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Chapter Twenty - How To Demonstrate
To demonstrate is to establish
in outward expression. It is to prove, verify, know for ourselves. Its
basis is either a principle which we understand and wish to exemplify,
or an item of faith which we simply take on trust and hope to understand
when we have proved it. Demonstration is commonly regarded as the test
every individual must meet. For we have ceased to believe in teachings
which bear no consequences in actual life, and it is the test which the
individual makes that shows whether a belief is workable. To verify for
ourselves we must come down to the concrete and observe the results in
daily experience. Moreover, "the laborer is worthy of his hire,"
each man ought to show by the rewards or consequences which follow that
his work is in accord with the spiritual law. Since there is a boundless
source upon which to draw, we show our relation to it when the results
prove the law of abundance.
The reason some people fail
to demonstrate is not then hard to find. They fail because their theories
are too abstract, too remote from life; because they do not understand
practical life well enough to know where to begin with a need immediately
The idea prevails, for example,
that by holding in mind the right thought it is possible for anyone to
"attract" all the conditions he desires. The thought or formula
repeatedly affirmed is supposed to act like a magic influence to draw what
is desired. In this way we can not only gain health without working in
any other way to secure it, but win prosperity merely because we want it.
Prosperity, in fact, becomes a direct object of pursuit, like a hobby.
To "affirm abundance" is forthwith to gain it. One may, it is
said, direct affirmative thoughts to people of wealth and draw money or
other possessions from them, one may picture desired possessions and study
mental influences tending to enlist the help of people who can open the
way to secure these possessions. In short, to demonstrate is to procure
what you want through suggestion. The principle of "mental attraction"
discloses the royal road to success. The ability to "demonstrate supply"
is the test of one's real power. Prosperity is a sign of salvation.
From a spiritual point of
view this is contrary to order. If the laborer is "worthy of his hire,"
the way to prove worthy is first to do some work which merits reward according
to value rendered. Therefore, first serve, first live by the spiritual
law, labor for and love the more truly your fellow men. If you have greater
needs and require additional resources, more co-workers, more money: then
give more freely, express yourself more fully, make manifest your faith
through actual service. If certain kinds of spiritual work bring greater
results and you are prompted to enlarge your sphere of usefulness, consecrate
yourself anew to these opportunities. Begin at the centre, not on the circumference.
Do not follow the inverted order by first seeking "things" that
"the kingdom" may be added, but seek first the kingdom of God
and find a place to serve in a work which is making for the fuller realization
of that kingdom here on earth. It is not a question of personal influence
at all, since one has no desire to "attract" things from people
by any insidious process. It is not primarily a question of affirmation,
since affirmation must be followed by work entitling one to its rewards.
Nor is it essentially a matter of attraction, as if one's inner fitness
had nothing to do with circumstances. There is indeed correspondence between
inward need and outward supply, but this attraction is by spiritual law,
not by caprice. The prime consideration is service which prepares the way
for more favorable conditions as rapidly as the soul becomes worthy. It
is Divine law which presides over the selection of conditions, not our
If we begin by affirming all
perfection as present with us now, denying that man ever learns or gains
anything by experience, ignoring nature and making light of natural law,
we put ourselves into an artificial world of thought remote from life as
whole-hearted people know it. Affirming perfection in the abstract, claiming
for ourselves what is true of God only, we then wonder why health, freedom
and, prosperity do not come our way. It is very difficult for anybody,
however wise, to teach us anything while we remain in this theoretical
position; for we have cut ourselves off from all sources of knowledge.
Where all is claimed as accomplished and perfect now, there is of course
nothing to be desired, nothing to do; hence nothing comes to us with life
A return to natural conditions
is devoutly to be desired for all who have isolated themselves from growth
through experience. There may be other and more direct means of quickening
us than through the slowly moving processes of our understanding. But not
even intuition or "revelation" gives us sure knowledge "out
of hand." Any principle offered us as truth becomes true for us only
when we have proved it by experience. That is precisely what we mean by
"demonstration." We do not really know until we have lived. Actual
life is likely to be different from our expectations. We need the open
mind. It is detrimental to be tied to a theory which is like an anchor
Since there is order or sequence
in all things, no one can really make a leap beyond the conditions which
the soul needs, whatever illusions to the contrary there may be. Since
there is correspondence between inner and outer conditions, what the soul
really attracts is what is needed. The law of change is from within outward,
not to conditions created in imagination by ignoring natural law and the
spiritual ideal, but to circumstances essential to inner development. We
cannot "demonstrate over" nature, although we may seem to, for
example, when we steadily reduce the amount of food, rest and sleep we
take with the assumption that these matters depend solely on our thought
about them. We cannot change one hair white or black in the actual world
to be faced and understood. Our road lies through the conditions which
people ignore when they indulge in abstract affirmations. There is no such
thing as evasion in the moral realm. Action and reaction are still equal.
No alleged royal road can compare with the one which is disclosed when
we frankly acknowledge actual motives and seek God's help for real needs.
True demonstration is never
the result of self-assertion. It is only in part a consequence of consciously
chosen ends. More truly, it is a cooperative result, involving experiences
we did not foresee and a wisdom greater than our own. It comes from inner
adjustment and willingness to let Life have its way through us. Any prayer
we may utter in our effort to attain it should include the Christian qualification,
"Thy will, not mine, be done."
Our actual spiritual state is
a condition, not a theory. We need not fear to look at things as they seem
to be. True courage is not afraid of illusions, shadows or errors. We may
look with open eye straight through any "claim" that besets us,
noting its sources and associations, its hold upon us, and the point of
contact which made our servitude possible. It is truth that sets men free,
not the assertion of freedom when we dare not look at our own past lest
we enter into it again. We are never really free until we understand, and
when the vision comes the clouds clear away by themselves. We are then
in the position of the one who, mistaking a stump for a bear in the dark
forest, has marched up to the harmless thing and found out that it is merely
a stump. What we need is the right interpretation of things as they are.
On the other hand, it is as
easy to fail to demonstrate by being too much absorbed in mere conditions
and processes. If some overdo the matter in one direction by ignoring the
conditions of spiritual development, others go to the extreme in the opposite
direction by analyzing too much and becoming enveloped in details. The
newer methods of healing are, on the whole, a reaction against the old-time
introspection with its emphasis on our sins and the need for acknowledging
our errors and mistakes. The reaction is a sound one and has come to stay.
What we now need is primary emphasis on the Spirit which accomplishes,
with willingness to learn the essential lessons of life while not dwelling
too long on mere details.
To demonstrate is to disconnect
our attention from mere processes and unite in consciousness with the higher
level of life, give our thought to the Spirit. To demonstrate is to turn
about and become affirmative in every respect in which our attitude is
still negative. When we are determinately positive we may learn the lessons
of past experience without entering into details and conditions. There
are times for looking back to learn and times when we should cut free as
if the past had never existed.
To demonstrate one should
not attempt to overcome everything at once. Sufficient unto the day is
the problem we can best begin to solve today. When we give our attention
to that, concentrating our efforts upon the immediate practical need, we
find that demonstration means, grounding things ideal in things actual. To demonstrate is to be specific, concrete, definite. Hence we make progress
toward the perfect demonstration when we limit our interests and our thoughts,
with one central purpose before us, with the eye single to truth. Thus
a man begins to demonstrate in earnest when he dares to stand for what
he believes is true in an actual instance relating him with his fellow
men today, although what he believes may not be popular and what he does
may require great courage.
Frequently, our efforts fall
short because we indulge in so many aspirations in various directions that
we make headway in none. Here is a man, for example, who is high-strung,
nervous, intense and emotional in great degree. He never permits anyone
to pass him, he rushes when he works, eats with nervous haste, and writes
with restless rapidity. His good resolutions lead to nothing. He affirms
his general "oneness with God" to little effect. He receives
treatment from an abstractionist healer, but nothing comes of it. At last
he takes himself in the act, resolve to master one habit at a time, and
begins by practising upon his handwriting, making each stroke of the pen
with moderation, concentrating his attention upon the actual movements
of his hand. The result is a pleasure he has never before experienced in
his life, a sense of power in doing something with inner control. He sees
at last what poise is, not as an assumed state, but one that a person can
grow into throughout one's life, a state that is gradually developed through
performing activities with inner control and concentration. He now makes
steady headway because he is taking over a habit which hitherto simply
swept him forward to do its restless bidding. So any of us might make headway
if we would resolutely face something to be conquered by meeting it with
a consciousness of what it is in us that wins all victories.
To adapt oneself to Life's way
instead of trying to find a short cut of our own, is to realize anew that
all real efficiency is from God. Both the driving force (love) and the
directing force (wisdom) are from Him. What we ought to demonstrate is
the Divine image and likeness, not the psychological presentment which
gratifies our vanity. We wish, if our desires have really become spiritual,
to find God's way and walk in it wherever it may lead, whether the vicissitudes
of the path are what we prefer or not. We do not know ourselves in entirety
yet. We are not aware of all the conditions to be met or all the elements
to be overcome. We should not then claim to know the appropriate times
and seasons. As human beings we are not managers of the conditions which
best develop the soul. We are not here to dictate terms. At best we trust
our guide may find us ready, when Wisdom speaks, when Love impels. What
must be "demonstrated over" is our selfishness or self-love,
and the victory over self is won only through heavenly aid.
Hence the power of the Spirit
is the only real power that demonstrates. If our spirit bears witness together
with the Holy Spirit that these heavenly things are true, so that we will
to follow in the Spirit's way, then what comes by way of proof is sign
and symbol of what has been divinely wrought in us. The "signs following,"
the first-fruits which show what went before, are needed to teach us the
law of perfect demonstration; because only when spiritual realities have
been ultimated or expressed do they become complete. The power which seemed
to be in the human will alone, or in the Spirit welcomed in reverential
receptivity, was in neither exclusively. The human spirit had to be willing.
God had to be at hand. But the Spirit's might is seen when God and man
in union conquer outward circumstances through inward victory. The full
truth is never seen till the thing is done. The abundant life is the life
of full practical realization in the flesh, in natural things. "By
their fruits ye shall know them."
If I am still minded to ask,
How then shall I demonstrate? the answer is not, that I must wait until
God does His part. Mere watchful waiting may be as far from the right attitude
as the old-time attitude of Christian resignation. The spiritual law is
that I should act from God's power "as if" that power were my
own. Unless I make the effort, unless I put forth the energy to conquer
something that is before me, such as a tendency to drive forward with restless
energy, I do not put myself in line with the Life that is here to win the
victory. My part is to show that I am ready to take the practical initiative,
and follow up my prayers with deeds done.
Let us make the matter simple.
Here is a day when one feels an inward need. There is a difficulty to be
overcome, a problem to be solved, or someone to be helped. Let me then
go apart by myself and seek the quiet sanctuary of the Spirit once more.
"Be still, and know that I am God," I say to myself, with
the realization that God is present like an Over-soul to guide and illumine
me. May I trust in Him so that my mind shall be "stayed"
upon His wisdom. May I be at
peace so that some measure of
His peace shall touch my spirit with tranquility. Then may I see the way
in the special direction in which I need light.
What I affirm as true, now,
is the God-ward part of my life, the perfect peace in which the Father
can keep me, the infinite wisdom adequate to meet all occasions, the perfect
love which casts out all fear. If I did not lack this peace there would
be no reason for seeking it. If I realized all wisdom I should have no
problem to bring forward for solution. If perfect love controlled my heart
I should not have "one fear to conquer each day." Inevitably
then I must take an attitude in my quest for help which admits a lack,
with humility or readiness enough to make me receptive. Since the Father
already knows the way whereon I should walk, since He has provided for
every need, my part is to listen and make myself ready in the secret place
that I may receive what the Father has provided.
What I must do, therefore,
in order to demonstrate is to put out of the way whatever thought, attitude
of will, emotion, habit, deed or mode of conduct there may be that interferes
with the coming of what the Father has provided. Then when my thinking,
my willing and my conduct follow the spiritual order, I may indeed make
use of my imaging power, my affirmations and all the rest of my psychological
equipment, to foster the things of the Spirit. The hard part for most of
us is to attain the spiritual order. We want things to come in our way
and when we want them. We would like to sail serenely down the stream of
time with everything that could gratify human desire floating to us out
of the air, while we smilingly discourse on the success of our demonstrations.
But that is not the order of things in the spiritual life. Interiorly we
have only what we deserve. What we now possess came to us in relation to
what we were. We tried "to get" rather than to give. We worked
hard to accumulate possessions and now we propose to enjoy them. We looked
out for Number One. At first thought these new teachings about suggestion
and the subconscious mind seem to afford a still more successful way of
putting self first. But sober second thought shows that in all things there
reigns a spiritual law such that we need to seek the Spirit first, we need
to give, to be, to make manifest. When we have made the great effort, that
is, in the overcoming of self and self-love, we shall find that matters
are righting themselves and seeking new positions in relation to the new
inner centre of equilibrium.
The new teaching of our time
shows how to begin more immediately where beginnings are effective, that
is, with ourselves. No one who sincerely wishes to live by the spiritual
law will find himself without guidance. There is always something at hand
to begin upon. There is always some word of wisdom we can begin to apply.
To demonstrate is to begin. To begin is to find the little becoming more.
"God helps those who help·themselves." And this deeper
self-helpfulness means in the language of the new philosophy of healing
a growing recognition on our part of "the Science of the Christ."
To be prepared to demonstrate
in the most successful way, therefore, we need to be as well equipped as
we can in knowledge of what we have defined in the foregoing chapters as
"the priceless possession." There should no longer be any theoretical
barrier which keeps us from looking directly to the supreme sources of
life and wisdom. There is in very truth a spiritual science which we may
all begin to apply, to verify for ourselves. There is for all an ideal
of Christian living which is workable here and now. This science we may
adopt and practise as a science which is true in its own right over and
above or apart from any particular interpretation of the Gospels that may
be espoused by a given sect. Hence it is well to carry the inquiry into
this science far enough to have a practical way of thinking about the human
Jesus and the resurrection or glorification, always keeping in mind
that from the point of view of spiritual health and healing these are practical,
not theological, matters.
That is to say, nearly everyone
who owns allegiance to a sect or denomination of the Christian Church is
likely to take exception to the distinction drawn between "the Christ"
as considered above, Chap. III, and "the human Jesus," when
it is a question of theology. Some will prefer the teaching of the
Episcopal Church, hence will emphasize the Pauline Epistles, and will speak
of "our Lord." Others will reinterpret what follows so that the
human Jesus will become "the Lord." Still others will prefer
the title of "the Son of God." We plead for the direct reading
of the Gospels themselves as guides to practical life and spiritual healing,
since this distinction between Jesus and the Christ has proved so helpful.
Each reader will then be free in other connections to reinterpret as he
chooses. For the present we are concerned with the gospel of healing. The
acknowledgment of the Lord should bring this practical realization. To
demonstrate in Christian terms is thus to carry our idealism concerning
the Christ into the ultimate. To demonstrate is to see that regeneration
of some sort should follow. Hence we need to carry our practical thought
through to the end.
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