Irish-born American Theologian, Author, New Thought Spiritual Leader famous for his large Divine Science Church Services held in New York City during the Great Depression
"Refuse to tolerate anything less than harmony. You can have prosperity no matter what your present circumstances may be. You can have health and physical fitness. You can have a happy and joyous life. You can have a good home of your own. You can have congenial friends and comrades. You can have a full, free, joyous life, independent and untrammeled. You can become your own master or your own mistress. But to do this you must definitely seize the rudder of your own destiny and steer boldly and firmly for the port that you intend to make."
"Remember that God is always at the end of the road ahead, but at the end of the road behind you will only find yourself."
"Success and happiness are the natural condition of mankind. It is actually easier for us to demonstrate these things than the reverse. Bad habits of thinking and acting may obscure this fact for a time, just as a wrong way of walking or sitting, or holding a pen or a musical instrument may seem to be easier than the proper way, because we have accustomed ourselves to it; but the proper way is the easier nevertheless."
"That the lives of many people are full of dreary things is unfortunately only too true; but there is no necessity for them to be there. They are there only because their victims suppose them to be inevitable, not because they are so. As long as you accept a negative condition at its own valuation, so long will you remain in bondage to it; but you have only to assert your birthright as a free man or woman and you will be free."
"The birth of that marvelous wish in your soul-the dawning of that secret dream-was the Voice of God himself telling you to arise and come up higher because he had need of you."
"Stop thinking about your difficulties, whatever they are, and start thinking about God instead."
"Spiritual treatment is really knowing the Truth about a given condition. There appears to be something wrong â€“ someone is sick, or there is in-harmony, or perhaps lack â€“ but instead of accepting this, you remind yourself of the Truth. This reminding oneself of the Truth is a very powerful treatment, because in this way we do not try to wrestle with the evil, but we know that it is not there. The truth about life is that all is perfect, utter, unchanging harmony, because God is the only Presence and the only Power. As a student of metaphysics you know this, and often merely reminding yourself of it brings a quick and beautiful demonstration. Of course there are, however, so-called chronic cases in which the student, despite all he can do, seems to make no progress. I have known some obstinate and long-standing difficulties to be overcome by the following method: Give one final and definite treatment for the difficulty in question by reminding yourself of the Spiritual Truth concerning it, and then do not treat about the problem again but treat the treatment whenever you feel inclined to. Do this by claiming that that treatment was a Divine activity and must be successful. Claim that God worked through you when you gave the treatment and that God's work must succeed. Insist that your treatment, being a Divine activity, cannot be hindered by seeming difficulties or material conditions. Give thanks for its perfect success and mean what you say. This is "treating the treatment," and you may do this as often as you like. It has none of the disadvantages that are apt to arise from treating the problem itself too often."
"Silent prayer is more powerful than audible prayer, because by silent prayer the mind comes closer to creative Spirit."
"Setting others free means setting yourself free, because resentment is really a form of attachment. It is a Cosmic Truth that it takes two to make a prisoner; the prisoner--and a gaoler. There is no such thing as being a prisoner on one's own account. Every prisoner must have a gaoler, and the gaoler is as much a prisoner as his charge. When you hold resentment against anyone, you are bound to that person by a cosmic link, a real, though mental chain. You are tied by a cosmic tie to the thing that you hate. The one person perhaps in the whole world whom you most dislike is the very one to whom you are attaching yourself by a hook that is stronger than steel. Is this what you wish? Is this the condition in which you desire to go on living? Remember, you belong to the thing with which you are linked in thought, and at some time or other, if that tie endures, the object of your resentment will be drawn again into your life, perhaps to work further havoc. Do you think that you can afford this? Of course, no one can afford such a thing; and so the way is clear. You must cut all such ties, by a clear and spiritual act of forgiveness. You must loose him and let him go. By forgiveness you set yourself free; you save your soul. And because the law of love works alike for one and all, you help to save his soul too, making it just so much easier for him to become what he ought to be.""
"Strange as it may seem to you, there exists a mystic power that is able to transform your life so thoroughly, so radically, so completely, that when the process is completed your own friends would hardly recognize you, and, in fact, you would scarcely be able to recognize yourself. You would sit down and ask yourself: "Can I really be the man or woman that I vaguely remember, who went about under my name six months or six years ago? Was I really that person? Could that person have possibly been me?" And the truth will be that while in one sense you are indeed the same person, yet in another sense you will be someone utterly different."
"The capriciousness of destiny was a favorite subject with the old-fashioned novelists. In their three volume world, people's lives were at the mercy of trifling accidents from day to day. A person's whole life was spoilt because one letter was stolen or went astray. 'I'he hero rose from obscurity to wealth and fame through meeting a casual stranger in a railroad car, or through saving someone from drowning at the seashore. One false step ruined an otherwise promising career. One turn of fortune's wheel solved all problems for someone else. All this is nonsense. We are not at the mercy of accidents for there are no accidents, and trifles have only trifling effects. In the long run you demonstrate your character; and you cannot ultimately miss the mark for which you are fitted, because of any outer accident. A particular incident may give you a temporary advantage or cause you passing grief or inconvenience, but it does not change your life's story. An energetic and enterprising man who attends to his business will make a success of his life whether he meets a helpful stranger in a railroad car or not - and whether a particular letter concerning him is lost or not. The miscarriage of a letter may deprive him of a particular position; meeting with a helpful and influential stranger may bring his success a little sooner; but if he has the qualities demanded for success he will succeed in any case. And if he lacks those qualities no help from the outside can make him successful. No nation is destroyed by the loss of one battle. When a nation is weak in natural resources and divided within itself, it cannot stand; but it is this structural weakness that brings about its fall. If it were united, well organized, and armed, it could lose that battle and still win the war. Your own character makes or breaks you. This is true of the individual, of a nation, of a party, of a church, or of any institution. If you seem to yourself to be lacking in certain necessary qualities, if your character seems to lack strength, ask God to give you what you need - and He will. You can build any quality into your mentality by meditating upon that quality every day."
"The Key Of Destiny - There are a few great laws that govern all thinking, just as there are a few fundamental laws in chemistry, in physics, and in mechanics, for example. We know that thought control is the Key of Destiny, and in order to learn thought control we have to know and understand these laws, just as the chemist has to understand the laws of chemistry, and the electrician has to know the laws of electricity. One of the great mental laws is the Law of Substitution. This means that the only way to get rid of a certain thought is to substitute another one for it. You cannot dismiss a thought directly. You can do so only by substituting another one for it. On the physical plane this is not the case. You can drop a book or a stone by simply opening your hand and letting it go; but with thought this will not work. If you want to dismiss a negative thought, the only way to do so is to think of something positive and constructive. It is as though in order, let us say, to drop a pencil, it were necessary to put a pen or a book or a stone into your hand, when the pencil would fall away. If I say to you, "Do not think ofthe Statue of Liberty," of course, you immediately think of it. If you say, "I am not going to think of the Statue of Liberty," that is thinking of it. But now, having thought of it, if you become interested in something else, say, by turning on the radio, you forget all about the Statue of Liberty - and this is a case of substitution. It sometimes happens that negative thoughts seem to besiege you in such force that you cannot overcome them. That is what is called a fit of depression, or a fit of worry, or perhaps even a fit of anger. In such a case the best thing is to go and find someone to talk to on any subject, or to go to a good movie or play, or read an interesting book, say a good novel or biography or travel book, or something of the kind. If you sit down to fight the negative tide you will probably succeed only in amplifying it. Turn your attention to something quite different, refusing steadfastly to think of or rehearse the difficulty, and, later on, after you have completely gotten away from it, you can come back with confidence and handle it by spiritual treatment."
"The only part of our religion that is real is the part we express in our daily lives. Ideals that we do not act out in practice are mere abstract theories and have no real meaning. Actually, such pretended ideals are a serious detriment, because they drug the soul into a false sense of security. If you want to receive any benefit from your religion you must practice it, and the place to practice it is right here where you are, and the time to do it is now. Divine Love is the only real power. If you can realize this fact even dimly it will begin to heal and harmonize every condition in your life within a few hours. The way to realize this fact is to express it in every word you speak, in every business transaction, in every social activity, and, in fact, in every phase of your life. An early New Thought writer said: "Knead love into the bread you bake; wrap strength and courage in the parcel you tie for the woman with the weary face; hand trust and candor with the coin you pay to the man with the suspicious eyes." This is beautifully said, and it sums up the Practice of the Presence of God."
"The poor in spirit suffer from none of these embarrassments, either because they never had them, or because they have risen above them on the tide of spiritual understanding. They have got rid of the love of money and property, of fear of public opinion, and of the disapproval of relatives or friends. They are no longer overawed by human authority, however august. They are no longer cocksure in their own opinions. They have come to see that their most cherished beliefs may have been and probably were mistaken, and that all their ideas and views of life may be false and in need of recasting. They are ready to start again at the very beginning and learn life anew."
"The first thing that we have to realize is a fact of fundamental importance, because it means breaking away from all the ordinary prepossessions of orthodoxy. The plain fact is that Jesus taught no theology whatever. His teaching is entirely spiritual or metaphysical. Historical Christianity, unfortunately, has largely concerned itself with theological and doctrinal questions which, strange to say, have no part whatever in the Gospel teaching. It will startle many good people to learn that all the doctrines and theologies of the churches are human inventions built up by their authors out of their own mentalitiesâ€¦ There is absolutely no system of theology of doctrine to be found in the Bible; it simply is not there."
"The forgiveness of sins is the central problem of life. Sin is a sense of separation from God, and is the major tragedy of human experience. It is, of course, rooted in selfishness. It is essentially an attempt to gain some supposed good to which we are not entitled in justice. It is a sense of isolated, self-regarding, personal existence, whereas the Truth of Being is that all is One. Our true selves are at one with God, undivided from Him, expressing His ideas, witnessing to His nature--the dynamic Thinking of that Mind. Because we are all one with the great Whole of which we are spiritually a part, it follows that we are one with all men. Just because in Him we live and move and have our being, we are, in the absolute sense, all essentially one."
"The conscious discovery by you that you have this Power within you, and your determination to make use of it, is the birth of the child. And it is easy to see how very apt the symbol is, for the infant that is born in consciousness is just such a weak, feeble entity as any new-born child, and it calls for the same careful nursing and guarding that any infant does in its earliest days. After a time, however, as the weeks go by, the child grows stronger and bigger, until a time comes when it can well take care of itself; and then it grows and grows in wisdom and stature until, no longer leaning on the motherâ€™s care, the child, now arrived at manâ€™s estate, turns the tables, and repays its debt by taking over the care of its mother. So your ability to contact the mystic Power within yourself, frail and feeble at first, will gradually develop until you find yourself permitting that Power to take your whole life into its care."
"The moment you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, you should reject it instantly. Immediately switch your attention to the Presence of God. Do not stop to say "good-bye" to the error thought, but break the connection instantly and occupy your mind with good; you will be surprised how many difficulties will begin to melt away out of your life. Indeed, we may say that when error presents itself to consciousness, the first five seconds are Golden. In the text quoted above, Jesus teaches this lesson in his own graphic way. The immediate application of these words was, of course, to the coming siege of Jerusalem, but the idea involved is eternal. The holy place is your consciousness, and the abomination of desolation is any negative thought, because a negative thought means belief in the absence of God at the point concerned. Those who are in Judea are those who believe that prayer does change things; to flee to the mountains means to pray, especially that quick switching of the thought to the Presence of God, which I have mentioned."
"The law of circulation is a Cosmic Law. That means that it is true everywhere and on all planes. The law is that constant rhythmical movement is necessary to health and harmony. Now the opposite of circulation is congestion, and it may be said that all sickness, in harmony, or trouble of any kind is really due to some form of congestion. If you think this subject out for yourself you will be fascinated to find how generally true it is, and in what unexpected places it appears. Much ill health is due to emotional congestion. This leads to congestion of the nerve, blood, and lymphatic fluids, producing disease. The depression belief under which the country labored for ten years was a case of congestion. There was plenty of raw material, machinery, and skill, and a very wide- spread demand for goods; but a case of congestion occurred! The dust bowl trouble and its allied misfortune, the floods, is, of course, an example of congestion. War itself is really due to frustrated circulation on many planes of existence. Some students of metaphysics shut their minds to the reception of new truth, and this always produces mental congestion and a failure to demonstrate. You should treat yourself two or three times a week for free circulation on all planes-by claiming that God is bringing this about."
"The source of all good is established within me. I am filled with the life of Spirit. I give thanks for a healthy, joyous and peaceful life. I now realize the presence of God within me. I am growing and unfolding every day."
"The true significance of the word "meek" in the Bible is a mental attitude for which there is no other single word available, and it is this mental attitude which is the secret of "prosperity" or success in prayer. It is a combination of open-mindedness, faith in God, and the realization that the Will of God for us is always something joyous and interesting and vital, and much better than anything we could think of for ourselves. This state of mind also includes a perfect willingness to allow this Will of God to come about in whatever way Divine Wisdom considers to be the best, rather than in some particular way that we have chosen for ourselves."
"The Truth turns out to be nothing less than the amazing but undeniable fact that the whole outer world -whether it be the physical body, the common things of life, the winds and the rain, the clouds, the earth itself -is amenable to man's thought, and that he had dominion over it when he knows it."
"The vital importance of forgiveness may not be obvious at first sight, but you may be sure that it is not by chance that every great spiritual teacher has insisted so strongly upon it. You must forgive injuries, not just in words, or as a matter of form, but in your heart -- and that is the long and the short of it. You do this, not for the other person's sake, but for your own sake. Resentment, condemnation, anger, desire to see someone punished are things that rot your soul. Such things fasten your troubles to you with rivets. They fetter you to many other problems that actually have nothing to do with the original grievances themselves."
"There is a place for analysis, but it is apt to be quite fatal in prayer and meditation. Do not dissect the love of God, but feel it. Do not dissect divine intelligence, but realize it. Do not wonder how God can possibly solve this problem, but just watch Him do it in His own wayâ€”and He will if you will give Him a chance. You know that God is Love. So go ahead on that, and do not get theoretical about it."
"There is a truly spiritual mode of communication from which nothing but good can come. It is this: Sit down quietly and remind yourself that the one God really is Omnipresent. Then reflect that your real self is in the Presence of God now, and that the real selves of others are also in the Presence of God. Do this for a few minutes every day, and sooner or later you will get a sense of communication."
"The world is not going to the dogs. The human race is not doomed. Civilization is not going to crash. The captain is on the bridge."
"There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer; no disease that enough love will not heal; no door that enough love will not open; no gulf that enough love will not bridge; no wall that enough love will not throw down; no sin that enough love will not redeem... It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble; how hopeless the outlook; how muddled the tangle; how great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world."
"There is no need to be unhappy. There is no need to be sad. There is no need to be disappointed, or oppressed, or aggrieved. There is no need for illness or failure or discouragement. There is no necessity for anything but success, good health, prosperity, and an abounding interest and joy in life."
"This Indwelling Power, the Inner Light, or Spiritual Idea, is spoken of in the Bible as a child, and throughout the Scriptures the child symbolically always stands for this. Bible symbolism has its own beautiful logic, and just as the soul is always spoken of as a woman, so this, the Spiritual Idea that is born to the soul, is described as a child."
"This extraordinary Power, mystic though I have rightly called it, is nevertheless very real, no mere imaginary abstraction, but actually the most practical thing there is. The existence of this Power is already well known to thousands of people in the world today, and has been known to certain enlightened souls for tens of thousands of years. This Power is really no less than the primal Power of Being, and to discover that Power is the Divine birthright of all men. It is your right and your privilege to make your contact with this Power, and to allow it to work through your body, mind, and estate, so that you need no longer grovel upon the ground amid limitations and difficulties, but can soar up on wings like an eagle to the realm of dominion and joy."
"This mystic Power can teach you all things that you need to know, if only you are receptive and teachable. It can inspire you with new thoughts and ideas, so that your work may be truly original. It can impart new and wonderful kinds of knowledge as soon as you really want such knowledge â€“ glorious knowledge â€“ strange things not taught in schools or written in books. It can do for you that which is probably the most important thing of all in your present stage: it can find your true place in life for you, and put you into it too. It can find the right friends for you, kindred spirits who are interested in the same ideas and want the same things that you do. It can provide you with an ideal home. It can furnish you with the prosperity that means freedom, freedom to be and to do and to go as your soul calls."
"Treat the "Because" when you find yourself thinking that your Prayer cannot be answered for any reason whatever - treat that reason. When something says to you that you cannot demonstrate "because" - treat the because. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I have not enough understanding - treat for understanding. When you think, I cannot treat because I have a Headache - treat the headache. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I am full of doubts - treat the doubts. When you think I cannot demonstrate because it is now too late - treat against the time illusion. When you think, I cannot demonstrate in this part of the country - treat against the space illusion. When you think, I cannot demonstrate this thing because of my age - treat your age belief. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because someone else will hinder me - treat the belief in a power other than God. No matter what name the because may give itself, it is still your belief in limitation. Be loyal to God and know that He and He alone has all power. Treat the because."
"Unhappiness, frustration, poverty, loneliness are really bad habits that their victims have become accustomed to bear with more or less fortitude, believing that there is no way out, whereas there is a way; and that way is simply to acquire good habits of mind instead of bad ones--habits of working with the Law instead of against it."
"What we experience is our own concept of things. That is why no two people see quite the same world, and why, in many cases, different people see such different worlds. To put it in another way, we make our own world by the way in which we think; for we really do live in a world of our own thoughts. It follows from this that if our thinking is faulty, our conditions must be faulty too until our thinking is corrected; and that it is useless to try to improve outer things if we leave our own mentality unchanged. Let us suppose for the sake of example that a deaf man goes to Carnegie Hall to a Kreisler recital; and that he happens to be a very foolish person. He sits in the middle of the orchestra and, of course, he does not hear a sound. He is annoyed at this, and changes his ticket for a seat in the first balcony. Here, naturally, he fares no better, and, foolishly thinking that the acoustics of the building are at fault, moves again to the top balcony. Still he cannot hear a sound; so now he goes downstairs again and this time chooses a seat in the very front of the orchestra, only a few yards from the violinist. Of course, he has no better fortune here, and so he stamps out of the theatre in a huff, declaring that evidently Kreisler cannot play, and that the hall is badly designed for music. It is easy for us to see that the trouble is really within himself, and that he cannot remedy matters by merely changing his seat. The only thing for him to do is to overcome his deafness in some way, and then he will enjoy the concert. He must change himself. This parable applies literally to all the problems of life. We see in harmony because of a spiritual lack within ourselves. As we gain greater spiritual understanding, the true Nature of Being opens up. As long as we move from one place to another in search of harmony, or try to bring it about by changing outer things, we are like the foolish man who could not hear Kreisler, and ran about all over the theatre."
"When you are praying for your true place, it is well to remember that the full demonstration may not come in one move, but more likely after a series of stages. Now, if you despise these intermediate steps, and think â€œthis is a little better, but it is not really what I want,â€ you will keep the demonstration back. Neither should you accept a small improvement as being all that you can hope to get. The scientific attitude is to see the stepping stone as a stepping stone; to bless it, and give thanks for it, and to continue praying for the next step."
"What are you doing about your future? Are you content to let things just drift along as they are, hoping, like Mr. Micawber, for something to "turn up"? If you are, be assured that there is no escape in that way. Nothing ever will turn up unless you exercise your Free Will and go out and turn it up for yourself by becoming acquainted with the Laws of Life, and applying them to your own individual conditions. That is the only way. Otherwise the years will pass all too swiftly, leaving you just where you are now, if not worse off, for there is no limit to the result of thought either for good or evil."
"What is physical healing but an outer evidence that a step in spiritual development has been taken?"
"Whatever you experience in your life is really but the out-picturing of your own thoughts and beliefs. Now, you can change these thoughts and beliefs, and then the outer picture must change too. The outer picture cannot change until you change your thought. Your real heartfelt conviction is what you out-picture or demonstrate, not your mere pious opinions or formal assents. Convictions cannot be adopted arbitrarily just because you want a healing. They are built up by the thoughts you think and the feelings you entertain day after day as you go through life. So, it is your habitual mental conduct that weaves the pattern of your destiny for you, and is not this just as it should be? So no one else can keep you out of your kingdom - or put you into it either. The story of your life is really the story of the relations between yourself and God."
"When we remember that God really is omnipotent, untrammeled by what we call time or space or matter, or the vagaries of human nature, it is easy to see that there can be no limit to the power of prayer. You can pray about a problem and solve it at any stage, but of course the earlier you tackle it the easier your work will be."
"You are not happy because you are well. You are well because you are happy. You are not depressed because trouble has come to you, but trouble has come to you because you are depressed. You can change your thoughts and feelings, and then the outer things will come to correspond, and indeed there is no other way of working."
"When you find yourself thinking that your prayer cannot be answered for any reason - treat that reason. When something says that you cannot demonstrate "because" - treat the because. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I have not enough understanding, treat for understanding. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I have a headache - treat the headache. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I am full of doubts - treat the doubts. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because it is now too late - treat against the time illusion. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because in this part of the country - treat against space illusion. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because of my age - treat your age belief. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because someone else will hinder me - treat the belief in a power other than God. No matter what name the because may give itself, it is still your belief in limitation. Be loyal to God and know that He and He alone has all the power. Treat the because."
"Why not make the following experiment, which will not only be thrillingly interesting, but will certainly teach you more in one day than you could learn from books or lectures in many weeks. Here is what you have to do: For one whole day think, speak, and act exactly as you would if you were absolutely convinced of the truth of the statements that God has all power and infinite intelligence, and that His nature is infinite goodness and love. To think in this manner all day will be the most difficult thing, because it is so subtle. To speak in accordance with these truths will be easier, if you are vigilant. To act in accordance with them will be the easiest part, although it may require much in the way of moral courage."