Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #28
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There’s a great need in the world today for light, especially in the matter of the spiritual quest of the average person. A person may think that God is someone to whom he prays in dire need, that religion is something to embrace chiefly when he needs it. He may even feel that the spiritual life can be lived only by a person who retires to some sanctuary to meditate. The religious life of many persons consists of the years spent in Catechism school or Hebrew school and after confirmation or Bar Mitzvah he piles it all back in the closet of unconcern.
Many’s religion consists of the vague memory of rote learned codes and creeds. As he matures intellectually, so often he secretly feels that much of the custom-made conviction that he was early on conditioned to accept on confession of faith is an insult to his intelligence, it’s a secret feeling that he doesn’t let anybody know about. The great need is for a religious insight that makes sense and it is practical and livable.
Jesus calls it the truth. It’s not a religion that had names, it’s an insight, it’s a perception. Jesus promises that the truth shall make you free. We might ask: What is truth? Truth is the transcendent reality in back of appearances. It is the spiritual nature of the person, the spiritual nature of the universe. The term ‘quest for truth’ is often heard, usually referring to a search for God. This is a futile search. God is not to be found, simply because God is not lost. Even more, God is not losable. God is presence, all present, ever present, omnipresent. We live in that allness as a fish lives in water. Even that’s not a good simile because the fish in the water are distinctly different. Man is an activity of God expressing as the person. Jesus says this when He says, “I and the Father are one.”
It’s not really a search for God but a search for self-realization and depth, a search for identity within the allness of God. The need is for an awareness that leads to a sense of unity with the infinite. Without this sense of oneness, with all power, we may see ourselves, as perhaps many of us do unconsciously, deteriorating human creatures influenced by what I call the hourglass syndrome with life and substance and wisdom and strength always on the wane, with the sands of the glass relentlessly falling, with the fear that there will be no more when what we have is gone.
It’s my conviction, we need go no farther than the teaching of Jesus but we must go farther with the insight of truth that He revealed. Christian tradition has unfortunately left a trail of idol worship. I say so often, “He pointed the way, we’ve been busy worshiping the pointer.” Jesus taught very clearly that the power of God is limitless, but every person is endowed with His power, all power. He said, “All power has been given unto Me in Heaven and earth.”
Unfortunately we have tended to read into such statements the idea of divine dispensation, that he was doing something special for Jesus. Jesus was not referring to Himself alone, He was affirming the principle. It is an affirmation that we need to affirm for ourselves. All power has been given to me in the Heaven of my only God potential and in the earth of my manifest life. Jesus said, “Ye shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
Unfortunately we thought of the Holy Spirit as that which comes and goes like gusts of wind. A little boy in Sunday school referred to the Holy Spirit as the holy spook. Sometimes we tend to think of it as like the sun that as we say so often is breaking through the clouds. The sun doesn’t break through the clouds ever. While we watch, the clouds may separate and we see the sun, which has always been there, always shining. The Holy Spirit doesn’t come and go.
The revivalist quite often likes to say, “Ah, the Holy Spirit is with us tonight. The Holy Spirit has paid us the courtesy of visiting us when we’re together in this meeting.” The Holy Spirit doesn’t come in because it’s never gone out. The Holy Spirit is the whole of spirit which is present in its entirety, omnipresent, ever present, all present. We need occasionally to rehearse the concept that I call the unity principle. I make a special note that it’s small letter ‘u’, the unity principle. It goes like this: Wherever spirit is at all, the whole of spirit must be and because spirit is omnipresent, the whole of spirit must be present in its entirety at every point in space at the same time.
Say that again and think about what we’re dealing with here. Wherever spirit is at all, the whole of spirit must be present in its entirety. Because spirit is omnipresent, the whole of spirit must be present in its entirety at every point in space at the same time. I would say present in its entirety within you, right where you are. When the holy spirit has come to find you, this phrase, means when you come to the awareness and the allness of God that is present is you. It’s not something that God does suddenly and we say, “Oh isn’t it wonderful what God has done?” God doesn’t do, God is. Spirit doesn’t go anywhere.
When we stray into the far country of limited thinking, like the prodigal son that Jesus talks about. Like him we come to know what? All want and human need arises from the loss of our center in God, when we forget who we are. We lose sight of our depth in the spirit. But even in the far country of living at the circumference of being, the Holy or whole spirit is present.
Meister Eckhart touches on this when he says, “The prodigal is in the far country, the father is at home.” That means at the center of your being. The father is your God self, the Christ of your being. Any time in the midst of our human experiences we can come to ourselves, wake up from our dream sleep and once again know our oneness, know who we are. As the father in the prodigal son says to the older brother, “Son, thou art ever with me and all that is mine is thine.”
All power is given unto you, Jesus says, right at the point where you are. There’s always enough power by which to do the things that need to be done by you. You may not always know it, and that’s the rub. The power of the infinite that is ever present and totally present at the point where you are is unconditioned and limitless, however it is conditioned and limited by one’s attitudes, one’s faith, one’s self image. In other words, when Jesus said, “You can do all things according to your faith.”
You can overcome, you can change, you can be healed, you can create according to your faith. Faith is a kind of perception, the way we see things. How far can you see when you stand at the point of difficulty and challenge, at the crossroads of human decision? How far can you see? As God said to Abraham, “All the land which thou seest today will I giveth.” As far as you can see. How wide is your horizons?
Sometimes we say when we’re having a hard time understanding something, “I just can’t see it.” It’s true, you can’t perceive. Your faith can’t reach far enough to accept it. The limitation is in your consciousness, not in the principle. The important thing is not how many have failed at a particular enterprise but how many have succeeded, for what God has done, God is doing. In other words, it’s an activity, an ongoing activity which is always present. God is doing the allness of things at this particular moment. You might say what man has done, man can do. What any person has done, you can potentially do because God is doing it because the allness of God, the activity of God is ever present.
People have supposed limitations physically and in times of great stress have used what people have called supernatural power. It’s an understandable term but it’s kind of unfortunate because it seems to indicate that there’s some kind of power up in Heaven that’s different from the power on earth. “All power has been given unto Me in Heaven and earth ...” Jesus said. Because all power is the allness of power which is ever present.
A person cannot lift his own weight when he is in a weakened condition, let alone lift many times his own weight. There’s no point in arguing the point, that person can prove it to you. Let me read such an item as this out of the newspaper telling of a convalescent, hardly able to lift his own breakfast tray, who was being driven home from the hospital by some friends. They met with an accident. While the friends were pinned under the car, the weakened man was thrown clear. Under the stress of necessity and without thinking how impossible it would be in his weakened condition, he braced himself and lifted the car just enough so that the friends could roll out. It was totally unthinkable, but yet apparently it happened.
This all power does not apply to physical strength only, we may see it in the world of growing things. For instance, mushrooms have been known to lift a paving several inches from the ground. Despite the fact that you could prove it to anyone, that the fragile mushroom couldn’t possibly stand under a heavy stone, it would normally be crushed, and yet there it is. Many of you have seen the phenomenon of an oak tree growing through solid granite rock, rock so heavy that it would take hours and hours with heavy equipment for us to break the rock asunder, but the growth of the seed, the unfoldment of the tree, rent the boulder asunder.
Also the all power applies to the inherent abilities within us to do creative things of all kinds, influenced by the unconditioned power of God. There are so many stories that we could tell about this. Many of us can relate stories of our own experience. There’s one illustration that I’ve used before but it bears repeating. It’s an item that appeared in The New Yorker some years ago about Zimbalist, the great violinist. Since I spent many years in my early life in music, it makes a great impression upon me.
Let me quote, “Somehow nobody told Zimbalist that he was supposed to play the piano too. During the final examination at the music school in his 18th year, they handed him a Beethoven sonata to be read at sight before the presence of the whole faculty. He had never touched a piano other than to get his ‘A’ other than tuning his violin. It was ridiculous. There was no way. However, he sat down, got his breath and played, not masterfully but acceptably. When he finished, he was told to close the book and repeat the whole sonata from memory, which he did. After a moment of stunned silence, the room broke into applause, an unheard of demonstration.”
Human reasoning would say that this couldn’t possibly be done. No one could play the piano without lessons and years of practice, and then even more play a difficult sonata. Impossible. Yet again, apparently it was done. Think about it a moment. You’ll begin to see the full implications of Jesus’ statement that the kingdom of God is within you. Power capable of setting every human and natural law at nought. The kingdom within is the realm of transcendence by which Jesus was able to do the wonder works attributed to Him, that which He clearly said you can do too if you believe.
You may say, “That’s all well and good for Zimbalist, who was obviously a genius, but I’m just an ordinary person.” This is the reason for our mediocrity. We have habitually conditioned the power to fill our thought and expectancy to be shaped according to our self-image, how we see ourselves. There’s no way that we can change that without changing the self-image, expanding our awareness, our perception. I’m not suggesting that we should look for all the shortcuts in mastering and learning the arts. We’d be foolhardy to overlook the great good that is accomplished by discipline and practice and study, but the need is to progressively expand our awareness, our inner power and potential, and the faith in our ability to succeed our former self.
As the philosopher puts it, “Every person contains within himself the wherewithal to surpass himself.” We should never forget that. Paul gives us a key to appropriating the amazing inner power when he says, “We should be absent from the body and present with the Lord.” Absent from the body and present with the Lord. To be present with the body implies an immersion into the thought of human frailty, the realization that I can’t possibly do it. I know I can’t because I’ve never been able to. It also refers to the vast body of intellectual information that limits and binds us to what is called the statistical analysis of possibilities, more correctly impossibilities.
The classic example is the bumblebee, who according to the science of aerodynamics cannot possibly fly. His body is too heavy and bulky, his wings too slight. There’s no way, he just can’t get that contraption off the ground. But somehow no one ever got the message to the bumblebee, so he goes right on flying as he always has and with ease and grace.
We see that in terms of the lives of many persons around us who have not been told that they can’t do certain things which they do every day. It’s impossible. Statistical analyses and possibilities. Intellectuals are so eager to let us know that there are certain things that you can’t do. There are certain things that we can’t do because we haven’t accepted the can-do consciousness, haven’t broken through the realm of the human frailties, haven’t accepted the allness of ourselves.
To be present with the Lord means to be centered at the point of transcendent oneness within, where we’re in the flow of the unconditioned power where nothing is impossible. I’m sure that most of us chained to the intellect find it very hard to say that nothing is impossible. It’s like flying to the moon, we say, and suddenly we blush because that cliché is no longer apt.
Other things that men of science and research have been slow to realize, that the new inventions or the new processes come not as a result of accumulated information but from divine inspiration. This is a point made so clearly by Einstein, one of the greatest pure transcendental thinkers of all times. He admits that his ideas came through intuition, from within. Then he had to spend long periods in the laboratory trying to find ways to prove them to his scientific confrers. It’s like trying experiment after experiment on one level and suddenly the light comes, there’s a breakthrough to a higher level.
That person, the inventor, the researcher, the innovator, becomes a way shower. Soon that higher level is the common field of endeavor. This light may come to reveal the answer to such global problems as the decreasing supply of fossil fuels as the energy supply, resolving the dilemma of the so-called greenhouse effect which many are so concerned about in the earth’s atmosphere. Finding answers and cures to physical ills such as cancer and AIDS.
The light may come individually as guidance and healing and success and personal challenges. The important thing is to continue to expand our awareness of the kingdom within and our receptivity to let this kingdom come and the creative intention unfold in the earth of our experience as it is in the ever present unconditioned power of God. In Romans 11:33 we read, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, his ways past finding out.” The undiscovered power within us is the power to heal, the power to create, the power of limitless guidance, the power of love, the power of physical strength and the ability to accomplish.
There’s no way that we can bring this power down from anyplace, no point in reaching for the heavens for God to give us this kind of power because God can’t give power, God is power. We can accept it, open our consciousness to it. The potential is always there. We’re not talking about a power as being a possession belonging to God. We so easily slip into a sense of duality in such favorite songs as: “It’s No Secret What God Can Do.”” It’s correct in a way, in another sense it implies that God has a great ability to do things, but God doesn’t have ability, God is.
When we become centered in the transcendence of our being, this all power flows through our being, sweeping limitations away and unfolding patterns for new unfoldment. But the all power is always present. It’s so easy to think of God doing by rolling up His sleeves in an anthropomorphic sense. The only sleeves God has to roll up are yours. God can do more for you than He can do through you, through your mind, your creativity, your heart, your hands.
Remember, all power is present now. You don’t create power, you don’t even increase power by meditation through your prayer time and your meditation time, you simply become more conscious of the depth of you and the power that is. There’s no need to create anything, to reach for anything, to bring down anything from the skies. It’s all present in the presence, it’s here and now in all its fullness. If we could just catch that simple truth, it would change anything in our spiritual seeking. You don’t have to expand your power, increase your power or bring the power down from God, but awaken to the realization that you live within it, it lives within you. I and the Father are one.
It is fundamental to deal with in all aspects of our truth-seeking life. A person is in a healing need. Wholeness is an unconditioned power of life present in its entirety right where you are. The physical problem is simply the frustration of the unconditioned energy of life. Healing is not bringing life into a situation and becoming aware of life already present is the presence. It is in what we call prosperity, the prosperity need. The all-sufficient substance of God is present in its entirety right where you are and what you need.
Demonstrating prosperity, a term that we use so often, is not getting substance from somewhere, it’s getting the realization, the allness of substance in back of all things. The prosperity consciousness is the mind completely established and the realization of God’s abundance in back of all things. All the problems of life, that’s a very sweeping claim, all the problems of life and all the personal of individual experience are essentially the frustration of potentiality, the degree to which we are out in the far country, drawing upon living riotously, as the parable puts it, but separated in consciousness from the source, from the Father.
Always the key to strength in overcoming is the reactivation of the process of growth. It’s key to healing, key to guidance, direction, making something out of your life, overcoming some addiction, reactivating the process of growth. While we’re feeling sorry for ourselves in the face of some difficulty, we need to consider the possibility that the opportunity to grow may well be the answer to the question: Why? Why did this happen? Why at this time and why to me? The opportunity to grow.
Our prayer should be not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks. Then the challenge becomes the means of gaining strength, the opportunity to release our greater potential. The serious student of truth should ask himself in the face of any serious challenge, “What are the positive factors that I can see in this crisis?” That’s looking for the good. What are the positive factors I can see in this crisis. Also, “What am I learning about myself through this? What is this helping me to see what my potentiality is? How can I use this crisis to discover my weaknesses and develop my strengths?”
I guess we could say if karma is a possibility, it may be that we will continue to go through and go through and go through this experience until we do grow or pass the test. Again, the question why is answered to a degree in this. Why has this happened? Because it’s still somehow in my consciousness. This is an opportunity for me to work on it, to go through it, so that I can grow through it and be done with it. As we say so often, “I’ve done that.” We can put it behind us. We’ve done it, we’ve passed the test.
People ask the question so often, I suppose this is a question that a religious person or minister is asked more than anything else, “What’s it all about anyway?” Usually we ask this question when we’re faced with some dilemma that’s come up that causes us to shake our heads and wring our hands and say, “Why me? What’s it all about?” The answer: To discover our inner power. That’s what it’s all about.
When you stop looking for special favors from life or special dispensations from God, stop envying people with special powers in life and begin specializing our own power. Power is always present, great enough to deal with any situation, to overcome any problem. Our need is to discover it, to release it, to give thanks for it.
People often become despondent, sometimes crack up, because they feel inadequate for life. It all seems too much for them. Even physical illness is often an unconscious means of escape. Their burdens seem to heavy, their problems beyond solution, their feelings of guilt too burdensome, their responsibilities too great to endure. They’re frightfully afraid of failure. The sad part of all this, that most of those who go to pieces are defeated not because they’re actually inadequate for the strain of living but because they think they are. It’s the fear of inadequacy, the fear of failure that finally breaks us.
The great Enrico Caruso had been singing several years in minor opera companies in small towns in Italy. He was very discouraged. Students had called him often the tenor with the glass voice because he broke so easily on high notes. Teachers advised him over and over again that he could never hope to amount to anything as a singer. He just about made up his mind that when the troupe completed this particular tour he would return to Naples and get into some other line of work.
Then a miracle happened, or so people would refer to it. The leading tenor in the troupe left without notice and they asked Caruso to go on and sing Rigoletto. He knew the score, he knew the part, but he had never done it before with any great effectiveness. But he knew he must do it or the audience would be turned away and they would all lose their money, so he said, “Sure, I’ll do it.” There’s an old ancient adage that says: When you’re rolling in the gutter, a little bit more mud rolled on you would make no difference. Even no matter how badly he failed it couldn’t make much difference.
He got into his costume, put on the greasepaint. Looking into the mirror he said to himself, “Enrico, for tonight you must pretend that you are a real artist. You must see yourself as the leading tenor.” Somewhere at this point, to use Biblical language, the Holy Spirit came. It didn’t really come from anywhere, but there was an awakening in his consciousness through faith and perception, the willingness to look within and to accept himself at a higher level. He opened himself to the transcendent flow.
From that moment on, he gave his voice no thought. Ordinarily he went on the stage nervous and tense expecting his voice to break, and it usually did, but not this time. He was caught up in this vision of seeing himself as something very special. He received a tremendous ovation after the first act, taking three curtain calls, which was unheard of for him. At that moment, Caruso became a great artist. He had envisioned himself being a leading tenor, even if only for a part, and the crushed and broken spirit was reborn and spread its wings and cried for all the world to hear, “I can. I can. I can.”
It is true that Caruso had the potential, native ability was there all the time. But you see, he was on the verge of giving up without ever having discovered it. As the poet sings and sighs, and many persons die with all their music in them. Who is to say that you do not have far more potential than you ever realized? Who is to say that you may have gone all through your life calling yourself inadequate and weak and limited but there’s so much more to be released if you can just let it say to you, “You can. You can.”
The problem fundamentally is one of faith, whether one is singing or living. You can manage your problems if you believe that you’re adequate to meet them. You can deal with the issues that strain your capacity if you’re confident that your resources are sufficient. There’s enough within you to do all that needs to be done.
We have talked about developing inner power. It’s important that we get this straight because the word developing is misunderstood. There is a tendency to think of generating power, getting power from somewhere outside, even from God, putting it in us and putting it on us. The word develop doesn’t mean creating something. Contrast it with the word envelop. The word envelop means an outer activity of surrounding or enclosing, enveloping you. Develop means to unfold, as from within. To develop something is to express the potential within you in a deeper sense than ever before.
We don’t make it, we don’t generate it. We discover it, we say yes to it, we accept it and give thanks for it. That’s what we have in mind when we talk about developing your power. You came to this hour today with a marvelous divine energy within you that you’re not aware of. No matter how far you’ve gone in your spiritual seeking, there’s still more in you. As the little boy said, “I’m not done yet.” You’re not done. There’s much more power within you. The power to make you effective. The power to make you a confident person. The power to enable you to rise above your limitations, your weaknesses, your problems, even your addictions. The power to become the kind of person that you dream of being. The power that exceeds that which you even dream of, because it’s the Christ in you, the divine depth of you.
The need is now to recognize that this power is always present and to busy yourself with deep commitment and discipline to develop this power. Again, not to make it happen, not to bring it into you from somewhere, but to unfold it, to release it, to express it, to give thanks for it.
Let’s be still for just a moment. All that we’ve been thinking about in the last few minutes is really inconsequential. If you take it simply as an intellectual exercise, something you can remember and recite, all that really counts is what response you have within yourself so that deep down within yourself you have the privilege of saying yes to something greater. For just a minute, see yourself seated out of doors in a scene where the sky is overcast, the sun is hidden. See yourself receptive to change, ready for growth.
As the scriptures say, “Then shall the light break forth as the morning and thy health springs forth speedily, thy growth, thy prosperity, thy success springs forth speedily.” Now as you look up in the heavens, see the clouds thin out, eventually break and suddenly you see the sunlight. Remind yourself that the sun is not breaking through the clouds, the sun is simply revealing to you that which was always there, which by the clouds of human consciousness you were unable to see. As you’ve expanded your perception, your faith, your willingness to react to this transcendent flow, you begin to perceive the reality as present.
Think for a moment of the clouds, the cloud covering as it is often called, as representing the problems of your life, more especially your thoughts about the problems of your life, your thoughts about yourself, which have been inadequate, self-condemnatory. See these clouds breaking up, dissolving as it were, begin to see the cloud formation break up, and as they say in Florida, burn off, vaporize. Something that would seem to be such a barrier is gone. There’s nothing there. Clear, blue sky and the sun is shining. The sun is shining as it always shines in your son of God self.
Rest for a moment in the consciousness of this light. Not as something which God has suddenly given to you, which in your divine creation has always been the reality of you. You live within it and it lives within you, always present, ever present, omnipresent. See yourself bathed in this light, not just coming from the sky but coming from within yourself. See yourself in the perception of living light. Thus there can be no impossibilities, no limitations. You can do what you want to do and what you need to do. You can overcome what you desire to overcome. You can express and experience what is called the fullness of godhead bodily.
Let’s feel grateful for this. Preserve this image in your consciousness. You’ll go through the experience again when you have time in the quiet in your home. Remember, the sun doesn’t break through the clouds, the clouds break up or burn off. You feel the light, which is always there, ever present, omnipresent. That’s the truth of the divine force within you. Give thanks for it and especially give thanks for the truth that makes you free. So be it.