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Walk Your Talk

“Walk your talk.”  “Put your money where your mouth is.”  “Actions speak louder than words.”  All these expressions are ways of indicating the need to follow through with action toward what we believe or what we desire.

There are stories about people who, in prison or other severely limited circumstances, vividly imagined what they wanted until it actually happened.  In every case, however, they also took whatever action was available to them, even though it didn’t seem to amount to much.  A prisoner in Siberia, who had visualized every day a drive down Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, stayed alert to opportunity.  When a guard made a counting error one day, the prisoner made his escape.  He soon encountered a couple of Californians who invited him for a visit.

A sailor who fell overboard unnoticed in the middle of the night in the middle of the ocean followed Navy training procedures to create a life preserver out of his dungarees.  He also recited constantly, “Dear God, please let me be rescued,” over and over, as a sort of mantra.  Another ship inexplicably altered course onto a path that brought it within sight of the sailor in a matter of hours.  Even in these extreme cases, the people involved demonstrated both mental discipline and follow-through.

Most of us have far more resources at our disposal than did these individuals, no matter how unhappy our current predicament.  But we either fail to notice them or neglect to take advantage of them.  This sends a mixed message to the subconscious mind, and the result is confusion.  Over and over again in the Biblical accounts of his miracles, Jesus instructed people to take some action, however small.  Before feeding the five thousand, he told his disciples to have the crowd sit down in orderly fashion.  He had the blind man wash clay off his eyes.  The cripple at Bethesda was told to rise and take up his bed.  The woman who was healed by touching Jesus’s garment made a special effort to do so.

Two of the most heavily researched concepts in psychology are attention and expectancy.  To the surprise of no one in New Thought, results repeatedly show that what you give your attention to grows, and you get what you expect.  By taking action in the direction you desire to go, you demonstrate to your subconscious mind that you expect to get there.  Not to take action indicates a lack of belief.  Wishing and hoping aren’t enough; you must commit yourself and take whatever action is possible.  You need to demonstrate your faith by acting as if what you want has already come to pass.  Even though your knees are knocking and you are bedeviled by doubt, take action.  “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

Motivational speaker and author Wayne Dyer tells a story about a woman whose mother had never let her ride a bicycle, fearing she would get hurt.  The woman developed a mental hang-up because she couldn’t ride a bicycle, and went to Dyer for counseling.  “Come on,” said Dyer, “I have an old bicycle in the garage.  I’ll help you learn to ride it.”  “Oh, no,” cried the woman, “I don’t want to learn to ride a bicycle; I just want to know why I can’t.”  “Well,” said Dyer, “that will take another three seconds.  The reason you can’t ride a bicycle is that you never got on one!”

People sometimes use the old adage “Let go and let God” as an excuse for not acting.  But there is a time to hold on and time to let go.  Letting go must come last, after you have done all you humanly can.  In a spiritual mind treatment, release is the last step.  And you have a new chance each moment.  Process New Thought, based on principles of contemporary physics and philosophy, teaches that our lives are a series of experiences, each lasting only a fraction of a second.  We are co-creators with God in each experience.  God supplies the initial aim; we supply the follow-through, the acceptance or rejection of that initial aim.  Acceptance enriches the background out of which the next experience arises, so things keep getting better and easier as we keep saying yes to God.

Why do we often fail to act?  We are afraid of failing, of being disappointed or humiliated.  We are intellectually convinced that God is good and that this is a universe of abundance, but our faith is part-time faith.  We worriedly wring our hands and hope for a miracle, but as the Christmas song says, “Even a miracle needs a hand.”  Better to be like Dolly Gallagher-Levi in Hello, Dolly and put your hand in here and there.

Unity minister Martha Guidici tells of a woman of limited means who loved to travel around the world and had done so several times.  Whenever she wanted to travel around the world, she would put on a special round-the-world dress that she had, and sure enough, someone would invite her to take a trip around the world.  Guidici also suggests that if you’re trying to rent a room, vacuum the rug and get the room ready for the roomer.  If you pray for rain, take your umbrella when you go out.  Reinforce your own expectancy by demonstrating quiet confidence, which has been described as “going after Moby Dick with a harpoon in one hand and a jar of tartar sauce in the other.”

So make sure that your inner and outer states are congruent.  Act as if you already have what you desire.  As Dorothea Brandt puts it, “Act as if it were impossible to fail.”  When you pray, move your feet, as the Quakers say.  And as Jesus said, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).