Chapter 12 – Renunciation – The Twelve Powers of Man

Chapter 12

Charles Fillmore
The Twelve Powers of Man

ALL CHRISTIANS who have had experiences variously described as “change of heart,” “salvation,” “conversion,” and “sanctification” will admit that, before they experienced the great change of consciousness represented by these names, they had been “convicted of sin” or had determined to give up the ways of the world and do the will of God. The sinners most open to reform are those who sin in the flesh. The hardest to reach are the self-satisfied moralists or religionists. Jesus said to such, “Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” One who is living up to man-made morals or religious standards is not repentant, and he makes no room in his mind for new and higher ideals of life and Truth. Unless our repentance is accompanied by sacrifice we are still in our sins. “Apart from shedding of blood there is no remission.” The blood represents the life, and when the life of the flesh is given up, the beasts of the body are literally killed and their blood or life carries away the dead cells. This was symbolically illustrated by Jesus when He sent the demons or evils into the swine (Matt. 8:32).

A change of mind effects a corresponding change in the body. If the thoughts are lifted up, the whole organism is raised to higher rates of vibration. If the system has been burdened with congestion of any kind, a higher life energy will set it into universal freedom. But there must be a renunciation or letting go of old thoughts before the new can find place in the consciousness. This is a psychological law, which has its outer expression in the intricate eliminative functions of the body.

As the physiologist studies the body, so the metaphysician studies the mind. It is true that some metaphysicians are not careful students. They often jump to conclusions, just as the ancient physiologists made wild guesses about the character of the bodily organs; but the majority of those who work with the inner forces get an understanding that conforms in fundamentals to the discoveries of other metaphysicians in the same field of work. The careful modern metaphysician does not arrive at his conclusions through speculation; he analyzes and experiments with the operations of his own mind until he discovers laws that govern mind action universally.

All those who go deep enough into the study of the mind agree perfectly on fundamentals, one of which is that the universe originated in mind, was projected into action by thought, and is being sustained by mind power. Self-analysis reveals the manner in which the individual mind acts, and this action is the key to all action in the small and the great, in the microcosm and the macrocosm, in man and in God. Another point of agreement is that thoughts are things, that they are ideas projected into form, partaking of the nature of the thinker.

Metaphysicians make a sharp distinction between the realm of ideas, which is Spirit, and the realm of thought, which is mind. Thoughts act in a realm just above, around, and within the material. They have but one degree more of freedom than matter. Thoughts have a four-dimensional capacity, while things have but three. Yet thoughts are limited to the realm in which they function, and man’s consciousness, being made up of thoughts, is of like character. Thus it is possible to overload the mind, as one overloads the stomach. Thoughts must be digested in a manner similar to the way in which food is digested. An eagerness to gain knowledge without proper digestion and assimilation ends in mental congestion. The mind, like the bowels, should be open and free. It is reported that Lyman Beecher said to a friend, whom he was bidding good-by, “Worship God, be even-tempered, and keep your bowels open.” It is found by metaphysicians that praise and thanksgiving are laxatives of efficiency and that their cleansing work not only frees the mind of egotism but also cleanses the body of effete matter.

Thoughts are things; they occupy space in the mental field. A healthy state of mind is attained and continued when the thinker willingly lets go the old thoughts and takes on the new. This is illustrated by the inlet and the outlet of a pool of water. Stop the inlet, and the pool goes dry. Close the natural outlet, and the pool stagnates, or, like the Dead Sea, it crystallizes its salts until they preserve everything that they touch.

The action of the mind on the body is, in some of its aspects, similar to that of water on the earth. Living old thoughts over and over keeps the inlet of the new thoughts closed. Then begins crystallization–which materia medica has named arteriosclerosis. The cause is supposed to be some other disease, such as syphilis, which is classed as one of the most important of the primal causes of arteriosclerosis. Metaphysicians recognize syphilis as secondary in the realm of effects, and they ask, “What causes syphilis?” The cause is the uncontrolled enjoyment of sex sensation without asking or caring to know the object of that function in human consciousness. It would seem that in this respect the animals were under better discipline than men and women.

The enjoyment of the pleasures of sensation without wisdom’s control may be compared to riding in a runaway automobile for the pleasure of the swift pace, wholly disregarding the crash that is sure to follow. But to take away man’s freedom would delay his attaining the “son of God” degree, which is open to him when he learns to make a lawful use of the attributes of Being; consequently he must acquire more wisdom and self-control. Tuberculosis, syphilis, cancers, tumors, and the many other ills of the flesh are evidences that nature has been outraged and is protesting and striving to free itself from its unhappy condition.

Every cell of the body is enveloped in soul or thought, and its initial impulse is to conform to the divine-natural law. When this law is not observed by the will of man and cells are reduced to the slavery of lust, they combine with other cells of like condition, and, rather than submit longer to the debased condition, they destroy the organism. But the destruction of the cell as matter does not destroy it on the mental plane; the mental entity survives, and again seeks to carry out the great law of soul evolution that was implanted in it from the beginning. Thus the repeated incarnations of the soul–not only of the soul cell but of the great aggregation of cells known as man–are found to be a fact that explains the continuity of traits of mind and body handed down from generation to generation. It is not in the flesh that we inherit, but in the thoughts of the flesh. The flesh has returned to dust, but its memories endure until a higher mind power cleanses and lifts them to purer states of consciousness.

It is related in Genesis that when fleeing from the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which God was destroying, Lot’s wife looked back, and “became a pillar of salt.” Salt is a preservative, corresponding to memory. When we remember the pleasures of the senses and long for their return, we preserve or “salt” the sense desire. This desire will manifest somewhere, sometime, unless the memory is dissolved through renunciation. The desire for sensation in the flesh in one incarnation may be expressed in the next in a strong desire for personal love. Having become subconscious, it works in the subcenters of the organism in a fever of anxiety to attain its object, and it may be named consumption, or some other cell-consuming disease.

Modern medical science has traced nearly all the ills of the body to micro-organisms. The popular remedy is to introduce into the body germs much like the disease germs but of weakened power. The body, thereupon, in self-defense generates in the blood stream that which counteracts or neutralizes the disease, and renders the body immune to severe attack. If the patient is to continue to be immune, it logically follows that he must continue to have the disease germs in his system, because if they should desert him he would again be open to attack. Typhoid fever is quieted, or forestalled, by turning loose in the system good-natured typhoid germs. But the cause is not removed, and some who follow up such cases say that serums are spreading various forms of disease, and in various ways making the human family less virile. The writer knows of one instance where a healthy boy was vaccinated. A few months later he was attacked by tuberculosis of the hip, which the doctors said was caused by impure blood. All of this goes to show that the right kind of serum has not yet been discovered by medical science and that diseases are not cured by serums but are merely diverted, and eventually break out in other forms.

We see that such bacteriologists as Koch and Pasteur have merely a clue to the real serum, which is the new life stream opened to man by Jesus Christ. It is true that the bodies of men are being destroyed by disease germs and that the palliative methods of bacteriology may enable us to live a little longer in the body, but until the Christ remedy is applied no real healing has been done. Destructive germs are the creations of destructive thoughts, and until the specific thought is found, physicists will continue to search for the healing serum. Their search is evidence that such a serum exists.

Destructive thinking separates soul and body, and, when the separation is complete, bacteria take up the work and distribute the body wreckage over the earth. If the body were left intact, this planet would soon become the abode of mummies, and the dead would crowd out the living. Then, so long as people continue to die, it is well that microbes make their bodies of some use.

Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay,

Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.

When the body becomes locally infested with bacterial thoughts and separates from the higher self, a forced removal of the adverse colony, by surgery, sometimes gives at least temporary relief. Man is the dominant thinking and character-giving force of the earth, and he has made it a place of desolation when it should be a paradise. Because of his lust, anger, arrogance, and ignorance, man has been tormented by pests, storms, and earthquakes.

Tradition says that in the dim past this planet’s mental atmosphere was charged with the thoughts of men and women who exercised the power of mind in lust, arrogance, and ambition until extreme measures had to be restored to by the planetary God.

This story (which is merely a legend) relates that perversion of nature and her innocent life energies began cycles ago, when man in the first exuberance of psychic power built up a priestly hierarchy in the ancient continent of Atlantis. These masters of black magic dominated the world and dispossessed the cosmic mind. Extraordinary measures of safety for the whole race became necessary, and the higher powers planned and carried out the destruction of the continent Atlantis and all its people. The very soil of the continent which these occultists occupied had become saturated with lust and selfishness, and it was condemned as unfit to remain a part of the parent planet. The corrupted soil was scooped out of what is now the Atlantic Ocean and thrown off into space, where it became the lifeless mass known as the moon. The earth reeled like a drunkard under this terrible surgical operation, and still wabbles out of true perpendicular, the result of the shock and of the removal of so large a part of its body. Before this catastrophe occurred, a tropical climate extended to the very poles. The remains of tropical plants and animals are found in the frigid zones today, mute evidences that a great and sudden change has at some time taken place in the planet’s relation to the sun. The withdrawal of warmth from the poles resulted in an unnatural coldness that congealed rain into snow and ice, which slowly piled up at the poles until they capped the earth to a great depth. This brought about the great glacial period, which lasted thousands of years, a reminder of which we get in icy blasts from the north, with months of cold and snow. However, the earth is slowly regaining its equilibrium and will in due season be restored to its pristine golden age, and all the desert places will bloom as the rose. So runs the tradition.

But how about the states of consciousness that man has built up and from which he would be free? No one can play fast and loose with God. What one builds one must care for. What man forms that is evil he must unform before he can take the coveted step up the mountain of the ideal. Here enters the factor that dissolves the structures that are no longer useful; this factor in metaphysics is known as denial. Denial is not, strictly speaking, an attribute of Being as principle, but it is simply the absence of the impulse that constructs and sustains. When the ego consciously lets go and willingly gives up its cherished ideals and loves, it has fulfilled the law of denial and is again restored to the Father’s house.

As all desire is fulfilled through the formative word, so all denial must be accomplished in word or conscious thought. This is the mental cleansing symbolized by water baptism. In a certain stage of his problem man makes for himself a state of consciousness in which selfishness dominates. Personal selfishness is merely an excess of self-identity. This inflation of the ego must cease, that a higher field of action may appear. One who has caught sight of higher things is desirous of making unity with them. That unity must be orderly and according to the divine procession of mind. One who is housed in the intellect through desire may be ushered into the realm of Spirit by zeal. The first step is a willingness to let go of every thought that holds the ego on the plane of sense. This willingness to let go is symbolical of John the Baptist’s crying in the wilderness, denying himself the luxuries of life, living on locusts and wild honey, and wearing skins for clothing.

The personalities of Scripture represent mental attitudes in the individual. John the Baptist and the Pharisees symbolize different phases of the intellect. John is willing to give up the old and is advocating a general denial through water baptism–mental cleansing. The Pharisees cling to tradition, custom, and Scripture, and refuse to let go. John represents the intellect in its transition from the natural to the spiritual plane. The Pharisees have not entered this transition, but cling to the old and defend it by arguments and Scripture quotations. Jesus, who represents the spiritual consciousness, does not take the Pharisees into account as a link in His chain, but of John He says: “Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Jesus recognizes that the mental attitude represented by John is a prophecy of greater things, in fact the most desirable mental condition for the intellect on its way to attainment, yet not to be compared with the mental state of those who have actually come into the consciousness of Spirit.

Every man who cries out for God is John the Baptist crying in the wilderness. You who are satiated with the ways of the flesh man, and are willing to give up his possessions and pleasures, are John. The willingness to sacrifice the things of sense starts you on the road to the higher life, but you do not begin to taste its sweets until you actually give up consciously the sense things that your heart has greatly desired.

There are many phases of this passing over from John to Jesus, and some involve unnecessary hardships. The ascetic takes the route of denial so energetically that he starves his powers instead of transforming them. Some Oriental suppliants for divine favor castigate their flesh in many ways, starve their bodies, slash their flesh, and then salt it; they maltreat the body until it becomes a piece of inanimate clay that the soul can vacate until the birds build their nests in the hair of its head. This is Oriental denial, atrophy of the senses. Some Occidental metaphysicians are trying to imitate these agonizing methods of discipline, but in the mind rather than in the body.

John the Baptist stands for the mental attitude that believes that because the senses have fallen into ignorant ways they are bad and should be killed out. There is a cause for every mental tangent, and that which would kill the sense man, root and branch, has the thought of condemnation as its point of departure from the line of harmony. In John it seemed a virtue, in that he condemned his own errors, but this led to his condemnation of Herod, through which he lost his head. We learn from this that condemnation is a dangerous practice from any angle.

The intellect is the Adam man that eats of the tree of good and evil. Its range of observation is limited, and it arrives at its conclusions by comparison. It juggles with two forces, two factors–positive and negative, good and evil, God and Devil. Its conclusions are the result of reasoning based on comparison, hence limited. The intellect, judging by appearances, concludes that existence is a thing to be avoided. The intellect, beholding the disaster and the misery wrought by the misuse of men’s passions, decides that they should be crushed out by starvation. This is the origin of asceticism, the killing out, root and branch, of every appetite and passion, because in the zeal of action they have gone to excess.

Yet John the Baptist has a very important office in the development of man from intellectual to spiritual consciousness. As Jesus said:

“This is he, of whom it is written,

Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,

Who shall prepare thy way before thee.”

Thus John the Baptist is the forerunner of Spirit. He stands for the perception of Truth which prepares the way for Spirit through a letting go of narrow beliefs, and a laying hold of divine ideas.

The beliefs that you and your ancestors have held in mind have become thought currents so strong that their course in you can be changed only by your resolute decision to entertain them no longer. They will not be turned out unless the ego through whose domain they run decides positively to adopt means of casting them out of his consciousness, and at the same time erects gates that will prevent their inflow from external sources. This is done by denial and affirmation; the denial always comes first. The John the Baptist attitude must begin the reformation. Man must be willing to receive the cleansing of Spirit before the Holy Ghost will descend upon him. Whoever is not meek and lowly in the presence of Spirit is not yet ready to receive its instruction.

This obedient, receptive state means much to him who wants to be led into the ways of the supreme good. It means that he must have but one source of life, one source of truth, and one source of instruction; he must be ready to give up every thought that he has imbibed in this life, and must be willing to begin anew, as if he had just been born into the world a little, ignorant, innocent babe. This means so much more than people usually conceive that it dawns on the mind very slowly.

All who sincerely desire the leading of Spirit acquiesce readily in the theoretical statement of the necessity of humility and childlikeness, but when it comes to the detailed demonstration many are non-plused. This is just as true among metaphysicians as among orthodox Christians. Spirit will find a way to lead you when you have freely and fully dedicated yourself to God, and you will be led in a path just a little different from that of anyone else. Your teaching has been in generalities, so when Spirit in its office as an individual guide shows you Truth different from that which you have been taught, you may object. If, for instance, you have been taught to ignore the body with all its passions and appetites, and Spirit in its instruction shows you that you are to recognize these appetites and passions as your misdirected powers, what are you going to do about it?

There can be but one course for the obedient devotee. If you have surrendered all to omnipresent wisdom, you must take as final what it tells you. You will find that its guidance is that right course for you and, in the end, that it was the only course that you could possibly have taken.

All things are manifestations of the good. Man in his spiritual identity is the very essence of good, and he can do no wrong. He can in his experience misuse the powers placed at his disposal by the Father, but he can do no permanent evil. He always has recourse to Spirit, which forgives all his transgressions and places him on the right road, a new man, when he willingly gives up his own way and as a little child asks to be led. Then comes the redemption of the appetites and passions, which the ignorant intellect has pronounced evil and has attempted to kill out by starvation and repression. This does not mean that the indulgence of appetites and passions is to be allowed in the old, demoralizing way, but it means that they are to be trained anew under the direction of Spirit.

John the Baptist represents the attitude of spiritual receptivity that awaits the higher way as a little child awaits the helping hand of a parent. It is not the arbitrary disciplinarian, but the loving, tender kindergarten teacher, that illustrates in visible life the intricate problems that perplex the mind. When man is receptive and obedient, giving himself unreservedly up to Spirit and to receiving its guidance without antagonism, he is delighted with the possibilities that are disclosed to him in the cleansing of mind and body. He then begins to realize what Jesus meant when He said: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

The cross is not a burden, as commonly understood, but is a symbol of the forces in man adjusted in their right relation. The body of Jesus was lifted up and nailed to the cross, which indicates that the physical man must be lifted into the harmony of Spirit and adjusted to its four-dimensional plane, represented by the four branches of the crosstree.

Man thinks in the fourth dimension, but his body, in its present fleshly consciousness, can express in three dimensions only. Hence we must cleanse our thoughts by denying materiality. Then the flesh will become radiant ether with power to penetrate all so-called material substance. But before this can be done the mind of the man must become John the Baptist–it must be cleansed by the waters of denial, and the old material ideas must be put away forever.

If you are clinging to any idea that in any way prevents your eyes from seeing the millennium here and now, you are a Pharisee; you are crying, “Beelzebub,” whenever you say “crank” of the one who has caught sight of the spiritual mountaintops now glistening in the sun of the new age.

John the Baptist is now moving swiftly among the children of men. His cry is heard in many hearts today, and they are following him in the wilderness of sense. But the bright light of the Christ still shines in Galilee, and they who are earnest and faithful shall see it and be glad.

Those who attempt to heal the body by injecting into it a new life stream from without are attempting to do in a material way what Jesus attained spiritually. The vitality of the race was at a low ebb at His advent; He saw the necessity of a larger consciousness of life, and He knew how to inoculate the mind of everyone who would accept His method. In John 5:26 it is written, “For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son also to have life in himself.” Life is spiritual, as everyone admits who has tried to find it in a physical laboratory. No one has even seen life in food or drink, but it is there in small degree, and it is through eating and drinking that the body absorbs the invisible life elements that physical science has named vitamins. The vitamin is the essential life within all forms and, being spiritual in character, must be spiritually discerned. We feel life’s thrill in our body; by raising this consciousness of life to Christ enthusiasm, we may come to such fullness of energy that the whole life stream will be quickened and the congestions in arteries and glands swept away. “I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.”

All spiritual metaphysicians know that the body and the blood of Jesus were purified and that each cell was energized with original spiritual substance and life, until all materiality was purged away and only the pure essence remained. This vitamin, or essence of life and substance, was sown as seed in the whole race consciousness, and whoever through faith in Christ draws to himself one of these life germs becomes inoculated to that degree with Jesus Christ quality, and not only the mind but also the body is cleansed.

“He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; and the field is the world.” Like a seed planted in soil, the word or thought germ will multiply and bring forth after its kind. “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing.”

The apostle Thaddaeus, called also Lebbaeus, carries forward the work of elimination of error thoughts from the mind and of waste food from the body.

The nerve center from which the eliminative function directs the emptying of the intestines is located deep in the lower bowels.

This center is very sensitive to thoughts about substance and all materiality. A gripping mental hold on material things will cause constipation. A relaxation of the mind and a loosening of the grip on material possessions will bring about freedom in bowel action.

The prevailing ills of the abdominal region, constipation, tumors, and the like, are caused by constriction of the whole body energy.

The faculties centering in the head are responsible for this slowing down of the life forces. The will, operating through the front brain, controls the circulation of the life force in the whole organism. A tense will, set to accomplish some personal end, keys everything to that end and puts a limitation on the activity of every other function.

The set determination to succeed in some chosen field of action, study, profession, business, or personal ambition calls most of the body energy to the head and starves the other centers.

In our schools the minds of our children are crammed with worldly wisdom, and they are spurred on to make their grades, thus constantly forcing the blood to the head and depleting its flow to the abdomen.

This overflow to the will center causes enlarged adenoids, inflamed tonsils, sinus trouble, and other ills of the head, while the abdominal region suffers with constipation and general lack of vital action.

Some persons relax in sleep and thus give the body an opportunity to recoup its depleted energy. But if the eager pace is kept up night and day, the end is nervous prostration. The remedy is relaxation of will, the letting go of personal objectives.

The strife to get on in the world is responsible for most of the ills of the flesh. Worry or anxiety about temporal needs disturbs in the body the even flow of nature’s all-providing elements. Jesus warned against the tension of anxiety when He said, “Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment?”

A divine law has been provided for man that will meet every need when it is observed. “Seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

So we find that relaxation of the tense abdomen depends on relaxation of the tense will.

Give up your willfulness and ask that the divine will be done in you and in all your affairs. Jesus set aside His will that God’s will might be done in Him. “Not my will, but thine, be done.”

Chapter 13

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The Twelve Powers of Man
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