The Physical and Spiritual Self
Lesson Objective: Understand the components and functions of our spiritual self in relationship to our physical self.
Divine Principle Reading:
The physical self consists of the dual characteristics of the physical mind (subject partner) and the physical body (object partner). The physical mind directs the physical body to maintain the functions necessary for its survival, protection and reproduction.
Our spirit self, or spirit, is a substantial yet incorporeal reality which can be apprehended only through the spiritual senses. It is the subject partner to our physical self. Our spirit can communicate directly with God and is meant to govern the incorporeal world, including the angels. In appearance our spirit self matches our physical self. After we shed the physical self, we enter the spirit world and live there for eternity. The reason we desire an eternal life is because our innermost self is the spirit self which has an eternal nature. Our spirit self consists of the dual characteristics of spirit mind (subject partner) and spirit body (object partner). The spirit mind is the center of the spirit self, and it is where God dwells.
- The physical self is made of the physical mind (subject partner) and physical body (object partner). Likewise, our spirit self is made up by the spirit mind (subject partner) and spirit body (object partner).
- The spirit self is the subject partner to the physical self.
- Our spirit self matches the appearances of our physical self.
- When we pass away, we shed our physical body and live eternally in the spirit world with our spiritual body.
2. Read this excerpt from the book Life in the World Unseen about the spirit mind. This book is written by Anthony Borgia who communicates with Edward Benson in the spirit world to address the realities of the spirit world:
I have said that my mind was alert. That is an understatement. I discovered that my mind was a veritable storehouse of facts concerning my earthly life. Every act I had performed, and every word that I had uttered, every impression I had received; every fact that I had read about, and every incident I had witnessed, all these, I found, were indelibly registered in my subconscious mind. And that is common to every spirit person who has had an incarnate life.
It must not be supposed that we are continually haunted, as it were, by a wild phantasmagoria of miscellaneous thoughts and impressions. That would be a veritable nightmare. No. Our minds are like a complete biography of our earthly life, wherein is set down every little detail concerning ourselves, arranged in an orderly fashion, and omitting nothing. The book is closed, normally, but it is ever there, ready to hand, for us to turn to, and we merely recall the incidents as we wish. I am now speaking personally, and as it governs the folk with whom I live in this realm.
This encyclopedic memory, with which we are endowed, is not so difficult to understand when you pause to consider your own average earthly memory. You are not continuously bothered by the incidents of the whole of your life, but they are simply there for you to recall, when and where you wish, and they may arise out of the occasions of the moment. One incident will set a train of thought going in which the memory will have its share. Sometimes you cannot recall what is in your memory, but in the spirit world we can recall instantly, without any effort, and unfailingly. The subconscious mind never forgets, and consequently our own past deeds become a reproach to us, or otherwise, according to our earthly lives. The recordings upon the tablets of the real mind cannot be erased. They are there for all time, but they do not necessarily haunt us, because in those tablets are also set down the good actions, the kind actions, the kind thoughts, and everything of which we could justly be proud. And if they are written in larger and more ornate letters than those things we regret, we shall be so much the happier.
Of course, when we are in the spirit world our memories are persistently retentive. When we follow a course of study in any subject whatsoever, we shall find that we learn easily and quickly because we are freed from the limitations that the physical body imposes upon the mind. If we are acquiring knowledge we shall retain that knowledge without fail. If we are following some pursuit where dexterity of the hands is required, we shall find that our spirit bodies respond to the impulses of our minds immediately and exactly. To learn to paint a picture, or to play upon a musical instrument, to mention two familiar mundane activities, are tasks which can be performed in a fraction of the time that they would take when we are incarnate. In learning to lay out a spirit garden, for example, or to build a house, we shall find that the requisite knowledge is gained with equal ease and speed—in so far as our intelligence will allow; for we are not all endowed with keen intellects the moment we shake off the physical body. If that were the case, these realms would be inhabited by supermen and superwomen, and we are very far from that ! But our intelligence can be increased; that is part of our progression, for progression is not only of a spiritual nature. Our minds have unlimited resources for intellectual expansion and improvement, however backward we may be when we come into the spirit world. And our intellectual progression will advance surely and steadily, according to our wish for it to do so, under the learned and able masters of all branches of knowledge and learning. And throughout our studies we shall be assisted by our unfailingly retentive memories. There will be no forgetting.
- What is a moment in your life that would be written in larger font on the tablets of your life in spirit world?
- What field or practice would you like to learn about or try in the spirit world?
4. Read this excerpt from the book Life in the World Unseen about the spirit body:
Now to come to the spirit body itself. The spirit body is, broadly speaking, the counterpart of our earthly bodies. When we come into the spirit world we are recognizably ourselves. But we leave behind us all our physical disabilities. We have our full complement of limbs, our sight and our hearing; in fact, all our senses are fully functioning. Indeed, the five senses, as we know them upon earth, become many degrees more acute when we are discarnate. Any supernormal or subnormal conditions of the physical body, such as excessive stoutness or leanness, vanish when we arrive in these realms, and we appear as we should have appeared on earth had not a variety of earthly reasons caused us to be otherwise.
There is a stage in our lives on earth which we know as the prime of life. It is towards this that we all move. Those of us who are old or elderly when we pass into spirit will return to our prime-of-life period. Others who are young will advance towards that period. And we all preserve our natural characteristics— they never leave us. But we find that many minor physical features that we can profitably dispense with, we shake off with our earthly bodies certain irregularities of the body with which, perhaps, we have been born, or that have come upon us during the course of the years. How many of us, are there, I wonder, when we are incarnate, who could not think of some small improvement that we should like to make in our physical bodies, were it at all possible ? Not many ! I have told you how the trees in these realms grow in a state of perfection—upright and clean-looking and well-formed, because they have no storms of wind to bend and twist the young branches into malformations. The spirit body is subject to just the same law here in spirit. The storms of life can twist the physical body, and if that life has been spiritually ugly the spirit body will be similarly twisted. But if the earth life has been spiritually sound, the spirit body will be correspondingly sound. There is many a fine soul inhabiting a crooked earthly body. There is many a bad soul inhabiting a well-formed earthly body. The spirit world reveals the truth for all to see.
How does the spirit appear anatomically, you will ask ? Anatomically, just exactly the same as does yours. We have muscles, we have bones, we have sinews, but they are not of the earth; they are purely of spirit. We suffer from no ailments— that would be impossible in the spirit world. Therefore our bodies do not require constant looking after to maintain a state of good health. Here our health is always perfect, because we have such a vibrational rate that disease, and the germs that cause it, cannot enter. Malnutrition, in the sense that you know it, cannot exist here, but spiritual malnutrition—that is, of the soul—does most certainly exist. A visit to the dark realms and their neighborhood will soon reveal that !
Does it seem strange that a spirit body should possess finger nails and hair ? How would you have us to be ? Not different from yourselves in this respect, surely ? Would we not be something of a revolting spectacle without our usual anatomical features and characteristics ? This seems an elementary statement, but it is sometimes necessary and expedient to voice the elementary.
- What age do you think is the prime of life and why do you think God would want us to live eternally in the prime of our life?
- What physical limitation would you look forward to living without?
Concluding Point: It can be hard to imagine the spirit world and our spirit self because we can’t see them with our physical eyes. But through our study of Divine Principle we realize that God designed the spirit self and spirit world so that our eternal life would be fulfilling and meaningful.
Divine Principle Reading:
The conscience is that faculty of the human which, by virtue of its inborn nature, always directs us toward what we think is good. However, due to the Fall, human beings have become ignorant of God and thus ignorant of the absolute standard of goodness. A person’s conscience directs him to pursue goodness according to the standard which he has set up in ignorance, even though it may differ from the original standard. As the standard of goodness varies, the standard of our conscience also fluctuates; this causes frequent contention even among those who advocate a conscientious life.
The original mind is that faculty of the human mind which pursues absolute goodness. It relates to the conscience as internal nature to external form. A person’s conscience directs him to pursue goodness according to the standard which he has set up in ignorance, even though it may differ from the original standard. However, the original mind, being sensitive to the proper direction, repels this faulty standard and works to correct the conscience.
- The conscience is directs us towards goodness based on our personal opinions and environment.
- The original mind directs us towards goodness based on an absolute standard set by God; the original mind is unwavering.
- They are both important faculties that help us pursue goodness, but when met with confusion, we should seek the guidance of our original mind. The original mind is the subject partner to the conscience.
2. Watch this video clip from Disney’s Pinocchio about the conscience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bDZ_iKKlk0
3. Discuss: What are some examples that we can think of in which someone thought they were doing the right thing, but in actuality it was wrong? Here are some possibilities:
- Followers of Hitler: Through education and media the people who followed Hitler believed that what they were doing was right. They weren’t able to see the evil in their movement because they were following their conscience which was impacted by their social environment.
- Video of Hitler speaking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFNUdCtMXWE
- Milgram Experiment: This scientific experiment showed the difficulty in following your conscience or your original mind. The people participating in this experiment had to decide to follow the instructions of the experimenter even though it seemed their actions were causing harm to another, or to quit the experiment. They had to decide to follow their instructor (conscience) or their original mind.
- Milgram Experiment Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOYLCy5PVgM
4. Choose one of the following hot topics in today’s society. Discuss them from the viewpoint of the conscience which is shaped by our society in comparison to the original mind which is absolute. Some of these can be very touchy subjects, so choose the one that you feel most comfortable talking about. Feel free to choose a different topic that may be more pertinent to your youth. In all of these issues it’s important to encourage your youth to treat other people with love and respect even if you may disagree with their life choices because that’s how God feels about each of us.
- Gay marriage
- Free sex
5. Explain: Because it can be difficult to know whether to follow your conscience or original mind in confusing situations, we need to find ways to strengthen our original mind so we can hear it’s guidance clearly. One of the best ways to do that is to focus on God’s word. If we don’t feed our original mind in this way on a regular basis it will become weak and sick, just like if we don’t feed our physical body. True Parents have asked us to do Hon Dok Hwe every day so that our original mind could be strong and clear during confusing times. Sometimes it’s hard to do it every day, but we do the best we can.
6. Try this fun and simple way to do Hon Dok Hwe:
- Bring the Cheon Seong Gyeong to this lesson.
- Ask one person to say a quick short prayer in their head about which section of the Hon Dok Hwe book they should read.
- Have them randomly flip to a page in the book and read a short section.
- Ask them to summarize the section they read and its impact on them.
- Have everyone take turns doing this and close in prayer together.
Concluding Point: In our society it can be difficult to balancing loving others and having an absolute standard. Many times it can be difficult to determine what is wrong and what is right. That’s because our conscience is impacted by our personal views that that of others. To help ourselves combat this difficulty, we need to strengthen our original mind by having give and take with God’s word as regularly as possible.