This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Part of Lecture 18 given on February 20, 1976
Mark 7:1-23, pp. 107-109 of transcript.
The letter of Jesus' words may be formulated but his meaning is always regarding consciousness; individual, human consciousness. This regards consciousness as it is growing from that level of awareness sense, natural , or personal to that level of awareness we designate as Christ. Jesus doesn't designate it as "Christ". He calls it the "kingdom" and the "Father". He never uses the term "Christ-consciousness" but he talks about the kingdom, the Father or the resurrection. All of these refer to that dimension of awareness that we call Christ-consciousness. When we keep this in mind, some of his discourses that seem to be dealing with very mundane, very materialistic, very literal topics are actually given on a much deeper level. Jesus uses the literal level of imagery as a tool of expression. He refers to a more universal meaning of ideas, to all men's consciousness' not just local Jewish taboos as symbols, as reference points of departure but his aim, his meaning, is always to do with something far more universal than this. This is individual human consciousness. You will see why I've given all this attention to this subject in the following statements of Jesus. The Scribes and the Pharisees are upset with him because he doesn't force his twelve followers to wash their hands before they eat. This was a very literal Jewish taboo to eat food with unwashed hands. Jesus is being censured for this nonobservance. Jesus replies to their scolding in the Gospel of Mark 7:14 and on P. 95 H. G. "Hear me, all of you and understand. There is nothing from without the man that going into him can defile him." Now literalists could read that and immediately jump to the conclusion that Jesus is saying that it is perfectly alright to put anything you choose into your body organism and it won't hurt you. Speaking on a purely literal, nutritional level this would be absurd.
In Mark 7:15 and on (P. 95-94 H.G.) Jesus continues "...there is nothing that going into him from without can defile. But the things that proceed out of the man are those that defile him. And when He was entered into the house, from the multitude His disciples asked Him of the parable. And He said unto them, 'Are ye so without understanding also. Perceive ye not that whatsoever from without goeth into the man, it cannot defile him; because it goeth not into his heart, but into his belly, and goeth out into the draught? This he said, making all meats clean. And he said, "That which proceedeth out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, evil thoughts proceed..." Evil is a pronouncement entirely on the part of human consciousness. That's the only place where evil can be given any existence; as a pronouncement of the human consciousness. I am not saying a reality created by the human consciousness. It is an unreality but nevertheless a pronouncement. Back to our scriptural verse (Mark 7:21). "For from within, out of the heart of men, evil, thoughts proceed...".
Evil is a pronouncement entirely on the part of human consciousness. That's the only place where evil can be given any existence; as a pronouncement of the human consciousness. I am not saying a reality created by the human consciousness. It is an unreality but nevertheless a pronouncement. Back to our scriptural verse (Mark 7:21). "For from within, out of the heart of men, evil, thoughts proceed...". Then he gives a list of categories of what he calls evil thoughts. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man. That which enters us from without doesn't defile us. That which proceeds from us can defile us. Of course, the key to this teaching lies in understanding Jesus' meaning of the word 'defile' and what it is in man that can be defiled. It is obviously not the body. In another place Jesus relates to this same idea when he tells them not to fear that which can kill the body but fear that which can kill both soul and body. The body alone, as an organism, is not that big of a deal. You see, almost all of our perceptive and reactive faculties are tuned into the body. Therefore, they have this exaggerated opinion of the vital importance of the physical organism dimension of body consciousness. The truth is that the physical organism dimension of the body among the least important of all our multiple dimensions. However, we still haven't realized this yet. So we think that anything which does something to our physical organism dimension of body is doing that to me instead of the physical organism dimension, of body. This physical part is a drop in the bucket of the real you or me. We say that if it happens to the body, it is happening to all of me. Therefore, we get alarmed at any kind of prospect involving damage to the physical organism dimension of body.
"Defile" is the term that Jesus is dealing with here. The only defilement Jesus ever shows concern with in his ministry is the spoiling of states of inner consciousness which he calls "defiling the man.” This is because the man really is, apart from the earthly point of view, an outpicturing of the current state of consciousness. So whatever can spoil or adulterate or contaminate the present state of consciousness is the defiler, the threat to mans' state of well being. The defilement of our soul is the only real danger of defilement. Many persons are harmed in the body level of their existence and the person himself is in no way damaged or hurt, only that particular dimension of him. While of course we do take care to protect the physical dimension of us, we do not want to make the mistake of hinging our whole sense of values on that aspect of ourself. The Jews obviously did this. They made the body organism almost as important and in some cases more important than the soul. This was one of their big mistakes that Jesus saw as a very grave threat to the whole human family. He came to correct this error.
For the moment, let's not think of things that can be taken into the body that would hurt it such as ten-inch butcher knives, bullets from a gun etc. We're not concerned about that here. Naturally we know how to beh in that respect. We're concerned with those old stand-bys that we start with in Lessons In Truth. These are negative thinking, error beliefs, doubt and fear. It encompasses all of this mental and emotional forms of energy, of mental energy that we designate as thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes. These things do not always enter us in the sense that they have originated with us, by us. You would be surprised if you learned how many of your so-called negative thoughts weren't yours at all. They entered into you, into your field of awareness. They were attracted to you by possibilities you offered them but they did not get their birth from you. You didn't cook them up. Alot of them were thrown at you by various people who were influential in your life and also by systems of education in which you had no choice of involvement. Much of it is in the realm called mental suggestion. We just leave a couple of open windows through carelessness or indifference and they just fly in. Then we say "I have a negative thought." Well, you have one as a visitor or as an intruder but not necessarily as one of your mental children.
So you see, all of these negative thoughts, emotions and beliefs may enter in but they do not defile us unless we adopt them, claim them as our own. A man's foes are they of his own household. In other words, only that which you call your own can defile you. You can tune into others' negative thinking but if you don't claim it, it’s just an unwelcome visitor and it will soon feel its unwelcome. Then it will go. The best way is to tell it that it is unwelcome through the use of denial. When you really understand denial and the true purpose of it, it makes such great sense; but if you don't understand it correctly you can distort it. Then you will be burying you head in the sand or supressing your negative emotion. It is simply a saying of no to something you do not wish to call your own. Since you don't wish to call it your own it can't defile you though it can cause a bit of trouble. However, even if you do make them part of your own personal consciousness or "adopt" them as your own children, you're not without hope; you can still avoid defilement. You avoid this as long as you do not project this negativity as an extension of your own consciousness. Even if you've made the mistake of thinking the error beliefs are yours as long as you don't inflict this on others you can avoid defilement. But once you let it proceed from you, as your own then you have defiled your state of consciousness. Until that is corrected you will once more go on the torture rack called "useless, unnecessary suffering". This is the symptom of defilement. Then the defilement that has taken place must be dealt with.
Q. It seems that one of the keys is to recognize these negative thoughts. You start off by learning Truth. Then you're able to distinguish between them. There are people who don't yet know Truth. So it is learning the Truth which is the crucial factor. In learning it you quicken the deeper, perceptive faculties, especially Judgment. Judgment's job is to discern between the defiling factors and the enhancing factors; to make that distinction and then summon its brother-faculty to put out the unwelcome mat or the rejection-slip to the unwanted factor in consciousness.
Q. When you say many of our unwanted negative thoughts aren't ours at all, are any of them ours? How can you tell the difference?
A. Yes, you can tell the difference when you've started to practice the important thing called meditation and inner self-observation. You know in reality.
One of the first beneficial results you get out of meditation is the quickened awareness of when you are producing the negative aspects or "children" or when they are from without. You can distinguish the difference. If it's your own then it’s a very serious matter and then you must put yourself through a certain discipline. If it is simply an invasion of a mental suggestion or an imitation of somebody elses' choice then it’s an easier matter. You're then able to simply get yourself straightened out very quickly and utilize your renunciation faculty first and then your faculty of faith.
Q. Are the negative factors that we call our own once, not our own but we let them enter and called them our own?
A. No, those factors you have given birth to from the perfectly harmless beautiful substance. You've formed it, given it the intent, the character. Now understand, you don't do this in a plodding methodical manner. Much of this sort of thing is done in an instant. With the snap of the fingers, I've got a baby (negative thought etc). A second ago I didn't have a baby. This baby is "Rosemary's baby". Look into its eyes. Look into the eyes of your own children - that i3 your thought and feeling. Look into their eyes. If their eyes are wide open, beautiful and clear, that's fine but if their squinty, look out. Do something.
Q. Is this what is considered secondary thinking; these thoughts that come through and that we don't stop but allow them to go ahead?
A. Yes, either that or the other form of secondary thinking. This is to take an outer appearance or a sense-appearance, impression and base your so-called original thinking on that outer manifestation or pattern rather than the origin of true thought which is Divine Ideas within.
So Jesus is not saying that harmful things which enter into us won't hurt the body - the nervous system, the digestive tract, the blood stream etc, - but this type of harm is not the same as the defilement of the soul of which Jesus speaks. Jesus had said previously in this same connection, "And be not afraid of them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt. 11:28). This type of hell is what we call "useless, unnecessary suffering". Anything which causes this for us, Jesus designates for us as ''him which is able to destroy both soul and body". One of the most typical examples of this is identifying with negative emotions. This is very different from having negative emotions. Everyone has them but does everyone have to identify with them? Nobody has to. By not identifying with them then- we avoid their defilement of our soul.
Text of the original transcript from page 107 through the second paragraph of page 109.
Transcribed by Rev. Anna Shouse,Ph.D. on September 3, 2013.