Thought Bricks 3: Enfolding Wings
This is Lesson 3 of Thought Bricks. In this lesson Bernard helps us learn to visualise and points out it is more about feelings than images. He also offers a handy acronym, using the word RICHES, which we can use to remind ourselves of the lesson.
As before Bernard starts with a letter and the lesson follows.
My dear Student,
In this Lesson I want you to think about the subject of visualisation, for it is one of the most important lessons for you to learn. Visualisation is the secret of success in thousands upon thousands of lives, both recently and in those recorded in history throughout the ages. Can you imagine someone, for instance, really inspiring their associates with enthusiasm, hope, loyalty, devotion and, sometimes, incredible acts of daring and valour if their mental picture of themselves was ‘I am a poor sort of creature, of no use to anyone’? No; such a person would have an inner mental picture of themselves as strong, courageous, an able leader. Gradually, their followers would ‘catch on’ to this picture and see it, too!
Now, although it is good to have a clear picture of our real selves, it is vital to have a clear picture and absolute conviction of the resources of the Universal Mind. This Universal Mind, or God, is endless, without limit in Power. All things pour forth from this Great Intelligence, this Source of All. Once we realise this, once we have a vivid mental picture of this limitless Power and Might – once we visualise it – we naturally have complete confidence in it and then wonders begin to happen.
This, then, dear Student, is what the Master meant when He urged His hearers to believe. He wanted them to gain the benefits of visualisation. This Lesson will start to teach you, step by step, just how to visualise. So follow closely-and do not miss a day in practising these teachings. You have undertaken the study of this Course. If you cannot keep your side of the bargain for a few months, how can you expect success for life? Hold on, then. Take one step towards Success and Success will take three towards you! This is the Universal Law!
One point I will make clear now, before we go any further. It is not only a mental picture that one has to form; one must ‘live it all over in the mind’, too. Many people think that to visualise is to see with inward eyes just as they see with their outer eyes – but this is not so! It is more a kind of feeling. You all know how to imagine things! Who has not, when anticipating some treat, imagined all the circumstances in the mind? A young wife going to the station to meet her sailor-husband, perhaps. Does she not live it all as she walks? Does she not form a mental image – that is, imagine – catching sight of his face, feeling his ecstatic hug? Can she not feel the roughness of his coat against her cheek? That’s Visualisation.
LESSON THREE: ENFOLDING WINGS
What a feeling of peace is aroused by these two words: Enfolding Wings. One thinks at once of a hen folding her wings in protection over the tiny chicks which come scurrying to her side, and this reminds us of the Master’s words:
Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.’ (Matt. 23, 37.)
So now I want you to think of – to visualise – the love of God, its tenderness and patience and beauty. So often we are wayward and fretful; because of this we begin to be ailing. Then we cry aloud that God has forgotten us, that He is not Love after all, or that He is nothing but an impersonal Power.
A few weeks ago a Student wrote: ‘As I look around at the flowers, trees, birds, etc., I am sure of the Infinite Intelligence and Life behind all, and I never cease to marvel at the Universe and the way day follows night. Sometimes, however, I do find it hard to believe that the Divine Power loves and cares for me in my petty troubles (they don’t seem petty to me).’
This Student is here making the common mistake of thinking of the Universal Power as outside of himself only, and not inside. Yet we could not live one instant without the infinite Care which sustains and invigorates us. We are like sponges within a great bowl of water (as I have heard it explained). The water (Spirit) is both within and outside us at the same time. Can you not see how this can be, once you visualise the ‘sponges in the bowl’? Thus the same Divine Care which creates a tiny insect, causes a mighty river to flow, brings the gentle change in the seasons and supports the whole universe, is in us.
Enfolding Wings Exercise
Our troubles are not by any means petty to this Great Power within us, because to the Power Within we might just as well be the only beings on earth! Will you believe that? This is not just a comforting phrase, for think. Since Divine Power is infallible – that is, incapable of making a mistake – Divine Power would concentrate Itself on every least little thing in which it manifested. You know yourself how many mistakes you make when you fail to concentrate. Divine Power is not like this. Divine Power concentrates on the least thing, so how much more upon His greatest creation, Man? Be assured of this, then. Do not be so busy doing that you have no time to pause and lean back upon Divine Love and Power. By leaning back thus, you draw forth more power and become re-created. Pause, then, sometimes, in the rough and tumble of your daily life to take a long, deep breath and say within yourself:
‘I am resting in Divine Love as a ship rests upon the calm waters.’
As you say these words, picture to yourself a little ship with red sails. In your mind’s eye see it far out upon the rippling sea. The water is calm, the sun is setting, the sky is splashed with colour… Without disturbing the calm which has fallen upon you as you behold this inner picture, see again a great mass of fluffy white cloud poised above the sea. Imagine yourself floating up to it and then, when you reach it, finding it – not a cloud – but a great pair of feathery wings. You lie down in their springy depths, gazing up into the blue. As you lie, the wings curl slightly, enfolding you. Then, dreamily, you say within yourself:
For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the Love of God … .’ (Rom. 8, 38-39.)
When you have said this, you, will be surprised at the sense of peace and power you experience. For a time the world seems to have slipped away. Do you know what has happened? You have entered into your inwardness; into the ‘kingdom within you’, of which the Master spoke:
“The kingdom of God comes not with observation. Neither shall they say, ‘Lo, here’ or ‘Lo, there’. For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17, 20-21.)
When you have learned to do this – however briefly and imperfectly – you have gained a great treasure. Read Psalm 91, slowly and with awareness, before you go to bed, sometimes, or first thing in the morning.
I wonder if you are familiar with these words of the Master concerning visualisation:
“Whatasoever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them and you shall have them.” (Mark 11, 24k)
When you read or heard those words last, did you actually believe them? Or did you, like so many people, think that He could not have meant just this? Surely there must have been something else, some other condition? Surely, if one had only to believe, it would be a kind of magic? But it is magic! The Master, indeed taught magic, but: it was not ‘black’ magic – it was ‘white’.
Some people, however, who believe these words, think that they must use ‘Will Power’, that with clenched fists and starting eyes they must demand something and try by repetition to hypnotise themselves into believing that they are going to receive what they desire. But all the time, deep down, they do not believe it. This is, I should think, one of the commonest reasons for, unanswered prayer. These people think it is their power which must achieve these things, and they frankly do not believe they have it. Quite rightly – for they haven’t!
What is the use, then, in trying to pretend they believe? But the Master also said that prayer would be answered for ‘whosoever shall not doubt in his heart’. He knew, you see, that people would try to believe on the surface only. If, however, you freely admit that you are human and, alone, have no power, but that you believe your thoughts can form a mould which the Divine Power indwelling you in your kingdom within can fill with life; and does, then you are stating a truth that the whole of you can believe.
On your surface mind and deep inside it is reasonable and logical; you do not have to make mighty efforts, with clenched fists, to ‘believe’ that! The proof of Divine Mind is all around you. How could any human, for instance, make a star and keep it poised in space for millions of ages ? Obviously, this Power is more than human – and this power also created and sustains you!
Your mind is part of the great Universal Mind, so your thoughts form a mould which the Universal Mind instantly fills with life. Therefore, what you think with the whole of you, on the surface and deep down, inevitably comes to pass and manifests. You see, it is all perfectly logical and there is no need to have any difficulty in believing anything so clear and obvious as that. The next thing to do, then, is to learn how to make a mould with your thoughts.
Some people complain that they cannot keep their minds on one subject for ‘more than a minute or two’. (And for these I have given exercises to do later on, which will be of great benefit.) Others say that they are unable to picture anything in their minds. Some confess that thinking seems such a waste of time, that a manual job well done has so much more to show for it!
In fact, there are some people who even scorn “thinkers and dreamers”; little knowing that these so-called ‘lazy’ ones may be making moulds for Divine Power to fill with life! Once, however, you realise that only by thinking, by using your mind, can you make a mould, and that unthinkingly you are constantly making the wrong kinds of moulds all day, you see how essential it is to make deliberately right moulds, and how well worth while this work of thinking is.
Start the easy way, then. First read this Lesson and thus ‘whip up your faith’ by logical reasoning. Then get a notebook and write down what you desire.
Write ‘Because Divine Mind indwells me I now create for myself a mould by thinking of. . .’ (Here write down what you desire, fully and clearly.)
Keep on writing about your desire, pausing at times to read and think of it. Do this every day, either writing afresh or reading what you have written. Or, if this is easier, sketch your desire. Bring a little humour and lightness into it; write some words of faith beneath and do it every day. This is the easiest way to start, as you will be doing something with your hands as well. But do this exercise too. Hold an object in your hands – a pencil, ornament, book, perhaps – and look at it. Then shut your eyes and ‘see’ it, too! Get the picture clearly. Do this each day for this period and I will take you on a step further in the next lesson.
As this Lesson has been particularly about the Love of God, this is the place to give you another point to learn and remember.
God is the Source of all our supply because God is the Creator of all that is.
This may seem to you very difficult to understand, at first. Up to now you may have thought that, once your parents were the source of your supply; then, your employer. Later you may have started a business of your own and thought that the customers were the source of your supply. But this is wrong – all wrong.
God is the Source of your supply because those who seem to be your supply received it first from somewhere else. Where else? From others? But where did they receive it? There must be one Source from whence it sprung originally!
Once you grasp that God is the Source of all Supply, then you are ready to learn how to make yourself a channel for the supply you need; A group of children may dig pits in the sand for the purpose of filling them with sea-water, but until they dig trenches by which the water can reach the pits, they remain dry. True, they may carry water in pails to the pits, but by the time the second pailful reaches the pit, the first has soaked away or dried up. People who do not learn how to make themselves channels for the reception and distribution and free flowing of Divine Supply are like the children who do not dig the trenches.
Here is a sure way to test yourself to see if you have a live faith. When you sell anything, are you ready to sell it for a moderate price, or do you fix the very highest possible? When you buy a thing, are you ready to pay a moderate price or do you try to get the price reduced to the very lowest possible? Are you just as willing and ready to buy things for others as for yourself, or do you spend lavishly on yourself and economise when buying for others? When offering your services are you careful to ask a reasonable fee, and when buying the services of others are you careful to offer a reasonable fee? If you have any negative tendencies as described here, know that they indicate a hidden fear which may cancel out the results from your thought-building. It also indicates excessive self-love, and that means a breaking of one of the two Great Commandments given by the Master: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’. Anyone who breaks this commandment can hardly expect to be in tune, with the Divine and so receive His Blessings
So concentrate upon this Lesson until you have learned fully that God is the Source of all Supply; then you will have lost any fear or excessive self-love and gained a vital, powerful faith.
Now, below, in a few lines, I am giving you the whole philosophy. I am telling you in a few, easily – remembered directions how to make yourself into a channel. You will note that the first letters of the sentences spell the word ‘RICHES’ – this ensures your memory of the lines.
Believe me, Student, when I say that in these simple sentences, which you should memorise, repeat to yourself frequently, dwell upon, build into your life and act out always – lies the whole truth about prosperity. Here they are:
I Resolve to:
Rely on God for all my supply.
Ignore appearances of lack.
Change doubting thoughts for Faith-ones.
Hold fast to God in confident prayer.
Express my faith by fearless spending.
So shall I enjoy riches.
Before you start to practise these five points about riches, make quite sure you understand them correctly. Here are comments on each line to help you. So please absorb them thoroughly.
‘Rely on God for all my supply’ does not mean that you should stop working! In fact, you should work with greater keenness for you will see that the power to draw down God’s Abundant Supply is within you. Therefore your life will be a balanced blend of work, leisure and Thought-Building.
‘Ignore appearances of lack’ does not mean that you should live beyond your income and run into debt. It means that you should ignore the appearances of lack in the world and believe that there is an abundance for everyone who takes the trouble to learn, and live in cooperation with, Divine Law.
‘Changing doubting thoughts for Faith-ones’ if you find yourself having doubting thoughts do not dwell on them, but immediately remind yourself of your resolve to RICHES as above. Or keep a faith-filled saying handy, one which truly inspires you, and read it thoughtfully at such times to help re-ingnite your faith.
‘Hold fast to God in confident prayer.’ Emphasis on ‘confident’.
‘Express my faith by fearless spending.’ This means exactly what it says – not ‘Express my fear by reckless spending’, for if you have fears, however deeply hidden, your spending will be reckless. When you have learned the craft of Thought-Building and can do it with success, you cannot help losing fear and developing faith. You will not spend recklessly, foolishly, to an absurd excess because you will be too advanced to live for self alone. Instead, you will spend fearlessly and give fearlessly, thus being a channel for good in the world.
‘So shall I enjoy riches’ is the natural outcome of practising the teachings diligently and happily.