From Father Paul: Excerpt from Cosmic Consciousness lesson
…The mystics have always said that the cosmic consciousness or cosmic mind is a part of our inner selves. The idea being explained…was that in seeking to make contact with the cosmic consciousness we should not be influenced by modern religious or theological ideas that heaven and the spiritual realm are things wholly outside ourselves. The author of many of these works was imploring the students of mystical principles to discard the theological principles which were becoming very popular during his lifetime. He deplored the idea that religion had made an artificial spiritual world called heaven and all the religious writings had made it appear that this spiritual world was a separate kingdom or condition located in the heavens or in the skies or space above us and that we either had to die and be lifted up to it, or if we wanted to think of it, we had to lift our thoughts up and always from ourselves to this place in heaven. He called attention to the fact that Jesus did not preach such things to the disciples, but intimated that the spiritual world is something that is a part of ourselves and not located in any part of the sky.
Writings had made it appear that this spiritual world was a separate kingdom or condition located in the heavens or in the skies or spaces above us and that we either had to pass through transition to be lifted up, or if we wanted to think of it, we had to lift our thoughts up and away from ourselves to this place in heaven. He called attention to the fact that Jesus preached no such thing, and that this was not located in any part of the skies. After the days of Jesus, the Church gradually invented a new idea of heaven which was influencing the thinking of men and women to such an extent that it was difficult for them to get the true idea of the spiritual kingdom within their own beings.
Jacob Boehm, the shoemaker who became such a great philosopher, had caught the correct idea expressed in these manuscripts. He beautifully presented the proper idea by saying that “in order to reach the cosmic world or spiritual world, we must turn our thoughts inward rather than outward.” Aside from the Quakers, the mystics of all lands are really the only ones whom have today a correct understanding of what Jesus and the mystics before him meant when they said “the kingdom of heaven [or the kingdom of the spiritual world] was within.” The word “heaven” in the statement made by Jesus has been misused by the translators of his writings whom did their work to help support the ecclesiastical viewpoint. The word “heaven” was used by these translators to mean the spiritual world, and they could not help thinking that the spiritual world had something to do with the heavens, or the skies above us. Thus you can see how inconsistent their translation is since it reads that the heavens are within. What should have been written was that the divine kingdom was within us and not in heaven. The phrase was trying to suggest that if we would think of ourselves not as two beings—a spiritual and physical one—but as one being with an outer worldly expression and an inner spiritual expression, we would have the idea of something like a cloak that we wear over our invisible selves. This cloak might have many patches of many colors on the outside representing the gross material things of the lining. In order that we may become spiritually attuned for a time in a meditation or concentration, we should figuratively take off this cloak, turn it inside out and put it on so that we are robed in pure white instead of colored patches.
Now, in actual experience, many of us have found that the quickest and easiest way to make contact with the cosmic is to turn our thoughts inward as though we were trying to concentrate not upon some kingdom in the heavens, but a sacred place in the center of our souls within our bodies. Therefore we begin by relaxing and becoming quiet, passive, comfortable, and freeing our minds from all thoughts of the material world. Then by thinking that the whole cosmic universe or spiritual world centers itself within, we begin to turn our thoughts inward, directing our consciousness and our thinking toward the inner part of our body. The one brother said that he even went so far as to think of a great space in the center of his body large enough to contain all the planets, the Sun, the Moon, and all the stars of the universe. He thought of these as moving around in their orbits just as though his body were a large shell of some kind; within the hollow part of it was a whole universe. Another brother said that he found it easier to think of himself growing big enough to wrap himself around the whole universe and of having the universe within him so that all he had to do was to think inward and he was immediately in contact with the whole of the Cosmic Mind and the Cosmic Consciousness. Both of these methods will help wonderfully in making the right contact.
By turning the thinking mind or outer mind inward toward the heart as though it were the center of the universe, and as though the spiritual kingdom and God-consciousness were surrounding the heart in the center of the body, the best results were obtained. And in thinking this way while sitting in concentration, the first thing that happens is the loss of all consciousness of the outer body and the world around us. Minutes pass very rapidly when a person sits in such a concentration and all that we are conscious of is the fact that we are within ourselves, and in touch with a great cosmic power of some kind. During such concentration, the mind seems to contact all places of the universe and countless personalities. Such contacts with the consciousness within are very successful when one is trying to get information from the Cosmic and inspiration or an answer to the great question.
In many of my own experiences and those of others who have talked the matter over with me—the answers to the questions have come quickly and easily, and it always seems as though suddenly a voice in the center of one’s body begins to speak or tell something in a strange way. Once is sure that it must be correct because it comes from the center of himself and is always unconnected with anything of the outer material world. And I would recommend, therefore, that each of you try this experiment in connection with your concentration periods; try and get just into your own mind that the Cosmic Consciousness within you is just as complete as the Cosmic Consciousness throughout the whole space of the universe and that the consciousness in you is not separated in any way from the consciousness in every other human being.