Text Reference: Chapter 4
- LESSONS IN TRUTH (Cady) Chapter 2
- JESUS CHRIST HEALS (Fillmore) Chapter 2
- KNOW THYSELF (Lynch) Chapter 2
- DYNAMICS FOR LIVING (Fillmore) Chapter 2
- HONEST TO GOD (Bishop Robinson), Chapter 3
- MEISTER ECKHART (Raymond Blakney Translation), paperback. Harper Torohbook
Significant Concepts To Be Covered
- The need to get a larger thought of God, to know that one doesn’t necessarily get the consciousness of God by saying he is a believer. Discuss the “God is Dead” idea in a completely positive manner. The God concept that prevailed through ages past, had to die, so that we could find ourselves in the Presence. Emerson says, “When we have broken with the God of tradition and ceased to worship the God of our intellect, then God fires us with His presence.”
- It is well to consider the evolution of the God concept through the Old Testament, and to point out that much of our Christian tradition has been influenced by the Old Testament God who loved and hated, blessed and cursed, created and destroyed.
- On the matter of the formulation of the “great historic creeds”, such as the Holy Trinity, etc., don’t make an issue of these with the view of invalidating them — for they can have and have in Unity been given interesting metaphysical meanings. But try to get and present an objective thought about the development of Christian theology. If you have access to a copy - read Ralph Waldo Trine’s, “THE MAN WHO KNEW”, chapter 21. See this as the cornerstone of the formal religion that evolved about Jesus.
- Give serious thought to par. 2 on p. 32 — the idea of God as Spirit — which was not a definition but a guide to direct our thoughts away from trying to define or describe or localize God. This is absolutely imperative. Fillmore’s JESUS CHRIST HEALS (Chapter 2) deals with this admirably. “God does not love anybody or anything. God is the love in everybody and everything.” This is a subtle but significant point in getting Jesus’ concept of God.
- “God is not in you in the sane sense that a raisin is in a bun. God is in you as the ocean is in a wave. The wave is nothing more nor less than the ocean expressing as a wave.” Discuss this as length. This leads to the unity concept. Unity means one, not two. As long as we are dealing with man and God, we have a dualism. Note how we refer, out of habit, to — God speaks to me, God helps me, God works for me, God lives in me, etc. All this is a great evidence of a sincere faith, but it usually is a carryover of an old anthropomorphic God or an outside force. God doesn’t act upon us, God is the action principle in us. And that principle is a more real part of us than the self that is acted upon. The self-livingness of God, the individualization of God, the expression of God — all these are terms that should be understood and used - to build the consciousness of God, not as person or even power outside of us, but of the greater dimension of us.
- Of course the right understanding of God must be correlated with a new attitude of prayer. This is dealt with in a later lesson, but it is appropos at this time. Prayer is not for God, but for you. Deal with this at length.
- God and the war, God and human conflicts — Why doesn’t God intervene? These are timely and relevant questions. Remember to hold in mind through all of this - the Divinity of Man. God is the level of Infinite potential in all men. War comes out of the failure of men to let their light shine. But God remains in them their potential for good, for peace. Remember in the Parable of the Prodigal Son - the Father (or God-self) did not go out and prevent the son from “knowing want”. In a very real sense, he cannot. For he can only do for us what he can do through us. First of all, man must come to himself. War is the “far country” experience of modern times. Man must come to himself. But the Father Presence is the potential for peace, for reason, for-love in all disputants, on both sides of battle lines and conference tables, and in all peoples. God can stop wars in the hearts of individuals, when they come to themselves and “let God be God in you” (Eckhart). Then individuals, acting from the highest within them, will stop the wars amofig men and nations. To pray for victory in war is never right or justified, no matter how worthy the cause - for it is still an attempt to gain divine support for victory over people. The divine of each individual is the power to gain victory of his own human self — prayer for this victory is the only kind justified.
- The cosmic idea of unity outlined on p. 36 and 37 is vital to the understanding of the Divinity of Man. This is the key to world peace, the awareness of unity with God and unity with fellow man. Do some reading in Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” to get the consciousness of the cosmic view. You will find much of this in Meister Eckhart too.
- The Grace of God. On p. 38 and 39, we have an extremely simple articulation of the idea. See grace, not as a special dispensation in God, but as an explanation of the higher working of divine law. If we are not careful on this point, grace can lead us very subtly into a dualistic concept where it becomes a kind of divine favor sought and granted by the God “out there.”
Added Commentary Relevant to Chapter 4:
“To guage the soul we must guage it with God, for the Ground of God, and the Ground of the soul are one and the same.” (Eckhart)
“The knower and the known are one. Simple people imagine that they Should see God, as if He stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one in knowledge.” (Eckhart)
Once a little girl was observed sitting on the floor furiously drawing a picture with colored crayons on a big sheet of cardboard. Her mother asked her, “What are you doing?” The girl answered, “I am drawing a picture of God.” The shocked mother remonstrated, “But nobody knows what God looks like.” The little girl wet her crayon in her mouth and dashed it again at the paper as she replied, “They will when I get through.”
“Great throngs of people stream into churches, temples and synogogues because this is the way to get close to God. It would usually be considered self-evident that God is present in a church but not in a theater, that He works through the holy man, but not through the sinner, from the standpoint of science, however, if God is limited in manifestation, it must follow that He is limited in potentiality, in power.
“The Old Testament talks of God as having human form, human qualities, human limitations. It speaks of God’s arm. His mouth. His life. His eyes, He is said to move, to wrestle, to repent of an action, to be jealous and gracious, to love and hate. The careful student will see the progressive realization of a larger thought of God through the Patriarchs, the Judges and the Prophets of the Old Testament. This unfolding ideal cultimates in the “Father abiding in me” of Jesus’ idealism, the God in whom “we live and move and have our being.” But such statements have been rare.” (cut out of original manuscript of DISCOVER THE POWER WITHIN YOU)