Why are there so many “thou shalt nots” in the Ten Commandments? No wonder God comes across as an overbearing father figure ranting at his children. You can almost see him pointing his finger at you as you read these words. “Don’t stay out after midnight. Don’t hit your little sister. Don’t talk back to your mother!” Don’t, don’t, don’t. No wonder so many people rebel.
But if the Ten Commandments seem a bit simplistic, it’s because principles are hard to teach—they’re abstract. It’s the overall pattern of the Decalogue that tells us that there are layers of meaning below the surface—depth, not just breadth. And to plumb the depths, you have to change the context. You have to shift from a morals and ethics point of view to a scientific point of view—the science of the Law of Mind.
The Law of Mind is a principle. It describes the cause-and-effect relationship between thoughts and outer conditions. If you understand how it works, the deeper meaning of the Ten Commandments begins to stand out. Instead of being a doctrine of moral and religious aphorisms, we begin to see discreet, detailed instructions on how to get our prayers answered.
Why is this important? Why does it matter that Moses outlined the Law of Mind in the Decalogue? Don’t we have enough information already in the teachings of New Thought? Surely, everything we’ve discussed so far can be found in Charles Fillmore’s Unity Movement or Ernest Holmes’ Science of Mind. The reason it matters is because within the Ten Commandments lies the whole package. Everything we need to know is laid out in ten easy-to-remember principles. And yes, it’s also important because it gives us a window into the wisdom of the ancients stretching all the way back to the Egyptian Mystery Schools, which is where Moses received his training. What he learned there he summarized on a couple of stone tablets. Hermes couldn’t have done it better.
So now we come to what appears to be little more than a simple rule of ethics—don’t take what doesn’t belong to you. Doesn’t get much simpler than that, does it. But if we shift the context to the Law of Mind, our focus shifts also. Somehow, “thou shalt not steal” has to be internalized. And the more we look at it, the more layers of meaning we begin to see.
At the first layer, we could say that it simply means that we shouldn’t use the Law of Mind to take another person’s property. You might love the house down the street, but you’re not going to pray for that particular house. Why? Because someone’s already living in it, and they may not want to move. But praying for that house will exert a real force, one which the current owners will feel. Circumstances will begin to turn against them. Hidden problems needing repair might suddenly become apparent. Legal problems or money problems could arise, which could make the owners start to consider putting their house on the market. Any number of forces could be brought into play that would start nudging them out so that you could move in. Not good.
The second layer of meaning we might encounter would be subtler still. As a concept, we could call it “over-reaching.” We’ve all experienced this. We like the idea of going to Harvard, but we’re not smart enough. So, we force our way in by using the Law of Mind, but we quickly find out that we don’t belong there. Our current state of consciousness is simply too limited to breathe that kind of air. Or, we’re really attracted to a certain person. He or she fits our preconceived notions of what a perfect mate looks like. But when we visualize getting into a relationship with them and it actually happens, we’re suddenly miserable, and they’re miserable too, because we simply do not belong with that person.
What is yours is only yours by right of consciousness. In a sense, it must already be yours before it will come to you. There has to be a match. Not only must there be a match, there must also be space for it in your life. Whenever we pray for something without doing the necessary preparations for receiving it, we are, in effect, attempting to steal it. The thing we want simply does not belong to us. So, you can see right away that part of praying effectively requires changing yourself. You must first alter your vibration—your internal and external quality of being in the world—so that it harmonically resonates with the thing you want to possess.
The third layer of meaning is really quite powerful. Once you realize that nothing comes to you except what is already yours, you begin to see that your very existence is a reflection of who you are. All the circumstances of your life are there because you drew them to you. And if they didn’t come to you, you went to them. This realization can lead us into a state of mind that eschews desire altogether. You don’t want anything. You become the living embodiment of the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” This state of consciousness brings with it a profound sense of peace.
But meanwhile, back here on the ground, the lesson is much simpler: don’t reach out and try to take what hasn’t yet fully manifested. Let go of the process. It’s one thing to set the wheels in motion, to ask God to give you what you want, but it’s quite another to let God give it to you when both you and it are ready. This is one thing you simply cannot control. The Law of Mind isn’t a genie in a bottle. You can’t just snap your fingers and have stuff magically appear. Mind is indeed the cause, but nature must act on that cause and bring it to fruition, and it has to do it according to its own laws. Granted, the answers to some prayers may seem miraculous, but only to the human mind. To God’s mind, most things come very easily, and there is no order of magnitude. As Emerson said, “There is no great and no small to the Mind that maketh all.”
Remember, what you fight to get, you fight to keep. Let God do the logistics. Let go. Don’t let your eagerness muck up the works. Along with preparation, timing is everything.