Spirit and matter are the two names of life. The primal
aspect of life developing into denseness remains spirit,
and its development into dense form is called matter. It
is like water turning into snow, it is liquid, but it develops
into a harder substance, it loses its fineness.
There is a conflict between spirit and matter. The matter
absorbs the spirit in order to exist, and the spirit assimilates
matter, for it is its own property. The whole of manifestation
may thus be regarded as continual conflict between spirit
and matter; the spirit developing into matter on the one
hand and spirit assimilating matter on the other; the former
being called activity and the latter silence, or construction
and destruction, or life and death. When one realizes that
the source of both spirit and matter is life, then one will
see that there is no such thing as death; but this one can
only recognize when knows the distinction between the life
which may be called the source and the life which is momentary,
the life which matter shows by absorbing spirit.
Vacuum or space consumes substance; and when substance
absorbs life from space, the space opens up within the substance.
For instance, trees and plants absorb more from space than
do rocks, and animals absorb still more from space than
do trees and plants. Man absorbs the most spirit from space,
and therefore man represents both matter and spirit in himself.
What is absorbed from space has the effect upon that
which absorbs it of opening it up and of forming a vacuum.
That is why the stone, which has very little vacuum in it,
appears to be lifeless. Plant life shows some sign of life
because it absorbs more from space. In the atoms of a plant
life there is an opening, for by absorbing all that it can
absorb from space the plant opens with in itself space to
accommodate also the spirit that it absorbs. We see further
development of the same phenomenon in animal life, which,
through breathing, absorbs more of the spirit which is in
space and therefore becomes more intelligent. This shows
that although intelligence manifests through living beings,
yet it is absorbed from space. We only know intelligence
as something that belongs to man, to the mind or to the
heart; but whence is intelligence attracted? It is attracted
from space. We recognize intelligence in its manifestation
but we do not know it in its essence. In its essence it
is all-pervading, and that is why philosophically minded
people have called God omniscient.
All that is constructed is subject to destruction; all
that is composed must be decomposed; all that is formed
must be destroyed; that which has birth has death. But all
this belongs to matter; the spirit which is absorbed by
this formation of matter or by its mechanism lives, for
spirit cannot die. What we call life is an absorption of
spirit from matter. As long as the matter is strong and
energetic enough to absorb life or spirit from space, it
continues to live and move and to be in good condition.
When it has lost it grip on the spirit, when it cannot absorb
the spirit as it ought to, then it cannot live, for the
substance of matter is spirit.
The Bible says,' It is the spirit that qickeneth, the
flesh profiteth nothing'. But, one will say, 'does not dense
matter depend for its maintenance upon dense food?' Yes,
but at the same time the appetite is not satisfied by eating
stones. Man eats vegetables or animal food because he not
only gets a substance from it, but also the spirit that
it has absorbed. In other words, even in eating dense food
one is absorbing spirit from space.
Some people will call spirit energy, or a scientist the
name of some form or force, but it is never called a person
or a being. Then what is it that makes us call God spirit,
or why do we call that which is really spirit God? If it
is the very same spirit that we breathe from space that
makes man an intelligent being, capable of thinking and
feeling, the same spirit that gives him the power of perception
and conception and develops in him that feeling which one
calls ego, 'I'. If this is phenomenon that the spirit shows
by being absorbed by the material body, how much more capable
of perception and conception, of thought and feeling, must
the spirit be in itself! Only because we are limited, by
our physical frame, we are not able to experience fully
its perfect life and its perfect personality.
Where there is a hole this hole has a tendency to become
larger, and where there is a little substance that substance
has a tendency to increase. This shows the tendency of spirit
and matter, the continual conflict that exists between spirit
and matter. On the part of matter there is always the tendency
to absorb, on the part of spirit there is always the tendency
to assimilate. Mortality, therefore, belongs to substance
not to spirit; immortality belongs to spirit.
What is it that makes man spiritual? Spirit-consciousness.
If a person is not conscious of what he absorbs, he is not
conscious of that which makes him more then the dense part
of his being. It is not the dense substance that forms his
body that makes him capable of thinking, that gives him
the faculty of feeling, of experiencing, of knowing; it
is spirit which this dense substance has absorbed. And if
one asks whether this spirit which belongs to man, which
may be called an individual spirit, is to be found within
or without, the answer is: that man himself is the individual
spirit. The body is something, which the spirit has taken
for its use. Therefore just as man is dependent on his vehicle,
which one calls the body, for experiencing the outer life,
to the same extent or even more is he independent of the
outer body in order to exist forever.
The dependence of man and the independence of man depends
upon that which he wishes to experience. If he wishes to
experience the dense earth, he depends upon the dense body.
If he wishes to experience the life of the spirit, he need
not depend upon anything. The spirit is living; the spirit
is life itself; it only depends upon matter for its experience
and not for its life. The spirit itself is life, though
a life which different from the life we generally recognize
as such. What we call living is the matter which has absorbed
spirit; and what we call life is that which is moving and
acting through that which we call spirit. In reality life
is that which matter has absorbed; life passes away from
matter and yet remains; life cannot be destroyed. It is
in the understanding of this that lies the secret of immortality.