Vera Dawson Tait Teaches Lessons in Truth
Chapter 01—Liberty or Bondage, Which?
In the following audio and transcripts, Vera Dawson Tait provides commentary on the Correspondence School Annotations for Emilie Cady's Lessons in Truth.
001 Overview of LIT
All of these cassette lessons based on the book, Lessons In Truth, H. Emilie Cady, the reader is embarking upon a very fascinating adventure. The first chapter in the book is titled, Liberty or Bondage Which? And we find that at some time or other in life, each individual comes up against the question, what do I want bondage or liberty? If he chooses liberty, then the first chapter explains to him his relationship to God, his divine inheritance, and all that is necessary in his life to start along this new adventure of freedom.
Chapter two then logically deals with God. It is titled, Statement of Being. It is one thing to have decided that an individual would like liberty, but it is quite another one to know how he got into this plan of existence and just exactly what his purpose is. So the chapter on statement of being tries, as well as possible, to explain to each individual just what God is authority is concerned.
Having recognized that God is Father and man is son, then we move on to the third chapter, which is titled, Thinking. This is a very interesting chapter because it breaks down man’s being into three various phases, and each of these phases are dealt with individually. He learns that in order to get in contact, or should we say conscious contact with this creator, this being who brought him forth, man has been given the marvelous faculty of thinking. And so this chapter then takes up man’s wonderful gift of thinking. And also includes the power of his subconscious phase of mind, which is his feeling nature.
It is very important that the power of thinking should be understand from every angle. Mankind from the beginning of time has built into consciousness so many things that need to be erased. So the fourth chapter deals with the process called denial. The fifth chapter with the process affirmations. And actually we very frequently in the unity teaching think of this as one process, the process of denial and affirmation.
In these two chapters we learn the necessity of cleansing the consciousness of all beliefs that are contrary to high standard of God. And then we learn the meaning of affirmation, or the building in of that which is true of God and of man. Having discovered this way of disciplining the mind, it has been found that for especially the beginning student, it is good to study the faculty and power faith.
So, the next chapter, which is number six in the book I just titled, Faith. And it becomes a very inspirational chapter, because it deals with that ability of man to see that there is a creator and to see his relation to that being.
From chapter six we move into a very interesting chapter which is titled, Personality and Individuality. Actually this is only expanding further part of the second phase of man’s nature, dealt with in the third chapter. And I think each student will find this a fascinating study.
From chapter seven we go on to a very important chapter. That of spiritual understanding. Man learns in making his contact with his creator that what he seeks above all things is spiritual understanding. Through books, through teachers, and through all methods of education he may build up many facts in his intellectual understanding. But beyond all this there is the tremendous need for spiritual understanding.
From this chapter we move on to a very fascinating subject, that of the secret place of the Most High. We find this eventually to be nothing more or less than the silence, that inner place where each man may meet with his God. Following this chapter we come into a chapter titles, Finding the Secret Place. We have been told what it was in the previous chapter. And now we learn the methods by which we may find our way through thinking and feeling into this secret place, or into what unity terms the silence.
What do we get in the secret place? Our tenth chapter with spiritual gifts. And early on in our study we will learn that the spiritual gifts of God are nothing more or less than all of the divine ideas. And this chapter also brings us into a new understanding of these ideas that become the very fabric of our every day life.
And it is quite fitting that the final chapter in this book should be unity of the Spirit. Throughout all of the lessons, the reader or student is actually seeking but one thing, a conscious understanding that he is one with God. And so we find the twelfth chapter of Lessons In Truth reaches a pinnacle and an ultimate, as it were. And then it is up to each student to go out into his outer life and put into practice these principles that he has gathered along the way in his study.
002 What is the primary cause of suffering?
Having decided that we want liberty rather than bondage, then the first point that we will need to handle in chapter one, Bondage or Liberty Which, is what is the primary cause of suffering. Now note that word, primary. The opening of the book Lesson In Truth in its first chapter reads in this way. “Every man believes himself to in bondage to the flesh and to the things of the flesh. All suffering is the result of this belief.”
Now notice the question said, what is the primary cause of suffering? Now the opening of our chapter says that belief that he is in bondage to flesh and the things of the flesh are the cause of man’s suffering. But let’s go beyond that. There must be a primary cause. What makes man believe that he is on bondage to the flesh and the things of the flesh?
We know very well it must be because somehow or other man has just forgotten who he is, or has not become aware of who he is. Who is he? We say he is a son of God. What is he? We say he is a spiritual being. So if man does forget that he is a spiritual being, a son of God, it stands to reason that the things of the outer world push so hard upon him that he believes it is the flesh and the things of the flesh that bring his suffering. He looks his everyday life and he sees some other individual in home, or in work, or in any connections that he may have in business or otherwise. And he feels bound and he says, “I am in bondage to this individual.” Or if he is one who has come across much suffering, he says, “Oh, it is the body, it is the flesh that causes man so much unhappiness.” He may be should himself and he says, “It is the flesh.”
But we find in our study of truth, that when we come further and deeper into this thought of suffering, we know that forgetfulness of a principle will always bring suffering. Throughout these lessons we will learn that God is principle. And we will go into that very much more clearly in other lessons.
If God is principle then, it stands to reason that if the being that he created gets away from principle, there are going to be problems. Man finds that when he can keep in tune with life, which is a principle of God the principle of all life, then life begins to flow in a much easier way. If man finds himself confused and unhappy, he loses sight of God as principle. He loses sight of the principles of his life. But when he tunes himself into God then he realizes that his thinking is based upon principle, and that his feeling is also based upon principle.
Then he finds right causes for whatever he thinks and whatever he feels. Otherwise, believing himself to be separate from God he brings wrong thinking, wrong feeling into his life, because the consequences of mental misuse of our tools of thinking and feeling always bring unhappy results. So let us realize first of all then, that the primary cause of suffering is because man just doesn’t know who he is, he’s forgotten or is ignorant of the truth that he is a son of God.
003 What is the fountainhead from which we draw all of our good?
Now let’s go into the next key idea to be found in this chapter. It reads in question form this way, “What is the fountainhead from which we draw all of our good, such as joy, strength, peace, health, and abundance?” We find in this chapter these words. “All joy and strength and good spring up from a fountain within one’s own being. And if we only knew this truth, we should know that because God in us is the fountain out of which springs all our good, nothing that anyone does or says, or fails to do or say can take away our joy and good.” Now that is a tremendous statement. And it is one that if understood by the people in the world would begin to bring about truly peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.
What is this fountainhead? The answer could be God. But you see that doesn’t go quite far enough. We need to say that the fountainhead from which we draw our good is God within. It is one thing to think of God as a great being away from us, but it is another thing to think of the God presence as within us, as a flowing fountain constantly bringing good into our life.
It is a very important thing that you and I should know God in us. It is probably one of the themes of all truth teaching. Since man has ever thought of himself, he has thought of a being above himself. But when the truth begins to dawn he knows that God is far more than a being apart from him, that he is the very presence, the very essence within his own being.
004 What does it mean to be an heir of God?
Now we come into a very important point which will more or less go all the way through the lessons. And it’s written in question form this way. What does it mean to be an heir of God? That’s the first part of the question. And the second is, to what are we heirs? When you consider that an individual under a will is making distribution of his worldly goods then you can look upon the will of God as the distribution of his good. So, as spiritual beings and sons of God, each individual must be an heir under this will. This will of God could be thought of as his plan. His plan can only be that of good. And so, to what are we heirs? We could say many things. The things that we need in our outer life, food and shelter, and education. But we know that back of all these things that are formed, there must be something. And the nucleus is ideas. And so you and I are heirs to ideas.
When you think of an idea as a spiritual pattern, then you can see how it goes into divine substance forms the outer thing, whether it be food, or shelter, or education. In Romans 8:17 Paul says, “And if children then heirs.” And then the question in the book says heirs to what? And as we said, heirs to all ideas. See how the book goes on. Why heirs to all wisdom? So that we need not through any lack of wisdom make mistakes. Heirs to all love, so that we need know no fear or envy or jealousy. Heirs to all strength, all life, all power, all good. And you see each of those qualities that we have spoken of is a divine idea. We will go much more deeply into this when we get into lesson three under the subject of thinking. But in the meantime, if we remember then that to be an heir means to be a son of God entitled to his good, and his good must be qualities or ideas. And then we are heirs to these marvelous ideas that can make for better conditions in our life.
005 What must be our objective?
All right, let us go on to the fourth point, or what is considered a very important key point in this chapter. And in question form it reads this way. Instead of seeking primarily for demonstrations or for manifest results, what must be our objective? Now the word primarily is important an so is the word demonstrations. So instead of seeking primarily for demonstrations, let’s consider that. It doesn’t mean we are not to seek for demonstrations. Demonstrate means to show force. These are the manifest results, the formed things, the things that we want to fulfill our everyday life. And there’s nothing wrong in seeking them. But notice the question says, instead of seeking primarily for demonstrations or for manifest results, what must be our objective? Our objective must be primarily to seek God or to seek to live the truth that he expresses.
We read this in the chapter. “We have come to a place now where our search for truth must no longer be for the rewards. It must be no longer be our seeking a creed to follow. But it must be our living a life.” If we live life as we are guided from the God Spirit within us, then we don’t even need to worry about the demonstrations or the manifest results. So you see, it does not mean that we are not to seek them. One needing healing doesn’t pretend he doesn’t need it, but he seeks. He seeks healing, but he goes beyond the outer health of body to the life idea. For one who has a great need of prosperity in his life, seek not just the outer things, the money or the possessions, but he learns to go inward to that God presence and seek the idea of abundance, of opulence, and of prosperity.
So our objective remember, will be to live these divine ideas of life, of abundance, of harmony, and of joy. And then we know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we will demonstrate in our life in divine order the things or the manifest results that are needed to fulfill our lives.
Sometimes we’re a little inclined to think once we get into a study of truth, that we are here to live the truth to such an extent that we can change the world. That may be true as far as it goes. But far beyond that, we are here to fulfill God’s diving plan of expressing his ;life, his love, and his truth into this world of phenomena, into this world of very definite manifest results, or things.
We know that our world is facing much unrest. We know that above all things man desires to see peace. We know that it is good to have peace conferences, it is good to have representatives from all nations meeting together and trying to iron our some of their differences. But far beyond this is the work of prayer, or the work of the inner man. And even those who will take no part in outward ways, in seeking peace, or even outward ways in going forth as it were into wars and into battles, can find that he has a tremendous work to do in holding on to the idea powerful peace. He may be blinded sometimes by what he hears, and what he sees, and what he reads. And yet he must get his clear vision fixed upon the truth, that God’s will or God’s plan for man is peace. It is peace that man has definitely inherited. But he must make his claim.
That is something that perhaps all of us need to understand. And this is touching again upon the third question, what does it mean to be an heir of God? When an individual is left a bequest under a will, he has to make a claim. Usually it is done either in a lawyer’s office or it is done directly in the court. But he must make a claim. And all study if truth proves that our speaking the word, and as we will learn later about affirmations, our affirming the truth is making a claim of this idea. So if man would seek to bring peace in his world, he must make his claim for peace, first within himself when he knows that peace is his by divine right. And then as the book says here living a life. Living a life of peace individually.
There are many things to which you and I are entitled, good things, wonderful things. But to seek them of themselves can nearly always bring very unhappy results. So we remember then, that our first consideration is to seek the ideas that lie back of the demonstration. You cannot think of anything in your outer life that does not have back of it an idea.
In the book Mysteries of Genesis, by Charles Fillmore, in fact very early in the first chapter it is mentioned that the whole creation rests upon ideas. And the creation is actually the manifest result of those ideas. In the book Christian Healing, Charles Fillmore has this to say in speaking of man’s inheritance. “Divine ideas are man’s inheritance. It’s a statement of truth.” And then it goes on. “They are pregnant with all possibility because ideas are the foundation and cause of all that man desires.” And then it says later on in this quotation, “That all the ideas contained in the one Father mind are at the mental command of its offspring.” You and I are its offspring. And these ideas, remember, are at our command. Get behind a thing, that is the demonstration or the manifest result into the mental realm where it exists as an inexhaustible idea and you can draw upon it perpetually and never deplete the source. So you see how closely that third point and this fourth one, dealing with demonstrations or manifest results are tied together.
006 What is the secret to power?
Now we are coming to the fifth important key point in this chapter. The entire chapter has so much in it, that only salient points can be handled in these lessons. But this comes from oh about halfway through the chapter. “Every man must take daily for quite and meditation. In daily meditation lies the secret of power.” Probably unity’s most unique type of prayer is what is termed the silence. We find that meditation is one of the steps that lead us into the silence. Meditation, if you will check the dictionary some time, has to do with man’s thinking, thinking about ideas. So, when man wishes to meditate on God and the things of God, he begins to think about ideas. He thinks of God as creator, and then he wonders about his own relation to this creator. And then he thinks about the nature of this creator. And he realizes that the nature is made up of all these marvelous ideas. So he meditates and thinks.
But that may be as far as he goes. He could think, and think, and think with no definite results. And yet meditation is the first movement toward that place in consciousness where man meets consciously with God. You could think of meditation as the invitation to the silence. It is in this period that we term meditation, that one learns later to deny or cleanse away the things that are not needed in his life through getting rid of the various negative thoughts and beliefs. And where he learns to affirm. Meditation gives us, as it says, the secret to power. We could say that meditation is the first key that leads us into this secret place that we will study about later on in these lessons.
One thing that is very important in this chapter about meditation is found in these words. “You may be so buys with the doing, the outgoing of love to help others, which is unselfish and godlike as far as it goes, that you find no time to go apart.” And then it says a little later on in this same paragraph, “Doing is secondary to being. If you have no time for this quiet meditation, make time and take time.”
So what is the purpose of meditation? Its purpose then is to start us along the pathway that brings us consciously into the presence of God. The second part of the question says, on what should one’s thoughts be centered in moments of meditation? Well, we’ve been talking about ideas. Naturally, our thoughts must be centered on ideas. And when we say thoughts we mean not merely the thinking, but the feeling. Thinking and feeling coming together, centered upon ideas.
One who is suffering from ill health just automatically feels he must center his thoughts upon life, energy, vitality. One who seems to be lacking much in this world’s goods, has a great need for prosperity. And so his thoughts in times of meditation will probably be centered upon God as the source of his good. If he needs a job, a new profession, or a new career he puts his mind upon the thought of service. And then he knows in this meditation period that his consciousness is taking upon itself this quality. And then as he enters the strict silence, then he knows he can wait and God will answer his prayer, will give him the guidance in whatever he needs to do.
For one who is having much unhappiness, say in his human relations finds that in moments of meditation when he needs to meet this particular problem, he must put his mind upon love, upon harmony, and perhaps upon understanding. There are times in connection with human relations when we may need to concentrate upon faith. Because faith is that which sees far beyond that which is showing forth in the outer. And so we see then that our thoughts are not centered upon our problems. Too many people have thought through many many generations, many centuries that they must go to God and present him with their problems. But we don’t go to God for our problems, we go to God for the fulfillment of these problems.
If you have never checked the dictionary for simple words it can be one of the most fascinating of occupations sometimes small words that you think you know very definitely can open themselves into a new world. The word problem is such a word. It is divided into two parts, pro which means forward. And the other root word, baline, which means to throw. We get our word ball from that root word baline. So a problem is that which is sent thrown, or sent forward. Where from? Certainly not from God. So it has to be from our own consciousness.
One of the interesting definitions for the word problem is, a proposition presented for solution. Isn’t that interesting? Isn’t that the main reason that any of us embark upon this adventure of truth? Is this not the only reason that we want to choose the path of liberty rather than the path of bondage? Because we want to find the solution to our problems. Many people call these problems challenges. It’s a very good thing, because it takes the thought of negation away from it. But isn’t problem a fascinating word once you understand what it is?
The child at school may not care too much in the beginning for his lessons in mathematics. But later he begins to see that these problems that are presented to him are something he can meet with a solution. Because he has been first given the principle. That is one of the most interesting things about this thing called life. That whatever appears a problem to us in the outer, is ready at that moment, or should we say, we are ready at that moment to present, or yes, to present the solution.
So what is the purpose of meditation? It is to understand a little more about ourselves, to start on this pathway that takes us into the silence where God gives us guidance. And then because we want to focus our entire being upon that which will become in tuned with God, we say that our thoughts must be centered on divine ideas in our moments of meditation. And then the ideas open themselves into such fascinating and wonderful explanations, sometimes of our problems, certainly of the answers to our problems.
In summing up this entire chapter, we find that we have definitely walked a pathway and decided that we want to carry with us that which will be only the very finest, and loveliest, and best. Therefore we say to ourselves, “I must walk the path of liberty. I must walk the path at leads me to the place where I can find the solutions for my problems.”
And then I say, “Well, where is this source that has the solutions to my problems?” And so in a rather poetical way, we say it is a fountainhead within you. And then in a practical way, we say this is the very creative source of life, we call it God. And there we find our joy, our strength, our peace, our health, and our abundance. We said we find them. No we find the divine patterns that will produce joy, and strength, peace, health, and abundance when we begin to work them as any other principle. Live the life, bring them forth into everyday living in a very practical way.
We found out that we are heirs of God. We found that we are heirs to these ideas of joy, and strength, and peace, and health, and we can go on and on. Then, in order that we can get the right manifest results, we say, which may seem very contrary once in a while, that we do not seek these outer things first. No, we seek the ideas, we seek to live the truth that has been presented. And then we find that step by step these demonstrations come into our life. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t guided to do many things in the outer. No man would sit still when he needs to purchase a home and just wait for the home to come to him. He does the thing that seems right for him.
In some countries such as ours, the normal thing is to go to a real estate agent. But yet we know, all of us have had this experience, we do not need to do it particularly in that way. I remember once, when living in Canada before coming to the United States it became very necessary for my family to sell the home that had just been purchased about four months. We prayed about it. We knew that there must be someone who would need the very home that we had. We knew that we had put a great deal of love into it, even in those four months. We also felt that we had cleansed a very negative condition, at the time we didn’t know what it is was, form that particular home.
One night without putting ad in the paper, there came a knock at the door rather late. And when I went to the door this man said, “I’ve just seen the sign on your house, it is for sale?” And I replied that it was. He said, “I have wanted this house for the last five years.” And I said, “Well, we’ve only bought the house about four months ago.” And he said, “Yes, I know.” So he asked if we could discuss it. And I said, “Well I thought it was too late at that time of night.” And he said, “Well, all right, we’ll talk about it tomorrow.”
So the next day this man came and I found that he was a minister. And I realized afterwards, that it was absolutely necessary that I and my family clean up the mental condition that was in that house. It had been one of great sickness and negation before this minister was ready to take over. And the way it worked out was so marvelous that I and my family no longer thought of it as just a demonstration of selling a house. We saw ourselves definitely instruments of God in the hand of God.
Then, after we go beyond this thought of demonstration, we say, “Well what is the purpose of demonstration?” And then we have to say, “Its purpose is that we shall get into this inner realm where we can meet with God, if we learn only to center upon the ideas that belong to God, the ideas that alone can bring the demonstrations that he wishes to see in our life. And they’re not just for us. They are to help all men.
Let us conclude this side of the cassette with this thought. I am a son of God with a divine inheritance that leads me to freedom and happiness.
008 Should one be too busy to pray?
Question six says, should one be too busy to take time for meditation and prayer? Second part, is is necessary to practice the presence of God? There’s only one answer to the first part, one should not be too busy. One should not feel that he cannot give time to drawing apart from the world. He must know that this drawing apart from the world is the period in his life that gives him the key to happiness and the freedom that he desires.
In the chapter we read these words. “Every man must take time daily for quiet and meditation. In daily meditation lies secret of power.” And a little further on, “Doing is secondary is to being. If you have no time for this quiet meditation, make time, take time.” It is a very interesting thing having considered the purpose od meditation to also realize that in a sense meditation is part of the meal time of the soul so both meditation and prayer become the time when the soul or the mind partakes of spiritual food.
And what is this spiritual food? It’s nothing more or less than the ideas that we considered earlier on as being our inheritance. If we feel that there is no time for meditation, some teachers have said in a very facetious way, “Well then we’re just too busy to do anything.” And that’s something that you and I have to consider. That putting first things first is being and then doing later on. Sometimes we say look before you leap. And yet too often in our life we leap and then we look afterwards. And sometimes we find ourselves in great difficulty. So if we will realize that to go to into meditation, even for a brief period, is that which will open in us the pathway to all kinds of wonderful things, then we will see the sense of taking time for meditation.
There is another sentence in this same paragraph considering meditation that says, “Watch carefully and you will find that there are some things even in the active unselfish doing which would better be left undone, that you should neglect regular meditation.” So having decided that meditation is a necessary part of our life, because meditation, thinking about God, leads us into prayer and finally into the silence. We know that we are ready to consider the second part of our question.
Is it necessary to practice the presence of God? To some people this might sound just an idealistic thing, very impractical. But there was an early day monk who discovered that even among the pots and pans in his kitchen he could practice the presence of God as perfectly as he practiced it when he went into take the sacrament in the chapel. And most of you will know this was the well known Brother Lawrence. I say well known in the sense that among truth seekers and among those of religion who have sought to come into conscious contact with God, Brother Lawrence has seemed to be a guidepost along the way. For to practice the presence of God can be done anywhere.
When you practice anything what do you do? You learn to do it over over until it becomes natural. So practicing the presence of God could not possibly be only practicing going into prayer. There must be something even deeper than this, and it is. It is the next step, it is the doing. Whatever you practice, we are told, you eventually come to work into perfection in your life. So practicing the presence of God is something that you and I need to do.
All right, we say we practice it by going into meditation and prayer, but we also practice it by doing in our daily life. Wherever you and I see any amount of good we are practicing the presence. I’d like to give an illustration here. A truth teacher a good many years ago had reached the stage in his ministry where he felt he would just have to give up. There was just no money coming in, he seemed to be giving wonderful sermons, and he thought he was giving very wonderful classes. But he just wasn’t make the grade, as we say.
He had been a former newspaper man and had earned a good salary. And his wife was quiet unhappy at the situation in which they found themselves now. So the husband this particular morning had made up his mind he was going to announce the closing of his truth ministry. He had had to sell his car, so he got onto one of the buses to go on to his office. As he sat there he thought, “Well how can one practice the presence of God? That’s what I should be doing now. Here I find myself in a situation that I must give up the ministry that I love.”
As he raised his eyes sitting there in the bus after it had stopped at one of the bus stops, he noticed a girl get on. And he took one look at her and saw she was really ugly. And he thought, “Ooo, what a face,” at first. And then he said, “No, I must practice the presence.” And he took another look at that girl and he noticed that she had beautiful ears. And he said at first he thought to himself, “Well they’re just like two seashells.” And yet everything else about this girl just seemed to be really almost repulsive.
Well anyway, he concentrated as it were on the good. He thought of it as the presence of God, the good that he found in that girl. And then eventually reached his stop. He got off and went to his office. And somehow he said he had a lift. But he didn’t know why. He knew he was going to give up his ministry and just announce to the people that he was through. He found quite a bit of mail on his desk and he began going through it. And he opened one envelope. And there was three or four times enough money to take care of everything that was outstanding, and to help the center ministry.
And from that moment onward, this man told me himself, everything began to work out. Because he had practiced the presence of God in a place where the presence of God did not seem to be. But he saw it as beauty in just one particular spot of an individual.
009 What is the Christ life?
Now we go onto question number seven. What is the Christ life? That’s the first part. Now the second part is divided into portions. Explain meekness, love, forgiveness. Showing what part they play in the Christ life. To the religionist, the Christ life would be follow the life of Jesus Christ, trying to emulate the acts of Jesus in every day living. Which is good to a point, but there is something than just following Jesus in the outer. It is putting his teachings into practice.
So we find then that strictly speaking, the Christ life is the life of overcoming, the life of victory, and the life of mastery. When we speak of overcoming, we mean that which comes over into the truth. In other words, it means coming into the principle of truth, which is representative of the Christ. And then learning how to use that principle so that one overcomes the outer conditions and also reaches both victory and mastery. The Christ life is also a very normal life for those who recognize themselves as sons of God. For it is a life of love and understanding. It includes so much of tolerance, and so much of consideration for other people. It is that life that is selfless to the extent that one feels himself to be one with every other man.
Now let’s take the second part, explain meekness, love, and forgiveness. Let’s deal first with meekness. Probably the easiest word to explain meekness is to be teachable. To be teachable you have to be open, you have to be receptive, and you have to be obedient. Meekness doesn’t mean making oneself a door mathematical for every condition, or even every individual that comes into one’s life. Meekness is really the ability to stand firm in spite of every outer appearance. Jesus told us, “Judge not by the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” And meekness is able to stand in the face of appearance and know that there is going to be an outcome.
In a way we might say that meekness is a by product of faith. The faith that can see into the truth, and the faith that can give patience. So let’s remember then that meekness is being teachable, or open and receptive to what? Why to the truth. To that which is revealed through the conscious contact made with God through meditation, prayer, the silence. It is that which enables the Christ life to take over.
Now let’s deal with love. Such a big subject. And this also is a subject which will be handled in our next chapter. Because love also, as is meekness, a quality of God. Love, Charles Fillmore said throughout many years of teaching, “is the attracting, harmonizing, equalizing, unifying, binding or cementing quality or idea.” See it’s one of these divine ideas. If love is the unifying quality, then it would have to be used along with meekness to be part of the Christ life. So that love plays a very important part.
Love attracts. So love would attract us to the thing that we want about everything, which is to know God. Not merely to know about him, but to know God. Love unifies us with that which we desire in our life. And love certainly helps us to be patient. Love helps us to overcome because there is no fear in our overcoming. Love helps us to understand so many things that at first our difficult to grasp.
The third word we’re going to deal with is forgiveness. And perhaps the simplest thing that we can say about forgiveness, it is giving the truth for error. It is replacing that which has brought unhappiness for that which can only bring harmony and happiness. In a sense forgiveness could be said to be the working of the process of denial and affirmation, about which we will learn in future lessons. For, it cleanses from consciousness the error. And it gives in its place or affirms in its place that which is the truth.
So, let us say to ourselves, meekness, love, and forgiveness, what part do they play in the Christ life? A very important part. One may wonder why we pick out just certain qualities. But at certain times in our unfollment, qualities are needed to pave the way for other qualities to be developed and to take their place in our life.
010 What is the result of seeing God in every situation?
All right, now we’re going onto the eight question. What is the result of our persistently seeing God in every situation? That is the first part of the question. And then the second part is, is there any condition in which God cannot be found? There’s actually only one answer to what is the result od persistently seeking God in every situation. And that is we find him. We find him as the particular quality that we need. We find him as the love, or the life, or the abundance, or the peace, whatever may be needed at any particular time.
I’m going to read this out of the chapter. “If we have the courage to persist in seeing only God in it all, even the rough of men shall be invariably tuned to our advantage.” And then further down we have reference to the words found in Romans. “All things work together for good.” However, we have to remember, to those who recognize only God, or as the bible says, “to those who love God.” The very circumstances in your life that seem heart breaking evils will turn to joy before your very eyes, if you will persistently refuse to see anything but God in them.
What is the result of our persistently seeking God in every situation? It’s the very freedom and liberty that we are seeking. Because once more, if we persistently seek we find. That has been the promise to Christian throughout the ages. That if we will seek God with our whole heart, we will surely find him.
Now let’s ask the next part of the question, is there any condition in which God cannot be found? If God is the one creator, if he is the one presence and one power, then there could not be any condition in which God could not be found. But you say, “There are conditions. Surely God is not in war, and crime, and sickness, and poverty, and unhappiness.” No. God isn’t in these, God is. These are only outer conditions that are appearing because God has not been given the chance to come through each of these situations. When you and pray for peace, we’re not asking for something from the outside to be placed in any particular part of the world. We are asking that this peace which has never left the world, even in a state of war, shall come forth.
It is very much like a person having a pattern ready for a garment. If the individual does not follow the pattern, then the garment will not look at all like the original pattern. So he needs to recut his material if he finds that he is wrong. Mankind today is looking at the world and saying, “There’s something wrong.” War is not part of this plan. Even those who have no religious inclinations feel that it is not part of man’s life to have war. And so you see, we are actually making headway.
Can I say that God is in sickness? No I can’t. But I can say that God is right there in that body that is manifesting sickness. Because God is life. It’s a very interesting thing to realize that there could be no pain except for life. And God is life. So there could be no absence of God even in the pain.
One old time, or should I say, early day metaphysician used to say, “Every bit of human suffering is a spiritual alarm clock.” But how often do you and I turn off the alarm? Instead of being awakened to that which will bring about a change from human suffering to human harmony, and happiness, and joy. We just kind of turn off the alarm and in many cases, sickness or disease, or accident is certainly very alarming. But we forget to go back to the original principle. There is no condition, there couldn’t be a condition where God could not be found.
We will learn in the chapter on denials, that there is no absence of life, substance, or intelligence anywhere. That means there is no absence of God anywhere,. And yet we look upon our world today and we see so many places where God seems to be so far away. We realize that if the individuals in those places or those who feel impelled to help in those places can get back to the fundamentals of truth and know that God as life, as strength, and power is there. But needs to be uncovered through all the debris of human thinking. Then we realize that people will come to the understanding that God is everywhere evenly present.
011 Can man escape adversity?
Can man escape adversity by trying to run away from it, says our ninth question? There’s only one answer. No. But it isn’t sufficient to just say, no man can’t run away from adversity. And he can’t even try to run away from it. Because the causes of adversity lie within the mind of man. This seems a very harsh statement. And some people would be inclined to say, “Oh I couldn’t believe that. There are many things about truth I can believe, but that I couldn’t accept. Why do you mean that I brought this adversity upon myself? Do you mean that I brought this sickness, that I brought this unharmony, that I brought this breaking up of a marriage and all this into my life?”
As I said before, it’s a very harsh statement to say. But at the same time, the causes of adversity could not lie in the mind of God. So the causes of adversity have to lie somewhere in the mind of man. Probably it makes quite a difference if a person does accept the theory of reincarnation. Because we can say then that many of these causes have been set into motion in other lives. However, whether it is that or whether it is not, let us think of it in this way. That man, by trying to run away from the circumstances in his life never really does escape adversity.
If one is laid low with illness, he may try to travel here and there and everywhere to escape this sickness. But he knows very well that its cause is somewhere within himself. And therefore, the remedy or the cure must be found within himself. Within himself as a human being? Certainly not. But within that spiritual part of his nature. For in himself lies the idea of life. The life that brought forth into his consciousness, his thinking and his feeling, can allow a wholeness to take place in the body or what we call healing.
If a person feels that he’s burdened down with the extent of his financial problems, if his business is going down, or if he just feels he cannot meet it and he tries to run away from it, he hasn’t escaped from it at all. For he carries it within his own mind, he may run away and leave someone else to carry the burden, but that isn’t the answer. Because sometime, somewhere he will have to meet the results of that same cause in another form.
So man has to come to the realization that as a spiritual being, he has the ability to handle these error causes that lie within his own mind, he can only do it by one way. By feeding upon the ideas of God. By going into meditation and prayer, and eventually coming into the silence. And learning what is the next step. In one of the unity books that was published a good many years ago, there’s an interesting story told of a man who had lost everything during the Depression in the United States. But instead of becoming desperate, as many have, and trying to run away from adversity, this man walked the floor all night and kept saying, “There is a way out. There is a way out.” He felt there was some manner of meeting this, even though he had lost everything.
The following morning when the newspapers delivered at his door, he opened the door to pick it up. And in large letters across the top he read that Brazil had its markets glutted with coffee. And something clicked in that man’s mind. And he thought, “Well if I could buy a certain amount of coffee and parcel it and sell it here in the United States, I could begin to recoup my loses.” And this is exactly what happened. Now he could have given away in mind and in his whole makeup to well, what’s the use? I’m beaten, I’m a failure. But instead, he kept his mind alert and asked for an answer. And he got that answer. He sought for God and he found God. He persistently sought God in the hours of that night when he actually was praying. Many people would say that walking up and down and just saying, “There is a way out,” is not a prayer. But it was a prayer. Is there any condition in which God cannot be found? No. He can be found everywhere when we seek him.
12 What attitude of mind leads to deliverance from adversity?
Our tenth question deals with attitude of mind. And this is the question, what attitude of mind leads to complete deliverance from adversity? That’s the first part of the question. Where is victory first won? We read in the chapter that the ultimate aim of every man should be to come into the consciousness of an indwelling God. So therefore the attitude of mind must be one of belief and faith that there is a God. That there is a God who cares. That it goes on to say, “Then in all external matters to affirm deliverance from and by this divine one.” What attitude of mind leads to complete deliverance from adversity? Perhaps we better say, an attitude of right thinking to start with. Because with right thinking we can move forward into all of the attitudes that are going to lead up to this complete deliverance from adversity.
Now this doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to carry out whatever guidance God gives us. So the help there referred to is our effort to tell God what to do. Rather, this unwavering trust in God as all wisdom and all power within us, then allows us to be calm and definite in the thing that we seek. Our attitude of mind must be one of positive assurance. So that means it has to be the attitude of mind that is filled with faith. Faith in God as the source, and faith in man as having the ability to carry into his everyday life whatever God may guide him to do.
We talk about complete deliverance from adversity. And that adversity may take many many forms. It may be sickness, it may be unhappiness, it may be a sense of loneliness, it may be poverty, and it might be unharmony, it might be even inability to get on in one’s profession or one’s career, or it might be even inability to carry the studies that one needs to in university or in school. Whatever this adversity is, we think of it as something that is keeping away our good. So for complete deliverance from it, there is only one way. And that is assuming the positive attitude of mind that is based upon faith in God and in man.
So where is the victory first won, is the second part of this tenth question. And there’s only one answer. Within man. But where within man? Within his soul consciousness, within his thinking and feeling. It isn’t just in his mind that victory must be won, because sometimes intellectually man may seem to win a victory. And yet deep down in the inner recesses of his soul that we call the subconscious phase of mind, there may be feelings that have not yet been eradicated. There may be feelings of unforgiveness that need to be erased. And so until man learns that it is in his entire being that his victory is won, he’s just not able to make the next steps forward on the path to liberty.
Sometimes in considering the attitude that man must build in order to be delivered from adversity, he feels that he has to do many outer things. He feels that he must discipline himself this way and that way. And outer disciplines are very good. But deeper than the outer disciplines are the inner disciplines. Many times a person feels, “Well, if I give up this and I give up the other then that will make me much more spiritual. And I will be delivered from my adversities.” But it doesn’t work this way. We learn that in order to build an attitude of mind that can handle things that are not good in out life, we have to go into meditation and prayer. You see we cannot seem to get away from it.
It is a very interesting thing to realize that the word attitude was never even used in connection with the mind until about the late 1800s. The word itself was used to show the position of statues, and pieces of masonry, or statuary. And because of this it had to do with a position. So we could say, what position of mind must I take to insure deliverance from adversity? And of course once more we have to say, that we must take the position that God is the creator, that he created us in his image and after his likeness. Therefore, we are his sons and heirs. And that whatever has to be handled, that has been built in our could consciousness in the past can be handled, because we have the power, the love, and the strength of God. But coming back to the last part of this question, victory can only be won within ourselves. Sometimes we’re a little inclined to think that if we make this demonstration or that demonstration in the outer, that is a proof that we have won a victory. But unless that demonstration is backed up by an inner victory, it probably won’t stand.
013 Summary for Liberty or Bondage - Which?
In summing up this entire chapter, we could perhaps turn the very last paragraph and gain so much good from our reading of it. “There is but one way to obtain this full realization, the way of the Christ. I am the way, and the truth, and the life, spoke the Christ through the lips of the Nazarene. Your holding to the words, Christ is the way when you are perplexed and confused and can see no way of escape, will inevitably open a way of complete deliverance.”
When we later come to study a little bit more about faith, we will realize that this trust in God, this expecting that God is going to answer our prayer has to be based on faith. Because in most cases, there is nothing in the outer world upon which we can base our perception. And faith must be perceive that God has prepared for his beloved a world of happiness and joy. And sometimes even the working out of one’s problems can really become an adventure, once all the pain, and the unhappiness, and the fear, and the ignorance concerning them is gone.
So what are you choosing in your life? Bondage or liberty, the very fact that you have decided, that you want to know more of the subject of Lessons In Truth, is in itself a proof that you have chosen the way of liberty. This liberty is a freedom that comes from knowing, rather than a freedom merely from something. It is a freedom that knows the truth, it knows the very principle that is back of the expression of truth. And that knowing in itself becomes the solution to every problem that may face man.
Remember this, that all problems are not negative. Even if a person says to himself, “But what is life about? Why am I here? What is my purpose?” Is that not a problem to him? And going to back to what was said in another lesson, it is a proposition that is presented for solution. And so to each one of us comes the wonderful realization that as we turn within to the God or the law of our being, there is going to be an answer that may not be like the one we’ve expected, may not even be like an answer that others have experienced. But it will be our answer. Because we have walked this pathway.
There is one special sentence in this paragraph that one could read over and over and find new meaning into it constantly. “Sometime, somewhere every human being must come to himself.” Just think what that means. Think what that means to you. “Sometime, somewhere every human being must come to himself.”
And you say, “Well I know who I am.” Are you sure? Have you come to yourself? This statement of course has really an indirect reference to that wonderful parable of the prodigal son. Which is in after all the story of you and of me. The prodigal had to come to himself. He had to suddenly realize what he had in his father’s house or his father’s consciousness.
So to close this particular chapter, let us repeat once more this wonderful sentence. “Sometime, somewhere every human being must come to himself.”