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EBS11: The Challenge of Truth

The Challenge of Truth

Delivered by Eric Butterworth on May 9, 1975

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Francis Bacon once said, “No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of Truth.”

Certainly, when one gets a glimpse of this spiritual insight, it is like the heady feeling you get on a mountain-top. It is exhilarating and inspiring. And, as some have said, once you have a taste of the Truth viewpoint, you can never turn back. You are hooked. It is as if a two dimensional creature suddenly discovered a three dimensional world. Frustrating as it may become, his new-found perceptions make it impossible for him to return to the old dimension.

Perhaps you attended a lecture, read an article, or discovered the Voice Of Unity radio program. Soon you were reading everything you could get your hands on. You found a new sense of courage and confidence. But suddenly something happened. You emerged to take another look at the world around you and found a strange paradox—you had been affirming that all was good, but found that people don’t always act this way. You had been thinking positively, but those around you continued to think negatively.

So, now you have a new set of challenges: how to keep peace in the midst of turmoil; how to deal in love with hateful people; how to remain true to your new convictions without rubbing people the wrong way; how to do business in a spiritual consciousness in a marketplace filled with attitudes of materialism. This is what I call, “In tune with God...out of step with the world.”

Remember that life is lived from within out. The conditions around you are only a symbol of the state of things in your own consciousness. And when you find yourself resisting the negative thoughts and actions of others, it is because you are disturbed over your inability to work these things out within you.

Whenever one sets a course of righteousness, he invariably runs into the cross-currents of his own static thoughts. There is a kind of mental inertia that resists change. Any effort to improve your life necessitates a coming to grips with the states of mind that led you to where you are at the moment.

Jesus was challenged by mental inertia in his struggle with Satan in the wilderness. For what else is this inertia other than the pull of limited states of consciousness resisting the upward reach of man’s higher aspirations? Jesus had caught the idea of the Divinity of Man, and had set His course accordingly. But His human consciousness was saying, “Don’t be foolish, man. You have great powers and you could rule the world.” But the force of Jesus’ unshakable faith and vision overcame the inertial pull of the human mind. He said, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”

Chances are that when you take your stand in Truth, you will experience the “slings and arrows” of human consciousness pulling against you. Jesus is saying, “Don’t worry about this, and by all means don’t fight it. You have your hand to the plow, so don’t look back. You are on your way now, so press on past the inertial pull of your humanity to the releasement of your divinity.”

If you are greatly concerned about the well-being of another, that concern shows that you need to know the Truth more than you realize—for you cannot help another until you change the thought of concern for him. Often the ones we want to help make us angry. But this simply reveals a need for greater peace and love and understanding within ourselves. Remember Jesus’ statement, “First cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

We should let the weaknesses we see in others be as a mirror of self-criticism, for actually we are seeing from our own consciousness, always. Seeing others rightly, and developing the consciousness to be a silent blessing to them while holding our own inner peace is what truth is all about.

I think that the greatest waste of human energy is the frustrated effort to change other people: to help loved ones overcome weakness, to heal hurts, to resolve conflicts, or to make antagonists cease antagonizing. It’s wasteful, not because people cannot change, because they can, but because change is a growth process from the inside out. All too often our desire to change someone is to make him something he is not, or to impose upon him standards that are foreign to his nature. He can never be anything but what he is.

Think of the story of the Ugly Duckling. Imagine mama duck’s exasperation over this delinquent misfit, and her struggle to make him fit in as an acceptable duck. In spite of the pressure, of course, he did change. But not in the way that others thought he should. What he really changed was his self-image, and he became what he had always been: a lovely swan.

This is why so many sincere students of this new insight into Truth are so out of step with the world. Instead of trying to change others to their own way of thinking, their real goal should be: Changing ourselves, and changing our thoughts about others.

Trying to change others without first changing yourself produces some strange results. Here you have people berating others for their negative outlook on life in a most negative way. Or one may shout about love in a bitter tone.

I have counseled with so many people who have read every text in this field, and have an absolute Truth answer for any and all questions. Yet they seem to forget that Truth is not something to testify to, but to live. One man spent 30 minutes intimating that he was a paragon of spiritual virtue and positive thought. But he finally admitted that he had one great problem. He deeply resented people who did not acknowledge or accept Truth teachings. You could say that he loved all people in general, but hated quite a few in particular.

If in your attempts to live with Truth precepts you are resisted and criticized, it is probably because you are trying to “carry the torch” to the world before you have really gained a high consciousness yourself.

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “A man may not be able to prevent birds from flying over his head, bat he has a right to determine whether they shall make nests in his hair.” When you really get in tune with God, your differences with the world will become extremely subtle. Eventually people will express their best when they are with you because they will be influenced by the light you radiate, rather than because you preach or sound off with high ideals.

Remember, life is lived from within out. “None of these things move me.” When others make you angry, thank them for showing you something in you that needs growth. Don’t be a torchbearer of Truth, but do “let your light shine.” Be an example.

As Edgar Guest says, “I would rather see a sermon than hear one any day.”

© 1975, by Eric Butterworth

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