The Sacred Step

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Part 6 of 6
Step 4: I do calmly, without excitement, whatever the circumstance seems to require. This action leads to the further unfolding of other circumstances in the same direction. By addressing each one as it appears, I move step by step toward the accomplishment of my desire.

The story is told of Socrates being asked by a traveler how to get to Mount Olympus. Socrates reportedly said, “Just make sure every step you take is in that direction.”
While the traveler may have considered Socrates a wise guy rather than a wise man, Socrates’ answer is more practical than we might first suspect. Troward picks up on this idea of seizing the simplest opportunities to bring ourselves closer to our own Mt. Olympus, whatever that may be. Likewise, Jesus pointed out that even with the smallest amount of faith we can move mountains. This is a metaphor intended to open our minds to greater possibilities, even if our mountain-moving is one shovel full at a time.

Let’s remember that the life we have is the result of our specific thought tendencies, our actions and our overall self-perception. Already we have done calmly, without excitement, whatever circumstances required to bring ourselves to this point. We continue to do the same things to move to our Mt. Olympus, but we do it consciously. Rather than giving into the temptation of intriguing detours and dead ends, we make sure every step we take is in the direction we want to go. And we do so with the calm assurance that, step by step, we are moving toward the accomplishment of our desire.

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The Smallest Beginning

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Part 5 of 6

Step 4: I wait until some circumstance pointing in the desired direction begins to show itself. It may be small but it is the type and not the magnitude of the circumstance that is important. This is the beginning of significant changes.   

We are reminded here of Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32).

Black mustard is the likely species referred to here. The seed is indeed small and the shrub grows to a height of about 9 feet. The plant, of course, is not the point of the parable. It is the transformation from small beginnings to a substantial plant that deserves our attention.

As you hold your vision, you will see small circumstantial indications that new activity is beginning in the direction of your desire. These may seem so insignificant that you hardly notice. While you won’t want to become hyper-aware of every little thing that develops, you want to be aware enough that you give thanks for the smallest of sprouts that come up. Don’t look for the 9-foot plant but learn to recognize each sprout that occurs. As Troward points out, it is not the magnitude of the circumstance that is important but the direction it is pointing.

Bear in mind that we’re not just talking about circumstances. We’re also talking about inspired ideas that come to us. We may get the urge to clean a room or a desk drawer which can spark other things to happen. The smallest beginning is, after all, a beginning.

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Ride the Creative Wave

Since I was not able to post a talk yesterday, I would like to add some commentary on one of the statements from Thomas Troward that I have been using in my manifestation series. As I have stated in one of my talks, I have taken some liberties with Troward’s original statement, for brevity and, hopefully, for further clarity.

My mind is a center of the Divine operation that perpetually stimulates expansion and fuller expression. This expansive process prompts the production of something beyond what has gone before, something entirely new, not included in past experience though proceeding out of it by an orderly sequence of growth. In my own world, the Divine moves forward to produce new conditions, always in advance of any that have gone before.

Each one of us is truly a “center of the Divine operation” for we are the bridging interface between the unseen (alpha) and seen (omega). This is an important perception to hold, especially when we think of the will or volition of God. The single activity of God is unlimited expression. As I’ve pointed out, our desire to be free is prompted by God’s inexorable push for fuller expression. As Troward acknowledges, this push “prompts the production of something beyond what has gone before, something entirely new, not included in past experience though proceeding out of it by an orderly sequence of growth.”

This is an important insight, for we are not to deny our past, regardless of how negative it may have been. Our past has simply brought us up to this point in our experience. How we have influenced the creative process is not nearly as important as realizing that we have indeed influenced it, and that we influence it still. From this point, we settle into knowing “the Divine moves forward to produce new conditions, always in advance of any that have gone before.” In other words, we agree to ride the creative wave with a this or something better attitude.

Another important insight is the realization that we do not initiate the manifestation process. It is in operation 24/7 and our life, as it is, is the sum of our understanding of this truth. We often treat God in the same way we might interact with people. If we do something offensive, we get a negative result. If we do something kind, we get a kind result. The expressive behavior of God, however, never changes. When Jesus stated that we are to forgive that we may be forgiven, he could not have been referring to forgiveness from God. Forgiveness frees us from our own negative trap of self-condemnation. God, as the creative life force, cannot condemn. To do so would thwart God’s ability to express life, love, power and intelligence in a limitless fashion. In addition, we’re contradicting our understanding that there is but one presence and one power, God the good, by saying we have the power to influence and even thwart the perpetual action of God.

The power in Troward’s statement is in the acceptance that at this very moment, the production of something beyond what has gone before is now underway. I state my preferences without the stress of trying to force their outcome. If I am confronted with apparent setbacks, I take these in stride knowing they are appearances only, that divine love, in its dual role, is now dissolving all restrictions and drawing to me the best and highest circumstances most conducive to the establishment of conditions that are in advance of those that have gone before.

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Today’s Absence

Dear friend,

If you were in church today (and I know most of you on this blog were not) you saw that I was not there. Actually I was there prior to the start of the service, but I needed to leave. The vertigo that I have experienced in the past months apparently decided to re-assert itself, causing me to cancel my Sunday appearance at the last minute. Beth and Diane once again stepped in to carry on the service, which I deeply appreciate.

Since the onset of this condition, it has never fully left me, but, with the exception of today, it has been quite manageable. Apparently people who have vertigo experience it in a variety of ways. For some, it occurs and leaves in a fairly short period of time. For others, it lingers for years. In my case, when the symptoms assert themselves on Sunday morning, they are compounded by the natural added stress of putting on the church service. I had not experienced this for a couple of months, so I was caught off guard today.

I appreciate your thoughts and prayers and I continue to hold myself in the healing light. I was looking forward to presenting Part 5 of the Troward series, which I will resume next week. I am not the least bit concerned about the condition of my overall health. It is simply an inconvenience that does not mix well with public speaking.

Thank you for your patience, and again for your prayers and positive energy. I look forward to seeing you all again next Wednesday and Sunday.

Blessings,
Rev. Doug

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Name Your Preference

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The request has been made to publish parts 1 and 2 of this series on my blog. The full series was published on my church’s site, so now it’s on both.

Part 2 of 6: The Alpha and Omega of Manifestation

Step 1: I form a clear picture of my desire with the understanding that, by so doing, I impress this desire upon the living energy that is God.

The five steps we will cover in this and the next four weeks are derived from Thomas Troward’s book, The Edinburgh Lectures. In this work, you will not find these steps spelled out as concisely as I am presenting them, but you will find the principles they represent scattered liberally through all of his writings, in particular the chapter named Causes and Conditions.

The principle embodied in step 1 involves visualization, the art of holding a mental and emotional picture of what you want for your life. Before you say, “I’m not good at visualizing,” let’s understand that we’re all quite good at it, so good, in fact, that our quality of life is the sum of the dominating mental and emotional imagery we hold. It is this ability that sets the human being apart from the plant and animal kingdoms.   

The key point here is the realization that we are learning nothing new. We are simply making ourselves aware of how we are using our visualizing faculty. To state a preference for your life is to set a standard by which you can measure the character of all those other visions that float across your mental screen each passing minute. Are you visualizing yourself as happy, loving and prosperous one moment and then lamenting your well-rehearsed history of failures the next? Without the standard of your preferred vision in place, the lamentations over past failures may seem the accepted norm. Now you have the opportunity to rethink how you choose to see things. If they are not in keeping with your vision, you let them go.

When forming your vision, do so from the perspective that you are doing it to express more of the life, love, power and intelligence of God. This will keep your vision in harmony with the universal principle of unlimited expression, in sync with the ever-expanding will of God.

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The Alpha and Omega of Manifestation

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The request has been made to publish parts 1 and 2 of this series on my blog. The full series was published on my church’s site, so now it’s on both.

Part 1 of 6

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13).

Thomas Troward, whose work we’ll be touching on over the next few weeks, considered the Alpha as the thought and the Omega as the expression of that thought in a specific form. He considers this the beginning and end of the manifestation process as it pertains to our individual desires. Below are five steps we can engage to bring forth better conditions. I include them all here, but we will explore the principles involved over the next five weeks.

Step 1: I form a clear picture of my desire with the understanding that, by so doing, I impress this desire upon the living energy that is God.

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.

Step 3: I enter my daily routine with the calm assurance that my desired conditions are either present already or will soon present themselves. If I do not see evidence at once, I know that the spiritual prototype is already in existence.

Step 4: I wait until some circumstance pointing in the desired direction begins to show itself. It may be small but it is the type and not the magnitude of the circumstance that is important. This is the beginning of significant changes.

Step 5: I do calmly, without excitement, whatever the circumstance seems to require. This action leads to the further unfolding of other circumstances in the same direction. By addressing each one as it appears, I move step by step toward the accomplishment of my desire.

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Believing is Seeing

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Part 4 of 6

Step 3: I enter my daily routine with the calm assurance that my desired conditions are either present already or will soon present themselves. If I do not see evidence at once, I know that the spiritual prototype is already in existence, the seed is planted.

This step brings to mind a statement from Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25)

In whatever way suits our mode of operation (writing it down or simply holding a vision), we have formed a picture of something we would like to bring into our experience. Troward is in step with Jesus when he suggests entering our daily routine with the calm assurance that our spiritual prototype is formed and it is only a matter of time before we see evidence. Being anxious about it will do nothing to speed up the process.

Through this series, I am emphasizing the fact that we’re not dealing with magic or spiritual sleight of hand. We are engaged in the manifestation process at all times and we’re simply becoming mindful in particular of how we are employing our faculties of imagination and faith. We are to believe we have already received the thing we desire or something that is an even better fit. In this sense, believing is the forerunner to actual seeing.

Work with these ideas in a way that is both relaxed and natural to you. The manifestation is a natural process that is going on at all times. Our five steps help us keep our focus in the right direction.

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The Seed of Expectation

 

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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

Posted in J Douglas Bottorff | 2 Comments