OUR CAPTION is quoted from an ancient metaphysical teaching, the origin of which is lost in antiquity. The idea is that the development of the will is possible only through the development of the mind as a whole, and as man is mind, "the will is the man." This conclusion is reached because the will moves to action all the other faculties of the mind and seems to be the whole process.
However, a careful analysis of the various factors entering into an action reveals other equally important attributes of man, and we cannot wholly admit that "the will is the man." The will is undoubtedly the focal point around which all action centers, when there is harmony of mind; but the rule has been accepted by schools of philosophy from most ancient times down to the present that the will and the understanding are very closely related—the understanding comprehending all our speculative, the will all our active, powers. This close relationship is symbolically taught in the Bible, and it appeals to man's reason and is confirmed by his observation.
Jacob, representing the I AM (I will be what I will to be), had twelve sons, one of whom was Joseph, "the dreamer." Joseph represents the imagination,
by which all forms and shapes are brought into manifestation. In the development of the mind, certain faculties are given prominence. After they run their race, other faculties that have been held in reserve come forward. When the period of rest comes, the Scriptures recite that a certain one "died, old and full of days." As man goes forward in his unfoldment, there is sometimes a tendency toward the surface of consciousness, or the phenomenal, and a gradual loss of interest in the original sources of action. The phenomenal phase of creation is so interesting that man sometimes becomes bewildered in its study or its pleasure, and the originating cause may be ignored to the point of forgetfulness. This cessation of creative activity by the imagination (Joseph) is described in these words: "So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt." This means metaphysically that when the imagination in a life span has fulfilled its mission as a creative power it falls asleep, but it is preserved in the realms of darkness (Egypt).
Joseph's number is eleven. He was the eleventh son, and his age when he stopped active work and fell asleep (110) represents the completeness of the dispensation of that faculty's activity; the cipher indicates an endless capacity for expression. The figure given as the age of a Biblical character usually represents the subject's place in his evolution. Joseph completed his evolution to the eleventh degree plus. The cipher means that he has more to demonstrate.
Jesus' number is twelve. He was wise at the age of twelve.
Adam was third in the Godhead (God, Christ, man). He lived 930 years, according to scriptural chronology. This number tells us that he is third in the trinity, has the capacity of the twelvefold man, but has unfolded only three of the twelve faculties. The order of the numbers indicates the harmony of his unfoldment. In this instance it was orderly—the naught denotes future progress uninterrupted.
Seth, the son whom Adam begat "in his own likeness, after his image," represents the awakening of spiritual consciousness. "Then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah." Seth's years were 912. Here the trinity and the twelvefold man are eptiomized, and we see that Seth was the birth, in Adam, of Adam's own original character, even the image and likeness of Elohim. In the figure nine the trinity is repeated three times, once for each of its identities, God, Christ, man; then the twelve powers of man are added. Again the total of the digits is twelve, the number of divine man demonstrated.
We have called attention to the metaphysical meaning of the chronology of these Biblical characters in order to illustrate more fully the manner in which the faculties are developed. It will be seen that in man is implanted the likeness of God, which man develops in a long series of personalities. The process of forming a soul may be compared to the development, in a photographic negative, of the image that has been imprinted upon the sensitive
plate but cannot be seen until it has been put through a regular developing process. When Adam had a spiritual awakening he perceived the truth of his identity in God, and thereby begat Seth, the original image and likeness of spiritual man, imprinted upon him by the Word of creative Mind. Then the worship of Jehovah was restored in man's whole consciousness, for a time at least.
Coming down the chronological stream, we find that Joseph's place was taken by two sons. "And Joseph called the name of the first-born Manasseh: For, said he, God hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath made me fruitful in the land of my affliction." The mother of these sons was Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, Egyptian priest of On. Asenath means "peril." She represents the feminine or love side of the natural man. From this intricate symbology we discern that two faculties of the mind were given birth. The eldest son, Manasseh, had power to forget, to erase by denial, through an understanding of Truth, all the accumulated burden of thoughts, even to that of heredity, "all my father's house." The other son, Ephraim, could add to by affirmation and make fruitful the land that seemed to be a place of affliction. These two sons of Joseph inherited his allotment in the Promised Land, which symbolizes the perfected body. The front brain is the field of operation for these closely related faculties—imagination, understanding, and will. When man's will is working
strongly he corrugates his brow, and his quick understanding causes his eyes to flash.
When the imagination is subjective and spiritual and the will and the understanding are objective and alert, we have the creative artist. Then the understanding develops its greatest freedom and originality. It is no longer bound by the traditions of the past in literature, art, music, drama, science, or religion, but launches out into the deep and brings up the "pearl of great price," original creative genius and life. Then the energetic will makes fruitful by its activity all the inspirations of the awakened man.
These two closely related forces of the mind are dominant in the race because their practicality is necessary in man's free development. If the imagination were wholly in command, it would eventually run into a riot of daydreams or fanciful schemes that could not be worked out successfully in a world where natural law is inexorable. It is this "peril" (Asenath) that the mind considers, and brings forth, in sequence, will and understanding. "The highest and most excellent thing in man," says Goethe, "is formless, and we must guard against giving it shape in anything save noble deeds."
Man is a free agent in the possession and the use of the faculty of will. Freedom of will has been variously regarded and defined. It is the subject of volumes of theological literature and also the rock on which religionists have split. The theory of predestination relieves man of all responsibility. If
God has fixed every act of man's existence, then there can be no mental or moral freedom. If man cannot determine the character of his acts, he has neither understanding nor will—he is a puppet.
The understanding and the will should be especially active in one who would master the sensations of the body. Potiphar's wife represents the sense consciousness that tempts us to meet its desires, and, when we deny it, has us imprisoned. This means that when a certain habit in the sense consciousness is refused expression, it reacts and for a time seems to prevent our expressing even the good. But let us patiently bide our time; the higher will yet show its God-given power.
The several visits of Joseph's brothers to Egypt for corn, and the final reconciliation, are symbolical representations of the manner in which we make connection with the obscured vitality within the organism and finally bring all our faculties into conjunction with it.
Volumes might be written with Joseph as a text. In his history, as given in Genesis, some of the most interesting processes of regeneration are symbolized. This hidden realm within the subconsciousness is in an Egyptian, or obscured, state to most of us. Yet it is a great kingdom, and its king is Pharaoh, ruler of the sun, or the "brain" and nerve center, which physiology names the solar plexus. This is the brain of the physical man, and it directs the circulation, digestion, assimilation, and so forth. Students of mind have discovered that the solar plexus is the
organ through which a ruling thought in the head is carried into the body. He of the "hard heart," who would not let the people go, is human will, acting through the solar plexus, or city of the sun.
The spiritual life in the subconsciousness (Children of Israel in Egypt) is often prevented from expressing itself by the opposition of the will. If the understanding decides that what it conceives to be the natural law shall be the limit of expression, there is further bondage and there are harder tasks. Any hard, dictatorial, or willful state of mind will harden the heart. This state of mind acts through the solar plexus (the distributing station for building forces of the body), and thereby brings its limitations upon the whole system. Hardened arteries are the result of hard thoughts, this hardness originates in the will. Jehovah represents the law of the I AM in action.
The ambiguity in the term "motive" has caused much of the controversy that has raged over free will. The champions of free will commonly suppose that before performing an act a man is affected by various motives, none of which necessarily determines his act. Their opponents, on the other hand, argue that there is no such thing as this unmotivated choice. Some hold that free will proper consists of choice only as between higher and lower good. Some regard it as consisting in the power to do as one pleases or chooses. Others define it as the power to do or to choose as one should.
According to some academic metaphysicians, the freedom of the will includes the power to act contrary
to all of one's own motives or inclinations or tendencies, this power being inherent in the will. It is readily seen that this thing called "motive" is another name for understanding, and that it is a necessary adjunct to that faculty. But not all people use understanding as the headlight for both motive and will. The undisciplined mind feels the impulse that lies behind motive, and acts without considering either cause or effect. This is partaking of the knowledge of good and evil without heeding the voice of wisdom—the sin of Adam, undeveloped man. Understanding may be illumined by the Christ Mind, and thus receive the light that "lighteth every man, coming into the world." Without this light man breaks the law in nearly every act. The divorcement of understanding from will has led to endless controversies between those who have written and debated about the necessity for man's having free will, and those who, because of the evils that have come upon man through ignorant willing, have advocated the utter effacement of the will.
We do not need less will; we need more understanding. Jesus (spiritual light) showed Thomas (intellectual understanding) the wounds that ignorance had inflicted upon the innocent body. Jesus' apostles represented His own faculties of mind. When He called them they were ignorant and undisciplined children of the natural world. But the image and likeness of the creative Mind was on them, to discipline them in the wisdom of the Christ (spiritual I AM).
As the executive power of the mind, human will is the negative pole of spiritual decision. Right here is where those who study man from a personal viewpoint fail in their estimate of his power and his accountability. As mortal, living in a material world, he seems circumscribed and limited in capacity and destiny. Philosophers have studied man in this cage of the mind, and their conclusions have been that he is little better than a reasoning animal.
But there is a higher and truer estimate of man, and that estimate is made from what the academic school of philosophy would call the purely speculative side of existence. Failing to discern his spiritual origin, they fail in estimating his real character. As a product of the natural man, will is often a destructive force. Nearly all our systems of training children have been based on breaking the will in order to gain authority over the child and obedience from him. We should remember that the right to exercise freedom of will was given to man in the beginning, according to Genesis, and that will should always be given its original power and liberty.
It is possible, however, for man so to identify his consciousness with Divine Mind that he is moved in every thought and act by that Mind. Jesus attained this unity; when He realized that He was willing not in the personal but in the divine, He said: "Not my will, but thine, be done."
Many sincere Christians have tried to follow in the way of Jesus, and they have negatively submitted their will to God. But they have not attained
the power or the authority of Jesus by so doing. The reason is that they have not raised their will to the positive spiritual degree. Jesus was not negative in any of His faculties, and He did not teach a doctrine of submission. He gave, to those who went forth preaching the Gospel, the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. In Mark 16:16-18 it is recorded that Jesus says: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." We must believe in the higher powers and be immersed in the omnipresent water of life. If we fail to exercise faith in things spiritual, we are condemned to the prison of materiality.
Some Christians believe that God's will toward men varies, that His will changes, that He chastises the disobedient and punishes the wicked. This view of God's character is gained from the Old Testament. Jehovah was the tribal God of the Israelites as Baal was of the Philistines. Men's concepts of God are measured by their spiritual understanding. The Jehovah, of Moses, is quite different from the Father, of Jesus, yet they are spiritually one and the same. "It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish," is the teaching of Jesus. He bore witness that
the will of God is that men should not suffer—that through Him they should have complete escape from sin, sickness, and even death. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life." The sin, sickness, suffering, and death that men experience are not punishment willed by God; they are results of broken law. The law is good; men have joy, satisfaction, and life in everlasting harmony, when they keep the law. Creation would not be possible without rules governing the created.
It is error for anyone to submit his will to the control of any personality. The personal exercise of will by personal understanding is short-sighted and selfish; hence it is never safe to allow oneself to be led by the direction or advice of another. Practice the presence of God until you open your consciousness to the inflow of the omnipresent, all-knowing mind, then affirm your unity with that mind until you know and fully realize, through the many avenues of wisdom, just what you should do. This acquirement of a knowledge of the divine will is not the work of an instant; it results from patient and persistent spiritual study, prayer, and meditation. Even Jesus, with His exalted understanding, found it necessary to pray all night. All who have found the peace and the power of God have testified to the necessity of using prayer in the soul's victory.
One should not intellectually will to bring about results for oneself or for another. The difference
between the personal will and the universal will can be known by one who practices thought control in the silence.
Affirmations made in the head alone are followed by a feeling of tension, as if bands were drawn across the forehead. When this state of mind sinks back into the subconsciousness, the nerves become tense; if the practice is continued, nervous prostration follows.
Stubborn, willful, resistant states of mind congest the life flow; they are followed by cramps and congestion. The will often compels the use of the various organs of the body beyond their normal capacity, and the results are found in strained nerves and strained muscles and in impaired sight and impaired hearing. Disobedient children have earache, showing the direct result that self-will has on the nerves of the ear. Deaf persons should be treated for freedom from willfulness and obstinacy. In the present state of race consciousness, all people use the intellectual will to excess. The remedy is daily relaxation, meditation, prayer.
Will, as exercised by man, is the negative pole of the great executive force of the universe. The recognition of this in silent meditation opens the will to the inflow of this mighty, moving principle, and the power that moves to action the members of the body reaches into the invisible realm of ideas and controls the elements. It was comprehension of the will universal that enabled Jesus to say to the wind and the waves, "Peace, be still."
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the inalienable rights of man, and they should never be interferred with. Hypnotism, mesmerism, and mediumship are based on the submission of one will to another. The one who desires control demands another's submission in mind and body to his own willed thoughts and words of directive power. The effect on the one who submits is always weakening, and, if continued, results in a mental negation that makes him the victim of evil influences too numerous to mention.
"Not my will, but thine, be done" is one of the most far-reaching affirmations of Jesus, and those who follow Him and keep His sayings are finding great peace and relaxation of mind and body.
Jesus, the mighty helper, is always present with those who are earnestly seeking to be Christians and to keep the divine law.