Let us begin with a consideration of the instruments of the Ego, and the material with which and through which the Ego works. Let us realize that the physical body of man is identical in substance with all other forms of matter, and that its atoms are continually changing and being replaced, the material being drawn from the great storehouse of matter, and that there is a Oneness of matter underlying all apparent differences of form and substance.
And then let us realize that the vital energy or Prana that man uses in his life work is but a portion of that great universal energy which permeates everything and everywhere, the portion being used by us at any particular moment being drawn from the universal supply, and again passing out from us into the great ocean of force or energy. And then let us realize that even the mind, which is so close to the real Self that it is often mistaken for it–even that wonderful thing Thought–is but a portion of the Universal Mind, the highest emanation of the Absolute beneath the plane of Spirit, and that the Mind–substance or Chitta that we are using this moment, is not ours separately and distinctly, but is simply a portion from the great universal supply, which is constant and unchangeable.
Let us then realize that even this thing that we feel pulsing within us–that which is so closely bound up with the Spirit as to be almost inseparable from it–that which we call Life–is but a bit of that Great Life Principle that pervades the Universe, and which cannot be added to, nor subtracted from. When we have realized these things, and have begun to feel our relation (in these particulars) to the One Great Emanation of the Absolute, then we may begin to grasp the idea of the Oneness of Spirit, and the relation of the “I” to every other “I,” and the merging of the Self into the one great Self, which is not the extinction of Individuality, as some have supposed, but the enlargement and extension of the Individual Consciousness until it takes in the Whole.
In Lessons X and XI, of the “Advanced Course” we called your attention to the Yogi teachings concerning Akasa or Matter, and showed you that all forms of what we know as Matter are but different forms of manifestation of the principle called Akasa, or as the Western scientists call it, “Ether.” This Ether or Akasa is the finest, thinnest and most tenuous form of Matter, in fact it is Matter in its ultimate or fundamental form, the different forms of what we call Matter being but manifestations of this Akasa or Ether, the apparent difference resulting from different rates of vibration, etc. We mention this fact here merely to bring clearly before your mind the fact of the Universality of Matter, to the end that you may realize that each and every particle of your physical body is but a portion of this great principle of the Universe, fresh from the great store-house, and just about returning to it again, for the atoms of the body are constantly changing.
That which appears as your flesh to-day, may have been part of a plant a few days before, and may be part of some other living thing a few days hence. Constant change is going on, and what is yours to-day was someone’s else yesterday, and still another’s to-morrow. You do not own one atom of matter personally, it is all a part of the common supply, the stream flowing through you and through all Life, on and on forever.
And so it is with the Vital Energy that you are using every moment of your life. You are constantly drawing upon the great Universal supply of Prana, then using what is given you, allowing the force to pass on to assume some other form. It is the property of all, and all you can do is to use what you need, and allow it to pass on. There is but one Force or Energy, and that is to be found everywhere at all times.
And even the great principle, Mind-substance, is under the same law. It is hard for us to realize this. We are so apt to think of our mental operations as distinctively our own–something that belongs to us personally–that it is difficult for us to realize that Mind-substance is a Universal principle just as Matter or Energy, and that we are but drawing upon the Universal supply in our mental operations. And more than this, the particular portion of Mind-substance that we are using, although separated from the Mind-substance used by other individuals by a thin wall of the very finest kind of Matter, is really in touch with the other apparently separated minds, and with the Universal Mind of which it forms a part. Just as is the Matter of which our physical bodies are composed really in touch with all Matter; and just as is the Vital Force used by us really in touch with all Energy; so is our Mind-substance really in touch with all Mind-substance.
It is as if the Ego in its progress were moving through great oceans of Matter, Energy, or Mind-substance, making use of that of each which it needed and which immediately surrounded it, and leaving each behind as it moved on through the great volume of the ocean. This illustration is clumsy, but it may bring to your consciousness a realization that the Ego is the only thing that is really Yours, unchangeable and unaltered, and that all the rest is merely that portion of the Universal supply that you draw to yourself for the wants of the moment. It may also bring more clearly before your mind the great Unity of things–may enable you to see things as a Whole, rather than as separated parts. Remember, You–the “I”–are the only Real thing about and around you–all that has permanence–and Matter, Force and even Mind-substance, are but your instruments for use and expression. There are great oceans of each surrounding the “I” as it moves along.
It is well for you also to bear in mind the Universality of Life. All of the Universe is alive, vibrating and pulsating with life and energy and motion. There is nothing dead in the Universe. Life is everywhere, and always accompanied by intelligence. There is no such thing as a dead, unintelligent Universe. Instead of being atoms of Life floating in a sea of death, we are atoms of Life surrounded by an ocean of Life, pulsating, moving, thinking, living. Every atom of what we call Matter is alive. It has energy or force with it, and is always accompanied by intelligence and life. Look around us as we will–at the animal world–at the plant world–yes, even at the world of minerals and we see life, life, life–all alive and having intelligence. When we are able to bring this conception into the realm of actual consciousness–when we are able not only to intellectually accept this fact, but to even go still further and feel and be conscious of this Universal Life on all sides, then are we well on the road to attaining the Cosmic Consciousness.
But all these things are but steps leading up to the realization of the Oneness in Spirit, on the part of the Individual. Gradually there dawns upon him the realization that there is a Unity in the manifestation of Spirit from the Absolute–a unity with itself, and a Union with the Absolute. All this manifestation of Spirit on the part of the Absolute–all this begetting of Divine Children–was in the nature of a single act rather than as a series of acts, if we may be permitted to speak of the manifestation as an act. Each Ego is a Centre of Consciousness in this great ocean of Spirit–each is a Real Self, apparently separate from the others and from its source, but the separation is only apparent in both cases, for there is the closest bond of union between the Egos of the Universe of Universes–each is knit to the other in the closest bond of union, and each is still attached to the Absolute by spiritual filaments, if we may use the term. In time we shall grow more conscious of this mutual relationship, as the sheaths are outgrown and cast aside, and in the end we will be withdrawn into the Absolute–shall return to the Mansion of the Father.
It is of the highest importance to the developing soul to unfold into a realization of this relationship and unity, for when this conception is once fully established the soul is enabled to rise above certain of the lower planes, and is free from the operation of certain laws that bind the undeveloped soul. Therefore the Yogi teachers are constantly leading the Candidates toward this goal. First by this path, and then by that one, giving them different glimpses of the desired point, until finally the student finds a path best fitted for his feet, and he moves along straight to the mark, and throwing aside the confining bonds that have proved so irksome, he cries aloud for joy at his new found Freedom.