Well, my first proposition is this one. The individual state of consciousness determines the conditions and the circumstances of his life. The second proposition is that man can select the state of consciousness with which he desires to be identified; and the third follows naturally--therefore, man can be what he wants to be.
If the first proposition is true that the individual's state of consciousness is the sole cause of the phenomena of his life, then the normal, natural question that is asked "Why doesn't he change it to a more desirable state if he could change it?" Well, that is not as easy as it appears.
Today we hope to give you a technique to make it easier but man finds it very hard to leave the things to which he has grown accustomed. We are all grown stuck in the habitual. It may seem strange but a very sordid cartoon appeared years ago, that is during the last war; you might have seen it, it came out in the "New Yorker" and it was one by George Price. In it is one single little room, a sink piled high with unwashed dishes, plaster falling from the walls, and these two middle-aged people, she sitting on a chair reading a letter, disheveled, matted hair, and he with torn clothes and feet stuck upon the table and socks exposing holes, and the caption of the picture is this. She is reading a letter from her soldier son abroad: "He says he's homesick." Now you should see the interior of this house--one room, completely disheveled-but the lad was homesick!
Now man finds it difficult to detach himself from the habitual; so this morning we have brought you these three propositions, and I hope I can make it clear that you can with this knowledge apply it so that you can realize your every objective. It is the height of folly to expect changes to come about by the mere passage of time, for that which requires a state of consciousness to produce its effect could not be effective without such a state of consciousness. So if I must be in the consciousness of the thing that I am seeking before I find it, then the only thing to do is to acquire that state of consciousness. Most of us do not even know what we mean by state of consciousness. To those who are here for the first time it is simply meant by state of consciousness the sum total of all that a man believes and accepts and consents to as true.
Now it need not be true; it may be, but it need not be true, it could be false, it could be a half truth, it could be a lie, it could be a superstition, it could be a prejudice, but the sum total of all that a man believes constitutes his state of consciousness. It is the house in which he abides, and as long as he remains in that house similar problems will confront him, the circumstances of life will remain the same. He may move physically across the ends of the earth but he will encounter similar conditions; he can't get away from the house in which he abides. The Bible speaks of these houses as mansions of the Lord, it speaks of them as cities, it speaks of them as rooms, as upper rooms, all kinds of words are used to describe individual states of awareness. And the appeal in the Bible is always to move out and occupy the upper story, meaning to move up to a higher level within one's self.
Now, if you do not know the state in which you abide, it's a very simple technique you may employ to discover that state: for the man dwelling in a state, and we all dwell in states, could easily discover the state by listening within himself and observing his own internal mental conversations, for the state is singing its own song and it reveals itself in man's inner speech. If you will listen attentively and uncritically to what inwardly you are saying, you will discover the state. And it will not surprise you that things are as they are for you will hear within yourself the cause of the phenomena of life. So that what you are inwardly saying and doing is far more important than what you outwardly know or seemingly outwardly express; so when a man knows what inwardly he is doing then he can change it. If you have never uncritically observed your reactions to life; if you are totally unaware of your subjective behavior, then you are unaware of the cause of the things in your world. But if you become aware of the state, then you simply go about changing it.
Now here is a technique I have found most helpful and I find that it works like a miracle; anyone can do it. I know that some of you here possibly come from extreme orthodox walks of life and it may seem strange to you even to be here, but I assure you you are not alone, many of your leaders in the orthodox field seek an audience with the speaker; many a rabbi has been in my home, many a priest, and many a Protestant leader. Many of them. They come to my home for interpretations of the book that publicly they wouldn't dare give any interpretation other than the most extreme literal interpretation. So don't be surprised if you hear things here that might startle you; your leaders are startled; but this is a technique I have found most helpful.
First of all, man stands forever in the presence of an infinite and eternal energy, from which energy all things proceed but it follows definite patterns: it just doesn't move out of man and crystallize in things in some strange haphazard manner. It follows a definite track and the track it follows is laid down by the man himself in his own internal conversations. So though man is called upon to change his thinking that he may change his world, for we are told "Be ye transformed by the renewal of your mind", man can't change his thinking unless he changes his ideas for he thinks from his ideas. So if I would change and become transformed, I must lay new tracks and the tracks I lay are always laid down in my own internal conversation. So what am I saying now when seemingly I am alone? I can sit in that chair, or stand here, or walk the streets and I can't stop talking. Man does not realize that he is talking, because he is never still enough to listen to the voice speaking within himself, but inwardly he is whispering what outwardly is taking place as conditions and circumstances.
Most of the things he whispers are negative in justifying his behavior. There is no need to justify. He is excusing delay or excusing failure, or he is arguing, or he is judging harshly or he is condemning. Many of us have secret affection for hurts: we don't want to be liked by certain people; we just wouldn't like it if they liked us. We just don't want certain things to take place in our world even though they may bring a greater comfort and a greater satisfaction. Man has a peculiar, strange feeling, a little affection for the feeling of being unwanted or the feeling of being hurt, and he likes to talk about it. Well, try to pull that man out of that habitual state: it would be just as difficult as to keep that soldier boy away from that sordid room; he goes back into the sordid rooms within himself. You don't see dishes unwashed within your self, but if you could only see the internal psychological state in which most of us abide, we would see a room far dirtier than the one that George Price illustrated in the "New Yorker" magazine. They are all unwashed plates within us: on the outside we wash them but we are told in the Bible, we leave the inside unwashed and we become whited sepulchers.
Now, if I sincerely desire to change my world there is no one in my world I need change but myself, so that I don't need to change you as an individual but I do need to change my attitude towards you. If you dislike me or if I think you dislike me, or if your behavior offends me, the cause of my offense is not in you and your behavior but I must look for that cause within myself. Now if I seriously and I am honest about my search, I will find it and I will find that inwardly when I think of you it is never a pleasant conversation that I carry on with you. So let me sit down now and bring you before my mind's eye, and as I bring you before the mind's eye let me imagine a conversation which would imply a radical change in my world; let me bring you up and change my attitude toward you by laying new tracks relative to you.
These tracks will then become the tracks across which this eternal energy will pour, an energy which is only thinking; moving across the tracks laid down in my own inner conversations will result in changes in my outer world. Now, if I repeat the conversations and do it more often, then it becomes a habit and I will find that when I am about my Father's business in the outer world I am inwardly through habit carrying on these changed and lovelier conversations. Now, a transformation of consciousness will definitely result in a change of environment and conditions. But I mean transformation of consciousness, I do not mean a slight alteration of consciousness like a change of mood.
It is nice to change a mood from some unlovely to a lovely, but I want a transformation and by transformation I mean that when one state into which I have moved and move so often that it becomes a habit and that state grows stable, so that it expels from my consciousness all of its rivals, then that central habitual state defines my character and really constitutes my new world. It spells out a transformation, but if I only do it a little bit and return to my former state, then I might have had a temporary lift but I will not notice radical changes in my outer world. I will notice these changes in my outer world if inwardly I have truly changed. Then without effort on my part I will find the outer world changing to correspond to the changes that took place within me.
So you bear it in mind, I can't stress it too often, I can't give it too great importance, this wonderful thing called man's ability to talk within himself and without the aid of anyone in the world, sitting alone at home you can construct a sentence which would imply the fulfillment of the ideal; you can construct a sentence which would imply that a friend I blessed that she has realized her objective, that the thing you know she wants she has. So what would she say to you had she realized it? Well, you listen attentively as though you heard and you will really hear if you are still enough you will hear as coming from without what really you are whispering from within yourself.
Man is this wonderful temple in which all the work takes place and the outer world is only a projection of the work done within himself. This, called present man, unfortunately is asleep. It is told us so beautifully in the Bible that Adam slept, in the second chapter of Genesis. He was placed into a profound sleep from which he has not been awakened. There is no reference in the Bible where Adam was ever awakened from his sleep but there is a reference where he awoke but not as Adam; he awoke as a second man called Christ Jesus. So in Christ they awake: in Adam all sleep, but a man who is totally unaware of the mental activity that goes on within him is the one who sleeps as Adam: he doesn't know it. He walks with his eyes wide open, he may be a very important person in the world, he may be wealthy, he may be famous, he may have all the things that you admire, but if he is totally unaware of that mental activity which is the cause of the phenomena of his life, that man is sound asleep and he is personified as Adam.
And he will read his Bible and think it is a literal story; he will read where Adam was put to sleep and from Adam a rib was taken and a woman was formed called Eve, but when a man begins to awake he realizes that this symbolical Eve of the Bible is only his own emanation now called by the name of nature. And nature is his slave, and must fashion life about him as he fashions it within himself. But if he is asleep, he fashions it in confusion, but he fashions it anyway, for he uses the very technique that his Father used to build a world. He uses speech, he uses inner talking, and that's how this whole vast world was brought into being; so he uses the same technique, he has speech and he has mind, but in the state of sleep he brings about strange conditions, and he doesn't know he's the cause of the strange things round about him. As he begins to awake, then he awakes only as one being, he awakes as Christ Jesus and the being called Christ Jesus personified in our Gospels is simply the awakened, loving imagination.
Imaginative love where only love guides it is incapable of hearing anything but the lovely. When that being begins to awake he doesn't see things in pure objectivity, he sees everything subjectively related to himself. He is incapable of meeting a stranger; he may meet one for the first time but he knows it is not really a stranger, that the man had no power to come into his world save he from within himself drew him. "No man comes unto me save I call him;" "No man takes away my life, I lay it down myself": "You didn't choose me, I have chosen you". Though you seemingly come now for the first moment in my life, you still didn't choose me, I have chosen you. I see then every being subjectively related to myself. So in that state you become incapable of hurt, you've overcome all the violence that formerly you've expressed in the world when you were asleep. There is no condemnation to the sleeping man, he is dreaming confusion because he doesn't know who he is: but he begins to awake by such techniques as given you this morning.
If you take this technique and you try it consciously, for here I am appealing not to the passive mind that passively surrenders to appearances, I am appealing to the Christ in you which is the active conscious use of your lovely imagination. So when you sit down and you predetermine what you want to hear and you listen until you hear it, and you refuse to hear anything other than that, then you are using the one power in the world that awakens a man and you are using your lovely imagination, which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Here is a lady this past week; she has heard the story of revision; her husband calls her and it's a big deal, it runs into a fortune, he had sent off 600 feet of film to Acme and they've returned the film, only the first 300 were good. The second three were duds, as they call it, not a thing was on it, a complete blank. Yet they were up against time, that 600 feet of film had to be on a plane headed for Chicago in the immediate present, less than twelve hours away, it had to be there, that was the contract, and 300 feet of film taken, no sound appeared, with the whole thing a blank.
She sat down when her husband called her, desperately called her: she sat on the bed just where she had received the call, put the receiver up, and sat in the silence until she heard within herself that phone ringing and across that wire the same voice, but now not an anxious voice but a tender loving voice, which was her husband, explaining that the whole thing had been resolved, they had found what seemingly they had lost forever. She sat in the silence for one hour and ten minutes, and there she listened and she listened until her whole body became still in hearing only what she wanted to hear. And an hour and ten minutes later while still in the silence the phone rang; it's her husband calling to say that Acme just called him to explain and excuse themselves, it was their mistake, they had found the missing 300 feet of film. And there was not a dud, it wasn't a blank, the whole thing was perfect.
Now the average person, not ,knowing this law of revision or even those knowing it, would have accepted as final the evidence of sense and receiving news that seemed so factual they would have gone into a stew, bawled out Acme and pulled all kinds of wires to correct it. But she heard and she acted upon it, and that's what I mean when I tell you that a little knowledge if you carry it out in action will be far more profitable than much knowledge which you neglect to carry out in action; now many of you present and this is no judgment, you have the same knowledge that this lady has; she's been coming here recently but she heard, she attended all the meetings at the Ebell, and she's been here; undoubtedly she's here this morning, but at least she came the first two Sundays and she hasn't missed one at the Ebell, and having heard the art of revision, she acted upon it.
Others heard the art of revision: have you acted upon it? Did you last night allow the sun to descend upon your wrath? Did you sleep last night with any trouble, any vexation unresolved? Or did you last night truly go to bed having resolved every vexation and trouble of the day? All the little problems, each one must be resolved, you rewrite the play. If you didn't rewrite yesterday's events and make them conform to the ideal you wish you had experienced, then you heard but you aren't a doer. And so you are told in the Bible, "Would that ye be doers of the word and not mere hearers only." For if you are a hearer and not a doer, then you are like a man who sees his face in the glass and turns and straightway forgets what manner of man he is. But if you are a doer and not a forgetful hearer, then you shall be blessed with the deed, for you will look into the law of liberty and you will liberate yourself and liberating yourself you shall be blessed with the deed.
For those of you who are Bible students and want to check it, read the Book of James. You will find that story in the first chapter of the Epistle of James, where he looks in and liberates himself--well she liberated herself by listening until she heard exactly what she wanted to hear, and she heard it one hour and ten minutes later. Now the majority of people I say they would not have acted upon it: through habit they would have gone into a stew; they would have fumed and fretted, and that very day had he brought home the negative news that undoubtedly he would have, they both would have slept allowing the sun to descend upon their wrath.
But now you know that there's not a thing on the outside to change, that first proposition is true, that the man's state of consciousness, which simply means all that he accepts, all that he believes, all that he consents to, that and that alone is the cause of the phenomena of his life. Man can change his state of consciousness and therefore man can determine the conditions of his life. But the passage of time will not in itself do anything; time is only a facility for changes in experience but it cannot produce the change. It is simply that which allows changes to take place, but it can't produce them. Space gives us the facility for experience and time for changes in experience, but of themselves they do nothing. We must operate the power, and so the individual if he doesn't become the operator then he will wait in vain.
So no one here this morning, in fact no one coming here through the year should ever allow himself to blame another, ever allow himself to justify failure, for he is only betraying his own lack of the use of this law. Anyone that you listen to who is complaining of a third party, he has no idea how he is betraying himself, he is telling you of his own unwashed dishes within himself, but he doesn't know it. He thinks it is in the one that he is now judging, but as he talks to you listen attentively and see what must be washed within him and you aid him.
In your own mind's eye rewrite that script that you heard and when you leave him just imagine you heard a more lovely conversation than the one you did hear. Just rewrite it for him and in some strange way lift him up within you, for that's your task; it's my task.
We aren't here to condemn, we are here to redeem; having awakened we have found Christ in us as our own imagination and so our duty, as it is said Christ's duty is to do the will of him that sent me and the will of him that sent me is that "Of all that he has given me I should lose nothing", but I shall raise it up again and I raise it up by encountering someone and then finding him down I raise him up 'within myself '. I simply hear what I want to hear from him. Now my voice you are hearing this morning, you could take the tone, listen attentively and you will hear this tone within you; when you hear the tone within you, then put upon that tone the word that you want to hear and having put it upon it, listen and do not move until you hear this tone conveying these words. But make them noble; don't take that tone and put upon it any word outside of the word which would imply a dignified, noble state, because you are not hurting anyone but self. If you take someone and you put words upon that tone or that voice, and the words do not imply a noble spirit, then you are only allowing that being to be down within you, you are not really performing your duty.
So here this morning, believe these propositions and then having believed them, do something about it. Go out and take what we have told you concerning inner speech: it is truly the greatest of the arts. You listen and only hear what you want to hear. You take your imaginary hand and put it into the hand of a friend, the imaginary hand of a friend, and there you congratulate him on his good fortune. If you want one to congratulate you, you allow yourself to be congratulated. You don't bend the head, you hold it high and accept the congratulation, and when you congratulate him imagine that he is fully conscious of the good that is already his and he accepts that congratulation and make the contact real.
That is truly entering the kingdom of heaven, for you enter the kingdom and the kingdom is within you, it's not without, and you always enter the kingdom by a loving, knowing communion. You can enter the kingdom at every moment of time, ride the street car, ride the busses, and with all the talking and gossiping, you can enter the kingdom and bless a friend by just imagining the friend is with you and you are putting your hand into his and congratulating him on the good news you've heard concerning him, and listen as though he answered in kind, and in that moment you have actually blessed him. He may be a thousand miles away but from that moment on things begin to stir within his world for you have brought about a change within the structure of his mind and every modification of the structure of a man's mind must result in corresponding outer changes.
So you bring about these lovely changes within you. Look at the testimonial--one you heard this morning; here is a pile of letters and this is really a tight, tight pile. It is one of the biggest piles I think that you have received here and this week's mail I can't begin to tell you what a thrill it is to receive, one after the other not begging for help any more but giving praise and thanks for the principle that brought the help into their world. I can't tell you how many in the last two weeks have received an increase in income, increase of position, a better state of health; things happened because they did something about it. They were not just warming a seat here on Sunday morning and waiting for things to happen by association: they produced the thing by producing it first within themselves.
So here this appeals to men who are big enough to stand on their own feet: men who want spiritual meat and who have outgrown the milk given to sleeping man. So if you want the literal concept, you are still asleep and this really would not be the place to get it, for from this platform you are going to be given meat, spiritual meat, for you must go out and do something about it. If you have the greatest knowledge in the world concerning foods and you didn't eat, you would die of starvation, and so it's not the knowledge of it, it's the application of it that counts.
Now this coming week, we start tomorrow, and it's an interesting one for those who like their Bible, those who would like to put their mental teeth into it tonight and come tomorrow night with some intuitive knowledge of it, it's the 49th chapter of Genesis; you'll find many of them I'll quote tomorrow, but in the 49th of Genesis here is what it says. First of all he calls his sons together to tell them their future and there are twelve of them. It's Jacob calling his sons, but the fifth one, when he calls the fifth one, he tells him the scepter shall never drop, shall never depart from your hand, never, not in eternity. His name is Judah, the one that fathered the line that flowered in Christ Jesus, when you read the genealogy as given to us in Matthew and Luke.
Then it said of Judah that he took his foal and he tied it to a vine and he took the colt of an ass and tied it to a good vine, and then he washed his garments in wine and he washed his clothes in the blood of grapes. And his eye was red with wine and his teeth white with milk. Well now, those of you who still would like to read that literally, you may get some satisfaction out of washing your clothes in wine--I don't, I'd rather drink it, but some wash theirs in the blood of grapes and then the teeth white with milk and the eye bloodshot with wine. Well now, that was the one who fathered out of Thamar the twins that brought forth the line that flowered in Christ Jesus. So go back and read the genealogy of Judah and then see what Judah did and how he took two animals, one was a foal and one was a colt.
Now I won't tell you the interpretation: you exercise your intuitive faculty and you come tomorrow night and you hear what we have to say about the amethyst, or the wine stone: how a man must make the amethyst, how a man must take his garments, a thing that clothes the mind of man and wash them in the blood of grapes, how a man not only must do it but his eye must become equally bloodshot with wine and his teeth white with milk. And we will show you tomorrow night why they placed upon him the scarlet robe and then placed upon him the most mystical of all--the purple robe; so as they placed them up to the very final act was the placing of the purple robe upon the man who had awakened, who is now ready to ascend on high, to higher levels within himself.
But you can't ascend until you first make the purple robe and although we have orders in this world who have scarlet robes and purple robes, no man can make it for you. And so it cannot be woven in any factory, it has to be woven from the factory within yourself. So tomorrow night for those who are vitally interested in going deeper into the mysteries our subject is "The Twelfth, an Amethyst". The very last act of a man, the twelfth, for there are only twelve, then comes the most, I would say, the least precious of all stones in the eyes of man, but in the eye of God it's the most precious and it's not the little thing you find among the stones, it's the one you find within yourself. So that is tomorrow's subject.