Former President Abraham Lincoln
By Bonnie Wayne McGuire
braham Lincoln said, " I have never united myself to any church because I have found difficulty in giving my assent, without mental reservations, to the long complicated statements of Christian doctrine which characterize their articles of belief and confessions of faith. When any church will inscribe over it's altar, as its sole qualification for membership, the Master's condensed statement of the substance of both law and gospel...'Thou shalt love the Lord they God, with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself' that church will I join with all my heart and all my soul."
Even as a boy the vindictive creeds deeply offended him. The measure of his difference from most of the men around him was his attitude towards the fundamentals of religion. He never believed that he knew the mind of God regarding it. Never the dogmatist, his was convinced of the reality of a supernatural world that was too deep for man to fathom. He accepted nothing of the rituals of religion, and was silent while they raged about him in a thousand tongues.
Lincoln commented, "There was, too, the strangest combination of church influence against me...It was everywhere contended that no Christian ought to go for me because I belonged to no church, was suspected of being a deist, and had talked about fighting a duel."
He believed that slavery had to be checked because it was an aristocratic institution contrary to the interests of the "plain people." So of the Civil War he reasoned, "This is essentially a peoples contest. On the side of the Union it is a struggle for maintaining in the world that form and substance of government whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men; to lift artificial weights from all shoulders; to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all; to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life."
Deeply impressed by the stark realities of life and death, Lincoln was shocked that the government could tolerate a half slave...half free society. (During one of his wife's sťances he was allegedly told that slavery of human beings was an abomination). Concerning this innermost thought he wrote, "The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party; and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are the best adaptations to effect His purpose. I am almost ready to say that this is probably true; that God wills this contest and wills that it shall not end yet. By His mere great power on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet, the contest began. And, having begun, He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds."
Unfortunately, most wars have been motivated by the differing opinions between the good guys and the bad guys. Most of the shining eyed enthusiasts died disillusioned, but not before they had slain all those who would not bend to the new theocracy. The winds have changed many times although the tone of voice is the same. It's elusive master whispers commands in the heat of battle...from his retreat. Like an eagle he watches the battles rage in the valley below, and laughs bitterly..."Life is a comedy of errors. For the sake of opinion, recognition, and riches the man creatures will do anything..."
But wait! Wasn't Lincoln correct when he said it was an abomination to tolerate slavery in America? His argument about both sides claiming to be doing the will of God was very thoughtful. Obviously, the war, using human instrumentalities, was necessary to change what was wrong. The constant polarity positive-negative, good-evil, day-night, hot-cold to achieve balance for the whole of creation. Religion was civilization's first government; it's laws were created to lift our spiritual consciousness, teach us goodness, self discipline, and regard for our fellow beings. Whether or not we like it, history reveals that without religion's moral restraints, goodness gets lost in brutal survival of the fittest in the natural world. When the religion became corrupted by unscrupulous leaders, the followers became mentally confused, oppressed and oppressive.
I spent many years studying the most controversial book on earth. I preferred the Old King James version of the Old and New Testaments with Hebrew and Greek translations and cross references. Because the Bible is written in parable, it can be interpreted spiritually or physically...depending upon the nature of the individual. A virtual contention between two schools of thought...flesh versus spirit. In the middle of the garden earth was a tree of Knowledge of good and evil, that the humans were supposed to keep away from, because if they partook of it they would die. What was this poisonous symbolical tree? The Bible refers to knowledge of good and evil. Gaining wisdom can be a bitter-sweet experience. The trouble with knowledge of evil is that the mind becomes pre-occupied with it. Everything has two natures, but the eye becomes trained to see evil in everything, until life isn't worth living. You feel like you're dying inside. But, on the other hand...isn't it better to know the difference between good and evil?
Those of the Spirit, in reality, take no organized solidified form, but are recognized by their fruits. They always represent freedom, love, justice, and charity for all living creatures...wherever the spirit takes them. I bring this into focus because during my travels I've heard many slogans concerning chosen people, or groups that actually resemble robots programmed by their master. If he tells them to jump off a cliff...they do it without questioning. Perfect examples were Europe's Catholic Crusade, Totalitarian Socialists of Germany, Russia and China, the Jim Jones' mass suicide, those who committed suicide so they could hop on a passing comet that would carry them to heaven, and Muslim's who believe that killing infidels (unbelievers) will bring their God's blessings. The latest mass mesmerizing totalitarian theology is human caused global warming.
Since we're all part of Creation, and were given a brain, why shouldn't we express our own highest intelligence instead of someone else's. If this were not so, the Creator would have made everyone the same. Those who use their highest potential raise the standards of living. It is the group mind that destroys creativeness, because it's afraid to take responsibility. It looks for a scapegoat to lead it to paradise, but more often to slaughter. It was an old animal herding practice to use a goat to lead sheep into the slaughterhouse. In religious practice, it was customary to offer a human, or animal sacrifice for the group's sins. The guilt was symbolically placed on the sacrificial scapegoat. If the chosen leader of a tribe, or religion led the believers astray...he was blamed for his decision by the followers who did not want to make decisions themselves.
It is the brave individual who dares to do the heretofore unknown. It is he that discovered new lands, thought, poetry, music, art, and all manner of inventions that pulled the rest of the world up with his achievements. His spiritual brothers and sisters were tortured, beaten, imprisoned, beheaded and scoffed at throughout the ages. Later generations grew to appreciate their efforts. What did these special people have that made them go forward...ahead of the assembly line thinking of their day? Besides having courage, they had inspiration! All had the ability to listen to an inner voice. Call it a hunch, or whatever, they acted on their idea.
A great many writers on this subject accept the view that inspiration, whether it be that of the poet, the musician, the painter, the saint, the prophet, or the scientist originates in the subliminal regions of the mind. This means that the conscious level of the mind is not the actual creator of the inspired message, but is only it's interpreter. Every inspired person has admitted that the messages were a gift. The poet Blake lay dying, but during his last hours he wanted a pencil and paper. His wife admonished him not to exhaust himself writing. "But it is not mine; it is not mine," he cried, still fumbling to write down the poem before it would fade from his mind...and be lost forever.
Another poet wrote, "Sudden the shadow fell on me; I shrieked and clasped my hands in ecstasy! No man can say I will write poetry. Not even the greatest poet is able to do that for poetry is not like reasoning...A power to be exerted according to the determination of the will. When my brain gets heated with thought, it soon boils and throws off images and words faster than I can write."
Robert Louis Stevenson (right) described his own subliminal mind responsible for his writings as his "little people." They seemed to realize when he needed to write stories for publication...so when he went to bed prepared to go to sleep, it was as though he had a front row seat at the theater. The curtain went up, and the play began, night after night. "I think they have more talent, and one thing is beyond doubt...They can tell a story piece by piece, like a serial, and keep one in ignorance of where they aim."
Great musicians stress the fact that music comes to them as a whole orchestration. They listen, and then face the exceedingly difficult work of putting it down on paper. Sometimes this requires weeks of exhausting, solitary confinement before the inspiration is completed. Mozart (left) listened to the music and wrote down what he heard with a pen.
When I was a child I loved to read. The stories created vivid detailed images in my mind which I would transfer onto paper. It was necessary to finish the picture as soon as possible before it faded. Music had the same effect. Eventually I thought I should be able to write my stories with little effort if I wanted to. Placing paper before me on the table...I waited. Nothing happened. Concentration didn't help. Feeling a little frustrated and a little foolish I gave up. Twenty five years later my spiritual studies prompted me to try this experiment again. It worked. And as Robert Louis Stevenson said, the story ran like a serial scene by scene...leaving off with a cliff hanger until the next session. I had no idea where it would go. It continued this way until the end of the story.
There are numerous references in the Bible concerning the visions of prophets. The new Testament is more specific in its description of this phenomena. Obviously the human being is composed of two bodies. One is super imposed over the other. The disciples describe the physical entity as being merely the clay house in which the perfect, true personality lives and expresses itself in this world. Paul mentions that one day when he was praying he went into trance and something peculiar happened that was difficult to describe. He thought that he'd left his physical body and visited a beautiful world...Paradise! Jesus spoke of many mansions in the spirit realm where the physical body could not go, and explained the process of death as merely moving out of one's old house. The kingdom of God is spirit, and when asked when it would appear on earth, Jesus replied, "It will not come with outward show, for it is already within you." In other words, everyone is a living soul destined to leave it's physical environment and enter into another dimension.
But what does this have to do with the phenomena of inspiration? It's my opinion that we have the capability of utilizing two worlds simultaneously. The inner personality is always in contact with its world, while the outer personality is functioning in its world. During moments of physical repose, the inner personality is able to slip through. I began a series of exercises. Each morning I would sit quietly before my desk, and try to make my brain completely blank. It is amazing how much thought traffic crisscrosses the mind. It seemed like a receiver picking up all kinds of messages...a real traffic jam. Almost hopeless at first, but gradually things quieted down. Then a sweet inner voice greeted me, and asked what it was that I wanted. So...I asked a question. Then wrote what the voice told me. It was like attending an inner lecture. From then on I would write a question before beginning the exercise. The voice would explain everything completely, and then bid me farewell. As time went on the voice became clearer. During the experiment my entire being felt better, more alive and happy.
Over the years I've been privileged to meet many gifted people in different fields of endeavor. Whatever their work, or interest...they secretly discovered they had the ability to receive inspiration, once they trusted it enough to apply it. I say secret because most people feel timid about revealing the source of their gift to those who might not understand. They just go about their business. During my own adventures I learned to test both the seen and unseen as to honesty, while gathering the inspirational experiences of others. It's been wonderful.