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The Formative Power of Mind

Have you ever considered that the cup from which you drink evolved from the ancient art of potting? When a potter works with clay, something very mystical happens. There is a deep affinity between the fingertips of the potter and the clay on the rotating wheel, and it is only when this feeling of oneness is established that the artisan can consistently produce vessels of life and vitality. Before an article of clay can spring forth beneath the potter's hands, there is a great deal of work to be done. The clay must be "wedged" before it is suitable. This is the process by which impurities are worked out of it. The thorough potter will always "wedge," or "knead," his clay in a circular motion, corresponding with the direction of the turning of the wheel. In this way, he establishes a kind of a harmony of movements within the material itself. He creates a rhythm, a veritable flow, preparing the material for its future use. As in the case of a potter, we, too, can expect harmony and happiness in our life only after we have established it within our own consciousness, when we have gotten into the Flow of Life.for truly, "As he thinketh within himself, so is he." [Proverbs 23:7]

When you buy a car, you may want to listen to the sound of the engine and peer under the hood, and if the inner functions are not in order, you know that trouble is ahead. But, strangely enough, when trouble occurs in our lives, we fail to consider that the trouble might be the result of inharmony under our own "hood," in other words, in our thoughts, in our attitudes toward life, in our prejudices, our deep-seeded emotions-in other words, in our consciousness. Instead, our first reaction, so often, is to try to adjust our environment to accommodate disorder.

For instance, your job or your salary or your prestige have little effect on your true happiness, but your happiness and your inner harmony will have a vital effect on your job and your salary, and, as we say, "your good name." If you want to be happy and harmonious, these qualities must first be established in the "clay" of your being. Your life depends on this truth, even as the potter's finished vessel depends on his preparation of the clay and his training.

At times, a potter will have nearly completed a piece on his wheel when he feels, with dismay, an inflexible lump in the thin wall of spinning clay, and if such a vessel is not ruined on the wheel, there's a chance it may explode in the heat of the kiln. So the good potter will discard it right at that moment. And in a way, our work is like that of the potter. We must "wedge" and purify our thoughts, even as the potter wedges and purifies the clay that he works with. We have been given the ability to discern between the good and the not-so-good. Ours is the privilege and the opportunity to shape ourselves into beautiful vessels or containers, overflowing with goodness.

Now, to reach the kind of perfection that we idealize, the "clay" of our selves must age, or rest, to develop strength and plasticity. And, there are often periods in our lives when we must rest for a season to develop a greater awareness of the powerful forces within us. So, the capacity to be patient, to know that all things are working together for good, certainly can be one of our most beneficial assets, one that will have a definite effect upon our health and happiness. And it is during this time of waiting or resting or quietly reflecting upon the flowing of God-Life within us that we, like clay, can develop flexibility and loving tolerance of the daily events that might otherwise be very disturbing.

Centuries ago, Oriental artisans recognized the superiority of aged clay, and they sometimes prepared the clay and put it away for use by a following generation. Short or newly mixed clay acts very much like a brick mason's mortar. If it isn't wet enough, it just doesn't hold together. In the same sense, if you're waiting for some good in your life, some demonstration of success or harmony or happiness, if there seems to be nothing that you can do in an outer way, then, by all means, use this time to gather your inner forces.

If there is someone who lives or works close to you with whom you can find no peace, remember that he or she also was fashioned of the substance of the Creative Process. Build and unify yourself into the powerful and poised person that you most desire yourself to be, and build into your consciousness an awareness of good. Get your thinking on a high level, and you will begin to express the good that you are accumulating in a much more creative way than you imagined you ever could.

To heal or to harmonize any unsatisfactory condition, first of all, know that all people and all situations and all problems are composed of the same basic, elemental Substance of the Universe-the very Substance of God. Certainly, the potter knows that from a lump of clay can emerge a masterpiece or a failure, and if the result is a failure, he doesn't blame the clay for the shortcoming; he knows it is because of the way he has used it. Likewise, it does no good to criticize the imperfections in our own life or in that of another. We must act positively upon the goodness that is present in every situation, even though there are times when it may be quite invisible. And, the marvel is that man is not only the "clay," he is also the "potter." Man has the power and the ability to shape his own life and environment by the shaping power of his own mind-by his attitudes and feelings.

We are all derived from the same "lump of clay," and each of us has the ability to "wedge" and perfect the clay of our being. Our very purpose in life is to do just this, to glorify the Creative Process, to glorify God, through the way in which we grow and unfold and awaken within us the greatness of God and "wedge-out" the impurities in consciousness. Obviously, this takes work-it's a lot of discipline, a lot of practice, practice, practice! But then, you see, life is growth.and that's what it's all about.

At times, it is very difficult to grasp the relationship between the Divine Process, Universal Substance, God, and our own prosperity or wellbeing or success or health or peace of mind. It may be helpful to think of this Infinite Source of Supply in a more scientific way. God is Universal Substance, and this Substance is teeming with ideas, even as the potter's clay is saturated with water. And this Substance can be shaped and formed, as clay is shaped and formed. It is just that the tools that we use may be a little different. The potter shapes the clay with his hands, whereas, we shape God's Substance with our thoughts, with the use of our mind-we develop and bring forth ideas, and this is the Creative Flow at work.

Now, "wedging" is the potter's term for preparing clay, and there are terms for the way in which we shape Substance, "positive thinking," for instance, "treatment," "affirmation," "prayer," "knowing the Truth." Through these, we can take hold of the good ideas that are teeming in the Substance of God and shape them to fill our specific needs.

Our attitude toward our occupation, toward our economic situation or our material prosperity is of primary importance. If we desire a continuity of good in our lives, our foremost thrust, most assuredly, must not be that of acquiring money, rather, it must be to get into the Flow of the Creative Process of Universal Substance, so this Flow can manifest in our relationships, in our work. Something, then, very beautiful and creative happens as the result of our being in the Flow. And, it will lead to success, to prosperity, and to attracting all manner of marvelous things-from the plaudits of our fellow workers to the tangible rewards that we have been seeking. And, of course, it will also lead to happiness and fulfillment and peace of mind.

One who is unfamiliar with the potter's wheel would not be expected to form a masterpiece on a first try. Even a hundred attempts would not be sufficient to achieve real skill, which may take years of daily practice. He must consciously develop a feeling of oneness with the clay. In the same way, we must develop a feeling of Oneness with God, with the Flow of Universal Substance, and when we incorporate consistent prayer-practice-a consistent looking up in consciousness, in meditation, to the realization of our Oneness with the Flow-then we gain a much broader understanding of life, a much greater fluidity of the Creative Process within us.

True prosperity is a continually growing appreciation of the nature of the Universe. It is also appreciation of that which we already have. With prayer, that which you have will stretch and meet needs, beyond your expectation, meet the challenges of life, and your good will become much more apparent, because you will be giving thanks for what you have, rather than simply complaining about what you do not have.

It goes without saying that an optimist is always happier than a pessimist, simply because he draws to himself that which he talks about and he thinks about, and he talks and thinks about that which is good. In the same way, does the prayerful, thankful person draw unto himself the good which he recognizes. It was Plato who says, "A grateful mind is a great mind that attracts to itself great things."

Begin now to take hold of Ideas of Abundance for yourself, and hold them in your thought until they are impressed upon your subconscious mind. "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." (I think that's attributed to Victor Hugo.) "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." You are equipped to receive and develop ideas for your own good and for the good of others in the Creative Flow of God Substance, and, like a potter, you can mold and shape them into usable form.

© Eric Butterworth

Unity Center of Practical Christianity

Phone: (212) 582-1300 / E-Mail: unitycenter@verizon.net
The Unity Center of New York City Web Site: www.unitynewyork.com