JOSEPH MURPHY


In this Author's opinion, Joseph Murphy (1898-1981) stands as one of the few persons, who made a significant impact on the grasping and understanding of what is more commonly referred to nowadays as the New Thought Movement, Spiritual Science and other related subjects, particularly in the years which followed the lifetime of (Judge) Thomas Troward. Without going too much into any biographical accout of his life and work (some of which will be laid out elsewhere on this page), Joseph Murphy makes reference to the writings of Troward in his own lectures and discourses - both written as well as audible - together with insights from some other personalities (some more widely recognized than others).

Admittedly, this Author must confess that, at the initial phase of developing this website and its contents, he did not give the level of consideration to the contribution of Joseph Murphy to the overall subject of metaphysics that is being displayed now. It took a period of exposure to and assimilation of Murphy's interpretation and dissertation on many great universal truths - most of which have been originally expounded and revealed by Quimby, Emerson, Troward and others. What this Author has come to believe that Joseph Murphy brings "to the table" are (at least) three very important points (in no specific order):

  • An increase in awareness of the inner (i.e., psychological and spiritual) meaning of the Bible
  • A significant measure of clarity regarding the workings of the Subjective or Subconscious Mind
  • An explanation as to why it is that some people cannot or do not make any significant headway in putting Mind Power to use as (in words credited to Judge Troward) "... an active factor in the affairs of daily life", and how that can be overcome.


Each of these points shall be treated in more detail, in the paragraphs which follow.


It is probably neither widely acknowledged nor recognized that the Bible, as is known to most people who adhere to Christianity in this 21st Century, was not originally written in English or any other modern-day language, but is (as one source suggests) "a translation of a translation of an interpretation of an oral tradition", going back literally thousands of years. It can also be investigated and verified that the common languages of that ancient period used to record these oral traditions underwent varying degrees of change and evolution as time progressed. To make a long story short, it can be argued that it is erroneous to only give consideration to the literal meaning of the content of the Bible - notwithstanding, history has observed that Christianity has been generally divided into those who subscribe to "intelligent inquiry into the meaning of its document" versus "blind reverence for the letter".

Most metaphysical authorities (whether they referred to themselves as such, or not) have expressed in various ways that the inner or hidden meaning of the Bible is of greater importance than any literal interpretation. Judge Troward intimated in his own works that "The Bible is a handbook of instruction for the use of our Creative Power of Thought", and that "the Bible veils its ultimate meaning under symbols, allegories, and parables." - even considering his masterful work "Bible Mystery And Bible Meaning" as only a brief introduction to the study of the Bible. It is fortunate that the endeavor to investigate and unveil this ultimate meaning carried on even after Troward's time on Earth came to its close.

There is perhaps no exhaustive listing of persons who have contributed to this investigation and unveiling. Nonetheless, Joseph Murphy often made brief mention in his writings and his lectures to (Dr.) James Strong (1822-1894) and (Rev.) Robert Young (1822-1888), who are recorded as having compiled detailed and exhaustive concordances (verbal indices) to the Bible.

The following is but one example of discernment of the psychological and spiritual meaning of the contents of the Bible, and is set forth here for illustration only. Any serious inquirer would do himself or herself a favor by personal investigation into the subject.

Most persons familiar with the Bible may recognize quickly the following verse:

"Hear O Israel, the LORD our GOD is One LORD." - Deuteronomy, Chapter 6, verse 4, King James Version.

Put simply, it can be traced out and deduced that the word: "Hear" in this context means "to understand", "Israel" means an illumined and awakened person (NOTE: reference is here being made to a psychological and spiritual illumination and awakening), "LORD" means one who has authority or dominion over others, and the description that "the LORD our GOD is One LORD" ties in with the postulation by Troward and others that there is One (and only One) Supreme Entity from which all that exists came forth - call it Universal Mind, Spirit, GOD, First Cause or any other name. To sum it all up, if that passage was read or written with the meanings spelled out in full, it might go like this:

"You who are psychologically illumined and awakened, understand that there is only One Supreme Intelligence and Power in the Universe, oft times referred to as GOD."

The preceding is not necessarily the only way to reproduce the inner meaning of that passage, but, as stated previously, it is intended to serve as an example.


As previously intimated, Joseph Murphy did not himself discover or reveal to the world-at-large the workings of the human mind from the standpoint of any particular branch of spiritual science. What is remarkable is that, through his own explanations and expositions, he brings a particular degree of clarity to the subject, which, from all indications, makes the subject matter easier to grasp by the student, who might otherwise have to undergo a relatively extensive pilgramage to from his or her initial state of ignorance to any significant level of understanding. The preceding is a generalized statement on the point - the only expansion on it which shall be presented at this moment is: only after extensive exposure (and it is by no means finished) to Murphy's "take" on Mind Power, the Bible and other related subjects, ths Author, on re-visiting the works of earlier authorities, such as Judge Troward, has found the same material referred to by Murphy, only expanded to a significant degree as compared to the presentations of said earlier authorities.

It may serve as a brief explanation regarding the popularity of Joseph Murphy's most recognized work: "The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind", originally published in or around 1963, and from all appearances, is still regarded as a masterful work on the subject in its own right - even to the point of some modern-day writers and teachers quoting from it extensively, and some even opting to "re-visit" and effectively re-write it, adpating the content to, so-to-say, "fit in" with the times in which we live now.

And it should be understood and appreciated, that all this is perectly natural. To "piggy-back" on a statement credited to Wallace D. Wattles: "Knowledge is continually increasing; every fact we learn leads us to the learning of another fact." A similar sentiment is recorded as having been presented by Troward regarding the primary motive of Life itself; namely, expansin and fuller expression. And all the parties referred to previously, as well as others have concluded in their respective ways that we have by no means uncovered and revealed all that there is to know on the subject of spiritual science and its related topics; we are dealing with an Infinite Entity, and, whether from the purely mathematical or philosophical viewpoint, that which is infinite has no limit, so that it is both impossible and inconceivable to think that some point will be reached where there is nothing more to discover, uncover or reveal. Or, as Joseph Murphy himself is generally credited as stating: "There is no end to the glory that is Man", and Man is here to express and demonstrate the glory of GOD (Universal Spirit), whch is itself without limit (as discussed elsewhere).

As indicated near the start of this discourse, Joseph Murphy and his own collective contribution to the New Thought Movement gives the inquirer into his works a marvellous explanation, regarding how and why it is that some persons are able to make practical and real-life demonstrations of what can be realized in their objective life, via the application of knowledge of the laws of mind, while others seem not to. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), it was through an interpretation and explanation of another passage from the Bible that this explanation is revealed. And it is well worth mentioning that Murphy himself is not the originator of this explanation; he merely passed on to his readers and listeners what he discovered and otherwise learned.

Many people are no doubt familiar with the adage: "you are what you eat", but briefly, it is a fair estimation that some only look upon this statement from the purely physical or objective point of view. Just as the literal meaning of "eating" is the intaking and (so-to-say) absorption of food by the physical body, it can be shown that Man (or perhaps more technically, Man's mind) also "eats" from a mental or psychological viewpoint via the thoughts, ideas and beliefs he absorbs into his own consciousness. One concise definition of "consciousness" (and note: it is one of many) is: the union of one's conscious (objective) and subconscious (subjective) mind. And it is indeed an accurate summation that consciousness (as defined above, or in any other form) is creative, i.e., the combination of thought and feeling is, so-to-say, the Cause, and the conditions that are present in the external world is the corresponding Effect - both from the individual perspective, as well as that of the cosmos.

The particular passage from the Bible that contains the explanation of how or why some get results while other do not, as previously mentioned, is to be found in Chapter 14, verses 3 to 21 inclusive, of the Old Testament book of Deuteromony. It is worth mentioning that the whole passage, when its psycholgical and spiritual meaning is revealed, puts before the inquirer clear and concise guidelines regarding how to and how not to wield and direct mind power, in all one's affairs. Once again, an in-depth examination of this passage quoted will not be done here at this time; all this author seeks to do is to highlight the particular point of interest.

Putting aside the literal interpretation of the passage, and dealing with the symbolism contained therein, the Bible gives the explanation being sought in the digestive process performed by the cow and other animals - in simplest terms, what may be generally referred to as "chewing the cud".

Without going into all the pertinent details of animal biology, the process of chewing the cud, i.e., grass or hay being circulated numerous times through the cow's digestive system, before it is finally absorbed and used to produce milk, was chosen to symbolize the steps by which thoughts, beliefs and ideas are to be ultimately absorbed and assimilated into Man's consciousness, so that the attainment of practical results through exercise of mind power becomes not merely a possibility, but a certainty. Speaking generally, if a cow's digestive process is not operating effeciently, the milk produced (if any is produced at all) is of a relatively low quality. Likewise, if the absorbsion and assimilation of new modes of thought is imperfectly done, the odds of producing desired practical results is relatively very small, if not non-existant.

It has been stated previously in one (or more) of the previous discourse(s) to be found on this site that it is the subjective or subconscious modes of thought that are, sooner or later, ultimately externalized as corresponding external conditions - also, that the creative action of Thought is perpetually in operation. Thus, if any person who purports to study the laws of mind is not achieving practical results, said failure can usually be traced to either of two reasons (in no specific order):


  1. Lack of confidence in one's ability to make conscious use of mind power.
  2. Putting too much effort into the implementation of the principles behind mind power.


The "lack of confidence" can be traced to a deduction that the individual may demonstrate a very extensive conscious recollecion of the principles which, so-to-say, lie at the heart of New Thought, spiritual science and similar topics, but on the subconscious level of mind, he or she is still operating with previously-established modes of thought; most (if not all) of which are directly opposed to that which they desire to implement. Joseph Murphy highlights this dilemma clearly and concisely in his own works, by pointing out that many persons may, as an example, write an examination in metaphysics, philosophy or other related subjects and get a perfect score - they may give a clear, detailed and accurate dissertation on the subject - at the same time, they clearly demonstrate lack, limitation, disease and overall unhappiness in their lives. As he puts it, "HEAD Knowledge (i.e., the conscious recollection of facts) is not HEART Knowledge", i.e., it is only when the knowledge of mind power is properly established at the subconscious level can the individual produce practical and desired results in his or her endeavors.

How long does it take, or how much effort is required for a person to properly assimilate this new way of thinking is a question that no outside observer can answer - one should recall that everyone comes into the physical world and is generally conditioned to varying degrees by the immediate physical, psycholgical and mental environment in which they are raised. It is a strictly individual endeavor to re-program one's conciousness and substitute old modes of thought for new modes, and (to paraphrase a statement by Judge Troward) "no-one but ourselves can do our living for us". Murphy does give the assurance that (without quoting him directly), if a person desires something "badly enough" and can convince themself that there definitely is a way for them to realize their objective, and that they themself can achieve it, then victory and triumph is assured.

On the point of "too much effort", Joseph Murphy again reveals to his listeners and readers that (once more, without quoting directly), to employ corecion, exertion, strain or any other form of strenuous effort reveals that the proponent is pre-supposing that there is some form of opposition between themself and the objective they seek to realize, and that they must fight or struggle to overcome this opposition. However, and in perfect accordance with the Law of Mind, if one pre-supposes (or believes) that there is opposition in their path, they cause said opposition to become a real fact for them. Interestingly enough, they generally do not strive and strain to believe in opposition, yet they cause it to be immediately created for them. The exact "effort-less" quality of thinking which creates this opposition, if or when it is turned to the opposite idea - namely, that there is no opposition between them and their desired objective - would liberate them, and even do so, instantly. Murphy sums up the preceding in the admonition that all inquirers would do well to assimilate into their own person and practice: "Prayer is Effortless Effort".

The preceding is set forth for the visitor to at least get an initial taste (if they have had none up to this moment) of just what Joseph Murphy has contributed to the overall subject of New Thought, metaphysics, etc. And, interestingly enough, this is not put forth solely for the benefit of the visitor - its recognition is equally beneficial to this Author, who has had periods in his own development where he seemed to be stuck, in almost the exact fashion as described above (i.e., having "head" knowledge, but not "heart" knowledge). Said Author has "un-stuck" himself in certain areas, and is pressing on towards getting un-stuck in others, as must all persons do for themselves in their onward development. Nonetheless, this Author is more than pleased to give a hearty recommendation to any inquirer to give consideration to the study of the subjects stated above, from the viewpoint of the teachings of Joseph Murphy.


The web link below this paragraph (a new browser window will open upon clicking) leads to the website of the Trust Organization, the organization which has been carrying on Joseph Murphy's legacy since his passing to this day:

The Official Website of the Dr. Joseph Murphy Trust


NEXT: Spiritual Awakening

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