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Selected from
The Wisdom of the Overself
by Paul Brunton

The Immortal Overself

Just as it has been necessary to purify our ideas of what is meant by ‘I’;so it is now necessary to purify our ideas of what is meant by immortality. We did not deny the ‘I.’ We shall not deny God. We are not now denying immortality. But fallacious conceptions of it must be got rid of.

When the mind essence is recognized as the true ground upon which the whole structure of this ‘I’ has been built, it will also be recognized as something which is never born and consequently never dies, as what was is and shall be. It can then be seen that if all our memories involve time, they also involve as a background the existence of something in them which is out of time. This view of immortality as belonging to the higher individuality of Overself rather than to the lower personality will then replace the former one, which is ultimately doomed to suffer the anguish of frustrated desire whereas the true view bathes a man in increasing peace the better it is understood. When man continues firmly and unfailingly to identify himself in thought with this, his higher individuality, quite naturally he comes to share its attitude. And from this attitude the belief, ‘I shall die eventually’ is entirely absent. To imagine is to create. That which a man thinks, he becomes. Rightly thinking himself immortal, he consequently attains immortality.

The common conception of immortality would make it an indefinite prolongation of personal existence. The mystic conception would make it an indefinite prolongation of personal bliss. The philosophic conception, however, transcends both these notions because it discards the personal life and replaces it by its ultimate non-egoistic root, the individual Overself. … It IS. It has life of itself. Consequently the body has to give up in death what it has previously received but the Overself never having had anything added to it, has nothing to give up. It cannot but be immortal for it is part of the World-Mind and what is true of that must be true of itself.

In the end these studies will reveal that the truth behind the world is its essential enduring reality and that the truth behind ourself is our own enduring divinity. In what way the one is real and the other divine is something which has to be dug out by hard labour. … Let it be repeated therefore that because we are what we really are annihilation is not for us.