I will give you the following example as an introduction to this lecture: imagine that there is a caravan of carts in the street and each one of you is driving a cart. Some carts travel smoothly, noiselessly, while others creak and make a lot of noise. What do you have to do for the carts not to make so much noise? You will take the tar-can, dip the feather in and lubricate the axle of the wheels, so it won't creak any longer. Creaking is the suffering in your life. In the same way, you should lubricate your heart, when it creaks, with tar.
You should study Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians in relation with the proverbs. Each one of you should dwell on the most significant paragraphs of this epistle – the ones that constitute the core of it.
This is a necessary introduction; therefore, keep this in mind all the time. Remember that every suffering is an introduction, a gateway to Love. Some ask, "Why do I suffer, why do I have difficulties?" This is my answer: because your book is being written, an introduction to Love is being composed. By this introduction, I want to make a point to you not to deceive yourselves by thinking you are very knowledgeable. Those who believe they know a lot, they grow old fast. The best thing to do, so that you do not grow old, is to think that you have a lot to learn. The same can be noticed with children: they are eager to learn a lot. You should never say that this becomes the young but not you – the old, because the thought that you are old will stay with you and you will actually become old. You won’t even notice how soon it will be before you are stooped over, you will look like a question mark and everybody will say that you are old. Bear in mind that youth is the gateway to God’s Kingdom. You need a new introduction in order to enter God’s Kingdom – to become young.
I shall move on to explain Chapter four:
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all wise lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (4: 1-3)
Prisoner means a person who is called to God’s School. Paul says, "I, who was called to God’s School, pray you to study as I did, namely – with all the wise lowliness, meekness and longstanding forbearance, forbearing the others with Love." When you are in class somebody might nip you, might give you a nudge, but you tell yourselves, "It’s all right. This is a small room, Love will forbear!"
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace means to endeavour to establish links between the lessons, so that you will have that internal connection, which the Spirit, i.e. the Master has planted. With these words Paul says, "I listened to this Master with great attention."
The epistle reads further on:
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.” (4: 4)
With this Paul says, "I subjected my body to the Spirit, by serving Him in hope."
“One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in us all.” (4: 5, 6)
In these lines Paul says, "I did this, because I listened to the Lord and performed the thoughts of This one Lord, Who spoke to me about one faith – faith in respect of the mind." One baptism means to perform, to forbear all grief and hardships in gratefulness. Dipping into the cauldron is no baptism; baptism is a test one has to pass. Paul says, "Every time when the Master tested me, I delivered Good, i.e. I gave good answers, because I studied my lessons well." One God is understood to be the place, the conditions given to Paul by God, because Paul says, "In one God we live and move." i.e. we study in the same school.
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” (4: 7)
In this line Paul says, "I used the grace of God." Grace is when in time of need, more superior spirits, called angels, descend to elate you, to help you, to enlighten you on a particular issue. This enlightenment can take various forms. It can reach you through a dream – by suggesting a particular thought when you sleep, and when you get up in the morning, you will feel it absolutely distinctively. Help does not always come in the form of speech. There are three ways to speak: speaking from the outside, speaking from the inside, and speaking from above, i.e. speaking to the body, speaking to the heart, and speaking to the mind. Somebody says, "Let’s start eating, lunch is ready!" – This is speaking to the body. I say, "Let’s love one another."’ – This is speaking to the heart. This second mode of speaking is not understood so directly as the invitation to eat, because you have certain experience in the latter. Consider how you will understand love. When I tell you, "Let’s get to know Christ!" – This is already speaking to the mind. How can we get to know Christ? Think about love and knowing Christ. Please, explain to me, being Bulgarians, how you love and how you know Christ. I know how we do it at home, but I want to know how you do it in Bulgaria.
“Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.” (4: 8-10)
Christ, when He was on the Earth, filled everything and said, "I conquered the world." The other victory – over the flesh – He left for you. There are three things, which impede Life, namely: flesh, the world, and the devil. The most dangerous enemy of all is the flesh. It is the bond between human beings and the world, and the world is the bond between the flesh and the devil. Christ, when he conquered the world, broke the connecting link between the flesh and the devil. You have a daughter, who is in correspondence with her lover, but, as her mother, you break this telegraph and the correspondence is over. Thus Christ severed the bond between the flesh and the devil and it has no place within you any longer, except if you invite the devil. Paul says, "I walked this path and there our struggle was big." All Heavens is understood as the manifestation of God in the complete human life.
“And He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (4: 11, 12)
Please note that all these are given in order for the saints to reach perfection. Who are the Apostles? These are the ones to whom Christ speaks. Prophets are those to whom the Spirit speaks. Evangelists come after the prophets, and after them – the pastors and the teachers. Find what corresponds, within you, to apostleship. Consider this line, what apostleship, prophecy, evangelism, pastorship, and teaching can be compared to? The word prophet was in use even before Christ. Find the relation between prophets, evangelist etc. One has to develop one’s gift for apostleship. Apostle is such a person who is spoken to from outside. Prophet is such a person who is spoken to from within. Evangelist is such a person who has tried things. When you eat an apple, you will do as the evangelists and you will say, "It is sweet." Who is a pastor? The mother, who breast-feeds the child, is the pastor, the shepherd who grazes the sheep, the teacher who imparts knowledge.
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (4: 13)
The Apostles went with Christ, listened to Him, and interpreted His Teaching. The Spirit worked with them. They were twelve in number. The prophets continued the work of the Apostles and out-numbered them. Evangelists were even more in number, while pastors and teachers – were the biggest in number. Find out how many prophets there were. There must be at least one prophet in every church. There must be at least one prophet in the smallest community. There must be at least ten evangelists to each prophet. This is the order of increasing, so gifts increase in the same manner. The gifts in human beings correspond to the prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers and all of them should be developed. Each one can be a prophet for oneself. Any perspicacious person, who can foresee things from far off, is a prophet. Such a person has been to school, has graduated, and starts applying the acquired knowledge, to make calculations and finally to predict that a certain comet in that many years will come back. When this prediction comes true, he is said to be a prophet. All these gifts are given to us in order to get to know the Son of God, until we reach the state of the perfect human being into the measure of age, of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Another line reads that we have the mind of Christ. By this Paul means the bond between the Divine soul and body. Saying that the Spirit will teach you, Christ places the Spirit higher than the soul. In certain aspects, the soul is placed between the Spirit and the body. Paul says, "In order to have the Spirit of Christ, you have to have this bond between the Spirit and the body."
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (4; 14)
One can see from this paragraph that we should not be children in the world. Can your child go to Vitosha on a stormy night? It takes an adult to cross the mountains on a night like this. This is why Paul says, "I was not a child." I know that Bulgarians have a strong sense of inquisitiveness. Fifty years ago, a gypsy appeared in the region of Varna1 with a big snail, and she read the future by this snail. She became very famous for fortune telling and people from the whole region started visiting her. She made lots of money, became rich, and was subsequently assaulted and robbed by vagabonds one night. She could tell everybody else’s future but could not foresee that she would be robbed. Everybody likes to hear his or her fortune being told, but this is just for leisure. The future is usually read in a coffee cup, by cards, by the way a rooster crows and which direction it faces, by the donkey’s bray etc. One, starting on the road, also has one’s own divinations; for example, if one encounters an empty cart or a priest, one finds this disconcerting. These things have been implanted within you for thousands of years, only you have lost the key how to read them and therefore you are disconcerted. Why should you be concerned that you have encountered an empty cart or that a cat crossed your path?2 What do you have to do? You have to know the time when the cat will not cross your path, when the cat is not out.
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, Who is the head, Christ.” (4; 15)
Paul means the purely spiritual Love, which does not change, which has no love-hatred poles. In the Spiritual world Love is manifested only by attraction. While you know the love, which contains attraction and repulsion: you meet somebody, you attract him, but soon you have had enough and you repel him. This happens to young and old alike. A lad first loves a girl, and then he repels her. This is the law of the Earth. When two creatures unite on the Earth, they will invariably kick each other. Kicking is inevitable. Let’s assume that you are lying in a single bed. Let’s assume that due to lack of space, your beloved will be on top of you. You will endure him for half an hour, but not longer, he will feel heavy and you will start kicking. There are no conditions for love on the Earth. When you love someone you have to keep that person at half a metre distance. In love usually the one carries or the other is on one’s back. The saying is, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’3 and it means to keep your neighbours at half a metre distance. If you love them more than you love yourselves, you will carry them on your back. A story from “Halima”: a gentleman was crossing the river and saw an old man at the river bank who could not cross the river. The gentleman picked the old man up and put him on his back and thus they crossed the river. When the old man had to get off the gentleman’s back, he did not want to and the other man had to carry him for one, two, three, and more days on his back. At one point, it dawned on him to take out his bottle of wine and have a drink, intending to get the old man drunk. He was sipping from the wine while the old man clutched at his throat – he also wanted some wine. The gentleman kept giving wine to the old man until at last the old man got drunk. He then climbed down from the young man’s back and the two of them started dancing. So, when the beloved one does not let go of you, give him a little drink and then both of you will dance together. Today you suffer all the time because of love. I call people on the Earth unhappy people because of love. All people suffer from love, and then they complain that nobody loves them. My recommendation on how to reduce the suffering in the world is to have less love.
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.” (4: 17)
You think you are very learned. The learned person is healthy, has no abscesses, experiences no pains, and is rich. Pagans spoke many languages and did not understand one another. People, who do not understand one another, speak many languages. Some speak the language of the stomach, others – of the heart, still others – of the mind. If I tell you to get to know Christ in His fullness, you will tell me, "Do you have vouchers? Do you have sugar?" This is different from knowing Christ. Some say, "When we get to know Christ, there will be more food." If we get to know Christ in order that He gives us more food, this is a complete misunderstanding of the issue. Food is necessary only as long as you have a cart. Hence, if you have a cart, you will need a tar-can. If you dispose of the cart, you will no longer need any tar-cans. You will be left only with the horse; therefore, you will take food for you and the horse in the bag. When you reach a very steep place you will leave the horse, leave the bag with the horse’s food, and will take only your bag. Human beings need three tar-cans: for the cart, for the horse, and for oneself. You have a husband - so you will keep a tar-can for him. You may not want it, but those who are bonded should remain bonded. You have children – you will keep a tar-can for them. Think about the attitude of children to their parents, of the husband to the wife and vice versa. Why do men seek women and women seek men? You will write an essay on this topic to exercise yourselves.
“Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart.” (4: 18)
I interpret this thought back to front: when the heart is hardened, there is less work to do, and when there is less work to do, the mind is darkened. Hardened hearts bear no fruit. You will eat less, by eating less you will make your mind hardened. The word heart refers to the soil. The body has to invariably be healthy. The heart stands for the conditions, for life, i.e. what is produced by the heart, while understanding stands for the fruit of the internal process.
“Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (4: 19)
Paul says that Purity is necessary inside Life. When the heart and the stomach are hardened, there is a sort of decay, a sort of stinking, going on inside. This is why they should not be hardened.
“But ye have not so learned Christ.” (4: 20)
Christ’s Teaching is a Teaching of Life, it is about understanding the main principles, but not the way they are in Heaven, but the way they act on earth. If you know Christ, when you lose your temper, when you are dissatisfied with something, you should immediately polarize yourselves and get into the state of composure. If the surface of the sea is agitated, this does not mean the deep waters are also agitated. When we get to know Christ, we will have this Strength not to get agitated and will be able to command ourselves. You want to command Forces, which are in Nature. No, command the Forces within you. You cannot command things until you learn the language of each thing. You can’t understand an animal before you learn this animal’s language. When you say gee to the horse, the horse starts going. We have to learn the language of these live Forces within us, so that when we tell our heart to be quiet, it should keep quiet, and when we tell our mind to stay put, it should listen to you.
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (4: 22-24)
The old man means all the deceitful habits, thoughts, and desires, which were planted in us in the past and which now manifest themselves. These old habits represent the old clothes, which have holes and the wind penetrates through them. The old man is torn, while the new one is intact - having no holes. The Spirit is the connecting Force for the mind. To be renewed means that you should lubricate yourselves a little every day. The Spirit is a Force, which transforms work into fuel, and the mind uses it. And the new man should be created after God in Righteousness, Holiness, and Truth; in Righteousness – in respect of the body, in Holiness – in respect of the soul, in Truth – in respect of the mind. Therefore, repudiate the lies, which are a feature of the mind, a shortcoming of the mind; you should always tell only the truth to the people close to you. All disputes between people close to one another result from lies, because we deceive each other.
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” (4: 25)
Do not fool yourselves! Do not mislead your stomach either. Often in America when people are hungry, in order to suppress their hunger, they eat ice cream or drink coffee. Do not deceive your stomach with coffee, tea or anything else. This will not make your cart go. You have to send something substantial to your stomach.
“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” (4: 26, 27)
Anger is another shortcoming; it is a feature of the heart. You heart should not burn, because this is dangerous. Do not make room for the devil that lives in your body. Do not allow the devil to take root.
“Let him that stole, steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” (4: 28)
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” (4: 30-32)
Your work this month will be to find the main, fundamental ideas, which Paul imparted in this epistle. You will find the ideas that refer to the body, the soul, and the spirit. Try to find a method through which you can apply this Teaching in your lives. The subject is vast, therefore, it will be enough if you apply it partly at least. Do not think that I want you to become learned overnight. What is important is to understand the exercise at a certain moment. Find the link between the epistle to the Ephesians, and the proverbs.
The second thing that you will observe is to curb your tongue, not to talk a lot. Consider in advance what you are going to say. You are excited – do not talk! Say only the most substantial things, let your tongue and speech be under control. So that there is no creaking of the cart, no horse tripping over its feet, and the master, driving the cart, should not feel dizzy.
The third exercise, which you will do at least once a day, is as follows: you will sit comfortably in a chair, or you will be standing on your feet, you will open the window, you will leave, for the time being, your backpack, so that you can be in good humour, you will close your right nostril and you will inhale with your left nostril until you will count up to ten. Afterwards, you will close your left nostril too and with both nostrils closed you will keep the air in your lungs until you again count up to ten. Then you will open your right nostril and will let the air out again counting to ten. After this, you will close your left nostril, and you will inhale with your right nostril in the same way, as in the beginning. You have to do this exercise ten times in sequence or two series of five times, whereby you will inhale alternately with the left and with the right nostril. Before you start doing this exercise, you will open the Holy Scripture at the epistle to the Ephesians, you will read ten lines every day, starting with Chapter one. Be willing to understand the main ideas of the lines and the most important one to flow into you.
Delivered on 16 January 1919
1 Varna – a big town on the Black Sea coast.
2 А cat crossed your path has a meaning of bad luck in Bulgarian. In most countries there is a saying connecting good or bad luck with cats. In England a black cat is lucky and a white cat unlucky. In America it is the opposite. Both sayings empty cart and a cat crossing your path are fairly well known.
3 Matthew 19:19