(Photo by Jim Burton)
Written after 4th Pilgrimage Route
DEAR FRIENDS OF PEACE:
Some of you have not heard from me for a long time. This is because I have been so very busy speaking for peace at colleges, high schools, churches, etc. - but always I am happily busy. My slogan of "First things first" has enabled me to take care of my speaking arrangements, keeping my mail up to date and also do some walking. My lettered tunic still makes lots of contacts for me wherever I walk. With my slogan of "Every ounce counts" my possessions consist of my clothes, a comb, a folding toothbrush, a ballpoint pen, a map, some copies of my message. I am now so adjustable to changes in temperature that I wear the same clothes summer and winter, indoors and outdoors. Of course I am north in the summer and south in winter. If you wish to talk with people out of doors, you must be where weather is pleasant or people will not be out. This time my newsletter consists of some questions I have been asked and some of my answers, so it covers a variety of subjects.
GLEANINGS FROM MY CORRESPONDENCE
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 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 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. The money that comes in through the mail - without being solicited - I do not use 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. 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. 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 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. Is all this self-discipline really worth while?
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. 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. Why are there so many problems inside and outside the country?
A. As to problems inside and outside the country, was it not written "Overcome evil with good"? Man in his immaturity attempts to overcome evil with more evil and multiples the evil. Only good can overcome evil.
Q. Why do so many peace people talk only about the war in Vietnam?
A. Most people must be convinced that this particular war is bad - it is hard for people to understand that all war is bad, and self-defeating. Immature man tends to think that the end justifies the means, whereas according to spiritual law the means determine the end.
Q. How can we dramatize peace?
A. I think one way to dramatize peace would be through the use of 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. 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 people make are not to pay for the necessities of life, but to pay for things they 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. 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 that the darkest hour is just before the dawn.
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. Should we reach outward or upward?
A. We should always be reaching for light - while reaching outward in love to those who need our help. Help, 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. How can I help my children become spiritual and not destructive?
A. Implanting spiritual ideas in children is very important. Many people live their entire lives according to the concepts that are implanted in them in childhood. When children learn they will get the most attention and love through doing constructive things, they will tend to stop doing destructive things. Most important of all, remember that children learn through example. No matter what you say, it is what you do that will have an influence on them.
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 do you do when your 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. 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.
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 is 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 fell separated from God. Obey it and you feel harmony - you feel close to God.
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