From Addresses by Martha Wilcox
It was not until Mary Baker Eddy gave us “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” that we were able to understand the statement, “I AM THAT I AM.” The unillumined thought has no apprehension of the I or Ego, other than the personal I.
Mrs. Eddy uses the term “I AM” as a synonym for God, and defines I AM as, “God; incorporeal and eternal Mind; divine Principle; the only Ego.” (S&H 588:20) She says God is “the forever I AM, and All, than which there is naught else.” (’02 7:15) She says, God is “the ever-present I AM, filling all space.” (Rud. 3:27)
When we fully understand the term I AM, it does away with our belief of God as a person, and it takes away our belief in a personal-I self. We often hear such expressions as “I am ill,” or “I am tired,” or “I am poor,” or “I am afraid,” all from the personal-I standpoint.
The one eternal I AM, governing all existence, forever excludes the possibility of there being a personal-I self, and it excludes all sin and suffering and death, which results from the belief in a personal-I self. Jesus beheld “the perfect man;” that is, within his own consciousness he beheld an individual expression of God, the great I AM. But those who accompanied Jesus beheld within their consciousness this expression of the great I AM in reversion. They saw the perfect man as personal, and as entirely separate and apart from God.
We are so prone to think of ourselves and others as good, personal, human beings, or as good spiritually minded personalities, who are trying to find the light of
Truth. And while this is a commendable concept, it is a limited human concept.
When correctly understood, we stand for something far greater than just good human beings or good personalities. In our actuality, we are radiant spiritual characters making up the Christ. The I AM is self-revealing, and is forever revealed to Himself as all individual men and women, the Christ. When correctly estimated, each one of us is the revealed Christ.
Where is our true vision? Of what avail is it for us to declare and affirm that God, the great I AM, is the only power, the only Life, the one Presence, the one infinite Being, if we go right on seeing and believing that we ourselves, and every man and woman is a personality, each with a life of his own, who thinks and acts according to a will of his own? Where is our true vision?
“I am this,” “I am that,” “I do this,” “I do that,” “I think this,” “I think that,” is our thought and is on our lips many, many times each day, and always from a personal-I standpoint. But divine Science and our own good vision both indicate that we are I AM in manifestation. The belief that we are a personal I is the fundamental evil, and this false I is to be seen and dealt with as a deflection of the one and only I, the great I AM.
As Christian Scientists, we should yield this sense of personality and claim the real I AM THAT I AM as the ALL and ONLY. All the troubles of the human race are traced directly or indirectly to a false material sense of the one divine I AM. And it is by acknowledging and accepting the one divine I AM as the only I, that we learn to surrender our false beliefs of sin, sickness, lack, and death, which are all incidental to the so-called personal I.
In all her writings Mrs. Eddy has taken particular pains to make clear and definite that the only I AM is never expressed by the finite, material, mortal, or personal. The I AM THAT I AM does not mean the mortal and material, it does not mean personal perfection, it does not mean anything that is limited or finite. The great I AM of all Being is not restricted, neither is it restrictive. I AM does not know fear, and knowing no fear is to be infinitely individual and infinitely universal.
At this very instant, if we were conscious of ourselves as the I AM THAT I AM, what would we be thinking? As the conscious identity or manifestation of I AM, we would be thinking, and our thinking would be our being it, we would be thinking, I AM infinite, eternal Mind, immaculate, immortal. I exist in and of myself. I forever know my own ideas. I know ALL. I am harmonious, joyful, free.
I AM THAT I AM understood, means the one Intelligence, the intelligence that we are now; the one Being, the being that we are now; the one Life, the life we are now; the one divine Principle from which we are never diverted nor subverted.
Right where we think, right where we dwell, right where our consciousness says “I,” right there is I AM THAT I AM. What the personal sense seems to know humanly is not we personally knowing something apart from the divine Mind. It is divine Mind, the only I AM, consciously being HIMSELF as real man. It is never we, as person, who says “God is the only Power, the only Life, the only Presence.” It is always the I AM, and never the personal I that declares Power, and Life, and Presence and declares being it.
This event that is taking place here today, our Association, is a legitimate event, and whatever is true about this event is God, the I AM, being it. If we take a drive this evening, or go to our business next Monday morning, there is no other I than the great I AM being these events. The truth or fact to these events, and to all events, is the I AM THAT I AM.
The divine I AM finds expression in everything that He thinks; He finds expression in all that He knows and does; the divine I AM is the basis of all true action and achievement. There is but one I AM, and this I AM speaks and it is done. When we clearly understand that the only I AM is God, and that we are the evidence or conscious identity of this self-existent God, and when we understand that there has never been a time when this self-existent I AM could get along without what He is, what is man, then we are not afraid to say I AM.
We know that the only thing that is saying I AM is our own infinite, divine Mind. It is our own infinite Consciousness that is saying I AM, and not we personally. When we say I AM, we are really finding our own divine actuality.
Man, the man we are right now, is the evidence or conscious identity of this great I AM. I AM (meaning God) and THAT I AM (meaning man) is in unity, in oneness. We are the expression, the manifestation, the conscious identity of the I AM, God. I AM INFINITY, is man in effect as infinity.
I AM is the only Mind; knowing all. And in the measure that we, the manifestation of the all-knowing Mind, show forth scientific thinking, without selfishness, without greed, without fear, without doubt, without any sense of will or domination, just the knowing, the consciousness, that the divine Mind is being our Mind, the Mind of man, in the measure that we do that, is the divine Mind, the I AM, being the all-knowing, the reflecting BEING.
It is this I AM THAT I AM that heals the sick and the sinner, that reduces every difficulty in our business or daily affairs to its nothingness and brings success and achievement. The term I AM is a most important expression in the unfoldment of Christian Science to the individual consciousness. Without it we are apt to think of God or the “I” as being afar off, when right here is the place that the “I” possesseth. A great sense of freedom and dominion comes to us when we realize that the I AM, being, expressing Himself, is our individual self.
I AM THAT I AM, we should say it, and think it, and be it, all the time. We should say and know I AM THAT I AM from the standpoint of the one divine Mind as being ALL. It is most unscientific to say it from the standpoint of the personal I, and to make the scientific statement, I AM THAT I AM, to the unprepared thought, is not the way of wisdom.
Moses was appointed to deliver the children of Israel from bondage, that is, from all mental darkness, doubt, and fear. Moses demurred, saying, “Who am I that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt.” Moses sensed that it would take a greater power than he, as a personal I, to do this mighty task. Then God or true Consciousness said to Moses, “I AM THAT I AM.” In this tremendous statement of absolute supremacy, Moses recognized that it is the ever-present I AM, the Christ within, and not a personal I that delivers mankind from all material bondage.
To affirm from the personal standpoint, that I am sick, I am afraid, I am discouraged, I am tired, I am angry, I am poor, or any other erroneous assertions that we are so prone to make regarding our personal-I self, is merely forging another link in our chain of bondage. Our business is to be this truth as ourselves; to be the limitless good; the opportunity; the ability; the possessions; the capacity that God, the great I AM, is expressing as His manifestation, man. Our heritage is dominion, and perfection, and power, because the scientific fact is that now are we the conscious identity of the great I AM.
Mrs. Eddy has beautifully portrayed the limitless horizon of our individual being as the reflection of Spirit, the great I AM. We read: “I am Spirit. Man, whose senses are spiritual, is my likeness. He reflects the infinite understanding, for I am Infinity. The beauty of holiness, the perfection of being, imperishable glory, — all are Mine, for I am God. I give immortality to man, for I am Truth. I include and impart all bliss, for I am Love. I give Life, without beginning and without end, for I am Life. I am supreme and give all, for I am Mind. I am the substance of all, because I AM THAT I AM.” (S&H 252:32-8)
(From notebook of Mrs. Wilcox as continuation of the article “I AM.”)
All there is to what constitutes me humanly, is now reality, is now Deity, is now the I AM Himself being these formations as divine ideas. They are never matter and there is no disconnection of the so-called human sight from the I AM or Deity which is the all-seeing Mind.
God is my Mind, my own mind is God. The mind that I have right now is God. My own Mind is the only God I shall ever have or know. I never go farther than my own mind to find God, or to find all good. What God, my own mind is, as thoughts and ideas, as intelligence or consciousness, or as experience, is the only man I shall ever be.
Do I understand that every good thing, every useful thing, everything natural to my human existence, is God, my own mind being it right here? These things are not material things; they are forms of thought or divine ideas, which appear to me humanly as material things. They appear to me humanly as material things because of the fog of sense or because they are seen through a glass darkly.
Do you understand that you, as an individual manifestation of God or Mind, do not originate your thoughts, ideas or intelligence? Do you understand that you are all the thoughts, ideas and intelligence that God or Mind is being? God is the substance, wholeness, and action of you. The so-called human being is the one Soul and body, the divine Being, appearing by degrees through the mists of material sense. What appears to be a human being, when correctly understood, is the Son of God, divine in being and divine in all its qualities and attributes.
Any member of our present body or any function of our body is the divine Mind’s expressed activity, and therefore is always perfect and harmonious. Body regarded as matter, is instead spiritual and the only body. When once we estimate the so-called human body, as being the divine and only body, then our body ceases to be human to us, and, like Jesus, we prove it to be divine and spiritual. Jesus’ body seemed to others to be material, but to Jesus his present body was spiritual, else he could not have passed through the closed doors.
“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.” The most important thing about this statement is “Divine Love.” When Divine Love is as present in our human consciousness as the need seems to be, there will be no need, all will be Divine Love.
Neither you nor I are living Life, but conscious Life is living you and me eternally.
Living conscious Truth is the living active substance of everything.
Be Truth itself.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Read S&H 147) At the end of the days I lifted up mine eyes to heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored Him that liveth forever.