THE IMMORTAL, THE MORTAL, — IMMORTALITY
Having considered the overcoming of evil which must be done by means of the absolute good, we will now take a step farther. We have learned that evil is not a legitimate factor, not a mistake entirely apart from God’s man, belonging to human existence in the early stages, and must be overcome with Good which is eternal. Immortality is gained as evil is thus overcome. The question of immortality is of vital importance to every “living soul” and there are but few who are not asking if they will live forever, and upon what conditions. We understand immortality to be consciousness of eternal life. Then, there is a difference between our Ideal Being and self consciousness. It is one thing to know that we are and another to know what we are. And truly, this last is essential to the gaining of Immortality. What is mortality? What is the difference between the two? Mortality comes to an end, because it has a beginning. It pertains to our “natural sense” of who and what we are, and as long as we live according to it just so long are we mortal in consciousness. If the Self-sense according to which I live is contrary to the “truth of Being” it must come to an end, or the consciousness of what I am must come to an end as long as it bears the stamp of “mortal sense.” It must drop the “mortal quality” and “put on” the spiritual. If the old sense of self continues and I lay off the flesh or coat of skin, I am still Adam, for we find that what we call “death” in no wise affects what is behind “the veil.”
TruthUnity note: When the author says that the consciousness must “put on” the spiritual, she is echoing 1 Corinthians 15:53), the “mortal must put on immortality”. Putting on immortality is a change in our consciousness, not a change in our physical life.
Our former idea has been that to “lay off the flesh is Immortality,” but Science teaches us that dominion over the flesh is “living forever.” This view is the true conception, and we are to gain it. It is one thing to be immortal by nature, but it is quite another to become [so] consciously. Today, as so many are interested in this question of Immortality, it must be settled logically, and scientifically from a fundamental basis. From the premise laid down in our teaching, we discover that there is that in the Real Being, which is spiritual, complete, eternal as the “Image of God,” forever in the Heaven, above human experience which is the Self-conscious existence which is that point where we say “I AM” and this must result, or grow into knowing “what I AM.” At first I only know that “I AM” which is the natural conclusion about myself as I look at this shape or physical outline, but by true conception or Self-Knowledge, the “truth of Being” dawns upon my soul, and until then I live in ignorance or according to my mortality which is based upon my sense of what I am, and I have to prove the truth or falsity of it. All fear, lack, suffering, trial and trouble belong to my mortality. Mrs. Eddy says: “Mortals must grow up and into” immortals. Then, there is evidently something to grow. Now what is it that grows? Soul! How? From a mortal conception of itself to an Immortal! What is a mortal? It is the “Self-Sense” that belongs to the infant Adam soul which thinks it was born “awhile ago” and will likely soon come to an end. It refers to life as “this little span” so from this base we are all mortal until we put off the “worm of the dust” conception and consciously “put on” the true Self-Idea. Paul said: “We must put off mortality and put on immortality.” This sounds as if mortality and its counterpart were of our own making. They both are, for they both hinge upon “how we think.” My consciousness of “what I am” is either mortal or immortal. If I claim “I am ill”, “in danger of losing my life” the “cold air can give me a cold.” “What I eat affects me and can poison my blood,” “weather can affect me”, etc., then I am mortal and see myself as subject to the things of time and sense and not as their master. If this is my “sense” of self, that mortal self must, and will, die to make room for a higher Self, and the sooner I die that way the better. But in the day that I eat of the “tree of Life” I shall not surely die. Sin, sickness, sorrow, dis-ease of every name and nature must and will grow as mortals grow into Immortals. But, Existent soul grows. It begins with the Adam, and ends with the Christ, and in the process of soul unfoldment, it loses the false “sense of self” and “puts on” the “Real and True” which is gaining immortality or the consciousness of “living forever.” What we must see in order to gain eternal Life consciously is that this shape is not I. I am not of matter or form, nor like it in any sense. I am not a “dust creature.” I am the offspring of the “Living God” a “living soul” now on my way back to God whence I came. Just as long as we hold to and “think” the “death thought” just so long are we mortal.
TruthUnity note: The change of consciousness that is “putting on immortality” is necessary for the soul to unfold.
When we think the “Life Thought” things take on a different hue, and we take an a new hold on the things of Spirit which make for betterment along all lines, both spiritual and temporal. By holding fast to the Life-thought we generate a feeling of living forever. You are not flesh and blood, although this is your first and therefore, natural sense of yourself, and clearly the feeling born of this mental state is mortality, but we may and should lay it off now, voluntarily “lay it off” and not wait for it to lay us down. As Paul said: “We are to die daily” to the old “sense of Self” and thus make place for the true Self Idea which gives us Immortality. This “putting off” and “putting on” requires voluntary effort on our part for while immortality is not a gift, it is ours to take if we choose. We “put off” mortality, individually. One soul cannot do this for another. Action to this end is wholly with ourselves. We have only ourselves to convert.
We individually have to bridge the gulf between these two states of consciousness; then let us get about it by putting away the “natural sense” about ourselves, and beginning “here and now” to affirm the truth of our Being which is that we are now living, loving, spiritual-substantial, enduring, eternal, because we image God which is Life Itself, Love Itself, etc. The bridge between the “mortal and immortal” may prove to be the “bridge of sighs and tears and struggles” but we cross it safely by holding fast to God’s Man who directs our paths and overshadows the soul from Adam to Christ.
Holding to this idea, persistently, we reach our destination because thought-force is creative, and brings to us the product of our own right thinking. If I think I must die some time because I am growing older, every day and must “go out” from “old age”, if, I escape “sickness and accident” I am not generating for myself the consciousness of Immortality, but am storing up error thoughts that will soon or late confront my soul, — actualized in undesirable conditions.
How old is the soul? Just as old as it thinks it is. Its age is reckoned by degrees of unfoldment, and not by calendar years. We must discriminate between our immortal Being and Immortality which is “consciousness of” our immortal Being. Between the two lies “a mortal” which is the “Adam soul” common to us all. There is evidence today that one may be alive and have his body, even though he claims to be dead. It is possible for one to have his own personal experiences without this physical shape. Our dreams point to this fact. They point out to us clearly that we are souls, and not shapes. I am alive to myself, and I am not shape. This simple thing proves it as well as our dreams: “I laugh, weep, suffer, enjoy, sleep, wake, etc., shape does not.” Now just a word about Body. I, in my ignorance have been calling this shape, Body. But I find I have a body in my dreams and it is not this. My dream proves it, that soul-body I use in my dreams is veiled by this shape. Body-proper is the embodiment of the soul, and this embodiment is by means of Nature’s mould. If the body that survives dissolution could be seen it would be just like this, in outline, but different in quality. The “coat of skin” on the peach veils the “pulp” or “body” of the peach. When we remove the skin the”pulp” is the same shape, but differs in quality. The invisible body is the result of our thinking, and it fills in the shape which is the direct product of the “forming power” but the embodiment that infils the shape is the product of our thinking. We can produce structural change of soul by our thinking, but not change of shape. Change of soul-quality is natural to us because of soul-growth. Body, in the sense of embodiment is “cosmic ether” qualified according to our use of it when thinking.
TruthUnity note: The author talks about what is known in Scripture as the "spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:44). In the final paragraph of this lesson, the author offers a four-fold nature of human being: Being, Soul, Soul-Body, and Shape. In her framework, the Soul-Body is the spiritual body. Shape is without life, substance and intelligence, conforming somewhat to Mary Baker Eddy's teaching regarding all things in the material realm. This is distinct from the Fillmore teaching of the trinity of the man: Spirit, soul and body. For Charles Fillmore, the body can and should be regenerated and death has no place in its normative state.
If we are holding material thoughts, our body will be material, spiritual if we are thinking spiritually, celestial or the glorified body if we are thinking divinely. Human shape is nothing but the “shape of shapes.” It is the CROSS our sense of which stands in the way of our freedom as the “sons of God.” Basic body is form back of shape, and like, it in outline. They are the two sides of the same thing, — the visible and invisible. Some call “basic body” the “astral” or “cosmic matter.” Paul calls it “spiritual body.” Some call it “a ghost.”
Embodiment is the “filling in” of body and “embodying” is the “thinking” that fills it in. Change of “thinking” causes change in the quality of body, because quality of soul, soul and soul-body are so closely interwoven that what affects the one changes the other, and all this “process” is quite independent of shape. All disease is rooted in soul-body, and is simply out pictured on shape which mirrors what is going on in soul. The last enemy to be overcome is death which results from disease which is the consequence of “error thinking.” Overcome “error” thinking and dis-ease disappears, and the “sense of death” is wiped out of existence. Through self-understanding, we come to know “there is no death,” and to “lay off” this shape would have no more effect upon us than crossing the threshold from one room to another. To see and feel that we are mortal for a time is natural, but there is a higher view-point, a spiritual consciousness, and “put it on” by affirming the Truth of our Being. We are immortal now, always were, and ever will be. Consciousness of this Truth is immortality which is for the soul. Jesus came to bring Life and Immortality to Light which means to make them known. Jesus came to them who sit in darkness, (the unknown) and the “shadow of death”, only he made it known by His life, teaching, and demonstration. He brought Immortality to light, but only to those who could see the “Living Christ” through the visible Jesus. He is the Way-Shower, having first become the path-finder, and he walked in it. All may do so if they will!
We must save our own souls, save them how and from what? By knowing the Truth, we save them from “mortal sense” and what goes with it. “Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.” Now what is this Truth, and from what does it free us? It is the “Truth of Being” or the Truth of who and what we are in reality, and to know this great Truth, dissipates the “error beliefs,” and frees us from the trammels of “mortal sense.” But to gain this truth, a higher self-knowledge is necessary. Every one who stands in the world and opens a door to a better self-understanding is a mediator for others; to show them how to become immortalized is all one soul can do for another. It may point the way but no one can gain immortality for another, for it is Self-work. It is an inevitable consequence for those who consciously “put off” the “old order” or the “unreal” quality of soul, and “take on” the new, true, sense of self which ultimates in Immortality. But, we cannot serve two masters so choose ye, this day whom you will serve, determine now and here that “As for me and my house, we wi11 serve the Lord.” My soul cannot and does not, die. Only the “Adam sense” dies, or drops away into its native nothingness. The first Adam (or infant soul) “grows up” into the second Adam, and thus puts on Immortality for all eternity. A vital query propounds itself to each one of us. How are we building? From the material or spiritual view-point? After the dust-pattern or after the pattern shown on the Mount? Paul said, “We build every day.” Out of what? Wood, hay, stubble, or eternal substance? Immortality is compelled, not permitted. Death is only an “incident” in that continuity of existence which is, for the soul because of its primal origin, God, and before it completes the round of existence, and reaches its destination it will have “put on” immortality.
ADDENDA. Man is four factors deep, — Being, Soul, Soul-Body, and Shape. “Soul is form and doth the body make, for of the soul the body form doth take.” The power to think is the action of Being and is the power to form. “Thinking” is the conscious use of this “power” and is the “making power.” Soul is the “thinker,” or the user of this. Power, the result of God’s action is EXPRESSION. The result of the activity of “God’s Man” is REPRESENTATION. Soul’s action, together with the other two, is MANIFESTATION, for the soul is the user of all the activities. The first Adam is a “living soul.” The second Adam is a “quickening Spirit.” A “quickened soul” can “quicken” others as one “lighted candle” can be used to light any number of them. Man is the seed of God. “I planted thee wholly a right seed.” Soul is the germ in the seed. It is directly from God. Its appearing only is from man. It is “pushed forth” by the Power that produced it.