|Have you ever wondered about God? Pondered about your personal relationship to Him? Have you ever wondered who you are? The following questions and answers with author Elizabeth Clare Prophet offer thoughtful insights into these questions. The material is excerpted from chapter two “Your Divine Blueprint” of Inner Perspectives: a Guidebook for the Spiritual Journey, published in 2003 by Summit University Press. Reflections by young adults about these questions are included after each answer. We hope you take the time to ponder these questions for yourself.|
What is the Inner Self?
A: The Inner Self has been revealed in many forms to those who have sought it. And the forms that the Self has taken have determined the course of the world’s major religions.
Gautama discovered that Self to be the Buddha. Jesus discovered that Self to be the Christ. But Moses began with the inner realization of what, for me, is the cause behind the effect–the real Source.
When God appeared to Moses out of the bush that burned but was not consumed and gave him his commission to go and speak to the people of Israel and to rescue them from Egyptian bondage, Moses asked the voice that spoke to him, “Who shall I say sent me?” And the voice of God spoke and gave the identification that has been for time immemorial the source of light to his people. God said, “Tell the children of Israel that I AM hath sent you unto them.” And he gave his name as I AM THAT I AM.
This was the declaration of being, and upon that declaration of being was the mission of Moses. It was power. It was energy. It was consciousness. It was self-awareness. And the L ord said, “And this shall be my name forevermore.”
This name of God is not simply a name, but it is a word that comes out of that Word by which all things were made. When we say the name I AM THAT I AM we are confirming that the same God who spoke to Moses stands where we stand.
I think that this is the very beginning of the science of the splitting of the atom, the releasing of the energies of the nucleus of life. And it is also the beginning of the opening of the Inner Self of man and woman.
Q: Everybody says “I am” many times a day. So are you saying that they’re actually naming God when they say “I am”?
A: The verb to be is the first statement of being, and as God is First Cause, he is Being. Some schools of metaphysics and teachings such as Unity have taught, as has Norman Vincent Peale, that what we affirm in a positive way we bring into our lives, and what we affirm negatively we also bring into our lives.
Some have evolved positive affirmations beginning with “I am”: “I am well.” “I am happy.” “I am whole.” And they have cautioned us not to say “I am sick” or “I am tired” or “I am unhealthy.” And we find that these affirmations work, not only because of the power of positive thinking but because the very name I AM itself releases the energy of God.
This teaching puts a lot of power into our hands. We can affirm who we really are and the qualities we want in our life, every day! L.M. age 18
Q: Is the element of ego involved in this? I think to many people it appears that when one says “I am,” one is asserting one’s ego.
A: It is the Divine Ego of us all who declares within us, “I AM.” We can choose to be that I AM. We can choose to be one with that Divine Ego or we can rebel against it and say, “Well, I’m going to be what I want to be.” We can affirm a separate identity from that inner I AM, and we can affirm it so long that we eventually lose contact with the inner Divine Ego and we live the life of the human ego.
Q: You have mentioned the teachings of Buddha. Where is the teaching of the I AM found in Eastern religions?
A: In the East the corollary to the I AM THAT I AM is the Om, which is spelled Om or Aum. The object of religion and of devotion in the East is to go within, to go into samadhi, to go into nirvana. And the going within to the source of energy is reflected in the way of life. For instance, in India, where religion is of major import, the outer conditions of many reflect poverty but the people have a rich inner life.
In the West the goal of contact with God is to go within and draw forth the inner flame for the mastery of the matter plane. And we find that mastery being expressed in our environment.
One of the mantras used in the East to go within is the Om. In the West, God has given us the word Om as I AM THAT I AM. When it is repeated as a mantra, “I AM THAT I AM, I AM THAT I AM . . . “it has the effect of drawing forth energy to meet every challenge of our life.
Q: Can one use it in a broader sense? Is there more that one can do with it other than simply affirming that I AM?
A: Jesus said, “I AM the way, the truth and the life” and “I AM the resurrection and the life.” He actually gave many affirmations that have been recorded in scripture, and he gave many more to his disciples that were not recorded. He taught them what we call the science of the spoken Word. That science begins with God and it ends with God, and it places man in the middle as the one who is the instrument for God becoming God.