October 2001

WHAT ARE WE TEACHING AS NEW THOUGHT?

A hundred years ago there were special souls in this land who set in motion what today we call New Thought. They taught us to look to the Spirit within directed by God. This was a very ancient teaching that has come down through the ages via many sages.

The fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man based on the love of God for humanity. These were the teachings of the Nacaals in the Chaldi colleges of over 50,000 years ago.

First Stage
 
Man was taught that there was a Supreme Being, Infinite and All Powerful. That it was the Creator who created all things above and below. That man was created by this Almighty Being and having been created by Him, was his son - that this Almighty was man's Heavenly Father.
Second Stage
 When man was created the Creator placed within the body of man a spirit or soul which never died, but continued on through eternity. 
Third Stage
 When man was created it was ordained that his material body should return to the earth from which it was taken. When this material body died it released the soul, which went into the world beyond, there to wait until it was called upon to occupy another material body.

As soon as his early mind could grasp the facts he was taught that his soul was given a task. This task was, the soul was to rule the material body by overcoming material desires. When this was accomplished his soul would be called back to the Great Source, and forever afterward live in perfect joy and happiness. 
Fourth Stage
 It was thoroughly instilled into his mind that the heavenly Father was the GREAT LOVE, and that this great love ruled the Universe and never died. The Heavenly Father's love was far greater than the love of an earthly Father. Therefore, he should always approach his Heavenly Father without dread or fear, and in perfect confidence and love knowing that loving hands were being held out to receive him when he came. 
Fifth Stage
 That all mankind were created by the same Heavenly Father; therefore all mankind were his brothers and sisters, and should be treated as such in all his dealings with them. 
Sixth Stage
 His duties on earth were how he would live to prepare himself to become fit to pass into the world beyond when he was called. He was especially reminded that he must follow the paths of Truth, Love, Charity, Chastity, with perfect love and confidence in his Heavenly Father.

So simple, yet we have made it so complicated.

The early New thought teachers taught and demonstrated these principles, some on one level some on a higher aspect. What is interesting is that the people of that day understood and set about proving the principles. They flocked in their hundreds to classes, whereas today we are so inured with the concept of instant gratification: that there is no listening to the message, we all want the miracle, and be entertained during the process.

So where did New Thought Movement get its initial precepts? What is the principle that is the common denominator that sparked this movement?

Quoting from Jesus the Heretic by Douglas Lockhart: 
"The young Church, struggling to exist, and faced with problems of continuity and coherence, was turning into an authoritarian structure. But alongside it was a living tradition, which refused to die, a tradition passed on by word of mouth not as a syncretism but as a 'secret' and quite beyond the reifying tenderness of doctrines too strictly sculpted for the collective. "

Is this where we are today with New Thought? Struggling against the New Age disciplines, so reacting by becoming more structured and 'orthodox'?

Elaine Pagels in The Gnostic Gospels says that we may have to "recognize that early Christianity is far more diverse than nearly anyone expected before the Nag Hammadi discoveries." For according to some of the Gnostic writers, who were 'knowers' rather than 'followers of someone who knows', their gnosis was more to have been 'insight' into the nature of self, not just 'knowledge ' about the self.

Do we today look to seminars and Sunday talks to hear about God and 'spirituality' rather than experiencing it ourselves by living it day by day?

In ancient times God was an integral part of the daily life, Enoch 'walked ' with God. Do we walk with God? Or do we shut him up in a church and bring him out to dust off on a Sunday?

So what was it that our founders taught? Emma Curtis Hopkins gives a three pronged setup. Therapeutic - Ethical - Religious. - In her Class Lessons 1888 given further in the extract under the Emma page.

Warren Felt Evans, in his "Mental Cure", looked to

Swedenborg in his doctrine of three distinct degree or planes of mental being throws more light on the subject of the inner self.

From this doctrine springs the aspects of New Thought that is being buried in New Age's multiple disciplines of material manipulation. We prate about spirituality as though it is something to be obtained rather than what we should 'be'.

Our inner self is obscured by our material existence, hence our focus on 'healing' rather than on the Mental Hygiene of Warren Felt Evans.

A healthy mind receptive of the spiritual inner self manifests a healthy body. NOT the other way around. Healing of the body only produces a temporary effect. Another deleterious effect will pop up somewhere else.

Warren Felt Evans says in his "Mental Cure" 
"The love is the life of man, as it is of God. If we act from life, we are moved by love. There is no other life in the universe of sentient existence. This is the moving force in soul and body, the hidden spring that moves life's machinery. This is one of the most important and far-reaching principles in the spiritual philosophy of Swedenborg."
If we can accustom ourselves to think of Love and Wisdom in God, and will and understanding in man, as substance, an important point will be gained. But we must carefully subtract from our conception of that substance all the properties or forces of matter, such as divisibility, impenetrability; and weight. The essential conditions of all material existence are time and space. All matter exists in time and fills space. Mind or spirit is not in time, and is not limited by space. To raise the thoughts above time and space is to think spiritually. Until we can do this, all our ideas of God, of the human soul, and of spiritual and heavenly things, will be material, earthly, and sensual.

We talk of the Presence of God as though it is something apart from us that we have to invite into our church or meditation time. But if God is Omnipresent then who is it that is absent. Are we, the ' I ' of us, ever-present for God, or are we off somewhere thinking about God but never there for God.

So many times does a member of the congregation come up after a service or talk, and say - how wonderful, it was just for them. Then go away and forget all about it, never putting it into practice once they have left the meeting. I sometimes wonder if I am 'spinning my wheels', but then think that it does go into their subconscious and sometime later will surface, and they will wonder 'where did that come from'?

God works in mysterious ways, and each of us has a place in the grand design of bringing humanity to the point of 'walking with God'. For, as we let God be part of our every day activities - just like Brother Lawrence who washed the pots and pans to the glory of God. He was doing his part, however menial and unimportant it may seem. For little did he think then that the memory of him would pass down the ages to console countless 'pot-scrubbers' in their apparent thankless task?

Why is it that God is made to sit out on the side lines of our life? We seem to think that a search for spirituality is all that is necessary. Rather like the 'pursuit of happiness' in the Constitution, there is always this frantic chase after something to make us happy. In the same way there is this constant pursuit of spirituality instead of accepting the Presence of God, and being present ourselves to commune with God.

People say: "Alas sir, but I would prefer to stand well with God, to have the devotion and divine calm of some people," or "I wish I could be like this or as poor as that." Or they say: "It will never do if I cannot be here or there and do thus and so. I must get away - or go into a cloister or a cell."

The truth is that you yourself are at fault in all this and no one else. It is pure self-will. Whether you realize it or not, there can be no restlessness unless it come from self-will, although not every person understands this. This is what I mean: people fly from this to seek that - these places, these people, these manners, those purposes, that activity - but they should not blame ways or things for thwarting them. When you are thwarted, it is your own attitude that is out of order.

People ought not to consider so much what they are to do as what they are; let them but be good and their ways and deeds will shine brightly. If you are just, your actions will be just too. Do not think that saintliness comes from occupation; it depends rather on what one IS. The kind of work we do does not make us holy but we may make it holy. However 'sacred' a calling may be, as it is a calling, it has no power to sanctify; but rather as we ARE and have the divine being within, we bless each task we do, who have not much of [God's] nature, they work in vain.

Do we have to be told again and again and again by sage after sage, from the Ancients through Lao Tsu, Jesus, Meister Eckhart, and Swedenborg, in plain uncertain terms. For Eckhart completely nails it when he says.

"To the man who cleaves to God, God cleaves and adds virtue. Thus, what you have sought before, now seeks you, what once you pursued, now pursues you, what once you fled, now flees you. Everything cometh to him who truly cometh to god bringing all divinity with it, while all that is strange and alien flies away.

BLESS YOU AS YOU DO IT!

P.J.R.

 

Jan. 2002