EBUP12: Breakthrough to Wholeness

Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #12

Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — Breakthrough to Wholeness

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In this wonderfully diverse group of people, there’s one thing that we all have in common. We’re all on the search for truth, a quest for understanding of the world in which we live, the principles by which it operates. Most of all, we seek an insight into what we are and why we are as we are.

This morning, I would like you to consider with me a great truth that is so subtle it is rarely acknowledged directly, but it is implicit in everything that occurs as a result of faith in general. I’m referring to it simply as the “breakthrough to wholeness.” Actually, it is the key that Jesus taught, the key insight, but the Christian has been invariably so preoccupied with adoring he who taught that he has failed to grasp what he taught. He said, “I am come that you may have life and may have it abundantly.”

The Christian theologians have been so involved in Jesus’ death on the cross, and so often they have failed to perceive his message of life. We don’t mean life explained as getting by and making adjustments. Not a dreary, humdrum, unsatisfying existence, not a trying round of in harmony, discord, and unhappiness, but life abundant, enriched by divine love, replete with the guiding, directing, protecting influence of the underlying presence.

All the biologists who ever lived have never really seen life. All the psychologists who have ever lived have never seen the mind. All the theologians but the other could not tell what God looks like. And yet, we do live, we do think, and are animated and inspired by a transcendent force that we call God. Human life has what the philosopher calls an unexplained over-endowment for mere existence, which is his meager attempt to explain transcendence. But you can only be explained in terms of your potential. What are you? You are what you can be, a perfect child of God. But like the acorn that is the oak tree with a built-in process for achieving its oak tree-ness, so you are perfect, but not yet perfected.

Jesus taught and demonstrated this perfect person. He proved the truth that you can become, and he demonstrated the technique through which you can become. You see, in this universe, you are a very special person. Within you is the unborn possibility of limitless life, and yours is the privilege of giving birth to it. It’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it? The kingdom of God, the fullness of your divine potential is always within you. There’s always within you the wherewithal to surpass yourself. There’s always an ever-present bias on the side of healing, of overcoming, of succeeding.

Unless you catch this dynamic revelation, you’re simply committing yourself to what I call are custom-made convictions. They’ve much to do with the divinity of Jesus, which have little to do with your own divinity. The unfortunate thing is that the average person seeks out religion to find understanding and guidance, but he seeks in his self-image of inferiority. What happens, tragically, is that he has heaved upon him a burden of guilt, a custom-made belief in his sinfulness.

I got a letter from a person some time ago, writing about the help that he had received from our morning radio broadcast and expressing his word of thanks. He said that he had been a faithful member of a Christian church, that he had become progressively disenchanted. He said, “I just plain got tired of making the effort to go to church and then being told how awful I am. For a long time,” he said, “I’ve been longing to hear how good I am in potential, and then to discover how I can unfold that goodness. So when I first heard your broadcast, I cried out, ‘Eureka.’”

Another person rationalizes his negative and self-limiting attitudes about himself in the face of a serious problem that he deeply wishes he could resolve. He says, “It’s just the way I am. You can’t change human nature. It would take a miracle, like reaching for the moon.” Of course, he didn’t seem to catch the inappropriate metaphor, because man has reached the moon in our time.

But the great message of Jesus, when fully comprehended, would tell this person you can change. You don’t have to be that way. You’re not only human, you’re human and divine, and the divine of you is enclosed in the shell of the human. This is a metaphor that we should reflect upon. The seed that contains the potential flower or tree germinates and breaks the shell, experiencing its breakthrough to wholeness. Just what it is that takes place in that seed and causes the metamorphosis, perhaps no one really knows. Maybe we don’t need to know. But suddenly there’s a breakthrough. A new form of life springs forth.

We accept that in nature. We limit its awareness in ourselves. When the bulb breaks forth as the lily, it is obviously that something in the bulb has happened. Something took place. Something dramatic. We see the results. When a caterpillar spins itself a cocoon and in a few days the cocoon breaks open to release a butterfly, it’s a miracle, we say. A marvelous demonstration. Obviously, something happened in that cocoon.

When the prodigal son comes to himself and goes to the father and the impetuous wastrel that went out into the far country returns home as the beloved son in whom his father is well-pleased, obviously out there something had happened. Something dramatic.

When Zaccheus, the mean tax collector, had that fateful lunch with Jesus, and emerges to announce that he’s going to give half of his great wealth to the poor, amazing. Something dramatic had happened. When the fallen woman experienced the look of Jesus and became the faithful Mary Magdalene, something dramatic had happened. When Lazarus, three days in the tomb, awakened and came forth from death to life, obviously something transcendent had happened. Perhaps we can’t know what it is. Maybe we don’t need to know. But we need to believe that there is that transcendent power always working in the midst of us, we can only accept.

In the ninth chapter of John, the story of Jesus healing the man who had been blind from birth, later the neighbors saw him and were puzzled. They asked, “Isn’t this the man that sat and begged?” He said, “I am he.” So they brought him to the Pharisees, who pressed him about the healing. They wanted to know who the man was, how he had accomplished the miracle. They were skeptical. They called the blind man’s parents and asked them, “Is this your son who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” They said, “This is our son, but how he was healed, we know not. But he’s of age, ask him.” So again they called the man that had been blind. They pressed him at length, trying to get him to say that Jesus had broken the law. He answered, “Whether he’s a sinner, I know not. But one thing I know, whereas I was blind, I now see.”

And we shouldn’t be too harsh on the Pharisees. Recovering of sight to the blind is a pretty unusual thing, and they were thinking, even if it happened, something must have taken place. What was that something? The link between the man who was helplessly blind and the one who sees and is now free to go about normally.

Successful persons are often asked to give the secret of their success. More often than not, they really don’t know, so they give the usual cliches about working hard, getting up early, remaining at work late, saving their money, etc. But there are many others who have done all those things and have never risen above mediocrity. What is the missing link between the poor country boy and the man of great success? What was the missing link between the crude lad walking the streets of Philadelphia with a loaf of bread under each arm and the great philosopher statesman Benjamin Franklin? Something happened in these people. It led to a dramatic breakthrough from one experience and one way of life to another.

Turning to the scripture story for a moment, the Pharisees wanted to know what was the missing link between the boy blind from birth and the man with new eyes, leaping and singing and praising God for sight. Down through the ages, man has always wanted to know what is this amazing breakthrough. Perhaps you can look back in your experience and truth. Just for a moment, look back. Reflect upon the person that you once were. Fearful, anxious, harried, weak and sickly, negative, pessimistic. And look at yourself today, perhaps seeing a far different person. Something happened. What was it?

You probably will be quick to say, “Oh, it didn’t happen all at once. It’s the result of many years of study, of listening to Truth Talks, much reading, much discipline, prayer, and meditation, much persistence to keep on and on and on.” And all of that is true. But there is a sense in which it did happen all at once. Perhaps it always does, in a flash.

Somewhere along the road there was a change of direction. It’s a good illustration. If a car was driving towards Chicago on the turnpike and we suddenly see it driving toward New York, we haven’t seen it, but we know that somewhere along the way it stopped, turned about, and started in a new direction. So that point of change, that turnabout, was the missing link, the breakthrough.

And that point of change, that something that happened, was not a miracle of God. If we put it on that basis and we get involved in thinking maybe he will, maybe he doesn’t want to, maybe he’s not ready, maybe I’m not worthy. It’s not a miracle of God. It was a demonstration of life’s inherent transcendence. Whatever happened, it was not outside of life or outside of spiritual and natural law. What happened in cocoon as the butterfly broke forth was not outside of law. What happened in the caterpillar in the cocoon is a divine process that is inherent within the life force itself. What happened in every case is a promise of what can happen in life and under law to all persons.

What happened to the lily, to Lazarus, yes, and even to Jesus in his resurrection, life happened. In every case it was simply a breakthrough from the potential to the real. It was the universe breaking through.

It’s important to note that the first urge to run away into the far country was also an aspect of the urge for transcendence in the prodigal son. In other words, he had to go out so he could come in. And the at home prodigal, before and after, were two different levels of consciousness. And for him, the only way to get on the higher level was through the kind of growth that he achieved and the painful process of coming to know what in the far country.

This is not to say that man has to suffer, but sometimes we must suffer to make the change in consciousness that can be made. It’s the choice that we make, whether we take the short road or the long way around. The caterpillar can become a beautiful winged creature of the air, but it must first go through the painful death-like experience in the cocoon. Gibran has this in mind when he says, “What is pain, but the breaking of the shell that leads to understanding.” The breaking of the shell that leads to understanding is the breakthrough.

And what this is, is there can be no overcoming without something to overcome. IF we can see the effect of the overcoming as good, then it follows that the problems that required an experience of overcoming were good, too. But we need often to think about this. When we experience the difficulty, the heartaches, the reverses, call it good. You’re on the verge of something happening.

The story is often told of Myrtle Fillmore. In her story we have a clue to the matter of the missing link, the answer to what happened in the great demonstrations of healing and overcoming. Here was a woman who, along with her husband, Charles, had been beset with physical and financial troubles almost beyond endurance. She and her husband had been seeking and searching. They attended metaphysical lectures, studied all sorts of things that fostered new thought at that time in the 1880s, and one night, at a lecture by an obscure lecturer named E.B. Weeks, an idea seemed to click in her consciousness. It was an affirmation. “I am a child of God, therefore I do not inherit sickness.”

She and her husband began to say this affirmation over. It has always been claimed that the idea was the birth of Unity, a turning point in her life, so in the lives of countless people who were later influenced by she and her husband. But actually, this idea was not the turning point. Many others have affirmed that truth, have not been healed. They’ve claimed it over and over for themselves without the astonishing results the Fillmores had.

So what is it that caused the breakthrough? Solomon said, “As he thinketh within his heart, so is he.” As he thinketh within his heart, so is he. The emphasis must be on the within himself, in his heart, and within ourselves we think in pictures. As a man thinketh within himself means as he envisions things in mind, as he sees himself. In other words, the law of mind is what you see yourself as being, you become.

So regardless of their desires, their interest in spiritual truth, their efforts to obtain healing through spiritual means, the Fillmores had been affirming the new thought and yet probably actually thinking of themselves, actually seeing themselves, as limited, sickly, poor, inheritors of disease. The great breakthrough to wholeness came in that moment when Myrtle Fillmore saw the light, when she had that sudden flash of revelation, when she saw herself for the first time as a child of God. Actually saw herself as a child of God. In that instant, the turning point began.

From that time on she gradually unfolded a whole and perfect body and the fortunes of the Fillmores changed wonderfully for the better. She went on to live 40 years after the time the doctors had told her she had six months to live.

At our summer retreat, we’ve used an interesting technique to graphically illustrate the breakthrough process. Let me briefly describe the technique, just to get it fixed in your mind. You can work on it as homework when you get to your desk and get a notebook that you can write in. Just imagine a piece of paper, perhaps a large 8 1/2 x 11 sheet. Divide it into three parts by drawing two horizontal lines across the center of the page. You’ve got three equal parts. Can you visualize this paper with three equal parts?

Give a heading to the upper section, challenge. Write it up in the upper corner. In the bottom part of the lower section, write the word breakthrough. On the other page, the three equal parts, the upper challenge, the lower breakthrough, nothing in the center.

Now, what is the most troubling problem in your life today? You might have a hard time deciding which because you might be saying, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen.” Pick one, one that you think of as a very important trouble that you’re trying to find and overcome again. I want you to take, in your mind and later when you get to your desk and you work it out in real, write this challenge in narrative form in the upper segment of the divided page. Write it as a description of how you feel, what’s wrong, what the difficulties are.

You might say something like this, “I’ve been having an increasingly difficult time with my superior on my job. There seems to be a wall of hostility between us, but my job security and any possible advancement depend on cooperation and communication.” And that’s a problem. It’s a challenge. Write it out in a narrative form.

You may want to take another sheet, make another study of the challenge and the breakthrough, possibly relative to healing or some relationship problem. Write in narrative form in the top segment the problem that you’ve experienced in consciousness. Now you have two pages partially fulfilled.

Let’s be clear on what we’re doing. Wherever there’s a breakthrough, there was first some kind of challenge. For every challenge, there’s a potential breakthrough of healing or overcoming. Think about this. In back of the oak tree is an acorn, and in every acorn there’s an oak tree. Within the woman taken in adultery there was a potential Mary Magdalene. In back of the woman she had been was the woman, the woman she became was the woman she had been.

Now, on the pages in which you have described the challenge, in each case, writing in the bottom segment under breakthrough, envision how things will be when you experience the demonstration. Get the feeling that the desired help or healing is done. Describe how it feels and how your life has become, writing it as if it were already true. Of course, you’re saying, “How would I like it to be,” and put it in the form of this is the way it is. The projected vision. Do this on the several pages that you’re working on.

For instance, on the challenge dealing with the problem with your superior, you could envision the breakthrough something like this. I had an opportunity to do a favor for the supervisor, which evoked a word of gratitude. And the upshot is there’s a new bond of love and friendship between us. Today I found out that the same supervisor is being transferred and he’s recommended me for her replacement.

This is your dream. This is your ideal. This is the goal that you set for yourself. Do the same thing about your healing. The worksheet that you worked out on some physical problem you may have, put in the top part of the page, if you have an experience of pain in your hands, probably arthritis, and it’s threatening to curtail your skills so that you’ll be unable to perform on your job and you’re terribly fearful about it, in the bottom segment, you might write, “I woke up this morning. My hands are free from pain, supple, and I went to work ready to work and confident that everything has worked out in my life and I’m grateful.” Just write it in a story form.

And the interesting thing, and this exercise will reveal, you have two pages. You may have many of them, whatever you want to work on, with things at the top of the page and the bottom of the page, but the center of the page is blank. The mysterious center segment. This indicates that the process in the seed or the cocoon, you’re moving unconscious within yourself where the transcendent force of spirit works its metamorphosis. Again, as I’ve said, you don’t have to know what happens in there. Perhaps it’s the great mystery of life. Not that you can’t understand it, but you can’t put it into words. You can’t describe it because it’s non-material. It’s spiritual. Spiritual things can only be spiritually discerned.

You might think of this as the inner chamber that Jesus talks about. When you pray, enter into the inner chamber and close the door. Close the door on your intellect, on the desire to know all about the facts. Pray to the Father in secret. As the psalmist calls it, the secret place of the most high. Get the sense that there is a great bias for healing within you. Jesus calls it, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” It’s a tremendous force.

What is this force? How does it work? We don’t want to over-simplify the process, but this exercise may impress you with confidence in your potential for overcoming and healing. We’ll come back to this in our closing realization exercise.

Job pointed this missing link, the central point where life happened. He says, “I had heard of thee with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eyes seeth thee.” The hearing of the ear represents your intellectual acquisition of things. “Oh yes, I know that,” we say. “I’ve heard that. I read that.” We can describe it and define it, we can repeat it verbatim, perhaps, but now mine eyes seeth thee.

I’ve often said in our quest for healing or overcoming we have to keep on and keep on and keep on until we catch on, until suddenly, something happens. We’re not saying words anymore. Suddenly we know it’s true. We actually see ourselves in the new way. We find ourselves saying, “Aha, now I see.” Paul said, “The earnest expectation of the creation, the weight of the revealing of the sons of God.” The earnest expectation of the creation. The expectation of this demonstration of this healing, of this overcoming depends upon a revelation coming in your consciousness. Your revelation of this is the truth, I see it.

Isaiah talks about this when he says, “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning and they health shall spring forth speedily.” The dawning of light. Suddenly, health springs forth speedily. Myrtle Fillmore experienced light. She may have said to herself, she probably did, though maybe not in words, “Now I see. I see.”

The real secret of the healing miracles of Jesus was his ability to inspire faith in those he would heal. Faith is merely spiritual perception, the ability to see yourself as being or having or doing something even before it’s visible to the eyes. This is a depth of faith many of us need to work to realize. Spiritual perception, the ability to see yourself as being or having or doing something even before it’s visible to the eyes.

So when Jesus said, “Believest thou that I can do this thing,” he was challenging the people to see themselves as whole and perfect, to see beyond the limited appearance, thus to experience the revealing, the consciousness of divine sonship, your relationship to the wholeness of the universe. His was the purest vision the world has ever known. He could see purity and wholeness and strength and courage where they seem not to exist. His seeing was so powerful that it reached into the mind and heart of people, enabling the person to experience his own breakthrough.

This projection of light broke through their limited beliefs so they could see this truth for themselves. At that point of seeing there was a great breakthrough to wholeness, and as Myrtle Fillmore suddenly caught the idea that she was a child of God who did not inherit disease, and actually saw herself in that light, so you can experience the revelation of your innate wholeness as a child of God.

You come as a turning point, a point of light, a point of revelation, a point of seeing. From that point it will evolve a whole and perfect body and a sense of wholeness in terms of prosperity and harmony in all your affairs. To the great admonition is keep on, keep on, keep on, and you will catch on.

I want you to close your eyes now and have a visualization exercise with me. Call to mind now the sheet that you’ve worked out, the page divided into three equal parts by drawing two horizontal lines across the center of the page. Think about this challenge that you’ve set forth that you’re going to work on as being one of the most important ones you’re facing today. Deal with just one. You can do some later yourself at home.

In mind, write out the challenge, narrative form. Just describe how you feel, your fears, your despair, your discouragement. Just be negative for a moment. Put it all down on paper. In most cases, this most difficult of our challenges, we find it very easy to write about the problem because we’ve been rehearsing it in mind for so long.

Now comes the difficult part. Consider the lower segment, which is called breakthrough. Get a sense of what you would like to be, how you would like to see this thing overcome itself, how you’d like to see it unfold. In narrative form, now, write that feeling on the bottom of the page. Let the divine bias work. Let yourself feel something wonderful can happen, but write it as if it had already happened.

Now turn your attention to that central section, which is empty. Remember the truth there, nature abhors a vacuum. This is scientific law. Nature abhors a vacuum. So the divine in you abhors any vacuum in consciousness. You’ve created this vacuum, being the problem and your vision of its solution. Let your mind focus, not upon words or thoughts or feelings, but on divine essence, pure, complete. The I am-ness of you. And as Jesus says, “Enter into the inner chamber and close the door. Pray to the Father who is in secret,” and turn beyond the sense of intellectual and understanding, beyond the quest to know exactly how it would work, just accepting the light.

Let your mind work with this light. See a point of light off in the distance. As you focus on it, the light comes closer and gets larger, closer and closer, like the fiery orb of the sun, coming closer and closer until eventually it envelops your whole being, and you will step through the light. Now, suddenly, you don’t see the light anymore. You see from light. This is enlightenment.

You’re not looking for light, you’re not looking for ideas, you’re not looking for intellectual concepts. You’re seeing from this light. You’re enlightened. “Blessed are the pure in heart,” Jesus said, “for they will see God.” In the purity of consciousness you see from the awareness of God. You don’t see God out there. You don’t see things out there at all. You see from consciousness, and that seeing projects to endless power.

Just rest in this for a moment. The belief that in the infinite mind of God there’s a bias to bring fulfillment to you, to answer your needs, to unfold your healing, your demonstration of supply, your guidance, your overcoming of some debilitating problem. If you sit quietly in great belief and faith, suddenly there’s a flash. Aha, I see. I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eyes seeth thee. I see.

Feel grateful. Just give thanks for this. Don’t ask yourself when it’s going to happen, what’s going to take place, how long, how long, we say in your unconsciousness. Let all this go. Accept the truth that it’s done. It’s done. Reread your words at the bottom of your page, which is your narrative telling about how you feel as if it had already happened. Now you can say those words with new faith, new conviction. It’s done. Just give thanks and lay it aside.

You may want to keep this page or these pages. You may want to make more. Keep them in a notebook. Go back to them from time to time. Perhaps you may get an insight, an affirmation, some realization, some thought that comes to you relative to this. You may want to write it down in that center section. Not to try and explain that something, that secret power, but to give you an indication that there’s a growing awareness of the transcendent within you. This can be your prayer project. Like everything else, we have to work at it. We challenge you to do your homework.

Let’s give thanks now for the realization that as we come here today to gain new insight into ourselves, let’s give thanks that we’ve gained a new awareness of a transcendent dimension in the universe. Let’s especially accept the idea at a time when we’re ready, as Jesus says, “In a moment when you think not,” he says, “I will come.” Actually, at a moment when you’re not anticipating it, the whole universe will break through to you as you. Believe that. And we give thanks for the truth that makes us free. So be it.