A new idea will not become part of your common currency of thought until it has been repeated over and over and you begin to live by it.
You have been taught to believe that God exists outside of you, but I say you are all Imagination. That God exists in us and we in him. That our eternal body is the Imagination, and that is God Himself. I mean every word I have just said, but it is a new thought. Until this new idea becomes a part of your thinking, every time you hear the word, “God,” your mind will go out to something you have conceived God to be.
When I say I am, I am speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament and the Jehovah of the Old. When you go to bed tonight and put your head on a pillow, you are aware of being. That awareness is God! I want to show you how to use your awareness as brazen impudence.
In the 11th chapter of Luke, it is said that Jesus was praying when one of his disciples said: “Lord, teach us to pray,” at which time he gave them the Lord’s Prayer. Now, the Lord’s Prayer that you and I have is translated from the Latin, which does not have the imperative passive mood necessary to convey the meaning of the prayer. In its original Greek, the prayer is like brazen impudence, for the imperative passive mood is a standing order, something to be done absolutely and continuously. In other words, “Thy will be done,” becomes “Thy will must be being done.” And “Thy kingdom come” becomes “Thy kingdom must be being restored.”
That is not what is being taught, however, as he taught in the form of a parable such as: “Which of you who has a friend would go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey and I have nothing to set before him,’ and from within he says, ‘Do not bother me; the door is shut and my children are in bed. I cannot rise and give you anything.’ Yet I tell you, although he will not rise because he is a friend, yet because of his importunity, he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” The word importunity means brazen impudence. In other words, he would not take No for an answer!
Jesus was not teaching a disciple on the outside how to pray. He was telling you how to adjust your thinking so you will not take No for an answer. In the story the friend knew what he wanted. He assumed he had it and continued to assume he had it until his assumption took on the feeling of reality and he got it. This is how you find God in yourself, by being persistent in your assumption.
Then this story is told to show how you should pray and not lose heart: “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man. There was a widow in that city who came constantly, asking him to vindicate her against her enemies. At first he refused, then he said to himself, ‘Although I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this woman bothers me I will vindicate her before she wears me out.’” Again we see the need for persistence in prayer.
When you know how to pray, you will discover that everyone in the world can be used as an instrument to aid the birth of your prayer. They may be condemned in the act and pay society’s price, while you are saved; yet you are the cause of their action.
I will now share with you a very personal story. I tell it to illustrate a principle. Society blamed this lady for what she did, and she paid the price, but I was the cause of her misfortune. I am not going to justify my story and if you can’t take it, I’m sorry. When I first told it, one lady was very upset and I regret that; but I have noticed that when someone has recently given up alcohol, tobacco, meat, or sex, they invariably condemn the state. They feel too close to it to feel secure. I am not saying that this lady had a similar experience where she was the victim; I am only speaking of a principle. Now here is my story:
When I decided to marry the lady who now bears my name I applied this principle. At the time I was terribly involved. I had married at the age of eighteen and became a father at nineteen. We separated that year, but I never sought a divorce; therefore, my separation was not legal in the state of New York. Sixteen years later, when I fell in love and wanted to marry my present wife, I decided to sleep as though we were married. While sleeping, physically in my hotel room, I slept imaginatively in an apartment, she in one bed and I in the other. My dancing partner did not want me to marry, so she told my wife that I would be seeking a divorce and to make herself scarce – which she did, taking up residence in another state. But I persisted! Night after night I slept in the assumption that I was happily married to the girl I love.
Within a week I received a call requesting me to be in court the next Tuesday morning at 10:00 A.M.. Giving me no reason why I should be there, I dismissed the request, thinking it was a hoax played on me by a friend. So the next Tuesday morning at 9:30 A.M. I was unshaved and only casually dressed, when the phone rang and a lady said: “It would be to your advantage, as a public figure, to be in court this morning, as your wife is on trial.” What a shock! I quickly thanked the lady, caught a taxi, and arrived just as court began. My wife had been caught lifting a few items from a store in New York City, which she had not paid for. Asking to speak on her behalf I said: “She is my wife and the mother of my son. Although we have been separated for sixteen years, as far as I know she has never done this before and I do not think she will ever do it again. We have a marvelous son. Please do nothing to her to reflect in any way upon our son, who lives with me. If I may say something, she is eight years my senior and may be passing through a certain emotional state which prompted her to do what she did. If you must sentence her, then please suspend it.” The judge then said to me, “In all of my years on the bench I have never heard an appeal like this. Your wife tells me you want a divorce, and here you could have tangible evidence for it, yet you plead for her release.” He then sentenced her for six months and suspended the sentence. My wife waited for me at the back of the room and said: “Neville, that was a decent thing to do. Give me the subpoena and I will sign it.” We took a taxi together and I did that which was not legal: I served my own subpoena and she signed it.
Now, who was the cause of her misfortune? She lived in another state, but came to New York City to do an act for which she was to be caught and tried. So I say: every being in the world will serve your purpose, so in the end you will say: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” They will move under compulsion to do your will, just as my wife did. I tell this story only to illustrate a principle. You do not need to ask anyone to aid you in the answer to a prayer, for the simple reason that God is omnipotent and omniscient. He is in you as your own wonderful IAmness. Everyone on the outside is your servant, your slave, ready and able to do your will. All you need do is know what you want. Construct a scene which would imply the fulfillment of your desire. Enter the scene and remain there. If your imaginal counselor (your feeling of fulfillment) agrees with that which is used to illustrate your fulfilled desire, your fantasy will become a fact. If it does not, start all over again by creating a new scene and enter it. It costs you nothing to imagine consciously!
In my own case the scene was a bedroom of an apartment, with my wife in one bed and I in the other, denoting that I was no longer living in a hotel alone. I fell asleep in that state, and within one week I had the necessary papers to start action on a divorce.
This is what the Bible teaches. It is my text book. “Whatever you desire, believe you have already received it and you will!”
There is no limit to the power of belief or to the possibilities of prayer, but you must be brazenly impudent and not take No for an answer. Try it! When I say you are all imagination, I mean it. While standing here on the platform I can, in a split-second, imagine I am standing on the outside, looking at this building. Or, in another second be in London and view the world from there. You say that’s all hallucination? That it is all in my imagination? All right, now let me share another experience with you.
I was in New York City when I heard that my seventeen-year-old nephew, my sister’s oldest child, was in a terminal state of cancer. I knew how she felt and wondered what I could do to comfort her – to show her that the boy she so loved was not flesh and blood, but spirit. So while in New York City, I went to my bedroom, closed the door, and lay down on my bed. Knowing that my sister lived in the old family house in Barbados, I assumed I was on the bed where I knew Billy to be. I assumed my sister entered that room but could not see her son, only her brother, Neville. I lost myself in that assumption until my sister, Daphne, entered the room. Looking startled, she came forward, stared at me, then turned and left the room. When I was satisfied that I had seen her, and she had seen me and not her son, I broke the experience and returned to our living room to be with my wife and a friend who had come for cocktails.
Ten days later I received a letter from my sister, in which she said: “Nev, I just can’t understand it.” Giving the day and the hour which coincided with mine in New York City she said: “I went into Billy’s room and I was startled to see you there. I knew you were in New York City, yet I could not see Billy on the bed, only you. I must confess I was a bit afraid, so 1 left the room and when I returned I could see Billy again. She could see Billy because by then I had departed. If I am all imagination, I must be where I am in imagination. When I gave the scene sensory vividness, with all the tones of reality, I was seen by my sister two thousand miles away. No, I didn’t save Billy. He died, but my presence did convince my sister that her son was not flesh and blood. If her brother, in New York City, could appear to her in Barbados, she knew there was something that inhabits a body which cannot go to eternal death.
I tell you: there is an immortal you that cannot die. That night I gave my sister the conviction of a reality in her son that would survive when the doctor said he was gone. Gone where? Restored to a terrestrial world like this as a young lad, to continue a journey that was set up for him in the beginning. And that is to form the image of Jesus Christ in him. When that happens, Billy will awaken as Jesus Christ, the one being who is God the Father.
Practice the art of movement. In New York City, my telephone was in the hallway and my chair in the living room. While sitting in my chair, I would assume I was at the telephone. Then I would assume I was looking into the living room. I practiced this exercise. until I discovered I could move anywhere in a split second of time. Try it and perhaps, like my sister, someone will have the strange experience of seeing you where you have not physically been. Make it fun. I do it all the time.
A lady, thinking I was still in Barbados – where she last saw me painfully thin and weighing only 138 pounds – was hoping I was feeling better, when I instantly appeared in her living room. I was brown from the Barbados sun, wearing a gray suit (which I did not own when I left here, but purchased in New York City) when I said: “There is no time,” and vanished. Well, she is accustomed to these things, so she was not afraid.
I urge you not to limit yourself to a little body of flesh and blood, for you are spirit. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, so one day you must take it off. And he who takes it off is immortal. He is your own wonderful human imagination who is God, the Father of all life. When you learn to live this way, life becomes so exciting. Your days are full and you are never alone. I spend all day at home reading the Bible and meditating. I close my eyes and travel the world. It’s fun and educational. It expands me and makes me become more aware of the infinite being that I really am.
Now, the two stories from scripture that I have shared with you show the importance of persistence. When you pray, do not get down on your knees and pray to any unknown God. Instead, go to bed and dare to assume you are now who you want to be. Fall asleep assuming it is true and you will be on the road to success, for this is how things are brought into being.
Right now imagine something lovely for another. They need never know who was the cause of their fortune – but you will. My first wife did not know I was the cause of her action. Had she thought that her act would mean my freedom and her disgrace do you think she would have done it? She moved under compulsion, and I was the compelling force. When you realize this, you forgive everyone for everything they have ever done, because you may have been the one who was the cause of their action.
Blake said: “Why stand we here trembling around calling on God for help and not ourselves in whom God dwells.” Why call on any god, when the only God dwells within you? He is not pretending, but actually became you. When you confine yourself to the little garment you wear, you are confining God, because it is he who is wearing it.
You need no intermediary between you and yourself, who is God. Don’t run from this city to another in the hope of finding something better, because the one person you are going to take with you is yourself; so resolve your problems here. Do not compromise. Decide exactly what you want and assume you have it. If your world would change, determine what it would look like; then construct a scene which would imply you are there. If your mental construction comes close to your fulfilled desire, your little day dream will become a fact! And when it does, will it matter what others think about your principle? Having proved itself in performance, share your experience with another that they may share theirs. Keep sharing this principle, because in the end we are all the one being who is the Lord Jesus Christ. One body, one Lord, one Spirit, one God and Father of all. Don’t be ashamed to claim it. Man sees the Lord Jesus Christ as some little being on the outside; but he is in you, and when you see him, he will look just like you!
A friend recently shared this sweet vision with me. She said: “I saw a man in a white robe standing on a hill, building a canopy over the entrance to a temple. As I approached I could see that the stripes used for the canopy were translucent green and I remarked how radiantly beautiful they were. The man turned to look at me and I realized it was you, Neville, and yet you were Michelangelo. Then you addressed me saying: ‘I have been working on this throughout eternity and it still remains invisible to others’. Taking the stripes, I wove them into the form of a basket and you thanked me and said: ‘Great work’ and I awoke.” That was a beautiful dream. I have been telling the story of the resurrection throughout eternity, but it has never been put into living form. It still remains dead, like Michelangelo’s Pieta, or his David made out of marble.
Let David become alive in the minds of others. Give life to the Pieta, the crucified one on the mother’s lap. The story is public property, now a dead written code awaiting life in the imagination of men. Dramatize salvation’s story. Make it into a play or a television show and let Michelangelo’s Pieta become alive. I have made the story alive because I have experienced it. Michelangelo, with his tremendous know-how of the human form, created the dead forms made of marble. I came along, unable to mold a stick, to find the dead forms taking on life in me. It is my hope that one day this wonderful story will be told as it really is, against the story that we have heard for over two thousand years.
Now let us go into the silence.