Here we continue with Part 2 of our look at some of the ideas of New Thought teacher Emma Curtis Hopkins.
In Part 1, we offered you the suggestion regarding how to shift your mental map to include a consideration of the “great chain of being” coupled with the principles of polarity and correspondence to help you read and understand Emma and the true nature of her “science”. We will be building on some of the thoughts presented in Part 1, so you may want to read that one first if you have not!
Here, we will make some connections between the work of psychologist Abraham Maslow and Hopkins’ call for us to “seek the Good”. Ultimately where we are going is towards a greater understanding of her spirituality of Being.
Hopkins’s 12 Lessons
As we mentioned last time, the majority of Emma’s classes and books revolved around a set of 12 key lessons which she called the “twelve doctrines of Jesus Christ”. According to New Thought author Ruth Miller in her book Unveiling Your Hidden Power Emma Curtis Hopkins’ Metaphysics for the 21st Century, these 12 lessons are directed at our consciousness. Each lessons represent a condition in life to which a certain Truth can be applied so that our life will be “free, glad and powerful.”
Miller writes, “The first six lessons in this work describe the beautiful powers of your mind as to your own experience and judgment. The last six relate to your surroundings.”
For the topics of the 12 lessons, research any of her books. A good starting place is our website’s resources page for Hopkins.
For the purposes of this article, I want to focus on the ideas in her first lesson which is generally called “The Statement of Being”. However, before we go there, let’s take a short detour in the works of psychologist Abraham Maslow.
Abraham Maslow – a Hierarchy of Needs
I have written often about Maslow and his hierarchy. Most of us are familiar with it. If you need a refresher, here is a video overview I did a few years ago. LINK TO VIDEO
Maslow’s hierarchy was one of the key pieces to my mental map many years ago as a psychology undergraduate. In my opinion, the theory has held up well for over 70 years from its first incarnation and introduction. Most people know it from the 5 “needs levels” of physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization.
I do like to point out that the famous pyramid graphic did not come from Maslow but was added by others later. However, Maslow did make written modifications to his model in his later years. Critical in his additions were the categorization of the needs into 2 levels — deficiency needs and being needs. He also added a few new “levels” as indicated by the following chart.
Maslow described everything below “self-actualization” as a deficiency need where our motivation was to fill a real or perceived lack. The higher needs of self-actualization and transcendence were described as “being needs”. These needs are categorized by a sense of fullness with all our basic needs met and a desire to grow and give back to life from that sense of fullness. The lower needs are about “surviving”, the being needs are about “thriving”. This is the realm of living on purpose, being of service to others, growing to our fullest potential, where life has its greatest meaning.
Now, even though the levels are not strict barriers…you don’t have to fully meet all of a lower level to move on to focus on a higher need….. there is a sense of an overall sliding scale where meeting basic needs and personally growing brings you to sliding up to the higher levels. Sound familiar?
There is obviously a lot of similarities between Maslow’s hierarchy and seeing our great chain of being as a sliding scale polarity as we discussed in Part 1. In our most “humanness”, we tend to focus on our lower needs. In our most “spiritualness’ we tend to focus on transcendence of the physical.
Maslow focused much of his work on the highest potentials of humans. He saw us as moving ultimately towards what he termed “a psychology of being.” In other words, as we move into the highest expressions of our humanness, we evolved into these being needs of self-actualization and self-transcendence.
Emma Curtis Hopkins and “the Good”
Ultimately, Hopkins’ writings and classes and the focus of her 12 essential lessons was directed at our spiritual growth, towards our transcendence of the material world. Her first lesson focused on what she called the “statement of Being”. A critical aspect of this statement of Being was to realize how the universe works and what we are seeking as spiritual beings.
What are we seeking? In many cases, it may seem like we are after material world effects such as power, money, possessions and so on. Yet many who have pursued the spiritual life have realized that all of this “stuff” in the world that we may be chasing is simply a type of stand-in for what we are really after— God. We have to go through the experience of chasing stuff and chasing stuff and then growing spiritually to see that “stuff” is only satisfying to a point. At some stage of our evolution, we begin to realize that all of the stuff has only been leading us back to a desire to know the Divine.
Now that’s not to say that we should not enjoy the bounty of this physical world while we are experiencing it. There is much in this world that can bring us joy and satisfaction. Emma says as much in her books. However, even though she believes that we are ultimately seeking God, she asks us to reframe that and see that we are really seeking is “our Good”. Hopkins wrote:
“Are you not seeking Good? Why do you move your right hand? You move it to get your Good. Why do you breathe? You breathe to get your Good. Why do the stones lie still and wait? They are waiting for their Good. Why does the bird fly? It flies for its Good. Everything moves and waits for its Good. So you see that the Good draws everything. The Good which you and I want governs everything we do. Therefore, the God which you are seeking is your Good.”
Now, yes, God is Good. I learned that as a child in early prayers. So, when we are seeking God or our Good (in whatever form), we are really trying to get the same thing. But let’s admit it….to say that I am trying to meet my “God needs” is a bit more difficult to grasp than saying “hey, I’m trying to get something Good here.”
Hopkins points this out when she writes, “If you take the word God for your starting point, you will not start so near the foundation feeling of your mind as you will if you take the word GOOD.” She knew that it was important to use our feelings and our mind as bridges to the infinite spirit. The more our emotions are involved with our thoughts, the more power they have to create that which we desire.
“There is Good for me and I ought to have it.” That’s an affirmation that Emma encouraged us to use!
But what is that Good? Ultimately, it is everything that we desire to live a full and meaningful life. That includes all we need from the material, emotional, mental and spiritual realms. Our Good includes ice cream, money, love, joy, happiness, peace, security, being in the flow and having a feeling of the transcendence of the material.
But wait, isn’t all of that part of Maslow’s hierarchy? Yes. The fact is, when we are seeking to meet all of our needs along his hierarchy, we are seeking the Good.
Our Good (which is God, ultimately) is in meeting those physiological needs. Our Good is in meeting those safety and security needs. Our Good is in finding a sense of love and belonging, in developing a sense of self-esteem, in the attainment of knowledge, in the experience of music and the arts, in our sense of self-actualization….and ultimately in our sense of transcendence.
In a sense, every need that we seek to fulfill is being fulfilled by Spirit, by God, by the Good. The trick is for us to begin seeing life that way. Everything that you are motivated to receive in this life is your Good. I would add the caveat that Ernest Holmes did and that is if it supports more life, joy and happiness and causes harm to no one.
But the point is that we need to shift our consciousness to seeing that the meeting of all of our needs is the attaining of our “Good” ….and that all of that Good is really coming from God or Spirit or the Infinite Intelligence of the universe. Hence, what we are ultimately seeking in all cases, no matter if it appears as some material form or not, is our Good, our God.
Toward a Spirituality of Being
So how do we shift that consciousness? Emma offered a prayer or affirmation or mantra or song that we could repeat to move us to that level. Here it is with some Maslow inspired additions in parenthesis.
The Good I am seeking is my God, My God is my Life.
(Including my seeking self-actualization and self-transcendence)
The Good I am seeking is my health, God is my health.
(Including meeting of all my physiological and safety and security needs)
The Good I am seeking is my strength, God is my strength.
(Including meeting of all my love and belongingness and self-esteem needs)
The Good I am seeking is my support, God is my support.
(Including meeting of all my cognitive and aesthetic needs)
The Good I am seeking is my defense, God is my defense.
Life is God, Truth is God, Love is God.
(All the Good meeting my Being Needs is God.)
Substance is God.
(All the Good meeting my Deficiency Needs is God.)
God is Intelligence, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient.
God is Life, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient.
God is Truth, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient.
God is Love, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient.
God is Spirit, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient.
Abraham Maslow saw that as we met our basic needs, we evolved into a set of needs that transcended our egos and our sense of separation. The direction of our personal evolution was towards something greater and beyond our humanness. He saw the science to support this direction as “towards a psychology of being”.
Emma Curtis Hopkins saw that same path for us as humans, that our goal was up that sliding scale beyond the world of the physical and into the world of the mental and spiritual. Yes, enjoy the Good that comes from this material world, but know that our personal evolution was towards something greater and beyond our humanness. She saw and labeled the science to support this direction as a spiritual science and that in our use of it, it would take us towards a spirituality of Being.
And so it is! Blessings!