All attempts to perpetuate the body must fail

Paul Brunton
Paul Brunton

The treatment of unpleasant realities by not including them in his picture of the world comforts but at the same time befools a man. None of the great prophets like Jesus and Buddha denied the existence of sickness, the reality of pain, or the significance of suffering in the cosmos. No – they acknowledged them as being inseparable from human life but pitied the victims and offered them an inward comfort which was based on truth and reality.

The animal part of us is doomed to oblivion, the spiritual part is ageless and deathless. The physical body belongs to the animal part. All attempts to perpetuate it must fail and arise from confusing the two levels of being, the transient and the eternal.
People ask why, if all is mind, if – as you say – our bodies are only ideas, can we not control regulate and improve our bodies by controlling regulating and improving our minds? Why not go further still, with Christian Science, and play with the possibility, not only of these achievements, but also of rendering the body immortal by thinking it so?
The answer is that nobody can deny the creative power of the mind. It may do all these things, except the last. That it will never do. Why? Because we live in a world whose fundamental law of being – as Buddha discovered and Jesus taught – is decay and death, change and transition.
Indeed, it was because they were so painfully aware of these truths that they sought and found the only true way of escape for man and that was into Nirvana, into the Kingdom of Heaven – not into the physical body again! No Christian Scientist from the first founder down to the latest follower has ever achieved physical immortality, nor ever will.
“Man will never tire of seeking immortality,” wrote Dr. Alexis Carrel, whose biological researches, yet mystical sympathies, entitle him to speak with high authority. “He will not attain it, because he is bound by certain laws of his organic constitution. . . . Never will he vanquish death. Death is the price he has to pay for his brain and his personality.”
Now as for the other things, the possibilities of spiritual healings of pathological conditions, miraculous mental cures of disease, and rapid acceleration of organic repairs through concentrated thinking, I repeat that we do not deny them. They have always existed, always been demonstrated.
The relation between psychological and physical processes must certainly exist if our doctrine is true. But there are two other factors at work in human life which must also be considered and must not be ignored. What are they? The first is the factor of destiny, self-earned in previous lives and now awaiting physical expression in the present life. It has something to say, whether we like it or not.
The second is the factor of renunciation. When you accept the doctrine that all is mind and each individual thing is but an ephemeral idea, you must perforce accept the doctrine that you as an individual, as the ego, are also an ephemeral idea. Now when you go further and declare that you want reality, you want to find eternal and not ephemeral life, you will have to abandon the fleeting idea for the eternal Mind in which it occurs: that is, you will have to sink the ego and merge its will in the greater universal will of the Infinite Being.
Do this! What will you find next? That your personal desires have sunk with it, that your individual wishes and hopes and fears have dissolved and disappeared. The desire for bodily betterment, however very attractive, would have gone too. You cannot have a single desire and yet enter the Kingdom of Heaven, as Jesus pointed out.

Paul Brunton 
Excerpted from The Notebooks
The 114th birth anniversary of Paul Brunton was observed on October 21

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