Gestefeld Basic Course: Lesson Five
THE ASCENT OF THE SOUL
In our last lesson, we found that evil is not a created thing or spiritual entity, but is instead, simply a false “sense” belonging to the infant Adam soul, and because of its human origin, is not a substantial Reality, but a transitory state, incident to mortal sense. We also learned that man never fell in the sense of wilful transgression and the so-called “shameful fall” was in no sense “sinful” from the ethical standpoint, but was rather a move in obedience to a natural impulse, an unconscious reaching out after knowledge, and in no-wise a culpable misdemeanor. Soul does not come into the world, fully matured, so we have to take this into account when judging of the mistakes of growing soul, and make allowance for its inexperience. A wise one has said that “The imaginations of the heart are evil from (or because of) its youth” (Gen. 8:21). Paul says: “First the natural, afterward the spiritual” (I Cor. 15:46) and so we find in the study of the Science of Being that soul is in the becoming state, and is destined to become more and more of what it is in Being, as it grows in Self-knowledge. The degree of soul that feeds on and is sustained by human ignorance, comes to an end, as it outgrows the natural state, and puts on spiritual consciousness.
We are told that there were two trees in the Garden of Eden. The “tree of Good and Evil” and “The Tree of Life.” At the suggestion of the woman (Intuition) the infant Adam eats of the tree bearing two kinds of fruit, and thus falls into a little knowledge. We all know that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” (Alexander Pope) and leads the innocent victim into wrong conclusions which may delude for a time but soon or late must be displaced by a more enlightened view, born of more knowledge. Note that there was nothing wrong about the tree, nothing wrong about eating the fruit which Eve found was “good for food” for it was all natural. Mortal sense laws are not Nature’s laws, or Law. Infant soul through natural ignorance forges the chains that manacle its own hands. It makes its own burdens, and it alone can unload or unmake them.
[TruthUnity note: There is nothing wrong with wanting to explore good and evil. That is the only way to throw off our chains. But, as the writer says in the next few paragraphs, there is danger in knowing good and evil while the soul is ascending from the Ideal to the actualized Real. And, as said at the end of this lesson, the journey requires a balance of reason and intuition.]
Experience goads or pushes the soul while Revelation, another means of growth, leads it into all righteousness. The soul must descend into the world in order to ascend. The first Adam is a necessity to the second Adam, and between the two, lies the world of existence. By the daily recognition of who and what we are and can do, soul begins to rise.
In studying the nature and tendencies of existent soul, we find that the remedy for the natural “fall” is the “spiritual ascension” which is a gradual steady mounting of the ladder which reaches from earth to heaven, and unites the two states of consciousness in a harmonious whole. It is an increasing recognition of what we are in Reality and a greater realization of the glorious possibilities growing out of our real nature. Every soul must return to the God from whence it came, and this does not mean that it has to “die” (according to sense) in order to do this, but that we may make the spiritual atonement, even while wearing the flesh.
Existence is our opportunity for becoming a conscious being, and that we are now immortal in Being. It is the plane of achievement where we may prove to ourselves what it means to do, as well as to be what it means to bring forth the “likeness” which is hidden in the “Image” as a potentiality to be evolved by living soul. Man as the Image, is the Entity or complement of God and as soul ascends, it appropriates more and more of what it is in Being, and thus speeds the “bringing forth of the divine “likeness”. Soul in its deep sleep, lost its bearings, and in this sleep dreamed the Adam dream. This “deep sleep” is the universal mental lethargy or “racial passivity” from which each soul must be awakened that it may put on the beautiful “garments of Truth” or “robe of righteousness,” and come into conscious possession of its divine birthright. Putting on the garment of Truth does not imply change of body, but a new quality of body which comes from laying aside the “beggarly elements of the world” or the shapes of flesh blood and bones and “laying hold” of the divine Self Idea.
This true sense of Self is our Individuality which is the “spinal column” of “back-bone” of the soul, and it is upon this substantial tower of strength that we are to lean in the spiritual ascent, for It is a present Help in time of need. In the ascent of the soul there is much to “repent of” or turn away from. In the first place, we are to repent of our false sense of Deity, and see God as Impersonal Principle, acting from divine compulsion rather than a personal Being exercising the power of choice.
We must also repent of a belief in two powers which since time began has been the root cause of human ills. Shapes and forms, having no power in themselves, we find that there is only God-Power, and we know that Good could not create evil an so there is but One Creator. We can clearly see that evil is not a reality and that therefore there is only One Power in all the universe, the Good Omnipotent and Omnipresent. We must also repent of the false sense in regard to ourselves, and one another and like Paul, henceforth “know no man after the flesh,” but see ourselves and others, as we are ideally, and not as to actually appear!
Crucifixion and Resurrection, like repentance, are states of consciousness and in the spiritual ascent each soul must pass through these different stages of soul expansion. Denial of the old self with positive affirmation of the true self makes the sign of the cross. As to thus crucify the old self idea, we die to the false sense, normally, through soul-growth. The old is swallowed up in the new. Body and tomb are one. In the Adam dream, we are entombed in materiality, but as soul expands or matures it is resurrected from the dead (shape) and begins to put on “immortality” or the spiritualized body which is builded with true thoughts. Changing the quality of soul must ultimate in the change of body, for we do literally embody our thoughts whenever we crucify “mortal sense” we are virtually glorifying the divine Self, for in this Process of Self-purification, the animal and human quality of soul drop away, but the spiritual remains and becomes more and more, unto the perfect day.
Salvation is universal because it is for all. It is a conscious knowledge of the soul’s union with its Maker and in this sense is also individual, for as we know, one soul cannot take this atonement for another. Each soul has to work out his own salvation. It is self work, for as one cannot know Truth for another, we one soul cannot save another, for salvation comes through self-understanding.
Another may point the way, as did Jesus, the pioneer of saving Truth. He showed us the way, by saving his own soul, and helped us on the journey heavenward, by both precept and example, but we alone can “keep the passover” from “death unto life.” God and man are now in unity by virtue of the Law of the Universe, but in order to get the full benefit of this “oneness” soul nust cement the bond by “right-thinking” or the conscious recognition of this God-ordained relation.
Salvation implies a “change of heart” which ultimates in a change in the quality of soul embodiment, and this in turn results in bettered bodily conditions, and more harmonious environment. When Spiritual Perception (Eve) begins to wake up, Adam (intellect) soul begins to unfold or take on a more God-like quality. The Higher Soul is a germ hidden in the human soul which must soon or late embody its highest Ideal. The “Son of God” is begotten, gestated and born in the “son of man.” Existence is the soul’s opportunity for gestation. The regeneration is from the basis laid in the Beginning. In the octave lies the possibility of both harmony and discord, and it depends upon the player whether existence proves a concord of sweet sounds” or a “miserere”, for we qualify the Law by our use of it, so that it brings us good, or its opposite, according to our attitude toward it.
Because the power of choice inheres in the human soul, each one is the arbiter of his own fate. Our destiny is fixed, because it is involved in our origin, but we can mold our fate as we choose, as it hinges upon how we use the power to think whether we use our faculties and think according to Principle, or obey the dictates of mortal sense and identify ourselves with the dust man. Generic man bears two aspects in his relation to God, both Image and Likeness, — the first expressing what God is, and the latter manifesting what God does. Being is the seed of God, and as such is whole, perfect, complete. Jeremiah said: “I planted thee wholly a right seed” but the perfect has to be perfected, and to this end the germ in the seed must act according to its nature, and bring forth the “likeness” which is potential in the Image. In other words, the ideal must be actualized before it can be made Real. First, we have Ideal Man, at the last Real Man and in between the Actual Man. They each and all have a place in the divine plan for they are necessary factors in the carrying out of the great purpose of Creation which is incarnation of the Divine Personality, this being rooted in Individuality which is imbedded in God, and were it not for this actual man we could not have the divine man, or personal God. Both Principle and Number are unmanifest, and it requires Figure to make known their value. So we see that shape is not “error” but serves a wise purpose as a means to an end in the “bringing forth” of the “likeness” and for this cause came I into the world.
As in Adam all die, so in Christ are all made alive, and truly the business of growing soul seams to be to bridge the chasm between the infant Adam and the mature man which is the Christ. Between the two lies existence or the world of shapes which is to be overcome. As the soul in its spiritual ascent rises above tne world by an understanding of what it is in itself, soul realizes that we can be in the world, and yet not of it. The “fall” of man was the original sin or primal mistake of mortal sense or the Adam soul and the enlightened soul is kept busy rectixying the dire results of the infant soul’s ignorant conclusions as to who and what it is. We are now in the garden of Eden which we know is not a place or locality, but a state of consciousness, and existence is our opportunity to prove this to ourselves.
Man, the Image of God, evolves through self-consciousness. Soul therefore is God-likeness in pushing into manifestation. In order that this evolution may be peaceful and result harmoniously the human nature must not resist the workings of the Spirit, but “let go” its own willing and be reconciled to God which implies voluntary co-operation with or obedience to divine Law. The Higher Self is ever ready and waiting for mankind to get ready to forsake its sins and turn to the Lord. Knowledge of the Truth of Being insures a right understanding of this law of sowing and reaping, and it alone can dissolve the belief in evil as a reality and dissipate the illusion of the Adam Soul which through the ages has been the bane of existence. The infant soul needs to be healed of self-imposed limitations, and we find that more and more self-knowledge is the specific for the sin-sick soul. If ignorance caused the malady, then surely the antidote is its opposite. So “with all thy getting, get understanding” (Prov. 4:7) and thus “let the light of Truth” shine upon the earth, and drive out the darkness of ignorance which obscures the true Self Idea.
The Light of Truth is “the Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” This Light that ne’er has shown on land or sea is a steady light. It does not dazzle nor flicker nor fade. It just fades not but shines eternally, giving light to whomsoever will. Aye, there’s the rub. Are we letting it shine for us as we make the spiritual ascent, or are we toiling and groping up the ladder from earth to heaven, by the flickering, feeble light of reason? This is good as far as it goes for the rational nature must be satisfied, but in order to rise to the “Christ consciousness” the soul must be illumined by the two great lights that shine upon the head and heart, and quicken both the rational and intuitional natures.