Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words

CHAPTER 7: Living the Spiritual Life

IN THE BEGINNING I undertook my walking not only to contact people, I undertook it as a prayer discipline to keep me concentrated on my prayer for peace. I hadn't learned yet to pray without ceasing. I also undertook a forty-five day period of prayer and fasting as a prayer discipline.

After the first few years the prayer discipline was completely unnecessary, because I had learned to pray without ceasing. I made the contact so thoroughly that into my prayer consciousness I put any condition or person in the world I am concerned about and the rest takes place automatically.

Occasionally some condition is brought back into my conscious mind because I need to really concentrate on it. If some person is in dire difficulty, and that person returns to my mind for thought, I sometimes use the prayer of visualization, which has always been very natural for me, but I understand not so for everybody. I reach out -- my divine nature reaches out -- to contact their divine nature. Then I have the feeling of lifting them, lifting them, lifting them, and I have the feeling of bringing God's light to them. I try to envision them bathed in God's light, and finally I do see them standing and reaching out their arms bathed in golden light. At that point I leave them in God's hands.

***

In all people I meet -- though some may be governed by the self-centered nature and may not know their potential at all -- I see that divine spark, and that's what I concentrate on. All people look beautiful to me; they look like shining lights to me. I always have the feeling of being thankful for these beautiful people who walk the earth with me.

So I would say part of my prayer is a feeling of thankfulness, and of course a feeling of genuine love for all of God's children and all of God's creation. Prayer is a concentration of positive thoughts. That's a little bit about prayer.

WAYS OF PRAYER.

You can visualize God's light each day and send it to someone who needs help. Your divine nature must reach out and touch the divine nature of another. Within you is the light of the world, it must be shared with the world.

Visualize a golden light within you and spread it out. First to those about you -- your circle of friends and relatives -- and then gradually to the world. Keep on visualizing God's golden light surrounding our earth.

And if you have a problem, take the matter to God in prayer, and visualize it in God's hands. Then leave it, knowing it is in the best possible hands, and turn your attention to other things.

That's not the only prayer you can pray, but I have discovered that for some who were in very great trouble, this prayer of visualization was helpful to them. I've heard of results later, so I do a little of this.

There is also a constant prayer of thankfulness -- I am constantly thankful. The world is so beautiful, I am thankful. I have endless energy, I am thankful. I am plugged into the source of Universal Supply, I am thankful. I am plugged into the source of Universal Truth, I am thankful. I have this constant feeling of thankfulness, which is a prayer.

***

When you're learning, it's true it may be valuable to take special times, even to use special forms...I can see that.

Several times people have written to me and said, "Peace, will you pray with me at four o'clock in the afternoon or nine o'clock in the evening, which is such and such a time, daylight saving time?" I write and tell them, "You don't have to figure all that out for me -- plug in at anytime and you will be praying with me, and I will be praying with you, because I pray without ceasing."

***

Praying without ceasing is not ritualized, nor are there even words. It is a constant state of awareness of oneness with God; it is a sincere seeking for a good thing; and it is a concentration on the thing sought, with faith that it is obtainable. All right prayer has good effect, but if you give your whole life to the prayer you multiply its power...No one really knows the full power of prayer. Of course, there is a relationship between prayer and action. Receptive prayer results in an inner receiving, which motivates to right action.

***

Let me tell you a story about an answer to prayer. I was picked up late one night by a young policeman as I was walking along a lonely highway. I believe he was thinking in terms of protective custody. He said to me, "Why, nobody in this town would walk out along this highway at this time of night."

I said to him, "Well, you see, I walk completely without fear. Therefor I'm not attracting things which are not good. It says, That which I feared came upon me. But fear nothing and expect only good."

He took me in anyhow, and I found myself in a cell. The floor was littered with old newspapers and cigarette butts and every old thing. The accommodations consisted of a single mattress on the floor and four ragged blankets. There were two women attempting to sleep together on that single mattress. They told me there had been eight women in that cell the night before with those accommodations. There was a rather nice feeling among the prisoners in general. They said to me, "You'll need to have two blankets because you'll be sleeping on the floor." So I took a newspaper and cleared a place on the floor, then put one blanket down and the other blanket over me and slept comfortably enough.

It wasn't the first time I had slept on a cement floor, nor the last. If you're relaxed you can sleep anywhere. When I woke up in the morning I saw this man staring through the bars. I said to him,

"What time does court convene?" He said, "I don't know." I said, "Well, aren't you a policeman?" "No," he said, "I just like to look at the girls." It was one of the town sports. Anyone could come in right off the street and see what they had there today: "Let's go look at the girls!"

One of the women was middle aged and was being held for being drunk and disorderly. It was her seventh offense, she told me, so it wasn't so hard on her. But the other was an eighteen year old girl. She felt her entire life was ruined because of this experience. I said, "It's my second time and I certainly don't think my life is ruined!" I got her all cheered up and we talked about what she'd do when she got out. She was to get out that day or the next day.

Then they changed the guards. I never saw a matron. The new guard saw me and said, "What are you doing in there? I saw your picture in the newspaper. I heard you over the air." Then they just let me go.

But before I left I got a broom from the man who cleaned up around there and gave it to the girls so they could clean up their cell. I also got them a comb; their hair was all matted. They had been there about a week without a comb.

What I really wanted to tell you is that the eighteen year old girl was a deeply religious person. She had been desperately praying for help. I believe that I was picked up off the highway that night and set behind prison bars in answer to her prayers.

***

The most important part of prayer is what we feel, not what we say. We spend a great deal of time telling God what we think should be done, and not enough time waiting in the stillness for God to tell us what to do.

***

Now, beside God's laws, which are the same for all of us, there is also God's guidance and that is unique for every human soul. If you don't know what God's guidance for your life is, you might try seeking in receptive silence. I used to walk receptive and silent amidst the beauties of nature. Wonderful insights would come to me which I then put into practice in my life.

You might prefer listening to beautiful, uplifting music, reading a few beautiful words and pondering on them. To me, the beauties of nature were always the most inspiring, and so actually that was my time alone with God. It didn't last more than an hour, if that, and I got so much from it.

Now the young folks talk to me today about things like breathing exercises and meditation techniques, which in some cultures are definitely religious practices. But I say, look what I got from my time alone with God: from the beauty around me, my inspiration; from the silent receptiveness, my meditation; and from my walking, not only my exercise but my breathing. Four things at once! I believe in making very good use of my time. And you can't be too pushy when you're doing four things at once.

Foolish people have sometimes used very strenuous breathing exercises or meditation techniques that tore them apart and pushed them into an undesirable state instead of into the spiritual state. (Yes, that was long before psychedelic drugs!) I always think of the bud of a flower. If you give it proper conditions it will open into a beautiful flower, but if you're impatient and try to tear the petals open you permanently injure the flower for the earth life. The flower can be equated with the earthly human life. Give the spiritual growing-up the proper growing conditions and it will open into a thing of beauty.

***

When you feel the need of a spiritual lift, try getting to bed early and get up early to have a quiet time at dawn. Then carry the serene "in tune" feeling that comes to you into your day, no matter what you may be doing.

***

For those of you who are seeking the spiritual life, I recommend these four daily practices: spend time alone each day in receptive silence. When angry, or afflicted with any negative emotion, take time to be alone with God. (Do not talk with people who are angry; they are irrational and cannot be reasoned with. If you or they are angry, it is best to leave and pray.) Visualize God's Light each day and send it to someone who needs help. Exercise the body, it is the temple of the soul.

On Fasting.

I have been asked about my forty-five day period of prayer and fasting. I undertook it as a prayer discipline, to keep me concentrated on my prayer for peace. It was in the second year of my pilgrimage when I was coming slowly back across the country and I wasn't walking extensively.

Fasting can have a great deal of spiritual significance, and though I had already found inner peace, it may have been that the fast helped me to learn to pray without ceasing.

While I fasted I was at the home of a chiropractor who used fasting for healing. He wanted to see how a well person would react to a fast because he had never fasted a well person. I talked to him as a friend; he just observed me, he didn't examine me. (There are many doctors, including medical doctors, who are my friends -- but none of them have ever treated me or even examined me. Although occasionally a dentist friend will repair an old cavity which came from my poor eating habits in younger days.) The last meal before my fast was a grapefruit and two oranges, so I wasn't thirsty. The first three days were undertaken without food or water. After that I took distilled water at room temperature. Nothing else. And when I broke my fast it was not unusual -- it was the regular way to break a fast. The juice of one freshly squeezed orange every hour the first day. The juice of two freshly squeezed oranges, alternating with the juice of one grapefruit, every two hours the second day. A grapefruit and two oranges three times the third day, and after that adding a little bit until in a week I was able to eat full rations.

It was no different from the usual pattern of fasting. I did obey the laws of fasting: no extreme exertion. I did not walk long distances, though I did walk some. I did some typing for the doctor. I typed until he took the typewriter away about a month along in the fast. He didn't think I ought to handle it anymore, so then I wrote by hand, which was really harder than typing. But I do the best I can with these things.

I didn't go in and talk to his patients as much as I would have liked to because he didn't want me to move around that much. I did go to see them occasionally to help keep up their spirits.

Once during my fast -- I remember I was in a state between wakefulness and sleep -- I looked up and saw a dismal cross above me. It was just hanging there, and I knew someone must take up the burden. I reached up to accept it and I was immediately lifted above the cross where all was light and beauty. All that was needed was the willingness to accept the burden -- and then I was raised above it. Instead of hardships, I found a wonderful sense of peace and joy.

On Healing.

One must be very careful when praying for others to pray for the removal of the cause and not the removal of the symptom. A simple healing prayer is this:

"Bring this life into harmony with Divine Purpose... may this life come into harmony with God's Will. May you so live that all who meet you will be uplifted, that all who bless you will be blessed, that all who serve you will receive the greatest satisfaction. If any should attempt to harm you, may they contact your thought of God and be healed."

Eager beaver psychic healers are those who work on the removal of symptoms and not the removal of cause. When you desire phenomena, you possess phenomena; you do not get God. Let's say I am a psychic healer living next door to you, and you have chosen to come into this life to face some kind of physical symptom until you have removed the cause. Well, when the symptom manifests, I remove it. And so the symptom manifests again, and I then remove it again, and I manage to keep that symptom removed.

When you step over to the disembodied side of life, for another reason altogether, instead of blessing me for having removed the symptom you'll say, "That meddler! I came to solve this problem but she kept removing the symptom and therefore I never solved it!"

That's what I mean when I speak about some who are content to deal with the removal of symptoms. When one meddles in the life of another it will just cause the symptoms not only to re-manifest, but carry over into another lifetime. Most healers do not know this and they go on merrily removing symptoms.

I admit that a long time ago, before I really knew what I was doing, when working with people who had problems I comforted them by putting my hands on the back of their neck and the forehead. I certainly wouldn't do that now. I did not realize I was doing anything but to comfort. Now I place any problem into my prayer consciousness. I place it into the best possible hands--God's hands, and turn my attention to other things.

***

The Power of Thought.

Are you a slave to your self-centered nature, or does your divine nature guide your life? Do you know that every moment of your life you're creating through thought? You create your own inner condition; you're helping create the conditions around you.

Christian teachings tell us that: 'As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.' Which is saying very clearly that we are creating the conditions around us. If we could look a bit more deeply into life, we might see that physical difficulties are reflections of spiritual difficulties, and that negative thoughts and feelings are much more harmful than disease germs.

If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a defeatist or negative thought. Since we create through thought, we need to concentrate very strongly on positive thoughts. If you think you can't do something, you can't. But if you think you can, you may be surprised to discover that you can. It is important that our thoughts be constantly for the best that could happen in a situation -- for the good things we would like to see happen.

I have met some New Age people who had heard some prediction of disaster and were actually concentrating on that. What a terrible thing to do! Why, we're creating every moment of our lives through thought. And we're helping to create the conditions around us.

When you hear of any predictions of disaster there's a reason for it. The reason is that you are to throw the entire weight of your positive thought in the opposite direction.

For instance, when there were dozens of predictions that half of California was to slide into the sea from a terrible earthquake, I deliberately planned to be in that section of California. There wasn't a tremor. But I missed some of my friends who were on the east coast, playing it safe.

***

Remember where it says there shall be prophecies and they shall fail? Why is it? Because all you can predict is the trend of things. You can never say what the outcome will be, because we are constantly able to turn that prediction in another direction, in a positive direction if we get together on that.

***

Every good thing you do, every good thing you say, every good thought you think, vibrates on and on and never ceases. The evil remains only until it is overcome by the good, but the good remains forever.

***

Just concentrate on thinking and living and acting in harmony with God's laws and inspiring others to do likewise.

Every time you meet a person, think of some encouraging thing to say -- a kind word, a helpful suggestion, an expression of admiration. Never think of any right effort as being fruitless. All right effort bears fruit, whether we see the results or not.

***

Be a sweet melody in the great orchestration, instead of a discordant note. The medicine this sick world needs is love. Hatred must be replaced by love, and fear by faith that love will prevail.

***

A song has this phrase: Love is flowing like a river, flowing out from you and me. Spreading out into the desert, setting all the captives free.

Yes, the captives are those who don't know who they are, those who don't know they are God's children.

***

Remember this: Be still and know that I am God. Don't ever forget who you are! You cannot be where God is not.

The Change Called Death.

Life is a series of tests, but if you pass your tests you'll look back upon them as good experiences. I look back on all of my tests as good experiences, including the night I faced death in a blinding snowstorm. It was the first year of my pilgrimage and the most beautiful experience I ever had.

I was walking in a very isolated section of the high mountains of Arizona where there was no human habitation for many miles. That afternoon there came a surprising snowstorm, out of season. I have never seen such a storm. If the snow had been rain you would have called it a cloudburst. Never had I seen snow dumped down like that!

All of a sudden I was walking in deep snow and was unable to see through what was falling. Suddenly I realized that the cars had stopped running. I supposed they were getting stuck on the highway and unable to pass. Then it got dark. There must have been a heavy cloud cover. I could not see my hand before my face, and the snow was blowing into my face and closing my eyes. It was getting cold. It was the kind of cold that penetrates into the marrow of the bone.

If ever I were to lose faith and feel fear, this would have been the time, because I knew there was no human help at hand. Instead, the whole experience of the cold and the snow and the darkness seemed unreal. Only God seemed real...nothing else. I made a complete identification -- not with my body, the clay garment which is destructible -- but with the reality which activates the body and is indestructible.

I felt so free; I felt that everything would be all right, whether I remained to serve in this earth life or if I went on to serve in another freer life beyond. I felt guided to keep on walking, and I did, even though I couldn't tell whether I was walking along the highway or out into some field. I couldn't see anything. My feet in my low canvas shoes were like lumps of ice. They felt so heavy as I plodded along. My body began to turn numb with cold.

After there was more numbness than pain, there came what some would call an hallucination -- and what some would call a vision. It was as though I became aware, not only of the embodied side of life where everything was black darkness, bitter cold and swirling snow -- but also so close it seemed I could step right into it, of the unembodied side of life where everything was warmth and light. There was such great beauty. It began with familiar color, but transcended familiar color. It began with familiar music, but transcended familiar music.

Then I saw beings. They were very far away. One of them moved toward me very quickly. When she came close enough, I recognized her. She looked much younger than she had looked when she passed over.

I believe that at the time of the beginning of the change called death, those nearest and dearest come to welcome us. I have been with dying friends who have stepped over and I remember well how they talked to their loved ones on both sides ... as though they were all right there in the room together.

So I thought my time had come to step over, and I greeted her. I either said or thought, "You have come for me?" But she shook her head! She motioned for me to go back! And just at that exact moment I ran into the railing of a bridge. The vision was gone.

Because I felt guided to do so, I groped my way down that snowy embankment and got under the bridge. There I found a large cardboard packing box with wrapping paper in it. Very slowly and clumsily in my numb condition, I managed to get myself into that packing box, and somehow with my numbed fingers managed to pull the wrapping paper around me. There under the bridge, during the snowstorm, I slept. Even there shelter had been provided -- but provided also was this experience.

Had you looked at me in the midst of the snowstorm, you might have said, "What a terrible experience that poor woman is going through." But looking back on it I can only say: What a wonderful experience in which I faced death, feeling not fear, but the constant awareness of the presence of God, which is what you take right over with you.

I believe I had the great privilege of experiencing the beginning of the change called death. So now I can rejoice with my loved ones as they make the glorious transition to a freer living. I can look forward to the change called death as life's last great adventure.

***

I have been asked what I mean when I've said I had started the process we call death. Of course, the change called death is a process. First you begin to perceive not only this side of life, but the unembodied side of life. Then you begin to recognize loved ones on the unembodied side as they move toward you, and you find you can communicate with both sides. That's as far as I went. Next comes the breaking of the "silver cord" --and then communication with those on this side is cut off, although you can still see and hear them. You find yourself in the "common meeting place" with your unembodied loved ones for a wondrous reunion, and later you go to the level where you are to learn, and also to serve, if you are far enough advanced.

The unembodied side of life is right here in another dimension. The two worlds intermingle. We are aware of our world but they are aware of both worlds -- usually. Some communication is possible; for instance, we can pray for them and they can pray for us.

***

Death is a beautiful liberation into a freer life. The limiting clay garment, the body, is put aside. The self-centered nature goes with you to learn and grow on the disembodied side of life, and then returns here into a suitable clay garment and suitable circumstances to learn the lessons we need to learn. Could we but see a bit deeper into life, we would grieve at birth and rejoice at death. If we but knew how short is the earth life in comparison with the whole, we would be less troubled with the difficulties of the earth life than we are troubled now with the difficulties of one of our days.

***

The memorial services should be a joyous farewell party, recalling the good the person has done, reading favorite poems and singing favorite songs. If we did this, the liberated one would be rejoicing with us.

***

As I accepted the change of the golden hair of my childhood to the reddish-brown hair of my youth without regret, so I also accept my silver hair -- and I am ready to accept the time when my hair and the rest of my clay garment returns to the dust from which it came, while my spirit goes on to freer living. It is the season for my hair to be silver, and each season has its lessons to teach. Each season of life is wonderful if you have learned the lessons of the season before. It is only when you go on with lessons unlearned that you wish for a return.

On Religion.

Religion is not an end in itself. One's union with God is the ultimate goal. There are so many religions because immature people tend to emphasize trivial differences instead of important likenesses. Differences between faiths lie in creeds and rituals rather than religious principles.

How diverse the many paths seem to be at times, but do they not all come together eventually upon the same mountaintop? Are they not all striving for the same thing?

If you are guided toward a faith, use it as a stepping stone to God, not as a barrier between yourself and God's other children or as a tower to hold you aloft from others. If you are not guided toward a faith (or even if you are) seek God in the silence -- seek within.

When we attempt to isolate another we only isolate ourselves. We are all God's children and there are no favorites. God is revealed to all who seek; God speaks to all who will listen. Be still and know God.

***

I am a deeply religious person, but I belong to no denomination. I follow the spirit of God's law, not the letter of the law. One can become so attached to the outward symbols and structure of religion that one forgets its original intent -- to bring one closer to God. We can only gain access to the Kingdom of God by realizing it dwells within us as well as in all humanity. Know that we are all cells in the ocean of infinity, each contributing to the others' welfare.

***

I read the King James version of the New Testament in its entirety and some excerpts from the Old Testament just after the beginning of my pilgrimage. They are important books to a great number of people, and I felt the need to inquire of their contents in order to make my outreach to others more complete. Yes, the Bible contains a great many truths, but most often these truths are not really understood. People replace the spirit of the law with the letter of the law and truth becomes distorted into falsehood. If you desire confirmation of a truth, it is best to seek it from within and not upon a printed page.

You will note that Jesus says, "Why do you call me `Lord, Lord'and do not what I say?" He expresses this thought more than once. Therefore, it seems to me that a real Christian would be living by the laws of God that Jesus taught. Jesus also says, "Say not,`Lo here' or `Lo there', for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you." In so many illustrations he tells people what they are capable of. Real Christians would allow their lives to be governed by the Kingdom of God within -- by the God-centered nature -- which is sometimes called the indwelling Christ.

***

Many people profess Christianity. Very few live it -- almost none. And when you live it people may think you're crazy. It has been truthfully said that the world is equally shocked by one who repudiates Christianity and by one who practices it.

I believe Jesus would accept me because I do what he told people to do. This doesn't mean, though, that all who call themselves Christian would accept me. Of course I love and appreciate Jesus and I wish Christians would learn to obey his commandments. It would be a most wonderful world.

The Way of Love

Evil cannot be overcome by more evil. Evil can only be overcome by good. It is the lesson of the way of love. The contest in the world today is between the old way of attempting to overcome evil with evil, which with modern weapons would lead to complete chaos, and the way of overcoming evil with good, which would lead to a glorious and mature life.

We need not reach out to tear down that which is evil because nothing which is contrary to God's laws can endure. All not-good things in the world are transient, containing within themselves the seeds of their own destruction. We can help them to fade away more quickly only insofar as we remain in obedience to God's law that evil must be overcome with good. Those who create something which is evil in order to overcome something else which is evil only double the evil.

God's laws are implemented constantly, for everything out of harmony is on its way out. How can anyone doubt that eventually God will prevail? It is only how soon that is up to us. And with how much violence they will pass away is also up to us. Insofar as we are willing to let them go, there will be less violence -- insofar as we have been able to build the new within the old, there will be less violence; so let us work on that. Let us help the phoenix to rise from the ashes, let us help lay the foundation for a new renaissance, let us help to accelerate the spiritual awakening until it lifts us into the golden age which would come!

In order to help usher in the golden age we must see the good in people. We must know it is there, no matter how deeply it may be buried. Yes, apathy is there and selfishness is there -- but good is there also. It is not through judgment that the good can be reached, but through love and faith.

Pure love is a willingness to give, without a thought of receiving anything in return. Love can save the world from nuclear destruction. Love God: turn to God with receptiveness and responsiveness. Love your fellow human beings: turn to them with friendliness and givingness. Make yourself fit to be called a child of God by living the way of love.

***

Do you know God? Do you know there is a power greater than ourselves which manifests itself within us as well as everywhere else in the universe? This I call God. Do you know what it is to know God, to have God's constant guidance, a constant awareness of God's presence? To know God is to reflect love toward all people and all creations. To know God is to feel peace within -- a calmness, a serenity, an unshakeableness which enables you to face any situation. To know God is to be so filled with joy that it bubbles over and goes forth to bless the world.

I have only one desire now: to do God's will for me. There is no conflict. When God guides me to walk a pilgrimage I do it gladly.

When God guides me to do other things I do them just as gladly. If what I do brings criticism upon me I take it with head unbowed. If what I do brings me praise I pass it immediately along to God, for I am only the instrument through which God does the work. When God guides me to do something I am given strength, I am given supply, I am shown the way. I am given the words to speak. Whether the path is easy or hard I walk in the Light of God's love and peace and joy, and I turn to God with psalms of thanksgiving and praise. This it is to know God. And knowing God is not reserved for the great ones. It is for little folks like you and me. God is always seeking you -- every one of you.

You can find God if you will only seek -- by obeying divine laws, by loving people, by relinquishing self-will, attachments, negative thoughts and feelings. And when you find God it will be in the stillness. You will find God within.


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