Curiously enough, we find many of the errors and diseases of the physical plane and of the ecclesiastical schools repeating themselves on progressive lines in what is called the "new thought." We do not escape them, as we should, in passing from one to the other. They change their mode of attack, and we encounter them in a new form. The fevers and distempers of the body only externalize those of the mind. Mental dyspepsia, or indigestion, is perhaps one of the most common of these troubles.
In changing the diet as a result of a change of taste, the student too often lacks discrimination, and overloads the metaphysical stomach. In such a radical transition he does not realize the importance of simple habits of thought. A feverish appetite is awakened, and a mental greed sets in which can bring only an unsettled and unhappy state of mind. A process of digestion and assimilation is quite as important in mental as in physical development. In this morbid state the sufferer flies to books and teachers, as does the material dyspeptic to digestive remedies. Instead of this, he should simplify his diet, learn to "stay at home with the soul," and trust to the God within. By these means he would be able to eradicate his morbid desire for demonstrations of unripe faculties, and learn that the soul, when polarized to truth, will invariably find its loadstar. He would reach the position really desired in less time, with less effort, and without that waste of energy attendant upon his usual course.
Spiritual health is a condition of perfect equanimity, freed from all uncertainty, anxiety, and impatience. It perceives the Eternal Equities. It is the normal condition of the soul, here and now. It is the "heaven within."
Those who observe closely are beginning to realize that the so-called "higher thought" is often the old self-righteousness in a new dress, which, if selfishly indulged, brings in its train the pharisaism of Jesus' time, and the asceticism and bigotry of the Middle Ages.
It might be well at this stage of the proceedings to take a few hints from Montaigne, the skeptic, as reviewed by Emerson,—not that the skeptical view is necessary to metaphysical advancement, but that "moderation in all things" is a safe rule, especially on new and untried ground:
"Shun the weakness of philosophizing beyond your depth."
"Why exaggerate the power of virtue?" "These strings wound up too high will snap." "Why fancy that you have all the truth in your keeping?"
"There is much to say on all sides."
Do not be sure of the arbitrary definitions given of "mind and matter," and of the "higher" and the "lower" natures; nor draw too fine distinctions between the animal and spiritual planes, without thoroughly examining both.
Are you positive that you really know the meaning of these things? While posing as masters of the occult, can we afford to ignore the higher mathematics, the very first principles of logic? Do not in over-enthusiasm be too eager to discredit intellectual power.
Be reasonable; this is the only road to a just conclusion. In the effort to develop the spiritual nature, remember that man is a triune creature. Melody is not produced by harping on one string. Our three natures must be symmetrically unfolded before we can attune ourselves to spiritual harmonies. The alphabet is necessary to the expression of even the profoundest thought. The multiplication table is not "common" nor "unclean" to the student of differential calculus. Man the animal is one with man the intellect and man the spirit. All is Divine. There is no lower and no higher in God's marvelous kingdom.
When the balloonist wishes to rise, he throws out sand. When he wishes to descend, he lets out gas. There is danger of passing into atmospheres too highly rarified for human lungs. There is, also, danger of too rapid and violent descent. Both demand judgment and skill in the navigator.
In our metaphysical ballooning these dangers frequently appear. Let us not move into the clouds too rapidly, and imagine that we have no longer need of the earth ballast; rather let us keep one hand upon the valve-rope, letting out the gas occasionally to descend to earth levels, and touch elbows with our friends and fellow-mortals who may need our help in their struggles upward, as we certainly need theirs.
Our grandest philosophies are only pigmies of thought, and generations of spiritual evolution will be necessary to their full development before we can safely soar away from the planet on which we are now obtaining an elementary training.
Meanwhile, let us thank God for "the life that now is," with its lusty joys, as well as for "that which is to come," neither belittling the one nor ignoring the other; enjoying the promise of both, while remembering Paul's assurance that "godliness is profitable unto all things."