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CHAPTER V

THE INDESTRUCTIBLE SELF

In seeking for the Principles on which Occult Healing is based, we have so far found:

  • (1) That the law of Health - equally with the well-known law of Reincarnation and the law of Cause and Effect and other laws of Nature - came into existence as the Will of the Logos for His System, and that its conditions must met if its permanent benefits are to be secured.

  • (2) That the constitution of mankind is Divine in its origin, but it requires ages of time, with many incarnations in bodies built of matter, and innumerable alternations between sickness and health in the bodies, with their awakening results, before the divine in each unfolds its powers of Will, Wisdom and Activity, and fully assumes control of its own destiny.

  • (3) Occultism states that the Great Architect brought forth a vast Hierarchy of Shining Ones to build His system and to administer His laws, for mankind was too helpless and ignorant to reach without assistance its present stage in evolution, nor could the worlds have been built and sustained without these Shining Ones. They remain and carry on their invisible ministrations until mankind shall have attained its divinity.

    To these three Principles must now be added two more: The Self, and the powers latent in Matter.

    Of the Self it is said in an ancient Hindu Scripture: "As a man, casting off worn-out garments, taketh new ones, so the dweller in the body, casting off worn-out bodies, entereth into others that are new." (Bhagavad Gita, II, 22.) This "dweller in the body," the Self, the "I am," is the one fundamental certainty in the world. It is possible for each of us to know that "I am that Self; I am not these bodies." The "Self" in me, this self-conscious entity, the continuing life, does know that I am I under all circumstances of birth, youth, old age, death and rebirth.

    This "I am" consciousness is a living spiritual Intelligence. It never grows old; it is never sick; it does not die; it has no sex; it cannot be escaped from; it depends on no proof, for to doubt it only proves its existence within and through the doubter.

    This "Self" has come down into these different types of matter along another line of evolution than that of Spirit-Matter, to realize, while still imbedded in matter, its own divine source and purpose, and to learn to use and build and rule matter, as distinct from itself, that it may in time become a worker in the building and guiding of worlds. Each individualized Self spends ages of time in learning to govern and improve and perfect the matter of its own bodies. The physical bodies get old, or fail to respond, or are insufficient for the needs of the Self, and with the help of the Shining Ones they are laid off, and the experience gained by the consciousness is, in the inner worlds between incarnations, assimilated and transmuted into powers and capacities for its future use. Then the "I am" returns to earth with devas' help and takes on bodies again for more experience. Neither birth nor death can take away from this "I am" what it learns and stores in its own memory in each life, though the bodies it builds are, at the present low level of the majority of humanity, able to express but little of the knowledge. But by slow degrees, involving hundreds of successive re-births, the Self builds better bodies and unfolds through them its powers of unselfish love and service.

    Through ignorance man, the Self, builds into these bodies from time to time much undesirable material. Increasing desire, when gratified, brings pain and disease to his bodies, and obstruction and pain and diseases in the bodies, in turn bring more knowledge and necessary experience to the unfold Self within. This law it is which causes the mind to discriminate. As the "I am" consciousness unfolds, develops, grows, it restrains its bodies, refrains from thinking and feeling and acting in the lower, grosser animal instincts, and casts out of the bodies such elemental essence as hinders their evolution.

    Bodies are chiefly sick because the "I am" consciousness has been in the past, and still is, ignorant of the nature of the material of the bodies it builds and uses. In the unwise selection of foods, in the uncontrolled tumultuousness in emotion or desire matter, there is established in the bodies inharmonious elements and what we know as disease follows. To this must be added the Karma of the relations with others in the present or in past lives, perhaps of injustice, cruelty, selfishness, and this, too, must be worked out, or balanced up, by means of and through the suffering of these bodies.

    The study of the Self and its activities becomes deeply interesting as we learn more and more of the purpose of evolution. The law of Nature that "what a man sows that he shall reap," "what a man thinks that he becomes," is as true today as when, hundreds of years ago, the Buddha said: "Ho! all ye that suffer, now that ye suffer from yourself. None else compels." With each painful experience in its bodies the Self fortifies itself a little more against the repetition of such experiences, and as "Nature abhors a vacuum," when the lower inharmonious matter is thus thrown out, a finer type comes in and so the upward climbing proceeds. Especially is the growth aided by the helping of the suffering with strong love and sympathy wherever there is need.

    The ancient schools studied this "I am that Self," and the essence of Matter, in order that, the Self being known and the essential nature of Matter being known, its harmonious combinations would become inevitable, for the Self, the "I am," the Knower would rule. This is illustrated by Porphyry, who, in relating the story of Rogatianus, a pupil of Plotinus, said of him that though suffering greatly from gout and articular rheumatism, he yet for eight years gave himself wholly to the work of seeking the Divine Self within him. When he had attained to this, he found that his body was free from disease. Porphyry records that this is perfectly conformable to the Chaldaean Oracle: "By extending a fiery ( i.e., a divine) intellect to the work of piety, you will preserve the flowing body."

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