Understanding, or realization of the presence of God within us, is as Jesus said, "the gift of God" (Jn. 4:10). It comes to any and all who learn how to seek it aright. Emerson said, "This energy [consciousness of God in the soul] does not descend into individual life on any other condition than entire possession. It comes to the lowly and simple: it comes to whomsoever will put off what is foreign and proud: it comes as insight: it comes as serenity and grandeur. When we see those whom it inhabits, we are apprised of new degrees of greatness." ...
One may so desire a partial revelation of God within himself, a revelation along one line—as, for instance, that of health—as to seek it with all his heart. And if he has learned how to take the desired gift, by uncompromising affirmation that it is his already, he will get understanding, or realization, of God as his perfect health. So as with any other desired gift of God, this is a step in the right direction. It is learning how to take God by faith for whatever one desires. But in the onward growth, the time will come to every man when he will hear the divine voice within him saying, “Come up higher,” and he will pass beyond any merely selfish desires that are just for his own comfort’s sake. He will good that he many have the more to give out, knowing that as good (God) flows through him to others, it will make him “every whit whole” (Jn. 7:23 KJV).
When you first consciously desire spiritual understanding, you do not attain it at once. You have been living in the external of your being and have believed yourself cut off from God. Your first step after coming to yourself like the prodigal son is to say as he did, "I will get up and go to my father" (Lk. 15:18) to turn your thoughts away from the external seeming toward the central and real; to know intellectually that you are not cut off from God, and that He forever desires to manifest Himself within you as your present deliverance from all suffering and sin. Just as Jesus taught, we begin our journey toward understanding by cutting off the branches of our selfishness. We try to love instead of to hate. Instead of avenging ourselves, we begin to forgive, even if it costs us great mental effort. We begin to deny envy, jealousy, anger, sickness, and all imperfection, and to affirm love, peace, and health.
Begin with the words of Truth that you have learned and which perhaps you have as yet only comprehended with the intellect. You must be willing to take the very first light you receive and use it faithfully, earnestly, to help both yourself and others.
Sometimes you will be almost overcome by questions and doubts arising in your own mind when you are looking in vain for results. But you must with effort pass the place of doubt; and some day, in the fullness of God's time, while you are using the words of Truth, they will suddenly be illumined and become to you the Living Word within you—"the true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world" (Jn. 1:9). You will no longer dwell in darkness, for the light will be within your own heart, and the word will be made flesh to you; that is, you will be conscious of a new and diviner life in your body, and a new and diviner love for all people, a new and diviner power to accomplish.
This is spiritual understanding. This is a flash of the Most High within your consciousness. "Everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!" (2 Cor. 5:17) This will be the time when you will not talk with men with an eye to their opinion. This is when you will suddenly become plain and true, when you will cease to desire admiration, when all words of congratulation from others on your success will fill you with an inexpressible sense of humility, when all mere compliments will be to you as "a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal" (1 Cor. 13: 1). Truly, from that inspiration, a man comes back with a changed tone!
With spiritual understanding comes new light on the Scriptures. The very Spirit of Truth, which has come to abide with you forever in your consciousness, takes the deep things of God and reveals them to you. You will no longer run to and fro, seeking teachers or healers and rely solely on them for guidance. You know that the living light, the living word within you, will "guide you into all the truth" (Jn. 16: 13).
What we need to do is to seek the revelation of the living Christ within our own being, each for himself, knowing that only this divinity come forth can make us powerful and happy. Every person in his heart desires, though he may not yet quite know it, this new birth into a higher life, into spiritual consciousness. Everyone wants more power, more good, more joy. And though, to the unawakened mind, it may seem that it is more money as money, or more goods that he wants, it is, nevertheless, more of good (God) that he craves, for all good is God.
Many today are conscious that the inner hunger cannot be satisfied with worldly goods and are with all earnestness seeking spiritual understanding, or consciousness, of an immanent God. They have been seeking long, with a great desire of unselfishness and a feeling that when they have truly found God, they will begin to do for others. Faithful service for others hastens the day-dawning for us. The gifts of God are not given in reward for faithful service, as a fond mother gives cake to her child for being good; nevertheless they are a reward, inasmuch as service is one of the steps that lead up to the place where all the fullness of God awaits men. And while spiritual understanding is in reality a "gift of God," it comes to us more or less quickly in proportion as we use the light that we already have. ...
Seek your own Lord. Take the light as it is revealed to you, and use it for others, and prove for yourself whether there be Truth in this prophecy of Isaiah, that "then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday" (Is. 58: 10) and "then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly" (Is. 58:8).