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The Personal and the Divine

Certainly, men shall be reduced to quietness by some way or another, so that they can hear in them the sound of gentle silence that is emitted from their heavenly being.
— Burnell

We all know that, if there is a loud noise outside, it is very difficult to hear sweet music in the same room with ourselves. In order to hear the sweet music so near at hand, we must still the tumult outside. Then we hear without effort. This is a good illustration of the personal self and the divine part, — to still this personal self so that we can hear the voice of the spiritual, or divine, part. Now I observe that pupils and patients in metaphysics do not still the outside, or personal self, but to a small degree. They gain control over the personal only to the extent of hearing the sweet music — or inner voice — once in a while. When they have heard it once or twice, they think it has come to stay. They keep on living, first in the personal, where they spend most of their waking hours. Then a little thought is given occasionally to the soul, or God-part. They listen for the inner voice, and wonder that they cannot hear it. Then they become dissatisfied. They say they have been in these teachings “so long,” yet only seem to get just “so far.” They begin to make more noise in the outside, in the personal, by recounting their ills, going over all the details of their difficulties, and saying that it has been years since they first came upon them. They raise a greater and greater tumult outside, as if this would enable them to hear the sweet music near at hand. Do you not see that it is impossible in this way?

We must be “reduced to quietness.” That is the first thing to accomplish. I like that expression, “reduced to quietness”: it means very much. Some of us are reduced to the lowest point before we will yield. The tenacity of the personal is something wonderful; but it is a perverted force, which, when directed rightly, becomes the glorious faith which can accomplish all things.

Let go unnourished all that is of a merely human source, and build up in you the heavenly gift. —Burnell

Let us suppose for our illustration a large quantity of stones lying all about us as far as the eye can see. We are told that, as we think, we will pile our stones into two heaps. This is the beginning of reasoning consciousness. We think thoughts of self, — self -improvement, attaining for self, growth of self. One heap of stones is rising very high. We find that we are carrying all our stones to this pile. Then we resolve to begin to build the other pile. We think about the real of self, the soul. We place as a result a beautiful stone in our new pile. Then we go back to the personal self, and another stone is added to the first pile. Can we reduce this heap of stones entirely by spasmodic effort once in a while? Have you got my meaning? Do you not see that, unless you absolutely shut out the personal, you gain almost nothing in the spiritual? We have been told that we cannot “serve two masters.” Can we? Just so long as we cater to the personal in the slightest way, just so long do we keep ourselves shut out from the spiritual, just so long are we filled with our aches and pains and unhappiness. We say we do want to be well and happy, that we do desire to awaken spiritually. But we do not.

We want to be selfish, way down underneath. We have spasms in which we determine to overcome, once for all. Then we begin to doubt if we can overcome, as we see that some have done. Doubt is self-indulgence, — nothing else. It gives you a little more time before really taking your stand. Don't deceive yourself. You do not really wish to do any better, as long as you doubt if you can.

No one can acquire for another — not one. No one can grow for another, — not one.
—Walt Whitman

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Katharine H. Newcomb

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