Today we take a quick look at some guidance from early 20th century New Thought teacher H.B. Jeffery on the path to enlightenment, that is, in the direction of our spiritual evolution.
Who was Jeffery? He was a popular author and teacher who studied with Thomas Troward and Emma Curtis Hopkins and others. He wrote a number of books, the most popular one being The Principles of Healing published in 1939. I originally encountered this book as it was at that time many years ago required reading for one of my classes to become a Religious Science Practitioner. You can find out more about Jeffery on our resource page here.
What I would like to do here is to offer a few passages from The Principles of Healing and relate them in our awareness to some ideas on our “becoming enlightened” or our steps upon our “spiritual evolutionary journey”.
As a lead in, I do want to mention that I have been talking and writing a lot lately about our living in 2 worlds….the world of matter and the world of spirit….and stressing that we not look at these as 2 separate and distinct realms but that they exist in a unity along a “sliding scale” that we can move up and down along in our consciousness. And, in fact, we all do move along this scale all the time as we move about our day. Some moments we are at the bottom of the scale as we are stuck in fears and doubts about the goings on in our physical life, seeing ourselves as only material human beings. Then in other moments, we shift our consciousness….and we lift our vibratory state moving up the scale as we are more experiencing ourselves as some transcendent spiritual beings….and as we focus on our thoughts and the non-material realm. It’s like moving up and down the radio spectrum in our minds.
If you want to anchor that into your awareness a bit more, this recent blog article has a visualization about half way down in it that you can use to sense this better.
Now, having said that, let’s get back to Jeffery.
Let’s begin with a quote:
“We speak of material law, but when we do so we must remember that there is no such thing. So-called matter and material law are merely man’s surface judgment of things as they appear. Man has erred in his discernment, and therefore in his judgment.”
Here as Jeffery references “material law”, he is obviously talking about our focus on determining the rules in place on how physical things interact. This is the “relative world”, the realm of matter, the “lower” end of the spectrum. When he says there “is no such thing”, he is pointing out the same thing that Ernest Holmes was in a recent article posted here. This is not to say that the material realm is an illusion or not “real”. It is not the “true thing”. What we experience as physical “stuff” is simply an experience of “form” which is a sort of spiritual essence that has temporarily taken on a “hardened” shape for us to experience in relation to ourselves. It is “real” in this temporary form world, but at the level of Truth or Spirit is not real. It is not a real “thing”.
Continuing, Jeffery says:
“Science is now rapidly coming to this conclusion, at least in theory; for the more farseeing of our modern scientists are saying that our universe is a spiritual universe, and that there is no such thing as matter. They are already trying to prove to the world that so-called matter and spirit are one. When these advanced physicists have delved deep enough, they will find it to be true scientifically that there are not, and never were, two substances. And, when they are fully convinced that there is only one substance, they will perceive that this one substance is not material, but spiritual —of the Spirit.”
Later, Jeffery adds:
“Man is governed by God, Who is Spirit. Therefore, whatever he may think to the contrary, he is not subject to material conditions, but can rise above them by his knowledge of the Divine Law of the Spirit. As man perceives and understands the truth of Being, he ascends to that high level of consciousness wherein he can feel the Oneness and Allness of God, and see that there is no other being but God.”
Here Jeffery is pointing out that most of us may buy into the physical world as our “real reality” but it’s not. After all, the world that our senses present to us each day can be quite captivating and hard to ignore.
However, somehow, some way, we need to break free from our addiction to the world of form. Yes, as human beings, we need to live in the world of “stuff” and navigate through it effectively. It would be silly and fruitless to try to live as if the physical world were an illusion we could ignore. But we don’t have to buy into it as being “all there is”. Something inside us of knows that there is more. The very fact that you can think…that you are reading these words and have awareness of what I am talking about…..that you can imagine a reality beyond what is in front of you materially….all of this inner awareness is evidence of a realm beyond the material. The key is to shift our focus more each day to seeing the evidence of and the primary nature of this deeper aspect of our reality.
Back to our “sliding scale” we might consider that we are called to move “upward” from focusing on the world of form with all of its separation and competition to the world of Spirit where we sense at a greater level the interconnected unity of all and the desire to create the greatest life for this “Oneness”. This movement up this scale is ultimate “spiritual path”. The more that we move up this scale, the more we are becoming “enlightened”.
“There is nothing that can quicken the perception of the mind so much as to know one’s relation to the Source, to know that God is the Source, to know that God is Life, that God is Spirit, that God is Love. It makes the mind brilliant. It quickens the intellectual faculties and gives them a new incisiveness, a new sensitiveness, a new power of penetration and comprehension, so that these faculties become illumined and enabled to discern the Truth. The mind will be very quick to recognize things which it had looked upon before but has not seen. A new world will open up to our divinely quickened mind, right where we stand.”
So enlightenment is ultimately a shift of perception, a shift of consciousness. Enlightenment is right where we are right now. We just have to train ourselves to see it and know it.
I know that early in my life I bought into a vision that enlightenment came via my performing certain specific “spiritual practices”….sitting a certain way for so long each day…..meditating in a certain way…..and all I had to do was follow what these “enlightened” people told me and I would become enlightened. Well, I’m glad that it worked for them but I have come to realize that even though it did work for them that may not be the path for everyone.
Each of us is a unique expression of the One. Why would all of us have only the one way to remember the truth of our being? Seems very limiting of Spirit, if you ask me. I would think that Spirit would create an infinite number of ways for its infinite number of expressions to remember their source.
As Krishnamurti so famously stated, “’Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophical knowledge or psychological technique.”
There are as many paths are as there are expressions of the One. Each of us is uniquely finding our way to Truth. But the Truth we are seeking is that within us that is doing to seeking. That urge to “know” that we feel is one aspect of our experience of the Divine as the Divine nudges us on back home.
Enlightenment is not a static goal; it is a dynamic and ever evolving awareness. It is not a place that you “arrive”, it is a state of ever becoming. One may have deep experiences that serve as major leaps in our knowingness of Oneness, but most of our growth is in small steady actions that move our focus more each day from the world of matter to the world of Spirit. That growth, no matter the path we take, is what enlightenment is all about.
Ps. Would love to hear from you via comments below!