The Knowledge of Good and Evil

Signs of Progress

Infinity is revelatory in nature. It is always unfolding to itself new aspects of its infinite idea. This characteristic of infinity is the driving force for all true progress on the human scene. Having gained some appreciation for the idea of infinity, it is reasonable for each of us to be cultivating larger expressions and expectations of spiritual goodness in our lives.

As we work out the infinite problem of being in everyday life, however, appearances are not always interpreted as a source of continuous happiness. We may experience ups and downs, periods of progress and what might feel like stagnation or even regression. This sense can be traced to the notion that spiritual reality sometimes reveals itself to us in seasons. Human concepts relating to seasons derive from the infinite idea about seasons. As with any finite concept of an infinite idea, finite concepts about seasons include aspects of limitation. The following observations about seasons are not about the infinite idea or ideal, but about things we see and feel, about our beliefs, about our human sense of things.

It is important to recognize familiar aspects of the seasons that relate to spiritual progress. If we can interpret the seasons correctly, we can better determine what to do and when. We would not expect a farmer to be successful if he could not tell the difference between spring, summer, fall, and winter. It is helpful for one toiling in spiritual fields to be able to recognize mental seasons.

When considering seasons from the standpoint of the farmer, it is clear that there is a time to plant. If you do not plant seeds, no crops come up. It works the same way in the spiritual realm. When the time is right, it is important to prepare soil, to plant seeds, to think, to plant infinite words, to stand for things, to show forth better beliefs, and to act them out.

Planting is very important. But one need not be planting all the time. One might find such satisfaction in the planting process as to feel it necessary to be planting continuously. This is not the way to do it. When the seeds have been planted and all the ground has been covered, the planting season may be over.

The season that follows planting time is the summer. During the summer one should keep one's fields weeded and watered and free of pests. Then one should play or go to the beach or go camping. At the right time, play can be an important part of spiritual progress. It can release light-hearted expressions of creativity, and it is sometimes a needed manifestation that we are unafraid.

After summer comes the fall. Having planted and weeded and watered, there will be a harvest to take up. It is good to take up and enjoy the harvest. If one is planting straight through summer, when it comes time for the harvest, that one may just keep on planting. One cannot take up the harvest while hell-bent on planting. If one is not going to harvest and enjoy, what is the point of planting? As with the tendency of some to plant continuously, so there is a school of thought that holds out for continuous harvesting. That doesn't work either. If one does not plant, and tries to harvest, that one may at first harvest wild crops or the fruits of others. After a while, however, those who keep harvesting without planting will start to harvest dirt. That is all there will be in their fields.

One of the most noteworthy phenomena of the seasons comes in the fall after the harvest has been gathered and the leaves have begun to drop. The falling of leaves represents a crumbling process where the old gives way to make place for the new. In the spiritually mental realm, the dawning of new ideas often makes old beliefs crumble.

In the late fall, when crumbling is in full swing, it is not hard to become depressed or even discouraged, if we were enjoying the planting and harvesting process and now, all of a sudden, all we see is barrenness. When all our fruits have been harvested, we sometimes want to keep on harvesting, because it gives us such a tangible sense of well-being. Because crumbling may follow right after the harvest, things can start to look pretty bleak just when we had thought they were going so well.

When we see that we can no longer harvest, the first instinct is to start planting again. Plant. Plant. Plant. But now that does not work either. It does not even feel like the seeds are getting into the soil. No wonder, the ground is frozen like a rock. It is winter.

It may come as a shock, having been successful sowing and harvesting in the spiritual realm, when we suddenly come to a lull where nothing seems to work anymore. When that time comes, recognize that it is winter, and stop trying to plant and harvest. You are not a failure. You have your harvest to carry you through. Relax. Get a hot cup of something and sit by the fire, even if it is the fire of your old beliefs going up in smoke. Do something that brings you joy. Rest assured that springtime follows the snow.

* * *

Some earlier chapters discussed conception and elimination and how the infinite idea drives the conception of good and the elimination of evil. The linkage between conception and elimination brings up an important subject that you should know about. This topic has been addressed elsewhere as purification, although there may be more to it than just that. In any case, you should be able to recognize the process. If you think about this book much, you will doubtless have the opportunity to experience it. When it happens, and when it is not seen for what it is, it can be disturbing, and it could tempt you to become discouraged.

If you apply heat to a pot of molten ore, gold, silver, lead, you name it, several things will happen. The ore will continue to melt and liquify; impurities will rise to the surface; and the ore itself will become progressively more refined.

One's reflection of infinite truth as their mentality acts the same way. In the case of your own thought, impurities are like little bubbles of empty space that surface so they can be seen as nothing and be relegated to infinite empty space. If your perception of empty space is compounded at some lower level of belief, you may see these little bubbles of nothingness as terrible little somethings. Or they could surface as terrible little nothings. In any case, they will eventually claim to be you, your thought, your identity, yourself.

When you encounter these and they appear to be part of your own mentality and character, you may start to feel unworthy and inadequate. You may see bad things claiming to be you. At this point, even if you have really been pouring the heat on and progressing well, you might stop and, notwithstanding your efforts and progress, start to feel like you are really an awful and utterly unredeemable person. This is normal, and it is a good sign.

It is an interesting process. Thinking at the level of infinity reveals the elements of good and the nothingness of evil, and these two are reconciled. The key to dealing with the process of purification is to continue to identify yourself correctly. Keep on with your progressive spiritual thinking. The impetus that brings impurities to the surface will ultimately cause them to be eliminated, to vaporize, to vanish - poof. When you persevere through and master these experiences, you will come away from them with a new and larger sense of wholeness.

If you are reaching for the infinite idea from level four beliefs, you may get to see the most awful things surfacing and claiming to be you. Some very bad words. When you see of what you are capable, just let it be infinite. If you are to be awful, simply be infinitely awful, and get on with it.

If you are working with spiritual truths and all of a sudden everything looks like it is turning to mush, keep on letting the truth unfold itself to you. Sometimes the only way to get through a stage of progress is to pass through seasons of crumbling or the process of purification. It is always easier and more pleasant when you recognize it for what it is.

Copyright 1994, Jim Chapman

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