Isn’t it in the medical annals of Great Britain, that they took these prisoners who were condemned to die anyhow and placed them in a bed. The prisoners had been told that these beds had been occupied by men with a fatal disease, contagious disease. And instead of being hung they were to be allowed to die with this disease. So they got into those beds and they died. There wasn’t anything wrong with those beds.
In the same way, Harvard University in the medical school conducted an experiment. They took some students and over here, they took students and gave them a glass of plain milk, and over here, they gave students cups of black coffee, and of course, the students that took the milk, promptly went to sleep at night; and the students who took the black coffee were awake all night from the coffee. And so the next night, they tried the experiment again, but this time, they put the caffeine in the milk and withdrew the caffeine from the coffee. But it didn’t make any difference. Those who drank the milk went to sleep, and those who took the coffee without caffeine couldn’t go to sleep. Oh, let us be assured of this: that we are victims of our own acceptance of universal belief and we can be made to fear things which are not fearful. We can be made to worship things which must not be worshiped; and we can always derive some degree of benefit or its opposite in accord and proportion to our belief. Now, if you are to accept, if we are to accept a principle of life upon which we are to found a successful living, first individually and then by our example as it spreads to others, the very first principle that we must adopt is the infinite nature of God, the infinite nature of good. And the moment we do that, we withdraw all power from evil men, circumstances or conditions and say unto them, as Jesus said unto Pilate, “thou couldst have no power over Me unless it came from the Father in heaven.”
And so it is that I emphasize this as the first and the greatest lesson necessary for our students for this reason: if you have a theological background, you have been taught about God, a power of good and the devil or Satan, a power of evil; and I’m sure you wonder sometimes which is the most powerful – God or Devil. When looking out at the world, the devil seems to be having a better time of it. If you have a philosophy background, you have perhaps been taught the two powers of good and evil. And of course, good is the strongest power if you can just find the way to harness it. If not, watch out, because the power of evil is going to hold sway for the longest period of time. Probably, in the last analysis, good will overcome evil, but we don’t know when that will be. If you have a background of metaphysics, you are very apt to have accepted the belief that there is an immortal mind, which is good and a mortal mind, which is evil. You may have accepted the fact that there is an immortal life, which is eternal and a mortal life which is finite. You may have accepted the fact that there is an immortal Being, indestructible, harmonious, complete, perfect. Ah, but on the other hand, there is a mortal. And the mortal is trying to become immortal. The mortal is trying, by virtue of being good or obeying laws, or rules, or commandments – the mortal is trying to struggle up into immortality, something that can never be achieved. Now, of course, the reason is – and originally metaphysics made this clear, but it’s been lost in this last century; but originally metaphysics made it clear that the immortal was the true and real and that mortality was merely another name or a designation for that which in and of itself had no reality, but which was fooling us by its appearance. This goes all the way back to the Oriental teachings of Maya.
It was young Buddha, young Buddha, who when he first saw sin, disease, death, poverty, decided that he must find a principle to wipe these off the earth. He didn’t set out to become a healer. He didn’t set out to find a way to heal your ills or mine. He set out to find a principle that would wipe sin, disease, death and all of the evils off of the earth. And he had a very, very bad time for 21 years, because all of the religious teachings were about good and evil, and how you must struggle up through evil to get good. And he didn’t succeed. But, at this particular time, after 21 years, we find him sitting under the Bodhi tree, praying, praying, praying for light and the light came. And what was the light when it came? The revelation that sin, disease, lack, limitation have no existence. This is all a state of illusion. Ah, our Buddha friend then told this to his disciples and some of his disciples undoubtedly caught it, because they went throughout the length and breadth of India, spreading the word. And as fast as they spread it, healings took place and ashramas were built, the counterpart of our churches of today. But unfortunately, as this teaching spread, after the immediate disciples, the teaching was misunderstood and people began to believe that this world out here was an illusion; and that you had to do something to this world to get rid of the illusion. They lost the view, which is really truth, that an illusion can’t exist out here. There cannot be an externalized illusion. An illusion is a false state of mind, a misperception within one’s thought.
This might be an example. This is a jade. It’s no illusion. It’s a jade. But if you think it is other than a jade, then that thought within you, that misperception is the illusion. And now, if we want to treat the illusion, there’s no use trying to get rid of this jade. The place to get rid of the illusion is in your false perception of what this is. So that if you say, “oh, no, this is a green stone of some kind,” don’t try to change this out here. Try to change your view of this, so that you ultimately see it as it is and say “it is jade.” You haven’t done anything to this out here. You have changed your perception. You have overcome or destroyed the illusion about this within you.
Well, the same thing applies when I bear witness to a person or a condition apart from God. Don’t you immediately start giving me a treatment. Oh, no, no, no. I am perfect. I am spiritual. I am the child of God. All that God is I AM. All that the Father hath is mine. I and the Father are truly One. So if, in my appearance, I do not bear witness to that, instead of giving me a treatment, give yourself a treatment about the illusion in your thought which persists about me. And so it is, if you have a friend or an enemy, if you have a relative with sins and diseases, lacks and limitations, be careful that you do not give them a treatment. Remember, they are the infinite, eternal, immortal God Selfhood, God Being, Son of God, child of God, offspring of God. They themselves are perfect Being, but you are entertaining an illusory concept of them.
Now, in the same way, in the correction of concept, we first have to begin with God and change our concepts of God. Our concepts of God have been wrong. We think of God. I don’t think there are many people who actually know that they really believe God to be a glorified Santa Claus, a Being who has a great big bag of good things. And sitting up there somewhere withholding them until we come along with the right prayer or treatment; and then all of the sudden, we make God give up. Aha, God, You’re holding out on us, but we found a fine practitioner. Oh, we’ve got the perfect teacher. He makes God give up for us. Oh, yes, we have a new way of prayer. The old way wouldn’t make God heal our diseases. We have a new way. Now God heals our diseases. Isn’t that stupid? You would really believe that we in some way are influencing God! You would really believe, that with our metaphysics or spiritual wisdom, that we were making God do something for us, that the Jewish world couldn’t make Him do, or the Catholic world or the Protestant world. Oh, no, no, no, no. We have to wait for the metaphysical advent and we get a tricky way to say a prayer, with an affirmation instead of a petition; or a nice denial instead of an affirmation. And now, God comes across. There’s no such God. There’s no such God. God is Infinite Being, infinite good Being and God’s grace is with us here and NOW! You can’t influence God to give you more. And nobody in this world can prevent God giving you the infinite abundance. There’s no such thing as a Republican party or Democratic party, Socialist or Communist that can make God do more for you than God is right now, doing. Nor is there a prayer that can be uttered or an affirmation or a denial. Nor can anyone hold a right thought and get God to do something. And certainly no one can think a wrong thought and stop God doing things.