Thought Bricks 12: The Truth about Your Life
In this lesson Bernard encourages to have a bigger idea about who we really are and offers us the Circles Within Circles Exercise to help with this.
LESSON TWELVE: THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR LIFE
My dear Student,
This is the end of the first two sections of our Course. (You will next receive the six Health Lessons, but the subject of the Lessons is not only Heal. The theme of “Thought Bricks” runs through, right to the end, as you will see.) What a long way we have already travelled together! Now you have the six ‘Health’ Lessons and eight ‘Practical Life’ Lessons to come, and even then you can continue in the Student Family after that, as so many do, for as long as you like
One of the questions I am asked sometimes, at this stage, concerns the exercises in the Course. Students ask which exercises they should continue and which drop (for obviously it is impossible to keep up all of them). My reply is always this: that Students should choose the few exercises which have been of the greatest help to themselves, personally, and concentrate on these.
Now to get to our subject: The Truth About Life. Of course, I mean by this, Eternal Life, which is the ever-present now. How difficult it is for our human minds to grasp this. We can think of Eternity as a circle again, and because we are in the midst of the circle we can touch Time at any point, and so past, present and future is all now. This is actually true of our Real Selves although not of our finite minds.
If we go up in an aeroplane and see nothing on either side of us to suggest movement we seem to be standing still, but as soon as we look down and see the moving earth beneath we are aware of our progress. It is something like that, I think, in that we can only measure time by events, or incidents. If a lot is happening to us, how swiftly the time seems to pass, but if we are sitting on a draughty platform waiting for a train, how slow each minute is!
In Eternity, events give us the measure of time, too. Up in the ‘aeroplane’ of the eternal now, past, present and future will seem to us as one. We are a complex being – far more complex and far-reaching and wonderful than most people imagine. You know, I expect, that you have several bodies besides the one you can see? There are many technical names for them, but we will not be concerned with these; and opinions differ as to how many bodies we have, so we will not bother with numbers either. The fact remains that we are wonderful beings with a wonderful destiny. Man is destined to become a son of God! (See John 1, 12.)
What does this mean? It means that, like the prodigal son, the Father has sent man out to live in the world, to learn and grow (to forget and suffer, too) to ‘come to himself’ at last, to his powers and his heritage and his destiny; and then to return to his Father to be welcomed as a son. All the while, though we may forget our Father, the Father never forgets His child. We may be rebellious, we may pull ourselves away from the Father’s protecting Hand, just as a child may, who runs, laughing and defiant, to the edge of a cliff and out of its mother’s care. Yes, he may suffer, but the Father waits to welcome him just the same…
Life, all-life is the story of the prodigal son – going forth, growing and coming back! The seed falls into the ground (of the earth-life), it springs up and bursts at last into full flower (in Heaven). So the truth about life is that you are safe because part of the eternal plan; that you are part of a mighty uprising.
Circles Within Circles Exercise
Now I want you to draw another diagram, so get a good sized sheet of paper and a pencil, please! Also, and you may smile at this, a large plate, a small plate, a large cup, a small cup, an egg-cup, a big coin, a medium-sized coin and a small coin (or similar objects – each one smaller than the previous one).
Now put the large plate on the paper and draw round it. Then draw round the small plate within this circle. Next the large cup, followed by the smaller one. The important thing is that the circles should be in groups of two – a circle with another one closely within it, then a space. Do you see the idea?
When you have finished, these circles must be within the outermost one. Then put your initial inside the smallest circle and draw ‘rays ‘ from the largest circle as though it were the sun. Have you got it?
Now find a quiet place as before, put your diagram down in front of you and look at it. The smallest circle has your initial because it is the you the world sees, the circle closest to it is the visible world or plane on which we live.
This earth-body of yours is made of matter as dense as the earth, so that both appear perfectly solid, perfectly matched-your earthly body and the earth. The next circle represents your next body, of a lesser density than the outer one, but still of the same substance as the plane on which it lives-that is, the circle closest to it. Being of the same substance your body and its ‘home ‘ are perfectly solid to each other and perfectly matched…
The next two circles represent a still finer body and ‘home-plane’ – but again, being of identical substance they are solid to each other, though this body of yours would not feel at all solid if you could bring it down into the earth-plane. Continue to follow the circles with your mind in this way until you come to the outermost rays-and there dwells God, the Eternal.
Now this is what happens when you die – although I am telling you the ‘story’ in a most homely and un-technical way, but I know that you would prefer this. You ‘break through’ the smallest circles of your earth-body and the earth-world and find yourself in your next body of lesser density, but living in a home-plane of lesser density, too. So everything is just as homely and solid and familiar as before! After a further period of living and learning and growing up you ‘break through’ this body and this plane, finding yourself in another solid, familiar body in another seemingly concrete world. And so you go gently and surely and safely on through Eternity until at last, ‘breaking through’ the outermost circle of all, you find… your God. The prodigal comes home to his Father…
There is one question Students of Life have asked throughout the ages, and which, even today, as I write, one of my Students asked me. It is this. ‘When we find God, our Source, our Father, when we become sons and unite ourselves to Him, do we lose our consciousness of ourselves? Do we become as thought that has passed away and is no more?’ My reply to this is an emphatic ‘No!’ For we are ourselves and can never lose ourselves, though races may come and go, though universes may rise and fall, though worlds may flourish and at last die away… We go on – for if we know not ourselves, then of what use our striving, our going forth, our suffering, our overcoming, our returning? We remain, and even as we enter into fullness of power and joy we shall know that, indeed, every experience of earth has been worth while, and every experience beyond earth and among the eternal spheres… This, then, my friend, is the truth about Life.
I will quote a letter which came to me a short while ago, because I think it will be of interest to you:
‘Dear Bernard, First I would like to say how very helpful and inspiring your Lessons have been to me. Looking back now, I cannot help but think that in some mysterious way I was led to you. This morning your Lesson arrived in which you state the Truth about Life. Nothing could have been more consoling and uplifting to me, just recovering as I am from the first shock of my mother’s passing. Since beginning your Course my faith in the Unseen Power has become much stronger. When I read of your own achievements I felt it was scarcely possible that one could change his life and circumstances to such an amazing extent. Now I know that “With God all things are possible”, and am full of certainty that limiting circumstances in my own life are about to be changed for the better. I am quite sure that you have the right solution to all life’s problems. The trouble is that because of wrong, pre-conceived ideas it is so easy to forget what one really is, and to fall back into old habits of thought. I have certainly tried to follow out the teachings of the Course to the best of my ability.’
Did you notice my reference, a little earlier, to the ‘seed’ of our life, which falls into the ‘ground’ of the earth-life, springs up and finally ‘flowers’ in Heaven? Did you wonder then, what happens when the ‘flower’ turns to ‘seed’ again? Well, here our simile is not quite accurate, for the flower of earth has many seeds, but we have only one. However, it will serve. What happens when the flowers in our own garden produce seed? Why, the seed drops into the soil again, and begins its journey all over again. So does our own single ‘seed’ of life, Student! When it has ‘flowered’ in Heaven, the ‘seed’ drops to earth-life once more…. This is just a little hint, if you have ‘ears to hear’…. If you have, you will understand and enjoy reading this reply I once wrote to a Student’s question. What I describe in it is very like the description I have given you in this Lesson of the after-life, but it is not quite the same. It is ‘a wheel within a wheel’, as it were, but if you are ready for deeper teaching you will understand.
I wrote: ‘Now, concerning your question, I will tell you just a little about the Spiritual or Incorruptible body. As we progress, so our bodies become more spiritual in their elements, and much less gross. It was the spiritual body which we lost at the Fall of Man. Before then we were God-like beings, so spiritualised that we could pass from the visible into the invisible worlds. After the Fall we became “anchored” in our own earth-bodies and could only pass through by leaving our bodies behind in death. The whole race is gradually climbing up, winning back what it has lost, and the time will come when we shall regain what we lost then, and will again become those God-like beings and “never taste death”. Occultists say that there are seven “days” or great spans or ages of time, and that after the Fall, mankind fell through three great ages.
Now we are in the fourth “Day “, or age, they say, and we have three more to climb up before we attain to what we were. Thus, the whole story can be told in a figure like the letter “U”.
But, though it seems as though we have a very long way to go, yet-dotted about in the ages are “lights” to shine a Way. These are the Masters. There are far more than is generally known because their histories are often regarded as fables and legends. There have been both men and women who took their bodies with them and were seen no more. Moses and Elijah come to the mind in the Old Testament. Our Lord, of course, who left the empty tomb and then returned. And in the ancient writings of the first few centuries after our Lord’s life on earth, there are references to the Virgin Mother and St. John also having “passed over” in this way. Actually, there are references to hundreds of such passings, I should think, in many ages and many lands.
However, although it may seem a very long time before we ourselves can achieve this, yet it is a grand thought that we shall achieve this wonderful freedom in the end. May we all meet in the fullness of time Your friend, Postscript. Since this Lesson was written, many questions have been asked me. Here are some, with my answers:-
Q. Is there anything in this Lesson that need cause me to be anxious?
A. Nothing at all. God is Love and you are for ever safe in that Love.
Q. If it takes time to journey from one plane to another in the after-life, will those I love, who have passed on before me, be so far on that I cannot see them?
A. No. Those who are beyond you will have the ability and freedom to come back in a moment of time to where you are.
Q. It makes me sad to think that, when I am happy in the after-life, I shall be forced to leave it and begin again. Is this so?
A. No. God does not force anyone. He has given everyone free will. In the after-life we shall stay just where we are until we want to move.
Q. I have many regrets. Because of past mistakes, do I need to fear, when the time for passing comes?
A. You have no need to fear. Just be sorry and try always to do better. God is Love, so God is forgiveness. Forgive yourself too, and be at peace.