Not everything is easy to explain, but we must avoid attaching the "mystery" to the wrong gate. The prime mystery is no longer in the physiological and nervous organization of man - no more than in the construction of the Geiger counter. The mystery is in the so-called cosmic rays that act on the Geiger counter. What are they, and where are they from?
The mystery is in the source of energy, or life, that acts on or in the nervous organization of man to produce an intuitive "feeling." What is it, and where is it from? There need be no other mystery. The organism upon which it acts is now fairly well known. New ductless glands will be discovered. Many neural functions and operations will be better understood. But in all the essentials the physiological foundation and nervous organization of man is well enough understood in the light of developments in the field of electronics and radiant energy, to know that man is capable of experiencing "feelings" independent of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching - feelings that result from responses to stimuli emanating from sources known or unknown.
Beyond this coordinated sensitivity of the entire nervous system, no further or special sense is required. It is superfluous to postulate mysterious powers of vision, clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychic ability, and so on, when the normal powers and modus operandi of imagination and memory not only suffice in explanation, but may be investigated experimentally to establish the fact that one's so-called psychic faculties or extrasensory perceptions are entirely limited, constituently, to the contents of the individual memory, just as the constituents of words are limited to the alphabet employed, and one's verbal representation is limited to one's vocabulary unless one pauses to look up or coin a word for an idea that has not yet been incorporated by identification in one's verbal memory.
And yet I have personally had words come to mind and pass over my tongue in experimental conditions, words entirely unfamiliar to me, words in foreign language, or technical terms that could be found in a dictionary (though previously unfamiliar to me), and some that could not; words conveying information that I did not myself know, but which was afterward verified as correct. Still, I used familiar syllables. I used the familiar alphabet.
And even when I inscribed hieroglyphics entirely unfamiliar to me, it was a composition of familiar smaller elements of lines and curves, shapes, and angles. The fact still remains that my vision of these things cannot correctly be described in terms so vastly misleading and misunderstood as "psychic," "telepathic," and so on. It was nothing whatever but imagination compositing familiar elements of previous sensory experience recorded in memory.
I see and correctly describe a scene ten thousand miles away. (I have done this under experimental conditions with witnesses.) I see and describe a future event that occurs exactly as I have described it, save for minor variations. What is lacking or faulty in my description is lacking in my memory. For what do I see? Nothing but my own imagination. Actually, I do not see ten thousand miles away with any form of "vision" whatever. I do not "see" the future. My reception or perception of these things is entirely formless, entirely a "feeling," entirely devoid of images, words, thought, or concept. What makes it intelligible to me or someone else is the activity of my imagination, which endeavors to symbolize, to portray, to interpret the "feeling."
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The reality is the energy that cannot be destroyed. What we know as "life" is but an echo and shadow, the organic reflex of the radiant energy that sustains the Great Broadcasting Program of Nature. If we attempt to attune ourselves more completely in accord with the Great Central Broadcasting Station of this mammoth program of life, the act of so doing is called "prayer." The vibration that chills our spine when we make the attunement–-why should we not regard it as a "holy spirit" and the source of the energy, the "something else"? What does it matter what we call it?
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The prophets of every nation and of every epoch have risen to proclaim the conception of a living God. Modern science has approached the threshold and is trying to explain this living God by drinking, tasting, hearing, seeing, smelling, and feeling under the name of energy; and the "holy spirit" of this God of Science is radiant energy.
Unless this all-pervading living God of immediate inspiration is infused into the churches, temples, synagogues, and shrines, to replace the intellectual God of yesterday (a God in word, concept, and memory only), the power to resuscitate the people will fade, even as an echo after the voice and ceased to vibrate; and individuals will in ever-increasing number seek God outside the church. And there they will find Him either in silence and alone, by joining some small, private group, or by falling prey to the cults and isms that live like parasites on human credulity and sincerity.
For man seeks the "gate to power." He wants the success, love, life, happiness, and realization that power brings. And if the key to spiritual power is withheld from him, he substitutes material power - and starves in the midst of his wealth.
It is not enough that the power of prophecy existed twenty centuries ago. It is not enough to hear sermons about it. He wants, and he has a right to, the fulfillment of those promises: "Even ye can do greater things than I," and "Each shall prophesy that all may be comforted." This cannot be hidden from him by shelving the records of scripture or retranslating them to leave out the word "prophesy," both of which have upon occasion been done.
The seed of all this is in man's intuition to sprout anew, and he is not to be robbed of his birthright by conspiracies of the intellect that have ever enslaved the souls of men. The moisture and warmth to release this power is found in tears of sorrow and compassion, and in faith, of which one's prayer is but the barometer. When we do not pray we have lost faith in our soul; our "radio" is silenced; and only our memory of self speaks to us, but in empty words and self-pity, which encourages our vanity to silence conscience.
It is only the intellect that doubts, and that can maintain a state of activity entirely devoid of relation to truth. But the one and essential power that distinguishes the complicated nervous organization of man from the simpler one of the animal is the power of recombination, by means of which the imagination can make new creations out of the memory element of old experience.
Thus we symbolize; we indulge in fantasy; we speculate and theorize; we create works of art; we invent; and thus we produce a culture and a civilization. But as we thus change environments, we change our "destiny," and we change the character of adaptation that operates in the law of the survival of the fit. Just as instinct no longer suffices as a mechanism of adaptation in intellectual environments, so does intellect fail to suffice as a mechanism of adaptation in the world of human progress and competition, which has been fathered by "flashes of genius" that have harnessed the power of nature without harnessing the power of human nature to make the right use of them.
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Neither instinct nor intellect can cope with life in such a world. Inspiration and intuition become necessities. Without the guidance of spiritual values, mere knowledge betrays us. Without religion (not doctrinal religion, but a religion of inspiration to provide intuitive guidance as a substitute for the instinct, which intellect has forfeited), science can but lead us to destruction.
It becomes increasingly necessary to "imagine" correctly, to adapt oneself to more subtle and more complicated environments, to develop foresight as well as a knowledge of consequences; to plan, to prepare, to prevent. We find that only those who do this survive. Intuition becomes a necessity. And the very life of intuition is prayer.
In its broad sense prayer is an expression of religious need or mood, any form of religious self-expression by means of which attunement with the cosmos is sought or attained. But in man this is wholly intuitive, just as an animal's biological adaptation to the environing realities of nature is instinctive and instinct-forming.
With these processes of biological adaptation, the human intellect may, and to some extent does, collaborate; but to a larger extent it has set itself in defiance against them. Witness the world turmoil of the present century, as well as past ages of mental confusion, to behold the works of "intellect without God" in a world in which effectual prayer is a "lost art."
Religion is expressed in worship. The origin of worship is assumed to have been in primitive efforts to perform acts that were thought to be pleasing to the Deity. In so doing, the worshiper experienced emotional consequences that he interpreted as evidence of divine favor. Thus the intellect gave birth to an art as a form of exercise, public or private, that was performed as a matter of divine prescription, or as an expressing of one's feelings of relationship to Deity.
The first grew into ritual, i.e., the repetition of regular and traditional practices the validity of which becomes entirely irrelevant so long as they result in the psychological consequences they were designed to produce. But the second remained spontaneous, the free and extemporaneous expression of feeling, a witness to the immediacy of religious experience and its individual character. This aspect of worship is the very substance of the intuitive life, and the highest form of prayer.
When people complain that their prayers are not answered, then either they have not fulfilled the necessary conditions or they know neither how to pray nor what prayer is. "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss."
Those who pray that the flame that envelops their entire house may be extinguished at once have been unbalanced by the shock of being caught unprepared. Prayer will not controvert common sense. Even God cannot help here, for god's law was obeyed when the house caught fire. Why was it not prevented by the one in charge? Why resort to prayer at the last moment in any matter that might have been prevented but that was previously ignored?
Prayer is a reminder to "tune in," so that you will take care of the matches and gasoline before they become instruments of a big blaze. Prayer is a comforter. It is a hope restorer. But if a man thinks that God is going to listen to him when he pleads on his knees in prayer to save his life at eighty, after having forgotten Him for seventy-nine years, he is entirely ignorant of the nature and function and purpose of prayer. But if one has been sincere and fair in all his dealings, he has been praying all the time, and his prayers are answered before he knows it. And he is pleased. And so is God.
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If we are guided by the correction principles, if we live by the "golden rule" and refrain from coveting what belongs to others, then our sincere heart's desires are the foreshadowing of their own fulfillment, just as a seed foreshadows the fruit. Our effort to discern and to submit them for spiritual sanction ("Not my will, but thine ") is but a mode of divination. Our prayer born of faith is the prophecy made manifest - the answer, not the petition (which was already manifest in our natural and wholly reasonable and God-implanted aspirations and ideals).
It is only the intellect that is capable of ineffectual prayer. To offset this, Jesus of Nazareth (He who demonstrated the power of effectual prayer in a life of action) invented a verbal safeguard. He taught His followers what was known as the Lord's Prayer, to guide man in his blindness through self-created dark hours or ages, his anchor or hope held firm on rocks of abstract truth, until the light of inspiration once again breaks through the mental clouds of worldly chaos, to restore his heritage of the lost art of intuitive living, which is rewarded by the faith that sanctifies and guarantees the power and the effectiveness of his prayer.
The prayer that opens the gates of the mind through man's mental "radio" and "television" is a mental-emotional attitude, not a ritual of words. It is a speechless outflinging of unseen antennae of nerves, by which man attunes himself to the "something else," the "universal element," the very source of his own being, across the gulf that only prayer can bridge by human radio.
And a "human radio" can do or ask no more than this. We climb the highest mountain of human endeavor, only to find, as others found before us, that within ourselves we are nothing. The soul within us, if not sleeping, is but the interception by our nervous system of the great Broadcasting Program of Man.
So when at last in my search for truth I had found my home, and made for myself a shrine of solitude where I could live an intuitive life and hear this program without distraction, I learned that labor was the wise man's prayer.
I began to pray the prayer of perspiration, tilling the field and kneeling at the altar of nature to plant my seeds, chopping wood to sacrifice upon the altar of fire for the purification, the shaping, and the tempering of the iron and steel that symbolized our flesh and blood.
For a pulpit I made a workbench where I preached sermons in science without words, but by the work of my hands; where the smell of fresh-cut sawdust was my incense, and my prayers as those of the builders who sought to obey the law of the plumb, the level, and the square.
Is this idolatry? No. For it has a meaning. It is idolatry only when one worships or attunes oneself to the body and not the soul, to the symbol when ignorant of its meaning, to the idol instead of the Deity it represents, to the dollar instead of the bread of life it can buy, to the echo instead of the voice, to the mental concept instead of the living power to do. It is idolatry to worship by words without works, to socialize rituals exacting obedience to the letter, when ignorant of the spirit of truth.
And this is the truth that I learned in the desert, and proved to myself through the passing years: the flesh cannot pray. A sincere prayer is but an echo of God's voice. God manifests Himself in our thoughts. He but whispers, and it becomes an echo in our prayers. Long before we ask for anything we have a right to ask, it is known and answered by an order that constitutes our faith. Thus faith is the sanction that our prayers are prophetic. And thus we reach the fulfillment of the intuitive life.
Then we learn anew that human brotherhood is possible only between intuitive men. Between wholly intellectual men only superficial and contractual bonds are possible. In marriage or in friendship "whom God hath bound, no man can put asunder." But only the intuitive bonds are thus binding in life or in death. For of such is the love that is God.
"How knoweth this man letters, never having learned?"
He is a Son of solitude. Throughout the ages and throughout the world, he constitutes that brotherhood of man that is sensitive by inspiration to the mutual welfare that is "God's will," and that therefore gives body to a great kingdom of silence to that invisible theocracy, which, in spite of selfish usurpers, has ever controlled the hidden springs of human progress, writing in deeds the history of the world.
Man can go where he will on board the ship of this world; but in going with the ship he can go no faster or slower, for running madly back and forth on the decks. If one man fails to obey the commands of the captain of that ship, another will endeavor to do so - perhaps in a different way, but to the same end. Did you not hear the human radio broadcast at three o'clock this morning? Well, I did - so that message will be delivered in my words if not in yours.
If the boiler does not burst out in one place, it will in another. History, like water, finds its level, regardless of the paths chosen or accepted by resignation to gravity on the part of individual drops.
The "play" has been written; the cast of characters has been "fixed"; but the players of those parts remain to be selected for each performance.
In each generation "many are called but few are chosen." All aspirants must qualify, but the aspiration is the very voice of the necessary qualifications.
Men fail to realize that their very existence is the function of a "pressure," a power to which their "will" is not the steed but the harness; not the water, but the pipe and faucet.
The amount of pressure or power available is beyond the individual will or harness or pipe to determine. One may be left impotent or enabled to function with almost miraculous strength and understanding, according to whether or not he is playing his part as required by the Whole.
For thus wrote the hand of God in history; through the ambition, the energy, the enthusiasm, the inspiration, and the guidance that is provided for those who, wittingly or unwittingly, serve as instruments for the good of all, by power of intuition and love that is beyond individual comprehension.
The unwitting play their parts as puppets, and receive a puppet's wage. But he who knowingly seeks to serve mankind unselfishly is raised into the understanding of the great Exemplar of this age: He who first played the leading part that each of us may emulate, but that none can excel.
For the voice of intuition whispers: "He who travels through the desert of ignorance and the wild jungles of man's intellectual deformities in My name will be welcome in the green pastures of peace, wisdom, and love, where I dwell. So come unto me."
So the curtain rises on the next act in the spiritual drama of this world. The breeze is blowing over the prairie... And the end is not yet.
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