You speak of conditions of the body. What do you mean? How is the body conditioned? You say, "As long as this condition lasts I cannot do or be more than I am now." You should know that until, as a living soul, you do and be more than you are now, the condition will last; for the law of cause and effect governs all conditions, even those of the body.
Get the right relation between being, soul, and visible body. The being is the real I, the soul or self-consciousness is potential in the being and developed or actualized from it; the physical body is the representative of the invisible. Its conditions are the register of the soul. Upon it appears all that goes on in the soul. Here what is subjective is out pictured or made objective.
This perfect unity between the soul and the shape compels the appearing eventually of all that has been hidden. Soul conditions appear as bodily conditions. Apart from the soul the body has no conditions. It is body no longer. It falls apart, disintegrates, for that which integrated has withdrawn. There is a collapse from shape into shapelessness, for the supporting soul structure is gone. The soul conditions no longer appear on the plane of matter, though they necessarily still obtain.
What, then, is necessary in order to change bodily conditions? Clearly, a change in soul conditions is essential. Whatever is held to and in the soul is incorporated by it and becomes a permanent condition of body, the permanency on the plane of the body being determined by the permanency of the element in the soul. The soul can put off and put on. Whatever it puts on appears eventually on the body. Whatever it puts off disappears eventually from the body.
Cause and effect.
Have you anything to do with your bodily conditions? You have everything to do with them, for you—if you have even a little true self-knowledge—can determine what you will incorporate in self-consciousness. You have a mental picture gallery. It is full of pictures, pleasant and unpleasant, more of the last than of the first, probably. The more you look at these pictures the more clearly they appear on the body.
Suppose that you attend for the first time a lecture illustrated with the stereopticon. As you seat yourself you see before you a screen. A picture appears upon it. It is very pleasant to look at; you like it. It fades as another appears. This one you do not like. It is decidedly unpleasant.
You know nothing of how these pictures are produced. You are a child in your lack of this knowledge. You know only what you see, and there is something in that screen which you do not like and wish to remove. So you examine it carefully to find what causes this picture, and you see no way to be rid of it but to get it out of the screen. Clearly, the way to accomplish this is to work with the screen.
Is not that of which you wish to be rid, right there? Do you not see it? You have the evidence of your senses; is not that enough? So you rub away, using one thing after another, as each fails to remove the picture, though at times it is not as clear as at first, and you cover portions of it with the implements you use and even with your own hands.
Perhaps after a time the revelation of experience comes to you. You cannot thoroughly and permanently remove it. Do what you will, at least portions of it still stare you in the face, poke out in mockery beyond what you are handling. You begin to ask, "Why is this? There must be a cause for this picture which I have not discovered and do not know how to remove."
"Blessed art thou" when this time comes. Now another door than that of the senses is opened in you and you can receive the evidence of other faculties and powers which you possess as well as that of the senses. You stop rubbing the screen—fortunately it has felt no discomfort during this operation, but you have—and you look about to see if there is not something more than the screen. You find in the rear of the hall the apparatus which throws the picture upon the screen, and in the lanternslide the picture that is reflected there.
Now you have made an important discovery. Well for you if you are ready to act upon it. The real picture is not in the screen at all, though it seemed to be a component part of it. It is just a little thing within the lantern, but 0! how big its consequences are. You find it is this little thing you have to deal with and not with the screen; and all your brushes, and cloths, and lotions, and scouring powders are unnecessary. You withdraw the picture from the lantern-slide and, lo! it has disappeared from the screen.
You have the little thing in your hand, but where has the big picture gone? What has become of it, that unpleasant thing you tried so hard to remove? How unsubstantial it must have been to disappear so completely. But what shall you do with the little picture in your hand? If it gets back into the lantern, it will surely reappear upon the screen. You had better destroy it; then there is no more danger.
And then another revelation flashes upon you. Your perception and understanding are at work as well as your senses. If you want a certain picture to appear upon the screen, you have but to place it in the lantern-slide.
Eureka! You are master of the situation. You have found the better, the effectual, way, not only to remove what has appeared, but to cause to appear what you will. Whereas I was blind, now I see, you say.
This illustration shows us the nature of bodily conditions as they are explained by the science of Being. Our thoughts form our mental states, our mental pictures. These are reflected upon the passive screen, the outer body. There is no condition of body apart from mentality. Without the direct action of the mentality upon this body there is that falling apart which is the opposite of embodiment and which is called disintegration. From the within to the without is the eternal order.
With this discovery you will see that the whole matter is in your own hands, even though a tendency you have ignorantly set up and perpetuated persists for a time as you make your efforts to set up a new tendency—to govern your thinking instead of letting it govern you. You will see that for the body to be well the mental states must be well; and that as thinking begets feeling and thinking and feeling decide mental states, the thinking must be well, or sound and true, for the body to reflect health or harmony instead of the undesirable.
You will see that the way to take care of the body is to take care of that which is more than the body; and that it is useless to expect constant bodily health as long as the soul is not in health, but holds within it discordant mental states instead, which induce the pictures before the eyes of the soul. The eyes should be fixed upon the true being, upon its wholeness, perfectness, power, and beauty; upon its allness, which makes everything else comparative nothingness. What it sees appears.
Get to work with your picture-gallery and clear it of rubbish. You have many family portraits there. Your father and grandfather and great-grandfather had gout, and so of course you must have gout. That picture hangs there and you look at it till it appears. It is pleasant and fair to look upon, is it not? You sit down with your physical foot bandaged and propped on a chair, saying, " O, dear me!" instead of throwing that family portrait out of the house.
It is your inner foot of understanding that is bound all about with belief in heredity, theories, and opinions founded on a false premise, so that you do not stand upon and use it. It is you, a mortal-sense soul, that are living in a dead past instead of an active present, swollen with the conceit of family pride and too lazy—yes, too lazy—to work out your salvation from a sense of suffering. When you have suffered enough to batter down your pride, and make your cry go up unto God by reason of your bondage, the Moses in you will look upon your burdens and lead you to the land of freedom.
For generations mortal thought has been creating forms of disease and naming them. You hear these names and turn and look at the pictures in your mental picture-gallery which bear them. They are all labelled very clearly, accurately, and carefully. The labels are kept well polished, so there can be no mistake. You think the picture you look at often enough into expression in the body. To this end you have the help of all who are looking at the same picture. A strong mental current sets in this direction. Unresisting you go with the stream till you begin to individualize your soul.
When you are ready to make this beginning there is a picture away in a dark corner of your gallery which is suddenly unveiled to you. You have never seen it before because of the rubbish which has accumulated there. As you throw out the rubbish the light penetrates to this dark corner and there bursts upon you the face of the Master. How grand, how majestic, how beautiful! Look upon it daily, you cannot view it often enough.
"Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it."
"You have manifested the fruit of your sense-nature," he says, "but you are not yet full of fruit. You have a higher nature, higher powers, and faculties which are to bring forth their fruit, and this also is to be manifested. You are to multiply your self-consciousness, increase it to more and more, and now you see the way. The manifestation which you are making of your nature is to be replenished, for, so far, it falls short of that glorious destiny which is your birthright. You have shown your power to suffer; now you are to show your power to conquer suffering.
That "earth" is to be subdued and the new earth is to appear. You are equal to this subduing. Dominion over every living thing is yours. Establish this dominion unto yourself by beginning to rule instead of serve. Serve only the Most High; rule all else. Your sense-nature is meat for you by which you grow to your full stature. You see Me now afar off, but as you consume this meat you come unto Me. Have no fear, for lo! I am with you alway even unto the end of the world."
A woman sat at her study window above the surrounding roofs, and looked far out toward the sea. Fleeting grey clouds pierced with towers and steeples, broken into waves by countless chimneys, impeded her view. As she gazed, these rigid lines melted into the clouds which grew lighter and whiter, losing their grey tone. Points of light, light unlike the rays of the sun, soft yet brilliant, appeared. Gradually they flowed together till light that was alive filled the whole horizon. Then dark specks appeared, and suddenly a crown of thorns hung framed within it. Tears sprang to her eyes, and a voice said, “Who is the King of glory?" And the woman answered, "He who has mastered the thorns and worn the crown."
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More Articles by This Author 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.