This is Lesson 6 of the Thought Bricks course. In this lesson Bernard introduces the Finger Exercise, teaches a new Visualisation Practise exercise and tell us how important it is to pray when things are going well (not wait till we are desperate) as this is a better use of our “inwardness” which is our link with Divine Mind.
My dear Student,
In Lesson Six which accompanies this letter I have described an exercise which may seem to you simple – almost childish – at first. But do not be misled about this! This exercise is, in reality, most profound and will bring you a truly spiritual experience if you do it earnestly.
Hear what one Student had to say about it: ‘I have practised with the paper as instructed and I think it is amazing how a simple illustration like this should explain so much. Yes I do feel a new sense of power and I realise that I shall have to change my thoughts here before they will manifest elsewhere. It’s been a hard fight with surrounding conditions, but I am sure I am winning through, thanks to you. I think I must have been out of touch with God for a very long time indeed, and I feel the benefit of taking your advice in living my own, separate mental and spiritual life – a kind of feeling like being born again.’
So do not for one minute think that you will dispense with this exercise and just ‘do it in your head’. This will not be the same thing at all. Have you by any chance got behind with the Lessons? If so, do be persistent from now on. This is such a big opportunity for you. Who knows, just round the corner there may wait the fulfilment of all your dreams and ambitions. Think what you will lose if you turn back now. So persist at all costs. You will never regret it.
LESSON SIX: ‘EVERYTHING BEGINS TO MOVE!’
Is ‘everything beginning to move’ in your life yet? If it is, be assured that this will increase, like a wheel gaining speed as it rolls downhill. If it is not, as yet, know that your thoughts are pushing the wheel up hill. Up, up, to the very top! Soon you will feel the easing of the burden, a quickening in yourself, in your mind and heart, in all things. A quickening like the Spring when the earth awakes and the buds unfurl! And as surely as those buds grow into flowers, so shall your life burst into abundant flowering.
The Finger Exercise
Here is a very important exercise I want you to do. Remember, I referred to it in my letter to you. Take a sheet of paper and make a hole in the centre of it. Now stand the paper up on end and thrust one finger through the hole, supporting the paper with your other hand. Take a good look at the protruding finger. It looks quite separate, does it not? Yet it is, in reality, attached to your hand. Now think that the sheet of paper represents the boundary between the visible and the invisible worlds, that your protruding finger represents the ‘you’ that you know – your everyday body and brain, gifts and abilities, likes and dislikes.
The ‘you’ that you know seems to be quite separate. It can move around (move your finger through the hole in the paper) but it seems to be limited in its actions and powers. But scientists tell us that in our ordinary life we use only a tiny portion of our ordinary brain capacity. What happens to the rest? And why do some people seem to have so much more power, such greater gifts than others? Most people seem very small and full of human frailty in this big world of ours; yet we are told that ‘Heaven is within’ us and that the very Spirit of God indwells us. How is it that most people are unaware of all this? Because they have not realised that the ‘self’ they can see and know is not all there is, that they have a greater, grander ‘self’ capable of all manner of wonderful powers.
‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of the Living God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth within you?’ (I Cor. 3, 16.) 2
Now look at your sheet of paper again. That finger protruding through the hole does look separate; yet, behind it, closely united to it, is your hand, wrist, arm, body, head, brain and intelligence, with all your gifts and abilities! Look at the protruding finger once more. Reflect that it represents the self you know and that, closely united to you, beyond the veil of the visible world, there is the real you, the Self that is the home of the indwelling Spirit of God, the Self that is rich in power, gifts, abilities, wisdom and intelligence, the Self that lives in serenity within the Divine Kingdom, the Self that has sent forth a ‘finger’ through the veil, into the visible world Are you beginning to understand, to realise just what you are? You need never again feel weak or helpless, once you have grasped this truth. Say often to yourself, especially if you have any special problem:
‘Because I am a temple of the Indwelling Spirit of God, I draw to my conscious mind all the wisdom that I need.’
You will find that a solution to your problem will begin to unfold.
Think of the truth of your Real Self often. Here you are, an apparently small being enclosed in an apparently separate house of flesh – but this is only a projection, a mere ‘finger’ of what is really you! In a moment, when you think of this, when you build with your thoughts and realise a little of what you really are, you step back, as it were, through ‘the hole in the paper’, through the veil of the Seen into the Unseen. In a moment you make contact with your greater, your real, Self. The ‘finger’ withdraws through the hole and sees itself as one with the ‘hand’, ‘body’ and ‘intelligence’.
The apparently weak and separate being sees itself as one with a great Self of wondrous strength and power. And this Self is you. Oh, you are a noble being, the real you! Who can say ‘No’ to you when the Eternal Himself says ‘Yes’ to you? For the real you is one with the Eternal… Do strive mightily to realise this wonderful truth for you must realise it before you can put it into practice, just as you must realise that you have money in the bank before you can begin to write cheques.
You have ‘money in the bank’ this very minute, in that you have wonderful riches of power and strength, wonderful gifts and capabilities, wonderful reserves of peace and beauty and harmony stored in your Real Self. So you can begin to ‘write cheques’ by using your powers of thought right away!
‘Because I am one with the Eternal I draw forth from the Infinite source of all the supply for all my needs.’
Picture in your mind what you need and image it as being filled. Be bold! Visualise wonders happening, visualise the very ‘windows of heaven’ opening and all the blessings that you need pouring out upon you – so many that ‘there shall not be room enough to receive it’. No wonder everything begins to move.
How are you getting on with the practice of Visualisation? Here is a more advanced exercise:
Sit down and close your eyes. Now try to visualise yourself. Not as though you were somebody else, looking at you or coming towards you, but yourself. ‘Feel’ yourself standing, ‘feel’ yourself walking. ‘Go’ to visit a friend! ‘Feel’ yourself going into your friend’s gate, up the path, ringing the bell . . . . and so on. When you can do this – and it is not difficult at all, you only need to make a few patient efforts. You then know how to visualise and you may forget all about not being able to concentrate.
Now keep on with these thoughts, ‘pushing your wheel up the hill’. Soon you will reach the top and will be freewheeling down the slope! In this connection a Student wrote:
‘These past three weeks have been a great time for me; nothing seemed to go right and I was compelled to keep watering my seed of faith. As one disappointment followed another I kept my mind firm on the thought you gave as to a wheel being pushed up a hill. I held to the thought that my second breath would, nay must come and my faith was rewarded. I am not yet at the “top “, but I know I shall get there and I look forward eagerly to the free-wheeling down the other side. A simple illustration, yet it held to my imagination better than many profound truths I have read. That, if I may say, is the power in your Course – the simplicity of its reasoning. It is unique and truly fascinating. The Great Teacher – He was simple. May He grant you greater power!’ This earnest wish, dear Student, I also pass on to you.
Now to end our Lesson, here is a story which appeared in a former issue of Bernard’s Weekly News. It is called:
A VISIT TO THE PALACE
Once upon a time there lived a man whose name was James Darrell. He was a field-labourer on Royal lands, and, as it was many centuries ago he had to work very hard for little pay under very-far-from-ideal conditions. One day, at noon, he sat down with the other labourers to eat his meal of cheese, a hunk of dark bread and some mead. He had been working since dawn and was very weary. The Overman had gone to his nearby cottage, so James felt he could speak freely.
‘Something ought to be done about the way we have to work and about the damp, airless hovels we have to live in’, he began.
‘But what?’ one man asked. The others just went on eating.
‘I don’t believe the King knows how we live and work’, James persisted, ‘Somebody ought to tell him’.
‘Lot of good that would do’, another scoffed. ‘What does he care about the likes of us?’ James set his jaw stubbornly.
‘I think he would do something – if he knew.’ One of his companions gulped down his meal and laughed.
‘All right then – you tell him.’ There was a pause, and then James Darrell said quietly:
‘I will.’ There was something so confident about the words that the men were really impressed this time. As he worked that afternoon, tending fruit for the Royal table, he worked out a plan in his mind. By the time dusk came and the men were walking home across the shadowed fields, he was ready to tell them all about it. He was going to get a scribe to write out a Petition for him and he himself would read it to the King! (For he could read a little, but not compose sentences very well.)
One day, a week or so later, James Darrell, dressed in his only good suit of homespun, approached the Palace gates. It would take too long for me to tell you of all his adventures there! One official after another barred his way. He had to argue, plead, push, bluster and dodge in order to get by – but he did! A very long time after, he actually stood in the ante-room of the Royal Audience Chamber with only one official between himself and the King! ‘You will have to wait’, the official said sternly.
‘How long?’ asked James, who was now even more weary than when he was labouring in the fields. Can’t tell – three hours perhaps.’
‘Three hours! But I can’t. I have a long way to walk home and a day’s work to do tomorrow.’ ‘You could walk all night’, the official pointed out.
‘And lose my night’s sleep?’ asked the astounded labourer. ‘Not likely.’ The men looked at one another. Swiftly James thought of his mates and how they would scoff if he returned without reading the Petition. ‘Look here’, he said suddenly, ‘I’ll read it to you and you can tell the King’.
‘ I can’t tell him’, began the official, but James Darrell paid no heed. With a loud crackle he unrolled the scroll and read the Petition in as loud a voice as he could under the mistaken impression that this would lend more authority to it. Importantly, he re-rolled the scroll, bobbed his head to the unimpressed official and made his way out – and home. He comforted himself with the thought that he had lost no sleep or working-time (for it was on a Sunday that he visited the Palace) and that he could tell his mates that he had read the Petition in the Palace – he need not mention that it was not in the presence of the King. And, after all, the official might be able to do something. The working and living conditions of the labourers remained exactly the same, however, and the men, who despite their earlier opinions had begun to hope, never ceased to rail against James, and against the King, who cared nothing about their plight…
If you should be interested in history, do not bother to look for James Darrell, readers, among the records – for I must confess that he did not exist! I made this story up on the spur of the moment because I want to explain something to you – and what way is better than by means of a story? What I want to explain is this:
Many people live busy, active lives. They get tired at the end of the day and want only to rest and sleep. Occasionally they give a brief thought to God, but they tell me, often, that they have no time for prayer except in brief snatches. ‘I ask for guidance’, they say in effect, ‘and now look where God has led me!’ Or, ‘Does God really care? I have little time for prayer but when I am in trouble I ask Him to help me, but often things just grow worse.’ These people are like James Darrell. They think the heavenly King would help them if they asked Him, but they are apt to present their petitions before they reach the King’s Palace at all!
Where is the King’s Palace? ‘The Kingdom of God is within you’, said the Master. ‘Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth within you?’ asked Paul the Apostle. And again the Master said: But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seest in secret shall reward thee openly’. Do not think this has only a surface meaning – the Master meant that we should enter the closet within ourselves, too, when we pray.
You have all heard about the Subconscious Mind and most of you have heard about the Superconscious Mind. We really cannot tell where one shades into the other, nor what is the true scope of this wonderful inner realm of our minds. Because of this, I think it is better if we just use my own word for all of this inner Mind. I call it my ‘inwardness’. Now this inwardness of yours is your link with Divine Mind.
Your outward mind is for your use in the outward world, but your inwardness is for your use in the inner world of prayer and fulfilment. That is reasonable, isn’t it? The inwardness must be in harmony, however, before any results can be obtained for it is a creative realm and it brings into manifestation in the outward life what we think in the inward mind. So even when you do succeed in getting into your inwardness (or Palace, where the King dwells) it is useless if you have doubts and fears there. They are creative, too, and they go on bringing all the things you fear into your life – so one cancels out the other ! That is why the Master said: ‘ Whosoever shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that whatsoever he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith‘ …
This was not a mysterious rule quite beyond our understanding. It was pure logic, as all true religion is. If, then, it is useless to go into your inwardness while your mind is full of doubts and fears, see how foolish it is to pray only when you are ‘desperate’ about something! The time to pray is when things are going well, when you are conscious of God’s love for you. That is why we are told to ‘pray with praise and thanksgiving’. Read the story of’ James Darrell’ all over again. l want so much to help you to enter your own ‘Palace’ and find your own ‘ King’. He is a worker of miracles and will work miracles in your life too if you find Him in your own inwardness and preserve a harmony of perfect faith.