Text Reference: Chapter 7
- DYNAMICS FOR LIVING (Fillmore), p. 63
- WHAT ARE YOU? (Shanklin), p. 22
- SERMON ON THE MOUNT (Fox), p. 50
Significant Concepts To Be Covered
- Discoveries in the world around us are really self-discoveries. Man does not create the growing body of knowledge. Man is gradually unfolding from the superconscious mind within him the answers to the mysteries of the ages. Mind is the bridge between man and the Infinite, and the important element in religion is not simply fervency and feeling, but man’s thoughts and attitudes.
- The salt of Truth can change the world, but salt that has lost its savor (Truth accumulated as an intellectual possession) is good for nothing. The “overread and underdone” statement comes from Ernest Wilson. It is an important point to be considered here. When you are seasoned with the salt of Truth, your body of knowledge suddenly reveals a new dimension,
- Edgar Guest once wrote a poem entitled, “I would rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” This is the significant point here. The light you are to shine does not mean the Truth ideas you espouse. The emphasis is upon converting concepts that intellectually excite you into energies that animate you. Then what you are will transcend what you try to say, and oven make it unnecessary, and at times, inadvisable.
- Jesus did not destroy law, but He fulfilled it on a higher level of consciousness. The miracles that followed were miracles only to the “mystified.” Jesus knew that the Spirit in man is a miracle-working power. We do not experience this power because we frustrate our potential through our attitudes.
- Get the idea of Jesus breaking the commandments and teaching others to do so — breaking down the crystallized creeds to know the Truth within them. Anyone who makes the break-through” from dogma to consciousness may not have achieved all his goals in life, but he is “at least” on the right path.
- The important concept hero is in the illustration of the trellis. A trellis is intended to support the growth of a plant. A religious practice (righteousness) is a discipline for growth. But if we do not plant and nurture the rose, the trellis is inconsequential. Jesus used the word righteousness to imply right-use-ness of spiritual law. Affirmations of Truth can be a discipline to keep the mind stayed on God, but if parrotted constantly, they become an object rather than a means of worship.
- In his comments about the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” — Jesus gives one of his most important lessons — that murder or stealing or even adultery are acts of thought. We break the mental law, or break ourselves upon it, every tine we think in negative ways. Your thought is your life. Someone may be annoying, but when he becomes annoying to you, it is your thought about him that is the problem. Change this thought and you can change the whole experience.
- Agree with thine adversary. In every experience there is always a time when ultimate problems exist merely as seed possibilities. Jesus says, don’t procrastinate. Whenever you begin to experience adverse feelings, deal with the feelings immediately. If you don’t the fire will spread. Agree quickly — get into a state of love and non-resistance. Dispose of the adverse thought and agree with God, with Truth. We can’t always control what happens to us. But we can control what we think about what happens — and what we are thinking is our life at any particular moment.
Added Commentary Relevant to Chapter 7:
W. H. Bragg says, “We have come into possession of a wonderful principle, which unites all forms of radiation and all forms of matter. We may rightly speak of light as constituting the Universe.” (“The Universe of Light”) At this point, the scientist and the Truth seeker come very close together. The outer light and the inner light may well be different aspects of the same thing. We cite Jesus’ amazing experience, as witnessed by Peter, James, and John, when Ho was praying on the mountain. The disciples reported that Jesus was transfigured before then and that “His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as light.”
We do not know much about light, but there is a lot of stored-up sunlight in the earth, and there is a lot of spiritual light stored up in man, in you. Go up into the mountain of high yearning and introspection and “open out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape.” “Ye are the light of the world ... Let your light shine.”
Someone may give you a good opportunity to be angry, but he does not and cannot cause your anger. If you react in anger, it is because this is the way you have chosen to meet the experience. When you are in tune with the Infinite Source of love and peace, nothing can disturb the calm peace of your soul. If you do become disturbed, it is a sign that there is a break in your inner atunenent. The unjust act is the problem of the person who commits it, but your reaction is your problem, the reflection of your state of mind. Never forget: “The incident is external, the reaction is your own.”
In talking about dealing with the adverse thought in the mind. Emmet Fox uses the illustration of the hot cinder that falls on your sleeve. Brush it away and the experience is over. Leave it on complainingly, and you will get burned. But in the end you must remember that you were burned only by your negligence in not taking action immediately.
Emmet Fox: “You think, and your thoughts materialize as experience; and thus it is, all unknown to yourself as a rule, that you are actually weaving the pattern of your own destiny, here and now, by the way in which you allow yourself to think, day by day and all day long. It is altogether in your own hands. Nobody but yourself can keep you down. Nobody else can involve you in difficulty or limitation. Neither parents, nor wives, nor husbands, nor employers, nor neighbors; nor poverty, nor ignorance, nor any power whateever can keep you out of your own when you have once learned how to think.
Ella Wheeler Willcox:
“You never can tell what your thoughts will do,
In bringing you hate or love;
For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
Are swifter than carrier doves.
They follow the law of the universe —
Each thing must create its kind.
And they speed o’er the track to bring you back
Whatever went out from your mind.”
Sydney Harris: “A serenity of spirit cannot be achieved until we become the masters of our own actions and attitudes. To let another determine whether we shall be rude or gracious, elated or depressed, is to relinquish control over our own personalities, which is ultimately all we possess. The only true possession is self-possession.”
George Santayana: “Miracles are so called because they excite wonder. In unphilosophical minds any rare or unexpected thing excites wonder, while in philosophical minds the familiar excites wonder also. Each morning the sunrise excites wonder in the poet, and the order of the solar system excites it every night in the astronomer. Astronomy explains the sunrise; but what shall explain the solar System? The universe, which would, explain everything, is the greatest of wonders, and a perpetual miracle.” (“The Idea of Christ in the Gospels”)
“It is not our heavy thinking that shapes our characters, but the quiet attention of the mind to the surrounding world day after day throughout our lives. Men are influenced more by their common, everyday thinking than by any rare intellectual feat such as writing a great poem or painting a famous picture. Feats of thinking may create reputation, but habits of thinking create character.” (Editorial, “Alliance Witness”)