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Excerpt from

  As a Center of Consciousness
You Are Invisible


by Raymond Charles Barker




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Book Contents

Chapter 1 - THE LEAVES MUST FALL

Chapter 2 - YOUR SUCCESS MECHANISM

Chapter 3 - YOU ARE A POTENTIAL

Chapter 4 - DISCOVER YOURSELF

Chapter 5 - YOUR INHERENT WISDOM

Chapter 6 - PROFITABLE THINKING

Chapter 7 - LET NOTHING DETER YOU

Chapter 8 - WHY, WHAT, AND WHERE ARE YOU? 

Chapter 9 - QUESTIONS HAVE ANSWERS   

Chapter 10 - WHAT IS TRUTH?   

IMMEASURABLE MIND



Chapter 1

THE LEAVES MUST FALL

Your most priceless possession is your mind, and what you are doing with it at this instant is significant, not what you did with it yesterday or a number of years ago. Mind is invisible, but its now activity is visible to all who know you.

The only form of life that hangs onto the past is man. When nature has brought in colder weather in the autumn, the leaves fall. They fall because the tree has finished its annual cycle and it needs them no more. The tree has no fear as it lets go of each leaf. It has no regret at letting go of something that has served its purpose. Those leaves will never return, but there will be new leaves in the spring to serve a new purpose.

We cannot endow the tree with memory of past winters and past springs, because memory is an emotional experience. We are the only form of life that has memory, as we know it. Lesser forms of animals can be taught to run through a maze or perform other feats which they have learned through trial and error, usually supplemented by a reward. The animal world operates to a great extent by instinct. Instinctively certain creatures hoard food for the winter, and instinctively they stop hoarding when spring arrives and food is plentiful.

Man, often involuntarily, hangs onto the past. He hoards old memories in his subconscious mind, where they may lie dormant for a long time, and if they are negative they may suddenly pop up to trouble him. Memories of pleasant or worthwhile experiences are never harmful. Those of you who have undergone psychotherapy or psychoanalysis know how astounded you were at some of the old thought patterns and beliefs that were unearthed in the process. Many of them were frightening and you did not want to face the fact that you have been storing up destructive motivations in your subconscious for years. Perhaps you have been hoarding a great many negatives since early childhood.

This does not apply only to people who have distressed minds. It applies to everyone. Those of us who are quite well adjusted to life, and able to function quite normally, have reserved some storage space in the subconscious for old memories, and often, when we least expect it, one of these phantoms from the past comes to light.

I frequently do a considerable amount of reading at night. Occasionally I pause and look out of the window. What happens during that moment of relaxed attention? Quite often some long-buried negative pops through the trapdoor of my mind. It may be a problem that I haven't thought of for years, or it may be a fairly recent hurt or resentment. It arrives at my conscious level of mind with power and authority. It wants me to do a repeat performance. Something that hurt my feelings wants me to be saddened all over again. Someone I didn't like wants me to hate all over again.

It is quite possible for me to take fifteen minutes and review the whole episode, get myself all worked up, and become emotion-ally involved once more with something that, once forgotten, should stay forgotten.

I am well aware, and you should be too, that old hurts and old rejections arrive at the threshold of consciousness in order to get out. If you take your hands off—by that I mean stop reviewing and rehearsing the past event—you can help that negative get out of your subconscious mind. Say something like this: Get out of my life. You have come this far. Go out into the nothingness where you belong. You have finished your act. I want you no more.

In order to do this you must have the willingness to let go of the past. Let the leaves fall. I do not mean get rid of everything you own. I am talking of consciousness and the operation of ideas in mind. The motivation of mind is to proceed.

A good statement to make here is: I freely let go of the past. I freely let go of that which yet will be. I am a now person in a now experience.

FACE THE NOW

There are changes in the thinking of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychoanalysts, just as there are changes in the experimental techniques of nuclear scientists, in the modes of operation of city planners, and in the concepts of those who are leaders in industry, education, the general field of health, and so on.


Ever since the time of Freud, it has been the popular assumption of a great many experts in the field of psychology and psychi-atry that by the time you are six years old every basic pattern of life is already formed in your subconscious mind. Each pattern takes over and you follow through on it. This is why many of today's psychiatrists and psychoanalysts who believe in plumbing the depths of the "unconscious" discover that the problem of a fifty-year-old person started in his early childhood.

I believe William James, professor of psychology at Harvard University around the turn of the century, gave us a little longer time to form those patterns. He placed the age when they were firmly set at twenty-one.

I am not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but I believe that any pattern can be changed at any time, if you so desire. Mind is not inflexible. Mind is creative. Mind is always trying to go forward. It is not trying to go back.

That is why I was pleased several years ago when a forward-looking psychiatrist, Dr. William Glasser, wrote a book entitled Reality Therapy. In it he expressed his viewpoint that it is not necessary to probe the past, but it is imperative to help the patient relate to the now. He emphasizes the need for every mentally disturbed individual, young or mature, to learn responsibility in the now. He stresses the need for every individual who requires psychiatric help to be closely involved with at least one other person, but preferably with several; the need to love and be loved, and the need to feel that he or she is worthwhile.

These are tenets with which we of the New Thought Movement agree: the need for individual responsibility, the need for communication with others, the need to love and be loved, and the need for self-expression, which can be interpreted as worthwhileness. We believe that all of these experiences should take place in the now, and that in reality there is only the split-second of current awareness. There has been a past, and there will be a future, but at this instant, as a thinking, feeling, expressing consciousness, there is only this moment in your life.

A current television commercial begins, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." That's not a bad concept when we remember that your today is tomorrow, and that your this year is your next year. You are creating your future right now, and it is not dependent upon what happened in your past.

CLEAR OUT THE OLD

When you say, "I can't remember what is wrong," perhaps that means that you are aware of what is right. Sometimes we need to forget as well as remember. But when we forget, let us do it thoroughly by clearing consciousness of the old, unwanted idea.

I believe, among other things, that one of the purposes of prayer is to teach us to forget. I think that no matter what method you use, whether it be old or new, whether it be of one vocabulary or another, one purpose of it—even the most affirmative spiritual treatment—has been to negate something that we no longer want in consciousness.

We have had too many years of taking in new ideas without clearing out the old ones. Therefore, in many instances, the new ideas have merely put a new coat of paint on the same old building. It has made it look new, and seem new, but it isn't new at all.

I know people who have studied the New Thought teaching for years, yet, while they don't know it, they are still basically Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians or whatever they were before they came to us. They are still indoctrinated with the old ideas, and may I say rightly so, because they have not learned to forget. They have just taken in an inflow of new ideas, and new ideas alone won't do it. They are always transformed through old mechanisms. It doesn't make any difference whether the ideas are political, scientific, economic, religious, or what.

It is very difficult to take a new idea and use it as a new idea when it is accepted by, employed by, and operated through the ideas that have been there before. This is why, several years ago, I made a change in the format of our Sunday-morning service. I deliberately withdrew hymns and solos because I believe that to present a new idea you have to present it in a new way. I withdrew the setting, the atmosphere which would inevitably adulterate the new with the old. There have been few comp-laints.


MEMORY VERSUS "FORGETTERY"

Years ago there were two famous New Thought lecturers in this country, William Walker Atkinson and David Bush. They were competitors, though they both spoke of uses of the mind. Atkinson gave a series of one-week's free lectures and then had a five-night closed class on "How to Develop a Perfect Memory." He charged a fee for this. Atkinson went to all of the major cities, where he hired a hall similar to our Carnegie Hall in New York City. He always filled it and at the end of the series everyone had "the key to perfect memory." David Bush, aware of his competitor's tactics, followed, about a month later, into each of the cities Atkinson had covered. He would hire the same hall, do the same advertising, give his free classes for a week, and then his paid classes the second week. However, he talked on "How to Develop a Perfect Forgettery."

These two men covered all the major cities in the United States for several years and were prosperous. Like all pioneers they had hit upon a truth, but they should have reversed the circuit. David Bush should have gone in first with "Forgettery," to be followed a month later by William Atkinson with his "Memory." They had the cart before the horse, because by the time all of the people had learned to develop perfect memories, their minds were so cluttered with past experiences and past ideas that they had a hard time learning to forget.

You and I have found this to be true in our work with Mind. It is particularly hard to forget negatives of the past, because we don't forget anything that hits us with an emotional impact. We may think we have forgotten, but it lies buried until it is released.

I am reminded here of a dream I had a few years ago. Its content portrayed a battle that must have been dormant in my subconscious for a long, long time. Some years earlier I had a definite dispute with a man who was condemning me, unjustly I thought. I got him off my pathway. A couple of years later he went on to the next plane of life. I thought little of it and didn't mourn him, because I am not a hypocrite. When he had been gone for ten or twelve years, I had a very unpleasant dream of fighting him physically. He was knocking me around and I was knocking him. When I awoke, right after the dream, I said, "Okay. So he is still in my subconscious mind with that amount of power."

Immediately I got up, left my bedroom, went to the desk, put on the light, and sat down. "All right, John," I said. "The image of you in my subconscious mind is not going to do this again. I have finished this fight. Wherever you are on your pathway, I release you. I bless you." Then I said: "Subconscious mind, I want this memory pattern stopped. I don't want to carry it around any more." I didn't know it was down there. I hadn't thought of him for years. But the whole thing came up in the dream world, which is another trapdoor through which the subconscious can appear.

There was a distinct feeling of anger in this dream, and I went to work on my spiritual treatment. I went to work on my pattern, not his. He is all right, wherever he is. I worked for a good ten minutes on my subconscious mind. I have not had the dream since, and I probably never will, because I cleared my mind of that violent negative as soon as it exposed itself to me.

EMOTIONAL IMPACT

It is extremely difficult to forget anything that hits us with an emotional impact. We can forget the trivial, we can forget the casual, but we do not easily forget things that are delivered into our minds under heavy emotion. Emotion is the key to Life. Emotion is the law of living. This is why the ancient teaching that the primary aspect of God is Love may be more important than the aspect of a Divine Mind with any other quality.

It is well established psychologically that the only thing that really affects us is emotion; we are emotional people, and emotion is the creative power of the mind. This is why balanced religion has always taught the power of love. One of the reasons why the teaching of Jesus caught on so quickly in the Roman Empire was that he was a symbol of love. He was not a symbol of war or of hate. Being the symbol of love, he interested people much more than did their old gods of hate and of war.

Emotions are the cornerstone of life. Yesterday carries into today only through our emotions, because the memory field is a field of emotional memory. This is why you cannot remember a casual incident that happened ten years ago, but you can remember a heartbreak or some equivalent unpleasantness that shook you up emotionally at that time. The remembrance of the evils of the past is a part of the nature of the mind until the mind is cleared through spiritual treatment. Nature arranged this because nature expects its creation to clear its own thought.

Man is the creation of God as Mind. You and I have not sought to clear our minds at all times. We have wanted someone else to do it for us. Down through the ages, men and women have devised many ways, many paths, many prayer books, many prayer wheels, many statues, many novenas, many saviors, because they wanted someone else to clear their thought, when, of course, this cannot be done. We have to clear our own thought.

You stand isolated like an island. You are you. You are not the savior, the prophet, or the saint. You are you. I am that which I am, and I never can be less. Therefore, if I am that which I am, then no man can clear my thought but myself. No one can change my belief but my own mind. No one can get rid of the past save by deliberately saying to the past, "Be gone. Thou art no longer a part of me," I have to say to that which emotionally crippled me ten years ago, twenty years ago, or three days ago, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me."

Emotion binds, emotion retains, emotion holds. What you do not want to remember is held in memory by emotion and not by common sense. You can say to it: I no longer give you, the idea, any more emotional support. I declare that you have operated in me long enough. You have managed me long enough. I now declare that you convert yourself into a positive, healthy emotion.

This is turning fear into faith, rejection into acceptance, disease into health, and hate into love. This can be done.

TAKE THE HURT OUT OF LIFE

You take the hurt out of life by first admitting you have it. You get some understanding of why you have it, and finally you say: "I will now withdraw my need for it. I no longer need to justify the present by the past. I no longer need to justify my present inadequacies merely on the basis of something that happened years or even weeks ago. I am emotionally interested in the new concept of what I am, and I refuse to remember what I was. I am intrigued by what I can become, and I no longer need to remember the hurts that made me what I was."

This is tremendously important. Most people do not like what they are. Therefore they revert to the past rather than accept the present. When you accept yourself as Life living this day, as Mind thinking this day, and as Love loving this day, you do not need to go to the past.

Jesus said, "No man, having put his hand to the plow, and turning back, is fit for the kingdom of God." A plow moves forward. The person behind the plow has to know where he is going. He has to know where to turn around to come back. He is so busy knowing what is to be done that he does not need to look behind him to see the furrow that is finished.

Life is the progressive action of the now, becoming the future. In order to move from here to there, I have to take up the anchors that I put down to keep me where I have been. Many people feel that it is very comfortable to be anchored somewhere. The anchor drags in the past. It deters them. They find that they are not moving forward. Yet they do nothing about it until Wisdom comes to the fore. Then they pull up the anchors—the negatives that are holding them down—and they are able to go full steam ahead. Having made the start, it is possible to become so fascinated with the course ahead that you can completely forget about the point from which you have come.

When this happens, you can say to the hurts of yesterday, "I can't remember you, except as an incident." You can say to the future, "I grasp you. I want to go in a creative, progressive action forward, impelled by a Mind that is God, and a Life that is lived, a Love that is great, and a Power that responds to the good."

Accept the memories of the great experiences which brought you joy. They need not be erased, because they are valuable, and the emotions that created them will hold them fast. It is only the negative, destructive memories that need to go, and you now know how to get rid of them.

GIVE THE PAST NO POWER

The past holds power as long as you feel that the past is greater than the present. As long as you nourish the past so as not to have to compete with the present, the past has you enthralled. The way to be rid of the past is to see it as experience and growth and nothing else. But we are so enmeshed in the personalities of the past, the situations of the past, that we slip from the present into the past and we become past people working in the present.

There are two very interesting, simple sentences of Scripture, written by the first Isaiah, who wrote the first third of the Book of Isaiah, at a time when the people were in captivity in Babylon. It was a time of great spiritual progress, even though they were very unhappy living, not as slaves, but as a foreign minority in a distant country, and they wanted to go home.

Like most of us, these people talked about the past, the good old days, and they kept saying to themselves, "Oh, if only things could be the way they were." They lamented, they wept, and the older generation kept on saying, "Oh, if only we could have things as they were." It is then that Isaiah speaks up, saying, "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?"

His meaning is clear. If your attention is so fixed upon the old patterns, the old habits, the things that used to be, the people that used to be, then you will not even see the new that I make. "Remember ye not former things," Isaiah said, "neither consider the things of old." Why? Because "I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?"

What Isaiah said hundreds of years ago applies equally well to us today. You and I are the people of that which shall be. We are not the people of that which has been.

One of the great advantages of being a part of the New Thought Movement is that we are not a part of that which has been. We are a part of that which is. It is good that we cannot trace our religious lineage back more than a hundred years. It is constructive that we cannot go back and claim that we are New Thought people because of what we were; we are New Thought people because of what we are. That sounds like a paradox, but it is a truth. It is a truth, and we have proven it.


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