Session 1: #59A: “My Identity—Body—Communion”

Session 1: #59A:  1954 Chicago Practitioner Class
“My Identity—Body—Communion” (7/6/19 and 7/13/19)

The Recording

This class was one of five sources used to provide material for Chapter 12, “For He Is Thy Life,” in The Art of Meditation.
This recording was posted for listening through September 21.  It is no longer available on this site.  
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Summary of the Class

This summary is provided simply as a reminder of the content of the class.
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In the course of this class, Joel provides answers to some key questions about the body.   These are not questions that are directly asked by students, but questions that we might have as we consider the topic of body:

*  If I am not this body that I see, what am I? If this body is not me, what is it?
*  How can I experience myself as I truly am and not as this physical body?
*  If I am not this body that I see, do I even have a form?
*  What does it mean to say that that everything I behold through the senses, including my physical body, is a “concept”?

Generations upon generations have built up a human consciousness that believes there is power in things and in persons; that believes it is something separate and apart from God and can be destroyed.  This sense of separation results in a fear of death, but the consciousness of every individual is eternal, immortal, and not subject to death.  Yet the human mind does not accept that.  Left to itself, the human selfhood lives out a human span—sometimes short and sometimes long—and then fades out.  But when human consciousness is touched by the Divine, it begins to die. It does not yield quickly because it has taken thousands of years to form.

What does the human mind accept?  First, if you look into a mirror, you may say, “I do not look too well,” or “I am aging,” or “I am too stout.”  Right there you have made a fatal mistake because the word I is God.  You do not see yourself in the mirror; you see your body. You are invisible.  No one has ever seen you.  You have never seen yourself.  Your body—or some concept of your body—is visible, but your true body is not visible.  You see only a finite concept of your true Body.  That concept of body changes, whereas your true body never changes.

No one has ever seen supply either, and that is why metaphysical attempts to demonstrate supply fail.  The New Thought movement has practically vanished because it was based on demonstration—getting and getting rid of.  It looks upon you and me as man, as an effect, as something separate from God, and therefore something which can acquire the things of God.  The premise is wrong because the word I is God, Being—infinite, eternal, immortal Being—and I am that Being.  Nothing can be added to that which I am, and nothing has ever been taken from that which I am.  All that the Father hath already is mine because I and the Father are one.  I am not separate and apart from God, seeking to get the things of God.

This eternal truth about the I that I am has been revealed again and again and is always lost in the same way.  Disciples grasp this truth with their mind, memorize it, recite it, affirm it, and then go out to teach it before they have demonstrated it or acquired the consciousness of it.  They only have it in their mind and can only impart it with their mind.  This truth is adequately revealed and taught only when it comes through one who has attained the consciousness of it.

Joel takes students through the body exercise, and then asks, “Am I in this body, or am I this body, or is this body mine?  Is it not the temple, the instrument, given to me for my use?”  He explains that my hands of themselves cannot give or withhold; that power is in me.  The hands are my instruments.  The heart does not give me permission to live; my life functions the heart.  Neither the hands nor the heart—nor the liver, the lungs, or the kidneys—are self-acting.  There is an I that functions through the instrumentality of this body.  Where is this I?  What is this I?  Who am I?  What am I?

I am I.  I am not body.  Body is not me.  If my arms or legs were cut off, I still am.  I am Being, and my Being is not dependent on body.  My body is dependent on my Being.  The I that I am functions my body.  My body has no will, intelligence, or action of its own.  My body responds to the I that I am, and I govern my body.  I am a law unto my body, and I am the life, the soul, and the substance of my body.  What am I?  Who am I?  Where am I?  Why am I?  Each of us must answer these questions through meditation and introspection.

Once I know that I am I, and I am not the body, I have an inkling of the great truth that I am eternal and that I even survive the body.  The body cannot destroy me, but rightly understood, I can preserve the body.  Even if some human belief were to destroy this body, I could raise it up again because I am the governing agency of this body, the life and the substance of this body, the creator of this body.  The body is not a law unto me.  I am the law unto my body, and it moves according to my decree.  Many of the discords of human experience come from the belief that I am the body or that I am in the body, whereas I am infinite, eternal, immortal identity.  This was Moses’ great revelation: “I am that I Am.”  There is only one eternal, immortal I, whether It appears as you, me, he, or she.  It is that same I.

When you realize that I am Being, life eternal, you begin to lose your fear of death, and subsequently you lose the ills of the flesh, because the ills of the flesh are based on that original fear of death.  I am eternal Being, and nothing can ever stop the Being that I am.  I exist independently of what the world calls matter.  I am not subject to death, disease, sin, or fear because I am the law and life of Being, and nothing from without can enter to destroy.

When you realize “I am. I is my full identity,” you begin to have your God-given dominion.  You know that you cannot get, acquire, or achieve. You can merely become aware of that which you already are.  Son, thou art ever with me and all that I have is thine”— all of My divine Life and divine Soul is yours.  All that I am, thou art—not after you pray or reform, but NOW.  I am ever with the Father and the Father is ever with me, and all that God is, I am.  You never can get away from I, and I can’t die.  I can merely watch Itself pass from infancy to youth, to maturity, to middle-age, and to old age—if you permit aging.  But I will always be there observing, watching every change of my body, governing and protecting me.  I will never leave me nor forsake me because I is “me.”  I will always be acting as me because I Am is me.

There is but one Selfhood, one I, one Ego, one Being, and I am that One.  That was the foundation of all that the Master taught.  Thou seest me, thou seest the Father that sent me, for I and the Father are one.  God is our true identity, our true being, our selfhood.  When you realize that, you have no fear of bombs, calendars, or disease because I already am that I Am.  It is not to be achieved or attained; it is to be realized.  Spiritual wisdom is not turning to God for anything. There is only the realization, “Oh, I already am.  All that I have been seeking, I am.”

This I that I am has form.  It has permanent, eternal, harmonious form.  I cannot see this form with my eyes, but it is a form; it is a body.  This body is the temple of the living God, not made with hands and not mortally conceived, eternal in the heavens, eternal in life, spirit, soul, and substance.  The I that I am appears as form—not the form that I behold with my eyes, but the form that I can be aware of in meditation.  The form of my Being is “a form divinely fair.”  God has form, but not finite or physical form.  It is a perfect, harmonious form of Spirit, of Soul, of grace and of beauty.  We too have that form because the I that I am is that God.

So the truth about my Body is: “My Body is the temple of the living God.  All that God made partakes of the very nature of God—eternality, immortality, and perfection.  God made this infinite divine form in the image of true Being to show forth true identity.  Therefore, my body is a divine idea, an image, a manifestation, an expression of the I that I am.  My body shows forth all that I am because my body is the I Am formed, formed spiritually, eternally and immortally. I am God being me, and my body is the temple, the instrument of my activity and of my living.

This is the truth about my God being, my true identity, and my body.  All that God is, I am, and my body eternally shows forth the infinite harmony, perfection, and immortality of that which I am.  This truth, which I am declaring, is my inner recognition of attunement, and it is the Christ that reveals the oneness of I, my true identity, and my eternal form.  This secret of my true identity and the truth of my immortal being and body, is the true Comforter that will be with me forever:  I am the truth; I am divine being; I am immortal and eternal now.

Against this spiritual truth, there is the form that we see in a mirror.  This is not the spiritual being or body; it is the concept that we humanly entertain of being and body.  What I see with my physical eyes is a concept of Reality.  That is why any attempt to change the concept through spiritual work—for example, to reduce fevers or remove lumps—must fail. Why? Because after you have changed a concept, all you have is an improved concept.  You still are not dwelling in Reality.  You have only changed a state of ill health into one of good health.  Permanent health or permanent wealth can come only by raising the consciousness of an individual into the realization of his true nature and being.  Then he can rest in that truth, and as John Burroughs said in the poem that Joel cited, he can watch “my own come to me.”

The I that seeks, strives, and plans interferes with the I that I am that brings me my own.  There is only room in our being for the I that recognizes that all that God has is mine; that all that God is, I am. That I rests serenely, letting life reveal itself, letting God disclose Itself, letting the harmony of eternal being appear.  Mental work stops the divine forces from operating in our experience.  It does not stop the divine forces from operating; they are always operating for those with open consciousness.  But they stop operating in our experience when I attempt something or desire something.  The only true desire is a desire to know God; to have a realization of God.  In the fulfillment of one’s desire for God, “all these things” are added unto us, for they are already included in our Christhood.

So remember: I am.  I am Being.  I am life eternal.  I am true being.  Thou seest me, thou seest the Father that sent me, for I and the Father are one.  All that God is, I am.  All that the Father hath is mine.  My body is the image and likeness of Me.  My Body is the manifestation of Me, of the I that I am.

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Additional Offerings for Study

*** There are several whole chapters (and several parts of chapters) on the topic of body in Joel’s writings.  As a complement to this week’s recording, we recommend Chapter 9, “What about This Body?”  in The Art of Spiritual HealingA few quotations from this chapter may pique your interest:

“Do not be too startled when I say to you that there is only one body: There is not a material body and a spiritual body.”
“Your body does not govern your health; it is your health that governs your body.  It is you who govern your body through the realization of your true identity.”
“The organs and functions of the body should not be feared:  They do not have within them the power of destruction, death, or disease …”
“There is no truth about a physical body because it is only a concept.” 

You may also want to use the Electronic Library Search Tool to find other reading on the body.

*** In the chapter recommended above,  Joel talks about how to do healing work when someone asks for help.  As you read this, you can also interpret Joel’s instruction as telling you what to do with yourself  if you experience a physical claim.

*** In this recording (59A),  Joel says:  “The I that I am is me.  The I that I am is the only me there is.  What am I?  Who am I?  Where am I?  Why am I? These questions each one must determine through meditation, introspection, cogitation, pondering the great truths of life: Who am I?  Where am I?  Why am I?  What is my purpose in life?”   Wonderful questions to take into contemplative meditation!