Your Great Opportunity
by Emmet Fox
Your present problem is your great opportunity. Your own mind – the Secret Place, as Jesus called it – is the council chamber where the arrangements and decisions for your whole life are made; it is also the drafting room where the plans for your destiny are formed. Your life is your laboratory. The world is your workshop.
The reason that you are here is that you may develop spiritually; and the way to do that is to meet the challenge of practical life. You do not develop spiritually by running away from life into some sheltered retreat. Nor do you grow in spiritual stature by gaining your point through will power.
It is the law that any difficulties that can come to you at any time, must be exactly what you need most at the moment to enable you to take the next step forward by overcoming them. The only real misfortune, the only real tragedy, comes when we suffer without learning the lesson.
I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil. (John 17:15)
GIVE IT TIME
People sometimes accept the idea that a change of thought, plus turning to God in prayer, will transform their lives into harmony and freedom. The logic of this principle appeals to them, and they set to work upon it in earnest. Then, after a few days, they say, “Nothing has happened after all,” and they drop back into their old negative thinking.
That is extremely foolish. The results of many years of general negative thinking are seldom corrected in a few days. No one who goes upon a new physical diet or medical regimen expects to reap the advantages in so short a time. You must keep up the new way of thinking and refuse to be discouraged by seeing failures at first.
The right motive for adopting right thinking is that it is right, and that wrong thinking is wrong; and we should do right whether it seems to pay dividends or not. Of course, it does pay dividends, fabulous dividends, but it usually takes a little perseverance in the face of preliminary slowness.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13)
by Emmet Fox
In reflection of my journey thus far, I see the reality of this message. Years ago I began the process of reading and learning about this subject of the power of thoughts and their influence on our lives. “Alcoholics Anonymous” is a book founded on these principles “As a Man Thinketh,” a book written by James Allen, was a beginning for making this concept even clearer. The logic of this principle urged me to test it and learn more about it. Emmet Fox’s “Sermon on the Mount” further brought these principles into light. However, as stated above, the practice was sputtering at best. Through the combination of gathering these understandings and lack of experience in its application, I felt the roller coaster of old and new negative thinking. Still do to a lesser degree.
What I have found over time is that the consistent “seeking” was key to success. My habitual unnoticed negative thinking is not entirely removed by simply reading about, learning about or knowing of its destructive nature. My survival instinct is to be accepted, revered, correct and being in charge has a constant influence on my thoughts and reasoning. So much so, that I must constantly be reminded of the Truth of Being, that God is present in our lives and that all fears are provided by thoughts. Right thinking is present within our relationship with God and the drama my thoughts may follow are just that, drama or wrong thinking.
While observing our thinking we can learn more about where those thoughts come from and learn more about what we truly choose to entertain or what direction we want to go. The constant stream of thoughts include responses and reactions to the infinite subjects passing through. The first thought may be spontaneous in nature, not relevant to the present situation, but potentially harmful none the less. It’s when I entertain it the second time that it begins to gain power and by the third go around that groundless thought becomes grounded to a level that now has power over my choices. There are times when that first thought is Spirit energized, of Pure nature and vital to follow. As a result of constant practice in observing all my thoughts, these are worthy of entertaining, trusting and following through on.
This is an example of the importance of continuing to develop the habit of observing our thoughts, patiently, consistently, throughout our day and each day of our journey. By seeking, observing and knowing my ultimate goal is to be in a relationship with the Father, filled with Love and comfort. I have His power to rely on and not the power of selfish thoughts. Right thoughts, right results. And for the dividends … they are fabulous!
by Darral Maffet
The Truly Contented Person
The truly contented person works energetically and faithfully, and accepts all results with an untroubled spirit.
There are three things with which a person should be content: With whatever happens; with our friendships and possessions; and with our pure thoughts. Contented with whatever happens, we will escape grief; with our friendships and possessions, we will avoid anxiety and wretchedness; and with our pure thoughts, we will never go back to suffer and grovel in impurities.
There are three things with which a person should not be content: With our opinions; with our character; and with our spiritual condition. Not content with our opinions, we will continually increase in intelligence; not content with our character, we will ceaselessly grow in strength and virtue; and not content with our spiritual condition, we will, every day, enter into a larger wisdom and a fuller blessedness.
Results exactly correspond with efforts.
by: James Allen (with revision from ‘his, he’ to ‘our, we’)
“Let not my mind deny the Thought of God.”
Lesson 165, by Dr Helen Schucman
What makes this world seem real except your own denial of the truth that lies beyond? What but your thoughts of misery and death obscure the perfect happiness and the eternal life your Father wills for you? And what could hide what cannot be concealed except illusion? What could keep from you what you already have except your choice to see it not, denying it is there?
The Thought of God created you. It left you not, nor have you ever been apart from it an instant. It belongs to you. By it you live. It is your Source of life, holding you one with it and everything is one with you because it left you not. The Thought of God protects you, cares for you, makes soft your resting place and smooths your way, lighting your mind with happiness and love. Eternity and everlasting life shine in your mind, because the Thought of God has left you not, and still abides with you.
Who would deny his safety and his peace, his joy, his healing and his peace of mind, his quiet rest, his calm awakening, if he but recognized where they abide? Would he not instantly prepare to go where they are found, abandoning all else as worthless in comparison to them? And having found them, would he not make sure they stay with him, and he remains with them?
Deny not Heaven. It is yours today, but for the asking. Nor need you perceive how great the gift, how changed your mind will be before it comes to you. Ask to receive, and it is given you. Conviction lies within it. Till you welcome it as yours, uncertainty remains. Yet God is fair. Sureness is not required to receive what only your acceptance can bestow.
Ask with desire. You need not be sure that you request the only thing you want. But when you have received, you will be sure you have the treasure you have always sought. What would you then exchange for it? What would induce you now to let it fade away from your ecstatic vision? For this sight proves that you have exchanged your blindness for the seeing eyes of Christ; your mind has come to lay aside denial, and accept the Thought of God as your inheritance.
Now is all doubting past, the journey’s end made certain, and salvation given you. Now is Christ’s power in your mind, to heal as you were healed. For now you are among the saviors of the world. Your destiny lies there and nowhere else. Would God consent to let His Son remain forever starved by his denial of the nourishment he needs to live? Abundance dwells in him, and deprivation cannot cut him off from God’s sustaining Love and from his home.
Practice today in hope. For hope indeed is justified. Your doubts are meaningless, for God is certain. And the Thought of Him is never absent. Sureness must abide within you who are host to Him. This course removes all doubts which you have interposed between Him and your certainty of Him.
We count on God, and not upon ourselves, to give us certainty. And in His Name we practice as His Word directs we do. His sureness lies behind our every doubt. His Love remains beyond our every fear. The Thought of Him is still beyond all dreams and in our minds, according to His Will.
“Your understanding is not a powerful contribution to the Truth.” from: A Course in Miracles
Follow faithfully where the Inward Light leads You.
It is well to become conscious of your shortcomings, for, having realized them, and feeling the necessity of overcoming them, you will, sooner or later, rise above them into the pure atmosphere of duty and unselfish love. You should not picture dark things in the future, but if you think of the future at all, think of it as bright. Above all, do your duty each day, and do it cheerfully and unselfishly, and then each day will bring its own pleasure of joy and peace, and the future will hold much happiness for you. The best way to overcome your faults is to perform all your duties faithfully, without thinking of any gain for yourself, and to do all you can to make others happy; speaking kindly to all, doing kind things when you can, and not retaliating when others do or say unkind things.
Put your whole heart into the present, living it, minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day, self-governed and pure.
By James Allen, from the Book of Meditations
These “age old principles” as Ebby delivered the message to Bill “nothing new really” (Ebby’s words) were (closely paraphrased) the following:
“You get honest with yourself about your drinking, your problem. You stop this living alone. You make an admission of your defects and share it with another human being, a confession. You go out and make restitution to those you had harmed. And Bill, I’ve learned a new way of giving, of helping people just for the sake of helping people, with no thought of recognition or compensation. And Bill, I know you’re a little gun-shy about this God stuff; but I believe in God, God as I understand him. And it helped me and I think it would help you too, to pray to whatever God you believe in to help you go through this thing.”
A Free Mind:
A free mind is a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing. Most people spend much of their time looking for reasons to be offended. An open mind is never offended because it is free of any attachments. It is never the self that is offended but always the illusion that the self has of itself that is affected by insult! If you can really understand this, deeply grasp its truth, live it each day, then pain will be no more. Next time you “feel” offended look closely within yourself at yourself and ask yourself what was offended? If you remain aware you will see that it was only an image of yourself which you had become attached to, and that image did not resonate with the image contained in the insult. If you weren’t attached, if you didn’t identify with the wrong image of yourself then there would be no offence taken. You would then remain free and therefore happy.
Author Unknown by this Publisher
I may be facing situations with a limited view of myself, i.e., as the sum total of the roles I play in life. This causes insecurity. The spiritual antidote is to develop the awareness of the eternal, invulnerable identity of the true self – the soul. When I forget this, I invite sorrow into my life.
There are three things with which a man should be content: With whatever happens; with his friendships and possessions; and with his pure thoughts. Contented with whatever happens, he will escape grief; with his friendships and possessions, he will avoid anxiety and wretchedness; and with his pure thoughts, he will never go back to suffer and grovel in impurities.
There are three with which a man should not be content: With his opinions; with his character; and with his spiritual condition. Not content with his opinions, he will continually increase in his intelligence; not content with his character, he will ceaselessly grow in strength and virtue; and not content with his spiritual condition, he will, every day, enter into a larger wisdom and a fuller blessedness.
Results exactly correspond with efforts. (by James Allen)
True self-awareness, plus the ability to choose our perceptions of life, the universe and everything, is the basis of free will. Every situation and scene in front of us has so many possibilities in terms of how we perceive and interpret. If someone is 10% selfish and 90% generous what should we focus on, what should we perceive first within them? Most of us are now well trained to perceive and focus on the negative, the selfishness in others, and to follow it quickly with accusation and judgment. We forget that what we perceive is what we empower within another and, more importantly what we perceive is what we empower within ourselves in that moment. And what we choose to see is usually what we get. So how important is it that we choose to perceive only the best, the highest, the greatest in another, even if it’s only a half a percent? Bosses and parents – take note!! Don’t forget – your perception is your reality. Your perception is what you project. And what you project is what comes back!
Let us consider the term “spiritual experience” as given in Appendix II of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous. A spiritual experience is something that brings about a personality change. By surrendering our lives to God as we understand Him, we are changed. The nature of this change is evident in recovered alcoholics. This personality change is not necessarily in the nature of a sudden and spectacular upheaval. We do not need to acquire an immediate and overwhelming “God-consciousness,” followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook. In most cases, the change is gradual.
Do I see a gradual and continuing change in myself?
Meditation for the Day
“Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” For rest from the care of life, you can turn to God each day in prayer and communion. Real relaxation and serenity come from a deep sense of the fundamental goodness of the universe. God’s everlasting arms are underneath all and will support you. Commune with God, not so much for petitions to be granted as for the rest that comes from relying on His will and His purposes for your life. Be sure of God’s strength available to you, be conscious of His support, and wait quietly until that true rest from God fills your being.
Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be conscious of God’s support today. I pray that I may rest safe and sure therein.
Listening; Remember this, dear friend. Right now, in this moment, you are either listening to the voice of God or you are needlessly enmeshed in your own psychodrama. Right now, you are either happy or you are finding fault with the circumstances of your life. Let yourself be present to your thoughts and ask: “am I aware of God’s unconditional love for me right now?”
If the answer is “yes,” you will feel the warmth of the Divine Presence in your heart. And if the answer is “no,” your awareness will cause you to remember that Presence and draw it to you. This simple practice cannot fail. Try it and see for yourself.
From: Love Without Conditions, by Paul Ferrini. www.PaulFerrini.com
What is “Seeking the Kingdom”?
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
The principle that Jesus expressed in these words is the basic law that underlies all answer to prayer. Many people know this in theory but are confused about putting it into practice. They think, “I will ignore this problem and think about God instead.” Here there is a subtle mistake; because they are really thinking of their problem as existing in one place, of God as existing in another, and of themselves as going in thought from the first place to the second place. This, of course, is by implication to reaffirm the existence of the problem in its own place, and such a belief will not heal.
What we have to do is to seek the Kingdom in the very place where the trouble seems to be. We have to know that in Truth and reality it is not there, because God is there. When we succeed in doing this, the difficulty disappears.
From: Sermon on the Mount by Emmet Fox.