This lesson from Charles Fillmore was featured on Bob Brach's Unity Classic Radio broadcast on June 16, 2015. Bob writes, "This is an early (1913) talk. Mr. Fillmore does this talk like a school lesson asking questions and having the congregation respond. This is one of the first Sunday lesson that I have used like this, although he did the Wednesday healing meetings like this all the time. He really goes into detail in explaining the concept of 'Substance' throughout this talk. He has a great quote of :'man as co-creator' (see p. 28)."
REPORT OF MEETING
913 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri
SUBJECT: "SPIRITUAL SUBSTANCE"
SUNDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 28, 1913
MR. CHARLES FILLMORE, SPEAKER.
Jesus said men should pray always. An understanding of the office of prayer in the growth and the strength-giving of the Spirit and the soul, clears up that statement, and we see why it was given. Prayer should be part of man's daily life. Men ought always to pray, because it is part of the exercise of the mind. It has its place in connecting us with the Higher Realms of consciousness. If we don't reach out in our prayers for the higher thought, and higher ideas, we get into a rutted state of mind, and the things that the mind deals with become stale.
If you wish to freshen your mind, pray. If you wish to raise yourself into freer, higher states of consciousness, why pray. And the more your prayer is based upon understanding, the more success you will have.
So, it is necessary to understand in your prayers. Pray with the understanding; pray with the realization that your prayer will he answered. Yes - and a little more than that, - pray with the understanding that your prayer is already answered. "Pray, believing that you have received, and you shall receive".
Now, the understanding is that all these gifts of God are in the mind. All you have to do is just drop them into your mind, and they become operative; and at the moment that you utter a thought - even before you think - while the thought is 'way deep in your consciousness, it is responded to by the Great Mind in whom all ideas exist.
Now, our lesson to-day is for a fuller realization of the Divine Substance, "The Bread of Life". We know that that Substance is omnipresent - always here. All that is required of us is to realize it, to lay hold of it, and we do that with our minds.
We hold that religion should be inquired into; that man should accept nothing blindly, or because someone else has a revelation; but that he should understand for himself that upon which he bases his doctrine. This, then, requires study, thought and expression. You must not only know a thing, but you should also express your knowledge, be able to tell it and demonstrate it. To express clearly and definitely the Truth, is a demonstration. Some people call demonstrations the doing of things in a mechanical, material way, but, in its highest, a demonstration is a statement of Truth. The Truth will do the work. All that the Demonstrator in spiritual things is required is that he make his statement. If he makes it based upon absolute Truth, he demonstrates it.
In the study of what we call the Truth, we have found it necessary to bring out the understanding, or the knowledge of those who are students; and for that reason, we have adopted, in part of our meetings, this system of asking and answering questions. We assume that all people are like children at school, and that they require, it is required, that they get their lessons; that they come and recite, and in that way, they really go forward. There is a development of the understanding, and in this way you demonstrate.
Now, our lesson to-day is of this character, and I presume, as we announced last Sunday, all who are here have studied your lesson, and you have written out the answers. You are expected to rise in your seats and read your answer to the question. Then we will take it up and discuss it. If you haven't brought out all the Truth, we will find out wherein you lack, and where the truth is.
Now, as I say, every question - it doesn't make any difference where it came from, who its author is, is subject to the probing of the mind. We don't look upon anything as too sacred to inquire into. All the gods and all the men are open to question. We want to know just wherein they got their Truth, and whether it is based upon Principle or not. If it wont hold water, we don't want it, that is all. To us, religion is a science, and its rules must be complied with.
Now, the lesson is based upon the Sixth Chapter of John, as found in the New Testament, beginning with the twenty-second verse, and continuing to the fortieth verse. This Chapter recites that some time after Jesus had performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand with the loaves and fishes, they followed him to another place across the Sea of Galilee, and they wanted something — he perceived that it was more of the loaves and fishes. And he said to them, "you are not chasing me around in the desert here for the Truth that I may give you, but what you want is something to fill your hunger -- the loaves and fishes. Well, they said they wanted a sign from heaven, as to his Divine authority. He told them that he was "the bread of Life sent down from heaven by God, to feed them". "Oh", they said, "We have had bread from our father Moses in the wilderness. He gave us the manna". And Jesus answered, "Yes, he gave you the manna, but all of you died. Now this bread that I will give you will feed you to eternal life - you shall live forever and the bread that I give you will so appease your appetite that you will never hunger".
Now, was Jesus speaking to those people alone, or to all who are to eat of this Bread of Life? And if so, what is the character of the bread that he gave, the Life that he gave, and how may we eat of it - drink that Life, and come to the place where we shall never hunger, but have Eternal Life, have a realization of this Substance?
Now, we all want to know how this can be accomplished. It is of very great importance to us. Now, we have arranged this, just to start us off, in five questions. We don't have to follow these questions, but we will take the first one, which is: "Upon what idea is all Substance based?" Now, in order to get at this bread of life, which we know means the Substance, the underlying Principle of Life, in order to get at that, we must know somewhat about it. What is it? Upon what idea is all Substance based? Now, somehody in the class please answer that? If you have got your answer written out, just rise in your seat and read it so everyhody will hear it. "Upon what idea is all Substance based?" That is easy to a Metaphysician, and you are all Metaphysicians?
ANSWER: I have that, all Substance is based upon the idea of Substance, for back of all visible forms there must he the idea in mind of the visible form, of that which we would bring into visibility. All Substance then, is based upon the idea of Substance.
MR. FILLMORE: That is good. I don't think we could have a better answer than that. All that we see then, we see with what -- our eyes?
ANSWER: With the mind.
MR. FILLMORE: See with our mind. Everything is an idea first. Now, this will bring us to an analysis and a clear understanding of the difference between this outer realm, called matter, and the real Substance of things. And once you get the difference, see what matter is and what the real Substance in mind is, why, then you have a working basis for the eating or the appropriation of the Life and Substance that Jesus Christ brought, or the Christ in us brings, here waiting for us to appropriate and utilize it.
Now, you will never understand the Christian Religion until you get at these foundation principles. It will always be the edict of some preacher or some authority, some book, until you know the Principle. Then, it is very important that we should lay hold of these inner Principles.
Now, we will take that next question: "What follows the faithful adherence to the spiritual idea of Substance?" - what follows in the consciousness? Now, remember you are in the clear understanding that there is a Universal Substance idea. Everything first has its place in the Mind, as an idea. The inventor first sees his invention in the mind - forms it in his mind - then he takes the materials and puts them together; but it is constantly the carrying out of an idea. Now the real, then, of everything that is made is in the mind. Remember that. Now, as a Metaphysician, when you form in your the clear idea of a Substance, an underlying Principle, that is unchangeable, that is firm in us, that do you come into relation with? What will be the effect of that kind of a thought in your mind?
Now, when we speak of substance, do we mean matter? No, certainly not. Our Scientists - I mean by that, Physical Scientists - are telling us in this day that there is a Universal Substance, and that it is not like matter; that matter passes through this Universal Substance just as a sieve passes through water, or just as the wind passes through the trees; that matter is a break, a nothingness, in this Universal Ether. Now, these are the results of not a study, as I understand it, in the laboratory, where you can lay hold of this Universal Ether, but a mathematical proposition. It has been figured out to the satisfaction of Scientists, and you will find - I see in the Literary Digest here last week was an epitome of this conclusion that has been coming, and had been come to by our men of Science about the existence of a Substance back of matter; that matter was just what we, in Metaphysics have been contending for so long - absolute unreality; absolutely unreal. This world that we see all about us, that is unreal in the form that we see it. There is something back of it. And what is that? Why, the physical Scientists say it must be that there is a Universal Ether.
Now, they have never felt the Ether, nor seen it, but they figured it out mathematically. We say this Universal Idea is the first expression, or mental expression of the Divine Idea. Now, don't get the idea that this Universal Ether is the mind. No. It is the first expression of the Mind, but out of it comes everything that we see.
Now, if you can get this in your mind, and realize that there is a substantial something back of all Life; that, in order to have a continuous idea, or continuous Life, you must have the idea of this substantiability of Life. When we speak of Substance, what, really, do we mean? What do you mean when you say "Substance"?
MR. FILLMORE: Yes, that really is an idea in the mind. You don't speak — for example, we say, "He is one of our substantial citizens". Do you mean that the man has a very dense material body? Certainly not! You refer to his reliability. That is it. He is one of the citizens that we depend upon.
Now, that is the real meaning of Substance. It is that which stands under. It doesn't refer to matter at all. Matter is one of the transitory ideas of man about substance. Matter is a changeable idea, a flitting idea. It comes and goes. Now, as Metaphysicians, we see that isn't what we want. We want to wheel into line this underlying, abiding Substance; we want the very, substance of Life, as it is in the Divine Man, in the Spiritual man.
Now, the heavens of the mind are the ideal, and there is an ideal in abiding Life. Nobody wants to die. We don't any of us want these blow-holes in the Universal Substance, because that is where we fall down. Matter is just a lot of blow-hole's in Substance, just remember that; and if you depend upon any material thing; if you make that the basis of your thought, why, you will fall into the holes. (See Old Testament "pit", grave).
The fact is that people who live in the material world; who live with the expectation of getting happiness out of substance, are like those who are in the hole of the doughnut - they don't get hold of the Substance at all. They just fall through the hole. Could you feed yourself, if you lived on doughnuts, by eating the hole? Surely you couldn't, well, no more will you ever feed yourself in this world, so-called, material world, by trying to get satisfaction out of materiality. You can't do it. As I say, you are just like the man with the doughnut - eating the hole. I am telling you this, not as a Metaphysician, but I can bring you the proof of it right here from the Physical Scientists.
These ideas of the unreality of matter have been in the world ever since man began to think. You remember Berkeley, that old English Bishop? He wrote a book on the unreality of matter. He said there was no such thing as matter. Then in the German Metaphysicians, Haekel, and Fichte, several of those deep thinkers came to the same conclusion. They wrote their ideas. Then came in recent years Mrs. Eddy, and she introduced it into the Christian religion, and everybody woke up, and they applied some of the rules of thought she gave us, and lo and behold, they got response, got results; and so it has gone out into the whole race thought, that the real of all things is Substance, back of the so-called matter; that matter is in some way an illusion, a secondary movement; a kind of a dream state that man lives in, and is constantly dropping away, and he wonders why it is, and he attributes it to God, when it is all his view-point. He isn't seeing things as they are.
Now, we must get back and see the real of things; and that is what we are here for, - find out what the real basis of Life is, - in other words, the substance of Life, as Jesus Christ said, the bread of Life, if you eat of this Bread that I bring to you, you will live forever; but if you eat that old Moses bread, that is, if you take somebody else's say-so for it, you will never get very much of Substance out of Life, and you will die.
Now, the third question: "What must man labor for in order to get this Substance, or Eternal Substance?" - that is what we are talking about? Eternal substance and Eternal Life - they go together. Now, what should we labor for? We all understand that we have something to do, as individuals, we are in the world for a purpose, and what should be the prime object of our work in Life? Somebody tell us that? Now remember, you are giving the lesson - what are you laboring for?
MR. FILLMORE: That is it. The one object, then, of man's life, in the matter of substance, is to lay hold of Eternal Life. Now, you know to-day we are simply treating of Substance, the Substance-side of Life. So many people have trouble in getting on in the world. They have trouble in holding to what they call their subtantial things, their material things. Now, this lesson, if you get the right understanding of it, and practice what is here taught, you will find it very much easier to handle your Substance and everything enters into the substance side, not only your finances, but your food, and your houses and your lands, and everything connected, even, with the so-called material world; and you will find that back of all this Substance that you think is Matter, is the real. And all there is to it is held in place by your ideas about it. It is all in your mind.
MR. FILLMORE QUESTION: "What is the result when man tries to attain a consciousness of this Substance through another?" Now this brings it right home to yourself. And I would say, in relation to this question, that a great many people, not only in the world, but in Metaphysical thought, are in a way expecting others to bring them to a realization of these Divine Principles. In other words, they have a subtle thought that they are going to get it by absorption, by association, by study of books, and the listening to lectures. Now, let us get your answer to that?
ANSWER: I have this one for that question: When man tries to attain a consciousness of his substance through another, he is not striving to understand the law that he may bring into expression Substance for himself. Therefore, when those who have been bringing into manifestation the Substance for him no longer do it, he is left helpless, for he has not a working knowledge of this law by which he may being it into expression for himself.
MR. FILLMORE: That is good.
ANSWER Mr. Fillmore, may I ask a question? By that depending on the other, you mean if I would go to you to heal me, or help me to read things - but it doesn't mean I would go to ask you ahout the law, does it? Can't we teach others?
ANSWER (continuing answer from page 21): This depending upon others - my idea was depending on what other people had manifested, not through taking their substance that they had manifested and living upon that.
MR. FILLMORE: Let us take a very practical illustration, we will say, in the matter of food. I might ask you what good food was, and you would tell me what you thought was the best food. But could I eat it for you? I couldn't eat that food. I could simply point to you and say, "here are certain foods now, you would probably get the best result from eating those foods", but you would have to eat for yourself. Now, I find that the same rule holds true in eating this Substance of the Mind. Jesus Christ, you know, in the Last Supper, said, "This is my body - eat it; this is my blood - drink it!" Now, do you think the disciples got down and began to gnaw at his bones, eat his flesh? The church, you know, has twisted this in every way. They have said it means something spiritual, and then, to get it down to the comprehension of the people, they take little wafer, and the priest blesses them, sanctifies them in some way, and that is the veritable body of Christ. But it doesn't seem to do the work that he said it would, does it? They don't come into Eternal Life; they don't live forever, because they die. They die just as he said those people who ate of the manna that moses gave died.
Now then, there must be something of a deeper character, more substantial, and that is just what we are after. And we know that all things, in their essence, in their original, are in the mind; and, as I have told you, we have Science in this matter of the Substance, to back us up.
Now, we have found that when we take into our minds a strong affirmation of the Omnipresent Substance and Life, there is a new consciousness developed. We feel that we have gotten hold of something; and those Metaphysicians who have practiced this day after day, find that they absolutely can appease their hunger, - not wholly, probably, because we haven't yet arrived at a full understanding, and we haven't lifted ourselves into the Kingdom of the heavens, or the realm where ideas satisfy every need; but we go far enough to prove the law, and we know that a continuance in that line of thinking, a realization that the Substance that Jesus Christ spoke about is in mind; that it is a mental principle, we know that we can go forward in that until every need will be satisfied. We know that it is possible for man to multiply everything that he touches with his mind of Substance.
Now, the fact is that every thought that you send out has back of it a certain quality of substance - more substantial a good deal than you think, and the more you think about the substantiability of your thought, and the more of the Higher Principle you put into them, the more you eat of this Christ Body, or that Bread of Life, coming down from the heavens. So you see how important it is that you let your mind play a very important part in everything that you have to do with Substance. If it is eating at the table, why eat with the idea that this is the very Substance of spirit, and you will see the essence back of the food, and your system will get with that food an element that you can't get by eating it merely as material. You see the inner consciousness must come into expression, a union with the inner Principle and everything that your mind touches along the line of Substance.
Now that fifth question: "What assurance have we that this is the real and only way to abiding supply?" Now, we bring that right down to a matter of finance: What assurance have you that this is the only way to get Eternal, Abiding Prosperity, if you will - Supply? What is the basis of such an assumption?
ANSWER Mr. Fillmore, seeking information on the subject, and not trying to elucidate something that requires long thought, I would like to find out from you if there is a Great Wisdom, a Great Power that brought all things into manifestation as we see them, the world, and all mankind, and, in bringing us into manifestation, are we endowed with a part of that wisdom, and a part of that power, that we can exercise when we want to bring into manifestation things that can be realized by the senses, as Health - can we think and form in our minds thate we have health, because we are endowed by that Great Wisdom, and, by using Wisdom and Force, to manifest, these things; and can we, through that certain Wisdom and Force given to us, bring into manifestation the things of this life that are desirable and can endure? That, is the thing that I want to find out?
MR. FILLMORE: Well, the teaching of Jesus Christ was that we could, and I see evidences on every side of those, who following him, are bringing into manifestation, we will say, the evidences of Health on one side, better supply, happiness, contentment, and that abiding consciousness which ccmes from an appreciation of God as the Omnipresent Source of all. Why certainly. All that exists in Divine Mind must be open to the expression of that Mind, and it is through man that it is made manifest.
So, it is just a question of applying the Principle in the right way. You must get into your mind that you are one of the co-creators; that it is given to man to manifest this ideal realm, and that every idea that comes into your mind is susceptible of a substantial clothing.
Now, that brings us right to the point of the lesson. We must clothe it with this finer substance. Every thought, your thought is made up of ideas. You all know that. But there are certain principles, or certain ideas entering into every thought, and the foundation, or that upon which you rest your thought is Substance. Now, that is where Substance is always associated with Life and Intelligence. You can take those three ideas: Here is the Foundation now, Substance. That means that you want an abiding place, in your mind you think about something that will be, we will say, a home. Now where is your home? Is it where you live? The house that you live in? Why no, that is just the outer manifestation of your idea of home. Your home is in the substance idea of Being, and the more you lay hold of that substance home, the more you think about the real home in Spirit and fill your mental house with just the furniture you want, make it just the kind of a house that you would like to have, - I say, the more you think about that as a real thing, the quicker you will get that ideal home.
So, with everything that you do. Lay hold of the Substance side in its mental activity. Now, this applies to your body. We want a more substantial abiding life in our bodies. The Life seems to come and go in the present body-consciousness. Men are subject to conditions. I see you people fanning there, for example. Why? Because you haven't got quiet within yourself and laid hold of the cooling substance of the Spirit. Now, if you would all lay down your fans - put it to a practical test - and quietly say,
"Why, my mind is not anxious or worried; my mind don't work on the outside now. I am very still within. I lay hold of the Great Cooling substance of the Spirit: I am quiet and still; I am net anxious and worried; I don't think about the heat".
You know the Commissioner of Chemistry at Washington, in giving out his rules the other day, in the matter of guidance to those who wanted to escape heat, said, "Above all things don't have any thermometer. Throw your thermometer away".
Nearly all of the advanced thinkers are to-day dealing with mind first. Now, I say to you that there is a Cooling Principle in Mind, and that means that we shant get choppy, and studying a lot of cross-currents on the outside. Just stop all that. Say, "I am not anxious or worried about anything at all; I am not anxious or worried about whether I am going to have any dinner after this meeting; I am not worried and anxious that I don't understand this as well as I ought". Just put that all away. Say,
"I abide in the one Substance of the Spirit. That Great Substance, and that Great Life is mine right now! I live in it. No reality in this outer world. It is all just Mind - Pure, Peaceful, Harmonious Mind."
11:26 A. M.
UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY