THE WORLD OF SHAPES
The spiritual reality of every object is within you. The form of things is good as far as it goes, but lay hold of the real thing that is back of the appearance. “My body sits lightly on my soul.” Our work in spiritual unfoldment is to become consciously what we are potentially, to express in the outer what we are in our inmost being.
Both Principle and Number are unmanifest, and it requires “figure” to mark known their value. The true or logical relation between man and mankind is that of Genus and species, or numenon and phenomenon.
Between God’s Man and man’s man we find all kinds of men as a natural result of the variety in species. Mind is Infinite and because of this infinite variety is to be found in Man, the Ideal of Mind. Subjectively “A man” is the offspring of the LIVING GOD, but objectively he is shape or person. Subjectively he is from God, but outwardly from matter. As such, he is related alike to both the subliminal and phenomenal worlds. He is a personality as distinguished from the meal Man which is our true Individuality. Both have a legitimate place in the divine plan for both are fundamental factors in the spiritual sequence which reveals God. Evidently, the material has its rightful place, for it is the God ordained means through which what is hidden in Being may take shape in the world.
The material is projected from man through his involuntary activity which is compelled by the “Initial Impulse.” If there were no mind, there could be no Idea, and if there were no Man there could be no matter. So it is evident that we can know God and man only through materiality, or the world of Representation. We see the importance of, and begin to appreciate the necessity for the second factor in Creation. Matter has two sides. Its somethingness and its nothingness and is both temporal and eternal. In itself, as a factor in creation, it is indestructible, but to the soul that uses it, is temporal, or comes to an end. It cannot think, it cannot feel, has no consciousness, has no sensation. It profiteth nothing. Its somethingness is that it is a “figure” and as such it has value as a necessary link in the chain or sequence out from God. Matter is indestructible as form or shape, but perishable as “materiality.” As human “shape” it is the highest, being made up of all shapes for the human shape is the plus of all shapes and is used by LIVING SOUL.
Together, soul and shape constitute a personality and to subjugate this, is to magnify Ideal Man or exalt our Individuality. Personality is of the earth, earthy, but the latter is its spiritual counterpart, is the Lord from Heaven.
In studying the seeming mysteries of the Universe, we find that it requires the various kinds of men to mirror forth the differing natures inherent in the Genus Man which is composite in Being. As no two faces are exactly alike, so no two souls manifest alike at the same time, but show forth different phases of the Infinite One, or differing degrees of self—recognition, thus demonstrating that diversity in unity is the law of the Universe. This law always operative, accounts for the differing personalities that jostle each other, in the march toward freedom.
In Being, they are all alike, but they differ in soul growth, or self recognition. But no matter how they appear in nature, essence, and purpose, they are each and all one with their source and bound to manifest according to Principle, soon or late.
There is a sect which brands visible creation as “error” but the adherents of the Science of Being view it differently. They see it as a wise provision, and find error only in our attitude toward it which is a false sense, or “error” when we mistake it for that which uses it. Jesus overcame the world. We have to learn what shape is, where it belongs and what uses it, in order to overcome it. Creation is invisible, and we can only know what it is through shape. The physical instrument is therefore, a most valuable possession, for without it, we could never know what we are as spiritual Man.
[TruthUnity note: the “sect” that the author refers to above is Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science. The author is asserting that creation is not an “error” but rather our sense of the world can be an error. And she asserts that our task is to overcome that error, just as Jesus taught us to do. Many critics of New Thought say that our beliefs are “gnostic” because we find error, but that is to confuse our understanding of where “error” resides. Error is in our consciousness, not in the world itself.]
We can lay down “little by little” or “die” daily” to our old sense of self by keeping in thought that there is One God from which — One Man through which, and one shape, by mans of which the Created is brought to light.
[TruthUnity note: Hopefully, this core teaching of New Thought—One God, One Presence—will put to rest any accusation of gnosticism, which, like orthodox Christianity, is based on duality. We are not transformed by knowledge, but rather little by little through the presence of the One God from whom we are created.]
Figure or shape, in itself, has no value, no intelligence, no substance, no power, but still it serves a wise purpose for it makes known the number it represents.
Man is both Image and likeness, the one showing what God is, the other what God does. Being, the Image, is always in God, It is the seed of God, while soul, the “likeness” is the germ in the seed that i± is to come forth into visibility.
[TruthUnity note: Note that Image is capitalized and likeness is lower case. Sanctification, in Metaphysical religion, is the development of likeness to the Image.]
We are “living souls” now. The user of a physical machine and the business of “living soul” is to actualize what it is., in the Real of Itself, and to do this requires a physical instrument, such as shape is.
In the study of the Universe, we find that every object in creation has its counterpart in Primal Man who is the crowning work of the six days of Expression, just as all the objects in the natural world are representative of natures within ourselves.
Herb, grass, and tree, the fowls of the air, and the beasts of the field have place in Man, as natural tendencies, so also do the fish of the sea and the creeping things, all of which proves that everything that “takes form” is the reflection or representation of something in our own within.
The mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms are integral parts of the Integer of Being. They have a lawful place there, as minor kingdoms in the Great Kingdom, and as such are subject to the Lord of Creation, or Ruler of the Universe, which is the Generic Man. These varying natures, together with the faculties and powers, go to make up the infinite variety expressed in God’s man, who is the direct Effect of the God nature, — which is the Infinity itself.
These faculties and natures, are potential in Being, as possibilities, to be evolved by means of the “Power to Think” whose office it is to furnish shapes and forms, — to clothe the spiritual entities, pushed forth into the objective world by the activity natural to man. Shape, the product of this transferred Energy is the mask or veil that hides the Real and is simply a means to an end. It is however, a divine necessity, for without it, what is locked up in Being could never be made visible.
The potentialities there involved, manifest through soul and function on the material plane, so we see that Representation is an all important factor in the carrying out of the ultimate purpose of the Divine. Shape or Person is to man what the working model on the wall, is to the telephone. Without the working model, the possibilities of this great invention could never be made known. As the instrument used can never become the “Invention” which is the thing in itself, so “shape” can never become.the living conscious entity that wears it, but is eternally shape and nothing more.
Darwin, in his study of physical structure saw only the shell, and not what evolved through it. From the viewpoint of the metaphysician, his “missing link” was “living soul” or that which was or does use shape. Soul and body while forever distinct can never be separated, for their unity is God-ordained. Soul may “lay off” this physical “shape” when the necessity for it is outgrown, but “body” which it symbolizes is eternal, enduring, and forever clothes soul, both here and hereafter. Shape is directly related to body (for they are two sides of the same thing) just as the figure it uses, for a time, in the working out of the problems of existence. But there cones a time when soul outgrows the figure and blackboard, and it solves its problems mentally, There seems to be a wide difference between the phenomenal world and existent soul which is the unseen user of shapes. But while there is a difference, there is also a relatedness growing out of their interdependence.
[TruthUnity note: Soul-body may be what St. Paul and Charles Fillmore called “spiritual body.”]
Being, soul, soul-body, and shape are links in a chain, forged by the Divine Hand. The spiritual sequence cut from God compels this relativity and (becomes) CORRECTION: The spiritual sequence out from God compels this relativity and because of this divine compulsion, from Beginning out to ultimate, there is not a break in the orderly appearing of what is latent in Being. All the factors in Creation work together harmoniously to “bring to pass” the divine purpose which is incarnation of the Invisible.
God first as Beginning or Principle, then Thought-Force pushing through Expression, and manifesting by means of soul, through person or shape. Such is the eternal order. For this came I into the world to carry out the Divine Plan by manifesting the “Likeness” that is in the Image waiting to be made visiole.
[TruthUnity note: Note the distinction between Expression and manifestation here and in Diagram 1.]
Matter is clearly not a substance, in and of itself, having its own forces and laws, apart from our sense about it. Because of the unbroken continuity from Creator and Created, throughout Creation, there cannot be a substance separate from the rest, for these three fundamental factors are unified, by the eternal Law of Cause and Effect.
Shape is the direct product of the “Power to Think” which is man’s activity, while matter is the remote product of original motion. In addition to these two motions which create and form, we have the “Making Power” by means of which the “Ideal” becomes the Real or the Perfected Man through re-incarnation.
Again matter is a name given to that of which we are conscious. The seer is back of the object seen, and takes cognizance of what it looks upon. So Spirit and matter are not the same, for “consciousness of” stands between and preserves the distinction. Matter is not a part of Spirit, nor yet a manifestation of Spirit. It is rather a consequence of the persistence of Primal Energy which becomes “qualified motion” by passing through Being. Soul is the user of this product, which is termed “Cosmic Matter.” Shape therefore, is not a part of God, but a means that soul uses, in order to make God manifest and as such, it is Good and not error.
[TruthUnity Affirmation: My shape is a means by which my soul makes God manifest, and as such, it is Good and not error.]
There is no separation between me and my body, but I am wholly distinct from the shape I wear that veils my true body. I am in harmony with it, and see it and all other shapes that I look upon for just what they are in themselves, simply as figures to be used as we work out the problem of existence. Man cannot be found in the study of physical structure alone, for he is not in it, but back of it, as the Living Reality which precedes evolution. That which we look upon may pass away, but the Observer lives on, the machine may be broken, but it does not follow that the User is not intact. So, the figure on the black-board may be wiped out, but the value of the Number is not affected. Shape as such, apart from its user, is inert, helpless, for it has no activity of its own, but is simply acted upon by the Great Engine of (Thogu) Thought. Because of this, shape is not responsible for the various out-picturings it shadows forth anymore than the canvas is to be praised or blamed, for the kind of pictures thrown upon it.
Shape is non-living because the power of which it is the direct result is not life bestowing. Only Life Itself can confer life. The “Expression” of Life can only impart “The breath of Life.”
The objects we look upon are made up of matter and a degree of soul-form and shape. The compound result of Reproduction and Representation, and both of these results are resolvable into motion, Shape and Cosmic Matter constitute the “Material Whole” which is but another name for the fundamental factors that live as shape and matter, — the double product of the joint action of Primal and transferred Energy. The term “Material Whole” covers all material shapes and forms of matter, while the spiritual Whole all that is directly from the Creator. Cosmic matter is the black-board on which the figure appears, or, the common back-ground which brings out shapes. Because of what Cosmic Matter is, as Qualified Motion, material shapes may be termed “Modes of Motion.” We reiterate that matter is both temporal and eternal because of its divine origin. It is eternal in itself, but our sense about it comes to an end. It is eternally the same, and it is only our mortal sense view of it that makes the seeming change in what we look upon. So we find that things do not change, but our sense about them becomes revised.
The instrument or shape does not seem to us as it once did. In the Light of Truth, we no longer see it as our “self” but as a belonging, that the “Self” uses. Through self-knowledge we come to give the objects of time and sense their true value and learn to keep them in their place which is subservient to us. Our future is determined by our attitude of today, just as the events of today are colored by the thinking of yesterday. Because of this inexorable Law of “Cause and affect” or “Sowing and Reaping” let us re-adjust our views of the “Material Whole” and henceforth see ourselves as its master and not as its servant, — that we may come into the God-ordained relation, — using it instead of being used by it.