Detriment is defined as "the state of being harmed or damaged." A detriment is "a cause of harm or damage."

The virtues are all soul powers, or faculties that are elements of what the world calls character. Every virtue has a corresponding detriment. Most people fail to understand that you can have a detriment, which is a character flaw or a missing element that is as great as or greater than some virtues. Shakespeare used these detriments as tragic flaws in his dramas, and as the minor foolish blind spots in his comedies.

Detriments include all the ways in which a soul can be damaged over time. They usually are rooted in some violent experience that causes a memory so strong that it stays with the soul as a fear, resentment, or negative expectation of some sort, strongly affecting what people call their "feelings."

Edna Lister on Detriments

Lift everything that you term your "past," here and now, as you ascend. Put everyone and everything you have disliked into the Light. Lift the detriments and everyone you have called an enemy. However you have labeled him, you've pasted your name on his back and stuck him in darkness, on a line that extends back to you. Thus, you remain connected, no matter where you go. – Edna Lister, The Chalice, July 6, 1941.

Your path is narrow, sometimes with room for only one foot at a time, which is when doubts, fears or self-pity assails the conscious mind, when all hidden detriments will arise from the deeps of the subconscious. Lift them. Stop at once and raise your arms in surrender to the power of love. Let God's glory move in to possess every corner of mind and heart. Let the glory of the Almighty move in and possess you. Light absorbs darkness. If you find darkness, the answer is more Light, more Love, more Power. This is always your first step. In quiet and in confidence shall be thy strength. – Isaiah 30:15. So, enough love, Light, and Power is enough quiet and confidence. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 3, 1945.

Your lowest point of detriment becomes your highest point of glory. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 20, 1947.

When you stay up in consciousness through an initiation, they hand you a bill for the debt you must pay before you go on. Then fears or pain may come in the body organ that corresponds to the initiation taken. You have been working on the virtues of the signs. You are conquering these detriments from all the twelve signs that you have passed through. Move to the hub of the wheel of fate, where Light, balance and poise are found. When you wobble, you are running down, like a top. Pray beyond ease and comfort, not just under ease and comfort. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 16, 1949.

Ascension empties the self-delusion and illusion until you hold no detrimental thoughts. – Edna Lister, Your Life Plan, May 16, 1954.

I'm so grateful that you are growing up to where all detriments fall away, instead of wearing a hair shirt over your self-imagined "sins." Lift the detriments and flaws joyfully. Tell every cigarette and drink how wonderful it is. How beautiful. How glorious. How enjoyable. Bless each and every one until you feel good inside. Bless every match and lighter, too. Make the habits pay you some dividends, and I assure you they will, truly. You have cursed every drink, every cigarette and yourself until you have created a monster of guilt, and more desire for what is detrimental to you. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, March 9, 1955.

When others gossip, do not wallow with them. What difference does it make what they do or say? Never take what someone says as a personal slight or dart to overcome. If you take things personally or see the detriments first, you cannot avoid the grief and physical and desire body reactions, like crushing the wings of a butterfly. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 6, 1956.

Discipline yourself. You are only as strong as your weakest detriment. Make a ladder of your weakest points. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 26, 1956.

Step up to Christed consciousness, which protects you from outer detriments so fate cannot "throw" you. – Edna Lister, Your Devotion to God, December 16, 1956.

A Light-filled mind becomes your upholder of universal truth, as your Oversoul, pulling you up from above. It will illumine life's details because it reaches into the composite world mind about you, and will tell you everything. When you induct intellectually from the outside, you receive only the detrimental. Yet when you sublimate the self in favor of the soul, the subconscious mind inducts only what is positive. It will show you everything, all the details you have left undone. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, January 9, 1958.

Your physical eyes see all the detriments, pain and disease. Look beyond the pain or the object with your mystical eye. Direct your vision to what God can do about it if you stand on truth. You may look at someone and see horns and a tail because of their speech or behavior. Look beyond the appearance and see them as perfect. Look behind the mask they are wearing and see the beauty and love in their soul. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 17, 1958.

Each planet rules certain parts of the physical body and phases of the emotional and mental lives. The planets relate to the initiatory degrees so you can know what detriments you must conquer. – Edna Lister, Transfiguration, Resurrection and Ascension, May 19, 1959.

Pray for each television actor or announcer you see, surround them with arms of Light and lift all detriments. – Edna Lister, Transfiguration, Resurrection and Ascension, May 19, 1959.

The roots of martyrdom and self-blame usually run back through many lives. Pulling at those roots is necessary until they loosen and you can yank them out with a final pull. This often takes a long time because you must be certain that you are holding nothing back or leaving any root-ends. Soul training must begin with digging deep to uncover all detriments and taints of the past and scrape them clean. No matter how high and glorious your vision, no matter how great your heart's desire for perfection, you are never stronger than the weakest of your taints of self. The taint will always dig a ditch into which you must fall. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, October 16, 1959.

From the time you lift it, your subconscious mind rules from the head. It will clog the works of your thinking and judgment when you sink into its detriments, which permits the subconscious to work detrimentally as intellect, not intelligence. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, March 11, 1960.

Energy oozes out when you indulge appetitive soul too much or pamper it with rest. Beyond a point, rest debilitates because the vibration dies too low. You must learn to balance the outflow of energy with the inflow, holding them in balance at certain levels. Conquering consists of this. Each level of initiation requires that you coordinate the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual contact. Get vigorous with self on curbing lukewarmness and procrastination. God gave each soul a star in the beginning, and your Oversoul star is a great storehouse that duplicates your soul's capacity. You must hold fast to a definite balance to coordinate Power, Mind and desires. Sometimes appetitive desires lead you into an excess of activity that depletes the atomic body until the Power is detrimental, weakness results or you may experience a recurrence of limitations long since conquered. Therefore, recharging the star is one of the most important exercises you can do. This keeps the crown center open, the vital centers and the Oversoul star all exactly centered over the corresponding organs and the silver cord properly attached to the heart. If you are off-center from your star under stress, it causes migraines, confusion, and interferes with memory. Raise your hands, reach for the stars and use the rag doll exercise, bending forward at the waist and letting your head, shoulders and arms hang loosely. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 9, 1961.

Your Oversoul star is a great storehouse of Light as power and energy. It will increase your stature according to your use of the portion endowed that day. If it causes too great a distress, the Power will be slightly withdrawn to create an acceptable balance, enough to unfold but not disturb. Hold fast each day to a definite balance, to coordinate Power, Mind, and desires. Desires can lead you into a detrimental excess of activity until you deplete the atomic body to weakness or a recurrence of limitations long since conquered. Set yourself a good pace with frequent deep breaths and recharging from the star.

Recharging from the Oversoul star is essential to keeping the crown open and vital centers working properly. Lines to all vehicles – physical, desire, mental and spiritual – are bound in a "knot," centered exactly under the star. The pressures and tensions of worldly activities can misalign these bodies and cause headaches as the nerve endings in the head pulse and react at an abnormal rate of vibration, some slowing, some speeding according to the day's mental work. This can cause confusion, swelling, unbearable pain and distress. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 30, 1961.

Rocky is the way for the returning soul to assume the full responsibility of the law – the path is full of pitfalls, quicksand and abysses to fall into. There is no easy way. Where you have allowed self-pity or thoughts of self to take charge even briefly, the way grows ever harder, ever steeper. Conquering becomes almost a nightmare at times, for you must fill every detrimental pitfall made by corroding self-pity so it will not trip you to the bottom again. It is like being lost in the forest, you go around and around the same path, falling into the same ditches until desire for ascension becomes your soul's burning motivation and determination.

Indifference is always deadly. Getting the average person to understand the need to add each conquering of self to the soul's Light and using it hourly is almost impossible. Put every smallest law into practice on everything that follows. Leave no laws scattered along the path as unexplained stumbling blocks. You take your original place only when you choose full discipline before the Councils. Faithfulness without works is impossible. You must be alive and alert to lengthen your days with praise. The way is one of constant, alert soul conquering of self. The song of soul is loving compassion, devotion to God and rejoicing. You have no excuse for weakness, but must lift it to restore your full identity. You must be alive and alert in all departments of life, and wherever you are, you will trained in details by observation, attention and action. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, March 27, 1962.

You cannot steal time without spending your own soul substance. One woman stole time constantly from her family and friends, and was never on time herself. She frequently said, "My time is important." She spent her last three years living in a vegetative state to pay for all that stolen time. You live in eternity, but use time and space. If someone takes your time, talks incessantly and repeats himself, the repetition is detrimental to him. Tell him, "You are using my time and God's with this, so stop repeating." The only way to help another reach healing is to stand him on his own feet and do something about it. Everything under the surface must become Light. All this depends on how you use time. What a man does in his odd moments, reveals what kind of man he is. When someone petitions for help, for example, with a rummage sale, you need not make excuses for what you do with your time. This is the law: When someone is wasting your time over the phone, for example, say, "I hear the bell ringing." It will be true because this is your signal to pray. Time is of the essence now, so stop wasting time. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 28, 1965.

You meet no greater detriments than these three ills – opinions about, prejudices against, and blame for, which act like viruses. – Edna Lister, Truth as Practical Common Sense, April 4, 1963.

Even when you are right, you may not turn on the Power to remind or to suggest to another, but let God do the work. Speak the Word in gentleness, tenderness and compassion, for arrogance and pride in knowing the right are detriments. Lift them forever now. To see what everyone should be doing is a gift of the Father, yet the instant you insist that you are right, you must open the gift again. You are the servant of the Light only. Let it be so and the world shall be turned to Light. You will see evil consumed only when you stop considering evil and turn to worship the Light. Become that Light as God holds you secure, safe and protected. He knows where evil is and needs no illustration or reminders from your lips in prayers, only lifting and declaring, "Let there be Light." Arrogance and pride create a debt of blame for the other fellow's weakness. You are on earth but not of it, having no reason for a moment's descent from the high altars of Light. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, April 23, 1967.

Imagination without the power to keep it lifted and focused as soul vision is a detriment. It becomes an outcast, for it wanders aimlessly. – Edna Lister, Power and Imagination, May 21, 1967.

Lift the dregs of detrimental guilt complexes from earth to the high place in the silence to lift it without removing all memory of it. The memory is necessary for the soul to hold contrition, which is the highest point under Light. You reach true contrition when your fervency of desire to have it erased from the minds and hearts of men creates tears in your eyes. Lift everyone on earth to contrition. Lift sordid memories, rejoicing that you may do so. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, May 29, 1967.

Not thinking about what you must lift is best. Review the past as each of your contacts presents a debt, and lift the situation as it was when it happened, until Light burns away the dross and the soul substance is put in a sphere of fire for purification. It's time to clean up the past. So much of earth's floating evil remains to be lifted, but it takes only seconds to do so daily. You will find yourself less inclined to succumb to the detrimental. As long as family or friends can trigger a memory impression, it can drag you down, but you can lift the good things in praise and joy. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 21, 1968.

The subconscious mind works on emotions. When you win the battle with self, your lowest point of detriment becomes your highest point of glory. You reach new points of glory each time you conquer. Joy is the highest vibration of love. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 15, 1971.

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Your Life: Detriment or Glory 1

Edna Lister created this Pentecost sermon outline for June 6, 1965. Scripture: Ephesians 3:9-21.

What you get from life depends upon three things – the measure of your love of God, the measure of your faith of God, and the measure of your surrender of self to become the servant of all Power. In all religions, every man is his own boss, free to choose what kind of boss he will be. If 95 percent of a man cannot believe or accept, his remaining five percent stands little chance of practicing the presence of God.

[The Practice of the Presence of God is a collection of the teachings of Brother Lawrence (born Nicholas Herman), a 17th Century Carmelite monk. Compiled by Father Joseph de Beaufort, it includes letters, as well as records of his conversations. The basic theme of the book is how to develop awareness of God's presence in your life.]

Each of life's detriments can become the highest point of illumination, or it can be the lowest weakness. Choose you this day whom ye will serve. – Joshua 24:15. You must choose between then serve either God or self. If you choose to serve God, you will earn a crown of glory. Should you choose to serve the self, you will earn a martyr's crown of thorns.

The powers of God have been working since the dawn of time to fashion us into perfection. So practice "This one thing I do now": Recognize one thing only – "I am having a love affair with Power. I now know the breadth, the length, the depth, the height of God's love. It's time to recognize that God has done all He can for me. It is high time I take responsibility for myself, or at least to cooperate with Him."

Psychology has taught self-determinism. Love teaches soul-determinism, which is so far above self. You may choose self-power or God's Power as you. Faith must become your conducting rod of Power. Love plus faith creates a reliance, a zeal, a fervent constancy in my conduct. You may not dislike detriments. You may not dislike anything – all your worst favorites are now turned into beautiful glorious assets. Surrender, speak the Word, and let God do the work, which is the meaning of My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. – John 5:17.

When you fold all love, all faith into a conviction of God's glory, the result is so great that nothing can stand before it. We have built a today on the deathless and abiding zeal of two women, Carrie Chapman Catt and Lydia Pankhurst. They were ready to give up their life for their ideal [the woman's suffrage movement].

A man who was facing failure because he had no business for nearly a month during the Great Depression, decided to give God a chance. He knew only one thing, and while not a student of religion or specifically religious, he declared, "This is the greatest month of my life." He quit sub-letting his mind to the world's ideas of failure, then enjoyed more business during rest of that month than he had for the three months prior. God hadn't changed, but he did. He turned on the heat under his love and faith until they measured up God-high. He became his own spiritual boss.

During the 1920s, a superintendent of Baldwin Locomotive Works, an American manufacturer of steam engines and rail cars, traveled to France after his firm had sold important machines to the French government. The largest, most important engine had broken down, and the needed hand-made spare part was unavailable. He had no time to wait for a replacement part to be shipped. They had informed him that no payments or sales would be made unless he supplied the part at once. This man had no physical, psychological or metaphysical fix, no working machine, just God remained.

He went to a movie, surrendered to Spirit and let Spirit work. His subconscious mind got off the engine track and involved in the comedy as he watched. He let go so God could do the work. In the middle of the movie, he heard a voice say, "Look on the scrap heap." He jumped up and rushed to look. Sure enough, he found a discarded part, the exact duplicate of the part he needed. He had it cleaned and polished, and delivered it on time. He folded his love and faith into one, surrendered to God and invoked the Power.

When you give up self's detriments for Power to use by declaring, "This is good," you face death of the old. The new life of glory moves in and possesses you. Your old martyr's crown turns into a jeweled crown of glory. Your all-out conviction that the Father does the work causes wings to grow on your crown, and your soul soars.

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Your Life: Detriment or Glory 2

This Edna Lister Pentecost sermon transcript is dated June 6, 1965. Scribes: Elizabeth Barnes, Ruth Johnson and Irene White. Scripture: Ephesians 3:9-21.

Three dimensions form your measuring rod of life: What is the measure of your love? What is the measure of your faith? What is the measure of your surrender to become the servant of all the Power of God?

The world lives by faith in God and love for God, which is good, but this is not enough. God has created you from His Substance, which is Love, and it should possess you. Without love, your soul finds no nourishment or sustenance.

The faith of God must possess you, so you must achieve complete love and faith, with no variation, no turning. Only by the faith of God can you surrender to the point of perfect balance. Your surrender of self must equal your faith and love of God.

Man is his own boss as far as religion is concerned. No outer principality or power can make anyone bow the knee or kneel where he does not want to. You choose what kind of boss you are, rigid, soft or balanced. As the boss, you must choose your religion, what you worship, and determine how to achieve a balanced life.

Offenses against God and man are counted as soul detriments. As you ascend, the detriments will surface, but you can conquer self and convert them to glories to take you as high as you desire to go. You must choose how to manage your spiritual life. To conquer means you can wear a crown of glory, if you do not have too many deductions. Unfortunately, many people operate with 95 percent doubts and fears and only five percent of the Power of God's presence.

What is your measure of faith and love? How surrendered are you open to be possessed by God's Power? Since the beginning of time, God's Power has sought to make us perfect. Civilization itself has caused us to ascend in consciousness. Science has made our outer lives almost perfect when it comes to convenience – think what we have in the way of worldly, material comforts. People used to complain about doing dishes, now it's the dishwasher, but they still complain.

The power of your love: Have you been a witness to the breadth of your love? Your personal love is never enough. Increase it by adding the Love of God wherever you go. If you detour to dislike anyone or hate something, you repudiate love. Do you love God more today than you did yesterday?

The length of your love: Love is like a circle. When you return to the circle's beginning, where are you? Has your love grown to its eternal length? Or must you make the same old vows in the same old ditch of self?

The depth of your love: Can another scratch your love's surface and find brass? Solid love cannot be scratched, marred or touched. If someone hurts you, the scratch on your surface has no depth. God never knows that He's been insulted. Only "little me" can be hurt emotionally.

The height of your love: You must grow a head taller than he who slings the insults. Remember to say the magic words, "This is good," and mean them. Let the other fellow be as insulting as he likes. What has he to do with the Power, length, depth and height of your love? If you do not accept an insult, how can you be hurt?

You can wear a crown of glory or be a martyr. What do you do with the substance God sent with you to earth? You choose every hour, moment by moment. Offenses will come because you will always have some outside interference. Yet you must choose to keep building upward strength.

We are working today to build a solid foundation in politics. Carrie Chapman Catt helped to open doors for the women of America. In England, they nearly stoned Lydia Pankhurst to death for her suffrage work. These women started to open doors for women with an idea, a goal. They knew they had a mission and mustered the intestinal fortitude to fulfill that mission.

You face death every hour to the old conditions in life and the self and your surrender gives you space to grow. Fill this space with faith, love and Light. Do not sublet your mind to the world's ideas, prejudices or opinions, or you are not in charge of your own life. Instead, declare, "This is good. This is the greatest month I've ever lived." These statements evict the sublessors from your holy temple, your mind.

Be your own boss spiritually and you will be your own boss materially. For example, one man had to design a new pattern for a hand-carved wooden part he needed. As the result of his ingenuity, within a few years, he had distributed more than 30,000 of his patterns in the U.S.

To free your mind to receive the answers, get the subconscious mind out of your hair by involving it in positive creative activity – watch a movie, scrub, do housework to get the idea or answer you want. To put yourself in a position to get your answer, you must surrender to the love of God. Make your conscious mind a mirror of God's will for you.

How do you surrender self to God? Pray for the love of God and the faith of God to possess you. Then position yourself to receive the right answers to your prayers. The same Power of God has worked for us from the beginning of time. You must fall in love with God enough to fully surrender and have the faith of God, not just faith in God. Instead of condemning yourself for past mistakes, move with the love of God.

If you are busy or perhaps in prayer when the doorbell or telephone rings, the sound cannot ripple the mirror surface of your mind, if you are the boss. Instead of losing patience, remain serene, high in consciousness and encourage others to do so also. Let your children grow up with crowns of stars on their heads as their thousand-petaled lotuses unfold. This starry crown is real. Detriments can be your exaltation and glory. Everyone has the same thin skin. Put a shield of mother blue around your loved ones to protect them.

You are at home and in charge when you choose to have Jesus the Christ "dwell in your heart by faith." For it is he "of whom the whole family of heaven and earth is named." The only way to be "strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man" is to be possessed by the love of God, to be "rooted and grounded in love."

Do you use your emotional reactions to the world as your measuring rod of life? Where are your eyes and ears? If you use your faculties as though they were God's eyes and ears, He shields you with Light and you are "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." This becomes your crown of glory, "to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge." You grow wings of soul as you are "filled with all the fullness of God," becoming a creator with God "through all ages, world without end. Amen."

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Etymology of detriment: from Middle French détriment or directly from Latin detrimentum "a rubbing off; a loss, damage, defeat," from past participle stem of detere "to wear away," figuratively "to weaken, impair," from de- "away" + terere "to rub, wear."


The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

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