One of the most
important aspects of Neville Goddard's work is his inspired
reinterpretation of Biblical scripture. By lifting the Bible from the
constraints of literal interpretation, Neville enables students with a
Christian background to grow anew in their understanding and
Seedtime and Harvest focuses on key mystical messages that run through Biblical Scripture, showing how familiar Biblical stories and passages provide insight into the metaphysical principles that form the foundation of physical experience. The tale of Cain and Abel, Jacob's ladder dream, and many other passages are explored to spark deeper understanding of consciousness and empowerment. Neville intersperses his interpretive insights into scripture with real-life examples of the workings of spiritual law, helping to show how the Bible can provide important guidance to students no longer comfortable with a literalist reading.
Neville's opening chapter notes that any who enjoy the old familiar verses of Scripture are discouraged when they themselves try to read the Bible as they would any other book because, quite excusably, they do not understand that the Bible is written in the language of symbolism. In Seedtime and Harvest, Neville offers insight to those who seek to reconcile their love of the Christian Bible with non-sectarian truths about being and selfhood.
THE END OF A GOLDEN STRING
IN THE following essays I have tried to indicate certain ways of approach to the understanding of the Bible and the realization of your dreams.
"That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." —Hebrews 6:12
Many who enjoy the old familiar verses of Scripture are discouraged when they themselves try to read the Bible as they would any other book because, quite excusably, they do not understand that the Bible is written in the language of symbolism. Not knowing that all of its characters are personifications of the laws and functions of Mind; that the Bible is psychology rather than history, they puzzle their brains over it for awhile and then give up. It is all too mystifying. To understand the significance of its imagery, the reader of the Bible must be imaginatively awake.
According to the Scriptures, we sleep with Adam and wake with Christ. That is, we sleep collectively and wake individually.
"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept." —Genesis 2:21
If Adam, or generic man, is in a deep sleep, then his experiences as recorded in the Scriptures must be a dream. Only he who is awake can tell his dream, and only he who understands the symbolism of dreams can interpret the dream.
"And they said one to and all, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?" —Luke 24:32
The Bible is a revelation of the laws and functions of Mind expressed in the language of that twilight realm into which we go when we sleep. Because the symbolical language of this twilight realm is much the same for all men, the recent explorers of this realm—human imagination—call it the "collective unconscious."
The purpose of this book, however, is not to give you a complete definition of Biblical symbols or exhaustive interpretations of its stories. All I hope to have done is to have indicated the way in which you are most likely to succeed in realizing your desires. "What things soever ye desire" can be obtained only through the conscious, voluntary exercise of imagination in direct obedience to the laws of Mind. Somewhere within this realm of imagination there is a mood, a feeling of the wish fulfilled which, if appropriated, means success to you. This realm, this Eden—your imagination—is vaster than you know and repays exploration. "I Give you the end of a golden string;" You must wind it into a ball.
"And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads."
"And every one had four faces: . . ." —Ezekiel 10:14
"I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God"
"Four Mighty Ones are in every Man." —Blake
The "Four Mighty Ones" constitute the selfhood of man, or God in man. There are "Four Mighty Ones" in every man, but these "Four Mighty Ones" are not four separate beings, separated one from the other as are the fingers of his hand. The "Four Mighty Ones" are four different aspects of his mind, and differ from one another in function and character without being four separate selves inhabiting one man's body.
The "Four Mighty Ones" may be equated with the four Hebrew characters יחוח . which form the four-lettered mystery-name of the Creative Power, derived from and combining within itself the past, present and future forms of the verb "to be." The Tetragrammaton is revered as the symbol of the Creative Power in man—I AM—the creative four functions in man reaching forth to realize in actual material phenomena qualities latent in Itself.
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts . . ."
—As You Like It: Act II, Scene VII.
The producer, the author, the director and the actor are the four most important characters in the production of a play. In the drama of life, the producer's function is to suggest the theme of a play. This he does in the form of a wish, such as, "I wish I were successful"; "I wish I could take a trip"; "I wish I were married", and so on. But to appear on the world's stage, these general themes must somehow be specified and worked out in detail. It is not enough to say,"I wish I were successful" that is too vague. Successful at what? However, the first "Mighty One" only suggests a theme.
The dramatization of the theme is left to the originality of the second "Mighty One", the author. In dramatizing the theme, the author writes only the last scene of the play—but this scene he writes in detail. The scene must dramatize the wish fulfilled. He mentally constructs as life-like a scene as possible of what he would experience had he realized his wish. When the scene is clearly visualized, the author's work is done.
The third "Mighty One" in the production of life's play is the director. The director's tasks are to see that the actor remains faithful to the script and to rehearse him over and over again until he is natural in the part. This function may be likened to a controlled and consciously directed attention—an attention focused exclusively on the action which implies that the wish is already realized.
"The form of the Fourth is like the Son of God"—human imagination, the actor. This fourth "Mighty One" performs within himself, in imagination, the predetermined action which implies the fulfillment of the wish. This function does not visualize or observe, the action. This Junction actually enacts the drama, and does it over and over again until it takes on the tones of reality. Without the dramatized vision of fulfilled desire, the theme remains a mere theme and sleeps forever in the vast chambers of unborn themes. Not without the co-operant attention, obedient to the dramatized vision of fulfilled desire, will the vision perceived attain objective reality.
These "Four Mighty Ones" are the four quarters of the human soul. The first is Jehovah's King, who suggests the theme; the second is Jehovah's servant, who faithfully works out the theme in a dramatic vision; the third is Jehovah's man, who was attentive and obedient to the vision of fulfilled desire, who brings the wandering imagination back to the script "seventy times seven". The "Form of the Fourth" is Jehovah himself, who enacts the dramatized theme on the stage of the mind.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: . . ." —Philippians 2:5, 6
The drama of life is a joint effort of the four quarters of the human soul.
"All that you behold, tho' it appears without, it is within, in your imagination, of which this world of mortality is but a shadow."
All that we behold is a visual construction contrived to express a theme—a theme which has been dramatized, rehearsed and performed elsewhere. What we are witnessing on the stage of the world is an optical construction devised to express the themes which have been dramatized, rehearsed and performed in the imaginations of men.
These "Four Mighty Ones" constitute the Selfhood of man, or God in man; and all that man beholds, tho' it appears without, are but shadows cast upon the screen of space—optical constructions contrived by Selfhood to inform him in regard to the themes which he has conceived, dramatized, rehearsed and performed within himself.
"The creature was made subject unto vanity" that he may become conscious of Selfhood and its functions, for with consciousness of Selfhood and its functions, he can act to a purpose; he can have a consciously self-determined history. Without such consciousness, he acts unconsciously, and cries to an objective God to save him from his own creation.
"O Lord, how long shall I cry, and Thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto Thee of violence, and Thou wilt not save!"
When man discovers that life is a play which he, himself, is consciously or unconsciously writing, he will cease from the blind, self-torture of executing judgment upon others. Instead, he will rewrite the play to conform to his ideal, for he will realize that all changes in the play must come from the cooperation of the "Four Mighty Ones" within himself. They alone can alter the script and produce the change.
All the men and women in his world are merely players and are as helpless to change his play as are the players on the screen of ihe theatre to change the picture. The desired change must be conceived, dramatized, rehearsed and performed in the theatre of his mind. When the fourth function, the imagination, has completed its task of rehearsing the revised version of the play until it is natural, then the curtain will rise upon this so seemingly solid world and the "Mighty Four" will cast a shadow of the real play upon the screen of space. Men and women will automatically play their parts to bring about the fulfillment of the dramatized theme. The players, by reason of their various parts in the world's drama, become relevant to the individual's dramatized theme and, because relevant, are drawn into his drama. They will play their parts, faithfully believing all the while that it was they themselves who initiated the parts they play. This they do because:
"Thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, . . . I in them, and thou in me." —John 17:21,23
I am involved in mankind. We are one. We are all playing the four parts of producer, author, director and actor in the drama of life. Some of us arc doing it consciously, others unconsciously. It is necessary that we do it consciously. Only in this way can we be certain of a perfect ending to our play. Then we shall understand why we must become conscious of the four functions of the one God within ourselves that we may have the companionship of God as His Sons.
"Man should not stay a man:
His aim should higher be.
For God will only gods
Accept as company,"
In January of 1946, I took my wife and little daughter to Barbados in the British West Indies for a holiday. Not knowing there were any difficulties in getting a return passage, I had not booked ours before leaving New York. Upon our arrival in Barbados, I discovered that there were only two ships serving the islands, one from Boston and one from New York. I was told there was no available space on either ship before September. As I had commitments in New York for the first week in May, I put my name on the long waiting list for the April sailing.
A few days later, the ship from New York was anchored in the harbor. I observed it very carefully, and decided that this was the ship we should take. I returned to my hotel and determined on an inner action that would be mine were we actually sailing on that ship. I settled down in an easy chair in my bedroom, to lose myself in this imaginative action.
In Barbados, we take a motor launch or rowboat out into the deep harbor when we embark on a large steamer. I knew I must catch the feeling that we were sailing on that ship. I chose the inner action of stepping from the tender and climbing up the gangplank of the steamer. The first time 1 tried it, my attention wandered after I had reached the top of the gangplank. I brought myself back down, and tried again and again. I do not recall how many times I carried out this action in my imagination until I reached the deck and looked back at the port with the feeling of sweet sadness at departing. I was happy to be returning to my home in New York, but nostalgic in saying goodbye to the lovely island and our family and friends. I do recall that in one of my many attempts at walking up the gangplank in the feeling that I was sailing, I fell asleep. After I awoke, I went about the usual social activities of the day and evening.
The following morning, I received a call from the steamship company requesting me to come down to their office and pick up our tickets for the April sailing. I was curious to know why Barbados had been chosen to receive the cancellation and why I, at the end of the long waiting list, was to have the reservation, but all that the agent could tell me was that a cable had been received that morning from New York, offering passage for three. I was not the first the agent had called, but for reasons she could not explain, those she had called said that now they found it inconvenient to sail in April. We sailed on April 20th and arrived in New York on the morning of May the first.
In the production of my play—sailing on a boat that would bring me to New York by the first of May—I played the tour most important characters in my drama. As the producer, I decided to sail on a specific ship at a certain time. Playing the part of the author, I wrote the script—I visualized the inner action which conformed to the outer action I would take if my desire were realized. As the director, I rehearsed myself, the actor, in that imagined action of climbing the gangplank until that action felt completely natural.
This being done, events and people moved swiftly to conform, in the outer world, to the play I had constructed and enacted in my imagination.
"I saw the mystic vision flow
And live in men and woods and streams,
Until I could no longer know
The stream of life from my own dreams."
—George William Russell (AE)
I told this story to an audience of mine in San Francisco, and a lady in the audience told me how she had unconsciously used the same technique, when she was a young girl.
The incident occurred on Christmas Eve. She was feeling very sad and tired and sorry for herself. Her father, whom she adored, had died suddenly. Not only did she feel this loss at the Christmas season, but necessity had forced her to give up her planned college years and go to work. This rainy Christmas Eve she was riding home on a San Diego street car. The car was filled with gay chatter of happy young people home for the holidays. To hide her tears from those around about her, she stood on the open part at the front of the car and turned her face into the skies to mingle her tears with the rain. With her eyes closed, and holding the rail of the car firmly, this is what she said to herself: "This is not the salt of tears that I taste, but the salt of the sea in the wind. This is not San Diego, this is the South Pacific and I am sailing into the Bay of Samoa". And looking up, in her imagination, she constructed what she imagined to be the Southern Cross. She lost herself in this contemplation so that all faded round about her. Suddenly she was at the end of the line, and home.
Two weeks later, she received word from a lawyer in Chicago that he was holding three thousand dollars in American bonds for her. Several years before, an aunt of hers had gone to Europe, with instructions that these bonds be turned over to her niece if she did not return to the United States. The lawyer had just received word of the aunt's death, and was now carrying out her instructions.
A month later, this girl sailed for the islands in the South Pacific. It was night when she entered the Bay of Samoa. Looking down, she could see the white foam like a "bone in the lady's mouth" as the ship ploughed through the waves, and brought the salt of the sea in the wind. An officer on duty said to her: "There is the Southern Cross", and looking up, she saw the Southern Cross as she had imagined it.
In the intervening years, she had many opportunities to use her imagination constructively, but as she had done this unconsciously, she did not realize there was a Law behind it all. Now that she understands, she, too, is consciously playing her four major roles in the daily drama of her life, producing plays for the good of others as well as herself.
the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his
garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his
the coat was without scam, woven from the top throughout." —John 19:23
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