IT'S A MATTER OF HONOR
A man who was pretty well known to be a hypocrite once said to Mark Twain, "Before I die, I intend to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, climb to the very top of Mount Sinai, and read the Ten Commandments out loud."
It is said that Mark Twain replied, "I've got a better idea. Instead of climbing to the top of Mt. Sinai and reading the Ten Commandments out loud, why don't you just stay right where you are and keep them!"
This month, we are exploring the blessings gained when we stay right where we are and keep the Ten Commandments -- remember, they are not really COMMANDMENTS, but GUIDELINES, INVITATIONS to live richer and more meaningful lives.
They provide us with a roadmap for living in harmony with Universal Good. They help us tap into our inner guidance system.
Eric Butterworth in a talk about Extra Senses said: "We should be on the quest for insight and understanding, but we need a guide and a compass. And the guide and the compass, much as we've deluded ourselves that it is some outer thing, cannot be a holy book or a holy person or a great master or a psychic or some performer or extrasensory feats, exciting as these things can be. The only adequate guide or compass is what Jesus refers to as, "The Holy Spirit within which shall reveal to you all the truth."a Infinite intelligence specializing itself in us and as us in an inward realization."b
As those of you who have been with us all month know, we are taking two commandments per week. Let's see, this is the third week of the month, so if my math is correct, that must mean that we've done four commandments so far.
Today we turn to Commandments 5 and 6, and today's talk is called "It's a Matter of Honor," which should give you a pretty good clue as to at least one of them. It's the one that has been given as the "next commandment" every time I have asked. So what is it?
Honor thy father and thy mother.
And the second one we will explore today is also about honoring -- honoring all life. It is . . .
Thou shalt not kill.
And as with every "commandment" we've explored thus far, and everyone we have yet to explore, there is the obvious, surface meaning of the commandment, and then there is at least one layer of deeper, metaphysical meaning. Last week, you'll remember, we likened the two commandments we explored to a rich 3-layer chocolate cake, with each layer getting yummier as we got to it.
Today's cake is the same -- three-layered, and yummier the deeper we go!
THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
1. The Fifth Commandment, Exodus 20:12: "Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you."c
1st Layer of Meaning
The surface meaning is obvious. And, the surface meaning is pretty easy to follow . . . that is IF you had an Ozzie and Harriet family. Did I just date myself? How many of you don't know who Ozzie and Harriet are?
However, I'm not sure many of us had that.
The challenge posed by the Fifth commandment is how do you connect with that Divine Spark when the relationship has been or still is destructive or less than supportive.
Here is a two-part suggestion for doing what you can to remember the Divine Spark:
In the first part, sit down and write a letter (or talk into a tape recorder) and say exactly what you resent or dislike about the way your parents treated you. Describe exactly what occurred from your point of view, and don't be shy about detailing precisely how you felt when your parent did something (or failed to do something) that left a painful scar in your psyche.
Take your time, be totally honest, and most of all recognize that you are doing this not to get back at your parents, but to let go of the bitterness you've been keeping inside for too long. Be gentle with yourself, and make sure you give yourself time to relax and recover after doing this first part of the exercise.
Don't send this letter or tape to your parents -- it is not for their benefit; it is for yours.
Then tear it up and throw it away where it won't be found by anyone. You may want to ceremoniously burn it. Tremendous release and healing can result from this first part of the process.
For the second part, look at a photograph of your parent as a young child or imagine your parent as a young child if you are unable to locate an old photo.
With this image of your parent as a young person in mind, start a conversation with the young soul of your mother or father. Talk to the vulnerable, curious, loving person they were long before you were born. Ask this gentle soul what her/his hopes and fears are.
Ask this fragile human being what it was like growing up when he did, with the parents (your grandparents) he had, and with the influences and pressures that made your parent into the adult you saw years later when you entered the world.
As you talk to the photo or imagined likeness of your parent as a young child, begin to sense a warm heart connection to this person's innermost being and begin to appreciate this tender soul's unique life path.
Even if you have spent years in conflict with your parents' adult personalities and habits, you can still go deeper to the soul level and see their vulnerable essence, the wounded spirit that possibly got covered up all these years with layers of defenses and traits . . . . See if you can find your way to a deeper sense of relating to your parent not as a powerful adult, but as a fragile and lovable child.
So honor your parents - through this process if necessary, and you will have taken a great step toward greater aliveness in your life today.
2nd Layer of Meaning
But that is the surface layer of the Commandment. Underneath it is instruction in divine metaphysics and prayer.
Deeper meaning: In the Bible, Mother symbolizes our feeling nature and Father symbolizes our knowledge nature. The secret of successful prayer is to have true knowledge (honor thy Father), fortified by deep feeling (honor thy Mother).
In How I Used Truth, H Emilie Cady writes: "Conscious oneness with the Father means that we are able to feel - not merely think about - the Christ or God presence within, the "Father" of our human consciousness. With the revelation of God as imminent in us, we come to know with deep feeling that our true nature is one with and the same as the God nature"d
What is true knowledge? God is the One and Only Power in the Universe. And this power is Good, this power is Love, this power is Abundance. This power is Harmony. This power is Order and Peace and Joy.
From Lessons in Truth, H Emilie Cady writes: "There is only one power in the universe, the power of God, Absolute Good."e
Knowledge relates to our thoughts; feeling relates to the conviction, the passion behind the thought.
Fortunately for some of us, not every thought we think will be demonstrated. Whew! However, neither will very much happen for your good if you say mechanically, "God is all."
It is every thought you feel that counts! Only those thoughts are demonstrated that are felt strongly. When you pray, if you feel it strongly, that prayer will be demonstrated, and all the obstacles in the world could not stop it.
On the other hand, if you think a thought or pray without feeling it, it is gone with the wind, and is heard of no more.
There must be the "father" and the "mother" -- the knowledge and the feeling. The offspring is the demonstration or the healing.
You can learn Truth, the Father side, very quickly, but the training of the feeling, the Mother side, can prove to be a little more challenging for some. Often, we have one side more developed than the other. Which is more developed in you? You don't need to have a perfect balance, but they must both be represented.
3rd Layer of Meaning
Get the feeling that that which you are praying for IS ALREADY DONE!
In The Mental Equivalent Emmet Fox writes: "In the building up of thought the two poles are clarity of thought and warmth of feeling; the knowledge and the feeling. Ninety-nine times in a hundred the reason why metaphysical students do not demonstrate is that they lack the feeling in their treatments. They speak the Truth, oh, yes! "I am divine Spirit. I am one with God." But they do not feel it. The second pole is missing."f
One of my favorite illustrations of this is from Greg Braden's book, The Isaiah Effect, the Shaman who goes into a meadow to pray for rain and tells Braden "I felt the mud between my toes." Now that's honoring the Father and the Mother!
I am working with a new affirmation: I know that I know that I know that God is Good all the time!
THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT
2. The Sixth Commandment "Thou shalt not kill."g (Exodus 20:13)
1st Layer of Meaning
2nd Layer of Meaning
This commandment has a deeper meaning than the commandment not to take a life. According to one of the most definitive guides to biblical Hebrew, The Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, this commandment has as its root a word that can be translated as: "Don't murder or slay another person or yourself."h
But it could also be translated to say: Don't break, bruise, or crush, which can mean don't break the will of someone or crush his or her spirit.
When we try to observe these more subtle, deeper meanings of the Sixth Commandment, not to shatter or bruise the spirit of people with whom we deal every day, it becomes far more of a daily challenge.
Even if you could never imagine yourself murdering someone else, you probably can imagine being in a situation in which you are tempted to berate, emotionally crush, or say something disrespectful to someone who's gotten on your nerves. You may have had moments when you accidentally or inadvertently treated someone badly and it wounded his or her spirit for quite a while.
Or you may have found that your own harsh self-criticism or sense of perfection has deadened your own spirit at times.
Here is the core essence of the Sixth Commandment: Do no harm or cause injury to someone's spirit, including your own.
Our perhaps said in the reverse: Do honor the Divinity in others and in yourself.
Doesn't this commandment put us on notice that we live together as one human family and that we need to watch out for one another? It gives us pause to think about ways to prevent the bruising, crushing and battering that occurs in a large number of families, work settings and social situations.
3rd Layer of Meaning
The meaning of this "commandment" goes deeper than this, though. Emmet Fox in his book The Ten Commandments: The Master Key to Life wrote: "I have said three or four times that the Commandments are to be taken at their face value and that they are binding as such, but that is only the beginning. As rules of conduct, the Commandments are "Thou shalt nots" just as you see written. But when you get behind the surface meaning, then "Thou shalt not" becomes "Thou canst not." So this Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," is really and fundamentally an expression of the cosmic law that you cannot be killed, and the sooner you find that out the better."i
In Mysteries of Genesis Charles Fillmore wrote: "The mark set upon Cain to prevent his being slain is man's consciousness of his divine origin. No matter how deep the body ego may be in transgressions, it still bears the stamp of God and can never be killed out entirely. We cannot kill life, for it is eternal."j
Nothing can be destroyed from the OUTSIDE! How many of us waste our lives in thinking how we are being hurt, or damaged or injured by other people; how we are kept back because other people are against us, how good we could be, and the marvelous things we could do, if it were not for others. It is a kind of self-drugging. So long as we believe that, we get nowhere. We cannot progress.
As soon as we know that nobody can hurt us, we are free to overtake any mistakes, and to be and do the thing we want.
You know that if you murder a man, you do not kill him. He is as much alive as ever. Life goes on, and it is for us to see that not only does that life go on through us but that it goes on through us unimpeded.
I would like to end with a Meditation on death:
So just relax and concentrate on your breath and relax in your seat where you are and let these be your words to yourself
"I shall never die, for the Spirit within me is God and cannot change.
My life is hid within the Universe of Love and Light, and that Light shall live forever.
Go, fear of death and change; be gone from my thought, fear of death and uncertainty.
That which is cannot become that which is not; and that which I am can never change.
The Spirit of Eternity is enthroned within me, and the Life of Endless Ages flows through my being. From Eternity to Eternity my Life flows along the way of peace and harmony.
Time brings but more glory to crown me with its pleasure."
Let us, this morning, open our eyes to these words. Open our hearts to their truth. Find in these words the key to a richer, fuller, more meaningful life.
bEric Butterworth Extra Senses
dHow I Used Truth H Emilie Cady pg 106
eLessons in Truth H Emilie Cady
fThe Mental Equivalent Emmet Fox
hThe Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament
iEmmet Fox The Ten Commandments: The Master Key to Life
jMysteries of Genesis Charles Fillmore