Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #33
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I’m very excited this morning. I’m excited because the thoughts that we want to share one with another are certainly among the most important of all of the insights in our study of truth. It’s the heart. It’s the core of the whole thing. And to me, it’s something that I feel very enthusiastic about.
In recent weeks, we have been dealing with my book Discover the Power Within You. And the whole book in a nut shell says very simply that you can be what you want to be and you can do what you need to do. That you can rise above any challenge in life. That you can find healing in any illness. You can achieve prosperity over any physical or environmental condition in your life simply because you are a spiritual being. Because you are a whole creature. And that you have the whole power of God within you. This is a very important insight.
Now obviously, there’s nothing new about this. I say so often that there’s nothing new in new thought. The message is ages old, and any of us that come along that have the audacity to say, “I have a new teaching to give to the world,” is probably haven’t been listening very much to the great teachings that have been given to the world since time immemorial.
The important thing is the realization that the fundamental insight that we discover in Jesus’ teaching has been rarely understand, rarely articulated. The church that has sprung up in the name of Jesus has been preoccupied with the religion about Jesus.
So in writing this book of mine, I have had the audacity, and some have told me that I have been very audacious, to raise the question what about the religion of Jesus? Who cares about this whole theology that has evolved relating to Jesus’ life, and what he did, and what he didn’t do, and all of the things that have evolved in the years since, the various historic creeds? It takes a very audacious person to say that. Who cares?
The important thing is what of the religion of Jesus? What did he teach? What was he about? What were his insights? Through millenniums of time, preachers have emphasized the divinity of Jesus. This has been the core and the center of the teaching of Christianity. I insist that this myth is entirely was Jesus was about. He taught and demonstrated the divinity of man.
Certainly Jesus was divine. People often say to me, “Do you mean to infer that Jesus wasn’t divine?” Of course he was divine. And so am I. And so are you. And so has every person been that has ever set foot upon this Earth, because of the fundamental principle of the divinity of man. Jesus taught it, demonstrated it, revealed it, proved it.
Unfortunately, people have been so busy seeing it in him that they’ve failed to acknowledge it and see it in one another. Great stress has been on the miracles of Jesus. And I always say, “Let’s forget about miracles.” “But do you mean to say that you don’t accept or believe that Jesus wrought miracles?” I accept and believe that he did what he did. Call them miracles if you want. I say the moment we call it a miracle, that moment we separate ourselves from the fundamental law by which they operated and we of this as something that happened way back there 2000 years ago under divine dispensation, whatever that means.
In other words, it means that Jesus pushed some buttons up there and the old boy upstairs said, “Well, he’s my son, so I guess I’ll let him get away with this. So he can walk on water and he can do all of these things.” That misses the whole idea.
The important thing is these things were done, whatever have been done at this time or any time as a result of fundamental universal law. And seldom do we hear Jesus’ clear perspective when he said, and if we could ever emphasize anything in the writings of the New Testament, these ought to be in the reddest of red letters, “All these things that I do, you can do too, and greater works than these shall you do if you have faith.” But we haven’t heard that, because that certainly doesn’t square with the religion about Jesus.
A very good friend of mine who happens to be a physicist, Oliver Reiser, who former professor of physics in the University of Pittsburgh, a very distinguished man in his field, had some insights that I think are extremely relevant to this concept that we’re dealing with now. In his book Cosmic Humanism, which is a very pedantic work, I don’t suggest anyone read it unless you’re in tune with that kind of pedantic language. But in the middle of all of this, he makes a statement that is some completely in tune with what we’re talking about.
He says, “In the long course of social evolution man has sanctified many things as the source of ultimate power, the object of veneration and worship. But he has seldom touched upon man’s essential divinity. Never have societies deified the creative force, the divinity of man. And yet, if there is one things it seems to me that Jesus sought to teach, it was the divinity within man. The Christ in you, undeveloped and unheeded.” I could’ve said the words myself but these were the words of Oliver Reiser in his book Cosmic Humanism.
Now, in my book I have made a clear distinction between Jesus and the Christ. I belabor this point. I talk about it a great deal because certainly I have to admit a lot of my confreres even within the unity movement and in the metaphysical movement do not seem to clearly get this difference which I think is so very important. We’ve been taught to believe that Jesus and Christ are synonymous terms. Normally when there’s a quotation from the New Testament it says Christ said this, and Christ said that, and Christ walked the waters, and Christ taught, and Christ died, and Christ resurrected.
I reject that entirely. Christ didn’t do anything. Christ certainly didn’t die and Christ didn’t resurrect. This is like saying, “Gravity came and went. Gravity went up in the sky and gravity came back to Earth.” The Christ you see is no a person, it is a divine level within the person. All person’s not just in Jesus. Certainly Paul says, “Christ in you, your hope of glory.” And this is a very important insight.
“Because it is that of you that is of God, that is God being projected into visibility as you. Christ in you is the true light that lightest every man coming into the world,” as John says. And this point of light in the heart of man that Paul referred to as the Christ was also the point of light within Laozi, within Buddha, within Plato, within Emerson, and within you, and you, and you, and me.
So therefore you see, the difference between Jesus and each one of us is not one of inherent spiritual capacity. The difference is in the demonstration of that spiritual capacity. In other words as I have said, Pontius Pilate and Jesus Christ were one as regards being, but they were poles apart as regards manifestation.
So, this is not a matter of putting Jesus down, but lifting ourselves up, to know that we are all a part of this dynamic flow of life. Each has within himself this tremendous God-potential which is the Christ in you, the hope of glory. But we have all eternity as our schoolroom in which to release this imprisoned splendor, to be about the Father’s business in other words.
Every person then, every person, is a spiritual being. Every person is innately good. Now that’s fundamental, that’s hard for us to realize, and we might even give intellectual assent to it, but it’s something we have to work on to get it into our consciousness. Every person is innately good. Every person is a potential Christ. But only a very few people know it. And an even fewer number succeed in expressing any marked degree of the perception of that in-dwelling Christ.
Now no less than Albert Schweitzer, one of the truly great souls of this century has expressed this same reverence for the divinity within, this same faith of the goodness of all persons. Let me quote some thoughts from Albert Schweitzer. He says,
“Our humanity is by no means so materialistic, as foolish talk, as continuously asserting it to be. I’m convinced that there is farm more in people than ever comes to the surface of the world. Just as the water of the stream we see is so small in amount compared to that which flows under ground. So the good that men do is small in amount compared with what men and women bear locked in their hearts. To unbind what is bound. To bring the underground waters to the surface. Mankind is waiting and longing for such as can do that. We ourselves must try to be the water which does find its way up. We must become a spring at which men can quench their thirst for gratitude.”
Rich thought out of the consciousness of Albert Schweitzer.
And one of the most misunderstood of the teachings of Jesus I want to deal with a little bit today. It concerns the kingdom of Heaven. Such confusion about this glorious realization. Interestingly enough, for those who read and study the gospels, Jesus makes 113 references to it. He refers to this concept more than anything other thing he talks about, so obviously it’s the heart and core of his teaching.
The disciples of course, thought that Jesus was referring to a political kingdom. They all thought this, and it’s important to know this. This is why they acted as they did. They thought he’d come along to overthrow the Roman oppression. You must remember that the people of Palestine at that day were under Roman rule, they were a conquered land. A dictatorship ruled them all and had them all in slavery as it were, and they were all compelled to do everything against their own will no matter what.
And all of the Jewish people out of their long heritage of the prophets of old had believed that there would come a Messiah, and the Messiah would come and preach not only the good news of the kingdom, but would actually help to set up the kingdom on Earth, so he would be a political leader. He would overthrow the government as it were. He would be a revolutionary.
So the disciples actually thought that this is what Jesus was about. But when the takeover of the system of his day did not occur, and Jesus was in fact put to death, theologians gradually evolved the idea of Heaven as the place in the skies. We all tend to do this. If something doesn’t happen when we think it should, we find all sorts of rationalizations come up.
We begin to say, “Well, after all, I guess it really didn’t matter anyway.” Or, “Maybe it’s better that it happen tomorrow.” Or, “Maybe I didn’t want it anyway.” We do all sorts of crazy things. So, this is what happened to Christian theology. It was putting this thing off, trying to justify the great belief that they had in this tremendous, dynamic spirit of Jesus. So obviously, he must have meant that he was coming some later time.
So, there evolved a whole system of thought referred to as eschatology. That’s a good $75 word. Eschatology. And the eschatological system referring to such things as the final judgment, the future state, the second coming of Christ, when the the role has called up yonder, when God opens up all of the graves and we all march before his throne of glory, and he separates the sheep from the goats, and all of these things that have come as a result of this eschatological concept have come out of a rationalization of theological perspective. Because somehow, they thought, “Well maybe Jesus meant some future time.”
And it was always something that was yet to come. Millions of people today, you may be surprised at this, maybe not surprised for the number of people that keep calling at you from the side streets to accept the lord Jesus Christ and be saved today, millions of people hopefully or fearfully look for some event to happen. And there are signs proclaiming the end is near all around you.
Where will you be when God comes into his kingdom? I will say, “I’ll be where I’ve always been. I’ll be right here.” And I’m not at all concerned, because as far as I’m concerned, God is in his kingdom and can’t get out of it. That’s one thing God can’t do. And I’m in it, and I can’t get out of it. I may not be aware of it, but I’m there. I’m here. Because there is an infinite process that’s omnipresent in time and space.
Now we know that a lot of fundamentalist preachers still breath hellfire and damnation, and talk of golden streets, and harps, and white robes. And we’d remember the great and interesting caricature of the classic work of Mark Connelly, Green Pastures when he has this God laying back on billowy clouds and looking out across the vast area of his domain and saying, “Well, I think I’ll just pass me a miracle.” “The Lord,” as Mark Connelly called him.
So all of this has come out of, even though it’s a caricature of this great eschatological concept of the kingdom of Heaven as something up there, and something that deals with futurity.
But what did Jesus have to say about it? All of this has come about as a result of the religion about Jesus. Rarely do we hear the words of Jesus relative to this, because he was very clear. He made no bones about it. In the 17th chapter of Luke and being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God cometh, he answered, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” In other words, you don’t see it. “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, neither shall they say lo here or lo there, for lo the kingdom of God is within you.”
Now how could you say it any clearer? He’s not talking about a place to which you go. It has nothing to do with the future, nothing to do with death or an afterlife. The only time is now. The kingdom of God is within you, and if it is within you, it must be within you right now. Not somewhere to go, but something to be. To be.
In one of the apocryphal books of the New Testament, the disciples ask Jesus, “When shall the kingdom come?” And he utters one of the most startling statements that have had any relevance whatever to all of the literature. Some spurious, some considered authentic, some pseudo apocryphal, some apocryphal. We don’t know what the source of all of these are. But of all of the things that have ever been related to Jesus in any way, or attributed to him, this is one of the greatest. “When shall the kingdom come?” He answered, “When the without shall become as the within.”
How could you say it any simpler? When the without shall become as the within. In other words, when you become an expression, what you were created to be. When you fulfill your potential, when you release your imprisoned splendor. Or from a worldview when the race of man is elevated to the level of universal perfection, then the kingdom has come. And of course, it’s beyond imagination for many folks.
Because there’s so much apparent evil in the world. How can we talk about the time when the whole race of man achieves perfection? Does anyone ever believe that?
One of the great poets, Robert Browning believed it. And he expressed a thought which I call one of the greatest utterances poetically, in literature, of all time. One of the greatest visions for the ultimate of man. Something that all of use would have to work a good while to even grasp in terms of seeing it as a potential, let alone being a part of its flow.
He saw the race of mankind as in a preparatory stage in the long evolution of the total potentiality of the race. And so he says, and these are his words, and I want you to listen to them carefully. He says, “Man’s self is not yet man. Nor shall I deem his object saved, his end attained, his genuine strength put fairly forth while only here and there a star dispels the darkness. Here and there a towering mind overlooks it’s prostrate fellows. When the host is out at once to despair of night, when all mankind alike is perfected, equal in full-blown power, then, not til then, I say begins man’s general infancy.”
In other words what’s he’s saying, and it’s a tremendous vision. He’s saying that it’s not a matter of each individual like a shooting star blasting off into space as he achieves fulfillment of the Christ potential. But when every single person achieves that fulfillment, and the light within every person becomes a radiant so great that there’s no night anymore. Everything is illumined, everything is light.
At that point, when we have absolute complete, total perfection, inconceivable as that is, among all persons everywhere, then he says, “We’re just at the starting point. Everything else is preparatory to that.” Can you believe that? Can you conceive of it? It’s pretty hard to get into our consciousness isn’t it? Because we get so depressed and so upset about what they’re doing, what’s going on in the world and so forth. Very hard to think of mankind in those terms.
Praise God that here and there down through the centuries there have been those little pools of light who have had that kind of confidence and conviction in the ultimate unfoldment of man. Potentiality of what the race of mankind is all about. Because man didn’t come to this planet to blow itself up.
But man came here individually and collectively to realize the kind of cosmic creatures that potentially are inherent within every person, to realize the fulfillment of that, and then to get on with the business of this great potential for the race of mankind, which we’ve only scratched the surface of in our present experience.
What a difference it would make if more people could catch Browning’s vision of life. Just to begin to think of life as dynamic and not static. In other words, the usual reservation or rationalization or excuse is, “Well you know, what can you do? I’m as I am and that’s about all you can be. What else can you do? It’s just the way I am. It’s the way people are. You might as well face it.”
But that’s to accept the idea that it’s all a static thing. Everything is just as it is, that we’ve all been sort of dumped out of the sky somewhere down here on the Earth, and some stand head up. and some are head down. and some are upside down. and some are confused and distorted, but that’s the way they are, what are you gonna do? That’s life. It’s a very confused attitude.
And I believe that if this were a description of reality, then certainly I for one would be an atheist. I would be one of the first ones to say it’s all futile, it’s all hopeless, there’s no point in going on. But I don’t believe that for a moment.
Regardless of what manifests, regardless of what you hear, what you see, what happens around you, what even happens to you, the important thing is that there is something dynamic that is working within you and within all persons, and within the race of man as a whole.
I love this little story which I’ve told before, it bears repeating I think, of the young boy who was accosted by a minister on the street, and there’s something about a minister. He’s gotta act the part of the preacher no matter where he is, that’s the little role he plays.
So he comes up to the little boy on the street and instead of saying, “How are you, young man?” And so forth, he pats him on the head preacher-like and he says, “Sonny boy, who made you?” As if he’s the Sunday school teacher. And what do you expect the youngster to say on a street corner no less? “Who made you?”
And the little boy looked up to him very disgusted and he said, “Well sir, to tell you the truth, I aint done yet.” It’s a very profound answer to a ridiculous question, certainly.
But you see, it’s a very important answer, because that is the truth about you. And you, and you, and you, and you, and you. That’s the truth about you. You’re not done yet. I don’t care what you’ve been. I don’t care what you’ve gone through. You can give me a resume of all of your accomplishments, you can give me a history of all of your challenges, all of your difficulties, you can tell me your tale of woe, you can repeat your organ recital if you will. I don’t care what all of these things may seem to imply in your life. You’re not done yet. This is all you’ve done or been up to this moment.
But life for you is dynamic, not static. And there’s more in you, no matter what may have happened to you before. There’s more in you. The kingdom of God is within you. Christ in you, your divine potential as your hope of glory.
Now this word Heaven is an interesting word. It’s been overworked and it has been given sort of a classic crystallized definition relating to the place up there. The word if we look at it carefully comes from the Greek root Ouranos, which literally means expanding. Now what does that have to do with some place up in the sky? Expanding? The kingdom of expansion.
This is like the animal kingdom, or the kingdom of the world of agriculture or whatever. It’s talking about a realm. There is a realm of expansion, there is a place there is level of consciousness in which all things are constantly growing, unfolding, expanding. This is a fundamental principle of life. It’s the very nature of life: to grow. Never forget that. No matter what you’ve experienced, life is growth. And if you grow through this instead of just miserably going through it, it shall be a tremendous, dynamic process of unfoldment for you no matter what the challenge may have been.
This is why Jesus, in trying to explain this kingdom of Heaven that he talks about so much, gives a number of parables, a number of illustrations. He says, “The kingdom of Heaven is like a sower going forth to sow.” The mustard seed. The leaven that leavenoth the lump. He goes on and on giving all of these many illustrations.
And certainly there are a strange lot of examples if he’s talking about some place in the sky as to which you go. He’s talking about the dynamic growth potential which is is ever within the person no matter what happens. The kingdom of God, the kingdom of Heaven is within you. This dynamic potential for growth by which you can, like the formula of life itself, the pattern within the rose, or within the lily or whatever, breaks through the shell in this period of spring and experiences its dynamic process of growth. The kingdom of fulfillment is always within. The Christ is always within. How few people really know this?
The average person unfortunately, who as one of the poets says normally dies with all of his music in him, who goes through all of his life and never really realizes what life is as a dynamic experience. The average person lives his life from the outside in. Life for him becomes the sum total of what’s happened to him. What he’s amassed, what he’s gained, the number of friends he had, what people have said about him, what they’ve written about him. So ultimately you could say, and in many cases that life for the average person is what they write up in the obituary.
But that has nothing whatever to do with the dynamic something that is going on within the person. Every person completely frustrates his potential if he lets his level of consciousness be determined by what they say, or what conditions appear to be, or what you read in the paper, or what’s going on around you, or the sign of the times. The person then becomes little more than a barometer registering the conditions of the world.
And usually he builds a whole kind of what passes for a philosophy where he says, “Well, you know, things are upset and difficult in this day, so that’s why I’m so upset and confused. I’m angry because this happened. He said that, this has happened in the world, so I’m worried and I’m fearful. And of course I’m worried and fearful. You’d be worried and fearful too if these things has happened.” And that makes a lot of sense to a lot of us, because that’s the thing that is passed for philosophy through the ages.
It has nothing whatever to do with the reality of life. Man is not simply an unconscious barometer registering the conditions around him so that his blood boils when things around him are upset. Consciousness plays a very vital role for any of us, or it can do. Instead of being a barometer, consciousness can become a thermostat. That is what mind is intended to do, so that it can automatically adjust itself. Like the thermostat in your room. If it’s hot outside than the thermostat determines what happens to the electronic devices and suddenly you have coolness within side to compensate for the heat outside. When it’s cold outside, you have heat inside to compensate for it.
This is the way that thermostatic control of consciousness is intended to work within us. As Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation, but I have overcome the world. Things out here may be difficult but I relate myself to the divine flow and I am able to deal with them. I can handle them. I can overcome. I can rise above them. This is because this is the way man is innately intended to be. This is the power within you no matter what happens, no matter what changes take place, you have within you the power to rise above it, to adjust, to overcome.
Like the little boy said when he’s trying to push the table around and the mother comes up and said, “Sonny, you can’t push that table. It’s bigger than you are.” He said, “This table is not bigger than me. I’m as big as the table, and I can do what I want with it.” And so, in his consciousness, he had the feeling that he was big enough. And if you feel that you’re big enough, you’re big enough, you see. It’s not that things out here are so big that they overwhelm you, it’s the realization that you are so big in consciousness that you can deal lovingly, and effectively, and powerfully, and non-resistantly with that which seems to overcome. And then you overcome the world.
How beautiful it is when we come to understand this truth. Jesus came declaring he shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. It really doesn’t matter what happens around you. We live in different times, and so often we let ourselves say, “Well, these are troubled times.” And that becomes simply an excuse for saying, “Well, these are times when everybody’s gotta be upset.”
There’s never a time in all history, and certainly today, when anyone has an excuse for being afraid. When anyone has an excuse for being worried. You’re afraid or you’re worried if you wanna be afraid and worried. A lot of people wanna be afraid. Okay, go ahead and be afraid. A lot of people wanna be worried. A lot of people like to read the paper, and the stock market, and say, “Oh were, were, were, these are terrible times.”
There have always been troubled times. I the world you have tribulation, that’s what the world is all about. But man has the ability to take the tribulation and turn it into order and harmony. To take the chaos and resolve it into the cosmos. That’s what man is all about. That’s the whole teaching of Jesus. So, it doesn’t matter what happens around you or to you. These things are always in the world and you can always overcome the world. All that really matters is what is happening in you. Where is the level of your thought? Your thoughts about conditions and about people have everything to do with what life becomes to you. And as we say so often to the point that it almost becomes a cliché, you can change your thoughts. Because you are the master of your mind. Or you can be. And that’s what life is all about.
Now, Jesus recognized that the greatest foe of the idea of the kingdom of Heaven as an inner potential in men was Phariseeism. The Pharisees in his time symbolized the preoccupation with externals, with custom-made convictions. And he said, “Whoe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut the kingdom of Heaven against men.”
Now, he wasn’t that much prejudiced against the people. But he certainly was prejudiced against that which they stood for, because it was that which stood against the awakening or the break through in consciousness to the realization of the divine potential within the individual.
To most persons, I think you’ll probably agree, religion is synonymous with a church service, or with a prayer book, or with a church that you join and that you attend once in a while. Or as some man says, that’s the church I stay away from. For most persons, religion is a spectacle that you witness. It’s a performance. It’s a ritual. It’s a prayer book that you pick up, or a bible that you hold under your arms. Religion for many persons as one writer has referred to it is a badge of conventional respectability. It’s good to be seen going to church, the right one of course. Belonging to the right kind of church thus often becomes more important than being the right kind of person.
Now when we come to understand this tremendous God-potential, this tremendous fundamental law of consciousness that intersperses all things as the great goal of life, then what do we call the church? Wherever it is, and whatever denomination or sect it may be, should become a place of learning. A place to discover and research the deep potential within the person. But like any place of learning, like a college and institution or any kind, the church should forever be trying to put itself out of business.
The church for forever be trying to put itself out of business. In other words, to make itself progressively unnecessary. It’s what happens when you go to school. The college doesn’t try to make you forever a student. It’s trying to make you with independent, to help you to understand the laws and to go on where they left off, right?
If one could never get any farther than that which he got out of a textbook, then we’d never have an evolving science. But we still on the other hand when it comes to religion, we’re told everything is in the church and your life depends upon your being in the church, and you only exist for the church. That’s the concept. It’s a hideous doctrine. I say it even though the roof hasn’t fallen in yet, but it might.
The purpose of the church, the purpose of religion is to help people to get along without it. Now that’s not my insight, that comes from a great Scottish preacher Henry Drummond. I’m glad he said it and not me. I can hide behind him. The great purpose of the church is to help people to get along without it. And yet, he wasn’t putting down the church. He was a great preacher. Very successful. Crowds of people came to listen to the man because he was not trying to make them forever lifetime members of a church out here, but to help them to know their one-ness with the eternal church of the spirit within. So that wherever they go, they are in that consciousness.
And they came back again on Sunday, and Sunday, and Sunday to hear more of this because it helped them to better understand themselves. He wasn’t trying to perpetuate the church, he was trying to help the individual to find his own God-self and God-potential.
Actually, in the book of Revelation we read a great vision, and it tells of the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven, “And I saw no temple therein.” No temples, no churches, no sanctuaries, no tabernacles, nothing. Why?
Because you see, this vision of the future reveals a God-inhabited society and a God-intoxicated people. This is what Browning is talk about. When persons have finally come to the realization of the full awareness of their own God-potential, and each one has achieved this level of perfection which is almost impossible for us to even contemplate. Then begins man’s general infancy. And begins a time when we’re not hard at working building up the church, the church has done its work. We’re building up the tremendous collective kind of society that can come when people are God-intoxicated. When they’re one with the consciousness and the presence.
Now, these words that I express today could be grossly misinterpreted and misunderstood. Some may say, “Well, he’s talking today about tearing down the churches,” and I’m not at all. Certainly not at all. You see, the only idea of placed emphasis upon the church as an institution, no matter what happens to the world save the church, but we must know that the church exists if it exists at all. It exists only as an instrument to motivate people to stir up their own innate spiritual power by which they may save the world. When the church is doing its work, it’s not out in politics, it’s not out with the clergy with his collar marching in protest parades and so forth, because these are only outward evidences. They’re camouflage, cosmetics. This isn’t what it’s all about.
When the church is doing its work, it’s helping people to find their own innate source of guidance so that people as individual are out pushing the levers in the voting booth, are out becoming the congressman and becoming the business people no so forth who are God-intoxicated. Oftentimes, and I must say it, know this can be misunderstood. Oftentimes the church is so busy in dabbling in politics, taking a political position for this, and this, and this that the people themselves who are sitting there in congregations are left totally out except to say, “Yes, I think that’s right.” And, “No, I don’t think that’s right.”
But in terms of the church’s work to help the individual to find his own relationship with a divine process, to know his own innate God-self, to find the deep springs of guidance within himself. Quite often, that’s totally left out. I was talking a few years ago with a marvelous women, and I wanna say this, one of the most dynamic people that I’ve ever known who had given up her profession and had gone back to ministerial school, I think Harvard Divinity School, and had become a minister, and was taking over one of the great churches of Harlem. Doing a magnificent job in terms of community action.
And I was talking with her one time when they were having some sort of a debate over at the Harvard Club I believe it was. And after it was all over I said, “You know, I think you’re a marvelous person. I think you have tremendous insight.” But I said, “I think you’re in the wrong profession. I think you’re a sociologist. I think you should be I politics.” I said, “But what about spiritual truth? What about helping people to know their own innate divinity?”
She looked at me as if I was speaking a foreign language. She said, “Don’t talk ridiculous sense to me. What these people need is somebody to push and pull and get things done out here in the world.” Well of course somebody needs to do those things. But I said to her, I said, “I’m sorry. I say again, I feel you’re in the wrong profession. And actually I believe that you’re letting your people down.”
And that was hard, it was hard for me to say it, and I’m sure it wasn’t accepted. And some may misunderstand it now. But, I believe the most important thing, and the sadly neglected thing in our time, is the realization of the truth that makes people free, to help individuals to know their own innate-ness. “Are you saved?” Some people say.
Saved for what? From what? I like to think I’m saved, I don’t know, for the day. But what does it mean to be saved? The important thing is every person must realize that he has the power within himself to achieve first of all a kind of stability so that he can become peaceful and can become a peace maker, and can become an influence for good in the world.
He should not be seeking to be saved from a vicious world, because if he is, then he’s looking for some sort of religious elitism where he can be isolated in a segment over here, and then there’s so easily gives rise to the thought, “Well, you know, if all the good people would just unite and get rid of all the bad people, we’d have a great world.”
And that kind of a simplistic solution always leads to war, or the warring attitudes that tear our society apart. That isn’t where it’s at. Because as long as we think of getting rid of the bad people, right away we’re looking for the bad in people. We’re judging people. And who’s to decide who’s good and who’s bad? After some of the things I’ve said, I’m sure there’d be some Christian fundamentalists who would like to say I’m one of the bad ones.
But that isn’t the goal of society. It’s not to get rid of the bad, but it’s to get rid of the bad perspectives. It’s to get a new insight where we can salute the divinity within, in ourselves and in other people, and believe in the inherent goodness within people, and devote ourselves in projecting this consciousness of the good, better, best I’ll never let it rest until my good is better and my better is best in ourselves. And then seeing our lives become an influence to bring about that greater fulfillment of the good in other persons around us. The world today needs examples.
“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them,” said Jesus. And there’s a lot to do. It’s not all that easy. You know, I think sometimes in our metaphysical approach we tend to get so involved in affirming the truth and treating for this, that, and the other in our lives that we ignore the world around us. It’s so important to know that it’s not a matter of being saved from society, it’s a matter of getting into the consciousness that we must be saved with society. We must help to lift it up.
Jesus said, and it’s hardly ever repeated, “If I be lifted up, will draw on men onto me.” He’s not talking just about himself, this is the Christ principle. If I work to lift my own consciousness I will lift people around me. I will lift my family. I will lift my business. I will lift my neighborhood.
If I keep lifting myself up into a higher level of consciousness rather than just being pulled down sympathetically and then worry, and then anxiety. Herbert Spencer once said, “No one can be perfectly moral until all are moral. No one can be perfectly free until all are free. No one can be perfectly happy until all are happy.”
So, when we begin to treat people individually and in groups as spiritual beings, and that takes some doing. Saluting the divinity within them. Then we will begin to give, and receive, and do business on a higher level of consciousness, on a level of love, and mutuality, and trust. We’ll begin to expect more of ourselves and to expect more of others. And we will treat people as if they already were what our faith reveals that they can be. Thus, we will become a great influence for good in the world.
One of the heartwarming stories coming out of the darkness of Nazi terror in the second world war is the story of Philip Grenier who was subjected to just about every kind of indignity because he was a man of peace. He rotted in prison, and his family were harassed and starved, but he had caught the vision of this God-potential, of the dynamics of the kingdom within.
And none of these things had any influence on him, and he was a tremendous example to all those who had eyes to see. And after the war when an American officer called on him in his cell, he says that that visit with this great soul was the greatest inspiration of his life.
Here are a few words from the diary of Philip Grenier, that great soul. He says,
“If you are a disciple of the master, it is up to you to illumine the Earth. You do not have to groan over everything the world lacks, you are there to bring it what it needs. There where reign hatred, malice, and discord, you will put love, pardon, and peace. For lying, you will bring truth. For despair, hope. For doubt, faith. There where is sadness, you will give joy. If you are in the smallest degree the servant of God, all these virtues of light you will carry with you. And don’t be frightened by a mission so vast. It is not really you who are charged with the fulfillment of it. You are only the torchbearer.”
“The fire, even if it burned within you, even when it burns you, is never lit by you. It uses you as is used the oil in the lamp. You hold it, you feed it, you carry it around, but it is the fire that works. The fire that gives light to the world and to yourself at the same time. Do not be the clogged lantern that chokes and smothers the light, the lamp timid and ashamed, hidden under a bushel. Flame up and shine before men. Lift high the fire of God.”
Tremendous realization. You don’t have to fret over what the world lacks. Flame up and shine. Don’t let yourself be all that troubled, and worried, and anxious about all the things around you. Let your light shine. Let the light of your faith, your love express. Again as Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation, but I have overcome the world.” In other words, meet life at a higher, and higher, and higher level of consciousness.
And as one poet says, “The great sin of mankind is not to know the divinity that lies unexpressed within every individual, not to know thine own divinity.” Maybe the millennium that man has looked forward to must come to individuals one by one, and the time is now. Make the great discovery for yourself, the discovery of this God-potential, the discovery of this dynamic God-level, the Christ of you. It’s not that you suddenly become perfect, but suddenly you know where you’re going and you know where you’re from.
The knowledge of that God-self of you, and this has all seem to been put together in that lovely hindustani word that I use so often, Namaskar. Namaskar. Take a look at yourself in the mirror occasionally. Perhaps sometimes every day. Take a look at yourself and say to yourself, “Namaskar. I salute the divinity within you. I see the God-self of you. I see beyond the unperfections. Beyond the personality defects. Beyond the anxieties and the fears. And I see this tremendous depth within you, and I know that this is the reality.
And then go out and act the part. See how long you can live in this consciousness, acting from this level of awareness. Behold people of your world: your friends, your neighbors, your enemies, your strangers in the consciousness of Namaskar. “I see the God-potential within you.” And then treat them as if they are what they should be.
No matter where you are in life, no matter what you may be experiencing, no matter how many heartaches you have or think you have, there is more in you. There is a divinity within you. The very kingdom of God is within you. You can release your potential, and we know that you can because this is the great demonstration of Jesus. He proved that you had the potential and that you can release it. And that as I see it, is what Jesus really taught.
Now I’d like us to be still for a moment.
And I want you to take just one moment in turning within in an awareness of the word beyond words, the depth within the depth, the light that transcends the light. That same light that lighteth every man coming in the world. In your imagination, for a moment, visualize a little spark of light. George Washington once referred to this when he said, “That little spark of light which a man may desecrate but never quite lose.” Like the pilot light in your stove. No one can ever extinguish that light, because that is the activity of God expressing as you.
And that light in you is you. It is more you than the self that you’re disturbed with, than the complexes that you’re faced with. It’s more you than the behavior that you’re concerned about. This is the reality of you.
In this moment just make the commitment that from time to time you’ll be still and turn your thought within and let your gaze be fixed and centered upon that tiny spark of light. And let it shine.
And let it be kindled within you as a living flame. As Grenier says, “Flame up and shine.” And to the degree that you let that light shine, suddenly you are faced with a power so transcendent that nothing can stand in your way. Nothing can harm you or hurt you, but they can keep you from your good.
This is your key to success, to healing, but even more it is the one means by which you can fulfill your destiny and be a part of the ongoing-ness and the perfection of the race of mankind.
And so let us feel, perhaps with a sincerity that we’ve never known before, truly grateful for that realization. I know the truth, and the truth makes me free. And so be it.