The Seed of Expectation

 

Click for audio: The Seed of Expectation

Part 3 of 6

Step 2: I understand that I am working with spiritual law. With calm expectation of a corresponding result, I know that all necessary conditions to fulfill my desire are present and revealing themselves in proper order.

A familiar scriptural parallel to this step is found in the Gospel of Mark.

“A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:26-29).

Troward is describing an attitude of expectation based on the understanding that the overall vision we hold in mind will, in time, be clothed with the material equivalent. With the same calm expectation, we assume when we plant a seed, we hold our vision for a desired development knowing that as we sleep and rise, our vision sprouts and grows, we know not how.

We do not consider the miracle of a growing seed as magic, supernatural or as anything other than natural law unfolding as it has for millions of years. Likewise, the dominating vision we hold influences our choices, our actions and our interactions with others, establishing the overall tone our life takes on. This is a very natural process. When we choose a desired goal, everything in our life works to support bringing it forth. We refrain from forcing it or getting discouraged because it does not appear as quickly as we would like. We simply hold fast to our vision as we would a planted seed; with calm expectation.

 

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The Sacred Individual

Had I been born in the northeastern region of the United States the better part of two centuries ago, I would likely have been a subscriber to the Transcendental Club. With Ralph Waldo Emerson as one of the three founding fathers of the movement, it came into being basically as a protest against the nation’s general state of spirituality. Though today’s New Thought movement is often seen as the offspring of the transcendentalists, I believe the Transcendental Club could as easily reincarnate now in protest of the spiritual state of this supposedly enlightened movement.

Transcendentalists believed that society’s institutions, specifically those of a religious and political nature, corrupted the purity of the individual. Their guiding spiritual principle was that of God within the individual, that an active cultivation of the awareness of this universal presence was key to self-reliance and ultimately success in all areas of life. In my opinion, today’s New Thought movement gives lip service to this principle but has largely abandoned it as central. The proof is in the fact that while New Thought produces its share of celebrities, it does not produce true spiritual leaders. Its celebrities are masters of the cliché and feel-good sound bites that promise wealth, health and happiness. But these are simply repackaging and parroting thoughts they have drawn, not from their own inner spring, but from the well of others. If they were not selling God, they would be selling some other profitable commodity.

What we are calling spiritual leaders could as easily pass for simple bureaucrats trained to build and manage organizations. Focus has been withdrawn from the individual and turned on the community. “As individuals we are strong,” the argument goes, “but as a collective we are mighty.” The collective may indeed accomplish things an individual alone cannot. But the collective can never accomplish the single most important objective available only to the individual: spiritual enlightenment. One cannot win this prize by joining a movement. Nor can it be attained by climbing the ladder into that sacred inner circle of power within the movement.

While there is the perception that the closer one lives to headquarters the more enlightened one must be, the sad reality is often the opposite. Conformity is the key to rising through the collective. The spiritually self-reliant individual is an unwelcome nuisance.

Emerson believed that the transcendental movement, which began roughly in the 1820’s, was all but dead by the 1850’s. Though there have been many revivals and various incarnations of this movement, it is a likely inevitability that all movements born originally from the principle of the individual’s oneness with God will ultimately implode by placing greater value on the individual’s oneness with the movement. Considering the ever-growing plethora of distractions of our device-centered world, touting oneness with people is a much easier sell than advocating the experience of oneness with God. Going alone, thinking alone and seeking light alone may, after all, be the cause of a missed text or tweet.

I am not pessimistic about the spiritual health of the world. Movements come and go. Organizations rise and fall. Each individual’s oneness with God remains an absolute certainty, a changeless beacon that will never cease emitting its guiding light, pinprick that it may be. Mass appeal will always have mass appeal. But the direction the crowds run never alter our fundamental spiritual architecture. Each one, in his or her own time and way, will turn from shining rhetoric of the within to the actual experience of God that eternally awaits.

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Way Ahead of Her Time

I’ve been taking a very long break from the blog, but a friend shared an article on intuition that Emilie Cady would be proud of. Check it out: What Deeply Intuitive People do Differently

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The Value of the Individual

In this day of mass communication, we are confronted each moment by vast amounts of information targeted to particular segments of the world population. Professionals in the field of today’s communication keep forefront in their minds the fact that they must devise ways to pass information to the so-called 140 character Twitter generation. The brass ring of internet communication is to go viral with a small amount of information reaching as huge a segment of the population as possible. For many, the content is not as important as the fact that it has gone viral.

Today’s technology has certainly changed much of the way we think, but it has not changed the fundamental principles of spirituality. When Emerson pointed out that each individual is the inlet and may become the outlet to all there is in God, he was stating a changeless truth that has become lost even to those New Thought organizations who claim to represent spiritual values. The genuine quest for understanding one’s spiritual origin is not accomplished in groups. Feeling part of a group of like thinkers is not the same as experiencing ourselves as an inlet to God. But because it is much easier to tantalize the senses than to make the conscious connection with our spiritual Source, today’s spiritual marketeers have turned their focus to the senses. They seek a place on the world stage, not with a message of spiritual substance, but with spiritual jargon engineered to appeal to the busy masses. In today’s society, the voice of an Emerson would go unheard. He was far too articulate, too complex in his thinking. The closest many will come to an luminary like him is on someone’s page of favorite quotes.

On the collective scale, today’s spiritual community is the prodigal son enticed, perhaps as never before, into the far country of senses gratification. All traditional religions have fallen from the virtues of mystical revelation to the convenience of marketable creed and dogma. New Thought has taken the same course. The so-called leaders of this movement are those who have done little more than learn to capture the attention of the 140 character Twitter generation.

In the process of the spiritual awakening, there is but one true leader, and that is found within every individual. The shift away from the value of the individual and toward the calculated science of mass appeal is a shift away from that which we seek. There will never be peace in a world filled with individuals who are not at peace within themselves.

Feeling safe with a group is not the same as actually knowing yourself as an inlet to God. There is only one person on this planet who can bring you to this place. That person is you.

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The Lord’s Prayer: Conceptual Summary

 

[Excerpt from Beams of Light]

All-providing Source, ever expanding through me, wholeness is Your nature.

Your kingdom is present. Your will of absolute good is being done in my life as it is in Your unseen realm.

You are now imparting through me Your limitless substance.

I release all feelings of limitation, all resentments and all fear. I am free to move in new and prospering directions.

If I am tempted to judge by appearances of limitation, I remember Your freeing presence, and I am released from this error.

My greater good now unfolds completely unhindered in wonderful ways that work for the highest good of all.

I do receive it now.

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One Presence, One Power

Part 6 of 6 [Excerpt from Beams of Light]

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen

This final line in the Lord’s Prayer is the equivalent of saying, There is but one presence and one power in the universe; God, the Good, omnipotent. This is a fitting realization to hold for any prayer.

How many times have you prayed for some greater good in your life and then closed your prayer with the attitude, I hope it works. The closing line, which is not actually found in the Bible, is an affirmation that there are no blocks, no negative powers working against you. There is no reason to expect anything but the highest and the best outworking of the thing that concerns you. Amen is a seal of acceptance, an affirmation of so be it, or so it is. You could conceptually translate the line like this: My greater good now unfolds completely unhindered in wonderful ways that work for the highest good of all, and I receive it now.

One of the best ways to approach the idea of prayer is to think of it as a creative process. When you pray, you are opening yourself to God as a creative life force. You are planting a seed and agreeing to allow it to grow as a new condition in your life. When you plant a seed, you release it with the certain expectation that this tiny package of potential will produce in a certain way. You do not, however, meddle in the growing process. You trust and you keep the growing environment free of hindrances to its growth. The tiny sprout that first appears looks nothing like the full plant that you know is coming forth. This does not concern you because you know something good is happening, and you are patient and expectant with the growing process.

You and I do not have the power to influence the way God behaves. We do have the power to put ourselves in harmony with God’s expansive behavior. We do this through the acceptance that the greater good we desire is now coming forth in perfect timing and in perfect order. And so it is.

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The Tempter Within

Part 5 of 6 [Excerpt from Beams of Light]

And leave us not in temptation, but deliver us from evil.

There are a number of versions of this line in the Lord’s Prayer. The traditional version is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. The Aramaic version reads, And let us not enter into temptation, but deliver us from evil. The version I’m using is suggested by Charles Fillmore, who argued that the Lord would never lead us into temptation. Likewise, it is a bit awkward to think that if we succumbed to temptation, we could blame the Lord. I asked you to make sure I didn’t enter temptation, and here I am. Do you mind explaining why you let me do this?

Again, if we take the affirmative approach to this line, we will find it a helpful reminder that our strength is always present, even in our weakest moments.

There are times when you feel flush with strength and optimism, when you know that you can move forward with confidence regardless of apparent obstacles. Then there are those times when the appearances get the best of you. You look out and survey the landscape of your life and you wonder why you ever thought you could succeed. At such moments, it is important to remember that God, your unfailing source of strength, power and wisdom, can never leave you.

The tempter within is not an entity that is trying to snare your soul and lead you to a path of self-destruction. It is that lesser self in you, that region of consciousness that does not grasp the fuller truth of the omnipresence of God. The word evil can be understood as error or erroneous thinking, thinking that is based on appearances and half-truths rather than on the truth of your wholeness and the potential that your life holds. Our conceptual translation of this line, therefore, would go something like this: In my moments of weakness, your limitless love, power and wisdom lift me above all erroneous appearances.

Making this inner shift connects you with your point of strength, and you again move forward in confidence and in peace.

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Freedom in Forgiveness

Part 4 of 6 [Excerpt from Beams of Light]

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

Because the act of forgiveness is so important, I want to elaborate on the subject.

When we think of the activity of God, we may be tempted to think that we have the power to influence the way God behaves. If we do the right thing, God will act favorably toward us. If we do the wrong thing, God will treat us differently. If God was an old man in the sky, this may be true. Jesus, however, illustrated in his parable of the prodigal son that God behaves the same always. The father in this parable never did anything but love and give to his wayward son. The son’s actions, not the father’s, caused the son’s problems. Likewise, it was the son’s actions that brought him back into alignment with a more prosperous life.

When you feel or even know with certainty that someone has harmed you, you take a mental and emotional position. This is a perspective that causes you to think, feel and act from this particular point of view. Your fixed point of view is your experience in life. The view from a mountaintop is much wider than the view from a canyon floor. Therefore, you have to ask yourself which view you desire to experience. The actions of another need not determine which view you hold. The view you hold is a choice you make.

Forgiveness is all about releasing one undesirable position (point of view) in favor of one that is desirable. Just because someone’s words or actions appear to be out of integrity with spiritual principle does not mean that you are obligated to respond in kind. You do not have to condone their action, but duplicating it is no answer. Forgiveness lifts you from the common, reactive mode to the more effective position of initiating new and productive action. While you do not want to ignore your negative response to another, you do not want to allow their words and actions set the tone for your own. If you do, you will not rise above the level they represent. This is the key to finding freedom in forgiveness.

 

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The Prospering act of Forgiveness

Part 3 of 6 [Excerpt from Beams of Light]

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

It’s interesting to note in this line that the fulfillment of our daily bread, our daily needs, is tied to the act of forgiveness. If you consider this prayer from the affirmative point of view, you might think of this line as saying, my needs for today are met and all blocks to my greater good are removed as I release all resentments of the past. These words depict both receptive and releasing attitudes of mind.

The receptive attitude is substantiated by the idea of God as the loving provider, a willing source of good. An attitude of release indicates that the key to a greater flow of good is your act of letting go of anything that blocks this flow. When you hold resentment for even the smallest offense, your thought and emotional energies accumulate around that offense, creating a blockage that hinders the free flow of the divine. It is like dropping a large rock in an irrigation ditch. Soon other debris catches on the rock, hampering the free-flow of water. Forgiveness is the equivalent of removing the rock and restoring the natural flow of life-giving water.

In another place, Jesus speaks of this dynamic in this slightly different way: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24). It’s all about keeping your mind an open channel through which the infinite life of God may manifest in continually expansive ways.

Charles Fillmore pointed out that mind is the “common meeting ground of God and man.” When our mind is locked in resentment, our creativity and receptivity become restricted to a very narrow level of operation. This line in the Lord’s Prayer reminds us to keep the avenue of mind open and fluid.

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The Expansive Action of God

Part 2 of 6 [Excerpt from Beams of Light]

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Like the first line in the Lord’s Prayer, this second line also expresses three ideas that are important to a prayerfully receptive state. It is generally believed that this prayer is petitionary, that it is making requests of God. Many modern biblical scholars, however, tell us we should think of this prayer as affirmative in nature, that it should be spoken in a manner similar to this: Thy kingdom is here; thy will is being done, on earth as it is in heaven.

This attitude aligns our thinking with the truth that the fullness of God (kingdom of God) is here and the will of God (absolute good) is unfolding right now. In relation to a challenge you may be undergoing, you are to think of God’s help as already present and only absolute good is unfolding through your life. That which is already true at the unseen level (heaven) is also manifesting at the level of the visible (earth).

This attitude allows you to take your focus off the limitations of the apparent problem and turn it to the limitless possibilities of Spirit. Spirit, as unformed, intelligent energy is always looking for ways to express through specific channels. A seed you hold in your hand is endowed with this life, but it must be planted in a growing environment to begin its transformative process. Then this unseen life and intelligence, the kingdom of God, becomes evident. The expansive will of the creative life force manifests.

When you pray, always remember that you are not attempting to get God to act. You are agreeing to open yourself to the action of God.

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