Contraction is The act of drawing together or shrinking; the condition of becoming smaller in extent or dimensions through the nearer approach to one another of the parts; the state of being contracted; a decrease in volume, bulk, or dimensions, as from loss of heat. The act of making short, of abridging, or of reducing within a narrower compass by any means; the act of lessening or making smaller in amount; the state of being so lessened; reduction; diminution; abridgment. To contract is To draw together or closer; draw into a smaller compass, either by compression or by the omission of parts; shorten; abridge; condense; narrow; lessen.Century Dictionary

“Yesterday’s ideas contract to tomorrow’s opinions and prejudices unless today’s new ideas expand them.”–Edna Lister

Contraction is an expression of Wisdom as an absolute principle, an abstract principle, a law of being and a law of doing. Wisdom becomes contraction when the Godhead exerts it, and relative caution or restriction of self when we express it. You apply contraction as a law of doing each time you restrict the appetitive soul, the self.

Edna Lister on Contraction

Through the centuries, scientists have proposed two basic theories about matter: First, matter is a single universal substance whose contraction or expansion produces the variety of matter we observe in the universe. Second, matter is a limited set of basic elements, whose recombination produces the seemingly endless variety of observable matter.
  We lack a perspective broad enough to encompass the truth about Mind, Substance and Power. Both theories are true. We can never exhaust the infinite capacity of the Three-as-One.…Even God, the Mind of all Wisdom, does not know how many combinations and variations can result from our choices.
  After the Godhead Emanations form the River of Life, they begin to manifest as a trinity of absolute principles, the first of seven trinities of being. The seven trinities of being contract to a lower rate of vibration and further condensation of substance with each cycle of lfowing forth and returning to their Source. They are still the Three-as-One, and contain the elements of God as the Source. Each lower trinity contains the whole potential of the Emanations, all potential Mind, Substance, and Power, ready to manifest as Creation.
  Among the series of original primary laws are the laws of expansion and contraction, which contain the protective mechanism for regulating energy, turning energy on and off. As we must be able to turn heat on and off, which is protective, God must also regulate energy as an active phase of potential Power.–Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

Mother Love, which sustains and nourishes all your creations, can polarize into positive and negative expressions: Selfish love contracts, subtracts and divides into small parts, whereas, selfless love expands, adds and multiplies.–Edna Lister, Enemies, May 28, 1941.

The created universe contracted for involution, and it can expand only on evolution. Thus, ascension must take place on the subsequent raising of vibration and expanding substance.–Edna Lister, July 27, 1951.

Any regression will eventually contract substance and consciousness to what we call the ice stage. Cold burns worse than heat, and lowering a vibration to its iciest point is a form of black magic.–Edna Lister, August 2, 1951.

God’s Creation has all the potential of good, but God’s manifestation is in a state of flux. Principle never changes, but God expands when He becomes personality and form. You must expand as love to return to God after your experiences. As your soul expands, your degree of self contracts. Conversely, when you contract your self, your soul has room to expand.–Edna Lister, July 19, 1954.

Yesterday’s ideas contract to tomorrow’s opinions and prejudices unless today’s new ideas expand them.–Edna Lister, New Thought: The New World, June 29, 1958.

You may only raise or lower substance or consciousness in its rate of vibration. Ascending or descending, expanding or condensing is how substance or consciousness functions for healing.–Edna Lister, God as Personality and Principle, June 9, 1959.

The laws of condensation and gravitation operate under the contraction principle. You apply condensation to lower substance’s rate of vibration, and precipitate protection under gravitation.–Edna Lister, Eight Great Powers of Being, June 23, 1959.

Contraction and expansion were among the first abstract principles God established as universal laws, and they condition your thinking, imagination, and emotional desires. Simply stated, the primary law of expansion dictates that you may raise the rate of vibration of spiritual consciousness or physical substance, and it expands. You may lower the rate of vibration and contract consciousness or condense substance under the primary law of contraction.–Edna Lister, What Is Healing? May 17, 1960.

Metaphysics incorporates the laws of attraction, expansion, cohesion, contraction, and repulsion, which is why these lesser laws seem to affect so much in the world.
  The law of repulsion operates under the contraction principle. Repulsion, misused as repudiation, is among the greatest of false gods. Your consciousness crystallizes when you use contraction to repudiate lessons, which cuts your soul’s vibration to nothing.
  Ascension is affected by the law of love and its secondary law, attraction. At times, to avoid darkness or evil, you may ascend under the law of repulsion, which operates under the contraction principle.
  You grow wise in what to reject as the not good under the law of repulsion. A narrow line separates running from what you don’t like, and avoiding the not good. Repulsion can drive others away when you say, "I don’t like."
  Some cut out family and friends so they can be free, which breaks the law of personal responsibility and puts them in even greater bondage to family and friends. When you cut a person off on the outer, you are twice as responsible for holding him on the inner. Instead, put him on a cloud of Light in God’s hands. If you apply repulsion wrongly, you may love too much, or possessively, which covers a fear of being alone.
  The principles of cohesion, expansion, attraction, and repulsion go into action when a cloud of spiritual debt approaches. Cohesion attracts the Light as Power for you to expand, the auric sphere contracts and repels darkness.
  Attraction, expansion, cohesion, contraction, and repulsion are five great fundamental principles in action as primary laws of nature. They are a Tree of Life, a coordination of categories of law. Hearing, receiving, acceptance, application, and ascension are relative laws stemming from these principles. You hear under the law of attraction. You receive under the law of expansion. You accept under the law of cohesion (also called suction). You apply under the law of contraction. You ascend under the law of repulsion.
  You apply law under the principle of contraction. As you do so, you must coordinate all the laws you have learned, and apply what you know to what you do, which is the great law of agreeing and adjusting. Agree with God that this is good, and adjust to others without arguing.
  What is that to thee? Follow thou me.—John 22:21 means I mind my own business. On the negative, detrimental side, contraction may freeze action, and you can erect the greatest of false gods to worship. For instance, even the virtue of silence can become a false god if you say nothing when another needs help.–Edna Lister, How Can I Apply Law to My Life? June 7, 1960.

All desires occur under the expansion principle, which explains why restricting certain desires and appetites is both necessary and difficult. Like a weight-lifter in training, you continue until you gain the strength to lift the weight of earth with ease. Praise and consistency are the best strengtheners.
  The contraction principle holds all within it, like a picture frame. You must obey law, agree and adjust, or you crystallize under contraction. The most extreme expression of contraction is crystallization. A physical example is how evaporating sea water leaves salts behind. You often withdraw and mind your own business under contraction.
  You tend, under an expansive Power release, to break laws that God intended to help you maintain equilibrium. This can be a problem: If you over-apply the law of repulsion, you may lose too much and close out your good. You reach balance under these principles and laws.
  If you fear to receive praise, you are not applying the law of progression under the law of ascension. You hide your memory of praising self (boasting and bragging) as a subconscious fear of receiving praise. Once burned, you fear that self-praise will rear its head again. Carried too far, fear memories breed repression under the contraction principle.–Edna Lister, Is Praise Necessary? July 5, 1960.

Repulsion pushes things away from you, but when the law of love fills your aura, it repulses only evil.–Edna Lister, December 17, 1962.

Contrast your low pointin conssciousness and expression with your high point and get back to the center-point quickly. You must contract positively this way daily. Keep your comparative contrast in mind, and take time to be whole, wholly integrated. The contraction principle rules your ability to hold onto truth: You must contract it into a conscious soul need to hold.–Edna Lister, December 19, 1963.

All scientific formulas fall under the principle of Wisdom, all humanities under the principle of Love.–Edna Lister, October 5, 1964.

In the beginning, God created.—Genesis 1:1. Stated as philosophical principle, The unqualified undifferentiated Godhead contracted to beget the qualified differentiated, and by this action created infinite expansion and contraction to produce the first absolute divine tension. Tension is part of a system of equilibrium, a balanced relation between strongly opposing elements, an ability to stretch.–Edna Lister, I Am: God the Triune, God the Absolute, God the Sevenfold, October 20, 1964.

Contraction helps the soul to acquire intelligence and the power of reasoning. The servant of all Power operates on the vibration of expansion and release, which endows you with logical and contemplative faculties, and helps you to acquire the power of action and expansion under law.–Edna Lister, May 25, 1965.

The process of growth deals with the principles of expansion and contraction. Expansion and growth come under acceptance and surrender, but condensation and crystallization come under contraction and repudiation. You earn command of all inner soul powers by stabilizing your emotions until sufficient healing power moves through you to raise or lower the rate of vibration of substance. When you work for self-mastery, you already have the desire for and rudiments of self-control.
  You invoke the power of protection (becoming too heavy to be moved) exhaling and inhaling God’s Power on the fifth atomic breath. You apply the law of condensation to substance to lower its rate of vibration, and precipitate form under the law of gravitation. Both laws operate under the principle of contraction to give you the ability to stand immovable by any darkness, becoming too heavy to be moved from the Light. Breath is the whole substance of life throughout the universes. Inhaling Light under the laws of condensation and gravitation is how you precipitate a visible body.–Edna Lister, October 18, 1966.

Since all life is based upon the laws of expansion and contraction, you must choose each day which law of life to live under. According to your choice, you raise or lower the vibration of substance allotted to you for your creations while your thinking determines the form. Your choice either expands your form or causes it to shrink.–Edna Lister, Faith in Action, 1968.

All scientific discovery about the expanding and contracting universe is part of God’s divine Creation.–Edna Lister, January 11, 1968.

Metaphysics incorporates the laws of attraction, expansion, suction, contraction, and repulsion. The law of repulsion invoked creates a ray of repulsion, which is what will allow a car to be safe from an accident. At times it is good to work under the law of contraction deliberately. For instance, don’t let your tongue betray you.–Edna Lister, November 25, 1969.

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of contraction: Latin contractus, to draw together, make a contract: com- with + trahere, to draw.

Contraction is an absolute principle, rooted in the Wisdom Emanation.

Contraction is an abstract principle.

Contraction is a law of being.

Contraction is a law of doing.


Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia. Wm. D. Whitney and B.E. Smith, eds. and compilers. New York: The Century Co., 1896.

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

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