It is not possible for man, God's image and likeness, to lose his individuality, to lose that which gives character to his identity. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, " Mary Baker Eddy declares (p. 550), "God is the Life, or intelligence, which forms and preserves the individuality and identity of animals as well as of men."
The individuality of man is the reflection of the infinite individuality of God. Hence it is perfect and complete. Nothing can be added to man's individuality, and nothing can be taken from it. We are able to demonstrate this basic truth in human experience to the degree that we understand it.
Our true individuality does not come into being at birth, nor is it taken from us as our earthly years pass by. The true quality of our individual nature imbues our being throughout eternity. Our individuality is ever unfolding in Mind. This truth constitutes the law of correction to the belief that individuality is mortal or material, and as such is good or bad, and that it varies or is even lost according to the false edicts of personal sense. As man can never be less than himself, so his individuality can never slip or be taken away from his being.
Speaking of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy says (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 22), "It absolutely refutes the amalgamation, transmigration, absorption, or annihilation of individuality."
In human experience, attacks are often made on individuality. There may even be a belief that one's individual nature has been lost or almost lost through the superior control of another person or under the influence of some governmental force. But it matters not one iota what mortal sense claims about ones nature and character; even if one were physically imprisoned, his true, individual capacity cannot be throttled or destroyed. Individuality requires expression, and that expression is essentially spiritual.
Joseph, while he was a prisoner in Egypt, expressed or demonstrated the nature of his true individuality. His wisdom and love gave him a position of trust even while he was incarcerated. And his individual capacity to discern thought and to sense the needs of the future took him right from the prison to a position of high authority in the land.
In Genesis (41:39, 40) we read that Pharaoh said to Joseph after he had revealed Pharaoh's dream, "Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou."
Christ Jesus constantly expressed his individuality as God's beloved Son. When the senses said there was sickness present, he healed it through the Christly capacity which he derived from God. When the senses affirmed danger to be at hand, he overcame it through the use of the divine law of protection. When hatred essayed to blot out the truth through the destruction of his individual nature, he submitted that he might demonstrate eternality.
Man's individual being cannot be destroyed. But this truth needs to be recognized and demonstrated through prayer as taught in Christian Science.
Prayer is the constant holding of thought in communion with God, good. The closer we hold our thoughts and lives in harmony with divine Truth and Love, the more our true individuality will be demonstrated in human experience. When we love our neighbor, our true individual nature is being evidenced. When we wisely express ourselves or conduct ourselves in harmony with divine Mind's directing, our nature as God's idea is being illustrated.
Every good quality we express is an evidence of our genuine nature and character. In the expression of our individuality we are beautifully different from all others. In the strictly spiritual sense, each of God's ideas has a purpose beyond anything that the personal senses can discern.
The more of genuine good we express in day-to-day activities, the more our real individuality is evidenced. Through spiritual sense we can, in a measure, envision perfection when all that bars or detracts from our individuality shall have parsed from our lives and we awaken fully conscious of our completeness as God's ideas.
Now how shall one put the truth into practice in everyday life? By loving more, by increasing one's wisdom. It requires earnest study and prayer, and also a watchfulness of thought, to eradicate traits which are not consistent with perfect individuality. If one tends to express a bad temper, he is denying his true individuality. To the degree that he expresses this thought and other unlovely thoughts, inwardly or outwardly, he has attacked his own individuality. He has to that extent lost control of himself or lost the consciousness of what, in truth, he is.
Likewise, a belief in the reality of sickness or sin is in a degree an attack on one's true individuality. Every error must eventually be cast out of thought and action by the operation of the Christ-principle, the power of God, in order that one may fully enjoy his true individuality. One must firmly declare that he is the perfect child of God and act consistently with his declarations.
Mrs. Eddy says in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 103), "In Science, form and individuality are never lost, thoughts are outlined, individualized ideas, which dwell forever in the divine Mind as tangible, true substance, because eternally conscious."
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