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Discover the Power Within You—Eric Butterworth's 12-Week Course for Unity Centers

Lesson 12 — Beyond the End of Things

Text Reference: Chapter 17 and 18

Supplementary Reading:

  1. DYNAMICS FOR LIVING (Fillmore), p. 339
  2. LIFE IS FOR LIVING (Butterworth), P. 155
  3. ATOM-SMASHING POWER OF MIND (Fillmore), p 56, 160

Significant Concepts To Be Covered

  1. Reincarnation is not an absolute. It is an answer to some puzzling questions aoout life and death. It is the other side of the coin that says, “There is no justice.” We study it not as unequivocal principle, but as plausible conjecture.
  2. Discuss at length Jesus’ indirect references to the reincarnation process. You may add many more instances.
  3. The loss of the idea of Reincarnation and its related law of cause and effect may be the greatest single reason for the rise of what is called “Western Materialism.” (p. 217)
  4. Jesus taught the Divinity of Man, that man must ultimately unfold his potential. Reincarnation would seem to indicate a way in which this can be done.
  5. A good understanding of the Kingdom of God is imperative to the student of Truth. It is not a place to which we go or an experience in time. It is not somewhere to go, but something to be. It is the upper level of man’s total consciousness.
  6. Life is lived from within out. We frustrate our potential when we let our level of consciousness be determined by what people say, what conditions appear to be, what we read in the papers, etc. What happens around you is not important. What counts is what happens in you.
  7. Consider the true meaning of the word religion — the awareness of man’s unity with God. Consider how the concept of unity with God in ecclesiasticism deteriorated into unity with the institution. This led to the concept that man found unity with God only with and through the church and its clergy. This is why people like Emerson have called for a “first-hand and immediate experience of God.”
  8. Elaborate on the new ideal of the church — the place to learn the Truth or unity with God. Like any place of learning, it must make itself progressively unnecessary — help people to become within-dependent.
  9. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” We say, No! I must be my brother’s brother. Or even more, “I am my brother and my brother is me.” Implications of this are large relative to contemporary social problems.
  10. “You do not have to groan over what the world lacks; you are there to bring it what it needs ... flame up and shine,” This is an answer to those who are troubled over the state of the world. The Kingdom of God is within you — it may begin its unfoldment into the world right now, and it may find in you its starting point.

Additional material that may be helpful:

Talking with a young minister of a traditional church. He was debating the metaphysical concept within Christianity. When he was confronted with Jesus statement, “All that I do you can do and more, if you have faith,” He shook his head sadly, and said, “I just wish Jesus had never said that.” But He did say it, and there is no getting around it.

It is interesting that Jesus lived in a time when a prominent sect of Judaism, the Essenes, directly taught the idea of reincarnation. It is hardly likely that Jesus would have had no contact with these people or their views. You may have read much about the “Dead Sea Scrolls” which were found in recent years. These were the writings of an Essene Sect that were found in the ruins of an Essene monastery. The concept of reincarnation was clearly involved in these writings.

Now we have no proof that Jesus had any relationship with the Essenes. However, we find striking similarities between some of His ideals and those espoused by the Essenes. And, the Apocryphal book of Enoch, which was one of the more important scriptural texts of the Essenes, contains some Beatitude forms that strangely parallel Jesus’ Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. When Jesus’ concepts appear to be so radically different from the traditional views of His land, and now we find them to be so consistent with this sect of His time, doesn’t it seem to follow that He must have been aware of the Essenes and that He could have been influenced by their doctrines — of which reincarnation was fundamental.

Eugene O’Neill wrote a delightful play that was produced on Broadway many years ago, entitled, “Lazarus Laughed.” It is based on the Biblical story of Lazarus, who died and was raised from the dead by Jesus after three days in the tomb. After moving out of the limited framework of life that is compressed by time between the experience of birth and the “ultimate” of death, Lazarus comes to know the greatness and fullness of life. His mind is freed from the limitations of human judgment. He sees with an infinite perspective. When he returns from the dead and is faced with the strange paradox of seeing man’s puny affairs with a cosmic insight, it is all so funny that he laughs. Though he appears unfeeling and cold, he cannot contain himself from laughter at the way men worry and struggle and chase shadows in life.

Soliloquizing, Lazarus says: “Why are your eyes always fixed on the ground in weariness of thought, or watching one another with suspicion? Throw your gaze upward to eternal life! To the fearless and deathless! The everlasting! To the stars ... O brothers in God, weaving dance rhythms of eternal peace to the lonely drum of time, laugh thine everlasting laughter! Let it descend on man’s seared lips ... O brothers, sons of eternal life, celebrants of its flaming revel along the mountain ridges of infinity, let man feel thy ecstasy that he may evoke his own high freedom.”

Jesus had a technique for developing spiritual-mindedness. It was amazingly simple. He acknowledged Himself to be the son of God. The reason we have not seen this as a technique is that we have explained it as a justification of the old concept that Jesus was “very God.” He was special, God manifesting Himself in the form of man for awhile to teach us a lesson. But that wasn’t what He had in mind. Jesus didn’t see Himself as different from us — except that He was living more in the upper rooms of consciousness. He saw Himself as one who had made the great discovery about Himself and about life — which can be your discovery if you follow Him.

Thus, when Jesus called Himself the son of God — this was His technique. We must call ourselves the son of God. The attainment of the Christ Consciousness, the awakening of the depth within us, calls for nothing less on our part than a definite recognition of ourselves as sons of God right here and now. Not will be, not I can be, not maybe someday, but right now I am a son of God. Or, if you want to make it more emphatic, I am the son of God, for I am the activity of God that is manifesting itself at this point in time as me. I am the individualization of God. It is not enough to give intellectual assent to the idea. Claim your good and press your claim. Affirm: “I am a perfect child of God.”

When I was a small child, my mother impressed upon my mind the concept that “with God all things are possible.” I was taught to say in the face of problems of any kind, “God is my help in every need.” In those days I didn’t know about germs and complexes and heredity. My faith was uncomplicated ... and it worked. Perhaps you too can remember younger days of childlike faith. Jesus said, “Except ye turn and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” We should never become too sophisticated to make this “turn”, to pause and reflect upon the greatness of God in childlike faith. Even if a miracle is required, let us recall: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

No matter what the human problem may be, there is always that within you through which it can be met and overcome. “He that is within you is greater than he that is in your world.” Jesus said, “In the world ye have tribulation, but I have overcome the world.” Again, this was not an evidence of special powers, but the revealing of His technique. The problem fundamentally is in our faulty view of life. When we see from the basement, all obstacles are mountainous. When we go upstairs, “all things are possible.”

Jesus is saying, “As long as you live in the world of change there will be challenges. But challenges are opportunities for growth.” The word tribulation comes from the Latin “tribulun”, which refers to a threshing floor. Threshing is an important process of separating the wheat from the chaff. Many times we are threshed about in human experience because of negative beliefs. But when we overcome or “come over” the faulty mental attitude, the problem becomes a blessing, the end becomes a new beginning.

When a person rises above the conflicts of human experience and realizes that the Kingdom of God is within him, there is always an answer within him. He has but to stand still and know it ... and let it express. Dare to believe that through the God self of you, you can meet, rise above, and even be blessed by any challenge of life.

The wonderful thing about this concept of heaven is — It is where you are. There is always an upstairs. There is always a way. And ... The way out is in. The Kingdom of God is within you.