Human ego or I AM?
Practicing humility might to our human sense seem to present an impossible “catch 22” situation. Human beings define themselves by their human ego, a sense of selfhood which is universally accepted by most of the world as the basic definition of personal identity. But, is it? In Christian Science terms, humility is the practice of suppressing the human ego and allowing it to be consciously replaced with an understanding of our higher divine and spiritual nature. So, is it a human being who seeks to rise higher and to become spiritually humble, or is it the very spiritual essence of man’s identity, man as “I AM”, who humbles himself by understanding his identity already to be purely spiritual? How could a human being righteously exercise the suppression of his own human identity? This point of view is ultimately self-destructive!
Do I, as a human being, understand and practice humility? Or do, I, as the “I AM”, the spiritual image and likeness of God, humble myself by consciously rising above all mortal and human sense of myself? Who is the human being which the world identifies as me? Is he valid in the eyes of God? Have I correctly identified myself as the image and likeness of God? If I answer “yes”, then am I really living up to my own claims? Is my eternal essence represented by the limited and mortal human being called Stirling, who is born and dies, and subject to the limitations, sin, disease and death which define human life as the world knows it?
Or, is my true identity the complete essence of God reflected, existing eternally in divine consciousness, the spiritual image and likeness of God, separate from and mentally far above the human sense of consciousness? Who and what brings the humility which brings healing to human experience? Who must exercise the action of humility? Is it the eternal spiritual man, or is it the mortal human being whom the world recognizes as my identity, who is humbled? Humility is the sacrifice of all human sense of identity, of which the spiritual man by definition has none.
Proof comes with practice
Proof of the practicality of humility comes in degrees as we learn to understand who is humbled, and who does the humbling. Humility cannot be an act or a decision carried out by a human being, for the result of humility is the very eradication of the human sense of identity, or human ego. Real virtue does not belong to the human being, but is God’s virtue. God is the only good. Real virtue belongs only to God, and is known as our own in proportion as we understand ourselves to be the very portal to divine consciousness, as a mental transparency for Truth itself. Humility is God’s causation seen as man’s awareness of the divinity of consciousness, wiping away all false sense of consciousness.
In II Kings Chapter 5 is perhaps one of the most significant stories of humility in the Holy Bible. The complete and instantaneous healing by Elisha of Naaman’s leprocy came only after Naaman allowed a renewed sense of spiritual identity to completely sacrifice the old human sense of ego. The story is related primarily in verses 9 through 14:
“Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again unto thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? Then he went down, and washed himself seven times in Jordan, according to the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
How often we let our human sense of ego outline our preconceptions of experience, not understanding that all of conscious experience is actually the harmonious unfolding of the one divine Mind’s ideas. Naaman needed to have thye humility to recognized that no unfolding occurs but that which is directed by Mind, God. Spiritual man, being the very consciousness of that divine Mind expressed, consciously witnesses that harmonious unfolding in proportion as he lives and exercises his spiritual identity. Then, man is the very expression of God’s harmonious action, and in that state of consciousness is able to recognize the invalidity of the supposed authority of a humanly based mind. The necessity for the adoption of the most humble attitude as a prerequisite to healing is emphasized on page 275 of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, where Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science writes
“No wisdom is wise but His wisdom; no truth is true, no love is lovely, no life is Life but the divine; no good is, but the good God bestows.”
The individual finds that harmony is his one and only valid state, in proportion as the human sense of being is consciously risen above. Such an outlook not only renders human consciousness receptive to the acceptance of the already present harmony in the case of bodily well-being, it also renders thought receptive of the realization of harmony in each and every other aspect of conscious experience.
There is one divine Consciousness, not many human ones!
Many striving to live an understanding of Christian Science fall into the common erroneous trap of seeing our own Christian Science movement as comprised of many separated human beings who each need to mentally arise and to better understand their spiritual relationships to God. But there exists only one relationship to God. That is the relationship of effect to cause which the one infinitely individualized expression of God, spiritual man, expresses. To suppose that there are many individual human beings with many separated consciousnesses, each having need of elevating their understanding to the perception of their oneness with God, is to begin from a suppositional “old- Naaman” perspective. The truly humbled man sees always outward and downward from the perspective of God. He knows his inseparability from God. There exists in human thought a great educated and habitual tendency to believe that we need to reach God by exercising a human will to sacrifice worldliness. In truth we need not reach out and rise up to reach God, for we already reflect Him in all of His perfection, now and eternally.
In this concept lies the trickery in human analysis. There is no human will. All will is in and of God, and is experienced here and now by the active” I AM” identity of the spiritual man, reflecting all of the unlimited goodness of God in the infinite and all-inclusive realm of Spirit. This real man thinks the only thoughts which are valid – divine thoughts. The real man possesses nothing which need be sacrificed! The counterfeit and mortal man, not the spiritual man, must sacrifice a false sense of selfhood, and in proportion as this is done does the real man appear, and become manifest as all harmony unfolding in conscious experience. The consciousness of our spiritual status is attained by virtue of the divine Mind’s thoughts in action expressed as spiritual man. The ideal state of consciousness completely invalidates the supposititious mortal concept of man.
The standpoint of oneness with God versus the human standpoint of separation
The Christian Scientist stands apart from the world by understanding humility to be the rejection of the suppositional mortal nature of man. This is accomplished practically by our exercising our sense of identity from the standpoint of God.
The theological traditionalist on the other hand, with the best of intentions, and as the result of centuries, even millennia, of human education, tradition, and history, ignorantly accepts the false and suppositional model of man, the Adam-man, as his identity.
Thereby he unwittingly sets up an unwanted mental wall of separation between his own sense of identity and God. This mortal aspect of human consciousness which is ignorant of man’s inherent ability to rise above the deluded sense of identity, subjects itself to its own self created and invalid constraints, and entraps human experience in its own falsely perceived boundaries. The Adam-man interprets and perceives his conscious identity as a human identity, as operating within a realm of self-limiting materiality. The belief in materiality includes a deep but false conviction of God-sanctioned validity in so-called material law.
Relative to the Adam-man’s non-spiritual perspective, human beings are separated from Spirit - but this perspective is not God’s perspective – it is the human perspective of consciousness whose reality falsely flavored by the conditioning of limited, materialistic Adam-thought. The undeniable fact that there is and can be no separation or isolation between any of the ideas of God and their manifestation, reveals the invalidity of the Adam-based human perspective, which is grounded in the belief that there could exist validity in the supposed opposite of God’s spiritual, eternal, perfect nature.
What is the opposite of spiritual, eternal, and perfect? Is it not material, temporal, and flawed? Is that not what the material and earthly world continually presents to conscious experience? Only one of these contraries can be true. Which one is the creation of God? Which one is God’s opposite? If we would find and know our eternal and spiritual nature, which one should we choose, the spiritual or the material?
To find our natural likeness with God, we must strive to stand apart from the material realm by exercising spiritual humility, by consciously being God’s man. Humility exercised from a human perspective, humility seen from the false point of view of man separated from God who needs to rise up and reach out to God, as opposed to consciously exercising an eternal awareness of man’s identity inseparable from God – can never reach its zenith. Humility at its zenith will reveal that man is not at all and never has been human, but is purely and eternally divine. The final phases of humility necessarily include the destruction of any and all myths of the possibility of separation from God.