Glenn R. Moseley writes1:
Since May Rowland was director of the department under whose inspiration Daily Word was written and edited, she naturally exerted a strong influence upon the publication. Until her retirement in 1971, she contributed innumerable signed articles and unsigned lessons. Two articles have been reprinted as instruction pamphlets for Silent Unity correspondents: "A Drill in the Silence," and "Come Ye Apart Awhile." In both pamphlets, Mrs. Rowland gives considerable attention to relaxation as preparation for effective prayer ...
Mrs. Rowland explained why audible words bring quicker results. She said that the words one speaks exist and move through a universe of vibration and energy that take form just as one shall decree. Because they are formative expressions of what is thought, those words literally "mold" one's life.2
- Moseley, Glenn R., New Thought, Ancient Wisdom: The History and Future of the New Thought Movement; Templeton Foundation Press, 2006, pp.19-20
- Quoting: Rowland, The Magic of the Word (Unity Village, Mo.: Unity School of Christianity, 1968), 10.
Who wrote A Drill in the Silence?
The authorship of A Drill in the Silence is not certain. Glenn Moseley attributes it to May Rowland and so does Catherine Ponder. But Eric Page has discovered that there is a record that attributes it to James Dillet Freeman in 1941. At this point (September 2015), the authorship is uncertain.
The only thing I can contribute is the similarity of A Drill in the Silence with a prayer of May Rowland’s that was recorded and is available in segment 56 of this audio series: http://www.truthunity.net/audio/may-rowland/healing-workshop/tape3
When you listen to it, note the following similarities with the text of the Drill (http://www.truthunity.net/tracts/may-rowland-a-drill-in-the-silence)
Some are exact or near exact quotes:
- Relax and Let Go
- I am the light of the world
- All power is given on to me in mind and body
- I am unfettered and unbound. You are free with the freedom of Spirit
- Your yoke is easy and your burden is light.
- Now, directing your attention toward your back, declare: I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
- I walk in paths of righteousness and peace.
Also, there is the general flow of the prayer, which includes the section on Love and Life.
I believe that If this were a biblical text then the similarities would point to a common authorship. But that’s a conjecture.
A Drill in the Silence
(For over 100 years Silent Unity has been practicing the silence, and we know how much good on individual can gain from mental discipline. We do not mean that one must go through a mind drill in order to secure God's help. We do know, however, that regular time in the silence will prepare one so that he or she can unite with God instantly and meet any need that might arise.
Such a drill will be especially beneficial to students who seem to have difficulty entering the silence. But even the advanced student will find in it a source of bodily renewal, poise, and assurance. Coming home after a long journey — what is better than that? And what is better after the tumult of the world than to turn again to God?)
There is a place to which you can turn for rest and release from fear and care. It is a holy place. Stillness fills it. The peace of God is in it. There your mind becomes like a little child's — lovely, true, pure. There your thought is stayed on the things that are good, just, and merciful. When you enter, the world outside and all your troubles drop away and you rise at last, body stilled, mind stilled, refreshed and restored.
This place is neither far away nor difficult to enter. It is right where you are now. It is right where you are whenever you shut the doors of the senses, still the importuning of little thoughts, and go with God. It is the place of the silence.
Entering the place of the silence is not hard. If it seems hard to you, perhaps you have been making it hard. Remember, you cannot fight your way through to God; weeping and pleading are futile. You must let go and let God.
Some people link the silence with occultism and look for fantastic psychic experiences from it. The purpose of the silence, however, is not to have visions or to see colored lights. Such fantasia only distracts the individual from the true purpose of the silence, which is communion with God.
On the other hand, the silence is not a state of daydreaming or sleep. If you feel sleepy, do not try to pray unless you first waken yourself by saying: "Awake, O sleeper" (Eph. 5:14). The silence demands a wakefulness that is required at no other time. It is your appointment with God.
In practicing the silence, you should always try to be relaxed in body and receptive in mind.
"Underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deut. 33:27)
Say this quietly. Feel the presence of God freeing you from every thought of tension. Let your whole body — every nerve, every muscle, every cell — relax and let go. Wherever you feel any tension, relax and let go. If you feel tense across your forehead, say: Relax and let go. If your eyes feel strained, say: Relax and let go. If you are tense in any part of your body, say: Relax and let go, until from the top of your head to the soles of your feet you are perfectly relaxed. This concludes the first step in the drill.
Be still and know that I am God. Say this silently. Repeat it until the words take on new meaning, a living meaning, and you feel the stillness with your whole mind, your whole being.
This is the second step in the practice of the silence, and perhaps the most important of all. In the stillness, you unify yourself with God when your thoughts and feelings are quieted and the doors of your senses are shut. Not through our human powers and understanding do we attain our good, but by letting go doubts, by limiting personal claims, and by turning to God.
Be still and know that I am God. Know it. Know it now. You are comfortable, relaxed, still. You are in the presence of God.
Turn your attention now to the top of your head and say, silently or aloud: I am the light of the world.
In the practice of the silence, you will find it wise to use affirmations, for they will help you direct and control your thoughts. But there is a surer speech than that of syllables, a higher communion than that of words. God hears your inmost thoughts. Your faith and love speak for you. Your faith and love unify you with God, make your mind God's mind, your body God's body, your spirit God's spirit, your life God's life, your will God's will.
You do not have to cajole or coerce God; divine love has already encompassed the fulfillment of your needs. Your prayers only have to change you. Use affirmations to direct your thoughts, to make them clear, sharp, pointed; then be still and listen. It is God's voice that you wish to hear.
I am the light of the world. Declare this. Then be still until you actually feel the light of Spirit flowing through you and over you. Be still until you feel yourself immersed as in a sea of light, until you feel your whole being illumined, awake, and exalted.
Now center your attention just above your eyes and declare: I am divine intelligence.
Emerson said, "The only real prosperity that I can have is a rush of ideas." Divine Mind is a reservoir of ideas, good ideas, which are yours to draw upon, yours to use. No sluggishness, physical or mental, no doubt or fear can remain in you, for you have opened your mind to the inspiration of God. You are alive, awake, alert, joyous, and enthusiastic. You are divine intelligence.
Now center your attention at your eyes and say: I see with the eyes of Spirit.
Your eyes are the watchful servants of a mind that sees only the perfection of Spirit. All sense of tension or fatigue is dropping away from your eyes before the inflow of divine energy. They are strong, clear-seeing eyes. Your spiritual vision, too, is renewed. You see the Truth more clearly. You see with the eyes of Spirit.
Centering your attention at your throat, affirm: All power is given unto me in mind and body.
The power of God is working through you to free you from every negative influence. Nothing can hold you in bondage. You are the overcomer, for you are a child of God. All power is yours to control your thoughts, to vitalize your body, to gain success, to bless others. Unleash your spiritual forces. All power is given unto you in mind and body.
Now fix your thought at the back of your neck and say: I am unfettered and unbound.
You are free with the freedom of Spirit. No false condition has any power over you. You are one with the Christ, for you are a child of the living God. Poised in the consciousness of your Christ mastery, you are unfettered and unbound.
Your yoke is easy and your burden is light. The strength of the Lord is pouring through your spinal column, strengthening nerve and bone. No longer bowed by burdens — your own, your family's, or the world's — your back is straight and sturdy. Free, poised, lighthearted, you face life confidently, strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Turn your thought toward your heart and declare: I am the perfect expression of divine love.
Love transforms. Love transfigures. Love fills the heart with harmony. Love fills the mind with kind, helpful thoughts. Love fills the lips with words of praise and cheer. Love fills life to overflowing with happiness and peace. Whatever the need or problem, divine love is the answer—and you are the perfect expression of divine love.
Now fix your attention at the pit of your stomach and say: I am satisfied with divine substance.
The substance of God erases fatigue from your body, renews tissues, replenishes energy. It stabilizes your mind and prospers your life. Every longing of your soul, every need of your life, is fulfilled. You are satisfied with divine substance.
When you have gained a full realization of substance, focus your attention at your navel and realize: Divine order is established in my mind and body.
The law is unchanging, absolute. Now you are in harmony with that law as it governs and guides you. It is active in your mind, harmonizing your thoughts. It is active in your body, adjusting its functions. It is active in your life, establishing peace, success, and joy. Divine order is established in your mind and body.
Now center your thoughts at the lower part of the abdomen and say: I am alive forevermore in Christ Jesus.
You have entered the secret place of life. Life charges your mind, flows through your veins, and permeates your tissues. Your eyes shine, your skin glows, your faculties are sharpened, your whole body radiates health. You are one with life, the Christ life, ever-renewing life. You are alive forevermore in Christ Jesus.
Finally, centering your thought in your feet and legs, affirm: I walk in paths of righteousness and peace.
The strength and swiftness of God enter your feet and legs so that your way is made easy. The light of God's intelligence shines around you so that your way is made plain. God's spirit goes before you so that your way is made successful. God's way for you is joyous, safe, and secure. You walk in paths of righteousness and peace.
If you have faithfully followed all the steps of this drill in the silence, you are now fully aware of your oneness with God. From the top of your head to the soles of your feet you feel divine life tingling. Your mind is charged with divine power. Your heart is lifted by divine love. Your whole being is filled with a new sense of peace and satisfaction. You can affirm in the knowledge that it is true: I am one with the Christ, for I am a child of the living God.
Now out of the stillness comes the "still small voice," not a human voice speaking in your native tongue, but the voice of God, which speaks as an inner knowing, a strong conviction, and carries to the listening heart the assurance that all is well.
"Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Mt. 7:7). You have asked, and good is freely brought forth. You have sought, and the way to perfection is revealed. You have knocked, and the doors of the kingdom are open. Fulfillment is yours. The power to bless others is yours. Receive and rejoice!
Truly "silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together." There are many kinds of silence.
There is the drowsy silence of the noonday fields. There is the restless silence of the sleeping city. There is the silence of the grief too deep for tears and of the joy too full for laughter. There is the understanding silence that falls between new lovers and old friends. The movement of the heavens and the growth of living things are silent. There is the silence of human thought.
But deeper is the silence of the place of peace within you. Deeper is the silence where you commune with God. In the silence is strength for the tired body. In the silence is light for the joyless mind. In the silence is love for the lonely spirit. In the silence is peace for the troubled heart. There, workaday worries fade away. There, the whole being becomes a place of prayer, a holy temple set upon a hill. There, you know God as a living presence and yourself as God's child. And you
"shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings."
Lake Isle of Innisfree, William Butler Yeats
Unity Village, MO 64065
849 A-4 2833-7&C-9-90 P