Spring 2003

Inside this Newsletter



(Excerpt from) by Donald Burton Schnell

Namaste’, beloved,

In my years of teaching, the most profound questions have come to me often, from many spiritual seekers.

“What is the meaning of life?” they have asked. “Why are we here?”

Perhaps these same questions are in your heart. Your search for the answers may even have drawn you to this Course. As you strive to understand, know that you hold within you all that you are seeking. It’s only my intention to help you recognize what you already know. Re-cognize means to know once again what was already known.

When I was only a child in grade school, my teacher gave me a book by William James - the father of modern psychology. I had an inclination in those years - a burning curiosity - for ideas that weren’t normally covered in grade school curriculum, so I requested more academic writings from my teachers. At that time, I learned something from William James that is relevant to these questions.

“Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. Our fires are dampened, our drafts are checked, we are making use of only a small part of our mental and physical resources.”

These words - spoken nearly seventy years ago - address the very heart of the process you are now experiencing. James would later say that we use less than fifty percent, perhaps only ten percent of our brains. Some modern psychologists are suspecting that we may only be using two to three percent!

TWO OR THREE PERCENT! How much are we wasting! In Matthew 25:15-29, we learn how serious is this waste.

God arrives on Earth and to one man, He gives five talents, to another two, and to another one. Each gift is given according to the ability of the receiver, and then God resumes His journey. The man who receives the five talents trades and makes another five. And likewise the man who receives two also makes another two. But the man who receives only one goes and buries his in the earth; he hides the gift his Lord has given him.

After a long time, God returns to see how each man is doing. The man who received five talents comes and brings the other five talents, saying “Lord you gave me five, and I now have ten.”

God is pleased, saying that since the man kept his faith when he had only a few things, and was willing to risk making few into more, he would now reward him with abundance and joy.

The man who received two talents comes and shows the Lord that he too has doubled the gift. God is again pleased, and also rewards this second man in a like manner.

The third man who received the one talent comes, and says, “Lord, believing not in you, and having no faith that you had given it to me for my benefit, I buried it in the earth.” God is angry and calls him, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, “ and he takes the one talent and gives it to the man who had ten.

The passage in Matthew ends, “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”

What does this passage from the Bible mean? It makes clear that we are rewarded when we strive to develop ourselves and forsaken when we don’t. One of our purposes in being alive is to use all our resources and allow them to expand. In this era, those who lamentably choose to rely on the two or three percent of their brains are experiencing how life shrinks more and more when we bury our talents.

Average has become the standard of performance during the last several decades. Safety and security have become the “mantra” of millions. This has affected not only employment but also relationships. Routine jobs are taken for routine salaries that cause millions to live in routine homes in routine neighborhoods to lead routine lives. The communities of today are built around enforcing this sameness. Many languish in static relationships for the “security” they bring to their lives.

The standard of mediocrity unfortunately began in the school systems where creativity was stifled in favor of regimentation. I remember being kept after class for hours in the first grade by a teacher who was angry that I used my own choice of colors to decorated her mimeographed drawing of a Thanksgiving turkey. I was actually punished for ignoring the color guide she presented to the class. This process in education - the misapplication of socialization that turns creative beings into robots - has been the first step in a brainwashing of the human species. For the most part, the educational system shuts the brain down. The super-conscious is denied as are all higher possibilities. The fires William James was talking about become dampened in the elementary grades.

The process of learned passivity can only breed one kind of being. We see humans stuck in a rut, immobilized for hours for passive entertainment in front of a television. This entertainment perpetuates the cult of mediocrity.

“Why shouldn’t I spend my time in front of the television?” they reason. “After all, I’m just a working stiff. I mind my own business and don’t create any trouble. I’m not doing anybody any harm.”

This attitude, which denies the use of our precious talents and resources is indisputably harmful - most of all to the individual who’s reinforcing his or her own demise. Sadly, this attitude is to blame for the decline in society as well.

Fortunately, humans in the process of evolution are starting to resist and rebel. The young say, “School gives me nothing of value.” Many adults dismiss television as a bore. There’s an open search for spiritual nourishment and fulfillment and a quest for enlightenment. Within the human DNA is a natural desire for growth. We cannot ignore the evolutionary pull to become more. When our natural yearning is suppressed by society, there is rebellion - an unconstrained and spontaneous outburst of energy toward a new direction. This rebirth now draws you, beloved. It is a rebirth drawing many spiritual seekers in this era.

I sense you may be one who has long worked to use the talents God has given you. Perhaps you’ve labored and produced great good for the benefit of humanity, or maybe you’ve yearned for a way to do so. Perhaps you are one of those who has begun to make the connection between diet and health, and are ready to end physical suffering and reclaim your birthright of well being. Maybe now you are seeking your connection to spirit in the same way, so that you may end within yourself feelings of separateness and experience the constant flow of love that defines you.

Have you recently felt it was now your time? Are you yearning for something you haven’t found? Are your creative energies choked off in a work situation that doesn’t allow you freedom of expression? Do you have a sense that something precious within you - your ability to dream - may be dying? Perhaps you have made the decision to change the course of your life through a spiritual solution. What happens when you do this? What happens when you make the leap of faith that God will guide you? You become ready to access the super-conscious - the place within you from which miracles are generated. Immediately, you can begin to see the miracles in daily life. You can begin to expand your “talents.” You can begin to use more of your brain. You begin the most important journey of your life to the higher states of consciousness.

If you have a sense that your life is ending and beginning at this very moment, you’re right! This is the feeling that results as you begin the process of transformation from human to Ashim. This is the journey to Premananda. You leave behind the old life of suffering and recrimination and embrace the greatest power in the Universe - the power of prema - the power of devotion and Love of the Divine. Then, you experience who you truly are. You ARE prema. And you are ananda. Ananda means bliss. The Divine love of all Creation, and boundless bliss are your essential nature. As you proceed on your Journey, you lighten up, embracing forgiveness and compassion with all your being, releasing all shadows from your past. Making space, you literally create a vacuum for a new existence in partnership with God. This process changes every muscle, cell, fiber, and nerve of your entire body. It shifts the way you view your world, what you can achieve, and how you can prosper.

The Journey to Premananda is the evolution of a new species. It takes place within your consciousness. Your human body will look essentially the same, only even more radiant and healthier than it looks now.