Lesson 3: Ideals
Jesus the Christ
First, know thine own ideal – spiritual, mental and material; not as to what ye would have others do, but what ye would do for others. (2331-1)
… the pattern given in Jesus the Christ, the man who became the Christ; as each entity, each soul is desired of God, that it become such that it may be companionable. (2072-15)
In Jesus we have the way, in Him we have the example, and in Him we have all the attributes of the Ideal manifested. His teachings and life of service to His fellow human beings show us the way we too must tread in attaining the height He reached. (A Search For God, Book I)
Although you may work with various spiritual ideals over time, the Cayce readings strongly encourage a spiritual ideal based on an awareness of the relationship we had with God when we were created. The readings describe this ideal relationship as knowing our self to be our self, yet one with the Whole that is God. The readings use several terms to identify this ideal state of being, including "Christ Consciousness."
The man Jesus achieved Christ consciousness and provides a model of what it means in terms of flesh and blood living in this material world. As Jesus became Christ, just so we each may become Christ if we follow his example to become full companions and co-creators with our Source.
Application: Consider using Jesus as a spiritual ideal. If you make that choice, use your daily prayer and mediation to reflect upon how you will manifest that spiritual ideal in your thoughts (mental ideals) and actions (physical ideals) as you go about your daily activities. In other words, in the various situations in which you find yourself in the midst of life, ask yourself what would Jesus think? (mental ideal) What would Jesus Do? (physical ideal). In that way your thoughts and actions are harmonious and consistent with your spiritual ideal. Thus spiritual, mental, and physical – they are one as you become more Christ-like through daily application of your spiritual ideal.
The Ideals Exercise
What is manifested in the material affairs or activities of the entity is first perceived or conceived in the spiritual imports of the entity. These are cultivated or entertained in the mental and thus physical results are evidenced. Thus it behooves the entity, in its analyzing of self and in its preparation, to apply that within its experience as to be a better channel for that the entity would entertain as an ideal, that it knows first within self as its ideal – spiritually; not merely that the entity may think, but set it down in black and white. (3198-3)
So in interpreting the experiences of the entity in all of its phases, study to show self approved unto God or unto thy ideal. This is saying, then, choose an ideal in spiritual aspects of your life; not merely saying as ye read the tenets of this group or organization "These are good – I accept these," No! Those are the tenets of others. Read thyself. Set not only in mind but on paper what the entity believes. (3409-1)
Many Cayce readings endorse an "Ideals Exercise" as a powerful tool for working with ideals. The Ideals Exercise can be regarded as a blueprint or pattern for creating the ideal life. The exercise does require some deep thought and reflection but does offer some important benefits for anyone willing to invest the effort:
1) The exercise will help you to analyze yourself and your life (i.e., Know Thyself);
2) The exercise is thorough so that you will be sure to include all areas of your life in the process (including relationships and daily activities such as work and play);
3) The exercise allows for flexibility in choosing your ideals and using your will creatively;
4) By writing your ideals down (on paper or digitally), you bring them closer to physical manifestation in your life, making them more real in that sense (i.e., Spirit is the life, MInd is the builder, Physical is the result);
5) As a conscious process, the exercise will help you to be clear and specific about what you believe.
Here are the basics for doing the Ideals Exercise: Take a piece of paper and draw three columns. Label the first column “Spiritual Ideal”; the second “Mental Ideals”; the third “Physical Ideals.”
The spiritual ideal will change over time as you grow and develop. The readings even recommended using a pencil with an eraser with this in mind. To begin, choose a spiritual ideal that embodies the highest quality or motivation that you can imagine. This can be a word or expression such as “love” or “cooperation” or a person such as Jesus, Buddha, etc. The choice of spiritual ideal is up to you. Write your spiritual ideal in the first column.
In the second column under “Mental Ideals” write the mental attitudes that are consistent with your spiritual ideal in the various areas of your life: At home, at work, at play, etc.
In the third column (“Physical Ideals”) write the activities and behaviors that follow from your spiritual and mental ideals in each of the areas of your life.
Application: Do the ideals exercise. Write it down on paper. Choose a spiritual ideal, and then identify the mental attitudes and physical behaviors that exemplify that spiritual ideal. Thus you will bring the mental and physical aspects of your life into harmony with the spiritual by applying the ideals exercise in your life.
Resources: Ideals and Oneness (Reply); The Ideals Exercise (Article) If you're serious about doing the exercise (or confused by the concept), be sure to read this article that contains many specific explanations and examples. Ideals and Ideas (reply)
The unexamined life is not worth living. (Socrates)
Our ideals are ever present; they are either consciously or unconsciously the bases for the motivating forces in our lives. (A Search For God, Book I)
Early environmental influences are unconsciously internalized by the child and become the basis for unconscious ideals. Thus unconscious ideals are usually core values inherited or internalized from family, parents, or social authorities. This happens to everyone. It serves a stabilizing function in society but can also make for rigidity and the continuance of injustice and destructive patterns.
To make progress as a soul, there needs to be the conscious use of the will to make choices. Individual choices and actions contribute in a collective effort to a world that is evolving at many levels. Family values (internalized core ideals) are not necessarily wrong or inappropriate, but are best if brought into awareness as part of a conscious, ideals-based decision making process.
Application: As part of your meditative practice, make an effort to identify ideals (spiritual, mental, or physical) that you have “inherited” from those in your family setting (or whatever environment that you experienced as a child). When you interact with family members, be aware of unconscious ideals that are communicated. If you are having problems identifying unconscious ideals within yourself, you can use the ideals exercise to identify the ideals of your parents or other people or institutions that are sources of unconscious ideals in your life. By bringing unconscious ideals into full awareness, you will be better able to make conscious choices with your will, and bring your life into spiritual attunement while making the world a better place for everyone.
Resource: Unconscious Ideals (Article)
From the physical, mental, and spiritual viewpoints our ideals are patterns by which we endeavor to shape our lives. (A Search For God, Book I)
For, the soul being a part or a shadow of the real spiritual self, it controls or rules the universe rather than being ruled by same. But, they that have entirely put on a consciousness are ruled by same. Hence, as each individual entity accepts and lives by this or that awareness, or consciousness, it gives power and spirit to same. Thus is each soul, each entity, a co-creator with that universal consciousness ye call God. (2246-1)
Know that no influence surpasses the WILL of the entity. Make that will, then, one with that which is the entity's ideal. (1089-3)
The ideals exercise provides a means for having a separate sense of self that uses the will to be a conscious co-creator with God. Remember that the universe was created to provide an opportunity for companionship and expression. Each soul is a god-in-the-making.
Working with ideals is a practical way for becoming more god-like in choice and deed. The challenge is to be a conscious, responsible co-creator. Look around at the world to see what humanity has collectively co-created.
Application: As you work with the ideals exercise, become more aware of yourself as a conscious co-creator in partnership with God. Take responsibility for what you co-create. Use your spiritual ideal as motivation and guidance as a co-creator with the divine.