Letter From A Father Continued
I have always heard you ask why I allow the terrible things to go on in the world between man and man and between man and nature. You not only wonder why hatred and anger and fear should lead people to do unspeakable things to one another, but you have wondered why the universe seems to be indifferent to your very existence and to be unconcerned which way you act. Indifference is one of the worst responses to feel coming to us; we would quite rightly prefer praise or blame to this cold and empty feeling.
The value of my answer to you will only increase as your understanding increases, so you must try very hard to see the problem from my end or you will never understand it at all. I hope that all of you, when you were children, remember a time when your parents acted for you in such a way that it infuriated you, when they acted as though you were not there, or as though you were only an extension of themselves. Perhaps they apologised to someone on your behalf instead of letting you do it yourself, or they got you out of some trouble by using influence which you knew was unfair and left you, as a person, out of the reckoning. You knew that, when you were not allowed to carry the consequences of your own actions, you lost some vital essence in your own being.
These consequences may be good or bad, but carry them you must, or you cease to get the feeling that you matter, or really exist at all. And this is the truth of it, and you were quite right to consider it to be a devaluation of your nature. Now, I have to see to it that this does not occur at the level of your true being, your soul, as you feel you must not let it happen at the level of your personality or outer self. So I have made your school in such a way that it becomes real to you and does not remain a game.
I and your mother have hidden ourselves away amongst you in order that you should not escape too easily your lesson in responsibility. This lesson in responsibility must not be in half measures for it is just as important to your understanding of our highest qualities as the lessons in sympathy, affection and beauty. Responsibility and integrity are your strength to appreciate the significance of loving kindness and beauty. For kindness and beauty are nothing if they are not wedded to strength, and strength is nothing if it is not wedded to kindness and beauty. Such is the beginning of my answer. However, another big hurdle will be facing you and that is how you are going to find enough time to do what, you now know, you have to do.
In order to help you to understand my attitude towards time I must explain what time is as a part of the carrying out of my undertaking for you. If you can imagine that what I have to say to you and teach you were written down in a book, then time is that interval of consciousness which is necessary for the contents of the book to be read and understood by you. Since you realise that each one of you is a little different to the other, you will also realise that some read quickly and others slowly, but also some assimilate what they have read quickly and others more slowly.
You see here an infinite number of requirements, and you also see that to read quickly is one thing, but to fully understand the significance of what you have read is quite another. To put you all together in the same situation, and expect you all to respond in the same way and in the same time, would be completely contrary to my hopes and expectations for you. So what I have done is to design a curriculum which allows each of you to grow and respond in your own time, and in your own way, and thus the complexity of time is as the complexity of this condition of our collective engagement in the use of consciousness. Or shall we say it is in fact a meal that we all eat but which we all differ in the way we eat and digest it. So time is not what it appears to be, it is only what you require it to be to receive into yourselves its content.
Now you ask me how you can do this in one lifetime, and you also show me the unfair positions that some of you start from, and you doubt if I can possibly say anything that can help you on this score. Well, I can help you, but only if you will pay very close attention to me, and do not let the essence of what I am saying pass you by.
You must realise that you see my creation from one end of it only. You discover yourselves to be born of a mother into the physical body of a baby, and you grow in body and understanding from the position of that young child, but you know nothing about the work that went into my creation before this birth of yours occurred. While understandably you take the world and the universe for granted, the familiarity of your surroundings causes you to forget that they are neither fully perceived nor fully understood by you. You become involved in trying to survive as a personality, and you forget that the stage on which you are acting is not only made by me but also has to be continually maintained by me and my helpers.
This stage on which you act is a schoolroom in my university, and as you would not expect one of your children to learn all that the university had to teach in one day of attending class, so I also never expected you to spend but one day in the classroom. From where I now speak to you, one lifetime on earth is but one day in your classroom in my university, and, when the evening comes, I look for you to come home, where you will be nearer to me and where I can give you rest and refreshment to make you ready for the next day at school.
Now you understand how I see you and how I created you. You realise that I am asking you to think of yourselves as essentially fragments of my own being. But the nature of your being is given to you as a growing potentiality, and not as a ready-formed thing, so that you can weave and wander a pattern of your very own through the classrooms of the universe, and in doing so weave a pattern of your very own into that being which I have given to you as your own.
Thus is your value to yourself and to all other selves built up, but, while you weave an individual pattern into your own essential nature, there is much that we will find that we have in common with one another. For my responsibility was that you should grow into the sort of person who could appreciate the very things that I hold most dear, and wish most deeply to give to you, so I could not let you grow into just any sort of person; I could not allow you to develop your nature in such a way that you would become alien to the basic qualities that I know to be good; I could not give you total freedom, and you would not thank me if I had, for you are beginning to realise that such a freedom is not freedom at all but is licence, and can lead to degeneration and self-destruction. For you can destroy yourselves if you persist too long in attitudes that neither your being nor your outer nature were designed to withstand.
Our alikeness to one another comes from the fact that, although we are all weaving different patterns into our nature, the warp and woof of that nature is already given, and the wools and cottons you weave your designs with are provided by me, and are of my nature. So, whether we arrive at a personal or impersonal relationship eventually, we will always be able to rest in this perfect harmony which is already present in our separate individual beings.
If you do not accept that you are a piece of my living being, temporarily inhabiting a physical body, then I will not be able to take you much further in understanding your position in the universe, but if you begin to perceive that you are essentially an inhibitor of a body, as a diver inhabits a diving suit, then you and I will be able to make headway together, and I will be able to draw you closer into the beauty and aptness of the scheme I have chosen for you. For you will also accept that, when the diving suit is worn out, you leave it behind, together with the element it has been operating in, and you will return to the surface of the ocean where the air exists that has been pumped to you down the life lines of your diving suit. This is a cumbersome and heavy thing, but necessary if you are to start by exploring the lowest levels of creation before climbing to the mountain tops.
The diving suit is helping you in ways that I have not yet explained. It is restricting your activity and behaviour while you are still learning to do it for yourself and by yourself. This heavy restriction and resistance of the diving suit, and the weight of the water of the oceans, is slowing you down so that you can witness and observe in slow motion the meaning and value of what you are doing. If you were suddenly to be transported to a free and more responsive condition, you would be unable to maintain your balance or self-control. You would miss the slow but most important introduction to all your classes in my school, and you would not be able to follow through the meaning and significance of the lessons that are being taught in higher classes.
For you are learning the lessons of integrity, affection, kindness, beauty and honesty. You are learning to differentiate between the outer nature, that you experience the world with, and the inner nature that considers what it has experienced and which make a structure of values out of this experience, and you are then learning to try and live by the best of the values that you have discovered against the resistance of their opposites. Thus you are becoming strong, but strong in what you deem to be good. When you have become strong enough in this way, then the heavy opposition you feel will no longer be necessary for you, and you will be able to move on to less restrictive and less basic lessons.
This separating out of the inner attitude of your being from the outer attitudes of your personality can be quite dramatic, and is spoken of in your religious language as being saved or 'seeing the light' or 'finding oneself’. When we behave badly, we say we forget ourselves and this is a good analogy of the deeper condition that exists all the time.
When the inner nature is perceived, and believed in, it immediately brings us close to the essential nature of my being where we find all those pleasing things that have the most fulfilling effect upon our nature, and help us to feel that we are being more fully ourselves. I know you think you are searching for happiness. But really you will find that this is not so. What you search for is fulfilment or the exercise of your whole being nature; this produces the condition of happiness but you will then be too busy to notice. If you try to capture happiness for its own sake you will find it illusive, for it only exists as a by-product of your success in living most fully and truly the values and responsibilities of your own individual nature.
If you identify yourself with your outer personality only, then the fulfilment of these outer needs and ambitions will not satisfy you, but if you link the outer with the inner, so that you work hard in the world to fulfil in the best way you can the ideals of your inner nature, then you will not only make great progress in understanding, but you will also know that you are doing so. This certainty is most helpful in building up your confidence in the delicate and more ethereal side of life which you find is hard to hold your faith in.
This faith in what you know to be good, in the face of harsh opposition, is the only way I can strengthen the roots and foundations of your being, and it is only upon this strengthening that you and I can build together something that will last, and which will be your own unique self, but do not think that I am asking you to feel that the physical world experience is in any way unfortunate or lacking in importance towards the total aim of my endeavour. If you will bear with me further, I will try to explain to you why the contrary is the truth of the situation.
I would like you to consider that, in your own experience, if you intend to manufacture something which has not been done before, you do many calculations and drawings on paper, and you have many consultations with your helpers before you consider starting work on the material object itself, and you know that, however careful and accurate you have been in your planning stage, that the problems of putting the ideas into actual physical working condition are always great and always contain some unpredictable elements. You know well that to carry an idea about in your head is one thing, but to make that idea an actual physical reality requires the effort and focus of your whole attention, craftsmanship and art.
How many of you can picture a beautiful work of art in your imagination, often in great detail, but you do not begin to put it into painting or musical form because you know you lack the ability, and you feel that you would destroy the very beauty of the thing if you tried, and that would be hurtful to you. You know that you can live and be creative in your imagination, but that you only really get to grips with such a creation when you try to put it into its most objective and concrete condition, namely in that slow, resistant and demanding world outside you, the physical world.
Now the same situation applies to your mother and me and our sincere and affectionate undertakings on your behalf. We have planned and calculated in the freedom and responsive condition of our imagination, and then we have gradually and carefully transferred the results of our least restricted imaginative consciousness down through more and more solid and resistant forms, and conditions of manifestation or manufacture, until we reached your physical condition, which was the most demanding and most difficult that we could achieve. For we could not go beyond that which we could safely manage, but we had to go to the very limits of our ability in order to draw out the greatest benefit and treasure from our endeavour. Your individual reality is the benefit, and your eventual gladness in it is our treasure, so you see that the very difficulty and opposition of the physical universe that you are in is also the very measure of your value to us.
If we had not cared so much about the reality of our gift to you we would have spared you and ourselves the pain and difficulty of this extreme form of concrete and differentiated experience. As it is, we very often stand outside the railings of your playground and weep over the bullying that goes on amongst you, and we are tempted to interfere when we know that we must not do so. For, if we did interfere at the wrong time, we would immediately detract from the essential condition of individual responsibility which you must be taught to take up for yourselves and know to be an essential part of your reality. For, if you do not accept this responsibility, then you cannot accept or receive the gift of your own individuality.
This is our gift to you, and understandably you feel more inclined to hate us for it than thank us, for its birth in you must be painful as well as joyful. This you will shortly understand. The fact that you would have to experience pain and joy in order to know good and bad, and better and worse, was known to us from the beginning, but many of the details and consequences of this remained for us to resolve as they occurred.
You can be sure that the physical universe is my greatest handiwork, and in it I achieve my most valuable and creative work, and, if this physical condition is where I do most of my work, you can be sure that it is here that I am giving you my very closest attention, even if, as I have said, I hide myself from you and do not interfere with you.
At this point of my effort, every aspect of my nature comes together in its most concentrated and differentiated condition. To put it another way, my more adaptable and responsive stages of creation, which you call heaven and paradise, do not contain the earthly condition, but the earthly condition does contain the other conditions of my manufacturing process, from the most heavenly and tenuous, down through the intermediate stages of formation, to this, my most highly defined and slowed-down condition. Although you only gradually become aware of the presence of these more delicate stages of my work, they are nevertheless all around you, so it is here that you can get the greatest understanding of my nature in its detailed significance, and it is here that I continually learn things about you and about myself.
Only here are you in the best position as spectator to judge and value the qualities of being and consciousness as they work out amongst themselves in practical situations, so here also is the best position to learn wisdom, but I do not wish to make your work and my work sound easy. The situation is such that it can demand and absorb our very best efforts all the time. This means that, if you or I do not respond to our position as teacher or learner sufficiently well, then troubles and difficulties set in which demand special remedies.
For instance, I know you wish to ask me why there should be so much illness and disease in your world. One answer is that the collective feelings and thoughts, as well as actions of the people of earth, have for so long been contrary to those of kindness, affection and sympathy that the physical and psychological atmosphere has been contaminated by them, and weakened from my true intent by them, but, as I have told you, even if it takes a long time you must as far as possible live out the consequences of your activities.
Now, if the atmosphere of your world contains the energies of your wrong thoughts and feelings, these energies, as any scientist will explain to you, will have to go somewhere and cannot be immediately dissipated or neutralised. Their effect is therefore to cause pockets of inharmonious imbalance in that delicate scheme which we call the balance inherent in all creation. Without this balance there would be no stability, and without this balance the inter-related and complex activities of living cells and organs become disorganised, and produce contrary results to those that they should produce, but I want you to understand that disease and suffering is not a thing that I would wish on you, and, if you will believe me, I suffer these pains with you and for you although I cannot just take them away from you since they are part of that context of responsibility that is your essential burden.
There are so many other things I wish to say to you that I must allow you to carry this argument into all the practical situations for yourself, for the effects of this sternness on my part, and the painful savouring of them on your part, are unlimited and form the strong and unflinching basis of my work with you on your own reality. If such disease and pain, malformation and destitution were the end of things for each of you, then it would be different, but, as I have tried to explain, you do not know it but I keep you and cherish you in ways that would amaze you, and I am not averse to repeating lessons and situations in your schoolroom on earth until you understand what I have to say. And if those 'days' be very many, and each day a lifetime in your sight, then try and understand my purpose all over again from the very beginning, and realise that time and the world are at my service and were formed by me to teach you the one thing that seems to you beyond the bounds of your wildest dreams, which is my divine affection and the qualities that go along with it.
Whether this divine quality of consciousness be taken up on a more or on a less personal basis, the same loving concern is shed from me and from your mother upon each one of you, and the personal relationship we take upon us is between you and us individually, and no other person has any say in what it is or how we make it, for there lies one of the endless mysteries of our love.
One of the most important ways I have chosen for you to learn what is vital for your understanding is to find yourself a part of a family situation on earth, for here you are able to go though the experience in one single lifetime, and with unbroken continuity, the experience of being a child, a mature individual and a parent. In this situation, if you will only learn to pay close attention to it, are all the mysteries of the universe that matter to you. If you take the trouble to stand apart and observe closely all the relationships that exist in your family situations, you will be able to observe as completely as you will how the problems of life arise, why they arise and how they are solved. The family situation is a very special gift to you and one day you will be surprised that you took it so for granted.
I have not yet explained to you that you are not my only children, and that I have not brought you all up in the same way. I explained that I have gradually brought the physical universe into being by planning it and organising it at more ethereal levels of manifestation where the stuff of manifestation is more responsive and mobile. These levels are called by you more heavenly levels of being, for in them everything is more in harmony and more expressive of the intense beauty which to me is so valuable.
As these ethereal forms of manifestation were brought into existence, so did I cause other of my children to be born into them. They grew up and matured in these conditions where their attention was filled with the direct and indirect presence of your mother and myself. We wished them to become familiar with us in this way because we were going to need them as helpers while our plan of creation grew outwards from us to more remote and unconditioned levels where our personality also became less dominant, and where other personalities, your own, would in future time be able to grow up in a slower and more difficult environment but a more independent one.
You understand that, at this very point in my description, you are face-to-face with one of the great secrets of my work, which, until now, has been kept hidden from you for the children of heaven have never had that independence that you have had. They have been through happier times, but they have had greater need of me and my strength, for they were not weaned at the beginning on the strength and independence which you have been weaned on. On the other hand, without their loving help which they have given to me, I could not have undertaken this difficult outer classroom work where I need them to guide and instruct, to maintain and repair the classes, classrooms and playgrounds on which you thrive and on which your reality and future depend.
Slowly you will come to understand that the standing alone and apart in my universe, without being able to detect me directly, is a gift to your development which my other children have not had. This gift is a painful gift for much of the time, but the depth of the understanding it produces is far greater than the understanding produced in the happy states of heaven where the qualities of my being are dominant. For joy and delight fill the days of these heavenly children, but such lessons are one-sided and do not teach them the intrinsic values of such delights because they are not valued against the experience of their opposites. You, on the other hand, value all these opposites from the very beginning and in so doing gain an insight which is beyond my ability to explain to you at this stage, but I can say that your more detached and objective judgements will one day put you in a position where the added depth of your understanding will show you the merit of my endeavour.
My heavenly children help me to guide and teach you, and some of them come to earth and join you in your present situation as ordinary human beings; thus they come partly to give you a little of heaven, and partly so that they can experience a little of this earthly situation themselves, and so gain in wisdom and knowledge of me from another direction, so be quite clear about the fact that, although they help you now to overcome many of your problems, one day you will be able to give to them the fruits of your experience, and you can be sure that when that time comes you will do it very gladly.
Try to become clear in your own understanding how you feel towards your own children of earth. When you feel clearly the real depth of the attitudes you should properly find within yourselves towards them, then nearly all of the questions you have about my attitudes towards you will be answered. For, if you have not yet learned to love your own children properly, then you are not yet ready to learn how I feel towards you. If you are not aware that your responsibilities towards your loved ones are an exact analogy of my responsibilities towards you then you have not begun to understand why I have put you on earth.