Divine Science Its Principle and Practice
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Copyright 1957 by Divine Science Church and College
Made available here by the ministry of
Rev. Lawrence C. Terry, M.Msc., D.Min.
P. O. Box 68324
Indianapolis, IN 46268-0324
Chapter 6 – Story of Progress
From primitive time man has instinctively sought a higher power when he has felt the need of help. He has been inclined to depend upon himself, exhausting every idea and every apparent resource before turning to God for help. Sine he was usually in a state of desperation when he at last sought spiritual help, quite naturally his prayer was one of supplication, of pleading and beseeching a god or some unknown power to come to his aid. This type of prayer added nothing to his self-confidence or to his ability to meet new difficulties as they arose.
Students of Divine Science are being illumined by greater understanding and are cultivating the habit of true thinking, that is, knowing that God has already given man all that He, Himself, is. As man lives in the knowledge of the truth of himself and knows his oneness with All Wisdom, All Power, All Resourcefulness, he no longer prays at God but commune with God. He withdraws his thoughts from appearances in the physical realm and centers them upon the omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience of God. He openly declares his oneness with the one God-Mind and as he brings all his thoughts into alignment with that Mind, he partakes of the riches of Spirit. Thus he increases his ability to receive the flood of goodness which is constantly flowing out from God to His whole creation.
The prayer of Divine Science become affirmative statements of our hearts’ praise of the Father and a thankful acknowledgment of what we are and what we are to express here. It directs our thinking from the need, or the problem, to the One Abiding Presence and Power. Affirmative prayer establishes confidence and enables us to meet all situations with poise and peace of mind. Prayer becomes an expression of our willingness to do our part in fulfilling God’s plan for peace on earth and good will toward all, so that man may actually abide in the Kingdom of Heaven here and now.
Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.
Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might, and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
Now therefore, our God we thank thee, and praise they glorious name. 1Chron 29: 10-13
Questions to Alert Your Thinking
1. What does Divine Science consider the true purpose of prayer?
2. Explain why there is no beseeching of God in the prayer of a Divine Scientist.
3. How does affirmative prayer benefit the individual?
4. How does one partake of the riches of Spirit?
5. Why is it desirable to have a period of silence after meditation?
Thinking of Truth reveals it to us more and more clearly. As we study and practice, our thoughts are steadily enlightened and there comes to us a greater realization of our oneness with God.
As a student trains his thinking, the process may be likened to a mental fast. A fast of though which we shall give recognition: we refuse to entertain any concept of evil; we reject every negative thought; we release our previously accumulated beliefs and opinions; we give up human comparisons of good and evil. The results are positive: anger and the inclination to become angry grow less as we refuse to give place to evil; weariness, fear, and pain drift away; we see ourselves and our fellowmen in a new light and with greater understanding; our world becomes a pleasanter place in which to live.
Hitherto prayer has been considered an expressed desire to be released from some condition or to have some need supplied. Hitherto we have not realized that the conditions we experience in our lives are the automatic fulfillment of our own state of consciousness, and so we have prayed that they might pass from us, not realizing that we must pass from them.
More and more as our thought is illumined by truth we see the whole world and all that belongs in it as God’s creation, His expression and this creation is potentially as perfect as He is perfect. Again our eyes are opened to see that prayer is not what we had previously thought it to be. We begin to understand that we shall no longer beseech our God for what we desire. Now we shall pray to realize the God presence, the Christ within ourselves, to feel His love, and to become aware of His purpose for us. We shall pray in order to become more certain of that which is. We shall pray for a fuller realization of God, not primarily for things or for favors from God. When our thoughts accept the Omnipresence and its Good, we know that we have received; we know that all good is already ours and is only awaiting our recognition and acceptance.
After we understand Omnipresence as the “fullness filling all” we can say, “I have received.” Now we shall “speak with new tongues,” we shall pray in a new way. Prayer in Divine Science becomes the method of recognizing God and His fullness, for recognition is the sure method of seeking, receiving and having. It is the method that brings the highest unfoldment to the individual. True prayer is recognition, acceptance, thanksgiving, and acting the true nature of God. To recognize the One All as present is finding and receiving our good. The scientist declares the everlasting, eternal truth of God; realizes that God is continually expressing Himself in, through, and as His creation. The scientist prays in Spirit with understanding; he renders thanks for what has been received and joyfully acknowledges omnipresent good.
The true prayer is the prayer of illumined faith and of the acknowledgment of God’s loving presence. It is the foundation of all clear seeing and believing and through it comes the greatest of all joys, the comradeship of God and man. Through prayer we constantly become more conscious of God and God in action in all life’s experiences, more conscious of the immediate nearness and availability of God. Through prayer we become more conscious of what we are, of what God knows us to be, His own image and likeness.
The affirmative prayer of Divine Science is patterned after the Lord’s Prayer. In this prayer we find not pleading but affirmation of truth. It is often used in Divine Science services as a powerful means of emphasizing oneness with God which Jesus so definitely expressed in all his teachings. It is spoken in the present tense for it is believed that Jesus spoke it in his native language, the Aramaic, which had neither past nor future tense. Read it in the present tense and see how much stronger and more meaningful it become to you:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed is Thy name.
Thy kingdom come; Thy will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
Thou givest us this day our daily bread:
Thou forgivest us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Thou leadest us not into temptation but dost deliver us from all evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
The Creator expresses His own nature in living form and is always saying to His expression, “Because I am, thou art; thou art my very Self revealed and like ever expresses like.” The law of love is God’s givingness of all that He is to His creation. Truth never changes. Law is unchangeable. Personal opinion has no influence over law. In the practice of Truth, by means of true prayer, personal opinions must be set aside for unchangeable law. Prayer, therefore becomes an acknowledgment of the divine order or plan; the acceptance of the perfect adjustment of mentality and body to the truth of Spirit.
How natural it is that the Creator, infinite Mind, should know His creations individually; should know man as His own thought. This is the reason that direct communication with God is possible. God is more conscious of us than we are of Him; His capacity for being intensely conscious is so much greater than ours that it is beyond comparison. God knows when we turn to Him and our love for Him is met by His own outflowing love for us. Our need is to know the truth and to listen to the voice of intuition which is ever speaking within us. To this purpose the present chapter will present a proven method by which the student may establish the habit of affirmative prayer and the art of silent listening in order that he may more fully partake of Truth.
One soon learns that prayer may be instantaneous, for by the quick turning of thought to the Christ Mind within, one receives added strength, renewed love, guidance, and assurance. But it is also necessary to acquire the habit of a longer communication with God. This requires a daily period of quiet when we “enter the closet…and shut the door.” This is the time of meditation which will keep us alert to the ever-present God in the midst of us. The period of daily meditation is an excellent preparation for the true Silence wherein we listen to God who is ever seeking to express through us. Meditation includes our affirmative statement of our origin, of our inheritance, and of our desire to open the way for God’s plan to work out through us. It is the time when we bring our thinking into alignment with the God idea; when we agree with His divine nature; when we center our whole attention in the divine Mind and openly declare the truth of our oneness with that Mind. To keep thought centered in God and to declare our oneness with Him is to enter heaven and partake of the kingdom. The infinite consciousness of God, or Mind, becomes our consciousness when we identify and locate ourselves in the presence of God. His resourcefulness becomes real to us in proportion as we become conscious of His presence with us and within us.
In order to meditate effectively let us set aside a time for meditation when we may be as undisturbed as possible. Sit in a comfortable position so that we may forget the body and our surroundings. Before meditating we decide upon the inherency or aspect of God we wish to realize for that day. It may be one today, another tomorrow. It is far better to concentrate upon a single God inherency than it is to attempt to realize the complete omnipresence of God in a single meditation. We choose for the subject of our meditation something for which we feel the need of a deeper realization. We meditate upon the need of a deeper realization. We meditate upon tat one subject only, be it of health, supply, guidance, wisdom, love, strength, peace or any other subject – until we begin to sense its completeness in God, and until in our thought we bring ourselves to an awareness that it is ours also, and until this truth permeates our consciousness.
As we affirm our true nature until we are certain of its truth; as we shut out thought of all that is contrary to our peace; as we know that that which is true of God’s nature is also true of our own for we are the image and likeness of God, we enter into a state of mind which accepts the truth that God has provided for us all that we can possibly need. This is the first step in meditation. It is called Recognition of Omnipresence.
Now at this time when thoughts, emotions, opinions, and questions are stilled, we make our definite affirmative statement of the truth we wish to dwell upon in order to attain a deeper realization of it as actuality in our experience. We repeat this affirmation several times until we feel its truth and think of nothing else. As we dwell upon it with all our attention, feel it to the core of our hearts, we life our consciousness into a state of true prayer. This is the second step in meditation and is called Affirmation.
Continue to think of this attribute or characteristic as it exists perfectly in the God-Mind, in the Perfect Uncreate. Enumerate all the ways which convince us of the existence of this characteristic in God. Now, we bring our thought to the world at large and think of every evidence of God’s expressing this characteristic in the natural universe. Again we bring thought still closer to our own immediate surroundings and ourselves. We always hold to the one thought that God is expressing Himself in, through, and as us. This detailed “thinking through” from the perfect Source to perfect manifestation is the third step in meditation, called Concentration.
The foregoing three steps, wherein we praise and described the goodness of God, wherein we magnify the good in our conscious thinking until the subconscious realm of our soul becomes full of the recognition of good, will lead us into an inner spiritual-mental practice of the Presence which results in intuitive communication. The fourth step should follow automatically; it is the Silence wherein we cease our thinking, direct all our attention to the Christ Mind within and listen only to Spirit. Christ Mind, which is the presence of God within the individual, we may receive wisdom direct from divine Mind. We listen attentively, yet quietly, that we may be fully receptive to this direct knowing as it flows forth from the Infinite; listen while allowing the hidden glories and truths of life to be revealed to our thinking, listen to be convinced of Truth, listen inwardly that we may receive the intuitions of the Spirit. We come out of the Silence with a grateful outpouring of thanks for if we have carried out these directions conscientiously we shall feel such an upwelling of spontaneous gratitude to the Father for all that He means to us that we will be compelled to express our thanks. This fourth step is call Conscious Realization.
After this time in the Silence and the full expression of our gratitude we return to the normal activities of daily living carrying an enlightened consciousness with us, and we go forth in a godly way from Invisible Being to visible expression, even as a completed example is the perfect expression of a perfect principle in the science of mathematics. For in truth we include our expression within our consciousness just as omnipresence includes all creation within its infinite Consciousness. Hence our freedom is of the same nature as is the freedom of omnipresent Spirit.
To be sure that we are contacting the Christ Mind, which is the greatest achievement that can come to us, here are some points to e kept in mind as we practice meditation:
First, we must establish a strong unwavering belief in the indwelling Christ Mind. By means of regular, daily affirmation, meditation and study, we shall implant such a deep and abiding faith that eventually it becomes a rock upon which to build.
Second, we must make it our responsibility to grasp every opportunity to recognize the expression of a God inherency in our contact with others. Let us name if, claim it as part of ourselves, give thanks for it and for our ability to discern it, give it more than a passing thought.
Third, our conscious mind must be alert and dynamic during meditation, for meditation is not a subjective state in which we invite into our mentality anything that may want to come. If we are apathetic we open ourselves to a host of jumbled impressions and desires that will rise out of the subconscious realm of mind.
Fourth, we are creatures of free will and we can decide to open to the Christ Mind and to it alone. Affirmations and meditation bring us into a close feeling of intimacy with that Mind and we can follow out our intent. As we are steadfast in study and prayer, knowing that we are turning to the indwelling Father in deep earnestness, we shall find Him as willing to give as we are to receive.
Fifth, after patient practice we shall come to an inner knowing, a clear conviction that it is the Christ with whom we have been communing. When this conviction comes it brings a wonderful sense of joy and satisfaction, and it is sure to come as a reward of earnest and persistent seeking. There is no set form in which it must come. Some say that they see a light, some say that they hear a voice, some have a deep knowing that it is unaccompanied by any phenomena of physical senses. It will come to each one in the way best for him, so do not make any special attempt to bring lights, colors or voices.
Finally, let us not permit the intellect to reason away what we may have received intuitively. Intuition is superior to intellect for intellect must ultimately depend upon intuition for its clearest explanation of Truth and for is working ideas.
To pray the meditative prayer takes more time and thought than a supplication for help, for it means consistently thinking through and the earnest endeavor to be true in all thinking, speaking, and reacting in accordance therewith. In fact it loses all value unless followed by action which conforms to the knowing. The practice of living the truth is of such vital importance that later there will be an entire lesson devoted to the practical application of it. Meditation and practice are the two phases of strong living. In stillness, strength is gathered for activity; in action, the energy realized is stillness is exercised. Stillness is the night wherein the soul reposes and is refreshed for the activity of the day. One soon appreciates the reminder that we continue “instant in prayer,” for the affirmative prayer requires that every minute be attuned to a constant acknowledgment of God, the One All.
To pray and depend upon God as the source of life and strength is to worship in Spirit and in Truth; is to base motive and faith aright; and is to fulfill the purpose of Life in creation. The purpose of Life is that God may be made manifest; that we may, as individuals, come to know our true Sonship. This is a consciousness of Life Eternal. He who finds not God within himself may seek in vain elsewhere. He who finds not himself in God and as God will have sought the Christ in vain. When God is sought and found as the expresser of form, and as expressed in form, there is no place where He is not apparent.
Regular, persistent practice of affirmative prayer will bring us eventually to the place where we will establish a strong, unwavering belief in the Christ Mind which is the eternal Self of each one. It will implant such a deep and abiding faith in the guidance of that Indwelling One in both the conscious and subconscious levels of our thought that nothing can dislodge it. It will bring to each one who practices faithfully an established consciousness which will promote progressive spiritual unfoldment. This is our goal in the understanding and use of prayer.
Study these lessons from the plane of Spirit; meditate upon their truths from that high plane and the light of understanding will reveal their truth. If you will pray as herein instructed you will feel the power of communing with the Father; you will become aware that Father and son are one. You will worship in spirit and in Truth.
STATEMENTS OF TRUTH
Affirmations declare that which is forever true.
Affirmation brings realization.
Realization is conscious possession.
Meditative prayer has the same purpose as the practice of any art or skill – the attainment of perfect results.
Time spent in meditation gives me opportunity to enumerate in definite statements, aloud or silently, the truth I know about God and about myself.
For a successful Silence:
1. Withdraw attention from externals.
2. Turn from personality and concentrate upon the Christ Self.
3. Concentrate one-pointedly.
4. Be persistent in giving yourself unreservedly to God
It may take much practice in meditation before we attain the real Silence and have an awareness of the presence of God. Be persistent, be humble, have faith, and one day you will find a refuge, and abiding place within Spirit. This is the “Pearl of Great Price.”
Questions For Review and Discussion
1. Explain why the Lord’s Prayer may rightly be prayed in the present tense.
2. Name the four steps of meditative prayer and explain what each step includes.
3. Why does the meditative-type prayer do more to convince you of your sonship than the prayer of supplication?
4. What do you understand intuition to be? Do you desire to be receptive to it?
5. After some practice discuss your reactions to the instructions given in this chapter.
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Divine Science – Its Principle and Practice from the writings of Nona Brooks and Malinda Cramer