In this lesson Bernard puts the emphasis on Truth and offers a new version of the Shaft exercise, called the Shaft of Truth.
Remember that when Bernard uses the word “visualise” he is referring to feelings as much images. If you don’t picture images so well, but can create and hold a good feeling that is the most important thing.
THE ‘HIGHER TRUTH’ SECTION LESSON NINE: TRUTH, THE LIBERATOR
My dear Student,
You have now reached the Higher Truth section of our Course and if you have followed faithfully the teachings of the previous eight Lessons you will find what is still to come most fruitful and satisfying. Only by persevering in the exercises already given could you arrive at a point where these more advanced teaching. can be absorbed; so if you find this section disappointing, go back to the earlier ones again. After an interval of study and effort, return – and these Lessons will then yield up their secret…
In this section, because by now you are an old friends who have travelled a long way with me, I am going to put each of the Lessons in letter form so that a more personal contact may be preserved. Now – to begin!
What is truth?
‘For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.’ (John 18, 37.)
These words of the Master give us our first glimpse of the importance of Truth. Hitherto we have thought He came to love, to save, to heal the sick and afflicted. But here we are told He came for this cause – to witness unto the Truth. Then all these other things that He did must have been included in this Truth! How vitally necessary, then, for us to know what Truth is.
When He was about to leave them, the Master said: ‘I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter… even the Spirit of Truth.‘ (John 14, 16-17.)
‘But when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth… He shall testify of Me.’ (John 15, 26.)
‘If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all Truth.’ (John 16, 7 and 13.)
Who, then, is this ‘Spirit of Truth’, this ‘Comforter’? The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost Master. (John 14, 26.) Here, then, is the Truth. First, we are told that for this cause He came into the world, that He should ‘bear witness of the truth’. Then we are told that the Spirit of Truth is the Comforter and the Comforter is the Holy Ghost. What a stupendous mystery this is!
At all costs, then, we must live in Truth. Truth must be faced, however unpleasant, however detrimental to our self-esteem. We must be courageous enough to look at it, to think of it – to remedy it if possible. We must have truth or we cannot have power…
Now that we have thought of what Truth is, let us look at what Truth is not. The Master said, speaking of the devil: ‘He is a liar and the father of it.’ (John 8, 44.) If, then, the Holy Ghost is Truth, the devil is untruth, and so we shall consider a few Bible passages, substituting the word ‘Untruth’ for ‘Devil’. Then see how clear it will all become! Jesus said:
‘When anyone heareth the word of the kingdom and understandeth it not, then cometh untruth and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside.’ (Matt. 13, 19.)
Read also the explanation of the parable of the tares and the wheat. ‘The good seed are the children of the kingdom (truth) but the tares are the children of the wicked one.’ (Untruth.) (Matt. 13, 38.)
The Master was asked why He spoke in parables and He said that it was because the people had closed their eyes and ears to Truth, lest He should reveal to them the Truth and heal them. (Read this in Matthew 13, 10-15.)
Begin by being truthful in your thoughts. Never shy away from a thought out of a sense of mistaken kindness to yourself. Never make a deliberate effort to forget something unpleasant. Rather, learn from it, squeeze the last ounce of usefulness out of its lesson and then calmly put it aside. Live in the midst of Truth as you would live in a circular, well-lit room without dark corners, angles or shadows. Do not ignore this Lesson as ‘elementary’ or forget it as one that does not concern you. It concerns us all. We all need to ‘spring-clean’ our inner room now and then, to sweep away cobwebs, to clean windows and let more light into dim places. Because of this I want you to do this exercise every day for a week. Will you?…
Shaft of Truth Exercise
- Go into a room alone. Put your right hand out before you and, turning slowly, describe a circle (as in a previous Lesson).
- As you do this, visualise a wall around you-a wall about twelve feet high this time. Thus you will be standing in the midst of a circular room without a ceiling.
- Pause and visualise this vividly.
- Then take a deep breath, lift up your arms, stretching them high and, without actual sound, ‘shout’ inwardly in a ringing voice: ‘ Spirit of Truth, enlighten me!’
- As you do this, imagine a great light flooding down into you, lighting you as though you were a lantern and you, therefore, casting your light into the circular room.
- Visualise a great blaze of light!
- All this time you must be holding your breath, though it will only be for a few seconds.
- Then slowly let the breath out. Repeat this exercise twice more.
When you have finished, begin deliberately to think of something you have previously hidden from yourself. It may be: Something in the past you feared. (Remember that you are older now and would probably be stronger.) Some foolish action which made people laugh at you. (Reflect that everyone has, without exception, acted foolishly and there should be no reason why you desire to be better than your fellows in this.) Some great grief which caused you to lock your heart. (Open it up now! A locked heart means that life is locked out and life brings health, wholeness, peace. Whatever it is, think about it. Quite calmly, look at it with steady, tolerant mental eyes. I am quite sure that you will not mind looking at it now nearly as much as you did at first. You have grown since then, you see.) Some fault in yourself which is unlovely and you have been pretending is not there. (Now you will want to cast it out.)
Will you be faithful then, my friend, and do this exercise every day for one week, uncovering gradually all your dark places? Be very sure of this – it is the way to power.
Concerning this Lesson a Student wrote: ‘Dear Bernard. We received your letter containing Lesson Nine, and we have been doing it all last week and we shall carry on until we get Number Ten, This way you have given us I think is grand, because one gets near to the Spirit. It has opened up a great grief that I had just before the war and it went on in our lives until 1943. It nearly ruined my mentality. It forced us to leave the house where we were living and seek smaller accommodation, yet it had its good point because if we had not left that house we should have lost our home and may have lost our lives. The house was one of three that got a direct hit. I always refused to talk about this grief, but since we received the Lesson, I have opened it out and it comes to my mind now, without regrets. As you have said in your letter, we are older now and if I had known what I know now I would have dealt with it in a different manner. Thanks ever so much for that little help.’
Now do persist with all these teachings! Tell yourself that where others have gained from the Lessons in so many different ways, you can, too. There is still plenty of time for you to make wonderful headway. Hear what one satisfied Student says: ‘I feel deeply grateful to you for your wonderful Course. It is an uplifting, powerful Course. I am gratefully satisfied with the progress I have made. I do feel a different person altogether.’
How I love Truth! But how little it is valued in a world where so much time is spent in insincerity, flattery and idle talk.
People think, often, that they cannot tell the truth in case it hurts others. But there is no need to voice an opinion unless one is asked for it. If one is, and all efforts to make an evasive reply are fruitless, then one must speak Truth – but gently, lovingly, firmly, wisely. In other cases, Truth must be spoken to combat some great wrong, some great insincerity or desire to deceive. Then the words must be stern, and clear-cut, as were the Master’s when He said: ‘Ye hypocrites!’ They must he spoken calmy, though – the reins of perfect control must be in the speaker’s hand.
Apart from Truth being spoken to others, Truth is an absolute need in our lives. We must see Truth and know Truth and think Truth, always. If we refuse to see Truth, or pretend we cannot tell what is true and what is not; if we distort Truth or seek to mix it with untruth; if we, in fact, like to deceive both ourselves and others if the truth does not present an attractive aspect to us, then chaos will reign in our lives. Our Real Self will be in conflict with our outer self and we shall continually find ourselves in the most unpleasant situations.
One thing I notice about the Report Forms for Lessons Nine and Ten – they sometimes get “mislaid”, “lost “, “spoilt by tea-stains”, and so on! Obviously, a few Students push them out of sight, then forget where they are! Do not do this, though, for Truth is your friend, so seek it fearlessly.
The other day a Student wrote: ‘The devil is looking after his own and those who try, get nothing. The one who ruined my life is well and happy, while I am ill and miserable.’ Another wrote: ‘The things I wished changed, involve others, yet everything goes their way without any effort, and apparently because they are selfish.’
The thing that amazes me, about such remarks as these, is that, apparently, the writers think that this life is the only one there is. What does it matter if an evil person is ‘well and happy’ for a few years on this earth? We are eternal beings and, just because we die and, in so doing, throw off this earthly covering, this does not mean that we cease to be and do and think and live – and suffer, in that realm of Perfect Truth where all our deeds are seen and known. As everything is intensified in that Realm of Perfect Truth, our sorrow, as well as our joy, will be far greater.
Quite honestly, I feel so heartily sorry for people who deliberately do evil in this world that I cannot ‘work up’ any resentment against them at all! How awful, for them to imagine they are ‘getting away with it’, patting themselves on the back and thinking what fools all the other people are; then suddenly dying and finding themselves in a plane of living where the standards are entirely different; where – if they are haters and deceivers – they live only with haters and deceivers; and if thieves, live only with thieves. And where everything – all their horrid motives and evil, vain thoughts – are clearly visible to everybody. Once we see the Truth of this – for Heaven could not be Heaven unless it were a realm of Perfect Truth, and the Master, before He left this earth visibly, left us with a ‘Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth ‘, to help us here on earth until we enter the very Centre of Truth Itself – we can only feel intense compassion for the poor little blind creatures, crawling about on the face of the earth, doing as much as possible of evil and really thinking this life is all there is.
Remember, too, that we cannot be giving our very best to the opportunities given in our own lives if we waste time in the resentful contemplation of the lives of others. Know what happened when the Master was giving instructions to one of His friends and another, thinking one was ‘being let off lightly’, said: ‘But what of this man?’ The Master’s firm reply was: ‘What is this to thee?’
May Truth illumine you, my Student!
No power on earth can hurt me now;
No harm there is to bind me,
No light so strong that I must bow
Lest its bright dazzle blind me.
Let earth spin on, for I stand firm,
One with the stars above me;
No longer groping as the worm,
For Thou, my King, dost love me!
My King, my Lord, my All-in-All,
I’ve wandered far to find Thee;
Then heard within my heart Thy call:
‘Come, put the world behind thee.’
O Master, I want ONLY Thee;
Let all else be forsaken;
Then live, oh live Thy life in me;
My life, Lord, Thou hast taken.
Jesus, my Master, Saviour dear,
Today Thy glory’s shining
Upon my way, all bright and clear-
I’m on Thy breast reclining.
Oh, open skies; thy light outpour;
Let light and sunshine praise Him
Let evening only praise Him more-
Earth’s creatures, resting, praise Him
Eternal Spirit, manifest through me!
I ask no more but just to always be
A vital, living, joyous part of Thee;
A part of Thee, that even on the sea
Of life, ‘mid storm and strife I shall be free
From every harm that earth can offer me.
Eternal Spirit, manifest through me
That I may bring more souls to dwell in Thee!