SOUL AND BODY
Rev. W. John Murray
The Murray Course in Divine Science
Society of the Healing Christ
New York, 1927.
To understand properly the relation between soul and body we must take up the question of spirit and matter, as in Lesson II we took up the subject of Brain and Mind.
The world is conceived by man to be purely material. The rocks, the soil, the ocean, the animal, mineral and vegetable kingdoms–the stars, the celestial universe–all are reckoned as matter.
Does any one dare claim that these are spiritual–this solid flesh of ours, this table at which I sit, this pen with which I write?
Yes; there is more conviction in estimating the material as spiritual than in judging the spiritual as material. And the findings of modern science abet us strongly in this particular.
This flesh, this table, this pen, solid matter as it is supposed they are; these rocks, soils, minerals, stars, are all composed of atoms. Matter of any kind is reducible to the atom–a particle so minute as to be invisible to the naked eye. The atom is reducible to the ion, or electron, still more minute, and these to force or energy, that which causes motion or vibration, the etheric principle.
Light from the stars under the spectrum reveals the chemical composition of the stars, and this is the same as that of man. The organic chemistry of man and of a star is identical. Our materials are the same. Hence in considering man chemically we can at the same time consider the chemical organization of the universe.
Let us consider matter what it really is as a matter of fact–form, shape, appearance. Everything that we see of matter is a shape or in shape.
“Yes,” one may say, “but if I strike a block of steel with my fist I do not strike shape. I strike what hurts me, matter.”
Not so, for we come now to the main point: What hurts is not the steel block–it is the perception within yourself of the blow on the hand, of resistance. If you had no perceptiveness you would feel neither the block nor the hand. The perceptiveness is in sense. Assuming that you were devoid of sensation–drugged, unconscious–you would know nothing of the block, the hand or the sensation. Your mind would be asleep or in suspension and you would realize nothing of all three.
If you were blind you would know matter only as you feel it. You would not see it except as the mind, or the imagination, visualizes it.
In a word, everything that exists (stands out) is perceptible only as the mind apprehends it through the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. The universe is apparent to us only through these and the mental powers of correlation and coordination.
“If,” as the astronomer Flammarion says, “our planet was constantly covered with clouds we should know nothing of the sun, nor the moon, nor the other planets, and the world system would remain unknown with the result that human knowledge would be condemned to an irremediable falsity. Illusion forms the unstable basis of our ideas, our sensations, our sentiments, our beliefs.”
Our first illusion is as to the fixed condition of the earth. We do not know that it moves except as we learn it from books. Our next is that the earth is flat. We do not know that it is round except as we know that it has been so proved to be. Our planet rushes through space at a dizzying rate of speed. It makes an entire rotation every 24 hours. It is the plaything of fourteen different movements, none of which we actually know of except as we are informed through the mind. We know nothing of the movement of the tides except as we see the lines they mark in their upward flow–if there were no shore the tide would not be visible. We do not know that the air we breathe has weight. We know nothing of electricity except its manifestations. We know nothing of the magnetic radiation of the sun except as it affects the magnetic needle. Light is perceptible by the optic nerve only through vibrations of ether. Sound comes to us only through vibrations caught by the delicate mechanism of the ear. Odors are perceived by the sense of smell, which is weaker and different in human beings than in animals. It comes from particles suspended in the air that especially affect our olfactory nerves. The eye, the ear and the nose put us in touch with the world external to our bodies; the sense of taste and touch act only through contact and give us little information.
Would we not indeed be ignorant if we depended solely on sensations?
It is incontestable that our organs of perception do not reveal to us things as they are. They give us “appearances” merely, often false and erroneous impressions; so that we are not justified in thinking that what we see represents reality. We must, on examination, admit in fact to the contrary.
There is only one reality directly appreciated by us–that is our thought. What is most undeniably real in man is the spirit. The consciousness of ourselves is our real impression, and it is on the basis of our impressions that we can and must reason–they are the foundation of all reasoning.
My pen goes over my paper. I write out my thoughts. Is it the pen or the body that plans and lays out these Lessons–reduces them to order and symmetry of thought? No. It is I who do it–the I AM of me–the spirit. My body serves my intelligence. My body is not me. It is my servant–the servant of my mind, my spirit, my will, my intelligence. My mind is superior to it, encompasses it, controls and directs it.
That the soul is not a physiological faculty, combining, as is generally agreed, will, memory and understanding, is proved by the manifestation of faculties equally intrinsic to itself, less understood, but of which even the most ignorant are aware–by the powers, often exhibited through presentiments and visions, of foreseeing and foreknowing; by telepathy or “wireless” communication between minds separated by distance, and by intuitions and inspirations. These powers cannot be attributed to the material or the tangible. They are of the spiritual realm entirely. They represent the possibilities of a higher plane than that on which dwell the perceptions of sense.
Take from all material objects their sensible properties, or what the mind perceives, and what have you as a remainder? They cease to exist. They are, to you, annihilated. Matter has the root of its being in mind, and without mind it does not exist.
All the properties of matter are now viewed by scientific men as only so many forms of force. Color is only a sensation in mind. Light is a vibratory movement of ether. Hardness and solidity are only sensations of resistance. Heat is an expansion of atoms. If, therefore, as modern science confirms, all the properties of matter are forms of force, surely we must refer force to the spiritual. If causation is mental, matter is a manifestation of spirit and mind is the only real substance. “Nature is spirit visible and spirit is invisible nature.”
We do not mean to deny the reality of what we call the material world, but only to affirm that it is bound up in eternal unity with Spirit. Without Spirit it would cease to be, since it is sustained by Spirit and perpetually renewed by Spirit’s operations.
God, who is the Universal Life, may be described as the goodness that creates the world. He is the all-pervading Being of Life of whom the world is the phenomenon or manifestation. The same is true of the human body. It is the phenomenon of spirit, an appearance, of which the soul is the underlying reality.
The body has no independent being, or life in itself. The soul is the real man, and the body is its existence or outward manifestation to itself and to others. The body is the representation of the soul which the latter sees of itself as in a glass. It is a necessary condition of the minds becoming visible to itself. It is not a mere appendage of the soul, but is a manifestation of the soul under the limitations of time and space. Man is not made up of soul and body, a personality divisible into two distinct and separate halves, but of body, soul and spirit. The soul has taken, and ever will take, the body as its own creation into a personal union with itself, “a union,” says Professor Krauth in his edition of the work of Berkeley, “the most consummate and absolute of which we know, or of which we can conceive, infinitely transcending the completeness of the most perfect mechanical and chemical unions, and they are as completely one to us as if they were one substance.
Man, therefore, is soul. The soul encloses the body. The body does not house the soul. The soul without the body would cease to be an entity–it would be a part of vacancy. When we leave this life and advance into a higher plane of being the soul will carry with it its body-making powers and will endow itself with a body fitted for the requirements of a supermundane existence.
The body, therefore, is our fixed mode of thought and feeling organized into structure. It reveals the form or inward quality of the soul, for what the body is as to strength or weakness, health or disease, will ever depend upon the state of the soul.
The universe is the form of the thought of God, the Creator. The imaging of the universe in thought and the power of the Word brought it forth. The soul has a similar creative power. Its imaging is reflected in the body, in its strength or weakness, its wholesomeness or its debility. Our bodily condition is largely the result of our thinking and if we would change this condition for the better the soul or mind has the power to effect the change by imaging forth a more perfect body, by thinking health and soundness and by believing that the desired condition has been established.
The soul’s power over the body is complete. The body is the servant, the soul the master. Once we realize this truth, for it is a truth, we rid ourselves of all preconceived foolish notions about the cause and origin of disease and are able to look inward to the spirit to overcome the destructive bodily conditions that we complain of.
Spirit is pure, perfect, holy and harmonious. It is born of God and partakes entirely of God’s perfection. It cannot be sick or diseased. Sickness, disease, physical imperfection, is not of God–it is of man. Those who claim to be sick, diseased or unhealthy should ask themselves the question: “Is this condition of God?” If it is not–and it cannot be, for God is perfect–then it is an appearance only, is unreal and can be banished by the determined action of the soul. The soul is the master. Spirit is all there is. The appearance of disease is a manifestation of untruth in being. It must be denied, and denied vigorously, and the perfect quality of spirit must be affirmed as the creative power to destroy the appearance and reproduce the health it displaced.
In the foregoing there is naturally a confusion of meaning as to “soul” and “spirit.” How shall they be differentiated? How shall we know what soul is and what spirit is?
Soul is the individual ego of man. The soul is not the spirit but receives from the spirit the direction of the Universal Spirit. Our spirit is a part of the Universal Spirit. It is the divinity within us. It is God with us. We can open the soul to the spirit and receive our spiritual direction, or we can close the soul to the spirit and receive our sense direction. All of our difficulties arise from the fact that our soul refuses to be governed by our spirit. The spiritual power is always there, to be used by the soul if the soul desires, and to be used in increasing abundance.
Let us take the simile of lightning, for instance. For centuries electricity meant nothing to mankind but its appearance as lightning. The power of electricity was exhibited in violent forms of destruction. Franklin caught the lightning and brought it down to the uses of mankind. Electricity, we now see, is a force to be harnessed for the service of man’s needs. We have not changed electricity. The power is the same. We have learned its laws and govern our contact with it through its laws. Lightning is electricity uncontrolled, with power to destroy and annihilate. The electric current is electricity controlled, to serve the needs of mankind. Observe its obedience to the touch. A child of five by pressing a button may set off a dynamite charge that tears a hillside apart and shatters it into infinitesimal fragments. Or he may touch a button and turn on light or heat or power for daily use. Thus the feared celestial power becomes a tame and gentle servant, springing instantly to our aid at a touch of the finger.
The power of the Spirit is more accessible to us than the power of electricity, for the reason that we are Spirit. The soul is man’s condenser. Do we need spiritual power? The soul, by isolating itself, by dismissing from the mind all distracting thought, by going into the Silence, may, through its ever-watchful, ever-guiding spirit, contact with Pure Spirit and receive therefrom the direction it requires. This may not be done by the novice. Not immediately. But with patience, with persistence. Illumination comes, peace, contentment, solace. These are the fruits of the Spirit. Spirit, soul or mind (the operating force), body. These constitute man. And man is in the image and likeness of God, not bodily but spiritually, through the spirit, joined to Universal Spirit.
Just as lightning is electricity in violent, lawless, unrestrained form, so what we call “evil” is the violent and lawless operation of the soul. The soul turns away from the gentle admonitions of Spirit. It refuses the spirit and turns to the senses. The world as we see it today, with all its lawlessness, crime and violence, its false beliefs and false conditions, is the result of sensual impulse and emotion, the unrestrained fury of elemental forces proceeding from the refusal to be governed by the spiritual inward man.
To know these truths is to possess the key that unlocks the spiritual mystery of health and disease, success and prosperity, the power of the soul through Spirit to work the signs and wonders performed by Jesus.
PRACTICE IN DIVINE SCIENCE
Methods Recommended for Putting Into Daily Application
From outward things, whate’er you may believe.
There is an innermost center in us all,
Where Truth abides in fulness…and to know
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence that imprisoned splendor may escape.”
There is but one Mind. Every mind is an inlet to the One Mind. Every mind is an outlet from the One Mind.
(Memorize and Repeat Often)
Pages 109 to 120 of the “Astor Lectures.” [Online at this website.]
Health, Prosperity, Protection
The order and Harmony of the Christ Consciousness, established in me throughout all eternity, is expressing itself now as perfect Health.
The vitalizing energy of the Holy Spirit is circulating freely through every artery of my being, strengthening and invigorating me.
That Omnipresent Opulence which is God is now expressing Itself in and through me in terms of Unlimited Abundance.
The Lord, the everlasting Truth Sustains me; Divine Love alone governs me, and I reflect its government, in Peace, Power, Purity, Prosperity, Perfection of Mind and Body.
2. What word should we use for “matter”? What is it really?
3. What powers have the soul that are called supra-normal?
4. What is the soul and how has it expressed itself physically?
5. Present the full constitution of man, as you understand it from this Lesson–body, soul and spirit.
6. How do you account for the lawlessness, crime and violence of the world?
The Murray Course in Divine Science
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