This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Part of Lecture 22 given on March 1, 1976
(Read Matthew version).
Isn't it strange the way he addresses Peter here, right after he has designated Peter the rock upon which he will build his church? Here he calls Peter Satan. Notice also how in the footnotes here the other translation for "life" is "soul". Unless it is soul that he is talking about, the meaning here becomes inconsistent, too obscure. Let's read that again and use the translation of soul. "Whosoever shall save his soul, shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his soul for my sake shall find it. For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
One of the words that we require the student to define if they are to pass our Fundamentals course is this word “soul”. Spirit, Soul, body. Remember that a human being or a human personality is not one, only God is one. A human personality is many things, a combination of many factors. We say that the totality of a person is being, his being. But this being is not the same thing as that which you call your "self." Many persons say that their being and their self mean the same thing but it is not so. Your being is all of you, the totality of you. Yourself, however, refers to the limited concept you now have of your human personality and the contact it is making with the manifest realm. There is a vast difference between all that you really are and your limited level of human self consciousness. This does not mean that self is bad, it only means that self is very very limited.
Try to remember that in metaphysical language "self" means your present concept of you human personality, while soul means your total awareness, your awareness, of your being: Spirit, soul and body of your being, that is your totality, but your awareness of your total being is your soul and then self is your present opinion of your human personality. In other words, soul is your awareness of your total being. Does your total being even change? No. It is only your awareness of it that changes because total being means whole and whole can't change but awareness of it varies, it is a matter of degrees and focus of attention.
Another thing which brings much discontent and unhappiness in our life is the mistake of making the wrong things important. Often without realizing it a person will put something first in importance which should not be put first and, at the same time, may fail to make important certain things about himself which are of first importance. Which of the twelve powers is predominantly involved in correcting this? Order in alignment with judgment and, of course, right away you start thinking of others but remember that order is the faculty of right sequences, of right connections but this type of human mistake, the making the wrong things important or failing to make the right things important or failing to make the right things important is as old as human nature. It has always been one of the main causes of human regrets and unhappiness.
Jesus knew this so well and tries to help us correct this in many of his teachings; one of the examples the scripture we are dealing with. Here Jesus is very strongly implying that if we want to save ourselves a great deal of unhappiness and disappointment we can begin by giving up the notion that self must come first in all things. This is number one first right step. We should begin to cross out this type of self-centered thinking and I am convinced that when Jesus uses the word "self" in a negative sense as something that has to be denied he is referring to self-centered evaluation or priorities. He says, "If any man would come after me (who is spiritual awareness), let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." In other words, we can deny that sense of self the first place of importance in our thinking and instead place the soul in that place of importance.
In trying to deny self the position of first importance in our thinking and in crossing out selfishness we will find it very difficult to do if we try to do this reluctantly, heavy or with much calling of attention to the fact that we are doing it. Do you remember when Jesus said, "Let not your right hand even know what your left hand is doing?" He was referring to calling attention to your own spiritual efforts and improvement while it is still going on because the calling of attention to it and receiving of attention for doing it will become the reason, will take the priority over from the meaning of what you are trying to accomplish. For instance, when people say to you, "I tithe all the time." What do they want? "I never tell lies anymore." What am I fishing for? Instead of the benefits for "not lying" I am really aiming for recognition that I don't tell lies anymore. It is a subtle thing but, boy, is it important in consciousness conditioning!
Q. Is self included in the soul?
A. Yes, it is, it is a matter of opinion, all areas of awareness are part of the soul but self refers to that opinion that you have of your current state of human consciousness, it changes as fast as the will of the ... , and so although it is an aspect of soul, it is only a part of it, it is the most external part of all the facets of the soul and the most marrow and limited, yet it serves a very useful purpose.
Any kind of spiritual effort at self improvement should always be done cheerfully, delicately, intelligently, and wherever possible, secret. There should be nothing awkward or depressing in our efforts; quite the contrary, by denying or crossing out the limited, the self-centered blow of yourself you will gain greater awareness of the importance of your soul. You will find that your life is becoming something not based on self but more upon your real meaning. Now, if it will include yourself, but it will not consist only of yourself but will consist of your ever increasing realization of the worth and the value of your soul. Jesus asked this profound question, "What shall it profiteth a man if he shall gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? Or “what shall a man give up in exchange for his soul?" Truer words have never been spoken.
The very tragic mistake that can be made is when a person thinks that the gaining of any of the things of the world are the all important goal of his life, no matter what it is, how good or valuable or prestigious, if it becomes the end motive for living, it will mean nothing in the long run when it is gained. A person who pursues a course of thinking and living such as to gain something in the world and this is the end for him, will find one thing when he gains this, disillusionment and unsatisfaction, no matter what thing it is, it doesn't matter. Jesus calls this losing of meaning, the losing of satisfaction – “losing his soul" - because your soul is your awareness of your true being and it contains all meaning for you, your soul is the connection between the divine of yours and your human nature. It is the most valuable thing about man and to lose awareness of it is to lose all that makes life worth living.
This is sometimes called the "death of your soul”, which means a state of having lost the sense of meaning. But, here is the other side of that coin; if we could always remember to think of everything in our life as a mean rather than an end, then we will live the life the right way. Everything will assume its proper place and perspective and everything will help us to enjoy life as we live and learn and grow into expanding consciousness. See, at this moment each of us here has at least one desire which we want to see fulfilled in our lives, perhaps it is a healing or harmony and happiness in our relationship with another, it may be to find the right employment, to be free from fear of loneliness, whatever the good thing might be which you have as the desire of your heart right now, try to think of it always as the means to something greater, but never, never as an end in and of itself.
Things are always symbols of stepping stones to greater good, greater meaning, greater consciousness. These are the things to go after, folks, no things, but greater meaning, greater consciousness. Then things will serve that purpose, but you must think of things are means never as ends.
In our Unity teachings we use the terms "soul growth". What do we mean by it? Basically it means an increase of understanding of meaning in your consciousness. It could be anything from the understanding of the meaning of good cooking to the understanding of the meaning of the cosmos was brought into the three dimensional awareness.
Q. Is this understanding of meaning the same thing as spiritual awareness?
A. Yes, it is spiritual awareness. The only thing it is worth becoming aware of is meaning.
Each time you become even a little more aware of who or what you really are you have increased meaning in your life and in your soul. This is soul growth and it is the most important thing in your entire existence. Now, Jesus asks, "what can you give in exchange for your soul?" In other words, what have you which is equivalent in value to your soul? And the answer is, absolutely nothing, because nothing about a human being is of more value than his soul and his soul growth. When Jesus tells us to sacrifice self for the sake of our soul, he does not mean we are to give up or get rid of the good things from our life, all that he means is that we must sacrifice or give up thinking of things as the end of your reason for working and for gratifying of self as your reason for living, what you sacrifice is not things but only the habit of putting things first, ahead of meaning within yourself, your soul.
Many times people wonder, and this is a very healthy thing to do, "what am I really worth, in the overall scheme of things where do I stand?" and the answer is very simple and it is a good, reassuring answer: Your worth at any given moment is the exact equivalent of what value you place on your own soul. Your soul, remember, is your total awareness of your own being, of your oneness with God, with Truth, with Good. How much do you value this is exactly what your value is, so to increase your own worth, work to increase your own soul, that is, add to your awareness of God and Truth and Good. How? By means of study, prayer, meditation, love, kindness, forgiveness and just plain old positive thinking and I don't care if Zeth did throw away the book on positive thinking. It still works, it still produces soul growth if it is based on Principle rather than wishful thinking. These are all part of the way that we can follow Jesus Christ in the way of soul growth and this is good.
Someday I would like to find the version of that ending in where these translations would become consistent. I intuitively feel there is an inaccurate translation job here in this final portion of that Matthew version because I have seen a version where the translation definitely read "soul." By the way, folks, do you know that all King James translations do not read the same way? It was a shock when I found that out. It was a King James version in which this is the way this final passage reads, "for whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it; for what shall man be profited if he gain the whole world and forfeit his soul, and what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? However, I find that however the translation is a metaphysical lesson can be built from it, even it is different, even if it contradicts completely another. For instance, in our previous lesson, one translation says "I came only to minister unto the Israelites." In my version it says "I came not only to minister unto the Israelites..." but both of these translations have a metaphysical validity from which a lesson was built. You have the problem if you go into the metaphysical Bible interpretations of persons discovering texts which differ from the one you are using and in some cases it will take the completely opposite meaning, but don't let that throw you. All that you need to understand is that you have two different metaphysical lessons, and there are because metaphysical truth applies to any given situation, even "made up" situations, there is a metaphysical validity in it.
Text of the original transcript of middle of p.133 through the middle of page 137.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-02-2014