The title is that of a book composed of writings and lectures by Myrtle Fillmore, co-founder with her husband Charles of the Unity® movement, founded in 1889 as a healing ministry based on the power of prayer and the power of our thoughts to create our own reality.
I recently attended (by Skype) a six-session study class on this book led by Kimerie Mapletoft at Unity UK.
Although the language of the book is often old-fashioned, and there is no attempt at being gender-neutral, I found many of the ideas surprisingly modern, including some which I had encountered only in the past few years.
Each chapter was presented by one of the members of the group, followed by a general discussion. The nature of the book as a compilation of Myrtle’s numerous writings means that many ideas appear in several chapters, so I believe it is possible to give a good flavour of the book by presenting here an account of the two chapters for which I was responsible, the ones for which I have detailed notes.
I can see no copyright claim in the book and so have felt free to quote extensively.
Chapter 15 – The Secret Place of Spirit
Myrtle Fillmore starts this chapter with the sentence, ‘We are on the threshold of a new heaven and a new earth – a new consciousness.’ I feel that this awareness has only increased over the hundred years or so since she wrote these words.
Myrtle offers the following affirmation to take into meditation, into ‘the inner chamber’, ‘the secret place of the Most High’: ‘God’s perfect idea in me is now building a perfect body, and I am satisfied.’ She says that we have perfection within us, the divine image and likeness, like a seed with the potential to manifest perfection in the outer in mind, body, and affairs.
She writes, ‘In order to be satisfied we first must have the perfect idea and then the perfect body.’ We go into the silence by observing the instruction, ‘Be still, and know.’ ‘The only way really to know is to become perfectly still, to get away from the outer and from looking for things, into the inner quiet where we are alone with wisdom. In the silence, wisdom is given for every need.’
Myrtle suggests that all have this longing to bring the divine into manifestation, but the longing can be misunderstood and diverted into a constant seeking of pleasure in outer things, which gives only temporary satisfaction.
‘In the silence we get the wonderful inward joy that is of God. We see what the real is.’ Myrtle offers this statement for meditation: ‘I am willing to sacrifice the pleasures of sense that I may enter into the joys of Spirit.’ I rather rebelled against the idea of calling this a sacrifice, and indeed the next sentence is the disclaimer, ‘In sacrificing the pleasures of sense for the joys of Spirit, you are not depriving yourself of pleasures; you are exchanging the moonlight for the great glory of the sun.’
Myrtle then goes on to talk of peace. ‘Unity of Spirit conquers the world for the Lord. We are sending forth peace to every land. Nations will forget to fight if we continue to know that all people express the one Life.’ Although there is still much violence in the world, it seems to me that a lot more people are coming to realize that war is not the way to solve anything.
Doron Libshtein, talking with Panache Desai recently, said ‘Peace is love for everyone and everything.’
Myrtle writes, ‘No one will deny that God is omnipresent or that God is all, yet we talk about a great many presences, a great many powers, and other things that do not belong to God.’ We might quibble with, ‘No one will deny that God is omnipresent or that God is all’ but it is certainly easier to pay lip-service to the idea that God is all than to pursue the idea to its logical conclusion in seeing God in every person and in every circumstance of our lives.
Myrtle goes on to quote ‘one of our great scientists’ in a way which rather makes me uncomfortable, so I will skip to the last couple of lines of that paragraph, which are more poetic than scientific: ‘the different forms in nature are the garments with which God clothes Himself.’
In the last paragraph of the chapter Myrtle talks about creating as God creates, bringing forth according to our thoughts. She warns that the great pattern that God gave in Jesus is unchanged. I would rather say ‘example’ than ‘pattern’ – the divine expresses through each of us in our own individual way. We might also point out that Jesus himself said ‘greater works than these shall he do’ (John 14: 12) but the point is moot as most of us have a long way to go to emulate His understanding and healing and transforming works.
Myrtle finishes the chapter with this: ‘When we get so still that the One becomes visible to us, then we see our own Christ within. Truly, we know that there is only one Power, one Presence, one Wisdom.’
Chapter 28 – Prosperity In The Home
Myrtle begins this chapter with a verse from Psalm 122:
“Peace be within thy walls,
And prosperity within thy palaces.”
She says, ‘There need be no poor homes. Every home can be prosperous.’
Myrtle points to the abundance shown by plants. Even my garden produces abundance in spite of or because of my benign neglect – the grass that needs cutting regularly in summer, at least in the parts that get plenty of light; further from the house is a forest which wasn’t there 43 years ago when we moved in. A rather nice little tree has appeared at the edge of the lawn recently. When my grandsons were here they collected a load of blackberries to take home: a couple of weeks later the bushes were laden again.
Myrtle also uses seed to illustrate the importance of the words we use. Talking about lack and hard economic times and then hoping for prosperity makes as little sense as a farmer planting thistle seed and expecting a crop of wheat.
‘Begin right now to talk plenty, think plenty, give thanks for plenty.’
‘The spiritual Substance out of which visible wealth comes is never depleted.’ ‘The unfailing resource is always willing to give for that is its nature.’
Myrtle goes on to emphasize the importance of gratitude. ‘Be as deeply grateful for every demonstration as you would be for some unexpected treasure poured into your lap.’ Jesus gave thanks for the few loaves and fishes before going on to feed the five thousand. ‘Praise and thanksgiving have within them the quickening spiritual power that produces growth and increase.’
Myrtle advises, ‘Never condemn anything in your home.’ ‘If you want new things, see yourself clothed as befits a child of the King, and your house furnished as pleases your ideals.’
In the last paragraph of the chapter Myrtle writes, ‘The truths that are here spoken are energized by the living Spirit. Your mind and heart are now open and receptive to the ideas that will inspire you with the understanding of the potency of your own thought and word. You are prospered.’