Talks on Truth, by Charles Fillmore, , at sacred-texts.com
THESE QUERIES often come to us: "What do you teach about death?" "Where do people go when they die?" A succinct answer to these questions is found in a statement made by Paul: "The mind of the flesh is death." According to the Bible, all men are "dead through . . . trespasses and sins."
2. Adam, as originally created, was in illumination. Spirit continually breathed into him the inspiration and knowledge that gave him superior understanding. But he began eating (or appropriating) ideas of two powers--God and not-God, good and evil. The result, so the allegory relates, was a falling away from life and all that it involves. This was the first death.
3. Men do not think of the first death in its relation to the second death. The latter enters when the soul loses control of the body, when the functional activities cease and the physical organism
dissolves. If the scriptural statements given above express facts, sinners (men who believe in two powers, good and evil) are already dead. They do not have to wait until the body stops acting, to know the conditions that prevail in death. Why should we worry about the condition of men who go through the second death? The first death is death of the light and the life of Spirit in our consciousness, and the result is a withdrawal of the soul from the organism. The soul of the carnal-minded does not live in the body, but outside of it. Because of his sins, man has been driven out of the body Eden.
4. What is death? Briefly stated, it is cessation of vital force and action in the body. Jesus referred to the dead as having "fallen asleep," as also did Paul. There are various degrees of this sleepy condition into which the body falls. Students of physiology find that the body has unused resources that can be temporarily awakened. Through deep breathing they bring into action certain centers in the lungs that give additional purity to the blood; by the quickening of other centers in the body, weak persons can be made strong. This is not the regeneration taught by Jesus, but it demonstrates that the body is not living up to its capacity in even a material way. Some physiologists say that in our thinking exercises we use only a small part of the brain. Nearly the whole nervous system of man is in a sleepy, inactive state. These investigators tell us that if some substance could be poured in through our nervous systems that would wake us up all over, we should be transformed into new beings.
5. That is exactly what the new life in Christ does for us. "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." We are to be transformed not by deep breathing, or by muscular exercise, or by having our nerves shocked by electricity; but by a new process of thought and spiritual energy we are to awaken our sleepy body, we are to get back to the original state in which we consciously receive the inspiration of Spirit and charge our body with the life of the Infinite.
6. This is the teaching of pure Christianity, and it is borne out by the discoveries of modern science. Both agree that men must have more life and greater vitality in order to carry forward the demands of mind and its aspirations. Jesus went so far as to claim that men who do not lay hold of the larger consciousness of life which He brought to the race, have no life in them.
7. What shall we do to escape the second death? We must take the life of the Christ man, which is potentially here in every one of us, and concentrate it into our brain and body. This is accomplished by the power of the word. We can take the first step, that of quickening the circulation, by directing living thoughts and words into the blood channels of the body.
8. This quickening was taught by Jesus. He said, "I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly." What is the nature and the work of these little canals that carry the blood through all parts of the body? They are the rivers of life, flowing from the one head, divine life.
They carry the blood corpuscles, which physiology tells us are little batteries, each with a positive and a negative pole. If these little batteries of your body have the life element in them, they constantly electrify your organism; but if through the power of your thought and word you affirm the opposite of life and talk about the absence of life, what are you doing? You are robbing the batteries of their natural life element; you are slowing down their vitality by giving them an element of negation. This treatment will produce death in the corpuscles, and eventually will bring death to the organism, which they ought to supply with life. By such a process of denial as this the body becomes separated from its sustaining life principle. To hold negation in the mind is to stamp negation on the body. There is no duality in God. We intuitively know that God is good and that God is all. We intuitively know that life is the one real expression of God. To demonstrate the God life, we must plant the knowledge of that life in the flesh. To keep on living, we must supply the God substance, out of which the body will be renewed.
9. There is no need of any state or condition called death. The word "death" is a denial of God's idea of life. If we would accept life as God offers it to us, we are obliged to refuse the conditions that man has attached to it.
10. If we would realize the larger life, we must believe in it; we must begin to affirm it as ours here and now. And what kind of life do you conceive this eternal life to be? A life that goes and comes? Affirming
eternal life, would you say, "I feel tired and weak; I wish I had a little stimulant to tone me up"? Certainly not. You would meet the feeling of weakness with an affirmation of strength; you would meet every evil suggestion with a denial of its reality and a strong word of Truth. Sound words quickly tone up the mind and body, and there is never a reaction of weakness following their use.
11. It does not make any difference to the loyal Christian how many people "fall asleep." We know that the sleepers awaken again, that what men call the sleep of death is just a long dream. Some people have more vivid dreams than others, so some who fall asleep in the second death may dream of returning life until they quickly take up again the construction of an organism. The early Christians considered it a great advantage to have a knowledge of Jesus before falling asleep.
12. It is possible to think about the absence of life until death seems real and lasting. This makes the dream dense and dark, and the awakening slow. Christianity shows how to come right back into life, and that is the only salvation for man. If you believe faithfully in the Christ life, you will never die. That is the promise of Jesus, and our understanding of the laws of mind substantiates His assurance in this respect. The mind can be so filled with thoughts of life that there will be no room for a thought of death. Death can never take possession of the body of one whose mind is thoroughly charged with ideas of life.
13. This will answer the question "If a man die, shall he live again?" Eternal life means continuous
conscious existence in the body. Every man lives just to the extent of his appreciation of eternal life. Not only must we live, but we must live wisely. In the Genesis allegory it is written that, for fear that man would eat of the tree of life and live forever in his sinful mind, the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden. This means that man does not consciously live in his organism, which is the real Garden of Eden. In his unregenerated state, man reflects his mind into his body. But when the baptism of fire, the descent of the Holy Spirit, takes place, there is a reunion of mind and body, and the thrill of divine life is again felt by Adam. The return of the soul to the interior of the organism is part of the symbology portrayed in the history of Jesus of Nazareth. Man must seek and know the law of life before he can live forever. Living without conforming to the law is tragedy.
14. The law of life is revealed to the mind of man through conscious thinking. Give attention to the omnipresent intelligence and it will make you wise. The "light which lighteth every man, coming into the world" is here, as the atmosphere is here. "The light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not." Why? Because men do not realize the truth about Spirit and its laws. Spirit is like mind--in fact it is the highest realm of mind. There is an ever-present, all-knowing One. Put yourself into conscious unity with this presence through the power of your thought and your word, and you will gradually become mentally open to a world of causes of which you never before dreamed.
15. Physiology says that the body has two sets of cells, live cells and dead cells. The live cells have a little electric light at their center and the dead ones are dark. In good health there is a preponderance of the light cells; in ill health the dark cells predominate. Metaphysicians have found that man can light up the body cells by affirming life and intelligence for them. Metaphysicians tell their patients to make affirmations such as this:
16. I am alive with the life of Christ. I am intelligent with the intelligence of Christ.
17. Take these words and use them, day after day, night after night. Affirm them when you go to bed, and affirm them when you awake in the morning; make them part of your consciousness, and you will take a very important step in demonstrating eternal life.
18. The body is shocked to death by the violent thought voltage of the unwise mind. Selfishness leads to strife, which is followed by anger and hate. These emotions generate currents of thought whose volts burn up the body cells in the same way that a live wire sears the flesh. Hate currents burn out the connections in the glands, exactly as an excessively high current burns out a fuse in your house lighting system. Then the lights go out and death of the body sets in. Love, peace, and harmony are the only remedies that count. "God is love," and to live in God-Mind, man must cultivate love until it becomes the keynote of his life. We must love everybody and everything, ourselves included. Some people hate themselves. Self-hate is destructive. You must love
yourself. Affirm the infinite love as your love, and you will find that there will be generated in your mind and body an entirely new element. Love is the cementing element of all things. You could not have an organism without the help of the cementing power of love. Love is the magnet. You must have love. You cannot live without it. Then begin to live in the thought of love. Personal love is part of the law, but divine love fulfills the law. Center your love thoughts upon God, and you will find love for your fellow man growing marvelously.
19. We must have substance in its purity in our body. All about us are elements, out of which, if we knew how to use them, we could make any form that we desire. We have not cultivated faith in the invisible substance idea, and it therefore has not been incorporated into our flesh. But now that we know that it exists and that through our affirmations we bring it into expression, we begin at once to affirm divine substance. By this practice we put our body under a refining process that we may continue until we are transfigured into the likeness of the divine man that John saw on Patmos.
20. The pure substance of Being is a universal solvent. Man can take the substance idea into his mind and, by the presence of its native purity, cleanse everything upon which he concentrates his thought. Do you know what makes an impure cell in your organism? Simply the thought of impurity. That is the point of origin. Impurity is not altogether the result of the impure food that you eat. That has something to do with it, but the desire for impure
food begins in the mind, a hungering of the impure thought for that whereon to feed and grow. Coughing and expectorating are ways by which the body forces out the corrupt cells which unclean thinking has formed. When you find yourself trying in this manner to eliminate impurities, stop and affirm the one, infinite, pure substance, as the only substance in existence.
21. Jesus said that His body was living substance, and He told His followers to eat it. You eat the purified substance of the body of Christ by affirming it to be the real substance of your body. You can send the thought of pure substance to every part of your body, and it will affect the mucous membrane until the catarrhal condition, the cold, and all other diseases resulting from inactive cells, will be purified or eliminated. This process will stop the coughing and the wheezing, if you hold steadily to the one proposition that there is a universally pure substance and that that substance is the one element out of which the Christ body is formed in you.
22. In the regeneration we thus daily put on the body of Christ, until finally every cell becomes so related to its neighbor that each reflects the other, as diamond reflects diamond, and the redeemed body literally shines. "They that are wise shall shine." The wisdom that shines is the wisdom of Spirit, the knowledge that life is spiritual Being, complete here and now.
23. The whole secret of the demonstration of Christ is that we shall come to realize our original
sinlessness. Sin and the consciousness of sin are the cause of all darkness and death. No amount of physical health can overcome the sins of the carnal mind. Unless he is regenerated under the Jesus Christ teaching, man is a whited sepulcher, "full of dead men's bones." So you are not really alive, wholly alive, safely alive, eternally alive, until you get right where Jesus Christ was and is. He cultivated and demonstrated these thoughts which are the foundation of mental harmony, and if we study His life we shall see just how we must follow Him into His life, become part of it, and live in eternal life, here and now.
24. If we are not spiritually alive, if we have not the Christ Mind, we are not alive at all. That is the teaching of Christianity. If we believe in the Bible we must believe these propositions. In order to be alive, really alive, we must be sanctified, purified, and regenerated. We must be perfect, even as Jesus was perfect. There is no other way. We may as well face this proposition, because we cannot get away from it. It is true. If I am in any degree a sinner, I have in that degree a corruptible, dead body. I must then be guilty of the carnal mind. And what is the remedy? I must get rid of carnality; that is all. The quicker I do that, the quicker I shall become alive. I should not expect that through my further dying the good Lord will make me alive. I can find in the Scriptures no hint of a promise that warrants such a presumption. "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
25. In a parable (Luke 16:19-31) Jesus describes
the states of consciousness of one who passes through the change called death. The rich man and Lazarus represent the outer and inner consciousness of the average worldly-minded man and woman. The outer consciousness appropriates the attributes of soul and body and expresses them through sense avenues. "He was clothed in purple and fine linen, faring sumptuously every day." This condition typifies material riches.
26. Material selfishness starves the soul and devitalizes the psychical body. This body is described thus: "A certain beggar named Lazarus was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table." The soul life is put out of the consciousness and fed with the dogs.
27. When death overtakes such a one, the inner as well as the outer life changes environment. The material avenues are lost to the outer, and the soul finds self in a hell of desires without the flesh sensations through which to express itself. "And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments."
28. Lazarus, the beggar, was "carried away by the angels into Abraham's bosom." The inner spiritual ego, drawn by its innate spiritual ideas, finds a haven of rest in the bosom of the Father, represented by Abraham.
29. When man loses the material avenues of expression and has not developed the spiritual, he is in torment. Appetite longs for satisfaction, and in its anguish for a cooling draught calls to its spiritual counterpart (Lazarus). But the body consciousness,
the place of union for all the attributes of man, has been removed, producing in the life consciousness a great gulf or chasm that cannot be crossed, except by incarnation in another body.
30. Then the sense man is contrite, and would have his five brothers warned of the danger of sense life. These five brothers are the five senses. Abraham says, "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them"; that is, they understand the law (Moses) and they know what will follow its transgression (prophets). The rich man rejoins: "Nay, father Abraham: but if one go to them from the dead, they will repent." "And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, if one rise from the dead." The personal consciousness, which has been formed through material attachments, cannot be reached except through its own plane of consciousness. The phenomenal manifestations of spiritualism do not cause people to repent of their sins.
31. When one understands the disintegration that death produces in man, this parable is perceived to be rich in its description of the process and of the new relation of the segregated parts of the complete man.
32. Man is spirit, soul, and body. The spirit is I AM, and I AM is the ego of Deity. Jehovah told Moses that His name was I AM. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." Every time that man says "I am," he is speaking the name of Being.
33. Soul is the sum total of man's experiences gathered throughout the ages. Soul has its inner and
its outer avenues of expression. In this parable Lazarus represents the inner, and the rich man the outer, first united in the body, then separated through body dissolution.
34. The body is the meeting place of the life and substance attributes of Being, consequently body is an important factor in consciousness. Body is not matter; it is substance and life in expression. Expression takes the character of the presiding ego. When the ego attaches itself to life and substance alone and ignores the higher attributes of Being, it becomes gross and material in thought and in manifestation. This condition is typified by the man rich in sense consciousness with a beggar soul.
35. Every form in the universe has within it a thought picture or pattern. The form may be destroyed, but the picture endures. Man's body is first a mental picture imprinted upon the ether or universal substance. When the body goes into dissolution, the picture remains and stimulates the consciousness of the five senses (five brothers), if it has had no higher activity. It is this sense-body shade that appears to the average psychic. These shades often float about like empty shells, without animation or intelligence. However, if intense interest or intense feeling has been projected into the body at the time of dissolution, it will be reflected in the shade or ghost. The moving picture of a tragedy may be repeated in the astral until the film is broken up. These are the "demons" of Bible times and the "evil spirits" of today. The Christ Mind has supreme dominion over them and can cast them out at will.
36. To the oft-repeated question "Where is my loved one who is dead?" there can be no comprehensive answer until there is a broader and deeper understanding of man. If all of man were the physical, then the question could easily be answered. But man is very much more than body, even more than intellect. The central reality of man is spirit, then comes soul, then come intellect and sense consciousness, out of which body is formed. When the body is destroyed, the house of these various component parts of man is no more, and they are left homeless. Then they separate, each going to its own state of consciousness. The spiritual ego reverts to its original essence in the bosom of the Father; soul falls asleep until the next incarnation. Body and sense consciousness are earth-bound, and in due season they disintegrate. Those who have lived honestly and purely find peace and happiness for a time in the rest which follows sincere observance of the divine law.
37. But the goal of man is eternal life, and in each incarnation that goal is brought nearer if Spirit is given an opportunity to express itself. When this is done, the true spiritual body will replace the physical body and all men will become like Jesus Christ. This is to be accomplished here in the earth. With the eye of a prophet, John saw the redeemed earth, as described in Revelation, chapter 21: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God: and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away. And he that sitteth on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new."