Selfishness is the root of the animal nature in man. Selfhood is the transmutation of the animal nature into the Divine Nature. Mankind will transmute selﬁshness into the Divine Selfhood when a knowledge of his divinity grows within his consciousness. So long as man thinks he is his body, he will ally himself to his animal nature, and will live in a material conception of life, knowing nothing but the physical senses (which he calls life), and nothing higher than the material (so-called) forces of Nature which seem to govern all circumstances and happiness. But when he ﬁnds the clue to the truth that he is not his animal body only, and that Life is not material, then he becomes dissatisﬁed with selﬁshness, and, dimly though it be at ﬁrst, he does actually begin to move towards the light of something that shines afar and beckons him on.
The growing conviction that he is something more than his animal nature will very soon give birth within him to higher impulses than that of his physical body, and gradually, but surely, this other power of which he now holds the clue, will become a Principle in his mind, drawing away from, and above, the animal nature. The Principle is really the Divine and Eternal PRINCIPLE OF ATTRACTION, the opposite polarity of the Law of Gravitation. The latter, a Physical and Material Law drawing everything to the earth’s center; is the negative of that positive Divine Law of Principle or Attraction which draws the mind of man away from the earth; away from the animal impulses; away from the material; up to the God-Nature, his real selfhood. And the time will come when it will draw his body away from the power of the earth, hut more of that anon.
In the process of transmutation that is taking place, the man is actually shedding his animal nature as the butterﬂy sheds the chrysalis, and he is emerging into his Real Self, the Divine Spirit that he is. “Said I not unto you that ye are gods." So selﬁshness weakens as Selfhood grows stronger, and Selfhood attracts more and more of that Life that is the Life of God, and therefore the real and only true life of man. And as the mind of the individual is attracted more and more towards the Real Self, and away from the false, and unreal Self (selﬁshness), it ﬁnds Life being more and more rooted in the one great Principle of the Law of Attraction, viz., LOVE.
True Selfhood, being rooted and grounded in Love, brings forth a life altogether new and apart from the old animal life that has been left behind when the quest of the Selfhood was undertaken. And one of the results will be Unity, or Brotherhood. Let mankind once ﬁnd this Selfhood, even in a small degree, and let the spirit of it begin to spread from man to man, then all that now afflicts and troubles the race will be swept away as by a mighty overﬂowing river in ﬂood, even by the Almighty Overﬂow of the River of Love. True Brotherhood will put an end to all that divides man from his brother man, for when Brotherhood becomes an active principle, and not
a mere sentiment, it will be impossible for a man to strive with his fellow man, or seek to get the better of him in any way. Brotherhood—the outcome of Divine Selfhood, will end forever the competitive system; it will do away with all disputes between capital and labor, and it will make war an absolute impossibility.
Once an individual recognizes the true Selfhood, and lives and acts from the standpoint of IT, and not from the standpoint of selﬁshness, he has brought the whole race nearer to that time for which the heart of the world is travailing in pain, “waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.”
As man advances in his Divine Selfhood he will discover possibilities and powers within himself of which he never dreamed when under the dominion of the animal nature, or selﬁshness. He ﬁnds that he has set out upon a wonderful voyage of discovery—even the discovery of his REAL saw, together with all the God-like qualities that belong to him. But as a rule he discovers these very gradually, for it would be too much for the majority to bear, did a knowledge of the full powers of the Divine Selfhood break upon them all at once. All life is under the Principle of Growth, whether it be the life of the mineral, vegetable, or animal kingdom, and the life of man, as he emerges from the animal kingdom into the Real Kingdom of his Divine Selfhood, is also subject to the Law of Growth. It is always “here a little and there a little, line upon line and precept upon precept,” lest the full light should blind the eyes so long accustomed to the shadows of the under world of the senses. “I have many things to say unto you but ye cannot bear them now.” said the Christ to His disciples. They were only just beginning to understand Him and His message to the world, and He indicated that as time went on, and they became more and more drawn away from the world and he senses, there would be given to them a further revelation, and revelation upon revelation, of Truth. “When the SPIRIT OF TRUTH has come, he shall lead you into all Truth.”
Once in possession of this clue the mind of man gradually takes in more and more knowledge of his REAL SELFHOOD; of its inherent powers, and God-like possibilities.
From this Selfhood there ever ﬂows out an unending stream of love from man to his fellows, and just as a stream of water in the desert makes it “rejoice and blossom as the rose," so the stream of Love from the new heart of man will at last transmute this desert of sin, sickness, tears, disease, war, and death, into “The New Heaven and the New Earth,” for which all hearts are longing and yearning, and cannot be satisﬁed with anything less. And this New Heaven and New Earth of promise will come just the moment that man has made himself ﬁt to inhabit it. To enter into the quest of this Divine Selfhood is indeed a birth into a new life altogether. Those who have entered into the experience know that it is actually a being born again. In every sense of the word old things have passed away, and all things have become new. But—and l cannot state this too clearly—-it is no patching up of the animal life; it is not reformation of the animal instincts, nor is it a restriction, nor is it a restriction of its affections, affinities, lusts or desires. It is not a profession, nor does it simply mean an adherence to any church or creed, it is an absolutely new birth—a new birth into a new life altogether, hitherto unknown. Said the Christ—“No man putteth new wine into old bottles.” New bottles for new wine—a new birth for the new life.
The death of the man to his animal nature was the only death recognized by the Divine Teacher. The death of the mind to the old life, that it might be born again into the new life. “Marvel not that I said unto you, ye must be born again.” It is the real mystic, or spiritual meaning, of those much misused words, “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, they rest from their labors and their works follow them.” They have died the “blessed death” when they have died to the animal nature, and leave all those restless and useless labors belonging to the earthbound soul, and they are born again into newness of life, into the deathless Divine Selfhood, into the “rest that remaineth” here in the new life.
I have earlier in this book given you the clue that our Lord never spoke of death as we do. Only once did He mention death, and that was when He was compelled to do so that the disciples might understand what had happened to His friend from their paint of view. ”Lazarus is dead,” He said. And then He at once went, as it were, to correct the words He had spoken to them, and show them that He recognized no power of death. LIFE was the unending theme of all His talks and discourses, and it remained the theme of His followers for a long time. When you go to Rome, and walk in the Catacombs, and there see the tombs of the early Christian martyrs, you will ﬁnd no cross bones or skulls upon them. It was in the middle ages that these gruesome things were ﬁrst put upon the graves, and upon the walls of the churches, the early Christians used only emblems of LIFE; and there, in the Catacombs you will ﬁnd such emblems as the Palm Tree; the ﬁsh, emblem of that particular time in which our Lord manifested here as the Savior of men, and representing life, for He said, “Follow me and I will make you ﬁshers of men." You will see the Shepherd, the Lamb, and the shepherd's crook, all emblems of life, and not of death. It was many centuries after the beginning of the Christian era, when men’s minds became somewhat clouded over, and the ﬁrst simplicity of the gospel message became blurred by contact with the world, that men began to see death, and not life as the ultimate destiny of the race.
The next chapter will deal with the Law of Gravitation as a Correspondence of the Law of Attraction.