THE GREAT SIMPLICITIES
Betty was a givey person. Indeed, I
used to joke that her endless generosities had forced me to become mean
and avaricious just to keep us out of the poorhouse. There was little
need, therefore, for the Invisibles to stress
as the first rule in the discipline
of outflow. Nonetheless outflow, as well as inflow, must be motivated,
they told us, by the wish-to rather that the will-to. And Betty, the
naturally generous and free
handed, responded with enthusiasm. "It's so much more natural to give," she said, "than to take."
Not that there were no gropings and
stumblings on the way to her full understanding of the art of managing
the outflow of the Supply, now that she had learned how to tap it. There
were many puzzlements. But these the Invisibles helped her to resolve by
what they called the Great Simplicities.
I shall not catalogue the
Simplicities here in advance, but rather call them to attention as they
developed in due course. It is best to picture Betty as reaching out for
them, feeling her path as she went—for that is how it actually happened.
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"There come certain times in one's
evolution when one completes a phase of development," Betty was
explaining the next stretch of road. "Instead of being a freshman, one
is a senior. I can always tell when I am starting a new field of work,
because I can turn around so easily and look back at the old one so
clearly. And you can't turn around until you have pretty well finished
up a stage....
"I wish I could get a good analogy
for the sensation of what I'm facing now. There's quite a change in the
of it—something like being made a
pro instead of an amateur."
Contributed the Invisibles: "The
practice of the higher
life regulated by it—this is the
final step in our present teachings. After accustoming yourself to the
universal mind, convincing yourself of its desirability, then comes the
still more difficult practice of using it. It must be done in relation
to earth life, or it is not done at all. One must learn to take the
rough and tumble, the unsympathetic contacts, indifferent if not
There was a pause while Betty
"Formerly," she acknowledged at last,
"I brought myself, by various symbols to stand under a spiritual sun, as
it were, passive and receptive. Now I must go out actually on the earth
to live to the full, to fail and fall, experiment, create a new
environment. . . ."
"You admit the inflow unquestioningly," said the
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Invisibles. "That, however, is but an
opening of the gates. You must go through."
"Oh dear, I've been so busy getting
this thing into my consciousness," lamented Betty, "and now I've got to
be just as busy getting it out—and it's just as hard!"
"Remember," reiterated the
Invisibles, "the first point—that the active life means constant
inflowing and outflowing. You must never, never forget to be constantly
Either Betty or myself—I forget
which—wanted a specific hint as to where to begin. Active where and how?
"It doesn't make the least
difference what you do," came the answer, "or which part of the world you choose to
function in. It is the functioning itself that counts. The main thing is
to get rid of the stoppage at the place of meeting with the world. The
'through' process must be acquired.
"Without this giving out there is no
circulation. From now on your outgo must equal your intake.
You"—they were speaking more directly to Betty—"are rapidly outgrowing
the stage where you contain, as a quiet pool, a backwater portion of the
current of life. In future your status must be one of continuous movement,
without stoppage at your point of contact with the world. Obstruction is there
"Don't be so solemn about it," they
urged. "This is a pleasure-giving party, solely and simply an
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of happiness—and how to step on the
accelerator. That doesn't make such a bad picture, does it?"
And anyway, they pressed the point
home, how do you get fun out of anything you have?
"By using it," they insisted. "You
can have titles of possession, but they are only scraps of paper. Can't you
imagine a man who doesn't know how to read, owning a library with every
book in the world in it? All he owned would be
He couldn't eat it. He couldn't get
out of it!
"The important thing to realize is
that this unified consciousness cannot be imprisoned and shackled. It must
be held lightly and loaned to others, passed freely and lavishly. One's
function is to
help conduct a flow—not to steal a
cupful of something and ran away with
I thought the Invisibles were rather
over-stressing the point. Still they tried for a clearer picture, as
Betty slowly took their dictation, seemingly hanging on every word.
"It is a sort of down-thrust after
the upward extension," said they, "a definite
in return. Whatever you practice
hereafter, keep in mind the
strong down-thrust as necessary for rebound.
"In fact, there is little permanent
value in having learned the higher laws unless you can do this. Suppose
with their help you have succeeded in transmuting an area around
yourself—have made a start at surrounding
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yourself with harmony and health and
happiness. Still you haven't really accomplished much unless you can
maintain the effectiveness of your perception by spreading the area.
That area, that transmutation, must spread, expand around you, or you
will find yourself possessed only of narrow puritanical piety."
So it was then that Betty mastered
one of the Great Simplicities— Circulation, as the Invisibles now and
then called it, meaning not merely the necessity for an outgo equal to
the intake. The outgiving must not be intermittent. Circulation, not in
spurts but rather as a continuous flow— movement always; that's the
"I see myself as I used to be," said
Betty finally, "convinced of the essential tuning process, without which
we are nothing; doing it more or less regularly; luxuriating in it
even. The picture is now repellent to me. It lacked something I must temporarily
name robustness and independence. It had no joyous dynamics. It would be
impossible for me to return to the apathetic stage, except periodically
for rest, or if I became conscious of nervous tensions, or for healing
if ill. No longer am I concerned with exercises in spiritual contact.
That, fortunately, has become automatic. I've made that connection. Now
I've got to turn the current on and let it flow through. Circulation!"
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KNOW 211 2.
Particularization was the name given
by the Invisibles to another of the Great Simplicities.
"A rather ponderous bit of
language," I suggested.
Betty chuckled, as though she too had
found the word amusing. But her amusement quickly passed. There was a
"I must try to tell you," she said at
last, "what I experienced just now in being unable to utilize the love
force around me. I could not hold it condensed and shape it in any form. I
must explain this, because we've got to understand it—the pain of taking
shape, the anguish of particularization. I have no right to take more
expansion. It would be like overfeeding, or massed wealth—something
damaging to me. I have been allowed for years to experience the rhapsody
of a higher life, but now I come willingly to suffer the pain of myself
shaping one little verse from the great rhapsody....
"Don't you see, I've progressed to
beauty and abundance but can't enjoy it because there's no scheme or plan
of arrangement to it."
She fell silent a moment.
"Take a concrete example from our
everyday lives," she continued. "Let us say we have decided that our
days are going to be shaped in freedom of movement, unbarnacled. And
suppose we have acquired the expansion
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of heart, and are trying to live it
widely and glowingly and merrily. Now we come to the point: there is
something more than that. If we stop there, it is almost a stagnation.
We have got to be continually taking those very qualities of liberation
and wide sympathy, and shaping them into something needed in the world,
something near to others. This we must do, even at the cost of suffering
diminutions of our emotional satisfaction."
Mere outflow, it seemed, was not
enough, however sustained and steady. It must focus to definite
ends; it must particularize.
"Inspiration," said the Invisibles,
"comes only in attraction to some definite output, some definite
unless it has a container. Inspiration only fills what is prepared for
it. It cannot be controlled otherwise. It is like electricity; it has to
be brought into a mechanism ready for it. The through current must push
something. In the same way the higher consciousness is a wonderful
driving force, but its nature is to dissipate unless it meets something
that helps its particularization. The force
to be assisted: it comes for that
purpose. Remember that: it is a waiting, undifferentiated force
that wants to be
business is now to attach something to it—and so make it practical.
"At first your little stream will
doubtless find its way only in diffused efforts hither and thither,
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path in which to flow. But just as
Water tends to unify itself in a river bed, so you too must feel your way to a
"I don't shoot straight ahead with a
superior overriding force," interjected Betty. "I hardly even plan. I
seem at first just to stand tiptoe and look ahead at my objective, at it
were. Then I busy myself generating a great and composed secure
determination, quite different from nervous will-power. It is a great
confident recognition of my ability to get there. Only I seem to work
very hard at the generating; as if I actually made light, where it was
dark, in order to see the way. Oh, I can't seem to say anything that
And then she added, chuckling again:
"I feel like a smudge pot, keeping off the frost. That's all I can do
now. . . . Well, it's something! It helps the climate—temporarily."
In the enthusiasm of this outflowing,
warned the Invisibles, Betty was not to forget to keep up the inflow.
That is the trouble with so many people.
"As water evaporates under the
influence of the sun," said the Invisibles, "so does the absorbing
quality of earth life diminish your supply. Keep ever in mind the
constant uninterrupted renewal of power. Have
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complete confidence in the power house, of which you are a distributor.
"Evaporation of force is so subtly
accomplished that you may not always recognize your depletion," they, continued. "So keep constantly in
mind the power house idea,
making sure you possess its feeling of strength before attempting to distribute—or combat. There is grave
danger here of ill equipment
and defeat for no reason but the world-sapping of your strength, of
which you have been unconscious. If your weapons fail you, it is because
you have allowed this. Distribution is so easy and comfortable when you feel sure of
the storage capacity."
But don't worry about it, the
Invisibles added. It is not going to desert you, in the interims, provided you
do return regularly to the power house.
"Don't keep wondering if you are
'working in a spiritual way,' " they said. "The Source will not desert
you unless you lose your surety and strangle yourself with tensions.
Then you cut it off; you chill yourself. The important thing is the
sensing how long you can work masterfully without renewing yourself."
"It cannot be just abandoned," Betty
joined in. "Yet we do not keep nervously busy maintaining it."
"It is Your rhythm that is
important," the Invisibles returned. "There is nothing difficult about
it. Just do not go on working when you feel that depreciation has set in. Then a
momentary return to attunement is all
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that is necessary;
you have made a strong and accustomed
home of it, have established
your home of comfort and worship."
And that momentary return to
attunement constituted still another of the Great Simplicities—Replenishment.
"Like using a storage battery which
has to be recharged," was my suggestion. "Isn't it possible to connect
up with the dynamo?"
"Yes," they again agreed,
"—ultimately. But right now we are trying to set down a kindergarten
way. And the two outstanding points of it are: to spend always plenty of
time tuning yourself in comfort and worship at your Source, plenty of
time to well establish your participation in its power, replenishing it
when need be; and then never to doubt that it follows you when your
is completely freed from it in
the minutiae of work."
"It's a handhold for practice in
turmoils, even little turmoils," confided Betty. "I am trying to get
something clear-cut for the rough and tumble of things. You are apt to
send out then a sort of desperate feeler for something you think you
have lost. You feel that you ought to be doing something different and
extra-special about something you left behind you. I want to do away
with that. If you are running a car at high speed, you can't afford to
look up rapturously for inspiration. You've got to trust the stars are
still there, and that you
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can look up to them when the night
comes. You must keep your compartments organized, so you can step from
one to the other with no fuzzy places between."
"It is," said Betty to me, when
finally she had grasped the distinction, "simple technique. The very
first thing always is the tuning of yourself, your leap or levitation of
heart to your Source;—or even just presenting yourself. It is especially
the feeling of comfort. It is, first, the absolute tuning of yourself.
You are then imbedded in something so much more potent than yourself, so
incomprehensibly secure. All you can do is to sense the comfort, the
security of it; to lend yourself rapturously to it; to worship it.
"Next, while you are completely
comfortable, composed and warmed and reassured of your divinity;—while
you are there, before any tensions can start, while power is upon you,
decide what you are going to do when you are farther away from it; when
you have changed your focus. Decide what you are going to do; and go
promptly and do it."
Not that following the prescription
is easy. It was not so even for Betty.
"At present I am working under the
greatest difficulty I have ever had," she said. "You see, I used to be
like a reservoir with no sluice gates. Consequently I just overflowed
automatically, without control, and a lot went to waste. No longer helped to a
I now have to make my own current by opening definite
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outlets. As a result, what used to be
a great outpouring is now only a thin trickle."
"Be content," advised the
Invisibles. "Keep replenishing. Keep going. It is yours, however pitiful. Beginnings
are always pitiful. But that is your stage in the great progression.
There is nothing unusual about it. You are bringing in a substance that is alien
to the environment. Be faithful to it. If for long periods it does not
augment, what matter? It is there; and in time, with the growth of wisdom, you will
find skill for a full flow."
"I take stock of myself," Betty told
me. "My, but it's nice to be free! If I could only feel this way all the
timer Nobody ever told me what a tremendous passionate joy there is in
pouring yourself out; a necessity of being. I've pent myself up all my
life in comparison with what I might have done. It is everything I ever
hoped for, life and love and food and drink, outpoured in a great
And then, another time, years later:
"Supposing you offered yourself
completely and eagerly, joyously spent yourself on something because you
wanted to more than anything else in the whole wide world; and while
doing it you suddenly found you were receiving something beyond anything
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had ever experienced before, so that
you didn't know whether you were giving or taking; that would be the
beautiful state, the beautiful union, this wonderful thing we are trying to get
hold of and are evolving toward."
A very disturbing time had descended
"Oh dear! " she cried. "What I don't
know worries me so much, and what I do know doesn't interest me! Always,
always this feeling of the vastness of what we have to learn. Why
sometimes I can glimpse down centuries ahead; and I come back feeling as
though I were now in the cave-man age!
"That's neither here nor there," she
checked herself sharply. "There's no excuse for being fuzzy!"
Promptly the fourth Great Simplicity
came through. Apparently "spirituality" can and sometimes does get out
of hand. It needs
Regulation. So the fourth Simplicity was named.
"The proportioning mechanism is
sincerity," decided Betty, after due consideration. "The strength of
one's sincerity is a large ingredient of success. That seems to regulate the
flow back and forth from the Source to our desired accomplishment.
Sincerity. That is the best I can do for that beautiful ingredient of reality. If I
said earnestness, it would be dreary and laborious
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I don't want to get the idea of
fixity of any kind, but I
want to get the idea of regulation from within one's self.
You see, part of the time we shall be
using this intuitive leap to the Source and back; and part of the time
we shall be using the logic and observation and experience of our
ordinary minds. The two come closest together in sincerity. There you
are true to both sides, neither lending yourself too loosely to your
newly, found visions, nor bringing in the stiffness of your limited
mind. So the best I can do is the word sincerity."
"Nobody," said the Invisibles, "has
ever tarnished it because so few use it completely. It is being
yourself, your best inner self, so naturally and freely that you give
courage to the timid inner selves of others. That makes the hook-up.
That is offering something simple and sound and true, instead of irritating people with benign shallowness."
"It carries so illuminatingly, like a
beam across the whole surface of social insincerity." Betty took it up.
"It is not bluntness: it is kindly penetration.
"There is also humor, thank
goodness!" she added. "That comes in when we limp a little, or lag. It
patches up bad holes in our character. It keeps our admirations fresh, because
it cannot associate with priggishness. There is always the cheering
absurdity between our aims and our nebulous accomplishments. It minimizes our
afflictions. It keeps us tender toward the weaknesses of others.
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"With Sincerity and Humor we cannot
go far wrong, even in untried
fields. That's why I call them regulators, these qualities."
All this preparation, as presented
here, appears to precede the actual experiences and experiments that
enabled Betty to real-ize, to make-it-so, to
But from the bald chronological
standpoint these actual experiences had already long since begun.
However, bald chronology, as always, gives no clear picture of process.
I must, like the Invisibles, skip about, selecting from the record,
sketch what seems necessary to
the framework of effort and indicate the tools Betty must use. One of the latter, of course, was the
care of the physical body. As a furtherance for spiritual development
the Invisibles had no use whatever for the medieval idea, still
persistent enough, of the "mortification of the flesh."
"One thing to respect always," they
protested any such point of view, "is the physical body. If there is
flattening out and dulling of it, that comes about through various
misinterpretations of the relations between the spiritual and the
physical. The growth in refinement of the inner being may interpret
itself into aenemia of the physical being, into restrictions of foods and appetites of all kinds.
Don't make hard and fast
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rules for yourself physically.
Deliberately break over your regulations and observe the reflex of
comfort and fluidity your whole being will enjoy. There is no necessity
to elaborate this. It is a hint that you can accept or reject as you
The idea met no opposition from
Betty. Zest of enjoyment in all that the world had to offer had always
been characteristic of her.
"I want common ordinary earth brute
force!" she declared. "It's my contribution, my share. Spirituality
on earth is impotent without it. It is the functioning body of the spirit. They
concentrate me on the spiritual until I have a certain amount, and then
I have to produce the force to make it function. If I merely kept on
with the spiritual I'd just get a weak thing that would convince nobody. Oh, I
like looking at such nice, fine, forceful bodies! Their muscles stand out;
they're fit and ready; and each holds up steadily and blithely his
spiritual gift that he is carrying. Fine! It thrills me."
Fine! the Invisibles echoed. But,
they rather humorously anti-climaxed Betty's abandon, mere physical
brute force is not quite it. There is no reason why one should not "be
his age," no reason to pretend a physical vigor unnatural to one's
years. Let the kids have their own kind of vigor. It's about all they do
"Attainment of the higher
consciousness," the Invisibles
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pointed out, "involves a new way of
working. It has more dependence on mental and spiritual vigor than on
physical. The former is not possible in physical youth. You enter a rare
period of enjoyment once you can overleap the largely magnified dictates
of the body and learn wisely to manage it; learn not to arouse its
combative simulations, but to give it ease and consideration,
exceptionally pampering it if necessary to gain its cooperation. Let your
vigor and abandon of youth, your enthusiasm for adventure, be in the
mental and spiritual integration you have acquired. The body, thus cajoled, will serve you
efficiently to the end. Even invalids have acquired this technique for
Simplicity of all simplicities—respect for the Temple of the Body!