|Book One, Lesson Two
"Now ye are the body of Christ,
and members in particular."
I Corinthians 12:27
Father, as we seek to see and know Thy face, may we each, as individuals and as a group, come to know ourselves, even as we are known, that we-as lights in Thee-may give the better concept of Thy Spirit in this world. 262-5
[Based on Edgar Cayce readings 262-5 through 262-11]
When we are asked the question "Do you know yourself?" why is it that we cannot answer "Yes"? Within each of us there are certainly great storehouses of abilities and capacities which we have never used. If they were manifested, we would see ourselves in a different light. We would understand the real functions of our physical bodies in relation to our mental and spiritual bodies. Until we are better acquainted with ourselves, we are barriers in the way of our own development.
Each of us must first know that we must set a standard of measurement, of valuation, of precept, and of concept. Let us not measure by earthly standards, if we would know ourselves. Rather, let us measure by that which we have found within ourselves to be our ideal, knowing what we believe in, and acting that way. Let us, therefore, be willing to be measured; not by what we have, but by what we give.
The Physical Body
To know ourselves is not only to be cognizant of the acts of our physical bodies, but to know ourselves as entities, complete factors, capable of knowing all that goes on within and without. This spring of knowledge is tapped only by those who are willing to pay the price. The price is a complete surrender of ourselves, with a purification and a dedication that come only through prayer, meditation, and service. It is along the straight and narrow way, but it is open to all. The water of life is offered freely.
As entities, we are miniature copies of the universe, possessing physical, mental, and spiritual bodies. These bodies are so closely associated and related that the vibrations of one affect the other two. Our mental, especially, partakes of the other two: in the physical, as the conscious mind, and in the spiritual, as the superconscious mind.
Our bodies are temples of the living God. It has pleased God to so manifest Himself in the world. Our physical bodies are composite unite of Creative Force manifesting in the material world. All parts of our bodies must work in unison, for should one war against another, discord would naturally follow. Each part has its functions, and it is so important that no other part can take its place; neither can any part be counted insignificant and useless.
Each organ has its individual functions and desires, which are in themselves holy. The senses make us conscious of the magnified desires or natures of our physical bodies. These are registered in the activities of our physical bodies in such a way that they are stamped upon our very faces. These senses are attuned to the physical, each vibrating according to the training and concentration of the physical forces, seeking expression of the inner self-of which our physical bodies are material representations. For not only do the impressions received through the senses show forth that which is magnified in a single appearance or experience, but also all impressions that have been received through all of our experiences, the registering being in our souls. These are registered in a material way in our physiognomy.
The Mental and Spiritual Bodies
In the same manner the desires of our mental and spiritual bodies build our individualities. This process of building has been going on for ages. The great factors of heredity, environment, karma, thought vibration, and the action of universal laws in the planes beyond the physical all have their influences, just as the desires and vibrations of the physical organs attract and build the composition of the physical body. We are the results not only of the development of the race before us but also of our individual development that has been going on since our creation as individual souls.
We are the sum total of all our experiences in every state of consciousness. "In my Father's house are many mansions" (states of consciousness). In our body temples we are building, by thoughts and acts, not only our physical bodies, but the mental and spiritual bodies as well. Christ, the Master, said: "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." Those of us who live to gratify only our fleshly bodies may be beautiful without, but we have so starved our souls that we are able to give out only that which makes for discord and corruption. In speaking of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said: "For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." The same principle may be applied to right thinking, for we become what we think.
The soul will seek that which it has builded, not only in the material plane but in the universal, for "as a tree falls, so will it lie." This is well understood if we know and study ourselves, for we will realize that each experience is a lesson to help bring the knowledge of the Whole, that "I and my Father are one."
When we are seeking to lose ourselves in the Whole, it is possible to see ourselves as did the individual who had the following dream:
"I saw myself pass out of my body and become three bodies, physical, mental, and spiritual. At first the physical was the largest, but as the other two grew it gradually became smaller, until it finally faded into dust. The others then grew larger and moved around fourth-dimensionally."
When our acts and thoughts are measured by the standard of Christ, and when we reach the place where we desire only to be channels of blessings to others, we have lost sight of ourselves. Then we have the mind of Christ, for He came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and gave His life as a ransom for many.
Self in Relation to Others
We should let neither flattery, criticism, nor opinions of others turn us aside from those vital things for which we stand-those things that are lifting us upward and building within us that which will endure until the end. Let us turn within to see if we are being true to ourselves when temptations arise. We know that we cannot be true to others unless we are first true to ourselves.
As we cultivate the ability to discriminate between right and wrong, good and evil, we are reaching the plane where we may be masters of our destiny. It is found in keeping the whole law: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart... and thy neighbour as thyself." This is a spiritual desire, for the carnal mind is envious. There is in all of us that still Voice that teaches sacrifice, love, and service, that warns of every catastrophe and protects from all danger. When it is listened to and followed, no mistakes are made, no wars are fought, no homes are broken up; for then we seek the good of our neighbors and the will of the Creator.
Let us dare to see ourselves as others see us. It is well to stand aside and see ourselves go by. Let us think back over the words and acts of the day, asking ourselves these questions: Why did we do this or that? Would we have acted before our God in the manner we acted before our neighbor? Are we expressing our concepts of God in our lives to those we contact? It is indeed true that "No man liveth to himself and no man dieth to himself."
It is well to know what the other person thinks of us. We must, without any feeling of shame or humiliation, be willing to be measured by the standard that we have given one the impression we hold. It is our duty to study and discipline ourselves so that each word and each action may reflect just what we would be, and not let them be so different that they are not recognized as children of the same family.
While we are seeking to know ourselves through meditation or by taking an inventory, we are passing, as it were, signposts. We see a little light day by day, or catch a word here, an idea there, from those we contact, who help us to realize that all are traveling along the same road. Truly, the better we know ourselves, the better we understand others. Does it not make us more tolerant of our neighbors if we see them as we are, or as we have been?
Since service is the means of fulfilling our mission here, the question will naturally arise, "Who is this neighbor that we should serve?" It is that person who is in need of help, whether the individual be friend or foe, regardless of his or her race or creed. When Jesus defined this question, He said: "Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." If we measure our activities in the daily walks of life by the standard of the Christ, there will never be a regret. It is following the teachings of the Master that will lead more and more in the way toward a perfect understanding.
"Be what you seem. live your creed. Hold up to earth the torch divine. Be what you pray to be made. Let the Master Jesus' steps be thine."
Self in Relation to Creative Force
By keeping in touch with the Creative Force, we rise above the conditions where the blind lead the blind, and we know that we are guided by the All-Seeing Eye in all we are called to do.
"If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there;
if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
even there shall thy hand lead me".
Let us awake and know that God is speaking to us, leading us, and protecting us-that His Spirit is even now bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
As the voices of our souls cry out to their Creator, let us not doubt the promise: "He that hungers and thirsts after righteousness shall be filled." It may come as the wind, we may not know from whence, but all who seek will know that His name is "I am that I am"11 who is speaking in His holy temple, the body. That is the true awakening. There is, indeed, a physical body, a mental body, and a spiritual body, and they are one-one in love, one in truth, one in service, and one in Him.