Series 2 - Lesson 5 - Annotation 11
What is "the flesh"?
11. What is termed "the flesh" is also an error state of consciousness which has been formed because of the wrong thought about the substance that clothes the soul — that which forms manifest man. If there is but one substance out of which all creation has come forth, then what is termed "flesh" must be this same substance in the form of the physical body. However, men have tried to blame things outside of themselves for their failures, for their inability to meet many temptations, and it has been easier to blame "the flesh" for their own shortcomings. As the "temple of the living God" our body could not possibly tempt us to do wrong. With understanding we are able to correct the state of mind that prompted the body into wrong habits.
When we suffer imperfection in body through illness or false habits, we cannot blame "the flesh" for the condition. With the wrong attitude about "the flesh" we may become negligent in the care of the body, even to the point of the self-mortification of the ascetic. With the right attitude toward the body, we make the changes in consciousness that will enable It to manifest as the temple of God rather than something to be denied and looked down on. We are able to overcome our wrong concept of "the flesh" only as we seek for understanding of the relationship of the phases of our threefold nature — spirit, soul, body.