C10. Faith/Being Led of the Spirit.
Faith is an element which enters into every successful business. When it is more highly developed, as with all persons who gain great successes, it means a certain power to see clearly in the mind what the greater mass of people may not be able to see.
It is a self prophesying quality or power, and in every successful enterprise or business which has involved new methods, its projector has prophesied to himself his success, because the superior quality and clearness of his thought made him able to see the merit, possibility and success of his enterprise, business or invention clearer than most other people could see it.
Faith is spiritual knowledge. It is knowledge entirely different from that gained from books or from any ordinary process of education. It is that knowledge which the spirit gains as it goes out and lives in its own invisible world of element. It is not merely knowledge. It is an acting and immediate power for moving events and persons.
We have senses for the most part in embryo far finer, more powerful and farther reaching than our physical senses of touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing. The physical senses are very limited in their range. Our physical eyesight extends but for a few miles. But there is a spiritual sight which is infinitely more powerful. It is not obstructed by walls or by any material substance.
This and the other spiritual senses make your higher mind or superior thought. Every effort of genius on any field comes of the working of these finer senses.
Some term them the “inner senses.” It would be more appropriate to call them the outer senses, for they go out from the body and act at great distances from the body.
The spiritual realm of life is infinitely larger than that seen and felt of the physical senses. There is no “empty space.” An active, working, live world of things, of people, of everything we can conceive, though unseen by us, lies at our doors. We live and move in it unconscious of its existence, because our physical senses have no power to see or feel it.
But our spiritual senses can, if exercised, feel and know more and more of this world in which we are so wonderfully mingled.
Our spiritual senses, when developed, will see a thousand fold more of the properties, not of “matter,” but of the spirit or force which lies behind all forms of matter, shapes them, builds them, and disintegrates or takes them to pieces; and when they are more developed a thousand fold more will be known of healing and aiding properties in herbs and vegetation. They will learn us also of aids to our spirits, coming of physical surroundings, modes of living and associations.
We see spiritual knowledge in the animal and bird. Some call it intuition, others instinct. For us, bird and animal and insect possess a certain degree of mind or spirit. That same quality of intuition tells it when to migrate to colder or warmer regions, what course of flight to take, how to build its nest and guard its young.
We hold that mind extends to all forms both of what we call animate matter and inanimate matter. We see then a spirit in the bird and animal. If there is a spirit there must also be some degree of spiritual power accompanying it, and also of faith, for faith is the trust and use of the spiritual senses, and bird, animal and insect in their range of being trust and use these senses far more than we.
The physical body with its physical senses serve as a necessary rough envelope or covering to our spirits. It is also a protection to the spiritual or finer senses until they have grown to a certain strength or development, and in all stages of our existence an ever refining and relatively material body is necessary as such protection to the ever refining spiritual senses. Therefore the more perfected individual lives of the future, must always retain an ever refining material body as a necessity, indispensable to the symmetrical rounding out of our spiritual powers.
Faith is a wisdom and a force in Nature far above that based on human reason or material knowledge. It is a force which as acting on us may cause us to do things seemingly inconsistent and imprudent, yet when in the course of years the whole is summed up we may find that we have been led to better results than could otherwise have been gained.
In such cases we have been “led of the spirit,” or in other words, obeyed the promptings of the spiritual senses instead of conforming to that rule of life which is governed entirely by the physical senses.
There was a boy whose parents had designed for him the education and schooling of the college. He refused it. He disliked the school. He was cast adrift at an early age and obliged to look out for himself. He followed his impulses. He served in one occupation after another for a time, got discharged or left in disgust; engaged in another with similar result, and so went on for several years in what seemed a shiftless, vacillating course of life. Yet this earlier life of change and apparent indecision led him at last into the occupation he had capacity and liking for and in which he made his mark.
This boy we hold as having in such life been “led of the spirit.” That implies for him the possession of another and a higher mind or set of mental faculties, distinct from the lower senses. Such higher mind belongs to all of us. In the boy’s case it would not let him stay where he did not belong. It prompted him to leave this situation or that calling. It impelled him to leave positions which, if held, would have given him a life‑long maintenance. It made him half learn a trade and give it up in disgust. In the world’s estimation it made him seem shiftless, vacillating, undecided, and infirm of purpose or resolution.
But his higher self or spirit was all this time leading that boy through the changes in order to plant him in the right spot. It knew better than he or any about him where he belonged. It snatched him from this or that place before he became crusted over with the barnacles of that material thought, which argues that there are no paths for men and women to tread save such as have been trodden before. The Infinite Force has innumerable new paths and plans for men and women, few of which are now known, and you as one of those men and women have also your peculiar path and plan into which you must be led of your own spirit and not of any other person’s advice or suggestion.
It led the boy to a position of influence and prominence, but it did not lead him to the highest, for worldly success tempts people to reject the higher impulse or prompting which, if obeyed, would carry them farther on and to far greater results.
Many founders of great fortunes in this country commenced as boys or young men cast adrift and obliged to plan and do for themselves. In their scope and aim of life we find them “led of the spirit.” Had they been carefully brought up, cared for by their parents, carefully educated, and on coming of age been placed in positions through the aid of others, their own spiritual power would have been checked, they would have absorbed a load of the old conventional thought about them, their originality of plan and method in business would have been far less likely to have developed itself, and they would not have been so much led of their own spirit into the new path it had destined for them, years before they realized it in material things.
Men like these were not afraid of taking great risks and responsibilities, because as led of their individual spirits, they had a certain belief and trust in their ventures. That belief and trust came of their higher mind or self which, with its spiritual senses unknown to them, went out, and felt and saw the possibilities in their projects, and then returning to the material mind, brought it that certain force and inspiration which goes by the name of courage and confidence. It was an unconscious trust in that force or inspiration so brought them that caused them to succeed—so far as they did succeed. But you will remember that what the world now calls success in life is relatively a very poor success as compared with the more perfectly developed lives and successes to be gained in the future when people are not to lose their bodies so soon after “making their fortunes.”
Such men as “led of the spirit” and by a certain amount of faith attain to great success in making money. But beyond this their faith fails. In other words, it becomes fixed on money or high worldly position as the great aims of existence. Their faith stopping at this point, they become blind to other and greater possibilities for them. They become afraid to alter their method of life to any extent, for fear they cannot so rapidly gain money or fame, or blind prejudice and unbelief keeps them in one rut of life.
With such limitation of faith in their other powers, with no demand of the Supreme to be led to the greatest happiness, they may gain the whole world and lose their souls. Or in other words, they gain money and fame and lose, first, the power to enjoy what it can bring them, and next lose their bodies.
We mean in saying that your faith can be continually increased by prayer or demand, that by constant demand of the Supreme Power you will continually receive clearer and more powerful thought; that your spiritual and more powerful senses will come more and more into practical use; that you will believe more and more in their reality and use until at last you will depend on them as implicitly as now you depend on your physical eye in going down stairs.
You will not “try to believe.” That is not believing at all. You do not try to believe that a tree is a tree. You know it is a tree. We need to believe with just as much certainty in the spiritual parts and uses of our being. So we shall in time. Then “Faith is swallowed up in victory.”
The mood of demand or prayer will become habitual, and we shall be in it whether we are conscious of being so or not,— just as your mind now may be in mood habitually joyous and cheerful, or gloomy and looking at the dark side of things, whether you know such is your mood or not.
Paul says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.” We interpret this as meaning that faith is literal element, or that quality of thought which as received attains at last to such wonderful and unexplainable power as actually to make and bring to the person who receives it the thing “hoped for,” be those things houses, lands and possessions, or powers greater than as yet have been realized or even thought of.
Our spiritual senses make our higher mind or superior thought. What we call “human reason” is based in its conclusions on the evidence given by the lower or physical senses of sight, touch, etc. A person’s evidence would be worth nothing in court when if asked on the witness stand how he knew that some event had happened, by replying, “Because I felt that it had happened.” Yet these spiritual senses can, as we exercise them and as we grow into a more natural and healthy spiritual condition, make us feel coming events, coming changes in life. They can make us feel or sense what its true and what is false. They can warn and turn us aside from any danger. How they do this we cannot explain. It goes beyond the bounds of human wisdom or science, which by the way endeavors to explain many things which after all are not explained. No one as yet can tell the cause of life in the tree or why the leaf of one differs from that of another, or why one plant puts out a flower so different in form and color from another plant, or why the crystal of one mineral varies in shape from the crystal of another, or why the lungs and heart work night and day without any conscious effort on our part, or from whence comes the force that sends the earth whirling round the sun, or why, despite all explanation of the material parts of the eye and their uses, that it has the wonderful power of reflecting the images of houses, trees and persons to the invisible mystery we call mind.
We state these things, because when we are taxed for not explaining some things more clearly, we think it well to suggest that the more we look at nature the more and more of mystery and the unexplainable do, we find, and as we gather more knowledge the more of the mysterious and unexplainable shall we continue to find behind what knowledge we have gathered.
Knowledge of what? That certain forces as we find them when used in a certain way produce certain results for making us happier. Like electricity. Of its nature or substance we know very little. But by using certain forces we gather it. Next we use it. It will do certain desirable things for us if used in a certain way. It will kill our bodies if used in another way.
So with faith. That also will in a sense kill or cure according as we use it. There is a one sided faith, a power of belief which may bring a great material success for a time. But if we refuse to go any farther, if we say in substance, “I don’t want any more of this in flowing of force or idea, because I fear to follow these promptings, then you close up your source of vital supply. Your will not be led of the whole spirit. You fear to trust to that power which has carried you a certain distance. Then you commence to lose energy, to fossilize, to die.
The Supreme Power will not allow men to refuse to be led of the whole (holy) spirit. When man does it warns him by pains and aches, and troubles of mind and body that he has gone out of that “straight and narrow path” by which alone he can realize eternal happiness.
As he keeps on refusing, that same Power allows his present body with its stupid material mind to drop off. It says, in substance, to that man’s spirit: “Your present body is a useless encumbrance; I will take it away and give you another. With that you will grow quicker; you will learn, if ever so little, to be led of the spirit, and through such leading gain true knowledge without intense material application. And if you fail with that body to learn to trust to your whole spirit, you must get another, and perhaps many others, until you see clearly first of all that the real you is not your physical body at all; that the real way of life is to be led of the spiritual senses, that when you obey their first faint promptings asking of the Supreme to be led aright, you are cultivating and bringing these senses into active play in the practical affairs of life, and so as you cultivate proof on proof will come to you of their reality and use. Then it will be impossible to go astray or fail in anything.
The ignorant, uncultured, unschooled person often has more of this element or force than the book learned and accomplished. For this reason the man of success is not to‑day, as a rule, the scholar or the student. He is the man, however, possessed of the greater spiritual power, and every great fortune comes of a superior spiritual power.
Such also is the power of these senses, that when once fairly awakened they can very quickly take hold of and master the world’s education, which is desirable, certainly, but not essential to eternal happiness.
Knowledge which comes when led of the spirit does not require laborious study. In the ordinary sense it requires no study at all. The spiritual sense knows immediately the thing needed for a certain result, just as the monkey, when bitten by a poisonous snake, knows the plant which will serve as an antidote, or as animals before an earthquake show uneasiness and alarm, or as a cat, if carried in a bag miles away from its home, will find its way back through the forest never seen by her before.
How shall we cultivate and bring out our spiritual or higher senses?
Just as we cultivate and improve our physical powers and senses. That is as we become aware of the reality of any spiritual sense by exercising it, trying it and experimenting with it. By such means it is first proved and then strengthened.
We know little relatively of this power at present. But we give here a very few suggestions, which are of value to us and may be to you in the cultivation and exercise of your mental powers.
On meeting any new acquaintance you may have an impression favorable or unfavorable to him or her. Such impression demands some consideration, because it is the report which your spiritual sense is giving you regarding that person’s character. The more you trust to this sense, use it and cultivate it, the keener it becomes, the more quickly will you read people’s character and temperament, and thereby save yourself from painful experience and financial loss, which you might have to sustain in order to “find a person out.”
When in this way you come to recognize the reality and use of a single spiritual sense you give your spirit great aid in asserting it and increasing its power. That sense or power in you is like an individual. If you recognize great talent in a man in your employ and you encourage that talent, you stimulate its growth. But if you deny the man’s talent, either purposely or because you are too dull to see it, you cripple it and retard its growth.
To give the spiritual senses opportunity to act, the body and physical senses should for periods be kept very quiet.
So in life and business, when you find yourself in a position in which you don’t know what to do, and when every plan seems beset with difficulties—when you are puzzled and undecided, then do nothing. Wait. Your spiritual sense or power will then go out and do for you. It will bring at some unexpected moment a plan, or a person, or an impulse to move with the physical sense and body in some direction. The plan will prove the successful one. Or the person will be the very one you needed to assist you in carrying out your purpose.
This spiritual sense works with many people in the practical affairs of life and in business far more than they realize themselves. Many a man will testify (if he recollects his past experiences at all, and many do not), that after worrying and fretting, and lying awake nights “thinking it over,” and rushing his body about from place to place, or person to person, that the agency or idea enabling him to carry out his design came when he had almost given up in despair, or when his mind was not on that plan or purpose. Because then he had called his material mind and senses in, and so given the spiritual sense a chance to work. With more knowledge of the physical conditions necessary to allow the spiritual being to work, and with more faith in the reality and use of these senses, they would have worked far quicker and brought him the forces and agents to carry out his purpose far quicker.
Sometimes in conversation you forget the name of some person spoken of. You bother your material memory with the attempt to recall it. In most cases you are unsuccessful. Yet, after a little time, and when you have ceased trying to recall it, the name comes to you. Because a spiritual sense had gone out and recalled it, it could not bring it to you so long as your material memory was so actively employed.
The real artist in his highest efforts, be he painter, actor, poet, musician or orator, forgets he has a body and forgets the possession of his physical senses. His spirit has then full sway. His spiritual senses are then acting. Then they control his body. Of his efforts no two are alike. For the spirit brings to each some new inspiration, some new coloring.
Try, when you cannot sleep, to forget you have a body. Say to yourself, “I demand with the help of the Supreme Power that my physical sight, hearing and sense of touch be put in abeyance; I demand unconsciousness of their existence or use.”
This thought is one means for liberating your spiritual senses and bringing them in to play. For when they most work, the body has less feeling, be its condition that of sleeping or in an inspiration of any effort. It is the body’s continual assertion of itself, and its physical senses that checks the spirit, prevents it from acting. When we have in mind the idea of forgetting the body, we give a great help to the play of the higher senses. The power of forgetting anything for a season is unlimited. This power is increased by practice.
By forgetting the body, we mean the temporary shutting from the mind all remembrance and exercise of the physical senses of touch, taste, sight, smell or hearing.
You may not at first be able to do this at all. But you can commence such exercise. You can commence, if but for five seconds, by fixing your eyes on any small object about you, say a spot on the wall, a portion of the figure in the carpet, etc., and gaze at it.
Simple and silly as this may appear to you, it is the A B C or commencing step of the power of abstraction. That is the power of temporarily closing up the physical senses and opening the spiritual.
This power has grown to wonderful results among peoples we call simple and ignorant, but who having less “book knowledge” than we, were in some directions more “led of the spirit.” The North American Indian had this power of closing up or deadening his physical sense of touch, so that torture had relatively little effect on him. Thereby was be able to sing his death song while his body was undergoing horrible mutilations.
Do not expect immediate success in this or any other experiment for the purpose of liberating your spiritual senses. A relative success may require months or years. It may come slowly. But it comes to stay.
Do not make any such effort, mechanical or forced, either. Make it only as the spirit or impulse prompts, if it be but once a week, or once a month. Do not make for yourself rigid rules and set regular periods for “sitting in silence or communing with the gods,” or staring laboriously at spots on the wall. For if you do you will only sicken at last of such attempts and give them up. Trust to the spirit for times and places for these things and it will lead you right.
This spiritual power is possessed by many reptiles, insects and some animals, who, on the approach of the winter’s cold, have a natural power of dismissing all physical sensation, and becoming as we say “torpid” or sleeping during the winter months. The snake and the toad lie in the ground. Yet when the ground is frozen, they are not frozen. Neither are myriads of insects frozen who lie all Winter in cracks and crevices or under dead tree bark. Why? Because the spirit of that form of organization, though withdrawn to a large extent from its physical body, is still sending enough life to that body to prevent its decay or freezing.
The same principle extends to the tree. For that reason its sap does not freeze in Winter (save in rare extreme periods of cold).
One spiritual force pervades the Universe. But there are millions on millions of different “manifestations” of this spirit.
No need to rush...! No need to rush...!
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Mulford, P. (1886-1887). Faith/Being led of the spirit. Your forces and how to use them (pp.525-536). Hollister, Missouri: YOGeBooks by Roger L. Cole. doi: 2015:01:16:10:43:09