I was reading the dictation for the first part of Chapter 4 this morning and came across this familiar line: “The result of genuine devotion is inspiration, a word which properly understood is the opposite of fatigue” (T-4.In.1:5). A little spark went off in my mind when I read it, but then I kept reading and forgot about it. However, an hour or so later while I was in the kitchen, the line drifted back to me, and I started thinking about the story behind it.
The story behind it is that someone had asked Helen for help, and Helen had “committed a serious error against” this person. But then she reversed her error. She worked late and received guidance to help this person. The guidance amounts to a very frank analysis of a woman’s neurotic patterns in relation to her husband. It’s not clear if the guidance was for the husband or the wife. It’s also not clear if it would be shared directly or would just provide the basis for Helen helping one of them.
But what is clear is that Helen went the extra mile in providing this help:
You were both wise and devoted…in claiming your scribal functions [getting guidance about the couple] and working so late. You had committed a serious error against your brother, and one who had asked for your help. A devoted Priestess does not do this. The Bible says you should go with a brother twice as far as he asks. It certainly does not suggest that you set him back on his journey [which is what Helen had done initially]. Devotion to a brother cannot set you back either. It can only lead to mutual progress. The result of genuine devotion is inspiration, a word which, properly understood is the opposite of fatigue.
So Helen had undone her previous error, which had set this person back on his or her journey. She had then worked late, which involved getting guidance for another, something she seemed generally reluctant to do. She had truly gone the extra mile, just as Jesus implies (with his Bible reference).
When you read that and picture yourself in Helen’s place, you probably feeled a bit drained. Working late. Doing something for another you are reluctant to do. Going the extra mile. It is tiring just reading those things.
But Jesus is saying the exact opposite. He says that the result of such devotion is not fatigue, but inspiration, being filled with spirit, filled with the vitality of eternity.
What occurred to me while I pondered this was that we spiritual seekers are all looking for inspiration. Let’s face it, we are inspiration junkies. We look for it in our spiritual reading and discussion. We look for it from speakers and writers. We look for it from holy men and women, from gurus and masters. We look for it from experiential workshops and exercises.
Those are all valid places in which to look for it. But do we look for it from the place that Jesus is talking about here? Do we look for it from “genuine devotion” to others? Do we look for it from devotion to those who ask for our help, and even from devotion to those against whom we have committed serious errors?
Imagine taking that drive you have for inspiration, that drive that has sent you searching in countless directions, perhaps even propelling you across the planet, and channeling it into genuine devotion to the people that are right in front of you.
That’s what I’m going to try to do today. The lesson I’ve chosen is that line I referenced at the beginning: “The result of genuine devotion is inspiration.” I plan on also making it more specific: “The result of genuine devotion to [name] is inspiration.” I’ll let you know how it goes.