The Inner Core
Robert L. Marshall
Chapter 3 — Research
When I was in my mid-twenties, a friend and I decided we would like to pursue furniture upholstering as a hobby. My friend immediately informed me that we were in luck because there was a class on furniture upholstering at the local community college. It would begin in three weeks, and we should sign up.
I had other ideas. I wanted to start now. So I went to the local library, found a how-to book on upholstering, read it, and studied the techniques. Then I went to the local thrift shop, bought myself an old, worn $4 chair, and plowed into learning by experience. I had my new, brown velour masterpiece finished before my friend got word that his class was cancelled for that quarter.
You will probably have to fulfill your spiritual exploration in much the same way I approached upholstering. You’ll learn your most valuable lessons on your own. But to start with, you will want to do a little research.
There may be classes available that apply to the area you intend to pursue. Treat these classes as background work. Earthbound teachers do their best, but none of them have all the answers. There’s always a lot left for the pioneer to explore. Use workshops and classes as an opportunity to familiarize yourself with current levels of attainment in your chosen area of study. They are not the answer to your quest, merely a jumping-off point, if you so choose.
You may come upon some valuable information just by asking friends, spiritual leaders, or your spiritual partners what kinds of experiences they have had in your assigned category. If you get a response, ask them what they did to facilitate the experience or what state of consciousness accompanied it.
Don’t ask what they think about the subject or you will never get to the good stuff. Philosophy will devour your conversation. Gather ideas of what to do, filter out what you can use, and plan how you will embark on your journey.
There are movies and tapes that may hold just the jewel you are looking for, but books are the most obvious resources you have at your disposal. Here, like everywhere else, you must use discrimination.
There are numerous books on almost every subject, but only a few will be valuable to you. Books that merely philosophize are very nearly useless. Books skillfully written by someone who has acted like a news reporter on the scene of those having spiritual experience may be a better bet. Yet, in the end, these can fall short too. You want to read books written by someone who has actually walked where you hope to travel. Why read about the mystics or their philosophy when you can read the mystics’ own account of their journey? Let those explorers who have gone before you tell you personally of their experience.
Individuals like Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, Ernest Holmes, Emma Curtis Hopkins, and Mary Baker Eddy are just a handful of modern explorers who actually walked the paths they reported. Their books outline the results of their inner research and the vision of life they gained. In the midst of all of this, you will find the jewels you seek. These writers will periodically share the experiences that led them to their realization. They leave just enough of a clue as to how they got there that a focused spiritual explorer can follow and find a similar experience.
There are hundreds of other names that could be added to the list. Some are farther back in history. Others are even more current than those just listed. What ties them all together is this: They had their own experiences. They didn’t just report what someone else did. Yet it is easy to miss the very aspect of their books that sets them above the multitude of spiritual writings around them.
Practice What You Read
Many years ago a partner on the path, Jim, reported to me that Lessons in Truth by H. Emilie Cady had changed his life. An acquaintance had given it to him. It sat in the glove compartment of his car for months because Jim thought the man had insulted him by giving him a book on how to be truthful. It literally fell into his lap during one of the low points of his life, and he started to read.
Each chapter carried advice he desperately needed. As he worked his way through the book, his spirits climbed from the pits to the heights. He was launched on a voyage that has never ended.
Jim told me: “It took me quite a while to get through the whole book because I stopped and did whatever it said to do. If Cady said to repeat an affirmation or a scripture over and over, I laid the book down and spent time affirming. If she said to meditate on a certain idea or pray in a certain way, I stopped to meditate or to pray. If she said to do something in your life, I went out and did it.” He went on to describe the specific things hed done under the book’s direction.
I couldn’t remember most of these little tasks, though I’d read Lessons in Truth. I read it straight through a few chapters at a time. I enjoyed the book very much. I thought it to be an excellent primer on spiritual principles, but it didn’t change my life. I determined the difference in impact lay in the way we each had chosen to read the book.
Years later I learned the lesson again, but at a deeper level of intensity. As a dedicated student of the writings of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, I had read all of their published books a number of times. I had taught classes on each and could quote verbatim all my favorite passages. I loved the perspective of life they painted and gave this research credit for carrying me far down my own spiritual path.
At the urging of some close friends, I started attending the functions of a mystical spiritual order from another philosophy. At first, I went kicking and screaming because it all felt so alien to me. But shortly, I began to see some advantages to the way they did things.
This group stressed a thing called practices, which is a specific activity meant to create an atmosphere which would invite a spiritual experience. I constantly chafed at the bit when encountering secrecy and rituals for the sake of ritual. I disliked the totally sober attitude taken toward spirituality and the political ranks that disciples attained. Though an initiate for six years, I never really belonged to this group consciousness, yet I learned a lot, and this trip expanded my spiritual horizons immensely.
I repeated short prayer statements in foreign languages over and over, first aloud, then silently. I worked with sound, body motions, and all manner of inner-energy exercises. I learned the meaning of discipleship and contemplated different aspects of God. I learned new ways of meditating on Light and gleaned ways of awakening spiritual energy centers.
I was constantly adapting what I learned to my basic vision of life and my spiritual tradition. I developed prayer statements with English words which embodied the same sounds that were so important in the foreign ones. I altered many of the practices to fit into the meditation structures already in use by other students of the Fillmores. I discarded anything that conflicted with the basic Truth structure I had absorbed and used everything else to shed greater light on these principles.
After a time my understanding and expression of spiritual realities expanded so dramatically that I began to question why the Fillmore writings hadn’t conveyed something like these practices I’d discovered and adapted. I picked up the Fillmore books I’d taught so many times and reread them, looking for some sign that the spiritual explorers, whose thoughts had guided my path thus far, had seen some of the things I’d found.
Like magic, practices jumped out at me from every chapter, as if they’d been hiding behind bushes. Pages that I thought I knew by heart sprouted suggestions I’d never seen before. Everything I’d foraged in the “far country” was available right here at home. You just had to know how to read. You had to approach the material as a spiritual explorer, not a philosopher. A spiritual explorer will find that the vast majority of mystics have seen much of the same territory, even if their perspective and emphasis are different.
Read as a Spiritual Explorer
The technique for researching practices or perceptions that can be used to create practices is universal. It works for all authors, all books. Since the Fillmores’ writings have been my emphasis, let me use them to demonstrate what to look for.
Myrtle Fillmore’s healing of terminal tuberculosis was the beginning of everything for the Fillmores. Much has been written on realizations in the area of healing, but in How to Let God Help You in the chapter entitled “Health in the Home” (pp. 125—126), Myrtle tells of the practices by which she pursued healing:
Here is the key to my discovery. Life has to be guided by intelligence in making all forms. The same law works in my own body. Life is simply a form of energy and has to be guided and directed in man’s body by his intelligence. How do we communicate intelligence? By thinking and talking, of course. Then it flashed upon me that I might talk to the life in every part of my body and have it do just what I wanted. I began to teach my body and got marvelous results.
I told the life in my liver that it was not torpid or inert, but full of vigor and energy. I told the life in my stomach that it was not weak or inefficient, but energetic, strong, and intelligent. I told the life in my abdomen that it was no longer infested with ignorant ideas of disease, put there by myself and by doctors, but it was all athrill with the sweet, pure, wholesome energy of God. I told my limbs that they were active and strong. I told my eyes that they did not see of themselves but that they expressed the sight of Spirit and that they were drawing on an unlimited source. I told them that they were young eyes, clear, bright eyes, because the light of God shone right through them.
I told my heart that the pure love of Jesus Christ flowed in and out through its beatings and that all the world felt its joyous pulsation.
I went to all the life centers of my body and spoke words of Truth to them—words of strength and power. I asked their forgiveness for the foolish, ignorant course that I had pursued in the past, when I condemned them and called them weak, inefficient, and diseased. I did not become discouraged at their being slow to wake up, but kept right on, both silently and aloud, declaring the words ofTruth, until the organs responded.
How could she have been more clear? I’ve referred countless people inquiring about healing to these three paragraphs. To obtain the treasure they hold, you must leave behind the attitude, Isn’t it wonderful that she was able to do this! and embrace, I want to do that too. I’m going to try this out and stick with it until I get results in my own body.
Start talking to your body. Change the words as you like. Affirm out loud. Silently. Then try singing the message, writing it—any variation you can think of. See yourself communicating with every cell. Visualize cells, organs, muscles, and bones responding. Take note of her admonition not to give up just because of slow response by the body. She’s talking about real-life experience here: the intent, the process, and the obstacles. This is something you can do, not just think about.
Opening the Heart
Charles Fillmore addressed the opening of the heart in Talks on Truth within the chapter entitled “The Development of Divine Love” (pp. 62, 63):
We have been taught the beauties of love and its great power in the world, but no one else has explained that it has a center of action in the body, a center that was designed by the Creator to do a specific work. The man or the woman who has not developed the love center is abnormal, is living in only partial exercise of consciousness ...
To develop the love center, begin by affirming: From this time forth andforevermore I shall know no man after the flesh. I shall not see men and women as body and mortal thought. I shall always behold them with the eye of love, which sees only perfection. Ask daily that love be made alive in you, that it take up its abode at your magnetic center, and make it alive with strong, steady pulsations of spiritual energy.
Let your attention rest for a few moments every day at the heart center in your body, the cardiac plexus, while you declare silently: You are the abode of love. You are filled and thrilled with the mighty magnetic forces that love uses in doing its work. You are powerful and active to do only good, and you see only goodness and purity everywhere.
I’m not fond of long affirmations. It takes too much intellectual energy to remember them, and I want to get beyond the intellect. But Fillmore clearly suggests to locate your cardiac plexus, your heart center, and start affirming that it is open. Create your own affirmation or use a piece of his. Use all of it if you like. Affirm pure love, Divine Love, flowing through this center, and keep affirming until you feel something happen. He suggests that you pray, asking God to open your heart center and desire to feel that divine flow.
Taking the words of Fillmore’s first affirmation about seeing all men and women with spiritual eyes of love and seeing their perfection, we have a practice that can be adapted to daily life. Attempt to see each person you meet through eyes of love.
Finally, in meditation, visualize “strong, steady pulsations of spiritual energy” surging through your heart center. I have adapted this to affirming aloud the statement Feel love! while dropping my head as if driving a shaft of Light from my third eye center into my heart center. Then I slowly lift my head, rising on the energy released from the heart and begin the cycle again. When used over and over, this has been very effective in awakening heart energy. All of this provides a wealth of practices for exploring into the heart.
In Teach Us to Pray (pp. 18, 24), Fillmore teaches the practice for entering Silence:
By quieting the mental man, by passing through the discipline of intellectual silence, man arrives at the very threshold of God’s workshop, the threshold of Being. ...
When entering the silence, according to Hosea, the command is “take with you words, and return unto Jehovah.” After many centuries this instruction still stands approved today. To the metaphysician it means to close the eyes and ears to the without, to go within and hold the mind steadily on the word Jehovah until that word illumines the whole inner consciousness. Then, affirm a prayer such as Thy vitalizing energy floods my whole consciousness, and I am healed.
Think what the mighty vitalizing energy of God, released through Jesus Christ, really is. Penetrate deeper into God consciousness within you and hold the prayer steadily until you attain spiritual realization ....
Here Fillmore has outlined the basic practice of entering the Silence. First, quiet the mind in intellectual silence. Then, realize that what you seek lies beyond in a realm that is dynamic and alive but not intellectual. Center your mind on God, concentrate on an affirmation, meditate upon its deeper meaning and finally, break through to realization in a realm where the intellect is silent and the heart experiences the dynamic activity of God.
Starting Chakra Work
In Atom-Smashing Power of Mind (p. 24), Charles tells how he started chakra work:
It began when I was mentally affirming statements of Truth. Just between my eyes, but above, I felt a “thrill” that lasted a few moments, then passed away. I found I could repeat this experience with affirmations. As time went on I could set up this “thrill” at other points in my body and finally it became a continuous current throughout my nervous system. I called it “the Spirit” and found that it was connected with a universal life force whose source was the Christ.
An adaptation of this might be to affirm something like I see clearly! while concentrating on your third eye center. Do it until you feel the energy response. Then you could set about using affirmations at the other energy centers. Fillmore did and obviously got results. You could also begin to work with the descending and ascending currents of energy described by Cora Fillmore in “Christ Enthroned in Man” (The Twelve Powers, pp. 212-213).
It is Fillmore who first suggested using Jesus’ power statements over and over like a mantra until they penetrate your consciousness in a way that is beyond words.
In Talks on Truth (p. 177), he writes: “Have you kept the sayings of Jesus? Have you said to yourself in silence and aloud until the very ethers vibrated with its Truth, ‘I and the Father are one’?”
I’ve found that this type of practice can produce powerful results. Affirm Jesus’ power statement over and over, striving to feel what it must be like to be the Master who could speak these words. Declare Jesus’ statement aloud, then silently. Examine what effect this declaration has on your consciousness. What does it feel like to release the absurdity of your speaking these words and truly enter Jesus’ consciousness? We don’t understand what Fillmore was getting at until we immerse ourselves in the practice as he obviously did.
These examples of practices are obvious and easy to recognize. The Fillmore writings are full of them, especially affirmations to be used intensely to produce certain results. But not all reference to a practice is as straightforward. Sometimes we have to read between the lines.
Practicing Radiating Light
For instance, in Atom-Smashing Power of Mind, within the chapter entitled “Truth Radiates Light” (p. 81), Fillmore writes, “When the mind is lifted up in meditation and prayer, the whole body glows with spiritual light.”
Ask yourself, “How does he know this?” The answer lies in the realization that to know this to be true, Fillmore must have experienced the radiance of this spiritual Light while praying. It must have been a real spiritual experience that another spiritual explorer could pursue. And for us, it remains philosophy until we have stood on that same ground which enabled Fillmore to declare this with the authority only experience can give.
We could pray and meditate upon God, keeping an eye out for a sense of spiritual Light. Or we could turn it backwards and meditate on glowing in light to see where that would take us. It’s kind of like working on a math problem when you know the answer: the processes necessary to carry you to the appropriate result come into focus much more quickly.
Concentrate on the image of glowing in spiritual Light while in meditation and you will eventually break through to a higher realm where you experience yourself as a radiant Light Being without holding to any image.
Fillmore refers to spiritual experience involving light in a multitude of places, but in Talks on Truth (p. 152), he suggests: “The live cells have a little electric light at their center, and the dead ones are dark. In good health, there is a preponderance of the light cells; in ill health the dark cells predominate. Metaphysicians have found that man can light up the body cells by affirming life and intelligence for them.”
Fillmore goes on to recommend affirming “life” day and night to create health. This is an excellent practice, but if you are pursuing awareness of Light, you must do just that—put it into practice. Knowing it as a philosophical ideal is not enough. Take that image of light cells and dark cells, turn on the light in the dark cells, and see what you can do with it.
In meditation, we could go to areas of the body that are less than vibrant and concentrate on generating light in dark cells. We could go further by meditating on God’s celestial light of life descending through the top of our head and slowly moving downward through the whole body. As you work your way down, you will note that certain areas seem darker while other areas easily become radiant. Return to the dark areas and swirl the celestial Light through them until they finally begin to glow as brightly as the areas that readily light up. If you have trouble, imagine yourself going to the cellular level and instilling the spiritual Light one cell at a time until they all start to respond.
Every time you are captivated by an image or a concept that one of the mystics presents, realize that there is a spiritual experience which led to this revelation. You know the answer, so now it’s time to explore paths which could lead to the experience that spawned it. Create practices that revolve around this particular image or concept. Use these practices as vehicles for exploring the area outlined.
Eventually, you will find yourself standing upon ground that gives you the same experiential revelation which the mystics relayed. In that moment, you will not just agree with what they said. You will know with certainty why they said it. You will have the revelation in the same way they did, as if you were the first ever to discover it.
Concepts come and go. They are fun to play with, but hard times can take a beautiful concept you claim to own and crash it on the rocks. Experiential revelation changes your life forever. Nothing can steal it from you.
Your research begins with the study of the mystics. It can only progress when you follow experientially in their footsteps and become a mystic yourself.
© 2001, Robert L. Marshall
All rights reserved by the author.
Reprinted with permission.