SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM
SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM
Paper No. 1
THESE words are addressed to those who are seeking the way into the
Kingdom of God-the Kingdom where a Great Love and Wisdom, the serving
and the inspiring of others, and the utter forgetfulness of self, are
the natural life of everyone who dwells therein.
If you who read have reached that stage on your journey through life where the world without can offer you nothing that will stay your efforts to find that Kingdom, and you welcome any directions that will clearly point you there, then you are ready for these words, and they will be to you a quickening power that will hasten you on your way and perhaps will enable you speedily to reach the goal.
One traveling in a new country is always better able to make his way if provided with maps and information about the conditions to be met and the requirements to be observed along the route. Therefore, we will first try to map out for you the various stages of the journey into the Kingdom, and to tell you of some of the conditions through which you will pass, and what will be required if you expect to reach your journey's end without mishap or undue delay.
This naturally is no new knowledge being offered you, but is what has been learned and tabulated from the experience of many who have passed over this route-the one over which we would direct you,
and which is the narrow and only way that leads straight into the Kingdom.
All may essay the journey into that far country. Indeed, many have started more or less consciously
on it, but are now loitering on the way, enticed by the myriad allurements of the senses, the emotions,
or the intellect, and by yielding to the appeals of the self to halt and enjoy. Only the few, the very
few so far, the earnest and determined ones, and for whom these words are intended, are definitely consecrated to winning the goal. These it is our purpose to help reach it quickly, and to inspire them
to help recall the loiterers to their objective and speed them on their way; for it is vitally important
at this time that every soul seeking the light but whose human self is wandering in darkness, be led
back upon the path.
If you are one of the earnest ones, you will recognize much of what follows as part of your own past experience. Others, it will help to understand the meaning of that through which they are passing. This journey into the Kingdom, sometimes called "The Path," is symbolized in the allegory of the Prodigal Son, who wasted his substance in riotous living and, when he had spent all and could now here get anything to eat, remembered that the hired servants in his father's home had plenty of bread and to spare; and he awoke to who and what he was, and rose up and said, "I will go to my father and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight; make me as one of thy hired servants.' "
The Prodigal's journey back to his father's home was not as speedy as the allegory seems to depict.
Jesus mentioned none of the vicissitudes of the way; He only wanted to show that the Father is always waiting and can see us coming afar off, and will lovingly welcome us and shower upon us all the good things of life when we come back consciously into His home and love.
This journey, in reality, is a long one, covering a greater or less period of years, oftentimes several lifetimes, depending upon the nature and soul status of the individual. The ,early stage of the journey is evidenced by a spiritual awakening similar to that of the Prodigal Son, followed by an intense and eager thirst for knowledge of the realities of life; a turning away from former sense attractions and obeying an insistent urge from within to seek Truth wherever it can be found. In this stage the urge is largely unconscious to the seeker, especially as to its meaning and purpose; only the insistent desire to know being felt and that desire has to be satisfied.
Gradually, through the deeper knowledge of the meaning of life gained as a result of the cumulative
force of this urge, something unfolds in the consciousness. It can be likened to the life within the stalk, concentrating, as it were, upon the building and forming of the .bud, pushing out, expanding, swelling itself, becoming big with that which is unfolding, evolving from itself. It can also be likened to the conception and growth of the child in the womb of the mother, and approaching the birthing time.
For that which is felt by the seeker is indeed a birthing-it is the stirring of the Christ-child within, the life that has concentrated in your part of the human stalk now grown to the stage where it can unfold its true nature-your Love nature, and can come forth and blossom in your life as a compelling desire to help others and especially to give to them of the truths you have found.
Such is the sure outcome of such seeking-for those who are not seeking merely for self but to use the knowledge gained for the good that may be done with it. The Christ-child is born in the heart, the bud opens into the blossom, and the fragrance and beauty of the life within shows and proves itself to all who are near.
This is the first stage of the journey back to the Father's house. It is called the stage of the Aspirant or the Neophyte. It is necessarily a long and very gradual stage, starting with some definite experience perhaps a physical healing by a Metaphysician, the death of one very dear, or some extreme mental suffering-which are the birth-pangs preceding the awakening of the Spiritual nature. With such there is born the urge to know for one's self, and after many years of following this urge it develops into a final push which results in an expansion of consciousness and opens up a new world, one of which previously the seeker had been wholly unaware, although it had always been present awaiting his recognition.
There were many soul experiences leading up to this point, many steps along the Path, many vicissitudes and trials, and much mental suffering over leaving behind worn-out joys and useless habits and possessions acquired in the old state of consciousness. This may have resulted in decided changes in outer conditions and things; wealth gained by selfish, ruthless methods ; health always before natural and unconsidered,-these now taken away, and their lack a constant source of concern. All or many of the old states of mind given place to new ones, thus prepared the way for the new birth.
From all this seeking, most students think that what was gained was merely some knowledge of life's realities. But the gaining of any Truth avails little unless the living of that Truth and the building of it into soul consciousness has become the supreme desire of the Aspirant. When such a desire has been awakened, the soul dedicates itself to living a life of Truth, or consecrates itself to God or Christ in fervent prayer and supplication, after which sooner or later the birth takes place.
At the time the Aspirant most likely will not be aware of what is happening, but he will soon realize an increase of inspiration; a coming in touch with others who will open up new arid higher fields of study; a clearer grasping of essential truths, and a discarding of the unimportant; and he will realize God and Christ in some intangible way as being much closer, more real, more approachable and loving. For They have in very truth heard his supplication, have accepted his dedication, and are taking him at his word. He has now deliberately consecrated himself to the Higher Life and has set his feet definitely on the Path. The finding of the Kingdom has become the goal, even if he may not be fully conscious of it in his brain mind.
After this new birth, this dedication, the Aspirant enters the second stage of the journey-he now becomes a Disciple on probation. In other words, he is given his chance to prove whether he is worthy and qualified to enter the Kingdom.
OUR IMMEDIATE PURPOSE
As our goal is the finding of the Kingdom, the aim and purpose of those-back of this Work is to help
and encourage all earnest seekers by providing the necessary instructions for self-discipline and training that will enable them to attain spiritual enlightenment individually. The Master within the heart of each Aspirant has called him to come within and follow Him. To all who follow and obey, His Knowledge, Love and Power are ever available and will be given freely to those who no longer seek anything for self, but only to help and serve their fellow men.
Spiritual enlightenment can be gained only upon the straight and narrow path that leads to the Kingdom. Therefore the seeking of the Kingdom must be made the first thing in your life; that sets your feet firmly upon the path. It is not imposible to find the Kingdom, no matter how long or how unsuccessfully you have sought in the past. All that it takes is earnest and determined effort under the guidance that will be given. But it must be the first and the supreme desire of your heart. No other desire can supersede it. You must want it more than any other thing in life. When that desire has become supreme, it will not be long, for all the Brothers in the Kingdom nearest you will be with you in your search, helping, inspiring, and strengthening you in every possible way.
We will try to give you a glimpse of what the Kingdom will mean to you
when you find it-not what you will find there, but how you may know when
you have found it.
We all know that Jesus found it, for He tells of it with the authority
of one who knows. We speak of Him as Jesus, the Christ. The Christ, or
the Christos, is a title given to one who has reached a certain
Spiritual unfoldment. It means "The Anointed One." We know from certain
statements of Jesus that most of His teaching was done while in the
Christ Consciousness. Whenever He used the words, "I am,"
in the peculiar way He did, such as, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the
Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." "I am the vine," "I am
the door," etc., we know it was not from the human mind that Jesus
spoke, but from the Holy Spirit within Him, or from His Christ
Consciousness. We are told that when Jesus was baptized in the River
Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him as a dove and abode with Him.
All these experiences will come to every seeker of the Kingdom sooner or
later. After the Christ-child born in the Aspirant is grown to maturity
of Discipleship during the testing and proving period of the
Probationary stage, and has come to the Jordan state (beyond which lies
the "Promised Land") he is ready for baptism and to begin his lifework
as an Accepted Disciple. Then will be given him the
baptism of the Holy Spirit, during which the Spirit of God, which means
God's Consciousness, will descend and enter in and abide with the
Disciple. This Spirit is the Christos, and the Disciple becomes the
"Anointed One." Jesus was the "first fruit" of them that slept.
Now the Christ Consciousness or the baptism of the Holy Spirit must come
to all before they can enter the Kingdom. In fact, the Christ
Consciousness gives the right of admission to the Kingdom, and is the
Consciousness of everyone who abides in the Kingdom. And what is the
nature of that Consciousness? It is Divine Love, which
must be born in the heart of every seeker, must be nourished and thrive
and grow until it becomes the very life of the Disciple. When in
ripened maturity, after many given opportunities have proven that Love
is the nature of his soul and is not of the mind only,
the Disciple is permitted to enter into the joy of His Lord, the
Christ, and to abide with Him in the Kingdom of His Father's
All this may be beyond the present comprehension of some who read, but
if something deep within impels you to seek out its real meaning,
telling you that it is for you fully to know and to possess, then it is
earnestly hoped you will obey, and nothing will be permitted to stop you
until you have made His Consciousness your consciousness.
By the foregoing you will perceive that this must be an inner work and, of necessity, an individual work; for no one can do it for you or can help you, other than to point out the way and explain the experiences through which you pass-if you cannot get their meaning direct. For remember, there is always One who is ready and waiting to explain and teach you all things-your own Higher Self, the I AM, the Christ of you, dwelling within your heart, in the Kingdom there.
We take it that all of you who read and are deeply interested are more or less acquainted with His Presence within you. If not, as we are going to speak much of Him from now on, we urge that you begin to learn to know Him intimately, if you wish fully to appreciate and profit by what is contained in these lessons. To that end we suggest a careful study of "The Impersonal Life," for the consciousness from which its words were written is His Consciousness, which is also in you-is the Light which lighteth you, and from which consciousness each one of you may speak and teach your own self.
As a part of our work we purpose to bring out the inner meaning
of certain teachings already given. All must admit that enough
teachings have been given and are available to all who are ready for
them. Comparatively few, however, are able to get more than an
intellectual understanding of them as yet. It is only by opening up the inner meaning to the mind that the Spirit within is quickened.
All earnest ones, as they grow and unfold spiritually,
through study and meditation, will receive guidance and instruction
from their Higher Self in symbolic dreams and visions. They should keep a
diary of such, writing down every spiritual experience, as they will
prove of great value to the one receiving them when correctly
interpreted. They will, in fact, aid in determining the stage on The
Path of the soul to whom they are given. Assistance in the
interpretation of such experiences will be gladly given on request.
This being an Inner Work, no outer organization is necessary. As individuals come into the enlightenment that awaits, they will naturally enter into the realization of who they are and of what they are a part. That realization will show them that they are in very fact disciples of the Master, and that Master is even Christ, the Higher Self of them and of their brothers, and they will know that they are an integral part of the GREAT BROTHERHOOD of the Spirit of which He is the Supreme Head and Life. This finding and knowing the real Brotherhood of the Spirit that exists within and back of the personalities of their fellows is finding the Christ in His Kingdom, and this realization will prove to be a Haven of Refuge in which, while abiding in it, no outer force or circumstance can reach or affect them. Only when in this Haven can one know and be sure of the Master's Voice and can be led, taught, guarded and cared for by Him when necessary.
Our part is to help quicken all truly earnest ones into finding and entering this Haven of Refuge-the actual consciousness of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and to enlist them in His Service. This will link and bind them in Spirit, making them one in Christ. The only outer linking will be after the inner pattern. Wherever possible, Aspirants will form naturally into Groups for meditation and service. Each Group will thus be a Chalice serving as a cup or reservoir into which will be poured all the Love and Wisdom of the Master and of THE GREAT BROTHERHOOD, and which will flow-as water flows through a faucet turned on-to each Aspirant for use in Service as they consciously connect up with THE BROTHERHOOD of which they are a part.
The quickening of our younger brothers is our sole purpose in this book, and the carrying of the Light of the Christ to all seekers wandering in the darkness of separation is our chief endeavor. But let none of us forget that we of ourselves can do nothing. Only as we give ourselves over wholly to the Father's will, being concerned only that we are letting Him lead and speak through us, permitting no thoughts to enter our minds that are not His thoughts, can we do His work as He intends it to be done.
Many have been expecting and longing to be given some
real work, not realizing they have already been given it in the past;
but because it was not something definite in the way of healing or
helping others, and was instead a work of preparation, a learning to
discipline and control the mind and the emotions so as to enable the
Aspirant to enter the desire and mental planes of consciousness as
master of self when necessary to go thence, they think they have
accomplished nothing, and long for tasks for which they are not yet
It is all a part of the injunction, "Seek ye first the Kingdom, etc," for you cannot find the Kingdom until you are able to control those forces of your emotional and mental nature that heretofore had their way with you almost unopposed. If and when you are able to command, "Be Still, and know I AM," and be instantly obeyed on all planes of consciousness, then and then only will you be able to do the work that will be given you; for then only can you work in the Consciousness and with the Power of Christ-the Master within.
There is a real work-much real work to do, and never doubt, when you have once proven your ability to do it and to subject your self and your whole nature to the Master's will, and when they have become an impersonal instrument which He can use, you will be given so much to do that there will be little time left to think of self and its concerns.
Daily meditation is the first and most important requisite of the Aspirant. No real progress can be made without it. To help prepare and start you on the right kind of meditation, study carefully and use often the Meditation No. 1, to be found in the appendix. In it is condensed the essence of Jesus' teaching, and there is nothing that will help you more to find the Loving Christ and His Kingdom within than its illuminating words.
This Work has in it no place for laggards or for the mentally lazy. It is only for those who are imbued with an unquenchable determination and a fiery zeal to find the Master and the Kingdom.
Many think they can contrive no regular time to
meditate, but in bed after retiring or early in the morning are times
always available if really sought, and are often most satisfactory.
There will be no danger of falling asleep when the mind learns to obey
you. Again, while doing simple tasks around the home or in the office or
factory, real meditation can be done and most profitably. It is really
possible at such times, as you will find, to "be in the world but not of
it," for you can go in thought wherever you will, while your hands are
busy at their regular work.
Instead of worrying about it, simply put it up to the Higher Self, stating that you earnestly desire the time and opportunity to do regular meditating, and if He sees you really mean it and want it, you will find it will be arranged for you in a most natural manner-if you leave it in His hands and trust it all to Him.
Therefore rouse yourself to action. The Kingdom is not for those who still crave for or are held by the allurements of the world, the flesh, or the devil-self. The time has come when all such must be left behind, if you would lift your heart and mind to Christ. When you have found--earned-Him, then you will join with the other Brothers of the Kingdom in helping those who will be sent to you also to find Him and THE BROTHERHOOD, of which you will then be a conscious integral part.
While meditating, an effort should always be made in the I AM consciousness to command the forces of the mind, the emotions, and the physical senses to be still and know that You-the God of you-speaks and must be obeyed.
Eventually, after persistent effort, you will realize that you are that Consciousness, and that these forces are listening to and obeying you. Then, in that Consciousness, you can continue speaking as in "The Impersonal Life," and your mind will receive and accept what comes as from the God of you, and you will know Who you are.
BY JOSEPH S. BENNER
EDITOR JAN MASTER