The Science of Mind, by Ernest Shurtleff Holmes , at sacred-texts.com
Mental Science, which is the Science of Mind and Spirit, makes a tremendous claim when it states that it can free the individual from the bondage of sickness, poverty and unhappiness; but it makes this statement without hesitation and without qualification; it does not retract from that claim and it never will. It does, however, carefully set forth the conditions under which it operates and the laws governing Life, warning man that, unless he understands these conditions and obeys these laws, he will not receive full benefit from the Science of Mind.
THE WORLD HAS LEARNED ALL IT CAN THROUGH SUFFERING
The world is beginning to realize that it has learned all it can through suffering and pain. Perhaps they were good in their place, but surely there can be no power in the Universe which wishes man to be sick, to suffer pain, to be unhappy and end up in the grave. Surely God could not ordain that man should ultimately be other than a perfect expression of Life.
We should have no intellectual difficulty in realizing that even God Himself could not make an automatic individuality, and this explains why man must suffer on the road to self-discovery. He must suffer, not because pain is a necessity, but because he must have experience in order to become individualized.
WHAT INDIVIDUALITY REALLY MEANS
Perhaps it would be a good idea to elaborate on this and explain just what individuality really means. Individuality means self-choice, volition, conscious mind, personified Spirit, complete freedom and a POWER TO BACK UP THAT FREEDOM.
We cannot imagine a mechanical or unspontaneous individuality. To be real and free, individuality must be created IN THE IMAGE OF PERFECTION AND LET ALONE TO MAKE THE GREAT DISCOVERY FOR ITSELF.
The answer to the question, "Why did not God make us free and compel that freedom?" is apparent when we realize that even God could not do this. A freedom under compulsion would produce a freedom that would ultimately amount to the very worst kind of bondage. There is no such thing as compulsory freedom; even God Himself could not ordain this; for He could do nothing that would violate His own nature. No; man must be created with the possibility of limitless freedom and then be let alone to discover the fact for himself. On the road to that discovery he must be subject to the Law of all Life, and if in ignorance he violates that Law, he must thereby suffer. This is not, however, because God imposes the suffering or desires it, but simply because it is the necessity of the case.
THE MEANING OF FREEDOM
Freedom of will means the ability to do, say and think as one wishes; to express life as one personally desires. To be able only to think and dream of freedom would not be liberty. To imagine, without the power to manifest that imagination, would be to remain in a sort of dream world which would never come to complete self-realization. This is not the world in which man lives at all, for man's world is one of self-expression, even though that expression appears at times to destroy him.
SIN AND PUNISHMENT. RIGHTEOUSNESS AND REWARD
We do not wish to enter into theological discussions in this course of instruction, but we do wish to make the thought clear to those who care to study it. There is no sin but a mistake and no punishment but an inevitable consequence. Wrong doing must be punished, for the Law of cause and effect must
be eternally operative. Right doing must be rewarded for the same reason.
We do not say that man cannot sin; what we say is, that he does sin or make mistakes and that he is thereby automatically punished, AS LONG AS HE CONTINUES TO MAKE MISTAKES. This does not mean that there is an evil power in the Universe; but it does mean that there is an immutable Law of cause and effect running through everything. Sin is its own punishment and righteousness ITS OWN REWARD.
The age-long discussion of the problem of evil will never be answered until we realize that it is not a thing of itself but is simply A MISUSE OF THE LAW OF FREEDOM. The problem of evil will be met only to the degree that we cease doing evil and do good, for evil will disappear when we no longer indulge in it. When the whole world sees the right and does it; then, and not until then, will the problem of evil be solved for the entire race.
THE INCARNATION OF SPIRIT
To return to individuality; it is that which distinguishes man from the mere brute creation; it is the greater Incarnation of God in the human; the Indwelling Spirit of the Most High.
Man is created and left to discover himself, and on the road to this self-discovery he experiences the creations of his own imaginations which ultimately show him the Truth and lead to real freedom.
There is an interesting myth in regard to the creating of man which may serve to point out this fact. It is said that when the gods decided to make man, and make him a Divine Being, they held a long discussion as to where would be the best place to hide his Divinity. Some of the gods suggested that it be hidden in the earth, but others argued that some day man would penetrate the earth and so discover himself; it was then suggested that it be hidden in the depths of the sea, but this idea was rejected, for man would go under the sea and there discover his true nature; it was next suggested that his real nature should be deposited somewhere in the air, but this also was rejected, for he would surely fly through the air and
find himself. After a long discussion it was finally agreed that the best place to hide man's Divinity would be IN THE INNERMOST NATURE OF MAN HIMSELF--this being the last place he would look to find it!
This discovery would not be made until he had had all the experience necessary to complete a well-rounded life. "The Word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." 22
Of course, this is a fable, but how clearly it sets forth the reality of the case! The word is really in our own mouths, and every time we say "I AM" we are repeating it; for "I AM" is the secret of nature and the emblem of Eternity.
The story of "The Prodigal Son" is the story of man's return to "His Father's House." How truly the poet puts it when he says that "Trailing clouds of Glory do we come from Heaven which is our home." This is the mystical meaning of that marvelous poem of Robert Browning's, called "Saul." Saul had lost his sense of real life and lay in a stupor in his tent when David came to sing to him, to awaken him to the realization of his true nature. At first David sings of the wonders of Creation and of the delights of life; he tells Saul of his power and glory as a human being; and, as the song expands, he touches the secret spring of Saul's being--"He is Saul ye remember in glory, ere error had bent the broad brow from the daily communion." Then, he plainly tells Saul of the Christ. This revelation finally awakens Saul to "His old motions and attitudes kingly." The healing has taken place and the realization of the Truth has freed Saul from the thraldom of false belief.
Some take the viewpoint that man was cast forth to discover himself; and others contend that man decided to do this for himself. It makes no difference what the case may be; man is certainly on the pathway to self-discovery, and everything in his experience points to the truth of this fact. We know that the forces of nature wait on man's discovery of them and
obey his will as soon as he understands how to make use of her laws. We certainly have freedom enough when we understand how to use that freedom. The Pilgrim Fathers might have had steam cars if they had understood the nature of steam. It was not pushed into man's experience by any autocratic power, but served him only after he had discovered how to use it. We might say the same of any and all of the laws that we now understand and utilize.
THE LESSON OF NATURE'S LAWS
If we find this to be true of the laws of the mechanical world, why should we not also find it true of those Mental and Spiritual Laws which transcend the mechanical world? No doubt, we shall find latent powers and capacities of which we have never dreamed; powers and abilities waiting to be understood and used. "Behold I stand at the door and knock." It certainly will pay man to spend much time and thought in the study of his own nature; for he will discover things about himself that will cause him to "Arise and shine." 23 Man is to-day, more than ever before, awakening to the real facts of the case, and from now on his evolution will become very rapid. Nothing is impossible; all things are possible to the Great Whole, and man is a part of that Whole.
THE RELATION OF MAN TO THE UNIVERSE OF SPIRIT
As the evidence of design in the Universe proves a Designer, so the evidence of self-choice shows a Power that Knows Itself. The Spirit is Self-Knowing; God knows that God Is. But a Universal Self-Knowingness really means a Universal Personalness; and so we see how God can be Personal to every living soul who believes in Spirit. We could truthfully say--so it seems to me at least--that there is One Infinite Person, in whom we all "live, and move and have our Being"; 24 for we all live in the One.
Let us assume that man is on the road to self-discovery. What is he to discover?--That he is really free, but that, in order to be free, he must first go through experiences which will teach him how to use his freedom properly; and, after the lesson is learned, he will be free indeed. Everything seems as if this were true. We have traced man's progress carefully through his journey on this planet from the time when the first face "Was turned from the clod," to now, and what have we discovered? That all nature waits upon man's self-discovery and is ever ready to serve him and do his bidding. Laws and forces undreamed of by our ancestors are now being employed; powers and forces which to prehistoric man would have seemed as gods, are to-day called nature's forces, and we consciously make use of them. Man has gradually merged with nature and her laws, and to-day stands forth as a new being so far as the mechanical world is concerned. It seems as if he had conquered nature and compelled her to serve him.
NATURE WAITS ON MAN
Nowhere on this path has he found nature opposed to him. She has silently waited for his recognition and as silently done his bidding. She will never contradict herself nor operate contrary to her inherent laws; but she will serve whoever comes to understand and use them along the lines of her way of working. Man never created any of these laws but simply uses them, and he can do this only as he first obeys them. "Nature obeys us as we first obey it" is an old saying and a true one. We learn the fundamental principle of a law, obey its mode of operation and then have conscious use of it. It would be absurd to say that nature punished us because we did not make proper use of her laws. She simply will not work harmoniously for us until we harmonize with her; she will obey us only after we have obeyed her. This is, of course, true of any and all law. If we obey, it serves; if we disobey, it seems to punish us.
MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL LAWS
It is the same with those great Mental and Spiritual Laws of our Being. We must come to discover and utilize the inner forces of Mind and Spirit, for they are the highest powers.
Man will be delivered from sin, sickness and trouble in exact proportion to his discovery of himself and his relationship to the Whole.
Law is law wherever we find it, and we shall discover that the Laws of Mind and Spirit must be understood if they are to be consciously used for definite purposes. THE SPIRIT KNOWS AND THE LAW OBEYS.
Hidden away in the inner nature of the real man is the Law of his life, and some day he will discover it and consciously make use of it. He will heal himself, make himself happy and prosperous, and will live in an entirely different world; for he will have discovered that LIFE IS FROM WITHIN AND NOT FROM WITHOUT.
GOD AND MAN
Man is made out of and from Life; and, as effect must partake of the nature of its cause, so man must partake of the Divine Nature from which he springs.
MAN REËNACTS THE NATURE OF GOD
If we realize that God is "Triune" and that man is made in the Image and Likeness of God, we shall see that the whole scheme of Life and the whole nature of the Divine Being is reënacted through man. This, of course, does not mean that man is God; it means that, in his small world of individual expression, his nature is identical with God's. This is what Jesus meant when he said, "As the Father hath Life within Himself so hath He given to the Son to have Life within himself." 25
A single drop of water is not the whole ocean, but it does resemble the ocean and does contain within itself the same
qualities and attributes. We might say that man is in God and that God works through man. "I and The Father are One," 26 "The Kingdom of God is within you"; 27 and we might add, "God's in His Heaven, all's right with the world."
THE TWO WAYS TO REASON
There are but two processes of reasoning known to the human mind: inductive and deductive; and from these two ways of reasoning all our knowledge of life has come. Inductive reasoning is the systematic process of reasoning from a part to the whole. Deductive reasoning is the process of accepting certain conclusions as truths and drawing other conclusions from them; it is reasoning from the whole to a part. For instance, in inductive reasoning we would say that everything happens just as if there were what we call electricity and that it is everywhere present. Deductive reasoning says that since electricity is everywhere present, it is always where we are and can always be generated from any center.
Using these two methods of reasoning to deduce the nature of God, we may start with the assumption that God IS, drawing all our conclusions from this premise; or we may carefully study the nature of man and the Universe and so draw the conclusion that a God must exist. Whichever method we use will lead to the same conclusion; namely, that there is a Divine Being and that man is made in His Image and must reënact and portray the same attributes as the Life from which he came.
NOTHING HAPPENS BY CHANCE
Nothing in the Universe happens by chance. All is in accordance with Law, and the Law of God is as Omnipresent as is the Spirit of God. This Law is a Law of Mind, but back of the Law is the Word. "All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made." 28
Back of our lives is the Law of our Being; and through that Law runs the word which we speak; for "What things soever
[paragraph continues] He (the Son) seeth the Father do, these also doeth the Son likewise." 29
MANY ARE WAKING UP TO THE FACTS
Thousands of people to-day are beginning to realize this and put it into operation, and the results attained would fill more books than one man could read in a lifetime. Thousands to-day are using the silent power of Mind to heal their bodies and bring prosperity into their affairs; and the Law is always working in accordance with the belief of those seeking to use It. As the Universe is run by an Infinite Mind, so man's life is controlled by his thinking; ignorance of this keeps him in bondage; knowledge will free him.
One by one, people will investigate the Truth and put It into operation, and the time will come when disease and poverty will be swept from the face of the earth, for they were never intended to be. They are simply the by-products of ignorance, and enlightenment alone will erase them.
THE TIME HAS COME TO KNOW THE TRUTH
The hour of freedom has struck, the bell of Liberty is ringing, and "Let him that is athirst come." 30 Let us, then, plunge more deeply into our own natures and into the nature of the Universe and see if we shall not find treasures undreamed of, possibilities never imagined and opportunities which the fond thought--yearning for freedom--has often, in our vision of the greater Life, given us.
"Prove me now, herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it." 31
A WONDERFUL EXPERIMENT
It would be a wonderful experiment for any one to make to begin to live as if this promise were true; to talk, think and act as though there were a Limitless Power attending him on his
journey through life; as though his every act were directed and guided into expressions of peace, health, happiness and harmony. It is surely worth while, and understanding will make the way so clear before us that we shall some day come to see the logic of it; and then, indeed, shall we really begin to live. Our lives, fortunes and happiness are in our own hands to mold as we will--provided we first obey the Law and learn how to make conscious use of It. "With all thy getting get understanding" 32--an old adage--but to-day as true as ever.
It has been the teaching of all times that man reproduces the Divine Nature; and if he does, we shall expect to find in his nature the same qualities that we suppose must be in the Nature of Life Itself.
WHAT PSYCHOLOGY TEACHES ABOUT MAN'S NATURE
A study of the psychological nature of man verifies the belief in "The Trinity" running through all Life. Man is self-conscious; of this we are sure, for he can say "I AM." This fact alone proves his claim to immortality and greatness. In psychology we learn that man is threefold in his nature; that is, he has a self-conscious mind, a subconscious mind and a body. In metaphysics we learn that the three are but different attributes of the same life. Man's self-conscious mind is the power with which he knows; it is, therefore, one with the Spirit of God; it is, indeed, His only guarantee of conscious being.
THE SELF-KNOWING MIND
It is from this self-knowing mind that man is able to realize his relationship with the Whole; for without it he would be unhuman and most certainly not Divine; but since he has it, he must be Divine.
It is the self-knowing mind alone that constitutes reality, personality and individuality. It is the "Image of God," the essence of Sonship, and the "Personification of the Infinite."
MAN'S UNITY WITH THE WHOLE
We recognize, then, in man's self-knowing mind his Unity with the Whole. For while a drop of water is not the ocean, yet it does contain within itself all the attributes of the limitless deep.
Man's self-knowing mind is the instrument which perceives reality, and cognizes or realizes Truth. All illumination, inspiration, and realization must come through the self-knowing mind in order to manifest in man. Vision, intuition and revelation proclaim themselves through man's self-knowing mind; and the Saints and Sages, the Saviours and Christs, the Prophets and Seers, the Wise and Learned, have all consciously perceived and proclaimed this fact. Every evidence of human experience, all acts of kindness and mercy, have interpreted themselves through man's self-knowing mind. All that we know, say or think, feel or believe, hope or long for, fear or doubt, is some action of the self-knowing mind. Subjective memories we have, and inner, unexpressed emotions we feel; but to the self-knowing mind alone does realization come. Without this capacity to consciously know, man would not exist as an expressed being; and, so far as we are concerned, would not exist at all. The self-knowing mind of man proclaims itself in every thought, deed or act, and is truly the only guarantee of his individuality.
MAN A CENTER OF GOD-CONSCIOUSNESS
With this vast array of facts at our disposal it would be foolish to suppose that man's self-knowing mind is any other than his perception of Reality. It is his Unity with the Whole, or God, on the conscious side of life, and is an absolute guarantee that he is a Center of God-Consciousness in the Vast Whole.
UNITY WITH LAW
We will say, then, that in Spirit man is One with God. But what of the great Law of the Universe? If we are really One
with the Whole we must be One with the Law of the Whole, as well as One with the Spirit. Again psychology has determined the fact to be more than a fancy. The characteristics of the subconscious mind of man determine his Subjective Unity with the Universe of Life, Law and Action.
THE SUBJECTIVE OBEYS THE OBJECTIVE
In the Subjective Mind of man we find a law obeying his word, the servant of his Spirit. Suggestion has proved that the subconscious mind acts upon our thought without question or doubt. It is the mental law of our Being and the creative factor within us. It is unnecessary, at this point, to go into all the details of the Subjective Mind and its mode of action; it is enough to say that within us is a mental law, working out the will and purposes of our conscious thoughts. This can be no other than OUR INDIVIDUAL USE OF THAT GREATER SUBJECTIVE MIND WHICH IS THE SEAT OF ALL LAW AND ACTION, AND IS "THE SERVANT OF THE ETERNAL SPIRIT THROUGH ALL THE AGES."
Marvelous as the concept may be, it is none the less true that man has at his disposal, in what he calls his subjective mind, a power which seems to be Limitless. This is because he is One with the Whole, on the subjective side of life.
Man's thought, falling into his subjective mind, merges with the Universal Subjective Mind and becomes the law of his life, through THE ONE GREAT LAW OF ALL LIFE.
There are not two subjective minds. There is but one subjective mind; and what we call our subjective mind is really only THE USE THAT WE ARE MAKING OF THE ONE LAW.
Each individual maintains his identity in Law through his personal use of It; and each is drawing from Life what HE THINKS INTO IT.
TO LEARN HOW TO THINK IS TO LEARN HOW TO LIVE, for our thoughts go into a Medium that is Infinite in Its ability to do and to be.
MAN, BY THINKING, CAN BRING INTO HIS EXPERIENCE
[paragraph continues] WHATSOEVER HE DESIRES, IF HE THINKS CORRECTLY AND BECOMES A LIVING EMBODIMENT OF HIS THOUGHTS. This is not done by holding thoughts but by KNOWING THE TRUTH.
But what about man's body? Is that, too, one with the Body of the Universe? Let us briefly analyze matter and see what it really is. We are told that matter is not a solid, stationary thing; but is a constantly flowing, formless substance which is forever coming and going. Matter is as indestructible as God, as eternal as Timeless Being; nothing can be either added to or taken from it. The very bodies we now have were not with us a short time ago. As Sir Oliver Lodge says, we discard many of them on the path through this life, for the material from which our bodies are composed is in a constant state of flow. Vistas of thought open up along the line of mental healing when we realize this fact; later we will thoroughly discuss and work out a definite technique for the purpose of healing.
Matter is not what we thought it to be; it is simply a flowing stuff taking the form that Mind gives it. How about the matter from which other things than the body are made? It is all the same--ONE SUBSTANCE IN THE UNIVERSE TAKES DIFFERENT FORMS AND SHAPES AND BECOMES DIFFERENT THINGS.
LAST STAGES OF MATTER
The last analysis of matter resolves it into a universal ether and leaves nothing more than a stuff which may be operated upon.
Matter, in the last analysis, is composed of particles so fine that they are simply supposed to be. In other words, it disappears entirely, and the place where it once was is again "without form and void." 33 Matter, as we know it, is only an aggregation of these particles arranged in such order as to
produce definite forms, which are determined by something WHICH IS NOT MATERIAL.
There is no difference between the particles which any one form takes and the particles which all forms take; the difference is not in the minute particles but in their arrangement.
THE UNITY OF ALL BODY
Our bodies are One with the Whole Body of the Universe. Seeds, plants, cabbages and kings are made of the same substance; minerals, solids and liquids are made from THE PRIMORDIAL SUBSTANCE WHICH IS FOREVER FLOWING INTO FORM AND FOREVER FLOWING OUT AGAIN INTO THE VOID.
THE FORMLESS AND THE FORMED
Nothing could form a formless stuff, which has no mind of its own, except Intelligence operating upon it. Again we come back to the Word as the starting point of all Creation--God's Word in the Great World, man's word in the small world.
ONE SPIRIT, ONE MIND, AND ONE SUBSTANCE; ONE LAW BUT MANY THOUGHTS; ONE POWER, BUT MANY WAYS OF USING IT; ONE GOD IN WHOM WE ALL LIVE, AND ONE LAW WHICH ALL OPERATE; ONE, ONE, ONE. NO GREATER UNITY COULD BE GIVEN THAN THAT WHICH IS ALREADY VOUCHSAFED TO MANKIND.
But why is man so limited? Why is he still poor, sick, afraid and unhappy? Because he does not know the Truth--that is the only "Why." But why was he not so made that he would have to know the Truth? The answer is that even God could not make a real man, that is, a real Personified Expression of Himself, without creating him in freedom and leaving him TO DISCOVER HIMSELF. This is the meaning of the story of the Prodigal Son and the whole meaning of it.
INDIVIDUALITY MEANS SELF-CHOICE
Individuality means real individualized being and real personified self-choice. We could not imagine an individuality without self-choice; but what would be the use of self-choice unless the ability to choose were backed with the power to externalize that choice? It would remain simply an idle dream, never coming into real self-expression. A little thought will make it clear that, if man is created to express freedom, he must be left to discover himself. Of course, during the process he will have much experience, but in the end he will come out a real being.
The day of man's discovery of himself marked the first day of the record of human history on this planet; and from the day when he first made this discovery he has constantly risen and continuously progressed. All the forces of nature attend him on his way, but he must first discover them in order to make use of them.
THE GREATEST DISCOVERY EVER MADE
The greatest discovery that man ever made was, that his thought has creative power; that is, that it uses creative power. His thought, of itself, would have no power unless it were operative through a creative medium. We do not have to compel Law to operate; all that we have to do is to use It. The Law of Mind is just like any and all other laws of Being. It simply Is.
A COMPLETE UNITY
We have now discovered a Unity with the Whole on all three sides of life or from all three modes of expression. We are One with all matter in the physical world, One with the Creative Law of the Universe in the Mental World, and One with the Spirit of God in the Conscious World.
What more could we ask or hope for? How would it be possible for more to be given? We could ask for no more, and no greater freedom could be given. From now on we will expand, grow and express, only to the degree that we consciously coöperate with the Whole.
85:22 Deut. 30:14
86:23 Isa. 60:1.
86:24 Acts 17:28.
88:25 John 5:26.
89:26 John 10:30.
89:27 Luke 17:21.
89:28 John 1:3.
90:29 John 5:19.
90:30 Rev. 22:17.
90:31 Mal. 3:10.
91:32 Prov. 4:7.
94:33 Gen. 1:2.