Vigilance in Thought Protection
This lesson from Charles Fillmore was featured on Bob Brach's Unity Classic Radio broadcast on May 12, 2015. Bob writes, "This talk is entitled "Vigilance in Thought - Protections" Mr. Fillmore uses the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem as a template for our own internal rebuilding of our 'place of peace' within us. He has some nice quotes in this talk; e.g. We the Bible too much power" (p.9), 'the Bible stories are about us' (p.14, and 'health means perpetual happiness' (p.31). He also has some comments about 'the power of other peoples' thoughts'(p.43) and avoiding 'occultism' (p.44). As usual, he covers a lot of ground in these lessons."
Vigilance in Thought Protection
Our lesson this morning centers around the restoration of Jerusalem. To get the significance of Jerusalem it is necessary to give its place in spiritual consciousness. Hebrew words all have an inner spiritual meaning, and we find that Jerusalem in the Hebrew means a place of peace, or the city of peace. The whole Bible is an exposition of the development of a people who recognized God. We understand that the Israelites typify ourselves when we have recognized and are trying to follow the guidance of the one infinite mind, the one spirit, so all of these characters and all of these places have a special significance to every man and every woman that is aspiring to a spiritual estate. That is what we call that spirit of evolution that is carrying them forward to the great peace that comes through a right understanding of the Truth, and a proper application of it in thought and act. So the city of Jerusalem reduces itself primarily to that peace of mind which is established in you when you get in right relation with God and the world without.
Now we find that these two states are always in evidence. You cannot adjust yourself to your environment without first adjusting yourself to the source of your being. That seems logical, doesn't it? Yet we find people constantly trying to adjust themselves to their environment without first adjusting themselves to God, because God is the source of all being. Now that word "God" covers, well we might say a multitude of sin sometimes, because we do sin against God by having a wrong concept of him, and millions of people have a wrong concept of God.
A right concept of God is absolutely necessary to a proper adjustment of the individual to his environment. We must know that God is Spirit and that God is mind, that God is that omnipresent principle out of which every thought comes and every act, and that man is the expression of this infinite mind. Now if you get that clear and begin to use your thought and that spirit of inspiration in you which makes you what you are, why you will see just how you will adjust yourself, and that spirit of knowing which belongs primarily to every one will begin to flash in your consciousness, and you will see how the law must be carried out.
Now the one primal office of thought is to carry out the divine law. Our thought puts into expression ideas. Now how can you produce ideas and thoughts that will make this peaceful mind? You will say, by following the law. I must observe the commandments, and where do you find those commandments?
In the Bible? Well, you will find an exposition of those commandments, you will find the ten commandments and the teachings of Jesus, and in fact the teachings of all those who had attained a certain degree of wisdom. Studying them in relation to your spiritual understanding you will be able to discern where they saw the good and wrote about it, or where they saw the opposite, where they saw the evil and wrote about that.
These old writers are not very much different from modern writers. They didn't have any more inspiration doubtless than the leaders in spiritual thought have today, and if this Bible were lost we could reproduce it. The Spirit of God that through man wrote the Bible is still here, but we sometimes give the Bible too much power; we give it an importance that it really doesn't possess. We should read the Bible with discrimination, he are told to read it in the spirit. It is the spirit that quickeneth. Jesus Christ said to those Pharisees who tried to make him hold himself to the Bible, he said, "You search the scriptures for in them you think you are going to find eternal life, but the scriptures simply testify of me." What is "me"? Why it is spiritual man, that is what "me" is; that is the only me that exists, the I am in the individual.
So we find that we must get hold of this spiritual quality in ourselves before we can know God or before we can know ourselves and we give special attention to the inspiration, that that Spirit of knowing which Jesus Christ called the Spirit of Truth. When it comes, the Bible will be made plain to you. You won't quarrel with it. Take out what is good for you. The other you will say, "I will put that on the shelf; it may be good, but I haven't discovered it yet; I believe in the infinite good."
And if you believe in that and get that into your consciousness and think about it as an omnipresent principle, pretty soon the great Spirit of peace will come to you. Now that is the building of the city of Jerusalem by the Children of Israel. It was the result of their following of the law.
They built that great city when the world without was uncivilized. We today, when the Jews were building Jerusalem and living as princes and kings were savages roaming the forests of Germany and other parts of Europe. That is a fact. The Jewish people preceded us in civilization, and how did they get that start? What raised them above the average evolution of man? Why an observance of certain laws, spiritual laws, laid down by Moses.
Now we are coming into a still higher evolution, into a finer perception of civilization, and how are we going to do it? By following the teaching of a Jew, Jesus of Nazareth. He went far beyond Moses in his appreciation of this infinite principle which we call God, and I say, if we study this Bible with the light which we have of the Truth, we find that every lesson, every experience has to do with ourselves. Now this rebuilding of the walls of Jersualem , you must apply that to yourself. What is Jerusalem? As we said a few moments ago, Jerusalem is that consciousness of inner peace which you have built up through thinking about yourself as the offspring of God, and about thhs wonderful spiritual source.
Now if you follow that, if you have followed the commandments, you will have that city of peace, but those children of Israel didn't always follow the commandments, did they? They were a stiff-necked people, we are told, and they disobeyed and made alliances with the barbarians and the savages in the outer, and the result was that they-were driven out of their city. They lost their power, and were made captives by the Babylonians, and the Assyrians and the Persians, and were prayed upon by these outer forces.
Yet they never lost sight of the one great truth that Jehovah was their God, that there was a superior principle, or God as they understood it. Moses told them not to make any graven images, not to make pictures of their God, not to bow down to material things, and living up to that there was always a higher inspiration. Those children of Israel even thouyh they were made captives and subject to the Babylonians, were always coming to the surface as wise men like Daniel.
And here was Nehemiah, the subject of our lesson today. He was the cupbearer, or the chief steward in the King's house, and his brother had brought to him a message that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, that the people were in poverty, that they had married barbarian wives, that they were rearing families that were not following the divine law, and the heart of Nehemiah was stirred. He saw that the race were degenerating, were getting away from that primal spiritual worship, and his countenance was cast down and the king saw it and he asked him, "why is this countenance of yours so cast down," and he explained to him. Nehemiah had been praying all this time to God that he might be a help to this down-trodden people, that he might go back and help restore Jerusalem. The king said, "If you need to go back and take up that work, I will provide you with an escort, with soldiers; I will provide you with money; I will give you letters of introduction to all of these different rulers on your way, and I will give you authority to get the material to rebuild the walls." Now, wasn't that the outworking of what we would call the prayer for prosperity?
Nehemiah was a single man, among aliens, a people who were not at all in sympathy with his thought, but he prayed to Jehovah, he prayed to that high principle, that Christ mind within himself, and it brought results, and he returned to Jerusalem and then he found that the walls were down and the people were not of a mind to rebuild it; they were living in great poverty and distress, yet the condition of mind was such that it seemed hopeless. Now there is just where we find ourselves if we haven't been following the law, if we haven't been observing this divine inner spiritual inspiration, if we haven't lived up to it. Our walls are broken down; we are not having that peace of mind, that harmony, that spirit which really belongs to every one of us when we have followed the law.
And you might consider yourself as Nehemiah. You are given the task by this infinite mind of rebuilding the walls of this inner city. Now we find that the body is the temple of God. This is an aggregation of thinking entities. Every cell is a thinking entity, and those cells if you are not in complete control are thinking for themselves. We are told that abnormal growths are the result of cells from the outer getting into the body consciousness, and becoming so strong that they absorb the life, they aggregate to themselves other cells and we have a very abnormal condition frequently. That shows that there is not a proper protection; that the center of consciousness is not established in the individual, and that he isn't watching the building, he is ignoring or neglecting declaring the law, and the walls fall down. They are not impregnable walls; they are not protected.
As I say, the time comes when it is necessary to again rebuild those walls, because by the walls falling down there is an invasion. The thoughts begin to come in from the realms of error without. Now one may be well educated in the religious life; you may have been well taught, but if you don't know this principle of the omnipresent. God, and your power and capacity as a builder, your walls are very apt to be broken down. This is especially true in this day when we find the power of thought. We are being born into a consciousness where thoughts are becoming things to us, and there is really more danger of an invasion from the error thoughts of the world than there ever was because, as I say, we may have become so entrenched from a sort of material consciousness that the thoughts from without don't enter our minds, and the don't effect our bodies.
You remember that years before Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem Ezra had gone back from Babylon and had read the law, he had read out of the scriptures to the Israelites. They had really forgotten that they had a law. He found the law in an abandoned room in the temple, in a chest, and there was great rejoicing among a few of them that the law had been found.
Now we find ourselves in total ignorance that there is a divine law. We have thought, "Why I don't know about God. Where is God; where is the law of God? One sect preaches one thing and another another."
We live material lives, but the time comes when we have to meet certain situations, and then we call upon God, and God reveals to us that there is a law. If we search we find that law. That is the first movement in the return of the children of Israel to Jerusalem, and the rebuilding of the temple is the declaration of the law. That precedes Nehemiah the builder.
The next step is this we have today, that we can through a proper understanding of this principle that is working in us rebuild this body temple. Now God made our bodies for health, and health means perpetual happiness. Health means peace, and health means immortality. There is no immortality that I know anything about outside of my consciousness of immortality. And If I have the consciousness of immortality, here and now, I will have a healthy body if I observe the law, but I must get that inner consciousness, and it must be established in me so firmly, so fundamentally that I will live in it and believe in it, and through the impact of my central thinking it will begin to build a new cellular life.
Now that is something that the world hasn't yet fully realized, that thoughts build things, that the thought of peace end harmony in Spirit and in truth will begin to draw to it those elements, this substance, and not only that but it will begin to transform what we call the corruptible body into incorruption. Paul saw that. He didn't say this corruptible must put on incorruption and refer it to the death of the body and its rebirth away off somewhere in a future heaven. No, he knew that could take place right here and now, that this corruptible flesh should put on incorruption if the righteous law was applied, and what is that righteous law? That you must begin rebuilding. Just the moment you get the inspiration that you have in Spirit and in Truth the power to rebuild this body — I have the power to do away with all this inharmony, all this sickness, all this pain and all these sorrows, all this grief; I have the power within me to do away with all that — but you must rebuild it and as you begin rebuilding you will find there is a whole lot of rubbish.
We are told that the rubbish was piled so high that the builders rebelled at first. They said, "There is too much rubbish we can't do it," but Nehemiah kept to the central proposition, and Nehemiah in every one of us is that Spirit that believes in the power of God, and it believes in the power of man, spiritual man.
Now you can't listen to the outer consciousness. You will say, "Well, these troubles that I have are pronounced incurable," or "the reaction is goo great; I get a very great spiritual consciousness, but I can't pull myself up to it. I live in it a little while and down I go." That is a sort of rebellion.
You don't really have to do the building, but you have to set the pace. If you speak the word and encourage all these little builders throughout your body and mind to go ahead with the work -- say, "Now we are going to work and we will work in shifts." You remember Nehemiah tells us how they worked in shifts. Part of them worked while the others slept. They had to watch all the time this outside invasion. That means that the center of your mind and body has a spiritual core, and yet in the outer, you might say, a man is like an onion with too many layers, planes of consciousness. And these outer layers will become so attached to the external that it can't reach them all at once from the within, and they keep piling in on you. If you get negative and let down, you will feel a little worse.
Now you right then want to encourage your builders. Begin to affirm. "Now you are Spirit; God Almighty is here with us." Stand for your fathers and mothers and sisters, all these related thoughts, stand, stand. So Paul says in a case very similar to this, "Watch ye; stand fast in the faith, whit ye like men be strong."
Nehemiah says,"Watch now, watch and pray," and when they did that --- they didn't work all the time; they prayed part of the time, and yet these outside rebellious forces, these ignorant Arabians and Ammonites and people from the outside kept saying, "Why you can't do it, you will have to come back to us." Even the Jews refused to work and had become alienated from the one Spirit. They said, "Why they come us us ten times from all places, and they said, 'You will have to come back to the old thought, you can't go ahead; you can't attain your ideals.'" That is what the world is saying to us. Your own thought is saying that to you, "You can't attain your ideals; they are too far beyond you. You might as well live your natural life, because tomorrow you die."
You can't afford to give up to a thought of that kind. If you stand fast and hold to the Truth and affirm the one infinite omnipresent principle as the Spirit of strength, you will get there. Now we find people everywhere that are on the way, and yet they haven't all reached tne goal — the walls haven't been thoroughly rebuilt yet. Nehemiah admits that he only built them half way up. He didn't build them the full height that they were in the beginning. In other words our ideals are beyond our present capacity of achievement, but the next step will be to build the walls the height that we have idealized.
Now we hear a great deal in this day of people being influenced by other peoples' thoughts and some of the most advanced metaphysicians give a great deal of time to what they call treating against malicious animal magentism and thoughts outside, thoughts that people are trying to influence them for evil through the power of thought. Get that out of your mind.
There may be a truth there, and there is a truth there, but it doesn't have any power over one who has established himself in Spirit, and if you are trying occult means to overcome the evil thoughts of others or imaginary evil thoughts of others, you won't get there, because you must first establish yourself in this Christ mind. We don't advise people to take up the study of occultism.
We don't advise people to take up the study of even the activity of their own minds until they have established themselves in spiritual power, until they know that there is a higher power than thought. Now this higher power is what we call spiritual I Am, and if you would believe in that and meditate upon it and affirm it, why you will establish in yourself what we call the Christ consciousness or the Jehovah consciousness.
Jehovah and Christ are virtually names of the same thing. People who have been otherwise educated, think that when we speak of Christ we are referring to Jesus of Nazareth always. No, Christ or Jehovah, the Jehovah mind was before Jesus. Jesus demonstrated it just as we are told that we must demonstrate it. We must follow him, and when you get into that higher consciousness which is the superconscious in every one of us, when you establish that, you will set up a higher and finer activity in your mind, and your body, an activity that will be so strong that it will push out and do away with all these so-called opposing forces.
Nothing can oppose the Spirit of the infinite in you, and the spirit of the infinite in you, the Christ, the I Am is superior to all these outside conditions. Just remember that and don't be afraid. This Jehovah mind is mighty. If we could realize that Jehovah mind all at once, it would burn us up. Do you know that? It is so powerful. It is like taking hold of a live wire, but one who is established in the high vibration of the Christ mind might take hold of the live wire and not be affected by it!
So we find that when we think and meditate upon the Christ, or Jehovah, spirit, mind, that we establish ourselves in the new vibration, if you will, the new radiation of spirituality, and we are lifted up, and every cell in your organism is lifted to higher planes of activity, when you think about the life of spirit, and especially that life as established in you. And when you think about it and meditate and pray day by day, your body is absolutely reconstructed. Every atom of your organism begins to adjust itself to a new rate of vibration and you are a new creature in Christ Jesus. In other words, you have begun to establish yourself in that divine man which belongs to every child of God.
So this then is the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. It is the rebuilding of the walls of your body. If the walls of your organism are weak in any way, they can only be rebuilt permanently by observing this law, by ignoring any opposing force, by establishing yourself day by day in Spirit and in truth, in Jehovah mind.
UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY