How I Used Truth - Lesson 9 - Annotation 4
What is meant by "being" and what is meant by "existence" from a metaphysical standpoint?
4. Being is living. God is Being, the one living, radiant substance out of which creation comes forth. Being is the Absolute, that which eternally is. When we speak of "being" in a metaphysical sense we refer to that which has reality, because it is of God, for God as Being is the one Reality. "Being always is" (How I Used Truth 92). Because divine ideas are of God we say they have "being," they are spiritual realities.
When we speak of "existence" we refer to that which has come forth from being into the realm of appearance. Webster's dictionary states (among other definitions) that existence is manifestation. The verb exist gives us a clue in its root meaning: ex, meaning "out," and sistere, meaning "to stand; to step out or forth, emerge, appear." We perceive from this that whatever exists has come from some source. That which is good -- such as health, abundance, harmony, peace, success -- came forth from Being (God). That which is not good -- such as disease, poverty, inharmony, war, and so forth -- has existence but not reality, for it did not come from God. Such error manifestations or limited appearances, even though formed of the one omnipresent substance, come forth as a result of negative concepts or limited beliefs held in the human consciousness.' Thus we see that sin, sickness, and trouble are "facts" but are not real. They "exist" in the visible world but have no real "being." As commonly accepted, the words being and existence are often thought of as representing the same thing. Some of the definitions given in Webster's dictionary imply this, while others (especially those under the heading of Philosophy) come closer to the metaphysical.
"All is mind. Then the things that appear must be expressions of mind. Thus mind is reality, and it also appears as phenomena. . . . Being . . . has all possibilities, including that of breaking forth from its inherencies into the realm of appearances. Mind has these two sides, being and appearance, the visible and the invisible. To say that mind is all and yet deny that things do appear to have any place in the allness is to state but half the truth" (Prosperity 27).
Existence is the outer appearance of our forming or assembling of Mind substance, drawn from Being (God), into the forms or shapes desired. This work is done through our formative power of thought (conscious thinking and subconscious feeling). What we do in the outer is always in a state of becoming. Thus our world is relative, existence -- "standing forth from" -- while God's world of Spirit is the Absolute—Being or original source.
Ideas are, because they have their being in God. Our thinking and speaking bring our concept (whether perfect or imperfect) of the idea into our human experience. We can never change being, or reality, but it is our privilege to change our wrong concept of conditions or things that exist when they do not measure up to the reality. This is done through denial (erasing the negative belief) and affirmation (appropriating the divine idea or reality).
If we would enjoy an existence of fulfillment, peace, joy, happiness, health, and abundance, then we must look to God for His inspiration in bringing forth reality (being). We must come to the inevitable conclusion that we exist only because God is. However, the conditions of our outer existence depend upon two things: our awareness of our relationship to God, and the use we make of the powers with which we have been endowed. If we base our program for living upon the shifting, limited concepts of the unenlightened human consciousness, our existence will be unstable, limited, and narrow. But if our pattern of life is based upon the ideas that make up our divine inheritance -- life, love, faith, power -- then our existence will manifest stability, success, fulfillment, and all forms of goodness.
Preceding Entry: Read John I and relate it to God's spoken word, "Let there be," in Genesis I. To what particular phase of the creative process does each chapter refer?
Following Entry: How do we bring into existence (visibility or manifestation) the good we desire?