Lecture 1 - Allness of God
"God is an allness in which I exist as an eachness"
- 002 - "In the Beginning, Allness" We must unlearn the idea that metaphysics is a thing, rather than a way of seeing life that must be practiced.
- 003 - Metaphysics is not beyond the physical, but rather between levels of physical life. It is always part of physical life. Jesus is the great metaphysician.
- 004 - Religion is a perception, not an institution, and the perception binds all things together. God is omnipresent.
- 005 - There is a perfect whole and because we sense that perfect whole we have an urge for transcendence to find and know God. Further, we are an "eachness" of that whole.
- 006 - That which evolves comes out of that which is involved. God is intimately involved in creation. Rather than creation as "nothing", creation is out of the "allness" or "wholeness" of God.
- 007 - You are the expression of the infinite creative process expressing itself as you. I Corinthians, we see in part, but we may experience wholeness.
- 008 - "Wherever the Spirit is at all, the whole of Spirit must be," Judge Troward.
- 009 - "God is the good of life coming into expression as life, love, power," Emilie Caty. God is not loving, God is love. We are the expression of God pressing itself out into us.
- 010 - We are an eachness of the wholeness of God. God is a sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. Any point in the universe is the heart of the universe.
- 011 - The effect of your consciousness. "All things are possible to them that believe," Jesus - Mark 9:23.
- 012 - The practice of the presence of God, by Brother Lawrence, does not imply long hours of prayer, but rather getting ourselves in a consciousness of our oneness with God.
- 013 - Homework assignment for lecture one is to begin all activities with an awareness that we are an expression of the allness of God.
Announcer: Unity School of Christianity presents A Course in Practical Metaphysics by Unity minister Eric Butterworth. These lessons are part of our Unity study series and were recorded in a live setting.
002 Metaphysics is not to be studied but practiced
Just to reiterate, we're beginning this morning a series of study during July and August, which is entitled A Course in Practical Metaphysics. Today, we're considering the first of this, In the Beginning, Allness. The Greek philosopher Zeno sets a tone that I always like to remind each of us of at such a time as this, when he says, "The most important part of learning is to unlearn our errors."
Most of us have had some background in religious teachings during our lives and I suppose if we have been giving any thought at all to the study of what we call the new insight and truth, we've already gotten involved in having to unlearn a few things. It may well be as a result of much of our metaphysical studies if, certainly, you have had such background. There may need also to be some unlearning because metaphysics is not a thing in itself anymore than religion is a thing. It's a kind of perception and like all perceptions, we see them in many different ways and many different levels. There's no way that we can say this is the law of metaphysics, da-da-da-da-da-da. One, two, three, four, five, these are the laws that are fundamental.
Whenever you hear a teacher talk about the various laws of metaphysics, he's using a great deal of liberty in giving teaching symbols. These are fine and helpful. Metaphysics, basically, is a way of seeing life, a way of seeing the universe, a way of seeing spiritual thought. All they can do is deal with abstractions in trying to help us to see a little more clearly.
We're using the term "practical metaphysics" and by this, we're not at all being judgmental and suggesting that there are certain metaphysical teachings that are impractical. This is not the implication at all. We simply want to make a strong point that it is all too common to substitute intellectuality for actual practice. One can become a student of religion in the sense that he is well-versed in the religious teachings and learned his catechism and be able to express the various prayers and know one to sit down and stand up in church.
Metaphysics is not of that nature. We're dealing with something that is to be practiced and therefore, it must be practical. Unfortunately, many of us enter into the study of metaphysics with the same intellectual fervor that we do studying mathematics or studying various religious teachings, learning the codes, learning the creeds, learning the treatments and the affirmations, feeling that this is what it's all about.
This is not what it's all about. We're concerned, essentially, with life. We're concerned, as Emmet Fox used to say, with consciousness, with feelings, with attitudes. As Jesus said, "By their fruits, you shall know them." We're basically concerned with demonstrating the fruits of the metaphysical system in terms of healthy-mindedness, in terms of greater health of body, greater peace of mind, greater prosperity in our affairs, greater love in our relationships, greater peace in our world. This is the proof. We expect to have that kind of proof and if it doesn't demonstrate itself, then forget the whole thing. This is what it's all about.
We have lived most of our lives at what the Irish poet Yeats calls the "whirling circumference" of life. We've lived out at the circumference, out in human experience. In the metaphysical insight, we realize that there is a depth within us. There's something more involved in life, that you can't actually understand life by appearances, that you can never really know who you are by looking at yourself in a mirror. There's always something more, something deeper, something richer, something finer.
003 Metaphysics is physical and repeatable
Now, the term metaphysics has normally been defined very simplistically as beyond the physical. This would seem to be the literal interpretation, but it's not adequate. Perhaps the best connotation is not beyond the physical, but between levels of life. As long as we think of beyond the physical, the study of that which is beyond, and sometimes, we tend to go too far beyond in centering our attention. Thus, we begin to come up with the concept that certain metaphysical teachings have done, that the body is unreal, that matter is air, therefore, it doesn't exist. We tend to deal with a lot of abstruse abstractions that really make very little sense in terms of relating them to human experience.
We think that metaphysics is not beyond the physical at all. It deals with a perception of a higher dimension of the physical, but it is always part of it. Practical metaphysics is the persistent attempt to relate to the reality beyond appearances, but as a dimension of that experience. In other words, we always keep the concept of the whole. We don't go so far off or so far out or so far in that we will lose sight of the whole experience.
Quite often, metaphysical teachers make a special point of tracing metaphysics to antecedents of comparatively recent times. I was just thinking of the American version of metaphysics as beginning with Phineas Parkhurst Quimby or, perhaps, of Mary Baker Eddy or Charles Fillmore or the more contemporary Emmet Fox. There's a tendency toward a great deal of chauvinism or personal cultism as to this brand or that brand is best. It's like looking out on the landscape, several different people sitting. They say, "I see a tree. I see a hill. The tree looks this way and then the hill is shaped in this way," and perhaps even itemizing it, describing it on a little notepad before you. Then is sitting with one another arguing as to which is the real thing, that this is it because this is they way I see it. This is the way I see it.
All religious systems, all metaphysical systems, as we have said, are basically a perception, a way of seeing things. There's no such thing as right or wrong. Can't say this is the wrong religion. This is the right religion. Important thing is it is an experience that I'm involved in right now and therefore, it's right for me. In tracing the antecedents of metaphysics, I like to at least go far enough back to where we can get away from the cultish thought and I like to trace it especially to someone who has outwardly demonstrated the process as far as we know. I think of the great metaphysician as Jesus. Now, obviously, Jesus himself would say, "But it didn't start with me." He didn't create the laws. He didn't create the laws of mind action. He didn't create the consciousness or divine love. He discovered it and was one of the great discoverers. He himself said, "Before Abraham was, I am, so don't look to Me. Look to that which I am looking at, you see."
Jesus taught the infinite potential of man and the influence of the allness of God. He said, "What I have done, you can do." This is the missing link in Christian religion. "All that I have done, you can do, too." Any great demonstration of law is repeatable. We tend to spend too much time looking to the people who demonstrate the law rather than the act of demonstration itself. Whenever anything is done, it can be done. The principle is what God has done, God can do and God can do for you because you are involved in the same infinite law.
Practical metaphysics then deals with a repeatable Christ. This is a hard step for folks who have been immersed in the Christian tradition. Jesus was very God, but if Jesus demonstrated the law, the law is demonstrable. Therefore, it can be done and it can be done at any time by one who is in that consciousness. Jesus then deals with a repeatable Christ and that's what we're involved in and with a constant creative process that's present at every point in time and space in much the same way.
004 What religion really is
I'm sure a lot of us have grown up under the influence that religion is a thing. Maybe you were sent to church at some time to study religion because your parents thought you should have religion as a good background. You learned religion like you learn to play the piano or you learned to play the violin or you learned to do your mathematics. You dealt with all sorts of structural parts of this cosmology that was presented as religion, God in Heaven above, Earth and human life beneath, Hell and Satan under the Earth. All these were a part of the process that many of us have been exposed to.
It may well be that in recent years, we have been freed from the idea of Hell and Satan and we may have changed to a more omni view of the idea of God in Heaven above. Too often, we fail to really get it together, to integrate it in terms of our life experience here and now. This is what religion should be in a classic sense. The word religion means to bind together. Other words, it means unity. It means oneness. It means wholeness. Not just God out there, not just some imminent part in the universe where something can happen, not just a shrine where great healings take place, but all things bound together and we're in it and of it all the time.
Unfortunately, religions have tended to present themselves as institutions instead of perceptions, something you joined instead of a transcendence that you experience. We've tended to believe that God works exclusively through the machinery of an institution, so it is self-evident that most persons believe that you go to church to get close to God. The fact is, if God is present in the church, God is also present in a theater. God is also present in a gambling house. God is present, period, because God is an omnipresence, everywhere present, so you don't go to church to get close to God. You go to church, perhaps, hopefully, to be challenged to dig within yourself and to find that consciousness of the presence that is with you wherever you go so that wherever you go, wherever you are, God is.
I like occasionally to remind myself of the vision of Paul's sermon on Mars Hill, which you will find, if you want to refresh yourself of it, those of you who like to read the Bible, in the 17th chapter of Acts. This is especially noteworthy because it's an integral part of the gospel that is read and studied by most fundamentalist Christians and yet, it tends to present a point that would seem to belie a lot of the attitudes that are current throughout these religious teachings.
Let's just consider what this says. "The God who made the world and everyone and everything in it, being Lord of Heaven and Earth, does not live in shrines made by man." We should emphasize that. "God does not live in shrines made by man, nor is He served by human hands as though He needed anything since He gives to all men life and breath and everything. Yet, He is not far from each one of us, for in Him, we live and move and have our being." "In Him, we live and move and have our being." That's a fundamental realization, something that would be well advised to be read in all church services, but I suspect that if it were, it would be given an interpretation that would take it away from this idea that God doesn't live in shrines because after all, what point is there in going to church?
005 God is an allness in which I exist as an eachness
The greatest discovery of modern times is that though the life of man and of the world in which he lives is incomplete and imperfect, I think we'd all recognize that, yet, there is a perfect whole. There is a perfect whole, whether you can see it and feel it and sense it and experience it or not. We are impelled by a hidden instinct to reunion with parts of the larger heart of the universe. Other words, this explains the instinctive urge to know God. From the beginning of time, there has been this compulsion, this urge, this hunger, this desire to find and relate to the transcendence. This is something that is found in the cannibal and the primitive people, no matter where. There's always been this urge for transcendence.
You see, we tend to get very confused in terms of what this does to our senses and our feelings because the desire to find and know God quite often misleads us to look for a God or to look for the God or to look for something which is anthropomorphic, which is personal, which is a kind of a superman, which is out there somewhere at some time and space. You see, God is not a person out there. That's shocking to a lot of folks. God is not a person out there. God is a presence that is ever present and all present or, to put it in its most complete sense, God is an allness in which I exist and you exist as an eachness.
Don't take that too lightly. Let that run through your consciousness a little bit. God is an allness in which you exist as an eachness. Other words, to use the term expression, the word express, "I am an expression of God." The word express means to stand forth. I am the allness or the activity of the love and the substance and the life of God standing forth at this point, not in me, not working through me, not surround me, not putting his hands upon me, not guiding me, not directing me. All this, but so much more standing forth as me.
Make a great mental note of that word as. If we had a blackboard here, we'd write A-S, as. God expresses Himself as me. Otherwise, we tend to go back into the anthropomorphic relationships of God guides me, directs me. God has His hands on my shoulder. God has the whole world in His hands and all of these things, God's eyes, God's ears, God's mouth, God's feet, all these things, which you find in the anthropomorphisms that are expressed, quite frankly, in the Old Testament of the Bible, which tells us something about the need for evolution, which has found more fulfillment in the New Testament. You see, we need to somehow transcend all this and get the realization of God as an allness in which I exist as an eachness.
The contemporary philosopher George Santayana says that God is a floating literary symbol. I like that term. God is a floating literary symbol. God is a three-letter word, G-O-D. Quite often, a person will say, "Oh, I love God." In more and more cases than not, he loves an abstraction. He loves a word. He loves an image that is anthropomorphic, the Michelangelo-like image up on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the long white-bearded creature sitting on a throne somewhere. I love God. The fact is, in most cases, when we say, "I love God," what we're really saying is, "I love G-O-D. I have faith in G-O-D. G-O-D walks beside me. G-O-D guides me." We're talking of this floating literary symbol, this intellectualization of something which has no real relative sense in our life.
There was a time when in the British Empire when they were having great troubles throughout their far-flung empire throughout the world and the navies that were involved in taking care of its defense. One of the admirals sitting in the admiralty in Britain said to one of the royal heads, he said, "Sir, I think we need larger maps." The fact is, if we're going to understand ourselves in modern times and to relate religion and spiritual things to human experience, we need larger maps. We need a larger thought of God and a new insight of ourselves. Our God is not great enough. This is why many folks were very upset and concerned during the first days of the space program, concerned that maybe we would find the domain of God out there on the other side of the moon. They would run into the kingdom somewhere.
The fact is, God is not to be found. God is nowhere. We could do this on the blackboard, too. God is N-O-W-H-E-R-E. God is nowhere. By a slight emphasis, you can change the whole implication. God is now here. God is now here. God is "nowhere" in the sense that God is nowhere to be found, not a person, not a place, not even a being that can be related to in some distinct place in the universe by some special, unique process, but God is presence, all presence, all present, now here. The only way I can know God is to know that expression of God. The only way I can know God is to know myself and to find the depth of myself. Then I suddenly find myself at the point at which the allness of God is expressing itself or Himself or, if you will, Herself at the point of me. The allness expressing as an eachness.
006 That which evolves comes out of that which is involved
We think of God as the creator. This has been one of the great problems in religious tradition. God who created the heavens and the Earth using the first seven days of creation in the first chapter of Genesis. The mind immediately runs to a thought of a superman, a giant Mr. Fix It, and so when Genesis says, "In the beginning, God," we tend to think in terms of time space. In the beginning means where it all started way back there somewhere, eons of time ago.
Then we get into arguments of whether that was 4000 years ago or 400 billion years ago. In the beginning, way back there, God created the heavens and the Earth, so immediately, we tend to think of this giant, Michelangelo-like God sitting on a cloud a la Marc Connelly's Green Pastures, patting his tummy, feeling very bored with himself and saying, "Well, I guess I'll create me a world," just as a whim, just to have something to do. He reaches out into the void and waves his hands around and out comes, through presto chango, out comes an Earth. Out comes the Sun and the Moon and out comes man and all the animals to people the Earth and so forth, the whole thing being a rather whimsical, symbolical expression of something that has great sense, if we care to go into it, in a relative sense.
The point is we have the feeling that God created everything out of nothing. Now, I'm sure that this is something that many of us have a fixation and consciousness, that God created everything out of nothing. This is the scientist ex nihilo, something out of nothing. A little child in Sunday school will probably set us all straight by at least asking a deeper question, "Well, who made God?" If God created everything out of nothing, then where does God come in? God doesn't come in because God doesn't go out. The universe doesn't come in, though its manifestation may, because the universe, in terms of the whole of things, can never go out.
Now, again, this may be a little shattering and shocking and mind blowing and I hope it is. As a youngster, I used to blow my mind sitting down with a young Catholic friend of mine. We'd sit on the curb and we would talk about the creation of the world, fantastic things for youngsters. I think I was about nine years old at the time, talking about how the world was created. The thing that would always stick in our mind was what happened before the creation? God created the heavens and the Earth, but what about before that when there was nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing? Can you imagine that? It's beyond imagination and it just used to have us reeling. We would almost knock ourselves out trying to think about this.
See, this has been the problem, creating something out of nothing. The thing that has come to me and there's nothing original about it at all, but it's a way of resolving my dilemma of nine years old. Thing that's come to me very strongly is that the creation is not forming things out of nothing. This is why we're saying in the beginning, allness. Not the beginning void, but in the beginning, allness. All things have unfolded out of the all things potential. That which evolves come out of that which is involved.
Now, this is so fundamental. Again, don't take it too lightly. That which evolves always comes out of that which is involved and because the involution is infinite, so the evolution is also infinite and eternal. The universe has no end in terms of the ultimate direction of the eons of time down through the course of the passing of years as we think of them. It has no end in terms of no beginning. The beginning refers, basically, to a foundation and the end refers to an objective.
See, we think of the beginning and the end in terms of time space. Something starts and something stops. In the beginning does not refer to year zero. It refers to what the philosopher would call the ground, the basis, the fundamental principle. If you sit in a laboratory and you're going to put together some chemicals and develop some sort of a process that's going to be very helpful to science or medicine or nutrition, the beginning is not when you first put the chemicals together in the test tubes. The beginning is the fundamental laws upon which you build this experiment, the foundation, the ground, you see. In the beginning, God means the foundation, the principle, the process, the involutionary creation thus evolved itself into a creative expression, which thus expressed or stood forth out of this process, but didn't come out of nothing.
007 You are the expression of the creative process
This is so important because it helps us to understand certain things about ourselves. It's the key to healing. It's the key to overcoming. It's the key to demonstration of prosperity. No matter what you need or desire, there's a counterpart allness involved within you and within all things. You can never really be separated from this because you are the expression of the infinite creative process expressing itself as you. Even though you may, as Paul says, see in part, and we're in the 13th chapter 1 Corinthians, he says, "We see in part, but when that which is perfect is come back which is in part shall be done away."
You may not see yourself in relationship to the allness, the wholeness, but yet, you are whether you know it or not, you see. You will experience the degree to which you know it, so if you see yourself in part, then you have a partial experience. Even in the midst of that partial experience, which may be in terms of not enough money or not a good job or poor relationships or physical difficulties or deformity, in every case, this is a partial expression or an experience of the expression of the wholeness, of the allness. Even in the midst of that partial expression, there is a counterpart allness. That's the key to spiritual healing. This is why I say so often there's an allness even within your illness, even within the illness. There is a whole of substance even within a feeling and experience of poverty. There's an allness because you live in a universe that is whole.
This is one of the great ideas of our time. It's so important that we relate this in our metaphysical system. Other words, we're told be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am an infilling expression of the allness of God, that I am whole, that I am complete, that there's a force, a process within me that's ever seeking to express itself through me because that's what life is. It's constant in its expressing possibilities. If I can know this, if I can establish my identity within it, then I'm in the flow of the evolution in terms of healing and growth and limitless possibilities are available to each and every one of us because this is fundamental principle which has been demonstrated. That which God has done God can do.
008 Wherever spirit is at all the whole of spirit must be
You see, this allness is all present and totally present. I refer often to Judge Troward's concept, which I refer to as the Unity Principle. I think it's one of the great metaphysical ideas that have ever been expressed. He says, "Wherever spirit is at all, the whole of spirit must be." Now, the word spirit here is used in terms as a synonym for God or, if you will, for the universe because I see the universe as a synonym for God. "Wherever spirit is at all, the whole of spirit must be," because spirit is wholeness, but he says, "Because spirit is omnipresent, the whole of spirit must be present in its entirety at every point in space at the same time." Now just think about that. The whole must be present.
You see, we've tended to assume because we've related to God out of a time space frame of reference, we've tended to think of God as being present here, as the United States government would have an embassy in a foreign country. It has its presence there, you see, so we think that God has His presence here, so an emissary of life and substance to help us, to guide us, to direct us. That's limiting because there's a tendency along this line also to think that after all, God has an awful lot of things to do but to take care of me. He's got to take care of what's going on in the Middle East. He's got to take care of the Russians in Afghanistan. He's got to take care of the question of whether the Olympics will be held and all these things, crime in the streets. He's got a lot to take care of. How can He take care of me? We tend to think that the presence sometimes is kind of thin. We don't blame God. After all, He has an awful lot to do or if we do blame God, it's like saying that's a heck of a way to run a railroad. There's a tendency to think of God as spreading Himself out and this misses the whole idea.
In the Unity Principle, the Troward outlines is the whole of spirit must be present in its entirety at every point in space at the same time. The whole ball of wax, everything, totality. The whole of infinite mind is present at the point of my mind. That'll blow your mind. It really will. Just stop and think the next time you find yourself wracking your brain for an idea and even praying for an idea. Oh, God, give me an idea. Of course, I destroyed the whole process by saying there's no point in asking God to give you an idea because God doesn't have ideas. God is mind and God doesn't give ideas. God is the allness of the infinite mind process, which is present in its entirety at every point in space, which means right here as your mind.
Your mind then is open as an extension of, an expression of, an identity within the all-knowing, infinite mind of God. It's nowhere else. There's nowhere to go. You can't go to shrine and get any closer. You can't go to church and get any closer. I'm not against going to church because that can help you to get into an environment that will help to get you a little more closely involved with this process, but you don't go there to get it and leave it behind when you leave it, when you leave. You take it with you because you always have it with you. As I always say, God is in a church simply because people are there. Of course, that's being a little whimsical, but the point is God is here because you're here, as far as you're concerned. That's vitally important. You can't get out of it, but wherever spirit is at all, the whole must be. The whole spirit, the whole of healing, the whole of substance, the whole of guidance, the whole of creativity is present because you're present.
See, we've been conditioned to think of God as that which bestows His blessings upon us and He comes into our lives and, as I often whimsically talk about, the preacher likes to say, sometimes, feeding his ego as we could this morning when we have this beautiful throng of people. We could say, "Ah, the Holy Spirit is here today." Of course, I would be feeding my ego to say that because the Holy Spirit is here because I am great enough to attract all you wonderful people to come and listen to me, so the Holy Spirit is here. Of course, the Holy Spirit is here. The Holy Spirit is present because it can't be absent because it is all presence, everywhere present, constant. It is present for me because I am present in awareness, because I know it, because I experience it. You don't get it from a group. You don't get it from a shrine. You don't get it from a person. It comes out of the awareness of a dimension of your own experience which can never be separated from you.
009 God as Principle pressing itself out into life
Emilie Cady, in her Lessons in Truth, makes a statement which I think we need to think about a little bit. She says, "God is not a being with qualities or attributes, but He is the good itself coming into expression as life, love, power, wisdom, etc." He is the good itself coming into expression as life, love, power, and wisdom. In other words, and this, again, is shattering to some of us, God is not loving. God is a loving God. God is not loving because the moment we talk about God is loving, we've got the anthropomorphic Michelangelo-like God sitting up on a cloud somewhere with His heart beaming out, saying, "Oh, I love you all down there so dearly, as long as you're good, but I'm not going to love you very much if you don't go to church and so forth." God is not loving. God is love. See the difference?
This is why Meister Eckhart says, "I don't thank God for loving me because He can't help Himself." You can imagine that whimsy. Got a little parish priest in Medieval times, beautiful thought, He can't help Himself because God is love. The Bible says it first. It says, "Behold, I have loved you with an everlasting love." There's no way that God can express other than love for you because you are the expression of the infinite pressing itself out as you and if God is love, then you are love in potential. God is not loving. God is love. So important. We're thinking now in terms of principle.
God is not wise. Oh, God is a wise and wonderful and just God. He has all the ideas and He will help me if I just approach Him in the right way. God is not wise. God is the allness of wisdom, allness, which is present in its entirety at every point in space at the same time, so present where I am right here, right now.
God is not a healer. Oh, God will heal me if I pray to Him. Again, let me disabuse you of that, at least shock you a little bit. God isn't going to ever heal you of anything. God doesn't heal because God is the allness of life. Healing is the experience in our life of coming out of the darkness into the light, getting out of the confusion of human consciousness into the allness, which is always present. The allness of infinite life is present even within the illness. God is not a healer. He doesn't look down upon you and say, "Well, you're sick, but you're a good person and I like you very much, so I'm going to take this illness away from you." God doesn't take illness away from anybody, nor does God put illness into anyone, which belies a lot of traditional religious thought, too. We talk about suffer to be, so it's God's will and I guess it's my place to accept it.
The will of God must always be the ceaseless longing of the creator to express itself in that which He has created. It's a constancy. It's a force which is ever seeking to press itself out into visibility as life, as wholeness, as success. Our need is not to get God to get on the job. It's about like saying, "Let's get gravity on the job. I'm going to step off a curb. Let's be sure that gravity knows about it." Gravity doesn't know about it. Gravity is. It's a field of force that interpenetrates all aspects of this universe and everyone of is a part of. There's no way to get out of it. Gravity doesn't have knowledge of people stepping up on high places and going down or airplanes going up and so forth or people falling out of windows. Gravity knows nothing about this.
This is why the Bible says the eyes of God are too pure to behold iniquity, you see, because the purity is allness, totality, completion, the infinite mind. We're dealing with principle, you see. God is not a healer. God is life and praise God for that because if God were just a healer, it's like certain medical people. You have a hard time getting a hold of them sometime. If God were a healer, then you'd have to apply for office hours. You'd get a notice you come back in two weeks when we can fit you in or when it's His whim or His caprice or His desire or maybe He wills it or maybe He loves you a little more that time than you do this time.
God is not a healer. God is life and the whole of life is present in its entirety at every point in space at the same time. Now, doesn't that make a difference. Get that into your consciousness. There's nowhere to go for healing. Wherever you are, the allness of healing life is present. It is not to get God to do something for you, but to be still and know that I am God, to get back to the beginning, to the roots, the foundation. In the beginning, allness, totality. If we could just understand this and work with this understanding it would make such a difference in our life.
010 You are a whole eachness of that Principle
See, the mystical truth, again, is that I am eachness. Maybe that point is oversimplistic. I am eachness within the allness of God and the full power of the whole or the allness is present within every cell of the eachness. The totality of the infinite healing process is present in the tiniest cell of my body. Isn't that a wonderful thing to know? Edmund Sinnott, in his Biology of the Spirit ... Edmund Sinnott is a distinguished biologist, Yale University, one of the greats of our time. In his Biology of the Spirit, he senses this process in nature and he says it in a way that is very important, I think, when we see it as a total, all-inclusive process. He says, "Somehow, there must be present in the plant's living stuff, imminent in all its parts, something that represents the natural configuration of the whole as a norm to which its growth conforms, a goal toward which development is invariably directed. This insistent fact confronts us everywhere in biology."
I might add this insistent fact confronts everywhere in human life, too, because that's the thing that helps us to understand what God is. Not G-O-D, not the floating literary symbol, not something or someone that sits off there somewhere in the universe, but God is presence. God is totality. God is that which expresses in me as what Sinnott calls the natural configuration of the whole, the whole in the part, the whole pattern. Other words, to put it in another sense, one of the Medieval mystics, St. Augustine is attributed to being the source of this, it may have come from a lot of other writers, too. He says, "God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere."
One of my listeners or readers took me to task about this a few years ago saying that that's not really correct. God is not a circle, but God is a sphere, which is a little more three dimensional. The circle is two dimensional. Let's say God is a sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. When you first read this or hear this, it sounds so logical. You could almost draw a picture of it. If you had a pencil and paper, I'd like you to try right now to draw a picture of this. God is a sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. The center is here, but there's no circumference, so how you draw a picture of it, you see.
You see, what this says is that any point in the universe, in the whole of things, any point of the universe is the heart of the universe. Because the universe is not to be understood as a geographical expanse, but only as a cosmic consciousness, the infinite is present at any point and there is a whole in every part. The whole universe and again, I'm using the word universe synonymously with God or divine mind or the creative process, but the whole universe is present at the point you are. Where you are is the very heart of it, the center of it, not somewhere in the outer reaches of it. Not that maybe you're getting into the first degree when you get to the 32nd degree, then maybe you'll make it, but you're there right at the time, always, wherever you are. The whole universe is present at you and you are the very center of it because it is centered at the point where you are.
You see, the seed can become a tree because essentially, the tree is in the seed. That makes sense, doesn't it? The egg can become a bird because the bird is in the egg, but look at it in terms of yourself. You can become what you really desire to be because your divine potential or, as Paul would call it, the Christ, is within you, always. Not some of the time, not if you take a course of study, you're going to get more potential in you. Human potential studies don't put potentiality in anyone, but help you to understand the potential that is always present.
You can become what you really desire to be, what you want to be, what you hope to be, what you pray to be not because of some divine intervention, not because of some newfangled metaphysical system you're going to learn, not because of some affirmation or treatment, not because someone puts his hands upon you and works some spiritual magic, but you can become what you desire to be. You can become because your divine potential, the Christ of you, is always present within you as the allness of the infinite process expressing as you. This is an important principle by which you can deal understandingly with life.
To put it this way, whatever is is whole. Whatever is is whole, whether you can see that wholeness or experience it or not. Browning puts it in this way. He says, "On the Earth, the broken arc. In the heavens, the perfect round." You may see a lot of broken arcs around. You may see a lot of deprived and depraved lives. You may see a lot of frustrated people. You may see a lot of perverse, even criminally insane people. In every case, you are seeing but a broken arc of a perfect whole. You cannot actually get a sense of the belief in the totality of the universal system of God as long as you're thinking of the reality of a broken arc. The broken arc is but a dim perception of wholeness. This is why we say there's no such thing as totally bad people. There's no such thing as incurable illness. There's no such thing as impossibility in any realm of life because whatever is is whole.
Now, that doesn't mean that we just immediately step from the partial to the whole because in terms of our own experience, most of us know that there's a great deal of spiritual growth involved, here a little, there a little, one step at a time. The principle is the thing that we're concerned about.
011 The effect of your consciousness
If you begin with the principle that you might as well face it, this is the way I am, like Popeye, "I am what I am." That's all I am. If you start at that basis, then you're done before you begin, say, "Well, after all, I'm going to have to face it. No one's perfect. I'm only human." If you think of yourself as only human, then you've totally ruled out in your consciousness the idea of the divine process of you which is the reality of you.
I think a lot of folks have settled on less than their better selves, usually out of conformity, usually out of rationalization, usually out of an attitude of self-limitation. This is just the way I am. It's not the way you are, but if you think it's the way you are, then it's the way you will be as far as you're concerned. That's what consciousness is. You can expand your awareness and see yourself in a larger context and suddenly, you open up a whole new universe for yourself and so Jesus then says, "And all things are possible to them that believe." All things, can you believe that? All things.
You start where you are and say, "Well, that means I can get a better job." Course, but it means we can have peace in the world. It means that we can have an interrelationship of people in harmony and order and love. All things are possible. Perhaps not today, perhaps not tomorrow because it takes us a while to wake up, but possibilities, possibilities is what we're talking about. All things are possible. Whatever is is whole, whether you see that wholeness or whether you experience that wholeness or not. That's a marvelous principle to relate to in terms of yourself.
Now, it's so important to get to realization of God as principle, God as principle. Not as person, not as present somewhere, but God as a principle. People say, "Well, that's too cold and impersonal for me." As they say, "They've taken my Lord away." The fact is, they may take your Lord away if your Lord has been someone who sits off there somewhere in the universe, taken away God and given you presence. Remember Ralph Waldo Emerson says that beautiful thought that's always been inspiring to me, "When you've broken with the God of tradition and ceased from the God of the intellect, then God fires you with His presence."
When you stop dealing with relating to, pleading and supplicating from something, someone out there, and get involved in the realization of the wholeness of life, then suddenly, you become immersed in the presence of God. No longer do you believe in God. Does that sound strange? You don't believe in God. You have a believing attitude that is based upon the presence of God. You're not believing in the floating literary symbol. Oh, I believe in G-O-D. Last time I looked, it was still there on the blackboard. Last time I went to church, they were still talking about it and I believe it. It's in the catechism. You don't believe in it, something that's this symbolic gesture of the whole, but you believe and your believing attitude is based upon the realization of the activity of God, which is present.
It's like saying, "I believe in gravity." Someone once came to Emerson, said, "Mr. Emerson, I believe in the universe." He said, "By God, you'd better." You could go out on the street and say, "I believe in gravity. I believe in gravity." Okay if you do, then look where you're going because gravity is functioning. You believe not in God, but you believe from a consciousness of God. That's the important thing that counts, you see. It's not a matter of just saying, "I believe. I believe. I believe." Some people say, "Oh, I love God. I love God so much. Oh, I just love God." I'm always a little bit suspicious of a person who says this because as Jesus said, "If you say you love God and hate your brother, you're a liar." The very person who says, "I love God. I love God. I love God," you may want to look with a fine tooth comb and with a microscope into his life and see if he loves everybody. Obviously, you'll find some deficiencies, so don't talk about it. Do it. Love, not love God, but love from the consciousness of the allness of love. You have an infinite potential of love ever with you and you love out of that consciousness.
I believe. I have a believing attitude. I believe in the possibilities of people. I believe in my potential in my work. I have a believing attitude that relates me with all things in a positive way because I know in the beginning, allness. Not the beginning way back there, but the foundation. I am an expression of the allness of God, which is ever present.
012 The practice of the presence of God
Brother Lawrence coined the phrase the practice of the presence of God many, many hundreds of years ago. It's a term that has been very interesting and very helpful to a lot of persons. I love it myself. The practice of the presence of God, but you see, to practice the presence does not mean feeling something special or receiving flashes of sight or sound or having these intuitive senses of the infinite process or cosmic awarenesses. It doesn't necessarily imply meditating over a long period of time. This is not essentially what is implied by the practice of the presence. We make it too complicated and thus, we totally eliminate the possibility of practice.
A doctor practices medicine. Does that mean he sits lotus-like on a pillow and gets these cosmic revelations before he dispenses his pills to people? Doesn't mean that at all. When it says he practices medicine, this is not a kind of a emotional experience. It's simply telling you how he makes his living. He practices medicine. Practical metaphysics or the practice of the presence of God is relating all things to the God process identifying there's a channel for allness. It's getting ourselves in tune and working out of that consciousness.
To practice the presence is to live constantly as if you believe that the allness of God, the divine potential for wholeness, were present in all of its totality, at every point in space, which means in you, and in every experience of your life and in every solid function of the body. That's the practice the presence. Takes a little effort, doesn't it? It's easy to say, "Oh, yes, I'm involved in the practice of the presence. I go and sit down on the pillow and I have beautiful meditations and I go back about my work again and go right back to my fears and my anxieties and my difficulties, but I feel good about the fact that I practice the presence."
Even the piano enthusiast goes over to the piano every once in a while and practice his scales and deludes himself he's learning to be a piano player. He may become one, but basically, he never really becomes an artist at the piano. Then he stops playing at the piano until he gets interrelated with the rhythmic laws of music and relates them with his physical skills to the keyboard or the piano. Something happens. Something beautiful, transcendent awareness.
The practice of the presence of God has very little to do with those few moments when you study truth or you have your meditation. Obviously, that's a part of it, but it's so much more than that. The practice of the presence means what you do with your life, like the practice of medicine is what the doctor does for a living. What do you do? Oh, I practice the presence. Do you? Are you practicing it when you worry? Are you practice when you're fuming and fretting because you missed a subway? Are you practicing the presence when you go off to work and you just feel terribly anxious this day because the boss has asked you to come in and have a talk with him at nine o'clock in the morning? Are you practicing the presence?
To practice the presence is to live constantly as if you really believed that the allness of God, the divine potential for wholeness, were present within you, with every part and parcel of your life, every concern of you, every experience of your involvement with people, in every solid function of your body, to actually believe it and act as if you believe it. That takes some doing, so when we talk about practical metaphysics, we imply very seriously that there's a lot of practice to be done.
013 How to practice the presence
Now, let me give you a little homework assignment. This is not something to write down, not a lot of words to memorize, but it's a project of involvement and thinking, meditating, perhaps, and relating. In the beginning, allness. Now remember, the allness refers to totality. The beginning doesn't mean time. It means foundation. In the beginning, allness means right where you are right now, the most important thing to you, the most important thing about your life and your involvement, is that you are living in an expression of the allness of the divine potential and it's constant. The totality of the universe is present where you are. This is the big starting point. The allness of mind, the allness of substance. You may have a desire to make more money, but right now, you rest upon the principle of all sufficient substance.
It's like a person taking out a problem two plus two. He's going to try and make the two plus two come out as four, but the beginning is the principle in which the four is imminent even in the two plus two. When would you put two plus two on the paper? Before you draw a line, put a plus sign, it already implies four, you see. This is in the beginning, allness. In the beginning, at the heart and root of your life, the whole process of the infinite activity is present as you, so the important thing is take some time occasionally and especially at the beginning of the day and as many times during the day as you want to come back to it and remember it to make a practice of starting all things at the beginning. Not in the point of time, but at the foundation, the realization.
The whole of mind, the whole of infinite creativity is in you and expressing as you in all your plans, all your projects, all your relationships. Before you go into a relationship, before you go into the office, before you start off in the morning walking down the street, before you do anything, quietly, quickly turn yourself within and identify as an expression, an eachness, within the allness which is God. You are the expression or the extension of the pressing out in visibility of this divine process of life. This is to get the most out of your experience.
The whole of life is present in every part of your body as a healing process, sustaining you, blessing you, changing, healing, renewing. If you're having any kind of a physical problem, take a moment especially at that time to close your eyes and just get very still, not to go anywhere, not to beg or plead or supplicate, not even to speak a lot of magic words or formulas. Certain phrases and metaphysical treatments may be helpful and we'll deal with those as weeks go by, but basically, in the beginning, just to be still and know allness. Forget about the limitation of the eachness. Forget about the thought of the physical difficulty, of the pain, the confusion. Just let yourself quietly realize allness, wholeness, totality, completely. The allness of the universe pressing itself out into visibility almost as if it's a light of focus that is centered right at the point where you are. Just get that vision and consciousness.
The same way if you have a feeling of need in your financial affairs or your work is not exactly as you'd like it, to get the sense that the whole of substance is present in your affairs as prosperity and success. The whole of it, not some of it. Not a little bit more in the paycheck, but the whole of substance, the whole of substance of all the universe is present in its entirety at the point where you are. The need is to let go of the limitation, let go of I only have so much. Let go of the feeling and fear of stringency and confusion or unemployment. Let go of all this. Just dwell for a while in the realization of allness, the whole of substance present at the point where you are.
So it is in your affairs, your relationships with people. Instead of wishing that you had more love in your life or that you had more harmonious relationships with people, let go of all of this and take a moment to be still and get the feeling of centered totally and completely in the allness of infinite love, the whole of love manifested at the point where you are. Love which is constantly loving you because it can't do anything else but love you and as you allow this love to recharge and regenerate you from within, then you become loving and you become a radiant, attractive force for love to draw forth that kind of a relationship with other persons. Take time to know occasionally and often, often, in a discipline sense, in the beginning, allness. The beginning and for realizing not a point in time, but a principle, a foundation, a presence, an activity, allness, wholeness, completeness, totality, transcendence. In the beginning, allness.
Let's just be still for just a moment, if you will. Let's just get the feeling that what we've talked about so far is totally preparatory. We've simply mouthed words, words, words, words. Words really are meaningless except that they direct us to consciousness, feeling, awareness. Let it all go now. Let the creative process come into a living experience right here where you are. First words of the Bible, in the beginning, God. We're simply saying in the beginning, allness.
In the beginning, at the heart and root and foundation of you and of your life and of your experience, is the wholeness of the universal process expressing itself as you. Just think of yourself for a moment as being the central point of a focus of light. Light is in sharp focus and that, as the poet says, is a little light that a man may desecrate, but never quite lose. You are a point of light in the infinite light of God. You are an expression of love in the limitless love of the infinite. You're an experience of wholeness and health and the activity of the allness of healing life. You are a flow of substance within the all sufficiency of infinite supply and this flowing, flowing, flowing, pouring, pouring, pouring, moving, moving, moving into you, through you, as you and you feel good. Don't let yourself wonder how. Don't question who made God. Don't think in terms of what was there before. There was nothing. Let all of these human thoughts go. Just feel your oneness with the allness of the infinite. In the beginning, allness.
We want especially for this hour this morning to be a point of beginning. Not so much a beginning in time, though it can be that, too, a starting point of a new experience, a new discipline, practice, but that it begins here in terms of a principle that is realized here. In the beginning, allness. Thinking in terms of what lies before you, the relationships you still have to meet when you leave here, the home you go to, the work you'll be involved in tomorrow, the physical experience, even the diagnosis and the prognosis of doctors that have judged your physical form. In every case, in the beginning, allness, allness, allness, allness. Remember, wherever you are, the allness of God is present and the allness of God is present because you're present. You are always and in all ways an eachness within the allness that is God. Praise God for the truth that makes us free. Amen.
Copyright 1981 Unity®
Unity Village, MO 64065
Canada GST R#32529035