If you just turn in and examine the report of your consciousness regarding the Â»selfÂ«-dwelling within, you will become conscious of the “I”. But if you press your examination a little closer you will find that this “I” may be split up into two distinct aspects which, while working in unison and conjunction, may nevertheless be set apart in thought. There is an “I” function and there is a “me” function and these mental twins develop distinct phenomena.
The first is the “MASCULINE” principle; the second is the “FEMININE” principle. Other terms used in current writings on New Psychology are Conscious Mind, Active Mind, Voluntary Mind, Objective Mind and so forth. These all refer to the “I” principle. And the “me” form of mind corresponds to the Sub-Conscious Mind, Passive Mind, Involuntary Mind, Subjective Mind and so on. Ninety-nine p. c. of humanity mean this “me” when they say “I”.
Now let us examine what this “me” implies. It consists largely of our consciousness, of our body and physical sensations as associated with touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. The consciousness of some of us is largely bound up in the physical and carnal side of life. We “live there.” There are some men who consider their “clothes” too as being a part of themselves. But as consciousness rises in the scale of evolution, man begins to “dissociate” his idea of “me” from the body and he begins to regard his body as a beloved companion and as “belonging to” him. He then identifies himself with his mental states, emotions, feelings, likes and dislikes, habits, qualities and characteristics. But, by and by, he begins to realize how even these moods also are subject to change, born and die and are subject to the Principles of Rhythm and Polarity.
He realizes faintly that he can change them by an effort of will and “transmute” them into mental states of an exactly opposite nature. Then he again begins to “dissociate” himself from his emotions and feelings and at last through mental analysis, introspection and concentration, he sets them apart into the “not I” collection. He begins Â»thenÂ« to realize that he is something Â»aboveÂ« his body and emotions. So also with the intellectual functions. The intellectual man is very apt to think that although his Â»physicalÂ« and Â»emotionalÂ« selves are something different from him and under his control, Â»still his intellect is himselfÂ«.
This is the stage of “Self-Consciousness”. “I control my body and emotions.” But as consciousness unfolds intellectual man finds that he can practically stand aside and see (mentally, of course) his mind going through various processes of intellection. Study of Psychology and Logic will enable you to see how all your intellectual processes may be held at arm’s length, examined, analysed, labelled and discussed quite with the same ease as the professor talks of a solid, liquid and acriform substances in his laboratory. So at last he finds that even the wonderful powers of the Intellect must go into the “not I” collection. This is almost as far as the average man can realize. You can realize and say “I am not the body, not the emotions, not the intellect.” Therefore you see, that side of consciousness which is the sum-total of your physical, emotional and intellectual functions comprises the “me” or Feminine or Passive mental principle.
That which can separate itself in thought from all the above is the “I” or the Masculine Function. But another step must be taken. That which you have been taught to regard as the Spiritual Consciousness (see “Spiritual Consciousness”) will also eventually go into the “Not-I” or “me” collection. In brief, the spiritual mind may be said to comprise all that is GOOD, NOBLE and GREAT in the field of consciousness. It is the “Super-Conscious” mind, just now. But, mark this, when through further evolution, the “I” has mastered this field of consciousness also and is able to regard it as being the last of the “me” collections, then it will lose its sense of Â»relativityÂ« and Â»separationÂ« and the real individuality, the “I AM” consciousness, will have been realized. What do I mean? This “I AM” is not the petulant self-assertion of the relative ego. “I” but really means GOD CONSCIOUSNESS as perfect Existence, perfect Knowledge or perfect Bliss.
It means the realization of an Infinite and Eternal Self or Individuality. “He that has lost the self has gained the SELF”. Here is the explanation: this little self or “I” so long as it is attached to the PERSONALITY which is the product of the “me” consciousness is bound down to the relative plane. It can think only through only one brain, enjoy through one body and such happiness as it gets is transitory, short-lived and impermanent because this world of relative existence is itself essentially changeable.
It is permanent only in its impermanence. So long as the “I” thinks and while only for the benefits of its personal self, both thinking and willing are limited and not free. But when it has succeeded in joining itself to the Spiritual mind and works for, aspires after the Larger Self–the “I AM”–it has to renounce or “disattach” itself from the personal self and work under the guidance of the impersonal Higher Self. “I refuse to be contained within my hat and boots,” said Walt Whitman. When the Vedantist says “Aham Brahmasmi”–“I am the absolute”–he does not mean this lower “I”. No, no. He is not built that way. For him the moorings of self-consciousness are out. He has lost all sense of his particular relative “I” and has Â»one-dÂ« himself with the absolute “I AM”–the impersonal, intangible, immortal, omnipotent Self of and over all. This “I am” is Spirit or Atman. There can be but one Individuality–that of the Absolute. It becomes objectively expressed in man as Cosmic Consciousness. Subjectively it is God. Now then you have an idea of the “I am” Consciousness. Hold fast to it.
It is your real, Larger Self. In the understanding and the exercise of the Will-Power the “I” or the Positive Mental Principle is the chief factor. To use the one you must understand the other. Will is a Soul-Power. This “I”–as I have explained it above–is negative to the “I AM” or God–both meaning the same thing. It is positive in relation to the Higher Self. This “I” is the future promise of the “I AM”. It is true it shall lose itself in finding its Self, but so does the child when it grows into full manhood. Christ was one with his Father-in-Heaven (i.e., on the spiritual plane) and therefore he could still the waves and raise the dead. Yet just you examine the nature of Lord Christ’s Will-Force.
Think of his constant retirement into the Silence in order to obtain inspiration for his work in the objective universe. Again, note his utter indifference to and absolute control over his personal self. Did he care whether his body would live or die? Did he live for the enjoyments of the flesh? Did he “play to the gallery” and act and speak for any worldly gain or low considerations? No! He had forgotten the interests of the flesh in his earnest enthusiasm in the cause of the Eternal Spirit. He was not moved by any dammed sense of prudence and caution. He drew the “Motives” that energised his Will-Power in the life of Action from Â»WithinÂ«. Nothing from outside, nothing from the world of lower attractions could in the least swerve his inner determination or unbalance his brain. Do you or can you prepare yourself to follow in his steps?