What Are You? Your Consciousness
Consciousness is direct knowledge or perception of an object, state, or sensation.
If you look at a tree and think of the tree while you look at it, you are conscious of the tree. In certain weather conditions you say, "The day is blistering hot." You then are conscious of the heat. When you enter a dark room you are conscious of the darkness; when you turn on the light you become conscious of light.
Consciousness may be of that of which the senses cannot report. You may be conscious of fear, courage, hate, love. The sources of these feelings may be so remote from your perception that you cannot determine where the feelings have beginning. When your consciousness is dissociated from physical sources you are more fully identified with mind than when your consciousness is associated with an object presented by your senses. In the one instance your mind is conscious only of a state that it has produced; in the other instance your mind is conscious of a sense object, and it is conscious of its reactions, by which it produces a state of consciousness. Thought reactions to a given stimulus group themselves in a relationship that always is suggested by the stimulus; the group always suggests the stimulus. Sensations of pain from a burn by a live coal are repeated in your mind at sight of a live coal. When memory vividly repeats the sensation of the burn produced by the live coal, a live coal
is suggested to your mind. The odor of roses induces a mental picture of roses. Roses, even at a distance, awaken memory of rose odors; while you look at them you are conscious of their perfume, as you are when you physically inhale their perfume.
A group of related thoughts is spoken of as a consciousness or as a state of consciousness. The consciousness is designated according to the character of the thought group. As, your knowledge, experience, and appreciation, having to do with art, constitute your art consciousness. Your knowledge, experience, and appreciation, having to do with any one fact in life, constitute your consciousness of that fact.
Groups of related thoughts form about every topic that your mind considers. There are two distinctive groups with which you have to deal when you take up the work of governing your life. One of these groups is called the material consciousness; the other group is called the spiritual consciousness.
The material consciousness consists of a group of thoughts associated in a way that keeps the material aspects of life foremost in your thinking. Your material aspect of life is your total of knowledge concerning body, earth, human endeavor. If you rely on this aspect of life your consciousness is material. The spiritual consciousness is a group of thoughts that presents the spiritual nature of life. Your spiritual aspects of life is your total of knowledge concerning God, Christ, spiritual endeavor. If you rely on this aspect of life your consciousness is spiritual. One of these groups may engage your attention at one
time; the other group may claim your consideration at another time. At the time in which the material group holds sway, you are in a material consciousness; when the spiritual group dominates, you are in a spiritual consciousness. If the total appeal of the material group exceeds the total appeal of the spiritual group, you have a material consciousness. If your spiritual thoughts are numerous enough, strong enough, and yoked snugly enough to outface your material thoughts, you have a spiritual consciousness.
Your consciousness is your life.
Your knowledge or perception of objects, states, or sensations is the world in which you live. You are encompassed by what you see, physically and mentally. You live in a small, mean world, if your perceptions are small, mean. You live in a large, generous world, if your perceptions are large, generous. Your mental realm is as definite as your physical realm. You live in your consciousness.
The things of which you most commonly and most ardently think become your consciousness. Because this is true, you are responsible for what you have about you. Do you know the character of your consciousness? If your group of material thoughts and your group of spiritual thoughts should instantly take on three-dimensional form and stand before you, which group would be the stronger? In which group would your thoughts of life be found? Where do you think your thoughts of finance would appear? In which association should you look, were you to search for your health thoughts? With which array
would you find your conceptions of love? Examine your two groups; you can determine without the aid of a seer whether your predominating consciousness is spiritual or material. Knowing which group prevails, frequently remind yourself that your consciousness is your life. This will keep you alert to the need of construction or reconstruction, in accordance with the chosen aim of your life.
You are either disintegrating or fortifying your present consciousness. You are developing the consciousness which your trend of thought indicates. You can develop any consciousness that you think is for your greatest advantage. Mind always is the maker.
Your mind stands between the spiritual you and the physical you. Through your mind pours the Mind of God, which you modify by your feeling. The modifications that you make become parts of your mental furnishings. They have influence with you until their inadequacies show you that they are not reliable sources of inspiration. Your consciousness, even when highly spiritualized, is not to be regarded as your leader. It is meant to sustain you, not to prompt you. It aids and comforts you, but it never creates. Being the product of your thinking, it never can be the exalted source of ideas. It is your realization of the presence of God, but its voice is not the voice of God.
If your consciousness seems to be balanced between spirituality and materiality, watch your reaction when a crisis occurs. If at the crisis your thought leaps to God as your deliverer, you are building a
consciousness that will be so highly protective that it will disperse assault against you before assault can be organized.
While there are but two classifications of consciousness, your mind may function so almost wholly in abstractions and intellections that the product may be called a mental consciousness. This consciousness has connection with the one or with the other of the two classifications. At times it is compelled to choose its deliverer. Its choice reveals the thought group with which it is allied.
In choosing the consciousness that you mean to cultivate, ask yourself these questions: Is God or is materiality powerful? Does God or does materiality provide a field for unlimited development? Your reactions to these questions will dissipate the uncertainties that may have diverted you from a decision; they will convince you of which consciousness should claim your allegiance and your effort.
If heretofore you have drifted, your making a choice of a consciousness to be attained will give a new impulse to your life. If you really are interested you will work, as you worked to secure the desirable business position that you now occupy. You will have to work to hold yourself and to strengthen yourself in your chosen consciousness, as you have to work to hold your business position and to increase your satisfactory relations therewith.
No theme yields all that it contains until it is developed in the spiritual, the mental, and the physical. God accommodates Himself to clay, and in so
doing presents to you your knottiest problems. Life as you now know it, reaches into the unsounded depths of the spiritual; it explores the amazing labyrinths of the material. Life, as you know it, is the starting point for your better understanding of life.
You know that you have the power of mind to produce any change that your consciousness demands. The power of your mind is identical with all other forms of power. For your encouragement, make a survey of power as you see it operating in the world. While you are doing this, remember that material forms of power are the outgrowth of mental power. From the creation of the universe in stupendous total to the smallest detail of the daily changes that occur in your life, succession of events and procession of appearances revolve around the fiat, "Let there be."
Your power is not an isolated potentiality. It is a point of departure for universal power. It is associated with all forms of power, and in character it is identical with the power that produces the swing and the pull of the planets; that manifests in weather, with its erosions that change the faces of continents; that operates in tides that hasten or delay traffic on the seas; that sings in waterfalls that turn machinery; that crowds out one season by another season, so clothing the earth in verdures or in snows; that constructs the engines by which one hour's work exceeds in effect the results of many men's toiling through the day. Pursue these probings of power until you have included yourself -- the worker of magic
in a universe of magic. You, the "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalms 139:14), the marvelous mechanism of body and the omnipotent mind, have to your credit all of visible creation; have as your possibility the making of all the Edens that you shall care to inhabit.
Your mind is the recipient and the dispenser of power. It distributes the power that it receives from the Mind of God.
If you will train your thoughts by close consideration of the foregoing suggestions, you will in a measure become aware of your power. Then you will be ready scientifically to develop the consciousness that is your aim. Indifference will be supplanted by zeal; lethargy will give way to swift activity.
A specific example will serve to show how consciousness is augmented in any chosen field of knowledge. Let us trace the way by which you can develop knowledge and perception in the world of geology.
Study the works of the accredited authorities. Read slowly, that you may comprehend the ideas. Reread, ponder, digest. Be practical in your study: Compare the facts stated in your textbooks with the record of facts as you can trace them in the earth. Review the changes that occur on the surface and in the interior of the earth; meditate on the power that produces these changes. Keep in mind that the earth still is being made.
Steep your mind in your subject. You will find that ideas not presented in the text will disclose themselves to you. Give these ideas receptive attention Newton did that in the incident of
the apple, and the world has been the wiser for the courtesy that he showed the thought. If related subjects present themselves, make them welcome; consider them; they will explain themselves. You will begin to feel the majesty of the universe; you will find yourself at home in it. The mechanism of the heavens will become intelligible to you, and you will become familiar with wonders. All knowledge is related, and from a fallen leaf you will become able to read the story of space and universes.
Whatever your theme, the method by which you arrive at understanding is the same. Study with these two facts in mind: The textbook suggests the knowledge that at some level now lies in your mind; study induces a flow of thought. The flow of thought draws into your consciousness knowledge of which you hitherto have been unconscious, and the facts that always have existed in your mind become apparent to you.
If you wish to establish a spiritual consciousness, you perhaps will do less perusing of books and will give more attention to meditation. More of the spirit of worship will characterize your application. But you must train your thought power to act steadily, and you must consistently adhere to your theme. Results are as sure in the one case as in the other.
Thinking clarifies ideas. Make yourself think. You are not really thinking when you are repeating the thoughts of others; you are parroting. To perceive ideas you must keep open passage between your mind and the Mind of God. You preserve your mental integrity when you do not let yourself be
swayed by all that you hear and read. But mere resistance to what you hear or read does not preserve your mental integrity. Never accept a statement because an acknowledged authority has formulated it; never reject a statement because of its authorship. Compel your mind to consider, weigh; to accept or to reject. This course will produce a definite and a dependable consciousness.
To think independently of the authority that you are studying, and even in opposition to his argument, will make you mentally resourceful. In one period of my student activities I pursued the following line of action:
When the presentation of the theme supported my belief, I took the opposing side of the argument and offered all the challenges that I could produce. Then in rebuttal of the arguments that I had made to oppose my own belief, I combined with the author's arguments all the additional points that I could muster. I did this to strengthen my ability to support my belief, in the face of any opposition that might arise.
If my belief was in opposition to the author's belief, I did all that I could to strengthen his arguments. Then I proceeded to break down the author's arguments and the arguments that I had offered in support of his. My intent in this was to fortify my mind in every way that would increase my ability to meet any argument that the question might suggest. I read for three purposes: to put an edge on my mind, to induce thought, and for the truth involved. After a few years of this practice the gaps
in a treatise loomed as obvious as an open door of a barn, the inconsistencies as prominent as a lath-and-plaster patch in a marble wall. I became better acquainted with my mind and I learned how to declare it more concisely.
The kingdom of God is the fullness of the spiritual consciousness. The One who understood the kingdom of God and the life of man, said that if you seek God's kingdom and God's righteousness all your needs will be met (Matt. 6:33). You may have interpreted that declaration in a way which leads you to conclude: I will seek the kingdom of God, because by doing that I shall be benefited in material ways. It seems to be a quick way of obtaining what I want.
That is not what Jesus said; it is not what He meant. If you have your mind on the material benefits that come after the kingdom has been found, you seek the material benefits, and not the kingdom. You do not enter the kingdom. The benefits of the kingdom do not survive removal from the kingdom. So in seeking the kingdom merely to receive its benefits you neither enter the kingdom nor lastingly possess its benefits.
What Jesus intended you to understand is that as your consciousness is, so is your world. You may respond to this teaching that you have a special, an urgent need, and that developing a new consciousness may be slow work. You say, "I want to be healed, now." You have a right to wholeness, and the spiritual consciousness contains health for you. In seeking only healing, you are not seeking
the kingdom. After you are healed you may say, "I want to be prospered." You have a right to prosperity, and the spiritual consciousness includes prosperity. After you have been prospered you may say, "I want peace." The spiritual consciousness is peace.
If you seek God in fragments you will have to return time after time, and while you are "demonstrating" your new blessing you may let the old blessing slip. All blessings are ready for you; all that God is or has is ready for you. It takes no more work to develop the spiritual consciousness in entirety than it does to "demonstrate" a single one of all the blessings that in union constitute the spiritual consciousness.
You can have the whole kingdom for the work required to gain one of its benefits. Since you can have all for the price of one, why not work for all and rejoice in all?
When you want God more than you want anything else, you will find Him. He will embolden you to press beyond the boundaries at which hitherto confidence and understanding have hesitated. The achievements of the past have no livingness for you. Let him who will, limit his soul and God. For you there is the free range of the universe; for you there is the presence of God in steady challenge to your capacity to receive. What you incorporate of God becomes your consciousness. Let God demonstrate Himself in you.
You never will establish a spiritual consciousness if you insist on separating life into parts. You cannot expect to be clear in mind concerning the
presence of God if you exclude Him through confidence in materialism. The thoughts that constitute material consciousness ignore God. To ignore God is not to abolish Him. No matter what barricades you put between yourself and God, you still have God with whom to reckon. No fact in life is rendered null and void by your refusal to acknowledge it and to work with it. At some point in experience you will have to face God in a way fully as significant as that pictured by the old theologies. Your only defense against God is God Himself. Incorporate God into yourself. Then you can match Him, God to God.
The thoughts of the spiritual consciousness acknowledge God. Acknowledgment of Him brings you assurance of His attending power and safety. Then, when you are faced with a question that under other circumstances would prove difficult, out of the spiritual thought group comes to your assistance the idea of which you have need. It says, "Here I am; use me." In following this course no mistake occurs.
You have found the silence a means of increasing your spiritual conceptions of life. Merely keeping still is not the silence. Mere outer quietude is not the silence. The true silence excludes materiality, and is therefore a state of spiritual consciousness. The true silence arrests thinking; in it you merge with God. You do not enter the silence, for the silence is in you. It is the center, where God is conscious of Himself in you. Then you become conscious of the fact that God is conscious of Himself in you. Then comes the fusion of spiritual, mental, physical; all
manifestations are called back into the center. This is the achievement of the divine composite: "I in them, and thou in me."
You will have the right kind of confidence in yourself when you have developed a consciousness of your identity with God, His identity with you. Encompass yourself with the certainty of God and His presence, and you never will doubt your permanence and your stability as a part of the universe.
Paul expressed his assurance of God's presence in the words, "In him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). This is a correct concept of God's encompassing presence. But it omits mention of a relation with God yet more vital. You are God-encompassed, and you are God-encompassing. To complete the unity indicated, the declaration made by Paul must be amplified in this manner: In God you live, and move, and have your being. In you God lives, and moves, and must be given expression. You cannot exist in God if He does not exist in you. Interdependence, reciprocity, obtain in all spheres of being. Whatever is without also is within. Unity insures this.
Efforts have been made to grade and to catalog the sins of humanity. Excessive punitive assessments for your sins have been attributed to God. You have been told that your sufferings are penalties imposed for your having broken the law. The teaching is erroneous. You are not powerful enough to break the law. You may bruise and break yourself by throwing yourself against the law, but with your mightiest efforts you cannot so much as bend the law.
You cannot, as you may say, "Set the law into action." The law always acts; nothing can halt it. The best that you can do is to give your affairs to the law; it will adjust errors.
You always act. When your act does not parallel the action of the law, you do not stop the law; you fail to avail yourself of its omnipotence. You put yourself out of unison with the celestial harmonies. Nonconformity to the law produces the wrench in consciousness that is called death. It closes your consciousness against God, who is life. Death is not the execution of God's judgment; it is the effect of God-exclusion.
Death will come to any part of your consciousness that you close against God. Belief in death closes your total consciousness against God. Fear of death is reaction to the feeling that death destroys identity. Belief in death coupled to fear of death produces irrational reactions. You say that you want to live while you live; that you will be a long time dead. Then in an effort to live while you live, you proceed to live in a way that will shorten your life. These irrational reactions do not occur after you have established your identity as an idea in the mind of God. Then you know that you live; that you are as alive as your consciousness; that to expand consciousness is to expand life.
Your reaction to the thought of death may spur you to a course of living which you believe will, as it is expressed, enable you to attain eternal life. Work to attain eternal life is superfluous. Life is eternal. The eternal life of God is all the life there is. Your
work is to attain an eternal consciousness of life.
The fierce demand of your heart to know life, the insistent appeal of your soul for assurance of conscious survival in all experiences, are prophecy of a knowledge to come. Some day you will know your immortality. Knowledge of immortality is contained in spiritual consciousness. The Mind of God yields what you seek in it. Environ yourself with spiritual ideas and thoughts: live in God; so merge yourself with Him that you feel Him living what you have been calling your life. You will feel your consciousness becoming God's consciousness, and the certainty of endless survival with Him will give you abiding peace.
Do you sometimes pray, "O God, pour out Yourself upon me"? If you do, your picturization of the experience must be that of God immediately above you, pouring down His essence on you. Such an experience as that never has occurred in the life of anyone. It will not occur for you. The positions are wrong. It is true that God is above you; He also is beneath you and around you. But from none of these points does He pour out Himself for you. What ever of Himself God pours out for you is poured out in you and through you, outward. Your vital contact with Him comes from your touching His inner presence. Within, He pours out Himself as you, spiritually; through you, mentally; sustaining you, physically. Not the life in the orchard but the life in the individual tree produces the fruit of the tree. When you know where you contact God you are in the relation to Him that enables you to receive His outpouring
of Himself. Then He releases Himself in you, and you are blessed in every way.
A landowner in a desert finds a spring issuing from a hill. He cuts a larger opening for the pent waters that have been trickling forth. A little strip of desert becomes verdured; the landholder again increases the size of the aperture through which the water flows; he digs lateral trenches and conducts the water to various areas. He now has a green farm in the midst of the desert grayness. He continues to enlarge the opening of the spring, and increasing acreage of productive farm land is the result.
The spring is the junction of your mind with the Mind of God. The desert is your consciousness before you knew how to redeem it. Let God flow out. Life in you will become alive, beautiful, productive.
Do not let yourself be abashed by the statement that you can become conscious of God in you, doing His perfect work. Do not become over-emboldened by it. Be sensible, confident, modest. The spring flows increasingly for you when you enlarge the outlet. Make no comparisons between your life and the lives of others. Let God's mind think you. Let God's life live you. When your thought dwells on the mighty works of those who have known how to let God express, say, "Since God has done this thing in another, He will do it in me when my receptiveness to Him matches the receptiveness of the one in whom He has already done this work." Do not measure your life by the life of another; steady your thoughts in the consciousness that all that God
requires of you is to be passive to Him. Think not of the agency, but of the crowning manifestation of God, wherever and whenever it occurred; say, "Since God has done this work in one He will do greater works in me when my receptiveness to Him surpasses the receptiveness of the one in whom He has done this work."
You are the creator of your own consciousness.
My consciousness is my life.
In God I live, move, and have my being.
In me God lives, moves, and has expression.