The Keys to the Kingdom

By Edna Lister

I. Four Steps to Prepare for Ascension

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." – Matthew 16:19.

Every embodied soul must take four essential steps to prepare for ascension from the creature stage of consciousness to become a Christed One of God, a creator of miracles through the spoken Word. Thus, your goal in life on the Via Christa is to become a Christed one who lives by Oversoul's "I AM" consciousness.

"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." – John 8:58.

"God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." – Exodus 3:14.

Seekers of truth have called the Via Christa the Way of Initiation, for it represents the soul's struggle to overcome the desires of the "little self" of appetitive soul, better known as the subconscious mind. From the moment you first recognize your inheritance as a child of the kingdom to your final soul ascension into oneness with the Divine is a long and wearisome journey. You can complete this pilgrimage only by overcoming the little self through prayer and constant vigilance.

The more highly developed appetitive soul, though still living by the creature phase of instinctive intelligence, finally recognizes the Divine as a goal toward which to aspire, and takes the first step from the old creature stage of development where the urges rule — eating, sleeping and mating.

"I accept! I surrender! I arise! I ascend to "dwell in the house of the Lord forever." I now stand in the heart of the white fire of the Christ consciousness. I now stand in the Light that descends from above."

Acceptance is the first step that opens the long journey through the Land of Egypt, which represents the abdominal cavity, symbolically the domain of the soul's darkness. Egypt is a stage of bondage to the appetitive soul, with its selfish desires and misunderstanding. Little by little, appetitive soul unfolds to overcome the still creature-like phase of the child of earth, which then gives way to the Son of Man stage, in which mental development reigns supreme.

Surrender: Intellect is the ruler in surrender, the second step upward through the Son of Man stage, in which the rational soul must still "see to believe." The rational soul slowly opens to glimpses of the Promised Land, which symbolically represents the body's thoracic cavity, the heart, stomach and lungs.

People usually spend much time standing on the border between Egypt and the Promised Land, hesitating to turn back but lacking the strength of desire and will to move onward. Even after you decide to enter the Promised Land and conquer self, you may continue to wander for decades, as your flame of aspiration and inspiration flares, flickers then burns low.

The lure of the world, the "fleshpots of Egypt," still pulls you downward. You may stumble for years, sometimes grasping law clearly, at other times unable to understand the need to obey law. You conquer self when inspiration flames high, but lose ground when it flickers and almost dies. Sometimes you even turn back for a while. Yet you are always gaining strength, learning more about law and God.

You take many lesser steps during your climb through the four steps in soul ascension. Your little steps may seem not to count at the time, or to be part of the climb. Later you find that each small step has added to your understanding. Finally, your Oversoul lifts you from the little self stage of appetitive soul, from the Son of Man stage of intellect, and in sight of a beautiful goal, the Son of God stage of soul unfolding.

Arising: The third step of arising takes you through the Promised Land. Each lesson teaches some facet of love and faith while you change from only being able to "see to believe" into that serene and confident state where you "believe to see." You are now able to stand on principle and know that God will work all things together for good.

This inevitably brings you in sight of the Garden of Eden, the paradise of soul, which symbolizes the endocrine glands and nerve centers above the collar bones. Through continually giving up the little self, your soul vision grows in brilliance of clarity. Your belief in miracles becomes an expectant attitude instead of just hoping for a miracle "sometimes."

You move upward from the Son of Man stage, where intellect rules, into the Son of God stage, where you know that God rules your life and becomes your very Breath of Life. The soul demands that little self fully gives up control to become a subordinate part of the soul.

Once you experience the joy of this vision, you may never turn back to the "good old days" when the little self of appetitive soul could wander in the land of Egypt without hearing the rational soul's call to ascend. Once the little self becomes alert with the life of God, it must forever hear the call of the rational soul, and hearing, heed and obey.

Ascension: You accomplish the fourth step of ascension when you fully amalgamate the appetitive soul's identity with the rational soul, and reunite them with the Oversoul. By mating desire with will, you reach the place of Oversoul "I AM," the Christed consciousness of God. Now you may enter your own Garden of Eden, the higher creative center, the high place of intuition and illumination.

To mate desire and will, your personal desires must become one with God's desire for you, which is to be perfect. You must mate your self-centered will with His will for, which is to return to Him.

Thus, having regained paradise, the lost Garden of Eden, you may enter God's throne room. The "I AM" consciousness of the Son of God becomes part of the great "I AM THAT I AM," a part of the Source, a part of the whole. This is the only true Way of Initiation, the only true ascension of soul to become a Christed One.

I Know

I know that the Love of God can only walk softly before God.
I know that the Love of God can only speak gently before men.
I know that the Love of God must keep its own high Golden Silence before God.
I know that the Love of God must speak Wisdom before men,
under the compulsion to speak to defend Truth.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." – Matthew 7:7.

So, "in quietness and confidence shall be your strength," and I know that my knocking is but another term meaning to stand Godlike. I now stand upon the rock of unconquerable faith, releasing the love of God through my rejoicing.

I stand in my own room of Light within the golden silence of God while waiting upon Him in expectant persistence. Since "to wait" means "to serve," I know that I must keep my eyes upon the Light while I go about my outer business here below, never losing my Christed consciousness under any outer condition.

My knocking is my ability to realize always that I am forever in the Kingdom of Heaven and that there is no place on earth where I could possibly hide from it. The desire to increase the quality of my love of God and to increase the quantity of the love of God using me is my full quota of knocking.

What do I find? I find that the rewards for living this new life are truly "riches, honor and life." I find that when I have filled every corner of Heaven full with my love for God, His own promises forever impel the Father to wrap it all into one beautiful package and return it to me as the greatest desires of my heart, if only to make room in Heaven for more prayer substance!

At the end of each day's trail, I find I have made new friends, new vistas open, and I see new ways of conquering. I have found what God's Substance and Power can do when I allow them to rule my life.

Love is timeless! Love is measureless! Love is joy in action!

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II. I Accept

For the first time in my life, I truly realize what it really means to be a child of God. I understand that my whole inheritance is still awaiting me. I also see that the reason I have never collected my inheritance has nothing to do with God's desire or great plan for me.

I realize how often I have taken my place before the banker's window of heaven to collect some part of my inheritance, only to allow the outer world to distract my attention. My own doubts and fears have caused me to take time out for weeping in self-pity, long enough to lose my place at the window, sending me to the end of an even longer line. I have nothing to show for my shadow chasing.

I recognize that God must have my full cooperation if I am ever to collect my full inheritance. He has it waiting for me and has given me every law needed for cooperation with Him in collecting what is mine.

First, I shall learn to be fully steadfast in my purpose, to be unwavering in my prayers of rejoicing continuously while I stand at the banker's window of heaven, and allow nothing to turn me away. Then He will be ready to send His agents and His powers to touch earth here and there to make my desires visible to my eyes and to my touch.

I now accept that love fulfills the law. I begin to see dimly what the love of God is, and how it works as me. I am beginning to fall in love with God! I am beginning to know what is means to "love my neighbor as myself." I see that I have been loving my neighbor exactly as well as I have loved myself.

Now I use only "I AM Love" statements for myself, instead of calling innumerable old names on myself. I realize that God's love does move in and take over my heart until it swells and vibrates with the love of God for God.

My love of God, loving myself or my neighbors has nothing to do with self-love. In this state of consciousness, I forget myself completely, leaving the love of God free to possess me. When I turn to my neighbor, it is God's perfect love that pours over him to do its perfect work with no thought of "me" in it. When I hold no thought of myself to color my love for my neighbor, only harmony can reign.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." – Matthew 7:7.

I accept that I can include all prayer in ask, seek, knock, and find, which are words of stability in the practice of the love of God through rejoicing. When I hold firmly to asking, seeking, knocking and finding, I'll have no time left to listen to old thoughts.

Holding firmly to my new concept of prayer is the difference between being a weak Son of Man and a Creator of all good, who is possessed by the love of God, and is used by this Love to lift the whole world.

“Always ask to become more responsible.”

I accept that I must always ask to become more responsible, so that only the love of God shall go before me in the spirit of joy to prepare my way as a carrier of Light into dark places. I accept that great place that God, my Father, has had waiting for me since the beginning of all time. I realize that the place I now occupy is one I have busily created for myself. I now understand exactly why this place of my own creating has been so unsatisfactory to me. I know that I must climb out of it and into my rightful place by conquering and mastering every lesson that life presents to me.

I accept that I cannot hope to understand the governing laws of my own life unless I seek to translate all my earth experiences into lessons well-learned and clearly understood. Through this method only can I hope ever to know what I really want to ask for, what I must seek, what door I must knock on and what I must find.

I see that the right place to begin my seeking is where I stand now. I know that seeking does not mean running around on the outer, hunting for some perfect teacher to show me the way. I listen to everyone who is of the truth, I read and study, yes.

However, putting my faith in any teacher on the outer, expecting perfection is foolish. Teachers are only other "seekers" who are ahead of me on the Path, good folks getting better through their seeking and practice of law.

I must place all my faith in principle, as I walk with all others who seek truth. I am becoming as perfect an "ensample" of truth as I can now achieve.

To seek means to look up to the Father of all Lights, that "Light which comes down from above." When I keep my eyes trained on my goal of letting the love of God possess me, perfect love that does cast out all old fears, does absorb all past detriments of my life. Always looking to God allows me to go free, onward and upward into my own future victory and triumph. This has now become my whole aim.

I shall seek to redeem every second of wasted time, one moment at a time, seeking, asking, knocking and finding what I have left undone. I shall remember those forgotten ideals of youth that I stored in a deep freeze so many years ago, seek them out, thaw them and begin my youth again.

Although I cannot do everything at once to catch up with all this past neglect, I shall repeat my new vows concerning them. Daily I shall make strong statements about fulfilling them, knowing that God will accept this as my proof of intention, and my down payment on account with Him in this new way of life.

God will accept every prayer I make, every statement of truth and every "Father, I love You" as another payment on this account I have opened in Heaven's Bank. According to His vast promises, He will deliver miracle on miracle in return.

I have accepted, but how shall I pray by knocking? I have already learned better than to use force and dare not make demands on the law. Only by "letting" can I live by the full love of God. I cannot gain anything by pounding at any door, either of earth or of heaven.

Law is already perfect. I cannot make it more so. It already is! Love that does fulfill the law is gentle and soft-spoken. What, then, shall I do about knocking?

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III. I Surrender!

I now surrender to be possessed by the full Power of the living God. I now surrender to become the servant of all the Power, all the glory, all the wisdom, all the love, all the beauty and all the compassion that I can release through prayer, sent forth on wings of rejoicing!

I surrender every old thought, shabby, vain imagining, every old feeling, to make room so that the perfect love of God may use me. I constantly surrender my mind for "that Mind that was also in Christ Jesus" to fill it. I surrender my heart to divine compassion, to use as an instrument for all of God's Creation.

The faith of God leads my ancient captivity captive as I surrender the old to be absorbed into love of God. The bonds of love now hold me tightly. Love severs my captivity to little self and the old less-good desires. I am free forever. The only freedom in the world is to be free from bondage to the lesser self, to be led captive by the higher soul. The faith of God is my foundation on earth, and my anchor in heaven.

It has taken me so long to reach this point of surrender and to achieve this unconquerable faith of God because I became so involved in earthly affairs as I moved up from bondage in the land of Egypt, through the Promised Land, and into my own Garden of Eden. At last, no angel with a flaming sword stands at the Gates to bar me, because the love of God has banished all barriers above and below.

Through surrender, I have learned what sacrifice of self can mean in rewards of success in my daily life. Surrender of self makes room for enough of the love of God to move through me to fill all my molds. Through surrender of the little self, I have learned what compassion toward everyone means for me.

Since charity begins at home, I began my practice of compassion with my family and friends first. Then I spread it to include an ever-widening circle of people. Besides creating beauty in my private life, the reward for such practice of compassion freed me of wanting to judge others in any way, righteously or unrighteously.

My subconscious mind cannot distinguish the difference between "righteous" and "unrighteous." Yet it always works out any type of judgment through my own body and affairs. This great shock came when I reached this point in my surrender of self to live by higher laws. I suddenly realized that any judgment that is criticism, condemnation or both, is unrighteous. The physical results appear in the hardening (sclerosis) of some of my body organs.

Through further surrender, I understood that the answer to the healing of this hardening must be to let enough love of God flow through me as compassion. I sought and found the answer to freedom from past misunderstandings of law. Compassion has taught me that everyone is doing his present best, according to his knowledge of law. It taught me that no one else can ever live up to the Christ-consciousness as it expresses through me. They must live up to it their way.

Thus, I saw how mistaken I had been to judge others. How could I know what their Christ-consciousness was telling them? Through surrender of self, I learned that no one can practice or live up to any law until he comprehends law through personal experience — not my personal experience, his.

“Obey law to your highest level of understanding.”

I learned to be obedient to my highest understanding of the laws unfolded to me through practice and experience of surrender to be used by the love of God. With much stumbling and by trial and error, I found that "trying" is not good enough anytime. You can't discover truth by "trying" to. Truth is law, which I hear, I accept to then become that truth.When I discovered that just "trying" meant that I was telling God, "Please, leave me alone a while longer. I'm not through playing yet," it was an easy matter to surrender to the next step, becoming. The law demands that I always practice everything I have learned, with no excuses for physical or mental laziness, doing nothing on a part-time basis.

Through surrender, I learned that a willing sacrifice made in the full love of God (and forgotten at once) can transform my life and fill my personal desire molds instantaneously, turning my whole life into joy. In reverse, I learned that an unwilling or grudging sacrifice as a must-do obligation, causes many delays and postponements, and brings no inner returns.

So, I learned to wait. I do not make any sacrifice until I surrender to be used by the love of God, and forget everything but loving enough. I can now make the sacrifice, knowing that the instant I do, I can forget both the sacrifice and whatever may transpire as a result.

Love enough has gone forth to make the gift and to pay dividends as miracles for me and the one for whom I offered the sacrifice. Making no gift at all is better than to make it and remember that I have made it. This is true sacrifice through surrender, accompanied by enough compassion for the receiver, and is fully obedient to the laws of the Christed One who possesses nothing for the self.

Through surrender to be possessed by the love of God, I have learned to love enough to accept a gift gracefully and graciously. To accept ungraciously, with all my thoughts centered on how I feel about taking something from someone, is self-consciousness not soul-consciousness. The Power and the love of God do not use self-consciousness, which does not love God enough or dwell in Christed consciousness.

I dwell on making the givers of such good gifts happy that very moment. I pour compassionate love over them and forget the little self through surrender to be love's captive in the bonds of the white Light of the Christ.

I am now become the perfect graciousness and the loveliness of a Christed One, with only one desire, to know God and His laws, better and better. I reach the place of consciousness where miracles are my daily portion, my expectation from God, since I am complying with all the laws He has given me to use. I do love God enough and praise Him enough.

I do stand in unconquerable faith of God waiting for His next revelation and illumination, which will surely come. The love of God now burns away all barriers, overcomes all obstacles. I stand fearlessly and chant,

"Now I AM strong. Now I AM healed. Now I AM become the spirit of joy!"

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IV. I Arise!

I arise! What lifting power lies in these two magic words. I move upward on the blithe spirit of joy. From the instant I accept my heritage of joy, I move upward and am lifted into that surrender of self as an inner compulsion that grows greater day by day.

Now that I arise, every nerve of my body tingles. All tension is gone and I am released from all pain and discomfort. I move up and out of my old garden filled with weeds and dry grass. I now stand in my inherited Garden of Love where I find every beauty of Spirit. My Garden of Love blooms the year 'round, forever fragrant and colorful.

My little self no longer parades before the world, no longer prowls among the obstacles, hurdles, barriers and quicksands of earth, no longer faces the outer darkness because I have turned to face God's high Light from above. In this Light, I cast no shadow in which to be lost again. I know that I made my own shadows and clouds in the past.

It is always prayer time in my Garden of Love. Every nod of the flowers, every breath I draw becomes an ecstasy of soul. As I stand before the high altar in my Garden of Love, I find myself in the golden silence where nothing of earth can distract me. Nothing of the outer world can ever intrude on this golden silence.

I reach the golden silence only through the magic act of surrender to be possessed of all the Power of God, even as I arise into Christed consciousness. I leave all thoughts of earth outside and I become untouchable compassion, immovable faith.

I feel as if I hold everyone I love with me in this golden silence, in this place of beauty of the soul. I know that when I speak the Word from this magic place of glory, it shall "come to pass."

I need tell no one that my life is changed, or that joy has become its keynote. I do not leave this golden silence, or find any need to descend from my high state of consciousness to contact the world. Therefore, my face is radiant with the lighthearted spirit of joy. I am no longer an outer example of the little self, but a living ensample, vibrant with Christ consciousness.

I leave part of my soul consciousness standing there in my Garden of Love, before my high altar in prayer of praise. The Spirit of the Lord now has a chance to move through me, going before me and making clear and easy my way, because I keep my channel of Light wide open always. I do not disconnect my lines of Light anytime. They are up, and in an instant the Power moves through me or the words are placed on my lips.

In this place of illumination, I give understanding to all others, having forgotten that I ever wanted it for myself on the outer. Loving God enough, praising Him enough, leaves me with a permanent ecstatic glory of soul that reaches out to enfold everyone I know and meet. My joy increases because I am no longer an outcast from my own Garden of Love. The old longing in my heart, for something I did not possess, has been stilled. I AM free!

I must find new ways to share my secret. I must lead others into the ways that will open to them their own Garden of Love in their own high place of the golden silence. Loving enough is a yearning, brooding attitude over every creative idea and every contact with others. I know that my sharing must be in this brooding feeling toward the world, not in words.

Now I know that to yearn and brood over my loved ones from my Garden of Love does in some magic way draw them into the Light of their own Christed consciousness. In the golden silence, the magic of enough love gestates all new things of earth.

I know that I still must work out my own salvation here below, making up for past neglect. I must do the same old things with the same old individuals on the outer, in the same old places, in the same old ways. Yet now I no longer want to change life for my own convenience. I do not waste any time or energy trying to make people over on the outer. I now spend all my time seeking new ways to change myself to suit God.

My desire grows in depth and height to become a fitting ensample of His glory and a worthy instrument for His Power. His radiance, His glorious and unconquerable faith seems to fill the universes for me.

I continuously repent of my past foolishness, lost time, laziness and indifference and, above all, the time spent in self-pity. I repent as I go onward and upward. I know better than to stop for one moment, even for repentance! I repent as I arise even higher.

I now realize that God has always understood me. He has understood me most of all when I have been rebellious and unrepentant for my past disobedience, some committed in ignorance, some in deliberate willfulness. Yet He has always looked at me compassionately while saying,

"Yes, child, I know how it is with your heart. I know of the suffering, the hurts and the griefs, and that your desire has ever been to please Me. However, I cannot set aside Law to spare you or to please you. Come higher, and learn to make a complete surrender to be filled with My love. Come higher and learn to surrender to My power. Let My joy be your life and My love your protection, even from that little self, which is sometimes so willful. Let go of self, reach up and stand before Me in high places, and My Spirit of joy shall descend on you and your joy shall be unto you a life-giving fountain of eternal youth forever and ever."

I arise to stand in my own room of Light, bathed in its radiance and glory, filled with the faith of God, and forever free from earth bondage, where nothing is impossible for me to accomplish in His Name.

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V. I Ascend!

What is ascension? What does it mean to me, and what part have I in it? What can it do for me now? Ascension is a mystical term, meaning to those on the Via Christa exactly what "atomic research" means to scientists. It is moving inward, getting behind the outer visible shell. Ascension is a refining process, and a work of penetrating through outer layers and into that substance held within the outer shell, the protective sheath.

Unaided vision cannot see the finer particles contained within an atom, but the physical effects of this Power, when released, are clearly visible. So it is with the soul, which you cannot see with physical eyes, yet you see the effects of unleashing the inner soul powers very clearly on the outer. What you know as personality represents the soul on the outer. Yet physical eyes cannot see personality itself. You can see and feel only the results of personality. Soul-living shows in both expression and results.

What science can do with mechanical aids, you, as an individual expression of the Almighty, can do with your mind. You can unfold and apply your potential abilities by using your three great creative tools: Desire, thinking and imagination, working together as one to become the foundation on which you can build a Godlike life. Every lesser faculty will follow the leadership of these three when they work harmoniously as one.

Then you ascend both self-desire and self-will to become one with soul desire and the free will of God as man. They fuse to become the balanced Love and Wisdom of God, known to man as the "I AM." When this fusing takes place, you express them through the soul faculties as intuition and illumination.

Once the "I AM" takes over your life as Christ consciousness, you turn imagination, which you have used for imagery, upward and it becomes the guardian of life known as soul vision. Soul vision reveals law, and intuition and illumination become the interpreters of what vision grasps from divine Mind.

You cannot ascend to mate soul desire with God's free will without becoming poised. Yet you can perfectly direct and control every aspect of your outer expression from this sanctuary of poise. Imagination, turned up as vision, sits at the control panel, holding you in poise on your new life course, undeviating in its upward direction.

Another mating occurs, a joining between this poise and new Power as it moves through you as Light from above. As poise and Power become one in expression, you move into your own center of balance.

You actually revolve around God poised on an axis of balance, a rod of power, inflexible and constant as the rotation of the planets, if you hold your position through love of God. Love of self throws you off this delicate balance in an instant.

The Light moving through you in its ninth dimension of divine universal brotherhood is dynamic and dramatic in its ability to create from the invisible Source held within its own heart. Light is self-sustaining, self-renewing, and nothing is impossible to it. It contains the invisible substance to mold into all outer creations, just as the atom holds invisible power within itself.

Nothing on earth can withstand the irresistible movement of this mighty Light or its ability to change every cell, every condition, every thought and action into itself. It is already perfect, and it can and does absorb all imperfections into itself as it moves forth, undiluted by man's ignorance, unhindered by man's interference.

This Light is the Mind of God in action as man. It is a miracle. Your thinking, your desires and your plans must change the instant you move up to it in consciousness. You contact this Light-as-Power when you move into your own Garden of Eden, the "I AM" center of consciousness, where this almighty Power of God embraces and enfolds you.

“You serve the Light that is God in action.”

This Light is all the names you can possibly call it, for it is the all of everything. These names all become the Names of God for you once you use them, whatever they are. The names you give this Light determine the kind of life you make for yourself.

St. Paul said we have a "natural body" and a "spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:44). God created you with an inner spiritual body of atomic substance, and you were born on earth with the power to hold or disturb the balance of this atomic body. You may release the particles held within the atoms, converting them into the forms of energy you use for all action. Unless you know how to recharge this atomic body, you may experience continuous disturbances of your spiritual body, which then show outwardly as weakness or illness in the physical body.

Breathing on the vibration of joy is the high voltage charge that explodes your atomic substance to release the energy you need for action. Great emphasis has always been placed on breathing because you recharge this atomic body with every breath. The joy-power, which sets off the atomic reaction within your body, carries the renewing atomic energy to fill and nourish every cell in your physical body.

The diluted charges of atmospheric atomic radiation, some scientists say, will eventually make us immune to diseases of earth. You can become immune now, anytime by breathing the full Power of God. People have used this mighty Power for years for healing work. Getting the one in need of healing to "look up" begins inflating his spiritual body atoms, raises his vibration, and he has a miraculous physical healing.

God has created the atomic body, sheathed by the physical body, in full perfection and nothing of earth has touched it. It cannot become ill. It cannot become weak unless, by your own weak thinking and failure to breathe the Breath of Life, you close out God's universal recharging Power. Your atomic body can function through the full atomic power of God whenever you are tired of limping along on the diluted portion that you permit yourself with shallow breathing. When you desire to act, your brain automatically sends the body a message.

This impulse to action runs along the physical nerves to whatever portion of the body needs a sparking impulse. This impulse-spark ignites and explodes the atoms of that portion of the body, generating energy, transformed into the action we call motion, all because you release your own divinely-provided atomic power through the process of sparking it with your desire.

There can never be a shortage of this universal atomic power for your use. It is from everlasting to everlasting. It flows from the Source and returns indestructible, undiminished by use, and moves forth to be used again. Universal Power flows from the Source. It is the Source of eternal life and your source of an eternally youthful body now. You cannot avoid having a perfect body when you open yourself to this free-flowing Power. It is the cleansing, purifying stream of life that flows through your body, absorbing that which is not perfect into itself again.

The atomic substance you inhale raises the vibration of every cell of your physical, every atom of your atomic body until you feel light. You can live the day tirelessly, and rest up at night by setting your subconscious mind on WGOD, the Miracle Channel, before you sleep.

Light recharges every cell and atom of your body throughout the night, and you awake refreshed and ready to meet life with open arms of joy. You have ascended your physical and emotional bodies, and can walk on the emotional waters of life fearlessly and eagerly.

"I now move up into my own Garden of Eden where I contact the supreme power of joy. My song shall be one of rejoicing, day and night! In this place of the soul, 'I AM' rules my life, and the Power of the love of God fulfills my every high desire. I now ascend to dwell in the House of the Lord forever!"

Once you, who have hungered and thirsted ceaselessly, receive the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, you discover that like Peter, you must turn them in the locks of your heart and mind before the great Gates of Light above open to your knock. When the glory of His Light bathes you for even a breathless moment, your soul no longer rests until you have won back your royal birthright as a son or daughter of the living God.

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VI. Your Approach: Seeking the Kingdom of Heaven

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." – Matthew 16:19.

"By humility and the fear [obedience to law] of the Lord [law] are riches, honor and life." – Proverbs 22:4.

True humility consists of complete surrender of the self to be ruled by the soul. Complete surrender is a willingness and a readiness to be used in any capacity, in any way, anywhere, anytime, by the honor, the wisdom and the faith of God. Complete surrender blends into one radiant joy of God, which sparks the Christed "I AM" consciousness into a balanced expression of life on earth.

"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." – Matthew 6:33. Some seek the whole kingdom of heaven in some distant place, inaccessible to laymen. Others seek the kingdom within man himself, as the whole of the kingdom of heaven. Since neither of these groups has yet become as "perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect," it seems safe to think that both groups must be correct and need each other to make a perfect whole.

On the Via Christa, we believe in the unity of God, and in some distant future we shall again be enfolded into the Source of All. Thus, simple reasoning says that you cannot leave out either of these assumptions about where to find the kingdom of heaven. So you act on a third assumption about this debated inner kingdom of heaven, knowing that we must include everything in that final enfolding. You must lift everything, even present darkness, to be healed again into the pure Light of God from which God made it.

“The kingdom of heaven is open to all believers.”

We begin with a premise that is the same for every expression of God on earth: The kingdom of heaven is open to all believers. As an individualized expression of God, created in His image and likeness, your abilities for ruling this inner and outer kingdom are potentially alike. The only room for difference is your individual desire to unfold and use these potential powers.

God has given every soul the power of choice about how to use this personal inner kingdom of the mind, heart and the outer form itself. From the time you reach the age of self-determinism, you have absolute control over these realms of your personal kingdom. When you awaken the desire to rule your inner and outer kingdom, awakening those potential faculties to establish rulership will follow.

God has given each soul the power and freedom of choice to close out everything from the outside world that might interfere with the perfect inner kingdom. You can also open the door to the kingdom of heaven above.

God gave you this right, under freedom of choice, over which no one may prevail without first having gained your consent by some form of persuasion. God, Himself, cannot get in to "scrape the platter clean" when you need it. He can only use all His powers of suggestion and persuasion from above, and send His agents on earth to urge you gently, to lead you onward and upward into His Light.

The River of Life

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, or shadow of turning." James 1:17. This is your authority for accepting and knowing that there is a Source, a Power-house kingdom of heaven that flows as a River of Life (Revelation 22:1) into your inner kingdom.

Accepting and opening yourself to this River of Life, you find that you have opened the main floodgate of the flowing almighty atomic power of the universes. You no longer limp along, running down like an old unwound clock. You can contact this powerhouse River of Life anytime, for it is always flowing and ready to serve you.

The secret to holding your floodgate open is the ability to stand steadfastly, with "no variableness, or shadow of turning," no wavering or letting go for a single backward look. When you reach this state of consciousness, always keeping the floodgate swinging wide, you discover that although you have been seeking the free-flowing River of Life, you need a further step before it can move through you with its cleansing Power.

Moving a dirty screen through water best illustrates living in the River of Life, watching the water flow through the screen, carrying the debris away. When you consciously accept your true place, openly and expectantly looking up to God amid the stress of life, the Power of the River of Life moves through every cell of your physical body. It cleanses and purifies every organ and system, absorbs all dross gathered over years of your misunderstanding of law, and carries it away.

The River of Life is the active Mind of God moving throughout all His creations. It is a substance vibration, radiating in a vast encircling sphere from its central Source, and back again on its appointed way. The River carries all with it, whether you will or not. If you refuse to move up in consciousness or to give up your opinions and prejudices, clinging to old places, emotions or things, you stage a struggle against the inflowing current of the River of Life as it moves inward and upward on its return journey to the Source.

The River of Life is carrying you upward and homeward into the heaven of your Source — some souls perhaps backward, hauled in feet first! In this state of perfect harmony among every cell of your physical body, among your heart, mind and soul, you need no ritual, no special statements or denials, no further preparation for your joyous approach to God.

"Seeking first the kingdom of heaven," you are always conscious of your relationship with God, always conscious of your Source, always conscious that you are in the kingdom of heaven within. Nothing from the outer can shake your confidence or interfere with your steady advance upward.

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore." – Psalm 121.

St. Augustine told inquiring students to look up to God a thousand times an hour. He was telling them to practice the looking up always. The subconscious mind always objects strenuously to allowing the soul to take charge. It takes constant practice, and holding focused attention, to train the subconscious mind to let go of its past rulership. It requires persistence to let the conscious mind stand as keeper of the floodgate of the River of Life, but the reward is far beyond the struggle.

The righteousness you seek is constant, vigilant consciousness of being in the kingdom of heaven every moment of every day, realizing you are in it with each awakening thought in the morning. It is a state of being "right with God," of "right living" within yourself. Righteousness is your high soul vision in action. It is a state of right expression of the loveliness, graciousness and compassion of a Christed One of God, a state of true prayer, a yearning, pushing upward toward this high state of ecstasy and bliss known as becoming one with God.

Your reward is that "all these things" shall be added, for holding fast to every gain in soul conquering, for keeping your obligation to God. You give Him desire-molds that you keep clear and perfect, just as many as you can envision, one at a time — healing for your body and affairs, healing in harmony for all your relationships.

All things shall be added. Not a few, not just a part of your heart's desire, but all! All things are added for your constancy and steadfastness, for your unwavering stand before high altars in joy. You will know that you have prayed enough, loved enough, been joyous enough in practice when you have your desires in your hands. Visible manifestations of the Spirit of God will move on the face of the waters of life, creating your rewards for your righteous approach to heaven.

"All these things shall be added unto you" means everything, as greatly as your imagination can envision. Through this approach, obedience becomes a habit of pleasure, and once formed, you cannot bear to part with it. No one can ever take it from you. It is yours forever. This glory feels too good to chance losing it.

"I now approach God in perfect obedience and love!"

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VII. Your Choice: Agreeing with God

"It is impossible but that offenses will come." – Luke 17:1.

Somewhere along the Way of Ascension, you realize that remaking others to suit your personal pattern is impossible. You cannot make others good so that you can be happy. You must make yourself good so that all others can be happy.

Once you learn this lesson, life becomes easier, common sense begins to rescue you from the little self, which always takes offense at everything. You forget what has disturbed you in the past, and move serenely onward and upward on your inner pathway of the soul.

Eventually you realize that you must not be an offense to others, lest you find yourself going about with a millstone hung abut your neck, hindering you, weighing you down, anchoring you to earth. This is your goal: To let your love absorb the offenses of others, and to reach that place of the soul where offending another is impossible.

Your choice is to "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him." – Matthew 5:25.

Hourly life calls on you to make choices in your daily affairs, and today's choices will not last forever. You must make even this hour's choice again next hour, if you are to hold fast to your highest point of expression. The old tendency is to slip back into indifference and lukewarmness unless you are constantly on guard and consciously reaching upward.

Of course, the need for choosing is greatest when you are with others, for you are open to their ideas. Yet you need strong vigilance even when alone, lest imagination runs away with you, taking thinking and desire (your emotions) with it for company. Soul conquering provides no rest periods, but is a second-by-second affair of the heart, mind, and imagination.

Unless you consciously train yourself always to stand before your high altar in the Garden of Eden, you are apt to be caught unaware. You may speak too hastily, act too quickly, or give or take offense before you become conscious of what you are doing. You are always surprised to find that you have allowed your joy-fire almost to die, realizing your loss only when no response comes to your hasty call on it for help. Fires always grow cold when left untended.

When you become lax in your practice of ascension, you find yourself in some outer situation that you might have avoided if you had kept the fires brightly burning on your altar of joy. When you fail to take time to live high in consciousness, you cannot produce a joyful smile under sudden outer pressure.

The most important word in the law of agreeing and adjusting (Matthew 5:25) is quickly. It means to respond instantly to another's demand for an argument. Quickly does not mean next week, tomorrow or even an hour from now; it means right now. To agree quickly is seeking first the kingdom of heaven, to make sure you are in complete contact with your "I AM" center of Christed consciousness, the only place from which you can hear the "still, small voice" when it directs you in any situation.

Next in importance is "whiles thou art in the way with him," meaning you must stand still and wait on the outer. This involves agreeing with God that the situation is good, and lending yourself while smiling with joy to whatever is being done, to whoever is presenting you with this lesson for your soul growth.

Agreeing and adjusting also involves being grateful to the person or situation for showing you the weakest point in your ascension work. Someone or something is giving you the opportunity to discover exactly how much you have learned to love, how well you have surrendered the pride of necessity always to find your own opinion right, though the whole world finds you wrong.

“Now is the right time to conquer self.”

Your tests are always about your "worst favorites!" They tell you that you have more polishing to do. Therefore, you must stand and complete the lesson, no matter how it is being presented. Do not allow yourself the pleasure and convenience of waiting for another or a better time to face the same issue. Now is the right time to conquer. Think of the glory of discovering your weakest point, loving enough to ascend on it, thus making it your highest point of exaltation. The greatest of all dividends and credits are paid for giving up your weaknesses.

If you find it difficult to muster a smile, it is your sign that your contact with God has grown thin. Somewhere along the way you have forgotten to choose to be vigilant enough with yourself. Soon you learn to welcome these outer tests of strength, which teach you your highest and finest contact with God and His Power.

You become so interested in conquering self that you move easily into the third important phase of this law: Agreeing with God that this is good, and adjusting to your fellow man. The only true freedom of soul comes when you reach that point in ascension where you learn to agree and adjust without having to think about what you are doing.

When nothing of the old is left to express through you, you will automatically agree without having to stop and think about it. This comes of making the choice to agree often enough to make it a habit of the soul. When you have become the law of compassion, no desire is left in your heart to find fault or blame anyone for anything they may say or do. Compassion then becomes a triumph in every lesson learned.

Dividends of illumination come only after you learn to make the Christed "I AM" contact quickly enough. First, stand quietly, waiting for the right words to be placed on your lips. If no words come, then that is the right answer — no words, just a smile, not a smirk, but a loving smile.

You have spent too much time in the past going over the same old lessons. Today, now, quickly, agree — let these become your words of conquering. Vain arguments are but a waste of God's time, since he who desires an argument have made up his mind, with no intention of changing. He wants to be thought right, wants the last word, so you give him the first word and save so many more words and time.

“Smile lovingly and ignore the invitation to argue.”

As you smile, reach up quickly, grasp your rod of God's Power and hold fast to it while you smilingly wait for the arguer to run down. It is well worth the effort to remain silent and smile when you see his facial expression change as he realizes you are offering no opposition or reason for more speech. This law always works. To agree and adjust does not mean you are obligated to like what anyone is doing. You are not obligated to go their way if it is against law and your own principles. God asks you only to love others for what they are capable of becoming, not for what shows on the outside in words or actions.

Your responsibility, as you ascend in consciousness, is to stand in your own high place and see all others perfectly expressing their own quality and beauty of soul until the love you send forth draws answering love from them. Only loving enough will awaken the children of God. Each is called on to love enough somewhere, sometime, and you might as well begin here and now.

Managing your life by agreeing and adjusting is good policy, since God pays no attention to your disagreements with anyone. He does not take your personal opinions about anyone or anything into consideration in His final judgments. God rewards each according to his personal earnings and no more, but not less, either. Although your nearest and dearest family members and friends sometimes tell Him all about your lacks and limitations, He does not grant your credits based on what they think.

What anyone else thinks about you cannot change your balance sheet. God compiles that sheet from your own daily ledger, which takes into consideration the perfection of your desire to be perfect, and is not wholly based on your daily practice of law.

When you want to agree, leaving yourself free to make beautiful choices, freeing others to live as their own Christed consciousness dictates, you realize what the whole law means: When you agree with God quickly, you cannot do anything but agree with others. You suddenly realize that you have never had any enemies or adversaries on the outer.

Standing in your Garden of Love, bathed in the golden silence becomes the dearest action of your life, and from here you are free of any desire to disagree with anyone about anything. At last you learn the art of "keeping silence before Him." God has become too important to you for the lesser levels of hurt and resentment to enter into your consciousness.

To understand that you create your own adversary every time you acknowledge an enemy is wonderful. You discover that you assume the role of "judge" when you think in terms of enemies, and those so declared surely become adversaries who then judge you.

Matthew 5:25: The judge (conscience) you become turns you over to the officer (regret) who in turn casts you into prison (remorse). And there you remain — sorry and depressed — until you move up out of the prison of your little self through prayer and forgiveness to ascend to your Holy of Holies, the Christed "I AM" consciousness, and dwell again in the kingdom of heaven. Your own lack of ability or unwillingness to forgive yourself usually causes the need to struggle to climb back, since it anchors you to earth as firmly as going your own self-way, unconscious of having been selfish.

What you seek is balance in repenting as you ascend. You don't need to grow a guilt complex because you blunder, but you must understand enough of the law of love to accept that you necessarily must wipe out each debt. Learning to love enough wipes each day's pages clean again. Love enough is the key, and it must be the pure love of God. The love of God, the Light of God, does absorb all else into itself. Love enough covers all transgressions.

When a disciple asked Jesus how often he must forgive, the answer (Matthew 18:22) ringing down through the ages was, "until seventy times seven" and seven times a day if needed. Seventy times seven is four hundred and ninety times. Now, forgiving someone four hundred and ninety times in a day should just about establish you in the habit of forgiveness. The idea is to reach the point where the soul reigns and cannot be bothered to notice little annoyances.

“If you remember the offense, you have not forgiven.”

Only by thoroughly understanding the law of forgiveness can you learn to agree quickly with all adversaries. If you can remember the offense, you have not forgiven. When you pour enough compassionate love on the adversary, you forget the offense. Only then is your forgiveness complete and so recorded on your heavenly balance sheet. As long as you can recall the offense, you are forgiving only an inch at a time. Ascension lifts you out of forgiveness as an inch-by-inch slow process into becoming the law of forgiveness as instantaneous action.

You pass through three definite stages while learning the law of forgiveness, which includes full "for-get-ness." To regain full use of your own memory cells for worthwhile thoughts, you must cleanse them of all old material, holding only those thoughts that will pay you dividends.

The first stage of forgiveness begins when you learn to say, "Father, I forgive him, but he'd better not impose on me again" or "treat me that way again." You may feel very proud of yourself, and magnanimous about your ability to forgive. You may take your ability out at times and examine it among friends: "I forgave him." This is not perfect forgiveness, however you are learning law, for once upon a time, you did not think it necessary to forgive a wrong.

You eventually reach the second stage of forgiveness when you say, "Father, You forgive him, for he knows not what he is doing to me!" The attitude of forgiveness is still selfish, but the law has you well hooked. You are growing in grace and understanding because you have learned that only the Father can do the forgiving.

Once you reach this stage, you can never repudiate the fact that you have made a Covenant with God, and "Father, forgive him" is your signature on that covenant. Once you have signed this Covenant you are sealed by oneness with the Father and your own Christed consciousness, which dictates the Covenant must rule your life forever.

You must pass many tests during the step into the third stage of forgiveness, where you have given up enough self to say, "Father, forgive me, lest I cause my brother to stumble." This brings you into a full Covenant with God where you stand in your Garden of Love clothed with an inner robe of love and an outer garment of joy, which makes you invisible to enemies of God.

Forgiveness renders you immune to all earthly ills so long as you hold fast to your high vision. The floodgates of the River of Life are opened wide and the rush of heavenly waters illumines and thrills you! You are possessed by the fullness of the Power of the Living God.

"I am free! What ecstasy! What supreme joy! What glory! My choice, moment by moment, is to love enough and to practice the law of forgiveness unto all forgetfulness of the past. I now choose the love of God as my fortress and my strength."

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VIII. Your Plan: The Way of Initiation

"This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 5:12-13.

Jesus did not mean to take your physical life; therefore, he meant you must lay down your old ways of living, your selfish ways, your interfering ways, your demanding ways, for the practice of the unselfish ways of God.

You find the outer expression of the ways of God in giving, giving, giving, without thought of how much or how little you are giving. The ways of the love of God are a timeless, measureless glory, and giving constantly, in understanding, in compassion without thought of self, is more important than life itself. You have caught the vision of love as it is in God, and it has become your soul's need to express your new-found ways of love.

Your plan is simple: "What is that to thee? Follow thou me." – John 21:22. This next period in your life along the Via Christa, the Way of Ascension of the soul has been called many names, the most meaningful being an initiation known as "crossing the burning sands of the desert" — probably because you must walk it alone, and it has so many oft-repeated "trials by fire."

These trials by fire test your knowledge and application of law, and repeat again and again until you learn the lesson each contains. You re-experience the same old event as often as is necessary to learn the law of acceptance. Refusal to accept a lesson as belonging to you drops the old trial into place back into first place in your life.

The burning sands of the desert initiation is truly a time of crucifixion of the little self. You are "betwixt and between" everything. Your old ways are ended and your old friends do not find you compatible anymore, yet you have not met new friends who understand what you are seeking.

The whole world looks grey, and you live in a drab consciousness where you decide nothing will ever happen to make you feel anything again. Nothing looks worthwhile. Nothing interests you. You are lost. You still cling to your desire for understanding and continue looking, although you have just made new vows of sacrifice about giving it up. Every day brings greater disappointments. No one understands you!

“You are a chalice, made to hold God's Love.”

One good point, though — you will have fully given up all enemies! Imagine your surprise when you discover that all you have left is an aching void. You are empty! It is a shock to find that the enemy idea took up so much room in your heart.

Then you suddenly discover that you have become an empty chalice waiting to be filled by the love of God. You have made no mistake in your choice of the way of truth. You are not on the wrong path. This has been part of your grief and loneliness — that you might have made a wrong turn somewhere along the way and are really lost in some outer darkness.

You find that you have not been wrong in your resolve to stand still and wait on the Lord in your golden silence. All these doubts and fears are part of the burning sands initiation, the little self's last vital struggle to hold onto your subconscious for its own selfish purpose. You also discover that you want to withdraw from everyone and life because no one understands you, others find more faults in you than ever before. They blame you for everything, until you feel it is an offense just to be alive.

You know now that this desire to withdraw is not the right answer either. It is just part of that old, old martyr complex, crying out in self-pity in a last gasping death struggle before giving up and allowing soul to take over for a good scrubbing. How glorious to realize that this lack of feeling about or interest in people and life is your sign that full illumination is just around the corner.

This is where your struggle to become more perfect is paid off in dividends of comprehension of law. Your sacrifice of self is made into a crown of glory for the soul, a reward for your steadfastness in climbing upward in ascension and your obedience to law. This is no time to stop. This is the time to dig in and practice what you have learned.

Everyone must undergo this initiation of the rippling silver gray fields, to reach the heights of glory. From the instant you decide to move up, you begin to lift the five outer senses — sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell — up with you. Gradually, they begin to fuse and synthesize themselves into the one great sense of apperception, which is to tool, the high sense of the I AM consciousness of the Oversoul.

Just before you finally lift these five senses, you stand alone, without feeling much of anything, your heart filled with such a great sense of loss. The old is gone forever, but the new is not quite fully established or blossoming. At this point push up! You are about to realize who you really are! You are becoming law itself. The long process of reaching the golden silence is about to become an act of knowing, an act of joy.

“Love God and ignore the other fellow's feet of clay,”

During this initiation, among the many trials by fire, one point may cause much loss of time. You begin to see that your teachers have feet of clay, caused by their inability to live up to the high laws they teach. To know law does not always mean an inner desire to become law. Vows are only registered as high as the students' or teachers' ability to practice. Each time you make a vow it is registered and you must practice it.

A teacher may be perfectly honest in his desire to hold on to a student. Yet he may reach out and clutch, and may even feel that the student is mistaken and being led from the truth. Some ardent souls are unable to understand that truth is forever unfolding, and they must reach higher for greater knowledge of law.

As an ascending soul, you may not loiter or stop your search for more law, so you do not linger in any class once you understand the law as given in that class. Yet, you must be very sure that the teacher you are leaving is the problem, and not your own ego. You must realize, whether the class is an inner or outer one, that a time comes for promotion, for an advance in ascension or in outer knowledge. You may not expect to take your fellow students with you, nor should you expect to drag along any teacher of truth. Failure to understand this change in relationship can hold you back.

No one should hold it against a teacher, inner or outer, if he elects to continue in that same grade, the one he knows best, continuing to give his best. He may want to continue preparing the lessons needed by students who keep progressing, for whom he will again be the high point of consciousness.

You move on, minding your own business, loving the teacher you are leaving behind for what he is, blessing him for what he shall one day become and for what he has meant to you. Above all, never demand that he ascend with you on your pathway. Apply the law that Jesus taught: "What is that to thee? Follow thou me." – John 21:22.

Every hour's investment in the love of God increases your share in eternal youth. Love is now the fount of youth within you and you become the filled Chalice of Love, overflowing into the world. You meet new friends who are also traveling upward, and suddenly you are in love again: In love with God, in love with your family, in love with the whole world. You renew your vows of dedication and consecration to be used by the God's Power. You rejoice and are glad!

You ascend and all the people you meet draw from you that love of God they need for their happiness, their renewed strength, their understanding of life. Love responds and flows forth in quantity and quality to meet the needs of all who are seeking love.

It seems that your exaltation cannot expand further, nor can your joy be confined within you, it is so great. You are caught up in the Spirit and see beauties almost unutterable, too beautiful not to share. You might tell it like this, if you dared to express it aloud:

An Exalted Soul Vision

As earth faded from sight, everything pertaining to it melted away. I stood alone somewhere "above," bathed in misty light. I was awake, although completely weightless and almost bodiless. I felt I was moving higher, although there was no sense of motion and nothing in the mist by which I could make a comparison.

I heard a Voice calling to me but could not distinguish words. Nor could I see through the mist to where it originated. The light was misty and golden — now soft and veiled, now brilliant — fading where it touched me with its fingers, growing brighter and heavier as my eyes penetrated farther through the radiance.

Suddenly, golden clouds surrounded me, seemingly formed by rays of light reaching through them, withdrawing and reaching out to me again, each time creating more cloud density. The sensation of being lifted grew greater, then stopped. At once the golden clouds grew thinner until only light mist was left surrounding me. I sought to extend my vision, to penetrate through the last of the mist, seeking also to hear what the Voice was saying.

Then I beheld an awesome sight. The glory and magnificence of The Face filled all space before me. Though I was standing afar, its grandeur and the benign smile seemed to be just right, the size being no surprise to me, while the extended arms appeared to be the source of rays of light. Only His shoulders and arms were visible, the brilliance of the light swallowing any further form.

Then He lovingly and gently commanded me, saying, "Look, child, behold!" His hand pointed below me. At first nothing was visible through the golden haze below and behind me. Soon my vision penetrated the haze to see vast gates, broad and tall and built of a golden opalescent material, intricately designed in lacy patterns. If opened, many people could have walked through them abreast, but they were closed and I could see no handles or locks on them.

The mist cleared enough for me to see beyond the gates into immense gardens with many pathways running through them, and one wide roadway in the center, paved with the same opalescent material as the gates. It wended away into the distance with trees of shimmering gold, and fairy colors bordering it all the way.

Although the murmur of many subdued voices came to me from the gardens, I could see no one. The occasional laughter sounded like the muted call of a flute or the tinkling of heavenly harpsichords. The great and gentle Voice did not speak to me again — or if it did, I could not hear it. I could not yet tell what I stood on, but it seemed to be of some solid substance, the same substance which formed the stairways and terraces stretching downward from me to touch earth far below.

“Heaven is a place, a destination.”

Before the great gates and extending in either direction stretched a wide terrace, which was neither grassy nor paved, but seemed more like a solidified cloud than any other substance. It formed a pathway that followed the wall of light, which I knew extended beyond the gates and sloped downward for a long way before the stairs began.

While I watched, a rosy mist wall formed itself before the gates and softly ended some twenty feet in front of them on the outside. It extended within the gates, growing denser until the golden radiance enfolded it. It came and went as I watched. Sometimes the gardens were clear to my vision, then again the light hid them from view.

Before this rosy shot-with-gold mist, a vast throng lined the way in either direction. They pressed against the rosy light as if it were some tangible barrier — it seemed to hold them upright when the crowd pushed against them from behind. Whatever it was, it was an impassable line through which no one seemed able to move.

Some looked weary enough to fall had they not been held up by the light in front and those behind. Many looked cheerful and spoke in soft tones to their neighbors — all seemed to be waiting for something to happen. At times, some hardy soul would push through the crowd from the rear only to be stopped by the barrier of light.

Watching breathlessly, I noticed that here and there someone near the gates would turn and move to the rear again. It seemed to take more strength to move backward through the crowd than it did to come up to the gates with it. A few gave up trying to retreat and allowed the crowd to carry them upward again, probably because this took less effort than pushing against the long line that stretched from earth to the gates.

My eyes followed the line downward toward earth and I saw people coming from all directions to start up the causeway. Some climbed on terraces, some on stairs, both ways growing wider as they climbed higher, until I could not see the edges in either direction.

With my extended vision, I followed them from earth to see that some barely started the long climb, only to turn back almost at once. Others moved upward quite a way before turning back. Sometimes they returned in twos and threes. It seemed to me that each climbed as far as his strength lasted, then too tired, returned to earth. Always the shoulders of those who looked too disappointed to care what happened to them, drooped with utter weariness.

As I looked higher, I saw a couple who separated when they had nearly reached the halfway point in their climb, each sitting down on a rock at the side of the stairs, evidently to think it over. She turned back, unheeding his cries — he kept looking upward toward the light above, then back to the shadows on earth. He finally stood up, and glancing back once, slowly and doggedly began the long climb into the light again.

Suddenly I saw an amazing scene at the gates. A woman had made her way silently and gently through the throng before the gates. She apparently saw nothing of those about her but fixed her gaze steadily on the lights beyond the gates. Suddenly she was transformed! I am sure she was seeing the glorious Face just as I had seen it.

Her face shone with an unearthly radiance, as if she had heard the Voice calling, and she paid no attention to that invisible line in front of the crowd. She pushed through those standing there, gracefully moving in beauty through the rose mist before the gates and on through the gates exactly as if they were not there. She seemed to become lighter in body and hardly touched the wide roadway into the gardens, disappearing as if gathered into the golden Light.

While I was watching and pondering the significance of her finding the gates no barrier — and I thought this must be because she saw only the Light and His Face — again I heard the Voice speaking to me, saying, "Daughter, look back again and observe."

I then began to see beautiful things happening on the causeway to God. Everywhere people were rejoicing, some laughing, others singing, singly and in groups. The joyous ones often stopped to encourage the weary ones. They enticed many who bore burdens on their backs, and acted as if this were another task imposed on them after a hard earth life, composed of impositions and tasks no one else would perform.

I saw one woman sink in weariness and discouragement only to be partly lifted to her feet, held in the arms of a singing woman who supported her lovingly. She never left her until her strength returned and she could again support her own weary body.

Another pilgrim helped someone as far as possible, leaving her self-appointed task only when the weary one refused to go farther. Everywhere I saw joyous ones, who spoke encouraging words to those who were about to turn back, helping them to hold to their original desire to climb into the Light.

Then I saw the most beautiful event of all. When enough of the joyous ones reached the gates — their faces reflecting the glory of the golden light, their gaze fixed on the Face — the gates swung open. Those who had waited so long, with longing in their eyes and their desire to enter holding them there unwaveringly, were practically pushed through and into the beautiful gardens.

“Behold! The glorious gates of gold!”

They all looked as if it were a dream come true, and as if they were partly dazed with the unexpected glory of it. Even after they knew they were through the gates at last, they walked timidly, not yet daring to believe their good fortune.

I shall never forget the radiance on their faces. The last thing I noticed was that the only "open sesame" to the beautiful Gardens of God appeared to be a joyous climb made in unselfishness, steadfastly keeping one's eyes on the Light. The radiance on the faces of those who climbed threw open arms of radiance to meet these pilgrims as they entered the gates, the Light absorbing them as they walked through the Gardens of God.

So, your plan must include a constant challenge that keeps you moving steadily upward into the Light. Do you dare to become the spirit of joy? Do you dare to take the time to live right? Do you dare to ignore all barriers and walk fearlessly through the Gates of Life?

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IX. Your Responsibility: Payment of All Past Vows

"Then you will have your delight in the Almighty, and lift up your face to God. You will make your prayer to Him, and He will hear you; and you will pay your vows. You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you; so light will shine on your ways." – Job 22:26-28.

"Delight" means the joy of God possessing you now. "Lift up your face" means to let it reflect the radiance of God. "Make your prayer" means to stand firm and steadfast on truth, overlooking darkness and overcoming the little self.

To pay your vows means to do something each day toward setting your house in order, toward finishing all projects started in the past and to keep promises you have put off from day to day or neglected entirely. Then, when you have fulfilled all these requirements, stand and decree everything good in unconquerable faith.

Your responsibility is, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." – John 12:32. Being "lifted up," and accepting your responsibility for "all men," are the two working halves of a whole and perfect law. To be lifted up means to have a Christed consciousness through ascension of the soul and surrender of the little self.

When the joy of God possesses you, it goes forth with a lifting quality that does draw all things into its radiance. It can transmute depression and discouragement into itself, for its whole reason for being is to absorb darkness into Light.

Joy is the great unifying factor of God, and no one can escape the pure joy of God. The selfish soul seeking happiness cuts off and casts from itself all disagreeable elements. Joy draws everything to itself and wraps its arms about all that comes, adding all to make a perfect whole — whether in the body of an individual or in the many parts of a group. Joy is the world's miracle worker. Joy has an irresistible entrancing quality that is the highest vibration, compounded of both Love and Wisdom, and man cannot misuse it. You can reach pure Godlike joy only through surrender of self.

In the beginning, God endowed us with freedom of choice so that we might learn to be creators while on earth. According to Plato, when we left heaven to come to earth, He gave each soul a star in the Milky Way to use as our storehouse of Power and Substance. At birth it is filled and ready for our use as creators.

The Divine Plan allows enough Power and Substance to descend through you to carry you through your early years until you become knowledgeable, which begins with your first personal desires and plans. Thinking of what you desire to do starts the flow of Power and Substance from your star to prepare the way before you, and to fill your molds according to your steadfastness of purpose.

Once you have learned about truth and decrees, you become responsible as a creator to decree both Power and Substance moving from your star to fill your desire molds. As you think about what you desire, your star substance starts vibrating, while a decree causes it to pour forth to fill your molds. You make your decrees, the substance moves forth to earth as you for your use, and God refills your star instantly with more Power and Substance. If you are responsible for many people and situations, you empty your star more often. God refills it even more rapidly, expanding it limitlessly to meet your needs for Power and Substance, according to the number of those whom you draw to you.

This is why you may never cast off anyone who comes to you. You enlarge your heavenly ship to make room for more, providing a lifeline of love to those who choose to leave the ship, enabling them to return any time they desire. You can make decrees for them wherever they go because you must make more calls on the Power and Substance in your star, if it is to grow larger. The greater your decrees for others, the greater the expansion of your star and the substance it may hold.

God runs His whole universe on the principle of Light oscillating between contraction and expansion. Our planet responds to more sunlight with the new growth in spring to full maturity, peaking at midsummer solstice. From that moment the sunlight begins to diminish and as autumn arrives it fades noticeably as leaves fall and life withers to its lowest ebb at midwinter solstice.

When you comply with God's laws of natural expansion and contraction, your life begins to expand in all directions to attract and produce all that you need. As you use all that He has given you, to full measure, the vibration thins in contraction until you are ready to grow again. Thus, all forms of expansion and contraction come under His divine pattern.

“Be whole-hearted and joyful in your lifting.”

The principle of expansion operates in a reciprocal relation with the contraction principle, eternally oscillating from one extreme to the other. For example, in limited terms, the annual life of any tree illustrates this principle of oscillating contraction and expansion. In the autumn, as daylight diminishes, a tree's sap is drawn into its roots, nourishing and sustaining them through the winter. In spring, as daylight increases, light's magnetic quality draws the sap up from the roots, through the trunk and out through the branches until it produces leaves and fruit. Then the process repeats itself. This is the divine pattern for a tree's life.

Light fills you with joy. However, pseudo joy draws nothing to itself. You cannot reach the storehouse of your star with decrees made from the teeth out, by self alone or for your own pleasure. Your decrees reach only as far as your anchors of little self allow them to go.

You must be whole-hearted and joyful in your lifting; however, your responsibility for lifting does not mean assuming dozens of outer obligations you are unable to handle. It does not mean you must take another into your home to live, or permit others to encroach to breed resentment.

All this is mystical inner work, which you do from Christed consciousness within the golden silence of your own Garden of Eden, your personal high place. You must hold fast to your own high place, for you can draw no one higher than you have already lifted yourself.

Love of God is your "heavy lifter." The higher you have lifted, the higher your state of consciousness, the deeper your decrees penetrate into the substance held in your star, and the mightier the stream of substance pouring forth to serve you, to bring your decrees into outer expression.

Joy is the freeing vibration, and it operates in every department of your life. God has given you the ability to decree on soaring wings of joy always. The password to your star is, "Father, I love You with all my heart." Soaring, lilting joy forms the conducting rod of your own substance and power from your star to your earth molds, but it has to be a bubbling joy in your heart because the love of God is using you.

The decrees you make for others only prime the pump. They do for the one who is in need exactly what priming the old pump on grandfather's farm did on frosty mornings: Pouring water into the pump started the water upward, and it poured out lavishly as a result of the pumping efforts. Likewise, you can add the power and substance of your star to the River of Life moving through the individual until such time as his own power and substance starts flowing. This is "lifting him up" when he needs it. This is all that any healer can do.

Your responsibility under this law is to prime them as often as they come to you in need, no matter how long it takes to get them functioning smoothly under their own Power and Substance. Love enough of God will not allow you to grow "weary in well-doing," and enough priming, added to enough love, will heal anything or anyone anywhere, given enough time.

Joy opens all doors and all vibrations, but only love can do the lifting. Your love and faith must be actively working constantly to have results. The attitude of the mustard seed's aggressive ability to push and push, while holding fast to the vision of becoming a tree, must be yours.

You dare not allow yourself to take your eyes off the goal for an instant when you are lifting others. See them only as the perfection you know God wants them to express. Any wavering in your vision of perfection for them only delays the perfect result. You cannot allow any distraction or interference when it comes to holding fast to your lifting of everything in your life.

The parable of the leaven in the barrel of meal illustrates the loving pervasiveness of Spirit, working to make everything into itself. The leaven of the love of God permeates and penetrates everything with a gentle but steady positiveness that finally takes over and transforms all darkness into Light. Love is the leaven. Its capacity for increasing "added things" and beauty in your life is exactly as expansive as yeast added to meal: It expands all out of proportion to its original size.

When you begin your search for the truth, you do not think much about soul ascension. To be a charming vessel of truth — sweet and satisfied with the bits of understanding you gain, ready to talk about it and eager to have credit for every small miracle — is about all your first application of law gives you. You escape crystallization as a vessel because once you have stepped onto the path, it is impossible not to keep adding more law to what you already know. You escape stagnation and the dregs of its consequences just in time by moving a bit higher.

For a time you feel perfect as a channel of God's Power, knowing it is flowing through you but without much idea of how to send it anywhere to do its perfect work. You make statements all over the place and have miracles, but then discover that the same old statements gradually lose their power.

You grow into the next phase by your desire to know how to consciously direct and control this Power in your own life. Just being happy because you know about truth is no longer satisfying: You have to know more. About this time you begin to learn about soul ascension and how to conquer the little self. You learn to speak the Word and realize that you must be a perfect instrument for Power to use.

“Responsibility is a privilege and a delight.”

As you become ever more a mouthpiece for law, you realize that now you have become all three: The vessel or chalice holding love, the channel through which it flows and the instrument on which God plays His mighty symphonies of glory. At last you understand what the love of God can do when you allow it to use you freely without the petty obstacle of the little self. Your responsibility for lifting everything about you and in the world becomes your privilege and your delight.

You now know that being lifted up means you must forever stand before your own high altar in your Garden of Eden, your Garden of Love, letting the Power of God use you for its own everlasting glory. You continually find more people and situations to lift, increase the quality of your love, and increase the quantity of your joy.

Responsibility means the ability to stand under any earth conditions, loving God with all your heart, obedient to every principle of God, seeking an ever greater comprehension of what you think you know and sending forth only the compassion of the Christed consciousness to everyone in your outer world.

Responsibility is but another word meaning that you have grown up into the maturity of a daughter or son of God, that you have reached the point of being able to create anew all the elements of your life by lifting them back into their original pattern "on the Mount."

"I am now recreating my whole life by lifting it up where the love of God absorbs all darkness. Father, I love You with all my heart."

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X. Your Fulfillment: The Magic Word for All Miracles

"God saw every thing that He had made and, behold, it was very good." – Genesis 1:31.

The Word, or Logos, is not a word formed for speech with letters from the alphabet. It is an Emanation from the Source that contains all of everything that God created. The Logos is an opening rate of vibration, the highest known to God or man, moving forth under Power conditioning to form the outer confines of universes. As it travels away from the Source, it vibrates at a lower and lower rate, condensing in substance until it finally reaches a point in crystallization we call physical matter.

All prayers partake of the quality of the Word or Logos, lowering the vibration and condensing the spiritual substance into outer visible form. The magic word to speak over our creations — good — is found above and it releases the original Logos vibration and "lets" it work for us.

The magic of the word "good" sets the right keynote for the last step on our work of creating. The words "very good" lower the rate of vibration of invisible substance until it can be felt and seen with the physical eyes. Make your decree, declare it good, then name the result "Miracle!"

"God said, "Let there be Light": and there was Light. And God saw the Light, that it was good." – Genesis 1:3-4.

The word "good" is the magic fifth key to your Kingdom of Heaven. It is the keyword that opens the faculty of apperception, and polishes and finishes the soul's task of turning imagination upward on its axis, to its original position of high vision in the Light.

The Light from above, made by God in the beginning, then shines down on the "inner eye" — the hypothalamus, pineal body and pituitary gland — awakening the soul faculties of the seer and prophet. These two faculties make of you a mediator of the Mystic Brotherhood, of the Legions of the Christed Ones.

When man sank down into the Land of Egypt — the abdominal cavity, hips, legs and feet — for experience, he turned the kingly faculty of imagination downward on its axis, using it for clairvoyance and clairaudience as a medium. In this inverted position, imagination perverts Power into selfish channels for greed and gain.

Imagination cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven until it reverses itself within the Promised Land — the thoracic cavity, stomach, lungs and heart — and once more turns toward the Light. Imagination cannot contact the Christed consciousness without giving up self and fully surrendering the appetitive soul to be possessed by the Love of God with no thought of personal gain. As you turn imagination upward once more and use it as vision, instead of "thought pictures," it functions as both attributes of the mediator, intuition and illumination, which combine as comprehension, God's combined Wisdom and Love in action.

This final stage of soul ascension includes ascension of the body, heart and mind, achieved only when founded on the highest inner conviction of truth. This steadfast conviction enables you to "settle up" into your Garden of Eden, and ends your "forty years" of wandering in the Wilderness and waiting and hoping for something to happen in the Promised Land. Delay comes because you evade your responsibility for your own soul ascension. Delay puts off all promised fulfillment for the mystical "forty years."

No "lip service" will ever ascend you to this high place or give you a balanced vision. You can make up for all the delay only by declaring all your creations and lessons — past, present and those to come — good and very good. Then you find miracle after miracle, miracle on miracle following in fulfillment, as you climb steadily upward through degree after degree of ascension.

The ancient mysteries revealed that the greatest "city" in the Land of Egypt is the navel center, the solar plexus at the meridian of your physical body. This center is the Pharaoh's throne, the seat of your personal Satan, the self, the appetitive soul, the subconscious mind and its hunches, which always follow the most selfish desires. As long as you believe you can rule your life from Pharaoh's throne in Egypt, home of the lower creative center, you will operate exactly as a ship's captain who prefers to run the ship from the engine room with no real vision of the pitfalls that ahead.

A ship's bridge is like the higher creative center of your brain. A captain must rule his ship from the bridge, where he can see in every direction, and send orders to the engine room crew to prepare them for what is ahead. Whether he steers his ship by pushing buttons on a control panel or by turning the steering wheel, his responsibility is to chart a safe course for the ship to follow.

The place of control and right direction in your life is the computer control panel of your I AM consciousness in the higher creative center of your brain. There, empowered by the Christed consciousness, you know instantly which faculty to activate for the release of that perfect degree of Power that places the right words on your lips or to send you into right action.

The true sign that you have achieved soul ascension comes when you no longer keep sliding down the greased pole, slipping down in consciousness so that your miracles are scarce. Then you no longer desire to hide in the little self's gloomy bomb shelter, digging in deeper to evade responsibility or to explain your indifference. Under soul ascension, you no longer run your life on a part-time schedule, and "sometimes" miracles no longer satisfy you.

Fulfillment, which means constant miracles, comes only with acceptance of your full responsibility for your creations by letting the Power use you. Acceptance, coupled with the perfect and continuous use of your magic word, "good," repeated a thousand times an hour, means your days will be full of miracles.

“This is good. Let there be Light.”

"God" is the name of the Father in the universal Kingdom of Heaven. "Good" is God's name on earth in His earthly Kingdom of Heaven. When you constantly call His Good Name on your creations, yourself, your loved ones and those for whom you pray, an explosion of Light, an illumination occurs in your brain centers. This Light of illumination comes to you only when you have been unconsciously thinking or consciously declaring that your creations are good.

This explosion of Light brings all new ideas, the Power and Substance with which to clothe them, and the plans by which you may bring them forth into outer forms of expression. The Light of illumination, as your outer expression of your inner life, puts the right words on your lips.

The Light of illumination is the expression of joy, and the divine activity behind your fulfillment. It armors you in faith as it moves forth to uphold every decree you can make. There are no more block-outs or blackouts in your daily lives, no more deductions taken from your "good gifts," your desires fulfilled.

You always receive exactly what you ask for, minus deductions for the time and effort you spent in fear, doubt, self-pity, pride, inconstancy, resentment or rebellion. Idle words and idle time steal much of the Mind, Substance and Power released from your star, but the remainder is always delivered to you.

Many years ago a student of truth, a woman who had been asking and praying for a car, awakened one morning to find that someone had left the back seat of an automobile on her lawn during the night. She laughed because she realized that her asking and praying had earned just about as much of a car as that back seat represented, after her wavering, vacillating and wondering "if she would get it" had been deducted from her statements and her prayers.

As you remain constant in your soul ascension, the illumination explosion-expression is soon followed by a remarkable and miraculous expansion along all lines of your life. Your body grows lighter, your heart overflows with compassion, your affairs expand with increased income, new positions are offered to you, your business grows in volume. Your new, featherweight body tells you that you did not need more rest, only more of the life of God.

So, you have surrendered, ascended, and pronounced good everything about your life, especially the earth lessons you thought so hard. Yes, even your deductions are good because you have learned that delays and half-miracles no longer satisfy you.

You are now able to stand fearlessly in your own particular den of lions because your mind is focused on God. You waste no time making false gods of lions. As Daniel, you are in love with God.

Daniel stood serene and confident in the love of God. He wasn't thinking about lions and their nature, nor was he conscious of them being hungry. There was no "devouring" idea in Daniel's mind. And, above all, he was free of any desire to conquer lions.

Daniel was in love with God. He loved God with a love so great in quality that it instantly fulfilled itself and filled the den with Light.

Nothing but love could come near as it surrounded Daniel, as it emanated from him, because it came from above and moved through him as the pure love of God. It was a good love, and made good little lions of that group of hungry beasts.

Daniel became the faith of God, but was unconscious of using faith. He did not conquer faith — faith conquered him. Daniel, himself alone, had nothing to do with causing those lions to cower in their corner. The pure, unadulterated, undiluted love of God rendered them powerless.

Daniel fulfilled his part when he loved God enough to create a wall of love between himself and the lions. How he must have rejoiced when he saw this proof of what the love of God is capable of doing for man.

It is not your present perfection of performance and practice that holds you secure within your Christed consciousness. The absolute perfection of your desire to be perfect raises you into the Light and causes you to assume responsibility for your lives that holds you safely there.

Full spiritual health and strength of body begin when joy sets the cells to vibrating in a rhythmical acceleration which inflates them with invisible atomic substance for your physical use. By breathing deeply, you draw in atomic radiation in the right degree and quantity to lift you in your body ascension.

“Spread the wings of your soul and rejoice!”

Therefore, you must ask yourself these two questions: Do I believe that God is the same yesterday, today and forever? Do I believe with all my heart and mind that God is deathless, ageless and abiding? Your answers to these two questions are the measure of your faith, "According to your faith, so be it unto thee." The only requirement for becoming spiritually healthy and strong in body is your acceptance of these principles as perfect laws already governing your lives. They fulfill themselves when allowed to rule your life.

Atomic power already permeates you, so your life must expand upward into the Light. Every hour is a challenge to invest ever more of yourself in the life of God, to invest more love and more joy in your life's expression.

Every hour's investment in these expansive ways increases the flow of substance from your star, and insures your ascension against lost time and effort in holding your gains.

So, spread the wings of your soul and rejoice. The love of God has become the law of your life, and you are no longer conscious of the need to love. You love. Love has become a flame, a fire and a glory to you.

Even as the Cherubim and Seraphim lift their wings above their heads when at rest, so do you lift your wings of joy and bow in reverence before high altars. Pray and be ready to arise and spread your wings to soar aloft into an even higher golden silence where greater than comprehension is the power of becoming one with God.

"This is now become my hour of fulfillment, for I declare my heaven and my earth good and very good!"

"I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places." – Isaiah 45:2-3.

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 – 1971
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Edna Lister wrote the original text of The Keys to the Kingdom in 1945, as a series of essays. She revised the manuscript in 1968. The book was published in 1976, by The Society of the Universal Living Christ, and copyrighted. All Rights Reserved. The Keys to the Kingdom appears here following substantial revision.

Related Topics

See also Acceptance

See also Ascension

See also Conquering Self

See also Surrender