Rosicrucian Writings Online
Our Imaginary BodiesBy The Imperator
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Mystic Triangle March 1929]
THE recent passing from the earth plane of Mrs. Augusta Stetson, former associate of Mary Baker G. Eddy, founder of Christian Science, and organizer of a movement to attempt to redirect and control a part of the Christian Science activities in America, came as a shock to a large number of persons who had been convinced of some of Mrs. Stetson's arguments and contentions. From reports received here at Headquarters, it would appear that despite the many efforts of metaphysics to make plain the fundamentals of the Christian Science doctrines, there are many who still misunderstand those fundamentals to such an extent that the physical passing of their leader throws them into consternation and leaves them helplessly stranded in the mire of personal speculative philosophy.
It appears that quite a large number of those who were attempting to follow Mrs. Stetson in her independent movement along Christian Science lines as she interpreted them, believed that Mrs. Stetson would never die; and some even believed that no true Christian would ever die or pass through transition, and felt that the transition of Mrs. Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, was an indication of some weakness in her faith or in her own ability to live up to the principles she had established. It is needless to say that such an understanding of the Christian Science teachings and claims is not only absurd but typical of the misconceptions that can evolve in the minds of students of metaphysics who are prone to take any general principle and extend it to a wide generality that is unsound and untrue.
The Christian Science statement that "there is no death" refers to death of the immaterial, divine, spiritual being. And certainly every student of metaphysics can accept this statement as being absolutely sound and demonstrable. But to interpret this statement as meaning that a perfect Christian Scientist, or a person living the perfect spiritual life on earth, will never die in a physical sense, is so fanatical and extreme that we cannot help but feel that only the illogical mind could conceive of such a thought. Naturally, those who believed this way and looked upon Mrs. Stetson as one who was going to demonstrate that principle, and held her before their eyes as an ideal that would not fail them in their faith, are now bitterly disappointed or skeptically inclined in regard to all metaphysical principles. Such persons flounder in their beliefs, and are like a ship that has suddenly lost its rudder in the sea of life. It is but another example of the many, many cases brought to our attention where men and women of rational minds pin their faith and hope to some personality or to some personal philosophy represented by some idealistic leader, and when that leader falls from the high pedestal upon which he has been arbitrarily placed by his followers, many go down into the sea of despondency, despair, and sorrow. Those who put their faith in a sound principle and in the ideals that are true in the spiritual and moral world, are never affected by the fall of a leader or by the failure on the part of any human to completely demonstrate the principles taught or the ideals held before them. After all is said and done, all leaders and great teachers are human, and have human weaknesses; and while most of them may be stronger in character than the average human, or more highly evolved or otherwise qualified to be the temporary leader of multitudes, that fact does not preclude the possibility of failure, or the ultimate submission to some human weakness. Mrs. Stetson has gone to rest physically, and her spiritual self has risen to greater heights, but her transition, like that of the beloved Mary Baker Eddy, in no wise weakens the contentions of the fundamentals of Christian Science, nor disproves or disqualifies the ideals such leaders have taught and the lives they have led.
After all is said and done, and we have argued the matter pro and con, the real student of metaphysics is sure to ask himself this question: "Is this physical body of mine anything, and has it any actual existence, or is it imaginary?" Certainly our physical bodies seem very real at times, and we are often tempted, even in our most advanced stages of metaphysical understanding, to question the soundness of the principle that all that is real of man is mind, or the spiritual body within the physical. Yet before we can argue ourselves into accepting even a partial recognition of the actuality of the physical body, we are confronted with the many laws and principles which make it very evident that the spiritual or mental part of ourselves is far more real than any part of the physical. Then, once again we question the actual existence of this possibly imaginary body which we call the physical self.
In some of our lectures we call attention to the fact that psychic experiences during our sleeping state and even the ordinary experiences of dreaming while asleep, often arouse in our minds a suspicion that our real existence is during that period in which we are physically asleep, and that the dream period of our lives is that which we now call our daytime hours. In our dreams we are just as conscious of ourselves as we are while we are awake, and we are just as conscious of impressions upon the emotional and sensitory faculties, for we laugh and smile, cry and suffer, work and labor, and pass through all of the physical and mental experiences which we know during our waking hours. During those experiences of our sleep period, we believe ourselves to be awake, and have no idea or any belief, generally, that we are otherwise than as we appear to be, and never suspect for one moment that the experiences we are passing through or the life we are living is anything other than real and actual. It is only after we awaken, as it is called, and enter into this daytime phase of our existence, that we look back upon the experience of the dream state as being unreal and visionary. How can we tell then, that this awakened state of consciousness which we have in the daytime is the real and the actual, and the experiences of the nighttime only imaginary, visionary, or unreal. Daytime and nighttime are passing conditions of the mundane world. During our daytime hours it is nighttime somewhere else, and during our nighttime hours it is daytime in other parts of the world. Therefore, so far as our actual existence is concerned, there is neither daytime nor nighttime for the consciousness, and we have no right to presume that our consciousness can be only real and our existence only actual during the daylight periods in the country where we are situated. Such thoughts as these open a wonderful field for meditation, and the longer we dwell upon the subject and analyze it, the more we become acquainted with our dual existence, and the one outstanding fact that part of our existence is real and actual and the other imaginary or visionary.
Can it not be, also, that our physical bodies, as we recognize them generally, are false concepts of our mortal mind? Knowing that we have a dual mentality, and a dual being, why should any of us arbitrarily conclude that that conception or realization which we have during our waking hours pertaining to a gross physical body and a gross physical existence is the real, the actual, the dominant, and the important part of our existence, and that any other part of our existence is speculative or probably ethereal and imaginary?
If we can assume, as metaphysicians or as mystics, for just one moment in our reasoning, that the physical part of ourselves is only a transitory, passing, temporary concept, or realization of the mortal consciousness or the mortal mind, and has no place in the spiritual and divine scheming of our existence, then we shall appreciate at once the possibility of the physical body being almost an imaginary thing in so far as our highly important consideration of it is concerned. Realizing that the mortal mind can only conceive of that which is mortal, and realizing that this same mortal mind is a part of the physical, mortal self, we might say that it is an imaginary mind or an imaginary consciousness, with its concepts of other imaginary things, and that the whole physical part of our existence is a very vague and imaginary creation of the transitory mortal consciousness of this earth plane. That would leave nothing real, nothing true, nothing actual, but the spiritual Divine part of our existence, and we would become not physical beings with some indefinite spiritual part of ourselves resident within the real and actual bodies, but spiritual beings having a false or misconception body which we have erroneously looked upon as actual. Therefore, it would be perfectly true, as it really is, to say that there is no death to our existence, for surely our spiritual existence cannot die, and any change occurring to the mortal misconception of a physical body could not be called death, but merely another one of the many mortal changes that are constantly taking place in this imaginary body or mortally conceived body.
Among the many and constant changes taking place in this mortal body, are not only those changes which make even its so-called tissues, cells, blood, and bones, transitory through changes in mortal composition, from week to week, and month to month, which makes it impossible to say that we have the same physical bodies today as we had a year ago, but there are the other mortally conceived and mortally recognized changes called disease, health, pain, suffering, pleasure, and happiness, as related to the flesh or the mortal conception of the flesh. In fact, as we analyze the matter carefully we see that this mortally conceived and recognized body of ours is a thing that is much like the child's conception of a fairy body. As the child's imagination enlarges or operates upon the least impulse or urge, its conception of the fairy body in one of its fairyland stories changes and becomes a new or different body. The little boy's mental conception of Jack, in the story of Jack and the bean stalk, becomes more evolved or qualified, limited or unlimited, as his imagination develops and evolves, and his little imaginary Jack becomes a different Jack, from day to day or month to month. The changes in such a concept are so rapid and so adaptable to such impressions and ideas that one could hardly call it a stabilized being or conception of a being, and if suddenly that Jack of his imagination or mortal conception should cease to exist--as many Jacks have ceased to exist for us when we reached adulthood--we could hardly call the secession of existence by the term of death, and look upon such death as an actual thing. It would merely be an ultimate and final change in the mortal conception of the existence of Jack; just another one of the many changes but of a different nature. There would be nothing about such an ultimate or different change to warrant one in believing that that change was more real, more true, than any of the other changes that had been made in the conception and understanding or realization of Jack.
Therefore, Mrs. Eddy--the real and true Mrs. Eddy--did not die or cease to exist, or pass through any change of any kind, when the mortal conception of her body passed from our consciousness, and we no longer had a mortal motive in believing in the existence of that mortal conception. And the same is true regarding Mrs. Stetson and every person who has passed from our mortal conception or mortal perception. Just as Jesus the Christ still lives and exists as He ever did, and will continue to live in all the reality in which He ever lived, so does the real part of us live today as it ever lived and will continue to live, forever and ever. There is just this one point in regard to the existence of the real self. That existence will become more sublime, more beautiful, and more effulgent in its expression as soon as we reach that point of reasoning and comprehension where we understand that our mortal conceptions of our mortal selves are supplying us with imaginary or unreal bodies, and unreal conditions with which we force ourselves to deal, or to which we submit and thereby limit, hamper, and impoverish our spiritual existence.
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