Chapter 12—Unity of the Spirit
In the following audio and transcripts, Vera Dawson Tait provides commentary on the Correspondence School Annotations for Emilie Cady's Lessons in Truth.
150 What is meant by unity of the spirit?
We come now to the last chapter in Lessons in Truth. Chapter 12, titled Unity of the Spirit.
If you recall, I mentioned the fact that there was a time when the last chapter in the book was Bondage or Liberty, Which? But this was moved to become the first in the book, and I gave the reasons.
When you consider this chapter, Unity of the Spirit, you will see why it’s very logical it should be the last in this book. Because we have been moving up chapter after chapter, as it were, lesson after lesson, till that place where we have the ultimate, which is Unity of the Spirit.
The first question is actually just that. What is meant by unity of the spirit? And the second part, why is the idea of oneness or unity of the spirit important?
When we answer a question like that, we have to go back to the realization of what we mean by spirit. Spirit, as we’ve said before, is another name for God and we’ve already said that God is the first cause, the creator, the origin, the beginning of beginnings. So, when we say what is meant by unity of the spirit, we begin to realize that it means oneness of all things and all persons in this one spirit.
We said earlier on that spirit is another name for divine mind, and this divine mind has elements that we term ideas or qualities or attributes. Therefore, we can go along with Mr. Fillmore’s teaching in Mysteries of Genesis, that everything in creation rests upon ideas. All right?
Why is the idea then of oneness and unity of the spirit important? Have you ever stopped to think that you never really accomplish anything, it may be the simplest thing in your life, until you have a sense of oneness with that thing with which you are working? As simple as baking, as simple as carpentry work, as simply as just the everyday acts of life.
If your mind is not on what you’re doing, have you ever noticed that many times you make mistakes? There must be a sense of oneness with the thing that you do.
It’s no wonder that Paul, “This one thing I do.” And when you and I find our mind too scattered, thinking about this thing and thinking about the other, then the thing that lies at hand often suffered because our mind is scattered.
So, the idea of oneness, or unity of the spirit, is vitally important to you and me. We could say, “Well, what does it mean to me if I am conscious of the truth that I am one with God?” Well, it means that my prayers put me in quicker conscious contact with God, the source of my good. If I need healing then I get the understanding that I am one with God, who is life, and that life is going to produce health in my body.
Should I need to make a big decision, or should I need guidance in the next step that I must take, if I know myself as one, or in unity with God as the source of wisdom, the source of power, then you can see how much easier it is for me to realize that I can get the answer to my prayer.
If there has been a situation of inharmony in your life with another individual or other individuals, the sure knowledge, or should I say the spiritual understanding that you are always with this God of love, helps you to be able to speak the word of harmony and peace. And the first thing you know, divine orders begins to work in your human relations, and where before there was problems with other people, and perhaps even quarrels and certainly inharmony, you find this all smoothing out. But only when you yourself know the truth, that you are one with God.
Very often you can stop to think of things in your own life besides those that I mention that require the sense of oneness. If a musician does not feel at one with the music that he is bringing forth, no matter the instrument may be, he is not going to bring into manifestation harmonies that really touch the soul of another person. He must feel himself so at one with music and even with the instrument, and then he can bring forth.
We could say the same thing of the mathematician. If he doesn’t feel at one with the principle of mathematics, he isn’t going to be able to produce the answer to his problems or whatever it is he has to deal with.
If we were able to explain something like this to children, as they are learning say their numbers or their ABCs, it would make it much easier for them to grasp what it is that we’re trying to teach them in mathematics and in the handling of words. That sense of oneness becomes so important to every one of us.
You will notice that in the chapter, this question was not answered in so many words. But you realize now of course that all the questions that went before had bearing upon a question such as this.
151 What reason have we for never being discouraged?
Now, we go to our second question, that is definitely handled in the first paragraph of the opening of this chapter.
What reason have we for never being discouraged? Let me read a little from this paragraph.
“Did we not know it as a living reality that beyond all the multitude and variety of human endeavors to bring about the millennium? There stands forever the master mind.”
I won’t read any more than that, because I want you to lay hold of those two words, master mind. So what reason have we for never being discouraged? Because we know there is a great master mind back of all creation.
All right, let’s think back to some of our other lessons. We said that God is the creator, the principle of all good, absolute good, that he is the beginning. And because the word mind has been one people can understand perhaps a little more, he has been called either universal mind or divine mind.
You know as well as I do that when you speak about your mind, you know that ideas move in it and then you know that you have the power to think about those ideas. Well, instead of using the word think or thinking in connection with God, think of God as mind, as being the great supply or the great storehouse of all ideas.
When I am discouraged, it means that somehow or other I have forgotten that I am one, or am in unity, with this God. Do you remember the first question that we had in the very beginning of this course? It went this way. What is the primary course of suffering? We could say the same with discouragement. What is the primary cause of discouragement? Because the answer is going to be identically the same.
The answer to that first question, the primary cause of suffering, we said was man is either ignorant or has forgotten that he’s a spiritual being. And isn’t that the same with discouragement? Have you ever found yourself in a sense of depression or discouragement when you didn’t feel as if you were standing all alone and bearing the world upon your shoulders? That’s usually our reason.
There’s something else to in connection with this word discouragement. Many times when we have not worked in divine order, we get a sense of confusion, and as I said with that first question, we get a sense of not being in unity with harmony or with God. And we become discouraged. We find this thing seems to go wrong and the other thing seems to go wrong. And we feel, “Well, what’s the use?” Or, “How am I ever going to work this thing out.”
And so we come back then to the answer, that the reason that we should never be discouraged is first of all knowing that there is a being that we call God or the master mind, and that we are always in unity or one with that mind. And at any moment, at any time, under any circumstances, we have a pipeline that enables us to get into conscious contact. We always have been in contact, mind due, but to get in conscious contact with this being that we call God.
And, our contact is through what we call in a general sense, term or whatever you want to call it, prayer. And through those movements or steps in prayer, we come to that moment that we term the silence, when we know somehow that God speaks to us, not in words and not in sounds, but in very definite guidance. And then the discouragement goes.
Discouragement is not an easy emotion to handle. People all over the world feel discouraged because sometimes they feel, “Well, I’m not doing the best in my job, or the profession in which I find myself.” Or they feel discouraged because they say, “I don’t have enough to meet this particular bill or to do that particular thing.” Or discouragement comes because they feel a lack of health and feel they cannot do the things they would like to do.
Many are the causes, humanly, of discouragement. But when you and I, as I said before, get back to the primary cause, which is forgetfulness of our divine inheritance, then we are on the sure upward path.
Unity’s fundamental statement has been mentioned a number of times, and it is this. There is but one presence and one power in the universe. Or, I could say, in my life. God, the good omnipotent. And here is an affirmation that definitely says the same thing as I said before, that there is back of everything a master mind, a divine mind.
However, we had a lesson on affirmations. We’d better make them work for us. When we come into those periods of discouragement, whether we know how it’s going to work or not, we should immediately begin an affirmation. Either aloud or silently. Suppose we take an affirmation like this, “There is but one presence and one power in my life, God, the good omnipotent.”
Now, in certain shall I say situations or experiences, that may have very little meaning. It may seem too theoretical and out of our life. So, instead, let us say an affirmation such as this, “I know that God is in charge of my life. I know that God is working this situation out.” And yet, you see, you’re really saying the same thing but in words that seem to have more meaning to you.
Always remember that this should be primarily a practical teaching. It is a teaching that should work in your everyday life, and it should work in the little things as well as the big things. As a matter of fact, I think I’ve mentioned this before, sometimes I wonder if the big things are anything more than a lot of little things put together.
When you meet these periods of discouragement or depression, what are you going to do? You’re going to hold onto the truth that there is a way out because there is a master mind back of all of the universe and that master mind holds you in the hollow of his hand.
152 Is there any limit to God?
Now to our third question. Is there any limit to God? And then the B part, what limits a manifestation of God in our life?
Well, from an intellectual standpoint, considering all of our questions, we have to say no, there is no limit to God. Because God, we have found, is limitless substance. He is the principle of all good. He is that changeless being to whom each individual may turn at any time, under any circumstances.
Therefore, let us go right onto the second part. What limits the manifestation of God in our life?
Let me read from the second paragraph of this chapter.
“Were it not at times so utterly ridiculous, it would always be pitiful to see the human mind of man trying to limit God to personal comprehension.”
I remember once reading, and it might have been in this book Lessons in Truth, although it might have been in How I Use Truth, where the author said, “Sometimes the human tries to limit God to the core capacity of his own mind. Whereas God is limitless substance and principle.”
So, what limits a manifestation of God in our life? The answer is man’s own circumscribed view.
Let me read a little more from this same paragraph.
“However much any one of us may know of God, there will always be unexplored fields in the realms of expression. And it is an evidence of our narrow vision to say, ‘This is all there is of God.’”
I will cover one or two of the illustrations that Dr. Cady follows in questions four and five. But in the meantime I’d like to talk a little bit more about man’s narrow view, or consciousness. And what do I mean by consciousness? I mean the sum total of man’s thinking and feeling.
What limits the manifestation of God? And I’ve said man’s narrow view of consciousness. What do I mean? I mean that somehow my mind has not grown to the place of recognizing the fullness of God. And therefore, as much as I see at my present stage of unfoldment of God, I say that’s all there is.
But suppose I need healing in my life and I think, “Oh well, the doctors have said there’s no possibility of getting over this illness or this disease. Oh well, I am at a certain age and you can’t expect healing after that.” What does that mean? It means I have not accepted God as life, as the very source and principle of life. Oh yes, I may have read many books. I may have listened to many teachers. But the very fact that I come to a place where I think, “Oh well, I’ve just got to accept this condition,” is a proof that I have a limited view of God.
And if I have a limited view of God, then I’ve got a very narrow view of myself. I may have said, very glibly from an intellectual standpoint, “I am a son of God. I am a son of God entitled to the inheritance of good.” But the proof of my words has to come out in my living. Then, if I come to know God as life, then I must know that that same life that God is, courses through the whole of my being and produces health.
You see, health is a condition. And every condition has to have back of it a principle, and that principle is life.
Well, suppose I have many things in my soul consciousness, that’s in my mind, that our pulling against this new truth. Do you remember we spoke about chemicalization and the things that often happen when something new is introduced? What do I do about it? I go back to my denial statement.
So, perhaps here the first thing I need to do is to deny that there is any limit to God first, and that there is any limit to me. Because if there’s no limit to me, and no limit to God, then there can be no limit in the manifestation of life in my body.
And I can do the same thing with my finances. If I feel that I’m up against a blank wall, and I don’t know which way to turn because I just don’t have the money to do this, that, or the other thing, then I must go right back to principle and say God is the source of all good, he is the source of my supply. Then, I may have to deny that there is any limit, any belief of limit in my consciousness. And having erased that belief in limitation, then I begin my affirmation.
Nothing may happen for a little time, and I may be very tempted to say, “Oh, this thing doesn’t work. All that they’ve written in the books and all that people have told me, it just doesn’t work.” That is the time, when we reach that period of discouragement, where we continue to hold firm to the truth that God is my supply and that I am seeking to open myself so that I can accept his supply.
You see, sometimes intellectually we come to the place where we say, “Yes, I believe that God is the source of my good, and I believe that I am an heir to his good.” But somewhere lurking in our mind, that is in our soul consciousness, is still a little thought. “Well, but I only get so much of a salary or so much pay for doing this and that.” Or, “Well, I don’t know whether I’m entitled to it, whether I’m worthy of it.” That has to be denied out of consciousness. And the moment that is denied, and the new thought placed in through affirmation, then we have this clear, unobstructed channel, through which the good of God may flow.
And the oddest part is, sometimes that substance comes to us in some of the strangest ways. Sometimes, it does not come in money. Sometimes it comes in that which is really more valuable to us than money.
Many a woman has found that, when she feels that she needs something new, by looking over her wardrobe she can change, or improve or remake, something that she already has. This has happened time again with people.
I remember distinctively once needing a certain small table. And I felt, “Well, I must look for that table.” So, I went from furniture store to furniture store, and I still didn’t find one small enough because it was just a tiny space in my kitchenette.
One day a man said to me, “Here is a nice piece of wood that still has a like formica on it.” He didn’t know I wanted a table, but he said, “You know, with a little bit steel edging or aluminum, it would make an excellent shelf.” Instantly when he said that I thought, “Why, this is exactly the size that I wanted, and all I have to do is to buy the legs that you are able to screw onto a table.”
And from that day to this, that has always been what I call a very happy table because it cost very little. The man had given me the wood with the formica top. It cost very little to get that small piece of aluminum to go all the way round. And the four legs that made not only the ideal table, but the only possible table that would have fit in the small place that I had.
You see, when you and I even limit the manifestation of our good to money, we are causing a limitation in our life. So, let us be open and receptive to the inflow of God’s ideas, because many times those ideas can be much more valuable to us than money.
153 Is there any real wall of difference between the various religious sects?
Our fourth question is a very interesting one. And probably, it is one that concerns human beings more than any other as far as wars and unhappiness has taken place in our world. How many religious wars we have had. How many upsets in families. Just because of differences of opinion in the way of worship. This is our question.
And the first part, is there any real wall of difference between the various religious sects? And the second part, B, what will break down the seeming walls and barriers between the sects or the religious sects?
Let me read from the chapter something that is very interesting and well worth keeping in mind. This is what the author says.
“I want, if possible, to help break down the seeming-” and then quoting, “ ... ‘dividing wall of hostility.’” That’s from Ephesians 2:14.
Now, I want to remind you of this. The quotation that I just gave, “Dividing hall of hostility,” is taken from the Revised Standard version. But probably most of you, as I was, are more familiar with the authorized version that speaks of it as the, “middle wall of partition between us.”
Let me read on then. It says, “I want if possible to help break down these walls, even as Christ, the living Christ, does in reality break down or destroy all misunderstanding.”
And then the author goes onto say, “I want to help you to see that there is no real wall of difference between all the various sects of the new theology, and we could say of any religion, except such as appear to you because of your circumscribed view.” Which means, of course, your narrow view.
If you and I have really accepted the truth, that there is only one Father, one God, one Father of us all as Paul says, who is above all and through all and in all, then how could we think that there could ever be a real wall of difference between the various religious sects?
All of us like different flowers. I like violets and buttercups. And all of the flowers that grow in the garden you wouldn’t perhaps particularly want to put in a container and bring into the house, but just to watch them growing outside. And yet, somebody else might like orchids and roses and some of the more flamboyant flowers that you can bring into the home. We all have our likes and dislikes of certain things. We all like different flowers. I like blue, I like green, and you may like red and yellow and orange.
You see, because we are individuals, God has left us free in our soul unfoldment and even the things we like are part of this unfoldment. Does it not stand to reason then that each soul will find a path to worship God that suits his particular size and shape and stage of soul unfoldment? Then, if somebody else chooses a religious way of finding his way to God, what right have I to say, “Oh, you’re all wrong.”
Or, if another one finds much more comfort in a religion that to me seems rather cold, what right have I to say to him, “Oh, you are all wrong.”
If I have an understanding then of God as the Father of all, that means I must know every man my brother. And because I expect to be left free to follow my way of soul unfoldment, then my love and my understanding will enable me to break down the seeming walls and barriers that come between me and the way another person worships.
I imagine that in this chapter, Dr. Cady, as you notice, was referring a little to those who have come into the truth, or into as she calls it here, “The new theology.” Because she goes onto say, and this will be brought out in our next question, that people finding one way that helps them feel that everyone else should go the same way.
It is my personal opinion that the paragraph which follows the one from which I read previously, contains one of the finest illustrations of our relation to God and our relation to each other. You who will have already read the paragraph will recall that Dr. Cady says this. “And believe me, just as there is less separation between the spokes of a wheel the nearer they get to the hub, so you will find that the nearer you both come to the perfect center, which is the Father, the less difference will there be between you and your brother.”
As I’m speaking now, will you visualize in your mind a wheel? You can see the hub, you can see the spokes, and something that’s not mentioned in this paragraph, you see the rim. Because after all the spokes could not stay together just from the hub, or fulfill their purpose without the rim.
Think of the hub then as God. Then think of the spokes as representing every individual in the universe. Think of the rim has being the outer life or the outer experiences of every individual. Now, in your mind’s eye, imagine that one of these spokes touching the rim is you. And then imagine that another spoke right next to you represents either a loved one or a friend, or someone with whom you may be dealing at any time.
If you think of yourself in relation to that individual, as you find each other at the rim you notice there’s quite a separation. You just aren’t together. That’s what Dr. Cady refers to. But now, in your imagination, trace that spoke up until you reach the hub, which is God. And then imagine the other individual following that spoke to the hub. Not only is there less difference, but there is none. There is a unity in the spirit because both of you have come into your divine center, as well as unity of the spirit, because both are created by and of God.
If you think of this wheel then as representing human life, you can see that if you look at another individual merely at the rim of his life or the outer experiences, naturally you see many things that are different to what you do, and if you are not very careful you will think that many of those things are wrong because you don’t do them.
But understanding that you are both one in spirit, you and your loved one, or you and your friend, or the one with whom you work, then you will not look at the rim. You may not like some of the things that are done there. That does not mean that you and I have to accept every error that is done in human life. But we are expected to go beyond the era and look deep within. And then you can say within your heart, “Oh, I know that you are a spiritual being, but you are moving through the human part of you, seeking in the best way that you know to find God.”
Therefore, if you have a way of finding God that has helped you, then you leave the other individual free. You no longer feel you should try to drag him your path of worship because your love, and above all probably this particular moment your understanding, knows that he is a free individual, just as free as you are, and he can find his way to God only in his own way.
You cannot enter the consciousness of another and neither can another person enter your consciousness. All that we do for another person is to present our thoughts, our feelings, or present ideas. But the other individual, just as he does with his food, must take those ideas and even make them his own or reject them.
Now, if the other individual seems unsatisfied with his particular path of seeking God, and he asks help of you, that is an entirely different thing.
However, you will find that you need to be very cautious you do not give advice that lovingly and understandingly you will perhaps tell him that your method of reaching God has helped you in your life, and then in that way you will not be guilty of pushing your own opinions. Rather, you will open or so much to God that what God has to say to that individual will work through you.
154 Can people of all beliefs get help from God?
Our fifth question is tied up, of course, very closely, to number four. And it reads this way. Can people of all beliefs get help from God?
Now, you’ve probably realized that Dr. Cady has given a number of illustrations in the book. And I won’t attempt to read them all, but she says this. “The faith healer, he who professes to believe only in what he terms divine healing.”
And then she speaks about this differs from the so-called spiritual scientist believing that he must ask, seek, not importune, before he can receive, and then she says, “He of the truth-teaching knows that he has already received God’s free gift of life and then he must speak the word.”
Then she goes on a little later and talks about the mental scientist, and then she talks about the happy Methodist, and then she talks about the metaphysician.
In other words, Dr. Cady is seeking to bring out all of the different ways. She’s only using these for illustration, that all people can get help from God because there is only one Father, one creator. And it stands to reason, if there is only unity of the spirit between God and every atom of his creation, that every man, every woman, every child, can by turning within get help from God in his own way. Whether he says, “Praise the Lord,” or whether he says, “All is good.”
And that is why we in the human part of us must learn, as it were, to mind our own business, not to push our opinions on other people or to think because someone says, “Praise the Lord,” that he is not using the truth way.
It is the heart that God looketh upon, not that which is said by the mouth. And does it matter what words we use, so long as we know we are calling upon God for help?
I am going to repeat again the words of Paul. “One God and Father of us all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.”
It is rather strange that the various religions through the centuries have more or less ignored a statement such as that, unless they meant that that statement would refer only to their own religion. But now we’re coming to the understanding that every man, because he is a child and son of God, is seeking his Father God. Yes, I say that advisedly. Even though he may be seeking in ways that perhaps make our heart ache, ways of drugs or crime, nevertheless, at the very depth of his being what is he seeking? Good, in very strange ways.
He thinks that the drugs may bring him release from the pressure of life, or he thinks that crime may bring him the good that he doesn’t think he has in the form of money. But let us always remember that we are not saying that these things are good, but we are saying that basic in every individual is that indwelling God’s spirit, which must always be pushing the soul to seek for God.
And probably your prayer and mine has more to do with helping the world to understand that every individual is a beloved son of God. And probably many of the things that we do, many times our prayer leaves us to do something. Have you ever had the experience where your prayer for others or the world has led you maybe to give a book to someone? I don’t mean to push it on with an attempt to proselyte, but to actually give a book to somebody.
You remember I referred once to the fact that some people have got into a study of truth in very strange ways. Some have found them in waste paper baskets, some have found them in trash barrels. We never know what way God may choose, and you and I might be responsible.
I remember once dropping my Daily Word and I said, “Oh, what a pity. Now, I’m going to have to do without my Daily Word for the rest of the month,” because I didn’t know how it was possible to get another. I was not at that time living in the United States. And then quickly I thought to myself, “Oh, but maybe God’s using me as an instrument whereby somebody has a need for just the word that is found in Daily Word.” And to this day, I’ve often wondered just what happened to that Daily Word. Because surely somebody picked it up, read it, and found something that would help him.
And if you and I can do that with any of the little things that occur in our life, even the things we lose, say, “Well, maybe God is using this for good,” we may be much further along the way of God than we understand.
So, can people of all beliefs get help from God? Of course. Because there is only the one God imminent in all men. Sometimes we talk about God in his transcendency to such an extent that he seems too big for our so-called little lives. And yet because God is transcendent above all creation, he is still that one life, power, energy and love that enters into every atom of creation. And in man, he takes the form of our divine nature called the Christ, or the I Am.
155 When we proclaim that we alone see Truth what does this indicate?
We are coming now to the second half of Chapter 12, Unity of the Spirit.
You’ve probably realized how closely related all of the questions are, and especially in this particular chapter. This is the way question six reads.
When we proclaim that we alone see truth, what does this indicate?
Now, we had the question on what limits the manifestation of God, and actually this is the same answer here. But we do take it a little further.
Let me read from the chapter something that I read on the other side of the cassette, but I want to repeat it.
“In order to make that manifestation conform to what you see as truth, you are only crying loudly, ‘Ho, everyone, come and view my narrowness and my ignorance.’”
In other words, when we proclaim that we alone see the truth, it indicates our limited vision or our narrowness of consciousness.
You will remember that in this particular chapter, Dr. Cady has brought out some good illustrations. And the one that really has bearing on this question, as it does on others, starts with the third paragraph. Let me read a little of it.
“Suppose that a dozen persons are standing on the dark side of a wall in which are various sized openings. Viewing the scene outside through the opening assigned to him, one sees all there is within a certain radius. He says, ‘I see the whole world. In it are trees and fields.’ Another, through a larger opening, has a more extended view. He says, ‘I see trees and fields and houses. I see the whole world.’ The next one, looking through a still larger opening, exclaims, ‘Oh, you are all wrong. I alone see the whole world. I see trees and houses and rivers and animals.’”
I don’t think you’ll find a finer illustration really of the way human beings act so far as viewing their fellow human beings, and perhaps viewing the world in general.
We can only see through our own aperture, which is the amount of unfoldment we have in our own soul. But if we’re not very careful, we come to the realization that we are calling aloud our own ignorance. We are showing that we are not as fully-developed as we thought we were.
In the next paragraph, we read this. “The fact is, each one is looking at the same world, and he sees is according to the size of the opening through which he is looking.”
Now, listen to this. “He limits the world to just his own circumscribed view.” And doesn’t that happen?
Remember, this chapter is dealing mostly with the approach that each individual has to his worship. And the suggestion is made by Dr. Cady that no matter which way a person goes in his spiritual unfoldment and the worship of his own understanding of God, all are seeking the same thing, which is after all not merely a knowledge about God but to know God.
Therefore, if you and I, as has been said before, view someone else’s road as different to ours, and therefore wrong, we are showing once more our narrowness of vision.
The paragraph that follows this is also worth considering, because probably there have been more wars, or shall I say religious wars, in the world, caused by this particular type of narrowness.
“From time immemorial there have been schisms and divisions among religious sects and denominations. And now with the newer light that we have, even the light of the knowledge of one God imminent in all men, many still cling to external differences, so postponing instead of hastening the day of the millennium. At least, they postpone it for themselves.”
I’m inclined to think that Dr. Cady is especially pointing to truth organizations, who perhaps look askance at religious ways of worshiping. It is true that many a truth movement have suffered at the hands of traditional church, but that is no reason why now those in truth movements should turn round and say things about the churches. You remember I mentioned that to look backward and say, “All was wrong in my way of spiritual unfoldment,” whatever my way of worshiping may have been, is not good.
You and I should look into our own lives and realize that every step we took was bringing us closer and closer to the understanding of one God imminent in all men.
And I feel very sure that that is the reason why Dr. Cady has spent such a time in this chapter in mentioning the different types of worshiping God. As you remember, we mentioned in our previous question that she referred to the faith healer, to the so-called spiritual scientist, to the one who knows the truth, as we say, and also to the mental scientist, and to the happy Methodist, and to the metaphysician.
And there must have been a reason, because probably at the time this book was written she was having to face this type of thing. People feeling, “Well, because we have this new understanding of the truth, that God is imminent as well as transcendent, therefore all ways of worship but ours are wrong.”
When I look at any avenue of truth and feel that I’ve really got the whole truth at that particular time, once more I am showing that, while I might have grown on one score, nevertheless I have a great deal to learn on another score.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes an individual who seems to have a good prosperity consciousness for instance, that person may not have too good a health consciousness. Or, one who has a good health consciousness or a good prosperity consciousness, may not have the ability to get on quite as well with his fellow man and we feel that he doesn’t have quite as good consciousness concerning relations with other people.
You see, all of us are at different stages of soul unfoldment. And just because I may have a good prosperity consciousness, I have no right to turn to someone else and say, “Well, why don’t you know that God is the source of your good? Why aren’t you living the truth?” That seems so often to be a criticism that could be leveled at so-called truth students and for so-called truth students.
We have no right ever to say to another person, “Why aren’t you doing thus and so?”
I can remember myself in the early days of Unity when I had the privilege of hearing the first lecture from Unity School. For a moment or two I was quite shocked because he was wearing glasses. And the first thing I said to myself, “Well, if he’s a Unity student, what’s his wearing glasses for?”
You see, this was none of my business. I had no possible way of knowing the marvelous things that this particular lecturer had unfolded or had overcome in his own life. And so one dare not look at another and make critical remarks.
As a matter of fact, Charles Fillmore, crippled as he was for many years, was not completely free. There were still a slight limp in the latter part of his life. And I remember once in the Silent Unity Healing Room, hearing one of our men members say to Mr. Fillmore, “But don’t you think ... “ so and so. And quick as a flash, Charles Fillmore replied, “Yes, but what do you think I feel like when I realize that I accept God as the source of my healing and yet I am still healing?”
One must remember though, that Charles Fillmore built his leg from what was nothing but skin and bone, into a perfectly normal leg except that the hip joint had been damaged and he hadn’t been able to make that all the way in this particular life.
But you see, the label criticism at anyone is really only to call forth our own narrowness.
Some years ago there was an article appearing in one of the Unity periodicals called The Brave Messengers. And it had to do with those who, having found the truth and found that it really worked in their life, were brave enough, even though still showing physical handicaps, to share these ideas with other people. And certainly if you and I were to wait until somebody else was completely perfect before these individuals shared the truth with us, we might be very, very far behind in our spiritual unfoldment.
So, each of us must remember that in viewing life, in viewing truth, in viewing our fellow man, we dare not say, “I have all the truth. And just because you have not manifested all the way, therefore you are lacking.”
156 What is the relation between the word we read and the word God speaks to us?
Now, to our seventh question, which takes an entirely different aspect, as it were, from what we’ve been dealing with. But there is a reason for it. And this is based upon a story that Dr. Cady gives right in this chapter.
This is the way the question reads.
What is the relation between the word we read and the word God speaks to us?
You may think that this is really no touched in the book, but as I mentioned, it is.
Let me read a little.
“The teachings of spirit are intrinsically the same, because spirit is one. I heard an uneducated woman speak in a most Orthodox prayer meeting some time ago. She knew no more of religious science and obeyed nos of Latin. Her face, however, was radiant with the light of the Christ manifest through her.”
And then Dr. Cady goes onto say that, “She said she’d been searching five or six years previously to really know more of God, and she did it in the only way she knew how.”
And then listened to this. “One day, in all earnestness, she asked that some special word of his might be given directly to her as a sort of private message.”
And then we are told that these words flashed into her mind. So, “If your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light.” This is taken from Matthew 6:22. And most of us are probably much more familiar with the King James version which reads, “If thine eye be singe, thy whole body shall be full of light.”
Now listen to this. “She had read these words many times, but that day they were illumined by spirit.”
Let me go back to the question. What is the relation between the word we read and the word God speaks to us?
The word that you and I read comes first to our eyes and then it goes to our intellect or our thinking faculty. In other words, that which we read comes to our intellect, but the word that God speaks to us is not coming from the outer and moving inward, it starts in us in that secret place of the most high. And once more, it is the still small voice that is not a voice, using words that are not words.
And it is more a knowing. Somebody once asked me, “How do you know, when you’ve gone into the silence, if God has given you an answer?” And as far as I’m concerned, I know because I have a wonderful feeling within. It’s kind of a wonderful feeling of wellbeing.
Now, the problem may still be there, but I know, and I don’t need anyone to tell me why I know. And it is the same with the word that God speaks to us.
If we have done something that we shouldn’t and we need correcting, and another individual, that is another human being, seeks to correct us, sometimes we have a sense of hurt. But we may go ahead and make the correction, we may have to do. But there’s that little hurt.
One of the strangest things is that when God speaks to us, when God seeks to lead us along the right way, the way where we can correct something, we’re never hurt. We’re very glad that God has spoken to us. And mostly, we will even share with other people the thought that, “God spoke to me and told me this,” and so. Because there is such a difference between that which comes from the outer and goes to the intellect, and that which comes from within and may be taken up by the intellect.
The last part of one of our paragraphs reads in this way.
“By speaking the word of truth, the gifts are made manifest.” Then it goes on to say, “The mind of the one is lifted to a place of faith by asking or praying. The mind of the other is lifted to a place of faith by speaking words of truth.”
In other words, the word that I use in the outer goes into my intellect and I begin to consider it from every angle. And it is possible that, as happened to this little woman, the spirit will illumine those words.
But the words that God speaks to me, through my speaking of the truth, I know to be only the truth and nothing but the truth.
In a way, we could say that the word we read is the letter, whereas the word that God speaks is the spirit that giveth life. “The letter of itself-,” Paul tells us, “ ... killeth.”
If you just have mere words, there is no upliftment. But when you have words that have been infused by the spirit of God, then you have life-giving words and words that produce.
Do you recall we said earlier on in some of these lessons that Charles Fillmore made the remark that intellectual understanding comes first? We could say that that is the word we read. And that’s true, it has to come first. My mind has to be able to understand some of these things in an intellectual way. But he goes on to say, “Then comes a deeper unfoldment of these principles, and that comes only from spiritual understanding that we gain in the secret place or in the silence.”
If a person were to memorize a book, he might have the words of that book letter perfect. But those words would not save him when he came to a situation in his life where he needed help. But though he read a book and remembered very little of the words of that book, but he kept the spirit of it, then when he met an experience that was difficult, either in health or in his finances or whatever it may be, he would have something real to hold onto. He would have the very principle which applied would bring the solution to his problem.
We forget sometimes that it is necessary to train the mind, but once having been trained, then the mind must obey us. Do you remember that we did have a question early on in the course in which it said, “Is it wise to memorize affirmations or prayers?” or whatever it may be? And we said yes. It is a very interesting thing to find that many students answering a question like that will say, “Yes, it is very wise to commit affirmations or statements of truth to memory, because then when we have a need they will come to our aid.”
But that is not strictly true. It is not the words that come to our aid, but the ideas or the meaning back of those words.
The affirmations is a group of words, we’ll say, and that comes to our intellect. But unless that affirmation or those group of words hold a divine idea that is alive with the life of God, then it isn’t going to do any good. And so we’ve come to the realization that the word that we read, as it were, must be merely a container. And we lift it in the silence, or in our moments of prayer, to God, and we allow him to infuse that word with his spirit so that the word that God speaks to us becomes to us a living reality that produces in our life the healing that we desire so much. The plenty and abundance we desire in our life. And the harmony, and the love, and the companionship, and above all the peace and harmony.
You and I, day by day, are asked to speak a word of peace for our world. If we only to say these words in rote, there is nothing really gained. But when you and I can take with us words and return unto the Lord, we know that God will have filled our words of peace with his spirit of peace. And it was said in the Old Testament that when God sent forth his word it would not return unto him void. And so you and I could say that once filled with the very spirit of peace from God himself, our word could not return unto us void.
157 What does it mean to have a single eye?
Now, we’re going to consider our eighth question. And it is also tied up with the story of this little woman who had the revelation of holding to the single eye. Because the question reads, what does it mean to have a single eye?
Now, in this particular version of the Lessons in Truth, if you remember, I reminded you it said, “So, if your eye be sound.” So, I could say what does it mean to have a single eye or to have a sound eye?
From a truth standpoint, we say that that means to know that there is only one presence and one power in all the universe, God the good omnipotent. In other words, to have a single eye or a sound eye is to know the unity of the spirit, unity in the spirit, and to know oneness with God.
Now, some people have the idea that because you are going to try and build your consciousness to the place where you have the single eye, it means that you go round more or less in the world with your eyes closed and just saying, “All is good, all is good, all is good.”
Charles Fillmore says that to even make a remark such as that is not good. And I’m going to read from one of his writings back in 1949, that does not appear in any book, but this is very important. This is what Charles Fillmore said.
“We differ very radically from those who mesmerize themselves into mental torpor by continually holding the thought, ‘All is good,’ and applying it indiscriminately to all that appears. Remember that man makes all appearance and names it good or evil according to the pleasures it gives him. God furnishes the raw material, as it were, out of which this appearance is formed. And this is always good because its pure essence cannot be polluted. If man combines life, love, substance and intelligence of principle in such a way that discord results, let him not lay it to God. Man is a free agent and in the exercise of his freedom he has left out some factor informing his world. What this factor is he can only discover by asking God direct. And he must not omit to ask with all the fervor of his nature. Depending on some teacher or prophet, present or past, is foolishness and ignorance. Ask and ye shall receive.”
Let me repeat the question. What does it mean to have a single eye?
It means to see God as the one presence and the one power. And at the same time, it means to see God as the one presence and the one power back of all things. If the outer forms are not good, we are not calling them good.
We read somewhere in scripture that we are not supposed to say peace, peace, where there is no peace. We find that in Jeremiah 6:14.
But we are knowing that back of everything stands this one master mind of which we have been speaking.
All right, now suppose you have a problem in your life of ill health. You are not going to see the sickness or the disease, or whatever is wrong with your physical body, as good. But you are going to know back of that situation is good. You are going to see with the single eye that says, “I am a child of God, a son of God, an heir of God. I am entitled to the life that can bring about healing in this situation.”
Sometimes truth students feel if they just ignore a situation that that is the answer. But that is not seeing with the single eye. Seeing with the sound or single eye, it means getting right back to principle and then doing what is necessary to bring the solution of whatever the problem may be.
Suppose you have a problem of finances. You don’t close your eyes to the fact that there is either an empty purse or an empty bank account. But with the single eye, you look God-ward and you know God as the source of your good. And so, in the way that is right for you, you pray. You enter the silence, you talk to God, and then you listen. And you get that assurance that God is your source. And the one thing you may be absolutely sure, there will always be some direction. There will be something that will tell you what to do for your part.
As truth system, we’re not supposed to just sit still and wait for something to happen. We are the prime movers in our own life, but we should be moving only at the instigation of spirit.
Now, this little woman about whom Dr. Cady writes had had many, many troubles. And she went on to say that though the troubles seemed to be there, nevertheless, she was very, very certain that God taking care of her.
It’s said here in the book, “She found always the most marvelous, fun, and complete deliverance out of them-” that is out of her problems, “ ... all by resolutely adhering to the single eye, seeing God only.”
It’s an odd thing, I’m coming back to that word discouragement, but sometimes truth students who are praying very diligently are unconsciously judging themselves, or whatever situation they’re handling, by the appearance only. When you and I have prayed for an answer, we must know that the answer is coming from within, and if we look only on the outer we’re not having the single eye because we’re trying to make the outer conform to something that is not yet true. We trying to have the single eye so that we may hold the truth within, and then eventually that truth answer will come forth in the outer.
For instance, if an individual who was ill said, “Well, I’m just going to stay in bed until I am completely well,” he would not be well. But the individual who has prayed for health, sometimes has to get out of bed feeling very weak and very wobbly, but he keeps to the truth that God is his health, he has the single eye that God is the source of his feeling. And so even at first when he gets out of bed after say quite a long illness, he takes step by step, but he does not judge himself.
Too many times you and I are inclined to do that. As a matter of fact, we’re very inclined to criticize ourselves. Sometimes we will criticize ourselves quicker than we will other people. So, let us remember that the single eye is first of all having the perception of God as the source of all good and ourselves as heir to that good.
Do you remember when we were talking about faith, we said that faith is the proceeding power? So, it’s no wonder that Christians like to think of the single eye as being the eye of faith. But it is faith that is based entirely upon God.
158 Where does God ever live and where is he accessible to man?
While the ninth question seems really long because it has three parts, you will see how each part dovetails into the other. Let me read the three parts.
First, where does God ever live and where is he accessible to man? What does a knowledge of this truth do for us? Can we depend on the Christ in others to guide them into truth?
That’s quite a lot to have to cover, but let’s start with the first one.
Where does God ever live and where is he accessible to man?
You’ve learned of course through all these lessons that our feeling is that God lives ever within every living soul. He lives in everyone as the Christ, the I Am, the Word, the God-presence.
Let me read from the chapter.
“You have now come to know that at the center of your being, God, omnipotent power, ever lives. From the nature of your relationship to him, and by his own immutable laws, you may become conscious of his presence and eternally abide in him and he in you.”
You remember we had one question that said can God be separated from his creation? And we said no, because creation came forth because of God. God is the source. Actually, you and I are always in the presence of God. We are never separated from him. But the thing that affects your life and mine whether we know this. That is why that word conscious becomes so important. You may become conscious of his presence and you may, I’m going to add this word, consciously and eternally abide in him and he in you.
Sometimes you hear the expression prayer is communion with God. Unity likes to add the word conscious. Prayer is conscious communion with God. And I think this has been mentioned before, but it bears repetition. You and I are always in communion with God. We could not breathe, we could not think, we could not move, except we were in constant communion with God.
But we are not always in conscious communion with God, and that’s where prayer comes in. Prayer makes us conscious of the presence of God and of our relation to that presence.
So, when I say where does God live, I have to say at the center of my being. And where is he accessible to man? Well, once more, I have to say within. But that isn’t enough. That is too much of a surface answer.
I have to say that God is available to me, and to you, in my thinking and my feeling. Until I can think God-ward and begin to feel God-ward, then all the words that I ever read or listen to about God will not have much avail in my individual life.
Do you recall one question that says by what faculties does man reach God? And the answer was by the faculties of thinking and feeling.
God does not bypass our individual self-consciousness. In other words, you and I have the right of choice. Remember we said that of the soul, that the soul is a self-conscious phase of our nature, and the soul therefore can make its own choices and God will not push himself.
God waits, as one writer has said, for invitation, and yet God is always everywhere evenly present. But until I am conscious of it, and until you are conscious of it, then there’s nothing very effective in your life and mine. But when I know that lives within me as the very source of my life and breath, as the very source of my understanding, of my love, and know that he is accessible to me, as I turn my entire soul-consciousness or mind and think God-ward and then began to feel these ideas of God stealing into me, at that moment then I can say I am in constant communion with God.
That is what takes place in the silence, when we become conscious of God ideas. In other words, God speaking to us in the language that is not the human language of words and sounds.
The next part of this question say, what does a knowledge of this truth do for us?
All right, someone has told us that God lives within us as the very source of our being. And someone has said to us it is through your thinking and your feeling that God is made accessible to you. Then, what does a knowledge of this do for us? It enables us to find whatever it is we may be seeking.
If I have a tremendous need for healing in my body, then I will probably think mostly about life. And I turn my consciousness inward, I lay hold of the idea of God as life. And many things may go through my mind. I may think, “Well, if God is life and God created me in his image and after his likeness, then it stands to reason that life is part of my divine inheritance.”
And you see how I am using my mind to think some of these things through. But there must come a time when I almost hear God say, “Yes, my beloved, I am the source of your life. I am that which moves and breathes in you. I am that in you which brings health to your body.”
It may not come in words like that, but it will certainly in a feeling. And this will be a definite knowledge, and this knowledge will enable us to find whatever it is we may be seeking.
Now, the next part of number nine moves onto our approach to other people. And it says this. Can we depend on the Christ in others to guide them into the truth?
Well, of course the answer is yes.
Let me read from one of the paragraphs in this chapter.
“The moment that any man really comes to recognize that which is absolute truth, namely that one spirit, even the Father being made manifest in the Son, ever lives at the center of all human beings, he will know that he can cease forever from any undue anxiety about bringing others into the same external fold that he is in.”
Now, you will notice here that Dr. Cady is once more reminding us that we are not to expect other people to find their way to God in the same way that we find it.
So, let’s go back to our question, can we depend on the Christ in others to guide them into truth? Of course we can.
When you think of a seed, you realize that there is something in that seed. You and I don’t know definitely what it is, but we can call it the life principle. That given the right conditions, that is of soil and moisture, that little seed will begin to bring forth after its own kind, after its own nature.
Somewhere in that seed there is a pattern, but also within that seed there is this life principle that can allow the seed to send its roots into the soil and then finally begin to push up through the soil into the light of day.
If the seed were to depend on the seed alongside of it, where would it get? Nowhere. Each seed must unfold according to its own nature. You could have entirely different seeds side by side, and yet each one will grow according to its own nature.
But one of the oddest things about human beings, we sometimes think that we know better what our fellow man should do than our fellow man knows for himself. And yet, each individual has within him this indwelling Christ that can guide him into the truth. It’s just as if you and I were seeds of God dwelling side by side, and yet as though one seed could interfere with another.
How do I help my fellow man? Only by holding the very highest vision for him. By knowing that he has this indwelling God presence or Christ.
You remember we said that Christ said the anointed or the chosen. In other words, this spiritual pattern in him which was chosen to bring forth the image likeness of God. So, you and I, as the book says, can cease from undue anxiety about bringing others into the same external fold.
There are those who sometimes pass on a knowledge of the truth in the way that they have liked themselves and have spent a great deal in their life, and then sometimes they feel very disappointed if the individual to whom they have given this help turns to something entirely different. But that is really not our business.
I remember once upon a time a woman telling me that a friend had come to her. She was in a great deal of trouble. And this friend of mine helped her. She gave her literature to read and she prayed with her. And then what happened? This friend was suddenly released from all her problems, but she didn’t want to have anything further to do with my friend’s brand of truth.
As a matter of fact, she went into a very orthodox church. And my friend said to me, “Isn’t it too bad that she should have done that?” And right then and there I realized no. So, I said to her, “Oh no, you gave her the only step that was necessary to put her in the place where God could help her the best.”
Therefore, we realize that there must never be any attempt, as Dr. Cady says here in the book, toward external arguments to try and convert anyone to our particular way of truth or unfoldment of the truth in ourselves.
159 What is your Lord’s whole business?
One of the most interesting considerations is this last question, number 10.
What is your Lord’s whole business?
Dr. Cady has much to say about that, and I would like to refer to two or three of the places.
“If you fully realize that the God that dwells in you dwells in all men, you know that each one’s own Lord, the Christ within each one, will make no mistake. The greatest help that you can give to any man is to tell him silently whenever you think of him. The Holy Spirit lives within you, he cares for you, is working in you that which he would have you do, and is manifesting himself through you.”
And then in the next paragraph we read these words. “Keep ever in mind that each living person in all God’s universe is a radiating center of the same perfect one.”
Now, you will notice sometimes we use the words God-presence, sometimes we talk about the Christ, sometimes we talk about the I Am. But the latter part of this paragraph we’re referring to the Lord.
Charles Fillmore used to say that whenever you saw the word Lord, if you would think of law, it would make it so much clearer. Let me read it this way. “What is the law of your being’s whole business?” If the Lord is the law of your being, then what is his whole business?
Let me go back to the thought of the little seed. What is the business of the life principle in that little seed? To take care of that seed. No more, no less. Therefore, the Christ of the I Am in you or me, or the law, Lord or law of our being, has one job as it were, and that is to take care of you and me.
“The only business of your Lord, the Father in you-” Dr. Cady says, “ ... is to care for her, to love you with an everlasting love, to note your slightest cry and to rescue you.”
But notice what the next paragraph says. “Then you ask, ‘Why doesn’t he do it?’”
Now, here is something very important. Here is what Dr. Cady says. “Because you do not recognize his indwelling and his power.”
That’s the first thing, that we omitted to recognize God’s presence within and his power, omitted to realize that he is omnipotent. And by resolutely affirming that he does now manifest himself as your all, of sufficiency. Call him into visibility. You see?
Why doesn’t he do this? Because we haven’t recognized him and his power, and we haven’t affirmed that he manifests himself in us, and we have failed to claim his good or call him forth into visibility.
160 We must come to the place where we know the lord of our own being
Each one of us comes to the place where we must know this indwelling Lord as the God-presence. That has been the theme throughout this book.
The Lord in me is God’s presence in me to suit my particular needs. The answers that the Lord of my being gives me will not be the answers that you will get.
It is a very strange thing to realize this, but it is true, that you could have two individuals with identically the same problem, and yet as each individual enters the silence or the secret place and seeks guidance of his own indwelling Lord, the answer for each one will probably be quite different. Because each individual has reached a certain stage of unfoldment that requires a different type of answer.
So, there is no pat resolution, no pat answer, to any problem for any human being. We could almost say there are as many answers as there are human beings. There may be many problems of the same type, but there are actually as many answers, and certainly different answers, as there are human beings.
Well, how could I know for you what is the right answer? It’s an impossibility. Only the law of your own being knows what is the right answer for you. And even you and I ourselves don’t often know the answer. We think we do. We think, “Oh, if I could only have this,” or, “If I could only have that.” But the Lord of our own being knows, because his whole business is to care for us. And it says here, “To note our slightest cry.”
Every movement of our heart is reaching out to God. It is a cry to God, asking for an answer to some problem that we may have to meet.