Spiritual Wording in ASFG
(Posted on November 6, 2014 by David McMillin)
[NOTE: While serving as mentor for an online version of “A Search For God” study group and working on the Happiness lesson, a member of the group noticed how the word “Happiness” has a different and distinct meaning compared to its common, worldly meaning (which is true with regard to the “spiritual wording” in all these lessons). Here is my reply. – David McMillin]
… that's an important observation about how the ASFG lessons often have simple, common themes which have a secular or worldly meaning. Yet in the Search For God they are REDEFINED to include God. Thus we find God Within (attunement) and God Without (through spiritual application in the world). The worldly aspect of each lesson is covered, but from a spiritual perspective as the first premise.
This begins with ASFG I in which Cooperation begins by cooperating with God (i.e., “God's will be done”); then carrying that attunement into human relations in the world. This is the pattern for every subsequent lesson. Hence the special meaning of lesson themes that you have noticed. And the spiritual meaning of the terms (such as Happiness and Love) typically does differ from the mundane or worldly meaning that is often self-centered. Thus the Wisdom of God is foolishness to man (who ignores God and uses self as the Ideal or standard).
826-11 is a “mental/spiritual” reading that I have come to appreciate as a valuable resource for understanding and applying the ASFG lessons. It includes almost every lesson in very common, practical language (it was given for a lawyer). Here is a quote that explains the inner/outer dynamic of each lesson that we are discussing:
If ye in thine own consciousness are desirous of meeting Him, thy Maker, thy Father in the temple of thine own soul, then meditate upon Him, applying that ye know today! For it is in the application, not the knowledge, that the truth becomes a part of thee. (826-11)
That last sentence ties in nicely with one of your earlier questions about Knowledge (i.e., “true Knowledge” in the Search for God rather than simply secular or worldly knowledge). By attuning to God Within (prayer and meditation) and then APPLYING that inner attunement in daily living (God Without), we BECOME the truth in our very being as souls. Thus Happiness or Love (or whatever the theme of the lesson) becomes an “attribute of the soul,” as you have noted.
Attunement and Application makes for a two-step dance repeated over and over in the ASFG lessons. Can you see why I keep emphasizing, “IN THE APPLICATION COMES THE AWARENESS.” This is what the EXERCISES are for (much as the “experiments” created by Mark Thurston in his two ASFG books that you have studied). If we keep it too conceptual or theoretical without practical application in the world, we miss the Opportunity to be fully transformed by the lessons.
Thanks for sharing your important observations about the meaning of the ASFG lessons. Blessings, Dave
P.S. – I have included the entire 826-11 reading as a Supplemental Resource on my website (including comments that tie in with the various lessons. I consider this an excellent reading that demonstrates how all the various ASFG lessons are tied together into a coherent, practical plan for an individual seeking God and a spiritual approach to life.