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Tuning Into God: Growing in Knowledge Through Spiritual Life

Growing in Knowledge through spiritual life

Part 2 of the Eighth Ode of the early Christian writings, the mystical Odes of Solomon. (See part 1 here.)

  • Hear the word of truth, and receive the knowledge of the Most High.

The Word of Truth is spoken in the depths of our spirit; it is not something spoken by any human being: it is the voice of God that has always been speaking to us, but which we were unable to hear. Again we see that interior life is absolutely indispensable, otherwise we will remain blind, deaf and mute in the inner kingdom of the spirit. Therefore: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.… Work out your own salvation,… for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:5, 12-13). And God does not fail.

  • Your flesh may not know what I am saying to you, nor your garment what I am showing to you.

To be “carnally [fleshly] minded” (Romans 8:6) is to be blind to things of the spirit. “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (I Corinthians 2:9). So our five body-garments: body, emotions, desires, mind, intellect and will, have no idea what awaits the liberated spirit. But our spirit even now knows, because “we have the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16).

  • Keep my secret ye who are kept by it; keep my faith ye who are kept by it.

However, when we do come to know the full life of the spirit, we are not to speak of it, for it is a secret between us and God. What we need is not to brag about it and expound our spiritual life to others, but to “keep faith” with God, Who will then keep us secure in the spirit.

“My beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song of Solomon 2:16). “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3). It is between the spirit and God alone.

  • And understand my knowledge ye who know me in truth; love Me with affection ye who love.

“Understand my knowledge” is an interesting expression because we mistakenly think that if we know something we understand it, but that is hardly ever true. We know that petroleum is flammable, but how many of us know why? We use electricity constantly and have some idea of how it is generated, but just what it is and how it works is a complete mystery to nearly everyone. The same is true of our life; we know next to nothing about it really, so no wonder our lives are vague, disordered, disoriented and even destructive either to ourselves or others. No one commits suicide because they really know their life, for if they did they would be able to cope with it and direct it to conform to their will.

Those who seek higher evolution must first search outwardly and obtain knowledge of the facts of spiritual life; they must familiarize themselves with the teaching of the masters of spiritual life, not mere philosophers or theologians. At the same time, through cultivation of inner consciousness they must develop the faculty of intuitive and intellectual understanding through meditation. In this way they will both know and understand. There is no place in spiritual life for stupidity and sheep-wittedness. Believe me, there are no stupid yogis, for yoga develops the intellect as well as the intuition.

As this verse implies, it is those who know God (not just about God) who understand through their spiritual experience which is totally inward and has nothing to do with emotions, feelings, or “faith.” To “believe,” “trust,” and “hope” is meaningless. And please understand that psychic experience is not spiritual experience. A lot of experiences and phenomena that supposedly indicate spiritual development and enlightenment are merely psychic. Even in the East these lesser things are considered to be of a value they intrinsically lack.

We can only value and love what we know. To know God is to love God in the truest sense: not emotional or ego-based. It is common for people to love something or someone only because of a false impression of them, and when they see them for what they really are the love evaporates. But with God it is just the opposite. Those who do not know God do not really love him, but those who come to know him do indeed love him with all their heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37).

The love of God is not blind, but “most secret knowledge combined with realization” (Bhagavad Gita 9:1).

  • For I do not turn away My face from My own, for I know them.

In the Bhagavad Gita the Lord says: “I am the Omniscient” (10:33). Since God is omniscient there is nothing and no one he does not know. But his knowing is not intellectual, just a kind of inventory sheet. He truly knows, and therefore he loves just as we shall love when we know him, for “God is love” (I John 4:8). And this will never change. He shall “face” us forever, for he is “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). “He abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (II Timothy 2:13).

This citation from Timothy is most important because it implies that we are part of the Divine; therefore he cannot deny us because it would be denying himself. The word arneomai also means to refuse, disregard or reject. These things can only occur in relation to someone other than the subject of the sentence. Such cannot occur on the part of God because we are an integral part of his very Being. The mystic Angelus Silesius said that the very existence of God and his existence were interdependent, and Meister Eckhart said much the same. When God looks at us he sees himself, for we are his images, his likenesses. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.… And Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image” (Genesis 1:26; 5:3). That is why we can call him “Father.” “I said, Thou shalt call me, My father” (Jeremiah 3:19).

  • Before they came into being, I took knowledge of them, and on their faces I set My seal.

God did not create us from nothing (ex nihil), for we are co-eternal with him. But he did send us forth into manifestation.

“All this world is pervaded by me in my unmanifest aspect. All beings dwell within me, but I do not dwell within them. And yet beings do not dwell within me: behold my Divine Yoga. Sustaining beings and yet not dwelling in them, I myself cause all beings to come into manifestation. As mighty winds move everywhere, yet always dwell in the ether, know that even so do all beings dwell within me. At the end of a kalpa, all beings merge into my Prakriti: at the beginning of another kalpa, I myself send them forth. Resting on my Prakriti, I send forth again and again this entire multitude of beings” (Bhagavad Gita 9:4-8).

We were known by God from eternity and he put his seal upon us. As Saint Paul wrote: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30).

  • I fashioned their members. My own breasts I prepared for them, that they might drink My holy milk and live thereby.

Just as the child grows in the womb and after birth is nursed by the mother, so God the Mother has given us our bodies and even now sustains them through the life-power that ever flows from her to us. The entire realm of relativity is dual in order for us to manifest; the cosmos, material and subtle, can be considered the “breasts” of our Mother God in whom we live.

  • I took pleasure in them, and I am not ashamed of them.

So intimate and irrevocable is our relationship with God that he said through the prophet Isaiah: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16). This is the truth. All talk of separation from and rejection by God is based on misunderstanding of God with Whom there is no “shadow of turning” in relation to us.

  • For my workmanship are they, and the strength of My thoughts.

All creation is the Thought-Power of God; the cosmos and our bodies within it are dreams of God in which we dwell and through which we are dreaming within his greater dream. We, too, are “Words” of God, his Living Thoughts in which his Power resides even if at this moment things seem otherwise. We are not weak and helpless sinners, we are divine sons of the Divine Being.

Next: Part 3 of the 8th Ode of Solomon – What Is the Handiwork of God?

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