Universe

Captured by the magic of a Shakespeare, you are so spellbound by the author's fictional characters and literary settings as to lose sight of him altogether. Stirred by the heartbreak of Romeo or intrigued with the machinations of a Shylock, you may become so anxious over the welfare of these Shakespearean creatures as to forget that they can no more be harmed nor erased than can their immortal author, whose Being is all there is to them. You see them as independent entities, tossed about on a restless and threatening sea of blind fate. Stopping short with their appearance instead of following the shadow back to its source, you love, laugh and suffer with them in their poignant situations, fearful over their predicaments, uncertain of their triumphs. You are destitute for the nonce of the comforting realization that they come from Shakespeare, and must be forever safe in the bosom of Shakespeare, whatever the momentary interpretation or appearance (Mis 22:16-18).

Is it not so that we ourselves live and move and have our being in (as) God, the original and ultimately the only Author? That is what the Bible says. "Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens," for "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." (Ephesians 4:9-10, John 3:13).

Strictly speaking, this must be a disclosure of that which eternally is, rather than the origin of something heretofore nonexistent (S&H 504:14-15). It must exist as Principle or cause before it can be manifest as idea or effect (S&H 508:5-6). More literally, it is revelation instead of creation, for it must be as Mind before it can be perceived humanly (S&H 247:19-21).

"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9). All things already are, for that which is a fact is forever the fact. There is no point in space nor instant in time where a fact begins. In Science, we use the word "beginning" to signify "the only," not the start (S&H 502:24-27). Facts are not made; they just are. Then the multitudinous variations of thought or idea, which are increasingly appearing and must ever continue to do so, because of the nature of their irrepressible source, are not new things coming into existence, but simply Truth declaring its infinity in the facts of being (S&H 507:15-18, 28-29). Accordingly, nothing can possibly appear which is not already provided for in every possible way. And that which appears must be Mind-controlled because Mind-constituted (S&H 335:7-8). Its condition is divine and its destiny is immortality. This is the scientific meaning of predestination and foreordination (Un 19:1-6). "Before they call, I will answer," sings the Lord through His prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 65:24).

Question: How do we account for "multiplication and reproduction," then?

Answer: We understand reflection to be re-cognition, which is the Psyche's self-conception. In a manner of speaking, that is reproduction. But, of course, it is not duplication. Like Narcissus peering into the pool of his pleasure, or yet again the pool dwelling upon its own beauty mirrored in Narcissus' eyes, the perception remains at one with the perceiver. That which is infinite could hardly double itself. "Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it." (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

In this light, "multiplication" is explained as the centripetal action of prolific Principle endlessly unfolding in an infinitude of aspects. Because there cannot ever be more than All. There is nothing numerical about the expansion, extension and ascension of the divine idea from its boundless basis, Mind. For this reason, our book points out that we can enjoy a sense of increasing number, but nowhere does it (nor can it) say that there is an actual increase in numbers (S&H 69:7-8, 10-13, 258:13-15). Note that even though Principle is spoken of therein as the "multiplier," the product remains in the singular: "Mind's infinite idea, man-and-the-universe, is the product." (S&H 508:2-5). Without recourse to finite modes of thought or action, we find life perpetually enriched by reflection. This is Mind supplying Mind by reflection, is it not? (Ret 56:19-21).

To get back to our illustration. When a writer prepares a novel, he is not originating something truly new; he is revealing his mind. This is illumination, not addition (S&H 68:27 only). He could not possibly disclose anything that was not already existent in or as his mind, and so the book is the author's thought expressed in concrete form, objectified or externalized. The author it is who supplies each character and situation with whatever it requires, from out of his own mind. And each character must turn to and rest upon the mind conceiving it in order to enjoy the affluence of the author's mind – or even to have the bare necessities of existence, for that matter. None of the characters can do anything, think anything or be anything but what the author chooses. Even so, man lives by divine decree (S&H 76:20-21).

The plot or design of the story could not get out of hand, for it stems from the one impulsion that is the author's. So the narrative runs right along in orderly fashion, with all its personalities and events in consonance with the author's intention. He develops his theme without interruption or interference, because he is alone with himself in the writing of it. Of peculiar significance for our purpose of illustration is the fact that not one of the characters has a mind apart from the author. All the intelligence which each character exhibits is the intelligence of the author – notwithstanding appearances. Thus all characters have one mind. They are not creatures loosed abroad from the author's mind, but are the author himself in expression.

If you were to assume that any of the characters could think independently and dispute with the author, this would hypothetically imperil the free unfoldment and disrupt the harmonious and successful presentation. Finally, the full meaning of the story does not appear all at once, but the intelligible relationships of the various characters and what their acts signify become increasingly apparent only as the story progresses. "Chaucer wrote centuries ago, yet we still read his thought in his verse," Mrs. Eddy reminds us. "What is classic study, but the discernment of the minds of Homer and Virgil, of whose personal existence we may be in doubt?" (S&H 82:5-8).

All there is to Romeo and Juliet or King Lear is Shakespeare. They are exactly what their author already is. What else could there be to them? To paraphrase our textbook: The mind that is Shakespeare creates, governs and constitutes the Shakespearean world and all that therein is (S&H 316:20-21). Always, it is no other than the English bard declaring himself as Romeo and Juliet or King Lear, isn't it? Yet you cannot say, contrariwise, that Romeo or Juliet or King Lear is appearing as Shakespeare, for you cannot limit the mind to its manifestation (S&H 331:1-3). Another thing. It is the solitary author who is seen, whether appearing as the single Olivia in "Twelfth Night" or as the entire crowd in "The Merchant of Venice." And not only the words these characters speak, but the clothes they wear and the very stars above their heads are Shakespeare!

Is it not so that when you look out upon the universe, you are really looking into the Mind of you – the Mind called God? The world is your communion with divine Mind. To be precise, it is Mind's communion with itself. To recognize this is to find God the sole Author of all being, and then to see the universe conforming to the divine nature rather than to the vagaries of finite mentation. You must look through and beyond the evanescent forms which a finite view would confer upon the divine realities, if you would gain the truth of Being. Only by letting the gaze gravitate back to the unfathomable depths of Mind can this be accomplished – never by resting it upon the appearance (S&H 264:7-10).

When you meditate, what are you doing but communing with your mind? And how does this appear to you? It appears as idea, and as idea only. What is your dream universe at night but mental communion, appearing as pictured thought? Now consider the nature of Mind as infinite. Divine apperception is the Psyche appearing to itself by way of the idea which is its perfect concept of itself (S&H 300:29-30). Thus the universe is the seeing of God, which continues to unfold as your awareness. What you call yourself and "all the other things" is Mind unfolding – not to you, but as you. Man is obviously not aware of something, but is the indivisible awareness of the only something: God. Like the thinking called the night dream, with all its ramifications and distinctions, this knowing or idea cannot be dissected or scattered, but is indivisibly one. So Mrs. Eddy uses the word "creation" interchangeably with man, manifestation, expression, universe, reflection, representation, image, likeness, idea, ideal, unfoldment (S&H 517:8-9, 475:15-16).

Mind unfolding is infinitely one, no matter how many clear-cut aspects it might present. So long as you regard Principle's boundless reflection as here, there and everywhere, you have no choice but to call it "the universe," or God's universal manifestation of Himself. Yet His endless apperception must be single, never multiple. It is strictly mentation, operating here and now as one consciousness. The UNIverse is not a MULTIverse! Despite the appearance of multiplicity, it is thinking, not things. Understood as Mind manifest, there can be no dissociation or segregation – any more than there could be a division or localization of Shakespeare, even though you do see him through his writings as first Romeo and then Juliet (Ret 56:5-11).

The universe is your Mind manifest universally. Does this trouble you? But why should universe shrink when you find it to be one and yours? The finite sense of "one" would reduce Mind's vastness to a point in space, contracting immensity to a frightened speck; but "one" understood as infinity would embrace all, excluding nothing. Such oneness confers instant and endless expansion. You possess what you mentally embrace, and with Mind as your Mind, you possess all (S&H 302:8-9). You are not timid about appropriating all there is to twice-two-is-four, because you know that this is inexhaustibly available, that its use deprives no one, in belief or at all, conferring instead dominion and insuring satisfaction. Get everything you know about into Spirit, and you will have no hesitancy about claiming your illimitable heritage!

In his 1916 class, Bicknell Young told of riding out of the purpling shadows of a twilighted valley into the blazing crimson of a dying sun. Judge Septimus Hanna was along, and as they reached the crest of the hill, they paused together, transfixed. With his eyes upon the sunset, the Judge whispered: "What a beautiful body I have!" (More accurately, he might have said, What a beautiful body I am!). Mr. Young's pungent but effective comment to his class was: "The sunset is as much a part of your body as your liver is!" You include them both consciously, don't you? If you did not, they would be outside the scope of your experience. We appear to be in a finite body, but we are inclusive awareness (S&H 264:13-19).

We are apt to limit ourselves to the corporeal appearance of body, but if we think of ourselves that way we are sadly belittling ourselves! We are aware of a lot of things – chairs, tables, books, sunset, weather, and so forth – and who shall say that these things that seem to be exterior to us are not a part of us or at one with us? They are certainly not apart from the awareness that is body. All the verities of Being belong to the divine man (Un 8:5-8). Do you include the sunset? What is the matter, don't you want to? You are at one with the ship on an ocean voyage, if you are conscious of the ship – and at one with the atmosphere, too. They both belong to your consciousness. Then the atmosphere is not troubling the sea and the sea is not buffeting the ship, for Mind cannot be in conflict with itself.

The blissful atmosphere of Soul, which is heaven, is assured by the fact that Love can only manifest itself in keeping with its own character and in consonance with itself. Harmony is the coordination between Principle and idea, Creator and creation, God and man. Harmony, as found in reflection, illustrates the law of coincidence between cause and effect, the correlation of Soul and body, the divine accord of thinking with Mind. "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." (John 5:19). Harmony, dwelling forever with infinite Principle, is the fact of being in its every aspect. It is insured by the absolute, unalterable and eternal unity of all that is (S&H 240:10-11, 304:16-17, 561:14-15).

The thing that would rob you at this point is the subtle suggestion that, if the universe is strictly your thinking, you must be the originator of it – that it is little more than a figment of the imagination. But you can see through this claim of solipsism. The universe is infinite Principle present as undivided thinking , and this indivisible thought is your very being. You are it and it is you. You are not doing it; you are the doing – with Principle remaining the Do-er. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God." (II Corinthians 3:5).

Creation is divine Mind unfolding right where you are and as what you are knowing, so that of anything or event, you can properly say: This particular phase of Mind's manifestation is not something apart from the wholeness of Mind! Would not this establish God's government in present experience? Because idea is Mind thinking, it is – like Mind – boundlessly inclusive. So man could not be a recluse in his universe. He must be happily at one with all the things of his experience.

The fact that you think constantly in spite of yourself, and that this thinking includes all the objects of cognition independently of your personal volition, shows you to be ever at the point of effect. When Jesus said, "Of mine own self I can do nothing," he was saying that, as effect I am never the origin, cause or creator of anything, nor am I the initiator of any action. "The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works." I am but the divine cause in operation, manifestation or evidence, and so I have no choice in the matter but to carry out the divine purpose. My mission is to express God, and the acknowledgment of this disposes of any obscuration or obstruction in the way of belief or misinterpretation (S&H 62:22-26).

You are everywhere the divine idea revealed as right action, Principle maintaining its creation in keeping with its perfect nature as the only established law, so that the benefits of this divinity, insofar as your participation is concerned, are as widespread as your understanding of the law.

This that looks like "myself and everything else" is Mind disclosing itself to itself as itself. What I call "myself" or my consciousness is the appearing. I am not diverted by the misinterpretation which would make this appearing ,material and spread it out around me in every direction. Is not my dream universe at night really my own being? What mentation seems to be is quite another problem. That which is being seen is indeed Mind, since Mind is all there is to all; but the appearing is the seeing, not the see-er.

Surveying your world, if you will but say, knowingly, "This is Mind – Mind in manifestation," you will enjoy the fact that it is wholly subjective without in any way surrendering a vivid sense of substantiality and reality. If God is cause and man is effect, is universe cause or effect? Obviously, effect, for it is evident it doesn't originate or run itself. But you are not aware of effect. You are aware of cause. The effect is the awareness called man-and-the-universe. Infinite Mind has only one effect, and this is the indivisible thinking that is continuous and endlessly varied. It is single, no matter how widely separated its various aspects seem. The universe is not something that you are cognizant of; it is the cognizance that is you.

So long as you think of yourself as in space, you are going to find yourself at a disadvantage. Understanding that you are not in the universe, but that the universe exists as a unit of thought, you will be no longer helplessly "in the middle!" (S&H 517:8-9, 262:9-16). An important statement in the "Glossary," too often overlooked, is in regard to the obsolescence of the term "IN" with reference to Spirit – than which there is nothing else (S&H 588:22-23). Scientifically speaking, we cannot properly designate anything spiritual as being in something. As Mind we live and move and have our being – not inside of Mind, like seeds in a watermelon!

Reaching the vestibule of Christian Science, the human being, even while apprehending in a degree that the world around him is spiritual in its final essence, naturally speaks of the universe including man (Mis 333:17-21). Conversely, as he advances Spiritward, understanding leads him to speak of man including the universe, for he is beginning to see that the word man or manifestation covers all that could possibly be meant by creation, and that the term man must be inclusive in this sense (Un 32:6-7). Mrs. Eddy leaves no margin of doubt on this score, for she addresses mortal thought directly by name in the first instance, while in the latter she stipulates that she is speaking from the standpoint of Spirit.

Mind implies understanding, and this inevitable result that comprises all truth is Mind's universal knowledge of itself. But if this infinity of knowing means to you something laid out to the four points of the compass, you are misconstruing it. God's being is not something scattered afar. If you just consider existence in purely mental terms, you will not have things inside of things nor things outside of things nor things obstructing things. There will be no collisions nor damaging impact, no confinement nor congestion. When, however, you look upon yourself as a tiny atom in a vast field called "world," or as a figurative grain of dust moving around in a huge globe called "universe," you are indulging in the grossest of material symbolism instead of regarding reality as mental.

While unfolding Mind may appear to you as an immense material structure, it is only to finite sense that man seems to be surrounded by that which he himself actually is: divine awareness. This awareness that is man cannot be localized nor reduced to finite outlines, for versatile Principle unfolding in endless variety as your very consciousness in God's consequent, or the spiritual cosmos (Mis 26:23-25). "All true thoughts revolve in God's orbits: they come from God and return to Him." (Mis 22:16-18). What is this but Love cognizing its own operations? Say that and see it with reference to your every experience, and you will thereby establish the divinity of all being, here and everywhere, now and forever. This is surely the new heaven and the new earth, coming down from God's high throne – not into consciousness, but as consciousness.

To make this information of practical value, you are going to have to recognize the fact that what you have been calling the material world is of necessity the spiritual creation, seen imperfectly and interpreted incorrectly. To see, then, that man is nothing apart from his world but is his world, is to unlock the gates of paradise. What now do you know about man? Exactly what you know about God, for God is All-in-all. What are man's qualities, abilities and potentialities? What are the assets and possibilities of God? Man, as the understanding of God, includes every God-characteristic.

What is man? Man, or manifestation, is God being. Why is man? Because God, as creator, must have His creation, cause presupposes effect, Principle is consummated in idea. When is man? Now, if ever. Where? Here, at the only place he could be known. Who is man? He is what I call myself for, since I could never get outside of myself, I could not know him otherwise. Of what is man made? Spirit constitutes his being and this being embodies at this very moment and right here all that is good and true and desirable. "All things that the Father hath are mine." (John 16:15). Man, as God in expression, must show forth all that God is or has, and concretely.

The boundless resources of Mind are the unlimited capacities to think, and man can never be deprived, even momentarily, of the inexhaustible assets of Soul, Principle, Love, Life. This man is not, of course, idea appearing; he is Mind appearing. The appearing is the idea and, as such, exhibits every deific aspect, function or phase. Soul experienced is beautiful, joyous, serene. Principle operating is orderly, harmonious, purposeful. Life in the living is vital, immortal, vivacious, potent. Truth as active isness is immutable, incorruptible, eternal. Love as loving provides, embraces, consummates, in blissful contentment. This that is universal man is the very presence or individualization of Life, God being, Principle unfolding as radiant, uninhibited, successful, satisfying reflection.

To the inclusive man that is his universe, there can be no "out there" or "over yonder," but only the here of awareness. The there of consciousness is the mental here, and includes all that could possibly appear as space, place or occupancy. In this recognized hereness is the satisfaction and contentment of completeness, the joy of consummation, the gratification of achievement in individual universality. Thus the only man cannot be deprived nor held back from anything desirable, wherever and whatever it seems to be. He does not even have to reach out for it, for it is ever at hand. As the recognition of a mathematical truth operates as a law to mathematical experience, so the recognition of Mind's all-constituting omnipresence becomes at once the glorifying law to present being or awareness.