After you have satisfied yourself that about everything that you are capable of thinking about is a “not I” thing–a tool and instrument for your use–you will ask, “And now, what is there left that should not be thrown in the “not I” collection.” To this question we answer “THE ‘I’ ITSELF.” And when you demand a proof we say, “Try to set aside the ‘I’ for consideration!” You may try from now until the passing away of infinities of infinities, and you will never be able to set aside the real “I” for consideration.
You may think you can, but a little reflection will show you that you are merely setting aside some of your mental qualities or faculties. And in this process what is the “I” doing? Simply setting aside and considering things. Can you not see that the “I” cannot be both the considerer and the thing considered–the examiner and the thing examined? Can the sun shine upon itself by its own light? You may consider the “I” of some other person, but it is your “I” that is considering. But you cannot, as an “I,” stand aside and see yourself as an “I.” Then what evidence have we that there is an “I” to us? This: that you are always conscious of being the considerer and examiner, instead of the considered and examined thing–and then, you have the evidence of your consciousness. And what report does this consciousness give us? Simply this, and nothing more: “I AM.” That is all that the “I” is conscious of, regarding its true self: “I AM,” but that consciousness is worth all the rest, for the rest is but “not I” tools that the “I” may reach out and use.
And so at the final analysis, you will find that there is something that refuses to be set aside and examined by the “I.” And that something is the “I” itself–that “I” eternal, unchangeable–that drop of the Great Spirit Ocean–that spark from the Sacred Flame.
Just as you find it impossible to imagine the “I” as dead, so will you find it impossible to set aside the “I” for consideration–all that comes to you is the testimony: “I AM.”
If you were able to set aside the “I” for consideration, who would be the one to consider it? Who could consider except the “I” itself, and if it be here, how could it be there? The “I” cannot be the “not I” even in the wildest flights of the imagination–the imagination with all its boasted freedom and power, confesses itself vanquished when asked to do this thing.
Oh, students, may you be brought to a realization of what you are. May you soon awaken to the fact that you are sleeping gods–that you have within you the power of the Universe, awaiting your word to manifest in action. Long ages have you toiled to get this far, and long must you travel before you reach even the first Great Temple, but you are now entering into the conscious stage of Spiritual Evolution. No longer will your eyes be closed as you walk the Path. From now on you will begin to see clearer and clearer each step, in the dawning light of consciousness.
You are in touch with all of life, and the separation of your “I” from the great Universal “I” is but apparent and temporary. We will tell you of these things in our Third Lesson, but before you can grasp that you must develop the “I” consciousness within you. Do not lay aside this matter as one of no importance. Do not dismiss our weak explanation as being “merely words, words, words,” as so many are inclined to do. We are pointing out a great truth to you. Why not follow the leadings of the Spirit which even now–this moment while you read–is urging you to walk The Path of Attainment? Consider the teachings of this lesson, and practice the Mental Drill until your mind has grasped its significance, then let it sink deep down into your inner consciousness. Then will you be ready for the next lessons, and those to follow.
Practice this Mental Drill until you are fully assured of the reality of the “I” and the relativity of the “not “I” in the mind. When you once grasp this truth, you will find that you will be able to use the mind with far greater power and effect, for you will recognize that it is your tool and instrument, fitted and intended to do your bidding. You will be able to master your moods, and emotions when necessary, and will rise from the position of a slave to a Master.
Our words seem cheap and poor, when we consider the greatness of the truth that we are endeavoring to convey by means of them. For who can find words to express the inexpressible? All that we may hope to do is to awaken a keen interest and attention on your part, so that you will practice the Mental Drill, and thus obtain the evidence of your own mentality to the truth. Truth is not truth to you until you have proven it in your own experience, and once so proven you cannot be robbed of it, nor can it be argued away from you.
You must realize that in every mental effort You–the “I”–are behind it. You bid the Mind work, and it obeys your Will. You are the Master, and not the slave of your mind. You are the Driver, not the driven. Shake yourself loose from the tyranny of the mind that has oppressed you for so long. Assert yourself, and be free. We will help you in this direction during the course of these lessons, but you must first assert yourself as a Master of your Mind. Sign the mental Declaration of Independence from your moods, emotions, and uncontrolled thoughts, and assert your Dominion over them. Enter into your Kingdom, thou manifestation of the Spirit!
While this lesson is intended primarily to bring clearly into your consciousness the fact that the “I” is a reality, separate and distinct from its Mental Tools, and while the control of the mental faculties by the Will forms a part of some of the future lessons, still, we think that this is a good place to point out to you the advantages arising from a realization of the true nature of the “I” and the relative aspect of the Mind.