Vera Dawson Tait Teaches Lessons in Truth
In the following audio and transcripts, Vera Dawson Tait provides commentary on the Correspondence School Annotations for Emilie Cady's Lessons in Truth.
039 Denials and Affirmations
With the completion of lesson three on thinking, we come now to the chapter on denials. This is actually one of the most important chapters, along with the one that will follow, in connection with the control of thinking.
It is one thing to say that God gave to every man the gift of thinking, but it is another thing also to realize that there lies within man’s control a method or a process by which he may discipline his thinking.
If a person has filled his mind with negative thoughts and negative beliefs, it is wonderful to realize that this process of denial enables him to cleanse from his consciousness that which is not good and which can produce only unhappy results in his life, and then through the other process that we will study in our next chapter, affirmations, begin to build into his life mental equivalence that will become the spiritual patterns upon which he may build his renewed or reconstructed life.
Strictly speaking, denials could not be said to be a process by itself anymore than affirmations could be so designated. Actually these two go together as one process, the process of denials and affirmations, and you will find this brought out by Doctor Cady throughout this book.
040 What is the meaning of denial?
The five questions that we’re going to consider for the first part of this chapter begin with the first one, what is the meaning of denial? And then the B part, what happens to inharmonious conditions when denials are used?
Probably the one word that we can use in connection with denial is cleansing, but what is it we’re cleansing? Are we merely cleansing something in the outer? No, because this is a process of mind. We know that denial is the cleansing of the mind. It is the ability of the mind to erase that which no longer wishes to entertain so that it may be ready for the next process of affirmations.
Denial is more an attitude of mind than actually a statement. However, it will be embodied in a statement. An individual may want to say no, and yet he may not say it in words, but his whole attitude seems to indicate, “No, I will not do this, or I will not entertain this,” and particularly in connection with his mind.
There is another important thing to consider about denial, and that is, besides cleansing the mind, it becomes a guard to the mind. If we have decided at any given time that we will not entertain thoughts of anxiety or fear, there is almost a subconscious no that the mind can set up, and this is denial.
What happens to inharmonious conditions when denials are used? Naturally, they are dispelled. If you cleanse the mind of the patterns upon which you built certain inharmonious conditions, well then, with the change, or the cleansing of the mind and the acceptance of true beliefs though affirmations, then the conditions must obey.
There is such a thing as a denial statement that we have already referred to. We could say in a sense that a denial statement is a word, is may be “No,” or a group of words that declare something to be untrue of God, of men, of some condition or some situation, or of the world in general.
For instance, we could say God is not an angry judge, God is not a human being subject to the foibles of human beings. We could say of ourselves, “I am not a mere flesh and blood being.” We could say of a condition, “This condition is not real,” or, “This situation is not true, therefore it can be changed.” You will notice a very interesting thing. The moment that you use a denial statement, it is automatic to follow with a statement of affirmation.
Now let us go back again. What is the meaning of denial then? It is to cleanse the consciousness of thoughts and beliefs that are not up to the high standard of God. And then what happens to conditions when denials are used? They are changed. They are torn down in a sense, and rebuilt of course later by affirmations.
May I refer to the book, the word deny has to definitions according to Webster. To deny in one sense is to withhold from, as to deny bread to the hungry. To deny in another sense, and we believe it was in this latter way that Jesus used it, is to declare to be not true, to repudiate as utterly false. To deny one’s self then is not to withhold comfort of happiness from the external man, much less to inflict torture upon him, but it is to deny the claims of error consciousness, to declare these claims to be untrue. Do you notice that we refer again to the words, “Error consciousness” some negative state of consciousness as declared something to be true, which we find not to be true.
041 Did Jesus teach that he was the means through which we may reach God?
Let’s look at our second question for this chapter. Did Jesus teach that he was the means through which we may reach God? There is really only one answer, and to many church people it might be quite different than what we are going to say. Our answer is, no, Jesus did not teach that he was the means through which we may reach God.
Now, the secret lies in that word, “Means.” Jesus said, “On my own self I can do nothing,” and then a little later on in Scripture we read, “The father within he doeth his works.” Jesus was the way-shower. The Christ within is the way. That Christ within is the God presence in each one of us. So it stems the reason that Jesus himself, even as elder brother, and even as way-shower, could not be the means, but he became the way-shower that you and I might learn how to follow through in our effort to reach God. We have already said how can God be found, and we said through each man’s thinking and feeling. Jesus doesn’t interfere with our thinking and feeling.
Probably if there’s one place where you and I are absolutely free, it is in our thinking. Now, I said, “Thinking,” I didn’t include feeling there, because too often our feeling is tied up with our thinking. But certainly it is in our thinking where we are free.
At one time, the Unity had a pamphlet titled Where I Am King, and it was brought out in that pamphlet that you are the definite ruler of your own mind, therefore Jesus as elder brother had no intention of interfering with the communication that you and I have both with God and with the world in which we live.
Jesus told us, “Pray to thy Father,” and then he said that when we pray to the Father, then he would either reword or recompense us openly. He said, “I can do nothing on my own authority,” and he mentioned that whatever he did it was because the Father within him was guiding him.
Now, you may wonder why a point like this is brought out in the chapter on denials. What does it have to do with denials? A great deal, because when you and I learn to cleanse our own mind of that which is not good, at least we have come to the place where we know that it is not part of our life as children or sons of God. Then it means that nobody else can do the work that we are to do.
Did you notice in the first question is says, “What happens to inharmonious conditions”? Conditions always imply some kind of a principle. So the condition in your life and mine that needs changing is dependent first of all upon someone to teach us how to handle this condition by giving us the principle. In his teachings, Jesus gave us the principles. He told us exactly what to do. The condition that we didn’t like needed a condition that would bring about a good result in our life. Jesus then is our way-shower, and not the means by which we reach God.
The opening of this chapter on denials has a quotation from Matthew, “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” The “Follow me” is the important thing. As a way-shower, then we are to follow Jesus.
There’s quite a difference between conditions of the world in the time that Jesus walked our earth and the conditions of today, but the “Follow me” has to do with the following of principles. Actually you and I aren’t doing the same things today as we did five years ago, or 10 years ago, yet the principles remain the same.
In this statement of Jesus he said, “Let him deny himself.” Too many people feel that denial there has to do, as the chapter brings out, with the withholding of comfort and good from the physical man, and of course we know that couldn’t be. If Jesus meant what he said, that we were to have abundant life, well then it could not mean taking from the outer man that which would make for his happiness and comfort.
But the “Follow me” actually is following the example of Jesus until we find that inner presence within ourselves and become so blended with God that there’s no difference really between us and Jesus. We feel our oneness with him, even as we feel our oneness with God.
042 What is the real Self of every man?
This chapter touches upon a point in the third questions that was really covered in the second lesson on the threefold nature of men, and the question reads this way, “What is the real self of every man?” first part, “Is the real self ever sick?”
I’m going to read from the chapter. “Your real self is never sick, never afraid, never selfish.” And then we say, “Well, why not?” And see what the chapter says. “It is the part of you that does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It is always seeking to give to others, while the human self is always seeking its own.”
It would be wise here to clarify that last part. The human self is always seeking to get its own way in other words. This is not strictly true. When you and I have so blended the human self with the spiritual self, then the human self becomes the instrument through which the divine may act, so we could end the last part of that sentence by saying, “While the human self when unenlightened so often seeks its own.” Does that make it clearer to you?
Sometimes in reading books such as this one by Doctor Cady, it is wise to use your own logic, your own intelligence. Charles Fillmore mentions both in Christian Healing and in his book Teach Us to Pray, that you must go by the logic of your own mind, and if you have been learning certain principles, and you come to a sentence that does not seem to make sense for you, then apply the logic of your own mind. And in that case, we have to say we could not possibly intimate that the human self is always seeking its own, but when it is unenlightened, it seems to be seeking only that which will bring its own comfort.
Then what is the real self? It’s that part of us, we’re told, that does not insist on its own way. But let’s make it a little clearer. Do you recall in the threefold nature of man, in our illustration of the large circle with the small circle in the center, which I refer to as the aperture through which you and I may look into infinity? Then this small circle is the real self. It is that God presence in us. You may call it by many names. I suppose that most Christians like the word, “Christ” or the words “Father within,” but it makes no difference whether you say, “The real self, spiritual man, the word, the seed of God, spiritual identity, the divine center,” as long as you know what it is to which you refer. It is that image likeness that God placed in us in the beginning.
Therefore, if the real self is God’s own presence in us, the real self can never be sick. God is life, and that life can produce only healing when you and I lay hold of it, in our own consciousness. If for some reason or other we have felt that we are subject to sickness, then we must go back to the divine pattern and know that the real part of us is never sick, and then we pray for the ways in which we may begin to change our consciousness, and allow the physical body to express the same health that belongs to the spiritual self, that part of us which is God-ordained to come forth and express life in its fullness.
043 What must we do to change our false beliefs?
Now, our fourth question reads this way, “What must we do to change our false beliefs about God, ourselves, and others?” The chapter would seem to intimate to you and me that the first thing we do is to deny. But how can you deny when you don’t know there’s anything wrong?
If you were to put two and two on a piece of paper, and you came up with the answer, “Five,” and you didn’t know that you were wrong, how could you change that number five? You need to go back to a principle. You need to have somebody perhaps say to you, “But that is not correct. Two and two equals four.” But if you have not been taught that, or if you have forgotten, then you have to be told the principle, and you have to be reminded again that two plus two equals four.
What are some of the things that call our attention to the wrong answers in our life? In most cases, it’s suffering, either suffering in our bodies, or suffering in our pocketbooks, or suffering in our human relations. Something seems to brings us up short, and we begin to question, perhaps we begin to search, perhaps somebody tells us of a way that we can have more abundant living. But whatever it is, we have to be brought up to the point where we realize, “This thing that I am experiencing right now is not part of my life, and I want to get rid of it, all right?”
Then we can start our denial, “I must know the principle for which I am working before I know how to deny.” So, our question says, “What must we do to change our false beliefs about God, ourselves and others?” What about our false beliefs concerning God? Most of us who have had any religious training at all have thought of God at one time or other in our life as a being set apart from us, and in some respects we thought of God as a kind of a spy who was watching everything that we did and then getting ready to punish us for that.
Then all of a sudden, when we realize that this being could not have brought sickness, unhappiness, and poverty, and war in our world, we begin to really think, and as I said before, probably somebody helps us with books or with teachers. Even Paul says, “How can they learn without a teacher?”
We have to then begin a complete erasure of our wrong thoughts concerning God. And of course immediately, this means that we have to get hold of the right understanding of God. Even in his book, Christian Healing, Charles Fillmore says that the first step really in spiritual obtainment is getting the right understanding of God, he says, of the almighty.
We may not understand what we’re talking about in the beginning, but at least we begin to make sense as it were concerning this being that brought us into expression, or as we say, into existence. so we say, “Well, I’ll cleanse from my consciousness all of these wrong thoughts.” You may think that’s easier said than done, and it is.
It is one thing to have built strange theories about God, and another one to erase some of those theories until we have something to put in the place of them. Our false beliefs about God have to go, so we know that somewhere we’re going to use denial.
I’m going to go back to the statement about denial, where I said it may be a word or a group of words that declare something to be untrue of God, men, a condition, a situation, or even of a thing. This denial may be silent or audible. We do not have to suddenly say, “I do not believe that God is a being set apart from me,” but I may, deep within my being feel, “Why God is not a being apart from me? God is the one presence and one power.” You see there I have used both an affirmation along with a denial.
Too many people feel that denials and affirmations have to be said aloud. Now it is true that probably in the very beginning, it’s very good for us to say these denials aloud. As a matter of fact, we are going to deal with four basic denials in the second part of our chapter, but in the meantime we’re just learning now what the value of denials have in our own individual life. We’re going to change our false belief about God.
What about ourselves? You may think that’s easy, but it isn’t. If from the time practically we were born, we have thought of ourselves a subject to other people, or subject to conditions of the body, then it isn’t going to be easy to suddenly change these beliefs about ourselves.
Do you recall the very first question in this book, “What is the primary cause of suffering?” And our answer was that we have either forgotten, or are unaware of the truth that you and I are spiritual beings. So this is not easy, as I said before, but once we realize that it makes sense that if a being that we call absolute good could bring forth a creature made in his image and after his lightness, then it stands the reason that this being has also given us the power to erase that which is wrong in our individual lives concerning ourselves. Until you and I know who and what we are, even from an intellectual standpoint, we’re not even ready to deny.
Many times students coming into the study of truth, and particularly in the Unity teachings, feel rather upset about this subject of denial. One individual will say, “Well how can I say I am no sick, I am not poor, I am not unhappy when I’m already experiencing these conditions?” Going back to our third question, what is the real self of man, we find our answer.
When we say, “I am not sick” we are referring to the God self of each one of us. We would not say, I am is sick when we know that I am refers to the real self, or the God nature in us.
Because of this, our denial statement must be realized to be a cleansing of the wrong beliefs. Now hold that in mind, cleansing of wrong beliefs and wrong thoughts about God and about ourselves. All right. If I am going to cleanse from consciousness the wrong belief about God and myself, it stems the reason then I am going to do the same thing concerning other people.
If there is but one God and one father of all, then every man is related to every other individual. There is no separation. We are all in God as ideas of his mind, we are all in God as the offspring of his heart of love, and therefore while we stand individual in one sense, we are so closely bound together.
If you should find this subject of oneness a little difficult, think about yourself as a human being. You’re one with every other human being, you belong to the same specie of mankind. Does it not stand the reason then that your creation as a child or a son of God makes you one with every other individual? Probably the understanding of your own threefold nature will give you a better understanding of another individual.
When you realize that you make choices within your own soul, and from your soul you begin to use the ideas that are your divine inheritance, you will see why other people do some of the things that they do. You will no longer have a sense of criticism. You will only have a sense of compassion and understanding. Sometimes you may wonder how some people have done so well with their lives. Rather than condemnation, you will have nothing but admiration.
Therefore, let us go back to our question once more. What must we do to change our false beliefs about God, ourselves and others? Remember, we must have an entirely new vision of God, and therefore of ourselves, and therefore of others. Then we can begin the process of denial.
I may get a glimpse of the truth, but my consciousness may be so filled with negative beliefs that this one glimpse is more or less covered over and I have to be faithful to the denials.
Later on, as we cover the latter part of the chapter, you will find some of these denial statements very interesting because they will present to you certain principles upon which you can judge as you work with denials.
It was mentioned earlier on that a statement of denial does not necessarily have to be audible. If you were in a group of people where there was a great deal of negative conversation going on, it stems the reason that you will not be foolish enough to begin a very definite denial statement. People would look at you and wonder what was wrong. For one thing, it would be very bad manners. But deep within yourself you might be denying, “This is not true. This is not true of so-and-so or of this situation, or this condition.”
And your denial statement then prevents any negative remarks that are made getting into your own consciousness. Above all things, you and I must remember that denial and affirmation represent first of all an attitude of mind. If we need the words to remind ourselves of that which we wish to erase, well and good, and that is why Doctor Cady has suggested these four basic denials that we will study a little later on.
So bare this in mind, that the first thing you must do is to get hold of at least an intellectual understanding of the change that you want in your life concerning God, yourself, and others, then you begin your denial statement.
Sometimes it can be done in a very simple way, in just saying, “Father, I know that this is not part of my life. I ask thy love and thy power for its erasure.” A thing as simple as that can work as a very powerful denial.
I remember once reading a book about a woman who felt that the only way she could do her denial statement was to stamp her foot. She used to go up into her attic and in taking her denial statement she would emphatically stamp her foot every time she stated one of these denials. However, this is not necessary so long as you and I realize that our denial statement has to be made with feeling, and yet not with a sense of [inaudible 00:27:19].
Charles Fillmore says in his book Christian Healing that denials should be given as easily as though you were brushing away cobwebs. Always remember, in a denial statement to put as little actual strong feeling in it as is possible. Just say it lightly and let it go. It is when you come to your affirmation where you find that you need much more feeling putting into the statement of truth.
044 Explain how wrong thinking affects our health and our circumstances
Now to our fifth question, and it is one that probably all of us are very interested in. “Explain how wrong-thinking affects our health and our circumstances.” Now remember that the word, “How” usually has to do with the method or the manner. So how does wrong thinking affect our health and our circumstances?
Doctor Cady brings our very clearly in the book some of the examples that one could have, and he actually in his own life showing how his health and circumstances are affected. Let me read.
“But, objects one, if a thing is not true and I have believed a lie about it, I do not see how just my believing wrong about it could affect my bodily health or my circumstances.” And then Doctor Cady follows with a paragraph speaking about a child being afraid of something imaginary and yet actually suffering just as much.
It is an interesting thing to consider, and this has been mentioned before in these lessons, that an individual may not have his mind on the thought of ill health in his body, but he is feeling so anxious, or so fearful about something perhaps concerning his circumstances, either financial, or human relations, that his body is pulled down. And then on the other hand, if you remember this was mentioned, that a person can so worry about his health that his business or his career, or his finances can be affected.
You and I are so conditioned to what we think, that we don’t realize just exactly what patterns we are putting forth in our everyday life. You might say, “But I didn’t think about that,” and yet there may have been another thought that very obediently went ahead and built itself into consciousness, and eventually it came forth either into health or into one’s circumstances.
It is important for us to remember that thinking is definitely that which will direct our life. We say, “But I expect that God will direct my life.” You and I, as was mentioned in the study of our threefold nature, our self-conscious individuals with the right of choice, and this wonderful power that you and I call thinking, is that which allows us to choose and to use these ideas.
Sometimes we think that just a casual thought will have no effect in our life, but even that is not true. The most casual thought, even something said in fun or as a joke can eventually have effect in our life unless we are very careful. This does not mean that life is not full of joy and fun, but it means that we have to be careful what we take into our consciousness.
If I have done any kind of work, as Doctor Cady brings out through the chapter, and I want to undo the wrong, then the first thing I have to do is to start from that point and make my change. If a carpenter found that he was not following the pattern that he wanted in a piece of furniture, then he would have to perhaps take it apart, he might even have to cut another piece of wood. If the sculptor finds that he has made some mistakes, that he too has to adjust.
All of the life is a series of adjustments. If we have the true patterns, then we can adjust by cleansing those that are wrong and taking on the new patterns. But every individual must look into his own life and find how his health and his circumstances are being affected by his own thinking. If he needs to make changes, he doesn’t need to go to somebody else to find how to make those changes. He knows.
If he has been very negative about his body, then he knows that he must get that negation out of his consciousness completely, and then begin the up building through correct statements of truth. If his finances are not showing what he wants, then he knows he must look to God as a source of his good. And knowing God as a source of his good, then he can deny that any person, condition, or thing can keep his good from him.
As a matter of fact, somewhere in this book, Doctor Cady says that nobody, no circumstance can interpose between us and our good. Therefore, if I know that, even intellectually, I can begin the denial statement that says that nothing can prevent me from getting the good that is mine by divine right.
Sometimes we feel that other people are responsible for affecting our health. Maybe an individual has felt that he’s been overworked by an employer, but you see, it is not the employer who has overworked him. It has been his own sense of perhaps fear or worry, and this in turn has worked on his own body. Each individual must make his choices. If he feels that the work that he is doing is not that which is conducive to his own wellbeing, then he alone can make choices.
But maybe an individual who has felt that someone else is responsible either for the condition of his health or the condition of his finances, has found that when he once begins to deny that anyone can interpose between him and his good, good in his body and good in his circumstances, that his whole attitude changes right where he is, and the work that he found so burdensome becomes a joy.
The same thing happens in our human relations. Mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife, may feel that someone in the home is burdening him, is tying him and holding him in a vice, but once that individual gets hold of the thought that no one can interpose between him and his good, once more his attitude changes and he finds happiness right where he is.
I remember some years ago, a Unity teacher in Canada writing to me, and telling me that her lessons were going splendidly based on the book Lessons in Truth, but she said this to me, “There’s one thing though I have noticed, that denial represents a very negative state of mind.” Well, instantly I knew that this was not the right approach. I did a great deal of thinking about the subject and I wrote to my friend, and I said, “No, denial is no a negative approach to anything. Denial is a very positive process, or should we say, also a positive part of the process of denials and affirmations.”
You and I come to the realization that without the ability to refuse something that we don’t want, or without the ability to guard our consciousness, that’s when negation would come into our life. Denial is a very wonderful part of our mentality. It is really one of the many gifts that God gave to us.
In Unity’s study of the 12 powers, we learn about the power of renunciation, or elimination, which is, of course, denial. It is the ability of mind and body to release. So if you have been thinking of this process of denial as being negative, well, disabuse your mind of that entirely. It is something that leads toward building. You may walk down the street and see some workmen destroying a building and you think, “That’s a negative thing.” But as you consider it, you realize that that so-called destruction is a cleansing way of something that has served its purpose in order to make room for the new building that will be constructed. Can you see then that denial is a very positive thing in your life and mine?
Now, Charles Fillmore does mention that there is such a thing as excessive denial, just as he says, excessive affirmation, and this is brought up very clearly in his book Christian Healing. However, for our purpose, we are merely thinking now of that ability of each individual to gently wash from his mind that which he has no longer any use for.
I remember very definitely one teacher saying years ago that he thought of denial as being the soap and water of the mind. There’s a cleansing. And yet another teacher also said when I brought this subject up, “Yes, but it is not an abrasive. It should be that which is just easy, so easy that we just let it go as Mister Fillmore says, as gently as sweeping away cobwebs.”
045 Explain each of the four denials
Now we’re going to consider this last half of the chapter on denials, which is chapter four in your book. Once more, we’re going to consider five questions. However, because question number seven is much more comprehensive, I think it would be wise for us to start with that one first, and then go on to six, eight, nine and 10.
This is the way that the seventh question reads, “Copy the four denials listed in the text, and explain each in your own words.” Now, as you turn to your text, you will notice that on one page, the denials are outlined, and some of them have an explanation. And then on the page that follows, they are given in brief.
046 Denial 1 - there is no evil
Let’s start then with our first denial statement. “There is no evil.” When a statement like that is made, most people with a little understanding of truth and perhaps no understanding whatsoever, would be rather shocked, because most of us can look around the world, we can listen to our news media and know that there are so many evidences of evil or negative conditions appearing in our world. Then how can we possibly make such a statement, “There is no evil”?
We can make such a statement when we qualify it by the words, “There is no evil in God, in truth, or in reality.” We have said throughout these lessons that God is the one presence and the one power. If that is true then, there is no place for what man calls evil. So when we speak about evil, we are referring to conditions appearing in our world that are contrary to God’s high standard of good, and also to the standard of good that each of us know, even at the present time.
The chapter reads in connection with this statement, “There is no evil” in this way. There is but one power in the universe, and that is God, good. God is good and God is omnipresent. You will find throughout all of truth’s teachings, and certainly the Unity teachings, the emphasis on God as the one presence and one power, God as the one good omnipotent, also omniscient and omnipresent.
Therefore, when I say there is no evil, I mean that there is no evil as a reality. We will discuss this with one of our other denial statements that has to do with pain, sickness, poverty, old age and death. But bare this in mind once more, that God being good could not create anything unlike himself.
Could we take this for an example? If an individual wishes to make a garment, it is assumed that he will purchase a pattern, and the pattern that he purchases is probably one that fits all of his requirements. We could say that that pattern is perfect. However, if the individual making this garment does not cut the material according to the pattern, and the garment turns out to be very imperfect, would you blame the original pattern? Of course you wouldn’t. You would know that the fault lay with the individual applying the pattern to the material.
The same thing occurs in your life and mine. God has placed in each one of us a perfect pattern. He has given us the stuff of life. We refer to this as substance. And then he has given us tools by which we may cut the stuff of life according to certain patterns.
If we turn in prayer to God, the Bible says to go into the mount, we will receive the pattern from which we may cut our life. If however we ignore the pattern and we ignore the creator of that pattern, and we produce in our life either in body or affairs that which is imperfect, that which we call evil, then we cannot possibly lay this at God’s door. Somehow rather we must come to the understanding that we have the power to change that that we do not like, and this we do by denials.
In our last lesson, I referred to the fact that the carpenter may make changes, the sculptor may make changes, and certainly the dressmaker may make changes if he or she finds that the garment that has been produced from the pattern is not perfect. And in the same way, you and I may take the tool of denial, cross out of consciousness a belief in evil as a reality, and build into it through the affirmation, the new pattern from which our life must be cut.
So do you understand why we can say in all honesty there is no evil? There is no evil in God, there is no evil in truth, there is no evil in reality. And yet, you and I know that there are many appearances in our world today that are far less than what we would desire, but remember, these are conditions. And one of our questions later in this particular lesson, we’ll deal with that type of thing.
047 Denial 2 - there is no absence of life substance intelligence anywhere
Now let us consider our second denial. “There is no absence of life, substance, or intelligence, anywhere.” As I read this statement, were you conscious of the fact that this is saying in a negative form a statement that we have spoken about? There is but one presence and one power in the universe. Is that not the same thing in the positive way? There is no absence of life, substance or intelligence, anywhere.
Believe or not, there are times in your life when you will not be able to say there is but one presence and one power in my life. It will seem to you that you’re so burdened with problems of any kind, that that kind of a statement seems almost foolish. However, at a moment like that, you may be able to say there is no absence of life, substance or intelligence, anywhere.
If an individual is suffering a good deal of pain, he can say in all honesty there is no absence of life. He’s very conscious of life, because this pain is the endeavor of the body to get itself back into divine order. So, as I said before, there is no absence of life in a case like that.
There is no absence of substance. How can I say that? How can I say such a thing when the news media tell me that all over the world people are starving, people are in trouble, and people seem to be lacking so much of that which we call good? And yet I can say a statement like that, there is no absence of substance, because God is the source not only of life, but of substance.
Do you remember in one of our lessons, we spoke of substance as that which underlies that essence out of which all things are formed? So when we are conscious of people without food and shelter, and we feel that these are the poor that the Bible says we have always with us, we are referring only to a lack of the forms of substance. Does that seem clear to you? Therefore, I can say from the standpoint of truth, from the standpoint of God, there is no absence of substance.
If it were possible to have an absence of life or substance, then God would not be the one presence and the one power. So in the beginning of study, I must hold on to the thought that there is no absence of God anywhere.
Now, to our third quality, and this is one that we discussed in one of our other lessons, there is no absence of intelligence anywhere. Sometimes we may look around our world, and even look into our own life, and wonder, well, why doesn’t he or she use the intelligence with which they were born? The individual is using intelligence, but it may not be directed aright.
Criminologists have told us that there have been criminals who have hoped to commit the perfect crime, the crime that could not bring punishment upon the one who perpetrated it. Has it not taken intelligence, working in there wrong way through these individuals, to even hope for such a thing? Yes, there is no absence of intelligence anywhere.
Sometimes it’s very good to consider even the machines that we work with. I have intelligence in every cell. Maybe an individual has found that if he works along with the machines that he has to handle, he seems to get such better results. Maybe an individual has said that of an instrument that he may play, or of the car that he may drive, or of any machine in any walk of life.
Then let us repeat again, there is not absence of life, substance, or intelligence, anywhere. If there is every a time in your life when you seem to be suffering pain in your body, and you cannot say there is but one presence and one power in my life, try the denial statement, “There is no absence of life, substance and intelligence anywhere,” and then realize than in your physical body there is all the life that you can ever want, there is all the substance that you can ever use, and there is all the intelligence, but you find that you have to work along with these three qualities, because immediately you will come to the realization, if this is true, that there is no absence of life, substance and intelligence anywhere, then there can be no place in my body where there is a lack of anything that I need, and therefore I can honestly say there is but one presence and one power in my body, the power of life, and the love of God working through ever cell of my body.
048 Denial 3 - pain sickness poverty old age and death cannot master me
Now, we’re going to go to our third denial statement. Sometimes it is wise in the beginning to learn these denial statements and then come to a place where you let the words actually go. This third denial statement may seem somewhat negative, but for a beginner in truth especially, it is good to actually face things like pain, sickness and so forth.
Now, I’m going to read the statement as it is written in the book. “Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death, cannot master me, for they are not real.” Now that’s a tall statement for anybody to take. “Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death, cannot master me.” Now, it does not say that these conditions, pain, sickness, poverty, old age and death are not appearing in our life. The key idea is they cannot master me. And why? Because they are not real.
If go created pain and sickness, then what Jesus did in his time on earth, in his earthy ministry, in healing people, would be going against the will of God. Well, we know that that is not true. So pain and sickness, somehow or other, must be recognized as conditions, and they cannot master us. They may appear, but we must learn to handle them.
Pain could actually be considered a beneficent kind of condition coming in our body. You say to me, “Pain? What goodness is there in pain?” One of our early day Unity writers said this in one of her courses, “Every bit of human suffering is a spiritual alarm clock.” In other words, whenever pain appears in the body, it is an alarm clock, or it is a bell signaling us to wake up and do something. The trouble with most of us in life is, when the alarm goes off, we just shut it off and do nothing further.
We cannot run away from pain. It must be faced, but it must be seen as the body’s endeavor, as I mentioned earlier on, to get itself back into divine order. Usually, for most of us, the real answer is prayer. And if we go in prayer then to God, we are often told the things that we need to do in the outer world, to handle this thing called pain. Sickness of course comes very much under the same heading.
The body has but the one desire, to fulfill itself, and when the individual inhabiting that body is doing things that are contrary to the laws of life and health, then the body cannot function as it should, and something occurs that we call either sickness or disease, with its resultant pain.
Then we speak about old age. How could old age have anything to do with God? If God is life, then God is ageless. Then if you and I are offsprings of God, we must be life and we must be ageless. What the world calls old age is nothing more or less than a number of years that an individual has spent upon this earth plain.
Have you ever stopped to think that sometimes you can find a very old person, at 20, or 30, where’s you find a very young person at 60, 70 and even beyond that. Ask yourself, am I any older inside than I was 20 or 30 years ago? And somehow you know that you feel just the same. You may have added many burdens, you may have added many experiences, rich and otherwise, but somehow you know that you are an ageless being within. You know that the earth has presented to you many experiences. Some have been harmful, some have been happy experiences, and maybe the form of your body has changed somewhat.
I remember many years ago, when I first came into the study of truth, in a class that we were taking on this very book, a woman said to the leader, “I cannot do the things I used to do when I was in my teens and 20s.” And very quickly the leader of that class turned around to this woman and said, “You shouldn’t have to do. You do not do the same things that you did at five, or six, or 10, or 16. You are growing.”
As we came out of the class, I said to this woman that had asked the question, “That’s an interesting, and the answer that you received is very interesting,” and she said, “Yes, but I would like to do the things that I did. I used to go horseback riding, and I used to do a great deal of heavy gardening.” I said to her, “But do you realize that there are many other things now for you to do in the world?” She just laughed at me, and that seemed to be the end of it.
Yet later on, that very woman recognizing that this was a period when she could do more study than physical work, began her studies in truth, and today she is one of our outstanding teachers.
Old age then cannot master me, because there is no such a thing as far as God is concerned. How I handle the years of my life is another thing entirely. If I handle those years with a feeling of joy and adventure, then they are not burdensome. So I am not so many years old, I am definitely as many of truth students have said, so many years young.
May I repeat our statement again, “Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death cannot master me for they are not real.” Let us deal with that word, “Death.” What is death? Of course we could go into a great study about it, but most of us think of it as that which is a succession of conscious life in the body.
However, how could death master me? If death is a condition that occurs to the physical body, then my common sense tells me that it cannot touch the real me, that part of me created in the image and after the likeness of God, who is the very source of life.
Well, then if this condition called death does appear in my immediate associates, I cannot let it master me. I must know that it is a transition that has to be met with an understanding that God is life, therefore I am life. I must know that there may be a change of outer form, but there can be no end to the life which has come originally from God, and returns once more to God.
Can you see then the value of this statement about pain, sickness, poverty, old age and death? I must be in control of any condition that seems opposed or opposite to that which is true of me as a child or a son of God.
049 Denial 4 - there is nothing in all the universe for me to fear
Now, to our fourth and last denial statement, it’s a very interesting one and you will see how it fits in with all of the other three. “There is nothing in all the universe for me to fear, for greater is he that is within me, than he that is in the world.”
Perhaps you have recognized that the latter portion of this denial statement is based upon 1 John 4:4. Isn’t it an interesting thing to consider that in reality there is nothing in all the universe for me to fear? Just think what this would mean for millions of people today in our world, people who are fearing each other, people who are fearing governments, and yet it still stands as a true statement of the real of you and me. There is nothing in all the universe for me to fear.
Why? Here comes our answer. For that spirit within each one of us is greater than anything, a condition or a person, that can occur in our world. There have been times when you and I have feared sickness or disease in the body. And certainly there have been times in our outer life when we have feared other people. We have perhaps felt that an employer could do us harm, or a member of our family, or perhaps just a friend. And yet you see, none of those considerations are a bit true. There is nothing and no person that can harm us.
Do you recall the statement to which I referred a number of times and it appears in the first part of this chapter? That nothing can interpose between you and your good, between me and my good.
A statement such as this though has to be built into consciousness. This is not something that that we get by merely reading. It is only something that we get bu building it deep into our thinking and our feeling nature. Then, when we meet a condition that has to be met with courage, if we have this thought built deep into our soul consciousness that nothing that interpose between us and our good, that there’s nothing in the universe for us to fear, then our reactions to that negative conditions are good reactions, and even if we have to go through the experience, we are not harmed by it. We are able to handle it, just as our third denial statement said, we do not allow the condition to master us because we know that the condition itself is not real.
There are so many things that you an I as human beings have to meet in this world, that we have to have something upon which we can hold. If we would meet even the small experiences of everyday, have you ever stopped to think what the word, “Experience” really means? Ex means out, and -experi means to test. So strictly speaking, every experience that you and I have to meet in our life is an opportunity to test out all these wonderful qualities that God placed in us in the beginning. It is our opportunity now to choose and to use that which God has given to us as our divine inheritance. Now, this completes the four denial statements that are covered in our seventh question.
050 Explain why we should not judge according to the appearance
We consider now question six, eight, nine and 10. Let me read question six. “Explain why we should not just according to the appearance. Give examples.”
Do you recall that Jesus’ admonition was, “Judge not by the appearance but judge righteous judgment.” So why should I not just according to the appearance? Even without a study of truth, a study of spiritual principles, my common sense tells me that I cannot judge entirely by appearances. If I were to look at my world during the wintertime if I live in a country where it is cold and snowy in the winter, then I would say, “This is the end. No more growing things.” But I know that this is only the appearance that has taken place at a certain season of the year. I know that as I look at the bare trees or the bare ground, that when the light lightens and the days become longer, then the trees will begin to bud out and things will begin to grow from the earth, so I could not possibly judge by the appearance.
If I were to hold a little brown dried-up seed in my hand and look at it and say, “That is nothing but a little piece of brown material,” then I’m judging by the appearance. But if I judge righteous judgment, the right use of my judgment faculty, I know that this tiny seed has within it the life principle, such as I have in my own being, that can bring forth after its kind. I know of course that certain conditions have to be fulfilled in order that the appearance of the plant and the tree may come forth.
Another interesting example of not judging by appearances is a wheel. If you watch a wheel on a cart at a distance away, you may be surprised as you watch that wheel move that to you it almost seems to be going backwards, and of course you know that that is not true. You know that the cart is moving forward and the wheel is going around and moving that cart inch by inch along the road.
One thing you and I have to keep in mind is that any appearance is the form of either some perfect idea, or some concept or thought that you and I mad of that idea. This was referred to in one of other lessons, where we said that two people could have the same idea of life, and yet each one will approach it quite differently.
So the appearance is the form of some idea, or the use that some individual has made of some idea. Well, I couldn’t judge merely by the form of even the things that occur in my life.
I remember once reading about a man who had been a bank manager for close on to 20 years, and to his disappointment he received notice that he was fired from his position. Not only disappointment, but a great shock. Here was a man close to 50, and expected to start a new career.
When this former banker got home that evening, he told his wife the news, and of course he felt so down and so disappointed, and quickly his wife turned to him and she said, “John, for years you have wanted to pain. You have said over and over again, ‘If only I had the time to do the landscapes and the seascapes that my soul longs to pain.’ Here is your opportunity.”
The man had enough money to give himself a good course in painting. He went and picked out one of the best schools, and spent a certain amount of time. I’m not going to give you the man’s name, but today his name is known among nearly all artists for the wonderful work that he has done in bringing to life seascapes and landscapes.
Here was a appearance of negation in this man’s life. Here was a chance for a man do go right down, and feel that his life was ended. Well, wouldn’t it have been foolish of this man to have given up the one dream that had kept him going through the years?
Look into your own life and see where there have been times of disappointment, where you have picked yourself up and gone right ahead to something much better. So you and I cannot judge by the appearance.
Even as far as the physical body is concerned we dare not judge by appearance. Sometimes, when a disease even, or a sickness appear in the body, it may not be nearly as negative as we think. It may be that which has come to pass, that which has come to erase from the body something that is of detriment to the body, or something that has served its purpose.
So even in the case of sickness or disease, we can hold to the thought that we cannot judge by the appearance, but we judge the righteous judge to know that the right of our body is to vitality, health, and wholeness.
"051 Explain why there is no reality in fear jealousy or the sense of bondage
Let’s look at number eight. “Explain why there is no reality in fear, jealousy or the sense of bondage? How are they overcome?” Now, once more, we’re coming to the statement that we’ve used a number of times, that only what God has created can have reality.
We know very well that God, being love, and being faith, and being strength, could not create fear. And jealousy, which is usually a fear that something good is to be taken away could certainly have no part in God. And God being freedom, could have nothing to do with bondage. So fear, jealousy or the sense of bondage could have nothing to do with you and me, who are the offsprings of God.
Let me read from this chapter. “Denial brings freedom from bondage, and happiness comes when we can effectually deny the power of anything to touch or to trouble us. Therefore, when we can deny that fear has any power over us, that jealousy can even enter our life, or a feeling of bondage can hold us, then we know that we are free from these things that have perhaps had part in our life in the past.”
052 Why is it necessary for us to realize our onenes with the Father?
May we go on now to our ninth question. You’ve probably realized of course by now that nearly all of these questions have been covered in our four denial statements, but we are just really expanding them more as we go on with these other questions.
Number nine then, “Why is it necessary for us to realize our oneness with the Father?” If God is the source of all good, then we must realize our oneness with him for one particular reason, in order to demonstrate the good that we want.
No musician could possibly bring out of his instrument the best of music, until he feels himself one with either the principle of music, and certainly one with his instrument. The mathematician has to feel himself one with the principles of mathematics if he would expect to solve the problems that are placed before him.
Therefore, in truth we find that we must realize our oneness with this father, in other to bring forth the things that we want, the life in our body, the harmony and prosperity in our affairs, and the love and the happiness in all of our social relationships.
Oneness is really putting ourselves in touch with God, therefore oneness or realization of oneness let me say, is really the pipeline to the one central supply from which we expect to draw our good. Does this seem clear to you? The very name Unity means oneness, and it has been throughout all of the years of the Unity teachings, the one underlying thread, that man must know his oneness with his Father/Mother God and until this comes about, you and I are not as easily able to handle our problems. We may think of them as something almost too big for us, or sometimes we may think that God isn’t listening hard enough to us in order to give us the answer to our problems.
So why is it necessary? It is necessary that we realize oneness because it is the only possible way that you an I can unfold our lives until we become instruments of God in the hand of God, for the work of God.
053 Explain the two ways in which denials may be spoken
And now to our last question for this chapter, one that is brief, but one that needs to be handled, “Explain the two ways in which denials may be spoken.” This has been touched on before, but it is still very important to understand.
You have been given in this chapter and through these lessons, four denial statements, and probably you will feel that you would like to memorize them. As a matter of fact, Doctor Cady suggests that. But it does not mean necessarily that the saying of these statement with audible words is the only way in which you can actually either deny or affirm.
Charles Fillmore brings out very clearly in his book Atom-Smashing Power of Mind, that audible prayers are sometimes answered, but it is those that are spoken in the deep recesses of the soul, that is in your mind, conscious and subconscious, that really brings the answers to prayer.
Many times you and I only have to say outer words of denial and affirmation, because we need to be convinced of the truth [inaudible 01:11:39] of them. Once you are convinced of a statement, you may not need to say it in outer words.
Have you not had occasions in your life when something very marvelous happened to you, so marvelous that you couldn’t have uttered a word? You were almost spell-bound and certainly speechless. And yet, deep within you, deep in your heart, you were actually giving thanks, or giving appreciation for something wonderful that had occurred in your life? And it is the same with your life and mine.
Do you recall my referring to the fact that were you in a group of people where something negative was being said, you wouldn’t even attempt to give an outer denial statement or an outer affirmative statement? You would expect to say it deep within your soul.
Sometimes you can say deep within without a solitary word being spoken through your mouth, “Father, take charge.” But you just feel it, you just know it, because do you remember, it was mentioned that denials are primarily attitudes of mind? And we will find that also concerning our affirmations.
And if the words are needed orally, well and good, but if it’s just the right time to speak them silently, then also well and good. Each person, each circumstance and each need will determine whether the denials shall be spoken aloud, or whether it shall be silent.
And this ends our lesson on denials.