10. The Shade Of The Mountain
Everyone must have aim in this work. He must think about it. The aim may be small or great, but a man should know what his aim is at any moment in time. It gives shape and meaning to his inner life. It has already been said that when man tries to remember himself he must also remember his aim. It enables a man to take incoming life from the Work point of view, and notice the relation he is about to make in preventing impressions from falling on their customary places in him, and producing their habitual reactions. All this involves a struggle between yes and no. A man in such a state can see an impression about to produce a typical response in him and say 'yes,' to it or say,'no.' If the response the impression is about to cause is contrary to the man's aim and the man says, 'no' to it, then he is keeping his aim. He is working on himself. And in that moment lies the fact that he has sacrificed something. What has he sacrificed? The satisfaction of reacting as usual. The satisfaction, let us say, of feeling agreed. All this involves struggle which is very quick. It takes place within a man and has to do with his inner assent or inner refusal. (Nicoll, Com. Vol.1)
Picture this in your mind. There is a mountain. A mountain called love of self and love of the world. And there is the land, or our consciousness. We are in the picture and so is our aim and there is the sunshine above it all. But between us and our aim, there is this big mountain. The hells tell us that what stands between us and our happiness, us and our peace, us and our quiet, us and all the things we want in life, are other people and the world. We may think to ourselves, "Things are interfering with me. That other fellow has the position that I want at work. That's where the problem is, that's why I can't get it." Or we may think, "There's not enough money. That guy has the house I want to buy. How come his grandfather left it to him?" So the big mountain stands in the way and the hells tell us, of course, that the problem is in the world and in other people. The truth, which the Lord alone can tell us, is that the mountain is our love of self and our love of the world.
If you feel the sphere of some negative state in yourself, when it starts to get cold and dark internally, you can imagine that you have just come into the shade of that great big mountain of love of self and love of the world. There is the sun and there is the shadow. You've just come into the shadow. And when something stands in the way you can no longer see your aim. What does the Lord say in the Word? He says, "If you pray, and if you ask, believing, this mountain shall be removed."
There is a tree nearby this mountain and the Lord said if you pray, or ask, believing, this tree will be pulled up by its roots. The tree represents those falsities that support the belief that problems are in the external world, instead of within us from evil spirits. The mountain is the actual love of self, the affections of self and love of the world. So if you pray asking and believing, they will be removed.
The Lord did not say, "You know, if you work long enough on that tree, and if you work hard enough, and if you dig and spend a lot of time, you can get rid of that tree and that mountain." He didn't say that. He said, "If you ask, believing, this mountain shall be removed." That is what the Lord tells us. Only He can remove the mountain. We have to ask, and we have to believe. Then He can remove that mountain and then we can start to see our aim, we can be in the sunlight and feel the warmth, which is our starting to turn towards the perceptions of love to the Lord and love of the neighbor. Then the Work, which is the truth about the situation, that it is not the world in our way, or people in our way, can come through. The only light that tells us that is the Gospel and its esoteric teachings. It enlightens, revealing the truth about the situation. It enlightens our world. That's why we call it "Revelation."
When you find yourself suddenly in an active negative state, one good thing to do is to name the mountain. Immediately you can ask the question, "What love is active in me?"
One day I was sleeping on my porch and some boys decided that a good place to ride their quadrunners was right below my porch. I noticed a very strong reaction come up in me - just a physical, strong negative reaction. I thought, "This is bad." When you say, "This is bad," about a kid, that will tell you that you are in the shade of a mountain. The question is, it is bad in relation to what? To what love? At the time I wanted to sleep. I wanted to sleep. And in relation to my wanting sleep, that quadrunner was bad. Now had the mother been there, and had she just given that quadrunner to the kid for his birthday, and the quadrunner was working and the kid was thrilled, then it would have been good. It would have been good in relation to what? In relation to her desire to make her child happy. The kid thought the quadrunner was good. In relation to what? To his love of having a good time. So, the quadrunner itself is nothing. It is just a motor vehicle. All events are just events.
When you start to have a negative reaction to something, the question is, "This is bad in relation to what love in me?" Now it may be a good love. Say you have a love of helping a child in some way. Someone interferes or hurts the child and then you feel an emotion. "This is bad," you may think. Bad in relation to what? To my love for that child. That's a good emotion, not because it is your child, but because you truly care for that child's welfare.
So, you name the mountain and that is very important. You have done two things when you name the mountain. First of all, you have recognized the situation for the way it is, which means you must be seeing it from doctrine, or seeing truth. You suddenly realize that you are in the shade of a mountain of self-love and love of the world. That is a different state from someone who's identified and really believes that the problem is those kids on the quadrunner. Then you name it. What love? You start to look for the intentions of your will. What love is active? You are doing work. You are trying to identify something correctly from Revelation. Then, if you identify the active love, you can ask and you can pray, and if you believe, He'll take it away. You will observe that is true.
The mountain is mostly underground because we just see the tip of the mountain. Our love of self and love of the world goes all the way down to the lowest hell. That's why we cannot remove the mountain ourselves. We cannot regenerate ourselves. We can resist evil. The Lord has only allowed enough of the mountain to show so that we can resist committing the evil, but even that may not mean today. It may take years and years before we can resist the evil totally. Maybe there is only part of it we can refuse to do now. But the mountain itself is really in the internal world. We are really attached to the spirits who are attached to the societies in hell. It is in the internal world that the Lord does His work. That's why I say the mountain goes way below man's consciousness. The real Work takes place internally and is from the Lord.
Swedenborg says if you saw the number of hells that are out to destroy you, you would see that it is hopeless. But in His mercy, the Lord holds back all evil except enough to leave us in freedom. He is doing all the work anyway, but we open ourselves to His help by observing our active states and naming the mountain. Realize you are in the shadow and ask, "What love is active? I am upset in relation to what?" You name the mountain and it has an impact. And then, if you care to, pray and ask the Lord that it be removed.
If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and cast into the sea,' it will be done. And all things, whatsoever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. (Matt. 1: 1,22)
...that man should first will, desire, and pray, and that the Lord should then answer, inform, and do; otherwise man docs not receive anything Divine....Besides, we frequently read in the Word that the Lord answers such as call upon Him and cry unto Him...also, that He gives when asked; and yet the Lord gives them to ask, and what to ask; so that He knows before; still the Lord wills that man should ask first, to the end that he may do it as from himself, and thus that it should be appropriated to him; otherwise, if the petition itself were not from the Lord, it would not be said in those places that they should receive whatever they asked. (Apocalypse Revealed 376)
When you observe a negative state come into you, ask yourself, "What love is active?" (This is bad in relation to what?) Try to identify and name the particular form of the love of self or love of the world that is present in that negative state. Notice how it stands between you and your aim.