The Teaching Autobiography, Contents: Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4
The Second Circle
About this time the Recorder joined us. She and her family had come to New Zealand just a few months before we did. She was born in England so we have much in common and now after a friendship lasting nearly thirty years, of the existing members of our group, she and Nicholas are the oldest members. We have helped each other over the rough passages and enjoyed the smooth ones, both having a love of the loneliest parts of this country which we have explored together and many of these expeditions have added a bead to what we call 'our necklace'. It was at the Recorder's home that we settled down to the second circle and met there once a week, until years later when that circle too was dispersed.
In the early days, it seemed as if she went a little way with me. This made her sympathetic with my difficulties, quick to understand the many complexities and muddles of the early days and I think the circle owes her a great deal. When allowed she used to scribble notes at great speed during a sitting and from these notes the records were built up. Since there was bound to be considerable guesswork in her translations these could not always be accurate but at least they gave us some idea of what was happening. Quite often Azvard's quiet voice would say: "Do not write!" and to her relief she was freed to listen rather than to concentrate for notes. I think Azvard only said that when the Teaching was coming through, which I myself would write afterwards.
The Recorder had already joined us when the only other event of any importance happened, in this interval between the two circles. This sprang from a question John Bodley once startled me, by asking. He said; "Do you know what position Jesus Christ holds in the Thought World? Is He there?" I had never considered the question but after that must have held it in my memory, because I awoke one morning with this remembrance, which later was reproduced at a sitting. I had remembered to ask Azrael the answer to John's question. Although in the Thought World I had known Azrael as its ruler and had recognised His unique position there, I had never associated Him with Christ.
I have often been questioned about visual remembrance in the Thought World and find it difficult to explain. How would an individual see a close companion such as a wife after death? Does he remember her as the young girl he first met, the woman in her maturity, the companion of his old age, or perhaps the face wracked by the pain of a last illness? I think how you answer that question answers the other.
I have a definite remembrance of Azrael when I asked Him John's question, yet if given the power could paint no portrait. I remember the peculiar silence that followed my question, which made me look up. Azrael was watching me intently, eyes that I feel were grey, with the limpid quality of water, waiting for me 'to see'. His expectancy passed to me till I was thrilling to it and then recognition dawned. Azrael Himself was Christ. That remembrance was a personal gift, fitted to this particular life, I did carry it back but in common with all Conscious Minds it then had to be translated into terms of my own daily life.
In the early period of the first circle, John and his wife, who was most appropriately named 'the Mother', were confronted with a great anxiety. One day I was going across Eastern Bay for a holiday with the Beaumonts. I remember whilst waiting on the wharf for them, John came up to me and to my surprise, because it was in the early days of our friendship, he asked if he could have a word with me alone. He said very little, merely that he was confronted with a serious personal difficulty and in the freedom of my coming holiday, would I see if I could get any help for him from the Thought World.
These holidays that I spent with the Beaumonts were very pleasant. It was their custom to have breakfast together, a good meal and then to meet again for a hot meal which would be prepared at about 5.30 pm. This gave even the women a long day to do what they liked, sometimes as a party, more often split up into sailing, walking or just being lazy groups. So that it was quite a normal proceeding for me to pack myself a lunch one day and go off alone to climb a high hill behind the camp.
Arriving at the top I settled down to see if I could reach John's trouble. I had been given no clue and wondered if it was a financial one, for it was then the time of the bad depression and most people's worries seemed connected with it.
It was a glorious still day and I sat watching the sea stretched out in front of me into the blue distance. Then I became aware there was a bank of black clouds on the horizon which I knew to be John's trouble and I seemed to go away into it. When I came back into ordinary consciousness I knew there was something that could be done about it. There was little Teaching then to help me but it seemed to me to depend on our own wills and actions, as indeed it always does. I felt the trouble concerned the Mother, that if we got help, it would involve my life with hers and with new responsibilities which, if I accepted, would open the gate for help but if later regretted could not be discarded.
That was all I could get and it seemed to me pitifully little and horribly egotistical, a wretched offering for John in trouble. So it was an enormous relief when, on my return, he accepted something so nebulous as worth while. I can see now that what had satisfied him was the fact that I had singled out his wife as the centre of the trouble, without any clue from him. Then he told me the cause of his anxiety. The Mother had had a lump in her chest, which when removed had proved to be malignant.
Some weeks later after a long tramp over hills, I sat down to think over the situation and the same thing happened I 'went away' and this time I was carried a step further. I had to make the decision now. If I took it on I was asked to read the Bible daily. It was easier for me to accept the big decision than to follow this small new direction to which my feelings were antagonistic. One I wanted to do, the other I did not. However being willing to take on the main job, it seemed futile to baulk at the first barrier, so I overcame my repugnance and accepted. I think what happened was, that I had been shown in the Thought World the whole possible future. Then remembrance was taken away, leaving only the necessary points for the moment.
It is my belief, although I do not know on what it is founded, that any experience of this sort would involve the same decisions. That of first overcoming a personal, stupid prejudice that otherwise blocks the whole thing.
I cannot now recollect any significance that reading of the Bible had, except that I did and do follow that instruction. Later I told John that if the Mother and I could be alone together and be quiet, I should be able to do what I could. I wish I could convey the discomfort I felt in this situation, for I had no idea what I should do and the very great relief when on overcoming my embarrassment and passing on these vague directions, I found John and his wife accept them so simply and so naturally. I shall always feel that their calm acceptance and unfounded faith was the chief factor in the result.
For John who was a doctor, was very anxious indeed. His wife was a sick woman and he had cause to suspect another growth. During her resting time, when she was lying down, I went up and sat beside her with my hand resting lightly on her bare arm. There is no doubt in my own mind that we both 'went away' that time. My only picture was that hand in hand like children, we both came to Azrael. I know that when the Mother came back she was changed, so happy and gay. This was the creation of the friendship which followed. The Mother told John that she knew she was healed, she discarded the bandage that was upholding her breast and steadfastly refused to think of herself as a sick woman. John consulted me about that, a little apprehensive both about the bandage and possible reaction to such confidence but I thought it was better not to interfere. I remember a rather curious fact, directly after she had demanded fruit and sent John out to buy some grapes. It is true that for the eight following years she was free from disease.
After that, whenever I went to see the Bodley family, I used to sit with the Mother for a time when she was resting. She liked it and it seemed to lessen John's anxiety but I myself do not know if it had any effect on her health whatever, although it was perhaps the means by which my friendship with the family increased.
I always wonder why I did not then get an instruction to leave spiritual healing alone, for I feel sure it was not in itself a part of my pattern. As I have said I believe the Mother was cured that first time and possibly could have remained cured but I am equally certain that the cure was attained by herself, my part being to act as guide along the particular road we travelled, or to be more exact, she could follow the channel of my mind.
Unfortunately John felt I was a possible means of bringing healing myself and was anxious to try me out on one or two cases. I was never at ease with this idea. The first case was an old woman, very near death from cancer. I went to her and tried to help, the only result was that the slight antipathy I have for sick rooms and people vanished and I felt a sympathetic liking towards her. She died I think about a week later but John comforted me by telling me that she had been in great distress of mind about dying but from the time of my visit she had gained a peace of mind and was reconciled towards the idea of death.
The other case was a child. I should have been so glad to have helped her and went with that desire. I went there three times but nothing changed and after that I asked John not to experiment any further and felt I was back on my right road.
The years that followed were good ones during which we got enough of the Teaching, to see that although each bit was complete in itself, they were like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, together they showed signs of being parts of a complete whole.
There happened about this time the thing I found personally the most interesting incident of any sitting. I got a message from Nicholas, saying there was a question that was much exercising his mind, would I see if I could get an answer to it? He did not want to tell it to me, because he wanted a completely unbiased answer. I liked the idea and said I would try the next sitting. In the Thought World these things are given in picture, because there are no words there. Like Pharaoh's dream of the seven fat kine and the seven lean kine coming out of the river, representing seven good seasons and seven bad years of drought, one has to find one's own translation into words. I am not sure how these pictures come. For this particular one I was in touch with Arrantees, only through Her could I be assured of its verity. I knew I must not strive but hold the wish to receive, clear of any personal thought or emotion. Presently I found I was seeing something that rose and fell enclosed in a small circle with a line cutting it and slowly realised it was the meeting of sea and sky as seen through the porthole of a ship. As soon as I had grasped this, I knew the first step was gained. So to speak it gave me the subject. It was hard to control a rising excitement. For even that intrusion of self could distort but I could also feel the limitless patience of Arrantees. The next step proved more difficult, the picture seemed to hold the idea of the ports of London and Bombay and there flitted through my mind the words 'ports of arrival' and 'ports of departure', but they were misleading, for it was not two things I wanted but one. Anxiety intruded and must not be allowed to intervene. Very difficult. Then I got back to the picture of the ship alone on the sea and then I found the missing word, it was 'destination'. Following on the heels of that, swift as a flash of light, the whole translation came. "Do not alter course." It was the most heavenly feeling of exultation, supreme pride without any self in it. I had worked successfully with Arrantees. I suppose it is like the last step made by a scientist in some new discovery.
It did completely answer the question in Nicholas' mind. He had then, I think, accepted the Teaching and felt if it was true, it was very important and began to wonder if it involved his own pattern and whether his life in the Navy, which absorbed his whole attention, stood in the way. I had no idea of this but if he had asked me, I could have told him to stay put but I don't suppose that would have carried much weight with him. It is true the Teaching is the pattern of this life of mine and should be given precedence over all else and I think, because he is my Unity Conscious Mind, he caught a reflection of this. Because this idea of leaving his career in the Navy was an error, which had come into his mind owing to his concern for the Teaching, an answer was permitted to be given to this personal question of his.