SPIRITUAL CONTROL OF THE BODY
UNITY does emphasize control of the physical by the spiritual. But many of the things that we do and expect to control are not spiritual in the sense that they are in accord with God’s laws and plans! The real control is in living according to the perfect pattern and law. It is not spiritual thought that prompts one to abuse the body in any way. It is not spiritual thought or desire that allows one to eat when there is no need of food, or to partake of food elements that are not what the body requires at the time. It is not spiritual thought that causes one to worry, or to become tense, or to drive the body in the effort to gain intellectually.
A thing is not less spiritual because it has taken form and weight and color. The thing that might be termed “material” is the misconception or unwise combination of thoughts and elements, that produces an undesirable result. Spirit becomes manifest in man’s expression of what God gives.
Our religious life, heretofore, has led us to feel that our thoughts and our emotions were all that was necessary to our spiritual experience; that the body was to be disregarded as of little consequence and as really not responsive to the finer things of Spirit—at least not as anything of importance except as “controlled” by them.
Evidently, the individual soul has felt the need of just such an earth home as the body temple. We are to realize that the body, free from the inharmonies and weaknesses imposed upon it through error, is a part of God’s plan of life. We understand man to be a threefold being. Just now we are convinced that the regular appropriation of certain manifest life elements is required to maintain the body at a given rate of vibration—which we know as health and endurance and ability to transmute thought into action. We do not know how long such a plan will be in effect; we are not greatly concerned. But it is reasonable to suppose that we shall not learn a great deal about laws and manifestations in advance of those which are now receiving our attention until we have learned to live by them. When we can sustain the body in health and activity and radiance indefinitely, we shall have gained a better understanding of the true purpose of life and will be ready to enter upon a mode of living that may free us from the observance of laws that we may term “physical.” The science of building and operating an airplane would not permit the builder and the mechanic to take just any materials at hand out of which to fashion the parts of the plane or to furnish it with fuel. Yet we know that the power to build and drive the machine is in the builder’s mind and in the universal atmosphere. Nevertheless, knowing this and acting upon it, we do not seek to set aside the laws revealed by intelligence as expressed in the working of machinery and the settled mode of travel.
Man learns to build an airplane in which to fly before he is intrusted with the higher law of taking his body through the air without a manifest vehicle.
Building the planes and using them and observing the laws governing their flight is not denying God’s spiritual laws. It is taking the steps that are leading him forward to the discovery of greater things.
And so it is with maintaining ourselves in health, and in studying and applying spiritual rules of action. We must learn to make the right use of what we have—and then we shall find ourselves in possession of more.
Sometimes, the soul gets so anxious about what it wishes to do that it tends to neglect the body. This is not fair to the body nor to those who must take care of the body when it is neglected. Our first duty, then, is to bless our body and to get our thoughts right down into it, to praise its wonderful work, to learn what its needs are, and to arrange for supplying them. Sometimes things happen in the realm of the senses or in connection with the physical body that cause one to depreciate it, or even to almost wish one did not have it. And in this event the soul may reach out so much that the body is neglected, until it suffers.
Then we sometimes become too ambitious, somewhere in the recesses of the soul, and literally pull ourselves up by the roots, and starve the precious body temple. Then come hard experiences—blessings in disguise.
But God is there in that body, you know, and He won’t let the soul continue to neglect the body. Suffering is one of the means of drawing the attention of the soul back to its beautiful temple. And the Christ mind can and will direct the soul in taking up its wonderful work in the body that it may continue to have this very necessary vehicle of expression.
We need more often to think of our body as being the temple of divine love, the very substance of health and harmony in order that this truth may be implanted in the subconscious mind, which controls the body functioning. We need more often to pray for a true concept of substance, for with it we shall receive a glorious revelation that will go a long way toward transforming the mind, soul, and body. This concept of substance will be but the beginning of a transformation that will continue until we shall be able to demonstrate as Christ Jesus did. All who follow Him will eventually overcome as He did, spiritualizing the soul to the extent that its outer garment, the body, will be lifted into a like expression of Spirit; for God is no respecter of persons.