"Well! as long as I have my senses, I shall never believe that!" is the ejaculation when we hear something said which is not true to us. It is a natural ejaculation, according to the common view of the nature of the senses; a view likely to continue till understanding of the Science of Being reveals their true nature. And what we believe is so often mistaken for what we know.
The evidence of the senses in the present general stage of their development is most unreliable, as any thinking person must admit. And the beliefs consequent upon that evidence constitute a mental ball and chain that clogs and retards the mental activity which leads to a new understanding of it. Are you ready to do your own thinking, putting one side for the moment those views which have been law and gospel for you, because they are universal; because the evidence of your senses compels them? Are you ready to use logic as well as your senses and gain the evidence it furnishes? Will you seek for that which is true in itself whether, as a present fact to the senses, it is true to you or not?
What is at this moment true to us may become untrue. What is true in itself is the eternally true that waits for recognition. To cling to what is true to us with no willingness to seek for the true in itself is to become a bigot and fanatic. To be a teacher and helper of men, a mediator between them and the changeless truth, this seeking and finding is necessary. Are you ready to individualize your soul?
Then take this first step. To what do your senses belong? To the fleshly body, the soul, or the individuality? If they belong to the material body, they are of the dust, they will return to the dust, and that is the end of them. They are mortal in this case, and can give no conclusive evidence of anything above or beyond their own level. They are destructible; an accident can destroy any one or all of them at any time.
Here are three ifs to be considered—if the senses are the means by which evidence of truth is gained; if they belong to the material body; if we have a soul that survives the dissipation of that body, the soul is left without any senses and, consequently, without any means of gaining evidence of truth. What kind of a thing is such a soul? Is it fit to survive? Has it anything to gain by surviving? If it has a destiny to fulfill, how is it going to fulfill it?
We say, "I see." This indicates that the power to see, or the sense of sight, belongs to the individuality. If it belongs there, it is eternal, for the individuality as the image of God—the effect of Cause—must be eternal. But after saying, “I see," we ask: "What do I see?" Soul answers this question, and according to its development, which depends upon the watering by the four heads of the river. (See "Still Higher Criticism.")
Soul is sure to pronounce according to what is true to it; and what is true to it in its early stages of growth is equally sure to fall short of the complete truth. While the sense of sight—and equally the other senses—belongs to the individuality; while they are indestructible and limitless, they operate in the soul. Consequently, their range of operation is limited by soul-capacity. The power to see is unlimited. What is seen is limited.
Though the senses operate in the soul, they function on the plane of shapes by means of the physical body. The power to see does not belong to the physical eye, but it is expressed through the physical eye. Consequently, destruction of the physical organ cannot affect for one moment the sense of sight—the power to see. It affects only the expression on the plane of shapes. It cannot even prevent the continued operation of the sense in the soul.
Remember that individuality is the true I—the eternal; that soul is consciousness of individuality, a consciousness that is to include, before it is complete, full recognition and realization of all that is included in and is possible to individuality; that visible person is the representative of individuality, as figure represents number ; that soul and person constitute personality. Then you will see that what any personality sees depends upon the soul, though the power to see belongs to that changeless Lord which is above the soul.
So long as soul is destitute of recognition of the true being; as long as it has only recognition of shapes—the physical body and the world—without understanding of their relation to what they represent, so long the " evidence of the senses" is misleading. The soul's conclusion is according to what is true to it, a conclusion far removed from the absolute truth. What is fact to the soul may, in its last analysis, be error; for the only eternal, and therefore safe, standard of comparison is abstract truth.
The fact to the soul not yet fully watered by the four heads of the river is: "The Sun moves, for I see it." It judges according to what it calls the evidence of the senses. It sees the Sun in the east in the morning, overhead at noon, and in the west at night. What it looks upon is all right, but its conclusion is all wrong, and because the sense of sight being limited in its range of operation by the soul-capacity, reveals no more than “I see the Sun at one point in the morning and at an opposite point at night."
When the faculties of perception and understanding, cooperating with the sense of sight, expand the soul, it will see with these faculties, and therefore will see more than it did or could without them. Seeing farther, it will change its conclusion about what it looks upon; the garden of the soul will be watered by the four heads of the river.
We can be quite sure that our beliefs, founded upon what we have called the evidence of our senses, need correction, and that soul-sight, supplementing physical sight, is necessary to that end. To see farther does not mean merely to see across miles of space, but to see through the crust of matter and into the nature of Man.
To hear more does not mean merely to hear the sounds a mile or hundreds of miles away, but to hear the rhythmical vibrations of all living things, great and small, with each other and with their cause—the " music of the spheres."
To smell more is not merely to smell the odors in a distant part of the country, but to smell the odors of souls; for every soul has color, sound, and fragrance—or disagreeable odor—to the more expanded senses.
To taste more is not only to detect more delicate flavors in material food, but to taste the flavor of one's own spiritual nature. "O taste and see that the Lord is good." We are to taste and recognize every good thing in the scale of being, but if we will only waken from the Adam-sleep to the realization of eternal life we need never taste of death and the grave. Where are their sting and their victory for the soul that has found its Lord?
To touch more is not to come into physical contact with many instead of few things. It is to come into contact with the things of God, the deep things of the spirit; to lay hold upon everlasting life; to lay hold upon the eternal throne and Him that sits thereon. It is to come so close to the Lord that we find ourselves in God—the wall of partition gone.
The extension of our senses is inward rather than outward, for their extension is their expansion to include more of the real and less of the illusory. And this expansion is the growth of the soul that widens their range of operation. First, the natural; Afterward, the spiritual. This law cannot be reiterated too often, for it is a part of that order which is heaven's first law. r Never fear that you can lose one of your five senses. They are spiritual senses in themselves, but in their limited operation with the Adam-soul they seem to be what they are named—:Adam gives names to everything—physical senses, pertaining to the material organism. Recognize them for what they truly are, instead of believing them to be what they seem, for this recognition is necessary for their extension.
Learn to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch every thought you think. Use your senses upon the mental as well as upon the physical plane. You are handling a mental material which is to be transmuted into divine substance. Lay hold upon it with all your senses, and, keeping the eternal pattern steadily before you, mould it into the divine likeness. Reject that thought which is not fair to see, fragrant to smell, sweet and good to taste, strong to touch and lean upon; which does not give forth the triumphant note: "I know that my Redeemer liveth; and though the worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God."
Watchfulness is so essential. The senses are good. None is evil. But are you using them, recognizing their present limited range of operation and how to extend it, or is that limitation using you and subjecting you to its consequences? Are you master, or are you servant? "Know ye not that ye are servants to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey?"
To be the slave of the senses as they pertain to the Adam soul is to be sick and in prison, and nothing less than the Master can set that prisoner free. We have a standard of judgment, furnished by the Science of Being, which is unvarying, for it is the eternally true. Whatever the senses seem to declare, we have but to compare the declaration with this standard to know whether it is true or not. If we are master, instead of servant, we say, "Depart from me; I know ye not," when it is not in accord with that standard.
Though all the world declare that five and five are nine, and though our senses reiterate the declaration as we see those figures on the blackboard, we know that the sum of five and five is ten, when we judge by the nature of the unit, instead of according to what we look upon, and we rest in the certainty that this is the only true standard of judgment.
Do we think positive truth, or do we think according to appearance? Do we exercise our senses and faculties persistently, instead of letting them exercise us, so keeping the conditions for growth of the soul? Do we examine every thought carefully and separate the sheep from the goats? "He that knoweth my will and doeth it, shall be likened unto a wise man." That doeth it, do you see?
There is more evidence than what we term the evidence of the senses. There is the evidence of our other faculties and powers, and their evidence controverts the other. It uncovers the divine and eternal for us, while the other still pertains to the mortal and temporal. According to which evidence are you rendering your verdict? Yon are as the judge on the bench listening to that evidence which comes from the interior and to that which comes from the exterior. According to the exterior, "That man is very ill with an incurable disease and is liable to die at any moment." According to the interior, "No. That is not true. There is no incurable disease. Every discord in the soul's experience has its remedy in the harmony of being. That condition of body is the reflection of a mental state and is removable by changing this state. It can be changed through the cultivation of another and better one. That soul can be regenerated, and in this regeneration that state can be outgrown and left behind. That soul cannot die for it is immortal by nature. It is rooted in the eternal being, the changeless Lord. It can and will lose a quality imparted to it by mental states; and this is well lost, for it is not fit to survive. I see no disease, no death. I see only life, life in greater and greater measure. It is the only reality."
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.