Power Through Constructive Thinking (Plus)
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You will experience a wonderful joy in the realization of the demonstration. Everybody should practice general forgiveness every day as a matter of course. The result of this policy will be that very soon you will find yourself cleared of all resentment and condemnation, and the effect upon your happiness, your bodily health, and your general life will be nothing less than revolutionary.
This clause has probably caused more difficulty than any other part of the Prayer. For many earnest people it has been a veritable stumbling block. They feel, and rightly, that God could not lead anyone into temptation or into evil in any circumstances, and so these words do not ring true. For this reason, a number of attempts have been made to recast the wording. People have felt that Jesus could not have said what he is represented to have said, and so they look about for some phrasing which they think would be more in accordance with the general tone of his teaching.
Heroic efforts have been made to wrest the Greek original into something different. All this, however, is unnecessary. The Prayer in the form in which we have it in English gives a perfectly correct sense of the true inner meaning. Condensed though the form is, it is nevertheless a complete manual for the development of the soul, and Jesus knew only too well the subtle perils and difficulties that can and do beset the soul when once the preliminary stages of spiritual unfoldment have been passed. Because those who are yet at a comparatively early stage of development do not experience such difficulties, they are apt to jump to the conclusion that this clause is unnecessary, but such is not the case.
The facts are these—the more you pray, the more time you spend in meditation and spiritual treatment, the more sensitive you become. And if you spend a great deal of time working on your soul in the right way, you will become very sensitive. This is excellent; but like everything in the universe, it works both ways.
The more sensitive and spiritual you become, the more powerful and effective are your prayers, you do better healing, and you advance rapidly.
Mind Binding Spirits
But, for the same reason, you also become susceptible to forms of temptation that simply do not beset those at an earlier stage. You will also find that for ordinary faults, even things that many men and women of the world would consider to be trifling, you will be sharply punished, and this is well, because it keeps you up to the mark. No one at this level will be tempted to pick a pocket, or burgle a house; but this does not by any means imply that one will not have difficulties, and because of their subtlety, even greater difficulties, to meet.
As we advance, new and powerful temptations await us on the Path, ever ready to hurl us down if we are not watchful—temptations to work for self-glory, and self-aggrandizement instead of for God; for personal honors and distinctions, even for material gain; temptations to allow personal preferences to hold sway in our counsels when it is a sacred duty to deal with all men in perfect impartiality. Many fine souls who have triumphantly surmounted all other testings have lapsed into a condition of superiority and self-righteousness that has fallen like a curtain of steel between them and God.
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Great knowledge brings great responsibility. Great responsibility betrayed brings terrible punishment in its train. Noblesse oblige is preeminently true in spiritual things. The old occult writers were so vividly sensible of these dangers that, with their instinct for dramatization they spoke of the soul as being challenged by various tests as it traversed the upward road.
It was as though the traveler were halted at various gates or turnpike bars, and tested by some ordeal to determine whether he were ready to advance any further. If he succeeded in passing the test, they said, he was allowed to continue upon his way with the blessing of the challenger. If, however, he failed to survive the ordeal, he was forbidden to proceed. And so Jesus has inserted this clause, in which we pray that we may not have to meet anything that is too much for us at the present level of our understanding.
And, if we are wise, and work daily, as we should, for wisdom, understanding, purity, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we never shall find ourselves in any difficulty for which we have not the understanding necessary to clear ourselves. Nothing shall by any means hurt you. Behold I am with you alway.
This is a wonderful gnomic saying summing up the essential truth of the Omnipresence and the Allness of God. It means that God is indeed All in All, the doer, the doing, and the deed, and one can say also the spectator. The Kingdom in this sense means all creation, on every plane, for that is the Presence of God—God as manifestation or expression. The Power, of course, is the Power of God. We know that God is the only, power, and so, when we work, and when we pray, it is really God doing it by means of us.
Just as the pianist produces their music by means of, or through their fingers, so may mankind be thought of as the fingers of God. His is the Power. If, when you are praying, you hold the thought that it is really God who is working through you, your prayers will gain immeasurably in efficiency. The wondrous change that comes over us as we gradually realize what the Omnipresence of God really means, transfigures every phase of our lives, turning sorrow into joy, age into youth, and dullness into light and life.
And the bliss we know in that experience is still God Himself, who is knowing that bliss through us. The affirmative form of prayer should be used for all healing work, but it is only one form of prayer. Jesus used the invocatory form very often, though not always, and the frequent use of this form is essential to the growth of the soul.
It is not to be confused with supplicatory prayer, in which the subject begs and whines to God as a slave pleading with his master. That is always wrong. The highest of all forms of prayer is true contemplation, in which the thought and the thinker become one. This is the Unity of the mystic, but it is rarely experienced in the earlier stages. Pray in whatever way you find easiest; for the easiest way is the best. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through fire, thou shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. The Twenty-third Psalm is a spiritual treatment in the form of a poem. You should read this meditation through several times, dwelling on each statement and endeavoring to realize the significance of what you are reading.
The Lord Is My Shepherd. The Lord means God, in particular my own knowledge of Truth, as that knowledge is the Presence of God in me, my indwelling Christ. This is my shepherd. The shepherd takes care of his sheep, and the Lord will take care of me because I am now seeking Him through this meditation. I have only to realize sufficiently this Truth, that the Lord is my shepherd, and every negative thing in my life will vanish away.
I Shall Not Want. I really believe this, and I fully accept it, so I am not going to be afraid of anything. I firmly believe that I shall not want for any good thing. Green pastures symbolize an abundance of all good things that I need, and perfect all-round harmony in my life.
They are to be mine permanently and forever, and not merely as a temporary demonstration; that is why I may be said to lie down in them. Water in the Bible symbolizes the soul. To lead me beside the still waters means that the power of God in prayer sets my soul at rest, giving me perfect peace. I know that when once my soul is at peace my demonstration must come, and that my only task is to bring about this peace. By this meditation I am practicing the Presence of God. That is, I am praying for peace, and I know that this prayer will be answered.
He Restoreth My Soul.
The World's Greatest Mystic
This is my promise of complete salvation. My prayer is now being answered. The peace of God is filling my soul. All my difficulties have arisen from my soul having separated herself in belief from her Living Source.
Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?
I affirm that this is now true. I claim full salvation from all my difficulties. I claim perfect health, happiness, and prosperity, I am free. Righteousness means right thinking, and I know that to think rightly about any condition means healing and safety. All evil is wrong thought, all good is right or true thought.
Christ in me, my Good Shepherd, is now guiding me in the path of Right Thought; so all will be well. The nature of God is all-powerful, omnipresent good, boundless love. I know that this Boundless Love is now taking care of me, and arranging my affairs. I am never again going to be afraid of anything, because Thou, my Good Shepherd, art with me.
I know that Thou who art all Love, and hast all Power, protectest me, and that we are One forever and forever. I know that I never can find myself anywhere but Thou wilt be there too. I know that because Thou art Life, there is no death, and I note that the Bible speaks not of death, but of the shadow of death, which is our false belief. There is no death, but the seeming loss of Thy Presence.
I know that Thy Law changeth not, because Thou art Divine Principle, and I know that my word shall go forth in this meditation, and that it shall not return unto me void, because I am Thy child and the heir of Thy Kingdom. My enemies are my own thoughts: my doubts, my fears, my thoughts of criticism of others, and self-condemnation—the only enemies I can have. Thou Anomtest My Head with Oil. In the Bible, oil and ointment are symbols of gladness, praise, and thanks-giving. This line assures me that I am to be rescued from all my difficulties.
Anointing with oil is also a symbol of consecration, and by meditating in this way on the Truth, I am reconsecrated as the perfect child of God.