Chapter 5 – Self-Discovery Through Truth

Chapter V
SELF-DISCOVERY THROUGH TRUTH
W. John Murray
The Realm of Reality
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1922.

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
–1 Thess. 5:23

[55] If what is called the New Philosophy of Life has any purpose, it is, it seems to me, that of leading mankind out of the morass of its self-imposed limitation up to those heights of Self-knowledge whereon it is possible to see the object for which the all-creative Mind originated Man as Its highest Idea. Despite our most earnest endeavors to attain to those conditions which are ideal, so ideal as to be considered unattainable, we feel convinced that whether this goal is reached or not, there is something within that will not let us rest with our present status, and hence the urge to rise above circumstances with which we are not satisfied. With all our quests, and there are many, there is one which is most important, and which ought not to be placed second to anything, and this is the discovery of the self.

[56] To that man who would be what he desires to be, it is a matter of great import that he should heed the advice of the Greek oracle whose precept was, “Know thyself.” With the ancients self-knowledge was based on the perception of the underlying Principle of Being, and not upon anatomy or physiology. It was not a question as to how much a man weighed in a physical sense, or as to how much he knew of physical laws; it was a matter of his consciousness of a self that is neither material nor mortal, and is superior to material and mortal conditions. It is of little real value to us to know how many bones we have in our bodies if we do not know how many faculties we have in our minds and how to use them. If a man had as many bones as a fish and only the intelligence of a fish, he might swim like a fish but he would not think like a man, and unless a man thinks like a man, he is not going to enter into the possession of a man’s blessings.

When a man realizes his true self it is like finding one’s direction by means of the compass. It is no longer a question of private opinion, but a discovery based upon science, so much that if the most profound scientist in the world told the simplest boatswain that he was sailing west when the compass indicated that he was going east, he would accept the verdict of the inanimate compass and reject the statement of the animate sage. This is a case of science against the scientist, or human opinion against Truth.

Just as there is a compass which serves to [57] direct a mariner so that he may take advantage of all favorable conditions and avoid the unfavorable, so there is a compass which will so direct a man on the sea of existence that he may take advantage of every wind of God that blows, and avoid all those ugly currents of human and false opinion which are responsible for all the misery which afflicts mankind. This touchstone to which we allude is that which Paul designated as the “Christ in us, the hope of glory.” And lest we may make a mistake, which is so often made when Christ is spoken of as a person, we want to affirm that Christ, as we understand the word, is not so much a person as a Principle, which Principle, when understood and co-operated with, will lead us out of our difficulties as unerringly as the principle of mathematics leads us to the solution of our problems whenever we apply it and abide intelligently by its rules.

The door to all achievement will be opened to us when we find this key to every situation. The key is Truth, and the Truth is Christ, even as the Way and the Life is Christ. When we use these synonyms for Christ, such as the Way and the Life and the Door, we realize how impersonal the Christ is. It is the Way which leadeth to all Truth, and through Truth to that Life which is not physical but metaphysical, not mortal, but immortal.

There are three ways by which men discover themselves, but only one of them is fully satisfying. [58] In our infancy we discover ourselves physically, as when a baby becomes aware of its toes and plays with them, or its thumb and at once begins to suck it. As it grows in consciousness it finds other members and other inclinations, but these are largely on the physical plane until it reaches the intellectual stage when it becomes cognizant of a new world, and a new self springs forth from the inside of the old self, which is now perceived to be not the real man or self, but the outer garment or shell. This fresh area which is opened up by the key of the intellect is often so marvelous as to cause us to feel that it is the last word in self-discovery. We discover through the intellect that man is not an animal merely, but a thinking being to whom the explorations of the physical world, and the investigations of the artistic, aesthetic, and poetic realms become a fascination.

Under this spell the intellectualist makes the mistake of believing that the mind is everything and the Spirit nothing. It is as if the baby should conclude that its toes or its thumb were all and there were no hands or feet. When an intellectualist uses his intellect to prove, “There is no God,” he is in the same position as a baby would be if it were to attempt to prove it had neither hands nor feet simply because it is not yet conscious of these members, but only a portion of them. But the baby does not attempt any such thing, and it is fortunate that only a very few [59] intellectuals seek to prove the non-existence of anything higher or other than mind.

Assuming, then, that we have found the intellectual self within the physical self, so to speak, shall we rest content with this sense of self and not seek deeper? A few may do this, but there comes a time when this view of the self becomes too limited and we cry, as did Job of old, “Oh that I knew where I might find Him! that I might come even to His seat!” There is a self-seeking that is not to be condemned but is an exercise of the soul to be applauded. It is the yearning of the best in us for the best in the universe, a thirsting of the soul after God which is likened by the Psalmist to the painting of a hart after the water brook. Mystics in all ages assure us that he who knows himself in the highest and most spiritual sense knows God, and that he who knows God as the result of this self-knowledge on a spiritual plane, knows all that is worth knowing.

It is for this reason that Solomon, the wise, says, “With all thy wisdom (intellectuality) get understanding,” which understanding is an inner conviction of the Truth that man is, like God, a trinity in unity. The Trinity in Unity of the Godhead is that trinity in one divine Intelligence of Life and Truth and Love, of which Man, in the highest sense, is the three-in-one expression of spirit, soul, and body which Paul the Apostle expressly prays may be “sanctified wholly.” Not only is the spirit of man, which is the highest degree of spiritualized consciousness, and the [60] soul, which corresponds to mind’s capacity to appropriate Truth, to be preserved, but the body itself is to come under this preserving power of God, expressing itself through that transparency of Thought which comes as the result of knowing that, “There is nothing true but God.”

If we can accept the theory that the soul is the thinking faculty of the individual, we can also accept the theory that the spirit is this thinking faculty operating at its highest level, or at that point where it contacts with the Universal Spirit of all, or the Oversoul, as Emerson terms it. On the other hand, admitting that the soul is the thinking faculty, we can understand that the body is that thinking faculty operating at its lowest level. This, then, resolves the body into Thought, and because it is thought expressed in shape, we can assume that Thought may exercise dominion over its own formation, on the principle that that which creates, can recreate.

One ought not to find it very difficult to imagine oneself to be a trinity of spirit, soul and body if one will take the trouble to analyze one’s own emotions. Under the influence of an exalted emotion, from any cause whatsoever, it is possible for the soul, or mind, to become transported to such heights of consciousness as to be, for the time being at least, utterly oblivious of the body with all its so-called sensations. On the other hand, it is possible for the soul, or mind, to operate at such a low level that it is conscious of nothing but the body, with its so-called pleasures [61] and pains. But such a state is spoken of by Paul as that of being “carnally minded,” the consequence of which is death. It must not be inferred that the body is a thing to be despised; it needs merely to be dominated and made to serve the highest impulses of the mind instead of the lowest.

Someone has likened the average man to a three-story house, the occupant of which lives for the most part in the basement, but there is no reason why he should continue to dwell in that region, neither should he be content always to dwell even on the parlor floor, for there are those up-stairs regions to which one, with just a little effort, may ascend and find rest and refreshment. It is in the upper stories of our being that we find that of us which surpasses all merely human conceptions of the self, for it is there, in that “dome of the temple of God in man,” that Thought rises like a sweet incense, or like smoke from the fire, to the most exalted perception of man’s unity with his Maker. It is on this high eminence of spiritualized vision that one sees how vast is the range of Pure Thought.

Like a sunbeam which may be extended indefinitely, but which cannot be separated from the sun which gives it birth, so Pure Thought extends itself to that celestial range where “Mind communes with mind,” where God speaks with every man as He spoke with Moses. And then down from this mount of revelation Pure Thought extends itself to those outermost bounds of human [62] experience where sin and sorrow blind men to their true natures, to that real self “which knows no sin.” Living in the basement, or on a level with the body, we are like those fishes in the Mammoth Cave which have eyes but see not. But as we come out on to the roof garden of our mental homes where the view is unobstructed by the ceiling of separation, we are able to see “God as He is” and to perceive that “we are like Him.”

It is when the last shred of belief in separation from God is torn asunder that we “see as we are seen of Him That created us,” and it is at this point of our spiritual unfoldment that we can say with Jesus, “I and my Father are one.” This is the place in Thought where one cannot say where Divine Mind, or God, ends and Its idea, Man, begins. May it not be that there is no such line of demarcation, and that the Self which is God merges into the Self which is Man, as the dawn merges into daylight without any break whatsoever? At the point where the Christ is seen to be the only and real self of man, where Divine Mind and its Idea are as inseparable as warmth is inseparable from the fire which generates heat, there is perpetual tranquility. In this region of one’s being there is no disease and no discord, for it is that “kingdom of heaven” about which John was thinking when he said, “There is nothing in it that maketh or worketh a lie.”

It is a great step in the direction of a true mental or spiritual healing to discover that man, [63] in his real nature, is now a spiritual being, and that all that is necessary is to become conscious of this Truth, for it is this Truth that frees us from all the evil consequences of believing ourselves to be something else. Once we establish the conviction in our own minds that we are the children of God, with all that is implied in this spiritual relationship, then we have a foundation to build upon which is the rock of Realization of eternal Principle, and not the sand of human speculation.

Like the prodigal in the parable of Jesus who “came to himself,” we must come to that Self of us, and the Self of all, which, like our Heavenly Father, is the same “yesterday, and today, and forever.” Through divine understanding we must form such a Holy Alliance with God that “No evil shall befall us, neither shall any plague come nigh our dwelling,” for is it not written that we “live and move and have our being” in Him in Whom no evil is? As a child in the womb of its mother is one with the mother, so man is one with God from Whom “nothing shall by any means separate” him.

Chapter 6

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