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The secret of harmonious living is the development of spiritual consciousness. In that consciousness, fear and anxiety disappear, and life becomes meaningful with fulfillment as its keynote.
The degree of spiritual consciousness which we attain can be measured by the extent to which we relinquish our dependence on the external world of form and place our faith and confidence in something greater than ourselves, in the Infinite Invisible, which can surmount any and every obstacle. It is an awareness of the grace of God.
There is a specific practice which will aid in the attainment of this spiritual consciousness. It is a practice which can be carried on throughout the day as the world crowds in upon us, reminding us that we need this or desire that. To every such insistent demand, let our answer be: "No, no. This is not what I need or want. Thy grace is my sufficiency, nothing else not money, not marbles, only Thy grace." Let us learn to hold to that resolutely. If the need seems to be railway fare, rent, clothing, housing, or health, let us steadfastly acknowledge that our only need is His grace.
Our work may require greater strength, greater knowledge, or greater ability than we seem to possess, or there may be greater demands made upon our purse than we can meet. Instead of accepting this apparent lack, let us remember, "He performeth the thing that is appointed for me.... The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me," or some other scriptural passage. The human belief may be that there is aphysical, mental, moral, or financial demand made upon us greater than our ability to fulfill; but the very moment we turn to that He that is within us, recognizing that He performeth that which is given us to do, He perfecteth that which concerneth us, a weight drops off our shoulders, and the sense of personal responsibility lifts. All of a sudden, we are given the necessary ability, which we discover is not our ability at all; it is His ability being expressed through us. Out of our weakness comes strength, but not our strength; it is His strength, and we perform the work through His strength. If it is rest that we need, we turn to Scripture and find: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
One of the most comforting passages in Scripture is: "My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." If we could spend a month with that statement, it would open a whole new world to us. We might ask ourselves what we know about peace. We all know the kind of peace that the world can give, but that is not the kind of peace that we need. Many of us think we would have peace, if we had enough supply, or if we had our health, or if we had the right kind of companionship. That might be true, but having those things does not guarantee that we shall not be disturbed about something else. As long as we look to people and situations for peace, we shall fail to find either enduring satisfaction or peace: "My peace...not as the world giveth," but "My peace." "My peace" is a gentle spirit which wells up within us and has no relationship to the state of our affairs, although, ultimately, it settles all our affairs.
Faith in the Infinite Invisible deepens and increases, as we learn to depend consciously on the He that performeth that which is given us to do. That He, the Infinite Invisible, performs whatever is given us to do in the visible world. The Infinite Invisible perfects that which concerneth us. The Invisible Grace is our sufficiency in all things. The Invisible Presence goes before us to make the crooked places straight.
Gradually, as over and over again the temptation comes to say, "I need; I want; I haven't enough; I am insufficient"; we remember that our sufficiency is in the Infinite Invisible. This practice deepens spiritual consciousness. Brother Lawrence called it practicing the presence of God. The Hebrews called it keeping the mind stayed on God and acknowledging God in all ways. Jesus called it abiding in the Word. It is a practice that ultimately leads to a complete reliance on the Infinite Invisible, which in its turn brings the visible into our awareness as we have need of it.
Material living puts its faith in forms of good. Spiritual living makes use of that which is in the world; it enjoys the form, but its reliance is on that which is the substance of the form, or that which has created the form, the Invisible. All spiritual revelation has shown that the substance of this universe is in us. Our consciousness is the substance of our world. Therefore, in the Master's words, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." If anything in the world of effect is destroyed, in a short period of time it can be rebuilt, re-established.
Great civilizations have been destroyed, and others have taken their place. Anything that has been built can be rebuilt, because everything that exists in the outer realm exists as an activity of consciousness. If we should lose our home, our fortune, or our family, we can be certain that the consciousness that built it could rebuild it.
As consciousness becomes more spiritual, confidence in the Infinite Invisible increases, and our love, hate, or fear of the external diminishes. We see the Infinite Invisible as the law, cause, and activity of all that is and drop concern for the form, whether it be person, thing, or condition. The realization of the Invisible as the substance of all form is vital to the attaining of spiritual consciousness. The visible form is merely the natural result of the activity of the invisible law and cause.Practicing the Presence. Copyright © by Joel S. Goldsmith. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.