Lesson 2 – Renunciation and Life
Sunday lesson given at Unity Center of Christianity in Baltimore, October 13, 2019.
Hi Friends -
This talk is the second of a six-part series based on Catherine Ponder’s Dynamic Laws of Prosperity. As I said last week, the talks are based on a theory I’ve been harboring for several years—that chapters two through seven of her book reflect a particular coupling and ordering of metaphysical truths from the twelve powers as taught by Charles and Cora Fillmore.
Last week’s lesson was commentary on Chapter 2 of The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity from the perspective of our faculties of Strength and Order. These faculties are foundational to how we present ourselves. Together, they form an axis from which our bodies are poised and from which we emit our body language. It’s subtle, but basic. Stillness (Strength) and composure (Order) are, in my view, the foundation for our bodily expression and so are the foundation for how we radiate.
This week’s lesson is commentary on Chapter 3 of The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity from the perspective of our faculties of Renunciation and Life. I will refer to Renunciation as Relaxation and Release, which is my sense of what Renunciation is really about.
Relaxation, Release and Life comprise our ability to evolve spiritually. Evolution is change and what was once there is now something else. The remains of what was once there is now a fossil, an empty shell, a skeleton. It is, to use Dr. Ponder’s analogy, a vacuum that has made way for evolution, a new form (or expression) of life.
Let’s start with Relaxation. Dr. Ponder reminds us several times in the chapter to “look up” and “don’t get panicky.” She is talking about rising to a higher state of consciousness.
It’s no wonder then that Frances Foulks begins her classic Unity book, Effectual Prayer, with relaxation. She understood that we prepare for prayer with stillness and order (last week’s lesson), but we begin the actual process of prayer with relaxation (this week’s lesson). In other words, since prayer is by definition going to a higher state of consciousness, it begins with relaxation. So does achieving a higher state of prosperity, according to Catherine Ponder.
The opposite of relaxation is stress and we know that moderate stress is beneficial. That is our clue that something more than relaxation is necessary to evolve. We must not only relax, we must release. It is by release that we achieve new life, a spiritual evolution.
The importance of release to spiritual growth is described in Jewish scripture with the story of Lot’s wife, who could not release the past. This caused her to “look back” and she became, to extend the metaphor, a “crystallized” pillar of salt, a fossil (Genesis 19:26). Jesus made the same point when he said “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
What is it that we release? The abstract answer is that we release that which no longer serves us. The many examples given include release of things and forgiveness of past events and people. But what we truly must release are thoughts—what Catherine Ponder calls “old, half-buried, hostile emotions and attitudes.”
Charles Fillmore explains why this is so in his chapter on Renunciation in The Twelve Powers of Man. He writes,
“Thoughts have a four-dimensional capacity, while things have but three. Yet thoughts are limited to the realm in which they function, and man’s consciousness, being made up of thoughts, is of like character. Thus it is possible to overload the mind, as one overloads the stomach. Thoughts must be digested in a manner similar to the way in which food is digested. An eagerness to gain knowledge without proper digestion and assimilation ends in mental congestion. The mind, like the bowels, should be open and free.” (p. 144).
Catherine Ponder shares many practical things about the importance of release to rising to a new life of prosperity:
- Why clutter can block the flow of good into our life (p. 42).
- How forgiveness can improve health (p. 43).
- What forgiveness really is (p. 45).
- Why we must actively forgive every day (p. 46-50).
- How using what we already have can bring prosperity (p. 50-52).
All these are essential things to know if we wish to understand how our powers can bring prosperity into our life.
However Dr. Ponder provides an astonishing formula at the end of the chapter. She writes, “In quietness and confidence is your strength when there is a need for greater prosperity, if you dare to lookup, bless and break the substance at hand in whatever ways seem best.” “Quietness and confidence” are faculties of Strength and Order, discussed last week.
The astonishing part, “Look up, bless and break,” is a faint echo of the metaphysical formula recited by Jesus at the last supper and repeated by Christians for two millennia at Holy Communion. The substance is blessed. We are to take and eat the body of Christ, which is broken for us. The important thing here is not about consecration of the bread. Rather it is about having the right consciousness to appropriate substance.
Spiritually, we are to rise in consciousness, give thanks for the substance (bread) that has been provided for us and give back to God that which is no longer necessary for us to retain.
It just may be that both Catherine Ponder’s lesson on the Vacuum Law of Prosperity and Charles Fillmore’s lesson on Renunciation are grounded in the same metaphysical truth given by Jesus to his disciples at the last supper. It just may be that what we know as “spiritual communion” is in essence Relaxation, Release and Life.
Next week we will proceed to chapter 4, The Creative Law of Prosperity.
Sunday, October 13, 2019