Unity Metaphysics 1 (Tan Book)
19 Understanding Faith
"Faith is the perceiving power of the mind linked with a power to shape substance. It is spiritual assurance, the power to do the seemingly impossible. It is a force that draws to us our heart's desire right out of the invisible spiritual substance. It is a deep inner knowing that that which is sought is already ours for the taking, the 'assurance of things hoped for.'" (Keep a True Lent 148)
"The office of faith is to take abstract ideas and give them definite form in substance. Ideas are abstract and formless to us until they become substance, the substance of faith." (Charles Fillmore Prosperity 43)
As we read these passages by Charles Fillmore regarding faith, we might be struck by the many resemblances these explanations have to what he also says in regard to imagination. We read that faith is "the perceiving power of the mind linked with a power to SHAPE SUBSTANCE." When he explains imagination he states that the imagination has the power to perceive ideas and form mental energy into thoughts and concepts. This may, at first, sound as though faith and imagination both do the same things. But there is a distinction. Imagination shapes mental energy only into thought forms. It creates only the mental patterns, it does not actually produce the finished form. Faith actually brings substance into manifested form. The work of faith has a more definite and much wider range than does imagination.
19B BLIND FAITH:
"Mighty things have been wrought in the past by those who had mere blind faith to guide them. To faith we now add understanding of the law, and our achievements will be a fulfillment of the promise of Jesus, 'He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do." (Jesus Christ Heals 72)
"The man who is grounded in faith does not measure his thoughts or his acts by the world's standard of facts. 'Faith is blind,' say people who are not acquainted with the real thing; but those who are in spiritual understanding know that faith has open eyes, that certain things do exist in Spirit and become substantial and real to the one who dwells and thinks and lives in faith. Such a one knows." (Jesus Christ Heals 106)
At one time blind faith served a useful purpose, because it represented a step forward from older types of religious superstition. Blind faith simply refers to the exercise of faith without the understanding of spiritual law. There is nothing wrong with this if that is where a person is in his development of consciousness. When faith is based on understanding, however, one's thoughts, words and efforts become truly creative.
19C UNDERSTANDING FAITH:
"The careful modern metaphysician does not arrive at his conclusions through speculation; he analyzes and experiments with the operations of his own mind until he discovers laws that govern mind action universally." (The Twelve Powers of Man 143)
"Everyone coming into conscious recognition of the mind of Spirit knows that he knows, without having learned through any of the avenues recognized by the intellectual man as necessary. It is not a system of reasoning from premise to conclusion, but a direct summing up of the whole case in omnipresent knowing." (Talks on Truth 72)
Charles Fillmore taught that anyone who seeks can find the principle of "omnipresent knowing" and tune in to it. The academic method of gaining knowledge is certainly one way of getting it, but Mr. Fillmore knew it is not the only way. This is especially true concerning knowledge of spiritual things. Divine Mind is omnipresent. We have a unique connection with that Mind through Christ and our own superconsciousness. When the connection is open from the conscious level of mind, pure knowing is gained by the individual. This is understanding, and when it is working with faith, a mighty power for good is in operation.
"We all have the thinking faculty located in the head, from which we send forth thoughts, good, bad, and indifferent. If we are educated and molded after the ordinary pattern of the human family, we may live an average lifetime and never have an original thought. The thinking faculty in the head is supplied with the secondhand ideas of our ancestors, the dominant beliefs of the race, or the threadbare stock of the ordinary social whirl. This is not faith-thinking. Faith-thinking is done only by one who has caught sight of the inner truths of Being, and who feeds his thinking faculty on images generated in the heart, or love center." (Keep a True Lent 113)
In this paragraph Mr. Fillmore describes the weak character of the ordinary stream of thought which passes through our minds with little or no effort on our part. This process can also be seen as "race consciousness running its course" through the channels of human minds. In the latter part of the paragraph he approaches the process of "faith-thinking," which he defines as thinking that is mostly generated in the love center.
19E FAITH-THINKING VS. INTELLECTUAL-THINKING:
"Faith-thinking is not merely an intellectual process, based on reasoning. The faith-thinker does not compare, analyze, or draw conclusions from known premises. He does not take appearances into consideration; he is not biased by precedent. His thinking gives form, without cavil or question, to ideas that come straight from the eternal fount of wisdom. His perception impinges on the spiritual and he knows." (Keep a True Lent 113)
In contrasting faith-thinking to intellectual thinking, Mr. Fillmore is not criticizing intellectual thinking, but rather revealing insights about faith-thinking. Only one who has experienced faith-thinking can really appreciate its validity and its beautiful results. We would do well to pay special attention to Mr. Fillmore's reference to "ideas that come straight from the eternal fount of wisdom." We are all connected to that eternal fount, and we can open our connection ONLY FROM THE CONSCIOUS LEVEL OF OUR OWN MIND.
19F DEVELOPING UNDERSTANDING FAITH:
"Spiritual understanding is developed in a multitude of ways; no two persons have exactly the same experience. One may be a Saul, to whom the light comes in a blinding flash, while to another the light may come gently and harmoniously. The sudden breaking forth of light indicates the existence of stored-up reservoirs of spiritual experience, gained from previous lives." (The Twelve Powers of Man 93)
"It is possible to have a reality and yet neither touch it nor smell it nor see it nor in any way come into consciousness of it in the outer realm. That is what faith is. It is the consciousness in us of the realities of the attributes of mind. Before we can have the substance of faith we must realize that the mind creates realities." (Jesus Christ Heals 101)
"Now this faith that we are all cultivating and striving for is built up through continuous affirmations of its loyalty to the divine idea, the higher self. You must have faith in your spiritual capacity." (Jesus Christ Heals 103)
We are told here that spiritual understanding may break forth in our mind in a manner similar to a sunrise, in a sudden breakthrough of light which was not there before. But, as Mr. Fillmore indicates, this does not come from "out of the blue." It comes as a result of previous effort, in some cases from efforts in previous lives. There is always a reality greater than the present existence of physical forms. Mr. Fillmore calls this "the realities of the attributes of mind." He is referring to DIVINE IDEAS. Faith that works with divine ideas is the most powerful expression possible.
19G BASIS FOR UNDERSTANDING FAITH:
"The Truth is, then:
- That God is Principle, Law, Being, Mind, Spirit, All-Good, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, unchangeable, Creator, Father, Cause, and Source of all that is;
- That God is individually formed in consciousness in each of us, and is known to us as 'Father' when we recognize Him within us as our Creator, as our mind, as our life, as our very being;
- That mind has ideas and that ideas have expression; that all manifestation in our world is the result of the ideas that we are holding in mind and are expressing;
- That to bring forth or to manifest the harmony of Divine Mind, or the 'kingdom of heaven,' all our ideas must be one with divine ideas, and must be expressed in the divine order of Divine Mind." (Charles Fillmore Christian Healing 16)
This is one of the most famous passages in the history of Unity publications. It may be pointed out here that this is an example of a listing of what we might call the "technicalities of metaphysical Truth." This is not all there is to Truth. In addition to the technicalities we also have the "essences of Truth" which are the feelings, the nuances, the dimension beyond the printed word. The essences of Truth seldom are expressed on a printed page, but are mostly conveyed through a spoken message, lesson, or meditation.
Transcribed by Sheri Owen on August 13, 2015.