Chapter 4 – The Creative Power of the Ideal

Chapter IV
W. John Murray
The Realm of Reality
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1922.

“Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
–Romans 12:2

[45] I think it is Shakespeare who says, “It is the mind that makes the body rich,” and he might truly have added, “It is the mind that makes the body young.” We have known men and women who were positively old at fifty; that is, they were more decrepit in mind and body than many others whom we know who have reached their seventieth, and even their eightieth years. We used to think that this was due, largely, if not entirely, to physiological conditions; but in the light of the new psychology we are beginning to realize how very important a part the mental plays in the matter of premature old age, as in all other things. It seems too bad that just as a man has acquired enough wisdom to be of use to himself and others he should become suddenly smitten with a belief in old age, and thus nourish a thought that casts a cloud over his life. [46] If there is one thing more than another which the new psychology is doing it is the revealing of this as neither necessary nor wise.

We are learning that we hasten the disintegrating processes of old age through auto-suggestion just as much as we hasten these processes by overwork and dissipation–if not more so. It is not enough when a man reaches what is called middle life that he slow up in his labors and discontinue his dissipations. He must cultivate youthful thoughts as surely as he must cultivate youthful companions. A man may spend fewer hours at his desk after his fiftieth year, but if he spends more hours at his club talking with old cronies and speculating as to the length of time he has remaining before decrepitude seizes upon him, he has not improved matters much.

This is now as much an established fact as that the ship-builder builds the ship or the house-builder builds the house. The ship-builder uses wood and steel, nuts and bolts, rivets and ropes, and in addition to these the house-builder requires bricks and mortar and other materials, but in the construction and carrying on of these enterprises of their physical bodies they each use the properties by which they are surrounded in the form of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and the like. That for a time this building and repairing work is carried on by subconscious processes is true, but this does not prevent these processes being greatly aided by conscious co-operation. This is the lesson that the New Spiritual Psychology [47] has come to teach.

On the principle that while God supplies us with food He will not eat it for us, it is safe to assert that while God has equipped us with mental faculties He expects us to exercise these faculties for ourselves, in accordance with His law of Creative Intelligence. If the ship-builder and the house-builder should take the materials by which they are surrounded and scatter them here, there, and everywhere, we should have neither ships nor houses, but by the intelligent assembling of these component parts we have ships to sail in and houses in which to live.

Man, then, in the generation and regeneration of what is called his “earthly tabernacle,” or the instrument through which he functions on the objective plane, must act with the same degree of intelligence as do the builders of ships and of houses. These useful members of society cannot throw wood and steel, nuts and bolts, bricks and mortar together indiscriminately and construct ships and houses, no matter how well they are supplied with these essentials.

The same law which forbids the component parts of ships and houses and foods from being thrown together indiscriminately to result in good ships, houses, and physical constitutions, operates on the higher plane of the mental, for Law, to be Law, must be so in all phases. There is a law by which mind acts upon the body as certainly as an alkali acts upon an acid, and if this mental action is not operating constructively it is operating destructively; [48] for mind action is as incessant as the flow of the waters of Niagara. When one thinks of the untold centuries of the ceaseless energy of Niagara going to waste, and of the comparatively few years in which it has been used to generate electric power, one is furnished with some idea of the tremendous Power of Mind and the comparatively little use we have made of it. It were nothing at all that an immense body of water poured itself over the Falls if no constructive direction were given to it. It would be marvelous to see, but of no practical benefit.

In every man there are undreamed of possibilities; but unless he realizes this he is much like a watch with all its mechanism in perfect order, but which does not record the time because it has been allowed to run down. Many a man considers himself “all run down,” when what he needs is to be wound up with the stem-winder of a New Idea. Perhaps nothing is so encouraging as the discovery that each man, like each watch, has a main-spring upon which all his movements depend, and this main-spring is the subconscious mind. The difference between the main-spring of a watch and the subconscious mind of a man is the difference between that which is subject to destruction and that which goes on forever. When Paul admonishes us to become transformed by the renewing of our mind, it is his way of telling us to charge the subconscious mind with such directions as we wish it to carry out in objective experience.

[49] It is now the opinion of some of the most advanced thinkers that the subconscious mind is that which stands between the conscious and the superconscious, receiving its impressions now from one and again from the other. Its purpose is not to create but to obey, and so faithful is it in the performance of this duty that, like an office boy in the employ of a firm in which there are several members, it will carry out orders given to it by each member of the firm, even when these orders seem to be contradictory. It might seem from this illustration that the subconscious mind, like the office boy, is an automaton when it comes to obeying orders, and in one sense it is. When an employer said to an office boy who remarked that he thought a certain thing ought to be done in a certain way, “You are not paid to think, you are paid to do what you are told,” he had the attitude toward that boy which every individual ought to have toward the subconscious mind. It is not paid to think, it is paid to serve Thought, whether that Thought is prompted by suggestions from without, through the avenue of the senses, or from Within, through the channel of spiritual Perception.

The importance of this aspect of the subconscious mind cannot be too strongly emphasized, for it not only explains how we are constantly producing in our lives that which is undesirable, but it furnishes us with an idea of how we may bring into our lives that which is most desirable by simply reversing the machinery of the mind. [50] If we are not perfectly satisfied with the conditions of our lives, and few persons are, we are confronted with the necessity of either becoming “reconciled to our fate,” as some believe we should, or becoming masters of our fate, as some believe we can.

Between the two extremes of being reconciled to one’s fate and being master of it there is a great gulf, but we are now learning that it is not an impossible gulf, like that which separated Dives from Lazaus, for if we cannot cross it on the surface, nor bridge it in the air, we can still use the subway of the subconscious, which is always the shortest line between the two points of the Relative and the Absolute. On the plane of the Relative all phenomena are more or less limited and imperfect, while on the plane of the Absolute all is unlimited and perfect. This is because the original Idea of a thing, like the original phraseology of a language, suffers from the attempt to translate it into visible manifestation. Those of us who are able to read the Greek poems only in their English translations are told that we have no conception of their beauty as it expresses itself to those who read them in the original.

One of the most difficult exercises at school is the re-translation of something back into its original language, and it is this exercise which suggests the method by which we are to return to our original perfectness as the conscious sons and daughters of God. When it becomes better known that the visible world, with all that it contains, [51] including our own bodies, is a poor translation of that spiritual universe of God’s Ideas, we shall labor more diligently to re-translate ourselves into that Ideal State. If, on the plane of the relative, circumstances are not to our liking, and what we want to do is to change those circumstances to other and more desirable ones, we must do exactly what we do in simple arithmetic when we are uncertain about our calculations.

When things are not working out satisfactorily we do not go on writing figures in the hope that an accumulation of figures will solve the problem; rather do we, for the moment, look away from all figures to the principle and, working out from this, get our correct answer. In mathematics this method could be called working on the plane of the absolute, and it is in a similar way to this that all the problems of life must be solved. On the plane of the relative there are moral, mental, physical and financial problems to be solved, and to attempt to solve these by ordinary means is to be as unsuccessful in the future as we have been in the past. We can no more cure moral or physical diseases with just will-power, and without God-Power, than we can produce electric light without a dynamo; nor can we solve our financial problems by lying and dishonesty. “Except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it,” says the Scriptures. Except as any problem, mathematical or metaphysical, is working out according to Principle, it is not solved at all.

[52] The Creative Power of the Ideal depends then upon our conscious co-operation with the Absolute in Divine Science, which is God; and the easiest way to do this is to learn to think as God thinks; and as God never thinks in terms of the relative and the negative, but always in terms of the Absolute and the Positive, it is plain that the creative power of the Ideal through us rests with the kind of mental pictures we form. When I speak of the Ideal I do not mean that which exists only in imagination or fancy, and which we feel to be unattainable. I mean that which is back of all that we call real, and which is the very substance of the so-called real.

We speak of men as being men of high ideals or of low ideals, as the case may be, meaning by this that they are men of fine thoughts on the one hand or coarse thoughts on the other, and that their ideals exhibit themselves in their moral conduct, in their physical appearance, and in their very circumstances. Now, conduct, physical conditions, and financial circumstances can be created only by thinking, and hence the creative power of the ideal consists in equipping the original thought with sufficient strength to project itself into manifestation.

The physical sciences all assure us that the starting point of everything in the world is the invisible nucleus which gathers around it by the law of attraction whatever is necessary to its complete manifestation in form. If our thought nucleus is one of fear, it will at once attract unto [53] itself the same quality of thought which is constantly emanating from other minds, for there is a mental contagion as there is a moral and a physical contagion. If our thought nucleus is one of sickness or poverty, it will coalesce with other thoughts of sickness and poverty until it registers in us as the finished product in bodily discomfort. This is on the principle that the smoke from one chimney may scarcely be noticed, but when it unites itself with the smoke from many chimneys it may almost conceal the sun.

But if the creative power of the Ideal operates in this manner on the plane of the negative, it will operate also on the plane of the positive. If our thought nucleus be one of health or happiness, purity or prosperity, then by the same law of attraction it will draw around itself thoughts of a similar character, until these register in our daily life in expressions after their kind. This is as much a law as that a magnet will attract a needle, and we must learn how to make intelligent use of it. If the subconscious mind is not “paid to think,” but to carry out orders, then we must see to it that we give only such orders to it as we wish it to execute.

And we must be so sure at the outset that we know what we want that we shall not be constantly countermanding our orders by persistently changing our minds. When we know what we want, we next need to know if this exists on the plane of the Absolute, for if it does not it can never manifest itself on the plane of the relative. [54] All the things that are really worth having exist on the plane of the Absolute, for in God is Life, and Love, and Beauty and Supply. And the knowledge that these exist on the plane of the Absolute, from which they can never become separated, enables us to impress the Idea of these on the subconscious mind, and this in turn expresses these in us as the finished products of our mental picture.

The creative power of the Ideal, then, consists in suggesting to the subconscious mind whatever we desire and know to be in the Absolute Divine Mind awaiting our intelligent demand upon it. The suggestion of health or happiness, purity or prosperity is a seed which, if watered and nurtured by similar suggestions, will inevitably germinate into those things which rejoice the soul, strengthen the mind, heal the body and replenish the resources.

Chapter 5

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The Realm of Reality
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