Hi Friends —
Emilie Cady’s essay on Spiritual Understanding, the seventh essay in her 1895 series for Unity magazine, describes what must happen for us to experience our life spiritually. The process begins with a high level of intellectual understanding, symbolized by John the Baptist and his baptism of water. High intellectual understanding is experienced as a belief in spiritual matters and a sense of the presence of God. But intellectual understanding does not bring happiness because we still believe that we are cut off from God. We have a hunger for the “deep things of God” and we seek to “obtain full understanding” by reading too many books and spending far too much time in introspection.
But spiritual understanding cannot be obtained. It is only revealed, by God, to those who have an “understanding heart” because they have experienced a new, spiritual birth and have a “consciousness of the ever abiding inner Presence.” I know that is a packed sentence. But know that each phrase of that sentence is repeated several times in this essay. Emilie Cady speaks of a “consciousness of an inner abiding Presence” at least sixteen times. It is, for her, the essential factor in experiencing life spiritually.
She writes, “The very Spirit of Truth which has come to abide with you forever,—in your consciousness—takes of the deep things of God and reveals them unto you. You no longer feel like running to and fro to teachers or healers however efficient and good they may be. You know that the Living Light, the Living Word within you will guide you into all truth.” For Emilie Cady, being born again metaphysically is a “consciousness of oneness with the Father.” Without a consciousness of oneness with God we do not pass go and we do not collect $200.
Sometimes I will ask congregants a trick question. The question is “When a baby is born, what is the first thing the baby must do?” Typically the answers will be “breathe or cry.” But, spiritually, the first thing a baby must do is to bond. The baby must ask “to whom do I go to get my needs met?” And we know that if the baby does not bond then life for that baby will always be difficult. But for the baby who bonds, who knows that a loving parent is present, that there is someone who loves and cares, life is good.
That God is present, that God is Presence, that we are one with our Father-Mother God in a personal way is the foundational Truth of spiritual understanding and is the basis for spiritual living.
As with the new born baby, so it is with the new born Christian. We are not born in sin, we are born in bondedness. That is spiritual understanding.
Sunday, September 15, 2019