"How are the dead raised, and with what body do they come?"
How many are puzzled by this question which frequently presents itself to you, does it not?
"If I am a living soul now, and using this physical shape only temporarily, what will my body be when I have dropped this instrument?"
This question can be answered only from the understanding of what Body is, abstractly, or in itself. If you will try to see, first, the nature and office of Body, we will endeavor to gain some perception of what your body will be after what is called death.
We must dismiss our early belief that when we drop this physical body we now see, leaving it behind as we pass through the portal that leads to the beyond, we shall find another body ready and waiting to be picked up and put on, as we would put on another ready-made coat or dress.
This view makes Body something extraneous to and separate from ourselves, and is altogether wrong. If bodies are waiting at the other side of that portal, which we pass through, remember, it seems probable that there might be something of a scramble to select and appropriate the best one. Or, if they are apportioned by some guardian, he would easily be accused of partiality if he gave a better one to another than he did to ourselves.
If all is Law and there is no chance, even this after-death body will be what it must, not what it happens to be. This point we can settle first.
Now let us remember what the Science of Being teaches us about our nature, about the being and the soul. Our being is that identity which is eternal, incapable of change. Our soul is that which is not only capable of change, but it is that which must change in quality, becoming more and better. Our shape, or the person, is only the limitation of body—" thus far and no farther."
Because the soul is rooted in the being, but is immediately connected with the shape, Personality includes soul and shape, but not the being. It is related to the being, but does not include it.
Soul's Self-consciousness, is embodied or incarnated; and the embodiment must be according to the shape or outline. What is contained within the outline is the Body.
The surface of this Body is all we now see with our present sense of sight; and it is this mere surface that we call our body—the body we have now. This thing of flesh, blood, nerve, bone, and muscle, which, because it is all we now see we call our body, is really only the “coat of skin" that clothes our body—a body we do not see as we look at the coat of skin.
This hidden or veiled body is more truly our body now, than is its garment by which we set such store. And this is the body we will have after death; for death is only casting off the garment which now clothes it. We drop the coat of skin and stand forth with unveiled or unclothed body.
Hence after death we have the very same body that we had before death; the difference being that whereas it was hidden from our sight before death by the fleshly garment that clothed it, now it is unclothed.
So we see that so far from looking for and picking up and putting on another body on the other side of the portal, we carry the body we have now, through the portal; but we do not carry the coat of skin along with it. This is "the remains," and it is rightly named. It belongs to this material plane and it remains there. It will disintegrate, fall from shape into shapelessness, dust returning to dust.
But the body which is carried through the portal will have the same shape or outline.
You are a housekeeper and you have often made jelly which you have poured into a mold. The mold was the coat which had shape, and the jelly in it, the body. When you removed the jelly from the mould it retained the shape but was separated from the mold. So the body which survives death retains the personal shape though it is separated from that mold which we call our physical body.
You will see that it is all important that we do what we can to make our hidden body of as good a quality as possible; and this we accomplish by taking thought for that which is more than the body. Because body is the soul's embodiment, it must be, in quality, just what the soul is. According to the grade or quality of our self-consciousness, must be the grade or quality of our veiled body.
And the quality of the soul is determined by its dominant thought.
And the dominant thought is the one that is in accord with the mental pattern.
And the mental pattern is determined either by mortal sense, or spiritual understanding.
So as we analyze we find that we are the makers of the quality of our bodies, and that we have much to do with what they are on the other side of the portal, because, there, the body we are making now, through thought-creation, is unveiled.
After the jelly is turned from the mold, the mold may be utterly destroyed without affecting in the least its former contents. So our after-death body remains intact, though its coat of skin decomposes; and its perpetuity depends upon its quality.
Are we helping, now, to build the spiritual body, or are we making a mortal quality of body?
You have been accustomed to think, perhaps, that the after-death body was the spiritual body because it was the after-death body; but this is not so. Neither is this body furnished ready-made. Try to see that existence from beginning to end is only a process of unveiling; that you, in your real being, were before it and will be after it; that you are only getting acquainted with yourself.
To sum it all up, this is what existence is; and when you are completely acquainted with yourself, when there is no more of your own nature for you to find out, circumscribed existence will end for you, and infinity will begin.
Dismiss the idea that because something is invisible to your present sight it is spiritual in quality. Invisibility does not constitute spirituality. Mortality has its invisible as well as visible planes. The inner world which you, as a soul, live in—you only look out upon this external world, you know—has much to do with equality of your after-death body; for it is made of the material of that world, even as the coat of skin is made of, or reincarnates, this dust.
What is your inner world? One of light or one of darkness? Is your veiled body luminous or dark? Is it luminous with the consciousness of your God-being—"the light that was never on sea or land"—or dark with the error-thoughts which possess it?
You impart quality to it by the thoughts you think, and it will never be the spiritual body—you will never have the spiritual body, till body gains this quality from you.
"If thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light."
What is your mental pattern according to which you think? If it is—"I am of the dust, and I shall go back to it again. A few years ago I began to be, and a few years from now I shall cease to be. Meanwhile I am doomed to all forms of suffering and disaster," your veiled body cannot be full of the light of true knowledge or wisdom. Instead, it will be dark with the error knowledge; for you have incarnated, or embodied, error instead of truth. Then you cannot have the spiritual body. The error-element prevents it.
We are all sons of the Carpenter. We are builders. We work as such, doing our part even while we are also being built up and into "His glorious body."
The Primal Energy of the Universe builds Body, and according to fundamental Shape; but we build the qualified body, through our own thoughts.
So we cannot afford to continue that mortal quality which has come from our former ignorant thinking. It shuts the soul out from its "kingdom of heaven." It is a quality that is foreign to heaven, or harmony with true being, and so it cannot enter there. If we are shut out from heaven it is because we have ignorantly shut ourselves out. The way to heaven is within us, and the entrance is right thoughts.
Our inner darkness must be dispelled by them before our mortal body can be glorified; before it can become luminous because it embodies wisdom; before it can be Truth incarnated. Our mental pattern must be according to our true being; and it is revealed to us through spiritual insight, not through mortal sense. Our thoughts must be in conformity to it, for the building of the spiritual quality of body.
"Because I am the expression of my Cause, I am a spiritual, not a material, being. I am eternal, not temporal, for my Cause sustains me and I cannot die. In my being I am whole and complete, I am ' very good.' In it there is no lack. Because of what I am in being, my work is to bring forth its fruit. All power is there, but I am to make it manifest. And now, because the eye of the soul is fixed upon this God-derived being, I am building my body according to it. In my flesh I shall see God."
Let this idea be the pivotal point around which your thoughts revolve; and gradually, not suddenly, your veiled body, that you will have after death, will lose its dark or mortal quality, and take on the luminous or spiritual quality. It will shine with the inner light, and its radiance will pierce the outer wall, the coat of skin, and its glory will appear, even to eyes that wonder and understand it not.
When Moses came down from the Mount after communing with God, the "skin of his face" shone so that those about him were not able to bear it.
O! how true it is that " the light shineth in the darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not." But you can, you do, begin to comprehend, and to realize your own power of co-operation with the Eternal. "Bring forth" is the command that is never silent. "Bring forth your best and subdue your least" rings always in the ears of the awakened soul. And this we accomplish by our use of Thought-Force according to the eternal pattern.
Have no fear. Take care of the now, and the future is already cared for. Where you are after death, depends upon what you are, as a soul, before death. Your locality is your condition. Your body will be the embodiment of your condition, and this you have now. Its quality is your quality. The quality is the state or locality.
"Where I am, there ye may be also."
More from Ursula N. Gestefeld
- Born April 22, 1845 and died in 1921 (burried at Graceland Cemetery, Chicago).
- Involved in Christian Science
- Most famous work is The Woman Who Dares.