Watch and Pray
This lesson from Charles Fillmore was featured on Bob Brach's Unity Classic Radio broadcast on September 8, 2015. Bob writes, "Here is the PDF I will read from on Tuesday, September 8th. With Unity's World Day of Prayer coming this week on Thursday, I chose a talk of Mr. Fillmore's entitled "Watch and Pray" from March of 1923. Mr. Fillmore has come interesting comments in this talk, like: we are not born with souls, we have potential souls and we need to develop them (p.4); that we have lived before many, many times (p. 11); the difference between Judas (p.26) and Judas Iscariot (p.30); and ... he talks about sex, sex and food to be exact, (p.31). This was a pre-Easter talk (Easter was April 1, in 1923) so he mentions the concept of Lent (p.34)"
CHARLES FILLMORE --- MARCH 11, 1923
WATCH AND PRAY
In the beginning of his ministry, Jesus told Nicodemus who came to him by night that he must be born again, he must be born of Spirit, and water, he must be born from above. Jesus had a prophecy, even at that beginning of his ministry of what he was to do, that he was the one who should demonstrate this new birth. He saw that it was necessary in order that man should come out of his sins, his sickness, his disease, and finally death, that he should have a new consciousness of life, and that that consciousness should be demonstrated. In order to make that demonstration, the old sense consciousness must be eliminated, it must die. That was what the life of Jesus Christ demonstrated.
Now we have today in our lesson one of the steps in that demonstration. Jesus had gone through many of the different eliminations of false states of mind. All the healing that he did was primarily healing of his own thoughts; those conditions that he cast out, the devils, those were in his own consciousness.
People have an idea that Jesus Christ was a perfect man to begin with. There is nothing in the scripture to carry that out. He had that higher ideal that was the perfect Christ. That we all have, but we had to be demonstrated in consciousness, in the soul, and this whole history is the demonstration of one man in overcoming the little things, the error things, the sinful things, the shortcomings of man in his evolution. Now we are all evoluting, we ere not born with souls. You have to demonstrate your soul. You are born with a potential soul, but we haven't yet as a race all demonstrated souls. We are on the way. We have some soul, but not all. We haven't rounded out the soul until we have come into the full new consciousness and that consciousness is at its apex when we can say that it is finished; I no longer function in sense consciousness; I am no longer controlled by the sensations of the body.
Now this step which Jesus took in the Garden of Gethsemane is symbolical of the state of mind that precedes the final elimination of sense consciousness that is the death on the cross. Now the meaning of these words today in this lesson clearly indicate that it was a mental process. Gethsemane means the pressing out of oil. And we go through, in our consciousness, when we are pressing out the old life, a process very similar to the olive as it goes through that process of pressure in the oil press. The old state of mind is pressed out, but a new state follows, we are told that Jesus was ministered unto by the angel, and this would indicate that he had that clear spiritual thought within.
It wasn't all agony, it wasn't all passion, it wasn't all bloody sweat and sorrow, that has been preached to us until we look upon this with agonizing eyes, and it harrows up in us a greet feeling of suffering. Now we know, as metaphysicians, that if you think about suffering and believe in suffering, you will get it, it will be visited upon you, but you say, "Why did Jesus apparently go through this?" Well, he didn't go through the suffering that the text indicates. Now we are told that he was in deep sorrow.
The original says that he was amazed and astounded. It wasn't so much sorrow as astonishment to find in himself so much error. That was what he was astonished at. So we are all astonished when we come into the subconscious and find the evil tendencies there; we can't believe that we have here in our deep soul all those things. We say, where did that all come from. I never thought those kinds of thoughts. I believe in the higher things. I have lived the ideal life as far as I know how. Well, you must in considering yourself remember that you as to your soul and body are the result of ages of evolution. This isn't the first time you have lived. You have lived many, many, many lives, and all of those lives, all of those experiences you might say, as the cave man, as the savage, we all had to pass through those stages of evolution as to our souls and bodies, and where is the memory of all that? why, it is stored up here in the subconscious. And when you come to regeneration, and when you lift up, as Jesus said, this son of man, or this child of the evolutionary process, then you are astonded and amazed to find what you have been through and apparently what you have to do to get on top of all that. But if you know that you are Spirit, and that there is an Almighty God within you and through you, why it becomes a comparatively easy process.
Jesus didn't go down under his agony, he didn't go down under this tremenduous vision which he had of the something that he had to do that was to overcome sense consciousness. Paul says he was tempted as we are in all points, but he didn't sin. Now we all have these experiences. And Jesus had them more than once. The text says that he went into this garden as was his custom. It is evident he had been there many times before, so we find that in overcoming, in this regeneration process, we must all follow Jesus in the regeneration, but in this regenerative process we have to go through the Garden of Gethsemane very often.
We have to be crucified an the cross quite often, but there is no doubt that there will come a time in our experience when this will cease. We will have made the final overcoming, and I think this is the lesson today. Jesus was right at that point when he was going to make the first and last great step in the new birth.
And if we read the Scripture aright, if we read between the lines and see spiritually what it all means, it becomes just that much easier and that is why Jesus made the atonement for us. Jesus saves us from a great many of the trials, and tribulations which we would have to go through if we didn't have him as the example. But studying his life and seeing what he attained through these tribulations, these sorrows, these trials, this Gethsemane, we say, "Now I shall not go down under the trial. I shall not react to anything but spiritual things. I know what this is. Many people have these experiences, and they think that they have a disease of some kind, but it isn't that at all. When you are in the regeneration you attribute all of your experiences all your pains, all your depressions, all the conditions of every kind to some evolution, some change that is going on in the soul. It may picture itself in the body, but if you hold right to the one principle end make the direct appeal to the Almighty One, you will come out of your troubles and be glorified as was Jesus and as I say, that is the great example for us. That is the wonderful help. We get that help not only in our ideals, but it becomes a dynamic force in our bodies.
What is the key to this help? How, in these various experiences that we have in which we seem to suffer trials not only mental trials, but physical trials, how shall I get this help? Why, watch and pray. That was the panacea that was the great link between ourselves and the supreme mind.
Now when Jesus was in this garden, he, we are told, separated himself from his disciples. Now you know the disciples represent the various faculties of man, and the I Am, the spiritual part of you, when you rise to high states of consciousness, does separate itself from the feeling, from the activities of the personal self. Now the faculties are all wrapped up in the soul and the body. That soul is in the body, but when you rise into the spirit, you will find that you look up. In other words, you go right up in the top brain, and there you are separated, a stone's throw we are told. That means that in material consciousness the stone represents the physical seed in material consciousness. There seems to be a separation, and there you pray to the father. You make a certain union through your high aspirations, through your ideal, through looking up to God, you make a union there that gives you a great power, but the consciousness that you are going through this trial the soul is having squeezes out its old life that a new life may come in. The old oil of sense life must be pressed out and dissipated that the new life in Christ shall usher in.
Now Jesus in the last supper which just preceded this lesson, told his disciples that the bread represented the substance of his body and the wine his life, his blood. He said, "Take this and drink." And he also said, Now I shall also drink this anew with you in my Father's house. What did that mean? Why, that he was to have a new consciousness of that life. This that they were drinking was his consciousness of life at that stage of his progress, but there was to be a new consciousness and he was right now on the verge of that new life, so as you feel the old life oozing out you seem to be a little weak and listless, you don't feel the spiritual today, but let it express itself. Now I am right on the verge, I am going to have a new consciousness of life, and that new consciousness is spiritual life.
That is what Jesus was passing through, but if you give up to the sorrow and the agony of your experiences, and we do experience certain forces working in us that cause pain and sorrow, I say if you give up to that, you will have the result of this lesson in your disciples. They were so sorrowful that they fell asleep. Now we know that sorrow is, well it depresses one, it is an opiate in a way. You will find that sorrow is depleting, it is weakening. People who have had great losses are apt to have kidney trouble, Bright's disease, or something of that kind, from loss of money, or loss of position, or loss of family. It will work in that way. There is a great depression sets in. Now in times of sorrow, what should you do? Why, watch and pray. Watch those ideas that depress, watch those ideas that cause inertia, eliminate them, cast them out. So Jesus said to his faculties, now wake up, you are not in bondage to this idea of sorrow, you are not depressed, inert, but you are alive to the new life in Christ. This is the real preparation for the great demonstration which is to follow. We are to put out entirely all consciousness of sense.
Now we are told that Judas betrayed him by a kiss. You know Judas represents the sense life. That is Judas Iscariot represents sense life, The Hebrew meaning of Judas is the same as Judah, which is praise, prayer. Praise is a form of prayer, and the faculty there represented is the life center in man, the generative center. Now that generative center is primarily good, it came from God. We couldn't any of us have had activity, we couldn't have warmth, we couldn't have any of these things that we call personal or individual life without a life consciousness, and that life consciousness is the life center, the generative life center in man, but when that life consciousness through man's ignorance becomes the center of all activity because it is the source of great pleasure — all life activity is accompanied with a feeling of pleasure, and if the great central life is given up to the attainment of pleasure alone, we are like Adam and Eve in the garden. In this new life environment, this new great sensuous expression of the one infinite mind, we fall into sensation, we fall into sensualism and our Judas or Judah who represents the great universal life expressing itself, and he is capable of infinite expression, it becomes selfish, and so we have Judas Iscariot. Now Judas Iscariot means a murderer, an adversary.
Now this adversary entered into the disciple of Jesus when Jesus gave him part of the food that they had at the fest of the Passover. Here is another correction. That means that the life and the food that we partake of are closely associated. Psycho-analysis tells us that sex and food or appetite are the foundation of all consciousness in man, soul and body. There is a great truth there, that it is through life and appetite that we keep up body consciousness. If you did away with your life or your sex activity you would do away with body consciousness, but how shall we control it, how shall we get the mastery? Through the control of appetite and lifting up of this son of man. We must realize that all life and all sex has back of it a purity, a truth, but it has been covered up, concealed, because of its sin, it has gone off in a far country like the prodigal son, wasting its substance.
You remember Judas was the treasurer of all the disciples, he carried the purse, he carried the bag, but he was a thief. What does that mean? Why should Jesus Christ have a thief among his disciples if he knew he was a thief? Why shouldn't he reform him? He was simply telling us what is the state of consciousness in which we are every one of us functioning today. The sex life in every man and woman is stealing from all the other faculties, stealing the rich substance and dissipating it in a sense way.
Now that must be overcome, and we have another lesson here, and that is through the food we eat we are building up that sex life. Now then we should discriminate and refine our food. We have this symbolized in a measure in the outer by the Church in observing Lent. They don't eat meat for forty days before the crucifixion of Jesus. They have caught that idea that the food has something to do with the crucifixion. They must abstain, they must consecrate themselves to a higher range of activity. Now all these things are given to the strong metaphysician who has found within himself that he has a certain overcoming to do. If he would be master of the situation he must deal not only with his body, but every thought that enters into that body. We must know that the Judas in him is the seat of all of his troubles. There is no doubt that death is the result of sensual sin, sensual licensiousness. We have, as a race, given up to sense consciousness, and it has separated us from the great universal all-sustaining mind.
Now what are we going to do? Why, we must watch and pray, watch that murderer. Jesus Christ said he was a murderer from the beginning. In other words, just the moment that we give up without restraint, without control, without dominion, to any of our faculties or functions, we are going to be lost, we are going to lose that control. You must get the mastery, and that mastery must be attained through handling and understanding your disciples, your faculties, your functions. You, through the spiritual uplift that you get in communion and prayer with the infinite mind, will be shown just where you can get the best results, and when you have obtained that end, you won't be taken away from your one central idea which is perfection in Christ, so this lesson this morning is that we shall search ourselves that we shall watch and pray, pray daily and that you enter not into temptation.
One interpretation is that you are to be saved in the hour of trial. Now we have in the Lord's prayer that the Lord shall not lead us into temptation. That is a mistranslation. It should be that the Lord shall be with us in temptation ourselves, but the Lord protects us when we make union with the Lord in spirit, and in truth, and our salvation is to come consciously into this understanding that the solution of the great problem of life is in man. The kingdom of God is within you, and and we are to attain that same purity, that same redeemed life that Jesus Christ attained, but he had to go through these various steps that we are going through, and when we understand this and work with him in the great overcoming, not thinking of it as a religious observance, but as a scientific proposition of soul evolution, I say when we do this we shall find that the great mind of that Mighty man who did the overcoming for us will help us to overcome, and We shall be saved from any great agony or trial. We shall rejoice and be glad that this new consciousness in Christ is lifting us out of all of our shortcomings; all of our sins are forgiven, and we shall be made whiter than snow.
UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY