You have read this statement again and again, have you, and still cannot quite see what it means?
"Our real being is incarnated only as it is re-presented to the Soul as its self-idea."
Perhaps the meaning can be made plainer. It is a great truth which it is well to know. Surely you understand by this time—you cannot have read THE EXODUS for two years without gaining this understanding—that as an individual you have both individuality and personality. Your individuality is what is eternally fixed; your personality is the unfixed, in that it can be better and better. Your individuality is your real being. That always was as the effect of First Cause. It never began, and it will never end, nor does it change, in time.
Your personality is composed of soul, shape, and body. Soul is self-consciousness; shape is that outline called Person; and body is embodiment. Time begins with the minimum and ends with the maximum of self-consciousness.
Shape and body belong to time. Your existence—not your being—began with your first self-recognition, and it will end only with the fullness of self-recognition—only when you have eventuated all the possibilities of your being. As an individual you are now living in time, because you are passing from the minimum to the maximum of self-consciousness. It is possible for you to tarry with the minimum or quicken your pace toward the maximum.
As an existent soul you are the product of Nature. Study "The Evolution of Evolution" and you will see why. But, also as an existent soul, you will become more than the product of Nature. But this "more" depends upon yourself. Your shape or limited outline remains the same, but your body changes in this advance from the minimum to the maximum of self-consciousness, because your body is always the embodiment of your self-idea.
Embodiment or incarnation is the purpose toward which Nature works till the purpose is fulfilled. What is embodied or incarnated is your self-idea, and what is dependent upon it. The quality of incarnation or embodiment, therefore, depends upon the quality of your self-idea.
As a living soul, rooted in the real being but looking upon the visible shape, your first self-idea is the natural one. "This is I," is your first self-idea, and existence, for you, is dominated by it. This self-idea localizes all your sensation in the shape or Person, for this idea is builded into it as body. This is the natural self-idea, because it is according to sense-impression.
But back of you, the living soul, is a great force pushing and pushing to urge you on and up away from the plane of sense impression. Your self-idea holds you there, this force pushes you on, and between the two you suffer. Because of your natural self-idea you cannot let go. If you could, the pushing would cause no pain. You would move with it instead of holding on.
Because of your self-idea you are your body. Not till you begin to see that you are not your body, will you begin to let go and move in the direction in which you are being pushed. As you, the Soul, move in the upward direction—from the minimum toward the maximum of self-consciousness, your body moves up also; but you do not let go and move up till you begin to see the falsity of your natural self-idea and put a better one in its place.
Nature furnishes you with the basic body in which is embodied, or incarnated, your self-idea, and those thoughts for which it is the key-note. "The Evolution of Evolution" shows you what this basic body is and why. Your body is builded into this basic body. Your body is the thought-body, the embodiment of the thoughts for which your self-idea is the key-note. Your body is incarnated in the Nature or basic body. This basic body, through your thinking, becomes infused with quality; or, the basic body is qualified by the thought-body.
It follows, therefore, that the highest incarnation or embodiment can come only when the highest self-idea is the key-note for the thoughts of the soul. This necessitates the presentation of the real being to the soul as re-presentation, or in self-idea. Without re-presentation there can be no incarnation.
Not till the natural self-idea is opposed by the true self-idea will you let go of the plane of sense-impression and ascend where you belong—to the plane of Likeness to God. Remember what has been said about constructive imagination. When a man builds a house, the house is a brick, a stone, or a wooden one, according to the material used. The body constructed in the basic or Nature-body is according to material used. As thoughts are the building material, the quality of the thoughts determines the quality of the embodiment.
The self-idea is the key-note according to which the thoughts respond in vibration or in quality. It is the skeleton, as it were, rounded out and filled in by the thoughts which accord with it. This skeleton, thus rounded out and filled in, is the structure in the basic or Nature-body. It is the soul's embodiment.
Let us follow this order once more to make sure that you understand it. You are a living soul, using what you call your body. You have said that this body, whose members you can see and enumerate, was yourself. You do not say this now. You know better. You see it as possession rather than as possessor.
You see that you, the looker-on, are more than any or all members of the visible body; and you know that change is constantly going on in this body.
You have learned to think according to your real being, instead of according to your sense of body, and you are finding that this way of thinking is bringing changes in your idea of yourself, in your feelings, and in your body. You say sometimes "I am not what I was five years ago." You are conscious of a change. Your friends say "You are different from what you used to be." They are conscious of a change in you, and yet as they look at your physical body, as you look at it, it appears to be the same flesh, blood, bone, and muscle. It is what it was, and yet there is difference somewhere.
You, the living soul, are more than you were. You are more conscious of your true being and its possibilities, and this " more" is embodied in your physical body as a finer body which is not visible to the outer sense of sight. It is what has been built into the nature-body. It pervades the physical body, and as the thought-body, the building for which your thoughts have been the material, it has a more permanent quality than the flesh and blood seen with the outer sense.
Thought-building is character-building; character-building is body-building; and it is the difference in your thought-body, its higher quality, that makes you look different to your friends even though they still see flesh and blood. As you, the living soul, appropriate your being, appropriate what it affords, you incarnate or embody what it includes and necessitates. But you do not appropriate as you might till your self-idea—your idea about what you are—is like what you are in being. Till your self-idea is the true one, you cannot embody truth. Till you embody truth, it is not incarnated.
Upon you, the living soul, depends Truth's incarnation—the Word made Flesh.
You, the living soul, stand between the Absolute and the Incarnate God. This incarnation cannot take place without your help. Be-presentation is necessary. God and Man are; but they must be presented to you before they can be incarnated. They are presented to you in your self-idea when it is like what they are; and by means of this re-presentation they are incarnated, because your thoughts are the building material and your self-idea determines the quality of your thoughts. When you build your real being into flesh; when you embody its nature, you will also embody its Likeness to God. When this likeness is builded into body, God will appear in the body.
Can you see now what Job meant when he said "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold"?
That coat of skin which you have called your body is but the sense-garment that clothes your body; for your body is the thought-body. The character which you, the living soul, have builded, endures when the sense-garment has disintegrated. It is your flesh. The sense-garment—physical flesh and blood—is what your friends call your flesh, or body; and to them your body is gone when that disintegrates. But you have your body, though they may not see it.
You will see God in the Flesh only as you see God's Likeness in it. And you will see this Likeness in it only as you build it into it.
Do you realize, even a little, your glorious privilege, which is yours as a living soul? You are the means by which the Divine is incarnated. The Christ, the Likeness of God, is formed in you when you conceive the Christ—when your self-idea is true to your real being; when your self-pattern is like unto the eternal pattern. The Christ is formed in you as the Divine Incarnation when you build the Divine Character; and you have your immortal or glorified body when you build it by building this character.
How shall you successfully perform this building? Paul tells us how. By "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
Thinking that which is not true according to the eternal standard, making the true to sense the absolute truth, is the imagination that is to be cast down; for it is use of Thought Force according to a wrong pattern.
Constructive imagination is use according to the true pattern. The truth, held as self-idea, and concentration upon the truth, is "bringing every thought to the obedience of Christ"; and this is the way the building is accomplished.
The temple of the living God is the work of the Master mason. It is raised stone by stone as the building proceeds according to the eternal plan. Sufficient for the now is sketched daily upon the trestle-board by the keeper of the lost word. He reads what has been and what shall be, but he utters not his secret. The building is the utterance, the revelation of the Eternal Purpose and the manner of its fulfillment.
Have you "the Word"? Then as a wise master-builder you are building on the eternal foundation; "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
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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.