelligently and sensitively with each other.
Where we do not know ourselves, there is a high probability that the parts of our being will contain some contradictory elements. Only full self-knowledge can give us the power to remove such factors. Inner self-contradiction is the main cause of our disharmonies, both in ourselves and in our relationships with each other. The disagreements that make wars between nations are merely larger scale examples of the discordances between the parts of our own individual beings. The threat of nuclear war on an international scale is merely a magnified version of the inter-neuronic battle that disrupts our inner peace. Not until each and every individual has attained inner wholeness will there be a real possibility of perfect peace between nations.
How is such peace to be gained? Jesus and other great teachers of the world have told us that universal love is the only real solution of the problem. But as a bishop said on one occasion, “Two thousand years of Christian exhortation has produced little result”. Exhortation from outside cannot compel an inner change of heart. The heart itself must initiate the needed change. By “heart” we mean here not the fleshy pump in our chest that impels the blood through the body. We mean the feeling sensitivity that recognises that all living beings, because of their very livingness, are demonstrated to be of one prime source.
This one source is what Jesus called “Our Father”, the Father of all of us. “Father” means generative power. All living beings are generated or brought into being from one primordial power. This power is that which religious people call “God” and philosophers call the “Absolute” and scientists may call “universal energy“, the differing names refer to the same originating cause. However we come to think of it, or argue about it, we cannot help recognising the fact of power as the primal origin of all things.
Another fact we cannot help seeing is that everywhere we look we see evidences that this originating power has a capacity to act in an orderly manner, not that order is seen equally established everywhere, but that it can and does bring itself to be orderly in a sufficient number of instances to convince us that the order in the universe is no mere accident.
When an expert violin-maker takes some pieces of wood and by the work of his hands, directed by the power of his mind, produces a beautifully toned violin, we do not think that this instrument is the result of an accident. We know that an intelligent power has been at work. We also know that there has been more than one violin-maker in history, and that the various great makers have shared in that intelligent power that knows how to make beautiful instruments. If we were able to gather together all the great violin-makers of history, from all times, we would find that all would agree that there are certain principles that must be obeyed if beautiful violins are to be made, and that there is a power and an intelligence at work wherever they are made.
Everywhere that anything of beauty has ever been produced by an act of man, we see evidence of the operation of intelligent power. Now it would be foolish to profess that an intelligent artist had himself been the sole originator of the intelligence-power which his work demonstrates. There have been many great artists, and there will be more in the future. All share in or draw from a vast source of intelligent power. This power all geniuses have sought to draw up from the centre of their own beings as living water from the eternal well of life.
Only a very unilluminated mind could believe itself to be the sole source of whatever intelligence operates through it. All beings are modalities of one supreme intelligent power. To recognise this is to take the first step towards the harmonising of all beings. If we were, each individual one of us, totally severed from each other, so that only totally empty space existed between us, we could not communicate with each other. Lacking intercommunication, there could be no harmony between us.
As in the outer world that we call the great universe, so with the inner world that is our own individual being. If the atoms and molecules of our bodies were absolutely disconnected from each other and floating in totally void space, there could be no harmonious interrelation of them, and our bodies as they actually exist could not have come into being. The fact that our bodies do exist demonstrates the operation of some intelligent power. There is energy in our bodies, and there is design, that is, form functioning in a survival-orientated manner.
If we see that the energy and design in our bodies are two modes of one primal originating power in us, we arrive at the One worthwhile object of worship. Whether we are conscious of it or not, what we all worship is intelligent power, the power that can formulate itself efficiently, the power that knows what to do and can do it. At the universal level this is the intelligent power that we call “God”, the supreme object of the worship of all intelligent beings. At the level of individual men, it is that very same power that constitutes their individuality and all in them that is worthy of salutation.
“If thine eye be single, thy whole body is full of light”. This means that if we have inner unity, our whole being will be full of understanding. To attain this singleness of being, we must eliminate all contradictions from our will; we must cease to think one thing, feel another, and will something quite other. We must unify our thought, feeling and will, so that finally we shall be at one with our own Self, and this Self is the God within.
This question of the God within is a very subtle one. We all know that in order to be worthy of the name “God”, the creator of the universe must be of unlimited power, wisdom, intelligence and presence. He must be everywhere. But if He is everywhere He must be in us, in the very centre of our being, as well as infinitely beyond us. His unlimited power and wisdom must be inside us as well as outside.
But if He is inside us, why does He not make Himself innerly manifest in our hearts and minds? Why does He leave us to our own devices? Why does he let us make foolish and harmful mistakes? To understand this, we must see that when God made us, He had a simple alternative. He could have made us as perfect machines, entirely dominated by rules of action place in us from our origination, that is, He could have made us puppets entirely moved at the will of Himself as grand puppeteer over all. Or He could have made us with a degree of freedom, so that within certain limits we could do whatever we like within his universe.
If God had made us only as puppets, void of free will, in effect He would have no one to play with but Himself. But by allowing us free will to choose our courses of action within the universe, He has provided Himself with intelligent companions to join in in His creative activities. This is what we mean when we say “God made us for Himself“. That we have not yet realised the full wonder of this fact does not alter it. At some time in the future we shall do so. Meanwhile God has as one of His attributes, infinite Patience.
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