by Peter V. Ross
So you weary of the endless and for the most part meaningless argument about the unreality of matter. Well, the issue has been wrestled with and disposed of by the keen thinkers of every age. They tell us that matter is a misunderstanding of substance. With keener vision, they promise, we will discover that Spirit and matter are but different aspects of reality, the one true, the other false. Enlightenment therefore will terminate the debate and bring into view the exclusiveness, the substantiality, the permanence of Spirit.
Everyone concedes that matter is not the hard, heavy, static stuff it appears. Some speak of it as energy and others as mortal mind. In either case it is motion so slowed down as to become visible. It is the way realities appear to inadequate physical sense.
What we call matter then is mental. It is a limited sense of things—a sense of things as crude, dense, expendable. In this misunderstanding lie all restriction and suffering. Whereas Spirit is unrestricted, imponderable, impalpable, and permanent. In this actuality lies the truth which makes men free.
Faith, hope, charity, and with them the innumerable other spirituals, abide, do they not? While doubt, turmoil, infirmity, and with them the other hosts of clay, disintegrate and disappear with the march of time.
Some people think of the Creator as a person, ever-present and unlimited of course. Others think of Him as Spirit. But there is no essential difference, perhaps, between Spirit and infinite Person. Both are omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient—the commonly accepted measure of Deity.
You will be interested here in the reasoning of Abraham Rihbany: “Whether God is personal or not depends upon our knowledge of what personality is. If we mean by a person an individual of bounded dimensions (an erroneous conception of personality), then God is not personal. But if personality is self-conscious being, with all its attributes of intelligence, will, emotions, and purpose—finite in man, infinite in God—then God is personal … To me God is personal in the truest sense of the word.”
Venturesome William Blake puts forth the assurance: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
While Walt Whitman, with his usual optimism, boldly affirms: “I do not doubt I am limitless, and that the universes are limitless, in vain I try to think how limitless.”
When we concede that the Creator is Spirit, logic immediately insists that creation must be spiritual. If human sense, on the contrary, sees a material universe, we have a right to suspect that human sense entertains a wrong concept of things. This mistaken concept is all there is to matter, and it is the purpose of idealism to change and correct that concept in order, not that things shall be destroyed, but that they shall be discerned in their true light.
To change from a material to a spiritual concept of the universe does not destroy the universe, nor anything in it, but it makes the universe, and all contained therein, more real, permanent, and beautiful. To exchange the physical idea of man for the spiritual does not put man out of existence, but brings into view his real selfhood as perfect and immortal.
It is this man, and really there is no other, that we affirm is immune to disease and the other ravages of materiality and mortality. When you insist, from year to year, that you are this sort of man, the heaviness and afflictions of so-called mortal existence will recede. Eventually they will fade out under the blaze of intelligent thinking.
At first thought the unreality of matter may have little point to the man in pain. Someone may smartly say to him: “The body, you know, is made of the same elements that a wagon wheel is made of. How then can it tire or hurt? Indeed the body is matter and matter is not, so you have no body anyway.”
Now no one, whether at ease or in distress, wants to be rid of his body. What he wants is a better body than the one he appears to have, a body in rapport with good health and all that that implies. He would like to know how to obtain it.
The body is a human concept. It is therefore mental. This is why it rises or falls with the individual’s thought. Accurate and generous thinking therefore is the source of the ideal body which neither hurts, hampers, nor boasts. Improve your thinking and you improve your body, indeed your whole being. Put emphasis steadfastly on the salubrious, the imperishable, the beautiful, the magnanimous; in the same instant rejecting the sickly, the fearsome, the oppressive, the mean. In this mood you live in Spirit and Spirit lives in you. This looks toward the millennium.
When it is recognized that the human body is essentially mental, it becomes at once apparent that a change in thought effects a change in the body, and this even to the extent of what we call a physical or structural change in some organ or member.
This is precisely what metaphysics is accomplishing in its healing ministry. By substituting in consciousness an understanding of health in place of a belief in sickness, a knowledge of soundness instead of an illusion of decomposition, a realization of symmetry in lieu of a supposition of deformity, metaphysics is bringing about an improvement in health, not to mention morale. Hence it is that metaphysics takes the radical position that matter is unreal, and if it did less, metaphysics would have little to offer beyond what already has been offered in the way of relief for suffering humanity.