29. Prayer, Fasting, and Charity.
The purpose of prayer is to contact God, but hypocrites like to gain the approval and recognition of other people more; thus they get this empty reward instead of the real divine communion. God is inside, and therefore one must retreat away from the world to go within; prayer is a private matter concerning only you and God. Praying to be seen or heard is vain. God knows everything; therefore open your heart in sincerity, and you will be given precisely what you need.
Jesus suggested a simple prayer which is very direct. God is the Father (and Mother) of all of us, not just of Jesus. Therefore pray to our divine Father (and Mother) recognizing this sacredness, asking that the heavenly consciousness of God be brought about in the divine way so that the higher consciousness may be manifested on Earth. Ask simply for our daily needs and the release of our karmic debts just as we have already forgiven others their debts to us. Keep our consciousness clear of negative thoughts and guide us to what is good.
Not only did Jesus forgive people's sins, but he taught that we can also forgive each other's mistakes and enter the grace of God above the karmic law; for if we do sincerely forgive others, then we will be forgiven also. Here is the great new teaching: the human soul has the authority to forgive sins on earth. However, if we do not forgive others but hold them to the karmic law, then we are also held to our karmic debts by God.
Also those who fast or practice religious disciplines to gratify their ego before others have already gained the reward they are seeking. Rather let your disciplines be between you and God alone, and then your reward will come from God. Similarly in giving charity, be careful not to attract attention so that you may gain spiritually rather than in reputation and honor among people.
What are the true and lasting values? Everything that is of the earthly life will eventually corrupt and decay, and physical valuables must be guarded against being stolen. What happiness is in that? Rather make gains in soul development which will go with you forever. Your heart and your life will revolve around what you value. Therefore why not value the treasures of the spiritual heart and be at home?
The eyes are the windows of the soul, and a person's Light will shine in his or her eyes. If our eyes and our perception are clear, then we are full of Light; but if our eyes and our perception are full of greed or jealousy or anger or resentment, then our consciousness is dark. Therefore be careful how and to what you direct your consciousness so that the Light may be able to flow through you.
No one can effectively follow two different masters at the same time, or there will be a conflict. One must choose between spiritual values and material values represented by money. Jesus therefore taught that we need not be so concerned about the material aspects of life such as food and clothing. Even animals are provided with everything they need, and human life is so much more than animal survival. Besides, when has worrying ever solved the smallest problem? Look at the food and clothing God provides for all of nature.
Every nation strives for material progress and economic gain, and God knows our every need; but if we are to be truly happy and at peace with each other, then we need above all the consciousness of God and its justice for all people; and if we have this, then we will provide well for everyone. Even individually, how many people who are truly seeking God and justice are starving or without clothes? Thus it is not necessary to worry about our future material needs, for handling the physical needs of each day as they occur is enough of a distraction.