Dear Friends, One of the first lessons we’re taught in spiritual training is Concentration. “Let thine eye be single, and thy body will be filled with Light”
Having a single eye focused on our elder Brother, the Master Jesus, we learn discernment of what the person next to us is all about–the essence or Being, of this soul. That is really the basis on a real relationship and what being a “brother” in the universal sense, is all about.
Being a friend is all about seeing the essence of a person, the center, rather than the cloak that the individual puts on, and supporting that which is real and true. Mother Ruth writes about how God views each of us in Pondering:
I wonder if God sees us, not with arms and legs, but as an essence – which is basically how we react to others once we have gotten past the initial impression based on outer appearance. One feels something about a person which has nothing to do with the external, but a reaction to some essential quality of the inner being. What if persons were reduced to a simple expression? What would I look like as a flower, if all that I am were compressed into that? What would I sound like if my soul’s essence were reduced to music – a different song, a different flower for every soul?
Rev Mary Anderson
From Father Paul
Brotherhood Lesson from April, 1970
Man, for a long time, and always, has sought friendship. The word “amour” is that of love. Love is certainly the prime mover in contacting mutual affection, mutual relationship. But, in this Order, we seek first the kingdom of God. In so doing, we will find that it is much easier not to be critical of the other fellow, our brother.
Even in the everyday life of man in the social world or what we call the outside world, as far as the material advantages are concerned, it often happens that those who are obtaining more friends and are courted more by people, are those whom are interested and motivated by a common cause.
Thus it is in the brotherhood of the Holy Order of Mans, we seek first the Center – of God. Those brothers around us are also seeking the same. Here we have a friendship which is a fraternal friendship in the fact that we are dedicated; most of us have taken on the nature and admit to the fact that we are seeking to serve the Great One and the Master of this Order, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, we gather that the friendship springs up between us from a natural impulse rather than a wish. And so it is eventually, as we move along and become more central minded, with our eye single (that which our Master spoke of); we then look upon the other fellow wondering what we can do for him.
Out of this comes one of the things which is most difficult for the Teacher. For as the student learns a little information he seeks to relate it to another, perfectly innocent of any need to correct himself. But his relations and his relating are not always the best for the other fellow.
This is from an inclination of the heart – a love for the other man, and a love for what he has learned and wishes to show; combined by a certain instinctive feeling of love rather than a deliberate calculating of the material world. We have sort of shed this world now.
This strength of feeling and the noticing of other human beings, other living things, become sharpened as we go along the trail. We become more conscious of life, the unending march and movements of life.
When our brother often shows us such love, it is a sort of love that we might almost expect from a blood brother. At certain periods he shows it; sometimes he doesn’t. These are the varying periods of change, correction, and the reaching of new levels of consciousness and understanding as he gives up the past, as he gives up the world outside, as he seeks a greater love – the love of God, the love of Jesus Christ – that he may be so beloved by Him. He doesn’t really know why yet. He hasn’t sensed or seen the Master. He doesn’t see God. This is too big. but, he still seeks to have favor that he may clearly share in this neutral, instinctive affection of a Christian following the path, one with another.
…It is almost as if we felt sometimes that we were talking to another child and were their parents occasionally; especially to a neophyte just coming in or one seeking entrance. This is not always an ego thing; it is not always an ulterior thing or aspect. But there is a certain passion to share what we have learned, the strength we have attained, feel, and find a little more of each day–even though there is a little ego there.
Some people by character of nature have greater sympathy, greater emotion. They think they perceive in the other fellow a strength, something like a beacon light of virtue, so to speak, in another’s action. For there is nothing so inspiring as the attention of another person. There is no conciliation between people that will bring about greater sense of living being. In a certain sense, we may be said to feel an affection for those we have never seen, owing to their honesty and virtue. ..
Some come in, for instance, frail of body and ill of mind. But this does not seem to make a difference here. There is an everlasting bond. It seems as if it were passed to us from the past ages of many other orders which had been before.
Then we come across the words in our studies of Light, Life and Love, symbolized by the Egyptian characters of the ancient temples. We use them today. They are characteristic of the Christos. At first, they seem to represent the three great principles in the universe.
A little study of them will reveal that there is something more, and yet, they are one. There is a unity about them that is striking. Somehow we sense through our consciousness that through the light comes life, before physical manifestation comes into view. We see it from a scientific standpoint, or from a metaphysical standpoint, that from light comes the life, and then love. For there is action here. One is to give to the other. this holds true even if we reverse the order and say that love begets life and light.
In the Holy Order of Mans, this formula means that first of all we must come into the light if we would have life – that the whole body will become alive. When we say life, we do not mean mere animation. We mean the real life, the immortal life, the eternal life, sole existence – the moving and presence of the Spirit.
We do not know eternal life while dwelling in darkness, ignorance, superstition, skepticism, fear, hatred and intolerance. These are all curtains which draw and close out the Light. The Light of knowledge, the Light of God, the Light of understanding, the Light which gives eternal life, the real Light. When one has such light and life, one has great love; great power of the Universe within him. For love with love- God’s love- is the supreme love, and man’s love for God is the reflection of that love.
Man’s love for mankind is the principle of divine love made active and manifest through the activities of the brotherhood. To be a brother means to have love dominating all our thinking; that ever reaching out, that ever trying to serve, that ever trying to do: we live. Even when we lose sight of all other laws, forgetting man-made laws, forgetting business principles, material thinking and common practices–we give way to the impulse that says God is love, love is the Law. Therefore, be merciful, be tolerant, and be forgiving, even to the sacrificing of some of our own best feelings, and especially, our most dressed-up ego.
This is the spirit that I know will animate all our disciples in this Order. It means being considerate, even too generous at times. It means sacrificing much of our time. It means giving when we feel like receiving. But it has its rewards, and those rewards are the function of the Law in action.
If we look close, we will find living symbols. They are there. And so were they also in the ancient times of the Pharaohs, kings of Egypt, whose celebrated persons appear in the hieroglyphs and characters on the old walls of the tombs and temples. In ancient times, these scripts, forms and symbols were made into seals of many kinds in the manner by which we use business calling cards or trademarks.
This particular seal is of a pharaoh, who formed the Councils Twelve, from which the nucleus, so tradition informs us, our Order originally sprang, about 1489 B.C. The hieroglyphic sides in the ovular signature literally translated means, “Man, the ancient man; the keeper of the Order and the Word; the protector of the Ancient Law.”
This as our mind is busy working with our problems while we are moving up in vibration, moving up to greater levels of consciousness and higher levels of consciousness, we are also conscious of the great reality – we have a brother.
Our brother is always around, whether we are in San Francisco, Chicago, or wherever. We have a brother in the field, who is going out front doing the front-line work. We have a brother whom we do not care for in some of the things he does, but we do care for him in reality. We know his dedication is the greatest of all principles and that he is seeking to become that of which we have written and pictured.
So let the whole of our being become a brother – a brother to you, a brother to me, and a brother to our Lord Jesus Christ. This we ask in His name, and in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Many years ago, I had an unexpected encounter that introduced me to the power of sound. It happened in December of 1959, when I was 17 and midway through a year’s study abroad with a traveling school called the International School of America. That month my classmates and I were in Calcutta, India. On the night of the full moon, a friend and I walked to the banks of the Hooghly River, where we came upon a small Hindu temple. An old sadhu with a long beard–the caretaker of the temple–suddenly emerged from the shadows and put his hand on my shoulder. Then he made the most amazing sound I had ever heard. When he finished, he explained that this was the sacred sound aum, which, he said, encompasses all sounds in the universe and is a healing vibration. I remember that the night was very still and clear, and the moonlight shone radiantly on the man’s face. When I closed my eyes I could still feel the vibration from the sound he had made…
Cultures around the world have long recognized the power of sound and music. Ancient Egyptian documents prescribed incantations for physicians to intone to the sick. In African religions, drumming is a highly developed art that can produce trance, sexual excitement, spirit possession, or even loss of consciousness. I was once quite stirred by Indonesian gamelan music (played on gongs and other percussion instruments): A concert I attended included a traditional piece for rousing warriors to battle, and by the end I felt such an adrenaline rush I was ready to fight.
Why do sound and music have such a strong effect on us? One answer has to do with a process called entrainment, whereby various bodily processes–respiration, heart rate, and brainwaves–synchronize with the frequencies of what we hear. For example, a stroll along the beach becomes deeply relaxing as body rhythms entrain to the lulling sound of the ocean’s waves. The concept of entrainment is important to music therapists and sound researchers, who experiment with rhythmic and tonal combinations to find those that best induce states conductive to healing…
In 1996, the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care published an analysis of numerous reports linking music to the alleviation of pain. some studies suggest that listening to music you find enjoyable may facilitate an increase in endorphins, the body’s natural pain reducing hormones…Rhythmic auditory stimulation has also been used successfully to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease. In one compelling anecdote, noted neurologist Oliver Sacks, M.D., tells of a Parkinson’s patient named Rosalie who remained transfixed and motionless most of each day–except when she played the piano, at which time all signs of the disease disappeared…Researchers suggest that singing long-familiar tunes may be an effective way for caregivers and family to engage with Alzheimer’s patients.
-excerpts from Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter, Feb 1998
Music is a miniature of the harmony of the whole universe, for the harmony of the universe is life itself, and humans, being a miniature of the universe, show harmonious and inharmonious chords in their pulsations, in the beat of their hearts, in their vibration, rhythm and tone. Their health or illness, their joy or discomfort, all show the music or lack of music in their life.
And what does music teach us? Music helps us to train ourselves in harmony, and it is this which is the magic or the secret behind music. When you hear music that you enjoy, it tunes you and puts you in harmony with life. Therefore we need music; we long for music. Many say that they do not care for music, but these have not heard music. If they really heard music; it would touch their souls, and then certainly they could not help loving it. If not, it would only mean that they had not heard music sufficiently, and had not made their heart calm and quiet in order to listen to it, and to enjoy and appreciate it. Besides music develops that faculty by which one learns to appreciate all that is good and beautiful in the form of art and science, and in the form of music and poetry one can then appreciate every aspect of beauty.
What deprives us of all the beauty around us is his heaviness of body or heaviness of heart. We are pulled down to earth, and by that everything becomes limited; but when we shake off that heaviness and joy comes, we feel light. All good tendencies such as gentleness and tolerance, forgiveness, love and appreciation, all these beautiful qualities come by being light; light in the mind, in the soul, and in the body.
What is wonderful about music is that it helps us to concentrate or mediate independently of thought – and therefore music seems to be the bridge over the gulf between form and the formless. If there is anything intelligent, effective and at the same time formless, it is music. Poetry suggests form, line and colour suggest form, but music suggests no form. It creates also that resonance which vibrates through the whole being, lifting the thought above the denseness of matter; it almost turns matter into spirit, into its original condition, through the harmony of vibrations touching every atom of one’s whole being.
Beauty of line and colour can go so far and no further; the joy of fragrance can go a little further; but music touches our innermost being and in that way produces new life, a life that gives exaltation to the whole being, raising it to that perfection in which lies the fulfillment of our life.
-Hazrat Inayat Khan
Symbolism is a universal language which communicates directly to the inner self. It is a picture of some aspect of universal order which, through its accuracy, teaches us. Symbols are alive; they are the forms in which energy moves along the paths of life.
They are a universal language of the spirit through which we may communicate things beyond the power of words. To understand symbols, one must perceive the reality behind them, through experience, as this is the essence of all symbols.
Feeling the Earth Beneath your Feet
Walking on the green grass, beach, or in the dirt barefoot on a sunny day is a delightful, refreshing joy that brings back childhood memories. Now science is all on board with the health benefits of going barefoot, and the practice is called “Grounding” or “Earthing” The sense of energy, life and well-being rise up from being in direct contact with the earth–or, reconnecting with the healing energy that flows from the earth. Whether it be dirt, grass, sand or concrete (especially when humid or wet) walking barefoot is proven to boost energy, enhance your immune system, promote faster healing and reduce stress. Our bodies are designed with conductive systems that deliver electrons from your feet to all the other parts of your body. When you walk on the electron enriched earth, you are allowing your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to balance. This happens through the transfer of negatively charged electrons from the surface of the earth into your body. In the body these negatively charged electrons neutralize free radicals that are positively charged. As we know, free radicals are directly involved in chronic inflammation. The Earth provides the negative charge and subtle electrical fields required by the body for proper functioning of our immune system, circulation systems, biorhythm synchronization, stress reduction and many other physiological processes.
Father Paul used to talk of wearing leather-soled shoes–leather naturally conducts electrons and so maintains a conductive contact between your feet and the earth. Grounding actually decreases your exposure to potentially disruptive electromagnetic fields, which in our modern world are practically everywhere. May your soles get grounded on our mother earth today!
O Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the real and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice
Make me wise, so that I may know the things you have taught my people, the lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock