May Rowland — I Feel the Presence of God
Hello Friends -
If you look at the clips below, you will see many of Unity’s best-loved affirmations, many of them originating from Charles Fillmore, others emerging out of May Rowland’s fifty-five years at Silent Unity.
May’s talk conveys the basic principles of effective prayer: finding a quiet place, relaxing the body, speaking affirmations, actively listening to the words until we feel their power, letting go and allowing them to transform our life. In seventeen minutes, May Rowland teaches us the prayer method she perfected: relaxation of the body, followed by realization of the Holy Spirit by means of strong, positive affirmations.
But there is much more to be learned from this 17-minute talk by Unity’s most revered teacher on prayer. To get deeper, I had the talk transcribed. I invite you to scroll down to read the text of this talk and to consider some profound insights May Rowland provides about affirmative prayer. Here are three things I learned:
The power of God is transcendent. While the power of God is is received in immanent stillness, it is a transcendent power. It enfolds us and leads to world peace (clip 1). The transcendent power of God may be felt within us at any place, at any time (clip 2); and God talks to us in the quietness of our soul (clip 3). We pray until we feel God enfolding us and we do this not just for ourselves, but so that everyone has the chance to enjoy and appreciate the beautiful world God has given us, free from hate, war and poverty (clip 4). God has thoughts for the world and it is time for us to learn to live in peace and harmony with them (clip 5).
Prayer is effective because of the alignment of consciousness, not the particular thought. Prayer may be quite traditional in language, such as “I thank thee, Father ...” (clip 7). Prayer is effective not because of the particular thinking behind the words we use, but rather because there is an alignment of our feeling with whatever thinking that the words express (clip 8). The key is to relax and let go. Relaxing and letting go is nearly impossible when we are concerned about using the appropriate language in prayer. Speaking the word and following truth ideas is about letting go and alignment of consciousness, not precision in language.
Opening the spiritual powers begins with Christ and continues with discipleship. Until we have learned to align our feeling and our body with our thoughts, we are not ready to arouse our spiritual powers (clip 9). Having done that, we are ready to accept that “the light of Christ is shining through me (clip 10).” This begins a four-step discipleship process where we assert power over mind and body (clip 11), become a vessel of God’s love (clip 12), acknowledge our strength in God (clip 13) and are uplifted in the joy of the Lord (clip 14).
Note that this talk is an example of May Rowland associating the Twelve Powers with positive feelings. I touched upon this in Twelve Positive Emotions that Turn on the Twelve Powers. I find it to be more evidence of how feeling can trigger the quickening of our twelve powers.
One more thing about the benefit of having a talk transcribed and placing the text out on the Internet. The text of May’s words is now being crawled by Internet search engines and will begin to show up when people do a search on keywords such as prayer, feeling, Christ, power, light, love and joy.
Download MP3 audio file of May Rowland's I Feel The Presence Of God (all clips)
Download MP3 audio file of May Rowland's I Feel The Presence Of God (clips 7-16 Drill in the Silence)
Some of us talk about the presence of God, but many times we do not get into the feeling of his great transcendent power. We need to practice being still, not so much to think about the presence of God, but actually to feel it.
02 Finding the peaceful place within ourselves.
Jesus knew the value of going apart to pray, to feel God's presence. While at the mountain lake during the summer, I watched two fishermen. They were out early, but did not seem too concerned about catching fish. They were strolling along the shores of this beautiful little lake just to get the feeling of the out of doors and to take in the beauty of their surroundings. They were truly enjoying the beauty of nature.
In this environment, it was easy to feel the presence of God. There was no unnecessary talking, but a constant communion with the beauty of the out of doors, God's creation. There was no disturbing note to spoil the quietness of nature.
Birds were singing in the trees around the lake, the lapping of the water against the boat was quiet and peace-giving to one's soul. The contemplation of beautiful and inspiring thoughts was easy. Now and then a waterlily, which had become loosened from the pad, floated easily and peacefully on the lake. All of this was a relaxing, renewing experience.
However, when we cannot get away to a quiet and peaceful place, we need to find these places within ourselves. Most of us hurry too much and do not see the beauty around us. When we feel the presence of God within us, we can feel it any place at any time. It is good to get away for quiet times, but it's good to learn to be quiet whenever we need to be.
03 Be still and know that I am God.
If you feel disturbed, restless, and perhaps fearful, this is a time to listen to that ever present one within you, saying,
"Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am God."
A line from one of the old hymns says, "All wisdom is in songs given for every hourly need." This is a good line to remember. The light you need will come as you learn to be still. To all anxious, fearful, and disturbed states of mind, just quietly and firmly say, "Be still and know that I am God."
Feel and realize that this is God talking to you. A great peace and calm will come over you, and you will be assured that God is looking after you. Feel the presence of God in the quietness of your own soul. Then you will feel his presence always with you and about you.
04 Pray until you feel God's presence enfolding you.
People talk about God, but many times never feel his presence. Pray until you feel his presence enfolding you. It is not lip service, but feeling that brings results. Your appreciation of the presence of God helps you to see all of life differently. No matter how discordant things may appear to you, try living in the beautiful world God has given us, and to everyone he has given the chance to enjoy and appreciate it. Hate, war, and poverty are not of God's planning, but come into expression through man's lack of love and understanding.
05 The kingdom of heaven is the quiet spot.
Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. It's time for us to learn to live in the peace and harmony of God's thoughts for the world. If it is not possible for you to go to a quiet spot, you can create your own quiet spot wherever you are. This is what most of us must do. The Unity teachings show us how to be quiet whatever our environment is.
I have a lovely friend who used to spend her summers in Colorado, close to a mountain stream. Circumstances changed and she moved to the city. Now, in her mind, she relives the quietness and peace that she felt in her summer retreat. She is happy living in the feeling of peace just where she is. In fact, she says that she feels sometimes she's right by the quiet stream. The beauty of the experience she lived many years ago is a part of the peace and joy of her life now. She has learned that wherever she is, God is and that his blessings are constantly poured out upon her.
06 We are spiritual beings - spirit soul and body.
One of the essentials in our development is to recognize that we're more than just a physical being. We are spiritual beings created for eternity. Our spiritual development is dependent upon our recognition that we are spirit, soul, and body. We deal mostly with the body, but there are spiritual centers within us that we must quicken for our spiritual growth and development.
Jesus went apart from the multitudes to pray because he needed to refresh himself through prayer. His calling of the disciples represents the calling of the various powers in the spiritual nature, which have action in the body.
07 A silence drill for the body.
It's good to take time each day to practice a little silence drill for your body. You can use a prayer, something like this:
"I thank thee, Father, that all tension, stress, and strain are released from my mind and body, and all anxiety and fear are released from my mind and body through the incoming of divine love and peace into my consciousness."
As you say this, feel relaxed and free from tension and strain. Let these feelings go just as if they were melted away, just as if you were letting them go forever.
Think of relaxation in your entire body. Learn to relax the head and throat muscles, and to relax the entire body. I believe we learn to do this very quickly. We can teach the body to relax so that the moment we feel or think of any tightness or tension, we can say to ourself,
"Relax and let go. Relax and let go."
Say to yourself,
"I relax and let go all tension, stress, or strain."
08 Meet in agreement with thinking and feeling nature.
Then expect your body to follow your words and thought. In other words, meet an agreement with your thinking in your feeling nature.
One reason some people do not get the results they wish is that they think or speak the word, but do not find a point of agreement with it. Every time you say, "I relax and let go," meet an agreement with it by doing what you've said, relax and let go.
This is an important point in following truth ideas. You not just think them, but you take time to agree with them in your feeling nature.
"I relax and let go, and the peace and harmony of God flood my entire being."
09 Transition from relaxation to realization.
Say this peacefully and quietly without putting any will or force into the idea. When you say, "I relax and let go," then follow through by doing it. When you have taught your entire body to relax from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, then you are ready to arouse some of the spiritual powers within you.
10 I am the Light of the world.
The twelve disciples of Jesus stand for twelve spiritual powers within him. We will not take all of them up in this talk. Jesus, of course, the head of them all, represents the son or the Christ, and is the light of our being. Light is the first quality of mind to be developed. It stands for the Christ in our nature. So we call upon the light of Christ to shine through every part of our nature and through all of the body.
Say, with your attention at the top of the head,
"I am the light of the world."
Remember Jesus said, "I am the light of the world, and ye are the light of the world." Remember this, "Ye are the light of the world." We must apply this idea of light to our body consciousness so that the very cells and atoms of our body will take hold of it. Say, "I am the light of the world," and feel that you have the cooperation of all the cells and atoms of your body.
One of the great scientists of this age has told us that there's light in the center of every atom of the body, and that this has been proven in the laboratory. Say, "I am the light of the world," and think of every part of your wonderful body as filled with light. When you say, "I'm the light of the world," follow through with your thought into every part of your body. In recognition of your thought of light about it, your body will shine and glow with light and life. You will commence to see that you are literally a body of light. Just commence to see that you're literally a body of light.
If there is some place in your body where you feel you need healing, say,
"The Christ light is shining through me, healing every part. The Christ light is shining through me, healing every part." Then follow through by giving thanks to God's healing light and life are pouring through the part needing healing, as well as in and through every part of your wonderful, intelligent body.
11 All Power is given unto me in mind and body.
The disciple Philip represents a spiritual power in us. His center of action is in the throat. Say to this center,
"All power is given unto me in mind and body."
Anytime you feel unequal to some situation in your life, affirm with attention in the throat, "All power is given unto me in mind and body."
I often remember Charles Fillmore in the Silent Unity meeting affirming, "All power is given unto me in mind and in body." Then he would speak with great power and authority. You are not a weakling. You have power and authority in your life over every situation. Nothing can get you down. You are strong in the Lord and the power of his might.
12 God's love is deep within me ever satisfying my soul.
We think of the disciple John as representing love, which is very important in our lives. Let us say,
"God's love is deep within me, ever satisfying my soul."
Now direct your attention toward the heart, the center of love. Say over and over until you commence to feel that you are filled, overflowing with such a consciousness of God's love, that you'll be able to bless your entire your body with the baptism of love. This love will flow through you to bless all whom you meet.
Love is one of the great qualities in mind that we all need to develop, we need to develop in order to meet life's experiences. It really makes the body to rejoice at this great love consciousness. Love is a tremendous spiritual power within us, awaiting our recognition and development.
Love dissolves inharmony in us and blows out from us to bless every person and every situation in our life. It makes all of life's experiences joyous and uplifting. Let love radiate through you to bless the entire world.
13 I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
One of the great disciples is Andrew, who stands for strength. The center of strength is in the small of the back. Some people have trouble getting out of bed in the morning from the feeling of lack of strength. Andrew is strength, and we need to call this power forth into our body consciousness.
Say, with the attention in the small of the back,
"I'm strong in the Lord and the power of his might. I'm strong in the Lord and the power of his might."
14 The joy of the Lord uplifts and blesses me all day long.
[TruthUnity note: An Internet search shows that this affirmation appears in two Daily Words: May 4, 1968 and July 3, 1969.]
Then add to this idea of strength one of joy,
"The joy of the Lord uplifts and blesses me all day long. The joy of the Lord uplifts and blesses me all day long."
Say it before and after you get out of bed. Joy is one of our very important powers of mind, and one that is essential to our well-being.
There are too many things to make us feel depressed and unhappy, if we allow them to. "The joy of the Lord uplifts and blesses me all day long." You can take hold of this idea so that you would jump up out of bed with the joy of living, and there would be no depression in you.
These are just a few points to help you develop your own wonderful spiritual nature. Remember you are first and always a spiritual being, endowed by God with all the spiritual powers and abilities you will ever need. Just develop them and enjoy living.
15 The glorious infusion of the more abundant life of Jesus Christ uplifts, blesses and heals me.
One of the great prayers we have used for years in Unity is one that Charles Fillmore gave us about renewing life.
"The glorious infusion of the more abundant life of Jesus Christ uplifts, blesses, and heals me. The glorious infusion of the more abundant life of Jesus Christ uplifts, blesses, and heals me."
16 I am young, strong, healthy. My body knows it and my body shows it.
Another helpful idea came to some of us who were taking a walk on the Unity grounds during a lunch period:
"I'm young, strong, healthy. My body knows it and my body shows it. I'm young, strong, healthy. My body knows it and my body shows it."
Your wonderful body temple will rejoice in this idea. You will never again call yourself old or incapable.
Your body responds to joyous words of life. It is the temple of the living God, constantly renewed and restored through the life-giving principle. Remember you are the ever renewing, ever unfolding expression of joyous life. The sound of the love and joy of God flow through you to bless all humanity. God bless you eternally.