Stephen the Martyr: What is the distinction between a mental disorder and a spiritual disorder?
Posted on 04 January 2018, 13:16
In this extract from Afterlife Teaching from Stephen the Martyr Stephen talks about the distinction between a mental disorder and a spiritual disorder.
Stephen: You might recognize me as distinct from Thomas! You have questions?
Michael: What is the distinction between a mental disorder and a spiritual disorder?
Stephen: Your questions, Michael, can be apparently simple. Try to imagine the concept that the physical mind is a manifestation of the physical body. Then with regard to our true self, or cell, should the body that is being used have physical or mental defects, it does not necessarily follow (in fact it is most improbable) that the cell which is part of the Whole would manifest any defect of a similar nature.
Michael: This is what I have felt on two or three occasions this week when, to my surprise, a service of worship went, what I felt, entirely right! It surprises me when things go completely right. On Sunday night we had ten people and it appeared to me that at least two of them were speaking with your voice or with the voice of the Source. We felt close to each other in love and caught up into the Whole. Although with our physical selves we might have disagreed, yet we felt one so I felt no disorder. And I felt this again on Wednesday, that there was no disorder when we had been bickering almost and yet underneath there was no disorder.
Stephen: And this surprises you, Michael?
Michael: Yes it does…Although, when I say that we felt caught up into God, of course then there can be no disorder…
Stephen: Pray continue.
Michael: Well, there are two things that would relate to this. Let us take X. (A person from 2000 years ago of bad repute.) Was there a disorder in him? In his cell (soul)?
Stephen: Again, you have asked two different questions. Was there a physical (and this includes mental) disorder within the person, or is there a disorder in the cell that was known as X? Now why each cell and soul has been separated from the Source and has come away as such…
Michael: As you have said, to correct a mis-arrangement, or disorder. Therefore, the cell is disordered.
Stephen: The word disorder is only the best concept available but you do have the correct concept. Do not confuse cell disorder as being the same concept as physical disorder*
*Remember Stephen’s words already quoted “the mis-arrangement of the self-consciousness, or cell, that acts as I have said, through the emotions, taking and acting upon the emotions or the sense-consciousness of the body, and not of the spirit, or God-consciousness.”
Michael: We are not to think of “badness” or “sickness” with regard to the cell?
Stephen: That is correct…X.
Michael: What did you say?
Stephen: X, to continue; to answer your question. The re-arrangement that was necessary for the cell and the cell’s choice in the purpose that it should serve in the body of X, though unconsciously so, and any disorders that the physical body of X may have had, can be considered two entirely separate discussions. Of the physical body that was X I know little.
Let us think about the experience and the guidance necessary to carry out the purpose, not only of the cell that was X, but also of many close cells that were in physical bodies near what was the body of our Lord:
I would have to start even before the birth of our Lord’s body, and explain happenings which have neither been written down or in most cases even been remembered.
Therefore let it be sufficient to say that X the man, or the physical manifestation, may indeed have caused experiences that added in a minor degree to those things that needed correcting but the consciousness of the cell that chose and was assisted in doing those things that needed to be done, was the cause of other mis-arrangements being corrected.
On the one hand, we have the separateness of the life experience that was X. It was not unique, it gained way and lost way, as all of us do whilst we are in the physical body.
This was the pattern.
This was no more startling, in that it was X, than it would be even in yourself.
The purpose and the usage for the Lord’s purpose of the cell that was recognizable as X is another story which at some time you will know of.
Am I clear with this answer? For I wish to be.
Michael: I think when I hear it [the recording of this conversation] it may become clearer because as you speak my mind flits back to the name you called me by.
Stephen: We have again now, Michael, developed our separateness. If we did this of course the burden of Nero could fall heavily on a non-illustrious shoulder at some later time. Therefore do not be concerned for the burden that may be thought of as being X.. it would not rest upon you.
Michael: It sounds like saying that I was that cell but that we are yet one and share it.
Stephen: You have answered yourself well. We are but one and share it [the burden]. Is there clarity in the concept of the two actions that are now possible: that which is the mental-physical attitude and its actions and those actions that are required by the cell, from the cell to the group, to the group from the Source?
Michael: This feels clear to me. Now could I approach this question from a different angle? You - talking to me. It seems natural, and feels natural but is miraculous to my mental self.
Stephen: Indeed, it is miraculous. That Thomas should speak in the same manner is likewise. Let me explain more. Consider Thomas. For it is necessary that this time he is not with us. Let us consider the physical mind of Thomas.
Then we add to that the cell that has knowledge of what requires re-arranging. That knowledge must work in harmony with but with influence on the physical mind.
The cell chose that body which we see here now for the probabilities in time, environment and many other things.
The experiences that happen to the physical mind and how the influence of the cell can guide, the influence the cell exerts on the physical mind and the success or otherwise of that influence,
are the means by which that mis-arrangement may be corrected. Therefore, we have a mind that is completely free in choice to think and act as it wishes.
The exercise is then that the cell records experiences and gains knowledge on how to influence [the physical mind]; the cell’s success is measured and the mis-arrangements are corrected by the influence that the cell has on that mind, leaving it always, the physical mind, with its free will.
Michael: Just as you are having practice in doing now.
Stephen: Exactly. But whereas I the cell have the body of Thomas I am not hampered (poor word) by the physical mind which has choices of its own. It is the cell that activates. The cell, as you see, is (not to use another wrong word) as dextrous as the physical mind in manipulating the body. It can but physically stimulate some simple electrical impulses that operate the features and voice. When the physical mind is not currently attached, or present, (and again, please do not think that Thomas may be a distance away) when the physical mind is not attached as it normally would be the cell-mind can only operate limited bodily functions.
Michael: Hearing this makes me feel like a puppet; when I die is it that the strings are cut and I the puppet fall lifeless to the floor…and where am I? All my thinking is gone! Yet I guess, dear Stephen, that this will not be so.
Stephen: Michael, dear Michael, this is exactly what happens, of course. When the cell is rearranged or the body can no longer function for the purpose or becomes aged or is destroyed, then all that is left is the shell.
The mind for a short time relatively speaking is still in a mind body and can gain further experience whilst the cell transcends finally out of its separateness to the Whole.
If there are further rearrangements to be made, then the cell does not transcend completely into oneness. It retains separateness until what has remained of the mind, such as personality, and I think you might say some character traits and some traits that will influence the shape of the physical features in a minor way, are then, with the cell, transferred into another physical body.
[Following on after his own previous words, after a break when we changed the tape and Stephen rested Thomas. He takes up the body of Thomas:]
Therefore, as we have just demonstrated, the whole process can begin again.
Michael: Might I ask, Stephen: you are here when we request that you talk to us, but what are you doing when we are not requesting? Because you have a life of your own. You cannot just be there, day after day, waiting for us to call you.
Stephen: I can explain this better. Michael. When you are not talking where are you? I do not have a life of my own but I have a life of our own. Where does Michael go when he is no longer conscious?
Michael: Where does the candle flame go when it is blown out?
Stephen: Michael delights me at times. For, Michael, you know your answers so well.
Michael: I don’t know - to talk about the candle-flame only confuses my material mind. Because Stephen, you are me, I am Olive and Olive is you and so on. We are part of the tree and we are caught up into the whole when we receive and yet, surely, you said, I remember, you said to be you is like swimming in the ocean and to be a thousand miles away and to caress a friend.
Stephen: This is the conscious (or what is remaining of the conscious) mind of Stephen, not cell. Not the cell as such.
Michael: Yet the conscious mind of Stephen remains?
Stephen: In part. Think of it like this. I shall demonstrate. [Lifts leg.] In this body as a whole we have nerves that we can think of as the conscious mind of the individual person. We have in this body, muscles that we may think of as the cell and its conscious mind.
Therefore, if I move this body, my [Stephen’s] conscious mind has activated the conscious mind of the cell (the muscles) which has moved the body. The feeling that has come to the conscious mind (of the individual) is the nerves. In the demonstration, the nerves represent the personality of Stephen, the muscle is the conscious mind of the cell.
Michael: I begin to understand, so… I think perhaps that we can experience this now, in the physical body. Would this be right?
Stephen: This would be correct.
Michael: Because when we had the experience of group receiving, the group all reported that they felt caught up into the spirit of God. Perhaps this is the muscle?
Stephen: This is very close to correct. Remember that I give the closest approximation that I am able, and that approximation that you have given is sufficient.
I must soon depart. Even I begin to talk of departing. I must return this body to Thomas.
[ I see this session as containing some of Stephen’s basic teaching. Remember his earlier words: “The knowledge of this part of the Whole (which is also called Michael) which was to be gained through experience was decided before the separateness of Michael was felt.” We could substitute the name “X” here, or, in general, the name of the reader. “We are all each other” and, as we have noted from Stephen’s parable of the Reflections in a pool, we are basically spiritual entities learning about ourselves and experiencing by immersing our consciousnesses in the pool, or in the physical.]
Michael Cocks edits the journal, The Ground of Faith.
Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr by Michael Cocks is published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.
For more on Stephen go to www.thegroundoffaith.net/issues/2017-02