This January, we are anchoring ourselves in some of the fundamental language of our teachings by exploring and defining a number of those such as:
|The Divine Creative Process|| ||The Law|
|False Belief|| ||Affirmative Life|
|Demonstrations|| ||The Absolute|
|Consciousness|| ||Spiritual Truth|
And then we added a new one: Pronoia and its related word Proanoid.
Today we will add another new word that I think Charles and Myrtle might have loved . . .
The word is: Habitudes!
For many years Dr. Harry Morgan Moses was the President of "The Affiliated New Thought Network.". He was once giving a talk to ministers about public speaking, and he said that after you quote someone three times (and give the originator credit each of those three times), then the quote becomes your own and you don't have to give credit to anyone anymore!
Well, I have used the word "Habitude" more than three times, so according to Dr. Harry's view, I don't have to say I got it from anyone. But because I didn't make it up, I want to give credit to who coined that term and it was, in fact, Dr. Harry. So thank you Dr. Harry Morgan Moses for introducing that term to me.
So what is a "habitude?" A habitude is a "Habit of Attitude," and your attitude about life is one element that combines to create your Consciousness!
What is an attitude, according to the dictionary? "A feeling or way of thinking that affects your behavior."
And in his book, Obvious Power: 25 'Habitudes' that Shift your Thoughts into Action, Dr. Harry writes: "A major aspect of creating habitudes is being able to think in new ways about subjects which are familiar to us . . . A good habitude. . . causes the spontaneous first reaction of our mind to move us in the direction of our fulfillment. . . . . If we can layer our habitudes in such a way that our responding and acting in a forward, life-giving manner becomes as natural as breathing, . . ."a . . . we will have gained mastery over our lives!
But the fact is that we all get hooked in habitual ways of seeing and responding to the world and often those habitual ways of seeing and responding to the world do not bring us peace, freedom, joy, love, harmony, health, abundance and all those other human experiences that combine to create a fulfilled life. Do they? In fact, they move us in the opposite direction of those qualities of life, don't they? Come on, be honest!
Ernest Holmes put it very succinctly when he wrote in The Science Of Mind: "We might well remember always that unless we control thought, it will control us."b
I love this straightforward statement from E2 by Pam Grout: "Most of us . . . are still operating out of the mental architecture of our ancestors. [In other words, we have ancestral habitudes.] We think we're running our lives with our brilliant ideas and thoughts. We think we're affirming our intentions and creating new possibilities, but in reality we're simply recycling old tapes, knee-jerk conditioning and automatic behaviors, most of which we picked up before we were five."c
This morning we are going to apply a three-step practice guaranteed to create new habitudes, to create a new normal, if you work the steps. As NT leader Johnnie Coleman (founder and minister of Christ Universal Temple in Chicago) once said, with more than just a little attitude (a different definition of attitude!): "This stuff works if you work it!"d
So, these practices work if you work them! Here's the deal. They are not rocket science. Pretty simple and straightforward.
You've heard me say them before! They are not deep esoteric teachings, but if applied, they can make ALL the difference in your life! And if not applied, they can make a big difference as well . . . just not a difference you might want!
The first practice is noticing when you get hooked, meaning caught in a habitual pattern which causes you to suffer. Notice that when you get "hooked," you often speak and act in ways which only serve to strengthen your habits of resentment, anger, of blaming others, and so forth, which just entrenches you in patterns that make you more and more unhappy.
The fact is that, with some practice, you can catch on to this rather quickly and begin to clearly notice when you are hooked.
This is called many things by different new thought leaders:
* Being the observer
* Developing the Compassionate Witnesse
* Noticing what you are noticing
* Standing guard at the portals of your mind
I say it's simply being awake vs. being on autopilot!
And you can work it backwards. If you aren't really awake, if you are not standing guard at the portal of your mind, not being the observer, and not noticing what you are noticing, but if you find yourself suffering, then backtrack and take a look at what your attitude is.
And then ask, is this attitude habitual? There's a good chance it will be. So noticing is critical, but not the end. But wait, there's more!
Ben Franklin spoke to Practice 2 when he said: "Who's strong? He who can conquer bad habits."f
The second practice then is to do something different. This practice is a bit more difficult to catch on because it goes against the grain of our current habitudes. A habit, by definition, is something we do over and over and over, and it becomes automatic. But, we CAN change habits. Who in here has quit smoking? There. See, it can be done!
And, as we "choose a fresh alternative," we begin to create a new habitude.
Charles Fillmore, Atom Smashing Power of Mind: "Your mind, body and affairs are the expression of your thoughts, so if you are not happy, change your mental habits. This may not seem practical to you at first, but if you faithfully practice . . . , you will witness practical results. You can cultivate the habit of seeing the good, the true, the bright side of every subject. . . ."g
Here is a story of a woman who was working on changing her habitudes!
She had had an altercation with her husband and had her typical, habitual reaction to something he said to her - she got angry and defensive. But, she noticed what had happened and she realized she needed to do something to change her mood - to find a fresh alternative - so she could come back to him and have a different conversation.
She then realized that choir practice at her church was starting soon and she loved singing in her church choir, so she and her teenage son, who also liked to sing in the choir, jumped in the car and headed off.
That particularly practice was exhilarating, and she left feeling heavenly!
She even stopped in the churches bookstore to browse and saw a "Honk if You Love Jesus" bumper sticker. Here now are her words:
So, I bought the bumper sticker and immediately put it on the back of my car, and I'm really glad I did. What an uplifting experience followed.
I was stopped at the light of a busy intersection, just lost in my heavenly thoughts and feelings and how I was going to make amends to my husband when I got home, and I didn't notice that the light had turned green when, suddenly, I found lots of people who love Jesus. Why, the boy behind me started to honk like crazy. He must really love Jesus because pretty soon he leaned out his window and yelled "Go, Jesus, Go."
Everyone else started honking, too, so I leaned out of my window and waved and smiled to all those loving people.
There must have been a guy from Florida back there because I could hear him yelling something about a sunny beach, and I saw him waving in a funny way with only one finger. I asked my teenage son in the backseat what that meant.
He was so caught in the joy of the moment that he could hardly catch his breath from laughing, but finally told me that it was the Hawaiian good luck sign. So I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign right back.
A couple of people were so caught up in the joy of this joyous moment that they got out of their cars and were walking toward me. I just knew they wanted to celebrate with me, but then I noticed the light had changed again, so I stepped on the gas. It's a good thing I did, because I was the only car to get across the intersection.
I looked back at all of my new friends standing there and leaned out of the window, gave them a big smile and held up the Hawaiian good luck sign one more time as I drove away.
So sorry, I couldn't help myself. Pretty good example of changing your attitude, wasn't it?!
To bring that back to our quote: "You can cultivate the habit of seeing the good, the true, the bright side of every subject. . . ."
Taking us to Practice 3!
The third and final practice is making this exploration a way of life. The notion here is that this is not just a one-time thing where you notice you're hooked, choose a fresh alternative, and then it's all over.
These patterns are something that will continue to arise in our experience, leaving us with dozens or hundreds of opportunities each week to notice the various ways we get caught in the momentum of our habitual responses to life's challenges.
That is why taking spiritual classes is so valuable and why we regard it so highly!
Here is a habitude I am wanting us to instill this morning: "God meant it for good."h From Genesis 50
The classic example of this is the Biblical narrative of Joseph, the youngest and favorite son of Jacob for whom his father made a "coat of many colors." He was mistreated and betrayed and eventually sold into slavery by his jealous brothers.
Eventually, but after a great deal of hardship, he became the second highest ruler in Egypt right next to Pharaoh. Joseph had dreams of prophecy and dreamed of a famine coming, convinced Pharaoh that this was true and they stored grain for years in preparation for it. When the famine hit, people from everywhere, including his brothers, came to get grain.
By way of forgiving his brothers, he said to them: "Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good."
Charles Fillmore, Talks on Truth: "Pronounce every experience good, and of God, and by that mental attitude you will call forth only the good. What seemed error will disappear, and only the good will remain. This is the law, and no one can break it. The adversary always flees before the mind that is fixed on the pure, the just, and the upright."i
I want to leave you with a final thought about what could possibly be some new habitudes, and they come from the Bible as well. This time they are words written by the Apostle Paul in a letter to the Philippians: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."j
And so, make these things your habitudes, listen to these things and you will move forward in the direction of fulfillment; in a life-giving manner and you will come to know what you really already know -- that God truly does mean it ALL for good.
aObvious Power: 25 'Habitudes' that Shift your Thoughts into Action, Dr. Harry Morgan Moses, pp. 7,8
bErnest Holmes The Science Of Mind, p. 223
cE2 Pam Grout, p. xvii
gCharles Fillmore, Atom Smashing Power of Mind, p. 75
iCharles Fillmore, Talks on Truth, p. 107