of Old for Today
Serenity is within your arm's reach. Really. It doesn't
say, "I am your serenity." Not quite in those
words. But once you've reached for it, you'll see it's
reaching out for you.
That's been the persistent theme of my spiritual
self-help writings over the years. Achieving serenity,
of course, comes with understanding, not just with the
push of a button. And yet all inspirational messages
through the ages come down to this:
Open your mind and your being to this certainty: God
is all and God is good, and therefore you are
God-given-and-driven and all with you is good.
What seems to point the other way in our lives
results from a human, material view that forgets that
one verity--that God is all and is good. It's hard to
believe that, when we're struggling with worldly
concerns. But we can--as millions have done--when we
drill our minds in the Truth.
How to do that? The one, all-purpose way--as I show
in a new book I'm writing-- is to reach for your
serenity. And the readiest way to do that is to reach
for ready-made ways to achieve peace of mind--probably,
as I say, within an arm's reach.
Three of those ways are recitations we may have
learned as children--the 23rd and 103rd Psalms and the
Perhaps we can still recite them word for word. Just
doing that can make us feel joyful. But here's the
challenge: What's their message to our soul? For lasting
peace of mind, what do they really mean?
If we can see their true meaning, we're truly
So reaching for a copy of the Bible, let's see what
each of those three so-often quoted passages declares.
What do we find to be its meaning to us today?
First, the 23rd Psalm:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth
me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for though art with me; thy
rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine
enemies: thou anoinest my head with oil; my cup runneth
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days
of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
This moving and lovely psalm is an extraordinary
affirmation when we consider how long ago it was written
and how it can work for us now. By thousands of years,
it anticipates the very sort of thought-affirming
exercise advocated by practitioners of mental science
today. After all these centuries, it is a model
spiritual mind treatment for anyone in search of
Consider that the first three verses fill our need to
embrace the truth of being--the creative power's total
goodness in and as us. They don't ask for that truth.
They declare it. And they do so to each one of us
personally--in phrases like "my shepherd" (or
guardian) and "my soul" (or spiritual ID).
In the next two verses, the focus shifts, as the
psalmist addresses "the Lord" directly. The
switch to a conversational tone has the effect of
completing a session of contemplation--"he-me"
on the one hand and "I-thou" on the other. As
we read or speak the lines, we're affirming that every
single one of our needs is being taken care of.
Finally, the last verse of the psalm wraps it all up
in the inspiring conclusion that a perfect outcome is
assured--from now on into eternity.
If we had to choose one affirmation to use throughout
our lives, the 23rd Psalm is it.
But hardly less inspiring are the opening lines of
the 103rd Psalm. They assure us of all the many
blessings that already are ours--forgiveness, health,
redemption, loving kindness, tender mercies and
rejuvenating nourishment. In case you've forgotten,
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his
Who forgiveth all thine iniquirites; who healeth all thy
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth
thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy
youth is renewed like the eagle's.
"Forget not" is its message. Which is to
say, "Remember!" In other words, bring to mind
all the benefits with which you're blessed. You have
concerns that aren't benefits? Of course, you do. You're
human. But that's just what you see with your eyes and
feel with the other four of your five senses
It's that "sixth sense" or "gut
feeling" or "hunch" that transcends any
woes. Just repeat the psalm over and over until its
meaning is engraved in your subconscious. It may happen
right away or it may take repeated work. Some negatives
are deeply etched in our minds. So just believe that you
believe and surely, eventually, you will.
Finally, the Lord's Prayer:
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from
evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and
glory, for ever. Amen.
In reciting the Lord's Prayer, it helps to examine
and understand it. Note that the opening three sentences
don't so much affirm universal good as say, in effect,
"Let it be so." And the following three
sentences plainly don't affirm God's good, they plead
for it. Only the last phrase plainly declares it.
Obviously, any prayer is more effective if it
declares rather than pleads. But as long as we know that
Jesus, who gave us the prayer, was no pleader but an
affirmer, we can relax. But just in case, I once had the
temerity of rewriting the words attributed to him. I was
writing for a magazine in the New Thought movement, and
so my "translation" was not word for word but
concept for concept:
Almighty creator of all things, you are within me.
You love me and I love you. I feel your presence now.
Your good is here as it always is everywhere. You supply
all my needs. You forgive me my mistakes as I forgive
others their mistakes. You guide me and protect me and
keep me in good health. For you rule the universe, you
are all the power there is, and everything comes from
you. And so it is.
Perhaps you should try a translation of your own.
With all these three ready-made ways to serenity, your
own understanding of them is what counts. Go to it!
©Copyright 2003 Hubert
Pryor. All Rights Reserved.
Hubert Pryor is a retired editor of national
magazines--Modern Maturity and Science Digest among
others--Hubert Pryor is the author of SOUL TALK:
Positive Mind Treatments to Turn Your Life Around
(available through DeVorss & Co., 553 Constitution
Ave., Camarillo, CA 93012, 800-843-5743, www.devorss.com)
and a forthcoming book, SERENITY 101: Spiritual
Wisdom, Ancient and Modern, for Peace of Mind Today.
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