|From Principle to Manifestation
Self-Creation in the Here and Now
The Law of Life
Spirit, Form, and Growth
Return to:Cover of Book 10
Ardue Site Plan
See also:The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science
In this way we are brought to the conclusion that the Life-Principle must always provide itself with a body in which to function, though it does not follow that this body must always be of the same chemical constitution as the one we now possess. We might well imagine some distant planet where the chemical combinations with which we are familiar on Earth did not obtain; but if the essential life-principle of any individual were transported thither, then, by the Law of the Creative Process, it would proceed to clothe itself with a material body drawn from the atmosphere and substance of that planet; and the personality thus produced would be quite at home there, for all his surroundings would be perfectly natural to him, however different the laws of Nature might be there from what we know here.
In such a conception as this we find the importance of the two leading principles to which I have drawn attention: first, the power of the Spirit to create ex nihilo [out of nothing — Ed.], and secondly, the individual's recognition of the basic principle of Unity giving permanence and solidarity to the frame of Nature. By the former, the Self-recognising Life-Principle could produce any sort of body it chose; and by the latter, it would be led to project one in harmony with the natural order of the particular planet, thus making all the facts of that order solid realities to the individual, and himself a solid and natural being to the other inhabitants of that world.
But this would not do away with the individual's knowledge of how he got there; and so, supposing him to have realised his identity with the Universal Life-Principle sufficiently to consciously control the projection of his own body, he could at will disintegrate the body which accorded with the conditions of one planet and constitute one which accorded just as harmoniously with those of another, and thus function on any number of planets as a perfectly natural being on each of them. He would in all respects resemble the other inhabitants, with one all-important exception: that since he had attained to unity with his Creative Principle, he would not be tied by the laws of matter as they were.
Anyone who should attain to such a power could only do so by his realisation of the All-embracing Unity of the Spirit as being the Foundation of all things; and this being the basis of his own extended powers, he would be the last to controvert his own basic principle by employing his powers in such a way as to disturb the natural course of evolution in the world where he was. He might use them to help forward the evolution of others in that world, but certainly never disturb it, for he would always act on the maxim that "Order is Heaven's First Law".
The principle being thus Universal, there is no reason why we should postpone its application till we find ourselves in another world, and the best place and time to begin are Here and Now. The starting-point is not in time or locality, but in the mode of Thought; and if we realise that this Point of Origination is Spirit's power to produce something out of nothing, and that it does this in accordance with the natural order of substance of the world in which it is working, then the spiritual ego in ourselves, as proceeding direct from the Universal Spirit, should be able, first, to so harmoniously combine the working of Spiritual and physical laws in its own body as to keep it in perfect health; secondly, to carry this process further and renew the body, thus eradicating the effects of old age; and thirdly, to carry the process still further and perpetuate this renewed body as long as the individual might desire.
If the student shows this to one of his average acquaintances who has never given any thought to these things, his friend will undoubtedly exclaim, "Tommyrot!" even if he does not use a stronger expletive. He will at once appeal to the past experience of all mankind, his argument being that what has not been in the past cannot be in the future; yet he does not apply the same argument to aeronautics and is quite oblivious of the fact that the Sacred Volume which he reverences contains promises of these very things. The really earnest student must never forget the maxim that "Principle is not bound by Precedent". If it were, we should still be primitive savages.
To use the Creative Process, we must Affirm the Creative Power — that is to say, we must go back to the Beginning of the series and start with Pure Spirit, only remembering that this starting-point is now to be found in ourselves, for this is what distinguishes the individual Creative Process from the cosmic one. This is where the importance of realising only ONE Originating Power instead of two interacting powers comes in, for it means that we do not derive our power from any existing polarity, but that we are going to establish polarities which will start secondary causation on the lines which we thus determine.
This also is where the importance comes in of recognising that the only possible originating movement of Spirit must be Self-contemplation, for this shows us that we do not have to contemplate existing conditions but the Divine Ideal, and that this contemplation of the Divine Ideal of Man is the Self-contemplation of the Spirit from the standpoint of Human Individuality.
Now the error consists in the belief that the Creative Power is limited by the material in which it works. If this be assumed, then you have to calculate the resistances offered by the material, and since by the terms of the Creative Process these resistances do not really exist, you have no basis of calculation at all — in fact, you have no means of knowing where you are, and everything is in confusion. This is why it is so important to remember that the Creative Process is the action of a Single Power, and that the interaction of two opposite polarities comes in at a later stage, and is not creative, but only distributive — that is to say, it localises the Energy already proceeding from the Single Power.
This is a fundamental truth which should never be lost sight of. So long, however, as we fail to see this truth, we necessarily limit the Creative Power by the material it works in, and in practice we do this by referring to past experience as the only standard of judgment. We are measuring the Fifth Kingdom by the standard of the Fourth, as though we should say that an intellectual man, a being of the Fourth Kingdom, was to be limited by the conditions which obtain in the First or Mineral Kingdom. To use Scriptural language, we are seeking the Living among the dead.
And moreover at the present time, a new order of experience is beginning to open out to us, for well-authenticated instances of the cure of disease by the invisible power of the Spirit are steadily increasing in number. The facts are now too patent to be denied; what we want is a better knowledge of the power which accounts for them. And if this beginning is now with us, by what reason can we limit it? The difference between the healing of disease and the renewal of the entire organism and the perpetuation of life is only a difference of degree and not of kind; so that the actual experience of increasing numbers shows the working of a principle to which we can logically set no limits.
Spirit creates by Self-contemplation;
Therefore, What it contemplates itself as being, that it becomes.
You are individualised Spirit;
Therefore, What you contemplate as the Law of your being becomes the Law of your being.
Hence, contemplate a Law of Death arising out of the Forces of the Material reacting against the Power of the Spirit and overcoming it, and you impress this mode of self-recognition upon Spirit in yourself. Of course, you cannot alter its inherent nature, but you cause it to work under negative conditions and thus make it produce negative results so far as you yourself are concerned.
But reverse the process, and contemplate a Law of Life as inherent in the very Being of the Spirit, and therefore as inherent in Spirit in yourself; and contemplate the forces of the Material as practically non-existent in the Creative Process, because they are products of it and not causes — look at things in this way, and you will impress a corresponding conception upon the Spirit which, by the Law of Reciprocity, thus enters into Self-contemplation on these lines from the standpoint of your own individuality; and then, by the nature of the Creative Process, a corresponding externalisation is bound to take place.
Thus our initial question, How did anything come into existence at all, brings us to the recognition of a Law of Life which we may each specialise for ourselves; and in the degree to which we specialise it, we shall find the Creative Principle at work within us building up a healthier and happier personality in mind, body, and circumstances.
This building up is what we speak of as Growth; and since the principle which causes the growth is the individualised Spirit, the rate at which the growth will go on depends on the amount of vitalising energy the Spirit puts into it, and the amount of vitalising energy will depend on the degree in which the individualised Spirit appreciates its own livingness; and finally, the degree of this appreciation will depend on the quality of the individual's perception of the Great All-originating Spirit as reflecting itself in him and thus making his contemplation of It nothing else than the Creative Self-contemplation of the Spirit proceeding from an individual and personal centre.
We must therefore not omit the Law of Growth in the vehicle from our conception of the working of the Spirit. As a matter of fact, the vehicle has nothing to say in the matter, for it is simply a projection from the Spirit; but for this very reason, its formation will be slow or rapid in exact proportion to the individual spirit's vitalising conception.
We could imagine a degree of vitalising conception that would produce the corresponding form instantaneously, but at present we must allow for the weakness of our spiritual power — not as thinking it by any means incapable of accomplishing its object, but as being far slower in operation now than we hope to see it in the future; and so we must not allow ourselves to be discouraged, but must hold our thought, knowing that it is doing its creative work, and that the corresponding growth is slowly but surely taking place — thus following the Divine precept that men ought always to pray and not to faint.
Gradually, as we gain experience on these new lines, our confidence in the power of the Spirit will increase, and we shall be less inclined to argue from the negative side of things; and thus the hindrances to the inflow of the Originating Spirit will be more and more removed, and greater and greater results will be obtained.
The forms thus produced are in true accord with the general order of Nature on the particular plane where they occur, and are therefore perfectly different from forms temporarily consolidated out of material drawn from other living organisms. These latter phantasmal bodies are held together only by an act of concentrated volition, and can therefore only be maintained for a short time and with effort; while the body which the individualised spirit, or ego, builds for itself is produced by a perfectly natural process and does not require any effort to sustain it, since it is kept in touch with the whole system of the planet by the continuous and effortless action of the individual's subconscious mind.
This is where the action of subconscious mind as the builder of the body comes in. Subconscious mind acts in accordance with the aggregate of suggestion impressed upon it by the conscious mind, and if this suggestion is that of perfect harmony with the physical laws of the planet, then a corresponding building by the subconscious mind will take place — a process which, so far from implying any effort, consists rather in a restful sense of unity with Nature. [See my Edinburgh Lectures in Mental Science].
And if to this sense of union with the Soul of Nature, that Universal Subconscious Mind which holds in the cosmos the same place that the subconscious mind does in ourselves — if to this there be superadded a sense of union with the All-creating Spirit from which the Soul of Nature flows, then, through the medium of the individual's subconscious mind, such specialised effects can be produced in his body as to transcend our past experiences without in any way violating the order of the Universe. The Old Law was the manifestation of the Principle of Life working under constricted conditions; the New Law is the manifestation of the same Principle working under expanding conditions. Thus it is that though God never changes, we are said to "increase with the increase of God".