Lessons In Truth
[<- Go back to Lesson 3]
[Lessons In Truth]
[Emily Cady's Works] [Unity on the Web Home Page]
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come
after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and
follow me--Mt. 16:24.
1. All systems for spiritualizing the mind include denial.
Every religion in all the ages had some sort of denial as
one of its foundations. We all know how the Puritans
believed that the more rigidly they denied themselves
comfort the better they pleased God. So far has this idea
taken possession of the human mind during some ages that
devout souls have even tortured their bodies in various
ways, believing that they were thus making themselves more
spiritual, or at least were in some way placating an angry
God. Even today many interpret the above-quoted saying of
Jesus as meaning: If any man wants to please God he must
give up about all the enjoyment and comfort he has, all
things he likes and wants, and must take up the heavy cross
of constantly doing the things that are repugnant to him in
his daily life. This is why many young people say, "When I
am old I will be a Christian, but not now, for I want to
enjoy life awhile first."
2. There could, I am sure, be nothing further from the
meaning of the Nazarene than the foregoing interpretation.
In our ignorance of the nature of God, our Father, and of
our relationship to Him, we have believed that all our
enjoyment came from external sources, usually from gaining
possession of something we did not have. The poor see
enjoyment only in possessing abundance of money. The rich,
who are satiated with life's so-called pleasures until
their lives have become like a person with an over-loaded
stomach, compelled to sit constantly at a well-spread
table, are often the most bitter in the complaint that life
holds no happiness for them. The sick one believes that,
were he well, he would be perfectly happy. The healthy but
hard working person feels the need of some days of rest and
recreation, that the monotony of his life may be broken.
3. So ever the mind has been turned to some external change
of condition or circumstance in pursuit of satisfaction and
enjoyment. In after years, when men have tried all, getting
first this thing and then that, which they thought would
yield them happiness, and have been grievously
disappointed, in a kind of desperation they turn to God and
try to find some sort of comfort in believing that
sometime, somewhere, they will get what they want and be
happy. Thenceforth their lives are patient and submissive,
but they are destitute of any real joy.
4. This same Nazarene, to whom we always return because to
us He is the best-known teacher and demonstrator of Truth,
spent nearly three years teaching the people--the common
everyday people like you and
me, who wanted, just as we do, food and rent and clothing,
money, friends, and love--to love their enemies and to do
good to those who persecuted them, to resist not evil in
any way, but to give double to anyone who tried to get what
belonged to them; to cease from all anxiety regarding the
things they needed because "your heavenly Father knoweth
that ye have need of all these things" (Mt. 6:32). And then
talking one day He said, "These things have I spoken unto
you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy
might be full" (Jn. 15:11). And He continued, "Whatsoever
ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to
you" (Jn. 15:16). "Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy
may be full. . . I say not unto you, that I will pray the
Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you" (Jn.
16:24-26). We have further learned that God is the total of
all the good in the universe and that there is in the mind
which is God a perpetual desire to pour more of
Himself--the substance of all good things--through us into
visibility, or into our lives.
5. Surely all these things do not make it look as though,
when Jesus said that the way to be like him and to possess
a like power was to deny oneself, He meant that we are to
go without the enjoyable comforts of life or in any way
deprive or torture ourselves.
6. In these lessons we have seen that, besides the real
innermost self of each of us--the self that is the divine
self because it is an expression or pressing out of God
into visibility and is always one with the Father--there
is a human self, a carnal mind, which reports lies from the
external world and is not to be relied upon fully; this is
the self of which Jesus spoke when He said, "let him deny
himself." This intellectual man, carnal mind, or whatever
you choose to call him, is envious and jealous and fretful
and sick because he is selfish. The human self seeks its
own gratification at the expense, if need be, of someone
7. Your real self is never sick, never afraid, never
selfish. It is the part of you that "seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil" (1 Cor. 13:5). It
is always seeking to give to others, while the human self
is always seeking its own. Heretofore we have lived more in
the human region. We have believed all that the carnal mind
has told us, and the consequence is that we have been
overwhelmed with all kinds of privation and suffering.
8. Some people who, during the last few years, have been
making a special study of the mind find it a fact that
certain wrong or false beliefs held by us are really the
cause of all sorts of trouble--physical, moral, and
financial. They have learned that wrong (or, as they call
them, error) beliefs arise only in the human mind; they
have learned and actually proved that we can, by a
persistent effort of the will, change the beliefs, and by
this means alone entirely change our troublesome
circumstances and bodily conditions.
9. One of the methods that they have found will work every
time in getting rid of troublesome conditions (which are
all the result of erroneous thinking
and feeling) is to deny them in toto: First, to deny that
any such things have, or could have, power to make us
unhappy; second, to deny that these things do in reality
exist at all.
10. The word deny has two definitions, according to
Webster. To deny, in one sense, is to withhold from, as to
deny bread to the hungry. To deny, in another sense (and we
believe it was in this latter way that Jesus used it), is
to declare to be not true, to repudiate as utterly false.
To deny oneself, then, is not to withhold comfort or
happiness from the external man, much less to inflict
torture upon him, but it is to deny the claims of error
consciousness, to declare these claims to be untrue.
11. If you have done any piece of work incorrectly, the
very first step toward getting it right is to undo the
wrong, and begin again from that point. We have believed
wrong about God and about ourselves. We have believed that
God was angry with us and that we were sinners who ought to
be afraid of Him. We have believed that sickness and
poverty and other troubles are evil things put here by this
same God to torture us in some way into serving Him and
loving Him. We have believed that we have pleased God best
when we became so absolutely subdued by our troubles as to
be patiently submissive to them all, not even trying to
rise out of them or to overcome them. All this is false,
entirely false! And the first step toward freeing ourselves
from our troubles is to get rid of our erroneous beliefs
about God and about ourselves.
12. "But," objects one, "if a thing is not true and I have
believed a lie about it, I do not see just how my believing
wrong about it could affect my bodily health or my
13. A child can be so afraid of an imaginary bugaboo under
the bed as to have convulsions. Should you, today, receive
a telegraphic message that your husband, wife, or child,
who is absent from you, had been suddenly killed, your
suffering, mental and physical, and perhaps extending even
to your external and financial affairs, would be just as
great as though the report really were true; and yet it
might be entirely false. Exactly so have these messages of
bugaboos behind the doors, bugaboos of divine wrath and of
our own weakness, come to us through the senses until we
are overcome by our fears of them.
14. Now, let us arouse ourselves. Denial is the first
practical step toward wiping out of our minds the mistaken
beliefs of a lifetime--the beliefs that have made such sad
havoc of our lives. By denial we mean declaring not to be
true a thing that seems true. Negative appearances are
directly opposed to the teachings of Truth. Jesus said,
"Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous
[right] judgment" (Jn. 7:24).
15. Suppose you had always been taught that the sun really
moved or revolved around the earth, and someone should now
persuade you that the opposite is the truth. You would see
at once that such might be the case, and yet as often as
you saw the sun rise, the old impression, made on your mind
by the wrong belief
of years, would come up and seem almost too real to be
disputed. The only way by which you could cleanse your mind
of the impression and make the untrue seem unreal, would be
by repeatedly denying the old beliefs, saying over and over
to yourself as often as the subject came up in your mind:
"This is not true. The sun does not move; it stands still,
and the earth moves." Eventually the sun would only seem to
16. The appearances are that our bodies and our
circumstances control our thoughts, but the opposite is
true. Our thoughts control our bodies and our circumstances.
17. If you repeatedly deny a false or unhappy condition, it
loses its power to make you unhappy.
18. What everyone desires is to have only the good
manifested in his life and surroundings--to have his life
full of love; to have perfect health; to know all things;
to have great power and much joy; and this is just exactly
what God wants us to have. All love is God in
manifestation, as we have learned in a previous lesson. All
wisdom is God. All life and health are God. All joy
(because all good) and all power are God. All good of
whatever kind is God come forth into visibility through
people or some other visible form. When we crave more of
any good thing, we are in reality craving more of God to
come forth into our lives so that we can realize it by our
senses. Having more of God does not take out of our lives
the good things--it only puts more of them in. In the mind
that is God there is always the desire to give more, for
the divine plan is
forever to get more good into visibility.
19. Intellectually we may see the fact of our own
God-being, which never changes. What we need is to realize
our oneness with the Father at all times. In order to
realize it we deny ourselves and others the appearances
that seem contrary to this--deny them as realities; we
declare that they are not true.
20. There are four common error thoughts to which nearly
everyone grants great power. Persons who have grown out of
sickness and trouble through prayer have found it good to
deny these thoughts, in order to cleanse the mind of the
direful effects of believing them. They can be denied like
21. First: There is no evil.
22. There is but one power in the universe, and that is
God--good. God is good, and God is omnipresent. Apparent
evils are not entities or things of themselves. They are
simply apparent absence of the good, just as darkness is an
absence of light. But God, or good, is omnipresent, so the
apparent absence of good (evil) is unreal. It is only an
appearance of evil, just as the moving sun was an
appearance. You need not wait to discuss this matter of
evil or to understand fully all about why you deny it, but
begin to practice the denials in an unprejudiced way, and
see how marvelously they will, after a while, deliver you
from some of the so-called evils of your daily life.
23. Second: There is no absence of life, substance, or
24. We have seen that the real is the spiritual.
"The things which are seen are temporal; but the things
which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). By using
this denial you will soon break your bondage to matter and
to material conditions. You will know that you are free.
25. Third: Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death
cannot master me, for they are not real.
26. Fourth: There is nothing in all the universe for me to
fear, for greater is He that is within me than he that is
in the world.
27. God says, "I will contend with him that contendeth with
thee" (Is. 49:25). He says it to every living child of His,
and every person is His child.
28. Repeat these four denials silently several times a day,
not with a strained anxiety to get something out of them,
but trying calmly to realize the meaning of the words
29. There is no evil.
30. There is no absence of life, substance, or intelligence
31. Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death cannot
master me, for they are not real.
32. There is nothing in all the universe for me to fear,
for greater is He that is within me than he that is in the
33. Almost hourly little vexations and fears come up in
your life. Meet each one with a denial. Calmly and coolly
say within yourself, "That's nothing at all. It cannot harm
or disturb me or make me unhappy." Do not fight it
vigorously, but let your denial be the
denial of any thought of its superiority over you, as you
would deny the power of ants on their little hill to
disturb you. If you are angry, stand still, and silently
deny it. Say that you are not angry; that you are love made
manifest, and cannot be angry and the anger will leave you.
34. If someone shows you ill will, silently deny his power
to hurt you or to make you unhappy. Should you find
yourself feeling jealous or envious toward anyone,
instantly turn the heel of denial on the hydraheaded
monsters. Declare that you are not jealous or envious; that
you are an expression of perfect love (an expression which
is God pressed out into visibility) and cannot feel
negation. There is really no reason for jealousy or envy,
for all persons are one and the same spirit. "And there are
diversities of operations [or manifestations], but it is
the same God which worketh all in all" (1 Cor. 12:6), says
Paul. How can you be envious of a part of yourself that
seems to you more comely?
35. Shall the foot be envious of the hand, or the ear of
the eye? Are not the seemingly feeble members of the body
as important to the perfection of the whole as the others?
Do you seem to be less, or to have less, than some others?
Remember that all envy and all jealousy are in the error
consciousness and that in reality you, however
insignificant, are an absolute necessity to God in order to
make the perfect whole.
36. If you find yourself dreading to meet anyone, or afraid
to step out and do what you want or ought to do,
immediately begin to say, "It is not true; I am
not afraid; I am perfect love, and can know no fear. No
one, nothing in all the universe, can hurt me." You will
find after a little that all the fear has disappeared, all
trepidation has gone.
37. Denial brings freedom from bondage, and happiness comes
when we effectually deny the power of anything to touch or
38. Have you been living in negation for years, denying
your ability to succeed, denying your health, denying your
Godhood, denying your power to accomplish anything, by
feeling yourself a child of the Devil or of weakness? If
so, this constant negation has paralyzed you and weakened
39. When, in the next lesson, you learn something about
affirmations, the opposite of denials, you will know how to
lift yourself out of the realm of failure into that of
40. All your happiness, all your health and power, come
from God. They flow in an unbroken stream from the
fountainhead into the very center of your being and radiate
from center to circumference. When you acknowledge this
constantly and deny that outside things can hinder your
happiness or health or power, it helps you to realize
health and power and happiness.
41. No person or thing in the universe, no chain of
circumstances, can by any possibility interpose itself
between you and all joy--all good. You may think that
something stands between you and your heart's desire, and
so live with that desire unfulfilled; but it is not true.
This "think" is the bugaboo under the bed
that has no reality. Deny it, deny it, and you will find
yourself free, and you will realize that this seeming was
all false. Then you will see the good flowing into you, and
you will see clearly that nothing can stand between you and
42. Denials may be spoken silently or audibly, but not in a
manner to call forth antagonism and discussion.
43. To some, all this sort of mechanical working will seem
a strange way of entering into a more spiritual life. There
are those who easily and naturally glide out of the old
material life into a deeper spiritual one without any
external help; but there are thousands of others who are
seeking primarily the loaves and fishes of bodily health
and financial success, but who really are seeking a higher
way of life, who must needs take the very first steps. For
such, the practicing of these mechanical steps in a
wholehearted way, without prejudice, is doing the very best
thing possible toward attaining purity of heart and life,
toward growth in divine knowledge and fullness of joy in
all things undertaken.
[Go forward to Lesson 5 ->]
[Lessons In Truth]
[Emily Cady's Works] [Unity on the Web Home Page]