The First Consciousness of Spiritual Strength
This lesson from Charles Fillmore was featured on Bob Brach's Unity Classic Radio broadcast on June 9, 2015. Bob writes, "This is another early (1913) show. Mr. Fillmore would be just 59 years old at the time. He has a nice metaphysical look at the story of Samson and the Philistines and the symbolism of his seven locks of hair (p16). He also talks about his favorite topic 'Regeneration' and even describes it (p. 12). This is an old time Unity talk and accordingly, Mr. Fillmore does a practical demonstration of his topic in the talk (p. 23)."
"THE FIRST CONSCIOUSNESS OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH"
MR. CHARLES FILLMORE
913 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri
SUNDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 28, 1913
We are met for the purpose of getting a fuller understanding of the powers of latent within us. Our prayers, our meditations, and all of our words, should tend to the one point in the lesson; strength.
Remember, this is a school, in which the Lord of the universe is the teacher. As students, we should demonstrate the lesson as we proceed. Every lesson based upon true science should have some point where immediately application can be made.
As Students of Truth, we know that there is one universal strength, "in you all, through you all and above you all", and that man expresses that strength. And let us be "instant" as Paul says in our prayer for strength.
All the powers of command are related. "No man liveth onto himself alone." So no faculty of mind is independent of the other faculties. We have often had our attention called to the illustration of the chain being as strong as its weakest link, and no stronger. Exactly the same is true of man. If you have a weak link in the chain of your thought your whole character will take on that weakness.
So man must be lifted up to a divine standard along every line. This standard is the Absolute Strength of the One and only Mind. People complain that they are weak. They call it physical weakness, but it is mental weakness. You couldn't be weak physically unless you were weak mentally. You could not be weak mentally if you believe the Truth. So we must get hold of the mental side of the proposition, and link the strength center in the body with its nearest neighbor. Strength in the organism has its center of action in the body, in the small of the back, and it's nearest neighbor is Life. So, you will find in the Psalms, "God is the strength of my life". "God is the strength of my life, and I am powerful in every part", is a splendid affirmation. If you make that affirmation and get the swing of it in your organism, you're bound to get strong. It is not necessary that you take physical exercise to gain strength. Exercise your mind, the the great strength field, and it will be translated into your character muscles. Then the exercise will come in doing with strength and vigor that which you love to be.
We will take, as our central prayer this morning, "God is the strength of my life, and I am powerful in every part." Now, as you hold it, feel it, realize it. Hold it not alone in your head -- let it sweep through your body, and particularly your back. First we will repeat it aloud, then silently:
"The natural man perceiveth not the things of the Spirit". Man is a progressive being. He is born as an idea in God. That idea must be brought forth, which is done through the natural, until he comes back again to the Spiritual. So Paul says, "First that which is natural; then that which is Spiritual".
Now, we find the human race to-day in these two great phases of consciousness, like students at school. The first, or primary grade, is the natural man. He sees the phenomenal world as real; looks upon himself as having body, and parts, and a personality. But as he comes into his spiritual nature, a change takes place. He finds that these outer appearances are but representatives; that there is a deeper, wider, higher man, the spiritual man, and that all of the religious literature is written from two viewpoints. First, is the natural man. He can read the historical. But there is an inner spiritual phase, the esoteric, the hidden, and that is for the spiritual man.
Now, we know that every one of the faculties which are here represented in the physical organism, are in embryo - they are in their mere beginnings; they last for a day. That man is grass - he withers away. But they hint of something permanent, and when the great creative Mind can get our attention sufficiently to make us ambitious for that permanent thing, then we begin to develop along all of these lines.
There is the mental man, there is the emotional man, and the physical man. Now, all these are necessary. Our lesson to-day is for the development of a certain capacity, or necessary quality in the physical man - Strength.
in the Scripture we have the historical recitation of a man named Samson, in the Old Testament. He was one of the Judges of Israel for twenty years. Samson was a peculiar character. He seemed to be a joker, a great deal of a wag. The point given in our lesson is that relating to his overcoming of the Philistines, and himself, by breaking down the pillars of the temple, and crushing three thousand of the Philistines and himself at the same time in the falling of the roof.
But Samson represents a certain spiritual action in the mind of man, and its roots, are in the, physical. It is the breaking forth into spiritual consciousness of that physical strength which we, in our natural estate, have. You remember that Samson was a Nazarite; also John the Baptist was a Nazarite. And the Scripture states that the Nazarite had to observe three essential things: His hair should never be cut; (no razor should touch his head); he should abstain from all intoxicating beverages, and he should never touch a dead body. Those three things were essential to a Nazarite. Samson also means "The Sun God." It seems that long before this Scripture was written, certain religious bodies had their Sun God. They claimed that at certain seasons of the year, under the signs of the Zodiac, the sun changed from Winter to spring, and they had their celebrations at that time. The coming forth of the physical son was represented in a way of the coming forth of the son of man or spiritual consciousness. But the point for our consideration is, how does this sun god have its advent in us? Well, as I say, it has one of its advents through strength, and if we get at the right understanding of Samson in us, why, we will see how we bring forth the sun god.
Now, we are told that in the time of Samson, the Israelites - that is, the real people, or the real thoughts of man - were sorely oppressed by these Philistines. Now, the Philistines mean opposition, and the Scripture says that in Israel they had control of five cities, and that these cities were ruled over by Lord. Now that means very clearly, doesn't it, that the five senses were under the control of these outer forces? They had been given up by man, in his sense-desire, to the enemies of the spirit.
Now these Philistines, we are told in the scripture, were worshippers of the animals as Gods. They made all kinds of images of various animals, and fell down and offered sacrifices to them. They were sooth-eayers, and oh, superstitious along every line. They seemed to have no central idea of being; had no knowledge or understanding of Jehovah, and they were despised by the Israelites on that account. But they had so taken possession of the country of the Israelites that they were dominant; and Samson came to free the people, and he succeeded in a way.
Now then, this sun god, or this Samson, comes into our consciousness to set us free from the dominance of sense. It has taken possession of these five avenues of expression of the man. And the point is how these opposing ideas that have come in, and through their egos, or lords, ruled in these five cities.
Samson was a man of spiritual powers. He looked to his Jehovah, to the one Spiritual God, and his affirmations were that this Jehovah-power should come into him, and he did mighty works as a result. But he wasn't fully regenerated. He simply opened up one avenue. And, in his excessive use of that, he perished.
Now, we find parallels to this in our own experience, because these experiences that we read of here are taking place in us every day. It isn't a matter of outer expression altogether, that has something to do with it - but in every thought that you have, these changes go on in your consciousness. You remember that Jesus Christ called our attention to this. He said that the thought did the work. Just an idea flitting through your mind will produce these changes in the vital substance that makes up your organism. So you might, in your mind, think about the strength of Jehovah, and there would well up in your consciousness an idea of strength, and it would take possession of the finer essences of your being, and you would have a realization of strength that would come into expression in the organism. But the essential point is to build up this spiritual body in the regeneration. You are growing a new body, a new organism. It is interlaced with this organism, inter-penetrates; every cell in the physical organism is being pushed out, and a new cell is taking its place from the higher or spiritual. This is regeneration. It is a real thing. It isn't something that we are to have after we are dead. No. But we must receive it now; "here in this time", said Jesus Christ, "you shall have these things". It isn't to be a miracle. It is a result of effort on the part of man.
So, as I say, every thought that you have produces its effect in your organism. You may have observed that in your dreams you have the images that take place during your conscious daily thought repeating themselves in the dream state. And you will find that the things that pertain especially to the sensations within, repeat themselves in your dreams with more force than the outer experiences.
Now, this is especially true of those things that pertain to physical sensation. The mind repeats in its dreams to the point of producing in those dreams the exact representation, all the feeling that has taken place in some habit; some habit of the five-sense man will repeat itself in the dreams and produce exactly the same effect. You will be awakened sometimes out of your dream by a sensation that you have brought about through the dream.
Now this shows very conclusively that the power of the mind is constantly at work in what we call the subconscious, producing effects. So we know that we are going along right lines; that we are getting at the forces that make the man, as to his body, at least. And when I tell you that a thought of strength in your consciousness will produce a strength effect, why, I am showing you something that is being accepted now by all physiologists as well as metaphysicians.
Then, we should cultivate this capacity of the strengthening of the man. We should get at the thought that will give us the quickest result in bringing forth strength to our spiritual bodies, because, I assure you, the building up of this spiritual body is the essential thing. The more you can conserve your powers and throw them into this spiritual body, the healthier you will be, and the better chance you will have to inherit eternal Life.
Now, you can't get into Eternal Life without a consciousness of Eternal Life, and you can't be a dweller in the Kingdom of God without a body, remember that. A body is just as essential to a soul as clothes are to the physical man; and when we enter into this Kingdom of God, which is coming into expression, we must be clothed upon. Our robes - that is, our bodies - must be white and pure, in order to become one of the Kingdom.
You remember that in this history of Samson, he went down and made friends with one, Delilah, of the Philistines, and she being in sympathy with the Philistines, her relatives, wanted to find out where his strength lay. And he told her all kinds of stories to begin with, but she kept at him and finally he confessed that his strength lay in his hair, and she clipped his seven locks, and his strength was gone.
Now there again is that figure "seven". Man has more than five faculties in Spirit. In the soul-consciousness you have seven faculties, and the hair represents the outer expression of strength. I might go into the details and show you just the relation of the hair to the strength, but we wont have time this morning; but there is a specific relation between the hair, as it expresses itself in the organism, and the idea, the strength idea underlying it. It is enough to say that when the strength idea in its seven-fold expression is taken away, why the man loses his strength; and after Samson lost his strength, the Philistines put out his eyes. Well, that means that when your strength goes down, when you dissipate, through some connection with the soul-consciousness, this takes place in the mind. You can imagine some lascivious condition, and the Delilah in you - that is, the feminine and the masculine will meet, and a certain conjunction will take place, and there will be a loss of strength.
Now, that is exactly what took place in the Samson consciousness. He gave himself up to the Philistines, and the result was a depletion of strength. Well now, the question with every one of us is: How shall we overcome these subconscious losses of strength? It must be through a change of mind. We must call upon our Jehovah, as Samson called upon his. His hair, we are told, began to grow again, and as it grew, his strength came, and he called upon his Jehovah, "Oh", he said, "Jehovah, just give me my strength again, just once more, that I may be avenged upon these Philistines for taking away my two eyes". And his strength came; and they called upon Samson to come out and give them sport in one of their festivities, and all the people were making fun of him, the strong man of the Israelites - they had him under control. And they were gathered on top of the building - three thousand of them - and, I presume, all around, and Samson laid hold of the two pillars of the temple and he brought them together, and down the temple came, and of course it crushed him with it. But the Scripture says he was avenged upon those Philistines.
Well now, that means that in our development of this spiritual Strength, in laying hold of it, under the Law of Mind, we sometimes carry the matter to excess. We become so enthused with the idea of destruction, the destructive idea which follows along certain lines as affecting the whole man, and he is willing to give up his strength in order to get revenge. Well now, that, to the Christ Mind, is a short-sighted way. Elijah went up in his chariot of fire, and burned up his body. So Samson, in order that he might accomplish a certain few moments of strength, gave up his body, destroyed himself and his enemies. But the true way to develop your strength is that quiet, harmonious, masterly spiritual way. You have the strength, and you can bring it more and more into expression, through the power of your word. You know the law that every thought can be brought under the dominion of the Jehovah in you, the I Am, the Supreme Power, and, knowing this, you must practice the power and control of strength.
Now, every one of us needs a little more strength, and there is a law of the word, and its expression in the body, why, this organism is one of the most wonderful things, and all of the wires necessary to the transmission of every thought are set up. And Physiology tells us that right her at the base of the brain starts out the vagus nerve, and it goes into every part of this organism. Start a thought in your mind, the vagus nerve, as a cable, takes it, and with all of its strands, carries it to the utmost, to the very ends of your fingers and toes. Don't you see then how you are, as a physical being, related to thought, and what wonderful effect you can have upon the organism, when you train your mind to think along right lines?
If you want strength, should you think of weakness? Should you talk about weakness, or for a moment let the idea of the possibility of weakness into your consciousness? You would say, "No, of course not"! Well then, be on your guard. Don't, if you feel exhausted, don't admit for a moment in your mind that it can be weak, because if you let your mind think weakness, it will reflect on your body, and your body will get weak. And the remedy is to call upon your Jehovah. If your eyes have been put out; if you don't perceive the Truth, why ask Jehovah to give you strength, if it is only just for that once, that you may overcome these Philistines, these opposing powers that have come in from the outside and said to the man, the spiritual man, "Why, you are weak". Nothing in it. You are strong.
Then make your affirmation:
"God is the Strength of my Life. I am not weak; I am not tired. No weakness in my world. I am always filled with an increasing strength and power. God is the Strength of my Life. I rejoice in Strength. I feel the strength of the spirit. I don't deplete my forces in any sense consciousness. My mind doesn't run in the way of the Philistines, but in the way of the Spirit."
Now, let us put this lesson, right now into execution. Everybody here needs a little more strength, a larger realization; and God is everywhere present as the strength of man. Why, if we should go away from here this morning without a practical application of the lesson, we wouldn't have fulfilled the designs of God in allowing us to give this lesson. Then, let us hold "God is the Strength of my Life." Let us all rise, please (audience rises). Now, relax. What I mean is if you feel tense in any way, just relax. Now, we are all perfectly at home here, aren't we? This isn't a church. We are not here as worshippers of a far-away God that we have to have a long face and be pious about it. Just a lot of children, learning a lesson. Be perfectly free. Now, just free your mind, just relax, in order that the Spirit may come in. (Silence). That gives us a receptive state of mind. Now then, realize that there is a Great Principle of Strength, in which we live, and move and have our being: "God is the Strength of my Life". Let us all hold that now silently: "Thou, Jehovah, art the strength of my life". Say it aloud, (repeated). Now, silently, (silence). Now, send that thought down into your back, the small of your back, as if you were thinking right there: "Jehovah is the Strength of my Life". Now let that consciousness of Strength go down both of your legs into your feet. (Silence). Now come back to the throat. You will find there is a connection between your throat and your back. There is a nerve there that connects the two: "God is the Strength of my Life, and all power is given unto me". Strength and Power are closely related. (Silence). That is good. Let us be seated now. (Audience is seated).
Now, I gave you that little illustration that you may practice it. Every day begin to practice, to strengthen the inner man with a drill just like that. I go through that drill hours at a time, similar drills. I don't always work on strength, but some part of my organism needs toning up every day, and I keep right at it. Sometimes it is strength, and again it will be Power or judgment, or intelligence - all these twelve powers of man must be brought out. So, as you go away to-day, take with you the practice of this. Say "here now, I am going to become strong in the Spirit", and this is the point - you can send that Strength to any part of the organism.
11:38 A. M.
UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY