Practical Metaphysics by Eric Butterworth

Lecture 2 - Divinity of Man

"Christ is the God possibility in every person"

Eric Butterworth Practical Metaphysics Divinity of Man

Summaries:

  • 015 - We must begin with ourselves and our senses. Our quest must begin with ourselves, not with looking from the outside.
  • 016 - We are environed by the senses. The smell of a rose, the sound of beautiful music is created by the senses, not by the outside world.
  • 017 - Man as I-AM-age and likeness of God. "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27) does not refer to Jesus, but to Christ, which was discovered by Jesus. Christ is the "god possibility" in every person.
  • 018 - Orthodoxy responds to Gnosticism by declaring that man is a sinner.
  • 019 - Orthodoxy misuses Psalm 51, "I was shapen in iniquity and in sin conceived." This verse was taken out of context, which should have been a psalm of feeling of despair, not a treatise on the nature of man.
  • 020 - The true teaching of Jesus was a divine possibility of human life. "Be ye perfect."
  • 021 - We must begin by knowing our Christ potential, not by struggling to "become spiritual." We are already fully spiritual.
  • 022 - Jesus was a highly evolved person, but he was a person. Jesus demonstrating the destiny of man.
  • 023 - You are a potential Christ. The divine reality of you is the Christ of you.
  • 024 - You can only become what you already are. We can only learn what we already know.
  • 025 - Our potential is within us, not something we can possibly achieve. It is a reality before we begin to work for it. It comes out of an intuitive awareness of our potential.
  • 026 - Story of a woman lifting a car that had fallen on her son. God doesn't intervene.
  • 027 - Life is forever asking us, "Who do you think you are?" The only real answer is "I am" or "I am the Christ, the son of the living God" Matthew 16:15. "I am perfect in potential, but I am not perfected."
  • 028 - Homework assignment for the lecture is the "Mirror Feedback Technique." Stand before a mirror and ask "who do you think you are?"
  • 029 - Ella Wheeler Wilcox poem (see below)

Audio

Transcript

015 We must begin with ourselves and our senses

Today we're continuing in our course on practical metaphysics. Last week we dealt with what we called, in the beginning, the onus, trying to build a foundation of reality, hopefully without the intellectualizations that we normally attach to it. It's so easy to build in cosmology or metaphysical awareness of the universe, and of life, and so forth, and have reams upon reams of definitions, and intellectual propositions, and treatments, and affirmations, and yet have ourselves totally on the outside looking in. Quite often we read, in some of the very complicated cosmological studies of man, and of life, and of the universe, some of the esoteric treatises, and libraries abound with them. We see pictures of the cosmology of the universe. We see pictures of the various levels of consciousness, and the seven steps to eternity, and so forth.

All of these are very interesting and very reasonable. Obviously, some of them can be helpful to certain persons and certain levels of consciousness, but at some point, this is not what we learn, or this is not what is left over, because if this is all that remains and we're still on the outside, we're still looking at a picture in a book. We're still trying to define or to relate to something that is beautiful, and wonderful, and infinite, and yet it's still out here somewhere.

To put it in its most simple context, I say we must put ourselves in the picture, build ourselves into the structure as it were. The Greeks had a word for it, as they so often do. Inscribed over the entrance to the Temple of the Delphi are the words, "Know thyself." "Know thyself." It's important, somewhere along the early stages of our quest for understanding of life and of the universe, that we begin with ourselves, that we affirm, very simply, very easily perhaps, "I exist. I'm here. I think, I feel, I cease, I perceive, I am." That's a starting point.

Just think about the physical body, for instance. As we say often, "You do not live as a body. Your body is not you. You have a body," and the you that has the body is far transcendent to the body, but the body is a very important part of self-expression, and at a certain level of consciousness you express in and as this body, and this is where you are right now. Whatever else this body is, it is. You can define it, you can describe it, you can give a definition of the anatomical structures, you can have a biological insight into what is going on within it, but the most important thing is it is.

It is flesh. It is sensual. It is beautiful. It is. The senses play a great role. We say, again, that man is not a sensual creature. You are not senses. You are not sensual. You are not sex, but you have these areas of expression through which the life process flows as a conduit. The senses are very important to you. They help you to provide a link with your environment, and it's yours, but you understand the senses before we try to deny them or to say, "There are no such things as physical experiences. I am a spiritual creature."

Before we try to discipline them, we need to know how they function, and to know ourselves in relationship to them. Through our senses we become aware of things around us. We become aware of people. We become aware of our environment. We become aware of the world in which we live. We see colors. We hear sounds. We smell fragrances. We taste delicacies. We touch warm and cool things, and all of these have life and vitality, because we sense them.

016 We are environed by the senses

Unless we begin with this realization that I exist, that I'm here, that I sense, that I feel, then we tend only to look out into our environment as from the outside. The environment becomes something totally separate from us, something that is either hostile, or something that is either friendly, but there's nothing that you can do about it.

The fact is, you can change your environment, because your environment is your sensual awareness of that which environs you. You are environed by your own feelings, by your own thoughts, and everything that happens out here happens in you, and you can change what happens in you, and thus to all intent and purposes, can change what happens out here.

It's a simple thing, but such a helpful one, otherwise we tend to say, "Well, what are we going to do about it? That's the way things are. You can't change anything." Your environment and experience through the senses, then, is a part of you. It's a part of your life. What you hear is gathered out of the soundless vibrations of the air, and sound is there only because you hear it.

The colors of the rainbow are gathered from colorless light, so you see beautiful auras of color because you see them. They exist in your mind. There's no world of color and sound without the interpreting mind. For instance, a dog may hear all the notes of the symphony, but he doesn't hear any symphony. That's why he howls. It's painful. He just hears all sorts of sounds, but he doesn't hear music, because music is in the mind. It's in the listener.

The symphony orchestra that plays from this auditorium, from this platform, would actually be creating dissonances and cacophony that is terrible, and we wouldn't be able to listen to it unless we have a musical mind, unless we could understand, so the audience becomes a very important part of the experience. Without you, there's no music. It's important, you see.

Alfred North Whitehead comments on this. He says, "Nature gets credit which in truth should be reserved for ourselves. The rose for its scent, the nightingale for its song, the sun for its radiance." He says, "The poets are mistaken. They should address their lyrics to themselves and turn them into odes of self-congratulation on the excellence of the human mind. Nature is a dull affair, soundless, senseless, colorless, merely the hurrying of material, endlessly, meaninglessly," but it has meaning because you have meaning, and because you read meaning into it, because you exist, because you're there.

This gives a new insight into ourselves. We need occasionally, not egotistically but in a great sense of appreciation, to reach behind our back and give ourselves a nice little pack. You're all right, you're all right, because you exist, and because you see things, and because you have the ability to see them in all sorts of diverse ways.

Shakespeare had this tremendous appreciation of man, as in his Hamlet, he says, "What a peace of work is man. How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty. In form and moving how express and admirable. In action how like an Angel. In apprehension how like a god." Of course, this talks about the height of man's consciousness. In other words, the great spiritual potential that is within man. It senses something about the hidden mystery of God and man that Paul calls, "Christ in you, your hope of glory."

017 Man as I-AM-age and likeness of God

It's a beautiful realization, but unfortunately the full sense of these words have been predominantly lost throughout Christian tradition because we have been led to believe that Paul refers here to Jesus, when he says, "Christ in you, your hope of glory," where we usually assume that means, "Jesus in you is the hope of your life." That isn't what Paul had in mind at all. Probably misunderstands the divine possibility that he's suggesting.

Christ, you see, which he refers to, is not Jesus at all. Jesus discovered this dimension of the Christ, and therefore he was called, figuratively, "Jesus Christ," but Christ is the God possibility within every person. It's the divine [sensia 00:09:03]. It's your hope of overcoming, it's your hope of healing, your hope of growing and doing the greater things that Jesus promised you can do, but it's a depth of you, not something that can be added on, or put into, or something that you get just by believing in somebody else, even in Jesus. It's that which is the reality of you from the very beginning, the very foundation of your life.

The book of Genesis says, "God created man in his own image, and after his likeness." Probably the most majestic statement in the bible, "God created man in his own image, and after his likeness." The image is you and as God sees you, and the likeness is that which you must work out in your consciousness and out form in your body and affairs. In other words, as we say so often, "Within you is the unborn possibility of limitless life." This is the image, and yours is the privilege of giving birth to it. This is the likeness. This is something that is your responsibility.

It is your destiny to out form or produce a likeness in the without of the divine image within. The divine image has new meaning if you think of it in a loose interpretation, "I am age." The I am age. Remember when Moses asked the voice within, "Who should I say sent me?" When he was being led to go to lead his people out of the slavery in Egypt, and the voice came back and said, "I am that I am hath sent thee." I am is God, but I am is God experienced within man. It is what we referred to last week as, "Your each-ness within the all-ness." The I am age is the divine possibility, the divine potential, the divine depth within you which is always present no matter where you are in consciousness, no matter where you are in experience.

It's your destiny to produce the likeness, the [inaudible 00:11:10] manifestation of this I am age, so that you can become to experience an I am-ness in your relationships and your life. This is exactly what Jesus did. This gives us a new insight into what is going on in the New Testament studies. Theologians have said that Jesus was God become man, but Jesus knew that God already had become man when he first breathed the breath of life into his own image, and it became a living soul.

The difference between Jesus and you and me was not one of the mere manner of his birth, it was not because of some special dispensation, it was not just because of some mere potentiality that was in him that was not in others, the difference was in the awareness of that potential. The difference was in the consciousness of that I am-age.

018 Orthodoxy responds to Gnosticism

Orthodoxy has preached that man is a poor, miserable sinner, [inaudible 00:12:02] the best. I'm sure you've probably heard that over and over again in your background. This is something that needs to be carefully considered, because this idea of man as a poor, miserable sinner is a deviously, I emphasize deviously, developed dogma that was created by early Christian teachers to offset the heresy of monasticism.

It was a political ploy, if you want to put it in that basis, because there were those who were seeing Jesus and his teaching in an entirely different way, the Gnostics which were mainly centered around Egypt, were students of what they considered themselves in those days to be the new insight and truth. They were seeing the Christian teaching in an esoteric sense, not through the personality of Jesus, and of course they were a great threat to the personality cult of Jesus that was being developed.

The Christian traditionalists developed this dogma that Jesus was very God, and that man was a miserable sinner. This was to make the total separation between Jesus and man. He was not human. He was God. Totally God. Very God.

019 Orthodoxy misuses Psalm 51

In support of this concept, of man as a miserable sinner, they took one of the Psalms of David, Psalm 51, which some of you may remember. One of the phrases of the Psalms that is held up in support of this dogma of the miserable sinner nature of man was this concept, "I was shaped in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." You ever heard that? That's a part of Christian traditional liturgy. "Shaped in iniquity and in sin conceived." This is taken from Psalm 51.

Taken totally out of context. The words are there. There's no question about it. You can go back to Psalm 51 and read them, but you have to read them in the full context of how the Psalm is expressed. This is one of the problems of bible study. Study of the bible has always been on the basis that it's in the book, therefore it's true. The question is, "It's in the book, but why is it in the book?" Why is it in the book?

The fact is that there's much in the book, the bible, that was never intended to be a pattern for observation, something to emulate. There's a lot that is in the book that is anything but worthy of emulation, and David, when he wrote the Psalms, wrote in many different levels of consciousness. You can't just read all of Psalms and say, "This is the voice of God speaking," because David wrote, as all poets do, and all songwriters do, wrote out of the expression of their emotions, and one's emotions are not always on the high place. David may have sung, "The world is my shepherd, I shall not want," but he also sung, in the 22nd Psalm right before it, "Oh Lord, oh Lord, why art thou so far from the voice of my groaning?"

This was a downbeat consciousness. He was expressing his feelings, and that day he wasn't feeling very good. Psalm 51, we know today, was written when David was experiencing a soliloquy over the great confusion, and the remorse, and the regret of the Bathsheba Affair. Remember the Bathsheba Affair? I'm not talking about the Watergate, but something similar in those days.

David, who was a very highly evolved person for that level of evolution, but he was still very human, he had aspirations but he wasn't always able to live up to them, so one day he was sitting in his palace, looking out across the wall to a neighboring area. Here he saw Bathsheba having a bath without much on, as a matter of fact with nothing on. Immediately fell in love with her, as the human sense usually does.

He arranged to have the husband of Bathsheba sent off into the battle lands in order to be destroyed so that he could have Bathsheba for his wife, so she became the wife of David. This is not exactly the kind of thing worthy of emulation, but we're not making judgements on David. We're saying that when David wrote the 51st Psalm, he was singing out of remorse, "Oh God, I wish I had never been born," so again, this is what is in the back of the words, "I was shaped in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." It was taken totally out of context. It was a Psalm of despair where David was commiserating.

020 The true teaching of Jesus

The point is, unfortunately, Christian tradition has supported this concept of the miserable sinner nature of man and the divinity of Jesus, which totally loses the full thrust of that which Jesus had to give to every one of us as a teaching.

The heart of Jesus' teachings was not the depravity of man but the divinity of man. The heart of Jesus' teachings was the I am-ness of every individual. Jesus discovered this principle of divine sensia. He discovered his own divine image, and he fulfilled the personal requirement of living it out into expression fully and completely, demonstrated in his own experience. His ministry was devoted to the repeatability of the Christ. That's a word that some don't like because of their traditional background, but it's a very important one, the repeatability of the Christ. "Nothing shall be impossible unto you," he said, nothing!

He went on forever, he said, "There are the things that I do, you can do too, and greater things shall you do if you have faith." This certainly doesn't set him apart, you see, but it says that there's a divine possibility within every person. Jesus discovered it. This was his main role. He demonstrated it. He spent his life teaching other people how to experience it and showing the greater things that could happen if you do fulfill it and give it expression.

Jesus said, "Be ye perfect as your father in heaven is perfect." Why would he say this if he did not believe that every person contained within him the same unborn possibility of perfection as he did, and that as Jesus himself had given birth to it, so could anyone give birth to it by commitment, by growth, by dedication, by work, by practice, practice, practice.

021 We must begin by knowing our Christ potential

Truth study, for many persons, is motivated by a deep feeling of spiritual inferiority. Let's face it, this is quite often the thing that motivates us when we begin to study truth. We want to be more. We want to be better. We want to overcome the stigma of the sinfulness of man. This is a motivation that is felt within all persons, so quite often, the quest for truth becomes a program of seeking, reaching, straining to get and become. "I want to become spiritual." Have you ever said that? "I want to be more spiritual."

Let me disillusion you. There's no way that you can ever become spiritual. There's no way that you can ever be more spiritual than you already are, because you are spiritual. This is your nature. It's not something that you can study, and acquire as a result of techniques, and as a result of classroom experiences. There's no way that through this particular course of study we're involved in you can become spiritual. You are spiritual. That's the fundamental truth. This is your nature. This is the I am. You are created in God's image likeness, and deep at the heart of you there is a spiritual tone that is absolutely unequivocally the reality of you and can never be anything less, and you can never be anything less.

Without the knowledge of the Christ potential within, we're lost. We tend, as modern psychology does, to think of the brain as a sealed compartment. The need is to know that becoming spiritual is a matter of waking up. It's becoming aware of I am. The I am-ness of myself, the reality of me. Without this, we begin to wonder about certain evidences of great possibilities that we see around us in life, and we think, "Well, it's because of ESP, or it's because he's a child prodigy, or it's because he's a genius," but we certainly have great evidence that the normal human limit is often exceeded to a great extent.

Again, we're conditioned through our educational background to believe that this is simply an evidence of the bewildering complexity of the brain, and the enormous number of brain cells which are almost sufficient to the authoritative things, and to cover an explanation for paranormal phenomena, but this is empty. It's illusive. It's insufficient. Something more is needed to understand life and to understand ourselves.

I love the explanation given by Professor William Bateson, in the British Society for Scientific Research. He says, "We are finding now, beyond doubt, that the gifted and the geniuses of mankind are due not so much to something added to the ordinary person, but instead are due to factors which in the normal person inhibit the development of these gifts. They are now without doubt to be looked upon as releases of powers normally suppressed."

He's talking about the genius, the phenomenal, the fast runner, that he is not someone who is exceptionally endowed, but he's someone who is releasing powers that are within all persons, but which normally by certain psychological complexes, are suppressed. This is a very important insight, because there is a particular genius within you. It doesn't mean that every person can do what other people do or become what other people become, because we're not in a popularity contest. We're not trying to be better than other people, but we're trying as the ancient mystics said, to be better than our former self. The great competition is like a golfer on the golf course. He's not really playing with other people. He's playing with himself. He's trying to better himself, to better his skills.

So it is with all of our relationships in life, so important that the great key is to know that each of us has more within us, and growth is experiencing more of that more, releasing the powers that are normally suppressed.

See, there is within every person, and let's make it more specific, there is within you right now, the potential for what Thoreau calls, "The license of a higher order of being." That potential is within you. The license was always there. You don't have to go and get a license. You don't have to get the permission. You don't have to somehow get God in the right mood so that he will say, "Well it's my will you can now do it," because God has already done for all of us what he can do when he included us in his image likeness. The potential is there, all built in, according to our uniqueness, but ours is the privilege of understanding it and releasing it and giving birth to it.

The license of the higher order of beings is already there. You have the license. You have the potential. You have the capacity to be more, to reach higher, to achieve the very depths and heights of your potential and Godself. It's always present, and ours is the privilege and the time to begin to work at it is today.

Actually, what this does is it takes away a lot of the excuses that we give. We're just full of excuses. I don't want to embarrass you. I'll talk about myself. I know often, I say to myself, "You know? I would like to do this, but I don't have the time. I haven't had the right background, and I wish that I could understand some of these great things of truth, but it would have been nice if I could have been exposed to truth when I was a child, but at my age, you know, it's kind of difficult." You know the rest. We all go through those things.

The part is, the license is already issued. The license of the higher order of beings, you have it in you the capacity to do and become all that you have the will to achieve and the vision to perceive. You have the capacity within you right now, and the goal then is to begin to take steps, to start today, here a little, there a little, to progress. It all begins with how you see yourself, what you think about yourself.

022 Jesus demonstrating the destiny of man

A person like Jesus, endowed with a highly evolved consciousness, and let's don't underestimate this, Jesus was a highly evolved person, but he was a person. We can take people in life today, and we can set them up and say, "Well, this one is a little more evolved than that," though as Jesus said, "Judge not according to appearances," because you never really know. This person may have a good memory of metaphysics. He may be able to spout it until it comes out his ears, but he still may not demonstrate it too well.

The person who's not trying to evaluate where other people are in consciousness, but let's acknowledge that Jesus was a highly evolved creature, but he was a person. He was a person, demonstrating that a person can achieve high evolution if he works at it, if he practices it.

He had a highly evolved consciousness, therefore the things that he did were amazing to his contemporaries. They couldn't understand him. They could only talk of miracles. They could only talk of divine dispensation. They could only talk of very God, God doing his great works for us, but they couldn't seem to relate to the fact that this was a highly evolved person doing the kind of things that represented the license of a higher order of beings, the kind of license which is always a part of the super-conscious nature of every person, and of you and me.

What is forgotten so often, and totally missing in the whole orthodox Christian teaching, is that Jesus was demonstrating, revealing, manifesting, making real that which ultimately must become the normal position of a highly evolved human race.

This is where we're going folks. It's so true that the pessimist is always saying, "Well, I'll tell you where we're going. We're all going to hell in a hand basket." He says, "Look what's going on in the world, out here." The fact is man is innately a divine creature and there's no way that he can escape it. He may postpone it, and we do a very good job of postponing it. We can deviate from it. We can pervert it. We can frustrate it. We can suppress it but there's no way that we can put it on forever, because this is where man is going.

You go back through the bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament. There are those who like to talk about the days when God walked the Earth, and I say poppycock to that. God walks the Earth constantly, because God is the all-ness that is being expressed as an each-ness. Don't let yourself accept the glamorous accounting of the Old Testament and New Testament times. I've pointed out the experience of David. This is mild to what was going on in those days.

These were creatures who were very [inaudible 00:26:37] moved from pagans. They were beginning to experience something of this all-ness, and the prophets were those who were far ahead of the people themselves, who were trying to help them to understand, but basically we see an evolution of the God process constantly moving through the bible.

You may recall the story that I've told of the little boy in Sunday school who had just been through a whole period of a year in Sunday school studying the Old Testament about this vicious, very vengeful God who wiped out whole cities, and destroyed people, and came down as a bolt of lightning and so forth, and finally, the next course went into a study of the New Testament, and Jesus, a very loving God, the father presence within, and the little boy one day remarked, "Boy, God sure got better as he got older, didn't he?"

The fact is God did get better, because God is an extension of man's awareness of himself, and as man comes to understand himself, he comes to understand a larger, larger, larger awareness of the all-ness of things, and obviously man is getting better. It's hard for us to understand this because we read the papers too much, but the fact is the only way you can really understand the nature of man is to see man at his highest moments. If you want to see the potential of man, instead of looking at the criminals in the penitentiary, or the gory news in the newspapers, go to an art gallery, or see the man in the flowering excellence of the few people who are achieving some greatness, because these are the ones who are demonstrating the divine potential in this flowering unfolding into a possibility of man.

This is what man is all about, you see, and this is the kind of thing that we always want to keep ourselves constantly aware of, because this means then that Jesus was simply far ahead of his time, if we want to use that cliché, demonstrating the tremendous God possibility within man, and we do not really fulfill that possibility, or that teaching, or the life of Jesus by simply worshiping Jesus today, setting him on a cross around an altar, or up in the skies, and continuing in the old idea of born in sin, then iniquity of mother give me birth and so forth, all this totally frustrates and denies this divine reality which Jesus is demonstrating.

It implies, then, that the difference between Jesus and each of us is one of inherent spiritual capacity, a difference in the demonstration of potential. Pilate and Jesus were one, as regards being, but pulls apart as regards the manifestation of that I am-age. In other words, every person is a potential Christ.

023 You are a potential Christ

You are a potential Christ, and you can only understand yourself or fulfill this thought of man, know thyself, when you come to see that the divine reality of you is the Christ of you, it's the I am of you, it's the God possibility of you.

Some people won't understand that, because they'll think, whenever you use the word Christ, you're talking about Jesus, and therefore they'll say that's sacrilegious. Obviously, don't use the term in front of other people. As a matter of fact, the word itself is not important. We're not concerned that you say, "Christ in me is my hope of glory," as Paul said, but there's a God potential within me, there's a Godself, there's a reality of me, there's an I am of me, there's a wholeness of me even though I may be only expressing part of it.

It may be that of me which is normally suppressed, but I can begin to give release-ment to it. Wherever you are along the way of your unfold-ment, no matter what problems or challenges you face, there is always more in you. The Christ of you, the I am of you which is your potential for healing, it's the potential for overcoming, it's your potential for demonstrating prosperity and success, whatever you may be doing, and as Jesus said, "There is no limit," there's no limit, "and greater things than these shall you do," he said.

A lot of metaphysics puts a lot of emphasis on the magic laws of demonstration. Obviously, this is dealing with certain fundamentals of truth which is helpful to understand, but quite often this is oversimplified, and as a result we fail to really acknowledge what is being stressed. In other words, the implication is often subtly given that this live demonstration is something that you feed into your subconscious mind, and thus paste over the façade of your human experience to give you a new self image, a new feeling of joy, new health, new positive power and so forth, because now you have a new front, behind which quite often is the same scared little person that you always were.

There's a great bit of interest today in human potential, both within metaphysical movements, and also within the movements of psychology. Again, implying that we can condition ourselves through psychological techniques to unfold new power and ability, and we can. Obviously we can, but let's not lose the thread.

Human potential is divine potential. They're not separate. Human potential is divine potential. The universe is whole. God is whole, and you are that wholeness being you. God can never be more than God, no less than God. You can never be more than the divine image that is your unique self, nor can you ever really be less than that.

Obviously it's important to understand human potentials, but it's important to know that the human potential in you is the divine potential, it is the Godself of you, and it's not something that you're going to put into you by speaking a lot of affirmations, by invoking some magic law of demonstration, that you're going to make yourself do something that heretofore you have not been able to do. All you can actually do is, as Browning says, "Release your imprisoned splendor," or release those potentials which Professor Bateson says have normally been suppressed.

024 We can only learn what we already know

The startling truth is you can only become what you already are. That doesn't seem to make sense at first, but when you understand that you're created in God's image likeness, and that image is the divine potential of you that is en-wrapped within your being, and can never be separated in any way. You can only become what you already are. You can't get blood out of a turnip. You can't become something that you do not already have the potential for becoming, so that you can only become what you already are, and carry that to another extent, you can only learn what you already know.

You can only learn what you already know. This is why the ancient Greeks had the idea of learning through the word, "Education," to draw forth from within. Learning is a drawing forth, learning is recognizing, as we said. Learning is what's left over when you've forgotten all that you've heard. You may hear a lot of things, as Job says, "I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eyes see-eth thee." I knew all sorts of things about this and about that, but I didn't know. I only knew about.

When you know, you acknowledge, you awaken, you recognize that which you've always known, because each of us is an individualized expression of infinite mind. We live in a milieu of mind. We'll be dealing more with that next week. We live in it. We're a part of it. We're extensions of it. We think within it, so that always, all knowledge is present. We may not be conscious of it, so you go through the learning process, the education process, and the teacher goes through a long detailed study, he prepares and makes notes, he reads books, he gives textbook assignments, and he'll put things on the blackboard and so forth, you say, "Oh, I'm getting learning. I'm writing it down. I'm memorizing all of this."

None of it is any relevance to your life whatever, except that suddenly, like the funny papers, the light comes over my head, "Ah, I see, yes! I see." What do you see? Not that you see this, but you see from that which you've always known, and you know this. You've had this happen often. You're reading in a book, and you say, "It seems as if I've always known that." The learning process is a recognition of your own identity in the all-ness of infinite mind, where all things are present.

When you understand this, then you come to understand why it is so often that the student exceeds the capacity of the teacher. If this were not so, then obviously the teachers, a teacher of music, would be a great composer, but where would you ever hire a teacher of music as a great composer? He teachers composing. He teaches the skills. He teaches the techniques, teaches the laws of harmony, and counterpoint, and orchestration, and all this, but the student says, "Ah, I see." He identifies that all-ness process, and he goes beyond the teacher, because he simply wakens up to that divine process that was within, that opens a whole new door. It was always there.

If we understand this, then the learning process becomes so simplified, and the growing process in our experiences, in our work, in our relationships, is facilitated in a far more remarkable way, because actually, we have nothing really to do except to awake. Remember, Paul says, "Awake now, that sleeper, that Christ may shine upon you." In other words, learning is a matter of realizing potentialities, realizing that which has been ourselves from the very beginning of time.

It's not adding to, but it's drawing forth. It's evolving that which has been involved, or as the poet Browning says, "Open out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape."

025 Our potential is within us

Your potential, you see, is not something that you can possibly achieve. It's not something you can possibly achieve. Your potential is a reality even before you begin to work for it, and your very desire to work for it, your very thought of, "Gee, I'd like to do that," comes out of an intuitive awareness of the potential of inner growth possibility that's always within you. You don't get it out here somewhere. You have it within you already.

All you do out here is to provide or get involved in an environment that encourages it, and releases it, and nurtures it, so that little seed, that little spark of life within you begins to unfold, but it's always within you. It is always you. It's a reality even before you work for it. It's the whole of you which you at this point are expressing only in part.

It is that of you that is always whole, even if the surface self is ill, or confused, or in poverty. There is always something in you that is whole. That's why I say, "The fundamental key to spiritual healing is that there is an all-ness even within your illness." The illness suppresses the potential for all-ness, but the all-ness is the key.

The idea of overcoming illness is not a matter of getting some kind of treatment to do something from the outside, to change, that alters, that make me something that I previously was not before. I can be healed because I am whole. There's no other explanation. I can be healed because I'm whole. I can do more because I am more, because that's the reality of me.

Paul challenges, as I said, to stir up the gift of God within. He seems to mean that we can awaken the sleeping giant of our Godself at any time, and find power, or healing, or guidance, to meet any need. We probably do this occasionally. Just believing in the power within to do what needs to be done we often exceed ourselves, and excel our past performances, and we say, "Well, I guess I'm [inaudible 00:38:07] more than I thought I was." We indicate that we have certain ingenuity and creativity, and it's nice to know that one can do better from time to time, but occasionally, we may do something that defies reason.

You've had those experiences, and I have. I hesitate to even talk about them, but we all have them, where in some act of spontaneous faith or some mystic moment of illumined consciousness, something happens. We do what we unblushingly refer to as the impossible, and sometimes, as I say, you don't even want to tell people about it because you can't explain it and you don't want people to think you're odd, but you do the impossible.

These things are often called miracles for want of any rational explanation, but that which God has done, God can do, and that which you have ever done, you can do.

026 God doesn't intervene

There's no way to justify a phenomena such as that which was recorded in Time magazine a number of years ago. I've told this before, but it's sort of a watershed thing, in the fact that this was reported in the media. It's not something that I dreamed up. It's recorded in Time magazine.

It's a story of a woman in Florida, convalescing after a long, serious illness. She was sitting in her wheelchair, she hadn't been on her feet for months. She was emaciated and without strength to hardly even handle herself, but there she sat. She was home alone, her husband was away, just with exception of her young son, who was working out in the front yard on his old Jalopy. He had the wheels off, and he had it up on blocks, and he was working underneath the car doing something, and suddenly the mother watched, shocked, as the car lurched and fell, crushing the son. The whole life of the boy was about to be crushed out, and he was screaming for help.

There was the mother. They lived on a farm. They were a long ways from the nearest neighbor. The husband was away. There was no way to get any help. Nothing there but her. She leaped to her feet, ran to the car, braced herself, picked up the car by holding on the bumper, lifted the car bodily off the boy, and he got out, then she collapsed.

This was recorded in Time magazine. The doctor was dutifully called eventually. He gave her a thorough examination, and he remarked that it was amazing that she wasn't more damaged. She had ruptured her back, some of the muscles and so forth, but finally after he heard the whole story, and he had no way except to accept what had happened, he finally said, and this was recorded also in the Time magazine story, "I just wonder how far she might have been able to lift that car if she'd been well."

In greater or lesser ways, we've seen that kind of thing happen in our own lives. Usually we chalk it up as just one of those things, or a miracle, or something or other, the intervention of God. God doesn't intervene. This is where we make a mistake. We deal with life out of our sense of inadequacy. Say, "Well, I guess God found upon me," or God looked with favor upon me, or God came out of the blue and helped me. God doesn't come out of the blue. God is the all-ness potential that is always present. We either suppress it or release it.

Out of our sense of inadequacy, we say, "Well God did it." Both God took away the life or God gave the life. Don't blame God and don't give the credit to God except the God activity that is manifesting in through you. Give yourself a pat on the back, not from the ego sense, but from the realization of getting rightly centered in the process as it works.

God can do no more for you than he can do through you, through your consciousness, through your faith, through your understanding. It's important to keep that context always. The key to this experience and any other that happens similar is the ever present potentiality, the mystic act of faith releasement of a process, and a power, and a uniqueness, and an I am-age that is always present.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could know that? If we could really live in that consciousness, we could all be Superman. Fact is, we can all at least be a little more super in terms of exceeding our past performance in all the things that we do. Elbert Hubbard used to say, "Man's not what he thinks he is, but what he thinks he is."

027 Who do you think you are?

Life is forever asking you, and me, "Who do you think you are?" When the boss comes in and lays a task on your desk that is impossible for you to achieve in the time that he wants it to be done, and he's unreasonable about it, in a sense, the task, not the boss, the task is saying to you, "Who do you think you are?" Quite often we fall short at that time. We say, "Well I'm human. What does he expect of me? The old boy's not going to get it out of me this time. I just can't get it done." Who do you think you are? The only real answer is, "I am." I am.

If you want to carry it to its full completion, "I am the Christ, the son of the living God." What does he think I am, perfect? I don't care what he thinks I am. The important thing is how do I think I am? If I realize that perfection is a potential within me, not that I'm perfect in manifestation, I'm perfect in potential but I'm not perfected, but this is an opportunity to grow. Instead of resisting it, fighting it, let me say, "I am the Godself expressing as me and I can do what I need to do." I touch that button and I begin to release potentialities that have never been expressed before, and suddenly I find that the work just, have you ever heard the expression, "Does itself?"

You ever said that, "It just does itself." It does when I get out of the way, when I stop resisting, when I let go of that tendency to suppress the potentialities which were always present.

This is true of any relationship. When you run into somebody on the street, if somebody fights you for a seat in the subway, in a sense not the person, but the experience, or life itself is asking you, "Who do you think you are?" What is your answer? Quite often we come up short. We're too busy talking about that so-and-so, or berating ourselves for getting into such a circumstance, but who do you think you are? "I am the Christ, the son of the living God." I have the power, the capacity to be non-resistant, to do what needs to be done, to brush myself off and move on.

Walk on. Who do you think you are? The part is, you may appear to be sick, but your sickness is only a partial expression, a frustration of the whole of you. You may be poor. You may be out of work, but this doesn't really represent the divine potential of you.

What are you? You are what you can be, and what can you be? You have to decide that, because in the potential God has created you in his image likeness, so you can be what you need to be at any time, whatever the experience is. You have the capacity to deal with it, to rise above it, to be blessed by it, and to go on.

You are what you can be, and what can you be? A perfect, healthy, radiant expression of the living God. You can be the I am-ness fulfilled.

This is not, however, that easy to see in ourselves. We're not accustomed to seeing it in ourselves. We're accustomed to looking in a mirror, and as one woman once told me, "Every time I go by a mirror, I look in it and I go, 'Eh.'" We're accustomed to thinking of ourselves out of inferiority, out of a sense of self-disrespect, out of a kind of a vindication of the problems and limitations of life, or the idea, "Well, it's nice if some people have potentialities, but I don't have them." Some people jokingly say, "I must have been behind the door when God passed out the brains." All these ridiculous self-judgements that we make of ourselves.

We need to build up a new awareness, or begin to see ourselves, as Paul says, "Not in a mirror darkly, but face-to-face." See ourselves as the I am-age of the divine process. You have a God potential within you and you have to respond, and every time life presents you with a challenge of any kind, shape, or form, life is asking you, "Who do you think you are?" How do you respond? "I am." "I am the Christ, the son of the living God. I have the capacity to deal with this, and I know that I'll go through it, and I'm going to do it, and I will do it easily and I will do it well," and I know that the result is not placed through somebody else, but simply an acknowledgement in myself that I am achieving the divine potential that has been mine from the very beginning. When we begin to deal with life on that basis, then life takes on new meaning.

028 Mirror feedback technique

I'm going to suggest, as a homework assignment, that you think about this. I'm going to suggest that you use the mirror feedback technique in your imaging consciousness. Literally, and figuratively, that occasionally you stand before the mirror and look at yourself, without sticking out your tongue, and asking yourself, "Who do you think you are?" No whimsically, but seriously, "Who do you think you are?"

Ask yourself this remembering that you are not simply flesh, that you're not simply environed by a hostile environment, you're not simply a person who's in this experience of life at the mercy of the whim and circumstance of the change in human events, but you are an individualized expression of the divine process expressing as you.

Tremendous potentialities for releasement and for growth. Who do you think you are? I am. I am, and I am divine potentiality expressing as me, I am the Christ, the son of the living God. I would like you to, if you literally stand in front of a mirror, go through this exercise, see yourself, carefully look beyond the appearance and say, "I am the Christ, the son of the living God," figuratively in a time of meditation, or sitting at your desk at the office, or wherever else you find yourself becoming surrounded by hostile experiences, and feel the tensions and pressures. Just close your eyes for a moment, look into a figurative mirror, and say, "Who do you think you are?" Then respond, "I am. I am one. I am whole. I am the each-ness within the all-ness of God. I am an individualized expression of a divine potentiality that is limitless. I am the Christ, the son of the living God." That can be as a healing treatment, but it can also redirect our whole attitude toward ourselves and toward life.

029 Ella Wheeler Wilcox poem

Let me close with a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. This is one of my favorites. She says,

THE CREED.

Whoever was begotten by pure love,
And came desired and welcome into life,
Is of immaculate conception. He
Whose heart is full of tenderness and truth,
Who loves mankind more than he loves himself,
And cannot find room in his heart for hate,
May be another Christ. We all may be
The Saviours of the world if we believe
In the Divinity which dwells in us
And worship it, and nail our grosser selves,
Our tempers, greeds, and our unworthy aims,
Upon the cross. Who giveth love to all;
Pays kindness for unkindness, smiles for frowns;
And lends new courage to each fainting heart,
And strengthens hope and scatters joy abroad--
He, too, is a Redeemer, Son of God.

— Ella Wheeler Wilcox

030 Meditation

I want you to be still with me for a moment. I would like you to just whisper for yourself right now, "I exist. I exist." Right here and right now, the whole universe is projecting itself in focus through an infinite and wonderful idea which I am. This is God's image likeness. Whatever else I am, it is simply this I am-ness that is being suppressed, seeing in a mirror darkly.

Let me remember and never forget that beyond the appearance, beyond the human, beyond the flesh, beyond the limitations of relationship and environment, there's an all-ness, there's a wholeness, there's an I am-ness. This is what I really am. When life asks of you, "Who do you think you are?" There's really only one answer, and it comes easily. I am. I am whole. I am an individualized expression of the infinite. I am the Christ, the son of the living God.

May you go forth this day, conscious of this great depth, committing yourself to the practice of it, dedicated to the realization that you are created in God's image likeness, that the image of God is the reality of you at the center of you. It is the wholeness of you which is present even if you're experiencing in part.

The Orientals have an expression, Namaskar, it's spelled N-A-M-A-S-K-A-R and pronounced Namaskar. It strictly means, "The divinity within me salutes the divinity within you." It's a beautiful realization to hold and trying to get centered in your awareness of the truth about other persons, but it's so especially good in helping yourself when you look in the mirror, literally or figuratively, just whisper to yourself, "Namaskar." That's all. The first thing in the morning when you stand before the mirror, perhaps to shave, or to wash, or to dress just quietly, "Namaskar." I salute the divinity within you. I see you as God's perfect child. Perfect in potential, not yet perfected. Lots of work to do. Perfect as a potential creature for expression. Namaskar.

Let's go on our way this day, conscious of this great truth, not trying to remember techniques, not trying to remember phrases or statements, simply try to remember who we are. Praise God for the truth that makes us free. Amen.


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