What you feel deeply is far more important than what you are thinking. You may think about doing something for a long time and never do it, but when you feel something deeply you are spurred to act – and God acts! He who is the cause of all life acts through the sense of feeling. You can think of a thousand things, yet not be moved to act upon one of them. A deep conviction – felt, is far more important than anything you could ever think.
Let us turn to the first chapter of the epistle of James. “Ask in faith with no doubting, for he who doubts is like the wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. Let not that person believe that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, shall receive anything from the Lord. But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourself. For if you are a hearer only and not a doer, you are like a man who observes his natural face in the mirror and then goes his way, forgetting what he is like. But if you are a doer of the word and not just a forgetful hearer, you will look into the perfect law of liberty, and persevere. That man shall be blessed in all his doings.”
How do you go about being a doer in place of a hearer only? By acting in faith. Scripture’s central character, called Jesus, set no limit upon the love of God and the power of faith. In fact all of his great deeds were prefaced with the words: “According to your faith.” Now, faith encompasses feeling. If you have faith you will act, and if you act God in you is acting, for God is your own wonderful human imagination whose eternal name is I AM. He acts only when you feel it. This is true even in the most practical way.
If I tell you what I would like to be and you tell me to go my way, as I am already it – and for one fleeting moment I see the world as I would see it if it were true, then turn and walk away, forgetting what the world looked like only a moment before – I am a forgetful hearer. But if I am a doer of the word and not a hearer only, I persevere; or – as the word is translated in the King James Version – I “continue in” the state, for all things are possible to the power of the word.
Look in a mirror and you will see your face reflected there, but you have another mirror which you can look into. That is the mirror of your friends; if they heard your good news, their faces would reflect it would they not? Assume your desire is now a fact. Feel its substance and reality. Then let your friends see you in that state. They are your living mirror.
Now persevere in that state and do not turn away and quickly forget what you are like. Walk through this door tonight in the assumption that you are the man (or woman) you want to be. It doesn’t make any difference if the outside denies it; you have seen the expression on the faces of your friends and heard their congratulations on the inside, with faith. Now, carry this feeling into the deep and persevere. Conjure a living mirror of friends and acquaintances who have heard your good news and accepted it as permanent. See your face reflected in theirs. If they love you, you will see empathy. They will be rejoicing because of your good fortune. Now, persevere in that awareness and do not forget what you have seen in your living mirror. If you do, you will be blessed in the doing, as you are told in the first chapter of the Book of Psalms: “Blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord; the perfect law of liberty, for in all that he does, he prospers.”
Were you not liberated from your past when you saw your friend’s faces reflecting what you wanted them to see? If you had left the state of poverty, sickness, or weakness behind and moved into the state of wealth, health, or strength – and your friends knew it – you would be set free from your former limitation. So, looking into the perfect law of liberty and persevering, you are blessed in all that you do.
I tell you from personal experience that this works, but we are the operant power. It does not operate itself. You may have heard this law by the hearing of the ear and read of it in a book, but do you know that the law works from experience? Have you put it to the test? Have you proved it? If you have, then you can speak with an authority, which was not yours prior to the proving. May I tell you: through the use of this law you are completely set free.
I have been in many places where I was forced to test this principle. While on the little island of Barbados, which had only two small ships servicing it as well as the hundreds of islands nearby, I made a commitment to give a series of lectures in Milwaukee on the first of May. When I called, the shipping agent informed me that due to the fact that the ship sailing out of New York City carried only sixty passengers and the one from Boston carried only one hundred, that there was no passage available before the first of September. He promised to put my name on the waiting list, but gave me no encouragement as the list was very long.
I hung up the phone and sat in my chair in the hotel room, closed my eyes and assumed I was aboard a ship heading toward New York City. I assumed eight or ten of my family were coming aboard with me, and that my brother Victor was carrying my little girl. I could feel the motion of the plank. Having no stateroom committed, I remained on deck and placed my mental hands on the rail and felt the salt of the sea there. Then I looked back nostalgically at the little island. I repeated that action over and over again, feeling every step I made on that gangplank. I felt the rail and smelled the salt of the sea. I did everything that feeling could be brought to bear upon, and when my actions seemed natural, I broke it.
The very next day I received confirmation that I would be sailing on a ship which would land in New York City one week before my commitment in Milwaukee, which I did. When I asked the agent how I obtained the tickets, he said they had a cancellation in New York and the one person he had called on the waiting list felt that the timing was inconvenient; so – knowing he could accommodate my wife, our little daughter and myself in one cabin – he let us in. I never heard why someone canceled in New York or why the one he called in Barbados could not take the ship at that time, or why the agent did not call all the others on the waiting list. I only know that I got the reservation I had imagined.
I have told this story before, and someone in the audience once said; “Was that a Christian thing to do? You might have caused someone to cancel their trip.” But I tell you, as I told her: it was the only Christian thing to do, for I used the Christian principle of fulfilling God’s law. How it is going to be fulfilled is not my concern. I am told that whatever I desire, if I will but believe I have received it, I will. God never creates a desire in the human heart that he has not already provided its satisfaction. This is true of every desire in this world, as well as the greatest of all desires, which is the thirst for God.
Do you really want an experience of God? Apply this principle towards it. Do what I did when I wanted to leave Barbados and come to America. I looked into the perfect law of liberty and persevered. God doesn’t give you one law for your desires of this world and another law for your search for him. It’s the same law. If you have had the experience of which I speak, would you tell someone about it? Is it a consuming desire, or do you want something other than that first? Perhaps you want a lovely home, security in the sense of money in the bank that you can touch, or stocks and bonds that pay dividends. If you want to feel wealthy, travel, and have lots of things before you thirst for an experience of Christ, it is secondary, so don’t try it. But if an experience of Christ is your consuming desire then don’t hesitate to put it to the test. Put first things first. If your first desire is to be recognized in the work that I am doing, then apply this principle towards it and let that thirst for God take its own good time to envelop you, and when it does apply this principle towards it.
Feel in depth, for what you feel deeply is more vital than what you think. Every day you can think about how wonderful it would be if – and never act. But if every day you would feel how wonderful it is now, it will become true. Shakespeare said: “Assume a virtue if you have it not.” A virtue must be felt to be assumed. Refrain from the assumption tonight and it will be easy to refrain next week and still easier the next. But if you will assume your desire is fulfilled now, and persevere in that assumption through the sense of feeling, it will be externalized as a literal fact in your world.
I am calling upon everyone to put this into practice. Every desire contains its own satisfaction to be fed upon. It’s entirely up to you. You may feed your hunger by thinking of your desire, or feed its satisfaction by thinking from its fulfillment. It is God who gives you every desire, be it for things of this age or the age to come – as told us in the Book of Amos: “I will send a famine upon the world. It will not be a hunger for bread or a thirst for water, but for the hearing of the word of God.”
When you want to speak the word of God, your hunger is not for the hearing of the word, but for the glamour connected with the teaching. It is the spotlight you desire and that too has been provided for. Every desire can and will be satisfied if you will look into the law of liberty and persevere. Then you will be blessed in all you do.
A chap came to see me from New York City yesterday. When I heard his request I would not tell him my reaction to it, but that I would hear that he had it. This chap, now retired from the antique department of Macy’s, has been teaching in one of these isms back East. Then he started corresponding with a group out here, who – unable to believe in themselves – wants a leader; so they have asked him to come lead them. When he told me the nature of his desire I was sorry that all he could see in life was the spotlight, but I granted it to him. He is tired of playing third, fourth or fifth fiddle to a leader who has milked a million dollars out of those who are buying bricks into heaven. Having nothing, this man’s followers are building heaven for him and giving it to him as their gift. They have bought valuable land in New York City and built a building on it. Then he threw a banquet at a large hotel and they paid $50 for the privilege of seeing the mortgage they paid for burned, but the land and building are in his name.
Back in 1943, this same man told me he was coming to New York for only one purpose and that was to make money in the so-called New Thought movement. When I heard him say this, I thought he was in the wrong profession. If he wanted to make a lot of money he should go into steel, oil, or coal. If you want to do this work you can live well, but will not have the ambition for millions. Well, he wanted lots of money and now he has it, as well as homes in the country, an apartment in the city, and a lovely, large building in New York City – which those who love to be milked paid for. The chap who came to see me assisted this man. He has seen how phony it has been, but he hasn’t completely overcome it. He still wants the spotlight and now he has the opportunity to get it. I will pray for his success – not as a teacher for he is not one – but for the glamour he will receive by those who want the nonsense, as they are going to start off by not eating meat, smoking, or drinking – in fact a complete loss of the palate.
His request does not offend my moral code, so I can easily say that he is successful; but I urge you who are sincere to try to create within yourself a longing for the deepest of all desires, and that is to know God from experience. If you can really thirst for God above everything else, then use the same law of liberty. Look into the faces of your friends and say with deep conviction and feeling: “I have had the experiences of which Neville speaks. The entire series, from the resurrection through the descent of the dove, has unfolded within me.” Then persevere, for God has provided a satisfaction for that hunger and you will know it. But if this hunger is not yet upon you and you sincerely want a better way of living that is not wrong, simply use the same principle of the perfect law of liberty and persevere. Having acted, don’t turn and forget what you have done but sleep in that conviction, and in a way you do not know, it will be yours.
Tonight many of our friends are not here because it is Memorial Day. But I tell you: not one moment in time is holier than another and there is no earthly place more sacred than the other. Wherever you stand is sacred ground because you are there. Today millions are celebrating Memorial Day, remembering the dead and placing flowers on a grave their loved ones do not occupy. This morning just prior to waking, I saw my brother Lawrence. He died at the age of sixty-two, but looked much older because he had suffered so much before his departure. This morning he was only about twenty-three years of age. We were both fully awake and he asked me to tell his wife that the money he left her was for her, and not to save it for the children. I said: “Lawrence, you don’t have to go through me to tell Doris, she wouldn’t give one penny to anyone anyway. She never has. Do you think she would change now? Her only concern is that you did not give it all to her, but shared equally with your four children.” But I was with Lawrence. He was strong, strapping and handsome, blond with brown eyes. He is the same Lawrence, with the same intelligence he had when he left here. He is younger now, but he still has the memory of the family he left behind. The veil is no clearer to him there than it is to those on this side. Only one who is awake can penetrate the veil consciously. It is easy now for me to go beyond the world of dream and enter the world of spirit waking and meet my friends there.
But on Memorial Day men think of the dead, while I am speaking of life everlasting. “Let the dead bury the dead,” and follow me, for I have risen from the dead and I speak of a Living God who is real. I cannot go to a cemetery and put flowers or a flag on that which is not there. The body may have been placed there, but not the spirit.
You are buried in the skull and in that skull you will remain, dreaming your dream of life until you awaken and are born the second time. It is from there you are going to find David, who reveals you as God the Father. It is from there you are going to be split in two and ascend into the Holy of Holies. You were begotten in that skull and you will end the drama there, to know you are one with the one and only Living God.
In the 25th and 27th chapters of the Book of Genesis, the story is told of Isaac, who had two sons. The first son, Esau, had hair all over while the second son, Jacob, was hairless. Being blind, Isaac calls Esau and asks him to go get some venison for dinner. Jacob, having overheard the request, clothed himself in the skins of his brother Esau and took the venison to his father. Isaac, hearing Jacob’s voice began to doubt, until he felt his reality and caught his odor. Satisfying himself that the son was real, Jacob was given the father’s blessing. When Esau returned from the hunt Jacob disappeared, but Isaac said: “Although your brother came through deception, I have given him your blessing and I cannot take it back.”
After smothering yourself in feeling, you have sent it on its way and cannot take it back, for prayer is nothing more than the subjective appropriation of an objective hope. Imagine by giving objective reality to your hope. Hair is the most objective thing on a man. Bring your hope so close that you can feel what it would be like if it were objective to you.
Clothe yourself in that feeling – and you have clothed yourself in the reality of an Esau. The world will not immediately reflect your feeling, but you have set your desire in motion and cannot take it back. You have given a subjective state your blessing by giving it objective reality. Now it must fulfill its destiny so that you will be blessed in all that you are doing.
If you don’t give your subjective hope objective reality, you can’t be blessed in its fulfillment. You must clothe yourself in the feeling that your wish is fulfilled. Jacob is your desire, waiting to be clothed in the feeling of external reality. Catch the feeling, and you have clothed Jacob with the external reality of Esau. Now deceive yourself into believing that your desire is externally real, and give it your blessing by subjectively appropriating your objective hope. Who is the blind Isaac? You are, for you cannot see what you are asking for in your outer world. It’s a hope and you are blind to it. But when you clothe yourself in the feeling of its fulfillment, you are eating the feeling of satisfaction. Feast upon this feeling morning, noon, and night, and in a way you do not know your desire will become an objective reality in your world.
In this story we see the importance of feeling. Isaac asked Jacob to come close and kiss him. The word translated “kiss” means, “to set on fire; to burn; to touch.” That’s an emotion, an intense feeling. Reality is felt through the sense of touch. Feeling is touch. Tasting is touch. Scripture tells us he tasted death for all of us. How do you taste death? By experiencing it. Jesus tasted death by dying in all, that all may know who he is.
Now I urge you to put his teaching into practice. He taught you to simply appropriate a subjective state which is your objective hope, and know it must externalize itself in your world. Do that and it will. Ask in faith, without a doubt, for those who doubt are like the wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. They are double-minded, for they know what they are while desiring to be something else. You must be single-minded by dropping what you believe you are and assuming that you are already what you desire to be, for you cannot desire something you already possess. Look into the wonderful law of liberty which sets you free, and you will see your freedom in the faces of your friends. Persist in your assumption and it must come to pass.
Now let us go into the silence.