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Correspondence School - Series 2 - Lesson 4 - The Formative Power of Thought

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Think good and goodness shall belong
   Within the temple of your heart;
Think joy and every robin's song
   Shall be your spirit's counterpart;
Think peace and the exquisite swing
   Of ordered stars shall steady you;
Think love and every living thing
   In beauty shall be born anew.
Think Truth and the eternal law
   Your never failing guide shall be;
Think life and every breath you draw
   Shall add a prayer of ecstasy;
Think hope and buried seeds shall lift
   Rich harvests from the willing sod;
Think praise and it shall be your gift
   To share with men the grace of God.

   —Vivian Yeiser Laramore

1. What is thinking? What is a structure? What builds all structures?

The revelation, "As he thinketh within himself, so is he" (Prov. 23:7), was given to Solomon long ago, but even now men only realize its truth when they open their minds to the Spirit of wisdom which inspired the statement.

That there is a force called "thought power"—consciousness—is universally admitted. Hypnotism, mesmerism, thought transference, mental suggestion, and various other well-known evidences of this invisible force prove it. Years ago, Franz Mesmer demonstrated that under certain conditions one mentality could control another. In all living forms there is a mental force moving from one consciousness to another consciousness, and from mind to body.

Advanced scientists have demonstrated that this mental force, which is really the action of Spirit (Divine Mind) working as the creative power of God, builds organic structures in animals and in men. In men, this movement of Ideas In mind is known as "thinking." While Divine Mind provides the power and substance that builds, man as a self-conscious being uses his thought to direct the power to shape and form substance.

Biologists (including Lamarck and Darwin) called attention to the constructive power of desire. The protoplasmic cell desires the light and it sends forth its impulse. This impulse gradually builds an eye. A species of deer feeds in a country where the leaves it likes grow on the high branches of the trees and the constant reaching for its favorite food builds cell by cell the neck of the giraffe. Fishes desired to fly in the air above the water and they developed wings and became birds.

That the brain cells are directly affected by mental pictures was proved by Professor Elmer Gates in the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, D. C. Guinea pigs were kept for a time in enclosures where certain colors predominated; later, dissection of their brains showed a large increase in the size of the color area of the brain compared with that of the same class of guinea pigs kept in other enclosures. When desire attaches to man or animal to a sufficient extent, the impulses, emotions, and thoughts attendant on such desire are mighty and constructive enough to rearrange and rebuild brain cells in preparation for the reception of the coming fulfillment of the desire. Bodily construction is brought in this way, cell by cell, into a state of manifestation. At the Smithsonian Institution the perspiration of men in various mental moods was analyzed and experiments were made with the resultant salts. The perspiration of a man in an angry state was analyzed, and the salts were of an unusual color. A small portion was put on the tongue of a dog; rigors and other evidence of poisoning resulted.

At Harvard University experiments were made with a student who was stretched perfectly balanced on a horizontal board. When the student was told to imagine that he was running a foot race, the board sank down at the feet, and when a problem in mathematics was being worked, the balanced board sank down at his head. This proved that the thought force greatly influenced the flow of blood.

2. What is the Super-conscious phase of mind?

All these facts prove not only that thought flashes between mind and mind, but also that Spiritual Mind—builds the structures through which it operates.

There is only the one Mind, but we find three distinct ways in which this Mind functions in man. For convenience, we may speak of them as

(a) the Superconscious or Christ Mind.
(b) the conscious phase of mind
(c) the subconscious phase of mind.

In man are all the ideas of Divine Mind, and this realm of divine ideas functioning in man is called the Superconscious or Christ Mind. It is the realm from which man draws the ideas that enable him to do abstract thinking, and as the realm of perfect Cod ideas it remains unaffected by the mental activities directed toward external objects. It is through the Superconscious or Christ consciousness that man is able to respond to the ideals in God consciousness, as ideas of Divine Mind. Through meditation and prayer divine ideas are transmitted from the Superconscious to the conscious phase of mind and thus man becomes aware of them.

3. What is the conscious phase of mind? What other names are given to the conscious phase of mind?

Through the conscious, phase of mind (intellect or thinking faculty) we know ourselves as individuals and take cognizance of the world about us. Through this phase of mind we keep in contact with physical manifestations. The conscious phase of mind absorbs the life of the senses, works both inductively and deductively; reasons and analyzes on the mental plane (intellect); wills or chooses what it will make a part of the individual consciousness. It is called the "objective mind" because it is largely concerned with the outer world, the world of objects, but we may receive into this conscious phase of mind the inspirations (ideas) and revelations of Spirit, and the choice lies with us to make this knowledge practical, habitual.

The subconscious phase of mind is often termed the "subjective mind," because it functions as instinctive desire, as habit, and is the storehouse of memory; it is the feeling faculty often referred to as "the heart." The subconscious controls the vital physical functions; never sleeps or rests; never tires. It reaches infallible conclusions from given premises, but since it works deductively, It Is incapable of testing the validity of these premises. It has no power of choice. All our past conscious thoughts are stored up in this great submerged mind, and are organized into faculties, habits, states of mind, dispositions, kindred thoughts clustering together and forming moods and temperaments. Its functioning is not confined to the brain but extends to every cell of the body. It stores not only the total of each individuals thought, but the inherited race thoughts and beliefs that the individual soul has accepted. The subconscious phase of. mind is a channel for the activity of the creative power of God. Our bodies and our environment are built according to the thoughts, suggestions, and impressions given to the subconscious, whether these patterns are perfect or Imperfect, according to Truth or based on error.

4. What is the subconscious phase of mind? What other names are given to the subconscious phase of mind?

The subconscious phase of mind is like a treat army of well-trained soldiers; the conscious phase of mind is like the general in command who gives to the army the plans to be carried out. We can also understand to some extent the actions of the conscious and sub-conscious phases of mind by observing the process by which a child learns to play the piano. He is taught how to hold his hands and how to strike the keys, but at first, he finds it somewhat difficult to control the movements of his fingers. He must practice daily. What is the reason for this practice? Simply that he learns to concentrate his thoughts on his fingers, consciously making right movements. These thoughts in time become subconscious, and in playing, the fingers come to be directed and controlled by the subconscious. In his first months, and possibly in his first years of practice, the pupil can perform only by keeping his conscious phase of mind centered on the work; but later he can play with ease and at the same time carry on a conversation with those about him. This is possible be-cause the subconscious has become so thoroughly imbued with the idea of right movements that it can direct them without demanding the whole attention of the conscious phase of mind.

The subconscious phase of mind cannot take the initiative; it depends on the conscious phase of mind for all its impulses. It carries out only what is suggested to it by the conscious phase of mind, but these suggestions it carries out faithfully. The conscious phase of mind could not exist without the help of the subconscious; although the former might be sound asleep, deranged, or hypnotized, the sub-conscious can and does carry on the bodily functions. The subconscious also readily takes suggestions from other sources than its own conscious phase of mind when the conscious phase surrenders to another mind or is not on guard. It is the close relation between the conscious and the subconscious which makes right thinking so important.

Man's organism is controlled mainly by the subconscious. Circulation, breathing, digestion, assimilation, heartbeat are all involuntary activities controlled by the subconscious, However, these are not out of reach of the conscious phase of mind, as is commonly supposed. The subconscious continually receives new impulses from the conscious phase, thus we have only to change the character of the conscious thought to effect a corresponding change in the subconscious feeling.

If we have been following a certain line of thought and action until it has become a strong current flowing deep in the subconscious, we should not be discouraged if we are not able to change it at once. Some of these deep thought currents have entered the consciousness from the general race thought; some have come in directly through the belief in flesh inheritance. The statement with which this lesson opened, "As he thinketh within himself, so is he" (Prov. 23:7) means that as a person thinks down in the very depth of his subconscious, so will he experience or manifest in his life. This is the reason why we do not always seem to manifest what our thoughts seem to be. We consciously think one thing and manifest another because the sub-conscious has not yet received the new Impulse from the thinking faculty (conscious) but is carrying out the old impulse, the new one not yet being strong enough to change the present thought currently working within . 5. Why do we sometimes think one thing and manifest another?

This Is where the life work of Jesus Christ for the human race proves its worth. Man had believed in error, given much attention to it, built the belief of it into his subconscious, until he had set going adversely the force of his subconscious thought with such power that he was unable to change the direction of this force and to right himself. Jesus came and introduced into the race consciousness an intelligence and a power that were sufficient to change the thought currents of man so that righteousness and Truth might be established in place of error and ignorance.

If man had always kept the connection between his consciousness and the Superconscious or Christ Mind, he would never have been lost in ignorance. He always had had the formative power of thought to shape and form substance. If all his thinking and feeling had been based on the perfect ideas in Divine Mind, he would have kept his first estate of perfection. It would have been impossible for him to fall into sin. "Sin" is missing the mark of perfection, falling short of the standard of the perfect idea of man as imaged by God. "As he thinketh within himself, so is he," and if man had always thought Truth, his expression would have been perfect.

6. What is the atonement?

Jesus came, a light in the world, to reveal the way back to the Father through the Son, or the Indwelling Christ, which is the Super-conscious in every man—"Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). For the true atonement (at-one-ment), the conscious thinking and sub-conscious feeling must be consciously one with the Superconscious or the divine ideas that make up the Superconscious; this is the only true salvation for man. When the conscious thinking and the sub-conscious feeling are functioning in harmony with the Superconscious, all ideas are used in right relation and the results are always good.

7. Why should the thoughts about ourselves and others be held in the one, all-knowing Mind?

Jesus Christ is the Savior of the race because the principle He represents unfolds the whole consciousness as perfectly united, and as perfectly attuned to the Universal Mind, the Father-Mind. Jesus Christ restored to mankind the awareness of God's perfect ideas which man had forgotten. His teaching shows how to transform, or redeem, man's thoughts from belief in sin, evil, and death as realities and direct them toward righteousness and life. This positive doctrine causes men to think for themselves, and in right thought lies saving power. Jesus was the greatest teacher because He proved His teachings; He made them more than theory. As Ignorance was the cause of the "fall of man," the obvious remedy is knowledge of Truth and the practical application of this knowledge which alone can set man free. What is impossible to man in the gross darkness of ignorance becomes a possibility in the light of the understanding that Jesus brought to men. He showed the way into the realm of perfect ideas, and when man thinks in this realm, all the results of his shaping and forming of substance will be perfect.

8. How does man demonstrate mastery and dominion (referred to in Genesis 1:26) in his soul, body, and affairs?

When the quickening power of Spirit comes upon us, it reaches to the depths of our subconscious and sets free the energies which were bound in error thought. Then we can readily reach and mold with our conscious thinking all the conditions which have hitherto seemed beyond our power. Many of the subconscious thought currents have come from race beliefs—the average, commonly accepted thoughts of our fellow men. Things that most persons take for granted, that are commonly accepted without question, the subconscious acts upon, thus causing, them to become manifest and increasing our belief that they are true.

The belief in flesh inheritance, accented by the "objective mind," becomes Impressed on the "subjective mind" and becomes a fact of our outer life. The subconscious phase of mind, working deductively, draws conclusions that the "objective mind" (conscious phase) may have failed to deduce from the acceptance of the idea, and thus effects are produced. In like manner, other inferences are drawn and effects produced from accepted beliefs which are perfectly logical, but which we are not conscious of because we have not reasoned out logically the result or deduction from the belief.

The conscious phase of mind acts, the subconscious phase reacts; the conscious phase makes the impression on the subconscious which in turn produces the manifestation; the conscious phase of mind decides what is to be done, and the subconscious does it. When the conscious phase of mind learns to listen to the Superconscious and then feeds the subconscious phase divine ideas in right relation, the subconscious reproduces them and a harmonious life results.

9. What place has order in Divine Mind and in man's thinking?

Ideas in Divine Mind must be brought out in the consciousness of each individual through the power of his thought. The "image" or Christ man is the perfect-man idea, the composite of all divine ideas such as life, substance, intelligence, faith, love, power, strength, and order. Jesus, the expression of that perfect-man idea, is an organized entity in which are brought forth in mind and in form, all the ideas existing in the Father-Mind. Then man, created in the image of God, shows forth the nature of God, and thus God's likeness appears in actuality as well as in the ideal or reality.

Man "builds" his manifest body by thinking about life in all its essentials. If we think about life, from a limited point of view our body will express the limitations. The subconscious controls the body manifestations, and this "subjective mind" is very sensitive and very fertile. Every thought that is accepted and believed takes root like a seed and brings forth "after its kind." If true thoughts of life are the seeds sown in its fertile soil, the results will accord with Truth; but if thoughts of death or lack of life are held, the latter will be brought into manifestation. We must know that life is omnipresent; that It does not "come and go." There is no such thing as life's passing, or its growing less. Life is here in all its fullness, but we can manifest only as much of it as we are conscious of, and the extent of our consciousness depends on the ideas, thoughts, and beliefs we hold about life. Since we manifest according to the character of our thoughts, it is very important that we think only Truth about life.

The substance idea should be well established in our consciousness by true thoughts about substance. From the wrong or limited concept of substance arises the mistaken belief concerning the material universe. It would seem that one of the hardest things for us to grasp is the idea of God as the one substance of all creation. Because of our limited thoughts we have drawn a sharp line between so-called "matter" and Spirit. Not discerning the one pure, spiritual substance that penetrates and permeates all things, we think we see lack of intelligence and life in many things — the things we call "matter." We think of our body as only material, because we do not really under-stand the one substance out of which all things are created. The human mind conceives that substance is something that can be seen only with the physical eyes, touched by human hands, cognized by the five senses, and terms this substance "material." From this belief of substance as being something solid and tangible to the senses—from this limited concept of the nature of substance—has arisen the belief in materiality, form, as being the "real."

Spirit is invisible to physical eyes, and intangible to the senses; substance is the underlying essence of Spirit or Truth; it is the great, undifferentiated whole, the "principle of good" which is lasting and enduring, and in which "we live, and move and have our being" (Acts 17:23). Substance is the spiritual medium or Mind essence through which all the ideas of Divine Mind are expressed and brought into visible form; it has been termed "the body of God" which we, as individualization:, of God or Mind, are to appropriate through our own mind and on which we are to "feed" in thought in order to satisfy our every need, regardless of what the need may be.

Substance is the passive or Mother side of Principle, the very essence of Being, while the "God said"—the movement of substance into expression—is the active or Father side. In us, substance Is still passive while the movement of our consciousness through thinking and feeling is the active phase which handles substance. When substance is viewed by the five-sense man as "matter," it has been differentiated and made into specialized forms through concepts that have been projected into it by man. Through meditation and prayer on what we term the attributes (ideas) or qualities of God, the ideas of Divine Mind are breathed into our human consciousness. We train our individual mind to recognize the omnipresence of substance and are thus purged of a concept of "matter" as being something apart from substance. To further overcome the wrong belief in what is called "materiality," all our thinking should conform to the truth that there is no absence anywhere of life, substance, and intelligence. The belief in poverty is overcome by the understanding of omnipresent, spiritual substance as available to all.

God is omnipresent, therefore intelligence is omnipresent. In all our thinking, the one all-knowing Mind should be recognized. When we fail in this recognition, and think of our self or of others as ignorant, separate beings, we are using our subconscious thought power to bring ignorance on the earth. We must stop believing in and thinking about ignorance, and Instead put into all our thoughts the idea of intelligence. All men and all women are the offspring of the one Mind and are intelligent with the intelligence of Spirit.

The idea of love, when introduced into consciousness and established there by persistent thought, will overcome all tendencies of an opposite character. It will also free us from the selfishness and bondage of a limited, personal expression of love. The love that is so mighty in its transforming power is the universal Christ love, which extends beyond the limitations of human relationship and recognizes the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The idea of love toward all beings, love of the Lord or law, of the universe, Jehovah of the divine order of things that protect us, makes us divine beings and brings our thoughts into divine order. When we look on the law as something to be obeyed, something that is to make us do something that we do not want to do—something that takes away all our pleasure—we are "missing the mark" and thinking error thoughts. When we look on the law as our divine opportunity, our privilege, our freedom, our entrance into all that is good, we are thinking in harmony with Truth.

Thoughts of power and of strength build us up in the conscious-ness of might, mastery, authority, and dominion. When we realize our birthright through the Christ Spirit, we no longer feel helpless, a victim of circumstance, but take our stand as the master of our fate. Order, which begins as an idea in Divine Mind, adjusts all things in harmony. One definition of order is "system; a plan or method by which things or ideas are interrelated."

Order is that faculty of mind which relates ideas to one another, putting them in their proper place and in right relation, so that the operation of all ideas is governed by the law of the good of the whole. When order has its rightful place in our consciousness, our mind, our body, and our affairs come into the divine harmony which prevails throughout God's universe.

10. Why is it necessary to "be still" in order to come into a realization of Truth?

"Search me, 0 God, and know my heart:
Try me, and know my thoughts" (Psalms 139:23).

The heart is the storehouse of all that man has ever experienced; it is his subconscious. "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalms 46:10). When we are still, we have power to plant the ideas from the Super-conscious or Christ Mind in the conscious phase of our mind and then into the subconscious phase of mind. Only in the silence can we still the clamoring’s of the five senses and connect the phases of our mind (conscious and subconscious) with the Superconscious, the source of all God-ideas.

The "objective mind" is a name used for the conscious phase of mind or thinking faculty. It is the medium of expression, giving forth that which it receives either from £he interior (Superconscious) or the exterior (world of form). It is only by stilling this phase of mind to the outer world, bringing it into submission, that we are able to hear the "voice" from within, able to establish contact with the Superconscious or Christ Mind. The divine ideas of the Super-conscious are then transmitted by the conscious or thinking phase of mind to the subconscious or "habit mind"; in this way, divine ideas become a definite conscious part of our mind or consciousness and ultimately are manifested in the outer world.

All constructive thought takes place in the silence, when we lay aside the confusion, the conflict, the distractions of life and listen to the "still small voice" (I Kings 19:12) that guides us into the true way of living. By putting aside the noisy, persistent objectives of persons and things, and in the silence coming into the very presence of God (Truth), we can get a true realization of what Truth is. In this place of stillness or communion with God, we can say with the astronomer Kepler, "0 God, I am thinking Thy thoughts [ideas] after Thee"; and with the Psalmist, "In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul" (Psalms 9*1:19). "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me" (Psalms 139:17). When we think from the standard of divine Ideas, we think the "thoughts" of God, and vain, Ignorant thoughts'? no longer lodge within us. "Let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts" (Isa. 55:7). We accomplish this by being still, and consciously entering into the one pure Mind and drawing on its ideas for all our conscious thinking. These right thoughts then become subconscious, and the whole mentality is established in righteousness.

In prayer, in silence, we write upon the tablet of our heart the divine law. That is, we give to the subconscious phase of mind the word of Truth, and since it carries out with unfailing certainty what-ever ideas or concepts are given to it, its cooperation in the demonstration of Truth is assured. This is what the prophet Jeremiah fore-told when he said, "I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jer. 31:33). In Proverbs 16:3 we see the injunction given as, "Commit thy works unto Jehovah, and thy purposes shall be established." Thought initiates the action, and the action in turn establishes the thought. This we have seen in the illustration of the child learning to play the piano. The right thought is first given to the fingers, and by right action this thought is fixed in the sub-conscious. So if we commit our works to the Lord (law of our being); if we persistently do the right thing, carry out the right thought, the thoughts will by actual doing become established in the subconscious, and we shall do easily and naturally what we know is right. In this way we may be assured that we are "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (II Cor. 10:5).

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Thoughts of God, so splendid, high!
Thoughts of good that satisfy,
Thoughts of Truth, enduring still,
Thoughts of light set on a hill inspiration's height,
Thoughts of peace both day and night,
Thoughts of love that cast out fear,
Thoughts of life right now and here,
Thoughts of strength and thoughts of health,
Thoughts of plenty and of wealth---
May Such thoughts fill all my mind---
Thought for self and all mankind.

--Frank B. Whitney