A special gift within each human being.

Human being has a special gift. The gift is the knowledge, through personal experience, of personal identity through direct and unmediated intuition of self-consciousness sustained in itself. This intuited self-conscious or awareness is being or Being turned inwardly.


Normally, human beings are aware of themselves in relationship to outward forms, mirrors, or layers through which they “see” themselves. These outward mirrors are, for examples, their occupations, religious affiliation, nationality, theology, doctrine, ideology, communities, family, political affiliation, perceptions, sensations, emotions, etc. All these combine to form personal identity. They are the mirrors through which we see ourselves and others.

 The importance of the outward mirrors as anchors for awareness and personal identity, for normal consciousness, is easily understood by imagining your-self without eyes to perceive, ears to hear things, the sense of touch, taste, and smell. Now imagine your-self without a brain to mirror thoughts and feelings. Then imagine your-self without outward religious, civil, educational, and political, institutions. What would there be. In essence, I have asked to imagine “being” without the body. I have asked to imagine the death of the body. In our current normal condition, self-conscious is anchored in the body and the bodily mirrors through which we “see” ourselves. Take away the body and the mirrors fall away and along with it consciousness. The fear of death is the fear of loss of consciousness. Our normal being, consciousness, or awareness is bound to the body. This is the bodily nature we read about in the bible, for example, Romans 8:13.

 Human being has another nature, an intuitive nature that knows and experiences self-consciousness in itself. This consciousness lives independently of the mirrors and layers the body reflects and overlays upon human being. When human being comes to know this intuitive nature (in other words, when the Light of Presence itself fills human consciousness) it knows that which lives and sustains even upon the death of the body. As this intuitive nature gains strength within human being it also becomes the seat of conscience; guiding human being through the inward self-conscious rather than through outward forms, practices, institutions, civil, political, and religious leaders, ideologies, theologies, perceptions, sensations, etc.

 To know this heritage of a consciousness anchored in and a conscience informed by the intuited self-conscious itself, all anyone need do is quiet the outward impressions pressed upon and overlaying human being. Just clear human being in silence and wait upon the revealing of personal identity and awareness in the intuited self-conscious itself. The promise has always been there … if you call upon it and wait in patient silence … it will be revealed and you will know true selfhood.

 This is the witness, in other words, of those who gathered together in the first 30 years of the Quaker founding. This is a witness to the eternal nature of human being. This is a witness to that Presence that each of us has a measure of and that we carry with us every day and in all things. This is our Heritage of God.

If you would know this intuitive nature ... wait ... and watch.

Views: 210

Comment by Mark Frankel on 8th mo. 13, 2015 at 4:37am

Are you arguing for the soul?  I'm unsure Quakers use that term routinely but I'd certainly agree that we all have an interior life which can be nourished in a community of like-minded others.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 8th mo. 13, 2015 at 10:15am

Hello Mark,

What you example further what you are asking, "Are you arguing for the soul?" Also what term are you unsure Quaker do not use routinely? 

In my experience it is the inward Light that nourishes regardless of whether in a particular community. Certainly the Light itself can nourish when gathered with others, however, it is not the gathering that is important. 

Comment by Diane Benton on 8th mo. 13, 2015 at 11:00am

Keith, I'm trying to figure out "What you example further" means.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 8th mo. 13, 2015 at 11:06am
Thanks Diane. I meant "Would you ..."
Comment by Keith Saylor on 8th mo. 13, 2015 at 11:07am
Wow ... "Would you explain ..."
Comment by Mark Frankel on 8th mo. 13, 2015 at 12:11pm

Keith, you write about a consciousness that survives the death of the body. This sounds to me like what Catholics call the soul, which is the spark of life which is eternal and also has a moral and intellectual content.  I have not known Quakers talk about the soul and there is no reference to it in the index to the British Quaker Faith & Practice.  I would not equate the Light with the soul.  There's a lot of literature on what constitutes the Light.  For example, Penn in Primitive Christianity Revived says "God, through Christ, hath placed a principle in every man, to inform him of his duty, and to enable him to do it; and that those that live up to this principle are the people of God, and those that live in disobedience to it, are not God‘s people, whatever name they may bear, or profession they may make of religion." This sounds a lot like conscience or wisdom, which is something that is socially constructed to an extent and is not entirely internal nor is it the same as the soul in the sense that word is normally used.

Quakers usually regard worship and religious practice as largely communal.  For example the British Advices & Queries no. 8 says "we can worship alone but when we join with others in expectant waiting we may discover a deeper sense of God's presence." I've found that to be the case but I would gladly acknowledge it does require some effort.

In friendship

Comment by Keith Saylor on 8th mo. 13, 2015 at 11:20pm

Hello Mark,

I cannot comment of what Catholics call the soul. I know very little of Catholicism. I can only comment on my personal experience. I have not used the term soul. So, I am a bit confused how it is you can characterize my words in a contextual framework that I do not use and then use that characterization to suggest my words do not reflect a Quaker quality.  I have witnessed to an experience of a conscious anchored in and a conscience informed by the intuited self-conscious itself. It is certainly the case that Quakers have anchored the salvation of human being (eternal life) squarely in the conscience. 

It is the case that in the 17th century the term conscience had a nuanced meaning that included consciousness or self-conscious. 

For years I was fascinated by the early Friends use of "conscience." I was unsettled because I sensed there had to be more to their experience than a mere value or moral component that "conscience" suggests to us today. I then researched the history of the usage of "conscience" and learned that in the 17th and before the term "conscience" was much more nuanced. I wrote here on quakerquaker in 1st month 2014:

"There was a time when the word “conscience” also expressed conscious, self-conscious, consciousness, and conscience. In the 17th century the two meanings began to split until conscious and conscience took on distinct meanings. An understanding of this nuance is significant to gleaning the depth of the early Quaker experience and those who share that experience today. The very anchor of consciousness, self-conscious, and conscience is changed. Not merely a moral component, but the very foundation of individual self-conscience is changed by being anchored in Presence itself. "

Source: http://www.quakerquaker.org/profiles/blogs/conscience-conscious-con...

I published supporting material here:


I also gathered together examples of Fox's and Penington's use of Conscience. They can be perused here:


Mark, the very reason my witness is written as a "conscious anchored in and a conscience informed by direct and unmediated Presence is to point to the nuanced nature of the early Friends use of "Conscience." It is powerful to experience their writings generally and their use of conscience specifically when you know they were not merely speaking to a moral component of being guided by Presence itself, no sir, they were speaking to the grace of Presence within as the transformation of the very nature of consciousness (the self-conscious ego) no longer anchored by and to outward forms to be aware! What a powerful testimony. We know eternal life because, in the power and light of Christ's Presence within, we no longer stand on the perceptions, thoughts, feelings, desires, smells, tastes, touches, sounds, and sights of the bodily nature that will pass away. In Presence itself, we know awareness or consciousness (conscious) independent of the things of the body and we are guided (conscience) not by and through the reflected forms of the body that we read through the written word and hear through professors. Conscious (awareness) and Conscience (righteousness) live in Presence itself and we are taught and directed (conscience) directly from Christ's Light within. 

I have no idea what Catholics mean by the soul, but it is clear Quakers, from the very founding, spoke to and speak today to a consciousness that sustains even upon the the death of the body; although that intuitive consciousness is different from the bodily consciousness.

Finally, I've no fundamental argument with your quote from British Advices and Queries other than to suggest that "deeper" is not conditioned by "joining with others" however it certainly is and can be the case. 

Comment by Forrest Curo on 8th mo. 14, 2015 at 1:07am

This will no doubt be a bit heady for some -- but if you think of the four classic 'elements' (not counting Terry Pratchett's Narrativium) you've got these analogies:  Earth ~ physical forms, Water ~ emotional phenomena, Air ~ intellectual forms --

and Fire aka 'Spirit.'

One thing you can observe pretty clearly about that realm (dealing with things like consciousness/intuition/beauty/truth( as a reality beyond formal logic or verbal descriptions) etc.)

is that what you truly are is eternal. This may or may not relate to whether your ideas and personality persist after this life,

but the underlying What-We're-Made-of (whether or not it's 'the stuff that dreams are made on') is something quite beyond our ideas of it, our feelings about it, whatever brute physical oomph we might be undergoing through it...

and that, I'm pretty sure, is what Keith speaks about directly perceiving.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 8th mo. 15, 2015 at 1:50am

Forrest, I have spent time with your words in Presence itself and find them cordial and have nothing to add other than to let them stand on their own.

In 1680 William Rogers wrote "Christian Quaker ..." and in the preface remembers when the  founding Quakers gathered together saying:

"Oh Friends, let the Remembrance of this day come before you, and consider further, what was the voice of the Eternal Power unto such, who were struck with amazement, after they believed the appearance of that power, where by they were so struck, to be the appearance of the Power of God; I well remember the voice was on this wise, To your own, To your own, To your own. Meaning thereby that they should turn in their minds to the Light of Christ in their consciences, which was declared to be that teacher, which could never be removed into a corner ..."

The early Quakers regularly and often speak of the Light in their consciences. The seat of Eternal Life is in the conscious and conscience of human beings. Eternal life is the self-conscious sustained in itself through the inward Light. 


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