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The Science of Mind, by Ernest Shurtleff Holmes [1926], at

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Lesson One: The Nature of Being

The circle in Chart No. I signifies Universal Life, because it is without beginning and without end. We have divided it into three parts, calling one Spirit, one Soul and the other Body; not because the nature of Being is three distinct things, but because It is a Unity with three distinct attributes, i.e., Spirit, Soul and Body.


We treat of Spirit as the Active and the only Self-Conscious Principle. We define Spirit as the First Cause or God; the Absolute Essence of all that is. It is also called the great, or the Universal, I AM. When Moses asked God who he should tell the Children of Israel had sent him, the answer was, "Thus shalt thou say, I AM hath sent me unto you." 18 The reason why "I AM" was given is because this is an absolute statement. Spirit is Conscious Mind, and is the Power Which knows Itself; It is conscious of Its own Being. The Spirit is Self-Propelling; it is Absolute and All. It is Self-Existent, and has all life within Itself. It is the Word, and the Word is volition. It has choice because It is Volition; It is will because It chooses; It is Free Spirit because It knows nothing outside Itself, and nothing different from Itself.

Spirit is the Father-Mother God because It is the principle of Unity back of all things. The masculine and feminine principles both come from the One. Spirit is all Life, Truth, Love, Being, Cause and Effect; and is the only Power in the Universe that knows Itself.


The Soul of the Universe, not as opposed to the Spirit, but as the principle just beneath It, has always been taught as the

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receptive medium into which the Spirit lets fall the forms of Its thought. It is subjective to the Spirit; that which is subjective is always impersonal, neutral, plastic, passive and receptive. Wherever you find subjective law you will find something that is compelled to receive and to act upon; consequently the Soul of the Universe has been called a "blind force, not knowing, only doing," and "The servant of the Eternal Spirit throughout the ages." It is the medium of the thought, power and action of the Spirit.


There are but two processes of reasoning known to the human mind; one is inductive and the other is deductive. Inductive reasoning is an inquiry into the truth; it is a process of analysis. Deductive reasoning is that process of reasoning which follows an already established premise. It is from the whole to a part. Here is an example of inductive reasoning: I look about and say, "John Smith is good; Mary Jones is good; my neighbors are good; consequently, God must be good." This is a process of analysis which leads to the conclusion that the Cause back of all things must be Good. Deductive reasoning would operate this way: "God is Good; consequently, Mary Jones, John Smith and my neighbors must be good"; because God is Good they cannot be otherwise.

Since inductive reasoning is an analysis, which is always an inquiry into truth, it follows that God can reason only deductively. That which is Infinite does not have to inquire into the Truth; consequently, there can be no inductive process of reasoning, either in the Spirit or the soul of the Universe. There cannot be any inductive reasoning in the Spirit, because It already knows all things. There cannot be any inductive reasoning in the Soul of the Universe, because It is the Creative Medium, and, if It could reason inductively, It could reject certain thoughts, because It could analyze; and soul or subjectivity can never reject; but is bound by its own nature to accept. It is impersonal, and neither knows nor cares who uses it. It is plastic, because It is immaterial. It is formless, having no mind of Its own. It has been called the Universal Feminine

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or Holy Womb of Nature, because It is receptive and creative. It is Karmic Law, because It is subjective to the self-knowing mind. It is the medium of all Karmic Law and of all race suggestion.


The Universe has been called the Great Trinity, or Triune Unity of Spirit, Soul and Body. The body is the result, the effect, the objectification of Spirit. Soul is the Immaterial, plastic and receptive medium; It is primordial or Cosmic Stuff; It is unmanifest form. Body is the result of Spirit working through Soul or Law. There is but one Body of the Universe; It is both visible and invisible; and within this one body are all of the lesser bodies, all of the manifest Universe, including the body of man. "But now are they many members yet but One Body." 19

Spirit is the Absolute Being; and is the only power in the universe which has self-knowingness, volition, choice or will. The soul has no will; It has no purpose to execute other than the purpose that is given It. Soul is the servant of the Spirit, while body is the result of the union of Spirit with Soul. There is the Power, the way that It works and the result of Its operation; the Word, the law, and the effect; Intelligence, substance, and form; the Active Principle, the passive receptivity, and the relative condition. The Spirit of the Universe cannot change; the Soul of the Universe cannot change; the Body of the Universe cannot help changing.


The Spirit cannot change because there is nothing for It to change into, Spirit being All; this is axiomatic. The Soul of the Universe cannot change; for it is simply Universal Substance and Law; and we know that energy and substance are indestructible and eternal. The Soul of the Universe cannot change; but, as stated above, the body of the universe is forever changing; and this is what constitutes the eternal activity of Spirit within Itself.

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Creation does not mean making something out of nothing. If by Creation we mean making something out of nothing, there is no such thing; but if we mean the passing of Spirit into form, then Creation is eternally going on.

It is necessary to understand that the only Active Principle is Spirit--Self-Conscious, Self-Knowing Life, and that all else is subject to Its will. The Spirit is conscious of Its own Thought, Its own Desire and manifestation; and It is conscious that Its desire is satisfied; consequently, It is conscious of that which It manifests; but It is not conscious of any effort or process in Its manifestation.

It is necessary that Soul and Body should exist, because Spirit, without manifestation, would construct only a dream world, never coming into Self-Realization. Since Spirit must be manifested, in order to be Spirit, there must be a way in which It manifests, and there must be a manifestation; hence, Soul and Body.


If all Cause is existent in Spirit, and if the Law which executes the volition of Spirit is entirely subconscious, or subjective to the Will of the Spirit, and if the body is only an effect, it follows that both cause and effect are spiritual. Involved within the seed, which the Spirit drops into the Creative Medium, is everything necessary to unfold the seed into form. This is why the Spirit never thinks of methods or processes; for that which the Spirit involves must evolve.


From Unity--which is the One back of all things, through the One Law, which is the medium of the One--multiplicity is manifested, but it never contradicts Unity. When we realize that we are dealing with an Infinite Intelligence, and with an Infinite Law within this Intelligence, we see that there can be no limit placed upon Creation. We think of the world as we see it, but we see it from the viewpoint of only one plane. We see it as matter, which we have divided into eighty or ninety

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odd elements; but we discover that all of these elements come from one substance. Suppose we should view it from ten different planes, what would happen? We should see ten times as much as we now see. The present hypothesis of science is that the ether is more solid than matter; and this means that there could be a form within the very form that one's body now occupies in space; there might even be a million bodies, each within the other; and each would be just as real as the one that we now think we occupy. The Universe, as we see it, is not even a fractional part of the Universe that actually is. "Eye hath not seen," 20 because it sees only on one plane, i.e., in part.


From the standpoint of immortality, we may have a body within a body to infinity; and when this body is rendered useless, and is no longer a fit instrument through which to function, another one may be already there.

The physical disappearance of Jesus after His resurrection was the result of the spiritualization of His consciousness. This so quickened His mentality that His body disintegrated; and His followers could not see Him because He was on another plane. Planes are not places; they are states of consciousness.

Is it apparent that the Spirit can know nothing outside Itself; that whatever the Spirit knows must be a definite mental image, concept, or idea, in the Consciousness of the Spirit? Is it clear that as the Self-Consciousness of Spirit knows within Itself, It knows upon Itself as Law? Is it clear that the Law can never say, "I will not," but can only act? And is it clear that as the Spirit lets fall the forms of Its thought into the Soul, or Subjectivity of the Universe, these thoughts must manifest as things?


Let us take a look at these forms. As we look at the many millions of forms, and see that they are all of different shape

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and color, and yet we know that they all came from One Stuff, are we not compelled to accept the fact that there is a specific cause, or concrete mental image, back of every idea or thing, a Divine Mental Picture? In the subjective world there must be a correspondent of everything in the objective world; and since the subjective world is a receptive or plastic substance, this correspondence can find its initial starting point only in real Intelligence. Therefore, Intelligence is ultimately all there is in the universe.


By a process of axiomatic reasoning, we arrive at the conclusion that Spirit knows nothing outside Itself. The Truth is that which Is; and being that which Is, It must be Infinite and All. Being Infinite or All, the Truth can have nothing outside Itself, other than Itself, or unlike Itself, by which to divide Itself; consequently, the Spirit is Indivisible, Changeless and Complete within Itself. Itself is all that is--both Cause and Effect, the Alpha and the Omega.


There is but one volitional factor in the Universe, and this is Spirit or the Self-Knowing Mind. God did not make God; this is self-evident; hence God is Self-Existent. God did not make Law; Law is coeternal with God. God did not make Substance; this, also is coexistent and coeternal with God. But God did make, and does make, and is making, and will continue to make, from eternity to eternity--forms. We live in a universe of Infinite Substance and numberless forms wherein nothing is moved unless Intelligence moves it.

Mind is dual in its aspect; it is conscious, as the active principle of conscious intelligence, and subconscious, as the passive principle of impersonal receptivity. Body is the result of the knowing of Spirit through Soul. Matter, of itself, has no intelligence, no volition, no power. Since the Law is but a Universal Potential Possibility through which anything might happen, and since it is set in motion by the Word, it follows that

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every word specializes its own law and carries its own mathematics along with it.

It follows that everything that the Spirit thinks must take form. The Spirit, being Self-Conscious Life, knows and cannot stop knowing. To suppose that it could stop knowing would be to suppose that It could stop being. Since It cannot stop knowing, It must be forever setting in motion the Law of Its own Being, which Law must be forever projecting the forms of Its thoughts, there by producing things. Creation is always beginning, but never ending. The slightest thought of Intelligence sets in motion a power in the Law to produce a corresponding thing.

When we speak of every thought dropped into the Creative Medium, do we think of God's thought and man's as the same? We think of each as thought; but, whereas man thinks both inductively and deductively, God thinks only deductively. "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he," 21 i.e., as he lets fall the forms of his thought.

God is not conscious of matter, as we are. God is conscious of Himself as form, but not as size. God is conscious of Himself as definite purposefulness, but not as space. God is conscious of Himself as definite outline, but not as limitation. God is conscious of Himself as many, but not as division.

Would there be any difference between a conscious thought, for the purpose of a direct manifestation, and one that might be thought with no idea of the form that would be manifested? There would be a great difference. Trained thought is far more powerful than untrained. If this were not true, the thoughts of the metaphysical practitioner could not neutralize those that caused his patient his patient to be sick. We know a little right thought puts to rout that which is wrong. The day that you say to yourself, "My thought is powerful," you would better be careful. Every thought must manifest according to its intensity.

Ponder over the meaning of the words in Chart No. I. Think what Self-Existent Life is--Life within Itself; get an understanding of the Law which is the Servant of it, and what

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matter is, until you begin to feel your own self as part of this great scheme of Existence.


There is no such thing as your mind, my mind, his mind, her mind and God's Mind; there is just Mind in which we all live, move and have our being. There is Mind and nothing but Mind. We think of Conscious Mind and Spirit as One and the Same.

Things are ideas. What else could they be? There is nothing out of which to make things, except ideas. In the beginning we behold nothing visible; there is only an infinite possibility, a Limitless Imagination, a Consciousness; the only action of this Consciousness being idea.

That which we call our subjective mind is, in reality, our identity in Infinite Mind; in other words, it is the result of our mental attitudes. It is our mental atmosphere or center in universal Subjective Mind, in which are retained all the images, impressions, inherited tendencies and race suggestions as far as we accept them.

We see, then, that this is the Medium through which everything comes to us.

There is One First Cause, having three aspects: Spirit, Soul and Body, i.e., Cause, Medium and Effect; the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; Masculine Activity, Feminine Activity and Result.

We should not think of three Gods, but of the Triune Nature of the One God, the One Cause. We think of Spirit as Absolute, Self-Conscious Intelligence. We think of Soul as Receptive to Intelligence; and of the Intelligence as always acting upon It. Spirit and Soul intersphere each other; i.e., both have Omnipresence. The Spirit of the Universe permeates the Soul of the Universe, eternally impregnating It with ideas. The Soul of the Universe is the "Holy Womb of Nature," producing the forms which appear in the physical Universe.

The Body of the Universe is the result of the thought of Spirit, operating through the medium of Soul. This Trinity is called the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Father

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is Absolute, Positive Intelligence; the Son is the Offspring of the Father; the holy Ghost is "the Servant of The Eternal Spirit throughout the Ages." Spirit is Absolute Intelligence, operating through the Soul of Receptive Intelligence, impregnating It with "The Divine Ideas."

Neither the Spirit nor the Soul of the Universe can change. That which changes is the Body of the Universe. Planets may appear and disappear as do people and things; but the Substance from which things are formed is Changeless.


Individuality emerges from the Universal. Psychology teaches the personification of this individuality, which is true as far as it goes; but Metaphysics universalizes individuality by unifying it with the Whole.

There is a Universal Nature of Man, inherent within him, which causes the manifestation of his personality, i.e., The Spirit of God.

The next chart will be about man, and when that is explained you will begin to see the way out of your difficulties if you have any.

Note: Study carefully "The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science," by T. Troward; "Creative Mind," by Ernest S. Holmes; "The Axioms of Truth," by Burnell; "Philosophy of Plotinus," by Dean Inge.


70:18 Exodus 3:14.

72:19 1 Cor. 12:20.

74:20 1 Cor. 2:9.

76:21 Prov. 23:7.

Next: Lesson One: Recapitulation