Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #45
Delivered by Eric Butterworth on August 13, 1975
As we use the word “Truth” so often in these essays, it is appropriate from time to time to define the word and to put it in context with our understanding and usage of these insights. We usually mean it in a capital letter sense. That is, we aren’t speaking of truthfulness as opposed to telling lies, but are considering a loftier application of the word.
A good starting point is distinguishing the “fact” of things and the Truth of things. For our purposes, fact is that which has tangibility, reality, actuality; we can prove it because it is apparent to the senses; from an existential point of view it is a fact and that is that.
Recently a man came into my office quite disturbed because of some trying circumstance in his life. Refusing to support his lament, I expressed faith that there are no insurmountable problems, that in the higher realms of his own mind he had the resources to resolve or dissolve seemingly impossible obstacles. His retort was that my advice sounded fine but that he had to face facts.
My life’s work is to help people to face facts, but to face them on a higher level, a better perspective. Our usual difficulty is that we do not have all the facts; we are, as Jesus said, simply judging from appearances and first impressions.
We should place facts in two categories. In one would be the fact of the whole universe, the whole person, and the whole experience. In the other would be the fact on a superficial level of experience. Watching a motion picture or a television program, you see movement, hear voices, and feel emotions. On one level it is a fact that the program is being portrayed; but there are loftier facts not taken in by our five senses. It is also a fact that what we are seeing is only on film or tape, that actors are playing the roles, and that the event is fictional. In other words, it is wise to remember that there are facts and there are facts.
I am seated at a table which is not really solid and substantial at all, even though it seems to be for I am leaning on it. Actually, it is energy in motion and the only reality of it is the non-material force holding all its atoms in place, causing the table to appear substantial. What we are calling Truth is the reality beyond the facts. The Truth about this table is the force that causes the atoms to do what they do, thus collectively forming the appearance of a piece of furniture.
As Whitman says, man is not all included between his hat and his boots. There is a force, a presence, causing the substances of life to act as they do and to work together to make the body and the man in general what he seems to be. We are told, “There is a spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding.” This is the Truth behind the facts.
Emerson defines prayer as the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view, and this reminds us that Truth and facts need not be in contradiction; it only seems this way when we don’t see fully enough. Sometimes the physical eyes must close so that the eyes of the soul can open to view the whole picture.
Because few have formed the habit of looking for wholeness, there is a need for constant correction of the distortion of appearances. In our approach we accomplish this through the use of “affirmations” and “denials”. A person may, for instance, be facing the problem of unemployment because of age. The denial is, “Age and unemployment have no place in my life.” Then the affirmation follows, “I am one with youthfulness of spirit; God has a perfect place for me and I go forth to meet it this day.”
This technique is not an attempt to change anything; man cannot change changeless reality. However, if a picture on a screen is blurred, the focus can be changed or a new film can be substituted. Denial and affirmation are simply techniques by which we can tell the Truth about our situations. The wholeness of Truth is that one’s life is not only three-dimensional but that one has a “foot in heaven,” as the old saying went. There is more to you than what appears. There are tremendous forces within you depending upon you If you can just open your spiritual eyes and accept the whole, the entirety.
While man lives in a three-dimensional world, he is forever involved in the multi-dimensional world of consciousness. Solutions to the problems of three-dimensional experience can only be found by adding dimensions. Browning meant this when he wrote, “On earth the broken arc, in heaven the perfect round.” Truth may be said to be the heavenly approach; it means considering the fullness of things and the allness of life.
After joining the Army during World War II, I was placed in Officer Candidate School and became a “ninety-day wonder”, assigned to run an entire Army post as regimental adjutant—yet I had no Army administrative experience whatsoever. There were over three thousand men to be housed, fed, and kept busy, and it started out as one “hell” of an experience for me. I almost admitted defeat by applying for re-assignment. But, one night, while reading, my eyes came upon the words, “Sometimes you will be almost overcome by questions and doubts arising in your own mind; when looking in vain for results, you must with effort press past the place of doubt.” My mind at the time was certainly full of doubt as to my qualifications and abilities, but it struck me to wonder, “What about the eternally existing fact of divine wisdom; what about the Truth?” I made up my mind, right then and there, to tell the Truth. I affirmed for myself, despite appearances to the contrary, that God was in charge of my situation and that I was only a channel for the flow of Divine guidance. I affirmed that God always has a way and will draw unto me both the ideas and the help of able personnel by which this job can be performed effectively and easily.
The next morning I looked up from a morass of papers on my desk to find a smiling staff sergeant offering his career army knowledge. Shortly thereafter he became my Sergeant Major and saved my administrative life. Things changed rapidly from that day on, and I became such a sought-after administrative officer that I had a hard time getting my release from the Army when the war was over.
We must all make continual efforts to press past the point of doubt, to face the facts from the highest point of view, to know reality beyond the appearance, to remember the divine law of adjustment, to remember the omni-presence of God as the non-material reality of every person, activity and thing.
Tell the Truth about your physical self no matter what the appearance may be. Tell the Truth about your work no matter what your problems have been. Tell the Truth about your relationships with others no matter how uncomfortable you have felt up to the moment. In your concern about politics and the world situation, tell the Truth even if problems seem insurmountable. To do this requires discipline and conditioning, because we are constantly surrounded by “they say” reports.
Telling the Truth should be simple, but in practice it is not always so. Let me suggest a wonderful technique to be used both in conversation and in other human encounters to keep you reaching for the whole picture: Let something good be said. Magnify the little bit of good that you see; emphasize it, talk about it as something that should live and grow. Whenever you have something good to say, say it! When you have something ill to say, say something else.
The key to optimism is in persistently looking for the reality behind the appearance. Tell the Truth which is greater than the appearance. When you deal in this way with your unity with God, tremendous forces will be released for you. Your insight will be opened to view unlimited possibilities and you will be able to manifest the harmony and fulfillment you have longed for.
© 1975, by Eric Butterworth