As a minister in a New Thought teaching (Science of Mind / Religious Science) I’m constantly hearing people make reference to the idea that there are two different “versions” of themselves. There are multiple variations of the idea too but there is always a “better” one than the other. It may be the Divine, God or even “Higher” self on one hand and the Conditioned, Human or Emotional self on the other. No matter how you slice it… you’ve sliced it.
The problem to me is that this concept seems completely inconsistent with one of, if not THE most important principle of all New Thought teachings. The Oneness Principle. God, Spirit, The Universe (or again… whatever you want to call it) is all there is and each of us is one in it and an expression of it. We are whole because we are the living expression of this one. So… why would there be two of us?
I can see why some folks might like this concept. When we have it in our heads that we can be whoever we want and then don’t live up to our own standards it can be… tough. It’s not easy to admit when we fail to match our every thought and action with the version of ourselves that we desire to be all the time. The problem I see here is a simple one though. If we create a part of ourselves that is the good part then we’ve left a space for us to have a bad part too.
This is very convenient for us when we make a mistake or fail to rise to our desired potential because, “Hey, that was just my human self that treated that person unkind. Not my TRUE self!” That might make us feel better in the moment but where’s the accountability? It takes real discipline to understand that mistake happens and then to be willing to make up for it. The graceful practitioner might say, “Wow. I wasn’t very kind to that person. I should do something to make up for the way I failed to meet my own desired potential.”
After all, how genuine is our desire to fully live up to our own understanding if it’s not fully embodied? Having an intellectual understanding alone doesn’t mean we’ve suddenly embodied our potential. The “idea” that we have discovered our own divinity is a powerful one indeed… but when was the last time that knowing or seeing your potential was in fact the actualization of that potential?
I can see that I have the potential to be a phenomenal minister. However, when I find my thoughts being judgmental or dismissive then I’m hardly “walking the walk” am I? Just because I know I have the potential to be an amazing spiritual leader does not assume that I am one right now. Unless my thoughts and actions are also in perfect alignment with that idea then that idea is one that I am still working to fully realize and practice. While I would like to say I’ve embodied the minister I see in myself 100%… I’m actually a work in progress. And maybe that’s the key.
Being a successful practitioner of Religious Science is not about knowing or understanding how these spiritual principles work. It’s about doing the work of practically applying them to our lives and to do so unceasingly until they penetrate every aspect of our being. Until the idea of acting, thinking, speaking or being any other way feels completely foreign to us. We are better served to recognize we are one self; whole and complete unto ourselves.
There is no better or worse version of ourselves… only who we actually are. To see things we want to change is OK. It doesn’t mean we’re going from worse to better it just means we’re choosing to be more deliberate about the person we want to be. The more we actually hold ourselves accountable by not letting anything outside of our desired self be acceptable, and to do it with grace and love, the sooner that potential is realized.
So stop sorting yourself into bins and thinking that there’s a place for the things you like and the things you don’t like. The Law is already manifesting exactly who you are according to your own belief. So if you see something you don’t like, don’t stuff it in a bin of acceptance. Take the time to deliberately make a choice that feels good. This is the work of our teaching. Simple… not easy.