Chapter 07—Individuality and Personality
In the following audio and transcripts, Vera Dawson Tait provides commentary on the Correspondence School Annotations for Emilie Cady's Lessons in Truth.
083 Terminology of inviduality and personality
Well, I believe you have noticed that the chapters up until this one for lesson seven we are going to start today have moved along in quite sequential, so that you find a logical movement of the steps that you and I need in coming to the understanding of how we are going to unfold ourselves spiritually.
This chapter, which is titled Personality and Individuality, seems as it were to stop those steps, but the reason for it is this. It has been found, and apparently at the time that this book was prepared, that people should understand a little bit about certain terms that are used in metaphysical teaching.
So, as I said before, the title of this chapter is Personality and Individuality. The greatest emphasis will be put upon those two words. However, in later copies of this book, as well as original copies, there are two other terms dealt with. One is thought transference and the other one is chemicalization. However, as no questions are covered for these two terms, all I will do at the end of the chapter is to refer to them, but in the meantime, even if you are reading the chapter ahead, take no notice of that part of the chapter that deals with these two terms. Now, we’re going to start then our chapter on Personality and Individuality.
084 What is evidence of the most advanced teaching?
Our first question reads this way, “What is evidence of the most advanced teaching?” As you read the opening paragraph of the chapter, you will come to the conclusion that there’s only one word and that word is simplicity. Certainly, any teaching, whether it be in music or in mathematics, must have simplicity at the root of its presentation of the various points or rules of any subject.
However, bear this in mind. If you were studying a subject that required very technical terms, you would be required to learn those terms, and then eventually, the expression of those particular terms would be simple to you, even though they may not be to another individual. So, bear that in mind.
Simplicity doesn’t always mean in words that anybody can understand, although that’s what we referred to in the Sermon on the Mount, but it does refer to the fact that the words must imply or embrace whatever the subject demands that you are studying or any individual is studying. So, what is an evidence of the most advanced teaching? We say simplicity.
Then I ask you this question, why? Because one should be able to present the principles of the subject that he’s dealing with in such a way that the individual listening is able to apply those principles. If words are given or expressions presented concerning principles that are not clear to the one who must apply them, then that is not simple.
However, as I said before, certain words or terms may be peculiar to a certain subject, and then they would be considered simple. I remember maybe years ago, one of the members of the correspondent school was studying on the side the subject of electricity, and he gave me one of his books to look at. Well, of course, I was completely dumbfounded. There were words I’ve never heard before.
I said, “This is so difficult.”
He smiled and he said, “Well, no, not for me because I had to learn the language of electricity first.”
That is what we find in the study of truth. There is actually a language, and that is why this chapter on Personality and Individuality, as I said, which includes also thought transference and chemicalization, is actually very important. Perhaps you’ve noticed that as we have gone along in our study so far in this book, certain words have had to be looked into, defined or explained, and that becomes part of our language. Shall I say the language of metaphysics?
If you and I move along in any teaching in a very easy way, then we find we are not confused. When it becomes necessary then to apply one of the principles of metaphysics, we are able to do it in an orderly way. Do you remember that I referred once to metaphysics as being so very mathematical? You will have already found this out, and if you have not, you find as the lessons progress, and there is an order and logical unfoldment of the various principles.
Have you ever thought of the word education? If you have not, you would find it very interesting to check the dictionary. You will find that it does not mean to put in from the outside, but actually, it means to draw out from the inside. Admit it that whatever is studied on the outside becomes very valuable, but what does it do? It draws from the inside that which we want to know about or that which we wish to be informed about.
It has been said that secular education actually informs man, but spiritual education should transform man. If somebody was teaching you to handle a certain machine, you would want him to move in a very easy way. You would want him to explain just how that machine works. You wouldn’t want him to say, “Do this, and do this, and do this,” and expect you to do it blindly, but you would expect him to tell you in a very clear and simply way.
As I said before, after a time, you might find that there are certain words that you’re picking up that are peculiar just to that particular machine or that type of power that you are handling. Yet, we must come back to the answer to this question as being simplicity. The evidence of the most advanced teaching is simplicity.
It is a very odd thing how sometimes an individual knowing very little about a subject is so eager to teach, but because he has not mastered the subject himself, often, he finds himself floundering into very complex phrases or even difficult words. If he really understood, then he would present it in a way that would make it easy for the beginner to grasp.
085 What constitutes the greatness of the Sermon on the Mount?
Our second question is very closely aligned to the first question, but it concerns the Sermon on the Mount. Let me read the question. “What constitutes, that is, what makes up the greatness of the Sermon on the Mount?” Now, can you say that there is, first of all, one answer here? Simplicity. That’s like our first question required, simplicity.
Now, the Sermon of the Mount then presents ideas or spiritual principles that the individual is able to handle. Have you ever thought of this that when you come across anything like the Sermon on the Mount or any great writing, you are only concerning yourself with it because you want a change in your life? You want to gain something from this message or whatever it may be. Therefore, you look to something that will tell you what to do.
Probably all of life today is asking, “What can we do? What can be done to make life more abundant?” So, the greatness of the Sermon of the Mount is concerned with the presentation of spiritual principles or laws, and their application. Now, remember, when we talk about ideas, we said they were the laws of God just as the promises of God are the laws of God, and they are the principles.
I’m coming back to this word principle again. Do you recall that we said it comes from the Latin principian, meaning beginning of beginnings. It is that from which some action starts. So, all of these ideas are laws of God, present an activity and that activity is going to produce a result. However, no principle and no law will ever work until you work. So, the application of a principle, a law or an idea is very valuable. The one who is going to use it must have spiritual education.
Let me read from the chapter. One of the greatest beauties of the Sermon on the Mount is the childlike simplicity of its language. Every child, every grown person be ever so uneducated, if he can read at all can understand it. Not a word in it requires the use of a dictionary. Not a sentence in it that does not tell away so plainly that, and to quote, “The unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err, therein.” This is from Isaiah 35:8.
It is an interesting thing to realize that when Jesus presented his Sermon on the Mount, it had one purpose, and that was to help the people. As the people listened, each one would take from the Sermon of the Mount that which referred to him.
Have you ever come across this statement? That a book is a thousand books, a sermon a thousand sermons, and we could probably say that the Sermon on the Mount is a million sermons or a million million because this beautiful presentation of the truths of life has had to meet the needs of human beings since the time that Jesus spoke these magical words on the mountain. As I said in the beginning, there are two important terms used especially in the Unity teachings that we are dealing with in this chapter.
086 Define personality
So, the third question reads very briefly, “Define personality.” I’d like you think back to the third lesson. You recall we had the illustration of a circle with a small circle in the center, and we said that though that small circle represents spirit, it is not small, but it is the aperture that enables the soul to look out into infinity.
Thinking of that circle, if you will, and then the larger circle, also consider the space between those two circles. We said this represents the soul or the human mind. Personality actually is, the soul plus that outer line which represents the body. In other words, the personality is the person, the human part or the external. So, you say to me, “Well, I can’t see the soul.” That is true. You can’t see your mind or your soul, but you can see the results come forth through thinking and feeling.
Therefore, the personality is, actually, as I said before, the soul or mind, plus the body because whatever is in the mind or soul will be expressed in the facial expressions, perhaps in every movement of an individual’s body. In the wonderful little book called What Are You, there is a reference there to personality that is very interesting, very brief. It says this, that, “Personality is the outside of the inside.” Now, remember, I can only show on the outside of me what I have been working with on the inside, on the soul part or in my mentality.
My soul or my mind uses the ideas that belong to the spiritual side of my nature, and then those ideas are expressed through my body and through my affairs. Sometimes individuals have the rather foolish belief that it doesn’t matter what they are thinking about another person, but have you ever realized that what you’re thinking shows very often on your face? Sometimes if a person is hurt, the expression comes right across his face or if he’s disgusted. Try if he will, it often shows on his face. That is what we call the personality, the outside of the inside.
There is another or rather, two more remarks that I find very interesting in this book, What Are You. One is that the personality is the observable form of your mental process. Doesn’t that make sense? That if you’re happy inside, there will be an observable appearance of it right on your face probably. Maybe your whole body seems full of joy. So, it is the observable form of your mental process.
Here is another thing to consider. Sometimes you and I don’t like this that the personality, and I’m still taking this from the book What Are You, could be considered the sum of form or thinking. However, let’s add something to this. We have already discussed the subject of denial, where we said it is possible for a person to definitely cleanse his mind of thinking that is not good. Then through the process of affirmations, he is able to build into his mind or soul consciousness that which is good. So, I could say instead of the words that appear in the book What Are You the sum of form or thinking, the sum of form or thinking including all that has been cleansed and all that has been built in to the soul consciousness. Doesn’t that make sense when we consider it that way?
Dr. Emmet Fox refers to personality as being the expression of the individuality on this plane, on the plane of visibility or phenomena. Personality is not something of itself. Now, bear that in mind. Throughout this chapter, Dr. Cady refers to strong personalities. As a matter of fact, we will have a question later on about being a fearful or timid as strong personalities, but this one thing I want you to bear in mind.
We have said that every individual is primarily a spiritual being. Therefore, as a spiritual being, there is none that can be stronger, but in the expression of this individuality or the spiritual part of a man’s nature, it is possible to build up a personality or an expression of this individuality that seems to override others. As a matter of fact, we could actually say that those in our world who have been dictators and tyrants have expressed their personality to such an extent that they have seemed to frighten other people or really, make slaves off them, but remember, it is only as we give in.
I distinctly remember one truth teacher saying once, “Wherever there is an oppressor, there will be the oppressed. Wherever there are the oppressed, there will be an oppressor.” In other words, sometimes one gives in as it were to personality, and it would almost seem from this chapter that Dr. Cady is trying to say that you must say there is no such a thing as a personality, but what she really means, and I think I’m right in saying this, is that no personality can ever be stronger than the Christ-self or the individuality.
Sometimes if you affirm, as Dr. Cady suggests in the chapter, that there’s no such a thing as this personality or this personality cannot overcome me, there is a tendency to bring a sense of separation between you and your fellowman, and that is the last thing that you want to do. When you can say, “I behold the Christ in you,” it means, “I behold the individuality in you.” You see, the word individuality that we’re going to deal with means undivided and we could say undivided from God.
So, when I feel that some personality is strong, I’m really not talking about that person as an individual. I am talking about him as a personality seeking to express in the best way he knows how at this time, some of the qualities that are his as the son of God. I may not like the way he’s expressing many of these qualities or ideas, but I must go beyond that which I see, and know that he is a spiritual being, then I do not build fear of him in my consciousness. I no longer think of him as a personality stronger than my own personality or stronger than my individuality.
087 Define individuality
Now, we come to the other important word of this chapter. However, this question is in two parts. First, define individuality, and then second, how do we cultivate and strengthen our consciousness, note that, of our individuality? I said before that individuality means that which is undivided. It is actually the very spirit of God in us. Once more, think of the threefold nature of man, and if you care, too, that illustration of the circle, and realize that the individuality is the first phase of your threefold nature.
May I read from the chapter? Individuality is the term used to denote the real man. That is the first phase of your threefold nature, and some of the words or terms we use are Christ within, I am the word or the indwelling Father. Now, let’s look in another part of the chapter. It says here, one’s individuality, the Christ-self that is, is that part of one that never changes its identity. It is the God-self. It is that which distinguishes one person from another.
Now, I want to take a little leeway with that particular statement. Actually, it is only in our individuality or our Christ-self that we are exactly like other people. We say, “We are all one in spirit,” and then the book says, “It is that which distinguishes one person from another,” but let us put it this way. The expression of the individuality through the personality is what distinguishes one person from another. Does that seem clear to you?
I am the same as you in spirit. We are all sons of God with equal inheritances, and yet, the way in which we individually handle this inner or spiritual side of our nature makes us seem different. One person may seem rather grave. Another may seem very light, and another may seem very peaceful, and another very enthusiastic, but each one is seeking in his own way according to his own soul unfoldment to express this individuality or Christ-self.
Now, this is also interesting, found in the same paragraph. One’s personality may become like that of others with whom one associates. Individuality never changes. The only thing we could say about individuality is because it never changes, it is always that nature of God in you and me that remains the same, but our personality could become like others. You see, ethnic groups become very much the same. People living together often begin to express the same type of ideas. Sometimes they express the same customs. People in different countries will still seem to express something that is like the group with which they are concerned.
So, think of your individuality as the pure perfect power that is coming forth from God, and think of your personality as the pipeline that allows it to express in the world. In this book, which I referred, What Are You, the author says something to the effect that the personality doesn’t influence us. Now, that is not strictly true. We are very much influenced by the personality of others, and oh, what a wonderful thing it is when the personality of another person shines forth with his individuality or Christ-self and we are affected by this.
That is why throughout the whole history of mankind, men have found it good to study or read about or hear about those who have done wonderful things in the world. All of us seek to follow Jesus Christ. That is why we refer to him as our way shore. All of us seek to follow that, which will bring a greater amount of happiness in our own lives, and are we not drawn to those who will help us in this way? Unfortunately, those who do not have any kind of an ideal to follow very often follow those who are not expressing the fullness of individuality, and then, of course, problems enter into their lives.
Let’s look at the second part of our question. “How do we cultivate and strengthen our consciousness?” Now, I believe I mentioned before that the word how really requires you to give either the method or the manner in which something is done. How do we cultivate and strengthen our consciousness of individuality? There’s really only one direct way, and that is through prayer, but it’s very easy to say prayer, and just leave it at that.
Actually, you and I have to do a good deal of seeking even many times before we enter into prayer. When we know what it is we really want, then we can pray. Do you remember when we discussed the subject of denial? We said that while denial may be the first step, we have to know what it is that we want. If I don’t know why I want to cleanse my mind, then there’s not much use giving a denial. It is very much the same with the cultivation and strengthening of our consciousness of the Christ-self or the individuality.
I have to know why. So, therefore, I must come back to my first premise, God is the one creator and the father of all, and then close upon that premise comes the truth. I am a spiritual being. I must know then that my individuality is my true self. So, how do I cultivate my thought of it? Remember, I do not cultivate my individuality, that is my Christ-self, but I cultivate my thinking and feeling about it. See, thinking and feeling make up my consciousness.
So, I said in the beginning, prayer, but I have to know why I’m going to pray. I have to know that there is within me this image likeness of God, so when I turn to him in a sense I say, “Father, help me to get a better understanding that I am a spiritual being.” Then as I become quiet, I begin to think about many things. Perhaps there are flashes into my consciousness the thought, “Well, you were very greedy today,” or “You’re very envious today,” or “You were fearful and anxious today,” and then I realized that this no way to allow my individuality or Christ-self to come forth because envy and greed and fear and anxiety cause obstructions as it were in the consciousness, so the individuality or Christ-self cannot come forth.
If we were to place a seed in the ground and put very, very heavy stones around that seed, it is true that the seed would seek with all its might to come forth and reach the light because that would be its function. Yet, if we encrusted it with so much that made it impossible for that seed to come forth, then it would probably wither.
Sometimes that’s exactly what happens to your life and mine. We have so many rocks of negation in our consciousness that the individuality or Christ-self cannot come through. Through denial then, I begin to cleanse these wrong thoughts. Instead of thinking, “Oh, I’m only a physical being. I’m only flesh and blood. I’m subject to this personality or that personality.” Instead of that then, I begin to affirm, “I am a spiritual being. I am not subject to anything less than the guidance of God.” Can you see how eventually I begin to strengthen my thinking and my feeling about my divine self?
As a matter of fact, as you begin to consider the truth teachings, and especially the Unity teachings, you will find that the theme that goes throughout the entire gamete of our teaching is you are a spiritual being. We take for granted that you have already recognized God as the source of your life, but to know, “I am a spiritual being,” becomes the first true step toward my spiritual unfoldment. So, can you see how important it is that I cultivate in my thinking and feeling the thought that I am a spiritual being? It used the word strengthen. I wondered a little about that.
Strength, of course, is so closely allied to faith. If faith perceives that I am a spiritual being, I have to have the kind of strength that can stand firm in the face of anything that may come in to me, any experience that may come in to my life. To be able to stand strong and firm in the face of many of the experiences that we as human beings have to meet is certainly a tremendous feet. Jesus, it seems to me, gave us all of the instructions how we were to do this very thing.
I suppose Jesus’ emphasis upon trust in God is part and parcel of the strengthening of our realization that we are spiritual beings. Now, it could be that you won’t use the word individuality a great deal throughout the teachings, but you will know what you mean. You will find in all of the Unity literature reference to the Christ within, the real self, the I am or the word, but if you know that these are terms that refer to our individuality, it will help you greatly in strengthening the consciousness of your spiritual nature.
088 Explain what John the Baptist and Jesus Christ represent
The fifth question reads this way, “Explain what John the Baptist and Jesus Christ represent.” This may seem rather strange to have a question such as this entering into a chapter dealing with certain terms. As we begin to explain it, you will see the common sense of this question. Do you recall the story of John? Do you recall how he was a promised son, and a cousin to Jesus? One of the most interesting things to realize about John is that as a promised son, he, too, had a mission just as Jesus Christ had a mission.
John, if you recall, asked people to repent. He tried to live the moral life to the very highest that he knew. Many times, the personality, having been cleansed by that which is not good and having been build up with a new idea of the spiritual nature of every man becomes very moral to such an extent that it might seem very harsh in its approach. In the story of John the Baptist, you may feel that he seems very harsh.
This is often the very thing that happens to you and me when we first come in to a study of truth. We want to become truly sons of God in expression even as we are in truth, that we try almost too hard, but there is nothing wrong with this. The moral expression of truth is very necessary in your life and mine.
Let me read from the book. John the Baptist represents the illumined intellect. Now, what do we say the intellect was? It is your thinking faculty. Then notice this, the highest development of human consciousness. Isn’t that wonderful? That was why I said before that probably next to the gift of God’s own nature in each one of us, thinking is certainly the most marvelous gift that God has given to us. Let me repeat this sentence. John the Baptist represents the illumined intellect, the highest development of human consciousness.
I’m still going to read from the book. We may think of him as standing for personality. One of the things that he’s brought out in the Unity correspondence course is that John the Baptist also represents conscience. You see, a conscience is the voice of the soul. It is that that says, “Now, don’t do this or something dreadful will occur.” It is that which warns. Throughout Mr. Fillmore’s teachings of the bible, he has brought out others that he felt represented in the bible the conscience.
Now, remember, conscience very often has to do with the moral side of our life, but the Christ in you and me represents the very voice of God or intuition explaining to each one of us why we should follow a certain way. This is the way walk ye in it. So, it is good that John should be called the forerunner. Until my thinking faculty is cleansed and until my thinking faculty is given something with which to work, actually, I’m not ready to accept the greater truth.
So, in the beginning, all of us will often meet this thought that we must be very moral and we must do certain things that are often ritualistic, but it is good because it becomes part of the discipline and training of the human self. However, the individuality doesn’t warn us against anything. The individuality, as I said, says to each one of us, “This is the right way.” Individuality then works through the conscience or the John the Baptist.
Let us read again from the book where it refers to Jesus. Jesus typifies the divine self or individuality. Notice this. John, recognizing the superiority of Jesus, said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Now, there are those who feel that we get rid of conscience, we get rid of morality, but we don’t because morality has to do, if you will check the dictionary, with the highest standards of human conduct. Don’t you and I want the highest standards of human conduct?
However, we don’t want our conduct done only from a sense of morality. We want it done from a sense of spiritual revelation that may work through the moral laws or customs. That is why sometimes an individual from one country may go to another, and he is either shocked by the customs of that country or he would seek to impress or really insist upon customs from his own country.
We cannot do that. We must go by the indwelling revelation that comes to each one of us. What may seem immoral to one may be high morality to another. So, each of us has only one standard, and that is the Christ within. That is why we say that Jesus represents this inner or individual part of every man. Jesus Christ, himself, the way shore, tells us how to find the way.
Have you ever thought of this that what might be right for a child of 10 to do is very childish for an adult to do? From a moral standpoint, we might say, “Well, that is perfectly right for the child and wrong for the adult.” There are many things that you and I do in our life that really begin to broaden as we broaden in our understanding of life and its laws.
John the Baptist, as a promised son, also represents denial. Isn’t that an interesting thought? Because John the Baptist sought to have people get rid of many of the, shall I say hard, fixed policies or should I say religious approaches that were necessary before they could accept the Messiah? This does not mean that we are trying to do a way with any of the wonderful rights and ceremonies that have been the very pillars upon which men have built through the eons of time. Man needs many things in the outer, but when he once finds the inner, some of those things may go. There are certain sacraments of the church that are so beautiful, but if we look upon the sacrament as being the real, then we perhaps lose out.
So, we seek to do as John the Baptist did, to erase from our consciousness that which would cause an obstruction in the acceptance of what Jesus Christ as representing the individuality has to say to us. John said to the people, “Repent.” Have you ever thought of the word repent and the word penitence? Sometimes with the penitence, you will find that it means merely, well, you’re sorry for something that you’ve done, but to repent is something different.
It may be sorrow for what you have done that is not right, but it means immediately you will change your conduct. It means that whatever you have done that is not good, you will cease that, and you will begin to do the thing that is right. So, John sought then to have people repent and move along in the right way. Then and only then could the teaching of the indwelling Christ as represented by Jesus Christ in his ministry come along and fill the empty spaces that have been washed away.
If a person merely repents and then does not change his consciousness, then he lays himself open to many things. He may not know which way to go. We have had in our world religions that have said, “Oh, don’t do this and don’t do that,” but they haven’t at the same time told us what to do. We feel that if we can’t follow the teaching of Jesus Christ, then this intuition or this voice of God within is saying, “This is the way. You’ve got yourself all cleaned up. Now, this is the way to follow.”
To close this portion of our lesson, I’d like to say this that when the personality is unillumined, it has not recognized the individuality, then we stand in danger of building into consciousness pride, fear, and all manner of selfishness and anxiety and so forth because we listen to voices outside instead of to the voice of intuition inside, which, of course, is the voice of individuality.
089 Give some of the ways in which we may improve our personality
We have covered two of the important points in chapter seven, which is titled Personality and Individuality. Now, our last six questions come to ideas that have to do with both personality and individuality. Our six questions read in this way, “Give some of the ways in which we may improve,” now, notice that word, “our personality, so that it becomes a fit instrument,” now, actually, that word instrument is the key of this question, “for the expression of individuality.”
Now, if you and I use our commonsense and we say, “My personality is the outside of the inside,” then we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the way in which we can improve our personality so that it is a fit instrument or vehicle for individuality is to change our present thinking and feeling. If there’s any need for change, we are assuming in spiritual teaching that it is because there is a need to move up from that which is negative or limited to that which is positive.
Naturally, and an overall answer to this question, we would probably say by prayer, but that’s such a general thing. So, we know that in order to improve our personality, we are going to, first of all, look into our thinking and feeling, and see what needs changing, and that means, of course, that we’re going to consider denial of that which is not good, and affirmation for that which we want to take the place of the beliefs or thoughts that we have been holding in the personality.
Now, I told you that the keyword, really, is instrument. Any instrument that is needed to express music in its highest and best form has to be tuned. If it is a piano, it has to be tuned in a certain way. If it is a stringed instrument, it must be tuned in a certain way, and if it is an instrument of any kind, whether it be a brass instrument or a reed instrument, all of us know that there has to be a tuning up to a certain standard.
Therefore, if individuality represents that which is the highest and best in me, my divine self or my Christ-self, then my personality, which we’ve already said is the outside of the inside, which is in other words my soul and my body functioning together, then I know that I must tune up the personality, so that the individuality may express all of the divine ideas that are necessary to fulfill my life to the highest, and also to fulfill my purpose for being here upon this Earth plane.
Let me look at page 91 and read a few words from this particular paragraph on that page. We cultivate personality in which lived pride, fear of criticism and all manner of selfishness by listening to the voices outside ourselves, and being governed by selfish motives instead of by the highest within us.
Now, if you take that sentence as it is written, you will imagine that the personality is entirely negative, and given over to negative emotions of every kind. However, we could read that sentence again in this way. We must change the personality in which in its enlightened state have lived pride, fear of criticism and all manner of selfishness. You see?
So, this is what you and I are interested in, in improving our personality or cultivating it into the highest possible way. Now, I’m still going to read from the book. Seek always to cultivate or to bring into visibility individuality, not personality. Now, even that sentence I would like to amend and say, cultivate individuality, not the limited beliefs and thoughts of personality because in order to improve the personality, I have to cultivate all of the marvelous ideas that lie in my divine self, which we are calling in this particular chapter individuality.
Now, one thing that is very interesting to remember is a statement that’s made in the book, and let me read also from that one. Personality applies to the human part of you, the person, the external. Now, listen to this sentence. It belongs to the region governed by the intellect. Do you remember that in our third lesson, when we spoke of the threefold nature of men, we said that the soul can both think and feel? We know very well that our soul, our body, and our affairs are definitely affected by our thinking. So, it’s quite right to say then that the personality is governed by the intellect or the thinking faculty because at whatever we begin to think about, good, bad or indifferent eventually becomes a feeling, and then the feeling becomes either good, bad or indifferent according to the character of the original thinking.
Therefore, it’s very easy for you and me to realize that in order to make our personality, remember, this is the mind and the body, a fit instrument for the expression of the Christ-self or the individuality, we must start with the thinking. Probably, that is one of the greatest themes of the Unity teaching, and undoubtedly, of all truth teachings, that it is the thinking that you and I are going to start with.
Do you recall once more in our lesson on the threefold nature of men that we said that the soul is the self-consciousness, the chooser of ideas and the user of ideas. Naturally, the tools that you and I choose with and use with are the tools of both thinking and feeling.
As you read this chapter then and you find certain remarks made to the personality as though it were all wrong, remember that one little word put in there, either the word unenlightened or unillumined will make a difference in your reading. Just know that your personality as the outside of the inside has to be a perfect instrument for the expression of that marvelous power of God and all the attributes of God.
If you were to think of a light, whether it be a candle with a globe over it or an electric light with a globe, think of the globe as being the personality. Now, you know as well as I do that if the globe that is surrounding a light, either a candle or electricity, is dirty. Well, the light cannot come through in its fullness. Therefore, you and I know that in order for the globe of our being, which could be our personality, to allow the full light of the spirit to come through, it must be clean. We have been learning that the process of denial will begin to cleanse all that is not good from our personality or from our soul consciousness, and then we can begin the building because the building of the truth in ourselves comes under the heading of the process of affirmation.
Now, does it seem clear to you now that you are not getting rid of personality? You are rather allowing the personality to take its proper place in your life as that which will allow the light of God to come through. Too often in our truth teaching, there seem to be an indication that we had to get rid of personality. So, disabuse your mind from that entirely. If the light, whether it be electricity or a candle or a lamp of any kind did not have the glass or the globe that is there to diffuse the light, then eventually, the full purpose of that lamp or whatever it may be would be lost. Therefore, the glass or the globe becomes a great necessity, and the same with your life and mine.
Sometimes we hear both truth teachers and truth students say, “Oh, I’ve got to get rid of the personality. I’ve got to get rid of the person and let God come through.” What is God going to come through? So, do you realize now that your personality is the instrument that must be lifted to end of degree to be a perfect channel for the expression of your individuality?
090 How may we handle the emotions of fear and timidity?
Our seventh question has to do with the emotions of fear and timidity. You know, of course, that such emotions are only in the personality and which, of course, means in the soul consciousness. Now, let me read the entire question. “How may we handle the emotions of fear and timidity that sometimes arise in the presence of an aggressive personality?”
One of the most interesting things for you and I to remember is that when a question says, “How?” it means the manner or method. So, it shows then at the outset that there is a way in which you and I can handle these emotions of fear and timidity. As you know, the subconscious phase of the mind or of the soul is called the feeling nature. That is the place or should I say the realm where emotions are built up, emotions of love, and strength, and peace, and so forth, and also, the emotions of fear and timidity, and anxiety.
So, therefore, we know that we are going to have to cleanse that deeper part of our consciousness, which we call the subconscious. This cannot be done by some technical way. It is a very definite movement of your consciousness of mind. It means that our will must decide, and then through the conscious space of mind, which is the thinking, we decide what we want to do. We decide whether we have to use denial or whether we use affirmation or whether we use both.
Now, this is something to consider in this particular question. It says, “These particular emotions that sometimes arise in the presence of an aggressive personality.” Actually, the aggressive personality, no matter who it may be, is not giving fear and timidity to you and me. We are accepting these emotions. We are allowing these emotions to generate within ourselves.
I remember some years ago a teacher saying, “Nobody can ever give you a fence. You must take it.” Isn’t that very true? Nobody can give me fear. Nobody can make me timid, but if I do not have enough of the truth upon which to stand, fear can come in, and then timidity, and I imagine that some other personality is stronger than I am.
Actually, that other personality may have nothing to do with fear, may not even want to make you and me timid, but somehow we have allowed it. In many cases, we could say that it’s because of a sense of inferiority. We have not yet recognized our own true worth. If this individual seems to be stirring up fear and timidity within us, then we better look in ourselves and see exactly what is wrong because there could be no response within us from that other individual if there were not already fear and timidity finding its establishment in our consciousness.
So, we, first of all, look within ourselves. We could say in a general way that we handle the emotions of fear and timidity in the presence of an aggressive personality first by knowing the truth. Sometimes we have to face ourselves first and then know the truth. We have to say, “Well, this can’t be true that this individual can make me afraid or make me feel very timid until I’m almost unable to do the things that come to my hand to do.”
Then having faced that, I begin to look more clearly into the truth. In other words, I know the truth, and I say, “There is only one father.” Then I must know that all persons are one with that father. Therefore, I am one with every individual. Have you ever stopped to think about this, that sometimes what appears to you and me to be a strong personality may actually be a person with more fear and timidity that we have at that particular moment?
It might be an individual with a deep-seated inferiority complex himself or herself until he’s building up something to bolster himself, and then you and I sometimes bow down to that which is actually an inferiority complex rather than a superiority complex because one of our questions will deal about one who is actually superior because he has recognized his own inner true self.
You and I find that we have to do the necessary denial that will enable us to confront as it were this personality without being thrown off balance, without adding more fear than we already have, and certainly, without adding timidity.
Now, if you read the chapter very carefully, you might get hold of the idea from what Dr. Cady says that the best is to affirm that there is no such a personality as this one. I tell you right now that one of the safest ways is to work in love because if you work too much on this particular way of handling your own emotions, there is a tendency to separate yourself from other people. The very title of this organization is Unity, and we seek for conscious awareness of unity with God and conscious awareness of unity with men.
So, I say to you that, actually, to work with love is your safest plan. You will pray then. You will pray both that God’s love and God’s understanding may come through you. Do you know one thing that will happen to you? Suddenly, you will feel a tremendous compassion, and even if this other strong personality seems to be pressing you down, that compassion will rise up until nothing but love will come from your heart.
Now, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to fight against this personality, neither does it mean that you’re going to give in, but you may say, “Suffer it to be so now.” If that individual seems to want you to do something that appears, I won’t say wrong, but appears unjust to you at the moment, if you will start that particular activity, whatever that one asks you to do, with a sense of love and compassion, you will be amazed how all fear and timidity will leave you.
It is one thing to deny that there is no strong personality pressuring me or there is no strong personality that has any influence over me, but it is a much wiser thing after you’ve done a little of your denial work to begin to affirm your oneness in spirit.
Let me read from a paragraph toward the end of this chapter. Always remember that God has need of you through whom in some special manner to manifest himself, some manner for which he cannot use any other organ. You may not realize this, but there might be times when somebody is suffering, and yet the only way he can be released from that thing that is bothering him may be to lash out at you and you feel that this is a strong personality seeking to press itself upon you.
However, remember, you stand there as the very organ through whom God’s love, God’s power, God’s faith, and probably above all, God’s understanding may come through. We know that our world has met with tyranny and domination. Many countries have so suffered, and yet the very souls who are doing the dominating and doing the tyranny are the very ones that need above all things our love and our understanding.
It never means that you and I agree with the negative acts that these individuals may be perpetuating, but it does mean that there must be more understanding and more love, and more strength to know that God is in-charge in spite of what any strong personality seems to be doing at the time.
091 Should we ever feel afraid in the presence of a truly great person?
Now, to our eighth question, “Should we ever feel afraid in the presence of a truly great person?” Now, when we say a truly great person, we mean a personality that has been so cleansed that the individuality is coming through as love, as understanding, as joy, as peace, and as compassion. You see from this that we are not doing away with personality. Therefore, if this is true, the answer to our question is no. We should never feel afraid in the presence of a truly great person.
Let me read from the book. You never have a similar feeling in the presence of strong individuality. Individuality in another not only produces in you an admiration for its superiority, but it also gives you when you are in its presence a strange new sense of your own inherit possibilities, a sense that is full of exhilaration and comfort, and encouragement to you. Then it goes on to say, this is because a pronounced individuality simply means more of God come forth into visibility through a person, and we could say through a personality.
Now, isn’t this true? Have you not been in the presence of someone that seems to bring out you so much admiration and such a wonderful sense of your own greatness? I remember very distinctly a newspaperman coming back from Europe one time and writing articles on his trip there. One thing that impressed me was this. He spoke of a man that the world considered great at that time in his own country. He said, “When that man came in to the room where you were, suddenly, you seem to grow taller even before the man spoke a word.
Surely, you and I could say that it was the expression of the individuality coming through a personality that had already been prepared as a fit instrument for what we call the qualities of the individuality. Therefore, we know that the personality does have an influence. If the personality is not filled with these qualities that belong to our Christ-self or our true nature, then it will be filled with these emotions of fear and timidity and anxiety, and there will be a response on our part, either the response of negation when we build fear and timidity within ourselves or the response of love and compassion.
Now, in the case of a great person that it says, and this person may not have this greatness as far as the world is concerned, but great in his own life, what do you feel? We feel the influence of goodness. We feel the influence of upliftment and encouragement. After all, that is what you and I are seeking. We seek encouragement from God, and when that encouragement comes through an individual, our admiration for that one is very great. Therefore, we could not possibly feel afraid in the presence of a truly great person.
For one thing, a person who has really tried to cleanse his personality to such an extent that more of the individuality can come through has nothing but love for his fellowmen. You will find throughout the Unity teachings the tendency to say, “Once you know the fatherhood of God, you will understand the brotherhood of men.”
You and I are told to love our brothers, but until we know that there is one father of all, sometimes it’s very hard for us to do that in the outer, but when we understand that there is but one father and the individuality expressing through each person is but an expression of that God presence, then it is not as difficult. We do not let color, race, nationality or even religion stand in the way. All we are conscious of is greatness coming through an individual.
Some of you may be familiar with words of Rudyard Kipling, “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” Unfortunately, these words of Kipling have often been stopped right there, but if you recall, the poet goes on to say, “But when two strong men meet, whether they come from the ends of the Earth, that’s really all that matters.”
You and I could say the same that East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet except when they come through the understanding of one God and one brotherhood, and then there is a meeting of souls. It has nothing whatever to do with race, color or creed. It becomes just this meeting of two souls who have recognized, as I said before, the one fatherhood of God.
Therefore, coming back to our question, if you and I should feel afraid in the presence of a truly great person, then the fault lies within ourselves. It could be that if we do feel afraid, we have a sense of inferiority. Once more, we must turn within and face ourself and see what it is that we need changing because if this individual appears to give us any sense of fear, then we may be very certain that it lies within our own mind, within our own soul.
092 What is meant by the still small voice I Kings 19:12?
Now, let me read question nine, “What is meant by the still small voice?” Of course, this quotation from scripture is found in 1 Kings 19:12. One thing that is good for you to remember as you’re studying anything in Unity is that the still small voice is intuition. It is the voice of God speaking to the individual soul. Imagine, again, the circle that was used as an illustration in the third lesson. You have your large circle, then you have that small circle inside.
Imagine, if you will, that a voice comes from that small circle, and it speaks to that which is in between the small circle and the outer rim. This is the voice of God or the voice of intuition. Actually, the word intuition, meaning to look within, means our inner teacher or tutor. It is the voice of God saying to each one of us, “This is the way. Walk ye in it.” You remember we referred to the voice of conscience when we spoke of John the Baptist and the voice of conscience warns us. It is the voice of morality.
The voice of God or the still small voice is that which points out the true way for you and me to go. I would like to give you a few words from Charles Fillmore’s book, Jesus Christ Heals. It’s found on page 33. He says there that this voice, referring, of course, to the still small voice, is not a voice. It is the voice using words that are not words. Yet, its language is more definite and certain than that of words and sounds because it has none of their limitations.
Isn’t that an interesting thought to consider? That God’s voice is not a human voice, and of course, you and I know that. Yet, that voice will use words that are not human words. I suppose the reason for this is that as the voice of God speaks to us, it is really more a sense of impression. Naturally, God must speak to us in the ways that our soul can understand. If I understand only French, does that mean God speaks to me in French? If I understand only English, does that mean God speaks to me in English?
You see, God being the creator of all would not speak through any one language and yet his speaking is such that it is interpreted in the language that every individual needs. Now, bear in mind that the still small voice is the voice of intuition, the voice of God speaking to the individual soul or the individual mind.
There are times when God speaks to you and me and we’re not even conscious of words, but we’re conscious of a deep, inner peace. Remember that a sense of wellbeing may not always be expressing to you and me in definite words what we should do, but we find that when we leave the silence, our times of prayers and have to meet the experiences of everyday, the answer comes, and then it comes perhaps in words that we thoroughly understand.
There is something so wonderful about the guidance that comes through the still small voice. It is because there is never any mistake. Probably if ordinary words were used always, we might misunderstand.
Now, remember this, though. Many times, the still small voice can speak to us in the words of another individual or in the words of a book, a song or a poem. Sometimes you and I can merely be observing nature, and we could almost feel as if God is speaking to us and telling us that we are part of his universe. Does it matter in which way God speaks so long as you and I understand? I think not because to you and me, the voice of God can only give that which is needful for us at any given time?
There may be a time in my life when I am in a sense of desperation that the answer may be nothing but, “Peace, my child. Peace,” and it may not come in those words, but I so interpret them. At another time, when I want an answer to a very important decision, and I may be seeking to know just what shall I do, and suddenly, somebody says something, and instantly, just like a flash, I know what to do. Is that not the voice of God?
I have not received my answer from that individual. I have received it from God through that individual. Sometimes you may not even be thinking of an answer that you are seeking to some particular problem. You pick up a newspaper, you pick up a book, and suddenly, a phrase says something. It may not be the answer, but you see what it does? It starts a chain of thought in your mind, and through that one phrase or one sentence, your mind begins to pick up something, and suddenly, you know the answer. It came not from the book or from the newspaper. It came from God, but he used these outer things as channels for his speaking to you, and there was never any doubt in your mind of his answer. The still small voice is that wonderful voice of intuition speaking to your soul in just the way that you alone can understand.
093 Are you necessary to God? Explain
Now, we come to our last question of this particular chapter. It is not a long one, but after finishing this question, I want to deal, as I told you, with the other two points that we handled just very briefly, thought transference and chemicalization. Now, here is our 10th question, “Are you necessary to God? Explain.”
I have already read a little from the end of this chapter, but I’m going to repeat a little of that again. These are the last two paragraphs of this chapter. If you are inclined to wilt before strong personalities, always remember that God has need of you through whom in some special manner to manifest himself, some manner for which he cannot use any other organ. What need have you to quail before any person no matter how important? However humble your place in life, however unknown to the world you may be, however small your capabilities may seem at present to you, you are just as much a necessity to God in his efforts to get himself into visibility as is the most brilliant intellect, the most thoroughly cultured person in the world. Remember this always and act from the highest within you.
So, when we go back to our question, “Are you necessary to God?” our answer is yes. When we say, “Why?” there is our answer that God has need of us just where we are. Let us remember that each one of us is a channel for the expression and the manifestation of life, love, power, strength, joy, happiness, all of the ideas that make up the nature of God. I think if you will consider the threefold nature of men once more, there, you have your answer that in order for all of these qualities of God invested in spiritual man to come forth in the world of visibility, then every individual is necessary.
094 Thought transference
When Dr. H. Emilie Cady first wrote the articles that finally became known in one book as Lessons in Truth, she included in this particular chapter that we are dealing with today two important points. The first one thought transference, and the other, chemicalization. However, some years ago, probably 20 years ago, when Unity was republishing this book in another issue, it was decided that it might be wise to leave out anywhere between nine and 10 paragraphs that dealt with these two subjects.
Through the years, however, teachers and students alike have felt that it was a good thing to handle these two points. Now, there are one or two ideas brought out that you might feel a little bit disturbed about, but let that go because I’m going to try and explain these points to you.
If you should have what we call the deluxe copy of Lessons in Truth, first published in 1967, you will find that the paragraphs formally deleted in issues has been reinstated. Even if you do not have a copy of Lessons in Truth with these paragraphs, I want you to give some attention to what I’m going to read, and I’m doing it directly from the chapter with these paragraphs.
You will often see the words thought transference. This simply means the sending of thought from one person’s mind to another without using either written or audibly spoken words. Then the other paragraphs follow, and there is one thing that is mentioned, and that is a certain illustration that if a person wanted to try out this business of thought transference, he could close his eyes, call the name of a person, and say to him, “Come out here to me. Come out to me. Come out to me.”
However, the paragraph that follows this says definitely that we cannot use this power for anything less than good. So, I would say to you that if you are convinced of thought transference, you let that thought of the illustration go and listen to the next part that I’m going to read. You have no moral right to use the power of thought transference to cause anyone to carry out any plan, which you may make for them.
You may think your neighbor rich, and may silently send him thoughts to give something good to some good cause in which you are interested or to some poor person justifying yourself by saying, “This is not selfish. I do not want him to give to me, and it must be right for me to help others.” You may feel justified in silently sending your thought into another’s mind to cause him to go to prayer meeting or some other good place because you desire him to lead a moral, upright life.
Beware how you use this power of thought transference on your neighbor for any such specific purpose, though it may seem to your mortal mind as though the thing you want him to do is the only right thing for him. Now, listen to this. It’s very good. You cannot know, for only the spirit within a man can know for himself. You have no right to interpose yourself between him and the God in his own soul, no right to steal silently into the inner portals of his beings to turn him one way or another. If you do so, remember the wrong you thus do another will invariably react upon yourself.
Now, you may wonder why I felt it’s important enough even though this is not a question to refer to this. Probably you have already found out the reason. Sometimes in our desire to help others, we would unconsciously seek to dominate or even to tyrannize over another. Even in such a thing as prayer, we have to be very careful. Do you notice it said that you have no right to silently steal into someone’s inner portals? In other words, you and I have no right to attempt, and this would certainly be through our personality to force anything upon another individual.
However, the beauty of the thought of this subject is that if I hold thoughts of love and truth and peace and understanding, they can be transferred. Every thought that I hold that is of the highest is added to the world, and the world is that better off. So, in that sense, my thought transference becomes a very marvelous thing. It is only when I try to get too specific either in the thing that is good or the thing that is not good, where the danger so often lies.
There is a thought sometimes on the part of individuals that it is possible to direct a negative, shall I say thought to another that can hurt him, and that is true, but remember this. If that other individual is sufficiently insulated, it doesn’t get into him. Have you not have the experience of a person that feels very much irritated, very much frustrated, and at that particular time of the day, you’re feeling quite happy and that person as we often say, “Let’s loose on you,” but it doesn’t bother you a bit because at that particular time, you’re well-insulated, but perhaps another time when you yourself are a little down in consciousness, you might take on what he says or what he has even thought.
Have you ever stopped to think that just the movement of a person’s eyelids, just the movement of his chin sometimes can convey to you exactly what he’s thinking? Many individuals, “Why, so and so passed me on the street. He just ignored me,” and maybe that other individual was so taken up with the problem that was facing him that he passed his friend with no sense of ignoring him, but just because his mind was otherwise occupied.
So, you see, you and I are so much more affected by the thoughts of other people than we are actually aware of. A person may say nothing at one particular time in our life when we have need of help and yet, we just look at that individual and we know what he’s thinking because there is such a look of peace and understanding.
So, the study of thought transference is really very important. As long as you and I don’t try to become too specific, this one thing I would like to bring out about the work of Silent Unity never has Silent Unity been specific in its answers to those who have asked for prayers. It has never said, “You must go and do so and so. You must go and tell so and so that and so.” It has said to the individual that, “You must help yourself to have a new view toward this situation or toward this person.”
Even if a person writes in and says, “Oh, please pray that my son stop doing this or that negative thing.” Silent Unity does not say, “Yes, we will pray for your son to stop doing that particular act,” but it says, “We will pray for your son that he will reach to the inner part of his own being and find the answer to his own particular problem, that he may be guided from within.” Actually, the prayer becomes as much a prayer for the one who is concerned as it does for the one who is doing an act of which a person could not approve.
Now, that’s all I wanted to say on this subject of thought transference, but you can give it much consideration yourself, and whatever you read in the chapter, you must interpret from the very highest standpoint.
Now, to the subject of chemicalization. An illustration is given in the chapter, and let me read it. Did you ever put soda into sour milk cider or other acid fluid, and witnessed the agitation or excited action that takes place? One of the substances neutralizes the other, and sometimes better results from the action. It doesn’t always result in a good manifestation, but this is what is being used as the illustration here. Let me read on.
This is a good illustration of what takes place in the minds and bodies of people. Suppose one has lived in wrong thought and molded his body by wrong thought for years until as you might say he has become solidified in that wrong belief. You introduce the truth to him by strong denials and affirmations as has been taught. The very newness of it, and because it is truth creates the first few days new hope, new joy and health. After a little time, a mental ferment or agitation takes place.
Now, this is what occurs. One is apt to feel very nervous and scared way down in the depths of himself. If he has ever been sick, he will begin to feel the old diseases. If he has been morally bad, the old desires and habits will take possession of him with new force. If he has been holding denials and affirmations about business affairs, until they have looked hopeful, all at once they collapse and seem darker and more hopeless than ever. All the new beliefs, which lifted him into a new world for a few days seem failures, and he seems on the very verge of breaking up generally.
Now, when you and I consider words such as this, and remember, these were only illustrations, and some a little extreme, we have to know that something has occurred. Something new has taken place. At least we should realize that there is a stirring up of the consciousness. If an individual is not aware of what is termed chemicalization, then when these things happen, he may say, “Oh, this truth doesn’t work. Prayer doesn’t work,” and as it says, he becomes scared deep down within himself.
There is a sense of confusion and a sense of loss, but if you have been taught that sometimes a new idea introduced in the consciousness begins to break up all states, then you don’t become confused. You say, “Oh, well, this is just part of the change.” One of the best illustrations for that is house cleaning. Any good housewife knows that the only way to thoroughly house clean is to move the furniture, is to move it around, sometimes pile it one on top of another, so that the corners can be cleaned out and all of the walls handled in such a way that he or she knows that there’s a cleanliness going to be prepared, so that the furniture may go back in place.
You and I can look upon the things that come in to your consciousness through the introduction of truth as part of this house cleaning, which is so necessary. If there is agitation because the disease seems to have a stronger hold, just know, “Well, it’s on its way out.” If the finances seem to get worse, just think, “Oh, well, the things that I have are going,” or “The money that I have is going because I’m making more room for something else.”
Even if all friendships seem to leave because you have taken on this new understanding, know that they’re only going to find their level just as you will draw new friends into your own life. This subject of chemicalization is one that only you really can work out for yourself. Whenever you find anything that seems to disprove that the truth is working, you may be pretty sure that chemicalization is taking place in your consciousness and perhaps in your body, and you can have instead of a sense of depression, a sense of upliftment that there is movement, that there is action, that the word of God is sweeping before it, that which has no longer a true place in your life.