The Bible says that you should go with a brother twice as far as he asks. ²It certainly does not suggest that you set him back on his journey. ³Devotion to a brother cannot set you back either. ⁴It can lead only to mutual progress. ⁵The result of genuine devotion is inspiration, a word which properly understood is the opposite of fatigue. ⁶To be fatigued is to be dis-spirited, but to be inspired is to be in the spirit. ⁷To be egocentric is to be dis-spirited, but to be Self-centered in the right sense is to be inspired or in spirit. ⁸The truly inspired are enlightened and cannot abide in darkness. (ACIM, T-4.in.1:1-8)
In December 1968, as I was approaching my 24th birthday, I met a young woman who was serving in Brother Juniper’s Inn on San Francisco’s Haight Street. She was dressed in a blue robe and was obviously a sister in a religious order. She was very “Self-centered,” according to the above definition (which I had not yet been informed of in this lifetime).
The following April, I returned to that coffee shop on a Saturday morning, to find it filled with brothers and sisters dressed in Roman Catholic-style clerical garb. I was somewhat alarmed, but undeterred in my hour of need, and desperately searched the room for my sister, whom I gratefully found sitting with her back to the wall in a little alcove, looking straight at me with a welcoming smile on her face.
I sat down across from her, with my back to the room. She wore clerics, too, but I’d already seen her, and knew I had nothing to fear. I said, “I want to join.” Nonplussed, she directed me to the Holy Order of MANS Aid Station on Fillmore Street, told me to ask for John Clark and to tell him, “I want to find my Self.” He answered the door, which surprised me because he was in charge. When I gave him my introductory words, he heartily laughed aloud and led me up the stairs.
After I’d been there for some time, the House Steward Grant Jones invited me to walk over to the Order Headquarters at 20 Steiner Street. On the way, he proudly informed me that he’d “come into the Self” the night before. Questioning him, I was initially upset to learn that, apparently there were two selves, and I knew nothing of the Self he was talking about. This was the beginning of my formal spiritual education.
I adapted easily to the Order form, which was very devotional. We silently rose early, taking time for meditation and prayer, and completing our spiritual exercises, and attended Holy Communion Monday through Saturday at 6. AM. The house was again on silence from 5:00 PM until dinner at 6:00 PM. Tree of Life Lessons and New Age Bible classes were taught from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Evening Prayers were at 10:00 PM every night and then the house was on silence until lights out at 11:00.
Dr. Earl W. Blighton was the Founder and Director-General of the Order. We affectionately called him Father Paul, and he told us that he had been Paul, the Apostle. But, he unequivocally stated that Jesus Christ was the Head of the Order, and had revealed that he, Paul, was serving as his footstool so that Jesus could rest from earthly form. Father Paul carried tremendous power and charisma. I had no doubt that he always knew where I was and always had my back.
My devotion to The Master was first sealed in me as a youth. I can assuredly say that all of us brothers and sisters knew him, through Daily Communion, in our Hearts, and throughout the day, as he was with us. We were a light-filled bunch, and in the Light, the Self was and is revealed to us.
At first, I thought we each had a Self and our Self was a cell, so to speak, in the Mind of God. We were informed that we were all brothers in Christ, and that Christ was the Lord of the Sun, which was His body. As Earth’s highest initiate, Jesus had fully manifested the Christ (the mechanics of which are described in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception by Manly Palmer Hall). I have come to understand that there is One Christ, the Son of God, Whom we call the Self (or Christ-Self). In this world, we appear to be separate from God and each other. Our souls, which surround the Self, in our dream of separation, are the essences of all our incarnations, and include the realization that each of us is the whole and undivided Self, and that our seeming separation is an illusion of the mind.
As I reflect now, upon my devotion to God, through the Christ-Self, Which I know to be my true Identity, I understand that our elder brother Jesus intends for us to be devoted to each other, who are in reality, all manifestations of the Christ-Self. This has been clarified to me by Jesus’ A Course in Miracles, as quoted above.