|Book One, Lesson Three
What Is My Ideal?
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
God, be merciful to me! Help Thou my unbelief! Let me see in Him that Thou would have me see in my fellow man. Let me see in my brother that I see in Him whom I worship. 262-11
[Based on Edgar Cayce readings 262-11 through 262-14]
What is an ideal? We are told that a mental concept or that conceived as a standard of perfection is an ideal. Mind is the builder. We are ever striving toward something to worship or something to love, be it physical, mental, or spiritual. From our experiences we form ideas; then through the action of imagination we sometimes confuse these ideas with ideals. An ideal is something beyond and above us toward which we build. To bind ourselves by calling our ideas ideals means the beginning of decay in the soul structure which we have builded. Our ideals are ever present; they are either consciously or unconsciously the bases for the motivating forces in our lives.
Ideals Grow with Development
In childhood the height which we hoped to reach was lower, by far, than the one that we placed as a goal in youth. We recall that the God we worshiped in our childhood has grown to the Spirit we now call "Abba, Father." So, as we build onward and upward, our ideals enlarge until they reach the height of perfection, the Source of all Good, the Creative Energy of which we are manifestations.
From the physical, mental, and spiritual viewpoints our ideals are patterns by which we endeavor to shape our lives. We must understand the meaning of The Oneness" and merge our physical and mental ideals with the spiritual ideal of the soul. Our spiritual pattern should not be trimmed to fit us, but we should grow to fit the pattern, whose Maker and Finisher is God.
The True Ideal
The true ideal is the highest spiritual attainment to be reached on this material plane; hence, it follows that our ideal must be found in Christ, who is the Way. One who climbs up some other way is a thief and a robber to oneself. All real seekers after truth recognize this, although they may have different ways of expressing it. The following quotations will illustrate this:
To think, to speak, to act from the consciousness of my divine self that I may be like Him, that I may do the things He said I could do, and help those who have not heard His voice-this is my ideal."
"Thou glorious One, radiant beyond finite mind, I would manifest Thee more fully. Thou tender and loving Father, for Thy Son's sake give me the testimony of the Spirit to bear witness with my spirit that I am a child of God, and likewise help me fully to realize that my neighbor is one with Thee. Awaken me to the newness of life, peace, love, knowledge, and understanding- then I shall be reaching my true ideal."
"My ideal is spiritual in essence, regardless of where it leads. Christ the Guide, Christ the Leader, and Christ the Way. His ways are my ways, and His ambitions are my ambitions. To be Christlike is my ideal. We are the children of God and should act as such."
"My ideal is to be a perfect channel through which the will of the Father may be done, whether in the physical, the mental, or the spiritual plane, and to return to the Father from whence I came. My hopes and desires are in the One by whom all were created."
In Jesus we have the way, in Him we have the example, and in Him we have all the attributes of the Ideal manifested. His teachings and life of service to His fellow human beings show us the way we too must tread in attaining the height He reached. When in our relationship to our fellow human beings we are so perfected in the Christ Consciousness that each word, thought, and deed bring blessings to those we contact, then we may be sure that our ideal is the true one.
Attaining the Ideal
The ideal cannot be made by mortals, but must be of the spiritual nature that has its foundation in Truth, in God. Know the first principle:
The gift of God to man is an individual soul, which may be one with Him, and that may know itself to be one with Him and yet individual in itself, with the attributes of the Whole, yet not the Whole. 262-11
Such must be the concept, or the ideal, whether of the imaginative, the mental, the physical, or the spiritual body. All may attain to such an ideal, yet never become the Ideal, but be one with the Ideal.
With this ideal once set, there will be no fear. There will come to each of us that grace to dare to be a Daniel, to dare to stand alone. We attain our ideal by seeing the Father in others. Let our prayer be,
God, be merciful to me!
Help Thou my unbelief!
Let me see in Him that Thou would have me see in my fellow man.
Let me see in my brother that I see in Him whom I worship.
We reach this vision through Christ. It takes the penetrating light of His Spirit to discern the divine spark in fallen humanity. It takes the mind of Christ to bless and not condemn, to love and not censure. The fields are now ripe unto harvest, but the laborers are few. We must work, work, for the night of unbelief and doubt comes.
It is our heritage to catch the true concept of the Divine in all and to be, in truth, co-workers with God. As there is raised in ourselves more and more of the Christ Consciousness, we become free indeed, and with freedom comes the awakening-the awakening to the realization of the Ideal.
As we see others as the Christ sees them and strive to consecrate ourselves to Him, then our daily acts, our words, and our thoughts will bring that understanding and realization of the Ideal manifested in us as well as in others. Let us look for good in everyone, speaking neither evil, harsh, nor unkind words to any at any time.
Let us do all that we know to do, in love, and leave the results with God. Let us hold fast to that which we have purposed in our inner selves, knowing that no emergency in a material way or manner may arise that cannot find its solution in spiritual inspiration, for His promises are sure. Offenses may arise, yet with each and every fear there is that from within which will quiet our troubled minds, even as He quelled the tempest on the sea. As we seek, we find; as we knock, we are heard. If we are timid, fearful, or overcautious in giving out the hope which has sustained us, then we grow more weak and fearful ourselves.
Have we chosen the spiritual Ideal? Are the things in our own lives measured by that Ideal? When we sincerely examine ourselves and know that our standard is what we see in the other individual and come to realize that our God is manifesting in and through that person, we know that the Ideal we are setting for ourselves is one that will lift us up and cause us to be merciful, even as our heavenly Father is merciful. Then we may be assured of the peace that passes understanding.
What is our Ideal? The Christ-Way. Let us not be anxious, but wait on the Lord, knowing that He is faithful who promised, "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."