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EBUP70: The Highway to Freedom

Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #70

Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — The Highway to Freedom


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Well this has been quite a week hasn’t it? Everybody like to heave a sigh? I’m sure the rollercoaster performance of the Stock Market has stuck fear into the hearts of many persons. Many who probably wouldn’t have even imagined that they would feel fearful. There’s some question about how important the Stock Market is in effecting the economy as a whole, but certainly Monday’s dramatic loss had a sobering effect on the general attitude of people and their confidence in the stability of the American economy.

Us of us who are involved in the quest for truth obviously search for answers as to what to do, how to deal with such things. All great truths must be tested in the laboratory of human experience. This, for some persons, is a trying time in testing the truth that you think you know.

I want us to address ourself to this phenomenon a little bit today. The effect that it may have had upon you, regardless of whether you were in the Stock Market to not. I’m sure all of us feel something of a little tinge of insecurity and instability, especially those of you who may have gone through the ‘29 crash and the ensuing depression that followed. It’s very difficult to get this out of consciousness. First of all the important thing is it happened, so accept the fact. There’s no point in trying to resist it or trying to happen it, wish it didn’t happen and why did it happen to me? It happened.

Because of the situation may be difficult to determine and perhaps there are a lot of different answers being given, but the important thing for us, don’t indulge yourself in if I’d have incriminations. If I’d have don’t this and if I’d have don’t that, and if I’d have sold and if I’d have bought and et cetera.

One of my favorite statements in the Bible is the phrase, “It came to pass.” I like that even though it’s a statement that is rarely given any attention. Considered almost as innocuous. “It came to pass.” No matter what the effect of the events of this week has had on you, the experience did not come into your life to stay, it came to pass. No matter what you may have lost or fear that you have, life flows on like a moving stream of substance. It’s important declare for yourself I accept the reality of this situation, but not its permanence.

If there something to be met, there’s no use hiding your head in the sand, but determine that you will meet it on your terms. Don’t let the outer happening squeeze you into its box, but open your mind to the flow of wisdom, love and good judgment by which you can deal masterfully with it.

The greatest single effect of a crisis like this, and quite possibly one that also is a cause of it, is fear. If you have felt the icy fingers of fear and insecurity, it should be to you a revelation of where you are in consciousness. The important thing for a student involved in the study of truth, make a mental note to yourself, do you confront this fear tendency on your meditation and growth times? Fear not, only believe is the goal.

Of course, enlightened fear has its place in the economy of life. Angelo Patri once said, “Education is learning to be afraid at the right time.” Of course, it’s prudent to be wide and use good judgment, but the problem lies with irrational fears and dreads that come out of emotion instability. We tend to defend these fears. We act as if the fears are caused by the conditions around us. The performance of the Stock Market in other words. You may say, “Of course I’m anxious. You’d be fearful too if you had all your resources tied up in the market as I do.” Other words you’re arguing that fear is automatically produced by conditions, which is not at all true. You fear because over the years you have been conditioned to a fear reaction, so you meet things in a fear consciousness. You fear not because of what has happened around you, you fear because you are fearful.

In a space age, we need to begin to think more expansively. To paraphrase those words of Jesus, “In the world you have a great fluctuation of values in the experience of loss and life, but I have overcome the world.” His universal economy that has transcended to the experience in the world. Opulence is the ever-present reality in the universe. The whole of the universe’s substance is present in its entirety at every point in space, no matter what outer conditions seem to imply. Just think of this, there was no less of substance available on this planet on Tuesday morning than there was on Monday morning. No less substance. Substance is omnipresent. See, but there may have been less money, but money is simply a symbol of the omnipresence of substance. What happens in economic conditions and trends is psychological, not material.

As many folks said after the experience on Monday morning, “The sun still rose on Tuesday morning,” and Wednesday and Thursday. People still went to work. They still had food to eat, they still had love in their hearts for their loved ones, perhaps hate in their hearts for their enemies. Not very much had changed, except attitudes, feelings, fears.

There’s no way that you could get outside of the flowing universe of substance or be separated from it ever. You may experience want, or as they say today, they have a term that they love to express, have a cashflow problem, but you cannot be outside of the eternal flow of creative substance. I love that statement by that great character, Mike Todd, many years ago. He said, “Many times I’ve been broke, but I’ve never been poor.” That’s touching on the idea that you always live in this universal stream of substance.

If you’re rooted and grounded on the universal perspective, you will experience a security consciousness such as Addison suggests in his poem Horace, “Should the whole frame of nature round him break, in ruin and confusion hurled, he, unconcerned, would hear the mighty crack and stand secure amidst a falling world.” The universal urge of all persons is to achieve that kind of awareness. To know freedom from lack and freedom from illness, freedom from fear, freedom from disturbing issues over which we seem to have no control.

There’s a very unusual plant in South America that blows along like a tumble weed until it finds a moist place in which to send down roots and become green. When the spot dries up again, the plant draws itself up and is blown along by the wind once again. Tumbling along like a tumbling tumble weed. This is repeated over and over. It could be said that that plant is never more than a bundle of dead roots and leaves. This is much like people who go from spring to spring in life, only to end up as bundles of unsatisfied desires and burning thirsts.

One of the most dynamic of Jesus’ teachings was his message of freedom from human bondage. To the woman at the well of Samaria he spoke of a well spring of water springing up onto eternal life, saying that, “Anyone who drinks of this water shall never thirst again.” Instead of tumbling aimlessly along in our fruitless search for fulfillment, he was pointing to a highway of spiritual awareness in which we could put our roots down permanently.

This word way is interesting. It’s derived from its reference to the track of a cart or a rut. It is a continuum. It’s so easy to get bogged down in ruts of human consciousness. To get into the ruts that are established by the race mind around us. The way of the world. On a country road in western Canada, where deep ruts left over from rains had turned to roads into a quagmire of heavy ruts and had hardened them by a warm, dry spell, there’s a sign on this road that says, “Choose your rut with care. You may be in for the next 30 miles.” Have a great concern over the ruts of human consciousness that you get into. So easy to fall into the rut that says times are hard, it’s terrible, everything’s going to pot, it will never be the same. Choose your rut with care. If you’re going to get into a rut, get into the rut of high consciousness, realization that no one can take from you that which is your good. You can never be outside of the stream of substance.

As Paul says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” The Philips translation of this same word gives a new insight. It says, “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your mind from within.” The gospel of Jesus, which is often referred to as the good news, and the word gospel actually means good news, is that there’s a better way. There’s a highway of freedom.

What do you feel is the most beautiful sight in the world? This question might elicit a variety of answers from any sizable group such as this. Some of you might say the most beautiful thing is a mountain such as the Jungfrau, Mount Rainier or Mount Fujiyama in Japan, with sunlight streaming across the snow fields. Others of you might insist that it is an autumn flaming tree on a New England hillside or the delicate beauty of a garden laced with dogwood trees in bloom. Others might think of manmade works such as the Taj Mahal or the Mona Lisa, or Michelangelo’s boy David. Still others might see the most beautiful thing in the love-filled eyes of two lovers looking at one another across a candlelit dinner table. This question came to my mind on reading a statement from Confucius several thousand years ago. He says, “The most beautiful sight in the world is a little child going confidently down the road after you’ve shown him the way.” We’re all walking down the road of life and the most beautiful thing is to be walking the way confidently, unafraid, with a feeling of deep security in our hearts.

When Jesus says, “Follow me,” he means to get yourself on a spiritual wavelength and follow him in the experience of overcoming and freedom. Because you see, only in consciousness can we ever be in bondage. Only in consciousness can we ever really in lack, ever really be in deep trouble. It follows that only by changing consciousness can one find true freedom, and the truth is that if you do change your consciousness, you can set into operation a flow of events and circumstances of actual substance to change the conditions of your life no matter what happens around you.

You ever had the experience or the feeling maybe of even saying or singing, “I’m sitting on top of the world”? Like the song used to sing, “I’m sitting on top of the world.” You may say, “Yes, but not very often, and for sure, not during the last week.” It would appear that such occasional experiences of all rightness come by way of good luck. I’m lucky, I feel good, I’m on top of the world, so we think we have to enjoy them while they last, for good luck, we say, can quickly change to bad luck. We’ve been conditioned by what we call the way of the world to believe that health and peace and wellbeing are simply brief intervals, and what one writer calls, “The damned hard grind of life,” so there’s a common tendency to hope for the best but expect the worst. In a sense, we may not be aware of it, but sometimes we are failure oriented even while we may be working spiritually for success. Another way of putting it is that we’re practicing the absence of God even while we may be occasionally practicing the presence.

Startling and freeing is the new insight of truth that declares that health and harmony and prosperity are the norm. The innate potential, the natural flow of the infinite, and adversity is a deviation from the norm. This is what Jesus was addressing himself to when he said, “I am come that you may have life. That you may have it abundantly.” This means that it is important that we change our orientation for life. Realize that achieving health or success or harmony is not a matter of launching into the competitive struggle, hitting harder, beating down the adversaries. It’s not beating off or lucking out over some relentless force of illness. The important this is to act as if it were important to fail and let the success part motivate us in ways of successful thinking and acting. We must believe in our innate wholeness and let it be. Let it be.

When we understand the truth we realize that there’s a dynamic force that is constantly working to express itself in us. “The father’s pleasure to give us the kingdom,” said Jesus. Our need is not to try to force it into our experience or pray that God will give us something or take something away from us, but let it be. More than we know, relaxation is the key to health and success. Let it unfold.

When we have that occasional experience of alrightness, when we’re, in a sense, sitting on top of the world, we may feel, as I say, that we’re there by good fortune, so there may be a subconscious feeling that we better enjoy it while it lasts because the good luck can quickly change to bad luck. What we may not understand is that the world we’re sitting on top of is not the world of people and conditions, it’s the world of consciousness. Our own. We can actually have this experience even while the people and condition of the world may be anything but good. Whenever you have that feeling of being on top of the world, it’s important to make a careful analysis of your state of mind and may make a great discovery. You may realize that joy and enthusiasm, and even faith, are not just reactions to things but actually the causes of them. In other words, you could sit on top of the world no matter what the condition of that world.

I love the story of the little girl who’s asked to go to bed by her mother at bed time, and the little girl said, “Oh mommy, please let me stay up for a while. I have some thinking to do.” The wise mother said, “All right darling. When you get your thinking done, you come to bed.” Presently the child came along and the mother said, “What were you thinking about dear?” She said, “I was thinking about gravity. I decided that gravity is God at the center of the Earth that keeps the people the right side up when the world is upside down.” Out of the mouths of babes. Make no mistake about it, the world is often upside down. We get very much concerned about it, anxious and fearful, and resistant and even resentful. The abundant life that Jesus calls for does not depend on finding some world of Eden. To expect such a find is to live in a fool’s paradise. It is to forever expect the world to give you alrightness and you’ll forever be disappointed.

At this point, many students of truth give up in disappointment saying, “Ah, truth just doesn’t work.” It works all right, but it works in you. It could help you to stabilize your consciousness. It’s not going to dump conditions and things in your lap, it’s going to help you to get at a level of consciousness that will open the way to flow to experience that which is innately already present.

The world we sit on top of is the world of our own thinking, the control of our own feelings and aspirations. This is our world. We should never forget it. No one can intrude himself into this world. No one can upset it or turn it upside down. It’s only your perspective that is upside down. The kingdom of God within is always present. Always the fullness of success and prosperity and healing, inspiration and guidance. There may be disturbing people in your world, but there’s never a valid reason that you should be disturbed by them. It really doesn’t make sense to let people or conditions decide how you should think or feel or act.

You always made a joke out of the fact that when you ask a person how he feels, he will say, “I’ll tell you better after I read the Stock Market report.” Isn’t funny anymore is it? But the same truth holds, why should I allow the condition of the Stock Market to determine how I’m going to think or feel or act? It’s difficult to see in that light isn’t it? Why should I allow any condition to decide that I’m going to be upset within myself? The important thing is if we allow ourselves to be upset, accept all the negatives of the outer condition, we allow the outer condition to rule and regulate our life. We become even more centered in the deep-centered peace within, then we become a part of the cause for good in the world. Part of the solution. If we react to the situation, become negative fearful and anxious, then we simply become a part of the problem.

This is so very important in life because most of us, unconsciously, throughout much of our lives simply react to things and persons, so our lives are happy or miserable depending on the outside stimuli. The important thing is you are the master of your own mental household. You may not always become a good master, that’s for you to achieve. You need a certain control to discipline your reactions. Question is how do you want to act? Quite often a person says, after getting angry or hostile or upset or fearful, “I really don’t like myself much when I act like that. When I get so frightened, so insecure, so hostile, so bitter, so resentful.” We may excuse our behavior by, “Well, of course, everybody’s upset. Didn’t you notice what happened in the world?” But how do you want to think or act? Why let conditions or people make you upset, vindictive, miserable, fearful when you really want to be happy, loving and peaceful?

Abraham Lincoln once said, “One is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.” Some people find that Pollyanna. Lincoln was no Pollyanna. He’s talking about the fact that nothing in the world, nothing in people, nothing in situations can ever cause disturbance in your consciousness. The disturbance in your consciousness is caused because of your reaction to the conditions.

I have nearly built a career on a statement that I often quote from Robert Frost. It was a radio interview that I heard of Robert Frost some 30 years ago. He was being queried on his secret of happiness and optimism. Why he could always be so happy and upbeat about everything. He said, “Every morning on arising, I make it a practice on doing two things. First I make up my bed, second I make up my mind.” He said, “As I smooth out the wrinkles in the bed covers, I just imagine getting the wrinkles out of my mind. Getting my mind in order. Then with my mind made up, I go down to breakfast, face whatever the day has in store brought to me by the radio or the newspaper, and I’m at peace. Nothing can disturb me.” The result, a disciplined mind. Tremendous simple realization by a great poet.

One man says, “Instead of reacting to people and conditions, I’m striving to become an internal reactor.” Internal reactor. He whimsically refers to himself as IR, internal reactor. He’s relating to the atomic reactor in which there’s a tremendous mobilizing of nuclear energy, so he’s committing himself to the act of mobilizing strength, substance, life, love, power in consciousness to deal with the conditions out there instead of simply reacting to them. The important thing is make up your mind, whether or not you make up your bed. Get yourself mentally and spiritually prepared for the day. What do you give your mind for breakfast? So often we have the radio on and we listen to all the terrible things that are going on. That’s what we give our mind for breakfast.

So important to start the day with a quiet time of recommitment to positive and productive thinking. The real key to life for anyone is not where he is, what he’s looking forward to. Not what he has or has not, but what he reverences. The important thing is to start the day resolving to look up instead of looking down. All the world around us may be looking down, it’s so important for us to look up. As someone says, “Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes. Take a loose hold on life and things.” You’ll not just react to things, but you will strive to be an IR, an internal reactor.

No is unhappier than the external reactor. His center of gravity is not rooted within himself where it belongs, but the world outside him. Everything that happens has the power to upset him or disturb him, and usually he follows right along. He gets upset and disturbed. It’s not his fault of course. These people, these things, these conditions, but he’s upset and disturbed. His spiritual temperature is forever being raised or lowered by the social climate around him, and he’s at the mercy of the elements. The important thing is to start the day looking up in a believing consciousness. That’s all that faith really is, lifting your mind to God’s consciousness. I love the facetious comment, “Get your faith lifted.” Get your faith lifted. A spiritual plastic surgeon is required I guess.

Remember the time when you Disciples were out at sea on a very stormy night? Suddenly Jesus appeared walking on the water. How would you feel if you saw someone walking on the water? Probably begin to question your sanity. The Disciples thought it was a ghost because no one could walk on water, but impetuous Peter, according to the story, hit upon a simple solution. He called out, “Lord, if it is really you, bid me to come to you on the water.” That would settle it one way or the other.

Jesus motioned him to come. That was good enough for Peter. Enthusiasm for the moment, he clambered over the side of the boat and started out across the water. All went well for a few steps. He was almost up to Jesus when he suddenly realized he was walking on the water. He says, “I can’t do that.” It was too much for him to believe. His impulsive faith melted away like a snowball in an oven and he began to sink. He couldn’t swim a stroke and he called for Jesus to help him. Jesus reached out a hand and lifted him up and he said, “Why did you doubt?” As long as he looked up, he was able to do the seemingly impossible, but when he looked down in the subconscious memory of his inadequacy, he sank into a morass of helplessness.

If you’re logical minded, skeptical, you may find the historicity of this in doubt. It’s really not important. It may well be simply allegorical, but there’s a great principle involved. Consciousness calls for discipline and practice. In a moment of high awareness, quite often brought on by the collective consciousness of groups such as this, one may walk on water. Maybe practicing the presence with enthusiasm. May even go out, take a few steps out into the world walking on this high level of consciousness. Suddenly become confronted by the mundane world, by a driver cutting in front of in traffic or somebody jumping into our seat in the subway, or the terrible news we hear on the radio or see emblazoned on the front page, there’s a strong tendency to begin looking down. Maybe we encounter something very disturbing and we react to that disturbance.

It could be said that many of us practice the presence of God for minutes of time and practice the absence of God for hours of time. Wonder why we do not keep our head above the water more than we do? The key is in ourself, not in the conditions of the world. The chains that bind us in life are forged in our own thoughts of self-limitation. Freedom is always our inheritance, and health and prosperity and wellbeing. But ours is the responsibility to stir up the gift of God to get our faith lifted, to work up a spontaneous enthusiasm for life. Actually, we’re all born with enthusiasm. It’s one of the vital processes of the infinite in us, is that little spark of celestial fire which a man may desecrate but never quite lose. The apathetic life simply has the flame turned down, but it can be turned up whenever a person cares to do so.

You may say, “But how can I be enthusiastic? With my problems, what do I have to be enthusiastic about?” This is the fallacy. Enthusiasm is not a response, but a cause. The enthusiastic person does not act that way because things are going well for him, more likely true that things tend to go well for him because he’s enthusiastic. Because he keeps the spark turned on.

Quite often we meet some condition, hear some news, react to some relationship problem, immediately turn the flame down. Wonder why we walk in darkness, why things are so disturbing. I would say that when you walk into a room of hostile people, where they’re bickering and backbiting and gossiping and condemning one another, you get a sense that the room is in darkness. But in human consciousness, the tendency is to walk into that room with light, and suddenly see all the darkness about you and turn the light down, then complain about the fact that there’s so much darkness in the room. Jesus says, “Ley your light shine.” You walk into a room or into a world that is filled with darkness and confusion and despair and doubt and insecurity, instead of turning your lamp down, turn it up. Your enthusiasm, your fire, your vitality, your belief, your faith, your confidence, turn it up.

We’re told to wake thou that sleepest, that Christ shall shine upon you. Stir up the gift of God within you. Stir up this divine potential, this belief in the omnipresence of God. The substance of the universe. The orderliness that is the basis of all human activity that is ever present. Turn it up.

When we talk about living on top of the world, we’re not implying that we can come to a place where difficult things no longer happen. Quite often a person is self-deluded in his knowledge of truth. He assumes that because he knows the truth, no difficult things will ever happen to him again. This is a fool’s paradise. There’s no promise that you’ll never have difficulties again. The promise is you will not be buoyed down by conditions. You’ll not be disturbed by them because you always have the power to rise above them.

As long as there are people, the Stock Market will go up and down, there’ll be conflicts between individuals, there’ll be occasional experiences of chaos in the world. Remember Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation, but I have overcome the world.” That’s the key. You have the capacity and power within you, that’s what truth is all about, to overcome the world, to rise above these things. In the world, these things are routine, but you can overcome the tendency to live as a constant reactor to world conditions and people. Become an IR as the man says. You can dance to a different drummer, you can march to the music of your own inner being. You can become a positive force in a world of chaos, not only becoming a blessing to the people in the world around you, but blessing yourself in the process. Keeping yourself in perfect peace.

In the 91st psalm it says, “A thousand shall fall at their right hand and 10,000 at their left, but it shall not come nigh unto you.” If he’s basing this on the original premise, dwell in the secret place of the most high. Keep yourself in the consciousness of the truth of oneness with God, and all the conditions in the world that may be affecting everybody negatively shall not come nigh unto you. That’s the great promise. You can not only find peace and security, but you can become a peaceful and secure consciousness to bless the world in which you live.

We can learn a great lesson from the lowly oyster. You’ve probably heard this. The oyster is a very placid fellow, but occasionally little grains of sand work their way inside his shell and begin irritating him. He tries to get rid of them, but when he cannot, he simply settles down and produces one of the most priceless and beautiful things in the world. He turns that irritation into a pearl. No matter what the problem, the loss or the financial adversity, or the fear or the insecurity that you may be feeling about it, get busy pearling. That’s the work for all of us. Get busy pearling.

You can be free in a wonderful way through your disciplined preparation for every day of your life, so establish yourself in the consciousness where you don’t let people or conditions determine how you’re going to act, think or feel. Get your faith lifted. Get yourself turned on to the divine flow. This consciousness, as the little girl said, will keep you right side up when the world is upside down.

I invite you to be still with me for a moment. We would not want a dispersal of this gathering this morning without talking advantage of the potential for a high consciousness here. Perhaps many of us feel a need for a special blessing and we have it. Certainly the world needs the special blessing that we can give it. Let’s feel a sense of oneness, getting ourselves centered in the divine flow.

How important it is to realize at the center within us is an activity of universal substance that is the source of all business activity, financial activity, Stock Market activity in the world. The source is in the center within consciousness. Let’s see ourselves centered in that oneness with divine substance.

Remember as Jesus said, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men under me.” We can demonstrate this. Let’s get a sense of being lifted up here and now. Draw all men, all persons, all organizations, all business activities under this high level of consciousness. There is no reason why there cannot be instant and constant restabilization and stability, and order and harmony and security and prosperity right now, as we become a part of the solution in world through an attitude and a feeling and a consciousness of faith. There’s prosperity and security and stability in our world. We see it, we accept it, we have faith in it.

Let’s see this morning, a special light going forth from this place, built upon our own consciousness of light. Giving us a new sense of receptivity to divine substance and divine order in our lives. I see this light going forth to bless all those who hunger, who walk in darkness, who are plagued by fear and insecurity. I see this great light blessing every person. Let there be great consciousness of security and wellbeing and stability in the world around us, in the marketplace, in the relationships of all person everywhere. May we have faith that nothing can keep us, us being not only those of us here, but all persons everywhere, nothing can keep us from security and prosperity and divine adjustment, as long as we keep in tune with the activity of God.

As persons everywhere are filled with the awareness of this light, as their sense of insecurity has dissolved, as their fears are let go, something beautiful happens. There’s a new sense of confidence among the consumers, on those involved in the channels of business activity. This confidence is very much influenced, an influence in the marketplace, in commerce, in business, bringing about a new vitality, a new security, a new prosperity. We believe it, have faith in it. Let us got forth this day, walking in the joy and the fulfillment and the security of this living light. So be it.