Self-Conscious in God
Published in 1932 January Unity Magazine
"GOOD MORNING. How are you today?"
"Just as well, happy, and successful as a son of God should be, thank you. How are you?"
Suppose each of us lived in the consciousness of being a son of God and could answer the daily greeting that way. How delightful life would be for us! How joyous every contact! How different the world!
"Like a son of God!"
Who are the sons of God?
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God" (Rom. 8:14)
One's being "led by the Spirit of God" becomes a habit. To take direction from God is an easy habit to acquire, for it is not only a very pleasant habit, but an entirely natural one as well. Conscious unity with God is our heritage, therefore any separation from our Father indwelling is inconsistent with our spiritual relationship. By discipline in enforcing our understanding we may establish within us the idea of being consciously guided by the Spirit of God and maintain the awareness that we are sons of God. This practice soon becomes as easy and natural for us as it is to recall our earthly parentage.
When I first became interested in certain phases of Truth, a woman whom I knew slightly made this remark, by which, whether or not she intended it to be mystifying, she succeeded in producing such an effect upon me: "This morning when I awoke I realized that I did not have that with me."
"That what?" I inquired.
She gave me a surprised and searching glance, then replied, "Why, the invisible Presence."
"I don't see how such a condition could exist, if God is truly omnipresent," I thought, although, with my limited consciousness of knowledge, I did not then dare voice such an assumption. But as understanding unfolded I discovered for myself, as all Truth seekers do sooner or later, the actuality of the statement that Paul makes in I Cor. 15:44, "There is a natural body, and there is also a spiritual body." God is indeed omnipresent, yet we know that it is the general thing for people to be so inwrapped in the "natural body" (the material idea) that the presence of the "spiritual" is entirely overlooked.
However, if we are going to exercise our divine prerogative as sons of God, we must accustom ourselves to think of things and people as spiritual realities. Also we must consciously destroy the false concepts of materiality and build up in their stead the true spiritual idea. Spiritual perception of all things must become habitual with us.
THROUGH meditation, through conscious dependence on the Spirit of God, through fellowship with the Christ within us, we become conscious of our oneness with God. When we experience this oneness with God we are in the "spiritual body" and, being "led by the Spirit," are, therefore, sons of God, God beings. It is while we are in this consciousness of identity with the Christ within us that healing for others or for ourselves takes place, that inspiration is born, or that illumination enlightens us.
This awareness of the Presence indwelling, this being in the "spiritual body," carries with it a certain recognizable exaltation of spirits, a glow, a warmth, a sense of aliveness, a feeling of inner peace and security, a dependable insight, a sureness that all is indeed well everywhere.
Regular and constant contact with the Christ within us gets us used to knowing ourselves as we really are — undaunted, victorious, steadfast, perfect, Godlike. The wonder is that, after once catching the glorious vision of ourselves as God knows us, we should so frequently fail to recognize that we are living in the "natural body" only when we picture ourselves as limited, sorrowful, sick, discouraged, aging, or dying.
ONE SOMETIMES hears the expression, "I feel low today." It is a fact that any one who can express his condition as "low" is making a perfectly true diagnosis of his spiritual apprehension, for all low states, whether physical, mental, or moral, although they may be attributed to any one of a thousand causes, are signs of spiritual depression and can indicate only one thing — a sense of separateness from God.
When we "walk by the Spirit" — that is, in a consciousness of our real self, of the Christ within us — we abide, as the Psalmist words it, "in thy tabernacle," and "under the shadow of the Almighty," and we "dwell in thy holy hill" and "in the secret place of the Most High," all indicating that an exalted or high feeling accompanies spiritual understanding and communion.
Therefore, when we find ourselves in any depression of feeling, the obvious remedy to apply in removing it is to raise our spiritual consciousness. Just as darkness disappears with light, so does the "Adam body," or material consciousness and its effects, disappear when we put on the Christ consciousness.
Truth teaches that in reality we are always with God and God is always with us. God and our real self, or our spiritual nature, are coexistent and coequal. In the spiritual manifestation God and man are united in infinite oneness, so there cannot be any separation of man from God and all His spiritual attributes. In reality we are constantly "in Christ" and "hid with Christ in God."
Since all is Spirit, does it not seem absurd for us to long, seek, strive, even fight — apart from God — for some good that we desire with all our heart when all the while that good — be it health, supply, harmony, love, life, or any of God's manifestations — is right at hand? Its demonstration in the outer is merely awaiting our conscious inner recognition that the spiritual self within us is coexistent with God's great universe and that all things in it are God's and therefore, because we are sons of God, these things are also ours.
Where, then, does the separation between God and man occur? It can occur only in one place, and that is in our belief. We hold a belief that there is some other power than God.
It may be that we express this false belief through thinking that, before God can manifest, we ourselves must do something through our own personal efforts. Which then holds the greater power in our belief — personality, or God?
Or, perhaps, we think that world conditions are so adverse that we cannot now demonstrate our good. If so, which power are we making supreme — God, or the world?
Sometimes it is the race idea in sickness and death to which we give our belief. Our action in regard to this race idea shows which we consider more powerful — illness, or God.
YET, NO matter what belief we entertain in regard to the ascendancy of any other power over God, the irrefutable fact remains that God is the only power. Through our real self, the Christ within us, we demonstrate that power. As sons of God we should be ever conscious that God, our Father, the only power that there is, is dwelling right within us all the time, dwelling there now and forever.
When we have become conscious of the Christ indwelling, all our thoughts act with much greater force and immediacy. If we keep our thinking with God the results are quick and good. When we think apart from God the effects are also quick, but not always to our liking. Even our passing thoughts are quickened into demonstration, so for that reason we should ask to be led by Spirit in all our thinking.
To illustrate: A letter from a friend bringing tragic news carried me so deeply into her difficulties that through sympathy I momentarily forgot that life is of God, therefore is indestructible, and that God is always everywhere evenly present. Instead of knowing the situation as being right in Truth and looking within for wisdom, I accepted my friend's evaluation of her trouble and allowed it to seem very real to me also. I received this letter at ten o'clock.
An hour later I received a telegram relating to my own affairs. My particular problem at that time was supply. This wire insisted on immediate settlement of a debt that I had been given to understand might run indefinitely, so long as the interest was met. I was shocked and, at first, at a loss to explain the peremptory demand. I looked at the telegram again. It was dated at ten minutes after ten.
So with what might be considered immediate effect my failing to remember that God is the only power was manifested in my own affairs. With quick comprehension of that fact I did turn to God. Since, in this instance, I knew that I had not walked "by the Spirit" concerning my friend, I took up her problem by giving her most thoroughly and completely into God's life, health, and understanding. I then turned to the Father indwelling about my own problem at hand. Shortly thereafter one of the patrons of our school came bringing a small gift of appreciation for some special work that I had done for the town, so I knew that I was again at one with God in relation to my supply and that the obligation of the debt was solved in reality. Although I received the assurance again that I did not need to settle it at once in the outer, God's abundance made it possible for me to do so.
WHEN WE are depending on ourselves or are allowing ourselves to be governed by outer circumstances we are like amnesia sufferers — those people who have so far lost their mental bearings that they do not recall who they are. For, indeed, to strive humanly causes man to forget his spiritual kinship, his identity with the Father indwelling.
The one thing that will keep us self-conscious in God is to practice the realizing of our divine relationship. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God," we are told; therefore guidance by Spirit is a necessary qualification of our divine sonship.
The more constantly and continuously we practice accepting this inner guidance from the Christ within us, the more closely we shall live according to the Jesus Christ pattern. Jesus was the one child of God who did constantly and continuously demonstrate the way to live in His ever present awareness of His relationship to the Father indwelling. By entering into this conscious association with the Power indwelling we shall soon notice that only thoughts of love, harmony, understanding, abundance, health, and life are allowed to have residence in us. Then, when we have made the change in our thoughts that makes our beliefs correspond to the perfection of the divine self within us, no other consequence can possibly follow for us, in life and affairs, but a demonstration of God's perfect good.
HOW ARE we going to remember to practice this self-consciousness of God and remain steadfast in it, especially if we have formed the habit of thinking that the things apart from God are real?
First of all, we must do as Jesus did, and be a son of God in the particular that He pointed out to us must receive first consideration: "Seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." We must begin to practice believing that the Son of God meant exactly what He said in that often quoted instruction, and through active, directed thinking and doing we must start now, this very instant, to "seek ... his kingdom, and his righteousness" ahead of everything else.
"But I don't have time to sit down and meditate and go into the silence," we hear people say.
Then ask for leisure, for time, to gain the unmistakable, steadfast, abiding consciousness that God's business is the most important business anywhere and at any time. Even if some one in the room is playing the radio at loudest volume, begin right where you are and ask God to arrange a time and place for your silent communion with the Christ within you. All-hearing, all-knowing Spirit within you will hear your desire and attend most beautifully and quickly to its complete fulfillment, for this is a desire that is strictly in accordance with the divine will. Not only that, but you will soon discover that one may clothe oneself in spiritual thought at any time and place. Concerning this, Brother Lawrence, that famous religious devotee of the seventeenth century, says: "That it was a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times; that we are as strictly obliged to adhere to God by action in the time of action, as by prayer in the season of prayer."
TO HOLD steadfast the remembrance that you are a son of God, ask the indwelling Christ to keep you constantly aware that you are Spirit, that you are God's perfect child, that there is a holy inner Presence in you. Furthermore, tell the Christ indwelling that you desire instant, unfailing direction of Spirit at all times, and that you command that your every thought that is not in perfect accord with God be wiped out instantly, and be replaced permanently with the understanding of Truth that frees.
It is through the spiritualization of our thought that we come to a full understanding of Truth, therefore any method that we find spiritualizes our thought is the one that we should use to keep us self-conscious in God. In the Master's instructions to His disciples to "watch and pray" He referred to this reversal of un-Godlike thoughts as watching, while by praying He meant the affirming or stating of the God Truth. Always empty the mind of the material concepts that are obscuring the good, then consciously fill yourself with the thoughts of Spirit.
"Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ," Paul commanded. We have the promise that "he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever." To remember that "God ... gave unto him the name which is above every name," the name "Jesus Christ," exalts us in consciousness above every named and unnamed fear that we may have. Many use this masterful name alone to restore themselves to the consciousness of their divine heritage.
The affirmation that follows is most effective in lifting the sense consciousness to the Christ consciousness of perfection. Vision the Christ self as resident in you while you repeat:
"I am self-conscious in God."
Usually five minutes' thoughtful, purposeful repetition of these words of Truth brings one to the realization whereby, as the child of the Most High, one knows with the certainty of exalted Christ vision that —
"I am now in the presence of pure Being, and immersed in the Holy Spirit of life, love, and wisdom."
SOON this discipline of the mind will be unnecessary, for, having learned the joy of using the power of the Spirit of God to transcend every limitation of the sense consciousness, we find that we are becoming conscious with ever increasing frequency of dwelling still more constantly in the presence of the Christ.
Through steadfast recognition and consciousness of the divine self in Him, the Son of God manifested the glorious victory of Spirit. When we remain as constant in our realization of the Christ presence, we, too, as sons of God, shall enjoy as completely the same Christ mastery.
This Christ mastery is possible now, for through the Christ within us we are sons of God, now and forever!