It is only the finite that has wrought and suffered, the Infinite lies stretched in smiling repose.— Emerson.
Our lessons of today are in the present tense of the verbs to be, to do, to have, to know. We must not turn back to the lessons of yesterday, or forward to those of tomorrow. We are not studying to say "I shall be well," "I shall be opulent," "I shall have," "I shall know." To realize these things we must insist upon the present tense, "I am," "I have," "I know."
The roll is called for recitation. Come now. We do not flinch or ask for longer time to prepare our lesson. We have already learned that "all is good." Yes, that was the first page of our primers. Listen to us then, as we roll out these grand, true, positive assertions:—
"I am well."
"I am opulent."
"I have everything."
"I do right."
There, now we are deaf to our fears, to the nerves that clamor, to the bank book that has bullied us with its petty balances so long. We prove truth by first accepting principles, precisely as we work in mathematics and in chemistry. We look with never wavering confidence for the results to which our poor old fears are always blind. Is this fanaticism? Then there is a rapidly increasing brotherhood of fanatics who began this way and are today radiant with health and success. Their first doses of truth, perhaps, were in hypodermic injections; but they killed the microbes of fear and changed the entire circulation of the blood.
Oh! if we could have a "worry club," a "worry trust," a syndicate that would enable us to barter and exchange our private worriments in a good buoyant market.
We can endure quite calmly other people's troubles, and show a beautiful fortitude and resignation to them. They do not hurt so much as ours because we do not pack them so closely or bind them so carefully to our shoulders. We carry them easily, in fact, because they don't belong to us through sympathetic vibration.
Now, can't we reach the same position in relation to those we call our own? Can't we get quite outside of them, and insist they don't belong to us at all? They certainly do not if we are free, and if we are not free, it is because we have not yet got through the alphabet of Mental Science.
It wouldn't make a bit of difference to the average man to be loosened from his worries by an emancipation proclamation, unless he issued it himself. If his troubles could drop off without a change of thought today, they surely would fly back again tomorrow, as promptly as the filings to the magnet. We are beginning to call this now the "vibratory law," the law of attraction. It absolutely governs life.
But if we can't get up a "worry syndicate," we can at least organize an "anti-worry club," on the lines of prohibition work, to legislate against the indulgence of anxiety. We will not depend on numbers for success. A membership of one is quite sufficient. Two in some cases will be better, and possibly four or five, if there are so many in the family. The fines and penalties should be severe, and might be devoted to the purchase of breezy literature that would assist "the cause" and forward the objects of the club.
There should be no tenderness shown to defaulting members; for worry is a disease that needs heroic remedies. We must be as merciless to our worries as to Canada thistles. It might be well even to offer bounties for their extermination. We must radiate an atmosphere in which they cannot live. If we do not master them, they will certainly master us.
If worry is not driven out of the blood, it is surely fatal and "only a matter of time." "Killed by worry," would be a truthful epitaph over multitudes of graves. It is not heroic to die by worry; it is Christian suicide.
All trouble in life comes from a distorted perspective, together with too much foreshortening. If we could at all times see things in their proper relations to time and distance, we could never suffer unhappiness. It is only when we magnify and exaggerate some line or shadow of our life that we create fear and worry. We allow ourselves to become too intensely interested in the immediate issue, or focalize with too strong a lens upon the future more or less remote.
It is a curious fact that any advance in spiritual knowledge is usually followed by a fresh test of trying experience,—suggesting the "term examination" of the schools. If this test is fully met the student finds himself in possession of new forces, and passes on to further illumination, but otherwise the old lessons are continued.
Dame Nature is a wise teacher and never allows us to leave a task until it has been learned. But on the other hand, we may be sure no troublesome experience will last a day longer than is necessary for us to find and recognize its lesson. And then the page is turned. So let us waste no time in the sentimentalism of self-pity, but search with earnest purpose for the meaning of the hour, responding boldly to its challenge.
We are slow to understand the importance of learning to depend entirely upon the within and the now. The slightest deviation from this principle of self-reliance impairs our perceptions and scatters our forces. It places us outside the harmony of the spiritual law which governs our being. We must not depend upon other intelligence than our own. We must not postpone results. Absolute confidence in the wisdom and power of the good within us is necessary to the attainment of our purposes.