How to get a Divine Idea out of your mind and into your world
Hi Friends -
Most of us have a well-formulated notion that an Affirmation is a strong, positive declaration about the Truth of something or someone. But my reading of Emilie Cady’s essay on Affirmations says to me that Affirmations are more about decision than they are about declaration.
One indicator that this may be the case is how the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible has translated the Bible passage that opens this essay. In the King James version, the well-known passage reads “thou shalt decree a thing.” But the NRSV reads “You will decide on a matter.”
It is much easier to decree than it is to decide. Everyone wants to make declarations. Declarations are fun. They are positive pictures of prosperity. But the word “decide,” like other words which have the same linguistic root, such as homicide and suicide, is about cutting something off. Decisions aren't fun. To make a decision is to cut off a possible positive picture of prosperity in favor of another.
People who make more declarations than decisions are not prosperous. As leaders, they destroy our prosperity. Unfortunately, we often find them in Washington as politicians and we find them in churches on our boards of trustees.
Regardless, what I am offering here is an entirely new perspective on Affirmations. I do this with some trepidation, knowing that this essay has been studied every which way for over 120 years and that I may be out in the weeds on this. I'm open to your feedback and comments. I hope it is helpful to you.
Make no mistake, God is talking to you, all the time. So says Emilie Cady in her Lessons in Truth essay on Affirmations. She says, “The hunger which we feel is but the prompting of the Divine within us.” She then brings in the words of Paul, “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (I Cor. 2:9).
This hunger, or desire, which seems to come as a premonition or prompting, is a Divine Idea. And the purpose of our mind is not to store Divine Ideas but rather to process them. Divine Ideas need to be moved.
As noted in the introduction to chapter two, Thinking, Charles Fillmore said that “Thought is the movement of ideas in mind.” Further, to quote Emerson, “Man is an inlet and (when we’re healthy minded) may become an outlet to all there is in God.” If we are not an outlet to all there is in God then we soon become neurotic.
So how do we move ideas in our mind? That is what this essay on Affirmations is all about. We move them by Affirmation. It is a three-step process:
The first step is Recognizing the Divine Idea. We do so by affirming that “God is life, love, intelligence, substance, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence.” As she reminds us, we all to often do not see the gift that lies before us. Without recognizing the gift, the Divine Idea is not moved. She writes that “every particle of life, love, intelligence, power or of real substance in the universe is simply a certain degree, or, so to speak, a quantity of God made manifest or visible through a form.” Thinking begins with recognition.
The second step is Receiving the Divine Idea. We do that by affirming that “I am a child of God, and every moment His life, love, wisdom, power, flow into and through me. I am one with God, and am governed by His laws.” We must be open to receiving the Divine Idea and be willing to give way to its expression, or law. We do not use Divine Ideas; rather Divine Ideas use us. She says “Nothing but your own ignorance of how to receive, or your willfullness, can hinder your having unlimited supply.” Thinking continues with receiving.
The third step is Radiating the Divine Idea. We do that by affirming that “I am Spirit perfect, holy, harmonious. Nothing can hurt me or make me sick or afraid, for Spirit is God and cannot be hurt or made sick or afraid. I manifest my real Self through this body now.” Radiating the Divine Idea requires courage. We are the arms and hands of God. And without the courage to radiate, or let our light shine, the Divine Idea does not move. So after recognition and receiving of the Divine Idea, we must radiate it outward, becoming an “outlet of all there is in God.” Insofar as it is about moving Divine Ideas in mind, Thinking is finished with radiating.
These three steps—Recognizing, Receiving and Radiating—are the components of Affirmation; how we “assert positively that is is so.” They are the demand that calls on the supply. They are the way we “decree a thing” so that “it may be established unto thee.”
Which brings us to Emilie Cady’s fourth and final affirmation, which is to Rest upon the Divine Idea. We do that by affirming that “God works in me to will and to do whatsoever He wishes me to do, and He cannot fail.” Resting upon the Divine Idea is trusting that “We speak the word, we confidently affirm, but we have nothing to do with the ‘establishing’ of the words, or the bringing it to pass.” She quotes the well-known verse from Job, “Thou shall decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee,“ and she comments on this affirmation by saying “If we decree or affirm unwaveringly steadfastly, we hold God by His own unalterable laws to do the establishing or fulfilling.” Thinking is finished when, she says, “we fully commit to the Father to do, and affirm is done, we shall see accomplished.”
These four affirmations, taken as a process for “getting a Divine Idea out of your mind and into your world,” may sound somewhat like the Parable of the Sower. Divine Ideas are like seeds sown by the Sower. We need to do our part to see they survive their journey through our mind.
Personally, I hope so, because the four values embodied in the parable—Authenticity, Depth, Simplicity and Organic—make way for an effective Ministry in the Digital Age and are part of the Mission, Vision, Values and Strategy of TruthUnity Ministries.
Regardless, each affirmation—Recognizing, Receiving, Radiating and Resting—is a decision. Each one is an opportunity to move forward a Divine Idea through our mind or to sabotage and kill the idea. We decide. And, based on our decision, we will know “Established or Sabotaged, Which?”
Sunday, July 28, 2019
Lesson 4 — Affirmations
“Thou shalt make thy prayer unto Him and He shall hear thee and thou shalt pay thy vows. Thou shalt also decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee, and the light shalt shine upon thy ways.”—Job 22:27-28
1. Most people when they first consciously set out to gain a fuller, higher knowledge of spiritual things, do so because of a dissatisfaction—or perhaps unsatisfaction would be the better word—with their past and present condition of life. Inherent in the human mind is the thought that somewhere, somehow it ought to be able to bring to itself that which it desires and which would satisfy. This thought is but the foreshadowing of that which really is.
2. “Our wishes, it is said, do measure just
Our capabilities. Who with his might
Aspires unto the mountain’s upper height,
Holds in that aspiration a great trust
To be fulfilled, a warrant that he must
Not disregard; a strength to reach the height
To which his hopes have taken flight.”
3. The hunger we feel is but the prompting of the Divine within us which longs with an Infinite longing to fill us. It is but one side of the law of demand and supply, the other side of which is unchangeably, unfailingly the promise “whatsoever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye have received and ye shall have.” The supply is always equal to the demand; but there must first be a demand before supply is of use.
4. There is a place attainable by us where we see that our doing can cease because Spirit is the fulfillment of all our desires. We simply “be still and know” that all things whatsoever we desire are ours already; and this knowing it or recognizing it has power to bring the invisible God (or good) who is the innermost substance of all things, forth into just the visible form of good we want.
5. But in order to attain this place of power we must take the preliminary steps faithfully, earnestly, trustingly,—though these steps at first glance seem to us as useless and ridiculous as does the bead counting of the most ignorant and superstitious devotee of the Romish Church. [TruthUnity note: I apologize for this pejorative state3ment from Emilie Cady. I have chosen to leave it as it was originally written in order to be true to the text. I hope readers will be understand.]
6. To affirm anything is to assert positively—even in the face of all contrary evidence—that it is so. We may not be able to see how, by our simply affirming a thing to be true which to all human reasoning or sight does not seem to be true at all, we can bring that thing to pass; but we can compel ourselves to cease all quibbling and go to work to prove the rule each one for himself.
7. This beautiful Invisible Presence all about us and within us is the substance of every good which we can possibly desire. Aye, infinitely more than we are capable of desiring, for “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive of the things which God hath prepared.”
8. In some way which it is not easy to put into words—for spiritual laws cannot always be compassed in mortal words and yet they are none the less infallible, immutable laws which work with precision and certainty—there is power in our Word of Faith to bring all good things right into our everyday life.
9. We speak the word, we confidently affirm, but we have nothing to do with the “establishing” of the words, or the bringing it to pass. “Thou shall decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee,” it says. If we decree or affirm unwaveringly steadfastly, we hold God by His own unalterable laws to do the establishing or fulfilling.
10. They who have carefully studied spiritual laws find, that besides denying the reality and power of apparent evil, which denying frees them from it, they also can bring any desired good into their lives by persistently affirming it is there already. In the first instructions given to students, the Denials and Affirmations take a large place. Later on, their own personal experience and inward guidance lead them up to a higher plane where they no longer need rules.
11. The saying over of any Denial or Affirmation is a necessary self-training of mind which has lived so long in error and false beliefs that it needs this constant repetition of truth to unclothe it and clothe it anew.
12. As it is with the Denials so with the Affirmations. There are four or five great sweeping Affirmations of truth which cover a multitude of lesser ones, and which do marvelous work in bringing good to ourselves and to others.
13. 1st. God is Life, Love, Intelligence, Substance, Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence.
14. This you will remember from the first lesson, the Statement of Being. As you repeat the affirmation please remember that every particle of life of love, intelligence, power or of real substance in the Universe is simply a certain degree—or so to speak, quantity—of God made manifest or visible through a form. Try and think what is meant when you say God is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient.
15. If God is omnipresence, (All-Presence) and is All-Good, where is the evil? If He is omnipotence (All Power) what other power can there be working in the Universe?
16. Since God be Omnipotence and Omnipresence, put aside forever your traditional teaching of an adverse power, evil (Devil), who may any moment thwart the plans of Good, and bring you harm.
17. Do not disturb yourself about the appearances of evil all about you; but in the very presence of what seems evil stand true and unwavering in affirming God, the Good, is omnipresent, or All there is present. By so doing you will see the seeming evil all melt away as the darkness before the light or the dew before the morning sun, and good come to take its place.
18. 2nd. I am a child or manifestation of God, and every moment His life, love, wisdom, power flows into and through me. I am one with God and governed by His laws.
19. Remember while repeating this Affirmation that nothing, no circumstance, no person or set of persons can by any possibility interpose between you and the Source of your life, wisdom or power. It is all “hid with Christ” (the innermost Christ or Spirit of your being) “in God.” Nothing but your own ignorance of how to receive, or your willfulness, can hinder you having unlimited supply.
20. No matter how sick or weak or inefficient you seem to be, take your eyes and thoughts right off the seeming and turn them within to the Central Fountain there, and say calmly, quietly but with steadfast assurance, “This appearance of weakness is false. The life, the wisdom the power which is God is now flowing into my entire being and out through me to the external,” and you will soon see a marvelous change wrought in you by the realization this spoken word will bring to you.
21. You do not change God’s attitude towards you one iota by either importuning or affirming. You only change your attitude toward Him who is always on the giving hand. By thus affirming you put yourself into harmony with the Divine law which is always working towards your good and never towards your harm or punishment.
22. 3rd. I am Spirit perfect, holy, harmonious. Nothing can hurt me or make me sick or afraid, for Spirit is God and cannot be hurt or made sick or afraid. I manifest my real Self through this body now.
23. 4th. God works in me to will and to do whatsoever He wishes me to do, and He cannot fail.
24. Shall inert matter, either of the body or of circumstances, thwart the Almighty? Surely not. [TruthUnity note: this previous sentence was quickly removed from subsequent editions. I suspect that decision was related to the change in the second denial in the chapter on Denials. Is matter inert?] Affirming His mind working both to will and to do makes us will only the good; and He, the very Father in us, doeth the works, hence there can be no failure. Whatsoever we fully commit to the Father to do and affirm is done we shall see accomplished.
These then are the four comprehensive Affirmations.
25. 1st. God is Life, Love, Intelligence, Substance, Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Omniscience.
26. 2nd. I am the child or manifestation of God; and His life, love, wisdom, power flows into and through me every moment. I am one with God and am governed by His law.
27. 3rd. I am Spirit, perfect, holy, harmonious. Nothing can hurt me or make me sick or afraid; for Spirit is God, and God cannot be sick or hurt or afraid. I manifest my real self now.
28. 4th. God works in me to will and to do whatsoever He wishes done by me: hence I cannot fail.
29. Commit each one of these Affirmations to memory, so that you may repeat them in the silence of your own mind any where and at any time. Strangely will they act to deliver you out of the greatest external distresses, places where no human help avails. It is as though the moment you assert emphatically (but silently, to avoid controversy) your oneness with God the Father, there is instantly set in motion all the Power of Omnipotent Love to rush to your rescue. And when It has undertaken for you you can cease from external ways and means, and boldly claim “It is done. I have the desires of my heart.” “He openeth His hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing” said the Psalmist.
30. In reality God is forever in process of movement toward us that He may manifest more fully Himself, All-Good, through us; our affirming, backed by faith, is the grip which connects the car of our conscious human need with the ever-moving cable of His power and supply.
31. They who have claimed their birthright by thus calmly affirming their oneness with God, know how still they can be from external planning and efforts after they have called into operation this Marvelous Power by affirmation. It has healed the sick, brought joy in place of mourning, literally opened prison doors and bid the prisoner go free, without one particle of human effort or assistance.
32. Understand it is not necessarily using just this form of words that has availed in each individual case; but it has been the denying of apparent evil, and in spite of all contrary evidence affirming the good to be all there is; affirming our oneness with God’s omnipotent Power to accomplish even when there were no visible signs of His being present, that wrought the deliverance. In one case within my knowledge, just simply claiming “God is your defense and deliverance” for a man who had been five years an exile from home and country through a series of deceptions and machinations which for depth and subtlety were unparalleled, opened all the doors wide and restored the man to his family within a month, without one single effort or step taken from the human side; and, that, too, after five years of the most strenuous human efforts of lawyers, etc., having failed utterly to bring the truth to light or to release the prisoner.
33. Some minds are so constituted as to get better results from repeated use of denials; others from using Denials less and Affirmations more.
34. No definite rules can be laid down as to which will work most effectually in each individual case to eradicate apparent evil and bring into manifestation the good. But some little hints can be given which may be helpful.
35. Denials have an erasive or destructive tendency. Affirmations build up, and give strength and courage and power. People who remember vividly and are inclined to dwell in their thoughts on the pains, sorrows and troubles of the past or present need to deny a great deal; for Denials cleanse the mind, and blot out of memory all seeming evils and unhappiness, so that they become as a far-away dream. Again, Denials are particularly useful to those who are hard or intolerant, or aggressively sinful; to those who, as a result of success, have become overconfident, thinking the mortal is sufficient of itself for all things; to the selfish and to any who do not scruple to harm others.
36. Affirmations should be used by the timid and those who have a feeling of their own insufficiency: those who stand in fear of other minds; those who “give in” easily; those who are subject to anxiety or doubt, and those who are in positions of responsibility. The people who are in any way negative or passive need to use affirmations more; the ones who are self-confident or unforgiving need denials more.
37. Deny evil, affirm good. Deny weakness, affirm strength. Deny any undesirable condition, and affirm the good you desire. This is what Jesus meant when he said “whatsoever ye desire when you pray believe (or claim or affirm) ye have received and ye shall have.” Mark 11:24. It is what is meant by the promise “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon” (or that you stand squarely and firmly upon) “that have I given you.”
38. Practice these Denials and Affirmations, silently on the street, in the cars, when you are wakeful during the night, anywhere, everywhere: and it will give you a new and to you strange mastery over external things and over yourself. If there comes a moment when you are in doubt as to what to do stand still and affirm “God in me is infinite Wisdom, I know just what to do.” “For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist.” Do not get flustered, nor anxious but depend fully and trustingly on your principle; and you will be surprised at the sudden inspiration which will come to you as to the mode of procedure.
39. So always this principle will work in the solution of all life’s problems—I care not what the form of detail is—to free us, God’s children, from all undesirable conditions and to bring good into our lives, if we will take up the simple rules and use them faithfully until they lead us into such realization of our God-hood that we need no longer depend upon them.