Keep a True Lent, by Charles Fillmore, , at sacred-texts.com
MAN CAN NEVER discern more than a part of the circle in which he moves, although his powers and capacities are susceptible of infinite expansion. He discovers a faculty in himself, and cultivates it until it opens out into a universe of correlated faculties. The farther he goes into mind, the wider its horizon, until he is forced to acknowledge that he is not the personal, limited thing he appears, but the focus of an infinite idea.
That idea contains within itself inexhaustible possibilities. These possibilities are projected into man's consciousness as an image is reflected in a mirror, and, through the powers vested in him, he brings them into manifestation.
Thus man is the most important factor in creation--he is the will of God individualized.
There is but one God, hence there can be but one ideal man. Each individual is the focus of the life, intelligence, love, and substance of this one universal man, Christ.
We draw all our substance, of whatever nature, mental or physical, from Him: "In him we live, and move, and have our being."
Our identity as individuals is formed by the infinitely various combinations of His attributes. We are the will of this Grand Man, Christ, and all of
us draw on Him, through our sentient volition, for whatever we need.
All that any individual has ever expressed, or may ever express, is open to each one of us, because there is but one fount and we all stand as equals in His presence.
There is one principle of music; but there are millions of combinations, in symphony and song, of the few simple tones on which that principle is based. These tones are expressed in form as notes. They may be on the staff, in variations beyond computation, and similar variations may also be repeated above and below the staff.
So each one of us focuses the attributes of man in his consciousness in infinite combinations on the staff--the intellect; above the staff, the spiritual; below the staff, the animal.
Certain arrangements of dominant tones are recognized by musical composers as producing harmony. So in man; certain combinations of the attributes of the Christ in the individual, Jesus, produced the harmonious man, Christ Jesus.
We refer to the Christ as man, because our language has no word which expresses the two-in-one of Being. The Hebrew Yeve is a term that includes both male and female attributes.
Paul inspirationally said: "Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped."
This is the problem set before each one of us. We all want to know how to let the mind be in us which was in Christ Jesus. We feel the stirring of powers and capacities which we have never been able to use because of a weakness in some co-ordinating faculty.
One person may have a talent suppressed because of diffidence; another may have a talent rendered obnoxious by excessive egotism. This all shows that our powers are making servants of us. We must know who and what we are; we must take our place in the Godhead and marshal our forces.
There are various methods for doing this. Most of them are limited; they never get above the intellect; they do not venture into the spiritual. Most of the methods are theoretical; they are written down by those who have perceived the truth but have not carried it out in detail.
One man let his life be a demonstration of the bringing forth of the powers of the Christ; this was Jesus of Nazareth.
From within He gave forth the doctrine of the Christ; externally He stood for perfected humanity, Jesus. His apostles represented the powers of all men acting their respective parts under varying moods, but eventually blended into the one harmony--perfect man.
In order to command our powers, and to bring them into unity of action, we must know what they are, and their respective places on the staff of Being.
The Grand Man, Christ, has twelve powers, represented in the history of Jesus by the twelve apostles. So each one of us has twelve powers to make manifest, to bring out and use in the attainment of his ideals.
The most important power of man is the original faith-thinking faculty. Note particularly the term, "original faith-thinking faculty"; a great deal is involved in this definition. We all have the thinking faculty located in the head, from which we send forth thoughts, good, bad, and indifferent. If we are educated and molded after the ordinary pattern of the human family, we may live an average lifetime and never have an original thought. The thinking faculty in the head is supplied with the secondhand ideas of our ancestors, the dominant beliefs of the race, or the threadbare stock of the ordinary social whirl. This is not faith-thinking. Faith-thinking is done only by one who has caught sight of the inner truths of Being, and who feeds his thinking faculty on images generated in the heart, or love center.
Faith-thinking is not merely an intellectual process, based on reasoning. The faith-thinker does not compare, analyze, or draw conclusions from known premises. He does not take appearances into consideration; he is not biased by precedent. His thinking gives form, without cavil or question, to ideas that come straight from the eternal fount of wisdom. His perception impinges on the spiritual, and he knows.
To the question, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?" those who reflected the indefinite, guessing thought currents of the day, answered: "Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
But Jesus is not asking for secondhand opinions; He appeals direct to the faculty in man that always knows. He says, "But who say ye that I am?" and that faculty represented as Peter, answers, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Then the Christ blesses him, and says: "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."
The thinking faculty in man makes him a free agent, because it is his creative center; in and through this one power, he establishes his consciousness--he builds his world. Through the volition of this faculty, he can refuse to receive ideas from Christ; he can cut himself away from the realm of original Truth or from the illusionary universe in which he is forever unraveling tangled ends and chasing shadows. Thus we see clearly that this faculty is the rock, the foundation on which our consciousness must be built.
For generation after generation, humanity had exercised the thinking faculty, and fed it on the illusions of sense, and "every imagination of the
thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." The root of the Hebrew word here translated evil is aven, which means "nothing." Thus man was feeding his thinking faculty on nothing, instead of true thoughts from God.
As the result of this lack of conscious connection of the thinking faculty with the Fountainhead of existence, humanity had reached a very low state. Then came Jesus of Nazareth, whose mission it was to connect the thinker with the true source of thought. Thinking at random had brought man into a deplorable condition, and his salvation depended on his again joining his consciousness to the Christ. Only through that connection could he be brought back into his Edenic state, the church of God.
Then it was, in the darkness of intellect's night, that the thinking faculty caught sight of its higher self and joyfully exclaimed, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," and the response to that gleam of spiritual perception was the acknowledgment of faith as the foundation on which the church of Christ is built.
What an incalculable amount of time, energy, and effort has been wasted trying to build conditions of harmony, by both individuals and society, without making the connection between the thinker and the true source of thought.
If you have not recognized the spiritual center within yourself, and have not acknowledged allegiance to it, you are drifting in the darkness of sense.
You are allowing your thinking faculty to draw its thoughts (which are its food) from the chaos of ignorance, and you suffer the consequences in the discordant world it creates for you. Do not forget that everything that appears in your life and affairs, physically, mentally, or otherwise, has sometime been sent forth from your thinking faculty. It is only through the power vested in it that you can come into consciousness of anything. Consciousness makes your heaven and it makes your hell.
Some persons have let the thinking faculty run away with them, and they cannot control their thoughts. So some drivers let their automobiles run away, but the law always holds them responsible for damage done, and they find it cheaper in the end to give stricter attention to driving.
Get clearly into your understanding that you are not the faith-thinker, Peter. You are Jesus; Peter is one of your twelve powers.
Before this dawns on you, you are a carpenter; you are a builder in the realm of matter. Peter is a fisherman, one who draws his ideas from the changeable, unstable sea of sense.
When you realize that you are Mind, and that all things are originally generated in the laboratory of Mind, you leave your carpenter's bench and go forth proclaiming this Truth that has been revealed to you. You find that your tools in this new field of labor are your untrained faculties. The first of these faculties to be brought under your dominion is Peter,
the thinking power. This thinking faculty is closely associated with another power, your strength (Andrew; Andrew and Peter are brothers), and you say to them, "Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
"Going on from thence"--that is, when you have trained these faculties until they are in a measure obedient, you discover two other powers: John (love) and James (justice). These are also brothers, and you call to them both at the same time.
You now have four powers under your dominion; these are the first apostles of Jesus. With these you begin to do the works of Spirit.
You now have the power to heal the many that are "sick with divers diseases, and cast out many demons," and to preach "throughout all Galilee."
That Peter stands today at the gate of heaven is no mere figure of speech; he always stands there, when you have acknowledged the Christ; and he has the "keys of the kingdom of heaven." The keys are the thoughts he forms, the words he speaks. He then stands "porter at the door of thought," and freely exercises the power that the Christ declares: "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
You can readily see why this faith-thinker, Peter, is the foundation; why faith is the one faculty to be guarded, directed, and trained. His words are operative on many planes of consciousness, and he
will bind you to conditions of servitude if you do not guard his acts closely.
The people who let their thinking faculty attach itself to the things of earth, are limiting or "binding" their free ideas, or "heaven," and they thereby become slaves to hard, material conditions, gradually shutting out any desire for higher things.
Those who look right through the apparent hardships of earthly environments, and persistently declare them not material, but spiritual, are "loosing" them in the ideal, or "heaven." Those circumstances must, through the creative power vested in the thinker, eventually arrange themselves according to his word.
This is also especially true of bodily conditions. If you allow Peter to speak of erroneous states of consciousness as true conditions, you will be bound to them, and you will suffer, but if you see to it that he pronounces them free from errors of sense, they will be "loosed."
Until faith is thoroughly identified with the Christ, you will find that the Peter faculty in you is a regular weathercock. He will, in all sincerity, affirm his allegiance to Spirit, and then in the hour of adversity deny that he ever knew Him.
This, however, is in his probationary period. When you have trained him to look to Christ for all things, under all circumstances, he becomes the stanchest defender of the faith.
How necessary it is for you to know the important
place in your consciousness that this faculty, Peter, occupies. You are the free will, the directive Ego, Jesus. You have the problem of life before you--the bringing forth of the Grand Man with His twelve powers.
This is your "church." You are the high priest without beginning of years or end of days, the alpha and the omega, but without disciplining your powers you cannot do what the Father has set before you. Your thinking faculty is the first to be considered. It is the inlet and the outlet of all your ideas. It is always active, zealous, impulsive, but not always wise. Its nature is to think, and think it will. If you are ignorant of your office--a prince in the house of David--and stand meekly letting it think unsifted thoughts, your thinking faculty will prove an unruly servant and produce all sorts of discord.
Its food is ideas--symbolized in the gospels as fish--and it is forever casting its net on the right, on the left, for a draught.
You alone can direct where its net shall be cast. You are he who says, "Cast the net on the right side." The "right side" is always on the side of Truth, the side of power. Whenever you, the master, are in command, the nets are filled with ideas, because you are in touch with the infinite storehouse of wisdom.
You must stay very close to Peter--you must always be certain of his allegiance and love. Test him often. Say to him, "Lovest thou me more than
these?" You want his undivided attention. He is inclined to wander. We say our "mind wanders." This is an error. The mind never wanders. The faith-thinker, Peter, wanders; he looks in many directions. He stands at the door of heaven, the harmony within you; the same door has the world of sense on its outer side.
Peter looks within--he also looks without. This is his office, and it is right that he should look both ways. But he must be equalized, balanced. He must look within for his sustenance; he must recognize the Christ before he can draw his net full of fish.
Keep your eye on Peter. Make him toe the mark every moment. Teach him to affirm over and over again. Say unto him "the third time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me?" He may say, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee."
This is a very common protest. We hear in this day of modern metaphysics that concentration is not necessary; that it is only necessary to perceive spiritual Truth; that the demonstration will follow. Jesus gave us many lessons on this very point. He knew Peter like a book. He knew that this faculty was versatile but apt to change its base frequently. When in the exuberance of his allegiance Peter protested that he would lay down his life for Jesus, the Master said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice."
You must teach Peter to concentrate. Teach him to center himself on true words. It is through him
that you feed your sheep (your other faculties). Keep him at his task. He is inquisitive, impulsive, and dictatorial when not firmly directed. When he questions your dominion and tries to dictate the movements of your other powers, put him into line, with, "What is that to thee? follow thou me."
Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am." This is precisely as if Jesus had said, "I am Peter, therefore I am." This is the I AM losing itself in its own creation. Exactly the converse of this statement is true: "I am, therefore I think."
Thinking is a faculty of the Ego, the omnipotent I AM of each one of us. It is a process in mind, the formulating process of mind, and under our dominion.
The I AM does not think unless it wills to do so. You can stop all sense thought action when you have learned to separate your I AM from the thinking faculty. Know this, and live in Christ.
Be no longer a slave to the thinking faculty. Command it to be still and know. Stand at the center of your being and say, "I and the Father are one." "I am meek and lowly in heart." "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth." "I am, and there is none beside me."