The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



“Know Thyself ”: The Finding and Freeing of the Conscious Self in the Body

As a guide for an understanding of the operation of nature, let it be repeated that the entire nature machine of the human world is composed of unintelligent units, which are conscious as their functions only. In developing they progress by slow, very slow degrees from the least transient unit in the structure of nature to the most progressed in a human body; the most progressed is the breath-form unit, commonly called the subconscious mind, which has passed through all lesser degrees of development and is eventually the automatic coordinating formative general manager of the entire human body; it is in and through its senses, systems, organs, cells and their constituents.

Each man or woman body is, so to say, a diminutive living model machine, according to which the entire nature machine of the human world is constructed. Following the patterns of the units of the human body the units of nature are unbalanced, that is, either active-passive as in the male or passive-active as in the female. Four lights of nature are necessary for the operation of nature: starlight, sunlight, moonlight, and earthlight. But these four lights are only reflections in nature, so to say, of the Conscious Light which is present in the human body. Without the Conscious Light from the human, nature could not function. Therefore there is a constant pull by nature for the Conscious Light.

The pull of nature for Light in the human is exercised by the four senses. They are the ambassadors from nature to the Court of Man. The eyes, ears, mouth, and nose are the organs by means of which the senses and their nerves receive impressions from nature and send back the Light for which nature pulls. The operating procedure is: By the involuntary nerves of the sense organs the objects of nature pull on the breath-form which is centered in the front part of the pituitary body in the socket of the top of the sphenoid bone, nearly in the center of the skull.

Then the body-mind, thinking through the senses in the breath-form in response to the pull, draws Light from its feeling-desire which is centered in the rear part of the pituitary body. And feeling-desire gives the Light because it is hypnotized and controlled by the body-mind which thinks for nature only. Thus controlled by its body-mind the Doer in the human is unable to distinguish itself from the four senses in the body. The Conscious Light comes from the Triune Self to its Doer part, feeling-desire, in the body. The Light comes through the top of the skull into the arachnoidal spaces within the skull cavity and into the ventricles of the brain. The third ventricle extends in front as a narrow channel into the stem of the pituitary, and the pineal body automatically directs the Light through that channel into the rear part of the pituitary, to be used by feeling-desire as required.

Feeling and desire are separated in the body in their fields of operation—feeling being in the nerves and desire in the blood. But their governing seat and center is in the rear part of the pituitary.

The fourfold pull of nature to get Light from the human for the maintenance of the functions of nature is exercised through the eyes and the sense of sight on the generative system, through the ears and the sense of hearing on the respiratory system, through the tongue and the sense of taste on the circulatory system, and through the nose and the sense of smell on the digestive system. The functioning of the organs and senses is carried on by the breath-form which is the coordinator and operator of the involuntary nervous system in the body. But nature cannot get Light except by the passive or active thinking of feeling-and-desire. Therefore, the Light must come from feeling-and-desire by the thinking of the body-mind.

Thus during all waking or dreaming hours the body-mind, so to say, reaches over from the rear part to the front part of the pituitary body to think according to the senses for the maintenance of male and female nature. The physical evidences of these statements can be found in textbooks.


Biological and anatomical textbooks show that the fertilized ovum becomes an embryo; that the embryo becomes a fetus; that the fetus becomes an infant which develops into a man or a woman; and, that the man or woman body dies and disappears from this world.

Actually, hundreds of infants are born into this world every hour, and during the same hour hundreds of men and women die and leave the world without appearing to affect or interfere much with people of the world, except those who are concerned with the coming of the infants and the disposal of the dead bodies.

Each of these changes and developments is a miracle, a wonder, a marvel; an event which happens and is witnessed, but which is beyond our understanding; it transcends our immediate knowledge. It is! And the miracle gradually becomes of such common occurrence, and people become so accustomed to each event, that we let it happen and go about our business until birth and death compel us to pause, to inquire, and sometimes actually to think. We must think—if we ever are to know. And we can know. But we never will know about the miracles preceding births and following deaths unless we have information concerning the causes of births and deaths. There is a moving population in the world. In the long run, there is for every birth a death, and for every death a birth, regardless of periodical increases or decreases in population; a human body must be furnished for each conscious self to re-exist.

In every human body the cause of birth is the desire for the sexual act, the “original sin.” The dominant desire for sex must choose to change itself. When by persistent steady thinking with the Conscious Light within, and because the sexual act is the cause of death, the desire for sex becomes conscious that it never can be satisfied, it will choose to be at one with one’s own desire for self-knowledge, and will eventually sublimate and regenerate and transform the present human body, to be the perfect sexless physical body for its Triune Self, and be in The Realm of Permanence.

The secret of birth and life and death is locked up in every man body and every woman body. Each human body contains the secret; the body is the lock. Every human being possesses the key to open the lock and make use of the secret of immortal youth—else it must continue to suffer death. The key is the conscious self in the human body. Each self must think and locate itself as the key—to open and explore the human body and know itself as itself while living in the body. Then, if it will, it can regenerate, and sublimate and transform its body to become a perfect sexless body of immortal life.

In order to find the conscious self and understand the method by which the foregoing statements can be followed, a plan is here given. One can easily verify what is said about the physical body. But no textbook deals with the conscious self, or with the forces that operate the body.


Seeing that one’s conscious self in the physical body does not know who or what or where it is, how is it to be explained that the body is managed during waking and sleeping hours, or how it goes to sleep, or how it wakes up, or how it performs its activities such as digestion and absorption of food; and, how it sees, hears, tastes, and smells; or how the self governs its speech and acts in the performance of the multitude of duties of life. All of these actions of the world and its people can be epitomized and told by understanding how a human body is constituted and how its functions are maintained.

By way of comparison, let one understand that a human body in its entirety is a microscopic model of the world and the surrounding universe; and that the functional activities in the body are necessary to the universe around it. For example, the material taken into the body as food serves not only for rebuilding the structure of the body, but while passing through the body the food is itself so acted on by the conscious self, that on its return to nature, the material takes some part in rebuilding the structure of the world by the presence of the intelligent Conscious Light that has been imparted to it by contact with the Self.


In the original perfect, sexless body—the first temple—there was, before the legendary “fall of man,” a “cord” of what is now the involuntary nervous system of nature, within a flexible spinal column in front of the body from the pelvis to and connecting with what is now the sternum. The part now missing was the “rib” of the Bible story of Adam, out of which was fashioned the body of “Eve,” his twain. (See Part V, “The Story of Adam and Eve” .)

The original perfect body, from which the imperfect human body has descended, was a two-columned body, the cords within the columns connecting with each other in the pelvis. Originally there was thus a front-spinal column and cord for the operation and activities of unintelligent nature through the involuntary nervous system, directed and observed by the conscious self in the voluntary nervous system. Only a remnant of the front column for nature now remains as the sternum in the human body; the “cord” of the front column is now widely distributed as dense networks of nerve fibers and plexuses over the internal organs within the trunk of the body. The nerve branches and fibers now arise from two cords which, issuing from the brain, are placed one on the right side and the other on the left side of the spinal column in the chest and the abdominal cavity. Within the present-day spinal column is the spinal cord for the activities of the conscious self.

From the mid-brain (mesencephalon) of the human, there are developed four little bulges (corpora quadrigemina) which receive varied sensory impressions and which determine the motor actions of the whole body. Certain nerve paths lead from these bulges to the spinal cord and enable the mid-brain to control the motor centers of the trunk and limbs. On either side of the mid-brain there is a group of cells, spoken of as the “red nucleus.” When an impulse passes out of the mid-brain to excite some movement of the body, the red nucleus is the link, the switchboard, which establishes the connection between the mid-brain and the centers of the motor nerves in the spinal cord. So that every movement of the body is operated by way of the switchboard, the red nucleus, which is to the right and the left of the median line in the brain, and is under the guidance of the Conscious Light. This wonder is certain and sure.

The practical application of the foregoing is that while one is awake all impressions affecting the body through the senses and the skin, are received by the breath-form in the front part of the pituitary body; and that at the same moment the body-mind, thinking through the senses in the breath-form, so affects the conscious self, the Doer, feeling-desire, in the rear part of the pituitary body, that feeling-desire thinks according to the senses. That thinking calls for Conscious Light, which is automatically directed by the pineal body from the third ventricle to the conscious self.

The thinking by the body-mind attaches Conscious Light to the objects thought of. That Light, usually referred to as the intelligence in nature, shows the units how to build up the structure in the department of nature which corresponds to the part of the body in which those units received the Light. Thus the units composing the body, as well as the masses of units that merely pass through the body, bear the Light attached to them by thinking. And that same attached Light goes out and returns again and is reclaimed again and again until the conscious self in the body frees the Light by making it unattachable. Then the unattachable Light remains in the noetic atmosphere and is always available as knowledge to the conscious self in the body.

The Light sent out by thinking bears the stamp of the one who thinks, and however much it mingles with the Light of others, it will always return to the one who sent it out—like as money going to a foreign country will return to the government that issued it.

The knowledge acquired by thinking through the senses is sense-knowledge; it changes as the senses change. Real knowledge is knowledge of the self; is the Light itself; it does not change; it shows things as they really are, and not only as the senses make them appear to be. Sense-knowledge must of necessity always be of nature because the body-mind cannot think of anything that is not of nature. That is why the knowledge of all human beings is limited to everchanging nature.

When the feeling-mind suppresses the body-mind by regularly thinking of itself as feeling, until it feels itself as feeling inside the body and, later on, detaches, isolates, itself from the body, then feeling will know itself as feeling; and, with desire, will control the body-mind. Then feeling-desire with real knowledge of itself will see and understand nature as the Conscious Light shows it to be. Feeling-desire will know itself as it is, and will know that all nature units of its physical body should be balanced and restored to The Eternal Order of Progression, instead of being retarded in rounds of circulation by the human beings in this world of change.


Thus feeling-and-desire in thinking gives Conscious Light to its body-mind, which thereby becomes attached and binds itself to objects of nature and becomes their slave. To be free from its bonds, it must free itself from the things to which it is bound.

Those who hunger and yearn for freedom from their slavery to the body and who will think and act to be free, will receive the Light to show them how to defeat death and live forever.


The conscious self in the body can be found and known by an almost unbelievably simple method, namely, by a persistent, systematic manner of breathing, and of feeling and thinking, which is described in detail in the sections on “Regeneration.” (See Regeneration: The Parts Played by Breathing, and the Breath-form or “Living Soul” and Regeneration: By Right Thinking.) This method can, in the future, be immeasurably aided if and when the individual as a child will have been systematically instructed at the mother’s knee on how to revive its memory of “where it came from,” and which is shown in Parts I and II of this book.


Corporeal sensuous terms must from very necessity be used to describe being and beings for which there are at present no fitting or suitable terms. When the beings spoken of in this book become familiar to readers, better and more explicit or descriptive terms will be found or coined.

The perfect body here spoken of is complete; it does not depend on human food and drink; nothing can be added to it; nothing can be taken from it; it cannot be improved; it is a body sufficient in itself, complete and perfect. (See Part IV, “The Perfect Body” .)

The form of that perfect body is graven on the breath-form of each human being, and the rebuilding of the human body will begin when the human being stops thinking of or letting the thoughts of sex enter or in any way arouse and affect the desire for sex or lead to the act of sex. Sexual thoughts and acts cause death of the body. This must be so because such thinking or thought of the sexes causes the breath-form to change the germ cells or seed of the body to become male or female sex cells. The age of the body is not the most important consideration in effecting its regeneration. So long as the human can breathe properly and can think and feel as he should, it is possible for one to begin regeneration or reconstruction of the sexual body into a sexless body of everlasting life. And if one does not succeed in the present life, he continues in the next life or lives on earth, until he has an immortal physical body. The outer form and the structure of the body are known, and the paths of the nerves have been indicated and the relations between the motor nerves of the conscious self and the sensory nerves of nature that have to do with this transformation, have been shown in this book.

An objection to the facts previously stated may be: If feeling-desire is the conscious self in the body but not of the body, it should know itself to be itself and not the body, just as one knows that the body is not the clothes one wears, and it should be able to distinguish itself from the body as the body is distinguished from the clothes.

If previous statements have not been understood, this is a reasonable objection. It is answered by the following self-evident facts: Apart from the self, the body has no identity because the body as a whole is not conscious of itself as a body at any time. The body changes from infancy to age, whereas the conscious self is the self-same conscious self from its earliest memory to old age of the body, and during all that time it has not in any way changed. Feeling-and-desire can be conscious of the body and its parts can be sensed at any time, but feeling-and-desire as the conscious self is not physical. It cannot be sensed by anything other than by the self in the body.

Feeling must find itself and thereby know itself by isolating, detaching, itself from the senses. Each conscious self must do this for itself. It must begin by reasoning. Feeling must do it by thinking of itself as feeling only. Let feeling suppress all functions of the body-mind. This it can do by thinking of itself only. When it thinks of and is conscious as feeling only, it is in illumination, illuminated as Conscious Bliss, in the Conscious Light. Then the body-mind is tamed. Never again will feeling be hypnotized. Feeling knows itself.

By understanding the foregoing as a background for thinking, let one who seeks self-knowledge dehypnotize himself by persistent efforts of feeling to think of itself only, until the body-mind is suppressed and feeling is isolated, detached, and is by itself known to be what it is. Then let feeling proceed to have desire free itself.

As feeling could not have been freed without assistance of desire, likewise desire must have the help of feeling in order to be itself detached from nature. Through innumerable lives desire has bound itself to objects of the senses. Now that feeling is free, desire must also free itself. No power other than itself can free it. By its own power, and its body-mind that deluded it, and the feeling-mind to make relation with the objects, it begins to detach itself. It would be impossible for desire to detach itself from the particular and numberless objects of the senses. But as all things are related to nature through the four senses, desire takes them in their order: food, possessions, fame, and power.

Beginning with the gross appetite for food ranging from the satisfaction of hunger to gluttony and the delicacies of the epicure, desire examines with the Light which convinces it to relinquish without longing or regret all foods, except what is needed for the body’s welfare. Then desire is freed from the slavery to food.

Next in order is desire for possessions—houses, clothes, lands, money. Under the Light all—except such as are needed to maintain the body in health and condition commensurate with one’s position and duties in life—without hesitation or doubt, desire lets go. It has overcome desire for possessions, which then are seen as snares, cares, and troubles. Desire is unattached to what it has.

Then desire for a name as fame is before it, such as reputation in finance or place in government, and fame as glory of outstanding achievement in any field of action. And the Light shows that all, except such as are duties, to be done without hope of praise or fear of blame, all are like chains to bind. Then desire lets go—and the chains fall away.

Then appears the subtlest of the four desires, the desire for power. Desire for power may assume appearance of the Big Boss, the Great Man, or any envied position or silent power. When one will act in positions of power from a sense of duty, no matter whether it brings glory or condemnation, and without complaint, he has mastered the desire for power.

Mastery of the four desire generals exposes the desire which stands behind and is that for which the four desire generals strive—the desire for sex. It may be in the lower walks of life or in the foremost ranks of men, but it is there, in whatever guise. It hides behind every crown, within common suit or ermine robe, in palace or in humble cottage. And when this chiefest test is seen, it is discovered to be—selfishness grounded in ignorance of itself. It is selfishness because when all other desires are mastered and disappear and all else in life is vain and empty, then love is believed to be the refuge and retreat.

Love of sex is selfish because it would bind to oneself another self, and oneself to that other. This might be well for the human, but it is bondage for one who seeks freedom from birth and death. Such love would be ignorant because the unknown love within is mistakenly betrayed for the reflected love in the body of the other self, and because human sexual love is the cause of birth and death. Human love, however beautiful for the ignorant human, is nevertheless bondage to nature. For one who seeks self-knowledge true love is to find and have union of feeling-desire within one’s own body. This, desire knows and is shown by the Conscious Light within to be on the way to union with its twain, feeling. This will be the first step toward knowledge of, and union with, its Triune Self. Under the Conscious Light within desire abolishes selfishness grounded in ignorance of itself and is in agreement with its unchangeable desire for self-knowledge. Then there is true marriage or union of feeling-desire in the physical body—which has been prepared and made ready by thinking for the work to this end—self-knowledge.