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Bric-A-Brac Bondage

The man or woman who would have remained a sunny garden flower, with no room for its roots and too much sunshine for its head, by the falling of the walls and the neglect of the gardener is made the banian of the forest, yielding shade and fruit to wide neighborhoods of men. —Emerson

An owner of ground sometimes sees his opportunities and clears away dilapidated buildings, replacing them with better ones.

Sometimes he is neglectful, and a conflagration sweeps his property clear and shows him plainly that it is for his interest to build larger, fairer, and more commodious structures, better adapted to the wants of the day.

The fire is often a spontaneous combustion from accumulated rubbish.

Can we not see how these experiences are typical of life?

How often do we find our fortunes swept away as by a conflagration, or ourselves prostrated by disease, or transferred by death to new activities.

Doubtless, we suffer just as much to be taken away from all we have cherished in life, as to have our possessions taken from us while remaining here.

There can be no doubt that the awakening after death is often to a sense of complete bankruptcy and irreparable loss of friends, property, and influence. What then remains to the spirit, whether here or there?

Simply to build again upon more solid foundations—to construct a more stately home for the soul, either in mortal or immortal realms—to so change the thought of life that its vibrations will attract, as a magnet, a more opulent and imperishable environment.

We can never truly enjoy or possess till we have awakened to the truth that all we have springs from what we are, and that no plane of life has yet been discovered upon which this law does not govern.

Let us not be in bondage to our bric-a-brac—to the selfish routine of life—or the claims of mistaken friendship. Let us not be slaves to any rigid purpose or ambition which could cramp or hinder us in our soul's progress. Let us not be fettered by opinions.

If one has had a glimpse of the eternal equities, his brow can never again be clouded with anxiety and care; his heart can never be heavy with a sense of fear or loss.

We are the rightful masters of the universe and make its laws.

When we become sensible of our limitations (which we have made ourselves), we call them natural law, and intrench ourselves behind what is but the phantom of our ignorance. This we hasten to embody in the text-books of our sciences.

No wonder that we are so continually obliged to revise and revolutionize our "scientific conclusions," so that yesterday's "standard work" is valueless today.

Our horizon line recedes as we advance. The limits of our atmospheres are not so easily reached as we imagined, and their composition is not so simple as we thought. The laws of storms are not so readily defined as we supposed. The forces of nature are not limited to the few elements with which we have made acquaintance. The simple wild rose can be differentiated by our new botany into thousands of varieties.

The universal life is found to be a plastic force which we ourselves are learning to direct—to limit and expand at will in its relation to ourselves.

The latest revelation of these closing days of the century, is not only that man is his own creator, but that he is the creator of all subordinate forms of life, and that no element yet discovered wholly defies his control.

Principles are the only absolute laws.

Fixed opinions are dangerous, whether of persons or things, of ourselves or one another. They take no account of the laws of growth or of the fact, as Emerson says, that all nature is "fluidic."

Even the "everlasting hills" we know to be forever changing in disintegration and reconstruction. Periodic cataclysms remodel the entire face of the globe and bring forth new worlds of plain and mountain. So does man change. He needs continually to renew acquaintance with himself and his fellows.

The real science of life is ever fresh adjustment. We never truly know ourselves or one another.

We are never really the same in two successive days. Nature abhors fixity as much as she abhors a vacuum.

Conservatism is an impossibility; it is a purely fictitious quality.

Even our conceptions of good are never quite the same at successive periods of our development.

They advance with our knowledge and experience of life.

No two mortals can possibly worship the same God or hold to exactly the same standards, for both are the results of different experience.

We begin by believing in the despotism of a personal God, whom we distort into a demon. We call this "religion." As we progress we substitute for the tyranny of a God, the tyranny of a "law."

We call this "science." This is only changing the name of our deity.

A step forward enlarges our horizon. We discover that the law of our being is all we need to recognize; it reveals the universal and interprets all.

We must be polarized to principle and not to theories and dogmas.

When we are thus in equilibrium, we can take our compass into any waters, and it will always show us the true north.

When magnetized by ideas and prejudices, we cannot voyage beyond the length of our cable chain.

All our experiences serve as mirrors to reveal us to ourselves. We gain little from books, but the revelation of our own minds, and no real help from people but aids to self-discovery; no satisfaction from experience except as it results in self-development. Plato has said that all knowledge is reminiscence.

The mirror adds nothing to form or feature of the one who stands before it.

It takes away nothing except in appearance, if it be concave or convex. If it is a true reflector, it shows the man to himself and as he is.

Life brings the awakening to spiritual consciousness on the objective plane. Can there be any question that it is well worth living?

"All that we are is built out of what we have thought" —Dhammapada

It is well that life makes such demands upon us and will not be satisfied with an easy discipline, nor confer upon us her degrees of honor till we have thoroughly proved our right to hold them. It is well worth while to be a graduate in all her schools. Her courses are severe; but she never fails to put her faithful pupils in possession of illimitable powers, through unfoldment, which is the only education.

A memory that etches anything too deeply into our brain-cells only cramps and hinders us. We should not fear to lose anything we really need to hold.

If we gave less attention to the holding we would find ourselves more free. A true spiritual poise is never possible where either memory or expectation is unduly indulged and becomes habitual.

Confident concentration at the point of personal indifference puts us in possession of the largest spiritual power. This is the inevitable result of knowledge.

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Charles B. Newcomb

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