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
© Eric Butterworth