Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #38
Delivered by Eric Butterworth on August 6, 1975
Our topic is prompted by a question asked by Tennyson many years ago in his work, “The Ancient Sage”:
“My son, the world is dark with griefs and graves;
So dark that men cry out against the heavens,
Who knows but that the darkness is in men?”
He suggests that trouble in our lives may well be an “inside job”.
You and I have been reared to believe that our environment causes almost every event in our lives, so we put much focus on the way we interact with that environment. Finding ourselves upset, depressed, or ill, we assume that the cause is to be found in our surroundings or in people who supposedly don’t like us or in unlucky breaks or in the will of God. Shakespeare corrected this notion when he wrote, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.”
Life is lived from within out. Trouble is simply the misuse or the misshaping of the divine essence flowing through us. As Herbert Spencer says, “Amid all the mysteries by which we are surrounded, nothing is more certain than that we are ever in the presence of an infinite and eternal energy from which all things proceed.” It is limitless, but it becomes limited by the shape of our thought patterns; so, all problems of life are really inside jobs.
Sickness, for example, is the physical outpicturing of mental aberration. The causes of sickness must be psychological or psychomatic, for there can be no sickness in life or in the forces that are expressing life as we know it.
I recall reading in an English newspaper of a man whose sight had just been restored. Having been blind since the age of two, he held some distorted recollections of his environment, such as remembering that all people were very tall and that the few who were fat looked like bottles. One notion he had retained was that all people looked peaceful. Imagine his surprise to find people looking anything but peaceful! He found instead the grim, set expressions and furrowed brows caused by anger and tension and anxiety. Alexis Carrel said, “Those who keep the peace of their inner selves in the midst of the tumult of the modern city are immune to nervous and organic disorders.”
Our problems are so varied that one man was prompted to comment that he felt like an emotional smorgasbord. Problems come to us Decause, in one way or another, consciously or unconsciously we have fallen below the line of the positive. When we say “That gets me down”, we are really referring to the drop below the line into the negative. You may have been resisting someone or something and the resulting stress brings about illness, limitation, and other undesirable situations. We hear it said, “He ruined her life.” No one can ruin your life unless you permit them to. Only when you dip below the line of positivity do you find lurking the opportunities for unhappiness and defeat.
It is often observed that troubles never come singly. Why? Because, if there is a low spot in consciousness, a tendency to think along negative lines, we continue to attract a manifestation of that level of consciousness over and over again. It is important to realize that the real trouble is within ourselves; it is an inside job. Therefore, to stop fighting windmills like Don Quixote, we must determine whether we are going to think reactively or creatively.
Life is not just a relentless unfoldment of fate or the arriving at the crossroads of chance. Life is lived from the inside out, and only what is within us counts. Things may happen around you and things may happen to you, but all that really counts is what happens within you. An incident is external, but the reaction is your own.
Remember when the next circumstance confronts you appearing to be a crisis in your life, you can think reactively or you can think cr atively. If you simply react, it will become an inner problem. If, on the other hand, you express creatively your inner power, you will dissolve the problem as far as you are concerned.
We tend to become that with which we associate in thought and experience. If we desire to change our life patterns we must change first our habitual associations. We must choose between emphasizing life’s hardships, hazards and sufferings and life’s opportunities, blessings and wonders. The poet says, “That thou seest man, become too thou must; God if thou seest God, dust, if thou seest dust.”
Begin to think the kind of thoughts that will produce the sort of experiences you desire in your life. If you want health, don’t dwell on sickness. One point though about positive thinking: when you think yourself capable and creative you do not, in that simple act, change your nature to being capable and creative; you simply put the spotlight upon your own innate potential. Positive thinking does not make creative power nor does it alter God or conditions; it simply attunes us to the power which is. Positive thinking lifts us to where we can express creativity, but the creativity was always within.
Paul teaches us, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,” but how do we change our patterns of thought? The first step is by believing that we can do so. We must know that trouble is an inside job, and that we can change our thoughts about anything and in so doing change the things themselves for all intents and purposes. We must know that it is not necessary to go around upset and insecure. These are merely externals, they are our reactions. The question is what has been our inner thought? Since we can change the inside, we can change the reaction and the attitude.
Secondly, it is necessary to embark upon a program of reconditioning. The condition of the mind is invariably the result of the conditioning of the mind. No one is ever bitter or prejudiced or fearful or worried or hateful unless he has been conditioned to think that way by race thought or other influence. Most of us do what we do by habit because our minds are taught to respond in certain ways to outward stimuli. The true causation of circumstances in life is not someone or something apart from us; it is to be found within; it is an inside job.
The force of will is involved in mental reconditioning, but so it is too in every area of life and living. If we have been making demeaning, downbeat proclamations about ourselves, we must determine to change to positive affirmations, such as “I am a strong, confident, capable child of God.” This is effective because every time you put into words the truth about yourself, the very spirit of God is with you and is present in the words. When you speak the truth about yourself, you are not making it true, but are reinforcing and reaffirming the reality of your life. Jesus said, “The words I speak, I speak not of myself but the Father within me doeth the works.” This is true of you when you speak the word of Truth.
No matter what your trouble is, determine to think creatively about it and know that it is only an incomplete expression of potential; the facts are not yet all in, so creatively express the Truth. The sickness you see is not all it appears to be. Determine to think health, speak health, live and act healthy, and you will become the very activity of life and expression.
Your words are life and they are spirit; they accomplish that whereto they are sent. Pray believing that you are to receive and you shall receive. In the greater function of mind, nothing ever becomes manifest until it is accepted as real in thought. This is the real creation.
Your thought, your attitudes, your reaction to things. These make the difference in life. You see yourself in life wherever you go. Whatever your troubles, they are an inside job; but deeper inside there is the cure, right there in the concealed potential of your God-self.
© 1975, by Eric Butterworth