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EBUP1: An Affair of the Heart

Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #1

Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — An Affair of the Heart


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The affair of the heart, sounds like a romantic involvement, a classic affair de coeur. Actually we’re thinking of a love affair with God. It may sound sort of trite, naïve. I want you to think about that today because it may even ring true to you.

You may think of love as something that goes between two people. However love is not an emotion. Love is not sensual. Love is not sex. It may use these elements of the person as a conduit to which it natural flows in the process of communion, but the communion is, or should be a transcendent thing. Somewhere it says love is not the plaything of human volition. It’s the activity of divine law.

The only definition for God in the entire bible, we’re told, God is love. Since we were created in the image and likeness of God. We were created in and out of love. It does not say God is loving or God has love, but God is love. He’s talking about an omnipresent universal force that flows ceaselessly within us, with an amazing support. Behold I have loved you with an everlasting love.

Then he becomes aware of this flow of love and activity of God in him. He feels a sense of yearning, hungering to return home as it were. He accepts this love in a personal way. He finds that the only way to achieve peace and fulfillment in life, have a continuing affair with God, an affair of the heart. He comes back to renew his oneness, to accept this divine power. When we talk about God, it’s a strange thing but all of us have been conditioned in some way, many different ways, to a concept of God. Anyone who has ever in his early days tried to draw a picture of God invariably has drawn a picture of man, a huge man up in the sky somewhere. We’ve all gone through that period in our life. Many of us here, we’ve let that go. We have a good insight of God today.

The idea of God is always an enigma to man. It’s been something that’s beyond words, beyond thought, beyond meaning, beyond perception. It’s always something out there, something separate and apart. You may have read the piece in the current Life Magazine, The Face of God. They had little essays featured by people telling about what God means to them and what God has done for them. The thing that I feel in conscience as I read this, I’m intrigued by the tremendous influence of anthropomorphism, the person of God.

You find practically no sense of the presence of God in this piece. It’s pretty much the same as we find everywhere. When we grasp the idea of the presence that is all present, prayer takes on a whole new meaning. The thought of prayer is something that you say and something that you do to God or for God. It’s something you ask God for, for you. We get the concept of the presence of God, that he’s present, when God is not somewhere. God is a wholeness we experience in consciousness that enables us to live with the license of the higher order of beings, as Thoreau says, to draw on the highest levels of our consciousness.

For God in a very real sense, it’s the wholeness of you, the allness of you, an activity of the whole universe expressing at the point where you are. It’s not in the human mind to really understand this. When we take what I call the Unity concept, the Unity principle. The whole of God is present in all it’s entirety, at every point in space at the same time. The whole of God, present in its entirety at every point in space. The whole of God is present in you, as you, as the God-self of you, the allness of you.

We talk about love, divine love. Divine love is not a reservoir of love somewhere that comes to you in dabs and dribbles. Divine love is the allness of love, just as incomprehensible as the force of gravity. You can’t find gravity anywhere. It doesn’t exist somewhere. There’s not a big pool of it somewhere that is doled out in little bits to hold you in your place in the earth. Gravity is an all-knowing, all-encompassing universal presence that is everywhere present.

So with love, so with God. There’s a little exercise that some of you have experienced with me in times past, but if you have, it won’t hurt you to do it again. For those of you that have not experienced this, make it a new insight into trying to find an activity that we call God. I want you to close your eyes for a moment. We’ll have an experience in visualization. To make this work for you, you must be very naïve, very childlike, very simple. Just let the words move you as you visualize that which was suggested.

We’re sitting here in this auditorium, surrounded by loving people, in a friendly atmosphere. You’re sitting next to someone or someone nearby you. You’re confident that these are all people that are loving and friendly. We’ll have you do something. When I snap my fingers, I need you to see all the people in the room disappear. You’re here alone. All the people will disappear, and you’re alone in an empty auditorium.

When I snap my fingers again, the auditorium will disappear and you’ll be sitting on the ground, outside. Sitting on the ground, think of the great Christmas tree in the square out in front, where they’re building the Lincoln Center. The buildings of the city off in the distance, in this beautiful day.

As I snap my fingers, the ground beneath you, and the whole earth is going to disappear. Suddenly you’re in space. You’re not falling. You’re very secure. Off in the distance, you see the moon. Now the moon disappears. You see the sun. The sun disappears. Now you’re in space. Look out at that, down and around you, in all directions. See a great blanket of stars, pinpoints of light. You see them in every direction, a whole orb circled around you.

The stars are friendly, projecting little rays of light to you. I think of the words of Plotinus. He says the whole universe rushes, streams and pours into you from all sides, as you stand quiet. You stand quiet and you accept this tremendous blessing coming from all sides. You suddenly become aware that you’re at the center of the universe. At the center of God. It’s all present where you are. Let the impact of this register in your consciousness, and let’s return.

The sun returns. The moon returns. The earth returns and we’re sitting on the ground at Lincoln Center. Avery Fisher Hall returns and you’re seated in your seat here, in a lonely auditorium. No one else here but you. All the people come back. We’re home. Just feel grateful about that. You can open your eyes now.

Did it work? The impact from this should be, if you stop and think about it, you didn’t go anywhere. You didn’t go anywhere. You didn’t leave this place. Everything disappeared from around you, but you were still where you are. In other words, when we talk about praying to God or praying, having a meditation or whatever, it’s not something you go to. It’s not something you do, something you say. It’s a matter of taking the, like peeling the leaves of an onion, peeling the covers from you, the barriers, the masks, letting it all go.

You realize that you were always as the visualization indicated, at the center of the universe. Always surrounded by supportive forces, love, understanding. In a friendly universe, in a friendly experience. A lot has been given to the idea of meditation as an aspect of prayer, or meditation for its own self. It always seems to me that meditation, as well as much as prayer, is over-complicated. The technique, there’s a lot of things we do, phrases we express, positions of the body that we take, visualizing lights in our head and all sorts of things happening, feeling this and that and the other thing.

Meditation may be that to some persons, but you have your own experience. The great Indian and yoga master, Aurobindo, whose followers developed all sorts of techniques in meditation, many of which are in conflict with one another. Aurobindo said “It’s not necessary to teach you how to meditate. If you’re honest and sincere, you’ll find the way for yourself.” It is simply a matter of experiencing yourself at the deeper level of being, where you are a spiritual being, a whole creature.

We talk about getting centered in ourselves, a phrase we use often. What does this mean? Do we go into ourself? Go into someplace within us or above us or transcendent to us? No, you don’t go anywhere. To get centered, you simply open your eyes or close your eyes, however you want to look at it, turn away from the experience of the world. Jesus said judge not according to appearances, but judge righteous judgment.

It’s not setting things right. It’s not making something happen. It’s seeing things rightly. Sometimes to go to God, to reach for God, pray for God to do something for you. Be still and know that I am God. Not that you’re all of God or you’re a God with great power and ego. But you are the activity of God expressed at this point as you. When you know that, the whole idea of meditation becomes simple. It’s a matter of closing your eyes, whatever way you can get yourself separated from the human, the physical, the sensual, the emotional, and experience yourself for a moment as the spiritual being, spirit being you.

This consciousness is great freedom, great insight, great love, great understanding. There’s another little illustration that can be helpful, at least it is to me. Think of a wave in the ocean. What is a wave? You look at it carefully, you say, well it’s a body of water in the ocean. It’s a form in the ocean that moves from place to place. You can stand on a pier and watch the flotsam go by. You see the thing is, it doesn’t go by, it stands still. The wave goes by, and flotsam is simply bobbed up above the wave and stays wherever it is. So what is a wave?

A wave is a form of energy that moves through the ocean. The water that makes up the wave at any given moment is the ocean expressing itself as a wave. The energy is the reality of it. The wave moves on. The energy is the vital force that is ever present. What are you? You’re the activity of God expressing as you, wherever you are. The whole of God, the allness of God. You realize this, it gives you a whole new insight in prayer.

Prayer is not reaching for God, trying to get ourselves across to the infinite, telling God of our needs and troubles. Letting all that go, because if you’re the activity of God expressing as you, if you’re the spiritual being, the whole creature, and the whole of God expressing in you at every point in space, every moment in time, then you don’t have to tell God what your needs are. Jesus said the Father knows the things you have need of before you even ask him.

It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Activity of God then is the wholeness of you present where you are, always, with one desire. To perfect itself and project itself in and through you, in a very real sense. God in you is the God-self of you. You never get closer to God by just closing your eyes and being still, letting the activity support you. It’s always present. You work with, you’re engaged in a creative project and you’re casting about for ideas. The presence of God is present in the creative forum, love.

You’re driving in traffic and you see a critical situation coming up, that calls for a quick maneuver, a quick action. You know that the protection and presence of the activity of God is present wherever you are. You can know it, tune in on it and experience it. You have a physical problem. It’s harassing you and worrying you, something painful, discomforting. You know that the activity of God life is present in you, as you, has one desire for you.

We’ve gone through stages where we’ve covered the old traditional idea of the will of God as being something separate from our consciousness. We hope it’s God’s will. Sometimes we ask in our prayer time, if it be God’s will. It is right for you if it deals with your wholeness. If it deals with your success, deals with the fulfillment of the ideals of your life, it’s right for you. And it’s God’s will for you.

God’s will is a ceaseless longing of the creator, seeking always to perfect himself in that which he’s created. Ceaseless longing of the creator. It’s a hunger in the very activity of God. A hunger, a thirst, a drive, a yearning to perfect itself in you. More than anything else healing, spiritual healing, is a matter of getting still, letting go of all the barriers, the earth, the moon and the sun. You find yourself at the center of life, at the center of the universe, so supported. Healing is trying to [inaudible 00:19:39] it to you. Letting go of the frustrations, the masks that you use, accepting yourself as you are in the spirit, oh, complete, perfect. Letting it happen, as Olga often says, “just say yes to it.”

The thing about it is, the great need in prayer is always to get still and get ourselves in the consciousness in which we’re continually supported from the outside. It’s not something you do. I have a person who says, “Well if I have a meditation, what do I do? What do I say? What am I supposed to feel?” That’s where most of us are, in human consciousness. We live in a sensual relationship with our environment. We sense things. We smell things. We touch things. We feel things.

When you’re in meditation, what do you touch? What do you do? What do you say? You don’t say anything. Don’t touch anything. You don’t try to do anything. It’s not doing. It is not doing. That’s kind of redundant, isn’t it? It’s not doing. Rather it’s not doing. Not trying to do anything. Make sense of letting go, just experiencing, feeling, recharging. It’s a great illustration of a battery, sitting at a battery charger. The battery might ask what do I do? Just accept the charge. Let it happen.

If we can be as naïve and as simple as that, we’d find that most of our difficulties would be resolved instantly, even before they happen. If we could just get that sense of trust in the universe. We say at our retreats all the time, trust the process. There’s a process to the activity of the infinite. It’s always working in you, always seeking to inspire you, always seeking to give you the right idea, to give you the right direction, the right strength for your body, right peace for your relationships, if you could just trust the process.

There’s an aspect of prayer that we throw all of our attention to, saying the words. All the way from words we got out of a prayer book, words we get out of a Daily Word, words that are words that we call affirmations or treatments, speaking the word and so forth. It’s a very vital part of prayer. Where we get lost in this whole experience, we tend to lose sight of the fact that the whole of God is present where we are. The prayer is not putting on a performance for God. It’s not saying the right words. We say them enough times, God will say okay.

I’ve heard teachers say, this is an affirmation that will help you. Say it over 20 times, in a loud voice, and it will come true. I’m a child of God. I’m a child of God. I’m a child of God. I’m a child of God. I’m a child of God. Jesus said use not vain repetitions. Enter into your inner chamber and close the door. Pray to the Father in secret. Wordless silence. What about the words, what are they for? The Bible says speak the word and it will be done.

You see, as long as we’re saying the words, out of our human consciousness, we’re going to make something happen. Speaking a word of healing for a friend, speaking a word prosperity for ourselves and our business, speaking a word of peace for the world is something we’re trying to do out here. We’re trying to do it out of a human consciousness.

Words have no power of themselves. That’s shocking to many who have been conditioned to the idea that words are the most powerful agents in the world. Words have no power. But the word is imbued with power, of the consciousness in which you say it. The word becomes an instrument, a conveyance, a channel through which tremendous things can happen.

The important thing is, your word must be rooted and grounded in the activity of the God within you. So all this before you have any sort of a prayer, it’s important to go within. Let go of the desire you have, the need, the project that’s so important to you, the words you’re speaking for them, let it all go for a moment. Just get still. View yourself at the center, the whole supported universe around you, filling you, thrilling you with energy, creativity, healing power.

In that consciousness, speak the word. You don’t have to speak any loud series of phrases and statements. You don’t have to harangue God, pleading and supplicating, being aggressive, all the various things that we’re told to do. You speak the word, and the word goes forth, as I said, like a feather on the breeze. The word is not for God. The word is for you, to get in tune.

When you get in tune with the divine force, as Jesus said, the word is not my word. It is the word of Him who sent me. Prayer is effective if you get yourself tuned into the power, project the power, not as your words, not as your desires, your ideas, but giving way to the desires and ideas of the divine force within you. There’s nothing separate from you. It’s your own God self, your own scripture idea that’s the transcendent force that goes with you, and you speak the word in that consciousness.

You go forth with power. Some of you may remember my illustration of the archer. The archer stands in the firing line, with the target off in the distance, 100 yards away. He has a bow in his left hand, in his right hand he takes the arrow, he fixes it on the string, carefully places it at the aiming point, and the goal is to send the arrow to the target. What’s he do? Throw it out? How far can you throw an arrow? You ever tried it? Not more than eight or ten feet.

How do you make an arrow go 100 yards with any accuracy? Take aim and you pull the arrow back, back, back, back, back, back, back, back, back, then you have the tremendous energy force. At the time when you feel you have all the power you can generate, fix on the target and what do you do? Push it out? Just let go. It goes straight and true to the target because you’re not doing it. The energy is doing it.

Think about that in terms of the prayer time. If you want to pray for something for somebody, whether you pray in the old terms, oh God please help, or in the New Thought term, I’m one with God’s directing power and all things work together for good, whatever you use, be sure to get your arrow, your missile, your affirmation, your treatment centered in the tremendous energy in your spirit, which you build up as you go down to the depths of you, beyond the human, beyond the willful, beyond the sensual, to the divine self, the transcendent self. You’re one with it, and at the point that you feel that oneness, let it go.

Not my will, but the will of him who sent me. Prayer is really a very simple thing. Meditation is easy and should be uncomplicated. We think of techniques and processes and special words you speak and so forth, and special affirmations, it’s a matter of coming home. God is in love with you. You’re in love with God. It’s an affair that is constantly going on. We need to give it the support of our concentration and our attention, our acceptance. In this very moment, you have within you the answers to all the needs of your life.

Beyond that you can become a tremendous force for good in the world around you, blessing people, blessing friends. It will open the way to a tremendous life for you. Believe that it is present. The infinite mind, through the transcendence of your own mind, knows. Be still and known. Accept it. Let it flow.

It is the experience of thanksgiving. It always intrigues me that the Hebrew word for thanksgiving is Todah, which means literally stretching forth your hands. Thanksgiving prayer, you are stretching forth with your hands to the world around you, to your loved ones, your friends, even across the world. Perhaps the soldiers laying poised in the Saudi Arabian desert. Stretch forth your hands, not in a human sense to do something.

We have a conduit through which the divine flow may go forth from you and drop tingling through your fingertips and going out like electric bolts in the direction of your concern. I’m going to ask you to be still with me for a moment now. For just a moment return to that image that we built up when we went out in space and experienced that point in space. Just feel that for a moment.

Surrounded and enfolded by life and light and power, energy, healing. Turn your attention now to that with which you’re concerned, whether it’s something in your body, in your life, if you have a friend, a loved one, some person, many persons within the world. Stretch forth your hands in the Todah spirit. Thanksgiving. Thankful for all the energies, voices, intelligence in the universe that focuses you. Let this direction flow forth from your fingertips, going forth to accomplish that to which it is sent. Healing, blessing, overcoming, being protection and peace.

Now we be grateful to the great awareness of the whole of us, which reveals the whole of God. You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free. So be it.