Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #42
Delivered by Eric Butterworth on August 10, 1975
A favorite quotation of Browning is: “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be, the last of life for which the first was made.” Some students of Truth think that this is negative...but Browning was thinking more in the sense of “grow on” or “outgrow”. The immature tendency is to equate life with material acquisition or human achievement. Growth is what life is about. We have thought of growth as a negative: “He was a sweet child...but he grew up,” or “Eventually we all grow old.” Actually, we do not grow old. When we stop growing we are old. We are always as young as our faith and as old as our fears and worries.
The thing that makes life meaningful and that gives hope for every day is that there is an “imprisoned splendor” within us—no matter how we may falter or fail. Bergson says: “An intelligent being contains within himself the wherewithal to surpass himself.” And...the growth process is the divine will. We always grow unless we frustrate the process. It is this frustration of potentiality that is the only sin. And the key to therapy in all areas of life is to “reactivate the process of growth.”
Psalm 8 says, “Thou has made him but little lower than God, and crownest him with glory and honor. Thou makes him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands.” Reading those words for inspiration, I like to declare, “That means me! I have dominion over all things.” Obviously, this refers to a better self than we normally relate to. Normally we identify with and see ourselves as the “little me”, a self that is almost totally limited by barriers—too old, too young, too poor, too high, too low, too inadequate. The Psalmist is considering the unlimited self that transcends the human; the me that is the whole of me that only expresses in part; the divine of me, the divine in me, the divine me.
The great Truth,that has been taught by all who achieved Cosmic Consciousness, is that the unlimited self is always present in the human self—as a presence, a guidance, a potentiality. Jesus put it succintly: “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
Fifty years ago William James popularized the idea that every person makes use of only a small part of his possible mental and physical resources. He said: “Man energizes below his maximum and lives below his optimum. He lives in the habit of inferiority of his full self.” When we see standards surpassed, such as in the field of athletics, we may wonder, “Is there no limit to man or to the Universe in which he lives?” Mirabeau once called the word “impossible”, “That blockhead word.”
We might take liberty with the word “impossible” by coining the word “inpossible”—possible by the innate potential. When next the world cries out ot you, in the face of your prognosis, or your aspirations, “But it is completely impossible!”, you can say. Yes, I am sure that it is inpossible.” It may be impossible to man in human consciousness, but it is possible to God, and to man in God-consciousness.
Jesus taught, “You must be born again!” How the religionists roll that word around on the tongue, thinking of it purely in the sense of theological rebirth— which no one really understands. But Jesus meant that we must give birth to a new consciousness of our Divine Sonship. One may say, “I am only human...what do they expect?” This is the gravitational field of human self-limitation. It has a tremendous influence on all of us. As our space vehicles have succeeded in overcoming the pull of gravity in their flights to the moon, so man must overcome the gravitational pull of mortal consciousness. You are not only human. You are human and divine, and the divine is enclosed in the shell of the human—a potential for bettering your best that is ever-present as the reality of you.
You may feel that you have gone as far as you can go in life. If so, you have limited yourself to purely horizontal goals: “getting there,” making money, winning fame, etc. There is nothing wrong with any of these, but we need to set for ourselves vertical goals—growth in consciousness, self-realization. Listen to Browning’s “Grow old along with me.” Grow onward...beyond the setting and reaching or failing to reach material goals. Let go of the emphasis on acquisition, and get on with the business of growth within.
Life is a continuous experience of growth and change. We may assume that our lot is unjustly hard because we think that the goal of life is ease and security. We may be worshipping material success, peace of mind, and the demonstration of these at the end of every treatment or prayer. These things are fine. Certainly we all long for happiness. But there is no true happiness except on the way of self-discipline and growth. Happiness comes not from escaping problems, but from meeting them and growing through them.
When we understand our growth potential, we expect growth from every experience. We insist on it...like Jacob’s, “I will not let go of thee except thou blee me!” Thus, when some unfortunate experience occurs, we do not resist or resent it, or spend our time trying to answer the question, “Why did this come to me?” Instead we look for some good to come through it in terms of unfoldment of inner power. We “name it good” and get on with the business of “growing onward.” One may look back with regret at the terrible toll of health and mentality through the years. A common cry of the student of Truth is, “Oh, if I had only known this Truth thirty years ago!” The intimation is, “It could have been helpful then, but now it is too late.” It is never too late. Perhaps your chance to reach the moon or become President of your company is past. But in terms of vertical growth, “The best is yet to be... the last of life for which the first was made.”
You can’t have the years back again to live over, but you can change your thoughts about them, and thus begin to realize the blessing from the: experience which you have been frustrating. This is what is meant by “I will restore ur.to you the years that the locusts hath eaten.” “Restore” comes from the Hebrew word that means “to cause to be completed...to make whole.” The locusts are the destructiveness of materialistic thinking. It is not the challenge or loss or failure that takes its toll on your life. It is your negative thinking about it. The important point is—ycur growth potential is^. . .not was!
For today and every day, rejoice in the realization of your growth potential. You are always in the flow of the Infinite, and you can and do regulate this flow of the Infinite by your attitudes and feelings. The key to abundant living is: All things are possible to them that believe that they are inpossible.
© 1975, by Eric Butterworth