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Thought Bricks 24: Personality

In this lesson Bernard gently discourages Students from placing too much emphasis on him personally. He then encourages us to literally Wash Your Hands of It if faced with a problem where we have done all we can to resolve it. Bernard follows this with a story of FIVE SONS to illustrate the role of free will in our thoughts and actions.

Blessings,

William M.
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THE “PRACTICAL LIFE” SECTION
LESSON TWENTY-FOUR: PERSONALITY

One of the most important things to develop, in our quest for a truly practical life, is a balanced attitude towards ourselves. We must see clearly what we are and what we should be; also what we are not! We must be tolerant, when necessary, towards ourselves, realising that we are growing people in a world of growing people and that there is no-one who has no regrets. When we are inclined to slack from the efforts we feel we should make, we must be stern or encouraging (according to that which will be of the most help). And we must be neither too much cast down by blame, nor too much lifted up by praise. Whether we are blamed or praised, we must see the truth about ourselves and hold calmly to that.

I Am Proud of You!

A Student wrote: “I was trying to imagine how you must feel, knowing you are responsible for helping so many people to happiness. My own results overwhelm me, so what must yours do?”

My reply was: “You are right about my joy when I contemplate the happy results in the Student Family. Every letter of achievement and victory gives me a real thrill. Yet the thrill is mostly one of pride in you all. For it is one thing to receive the truth, but quite another to take hold of it and work it into the fabric of the life. There are people who have known the truth for years, have written books about it and taught it to others, yet they have never used it in their own lives. At the slightest difficulty they flop down into depression and despair. Yet they can talk and write glibly for hours on truth subjects. So you see, it is you Students who really achieve. You take hold of the sword of truth, cutting away all the entanglements that have bound you and hampered your progress in the past. Then you march through to victory. No wonder I am proud of you!”

A Student wrote: “Simplicity, it is said, is the mark of genius – and a genius you undoubtedly are, in the art of teaching love and faith into the lives of those who desire to advance spiritually on this earth plane.”

My reply was: “Your mention of ‘genius’ brings back to me a memory of my father. It was years and years ago. I had been in a room with him for some time, when I suddenly drew a piece of paper towards me, scribbled on it for a few minutes, then passed it over to him, saying:
‘Look, these verses have just come to me’. (It was a spiritual poem.) He read them, looked up and said: ‘You know, you are a genius’. I was astounded. ‘A genius?’ I queried. ‘Why, look how backward I was at school.’ ‘That is just what I mean’, my father explained. ‘You have no particular ability of your own – therefore you must be in touch with some higher power.’ That was the first time the true meaning of ‘genius’ had ever been given to me! ”

Happy Ant

A Student wrote: “When I studied the first writings you sent to me on my enquiry, I looked first for two points; the claim of sole custodian of truth, and the claim of personal authority.”

My reply was: “Maybe this isn’t quite the reaction you expected from your expressed relief that I do not claim to be ‘the sole custodian’ and to have ‘personal authority’, but I don’t suppose you will mind. In fact, you will probably laugh with me. You see, when I read your words, I burst into gurgles of mirth I just couldn’t help it – the idea of thinking myself a sole custodian and personal authority struck me as being so comical. Of course, you can’t be expected to know that, for you don’t know me very well yet, but I just can’t be solemn about myself. I see myself in my mind’s eye as about the size of an ant (spiritually) benevolently looked down on by Great Beings far beyond me in development. In fact, whenever 1 look down on some little insect crawling obliviously in its own little world and not knowing that there is any more to life than that, I think: ‘That is just how I must appear to Great Ones who have advanced far beyond me’.

“A Student wrote: ‘Having read your writings, I feel sure you must be an Adept or Master’.

Immediately I replied: ‘ But wouldn’t I know, if I were? I’m just God’s babe, I guess.’ As I see it, God has one truth. That is, there are only the true facts about Him and His divine outpourings into this world. And, just as people can stand at various points of vantage, each getting a different impression of the same landscape, so can we, while standing at various points in space and time. But underneath there is a kinship, a similarity with all truth, which is its sign that it is real truth. Well, that’s how it is, so I know you will not mind my gurgles of mirth. They were not directed at you, but at myself.”

It’s Not Me; It’s God

A Student wrote: “I don’t know how to thank you for all that your Thought Bricks Course and your unique understanding did to me – this simplicity, wisdom and infinite kindness to each of your Students and your magic self. Yes, magic; how otherwise can I call this force vibrating, emanating from every word of your leaflets? You are one of the chosen ones and blessed with an incomparable gift to make so many unhappy, ill mentally and physically people – happy and healthy again.”

My reply was: “You know, Family, newcomers into our circle might think that I would take words like these to myself – but you older ones know truly that this is not so. How can I? For it is the power of God that flows through every one who surrenders lovingly to Him, that brings an alive, sparkling, irresistible quality to words, both written and spoken. Alone, apart from Him, we are as lifeless and uninteresting as wilted cabbage; but when we open our hearts to Him, His power sweeps through and makes everything about us sparkling bright, like a buttercup on a dewy Spring morning. Oh, I am glad that ‘there is a force vibrating, emanating from every word’ I write. My heart cries thankfully to Him: ‘This is God’ and my spirit bows down in reverence to His mighty power. Only by this clear-seeing that ‘with God (within us) all things are possible’ can one keep a true balance.

Wash Your Hands of It

A Student wrote: “Having been in the Family now for nearly three years, I think I can say that I have tried to live out your teachings. I have found a wonderful sweetness in life. It wasn’t apparent at first, but it is so, now that I am a bit further away from the old muddled way of thinking. I don’t brood over things if they go wrong and I have sometimes done what you told us; to wash one’s hands’ literally. It is a wonderful tip.”

I published this letter in B.W.N. and commented:

“Do you know what this Student means by my advice about ‘washing the hands’? Somewhere in my teaching (I have written so much that I cannot remember where) I advised Students to do what I do in difficult situations. If we have done our best, taken all the necessary action, and things still have not worked out smoothly due to the adverse will of some other person, then it is useless to struggle, fret and worry. We should ‘wash our hands’ of the matter, at the same time doing this literally. As the hands are soaped, washed and rinsed, say within the mind very firmly: ‘I have done my best; now I wash my hands of the whole situation’. The physical action helps the mind to respond in a splendid way.”

THE FIVE SONS

I have just been reading a letter from a Student named Christoffer, who writes: “To you my very dear friend and teacher the thanks for having showed me the way to the true life, a life in which cares have disappeared as the morning mist before the sun and I have come to consciously realise the one and only way to live this life. Three short months ago I needed a lot of money badly. All material avenues failed to yield this seemingly impossible sum at that stage. I persistently applied the Thought Bricks way, using all the various Charts, and depended entirely upon faith in the power of God to yield this amount. At one stage my faith wavered and I decided to sell my car, as the deadline for part of this sum was very, very close. I accordingly set out for the nearest city some hundred and eighty miles away. However, en route, I was literally shocked into a faith which is now the basis of my life. Some seventy miles from my home town I hit a particularly bad patch of road, so bad indeed that my fan badly cut my radiator tank. Imagine my despair as I had no water and was ten miles away from the nearest town, and had no means of repairing the radiator tank. It was at this moment of despair that a ‘voice’ said to me very clearly and distinctly: ‘Why do you doubt Me?’”

Bernard, there and then my load disappeared and everything became clear and I started whistling. Yes, even my radiator troubles ceased (as by stopping it with rags I managed to reach a garage at the nearest town). I even found water in a can in the dry, dry Karroo {a vast dry vast plateau in South Africa – William M.} to see me through. Within three days the money I needed was supplied to me. I had learned my greatest lesson in faith and trust. It was brought home to me very forcibly but I’m glad for it as now I just know that whatsoever I ask for, believing that it has already been supplied, that I will receive, provided of course my request is not for some selfish purpose. By the grace of God I have been the channel for some miraculous healings, but I realise that this is not my power, but His who dwells in us and thus to Him goes the glory. Forgot to mention full needs have been filled on the exact date I needed it. It works and works abundantly.”

I think that is a most inspiring letter, don’t you? There is just one point, though, that I must comment upon, and that is Christoffer’s remark that God will supply all his need ‘provided it is not for some selfish purpose’. Now that is not so at all. If man believes, God will supply his need for any purpose whatever. Do I hear you exclaim in alarm, saying: “But this is terrible! If God is good, surely He will not help the selfish and the evil people? Let us face the truth exactly as it is. We are offspring and heirs of God. That means that, as His children we inherit His power, to use in this earth-life of ours.

Let us suppose a wealthy and indulgent father wanted to ensure that his sons grew up strong, wise and practical, instead of pampered dreamers. He gave each of these sons a large sum of money and said: “Go out into the world, travel around for ten years; do anything you like with this large sum of money – but remember that this journey is an opportunity for you to grow in wisdom“.

The youngsters all set out, some travelling together and some striking off on their own. One was very cautious, being afraid to spend any of his money and parting with only a small coin here and there. He became ragged and hungry – yet he had the wealth of his father at his command.

Another was filled with a mood of possessiveness, on handling so much wealth, and this grew on him until he became suspicious of everybody who approached him, thinking they wanted to steal it from him. Consequently, he soon became friendless.

Still another was animated by greed. He bought some land, hired a lot of workers and loaded them with tasks, paying them as little as he possibly could and getting as much profit out of them as could be managed without killing them entirely. Of course, they all hated him and, though his pile of money grew he was lonely and miserable.

One son had a generous nature, though, and this one just travelled about, throwing coins around to everyone who asked him. He never paused to enquire whether it was wise or not, whether it would benefit the receivers or would make them lazy and foolish. Soon all his money was gone and the people he had befriended turned away from him indifferently. He could not return home as the ten years were not up, so he too became ragged and poor.

Amongst all these there was one son who had wisdom. He was neither vain, possessive, jealous, selfish or foolish, and he travelled about, having many interesting adventures and learning many things, harming no-one and comforting many. Gradually, his money diminished, but when this happened he put the remainder to good purpose and so made it earn something for him. At the end of the ten years he was a mature, balanced, wise man and it was on this son that the father smiled approvingly, though he listened sympathetically to each one.

Now, suppose this wealthy father had been nervous about his sons and, unknown to them, had sent a servant to shadow each one? As soon as one of them showed a sign of foolishness, the servant unobtrusively put it right. If one was greedy and robbed a fellow-traveller, the shadowing servant repaid the money as soon as the greedy son had gone on his way. In fact, whatever those sons did foolishly, the servant of each cancelled it out and put it right, so that they never learned anything by their mistakes, nor lived to regret their unkind actions. Can you see what would happen at the end of the ten years? The sons would not have grown in experience and wisdom in the least.

Now link this up. God sends us out on a journey into this earth-life, giving us our inheritance of power – the power to breathe, see, hear, taste, touch, smell, move, work and think. If we link with His indwelling Spirit (the “large sum of money” of our parable) we shall be able to do things and achieve things that people who do not realise they are “heirs of a King” can never do. We have also the power to choose good or evil and our Father God will not cancel out our life’s experience by taking away His power every time we choose evil. He could not, anyway, for if He took from us His indwelling Spirit for a single instant we should instantly dissolve into dust and cease to be individual, living beings, as we shall be, through Him, for eternity. So you see, we have a responsibility to choose good, for no-one is going to force us to, or to prevent us from doing evil. We are here on earth to experience and grow and, if we sin, to suffer for it until we learn that we are only truly happy when we are doing and being good.

Now you will be able to see deeper meaning in the words of the Master, when He said: ” I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5, 44 and 45).

Your friend

Bernard