Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:2).
TRANSFIGURATION is always preceded by a change of mind. Our ideas must be lifted from the material, the physical, to the spiritual. But first we need to realize that it is possible for us to be transfigured as well as to understand the law by which transfiguration is brought about.
The meaning of the Transfiguration has never been understood by those who read the Scriptures as history. The transfiguration of Jesus has always been considered a historical event, and its allegorical meaning overlooked. To get the real meaning of the Transfiguration, we must regard the experience of Jesus on the mount as typical of what often takes place in those who are growing in spiritual consciousness.
We have evidences every day of the power of thought to transfigure the countenance. We know that it is possible for a person to be transformed in a degree by the thoughts that flit through his mind from moment to moment, but we do not know his capacity for transfiguration, which is unlimited, nor the part it plays in his attainment of the Christ consciousness and the Christ body.
The real object of existence is to bring forth the
perfect man and attain eternal life. Eternal life must be earned. It is usually assumed that man does not die, and this is true of the I AM; but how about the consciousness, the soul? "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" is the testimony of the Scriptures. That only lives which conforms to the principle of eternal life.
Spirit exists eternally in God-Mind, of which we must become conscious. This consciousness is soul and is the tangible part of soul. God-Mind gives us the opportunity to incorporate into our consciousness His attributes. These attributes are spiritual life, love, wisdom, strength, power, in fact the essence of all good, which we realize first in mind, then in body and affairs. Thus God gives us the spiritual perfection that we are to manifest and retain eternally in consciousness. This is His Son or Christ.
Jesus taught that we must attain the consciousness of eternal life, that we have no life in us until we have attained this consciousness. Until we demonstrate over death, the death of the body, we are in a transitory state of existence.
Then the real object of existence is to attain the consciousness of eternal life and to manifest all that is potentially involved in us by our Creator. The Spirit — I AM or ego in man is eternal, but there must be a consciousness of this quality of eternity; there must be a consciousness of the image-and-likeness
man. There must be in every one of us a realization of that Spirit which has in it — involved in its being — all that exists in the universal. If we do not realize this, if we do not make it ours, we must eventually go back to the universal. Jesus was the great way-shower to the attainment of this realization of Spirit, and we shall miss "the prize of the high calling" if we do not enter the path that He trod and that He pointed out in many parables, illustrations, and experiences.
Then this overcoming or lifting up of man is a process through which we are all passing if we have been converted to the Christ way of life. Transfiguration plays a part and an important part in this evolution of the soul. When we see the parallel between our experiences and the transfiguration of Jesus we gain confidence to go forward.
In our study and application of the Christian life we all have times when we are spiritually uplifted. Such a time is marked by a form of spiritual enthusiasm, which is brought about by statements of Truth made by ourselves or others — prayers, words of praise, songs, meditations — any statement of Truth that exalts the spiritual realms of the mind. Jesus was lifted up by Peter, James, and John (faith, judgment, and love). Whenever we dwell on these virtues and try to live up to them, they are exalted in consciousness, and they go up with us to the mount of Transfiguration. You may not always realize
this. You may think that the uplifting was just a passing exaltation, but it stamps itself on your soul and body and marks the planting of a new idea in the upward trend of the whole man.
What is your attitude toward these times when you feel the mighty uplift of Spirit? Do you give them their due importance; or when you again come down into the valley, do you groan and question and wonder why you do not abide in your exaltation, why there seems a falling away of the mind from it?
Right here we must be wise and understand the relation of the higher principles of man and their action in the redemption of soul and body. Do not lose sight of the fact that the whole man must be spiritualized. Some people get into the habit of going up in spirit to the mount of Transfiguration, and they find it so enticing that they refuse to descend to the valley again. Then soul and body are left to go their own way, and a separation ensues. Such persons dwell continually on the heights and ignore the essential unity of Spirit, soul, and body. Many delusions arise among Christians because they lack understanding of the law of the idea and its manifestations. All things, all actions, all principles, are working toward the unity of God, man, and the universe. But there must be a readjustment and a cleansing of the whole mass. If there are things, whether mental or physical, that are not up to the high standard of Spirit, they must die. Jesus on the
mount spoke of His death that was to follow. This death is of the material perception of substance and life, which is reflected in man's body of flesh. This must perish. The limited concept of matter and of a material body must be transformed so that the true spiritual body may appear.
We find that at every upward step we take in our evolution there is a sloughing off of, a doing away with, some parts of consciousness that do not accord with the higher principles. Jesus referred to it as the planting of a seed in the ground and its dying before it can bring forth the new life. The real life chit in the seed does not die. It lives and multiplies when rid of its husk of bondage. In the refinement of metals the fire, which is life, fuses the whole mass. Then the molten elements form a new base; the precious metals go by themselves and the dross goes by itself. The dross is poured off and thrown away, the precious metals are saved.
Much the same thing takes place in the action of Spirit, soul, and body when a person goes into the high consciousness and is transfigured. Some persons call it conversion, some illumination, some the lifting-up power of Spirit. Whatever you call it, it is the same thing. When the white heat of God life comes upon man, there is exaltation and transfusion of elements. The result of soul exaltation is a finer soul essence forming the base of a new body substance. The passing away of the dross of materiality
is a form of death.
You have doubtless wondered: "Why is it that, after I have had an uplift, after I have had a high realization, or a strong treatment, I have to meet so many errors? It seems to me that the negative side piles in on me the next day or the next few weeks stronger than ever."
The cause of this is a gathering together of the evil and the good; the day of judgment has arrived, and you are the judge. You may even be buried for "three days" in that material consciousness which has not yet come to the full light. But when you know the law that Spirit is always with you you have nothing to fear, if you hold steadily to the Christ presence that you realized in the mount of Transfiguration.
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Having once seen Truth, having once had the illumination, you find that the next step is to demonstrate it and not to be cast down or discouraged by the opposite. When the crucifixion comes and you are suffering the pangs of dying error, you may cry out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" forgetting for the time the promises in the mount of Transfiguration. This is when you need to realize that you are passing through a transforming process that will be followed by a resurrection of all that is worth saving.
Transfiguration is an essential step in every forward movement of men and nations. All philosophers
have observed it in its various phases. Carlyle says: "Once risen into this divine white heat of temper, were it only for a season and not again, it is henceforth considerable through all its remaining history. And no nation that has not had such divine paroxysms at any time is apt to come to much."
Paul saw it in its work in man, when he wrote, "For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory." "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." "We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is." "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
It is quite essential that those who are striving for "the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" cling to their ideal as real. It should not be regarded in the light of a past event or of a future achievement, but as fulfillment here and now. This is illustrated in the communion of Moses and Elijah with Jesus on the mount, Moses representing the law, Elijah its fulfillment. Jesus is the I AM, in which both the past and the future are joined. But Peter, not understanding the lesson, wanted to make three tabernacles, representing the tendency of man to separate and localize that which is spiritual and
When the voice of Principle proclaimed the spiritual man's presence — "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" — there were no promises of the past or the future. Time has no power over one who dwells in the mind of God. There is no time to the mind of one who realizes omnipresence. Nothing will transfigure the race and renew the body so rapidly as the denial of both past and future. Persons get childish because they let their thoughts dwell upon the past. Fear of the future weakens the virile life, and the feet stumble. The Son of God is vigorous with the increasing life that is perpetually flowing forth from the Father. When man realizes the omnipresent life his whole organism is vitalized, and the soul is glorified. When man is in spiritual consciousness his soul shines with an energy that electrifies the outer clothing. Those little points of magnetic light, which we have all observed upon removing our clothing at night, are weak manifestations of the aura of the soul, which can be magnified until the whole body is ablaze with it.
Some Christians teach the saving of the soul and the perishing of the body. Jesus taught the saving of both soul and body. It is true that this mortal body must be transfigured; it is but a picture or symbol of the real, the spiritual body, which is the "Lord's body." The "Lord's body" is the body
of Spirit, the divine idea of a perfect human body. When one realizes this new body, the cells of the present body will form on new planes of consciousness, they will aggregate around new centers, and the "Lord's body" will appear.
"But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of our Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit" (II Cor. 3:18)
When the body is devitalized by excessive labor, dissipation, or any loss of vital force, its aura shrinks away and a consciousness akin to that of being unclothed is evident. To dream of being naked or partly clothed is a warning by Spirit that the reserve vital force has been dissipated and the natural clothing of the body removed. Continuous disregard of the law of conservation of vital force is followed by various diseases and finally death. During sleep the system, under natural law, seeks to equalize the vital forces, and it does so if the intellectual concentration has not been too great. A dream of falling means that this force, which has been piled up in the head, is falling down into the lower channels of the body, and is restoring equilibrium at the expense of harmonious reaction. When the mind is adjusted to the divine law, all the vital forces flow harmoniously and the aura glows about the body as a beautiful white light, protecting it from all discord from without and purifying it continually from within.
This is the state of the perfected man described in Revelation 1:14-16. "And his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto burnished brass ... and his voice as the voice of many waters. ... and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."
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