While the majority accept on faith the belief in the Immortality of the Soul, yet but few are aware that it may be demonstrated by the soul itself. The Yogi Masters teach the Candidates this lesson, as follows: The Candidate places himself in the State of Meditation, or at least in a thoughtful frame of mind, and then endeavors to “imagine” himself as “dead”–that is, he tries to form a mental conception of himself as dead. This, at first thought, appears a very easy thing to imagine, but as a matter of fact it is impossible to do so, for the Ego refuses to entertain the proposition, and finds it impossible to imagine it.
Try it for yourself. You will find that you may be able to imagine your body as lying still and lifeless, but the same thought finds that in so doing You are standing and looking at the body. So you see that You are not dead at all, even in imagination, although the body may be. Or, if you refuse to disentangle yourself from your body, in imagination, you may think of your body as dead but You who refuse to leave it are still alive and recognize the dead body as a thing apart from your Real Self. No matter how you may twist it you cannot imagine yourself as dead. The Ego insists upon being alive in any of these thoughts, and thus finds that it has within itself the sense and assurance of Immortality. In case of sleep or stupor resulting from a blow, or from narcotics or anaesthetics, the mind is apparently blank, but the “I” is conscious of a continuity of existence.
And so one may imagine himself as being in an unconscious state, or asleep, quite easily, and sees the possibility of such a state, but when it comes to imagining the “I” as dead, the mind utterly refuses to do the work. This wonderful fact that the soul carries within itself the evidence of its own immortality is a glorious thing, but one must have reached a degree of unfoldment before he is able to grasp its full significance.
The Candidate is advised to investigate the above statement for himself, by meditation and concentration, for in order that the “I” may know its true nature and possibilities, it must realize that it cannot be destroyed or killed. It must know what it is before it is able to manifest its nature. So do not leave this part of the teaching until you have mastered it. And it is well occasionally to return to it, in order that you may impress upon the mind the fact of your immortal and eternal nature. The mere glimmering of this conception of truth will give you an increased sense of strength and power, and you will find that your Self has expanded and grown, and that you are more of a power and Centre than you have heretofore realized.
The following exercises are useful in bringing about a realization of the invincibility of the Ego–its superiority to the elements.
Place yourself in the State of Meditation, and imagine the “I” as withdrawn from the body. See it passing through the tests of air, fire and water unharmed. The body being out of the way, the soul is seen to be able of passing through the air at will–of floating like a bird–of soaring–of traveling in the ether. It may be seen as able to pass through fire without harm and without sensation, for the elements affect only the physical body, not the Real “I.” Likewise it may be seen as passing through water without discomfort or danger or hurt.
This meditation will give you a sense of superiority and strength, and will show you something of the nature of the real “I.” It is true that you are confined in the body, and the body may be affected by the elements, but the knowledge that the Real “I” is superior to the body–superior to the elements that affect the body–and cannot be injured any more than it can be killed, is wonderful, and tends to develop the full “I” consciousness within you. For You–the Real “I”–are not body. You are Spirit. The Ego is Immortal and Invincible, and cannot be killed and harmed.
When you enter into this realization and consciousness, you will feel an influx of strength and power impossible to describe. Fear will fall from you like a worn-out cloak, and you will feel that you are “born again.” An understanding of this thought, will show you that the things that we have been fearing cannot affect the Real “I,” but must rest content with hurting the physical body. And they may be warded off from the physical body by a proper understanding and application of the Will.
In our next lesson, you will be taught how to separate the “I” from the mechanism of the mind–how you may realize your mastery of the mind, just as you now realize your independence of the body. This knowledge must be imparted to you by degrees, and you must place your feet firmly upon one round of the ladder before you take the next step.
The watchword of this First Lesson is “I.” And the Candidate must enter fully into its meaning before he is able to progress. He must realize his real existence–independent of the body. He must see himself as invincible and impervious to harm, hurt, or death. He must see himself as a great Centre of Consciousness–a Sun around which his world revolves. Then will come to him a new strength. He will feel a calm dignity and power, which will be apparent to those with whom he comes in contact. He will be able to look the world in the face without flinching, and without fear, for he will realize the nature and power of the “I.” He will realize that he is a Centre of Power–of Influence.
He will realize that nothing can harm the “I,” and that no matter how the storms of life may dash upon the personality, the real “I”–the Individuality–is unharmed. Like a rock that stands steadfast throughout the storm, so does the “I” stand through the tempests of the life of personality. And he will know that as he grows in realization, he will be able to control these storms and bid them be still.
In the words of one of the Yogi Masters: “The ‘I’ is eternal. It passes unharmed through the fire, the air, the water. Sword and spear cannot kill or wound it. It cannot die. The trials of the physical life are but as dreams to it. Resting secure in the knowledge of the ‘I,’ Man may smile at the worst the world has to offer, and raising his hand he may bid them disappear into the mist from which they emerged. Blessed is he who can say (understandingly) ‘I’.”
So dear Candidate, we leave you to master the First Lesson. Be not discouraged if your progress be slow. Be not cast down if you slip back a step after having gained it. You will gain two at the next step. Success and realization will be yours. Mastery is before. You will Attain. You will Accomplish. Peace be with you.
MANTRAMS (AFFIRMATIONS) FOR THE FIRST LESSON.
“I” am a Centre. Around me revolves my world.
“I” am a Centre of Influence and Power.
“I” am a Centre of Thought and Consciousness.
“I” am Independent of the Body.
“I” am Immortal and cannot be Destroyed.
“I” am Invincible and cannot be Injured.