PAUL IS NOW HERE
In Unity magazine occurs this sentence: “We happen to know Paul in his present incarnation and have his word for this.” If you can give the space, won’t you please tell what you mean? Are we to understand that Paul reincarnated is now upon the earth, and an acquaintance of yours? It does not seem possible that you can mean this. Perhaps the printer and the proof reader have erred.
THERE WAS no error on the part of any one in the statement quoted. He who once manifested as Paul the apostle is now expressing himself through another personality, right here in America. It should be remembered, in discussing this character, that the real Paul and the ideal which the world today holds of Paul, are not the same. The illusions of hero worship are beyond all reason, and especially so when the hero has been sainted and a religious halo thrown about his character and his writings. A calm, unbiased perusal of Paul’s history, as recorded in his writings, will convince any one, who is not hypnotized by ecclesiastical assumptions, that he lacked much of being the saint that the church thinks him. As one of the early church fathers, his lot was hard—that of the disseminator of new and strange doctrines utterly opposed to those popularly accepted by the people. From the day that he adopted the ministry of Jesus Christ he was despised and persecuted, except by a few followers. As he wrote, in I Corinthians 4:11, “Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and we toil, working with our own hands.”
Most people think that if Paul were here again in the flesh he would be occupying a very exalted place in the church and be known far and near for his great works. They certainly do not base their assumption upon his former experience; even the humblest pulpit in the land would be preferable to that, viewed from the world’s standpoint of riches and honor. Besides, we all know that if Paul were here today and went about as he did in apostolic times, preaching his vision and his conversation with Jesus Christ, healing the sick and blessing their handkerchiefs, he would not be accepted by orthodox Christians.
So if we assert that he who was once called Paul is among us, teaching and healing in a humble way, do not let these illusions of ecclesiastical education darken your understanding. Our word today that we know Paul is just as good as his was nineteen hundred years ago that he had seen and talked with Jesus of Nazareth, who was supposed to be dead.
Not only Paul but a number of the immediate followers of Jesus are today in bodily forms in this country. Some of them have opened up the soul consciousness far enough to get glimpses of their past, and some have not. Paul lived more than thirty-eight years in his present form, a plain American citizen, before he knew that he was the same ego that had once expressed itself in flesh as Saul the Jewish zealot, afterward, Paul the Christian pioneer. So thousands upon thousands are living in the personal consciousness and letting it so absorb their attention that they are utterly oblivious to the higher self, which would reveal to them that they are more than mere animals living today and dying tomorrow. You who read this have doubtless run the gamut of all the nations on this planet, many times; there is stored up in your subconsciousness the memories of all those experiences. You may unroll these memories if you will but drop the external things of the little daily round and open up the inner planes of your being. But unless you do this, you will remain ignorant of who and what you are, even though you may have been known once in the drama of earth as Solomon, or Shakespeare.
Here we are confronted by the question from thousands: “What is reincarnation?” It is a question so deep and so far-reaching that it cannot be answered to the satisfaction of those who expect mere words to convey the fullness of ideas.
There are various planes of consciousness in man, in which the ego, or self-knower, establishes itself according to its desire and attainments. The intellectual plane has form as its base of thought, and while the ego lives in the intellectual consciousness all its ideas are translated into form; hence to explain in human language the series of idealistic experiences which the ego passes through, as steps into realization of its true self, bodily incarnation has to be set up, which is not the correct concept.
We do not favor the term “reincarnation,” because there have clustered about it ideas of aeons of time, personalities, bodies, forms, and the numerous things of sense consciousness that are but masks worn by Spirit, which is Principle, the only real and enduring One. It is possible to concentrate upon intellectual concepts until the soul memory is awakened and the past revealed, without the true spiritual realization and identity being quickened. This is why the study of reincarnation, as set forth from the standpoint of personality, is not profitable to the student of higher thought.
It is not what you have been that counts your worth now. In your former experiences you may have brought out prominently some faculty of mind and utterly ignored some other faculty equally as important in the divine economy. So your present duty is to develop that slighted faculty, and the work is just as important as any work that you have done in your entire existence. For instance, one who contemplates reincarnation from the personal standpoint might awaken his sleeping memory and discern that he once manifested as Alexander the Great. From the contemplation of past glories and powers such a one might become puffed up in soul and might quarrel with the present expression, possibly a patient, loving mother of a large family of unruly children. But to one who has identified the I with spirit, and to whom all phases of bodily expression are the passing show, this would be an instructive problem in soul growth. The I would not look upon Alexander the Great as a person, but as the expression of the faculty of power, which is ever latent in Spirit. Time and space would form no part of the problem, because they have to do with the personal and limited, while the spiritually wise deal with principles. Activity and rest follow each other in the domain of expression, and thus the power that was very active as Alexander the Great would be taking its rest in the subconsciousness of the loving mother.
When the I catches a glimpse of its true being in Spirit, and takes advantage of the I AM doctrine of Jesus Christ, there is wonderful quickening into expression of all the sleeping and latent faculties. Instead of having to pass through many bodily forms to bring these faculties into expression, man may bring them forth in one incarnation and may round out the perfect man of God’s idea in a Jesus Christ consciousness. Thus reincarnation is lifted from its earthly aspect, as a series of personal lives extending over great periods of time, and it becomes the now present bringing forth of the powers and the faculties of man, without reference to the personalities under which they were masked.
The personal man is but a part of the real man, who is invisible to sense consciousness. That this representative man appears and disappears on the objective plane does not change the continued existence of the real man. Identity is of the soul—not of the fleshly form.
All who have thought deeply have arrived at the conclusion that continued existence of the ego under various embodiments must be a fact, for in no other way could they account for the diversity of talents and conditions of the human family. If God is no respecter of persons, every child should start at its physical birth with mental capacity and environment in every way equal to its neighbor, which experience proves is not true. So even the exact reasoner concludes that the start was far anterior to any specific physical birth.
God does not talk to the physical man—God talks to the soul and it informs the physical man. The idea that God made promises to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as personalities, is all wrong. They represented as personalities the soul to whom the promises were made, and to whom they are fulfilled. What benefit would it be to a man to be promised a reward to be given to his progeny 5,000 years hence? The Lord said: “Unto thy seed will I give this land.” Jesus says that the word is the “seed.” Thus we ourselves are the old Bible patriarchs and to us as souls were promised the possessions that we earned through our thought or “word.” We are the tribes of Israel, who have appeared and disappeared in the various nations of history, but have steadily kept our way in the faith of God’s promises. Those who are asking to be guided consciously by the Father see in this age the beginning of the fulfillment of the promises made to us when we were infants in soul experience.
A well-rounded understanding of existence cannot be had without taking into consideration the question of the meaning and place of physical embodiment in the experiences of man.
If I am a thinking being, and my thought clothes me with its forms, I cannot help but ask what kind of clothes I wore before I took on the present suit, and I shall never be satisfied until I have solved the problem. If written authority will satisfy, the Bible teaches of no existence but a here-and-now existence. Adverse critics have claimed that the Bible does not even teach immortality, but they overlook the fact that it deals with the soul primarily and rounds up the whole of existence as in omnipresence. Yet he who reads with open eye may see that continuous reimbodiments were expected, until the promised Messiah should come as a deliverer from limitation of the race consciousness.
States of consciousness are designated in Scripture as “days.” These states of consciousness come and go (the “evening” and the “morning,” one day), working out some dominant idea, but the central creative purpose marches majestically on. So the Scripture veils under the mask of numerous personalities the one central idea of the Christ man coming to consciousness through the original seed-egos propagated into the realm of experience in Adam. Viewed from the standpoint of self-identification, the twelve great potentialities of Being were apportioned to those egos to be worked out. The twelve tribes of Israel are right here and are now working on that problem. “And Jacob called unto his sons, and said: Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the latter days.”
The Lord said to Daniel: “But go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and shalt stand in thy lot, at the end of the days.”
The belief that each physical birth represents an individual coming into existence for the first time, and that just as many separate people have been born, have lived, and have died as the statistics of population for a few millions of years might show, is one of the delusions of mortal sense. It would take a universe to hold the products of this planet alone if that were true. The fact is that the number of egos in a certain creative plan is limited. Like actors, they play their part, pass behind the curtain, come forth again in other characters, and keep on doing so until the whole plan is worked out. When they have mastered their feelings and emotions (the soul consciousness) so that they do not become lost in, or so thoroughly identified with the character that they are representing as to forget who they really are, they will cease to appear and disappear behind the curtain. Certain actors say that they forget themselves in some of the characters that they assume. So it is not at all strange that an ego should so plunge itself into the personality it assumes at physical birth as to forget its real self and all the other characters which it has assumed at previous times.
The one who lives in the intellect has no consciousness of any life except the one pertaining to his day and age and to the small things of personality. The Hebrew prophets taught reimbodiment, but the people, being on a low intellectual plane, received the teaching as applying to certain spiritual leaders only. When Jesus began to do his mighty works they had various theories as to who he was: “It was said by some, ... that Elijah had appeared; and by others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.”
The reimbodiment of Elijah was promised: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come.” Before the birth of John the Baptist an angel told his parents that this promise concerning Elijah should be fulfilled in their child—“in the spirit and power of Elijah.” The priests asked John: “Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not.” This shows that the intellectual consciousness does not apprehend the previous experiences of its ego. To portray more fully the confusion of the intellectual consciousness and its lack of understanding of its true location in Being, John further answered: “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” So the intellect by itself is always a voice “crying in the wilderness,” and it will never get its bearings until it consciously recognizes its higher wisdom, the Christ consciousness. This consciousness knows who it is that is wearing the mask of John the Baptist, and, when questioned, it says: “If ye are willing to receive if, this is Elijah, that is to come.” In more fully explaining the ignorance of the people in this matter, Jesus further said in Matthew 17:12: “But I say unto you, that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they would. Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. Then understood the disciples that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.”
The intellectually religious world of today is making the same error in looking for the Savior and the prophets. Notwithstanding all the lessons of the past, there is widespread expectancy of the miraculous appearance of Jesus Christ, in “power and great glory,” to “rule ... with a rod of iron ...” That this Holy One comes “as a thief in the night” (steals into human consciousness under most obscure conditions) is lost sight of. But history proves that the advent of all saviors and prophets has been by the only avenue through which any one can come into this plane of consciousness, physical birth.
If this be the one door into this world or phase of thought generation, it follows that all the conditions pertaining to this world cluster about and environ the ego at his entrance. No matter how powerful and clear he may have been in other experiences, until he touches the inner and higher vibrations of his spiritual self he is simply “the carpenter’s son.”
So the people surrounding us today—you who read these lines—have stored up in their consciousness the higher wisdom which, when touched by the right idea, will spread through their minds and reveal to them, little by little, the records of what has transpired in their lives since they began conscious existence. They will there find answers to all their questions about their present conditions, and why things are as they are, when they apparently had nothing to do with bringing those conditions about.
In no other way can the questions be answered that arise in the mind and in the doctrine of the metaphysician. He is constantly met by thought productions in himself and in others for which he cannot locate the cause in this one little life, which began but a score or so of years ago. When considered seriously, it is ridiculous for one to claim that man has the thought power to produce such intricate conditions of body and affairs in a few short years. The Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu classic, admonishes us:
Those who are wise in spiritual things grieve neither for the dead nor for the living. I myself never was not, nor thou, nor all the princes of the earth; nor shall we ever hereafter cease to be. As the Lord of this mortal frame experienceth therein infancy, youth, and old age, so in future incarnations will it meet the same. One who is confirmed in this belief is not disturbed by anything that may come to pass. The senses, moving toward their appropriate objects, are producers of heat and cold, pleasure and pain, which come and go and are brief and changeable; these do thou endure. ... For the wise man, whom these disturb not and to whom pain and pleasure are the same, is fitted for immortality.
All that you ever have been is in the now existing and now present mind about you, and all the possibilities of Being are here and now awaiting your recognition and appropriation. The problem of existence cannot be shirked. Dying does not make it any easier; in fact, dying adds to the complication by breaking up and separating the factors or figures which you are using in your life problems.
Paul caught sight of the fact that the body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, ... glorify God therefore in your body.” But Paul did not glorify God in his body. He saw the possibilities of such a glorification, as we are seeing them in our study of metaphysics, but he did not allow the Christ child, conceived by the Holy Ghost in the mind, to go down to Bethlehem (“house of bread,” the psychophysiologic substance center at the pit of the stomach) and be born in a manger among the animals. By reason of this failure to form, through psychochemical processes in the physical, a new body on a higher plane of vibration, the Christ child was without suitable instrument for manifesting itself, and Paul’s corruptible body went the way of all flesh.
Thus it became necessary for him again to take up the divine substance and to go through all the minute processes of physical generation from germ to man. Then, when the process evolved to the point at which he had failed before, the correct idea presented itself, and he is now working out bodily immortality along the lines laid down by Jesus of Nazareth. The symbology of Jesus’ birth and experience is being revealed to Paul in all the details of organic regeneration, through spiritual impregnation, the present physical body being the superstructure. This process of organic regeneration, with all the organic centers in the body, is set forth under the veil of symbology in Luke’s Gospel. To Luke, the physician, was given the description of the physiological curriculum of Jesus Christ’s school of divine metaphysics, “that thou mightest know the certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed.”
That school of instruction but sowed the seed ideas in its early ministry. Those ideas have been gestating in the minds of the race and are but now coming to light in a new order of men, who will know and demonstrate the powers of the celestial consciousness.
He who once manifested as Paul is only now getting a practical understanding of the scientific laws underlying the so-called miracles of the religious world, and his aim is so to develop his own powers that he can demonstrate to materialistic science that there exists a connecting link between their world and the supernatural world of the church, which has not been understood for lack of that link. To do this successfully requires an extraordinary amount of silent interior work with physical, psychical, and spiritual powers, to the end that they be all harmoniously blended in one organism, and that that organism at the same time be unified with the universal Father. When this has been successfully done he who was once called Paul will again take up the work of Jesus Christ among the Gentiles, who are, in this age, those who lack faith in the power of the immanent God. He will demonstrate to them, from the plane of their own researches in physical science, that in man’s organism are vibratory centers that, when developed, may be used as the agents to produce under exact law the so-called miracles of Scripture.
But to attain this point will require a purified soul and a regenerated body, which are not won in a day. Devotion, obedience, courage, power, meekness, love—in fact, all the attributes of man—must be carefully and systematically cultivated, sometimes under seemingly adverse conditions. But the work goes steadily on and in due time its results will be made apparent.
“In your patience ye shall win your souls.”
I have always had one lodestar. Now,
As I look back, I see that I have halted
Or hastened as I looked towards that star—
A need, a trust, a yearning after God.
All visible things are emblems. What thou seest is not there on its own account: Strictly taken, is not there at all. Matter exists only spiritually, and to represent some idea, and body it forth.—Thomas Carlyle.
Who then is free? The wise man who can govern himself.—Horace.