1. The teachings about the things of Spirit are said to be mystical. We have thought them so because we have not come into consciousness of the many faculties necessary to comprehend Spirit. Victor Hugo said: “There are no occult or hidden truths; everything is luminous with mind.” So we find in the study of Truth that what is called mysterious and occult is simply a range of facts that man has not yet explored. When he expands his mind and takes in a larger horizon, he sees the interrelation of a multitude of hitherto unknown laws which, from his former viewpoint, seemed mysterious.
2. Mind manifests through faculties; if mind is to comprehend increasingly, there must be an increase of these avenues. That man has latent possibilities goes without argument; that there is a limit to the ability of the mind is unthinkable. What a man imagines he can do, that he can do. The doing is a question of adopting the right way. To allow the imagination to drift in daydreams never brings anything to pass. Ideas must be worked up into living, breathing, thinking things. Man can compress his vagrant ideas into visibility as the chemist liquefies and makes visible the invisible atmosphere; but to do this he must, like the chemist, have the necessary machinery.
3. Physiology says that, in order to think, man must have brains. However, thinking is not limited to material brain cells but, like everything else in the universe, has a wide range of expression. There are brains within brains, and cells within cells. All through the body are brain centers, whose offices have not yet been determined. Psychology shows that these nerve centers are acted upon by invisible forces; it teaches that man has what is called a subconscious mind, which transcends the conscious mind in knowledge and in ability. Jesus gives us this still higher teaching concerning our mental powers: Man has a mind called the Lord, transcending both the conscious and the subconscious minds. Yet the harmonious working together of these three seemingly separate minds is necessary to the bringing forth of the latent possibilities of the man.
4. In truth there is but one Mind; in it all things exist. Accurately speaking, man does not have three minds, nor does he have even one mind; but he expresses the one Mind in a multitude of ways. To believe in the possession of an individual mind, and that it is necessary to store up knowledge in it, makes living burdensome. This is why very intellectual people are often impractical and unsuccessful; they have accumulated more knowledge than they have wisdom and power to apply. Like the miser who starves surrounded by his gold, they perish for lack of real understanding. Through thinking of their stored-up knowledge as a personal possession, they have insulated it from the original fount of wisdom and life, and it has consequently become stale and forceless.
5. There is in man that which, when opened, will place him in direct contact with universal knowledge and enable him instantly and continuously to draw forth anything that he may wish to know. God is our fount of wisdom, even as He is our source of supply. The understanding of the Christ Mind reveals that man of himself knows nothing. Jesus, who developed this higher consciousness, claimed that all His knowledge and power came direct from the Father: “I can of myself do nothing.” “The Father abiding in me doeth his works.”
6. All that man really needs is the quickening and rounding out of the thinking centers in his consciousness; that having been done, Divine Mind will think through him. This supreme Mind holds man at its center, a perfect instrument through which to express its possibilities. The writer of the first chapter of Genesis says that man is formed in the image and after the likeness of God. He is the I-am-age, or the identical I AM of God-Mind in expression. God looks into the mirror of the universe and sees Himself as man; He gives Himself to man, and man in his highest is God manifest. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Thus God gives to His image the power to express all that He is. This not only includes man’s ability to think, but also the power to shape and form thought. This formative power of thought requires a distinctive faculty, which is called the “imagination.” The mind makes its forms in a way similar to that in which cooks make biscuits. First is the gathering of the materials, then the mixing, then the biscuit cutting, which gives shape to the substance. In thinking, man accumulates a mass of ideas about substance and life, and with his imagination he makes them into forms.
7. Whatever we mirror in our minds becomes a living, active thing, and through it we are connected with the world about us. Through the work of the imaging faculty, every thought makes a form, and multitudes of thoughts make multitudes of forms. These crowd in upon one another around the central I-am-age, and appear in what is called the body. Physiology says that all the organs of the body are made up of cells, and that every cell contains the essential elements of its particular organ. The liver is made of a multitude of liver elements, the heart of heart elements, and so forth. The starting point is an idea, and through the mechanism of the mind (often erroneously called the mechanism of the body) man forms his organism. With this key anyone can unlock the door of his temple and in mind visit all its various rooms and set the furniture in order.
8. The imagination has its center of action in the front brain; it uses what phrenology calls the perceptive faculties. It is really the author of these faculties; size, weight, form, color, and the like are its children. When it flashes its light into the cells that make up the organs, they at once respond to the thought, and out of substance visible and invisible make forms that correspond to the idea held in imagination. If the idea originates in Spirit, the creation is harmonious and according to law. The nerve centers are so sensitive and receptive to thought that they take impressions from without and make in the ether the forms that correspond to the impressions received. This is an inversion of the creative law, which is that all creations shall have their patterns in the mind. When man allows his imagination to run on in a lawless way, he brings about such discord in mind and body that the flood of error thought submerges his understanding and he is drowned in it. “And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” “And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh.”
9. All things, including the mind, work from center to circumference. A knowledge of this fact puts man on his guard and causes him to direct that his imagination shall not create things in his mind that have been impressed upon him from without. This does not imply that the outer world is all error, or that all appearance is the creation of finite mind; it means that the outer is not a safe pattern from which to make the members of the body. When Moses was instructed by the Lord to furnish the tabernacle, the command was, “See . . . that thou make all things according to the pattern that was showed thee in the mount.” “The mount” is the place of high understanding in mind, which Jesus called the kingdom of God within us. The wise metaphysician resolves into ideas each mental picture, each form and shape seen in visions, dreams, and the like. The idea is the foundation, the real; when understood and molded by the power of the word, it creates or recreates the form at the direction of the individual I AM. By working with this simple law, man may become an adept or master. By handling the cause of things he attains mastery over things, and instead of giving up to his emotions and feelings, he controls them. Instead of letting his imagination run riot, conjuring up all sorts of situations, he holds it steadily to a certain set of ideas that he wants brought forth. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose imagination is stayed on thee.” (Is. 26:3, margin.)
10. As man develops in understanding, his imagination is the first of his latent faculties to quicken. Esau represents the natural man. Jacob represents the intellectual man supplanting Esau; hence Jacob is called the “supplanter.” Historically, he seems a trickster, taking advantage of those of less wisdom, but this incident merely shows how the higher principle appropriates the good everywhere. Imagination was the leading faculty in Jacob’s mind. He dreamed of a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. This is prophecy of union between the ideal and its manifestations, between Spirit and body; the union is made by pure thoughts of the absolute–the angels of Jacob’s dream. Farther along in his development Jacob awakened all his faculties, represented by his twelve sons. Joseph was a dreamer and an interpreter of dreams. He was the favorite son of Jacob, the I AM, who gave him a coat of many colors. This is all representative of the imaging faculty, which Joseph typifies.
11. The history of Joseph is the history of man’s imagination developed under the divine law. His dreams were messages from God, and God interpreted them for him; his life is one of the most interesting and fascinating romances in the Bible. For a time the way of Joseph was thorny, but through his obedience to Spirit he reached the highest place in the king’s domain. This shows that man begins the development of the imagination in the darkness of materiality and in the depths of ignorance, represented by Joseph’s being cast into the pit and sold into Egypt. Through spiritual understanding, the “dreamer” becomes the most practical son of the family; by following his dream interpretations, multitudes are saved from starvation. The individual application of this is: Having our attention fixed on Spirit, we discern the ebb and flow of the forces in the organism, and we know how to conserve and husband our resources.
12. Instead of treating the visions of the night as idle dreams, we should inquire into them, seeking to know the cause and the meaning of every mental picture. Every dream has origin in thought, and every thought makes a mind picture. The study of dreams and visions is an important one, because it is through these mental pictures that the Lord communicates with man in a certain stage of his unfoldment. Solomon was instructed in dreams. “In Gibeon Jehovah appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.” In Job 33:15, 16, we read, “In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction.” “Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a vision of the night.” Joseph, the husband of Mary, was told in a dream to take the young child Jesus and go down into Egypt. Peter was shown his intolerance in a vision, and Paul was obedient to the “heavenly vision.” God has instructed all the great and wise in every age in dreams and visions. “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint.”
13. Every form and thing, whether in the ether or on the earth, represents some idea or mental attitude. The idea is first projected into mind substance, and afterward formed in consciousness. The mind of man sees all things through thought forms made by the imagination. The lover idealizes the object of his affection, and is often disappointed on close acquaintance. We are always creating ideals that have existence in our minds alone. A true story is told of a sailor who went on a long voyage and left his affianced behind. He thought of her continuously, and often saw her in his dreams. Finally he began to see and talk to her in his waking state, and she told him many remarkable things. She said that it was her soul that visited him; that her body was in her English home, awaiting his return. After some twenty years he arrived at home, expecting a welcome from his loved one. He was dumfounded to learn that she was married, had a family, and had forgotten him. Out of his own mind substance he had created the object of his affection, which had faithfully reflected all his thoughts about her.
14. Through the power of the imagination we impress upon the body the concepts of the mind. Here are stories of actual occurrences: a woman watched her little daughter pass through a heavy iron gate. The gate swung shut and the mother imagined that it had caught and crushed the little one’s fingers. But the child had withdrawn her fingers before the gate struck. The mother felt pain in her own hand, and the next day she found a dark streak across her fingers, in the place where she had imagined that the child’s had been crushed. In a secret-society initiation, the candidate was told that the word “coward” was to be branded upon his back with a red-hot iron. A piece of ice was used instead, but the promised brand arose in blistered letters.
15. We could cite cases without number to prove the power of the imagination in forming and transforming the body. Also, one mind can suggest to another and produce any desired condition, if there be mental receptivity. This can be done most effectively through the hypnotic state, but hypnosis is not always necessary. Experiments prove that we are constantly suggesting all sorts of things to one another, and getting results according to the intensity of the imagination. Thus disease is reflected into susceptible minds by people’s merely talking about disease as an awful reality.
16. A man can imagine that he has some evil condition in body or affairs, and through the imaging law build it up until it becomes manifest. On the other hand, he can use the same power to make good appear on every side. The marks of old age can be erased from the body by one’s mentally seeing the body as youthful. If you want to be healthy, do not imagine so vain a thing as decrepitude. Make your body perfect by seeing perfection in it. Transient patching up with lotions and external applications is foolish; the work must be an inner transformation. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
17. The highest and best work of the imagination is the marvelous transformation that it works in character. Imagine that you are one with the Principle of good, and you will become truly good. To imagine oneself perfect fixes the idea of perfection in the invisible mind substance, and the mind forces at once begin the work of bringing forth perfection.
18. Paul saw this wonderful law at work in character-forming through imitating Christ: “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory, to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.”
Perfection In Form Established
(To be used in connection with Lesson Nine)
1. I see my countenance in its divine perfection.
2. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose imagination is stayed on thee.”
3. I see perfection in all forms and shapes.
4. His Son is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person.
5. I see the light of the Christ consciousness always.
6. I am formed anew every day in my mind and my body.
7. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
8. My spirit is quickened in Christ.
9. “In a dream, in a vision of the night . . . he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction.”
10. I know the reality back of the shadows.
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Christian Healing by Charles Fillmore
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