Increasing Man's Capacity
This lesson from Charles Fillmore was featured on Bob Brach's Unity Classic Radio broadcast on April 21, 2015. Bob writes, "This is a Depression Era talk and Mr. Fillmore does a great job of comparing the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Talents. He also makes a very poignant statement "the world ... is a reflection of the minds of the people." See Page 44 of the talk. Very appropriate then and today too."
The lesson today will be compared with that of last Sunday, which was the parable of the ten virgins. Today, it is the Parable of the Talents. We had a very interesting lesson when we found these ten virgins within ourselves and saw how, through the application of the spiritual law, we were prepared for the advent, or the marriage, of the spiritual and the so-called material consciousness. This is the mystical marriage.
The lesson last Sunday was one of watchfulness. "Be ye ready" for this new state of mind, or the development of this Superman in you. The lesson today is one of works; we are to do something; we have to apply these faculties, or these talents.
Last Sunday, the virgins were warned to have oil in their lamps, and to trim the lamps. We can all clearly understand that this referred to man in his spiritual substance, the conservation of that inner, finer energy, which we know is so essential to the building up of our faculties, to the restoration and strength of the real mind of the man. Also, we must purify that substance, which is represented by the trimming of the lamps. Those wise virgins kept their lamps trimmed and had oil in them, and we are those wise people if we understand somewhat about the law of mind, and the adaptability and capacity of the body to respond to that mind. We have to sharpen up all these abilities before we can really enter into the next great step in human progress, which is, mystically, to put on Christ; to be joined; to be married to the Spirit, instead of attaching ourselves so interestedly and so, sometimes, fanatically to the material side of life.
These faculties, or talents, which the householder was empowered to give to his servants while he went on a long journey into another country, we know, represent the innate capacities of man. That is so simple and plain that we call our faculties, our abilities, talents, which comes from this parable of the Lord Jesus Christ; and we know who the Giver of all these abilities is. We readily admit that they come' from God. But do we use them in a godlike way?
Now, this householder gave to his servants five talents, two talents, one talent; and we know that God is not partial in giving His talents. They are all given to us freely, and we all have access to all the talents of man; but, as Paul said, it is according to our faith. The text of the lesson says he gave to the servants "according to their several abilities." This is to show how some people bring forth their innate abilities, and others are rather lazy in their activities. We all must have the same fundamental abilities, the same talents; and the difference in the manifest man is simply a difference in how he has used his talents. Jesus illustrated this in the one who, according to the text, let his talent, which was really a piece of Roman money worth about a thousand dollars in our money. He loaned it out; he had increased it; gave it to the banker.
We might interpret this literally and say that Jesus was encouraging usury, but we know from other contexts that He did not encourage the laying up of these treasures in the earth, where, as He said, the moth and the rust corrupt, and the thieves break through and steal. It was of the Spirit that He was talking — these abilities in us which may be used spiritually, or they may be used materially.
Here is the one great, pivotal point in the lesson. How are you using your abilities? Are you using them spiritually? or are you trying to get increase out of a material activity? It seems almost unbelievable that the son of God — one who has, originally, an insight into his spiritual Source — should use his god-given abilities in a material way; but we have here to inject this factor of free will. If we think that the material side is the safe side, like this man who was working for safety first, we bury our talents by using them in the earth, by giving them an environment of materiality; and so we fall short. We don't realize that ninety-five per-cent of our resources come from Spirit; they are provided by God.
A farmer will say to you: "Look at the fine field of grain that I have raised." But how much of that grain did he really provide the environment for? You will say, "Very little." He didn't even raise the seed; he may have bought the seed. But the environment — the soil and the seed and the sunshine and the rain, and the dew, and the wind, to blow the pollen through the air, to fertilize that grain — all came from, we call it the God, Nature, but back of nature is God Mind. It is directed by an infinite intelligence. That same intelligence directs and shows us where our abilities come from if we use a very little wisdom; use that innate logic and reason which is given to you by the infinite Mind, and you cannot arrive at any other conclusion but that there is an infinite Resource, and that everything that you have comes from that. Why not give that Resource credit for it, and try to work in harmony with the Giver?
This infinite Mind is constantly giving to us ability to use our ability. That is something that very few of us realize; that the Giver knows how best to use the gift. We try in our own selves, we try from the earthly side, from the material side, to increase our spiritual abilities; and there is always a contraction when we materially use a spiritual ability, because it is limited. We have not found the real outlet, and the outlet is always in the Spirit, so we, as we study man, find that he is constantly reducing his power to the things that seem to be. Jesus said, "Judge hot according to appearances, but Judge righteous Judgment." We must use the higher wisdom in the exercise of the simplest thing.
"What a hard God there is back of this. I have to work hard for everything I get. I earn a little food that I get from the earth by the sweat of my face, and I will have to be mighty careful how I branch out; how I take any risk; how I take any chance. I won't work on faith, but I will Just take what I see before me. That is the limit of my capacity."
We know that we are here for a purpose. What is that purpose? To manifest the Son of God. Will you manifest the Son of God if you look upon the material world as all, or that you are limited to these small things that you are using in your personal consciousness? Jesus taught that these people should enlarge their consciousness. He gave them these talents to use; but did they all use them? All but the one man — the one-talent man. If that one-talent man had used his talent like the others. the Lord would have said to him; "You have been faithful over a few things, and I will set you over many things. Enter into the Joy of the Lord."
The one-talent man is the one who needs the most encouragement in the human family, because he settles down with the thought: "I haven't any special abilities. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth; and the best I can do is just to peg along in the ordinary way." That man is digging in the earth and burying his talent, and he is not going to get anywhere. But if that man would begin to think about being a spiritual being and that everything he has is founded in Spirit, he could increase and multiply and bring about in his own environment often a better condition for some one. He could sow in his mind and reap, I say; that man could get somewhere.
There is a parallel story in the Orient to this of Jesus Christ, in which a man, going on a journey, had a couple of bushels of grain. The people in these Oriental countries live in a small world, and this man decided to give to a couple of his neighbors each one a bushel of the grain, which he did. When he came back, he told the man that he wanted his corn again, and one man went to his granary and took out a bushel of corn, and he said; "Here is your corn; I have put it in a safe place and have kept it for you." They opened the sack and the corn was moldy and rotten, and they had to throw it away. The man then went to the other neighbor with whom he had left a sack of corn, and asked for his corn; and instead of taking him into the granary, he took him out into the field and showed him what he had produced in the years since he left him; and he had quite a field of corn. When it was harvested, the man took just his sack of corn, and said, "You can have the balance."
Here is an illustration of the parable that God gives the increase to man. But if you are negligent and lazy in your capacities, and especially if you confine yourself to the material side of life, you don't get much out of it, and what you get doesn't amount to anything.
God doesn't count a man's material possessions; God doesn't count what we gain through the five-sense man. It is the spiritual man who is commended. It is the man who gets into the air — the air-minded man — who represents something in this day and age and every age.
"Yes," she said, "How else can God talk to us except through our minds?"
Can you imagine God's talking to any one except through the mind? Nobody has ever seen God face to face. The only evidence of God is some man or woman who acts in a godlike way. So we see that we must quit this constant harping upon the importance of the material world, and get into another world. To what was Jesus comparing this lesson? the kingdom of the_heavens. It was "likened unto the kingdom of the heavens." Are you going to it after you die? No; the kingdom of God is within you. That is what you are up against, every one of you: to find this kingdom; and you will never get into the kingdom unless you develop these innate spiritual faculties that give you access to this fourth dimension, or this kingdom of the heavens.
We have often called your attention to the fact that man has, within his body, brain cells that, once developed, would bring him in contact with a super-state of mind. In other words, the finer forces that we find in our bodies, in a latent way: these glands that the medical world is talking so much about and is trying in various ways to inject into man's body, to rejuvenate him. What is the office of these glands? They are the outlets of the mind. The soul acts through your ductless glands and brings you in contact with the Supermind; and you will find that as you develop this Supermind you begin to look up. You look to the top brain, and you will find there brain cells and the great pineal gland at the center of the brain, which, we are told, is like a half-opened eye.
And, by the way, a French scientist has discovered that by stimulating that gland he comes into communion with a fourth dimension, which science has been telling us about. The fourth dimension becomes a tangible reality to the man who sees with the eye of faith. We have discovered that; and just to the extent that we develop this power to see with the eye of faith do we come into touch with the kingdom of God.
That is what Jesus was trying to tell us about; to develop our talents, or our faculties, and bring them into such expression with the infinite Mind that we would see and know about another kind of man in ourselves, and another kind of world. It is not that we shall always be confined to this earth, but that we shall put on the kingdom of God; and God is here.
We have illustrations of this power of the mind to lift man above his material surroundings, to lift him into another kingdom. There are so many of these illustrations that we could not, this morning, give you one-tenth of what has been accomplished in the world about us in raising man's consciousness
In the last forty years, for example, we have come out of a material world into a spiritual world. It is not being called a spiritual world, but it is; and on every side we see people who have launched right out into the deeps of spiritual consciousness, and yet they are not always credited with having what we call "common sense." They are called fanatics. Naturally, do we think of or apply that word "fanatic" to people who are experimenting with the body, or trying to work out of the body spiritual and mental things? No; but aren't there material fanatics?
In the Ladies' Home Journal for June is an article called "Consecration," and I am going to read some extracts from that, to show you what material fanaticism is. I call it a beautiful, a tragical example of experimentation by a doctor on himself, in the name of science. I call it, "How He Kills His Body." It is called "Consecration." It is illustrated, and there is a picture of a man on his deathbed; he is feeling his own pulse, and it is given to us as a noble example of what a doctor has submitted to.
"A doctor who had made heart disease his specialty was dying of the disease himself, while dictating his final symptoms to a stenographer, and denying his agonized wife a parting word. A wealthy man who had for twenty years supported the doctor in his heart disease research work, called when he heard that he was dying. The following conversation occurred at the door of the sick man:"I suppose Doctor Leaming is no better?"
"No, Mr. Otway, he's worse. He's dictating his final symptoms," answered the secretary.
"Dictating — while he's dying?"
"He's completing his history of a victim of heart disease. He wants to leave a record of the sensations during the last moments of consciousness."
"And does he know he's dying?"
"In this case, you see, he's inside the patient — with a specialist's knowledge of the subject."
"in certain strictly materialistic schools of medicine this type of 'consecration' is taken seriously, but by metaphysicians, and advanced schools of medicine, it is looked upon as experimental fanaticism.
"The power of the mind is being so universally studied in this day that well-read doctors, if they do not apply in their healing art the psychiatry that belongs to it, are observing enough to avoid being trapped in the phantoms of the mind that parade in the body as diseases. It is pitiable that a modern doctor, who has access to the literature and demonstrations of the many healing cults who depend wholly on the mind for their cures, should allow himself to become so immersed in the study of a disease that he finally falls under its spell and dies a victim of his own mind impositions.
"Hard-boiled doctors will quickly argue that there is a distinct difference between organic heart disease and the imaginary or phantom brand. But no doctor can tell what causes the various kinds of heart trouble for which he prescribes. The heart and stomach are surrounded by the largest and most complicated aggregation of nerves in the body. The emotions play powerfully upon these nerves and organs and they are so sympathetically linked that what affects one is repeated upon the other. Fear or joy cause the heart to go pitty-pat, and the stomach at the same time forgets its hunger.
"Psychology and medicine must march hand in hand, according to Dr. Lewellys F. Barker, President Emeritus of the school of medicine of Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Barker says that each physician must he a psychiatrist as well if he is to meet the test of modern medicine. And he speaks as one of the leading medical authorities of the world.
"in a newspaper interview Dr. Barker is reported as saying:
"'It is a new era in that we are at last considering a man as a whole. We no longer try to diagnose his psychic and his physical ills separately. They are so interwoven that a thorough knowledge of each is necessary to the successful diagnostician.
"'The ancient Greeks were adept in psychiatry. Before the knowledge of medicine, men learned to remove the causes of mental ills, he said. But with the advance of science and the knowledge of chemistry, man came to treat his ills as purely physical and continued to do so until recent years.
"'Whenever a man became depressed, lost interest in life and consequently lost vitality and weight, physicians were inclined to pour him full of medicines and drugs,'His case was diagnosed as tuberculosis or some equally fear-inspiring disease.
"'The fact of the matter is that a great deal of tiredness, lack of interest in life and depression of all sorts are due to some disorder of the personality. There is a financial strain, a great disappointment that has upset the psychic train, a love affair or a disagreeable and uncongenial occupation.
"'The milder forms of insanity came under the notice of physicians. The study of psychiatry arose again. A few decades ago some physicians realized that the very physical symptoms in the milder forms of insanity were often present in a lesser degree in many of their medical patients.
"'Psychiatry became a specialty. But medical doctors still did not connect it directly with their profession. The old-fashioned family physicians often did, however, without realizing it. He was practicing psychiatry with his medicine when he said:
"'The consequence has been that the family doctor has often cured illnesses that specialists have been unable to fathom. The specialists lacked the intimate knowledge of the family conditions and the patient's personality"'"
Dr. Barker says, in conclusion:
"I wish to see every physician doing consciously what the family doctor did without realising it. And I wish to see them have a knowledge of the relation of the mind and body as complete as possible at present."
This that I have been reading to you is from a doctor who was for many years president of Johns Hopkins University. We see that the doctors are awaking to the necessity of applying mind to matter, and not continuing to dig into physical bodies expecting there to find the issues of life. We all know that our bodies are simply clay. Shakespeare says:
Now, what are we going to do? We have got to get busy unfolding and spiritualizing more and more of our faculties. Many of us who understand this power of the mind and its relation to matter drop, almost unconsciously sometimes, to the material basis of things. We treat the body as a piece of furniture that needs polishing up on the outside, when it really needs burnishing up on the inside. Let us get busy with the inner man that Jesus taught about, and forget for a time the outer materiality of things.
God is Spirit; we are Spirit, and we really live in a spiritual world; but we shall never find it out until we get spiritual in consciousness. We must lift our mind from the world of matter to the world of Spirit. We must cease this living in the world as a real world, it is not real. The world about you is not real at all; it is just a reflection of the mind of the people; and if those minds were withdrawn for one instant, everything would collapse in it. When the mind is withdrawn from the body, it just collapses.
Let us build the mind into every department of life. Let us patronize, if we have to have doctors, those who believe in the mind; not the drug doctor, but the doctor who has a spiritual idea once in a while. Then the doctors will awake, and we shall come into unity with the medical profession. We shall see that they have lost faith in their drugs, which they have. I think no doctor has faith in the healing power of drugs. He thinks they are palliative, and little bread pills once in a while will help those who believe in those things. It is because the people demand them. Quit demanding those things that don't give you any added health. You will get health only from the spiritual state of being.
UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY