Questions and Answers from Correspondence
Peace Pilgrim considered it part of her job to reply to all of the thousands of people who wrote to her over the years. She picked up her mail at post offices all over the country--after it had been forwarded by her friend in Cologne, N.J. Concisely but thoughtfully she answered questions, commented on events, and told about her recent travels and travel plans. Her letters almost always began: "Greetings from South Dakota! (or Iowa or New Orleans...)"
Q: How can I feel close to God?
A: God is love, and whenever you reach out in loving kindness you are expressing God. God is truth, and whenever you seek truth you are seeking God. God is beauty, and whenever you touch the beauty of a flower or a sunset you are touching God. God is the intelligence that creates all and sustains all and binds all together and gives life to all. Yes, God is the essence of all--so you are within God and God in within you--you could not be where God is not. Permeating all is the law of God--physical law and spiritual law. Disobey it and you feel unhappiness: you feel separated from God. Obey it and you feel harmony: you feel closer to God. As you live in harmony with divine law you will feel closer to and develop more love for God.
Q: What is the very heart of successful human relations?
A: Loving people, seeing the good in them, knowing that each one is important and has his or her job to do in the divine plan.
Q: Can spiritual growth be accomplished quickly or does it take awhile?
A: Spiritual growth is a process the same as physical growth or mental growth. Five year old children do not expect to be as tall as their parents at their next birthday; the first grader does not expect to graduate into college at the end of the term; the truth student should not expect to attain inner peace overnight. It took me fifteen years. The spiritual growing up is a very interesting and enjoyable process. There should be no wish to either hasten it or slow it down. Just experience it and take the steps toward inner peace and let it unfold.
Q: How can one find inner peace?
A: To find inner peace, or happiness, you must go through the spiritual growing up, you must leave the self-centered life and enter the God-centered life--the life in which you see yourself as part of the whole and work for the good of the whole.
Q: You have said that perfect love is the key to happiness. Buddha seemed to say it was a matter of controlling the mind--"To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him."
A: Perfect love is a willingness to give without a thought of receiving anything in return. When you have achieved that spiritual state, you will be in complete control of your mind--as well as you body and your emotions.
Q: You have said that you have a calling. Do all human beings have a calling?
A: Yes, all human beings have a calling, which is revealed to them through an awakening of their God-centered nature.
Q: Are we here to serve humanity as well as learn our lessons?
A: Yes, and we must serve according to our calling. We must also learn to live in harmony with divine law--but that is part of learning our lessons. As you live harmoniously and outgoingly you grow spiritually.
Q: What is the goal and purpose of mankind?
A: Our goal and purpose is to bring our lives into harmony with God's will.
Q: What is God?
A: We lump together all things that are beyond the capacity of all of us collectively to understand--and one name we give to all those things together is God. Therefore, God is the creative force, the sustaining power, that which motivates toward constant change, the overall intelligence which governs the universe by physical and spiritual law, truth, love, goodness, kindness, beauty, the ever-present, all-pervading essence or spirit, which binds everything in the universe together and gives to everything in the universe.
Q: Why are people unhappy?
A: People are unhappy because they are out of harmony with God's will.
Q: Do problems have their foundation in a poor self-concept?
A: Problems come when we live our lives out of harmony with divine purpose--they come to push us toward harmony.
Q: In your opinion, what is the number one world problem?
A: The number one world problem is immaturity. We choose to live at a small fraction of our real potential. In our immaturity we are greedy: some grab more than their share so that others starve. In our immaturity we are fearful: we build up armaments against one another, resulting in war. If we work on world problems, we usually work at the level of symptom. I have chosen to work primarily at the level of removing cause.
Q: Is the goal of self-knowledge to know God?
A: If you really know yourself you will know you are a child of God and you will become aware of God.
Q: What is mysticism?
A: One who takes the mystic approach receives direct perceptions from within. This is the source from which all truth came in the first place.
Q: How can one get the answers from within, from one's soul?
A: When you say "soul" you mean the divine nature, whereas some would mean the self-centered nature and some would mean both. Your divine nature--a drop of God--can be awakened when you touch a truth from the outside, so that it confirms that truth. Or the truth can come directly from the inside. Have an inspirational time and fill your life with inspirational things to awaken your divine nature.
Q: Where did you learn meditation?
A: I did not learn meditation. I just walked, receptive and silent, amid the beauty of nature--and put the wonderful insights that came to me into practice.
Q: Do you suggest to the seeker meditation or breathing exercises?
A: I suggest a time apart or a time alone with God, walking in receptive silence amid the beauties of God's nature. From the beauty of nature you get your inspiration, from the silent receptiveness you get your meditation, from the walking you get not only exercise but breathing--all in one lovely experience.
Q: Can one's divine nature be awakened through meditation?
A: If you are really meditating, your body is so comfortable that you are not aware of it. Your emotions are serenely still. Your mind is at peace--waiting, but not pushing. Now that you are receptive and silent, divine receiving can take place through your divine nature. It is very important that you put into practice insights that come to you.
Q: What is the kundalini?
A: The awakening of the kundalini could originally have meant the awakening of the divine nature--but some I know use the word to mean plugging into the source of universal energy.
Q: What does it mean to awaken the kundalini?
A: Those who are interested in forcing spiritual growth think about awakening the kundalini. Those who have good sense live in a spiritual life and await spiritual unfoldment.
Q: Can you describe intuition?
A: Real intuition is a spiritual receiving through the divine nature--but I realize that psychic receiving is sometimes referred to as intuition.
Q: Do you love humanity or people?
A: We are all of equal worth in the eyes of God, and to all I reach out constantly in thoughts and words and deeds--with love and good wishes--with prayers and blessings. This it is to love humanity. However, people are the cells in the body of humanity, and in doing my part in the divine plan I come into contact with a few of these cells. When their lives touch mine, I am always willing and sometimes able to serve them. When I am with someone or in correspondence with someone, I concentrate my love and my good wishes on that particular cell I am touching, and then with my prayers and blessings I leave that cell in God's hands. This it is to love people. Some love humanity without loving people; some love people without loving humanity. I love both.
Q: What is good and what is evil?
A: At a simple level, good is that which helps people; evil is that which hurts people. At a higher level, good is that which is in harmony with divine purpose; evil is that which is out of harmony with divine purpose.
Q: Often I tell myself that good is stronger than evil, love stronger than hatred, that good must win, but will it win in this world?
A: Yes, good will win in this world. The darkness that we see in the world today is due to the disintegration of things which are not good. Only the things which are good can endure. Yes, love will win in this world. Those who are filled with hatred are desperately unhappy and desperately--even though unconsciously--seeking a better way. Only those who are filled with love are serene and at peace.
Q: How can one break bad habits of thought and action?
A: Bad habits of thought and action lessen as spiritual growth progresses. You can work on replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts. If it is a negative thought about a person, dwell upon a good thing about that person. If it is a negative thought about a world situation. dwell upon the best that could happen in that situation. You can deliberately refrain from a bad action--and use the energy for a good action.
Q: Are you willing to forgive people who do evil things even before they are sorry?
A: I do not even need to forgive people, for I harbor no animosity. If they do evil things I feel compassion for them because I know they have hurt themselves. I hope they will be sorry, because I want them to be healed.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on improving the health profession?
A: Needful and gradually coming into manifestation are health centers which will stress coming into and remaining in good health by coming into and remaining in harmony with the physical and spiritual laws. This is the healing of the future. I think there has been too much tendency to just let people get sick, and then look for ways to help them. I believe the emphasis should be on keeping people well, therefore I think in terms of health research. We have been alleviating symptoms too long--let us get busy on eliminating cause.
Q: Is the goal of the spiritual nature to free itself from the body or physical nature in order that it may see truth clearly?
A: The spiritual nature does see truth clearly. If you let it govern your life, you will see truth clearly. You might say that the spiritual nature is trying to free you from the self-centered nature, so you will become an entity living in harmony with divine purpose.
Q: If we can go on the presumption that everyone has a spiritual nature, why do so few people realize it? Are they being punished for misdeeds in a past life, or are they just unenlightened in this life?
A: Because they have free will. They punish themselves by making wrong choices. Constantly enlightenment is being offered to them, but they refuse to accept it. Therefore, they are being taught by problems that are set before them, since they refuse to make right choices voluntarily.
Q: Why can this world be so confusing?
A: People disobey divine law, so problems come to push them toward harmony. If you but knew how short is the earth life in comparison with the whole, you would be less troubled with the difficulties of the earth life than you are troubled now with the difficulties of one of your days.
Q: When does illumination come?
A: The time when you rise high enough in consciousness to look at things through the eyes of the God-centered nature is often called the illumination experience.
Q: Does God speak through you?
A: In a sense, God speaks through everyone whose life is governed by God.
Q: Did you experience a divine revelation? If so, why were you chosen as a person God could reveal his spiritual knowledge to?
A: I had a very strong inner motivation, or calling, to begin my pilgrimage, and I started out against the advice of all my friends. I chose myself to be a receiver of spiritual truth when I surrendered my will to God's will. You can do that too. We all have the same potential. God is revealed to all who seek, God speaks to all who will listen. When you surrender your will to God's will you enter a very busy life--and a very beautiful life.
Q: Is the self-centered nature an illusion?
A: The self-centered nature is transient, just as the body is transient--but it is up to us how soon it will cease to rule our lives.
Q: Is there a law of self-responsibility?
A: You are responsible for your actions, reactions or inaction where action is required. You owe right living not only to humanity, but to yourself.
Q: What is your Utopia like? Can there ever be a Utopia in this earth life?
A: The outer Utopia would come when we have learned to share and not to kill each other. The inner Utopia would come when we have all found inner peace. A lot of us will have to find a lot more inner peace before the outer Utopia can come. The outer is foreseeable--the inner will take a lot longer.
Q: Is there a God who will always be beyond me?
A: Think of God as a divine ocean and you as one drop with free will. You can choose to remain separate from the ocean--but you won't be happy. You can choose to be a part of the ocean, in which case you will give up your free will, but you will be delightfully happy acting in harmony with God's will. Now you will perceive yourself as a part of God and very much at one with God.
Q: What is the spiritual life?
A: That which cannot be perceived by the five senses. Spiritual things will endure, physical things will not.
Q: What is truth?
A: Truth is that which is in harmony with divine law. Truth is God and God is truth. My personal prayer is to make me an instrument through which only truth can speak.
Q: Where do I look to find spiritual truth?
A: In the final analysis you find spiritual truth through your own higher nature. Your higher nature is a drop in the ocean of God--and has access to the ocean. Sometimes your higher nature is awakened through the inspiration of beautiful surroundings or beautiful music, bringing you insights of truth. Sometimes you see the truth written or hear the truth spoken, and your higher nature confirms it. Or you directly perceive the truth from the inside through an awakening of the higher nature, which is my way. All the inspired writing came from the inner source, and you too, can receive from that source. Be still and know.
Q: Will there always be pain in one's becoming more beautiful?
A: There will be pain in your spiritual growth until you will to do God's will and no longer need to be pushed into it. When you are out of harmony with God's will, problems come. Their purpose is to push you into harmony. If you would willingly do God's will, you could avoid the problems.
Q: Will I ever come to a state of feeling at rest with no more need to become?
A: When you have found inner peace you have no more feeling of need to become--you are content to be, which includes following your divine guidance. However, you keep on growing--but harmoniously.
Q: I am so lonely. What can I do about it?
A: You are never really alone. God is always with you. Turn to God for the best possible companionship. Turn to books and music for inspiration. Turn to the phone to say words of cheer to a shut-in, or visit one who is lonely. In giving we receive, and our loneliness fades away.
Q: How do you keep so healthy and happy?
A: I keep so healthy and happy by always keeping turned to God. That means I obey God's spiritual laws: I live to be of service, I think no negative thoughts, etc. That means I obey God's physical laws: those things I know are bad for the health I do not do, those thing I know are good for the health I do. My reward has been good health and a happy state of mind.
Q: How does an ordinary housewife and mother find what you seem to possess?
A: One who is in the family pattern, as most people are, finds inner peace in the same way that I found it. Obey God's laws, which are the same for all of us; not only the physical laws, but also the spiritual laws which govern human conduct. You might start by living all the good things you believe, as I did. Find and fit into your special place in the divine plan, which is unique for every human soul. You might try seeking in receptive silence, as I did. Being in the family pattern is not a block to spiritual growth, and in some ways it is an advantage. We grow through problem-solving, and being in the family pattern provides plenty of problems to grow on. When people enter the family pattern they often have their first outgoingness from self-centeredness into family-centeredness. Pure love is a willingness to give without a thought of receiving anything in return, and the family pattern provides the first experience of pure love: a mother's and father's love for their baby.
Q: Why are you a vegetarian, and how can you be sure you are consistent?
A: As to my vegetarianism, I do the best I can. I have never refrained from doing something I believed was right because I could not do it perfectly. I do not believe it is right for me to ask someone else to do my `dirty work' for me. I would not kill a creature, and I would not ask someone else to kill it for me, so I will not eat the flesh of the creature.
Q: My husband must go into surgery, but he is postponing it. What shall I do?
A: If your husband must go into surgery, it is important that he go into it with as little apprehension as possible. A lady I knew faced a similar problem. She discussed it with her husband, and was able to convince him that God requires us to do everything we can for ourselves. So they undertook eating habits and living habits that they thought would be best for them. They planned to go to a beautiful and quiet place for the recuperation period, and they planned for a lovely trip afterward. He became impatient to get surgery over with so he would feel good enough to enjoy the things they had planned. It turned out to be minor instead of major, the recuperation period seemed like a vacation, and the trip seemed like a second honeymoon.
Q: I, along with all the other non-smokers, was thankful when you asked people not to smoke at your meeting, but I was wondering if you were being loving toward the smokers.
A: A pilgrim's job of rousing people from their apathy and making them think may sometimes seem to come into conflict with a loving attitude toward people. However, if I saw a small child about to touch a red hot stove, I would certainly prevent the child from doing so if I could--and this would be a loving thing for me to do, although the child might not like it and might even scream. A woman wrote recently to tell me that when I refused to sit next to her because she was smoking she stayed awake for hours thinking about it--and cut out smoking the next day.
Q: My husband is a cigarette smoker and I cannot stand the smoke. Could you tell me what to do?
A: Evidently you are allergic to tobacco smoke, and therefore you should never be in a room where someone is smoking. Some smoke, like wood smoke, is not poisonous. But tobacco smoke is poisonous, and certainly not good for anyone. Of course it would be good for him and for you if your husband would stop smoking, but if he doesn't want to do that, he should never smoke in a room where you are. Could he smoke outdoors or in some part of the house reserved for him or in some place away from home? No use quarreling about this. It's best to use your energy to find a solution.
Q: How does one transform a desire such as smoking or drinking instead of suppressing it?
A: When it comes to such things as smoking and drinking I would just quit, as I quit the caffeine habit long ago by making a quick relinquishment. However, some prefer to substitute. I just met a lady who is substituting tea brewed from mint leaves for coffee. I know another lady who has substituted fruit juice for cocktails, and she says her friends don't even know it yet. A man I know has put a little package of raisins and nuts into the pocket where he once kept cigarettes. It can be done.
Q: Should we reach outward or upward?
A: We should always be reaching upward for light--while reaching outward in love to those who need our help. Yes, as one walks the spiritual pathway, one looks up for guidance and reaches out in giving. Therefore, associates are not only those more evolved from whom we learn, but also those less evolved who come for help.
Q: Why does God exist?
A: God is the life force without which the universe would not exist. God is expressed throughout the physical and spiritual universe.
Q: What is one's relationship to God?
A: You can establish a relationship with God by bringing your life into harmony with God's laws, which are the same for all of us. And by finding and fitting into your part in the divine plan, which is unique for every human soul.
Q: Who is Jesus?
A: Jesus was a great spiritual teacher who walked the earth. His life was governed by the indwelling Christ. He taught us ours could be too.
Q: What do you tell people who ask if you are a Christian?
A: I am not, and have never been, a part of any particular faith. I am a deeply religious woman who has taken the inner way to a religious life, not the scholarly way or the way of early training. I will never say this is the only way. It is, of course, an excellent way. And people are free to choose and develop in their own way.
Q: Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the savior of mankind or do you believe that he was not different from anyone else but was only more spiritually evolved?
A: Jesus was a very evolved being, way ahead of his time. Christ is the divine nature, which can rule your life as it ruled his life. The indwelling Christ is the `savior of mankind.' Only when it governs your life will you be happy.
Q: Do you believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ?
A: All who believe in the continuity of life (and some who do not) believe that Jesus could return. I believe we should allow the indwelling Christ or the divine nature to govern our lives.
Q: What did Jesus mean by teaching of a kingdom "not of this world?"
A: He was teaching about the Kingdom of God within, the God-centered nature, the divine nature--the indwelling Christ.
Q: What is the first priority of life?
A: Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. All these things shall be added unto you." This is true. All the blessings are beyond anything that I could possibly describe in words. Health, happiness, inner peace, and always with you an awareness of the presence of God. A complete stability of unhurriedness. Fear is absolutely gone from your life. You cannot feel fear because when you know that God is right there, naturally you're with God.
Q: If you have grown up spiritually, how come you are not famous?
A: Most people who have attained inner peace are not famous.
Q: Are you an Avatar, a divine incarnation?
A: I am a pilgrim for peace, inner peace and outer peace. I walk in prayer for peace. I try to inspire others to pray and work for peace also. I would gladly be a 'server': one who returns again and again to help people toward a more spiritual life.
Q: Is the Messiah concept immature? Was Jesus the Messiah? Are you a Messiah?
A: Yes, the Messiah concept is immature. Immature people look for a Messiah instead of looking for the Christ within. Jesus was a great spiritual teacher. I am teaching how to live God's laws. In each being there is a divine nature called by various names. After sufficient lifetimes it begins to govern the being. That being stands out from the crowd. There have been quite a few. The important thing is that it can govern you.
Q: Why did man invent dogma?
A: Dogma was not necessarily invented; it springs from ignorance and fear and immaturity. It is sometimes used against immature people by the unscrupulous. People believe in dogma because they are trained to believe in it.
Q: Why do people believe in dogmatic religion?
A: Immature people believe in immature religion because they are afraid not to. As they mature enough to know it is immature they tend to depart from it. <
Q: Would you describe dogma?
A: Take out the kernel of spiritual truth within any faith, and what is left is dogma.
Q: What is it like to communicate with God?
A: Communication with God is a deep inner knowing that God is within you and around you. God `speaks' through the still, small voice within.
Q: Are science and religion irreconcilable?
A: You might say that science operates pragmatically and religion by divine guidance. If valid, they would reach the same conclusions but science would take a lot longer.
Q: Would you describe spiritual evolution?
A: Spiritual evolution takes place in your life as you live in harmony with divine purpose: obeying divine laws, which are the same for all of us, and doing your unique job in the divine plan.
Q: Atheists say there is no way to prove that there is a God. Can you prove that there is a God?
A: There is really no such thing as an atheist, for within that person is the divine nature which, when awakened, will feel close to God. There are those who call themselves atheists. For some of them I have defined God intellectually as the creative force, the sustaining power, the motivation toward change, the overall intelligence, truth; emotionally as love, goodness, kindness, beauty; spiritually as the ever-present, all-pervading essence or spirit, which binds everything in the universe together and gives life to everything in the universe.
Q: Can the creation of the universe be some grandiose accident?
A: The universe is the creation of an intelligence which we cannot now even imagine--and we have the wonderful opportunity of learning and growing in it.
Q: What is the nature of the universe?
A: The nature of the universe is an evolvement toward betterment or perfection.
Q: When was the physical universe created and when will it be destroyed?
A: We do not know the exact time of the beginning of the universe, although we try to figure it out. Of course, we don't know the time of the end either, and we do less speculating on that. All we can really say is: it began when it was necessary in creation, it will end when it is no longer necessary. It is very much needed now, and one of the lessons we must learn is to live in the present, instead of trying to live in the past or the future. Of course, one of the lessons we must learn is that we are really spiritual, in fact, that is our most important lesson. You can say it is our goal, and the goal of evolution. However, our immediate goal is to bring our lives into harmony with divine law and do the work we came to do.
Q: Do you believe that there is both a heaven and a hell?
A: Heaven and hell are states of being. Heaven is being in harmony with God's will; hell is being out of harmony with God's will. You can be in either state on either side of life. There is no permanent hell.
Q: Do we have experiences before the earth life and after the earth life?
A: There is a point of view which recognizes the experience of the earth life as you recognize the experience of one of your days--with days coming before and days lying ahead. Just as you know that what you did yesterday can affect tomorrow, so the viewpoint I speak of recognizes that prior experience affects this earth life and that this earth life will affect future experience. To those with this viewpoint the world is orderly and just and operates according to law. When the governing laws are obeyed there is harmony and when they are disobeyed there is discord. This cannot be seen by those whose horizons do not extend beyond the earth life. To them the world must seem very unjust and very disorderly indeed.
Q: Why do people fear death?
A: Almost all fear is fear of the unknown. People fear death because what happens at death is unknown. However, I have experienced the beginning of the process called death--in a snowstorm one night when I began to freeze to death--and I do not fear it. The experience of the beginning of the change called death I went through that night was beautiful. I look forward to the change called death as life's last great adventure, and I rejoice with my loved ones as they make the glorious transition to a freer living. You overcome your fear of something by becoming acquainted with the thing you fear.
Q: If one fears death, does that mean one has a poor self-concept?
A: Fear of death tends to mean that you identify with the body instead of the spirit, and that is poor self-concept.
Q: Do you think a soul can leave the body before the preordained time?
A: It is true that this universe operates according to exact laws. It is true that some come into an earth life only to stay for a very short time. Some come in only to stay until certain things are accomplished. Some come in to stay as long as the body will last. You can come in to learn lessons, to pay debts, to serve, or a combination of these things. Through it all, you have free will. If you take good care of your body, you stay longer than if you abuse it. Thoughts and emotions also play a part. So you see things are really only conditionally preordained--you will stay a long time if.
Q: If the spiritual nature is immortal, what does it do after the death of the body? Is the spiritual nature always good in each body?
A: If the self-centered nature has been completely overcome, the spiritual nature--the real you--will go to the spiritual realm instead of the psychic realm. It will now no longer need to live more earth lives, and will be learning other lessons. The spiritual nature is always good and always consistent with God's will. It is the self-centered nature that is sometimes passive, sometimes good, sometimes out of harmony.
Q: What is karma?
A: Karma is the law of cause and effect--`as you sow so shall you reap'--seen over a span of many lifetimes. Those who get ulcers as a result of hating someone prove to themselves (if they have the eyes to see) that the law of karma works.
Q: Some problems seem inherited or chronic. Are these things karmic?
A: Every problem that comes to you has a purpose in your life. Through problem solving you learn and grow. No problem is set before you that, with a proper attitude, you cannot solve. If a great problem is set before you, this indicates that you have the great inner strength to solve a great problem. Some problems that are brought over with you are karmic--subject to the law of cause and effect. You might say you came to solve them. It is important that they be solved. That's at least one of the reasons you came. Some problems are caused in this earth life by wrong eating, or wrong thinking and feeling. They might be caused by eating junk food, or thinking junk thoughts, like hate thoughts. While tendencies toward certain difficulties can be inherited, remember you choose the conditions of your birth. I wish for all a complete healing--not through the suppression of symptoms by drugs, but through the removal of cause. I hope you will be inspired to put yourself on a really excellent health diet. I hope you will be inspired to search for and remove all negative thoughts and feelings. I hope you will be inspired to fill you life with beautiful things--the beauty of nature, uplifting music, beautiful words and meaningful activities. Stay away from everything that pulls you down, and stick to the things that lift you up!
Q: What is the best way to `pay off' bad karma?
A: The best way to rid yourself of all bad karma is to get busy serving in any way you can. When you have given enough, you will know God and find inner peace--for it is in giving that we receive.
Q: Can I experience past life recall?
A: You may very well recall some past life experiences when you have learned the lessons you came here to learn. Before that it is best not to know such things--you would be less likely to solve the problem if you already had the answer. There is an old hymn that says, "I do not ask to see the distant scene, one step enough for me." That is very wise.
Q: Can my divine nature control my anger and rage?
A: Your divine nature can control your body, your mind and your emotions. Your self-centered nature cannot, although it can rule them to a certain extent. Anger-energy should not be suppressed, which could hurt you inside, nor expressed, which would hurt you inside and cause difficulties in your surroundings. It should be transformed by using it for a task that needs to be done or a beneficial form of exercise. If you will realize that the person who does an unkind thing is to some extent psychologically sick, anger will turn to compassion.
Q: How can people improve their self-confidence?
A: Your self-confidence will improve when you realize who you are. You are God's child, and capable of acting that way.
Q: In this affluent country why do so many complain about financial problems?
A: Many people who say they have financial problems really mean that they want more than they need. It was so easy for me to bring my life down to need level: I just felt that I could no longer accept more than I need while others in the world have less than they need. I discover in looking around me that most debts are not to pay for the necessities of life, but to pay for things people do not need. Why do people want things they do not need? Sometimes for purposes of self-indulgence--when they will never find what they are seeking except through self-discipline. Sometimes to gain ego-satisfaction by impressing others--when they will never find what they are seeking until the ego has been subordinated and the higher nature has taken over. Yes, some do try to make up for a lack of spiritual security with material security--and it can't be done. Financial problems come to teach us that our concentration should not be on material things, but on spiritual things. I'm sure you know the wonderful purpose of problems in our lives, how they all come to teach us lessons, and how we can always solve them with God's help.
Q: What should be our attitude toward material things?
A: If we could just put material things into their proper place, and use them without being attached to them, how much freer we would be. Then we wouldn't burden ourselves with things we don't need. If we could only realize that we are all cells in the same body of humanity--then we would think of having enough for all, not too much for some and too little for others.
Q: What about the predictions of destruction?
A: Remember the power of thought, and think only about the best that could happen. Dwell only upon the good things you want to see happen. Remember, through thought you create your inner conditions and help to create the conditions around you. We are all helping to make a great decision. Remember also that the darkest hour is just before the dawn.
Q: What can I do about my grandchild coming into the world that is filled with violence?
A: Why not think of your grandchild as being born into a world filled with God? God's law is implemented constantly, for everything out of harmony is on its way out. The darkness we see is the disintegration of out-of-harmony things. "God is not dead, nor doth he sleep...the wrong shall fail, the right prevail...with peace on earth, good will to men." How can anyone doubt that eventually God will prevail? It is only how soon that is up to us.
Q: What are your solutions to the following problems?
The Energy Crisis?
A: There should be intensive research of all forms of clean energy--sun power, wind power, water power including wave power. In some places thermal energy is available. I stayed on a ranch which with solar panels and two windmills provided its own energy.
A: Terrorists are extremely immature and also usually wrongly trained people who believe that evil can be overcome by more evil. They need a healing program to bring about their rehabilitation.
A: Organized crime is a symptom of an immature society in which success is measured by money and things. Those connected with it need a healing program for their rehabilitation.
Gangs and gang warfare?
A: Youth gangs could be prevented if there were plenty of room for children to play in good surroundings and meaningful organized activities for youth.
A: Much absenteeism comes about because people are doing jobs they do not feel called to do. People should take jobs they like best to do, rather than jobs that pay the most money.
A: Immature people are jealous because they do not know they are just as important as anyone else, with just as much potential, and with a job in the divine plan.
Hatred and Racism?
A: You can overcome hatred with love. Hate injures the hater, not the hated. Those who practice racism are hurt. Those that are discriminated against have a choice: They can be hurt by a wrong reaction of bitterness or anger, or they can rise above the situation and be spiritually strenghtened.
A: The self-centered nature feels frustration when it can't have its way. The higher nature is patient, knowing that with a proper attitude all problems can be solved.
A: It is an orderly universe, and the suffering that comes to us has a purpose in our lives--it is trying to teach us something. We should look for its lesson.
Q: Are you a liberal or a conservative?
A: I am conservative in wanting to preserve the good things--I am a liberal in wanting to change the things that need to be changed.
Q: What is your political and social philosophy?
A: Our politics and our social order must be brought into harmony with divine purpose.
Q: What do you think of capitalism?
A: If by capitalism you mean our present economic system which has led to unemployment and production for obsolescence, naturally this will need to be improved. More decentralization is needed. If those who worked in the industries also owned the industries, much friction could be avoided. Capitalism usually means competition--and the work for the future is cooperation.
Q: Do you think democracy is the right form of government?
A: If democracy is control by the people, as it is supposed to be, it is the right form of government. I believe in a complete democracy--individual, political, social, economic. If we really had that, which we don't now, it would be in harmony with divine purpose.
Q: What are leftists and what are rightists?
A: Those who want to push social change faster than it can naturally go are often called 'leftists'. Those who want to keep things as they are or turn back the hands of the clock are often called 'rightists'. In general they have one thing in common: they both believe in the false philosophy that `the end justifies the means'. That is the war philosophy. I believe that the means you use will determine the end you receive. This is the peace philosophy and the philosophy of all true religion. Your divine nature lives by the peace philosophy.
Q: Do you believe that communism could take over the world and wipe out religion?
A: Of course religion will endure, since it represents the deep inner yearning for a better life of all human beings. Communism at its best represents communal living--sharing. As practiced in some small societies it is not an enemy of religion. It has never really been practiced in any large society, and the first large society to express it as an ideal turned against the religion of the state because they felt it had been used to oppress people. Then they became a dictatorship. The things that are out of harmony in their country and our country, and all countries, are in the process of disintegrating--they contain within themselves the seeds of their own destruction. True communism could teach the world something about economic democracy.
Q: Do you think communists could end the world by starting a nuclear war?
A: No, I don't think any country really wants to start a nuclear war. But it could happen by accident as long as we have all these nuclear weapons around.
Q: Is it good to learn an art like karate in order to defend oneself?
A: My weapon is love, and I would not even think of learning any other defense mechanism. The immature and the fearful learn karate and other defense mechanisms.
Q: Does `passive' mean peaceful to you? Does aggressive mean warlike to you?
A: You could say that a passive person does not use violence because of weakness, and a peaceful person does not use violence because of principle. An aggressive person may prefer to live in harmony but the actions of that person lead to strife.
Q: Men commit 88% of all crimes as well as fight in all the wars. Of course there are a few exceptions, but do you believe that in general women are more mature and law-abiding than men? Are they more spiritually evolved?
A: Men are taught that they must be tough, and that it is a sign of weakness to live by the law of love. It is considered perfectly all right for women to live by the law of love; in fact, in many cases this is expected of them. Men have just as much spiritual potential as women, but because of their more aggressive attitudes they often do not attain as much spiritual growth. In our country the men fight the wars because that is the custom here, but in some countries the women fight too.
Q: How should parents punish their children when they do something wrong?
A: The reward system works best; punishment would be withholding the reward.
Q: What is immorality?
A: Sometimes when people talk about immorality they mean that which is out of harmony with custom. But true immorality is that which is out of harmony with divine purpose.
Q: Is the mind a "blank tablet" on which experience writes?
A: The mind is an instrument which can be used by either the self-centered nature or the divine nature. Yes, of course it is influenced by experience.
Q: What is your interpretation of dreams?
A: Most dreams represent either wanderings in the psychic realm or illusions produced by physical or mental or emotional stresses, and should be promptly forgotten. A few times there is a vision, which you will not be able to forget.
Q: Do you work for your living?
A: I work for my living in an unusual way. I give what I can through thoughts and words and deeds to those whose lives I touch and to humanity. In return I accept what people want to give, but I do not ask. They are blessed by their giving and I am blessed by my giving.
Q: Why are you unemployed?
A: Am I unemployed? I work 16 hours a day, seven days a week. You mean I'm not earning any money. I don't need to earn any money. Everything I need is given. I could do this another way at my season of life. I could legally live on the taxpayers (Social Security) if I wanted to, but they give so reluctantly. I would much rather live on what is given voluntarily. Those people will be blessed by the giving. I love my work. I have work to do. For the kind of speaking I do, some people receive high honorariums; I do not accept one. I answer lots of mail and do a lot of counseling through the mail. Many people are paid good fees for counseling. I don't accept money for it. I am now starting to lead educational and inspirational tours which are retreat situations. It has a good effect on people. I remember the time we went to Alaska. Those people who went came back inspired and uplifted and it seems that just about every one of them is thinking about working for some good cause or a kind of a path of service. I believe some of those people from the Alaska trip are actually working now to help people.
Q: Why don't you accept money?
A: Because I talk about spiritual truth, and spiritual truth should never be sold--those who sell it injure themselves spiritually. I accept money that comes in through the mail (without being solicited), but I do not use it for myself; I use it for printing and postage. Those who attempt to buy spiritual truth are attempting to get it before they are ready. In this wonderfully well-ordered universe, when they are ready it will be given.
Q: What is the theory behind `not buying spiritual truth'?
A: The theory behind not buying spiritual truth is this: One who has it would not be selling it, so one who is selling it doesn't have it. These are the `pearls without price'. As soon as you are ready for the spiritual truth, it will be given. On the other hand, you are given as you give. But paying a fee is not giving a gift. And you do not need to give to the one from whom you receive, as we are all cells in the same body of humanity.
Q: Don't you get lonely or discouraged or tired?
A: No, I am never lonely or discouraged or tired. When you live in constant communion with God, you cannot be lonely. When you perceive the working of God's wonderful plan and know that all good effort bears good fruit, you cannot be discouraged. When you have found inner peace, you are in contact with the source of universal energy and cannot be tired.
Q: Where did you learn the things you talk about? Obviously you have found something which all of us are seeking, and you have no right to conceal the source of your information.
A: I have never concealed the source of my information. For light I go directly to the Source of Light--not to any of the reflections. Also, I make it possible for more light to come to me by living up to the highest light I have. You cannot mistake light coming from the source, for it comes with complete understanding so that you can explain it and discuss it.
Q: How old are you?
A: Along my pilgrimage route many people would ask my age. I told them I did not know my age and I did not intend to figure it out. I know my birth date. It lingers at the fringes of my memory, but I won't divulge it. What purpose would it serve? Many have tried also to guess my old name. The most interesting guess was that I'm Amelia Earhart. I'm very thankful that age is now out of my mind. As long as I counted birthdays and started thinking about getting older, I did get older. Age is a state of mind, and I think of myself as ageless. And that's my advice to others. Get to be as old as you want to be and then stop creating age.
I never give out my zodiac sign either. Do you honestly think I can be pushed around by a planet? Good heavens, your divine nature is always free--it's only your self-centered nature that is not free. I have two reasons for not giving out my sign. One is that some enterprising astrologer might figure out a horoscope on me, and what a waste of time that would be. And if my birth time were known I would be deluged by birthday cards just as I am deluged with Christmas cards now, and I would have to take another two weeks off each year to answer them.
Q: What is your real name and background?
A: I have no name except Peace Pilgrim. I have no home, only a forwarding address: Cologne, New Jersey. About my background I will say only this: I come from a poor family, I have little education, no special talents; rather, I lead a guided life.
Q: Have you ever had any children?
A: I was not called into the family pattern. Most people are, by this thing we call falling in love, and then they act as a family unit. It was not my calling. There are a few people not called into the family pattern. Some unmarried women are what you would call man-haters, but I'm not or ever was. I always got along fine with men.
Q: How do you have so much energy?
A: After you have found inner peace you have endless energy--the more you give, the more you receive. After you have found your calling, you work easily and joyously. You never get tired.
Q: Doesn't the generation gap keep you from relating to students?
A: I think it is a value gap rather than a generation gap. Students are in rebellion against false values of society like war and prejudice and materialism and hypocrisy. Since I certainly do not favor these false values, I have no trouble relating to students.
Q: Do you believe in astrology?
A: Insofar as astrology can be interpreted, it says something about the life governed by the self-centered nature. Those who follow it become so immersed in the self-centered nature that they do not transcend it.
Q: When confronted with a problem, can I do anything about it intellectually?
A: If you are confronted with a health problem, ask yourself: "Have I abused my body?" If you are confronted with a financial problem, ask yourself: "Have I lived within my means?" If you are faced with a psychological problem, ask yourself: "Have I been as loving as God would want me to be?" What you do in the present creates the future, so use the present to create a wonderful future.
Q: I am troubled much by wrong reactions on my part to what others say and do.
A: If you really understood everything, all your wrong reactions would turn to compassion. Those who evoke wrong reactions in you are out of harmony, and especially in need of love. Yes, it is most important to be loving. Meet every situation with love, and you will be able to handle it. If someone does the meanest thing to me, I feel the deepest compassion for that person and pray for that person--I do not hurt myself by a wrong reaction of bitterness or anger.
Q: Is self-discipline really worthwhile?
A: Perhaps the path toward inner peace does not seem easy while you are walking it, but when you have walked it you look back and think: How could I have earned the great blessing of inner peace so easily?
Q: What should a person do who is a compulsive eater, and eats wrong foods?
A: If the person already knows this, and wants to do something about it, the person might begin by having only good, wholesome foods available. Make food a very incidental part of your life by filling your life so full of other meaningful things that you'll hardly have time to think about food.
Q: How can we dramatize peace?
A: I think one way to dramatize peace could be through the use of a mobile theater. For a long time I have thought that the arts should be used for the cause of peace. Only a limited number of people will listen to a lecture. More will read all or part of a simple and interesting pamphlet if it is handed to them. Many will listen to the peace people if they can get on radio or television with their peace message. However, just about everybody will look at a drama or a puppet show if it comes right where they are.
Q: Are we responsible for our thoughts and feelings? Is it fundamentally different from the responsibility for our behavior?
A: Spiritually speaking, you suffer for negative thoughts and feelings just as you suffer for wrong behavior. However, you suffer most if you know and do not do. Yes, you are responsible for all three.
Q: What should retirement mean to a person?
A: Retirement should mean not a cessation of activity, but a change of activity with a more complete giving of your life to service. It should therefore be the most wonderful time of your life: the time when you are most happily and meaningfully busy.
Q: What should I do when my life seems empty?
A: If your life seems empty, you have a wonderful opportunity. Most lives are already at least partially filled with not so good things. If your life seems empty, you have a wonderful opportunity to fill it with only good things.
Q: What should I do when I feel put upon?
A: Ask yourself whether or not what is required of you is unreasonable. If not, you will attain spiritual growth through serving; if so, you must learn to say 'no' lovingly.
Q: What overcomes fear?
A: I would say that religious attitudes overcome fear. If you have a loving attitude toward your fellow human beings, you will not fear them: `Perfect love casteth out fear.' An obedient attitude toward God will bring you into the constant awareness of God's presence, and then fear is gone. When you know that you are only wearing the body, which can be destroyed--that you are the reality which activates the body and cannot be destroyed--how can you be afraid?
Q: How can I conquer little fears, like fear of the dark when alone outside?
A: I always think of the dark as being friendly. It provides such a restful situation in which to sleep. May I suggest watching it get dark: appreciating the beauty of the sunset and looking for the first star. Get acquainted with the darkness--for fear is usually fear of the unknown.
Q: Psychiatrists say that all human beings experience fear, but you say that you don't fear anything, not even death. How do you make yourself so totally fearless? Do you have more control over your mind than most people do?
A: In our early lives we experience as much fear as we have learned in one way or another. Your mind, also your body and your emotions, can only be adequately controlled by the divine nature, not the self-centered nature. If you really love people, you do not fear them. If you live in harmony with divine will, fear is gone. If you identify with that within you which is immortal, you do not fear death. If you fear, it is because your life is still governed by the self-centered nature. Through a great mental effort you may be able to train yourself not to show fear--but only when you are governed by the divine nature will you feel no fear.
Q: What can I do to make my life have more meaning?
A: Fifteen years before my pilgrimage began, I felt completely willing--without any reservations--to give my life, and I started to live to give, instead of to get. Every morning I thought of God and thought of things I might do that day to be of service to God's children. I looked at every situation I came into to see if there was anything I could do there to be of service. I did as many good things as I could each day--not forgetting the importance of a pleasant word and a cheery smile. I prayed about things that seemed too big for me to handle--and right prayer motivates to right action. My life just blossomed out. Try it.
Q: How can I begin to really live life?
A: I began to really live life when I began to look at every situation and think about how I could be of service in that situation. I learned that I shouldn't be pushy about helping, but just willing. Often I could give a helping hand--or perhaps a loving smile or a word of cheer. I learned it is through giving that we receive the worthwhile things of life.
Q: How can one's life be improved?
A: Look within for your answers. Your divine nature--your inner light--knows all the answers. Spend your time bringing your life into harmony with divine law. Work on overcoming evil with good, falsehood with truth, hatred with love. Work on establishing a good lifestyle for yourself. Whether or not you are in the family pattern, these things are important: (1) A means of livelihood which is a useful task in society. (2) Good living habits, including rest and exercise and good eating habits, but most of all good thinking habits--don't think negative thoughts. (3) Inspirational things in your life, things that will lift you up: read beautiful words, listen to beautiful music, experience the beauties of nature. (4) Serve as much as you can, do as much as possible to help others--for in this world you are given as you give.
Q: How can improving my life help when so many are out of harmony?
A: Humanity can only improve as people improve. When you have improved your life, you can inspire those around you to want to improve their lives. Remember that a few in harmony with God's will are more powerful than multitudes out of harmony.
Q: What can a little person like me do for peace?
A: To the millions who live in this world today let me say that there are many worthwhile things little people can do, both individually and collectively. When I dedicated my life to be of as much service as possible to my fellow human beings someone said to be very sarcastically, "What do you think you can do?" And I replied, "I know I am a little person and can do only little things, but there are so many little things that need to be done." And I never had any trouble finding worthwhile little things to do. When I started my pilgrimage I was asking for very big things and someone said to me then, "You might as well ask for the moon." But I answered, "If enough of us little people ask together even very, very big things will be granted."
I can say this to you: Live the present. Do the things you know need to be done. Do all the good you can each day. The future will unfold.