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EBUP46: Great Expectations

Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #46

Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — Great Expectations

In my early years as a teacher of truth I had the opportunity to witness a tremendous demonstration of this principle, of great expectations. A man who had been attending one of my classes experienced a financial tragedy which almost overnight swept away the results of half a lifetime of effort. People all felt sorry for him. How could this happen to such a fine person? Such a good man. And why? As one fellow student put it, “And he was studying truth already.” But he didn’t feel sorry for himself…


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During the dark Middle Ages alchemists and astrologers were engaged in a great quest for two great imaginary boones. They were looking for an elixir of life that would restore youth and strength to the aged and worn out body. And they tried to compound some magic substance that would transfer base metals into gold.

There was a day when mankind was first entertaining the possible experience of transcendence. If you had lived in that day, an alchemist announced that he could change lead into gold, invited you to come bring some lead and he would change it into gold for you, how much lead would you take? A tiny piece as big as a pea? A lump as large as you could carry? Of course you probably would take the large lump. When riches are freely offered why take poverty?

If the fountain of youth is gushing out before you, why take only a thimble full of water? When we study the fruit of life it becomes obvious that no one can become prosperous or successful or healthy or happy, really expects or of half remain, half expects to remain or half expects to be poor and unhealthy. No one can sustain high level wellness when he entertains a thought or even a fear that health is just too much to expect.

He may justify his feelings in the excuse that you just have to face up to reality, you know. After all, with my condition and my circumstances, and then follows his precious litany of reasons why his expectations are so low. We tend always to get in life pretty much what we expect. To expect nothing is to get nothing. When every step you take is on the road toward failure, how can you drive up the goal of success? You may recall the story of the traveler traveling along the road in ancient Athens stopping to ask directions of a man who happened to be Socrates. The traveler asked the wise philosopher, “How do I get to Mt. Olympus?” And the sage replied, “Just make every step you take go in that direction.”

You see it is facing the wrong way, looking backward in a depressing, hopeless outlook even though we may be working in the opposite direction. This is the thing that kills the result of our efforts. Most persons are simply not facing the right way. They neutralize a large part of their efforts because mental attitude does not correspond with their behavior. So while they may be working for one thing, next they’re expecting something else.

It’s amazing how many persons I’ve never been introduced to or come to grips with their parts of thinking. They assume you can think about it any way you want but you pray for something and your prayers are going to take over. So the discouraged, worried the fearful drive away the very things their pursuing by simply holding the wrong mental attitude. Someone says, “I have this problem. I’m so concerned about it, I prayed all night. I prayed that I was blue in the face about it.” My attitude about that is you haven’t prayed a minute, you’ve just been engaging in high level concentration of worry.

Prayer is not a lot of words. And certainly prayer is not this, tension, stress, strain. Prayer is letting go, getting in tune, releasing the infinite possibility; to be ambitious with success and yet expect some difficulty always to turn out, to be always doubting your ability to achieve what you long for, a journey about like trying to reach east by traveling west. And there’s no philosophy or set of cosmic laws which can help a person to succeed when he holds back in the feeling just my luck, something bad always turns up. There’s no cliché that says it’s the unexpected that always happens. But is were true then it would be futile to ever expect anything that you want to see manifest.

And actually as Thomas Masson says, “It is the unexpected that always seems to be upsetting us. What do not know is that the unexpected is only a trap that we have previously set for ourselves.” In other words, one of the things we learn early along in our study of his teaching is the importance of taking responsibility for our own life after all that happens in it. Your mind, your thoughts, and your thoughts control your circumstances.

I had a friend in college. I was thinking about him recently. He’s a very positive person, positively negative. You can always count on him to come up with the most negative things about anything. He would say, “I always expect the worst so I’ll never be disappointed.” It was his philosophy. Of course, he never will be either. Wonder would achieve what Jesus calls a life more abundant. You must think success. You must think upward, you must think progressively and inventively. Above all you must think optimistically. That’s a very important word. You must expand his vision and entertain great expectations.

The saying look where you’re going because you will always go where you’re looking. If your attention is always centered on the terrible things that are going on in the world, then justice is the hunger and starvation of people throughout the world, the raging epidemic of this or that disease, then for certain that’s going to be your world. Your experiences in life, your state of health, your result in financial dealings, even your relationships with people, are going to be shaped in that vibration of thought.

The habit of looking at all things constructively from the bright side, the hopeful side, the side of faith and expectation, seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty, the habit of believe that the best is yet to be and will be, the belief that harmony and health are the reality and discorded at ease with the temporary absence of them, this is the attitude of the optimist. The attitude that we should all seek to sustain.

Optimism is a builder. Pessimism is a destroyer. Optimism is to the individual what sunshine is to vegetation. On the other hand, pessimism, is negative and destructive. It is the darkened dungeon which destroys vitality and strangles growth. The pessimist may hope for the best. Oh yes, he always hopes for the best. But he hedges his bets. He may pray for rain but he always brings an umbrella, just in case. He expects the worst and some dark condition results. He always gloat when he says, “I knew it. Just as I expected.” So now he even expects us to praise him over his ability to predict and forecast.

I’ve never known a person who believes in himself, who constantly affirms his ability to do what he undertakes. Who always keeps his eye on his goal and works seriously and constantly toward it, who does not make a success in life. There’s a powerful cumulative effect in holding in your mind continually the thought that you were made for success. You were made for health. You were made for happiness and nothing in the world but you can keep you from achieving it. Again, take responsibility for your own experience.

In my early years as a teacher of truth I had the opportunity to witness a tremendous demonstration of this principle, of great expectations. A man who had been attending one of my classes experienced a financial tragedy which almost overnight swept away the results of half a lifetime of effort. People all felt sorry for him. How could this happen to such a fine person? Such a good man. And why? As one fellow student put it, “And he was studying truth already.” But he didn’t feel sorry for himself.

He had nothing left but his faith in principle. His determination to go on and has a great expectation of getting back on his feet. Certainly he would never for one instance and admit that he would not recover. There was no reason talking discouragement with the man, you might have well tried to discourage Napoleon. So with the conviction of the positive working of the divine law, with determination and great effort, he kept his eye residently on his goal and he pressed on. He was about to see the changes take place in his life and in a few years he was back on his feet. And as was the experience of Job. The man’s whole life condition was better in the end than it was before the crisis.

But the interesting thing was, and all the folks were very much impressed by this, he really didn’t think that he had accomplished anything special. He said quite matter of factly, certainly not facetiously, “I’ve been studying truth and it’s supposed to work isn’t it?” If we could always have that expectancy.

Another case, a young man started out in a new career and extremely anxious to succeed, came to a plateau, which is not uncommon for a persons involved in work. The plateau where nothing positive seemingly was happening to his career. He talked about how this career choice had put him into great competition that indicated an over crowded field. His attitude reflected the feeling that his way was blocked, that the die was cast and he couldn’t do much about it. And I said, “But what are you doing about it?”

Almost expecting me to praise his attitude he replied, “I’ve made peace with it. I’ve accepted it. What will be will be. I will just go on and do the best I can and then maybe I will come out somewhere.” I replied, “And with that attitude, you certainly will come out somewhere, on the short end of the stick.” You’ve never done the best that you can do unless you expect growth, expect healing, expect a fulfillment of good. I would like to report that this young man turned his life around and went on to success. But as Casey Stengel used to say, “You can’t win them all.”

The last [inaudible] which they still admired him in the sinking swamp of Bitidus. But if asked him, he would give all sorts of excuses because he’s never learned to take responsibility for himself. I love those lines from Browning’s Rabbi Ben Ezra when he says, “Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be. The last of life for which the first was made.” The positive power of these lines is normally missed. Because after all, who wants to grow old? Within the context of Browning’s philosophy it is obvious that he means something more like grow onward along with me. In other words, look forward with hope and enthusiasm. The good of your life is still to unfold. It’s a great philosophy.

I’ve been teaching this insight for over 40 years. I guess you could say that the product of have to sell is dreams. The hope and promise of a better tomorrow. Dare to dream, we say often. Dare to dream. Dare to look beyond and present the unfoldment of the divine process. The experiences that are limiting now, see yourself a success and look beyond them. See yourself as healthy beyond the seeming illnesses of physical affliction. See yourself as confident beyond the seeming obstacles. See yourself as living a life of love and fulfillment. And if you keep on patiently and lovingly, and of course working tirelessly, you will see your dream come into manifestation.

As Emerson says, “No hope so bright but is the beginning of it’s own fulfillment.” We’re constantly reminded in the bible that it was through faith that Abraham, Moses and all the great figures reveled at such marvelous things. There’s no other one thing that is emphasized so much in the Bible as the importance of faith. According to thy faith, get on the use of Jesus. But unfortunately, faith has been equated with a set of Sectarian creeds. I set my religion on confession of faith.

What is your faith? A person may respond, oh I a Baptist, or a Catholic, or a Jew. Perhaps a student of truth. Timmy Harris used to say, “My father didn’t believe in God, but God believed in him.” Many people were shocked at this. What is means is that his father was not religious in a creedless sense, but he believed in life. He works by fundamental law. He walked by faith. He always had what I would call, “consentably sustained great expectations”. Jesus said that you can do all that he could if you can believe. If you center yourself in the creative flow as he did, this is what faith is, very simply. Center your consciousness in the universal source.

In the last number of weeks, we’ve been talking about concentrics from within. Setting yourself at that point, that still point, and returning where [inaudible 00:13:29], as T.S. Elliot says. The part where within you where the activity of the universe is centered as you. The power within to do all things, the all sufficiency of life and substance, they have a presence of light and guidance and creativity are always in you, always. There’s never an absence, for God is a presence that is present, always present, omnipresent. That’s the great idea to get in mind.

You don’t have to go anywhere, you don’t have to do anything, just accept. Let the divine flow unfold in you. We must catch this vision. We’ll never again be praying to the skies. We’ll never again be begging something outside us to come and help us. We know that the is great purpose, even in prayer. Enter in and close the door as Jesus said. Let go and let the divine activity flow, which it’s its nature to do.

We’ve long been conditioned to think of faith as a magic catalyst that makes God work for us. Again, startlingly to some persons I say, “In no way does faith ever make God work. There’s no way to make God work. It doesn’t release some kind of miracle power. Because the activity of God, the energy of God, is always present. Always available. Faith simply tunes into and turns on the divine flow that has always been present.” That’s a very important realization. You don’t have to make it happen, be still and let it happen.

Overzealous true teachers write and talk of the magic of believing and the miracle works of faith. We all know what it means but it’s kind of misleading. Because there’s no magic in faith at all, you’re not asking some, roll of the dice, or some heavenly person upstairs to do something special for you, to work some magic or miracle. Faith deals with law not caprice. God is an ever present creative activity which must flow forth when you create the conditions that make the result inevitable.

Be sure then to get the idea that faith is not a vague process of believing in something. It is a positive act of turning on something. The power is already within you. Because you are that power being protected into visibility as you, according to your level of consciousness. There is within you as we say so often, an unborn possibility of limitless life and yours is the privilege of giving birth to it. When you pay for prosperity your faith will not create bags of gold at your feet, as some writer suggest. This is an oversimplification.

Actually your faith has already been involved in your condition of life because you’ve been centered in a focus of confusion. But your positive act of faith, turning from the negative appearance, resetting your attention to the presence of God’s substance, opens the way to the good that you desire. One of the most widespread diseases of this and anytime is what I like to call “I-can’t-itis”. I can’t because I’m poor. I can’t because I’m handicapped. I can’t because I’m sick. I can’t because I don’t have the ability or the training or the education. I can’t because the breaks are all against me. I can’t because I’m too old or too young. Or it’s too late or too soon. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.

In this brooding can’t do consciousness we often magnify problems out of all proportions. It’s like taking a pebble off the beach at the seashore, holding it up close to your eyes. It would be a very small pebble but it can obscure the whole mountain range off in the distance. Yet, if you hold it at a distance in your hand, it can be examined and properly dealt with. But if you drop it to the ground, it may become a part of gravel path and let you walk. As the psalmist reports the feeling of God saying within him I have set all things under your feet. A few of us use but a small part of the God power within us.

In most cases it is because of a faulty self-evaluation. We see ourselves as, eh, an average sort of guy. They may accept the cliché the chances of success are one in seven, or one in 50, or one in a thousand. My answer to that is, why be an average person? All the big achievements in history have been made by persons who refuse to consult statistics, or the listen to those who could prove that what they wanted to do and in fact did do, was completely impossible. Incidentally, Mara Bone refers to impossible as that blockhead word.

And I love Disraeli’s comment about statistics. He said, “There are lies, damn lies in statistics.” Sometimes there’s a deep human desire to pull back in self pity. We say, anyway, I’m only human. What can you expect? But you are not only human. You are human, but the human in you encloses the divine of you. Two levels of the person. Two important realizations. You can accomplish that what you expect, if you identify that within you which is the divine flow and expression. You know, I sometimes contemplate the time when Jesus first began to experiment with faith because some might be shocked at this but I like to say shocking things.

I imagine Jesus at one time talking to himself saying, you want to help these people but how can you expect to help them? You’d like to feed the multitudes but how can you do this? You wouldn’t know how. Is it difficult for you to believe that early in life Jesus had the same difficulties that we have? The same obstructions in his mind. Paul said he was tested in all points such as we are. And Jesus did say, “I have overcome the world, the flesh and the devil.” But doesn’t that really indicate that he had something to conquer, something to overcome?

I think we missed the whole meaning of Jesus’s life unless we see it as a growth experience. A process of unfoldment. That before he achieved Christ Mastery, he was Jesus of Nazareth, the son of a humble carpenter. He didn’t say I’m more divine than you are. What I do comes by divine dispensation. But of course, for you it would take a miracle. He didn’t say that at all. He said in effect, I will overcome the world by proving the power of faith and the inherent potential in every person. If you can believe in the creative flow of the universe as I have done, then you will do all the works that I have done and greater works than me shall you do.

Incidentally, I might say that I’m planning a series of three lessons, kind of a trilogy, starting the first three Sundays in May which is called The Gospel Truth. In a sense, it will be subtitled, all you’ve ever wanted to know about Jesus and the fulfillment of the church that sprung up in his name and were afraid to ask. We’re going to spend a three week period really analyzing what Jesus was, who he was, trying to get straightened out in the context of Jesus becoming the Christ and of the Christ in us.

Let us ask ourselves, how did it evolve so differently? What happened? How did we get the formalities of the church and the rituals and the creeds and what are these creeds? How do they fit in to life today? It’s a very great challenge I’m setting for myself but you might keep in mind it’s the first three Sundays in May. Join us.

You see faith is not a pious pronouncement. I believe, I believe, I believe. It is great expectations. We don’t receive what we want. We don’t receive what we pray for or say we have faith in. We will always receive what we expect. We may not be aware of our expectations at that level. The most important thing in trying to expand your awareness of God, and future demonstrations of life, the important thing is to expand and extend your expectations. Sort of when some modest outworking unfolds as a result of our prayer, a person will often say, well, I guess it’s about what I expected, which indicates a poor self-image. A sense of unworthiness.

So we go through life, in a sense, holding a tin cup under the Niagara of God’s universe’s affluence. We have what we could call small fry expectancy which we manifest as a string saving, make do, can’t afford it, habit of thought. It is marginal living at best. What a weak and sipid kind of life expectancy. It’s what I like to call being in tune with the indefinite. When we stress the importance of great expectations there’s a tendency to think in terms acquisition. Demonstrating things, cars, houses, lands, jewels. It’s my theory that the truth teaching you about prosperity is too often centered in materiality.

We so easily quote Jesus, “All things are possible.” Then the tendency is to say, you had all treat for a high powered job, lecture this country home. Gob wants me to wear sable after Anamachada the King. But I say, God doesn’t want you to wear sable, he wants you to be stable. More often than not the inquisitive urge for sable implies an instability of consciousness. A sense of inadequacy. You could say, in effect, that actually God knows nothing of cars or jobs or furs or country homes. God is the substance which will flow forth in your life in keeping with your consciousness, your great expectations.

Placing the emphasis on demonstrating things, there’s a tendency to become economic hypochondriac. There is always something more to pray or treat for. One may even pride himself on his many prosperity demonstrations. Like a man once proudly told me, I’ve demonstrated five jobs in the last year. I don’t think he knew what he was saying. Obviously there was something missing. Something lacking in his consciousness. So the point is a person may seemingly demonstrate the law and yet not know true prosperity, which is spiritual well-being.

The word prosperity, interestingly enough, comes from a root that means according to hope. To go forward expectantly and faith. So true prosperity is not things, not jewels, not sable, not cars and houses. True prosperity is a state of mind. Only in that state of mind can you experience the fullness of life and the joy that goes with it. To achieve the highest in great expectations, it’s so important to get the image of standing on a tall mountain if you were, with outstretched arms. Embracing the whole universe with the feeling of the universe stretching, rushing, streaming, pouring into you from all sides. And remember, you can grow. You can improve, you can achieve. You can succeed if you can conceive, or see the vision of it, and if you make every step you take go in the direction of that success.

When you are centered in great expectations you begin to experience I am positive, I can attitudes. Returns on the power and skill needed to accomplish. Because when you believe that you can do it, the how do it very quickly develops. It’s the way the creative process in the individual works. So we say to you today, challenge yourself to expand your faith. To face forward to the good before you, the good you desire and make every step you take go in that direction. You might say, I have great expectations of life because I am a channel for the expression of the greatness of God. I have great expectations of life because I’m a channel for the expression of the greatness of God, won’t yo say that with me?

I have great expectations of life because I am a channel for the expression of the greatness of God.

I invite you to be still for a moment now. Let’s do a little experiment in imagery. I want you to see yourself standing at the seashore on the eastern coast facing eastward. It’s before daybreak, it’s perfectly dark. Note how suddenly an assurance you know that the dawn will come. You have a great expectation of the sunrise. You have no outward evidence but you know. And suppose as you stand there the tide is out. Yet you know with great faith that the tide will come back. You know it. It’s not a question of believing, hoping, you’re saying to yourself maybe it will, maybe it won’t. You know it. It’s assurance. It’s fundamental natural law.

Sort of feel that sense of expectation and what it means. Expectancy is based upon complete trust in the universe. You know the sun will rise you know the tide will come back. And in that same consciousness you know that you will be healed. You know that you can succeed in your work. You know that the book you’re writing, the song you’re singing, whatever it is, will be successful. That same great expectation. You’re looking out into a sea of possibilities. Expect your good to come. As the sea is filled with fish, your mind is a sea of possibilities filled with great ideas. The ideas will unfold, success will come as the tide will come back.

New things will be done in your life as the sun will come up. You believe, “you have great expectations. So again, let these words just simmer in your consciousness. I have great expectations of life because I am a channel for the expression of the greatness of God.” Whisper this to yourself. In that consciousness, make a commitment to go forth from here this day, resolving to expand your consciousness, living each day in the awareness that the infinite possibilities of life are always present within you. Whatever you seek to do you can do if you can conceive the idea in mind and believe in its possibility and then make every step you take, go in that direction.

You fill in the pieces. See what it is that you need or as you’re seeking to unfold and believe that it can be done. You can change. The difficulty can be dissolved. Divine order can be established. Let’s give thanks for this consciousness. Feel good about it. As Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” So be it.