There was a time - when I attained inner peace - when I died, utterly died to myself. I have since renounced my previous identity. I can see not reason to dwell upon my past, it is dead and should not be resurrected. Don't inquire of me - ask me about my message. It is not important to remember the messenger, just remember the message.
Concealed in every new situation we face is a spiritual lesson to be learned and a spiritual blessing for us if we learn that lesson. It is good to be tested. We grow and learn through passing tests. I look upon all my tests as good experiences. Before I was tested, I believed I would act in a loving or non-fearing way. After I was tested, I knew! Every test turned out to be an uplifting experience. And it is not important that the outcome be according to our wishes.
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If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a defeatist or negative thought. Since we create through thought, we need to concentrate very strongly on positive thoughts. If you think you can't do something, you can't. But if you think you can, you may be surprised to discover that you can. It is important that our thoughts be constantly for the best that could happen in a situation - for the good things we would like to see happen.
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Religion is not an end in itself. One's union with God is the ultimate goal. There are so many religions because immature people tend to emphasize trivial differences instead of important likenesses. Differences between faiths lie in creeds and rituals rather than in religious principles....
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Who am I? It matters not that you know who I am; it is of little importance. This clay garment is one of a penniless pilgrim journeying in the name of peace. It is what you cannot see that is so very important. I am one who is propelled by the power of faith; I bathe in the light of eternal wisdom; I am sustained by the unending energy of the universe; this is who I really am.
Implanting spiritual ideas in children is very important. Many people live their entire lives according to the concepts that are implanted in them in childhood. When children learn they will get the most attention and love through doing constructive things, they will tend to stop doing destructive things. Most important of all, remember that children learn through example. No matter what you say it is what you do that will have an influence on them.
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Just as a human soul that faces great difficulties also faces great opportunities for spiritual growth, so a human society that faces destruction also faces the opportunity to enter a period of renaissance. I think that, barring an accident, the wish to survive will keep us from a nuclear war.
For those of you who are seeing the spiritual life, I recommend these four daily practices: Spend time alone each day in receptive silence. When angry, or afflicted with any negative emotion, take time to be alone with God. (Do not talk with people who are angry; they are irrational and cannot be reasoned with. If you or they are angry, it is best to leave and pray.) Visualize God's light each day and send it to someone who needs help. Exercise the body, it is the temple of the soul.
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Those who have overcome self-will and become instruments to do God's work can accomplish tasks which are seemingly impossible, but they experience no feeling of self achievement. I now know myself to be a part of the infinite cosmos, not separate from other souls or God. My illusory self is dead; the real self controls the garment of clay and uses it for God's work.
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There is within the hearts of people a deep desire for peace on earth, and they would speak for peace if they were not bound by apathy, by ignorance, by fear. It is the job of the peacemakers to inspire them from their apathy, to dispel their ignorance with truth, to allay their fear with faith that God's laws work - and work for good.
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When I started out on my pilgrimage, I was using walking for two purposes at that time. One was to contact people, and I still use it for that purpose today. But the other was as a prayer discipline. To keep me concentrated on my prayer for peace. And after a few years I discovered something. I discovered that I no longer needed the prayer discipline. I pray without ceasing now. My personal prayer is: Make me an instrument through which only truth can speak.
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Any praise I receive does not change me, for I pass it right along to God. I walk because God gives me strength to walk, I live because God gives me the supply to live, I speak because God gives me the words to speak. All I did was to surrender my will to God's will. My entire life has prepared me for this undertaking. This is my calling. This is my vocation. This is what I must be doing. I could not be happy doing anything else.
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I define democracy as control by the people. Slaves are those who allow others to control their lives. Insofar as people succeed in solving their problems fairly and efficiently at a grassroots level, they retain control over their lives. Insofar as they delegate their problem solving to a higher authority, they lose control over their lives.
The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one's life. For me this began with a discovery of the meaninglessness of possessions beyond my actual and immediate needs. As soon as I had brought myself down to need level, I began to feel a wonderful harmony in my life between inner and outer well-being, between spiritual and material well-being.
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Just after I dedicated my life to service, I felt that I could no longer accept more than I need while others in the world have less than they need. This moved me to bring my life down to need level. I thought it would be difficult. I thought it would entail a great many hardships, but I was quite wrong. Instead of hardships, I found a wonderful sense of peace and joy, and a conviction that unnecessary possessions are only unnecessary burdens.
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When you have done the spiritual growing up you realize that every human being is of equal importance, has work to do in this world, and has equal potential. We are in many varied stages of growth; this is true because we have free will. You have free will as to whether you will finish the mental and emotional growing up. Many choose not to.
The spiritual life is the real life; all else is illusion and deception. Only those who are attached to God alone are truly free. Only those who live up to the highest light live in harmony. All who act upon their highest motivations become a power for good. It is not important that others be noticeably affected: results should never be sought or desired. Know that every right thing you do - every good word you say - every positive thought you think - has good effect.
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As I accepted the change of the golden hair of my childhood to the reddish-brown hair of my youth without regret, so I also accept my silver hair-and I am ready to accept the time when my hair and the rest of my clay garment returns to the dust from which it came, while my spirit goes on to freer living. It is the season for my hair to be silver, and each season has its lessons to teach. Each season of life is wonderful if you have learned the lessons of the season before. It is only when you go on with lessons unlearned that you wish for a return.
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Some people seem to think that my life dedicated to simplicity and service is austere and joyless, but they do not know the freedom of simplicity. I am thankful to God every moment of my life for the great riches that have been showered upon me. My life is full and good but never overcrowded. If life is overcrowded then you are doing more than is required for you to do.
I talk to groups studying the most advanced spiritual teachings and sometimes these people wonder why nothing is happening in their lives. Their motive is the attainment of inner peace for themselves - which of course is a selfish motive. You will not find it with this motive. The motive, if you are to find inner peace, must be an outgoing motive. Service, of course, service. Giving, not getting. Your motive must be good if your work is to have good effect. The secret of life is being of service.
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We can work on inner peace and world peace at the same time. On one hand, people have found inner peace by losing themselves in a cause larger than themselves, like the cause of world peace, because finding inner peace means coming from the self-centered life into the life centered in the good of the whole. On the other hand, one of the ways of working for world peace is to work for more inner peace, because world peace will never be stable until enough of us find inner peace to stabilize it.
We must walk according to the highest light we have, encountering lovingly those who are out of harmony, and trying to inspire them toward a better way. Whenever you bring harmony into any unpeaceful situation, you contribute to the cause of peace. When you do something for world peace, peace among groups, peace among individuals, or your own inner peace, you improve the total peace picture.