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Henry Bates

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The Way to a Wonderful Life, Sunday, December 2, 2012 

        Can we believe that life is a gift and not a test?  Through all the times we have felt tested, have we ever thought about who created the test?  And, if we did, what was our answer?  If the answer was anyone but our self, then we need to ask again.  We didn't arrive in this world believing that life is a test.  We learned it from the world, both consciously and unconsciously.  Life is not a test, it is a gift and the ancient mystics and the modern mystics agree.  Yet, so often we find people refusing to accept the gift today ... "tomorrow is a better day" we may hear, or "someday I will do this or that" ... but the tomorrows never come and someday never appears on our calendar.  And this might seem trite, but it is the "unconscious" truth for far too many of us.  We fail to become aware of the gift of today, because we are either still living in the past or yearning for the future.  Religions have tapped into this mind-set that blinds so many to the joy of life by creating a "heaven" out there somewhere that promises to give us peace and joy and rest from all the "tests" that we have struggled through and perhaps failed in this thing called Life.  But, the wise know that the hereafter is a transition, not a destination.  Neither the here or the hereafter can give us any more than we can accept for ourselves ... and that is just the way it is.  "Pray believing that you have" the Master Mind Jesus instructed, but we can only believe what we can accept for ourselves.

     "There is a prayer that asks for things and a prayer that asks for thoughts, and there is a prayer that asks for nothing but gives all.  I have prayed for many things.  I have cried aloud for help; I have wheedled and bargained and demanded - but what have I ever really prayed for except to know that I am a child of God?  I have seen the beautiful bird of Truth fly overhead and would hold it in my heart. ... I would know God and understand my relation to Him, and I would know Him and know myself, not with an intellectual knowing, but  in every fiber of my mind and heart.  And this is why I pray. ... For this is a knowing that does not come from study, but only from prayer.  There are many kinds of knowing.  Sometimes the mind studies life as it studies a book; it skims over the surface and absorbs not life, but words, which it calls life. ... It is one thing to read a book on aerodynamics; it is another thing to fly.  As a bird knows flight by flying, I would know life by living.  And I would know God, not as a word, but as a living presence in my life. ... I am the green plant of God, and I would know Him as the leaves of a tree know sunlight. I would absorb Him and be absorbed in Him.  I would make His substance mine and His life mine so that I can make my life and substance His.  I would use Him to be used by Him. ... This is why I pray." - James Dillet Freeman, Be!

      There are those who refrain from using the word "God" because they feel it has been twisted to conform to something that is an affront to their intellect.  Yet the simplicity of the word has been lost by both those who refrain from using it and many of those who do.  Jesus didn't use the word God, but used the word "Father" instead because he identified with G-d differently than those who had defined G-d before him.  Jesus said that "the Father is a Spirit and must be worshiped in spirit and in truth."  He didn't identify G-d as a far-off-deity that is separate and apart from us, but as a Spirit that is not only close, intimate and available to us, but is the very life of us.  The animating force of Intelligence that has infinitely individualized Itself in us, as us.  There is no Life separate and apart from G-d any more than the wave can have an existence apart from the body of water that created it.  Scientists and all the genius of physics have not been able to re-create that which G-d has created ... nor have they been able to fully define G-d or to truthfully speak that there is no G-d.  And it is this Great Mystery of G-d that makes Life so truly wonderful in so many ways for all of us.  Religion, unlike the scientists and physicists, throughout history has defined G-d based on superstitions and the finite knowledge of G-d that man [generic] has understood or sensed.  But, too often, this "hell fire and brimstone god" of religion has taken on a falsity that resembles a fairy tale or monster; an arrogant gy-normous creature that terminates life and is something to fear, rather than a Spirit that creates an active expansion of life in all living things.  G-d, in reality is the Ultimate Affirmation of Life Itself. 

      It all comes down to a simple matter of awareness ... or as we read in the scriptures, Solomon's words in Proverbs 4:7,
"with all thy getting, get understanding" ... and in these words we "discover" that the only god that will ever matter to us, is the god that we "discover" within our own consciousness or soul.  And we don't discover G-d within our soul from refraining from living the life abundant, but by seeking to live each day to the fullest ... the fullest of joy, and happiness, and peace, and love, and with an awareness of the beauty within the world in which we live and the beauty within all others and most importantly the beauty that is within our own soul.  This is truly "worshiping G-d in Spirit and in truth" ... and it is the pathway to a fuller realization of the truth of our being.  As James Dillet Freeman writes, "I would use Him to be used by Him" ... in other words, G-d can only work for us, by working through us; through both our heart and our soul, or as Ernest Holmes revealed, through Love and Law.  We use G-d in all things in our life, not just the things that we want to heal or for the increase in the good that we desire to experience, but in the joy, the happiness that we feel when we "get into the Spirit of Life" by knowing that today is the day, not yesterday or tomorrow, and especially not someday.

     Let us realize that Life is eternal, but this individualized life of G-d that we are living right now, has an expiration date ... and so let's get busy and
start living the life right now that we have hoped for, dreamed about, desired and yearned for ... first in our mind, our thoughts, and through the images that come through our divine imagination ... and then before we know it, as within-so without ... and we are truly living life now, right now!


Keep the faith!
. Henry Bates

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