THERE IS the shepherd, tending the flocks by night---night on the desert, the heavens pulsating with stars. His meditation wraps about him as does his burnoose. A faithful dog lies at his feet; he rests on his staff and contemplates the beauty of life.
Then there is the shepherd who, leaving his sheep, goes over the rough mountain ways searching for the lost lamb---and rejoicing when he finds it.
And the one who leads beside still waters and through green pastures with the steadying assurance of his rod and staff.
And yet another, with tenderness leading those with young, gently carrying the lamb in his bosom.
Yes, the shepherd is something beautiful to contemplate, with the calm, steady flow of his unruffled consciousness as he stands guard over his flock.
One day I was idling about in a canoe on a beautiful little lake in northern Germany. The day was perfect, the lake, a mill pond, just beginning to be burnished by the setting sun. An apple orchard was billowing in pink-white loveliness. Fresh green grass ran like liquid paint over the hills. Pan dashing in and out of the bushes setting them aflame. On the horizon a relaxed windmill was slowly coming to the end of its day's work. And there on the hilltop stood a shepherd, leaning on his crook, while his flock were huddled about him. Suddenly I saw my symbol, and paddled the slim canoe in that direction.
When I came up to him he was standing with his eyes closed. I startled him! He was a likely type of shepherd with large blue eyes and a bronzed skin. A heavy thatch of blond hair sunburned into gold cropped from under a torn hat. A perfect specimen.
After a few inanities of opening conversation, I edged carefully toward my subject. I wanted to find out some of the deep meditations that were going through his mind. And finally taking a headlong plunge, I said to him, "And what do you think about all day as you stand here tending your sheep?"
He eyed me for a moment and then said in a gruff voice, "Well, sometimes I think about what the old woman is going to have for supper-and sometimes I
don't think about nothing."
With that statement he knocked my whole category of shepherds to bits. They lay in a heap of disillusionment at my feet.
I left my shepherd and paddled home. The sun was really setting now and the lake was amethyst, my heart the same color.
When I turned in through the gate the old gardener was talking to his much indulged cat. "Ah, no, Bizzel, you are a fake---you do not catch mice---you sleep and eat my food---you pose as a mouse catcher, but you are nothing but a figure, a symbol. And so I get some traps, lazy one."
The power, then, was not in the thing---it was the consciousness back of it, since its value could be changed by the slightest whim of man.
Luck was not in the four-leafed clover, a horseshoe, but in the mind of the man. Healing was not in the body of Jesus, but in the consciousness that BELIEVED.
The consciousness of reality could and would project thousands of symbols, which would react toward one in a positive way when he saw through the symbol and into the consciousness back of it.
The consciousness of anything carries with it the ability to project its symbols anywhere, at any time. No matter how many shepherds fell by the wayside, the consciousness of what they stood for could and would reproduce the symbol at any time.
Within the word is the power of fulfillment. Thus, when the admonition, "Go into all the world," is spoken from consciousness, it brings with it all the means of fulfillment and completion. Yet it remains a printed word on the pages of thousands of books. Examination of the printed pages results in defeat, for the power is not there.
A million litanies and prayers, lacking consciousness, will heal nothing. "Open your eyes" is no more efficacious than one, two, three, four, unless there is the consciousness of LIGHT back of it. If there be that consciousness, then the words fulfill themselves with a lightning rapidity which beggars all effort, thought, or reason The WORD becoming flesh is the WORD back of the symbol. The Word of Life will embody its symbol of health and that health will remain as long as the mind is stayed on that consciousness.
Health is merely the symbol or out picturing of LIFE. Jesus said plainly, "I AM the LIFE"----and the consciousness of this causes the symbol of health to automatically take shape and form, and "by a way ye know not of." It is beyond all human reason or belief, past finding out as far as the human thinking is concerned. The human effort to make things happen, to heal or cure, is like planting a post and expecting it to grow into a tree. The same action might have planted a tree. Both operations are the same----but one is alive and grows and expands into fruition, while the other is dead and rots.
"Who did hinder ye, that ye did not obey the truth?" Why did ye obey a man and not ME? Why were you not healed when you went through all the motions of healing? You had treatments by the dozens.
As surely as the contemplation of God as universal and perfect produces gold in a fish's mouth, thereby setting aside all the wisdom of man, so does the Permanent Identity (the Christ in you,) recognize this verity and releases the manifestation or symbol in the temple or body of Jesus (John Smith).
"Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me." The consciousness, once recognized, comes into manifestation quickly, rendering asunder the veils of human belief and exposing the perfect manifestation.
If you have ever wondered why Jesus counseled you "buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed," you will now understand why you are being led away from the symbol and back to the CONSCIOUSNESS, which is the real substance. That is the only gold worthy of your contemplation ---the substance which can and does cast its symbol of the thing necessary at the precise moment. The worthlessness of the dollar on a desert proves the worthlessness of the symbol-but bread and water would be another story.
Unto you is given to know the mysteries! Anything is possible to God---and so to you---anything that you can and do accept in CONSCIOUSNESS.
"The Lord IS my Shepherd---I SHALL NOT WANT"---and "He" springs into being in your soul, even at the sight of the gruff young man standing atop a German hillock.
Walter C. Lanyon