Greetings in the name of the Lord. I bring you blessings, my dear friends, as usual. Every living creature is seeking God; every human being is consciously or unconsciously seeking God. Even those you call atheists; they, too, are seeking God. Everyone seeks happiness, love, and security, and that is God! Of course, where spiritual awareness is still lacking, people often think that these goals can be found in other things, and therefore seek security either in financial terms or through emotional ties. People also seek happiness, love, and security by reaching for some outstanding success in a profession whereby they might gain admiration, appreciation, and some degree of power. However, if true security is desired—and who does not want it?—these aims are indeed poor substitutes, especially if they take the place of the security that only a harmonious relationship with God can provide. Financial success, satisfying emotional ties, and professional recognition can also be yours if they are a part of your plan for this incarnation, but it makes a great difference whether they are all you have to hold on to or not.
It is the same way with love. If love of another human being is sought with the current that is destined for the love of God, it will always leave you with a feeling of emptiness, dissatisfaction, or even frustration. So if God is not truly the basis of your life and if instead you seek worldly substitutes, the latter will never really satisfy you. However, you may certainly also feel love for and from other human beings—and indeed you should. But this love will have its proper value; it will not be your sole anchor, and you will never feel your life to be meaningless if for some reason you lose a human love as long as God has his rightful place in your heart.
I have said that everyone is seeking God, though oftentimes without knowing it. Just as plants are leaning toward the sun seeking light and warmth, so is the human being leaning toward God, often as unconsciously as the plant. Only when you have found God within yourself will your heart be at rest and will your puzzling life make sense. Only by finding God will the light of knowledge be yours—not necessarily general or abstract knowledge, for that is of lesser importance. It will be personal knowledge. You will understand why you had to go through particular difficulties, and why so many incomprehensible experiences happened to you that originally appeared as the result of the cruelty of others or “fate.” All of a sudden your life will make such deep sense to you that you will not quarrel anymore with its hardships. You will be glad that you have had them, my dear ones, not only because you will fully perceive the justice of them but also because you will realize how good and how strengthening these hardships were for you. Yes, indeed, you will.
God is sought in different ways. He cannot, however, be found outside of yourself, in some building or up in the sky. You all know that. He can only be found within you. In spite of the fact that you do know He lives within each of you, many of you still seek God in the wrong way. No matter what religion or philosophy you believe in, you can only find God within by going through your lower self. If you have a treasure hidden deep in the soil, the only way you can get to that treasure is by digging up the dirt, which means that you have to come in close contact with it for a while. You know that handling this dirt is worthwhile and necessary for freeing your treasure, so you do this temporarily unpleasant work to get it over with once and for all. There is absolutely no way to get the treasure out unless you are willing to grapple with the mud first. The simple logic of this will be comprehensible to all.
Why not then do this excavation work to uncover the treasure house of God that lies embedded in every one of you? Why do you hope to gain the greatest and most precious treasure of all without being willing to face your lower self? Does that make sense? Certainly not. However, many of you still hope somehow to do that. Many of you human beings who do know perfectly well that God can only be found within you, continue to search vaguely in some hidden recesses of your souls to find a spark, to experience God. Perhaps you hope to do this by seeking general, abstract knowledge of God or by doing certain spiritual exercises. If this is the only way you seek him, what you will receive will be everything else but God. You must not try to disregard whatever the difficulties in your life immediately in front of you are. If you seek in this way, you will find God to be so much nearer than you thought. But if you try any other way, He will be infinitely farther away from you than you can ever fathom. To find God, you need to recognize your hidden emotions and evaluate them in the light of divine law. Acknowledge your true reactions instead of making yourself believe you react in another way and for reasons different from the real ones. First see your faults clearly. I have said so many times before that you have to find those parts of you of which you are not even aware yet. Test yourself concerning your real feelings. Only by taking this road and by really going through your lower self, facing it and dissolving it step by step with courage and conviction, will you find true happiness and security in God, with God, and through God.
“How can I do that?” is always the question. There are many points from which we can start, my friends. It is recognized by all who are already on this road that you always have to tackle all problems from at least two sides and often from more. You cannot find God unless you strive to overcome your imperfections. But on the other hand, you certainly cannot overcome your imperfections by yourself alone, no matter how strong you are and no matter how good your will may be. You do need God’s help. So it is an alternating process.
First, you have to meditate to recognize and evaluate your own imperfections, and then build a bridge from there. Next you have to analyze honestly what is really going on in you. This is not quite as difficult as you may believe, provided you truly desire and choose to do so. You have to recognize the ever-present sluggish tendency in every person along with the basic evolutionary drive in all living creatures to strive upward to God. Though your yearning for God is often misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misdirected into wrong channels, it is still there. It takes spiritual awareness to understand this yearning and to direct it properly. The sluggish tendency in the lower self makes you hold back when it comes to overcoming the obstacles. It does not want to fight, neither does it tolerate doing anything uncomfortable. As long as you do not recognize your own version of this sluggishness, you cannot get ahead. So at one stage your work is on the imperfections that form part of your lower self. At another stage, you have to actively enlist God’s help, even though due to your particular imperfections, you may not yet have close contact with God. Still, with the little contact you may have, you can ask that divine help be given to you in order to further build the bridge. This constantly alternating process requires you to build it first from one side and then from the other.
However, there is one sure way, which I will even call a shortcut, to establish a personal relationship with or a personal experience of God. You see, my dear friends, many of you believe in God but many of you also have deep in your hearts a corner of disbelief. You are afraid to face the corner of disbelief, and this attitude is responsible for your resistance to delving into your own soul. You believe that if you disregard the corner of doubt in yourself by covering it up, the doubt will disappear or not count. This is not so. Whatever you discover in yourself never represents the entire picture, because you are made up of many contradictory currents. Do not fear to face that one part of you that does not believe in God and even sincerely wants to strengthen the disbelief. Do not cover up any doubt for you will not accomplish anything by telling yourself that it does not exist. I do not say that this is the only factor that you are afraid to face within yourself. But whether it is the doubt about God or some other aspect of yourself, the principle is always the same: you cannot conquer any feeling as long as you are afraid to face it. I promise you that any feeling you have will not be half as frightening as you now believe once you do face it.
Coming back to the shortcut to knowing God: If you sense that a lack of belief exists in you, there is one wonderful, sure, and fast way to experience the reality and presence of God and His spirit world so strongly that all your doubts will dissolve like snow in the sun. It is the way of sacrifice, my friends. If you are capable of sacrificing something for God, you will have that experience. The knowledge, the certainty, and the reality which you will gain from the experience of making a sacrifice will be infinitely more valuable than what you have given up.
I realize that you do not know how to go about sacrificing or even what it is you should sacrifice. I will show you the way. Nothing melodramatic is asked of you. As a matter of fact, I would like to emphasize that the less other people know about your sacrifice when you do it, or when you intend to do it, the better it is. Only you and God must know, and perhaps your spiritual teacher if you need help with it. It should not serve your ego in any way, so it should not be something striking or spectacular. There is no martyrdom of any sort connected with what I am talking about.
If you are in a dilemma about a decision, or if there is a continuing disharmony in your life, it should serve as a sign that something is wrong. For whatever you do, if it has God’s blessing it will be harmonious and will not create constant friction for you or for others. If you are too strongly committed to an idea, or to something you desire and do not want to relinquish, that may also serve the purpose. Take whatever it is—your problem, your decision, your excessive attachment—and present it to God. Open yourself completely and ask first, “What is it that I really want?” Finding a clear answer to that question is important because when you are not clear about what you actually want, problems are bound to arise.
Once you have given yourself the answer, thus clearly establishing your wish and preference, ask yourself, “Is what I want perhaps not God’s will?” At this point the hidden corner of your heart where you harbor doubts may manifest. It will then be extremely important for you to allow into your consciousness the reactions and feelings that will come up and give them clear expression. They may say to you, “Yes, this is all very well, but perhaps there is no God. If there is no God, I certainly do not see any reason why I should give up what I like. Why should I sacrifice?” If you can articulate this inner doubt, my dear ones, that is already a step forward, believe it or not! In this way your innermost spiritual problem, the hidden sour point in you, begins to take on a precise shape, so that you can deal with it intelligently .
Continuing this discussion with yourself, the logical side of you might say: “All right, if there really is no God, I am not risking anything by asking, for then I cannot receive an answer from Him. Before I consider letting Him make my decision, I will ask God himself whether He exists. Dear God, one side of me believes in you; another side does not. Which is true? Please help me.” If you first settle this question between yourself and God, you will receive enlightenment. However, you must face the question instead of evading it.
Then you may say: “And if I know that you are God, I will be ready to sacrifice and let my will go.” But are you willing to sacrifice and let your will go? Should you be ready to do that? If you do not thoroughly experience the enlightening realization that He who is the living God and the greatest reality of all, truly exists, then, paradoxically you can still only receive this knowledge if you are prepared to sacrifice for God. You always wait for Him to manifest first, and only then decide whether you will perhaps put your life into His hands. But approaching Him in this way you continue to run around in circles; the question will never be settled as long as you are not willing to put aside your self-will for His will first. By doing so you will solve two problems at once: the reality of God’s existence, and your attachment to something other than God’s will. Only by taking this route in your everyday life will there be no disadvantages of any sort: everything will feel so right in every respect. This feeling is what distinguishes God’s way from your human way. Here again the process works both ways: only if you are first completely ready and willing in your every thought and intention to relinquish your self-will and your own desires to God in the event that His will should manifest clearly to you, can you receive an answer.
The willingness to let go of yourself constitutes the knocking on the door—only this and nothing else will open it. As long as your self-will is stronger than your desire to put God first, you will never know the certainty of His existence. Until such time, God will not be a reality for you, no matter how much you speak and think of Him, pray and meditate. He will be something vaguely abstract and not a living reality in your everyday life. Therefore, I say to you: be ready to sacrifice your self-will for the sake of God, even if a corner of unbelief still remains in you. If you are truly ready and prepared to accept even the alternative you like least, provided it is God’s will, you will have stepped across the most important threshold in your entire spiritual development. Everything up to that point is mere theory or preparation for crossing that great dividing line on your road upward.
Let go, my dear ones! Of course God is as yet unknown to you. Trust in Him, even if you cannot see Him and even if you do not like the choice that might prove to be His will for you. Trust that He knows better. That is all I ask you. There is not one person who cannot put into practice this advice in a thousand little ways every day. This is as true for big and important decisions as it is for small ones. In one way it may be easier to start with a really big decision. It may feel as though you were about to step under a cold shower. One person finds it easier to do this by slow stages while another wants to quickly get it over with and suddenly jumps in. Once you are in, you will see that the water is not at all as cold as you had first imagined, and after a very short while it will even seem warm and soothing. It will give you healing power for all your problems on all levels of your being. It will give you a wonderful harmony, security, and victory that you have never known before in your life. Whether you surrender your self-will in the little problem areas in your life, thus going into the water by stages, or whether you jump in and handle the big problems does not matter, provided you are going with the process, where one crucial step turns your spiritual life from theory into practice and from unreality into reality. Once you have sacrificed your self-will and therefore God has become a profound reality for you, all your doubts will cease.
Many of you, my friends, do not even know what your unconscious image or belief about God actually is. Ask yourself that question also, for you will be surprised how many different answers there may be. With one person this hidden subconscious or unconscious image of God—which is, of course, not a thought or an idea but a feeling—is a vague impression of a very strict, pedantic school teacher who shakes His finger at you and does not understand so many of your human problems. Such a concept of God may have come from another image, whether in this life or in another, of a human father you may have had. It may dangerously color your image of God, and you should recognize this danger. Other people may think that their problems cannot ever be presented to God, because God does not care about their lives. This is so untrue, for every decision, no matter how small, and every deed or attitude of yours, stands in direct relationship to one or more of the spiritual laws. There are also those who think that it might be almost blasphemous to go to God with certain problems. How wrong this is, too! There is no problem which you cannot bring to God, no matter what it is, for He certainly understands you better than any human being, psychoanalyst, doctor, or scientist. You should know definitely and consciously that no matter what problem you take to God in a sincere way, He will understand and help you, provided you are asking for this help and willing to trust Him more than yourself. So do not hesitate to turn to Him because of some mistaken image you may have that often comes from influences in the home or from religious teachers who are also infected with such ideas. This is very harmful.
My dear friends, what I have said to you here is “spiritual dynamite.” It will be difficult to follow it through and it will mean doing battle with yourself. But if you sincerely surrender your self-will to the divine will you will see that your whole life will change. So all of you who have heard these words should go within yourselves and ask: “Where is something in my life that God may wish to change?” And then prepare yourself for the battle. Take your time with it; do not do it hastily or superficially. Do not deceive yourself by doing it half-heartedly and then claim that you did not receive an answer, for you will not receive one if you have not done it wholeheartedly. Do not try to talk yourself into the conviction that something must be God’s will because you want it so much. Put down all your cards before God. Make yourself empty. Be ready to give up everything. If it takes weeks or months, it does not matter. This should be your aim now. If you cannot do so because something in you still does not want to, it is much better if you acknowledge that to yourself. Better say, “I am not ready now,” and go on in other ways, progress in slower stages, and perhaps in a year you will be far enough. But do not give up entirely, under some pretext, surrendering to God. Being honest in this way you are preparing yourself to cross the great threshold of spiritual development. But if you can use the shortcut of sacrifice, it will be a wonderful deliverance for you in many, many ways.
Before ending this lecture, I want to remind all of you to practice using a powerful tool called daily review. You do not have to be extremely far in self-development to accomplish this. Anyone can do so. All you should do is review the day and think of all the instances that have caused you disharmony in any manner, shape, or form. Even if at the beginning you cannot understand why, just put down the incident and what you have felt. When you have done this for a while, a pattern will evolve. It may still not give you a clue concerning what is wrong in your inner makeup, but you will at least see some repetition indicating that there must be something in you that is causing the disharmony, no matter how wrong others may be in their own way. If unhappy events or feelings recur constantly, they are a clue to your own soul. These repeated occurrences, along with your reactions toward them, may vary in two or three ways, but there must be a basic, underlying problem which you can learn to recognize.
Doing your review will not take more than ten or fifteen minutes every day, which should certainly be possible for each one of you. You do not have to write down everything that has disturbed your sense of harmony during the course of a day, just certain key words. By constantly doing this, you will succeed in making the unconscious conscious and you will discover your own inner trends. You will most certainly recognize definite patterns in your life which you cannot become aware of otherwise. That is all you should do at present. There is no magic trick to it. After you have kept a daily review for a while, read all daily review notes through and recollect the incidents, with your reactions. See whether you can at least sense a pattern, and then ask yourself, “Can I find the point in myself where I deviate from some divine law?”
Compare these patterns with your list of faults which you have already discovered. Ask yourself questions as to what your feelings are, what your desire currents really want, and whether these feelings and currents are truly in accordance with divine law. Ask God for enlightenment as to what in these patterns may be even remotely or indirectly connected with your faults. This is the way to get right into the middle of this path. Without God’s help, it would be extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to gain the self-knowledge which is the essence of and the key to this path and without which you cannot reach divinity within yourself. It takes so very little time, and I beg all of you, for your own sake, to do it.