How to Become Enlightened | Spirituality Podcasts

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Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from The Rhythm of Life by Charles Brodie Patterson, published in 1915.

Life is a state of consciousness. The visible world is a mirror of what humanity has felt and thought and done; but it is not a prophecy of what you shall be, for what you shall be is written into the soul of you, and only as you learn to express your own soul-life can you enrich the world in which you live and prepare yourself to receive new mysteries from the kingdom that lives within you.

Without consciousness, there would be no meaning to human existence. Our objective consciousness consists largely of material things, and our thoughts and emotions in relation to them. Consciousness consists, then, of what we feel and what we think, and from such feeling and thinking there comes the outward expression of ourselves in what we do; for our work is a natural expression of both thought and feeling.

At times, we seem dominated by thought, and again by feeling. In our happiest states we use both. The force of our life is in what we feel, while the form which our work takes comes largely through what we think. Our best work is accomplished when head and heart work together in unison. This holds good regarding all planes of consciousness, and this union makes not only for our highest good, but also for the truest expression of our work.

When we use love and wisdom in all that we do, the outer form will become as perfect as the inner ideal. All the beauty and color of life comes from within. We bring to nature all that we see in it. The kingdom of God lives in the life of each one of us: first as power, then as ideals to be externalized, which become the symbols of beauty and power on earth.

If we lived solely in your objective consciousness, our world would always remain the same; there would be no advancement of any kind; we could bring no new thing into being. The life of a thousand years ago would be the same as it is today; and the life of a thousand years hence would differ little, if any, from the present, were it not for the fact that humanity has a greater consciousness than that which we call the objective.

There is an inner consciousness that has to do with what we feel and think; and, later, these thoughts and feelings become transmuted into ideals. All these ideals, when lived and expressed, go to make a new world for us to live in; thus our world becomes a true expression of our inner feeling and our best thought, and in this way it is constantly being quickened and renewed.

Living life in this way, our inner feelings give color and tone to mind and thought, and mind and thought act directly upon our body to renew and to strengthen it. We realize, as it were, a conscious center of being from which we work outward to the very circumference of life.

The Universal Spirit lives within you, enlightening your soul, and the soul, in turn, enlightens the mind and perfects the body. Thus your whole life has been quickened and renewed. You have entered a consciousness that is no longer individual but one that has become universal.

The poet Alexander Pope said that God lives from whole to part, but the human soul must rise from the individual to the whole. Everything begins within the little self (the personal I) and reaches out to the Universal Self: the I Am. From first to last it is a state of consciousness, but it is an ever-expanding consciousness; it is the awakening of the part to its true relationship to the whole.

The highly spiritually developed of all ages and all climes have, at one time or another, through the spoken or written word, tried to make plain to the world that there is a COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS and an all-pervading Life — a Life that, while immanent is also transcendent, a Life and a Mind that is both within and without all things, and from which all things proceed.

All that is great (all that is beautiful in life) has been drawn first into this life as feeling and ideal; and later it takes form in the world as expression. Some people who have entered deeper into the Cosmic Consciousness than others, were able to draw from it in a larger way, and were consequently better able to give to the world of their heavenly possessions.

The greatest composers, poets, sculptors, painters, architects, and, in fact, the greatest individuals in every department of life have received (in a small or a large degree) according to their capacity to receive, and then have enriched the world because of such receiving. In other words, they have simply been the instruments through which the riches of the Spirit have poured forth, and the measure of their giving to the world was the measure of their continued receptivity.

Reciprocity of giving and receiving is one of life’s greatest laws. “Freely thou hast received, freely give.” Under the influence of this law, a new consciousness is born, one where the shadows of life can no longer disturb us. We have the confidence and courage of our inmost convictions. The new life not only brings us into harmony with ourselves, but dispels all the things that we feared in the past.

We leave death and the grave behind. Sorrow and pain no longer scare us; we consciously know that we are one with all Life, with all Intelligence, with all Power; that we are not only a part of the Whole, but it is the Whole that is working within us to will and to do. All the discords and all the imperfect notes have ceased, and we are now in full accord with all the music and harmony of life.

This constitutes that state of consciousness called the Cosmic. When you have fully entered into this Cosmic Consciousness, you have attained to that state which the Scriptures refer to as having passed from death unto life, as having consciously realized kinship with God. Then, that which has been secret is revealed, that which has been hidden is found.

Cosmic Consciousness is perhaps best illustrated by such wonderful lives as those of Jesus, Krishna, and Buddha. The world has had countless thousands of men and women, who, while not fully entering into it, nevertheless have had glimpses of cosmic fullness and were able to bring back from it some of its wondrous knowledge and beauty, were able to write that insight into music, and to give it form, and endow that form with the soul of music.

Meanwhile others were able to chisel into cold white marble such a warmth and a glow of life that the marble seemed a living thing, and into it they wrote a character so wonderful and so marvelous that the beholder feels as though the very soul of the sculptor had entered into the marble symbol of what a person should be — a god on earth, having dominion and power over all things.

Some of this consciousness also has been caught by the painter, who then conveys to the world something of divinity, so that those looking at the painting might catch something of its spirit, something of that illumination which the painter must have felt when they painted into their picture a part of their own soul, and made the picture so great that when looking at it through the eyes of the soul, one can never forget it while life lasts.

It is said that Beethoven kept constantly on his work-table the following lines (which were originally found inscribed on an Egyptian temple): “I am that which is. I am all that is, that has been, and that shall be.” Beethoven was, at times, a remarkable illustration of receptivity to Cosmic Consciousness. His ninth symphony is a striking example of this. Because of his deafness and irritability he was not always a fit instrument through which Cosmic Consciousness could function. But whenever he was under its influence, he produced his most wonderful and beautiful music.

However, among all the composers, Mozart stands pre-eminent as being in closest relation, from childhood up, with this divine Consciousness. Listening to Mozart’s music is like looking into a crystal pool in which the eye can see to its greatest depths. With the first bar you feel that here is the work of a master mind. Somehow, you get the impression that Mozart knows the end with the beginning — that he has listened to the music before, and writes down what he has heard.

Among all the great makers of music, Mozart is the heaven-born, the one who was more constantly in touch with Cosmic Consciousness than any of the master musicians that preceded or followed him. As a child, he was a true representative of rhythm, melody, and harmony. He was literally an expression of music; but the music that lived and expressed itself through him made him so delicately sensitive that he never became attuned to the outer world in which he lived.

The world, as yet, has no full sense of what Mozart gave to it, and the extent to which he inspired and influenced other composers no person can know. There is a directness and certainty in his music that no composer has been able to put into their work in the same degree.

Beethoven wrote and rewrote until he was satisfied with his work, but all that Mozart wrote poured out in music as a finished work in the first instance, without the infinite labor expended by other musicians.

Schubert was also a striking example of a born musician. With very little technical knowledge, he was able to write far more beautiful music — music filled with melody and rhythm — than many others who had a full command of technique. He is simply a fountain head, as it were, through which rhythm and melody bubble into song. His music is not of the same order as that of Mozart; it has not that high compelling force, but it has a simplicity and a beauty that few composers have been able to put into their music.

You hear the songs of the birds, the running waters, the wind in the trees. You literally see and hear nature portrayed in a way that few have been able to compass. He wins the way to the heart. There is something so wholesome in Schubert’s music that it inspires one to brighter, happier living.

All music proceeds from one Source. All music is governed by one Law. The composer who is attuned to the Source and is governed by the Law can draw a never-ending supply; for (while this Source and the Law are one), yet there is an infinity of diversity of expression in rhythm, melody, and harmony. The sun is one great body, but from it proceed millions of rays; so it is with music. Some in going to the Fountain-head of music draw but little; others bring away in greater abundance, but the spring never runs dry, for the supply is inexhaustible.

That is the great truth shared by all who are spiritually illuminated, whether it be the musician, artist, prophet, teacher, or inventor. It is something greater than the personal self that works in them to will and to do.

It is at those times when the mind is relaxed and at peace that illumination will come, or when a person is so absorbed in their work that they forget the personal self and all their surroundings. It is something new and wonderful that brings some new light or discloses some new truth.

Cosmic Consciousness may not as yet be recognized by the world at large, because it takes the spirit in us to discern the things of the Spirit, and until our lives unfold to the inner vision and the inner hearing, we are blind and deaf to the things of the Spirit. Only those who have eyes shall see; only those who have ears shall hear.

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