What is Impersonal Teaching
BECAUSE of the hazy understanding that exists in most minds of the meaning of the word "Impersonal," we ask our readrs to consider with us in this article the most important part it plays in one's Spiritual unfoldment, so that they always hereafter may know just what it signifies and especially what is implied an the term "the Impersonal Life".
The Standard Dictionary defines impersonal as "not having personality." A personality is defined as "the colleetion of attributes or qualities which characterize personal existence." Personal is defined as "belonging or relating to or constituting a person or persons as distinguished from thing;characteristic of human beings or free agents."
Impersonal would then mean not personal, or an appearance that would be woid ofall personality, all of the characteristics of a human being; implying more than human.
It is quite difficult to be wholly impersonal; in fact it is almost impossible in a world of human personalities where everyone is concerned about his own self and the selves of others, and lives only to develop and perfect self. This means that personality and self are closely allied-if they are not the same. Most students and thinkers deem them synonymous, and we will so consider them; for the personality is what the world considers to be the self of a person, is that which distinguishes and characterizes the man.
Then to be wholly impersonal would mean there must be no evidence of self of any kind, no concern about self, no self interest, no seeking or striving for self. Instead the interest should be altogether away from self and from personalities.
This could mean only that to be impersonal one (1) must be above self, (2) must live above the interests of self and of personalities, (3) must see past and through appearances to the soul of things, (4) must know that what appears is not real. An impersonal one is then wholly unconcerned about personalities and their interests, and about the things of the outer world.
To the ordinary person all this seems impossible of attainment; and for such it is impossible. But for students and thinkers the impersonal state must be attained at least in some degree before any progress can be made toward self-mastery, and before one can have any real Spiritual growth. For without the ability to rule self and to beable to do what he wills as a Spiritual being-man's true estate, one is bound and subject to his lower nature and is ever held down to the outer, material world, which means to a limited and uncertain existence.
Let us consider then these four attributes of the Impersonal Life.
(1) To be above self can mean only to be above selfishness. To be above selfishness means never seeking anything for self and instead always keeping in the background, coming forward only when there is a need, and then doing what there is to be done quietly and unobtrusively.
(2) To live above the interests of self and of personalities, means that one must thoroughly understand human nature in all its personal phases, through having mastered his own personality; and he thereby knows that all men are not their personal natures but are in the process of overcoming the forces of their lower natures, and by so doing, acquiring the spiritual strength, understanding and freedom that conduce to a selfless nature.
3) To be able to see past and through what appears to the soul of things, means not being interested
in the outer man, in what personalities say or do, but dealing only with their souls, and ever seeking to aid them gain spiritual freedom through right understanding taught the mind.
(4) In truly knowing that what appears is not real, one must
see with one's soul eyes and know with soul understanding, -in other words, must be in one's soul or impersonal consciousness and freed from that of the outer mind. Only in that inner consciousness does one know that all things in the outer world are unreal and exist only in the personal "separate" mind; and such knower does not then allow himself to be concerned with what appears in the outer or with personalities, and ever deals with and treats them as souls, which means impersonally.
This realization naturally impresses upon one the necessity of
freeing oneself entirely from one's personality, from all the interests of self; which means from the outer mind and its concerns about the world, the flesh, and all the things it is ever trying to get for self.
The attainment of this becomes of supreme importance to the Spiritually advancing soul, who ever seeks to hide his personality and to deny every claim of self.
To such it is most obnoxious when adwiting students and friends look up to and laud his personality and work, for well he knows that what they see and praise had no part in his work, no more than had his hands-his body and outer self being only the instrument he used to accomplish it.
In order to help gain this spiritual freedom we turn you to the
book, "The Impersonal Life;" for more clearly than any teaching in print does, it show just what is the personality and what the freedom it seeks to have you attain. Many hundreds throughits teachings have found and are living in a new consciousness far above the former intarmonies and limitations of the personal life.
HEREIN we give you the key to the inner and impersonal consciousness, as taught in "The Impersonal Life" in its second chapter, but with a slight difference in expressing it, which is really a difference only in the use of terms, or in giving the understanding of their inner meaning.
In this chapter you are asked to get quiet and to sit in a relaxed position, and when your mind is wholly at ease, to let it take in the significance of these words:
Be still!-and KNOW,-I AM,-God."
Because of it being dificult, and with some impossible, to bring the mind to believe that "I am God," we ask our readers to consider the abbreviated statement that follows and to note just the way itis written:
"Be still! and KNOW-I Am."
Try to imagine this "I" as being your Soul, the rel self of you, addressing and counselling your human mind and intellect, which we will consider for the time being as a "separate" self of consciousness.
"Your human mind is so constituted that it cannot accept anything which does not conform with what it has previously experienced and learned, and which its intellect does not consider reasonable. Therefore in addressing it you are using such terms and expressions as will most clearly explain to your intellect the truth it must understand before the mind can awaken to the consciousness of your meaning.
"The fact is, this "I" is yourself, is your one and only self. Your human mind has heretofore been so engrossed with the task of supplying its intellect and body with all manner of selfish indulgences that it has never had time to get acquainted with the real you, its true Lord and Master."
But the time is now come when it needs to know you and to take its proper place as servant and instrument of your will. So, after you have silled your mind, you will now give it this command:
Be still! - and KNOW-I Am."
Speak them just as they are here written, trying to realize that
the highest and innermost self of you commands and insists upon implicit obedience. Say them again and again, each time giving them just the emphasis you are led to give from within.
Do this without any thinking, but noting carefully any impressions that come to your mind, and search out their hidden meaning and potency. If you will stay whit this, giving your mind again and again the command, putting the big emphasis always on the "I", you will suddenly realize that something is released within you-a sense of a new and much greater "I:" that you are seemingly standing above and looking down at the litte "I," which it now realizes is but your mind listening to your command and waiting as it were for your further word.
And when this realization is felt the impulse will come to continue speaking in words similar to the fllowing:
"Yes, My son, I alone Am. You are not at all as a separate self. You are but My human mind, an outer extension of My conssiousness, which I Am using to express Myself in the outer world.
"Be still always, and accustom yourself to turning within to Me and waiting upon Me; for I alone live in your body, inspire you to do all that you do, and give you of My knowledge and power for anything you need-as much as you are able to use.
"It is only when you try to use such knowledge and power for selfish ends, without regard to Me, and when you do not listen to My quiet voice ever speaking within, that you make mistakes, get into trouble, get sick or hurt, and learn that you are nothing and can do nothing of your over power or self."
Those of you who follow this suggestion as given and who persist until you thus learn wtalk to your mind and get it to listen to you, will find your mind amazed at the wise and unusual things it is told, at the feeling of power that acompanies your words and at the confidence felt by your mind in you.
But much more than this, it will give your outer self its first conscious realization of being a part of and always connected with a very wonderful Something which it now knows is the real "I" into whose consciousness it can retire at will by simply commanding, with the power of this new knowing:
"Be still, and know I AM, and that I can take care of everything. Step aside and let Me take charge".
Those who gain this realization know then what the soul is, know the true meaning of the "I AM," and that in that inner consciousness they are above and beyond the inharmonies and influences of the outer physical world, which they soon learn are but thought-pictures in their outer minds.
For those who can see it, this is the next stage of unfoldment for all students of Truth, is what lifts them above ordinary humanity and makes it possible for man to become master of his human self and of all material conditions. This must be attained, either in this life or in future lives, and therefore, for those who recognize it, it becomes the most important step they can take at this time.
We have tried to make this clear to our readers and to place in their posession a knowledge of the law and of Spiritual truths that will enable everyone who will to lift himself above the inharmonies, lack and limitations of the outer life. It remains for you who read to determine what you will do with this information.
For the earnest and determined ones we urge the daily reading and meditating upon the great truths in "The Impersonal Life.
Those who do this will find themselves unconsciously lifted into and gradually dwelling in, the consciousness from which its Mesage was written, where they will naturally be led to speak as in the book to their outer minds, and in time will compel their obedience.
Many have proven this, and it awaits you also, dear reader, if you want it strongly enough.
by Joseph S. Benner
editor - Ján Master