Stevie hopped on his left foot two times, then jumped up and landed on both feet, after which, he raised his arms over his head and clapped three times. All of us followed behind him, mimicking his every move. This was years ago, and we were playing the game for children called “Follow the Leader.”
I’m all grown up now, and I’ve put such childish games behind me. But I’ve discovered that many adults are still playing “Follow the Leader.” They’ve put a new spin on it, and the more appropriate title is “Follow the Spiritual Leader.” In one way, it’s like the original game. You’re always a few paces behind the leader.
Joel Goldsmith, Alfred Aiken, and Mary Baker Eddy are just a few leaders that many adults are following. Because Marie Watts and Lillian DeWaters knew the inherent dangers of the game, they didn’t have many followers. On the other hand, many still pledge undying allegiance to Joel and Alfred.
I’ll share a story with you. One evening I picked up the ringing phone. As soon as I did, a voice screamed through the receiver, “What are you? Are you Christian Science? Are you Infinite Way? What are you?” I answered, “Miss, I come with one message only – God is All.” She muttered something and hung up the phone.
Here’s the translation of her call: Is your message consistent with the leader I’m following? If so, I can follow you too. Before my lecture tours screeched to a halt, a woman pulled me aside in Arizona and said, “Allen, you’re really good, but you are not going to make it very far with this.” I asked, “Why not?” She said, “Allen, people are looking for someone to follow, but you keep saying you don’t want followers. They are going to go to someone who does.”
As she said this, my world seemed to darken as if a black sack were thrown over my head. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Doesn’t Infinite Way, Christian Science, Alfred Aiken, Unity and other similar teachings say that there is one infinite, indivisible presence? In this ONENESS, where can there be a leader? Where can there be a follower? I’m looking everywhere,and I can’t find either.
To be a follower, or a leader, one has to first admit more than one presence. Follow the Spiritual Leader necessitates dualism.
Reader, don’t be a follower! Don’t be a leader. When you say I am a follower of ________, here’s the translation. “I believe that God is divided up into separate minds, bodies, and identities. I believe in duality. Not only do I believe there are many minds, but I believe some are more enlightened than others. I believe the mind of the one I am following is far more enlightened than mine.”
From this position followers remain followers. Leaders remain deluded. People such as Joel Goldsmith and Marie Watts never “came into their own,” until they stopped being followers of Mary Baker Eddy.
“Allen,” someone asked, “are you saying that I should not read the books of my favorite authors?” Never! You can read and not follow, can’t you? You can be inspired by “another” without following, can’t you? I know you can. You’re constituted that way.
Reading spiritual works that scale the heights of God-realization is natural. Since God is all, what better books to read than those that celebrate God’s Allness. You, knowing that God is all, would more likely pick up a spiritual book than “Shades of Gray.” Given the true nature of your Being, this is no surprise.
Alfred Aiken, Marie Watts, Mary Baker Eddy, Lillian DeWaters, Vivian May Williams, etc. have all written magnificent books. Read the books. Enjoy the books. Be inspired by the books. Let them lead you to the still waters of silent prayer. But, don’t be a follower.