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The Gate of the Year by Freedom Barry


The Mystic Genius

who opened the gate

and coaxed me through.

Author’s Note

Each of the articles comprising the several chapters of this volume was originally issued as a monthly circular letter to students and interested friends throughout California. The intent was to attend to the needs of the field on a more frequent basis than was possible through occasional lectures and classes.

My first book, I DO, is really the textbook of a unique spiritual premise, and sets forth in concentrated form the fundamental tenets of my approach to the subject.

The present volume touches on all basic issues but does so in a more expanded and less formal way. Either book will further elucidate the other.

Each chapter was written in a single sitting and as the immediate result of an illumination on a timely topic that seemed to lend itself to the central theme of Individual Spiritual Awakening.


“And I said to the man

who stood at the gate of the year;

Give me a light

That I may tread safely into the unknown…”

–M. Louise Haskins


Jesus Christ is born.

When the familiar symbols of Christmas are in the forefront of public attention, it is my fervent hope that you and all other interested persons in the world may draw from them a more enduring and meaningful direction than can be afforded by the annual observance, however reverent in character, of what is considered the most extraordinary occurrence in human history.

The very fact that the story of this remarkable birth has endured nearly two thousand years, continuing to capture the undiminished interest of Christians and non-Christians alike, is a rather persuasive argument that this narrative has a far more substantial significance for every individual, whatever his time in history, than the recording and retelling of an historical event could possibly contain.

The concentric emphasis of my teaching is the individual’s discovery of his Identity as Spirit, the essence, or conviction of actually being; and the disciplined exercise of Self-reliance which is imposed by his awakening. Human beings, almost universally, crave to be led, even though they may chafe under the conditions exacted by those who lead them. My purpose is to awaken such a degree of spiritual awareness as will enable anyone, by his free expression of this insight, to shake off the fetters of dependence and subservience, which are the spawning ground of tyranny.

World conditions are, after all, only an exposed enlargement of the attitudes, aspirations, fears, and hopes of those who comprise the world. How then, except through the individual expression of what is best in each of us, can the world experience “on earth peace, good will towards men?” And is this not the announced purpose of the birth of Jesus Christ?

If the Bible has revealed anything at all to us, surely the most fundamental disclosures are these: (1) that God, or Cause, is I AM; that this conviction of actually having identity is the one originating core, from which is shaped every identification, and therefore every outwardly interpreted situation and condition; (2) that Christ means the active functioning of this causation in the affairs of men; hence the term Christian, intended to characterize one who actively lives as the embodiment of spiritual creativity; (3) that the word Jesus is the anglicized Iesous, the Greek translation of Jehoshua, which is the Hebrew term for Jehovah saves; (4) and since the word Jehovah is the Hebrew name of I AM, we arrive once again at the point where we began–the conviction of actually having identity.

The brief foregoing analysis should explain very simply the Christian’s claim that Jesus Christ is God on earth. The whole basis for disagreement rests in whether, in making that claim, we mean that Jesus Christ was God on earth, or that Jesus Christ is God on earth.

One verse in the vision of Isaiah alludes to the kernel of universal applicability of this archetypal birth as the inevitable spiritual experience of every individual:

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Bear in mind, the book of Isaiah is the vision “which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem”; that Judah refers to God’s activity, and that Jerusalem refers to God’s dwelling. Inasmuch as God dwells as your conviction of actually being, and acts as your conscious direction of this indwelling presence, Isaiah’s vision of the eternal spiritual sign relates to all men of all times–to you and to me.

But we are given a sign, not an historical occasion. This sign is the virgin, your spiritual consciousness, uninstructed by any external evidence, conceiving your spiritual identity to be your savior and your deliverer, bearing the results of such disciplined practice, and calling this the proof of Immanuel, or God with us.

These introductory comments are based on my conviction that all the contents of the Bible–characters, localities, and events–when understood in their intended spiritual meanings, refer to some aspect of the individual, and not to something that only once happened somewhere at points in time and space removed from the reader, to somebody other than himself.

Here let me present the account of the nativity from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, with an accompanying paraphrase based on the foregoing premise:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:

The discovery of the process of individual salvation comes about in this manner:

When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

When in your development, your spiritual consciousness embraces this expanded idea of salvation, before the idea is fully realized, you recognize there exists a relation between visible effects and your own faculty of perception.

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

In your ordinary sense of expansion, governed by the reasonable logic of what the majority will admit to be practical, not willing to expose this newly discovered conception of salvation to ridicule, you consider dismissing the whole idea.

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

At this stage of your deliberations, a spiritual conviction is intuitively impressed, whereby you become emboldened to adopt this conception of salvation as spiritually valid.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

And your expanding spiritual consciousness shall give visible proof of its capacity to save you from failing to fulfill your ideals.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

All this is written in Gospel accounts to reiterate that the vision of the prophet is an eternal spiritual verity, occurring at a certain stage in the development of every individual, that he may discover this seed that is in himself which matures into the conviction of Emmanuel, or “God with us.”

Isaiah’s vision tells what must happen; the Gospel accounts tell how it happens. Let me ask two penetrating questions. Why does the Jew insist this vision of the Hebrew prophet has not been fulfilled yet?

Why does the Christian insist this vision was fulfilled once? The answer to both questions is the same: Because the New Testament narrative has been taught as an historical physical event that occurred solely in one person, rather than as the eternal spiritual sign that must occur in each individual.

The almost universal appeal of the story of the virgin birth is accounted for when you discover “…in the volume of the book it is written of me.” (Ps. 40:7) Then you join the company of those who have already divined this miracle of salvation, and you sing with them:

“…unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

And this is the name of the SON that is born in you! Then you will know why it is that

“…of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David,”

Because, having made that peace with the Self of you, you are occupying the throne of David, which is another way of saying that Love is enthroned in your heart, ruling the administration of your affairs.

Is it not clear why the diligent efforts at conference tables by leagues of nations and other mass media have been historically incapable of legislating “peace on earth, good will towards men?” It is because this individual spiritual awakening must precede the universal physical evidence of it.

The writer of the Gospel according to St. Mark, well knowing the built-in human tendency to single out someone else to bear the responsibility for its salvation, warned:

“And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ: or, lo, he is there; believe him not..”

Christ is the active understanding of spiritual causation, and is fulfilled by living consciously as this causation; this is the process that makes Jesus the Christ. Therefore, he can never be pointed to as there or here, but must always be acknowledged as the spiritual identity of the perceiver–in a word–YOU.

Considering the symbols of Christmas, John Greenleaf Whittier rightly

understood their relation to the spiritual experience they signify:

“The outward symbols disappear

From him whose inward sight is clear,

And small must be the choice of days

To him who fills them all with praise.

Keep while ye need it, brothers mine,

With honest zeal your Christmas sign;

But judge not him who every morn

Feels in his heart the Lord Christ born.”



The holiday observances are over, and another new year stands unblemished before you, quite like a slate which has been washed clean with new resolve. How will you face the unfurling of this new year?

Will you be found responding to events as they occur in the world which surrounds you, cowering fearfully before some, rejoicing triumphantly over others, nevertheless reacting to all of them, whatever their character? Or will you be analyzing these outward appearances, discovering the mental attitudes and moods which underlie them, and then diligently tracing the way in which your own feelings has been shaped into those very attitudes on any number of occasions, thereby contributing to the animation of them into external conditions?

Your answer to these questions will establish for you at the outset whether you may regard yourself as the victor or the victim of the circumstances that will arise in your environment. I am sure that no one, not even the most embittered defeatist, would continue to identify himself as a helpless victim, if he knew his innate capacity to exert the absolutely unlimited freedom of choice which is everyone’s fundamental birthright.

A created effect has no freedom of choice; you do have. Does not this recognition immediately liberate your sense of selfhood from the helplessness of

  • created effect? A clear-cut understanding of that which is you and that which is yours provides a basis for exercising an ever-increasing dominion over circumstances.

Your selfhood is your conviction of actually having identity, called in all sacred writings I AM; this is what you are. There are the definitions you make of this selfhood; these are what you have. Your identity always remains Spirit, the essence, or feeling of being; your personality, or characteristics, your body, or appearance–these are what you have, or the definitions made of what you are.

In the first chapter you discovered Jesus Christ to be your actual selfhood, that consciously living presence of spiritual creativity. This realization is “the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” This understanding of selfhood is the foundation on which you freely build all definitions.

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Cor. 3:11)

Could Jesus Christ have been one person who was introduced into the unfolding panorama of historical events at the year of One A.D., and still be the only foundation laid? If Jesus Christ had been the one personal appearance of God on earth, what had been the foundation of the persons and events comprising the history of the thousands of years B.C.?

Divine logic insists that Jesus Christ is the individual’s living consciously as spiritual causation; and this is indeed the “foundation that is laid.” Further fortification for this insistence is found by reading the foregoing reference in its context:

“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver,

precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work

shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it,

because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try

everyman’s work of what sort it is.” (I Cor. 3:12, 13)

All are building on this same foundation, whether consciously or unconsciously, and all are choosing freely (albeit perhaps sometimes unwisely) the definitions which become molded into outward events. “The day” that “shall declare it” is the enlightenment that comes from tracing appearances to their source. “The fire” which “shall try every man’s work” and by which “it shall be revealed,” is the individual’s own experience.

And this is, mercifully, the nature of life: that whatever our manifested works may be, we are free to alter them, because they are only transitory shapings we make of the one changeless substance–our conviction of actually being.

“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss:

but he himself shall be saved.” (I Cor. 3:15)

Should any individual anywhere determine to vacate the ugly states of revenge, greed, intolerance, fear, and hatred, he not only would no longer be a victim of the insufferable conditions arising from his occupancy of those states, but also he would be displaying a most desirable dominion and self-control as a result of his spiritual awakening.

  • critical examination of the attitudes you habitually inhabit may not result in any immediate elevation of your self-esteem, but it is nonetheless a task none of us can afford to neglect. The time has come when, in the face of widespread alarming events, the thoughtful individual can no longer feel at ease in looking about for someone “else” to label as responsible.    Shifting the burden of blame may cushion one’s own conscience with a temporary solace, but effective absolution comes from squarely facing one’s own accountability.

Anyone with a social conscience wishes to be a useful part of an informed citizenry; but the chasm which exists between this wish and its realization is substantially bridged only by a genuine understanding of what constitutes the brotherhood of man, and that is the first-hand experience of the fatherhood of God.

To function consciously as Spirit, knowing that your conviction of being is the substance which activates the attitudes and moods which erupt into conditions that are the likenesses of the images maintained–this is to experience first-hand the fatherhood of spiritual causation. The offspring of this experience is the understanding of the relationship of manifested appearances, that is to say, the brotherhood of man.

In line with this premise, let us all resolve to be watchful of the negative atmospheres we inhabit, for, unless we deliberately vacate them they burst into visible circumstances which we might be reluctant to admit to be our contribution.

In a speech near the end of one of his plays, T.S. Elliot has his leading man sum up, in one statement, the meaning of what two of the other characters have been talking about:

“…But Sir Henry has been saying, I think, that every moment is a fresh beginning; and Julia, that life is only keeping on; And somehow, the two ideas seem to fit together.”

For my part, those two ideas fit together admirably, and are pointedly relevant to the theme of this first Letter of the new year: Every moment is a fresh beginning for the one who understands his identity as the life which keeps on.

Does this not provide the answer to our original question, “How will you face the unfurling of this new year?” By keeping on, shaping your feeling of being ever more wisely as these new beginnings appear.


When I was a boy in the fourth grade, the music instructor taught a song which was intended to instill in us a patriotic reverence for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln as the two outstanding Americans, born in the month of February, who distinguished themselves in the service of their country, thereby establishing examples which might profitably be emulated by all American youth. The song began:

“In February there were born two heroes great and good;

They loved their country, and they lived and died as heroes should.”

At the fourth grade level, the tonic had its effect, and if I consistently failed to duplicate their heroic deeds of greatness, I came out of that class with a reverence which bordered on worship; so much so that, years later, I was temporarily offended at the enormous contrast between the moods in which these two great men were depicted in the murals of the Statehouse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Washington was shown as an erect, triumphant figure, eyes shining and cheeks ablaze, surrounded by flying flags and drummers beating their drums, brilliant sunshine flooding the evident show of victory.

On the other hand, Lincoln was shown as a bent, sorrowful, and brooding man, almost completely enveloped in dark, threatening clouds; the whole mood was permeated with the flavor of well-nigh hopeless despair.

At first I wondered why the artist had made such an immense difference between “my” heroes, but after considerable reflection on their different functions in the unfolding history of America, I perceived, from that vivid example, the gulf which exists between conceiving an ideal, and maintaining it.

Ideas are conceived in a blaze of inspiration, charging the conceiver with an exhilaration and ambition to establish them as conditions which will benefit mankind; but the task of maintaining that original vision when all efforts are confronted by apparently insurmountable obstacles, takes quite the opposite outward appearance. This accomplishment requires a disciplined living as the life or substance of the ideal, rather than as one human being attempting to bring about a certain condition.

Peace is unquestionably the ideal which is being most urgently considered by today’s world-at-large. If peace could be the product of conferences, of summit meetings, or political negotiations, it would have become the world’s established order long ago. Negotiators fail to realize that peace comes to the individual; it comes with his discovery that his conviction of having identity–his feeling of actually being–is the cause and substance of any and every conceivable concept. The one who makes this discovery enthrones this spiritual identity as his only authority, and from then on he witnesses the shaping of outward conditions as the precise likenesses of his sustained attitudes and moods.

Inasmuch as the shaping of feeling (spiritual conviction) is the sole cause of events as they appear, is it not the height of useless endeavor to continually strike out against the conditions which we consider to be the evils of this world?

What utter powerlessness to correct or even influence events, if an event could exist “out there” as an independent substance, and not as the perception of the perceiver! To beat the air can bring no lasting results out there, and the frustration that accrues to the “do gooder” projects a compounded unpleasantness of appearances.

In saying this I do not recommend bowing under the pressure of events as helpless victims; quite the reverse. Instead of frantically trying to straighten shadows, the wise one adjusts the substance which is casting them. Far from advocating a cessation of honest efforts in educational, political, economic fields (which are vital to the maintenance of an effective social order), this teaching urges only a deeper inquiry into the source of ideals, and the individual adoption of the spiritual method of their fulfillment.

Spiritual experience teaches the folly of imitating examples in the attempt to be and do good, because if you think of yourself as an obedient child of an external Creator, you are functioning as the lifeless marionette of an unknown operator. We sleep collectively as Adam, whole masses being moved and directed by dictatorships of one kind or another–political, ecclesiastical, personal–but we wake individually as Christ, the living presence of creativity, and no longer tremble to take the next forward step on the authority of our own spiritual initiative.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, in his Essay on Self-Reliance:

“Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men, but what they thought.”

Cease looking to anyone “else” for authority to act. Lincoln could not look to Washington, nor even to one of his own time, for authority to take the course that he alone could feel he must take in order to preserve the union. As you rise from fourth-grade patterns of worshiping idols and trying to emulate “them,” and reverently live the Godhood which is your identity, you become free from that state presented in the Old Testament as the “Law of Moses” and characterized by the language of “thou shalt not”; then you cease looking to others to save you, or to manufacture the condition of peace for you over the conference tables of the world. As long as you cast about on the outside for authority, you will find someone to wield it, and as a consequence you will find yourself subservient to that one.

If you have an inspiring ideal, as the painting of Washington illustrates, live it. Live as the very substance of it, as the picture of Lincoln illustrates. Then nothing and no one can prevent its appearance. But do not look to anyone “else” for the authority to give it evidence, for in so doing, you would be surrendering your standpoint of “I am the light of the world,” and would be identifying yourself as a mere character in a play, totally helpless to be or do anything.

Remember the words of Paul:

“For we are made partakers of Christ (spiritual creativity) if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” (Heb. 3:14)

The painting of Washington symbolizes “the beginning of our confidence,” and the one of Lincoln, holding it “steadfast unto the end.” I do not mean to indicate that this process of holding (maintaining the conviction of the causativeness of your feeling of being) is a gloomy, or sorrowful, or a depressingly tiresome task; the symbolism of that painting implies that this realization is reached alone, because the feeling of being is all-one.

The characters in Life’s drama can do nothing; it is “the Father” (spiritual causation) which produces effects. Live consciously as this causation, knowing that “…he that hath seen me (his own identity as the feeling of being) hath seen the Father.” Rest your whole confidence of success on this living consciously as Spirit, and the “aloneness” will then become to you that singleness of purpose which you will willingly appropriate and expand.

God, as infinite Cause, presents Himself as Man, not for the purpose of duplication or imitation, but for the animation of creation. Sooner or later, all must desist from the arrogance of claiming an identity apart from the awareness of being, and reverently acknowledge this life of ours to be the living (awakening) of “the Life divine.” As we do this, the joy of living characterizes our days, and the spontaneity of our acts, freed from a burdensome sense of dutiful living, will leave in our trail a more lasting benefit.

Emerson, continuing his Essay on Self-Reliance, emphasizes this necessity of awakening the divine withinness, and enthroning it as the only authority:

“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses with-out notice his thought, because it is his.”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *       *

“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the

conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that

he must take himself for better or worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”


Ever since mid-February, when Ash Wednesday introduced the season of Lent, orthodox Christians have been preparing, by means of a relatively rigid self-denial, for the annual commemoration of the events of Holy Week.

My purpose is, not deliberately to overthrow established traditions and practices, but rather, to encourage you to educe a more advanced meaning for these symbols of individual spiritual development.

Is it not a pity that the word spiritual is generally associated with religious practices, and that your spiritual education should be considered the responsibility of the churches, and not your own? To me the word spiritual implies fundamental character, and has the unlimited scope of all-inclusiveness, referring to every department of life.

I am convinced that the Bible records, not historical events, but symbols which illustrate the landmarks everyone encounters in the inescapable process of awakening spiritually; that it is the textbook which reveals fundamental Selfhood of the individual, and not an instrument for the conversion of the irreligious to some form of sectarian worship.

Thinking from this viewpoint, let us now free the symbols of Lent and Holy Week from the restricted perspective of an observance of a two-thousand-year-old miscarriage of justice, and consider them in terms of practical value to you.

The Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote of “the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Here is the perfect introduction to the meaning of Lent, a period of preparation for a higher spiritual order. Yours is the voice that appeals in the wilderness (the unconquered areas of the mind) for a clearing in the path of deliverance.

The writer of the Gospel according to St. Matthew makes use of this same symbol, depicting it as “John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

John the Baptist illustrates the morally good human, so it is quite understandable why this ministry must precede that of Jesus. Each, in the process of awakening his divinity, tries, through deeds of human goodness, to earn it. Bear in mind, John the Baptist is beheaded; that is to say, the attempt to earn divinity must yield to the individual’s discovery of it as his own identity, and this is the ministry of Jesus: the revelation that “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father (discovers cause) but by ME (living consciously as spiritual being).

The original Greet metanoeo, translated repent, means “to think differently.” To clear the way mentally for a spiritual discovery provides a broader benefit than merely to fast physically in conformity to an accepted custom. The injunction to “Deny self and follow ME” is spiritual direction to look within for your identity.

In my textbook (I DO, by Freedom Barry, Vantage Press, 1963), you will find two chapters devoted to the explanation of crucifixion and resurrection. These two landmarks of individual spiritual experience are so universally taught as the incredible physical experience of one holy man, that huge numbers of intelligent people are understandably reluctant to accept their validity.

When you understand the life-history of Jesus to be the awakening of your spiritual identity, you will read it with a keener interest and will realize that a miracle is not magic. A miracle is the instant confirmation of a clear-cut, decisive, complete change of conviction. The literally-minded, restricted by the narrow limits of what they will admit to be mentally plausible and physically possible, term such changes in appearance miraculous, supernatural, and inexplicable.

The events of Holy Week, so encrusted with religious ritual, glow with practical value for the one who discovers their more advanced meanings as illustrations of the milestones he attains in his spiritual awakening. As you free your sense of your Self from that of a limited person, and accept it as the invisible conviction of being that furnishes the personal definitions of Itself, you are actually experiencing Holy Week; you resurrect your concept of identity out of the area of frustrating effort, to the conviction, “I am the light of the world.”

Palm Sunday is illumined with a new practicality when you read Matthew 21:8-16 in this light:

Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem (city of God) Indicates your first acceptance that your I AM is Cause. This acknowledgement casts out bickering and conflict-ing beliefs and overturns “the tables of the moneychangers”;

that is, your fundamental values are completely altered. You overthrow “the seats of them that sold doves,” the helpless

necessity of accepting peace at any price; functioning consciously as spiritual causation, you establish peace by experiencing it.

Your invisible spiritual identity is the “closet” with its door shut against the distractions of ignorant notions and opinions (the blind and the lame) which, if permitted to intrude, make of your consciousness “a den of thieves,” and rob you of your control.

Your most deep-rooted and longest-accepted prejudices

(the chief priests and scribes) are challenged by your

acknowledgement of Spirit as your identity, so, in defense

of accepting the responsibility, you chide yourself for being

so gullible as to permit such an unlikely premise to pass for

logic. Then comes the reminder that praise is perfected “out

of the mouths of babes,” in your open acceptance, unspoiled

by the countless educated arguments to the contrary.

The next four chapters in the narrative present parables which urge spiritual Self-reliance; the intent is sufficiently clear that “those who run may read.”

At the Last Supper, bread (the literal interpretation of the Word) is broken (analyzed) and fed (as sustenance) to the disciples (disciplined attributes of attention); also, the cup of wine (inspiration, the life’s blood of higher meaning) is recommended for the remission of sins (the reward of satisfying achievement).

The Greek word, paradidomi, which is translated betray in the English New Testament, means “to surrender, yield up, entrust, transmit, recommend.” After the Last Supper, Jesus (your own spiritual identity) is surrendered, yielded up, entrusted, transmitted, recommended to the chief priests (old established concepts of identity). Judas, the betrayer, is your capacity to reveal the whereabouts of Selfhood, and should be cultivated rather than branded as malicious and wicked.

On trial before Pilate (edified judgment), invisible Spirit never attempts to justify its position, nor in any manner explain its Self in terms acceptable to literal erudition; instead, your entire confidence of salvation rests in being stationed as Spirit.

Crucifixion is done in Golgotha, “the place of a skull,” symbolizing mentality, which is the “alphabet” of conceivable possibilities. When your conviction of being is molded into the conviction of being something, this affixation is entombed and “a great stone” is rolled against the door of the sepulchre, symbolizing the freedom from distraction necessary to mature the conviction, “I AM HE.” The stone illustrates the denseness which literal-mindedness cannot penetrate, but which spiritual identity can “roll away”; and when you reach this wicket in your spiritual development, every fiber of your being will exclaim, “He is risen!”

Instead of commemorating the unjust earthly agony of a martyr and looking for the second coming of a physical savior into the world, prove by your own living consciously as Spirit that you know your redeemer liveth. Your own awareness of being is the savior, the redeemer, the power which resurrects you from the tomb of non-expression; you are no longer confined in the grave-clothes of a traditional acceptance of selfhood.

Now you understand, as never before, the poet’s characterization, “Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.” Far from robbing you of Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, this teaching reveals this same savior, infinitely more intimate and vital, when you realize, through your own experience, that it is your spiritual identity that is resurrected on Easter morning!


“Happiness is in action, and every power is intended for action; human happiness, therefore, can only be complete as all the powers have their full and legiti-mate play.”

Industrious persons everywhere will admit the logic of these lines by David Thomas (1776-1859), but they may neglect to underscore the word all, which unveils the profoundest implications of his statement.

Any consideration of power should begin with the primal source, or essence, of all that appears to the various stages of interpretation to be powers. My purpose in bearing down so heavily on spiritual identity in previous chapters has been to resurrect your sense of power to that point of origin which is power itself: “All power is given unto ME in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18)

But your discovery of power in its essence and eternal availability would be of no practical benefit if it were to be left lying fallow and not exercised and disciplined for its “full legitimate play.”

It is said that seven-eighths of a floating iceberg is below the surface of the water, concealed from the view of the one who sees only what the eye reports; but it is there, nonetheless, as the greater portion of the mass. It comes as something of a shock to many when they discover the enormously creative power of Spirit lying unrecognized for what it is beneath the surface of their physical-mental-emotional structure. The secret of the most satisfying activity lies in releasing this power through controlled convictions.

“Life was not given for indolent contemplation and study of self, not for brooding over emotions of piety: actions and actions only determine the worth.”

–Immanuel Hermann Fichte (1797-1879)

St. Paul, the consecrated expounder of Christian principle, regarded his mission as a sacred trust which was, in effect, to see to it that the understanding of Christianity should be lived, and not only talked about in endless recitals of platitudes, nor defended as merely a doctrinal platform. “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” (I Cor. 1:17)

What is it that determines whether the cross of Christ shall be of none, or of some effect? The true practice of Christianity as a way of life is the active living of divinity, not a passive absorption into a state Absolute. Here is the mystery of the cross, the emblem of God living as man, illustrating the human and divine coincidence of one Being. Living consciously as spiritual causation, you are free to experience the conceivable contents of eternity in a time-space display of them.

“I am come (spiritual identity is awakened) that they (in whom it is awake) might have life, and that they (when interpreting literally) might have (evidence of) it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

To live imaginatively, beyond the constricted limits of humdrum necessity, is to release your unused potential; it is then that you are delivered from the pressures of having to decide and act from the mole’s-eye perspective of a mortal who lives separated from God, from his divine Life.

John Ciardi, addressing a group of businessmen, said, “An ulcer, gentlemen, is an unkissed imagination taking its revenge for having been jilted. It is an unwritten poem, a neglected music, an unpainted watercolor, an undanced dance.”

Perhaps you have wished for a long time to express some artistic bent, but have not acted to fulfill that desire for any number of what may have seemed to you good reasons. You may have felt your degree of talent was insufficient to warrant the necessary expenditure of effort. You may feel your opportunity is past, that you should have done all that as a child, and that it is now too late. You may even feel that such a discussion has no place in a chapter dedicated to the art of spiritual awakening. But have we not established that your spiritual identity is the divine Being? “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)

Remember, your purpose is to live creatively, “lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” The vertical aspect of the cross symbolizes eternity, where all conceivable ideas are arranged in levels of significant meaning; the horizontal aspect illustrates the act of the feeling of being as it molds itself into the feeling of being a selected ideal and, developing its conviction of being that, literally projects the appearance of being it in the world of three-dimensional interpreting.

“And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (I Cor. 12:6)

Truly, it is the same Spirit, the same essence or conviction of being, that accomplishes all that is done in all that appear to do it. Then what should be your attitude, from the point of view of this teaching, in whatever you undertake?

A very frail and elderly man, whose life was dedicated to his art of building keyboard instruments, revealed quite inadvertently to a friend one day the secret of his special quality; he said, “I face every day as though it might be my last, and every painstaking detail of the day as though I had all eternity.”

If this attitude were to characterize every secular effort you make, would not the spirit of perfection permeate all your achievements? And would not the dedication you consciously lavish on your activities, exercising your attention with such discipline, necessarily develop and awaken this power “which worketh in you”?

Taken in this light, how could any endeavor seem not worth the effort, or any opportunity to have come too late? Those arguments appear valid only when you permit your identifications of your Self to pass for your identity. With your spiritual identity awakened to its intrinsic power, and remembering that “every power is intended for action,” begin directing this force deliberately to activate the ideals that are eternally conceivable, requiring only the occupancy of your conviction of being to give them the literal appearance of being your condition.

In pursuing this course, be reminded often that the human is the divine, asleep to its own divinity; that humanity is not an echo of divinity, nor a different substance counterfeiting the divine nature. The central seal of Christianity is the cross–Cause presenting and interpreting Itself as effect. Try not to lean so far in one direction that you flounder in a theoretical and frozen Absolute (which is supposed to be incapable of perceiving a world it at the same time permits to exist for you!), or so far in the other direction that all objective appearances are devoid of divine causation.

Around two hundred years ago, William Blake saw this divine and human coincidence, the true cross of Christianity, the Word (meaning) made flesh, when he wrote:

“God only Acts & Is in all existing beings and men.”

Another two hundred years before Blake, Shakespeare offered, in his inimitable economy of words, sage advice based on the same perception:

“Suit the action to the word and the word to the action.”

Even before the Christian era began, the same advice was urged by one who knew what it was to search for truth:

“We should not be so taken up in the search for truth, as to neglect the needful duties of active life; for it is only action that gives a true value and commendation to virtue.”



Whoever teaches the process of spiritual awakening is certain to encounter one question more often than any other, and that is, “What happens to us when we die?”

It is not surprising that the topic of survival should occupy such prominence in the thinking of the spiritually inquisitive, considering the plenitude of promises of eternal life and immortality which are set forth in the scriptural writings of the world.

The stumbling block in the way of the acceptance of these promises lies in the failure to comprehend what it is that constitutes the identity of the individual. If you identify yourself merely as a human personality in the form of a physical body, with a mentality and an emotional system as the principal components, it is no small wonder that you may have thought it improbable that immortal or eternal life is really yours. However, if you understand that these identifications are interpretations, made by the invisible conviction of being which you are, then you can come to grips with this problem, because it is to your spiritual identity that the promises of immortality are addressed.

In each chapter, emphasis has been placed on awakening your awareness of being as your actual identity. The reason for this has been to set you free from concern about what will become of you. You are the Identifier, and therefore survive every identification you make of your Self.

To illustrate: you once identified yourself as a child who was ten; after considerable development, you changed your identification of yourself to that of

  • seventeen-year-old adolescent. What became of the ten-year-old? You, the identity, did not die, nor did the child die, because you were the only actual life which that identification ever had. However, death, as it is spiritually understood, did occur, and has continued to occur, each time the identifier (which you are) has ceased maintaining certain identifications of its Self in order to present different ones.
  • million years from today, your identity will be shaping identifications of its Self, and, even though they may differ more radically from your present appearance than your present appearance differs from the ten-year-old you once appeared to be; nevertheless, awareness, because it is aware, will be aware of something, and whatever concepts of it Self it embodies, will constitute its body.

Immortality has not been promised to any identification whatsoever. On the other hand, immortality is the condition of spiritual identity, and this is why it cannot be earned, but must always be awakened. This pattern of individual awakening is brilliantly dramatized in an account that is familiar to all readers of Old Testament stories.

With the use of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which gives the original meanings of the key Hebrew words that have been translated into English in the versions commonly used by English-speaking people everywhere, read now a more intimate and practical meaning which lurks beneath the surface of the well-known allegory:

“Jacob (the capacity to augment, enlarge, expand) went out from Beersheba (the pit that has been digged), and went toward Haran (to glow, melt).”

In the process of spiritual awakening, you leave the limited conception of yourself as one of God’s personal effects, and expand to the acceptance of your invisible conviction of being as your actual substance, or identity.

“And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.”

When illumination subsides, you remain in relative darkness, retaining certain conceptions based on the information avail-able to that degree of awakening.

“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.”

Then comes your discovery of the levels of interpreting that range from where you lie completely asleep to your divinity (the literal interpretation of appearances) to where you are wholly awake as the actual substance of those appearances.

“And the Lord stood above it and said, Behold I am with thee, and will

keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into

this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have

spoken to thee of.”

This revelation, so fantastic to the one who has had only a

personal sense of himself, flowers into the understanding and

acceptance of the promise of immortality: Identity does not

forsake its identifications until it is awake as its Self, until it is

“brought again into this land.”

“And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God; and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house.”

From this pillar, this monumental waymark in your experience, you live the drama of life, aware of its redemptive value, recognizing in each new pinnacle of deliverance your survival of another identification.

One’s first brush with this teaching is likely to leave the impression that too much is claimed by insisting that the identity of the individual is the divine Being which IS; and yet it is this very point on which the promises of eternal life become totally acceptable or are discounted altogether as the doctrinal double-talk of theology.

The change of base is so shocking whenever this sudden illumination occurs, that the one in whom it is revealed inevitably shrinks from the implications of such overwhelming responsibility. But this reluctance is an integral part of the drama of life, as you can see by these verses from the narrative we have been considering:

“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

Even though the demands seem well beyond your present capacity

to achieve, divine logic compels the recognition that this is indeed the way, so you (as Jacob) will “set it up for a pillar and pour oil on

the top of it.” You will be dedicated to this highest ideal–maintaining the spiritual meaning of Life!

On the thirtieth of this month, our country observes Memorial Day, a national holiday designated to offer the tribute of memory to those called dead. As your spiritual awakening proceeds, you will develop firmer convictions regarding life and what it means to be the life (identifier) of all living (identifications). Death will not be to you the destruction or end of life, but the cessation of a particular identification made by the Identity which has been the only living thing all along.

When you accept this fundamental premise of being eternal life, your previous concepts of life and death will be shattered, and you will understand the higher meaning of these familiar words: “See ye not all these stones (theories which worldly erudition has built)? Verily I say unto you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Identifications do not survive the experience of awakening from such interpreting, but identifier does!

The Gospel of John presents Jesus as God Himself (as Life itself), and the entreaty that the reader relate to this central character is constant. When the point has been made that “no man cometh to the Father but by ME,” there comes the sharp reminder, “If ye had known ME, ye should have known my Father also; henceforth ye know him and hath seen him.”

Obedience to the First Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before ME,” is intensified in these verses which culminate in the disclosure, “He that hath seen ME (his own spiritual identity) hath seen the Father (the Life of all appearances).”

Then, after this groundwork is unshakably established, the subject of life and death is introduced and settled in one statement of such ringing vitality that the question, “What happens to us when we die?” should never again concern you: “Yet a little while, and the world (your literal interpreting) will see me no more, but you (awake to your divinity) will see (understand) ME; because I (your conviction of being) live, you (your identifications) will (appear to) live also.”


“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (I Cor. 13:11)

Every year at this time, young persons by the hundreds of thousands pass that pivotal point in their lives when they graduate from the years of gathering theories and venture into the world of “hard, cold facts,” where they are obliged to press their accepted theories into practice.

The acid test of experience seldom leaves anyone’s idealized conceptions one hundred percent intact, and all face, sooner or later, the necessity for some sweeping revisions of plan and direction, in order that each may design the methods best suited to carry the freight of his unique contribution to life.

Adolescents, on the whole, are at first somewhat graceless in their acceptance of the inescapable deliverance to maturity. The innocence of childhood encourages the habit of regarding society as existing for the sole purpose of gratifying our wants. This habit is broken forcibly for most of us when, through imposed self-reliance, we discover that living becomes truly meaningful only as we cease our attempts to siphon substance out of life, and begin instead to live imaginatively, creatively, enriching society in the fulfillment of our raison d’être, and by this process, begin awakening our sleeping divinity.

The rebuffs that greet the young graduate are symbolic of all development; they do not stop when the first encounter has been hurdled, for the simple reason that obstacles are the out-pictured interpretations of our ignorance of what lies ahead. Therefore, nothing short of total awakening can prevent a continued deliverance to further stretches of wilderness, a term employed in scripture to indicate the unconquered areas of the mind.

“God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” (Gen. 3;23)

This expulsion from Eden is the inescapable graduation from innocence to experience. Attempts to avoid this step can never accomplish more than a temporary delay. Try as you may to seek again the protective comfort of innocence, the journey, as mapped in the Bible, does not include a return to Eden, but on the contrary, portrays the relentless unfolding into the New Jerusalem (total awakening as spiritual causation itself).

The entire Exodus from Egypt (ignorance of one’s divinity) is tinctured with the murmuring and whining of the reluctance to mature.

“…it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” (Ex. 14:12)

The urge is to turn around, as frightened animals might, and run back across the same old familiar roads at the first sight of the enormity of the wilderness. But is it ever better to serve ignorance, prejudice, superstition, and frozen tradition? Continuing in that path you are dead in the unconquered areas of the mind. How can you prevent this “eternal sleep?” By awakening. The awakening process provides the only sure-footed entrance into the New Jerusalem.

Do you think this process demands too much, that it is too late for the old dogs of the traditional course to learn the new tricks of imaginative living? Remember who you really are. Trace this pattern of awakening from sight to insight as it is set forth in the Book of Job. Following the graduation from innocence, the same cry goes up:

“Oh that I knew where I might find him!” (Job 23:3)

But the exercise of an analytical search is not, of itself, very comforting:

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him.” (Job 23:8,9)

Every direction but the only accurate one! Your use of sight as the photographic reception of appearances will never yield a dominion over those appearances. But when your powers of recognition have developed the insight of vision, the actual perception of causation, you discern that:

“My foot hath held his steps…”   (Job 23:11)

Your own divinity, your feeling of being, is the substance of the attitude-shapes which, if they become habitual, you interpret as the solid conditions of your environment.

With this insight you bridge the transition, or “graduation,” and the passing from innocence loses its sting. No longer will you complain about what is not coming your way, because you will then be oriented toward fulfilling your purpose. Now you know who it is that treads in your steps as your very walking; none other than God himself.

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver (knowledge);have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction (experience). For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it; for how should my name be polluted? And I will not give my glory to another.” (Isa. 48:10, 11)

So you see, you are not something besides “ME!” “I AM you!”

Now, understanding as the Father, you willingly “put away childish things.” From now on, the propulsion is towards expression rather than accumulation. The barriers you erected to protect the treasures garnered from society can now be dissolved. Paradoxical though it may sound, once they are dissolved, by your consecrated outpouring from the fountainhead of divine imaging, such a multiplication of harvest floods through this newly opened avenue as you have never before dreamed possible.

“…prove ME now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts ( your fundamental identity), if I (this spiritual originality) will not open you the windows of heaven (undifferentiated consciousness), and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive

This post first appeared on Cool Wisdom Books, please read the originial post: here

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The Gate of the Year by Freedom Barry


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