Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #77
Eric Butterworth elaborates in this talk on Matthew 21:21 “If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do what is done to the fig tree, but even if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea, it shall be done.” In fact, he doesn’t just elaborate on the passage, but he explains how that is literally true in today’s world. This is a great talk on faith.
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We gather here each Sunday morning, for the study of what we call, the new insight and truth. It consists of laws of mind action, beyond the presence of God and the power of the presence. There are some insights that may be intellectually stimulating and satisfying, but we should never lose sight of the fact that truth is not simply an intellectual pastime. There’s a special kind of commitment involved. You got to believe.
Jesus put a great emphasis on personal faith. He said, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” All things are possible to them that believe. But what is faith? What does it mean to believe in God? Like many words in religion, faith has lost its meaning, though not it’s use in our language. The word faith confuses and misleads, creating ultimately skepticism and fanaticism, intellectual resistance and emotion surrender. Unfortunately, faith has been considered the sole property of religion, where it has deteriorated into a bland cliche. And because you thought of religion as dealing primarily with Sunday worship services, faith is often put on like a Sunday suit. To be sung about, preached on, and prayed over. And when the final strains of the amen, to put back into the six day closet of unconcern.
Normally faith is the blind acceptance, that I often call, custom made convictions on confession of faith. I remember as a child in catechism school, we used to behind the back of the instructor, call it confusion of faith. But with that acceptance, you become one of the believers, reciting by rote a lot of I believe statements. With the word of the system, I believe in God. I love the comment of the late Sidney Harris, syndicated newspaper columnist. He says, “My father doesn’t believe in God, but God believed in him.”
But although his father was not religious, in a credo sense, but he was a caring and sharing person. He had a consciousness that was open to the divine flow. He was a channel for the expression of infinite love. In my presentation of the study of prayer, I often shock some persons, unintentionally so, by asking the question, “Do you have to believe in God in order to pray?” My answer is no.
Do you have to believe in electricity in order to turn on the light? As a matter of fact, if you believe in God out there, your very belief in this separation from you, creates a conflict. It makes true prayer difficult. God is not a super person of disguise, to whom you pray in the form of begging favors. God is a life process by which we live. It’s not enough to say, I believe in God. God is a three letter word. G-O-D. Santayana calls it a floating literary symbol. It’s like saying, I believe in the sun. What does that mean? Remember the time, a person came to Ralph Waldo Emerson saying with emotional fervor, “I believe in the universe.” Emerson replied, “By God, you better.”
So the key is not just believing in God, but believing from the consciousness of God, a believing attitude based on the awareness that you live in God, you live in this wholeness of the universe. The psalmist gives the direction when he says, “Be still and know that I am God. I am one.” And then move forward in that believing consciousness.
There is a point here that needs to be clarified. Faith is a factor of the natural man, as natural as seeing or hearing or tasting. Having someone say that his problem is lack of faith, there’s really no such thing as lack of faith. Faith is as natural to us as breathing. So the proper question is, what are you believing in? Fury is faith. Worry is faith. Insecurity is faith. They’re believing in the wrong things. So faith is not something you find somewhere. You don’t get faith by going to church, you don’t get faith by studying pages of a book. You don’t receive faith like a diploma at the end of a course of study. Faith is a free gift of God, which all persons have, but only a few persons use rightly.
We’ve tended to think of faith as something we do to get into God’s favor. But as I say, God is not out there, God is centered in you. There’s nothing you can add to this or take away from it, and your faith does nothing to alter the fact. Even more, this centering as far as God is concerned is the same in all persons. This leads us to the inescapable though shocking conclusion that the universe was no more centered in Jesus, than it is in you. When you stop and think about it, it’s logical, but our emotions, we want to think something else.
Of course, that doesn’t quite explain the obvious difference. Jesus, in his disciplined consciousness, was centered in the source. God is centered in him, but he was centered in God. God is centered in us, but we are usually centered in various levels of limitation. That’s the difference. But Jesus clearly said, that you can do all that he did. If you can believe. In other words, if you can center yourself in the creative flow as he was always so centered.
So this suggests an excellent definition for the word faith. Consciousness centered in the universal source. What are your thoughts centered in? The power to do all things, the eternal flow of life and guidance, the power to overcome, the power to achieve mastery over personal problems and excessive dependencies is always within you. There’s never an absence, because God is a presence. As we say in the unity principle, present in its entirety at every point in space.
Now, religious teachers and teachings have conditioned us to think of faith as a miracle catalyst that makes God work for us. You say some things, you believe, you stay you believe, suddenly God sits up and takes notice and begins to work for you. As one teacher often says, “Pop God comes in.” God comes in. But I say, “God doesn’t come in, because God never went out.” So it’s terribly misleading. Nothing you can do or say, no affirmation, no prayer, can make God work for you. Can you make gravity work for you? Gravity is. Constant. Never changing. God is constant. Never changing. God is omni-active in you. So it’s important to dispel the illusion of God as the supreme person who sits up there or out there waiting for you to prove worthiness through your faith.
God is the omnipresent force of life and intelligence, which must act. In a way we could say that it can’t help itself, and we create the conditions that make the result inevitable. When you make the contact with the energy force, with the power of, say, of electricity, it must flow into the filament and create light. It can’t help itself, because that’s what it is. We weaken the process when we talk of the magic of believing. The words sound good, we’ve used them often. There are books written about it. But it’s misleading. We have built-in capacities, the free gift of God, Paul calls it. Faith does not magically put them there. Faith simply turns them on. We’re dealing with law, not caprice.
If you a rheostat on your dining room light switch, or if you want to recall the dimming of the lights here in the hall, you have an excellent example of how the divine flow works. When you turn the rheostat up, you get more light. You may not be able to understand it. You may not explain it, but you’ve demonstrated, you’ve seen it, you know it’s there. When you turn the rheostat down, the power flowing into the light bulb is reduced, which results in less light. There’s no miracle involved when the room is suddenly flooded with light. The power is present all the time. Whether the rheostat is high or low. A turned down rheostat is like a consciousness of lack or illness, that restricts the flow of substance and healing light. The turned up rheostat is like a faith centering, which opens the way to an experience of affluence and wholeness.
Now this may well be an oversimplification, but it should help you to understand the principle and the process involved. You may ask, “Do you really believe that faith can change things?” Well, there’s a changing process like light streaming into the room when you open the drapes. But faith doesn’t change the nature of reality any more than opening the drapes changes the nature of light. Faith tunes into reality and releases the imprisoned splendor.
Think about this. In pre-Columbian times, the people of the world believed in a flat world. Everybody did. There was no thought of anything different, but the world was still round, even though they didn’t know it, didn’t believe in it. Their belief in a flat world, didn’t change the round world one bit, it had gone on for ages. They were restricted of course by their consciousness. Their world was made small. That’s the way it was. Later in the years following the discoveries of Columbus and Magellan, who definitely proved that the world was round, to believe in a round world did not require making changes in the flat world. Actually, people went on for centuries, generations, believing in the flat world anyway. They couldn’t quite get the thought involved. But it was still a round world, and when gradually they did accept it, they didn’t change anything. It has opened their eyes to see the world in a wider perspective.
There’s a sense in which faith doesn’t really change things at all. It simply changes the way you relate to them. There’s always an allness within every illness. And all sufficiency within every insufficiency. Your faith can relate to the whole or the partial, and it will be as you believe. Faith doesn’t make God work. It is the perception of a God activity that is omni-active. There is always within you a creative intention of strength, of discipline. You’re always one with the strength of the infinite. Not just when you say you have faith.
Some people pray in tones, that suggest trying to waken God, urging him to get on the job. “Come on, don’t fall down. I need this help. Where you been the whole time?” People say, “Where was God when this plane crashed?” “Why is God allowing the wars to go on or the terrible things to take place in the world?” “Why didn’t he get on the job?” Actually, you see it works the other way. “Awake, thou that sleepest,” said Paul. And as you were asleep, mankind is asleep to the great God potential within, which is always present. And that’s when you begin to understand God as principle, we go on living marginally. The universal principle is, before they call I will answer. Before they call I will answer. Even before we sense a need, the fullness and wholeness of God is present.
In the great unity of all life, when you have a need, the answer is already moving on its way toward you. Before you formulate a desire in your mind, it is God in you desiring. Before you have an urge to do something or embark upon a project, there’s a moving of spirit in you prompting you in that direction. When you understand the cosmic origin of desire, the role of faith takes on a whole new meaning. It’s not a matter of, “Gee. I wish I had enough faith to do this thing.” If there’s a need, there’s an answer in infinite mind. And the need simply reveals that the answer is already on its way to you. Can you believe that? Such an important realization.
Faith is not an attempt to demonstrate the magic of picking yourself up by the bootstraps. Faith is your consent. It is saying, yes, to the out forming of the creative process. You think this is making faith too simple? It is simple. There’s nothing complicated about it. It deals with an an unmeasurable force like turning on a light. It is simple. But let’s not kid ourselves, it’s not easy. It’s not easy. There’s a discipline of consciousness required, and the commitment to practice the presence constantly. And it still remains, the truth is faith is simply saying, yes. That’s all I’m saying. Yes.
The exciting message of truth is, you can have all the desire. You can have the desire. It’s a concept that raises a lot of false expectations. It gives rise to many objections. You may say, “But I deserve many things that have not been realized.” Perhaps you’ve not really listened to your desires, because your consciousness may have been too centered in sense appetites and covetous urges. A true desire, you see, is not to have, it is to be. You are a whole creature in potential, and the true purpose of desire is to unfold that wholeness. To become what you can be. As Goethe says, “Desire is the presentiment of our inner abilities. The forerunner of our ultimate accomplishments.”
Unfortunately, some teachings are centered not in wholeness and spiritual well-being, but in the crassest kind of materiality. The all things are possible promise is met with the covetous gleam of dollar signs in the eyes. Techniques are offered by which to work for the high powered job, the luxurious country home, the expensive foreign car. Just treat for it and you’ll get it, you are told. And this is not to say that you cannot have fine things, because you can. As a child of God, you should. But not out of covetousness, not out of envy.
When you have a balanced consciousness centered in the creative flow of the universe, things will come easily as they’re needed, but it is a matter of priorities. We only understand ourselves in relationship to life, unless we know that we live within a universe that is whole and complete. And the allness of things can manifest in our lives at any time. But as Jesus said, “Seek first His Kingdom.” And there was the first step should not be to treat for things, but to get centered in the divine flow and things will come to in abundance, but they will come out of the expanse of your wholeness, not out of it’s expense. Faith is really your consent. To let your own uniqueness unfold, and to let that which is attracted by your uniqueness, manifest in your life.
So when Jesus said, “All things are possible to them who believe.” He was not saying that a swan could become a dunk, that a non-musical person can become a concert pianist. Some are unrealistic in our expectations. We think we can suddenly become entirely different in terms of the pattern of our lives. You can never become something that is not the out-forming of your pattern and potential. You can only be you. So many times our desires and ideas and expectations are based upon envy of what he has or what she does or what they are and what they can do, instead of trying to know ourselves and release our own potential.
You can only be you. However, you can unfold more of the you, that may have been long frustrated. Many persons are covetously influenced to seek to become like something they’ve seen in magazines or something that other folks say they have, or want to have. If through mind dynamics, you achieve that which is not the out-forming of your uniqueness, you may lose, even if you win. As with the problem encountered in transplant surgery, where the rejection syndrome we’re told sometimes prevents the tissue from taking hold. So you will be unable to hold or to fully experience that which does not come out of your own pattern. The important thing is to know yourself. Have faith in cosmic process, which will unfold in you like the life force unfolds in the lily of the field. The truth is, you can grow. You can improve. You can be healed. You can succeed. You can change. But you’ve got to believe.
When you say yes to the creative flow within you, you begin to experience, I am positive, I can attitudes, which turns on the skills needed to accomplish. When you believe you can do it, the how to do it begins to develop. This is the way the creative process and universe works. On the other hand, disbelief is a negative power that frustrates or turns off your inner potential. If you doubt something enough, the mind will attract all kinds of reasons to support your disbelief.
In my book, Spiritual Economics, I tell a story that actually comes from Wind, Sand and Stars, that great book by Saint-Exupéry. He was down in the rugged snow block regions of the Andes, he trudged through the snow for days, wanted to find his way, hopelessly blocked by a yawning crevice in the ice. He took stock of his situation. He concluded that he had but three choices. First, he could give up and die of exposure. Second, he could make an attempt to jump across the fissure knowing full well that it was impossible to do so. Thirdly, he could convince himself that he could jump across and make an attempt out of that conviction.
When considering this kind of logic, the choice was clear. We’re not always quite that perceptive. We’re not always that quite alert to a logical approach to situations. Anyway, this flyer, backed away a few yards, closed his eyes in a moment of inner communion, and loudly shouting, “I can, I can.” He ran and jumped and barely made it to safety on the other side. And trudging off down the mountain, he was eventually found and saved. The important thing to see here is that faith was no magic bridge. This is no miracle of God that picked him up and deposited him blindly on the other side. What the man did was accomplish with his own concentrated mind and through special effort by his own muscles. But his believing energy had released a flow of energy from his inner-God potential. It’s a tremendous lesson, which we can apply in many areas of life. So many stories of seemingly superhuman feats of accomplishment under emotional stress.
Unfortunately, we’re all to ready to call them miracles. It’s why miracle is a word that ought to be retired from the language, because it becomes a cop-out. It’s a miracle. God did it. Out here somewhere. And we stand on the outside looking, like looking through a glass window in the church from the outside. There’s no miracles involved in life at all. We have an universe of law. It is not to say that impossible possibilities cannot be accomplished, they can. Because as we understand the world is round and not flat, we have a whole new perspective, a whole new set of values, set of principles involved. All things are possible. Their possible by relating to the divine flow within us, expressed through the focus of our faith, where we release tremendous capacities that otherwise we didn’t know we had, but they’ve always been present. Much more in keeping with the ideal of the divinity of man, is to know that it is simply a matter of opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape, as Browning says.
And as Jesus promised, “Greater works than these shall he do.” But you’ve got to believe. You may survey our life as concerns your financial situation, your physical condition, your difficult relations, and you may find yourself facing the crevice in the glacier, as it were, unable to cross over. You may be totally discouraged and perhaps you’re thinking, what are you going to do? It’s just the way things are.
Let me share with you an experience. I was on a lecture tour in California, a number of years ago. I had a free day, so my host drove me up into the High Sierras to Lake Tahoe. You ever been up through that area? The mountains. It’s a beautiful drive. Jagged peaks and pine tree slopes and gurgling streams. It was a beautiful day. Later on, in the late afternoon we were returning down the gracefully descending highway, I began to become aware, that this particular area was once known as Donner Pass. Where the Donner party spent that faithful tragic winter back in pioneer days with heavy loss of life, because they were trapped in the snow. That very area where we were moving along speedily in this car. I was thinking of the great engineering feat of building this modern superhighway.
I recall the challenging statement of Jesus, “If you have faith and doubt not, you will to say to this mountain, be removed and cast into the sea and it shall be done.” It seems like America, they move a mountain and throw it into the sea. We’ve seen that actually accomplished in our lifetimes. Whole mountains or sides of mountains and passes through mountains or tunnels through mountains are created with modern engineering techniques. In this case, the well neigh mountain was removed and it was done because of the faith and the vision of some now forgotten highway engineer, who believed it could be done. The point is, whatever challenge or obstacle, say under the mountain, “Be thou removed and cast into the sea.”
It doesn’t mean it’s miraculously going to be done before your eyes, but it means that you will tune in to a whole new flow of energy and guidance and direction and draw unto you all sorts of resources, which you didn’t know you were aware of before. And the way will be manifest by which the seemingly impossible will be done in your life. Whether it be a healing, whether it be a demonstration of supply over some financial obstacle. Whether it be the reuniting of relationships that were seemingly severed. Whatever. It will be done. Be thou removed and cast into the sea.
Again, faith is not a magic means of working miracles, because often we think of the miracle as that which leads us out. Something that’s done for us. God can do no more for you, than he can do through you. Remember that, God can do no more for you, than he can do through you. Through your consciousness, through your willingness, through your saying, yes. You are the great miracle. The dynamics of faith is the key to the kingdom of your own potentiality. The need is to listen to your own transcendence, to know yourself. This will lead you to desire to unfold that which you innately are, to fulfill your uniqueness.
Another simple illustration as we come to a close. When we say all things are possible, we never mean that a carbon can become a good conductor of electricity. The carbon filament can be used by electricity and fulfill its uniqueness. The carbon filament is important, precisely because it is not a good conductor of electricity, because it resists the flow of electricity. And thus inadvertently creates heat, which becomes light. Just imagine a carbon filament saying, “I can’t conduct electricity like copper wire. I’m no good. You can’t expect me to make a light.”
But Jesus did not say, make your light shine. He said, “Let your light shine.” So in the carbon filament, in a sense we could say, are you willing to be used as an instrument? And we press the button. Voila, there’s light. This is important to understand about this thing called faith. It doesn’t make the light. It doesn’t need to make a filament a good conductor, until he turns on the switch and light does its thing. God is centered in you. The kingdom of all potentially is already within you. Positive faith is the key to that kingdom. You don’t need to become something different in order to release your imprisoned splendor. The need is to be centered in God, and the centering is the movement of your consciousness. To know that you are. Not maybe, dear God make me be, but you are a spiritual being.
And I’m with that believing attitude, simply proceed to do what needs to be done. So refuse to accept yourself as an average person. Sick part of the time, well part of the time, experiencing guidance and success part of the time and confusion and lack part of the time. You need no longer to act as a part time child of God. Through the creativeness of your faith, you’ll find it easy and normal to get deep into the flow of your own inner self and you will go forward to experience the progressive unfoldment of your own glorious uniqueness. You’ll become a full time child of God.
I want you to be still for just a moment. Turn within yourself. Turn away from the perception of being in a room full of people. Know that there is nothing that stands between you and your own oneness. And yes, you’re alone, you’re all one. I want you to use your imaging power. Imagine an altar, one like you would find it very formal church. If you don’t respond well to an altar, just think of a gracious table. I want you to think of sitting on that altar, any particular problem in your life or many of them, that you can identify with for a moment in a negative sense. If there’s a reflection that you’ve been hampered with, an excessive dependency upon some stimulant, financial difficulty, a habit pattern that has held you back in your relationships.
You see that it’s sitting out there on that table, or on that altar. And especially get the feeling of disidentifying from it. It’s no longer you. Often you say in defense of things that are problems, you say, “Well, that’s just the way I am.” It’s not you. It’s someone that you had, but you can let it go. Disidentify it. Disidentify from it. Think of it as sitting there on that altar, and then remember the words, “You can say unto the mountain, be thou removed.” These things may have seemed mountainous obstacles in your life, but say to them, “Be though removed.” Cast into the sea, cast into oblivion, into the dynamic energy flow of life. And the light shines. And the shadows disappear. And the table is clear. The altar is open and receptive and you’re free.
Take this exercise in imagery and apply it again at home. When you’re quiet, when you’re alone. Disidentify from the thing that most concerns you and put it out there in front of you and say with Jesus, “Be thou removed and cast into the sea, and let it go and let your light shine.” And the shadow shall disappear, and you’re free. When you understand the law, it becomes a simple releasement of the divine potential. Of course, you’ve got to believe.
Just feel grateful for a minute. Feel grateful. Be in a sense of thanks giving. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.