"Diving and finding no pearls in the sea,
Blame not the ocean, the fault is in thee."
Truth is our element of life. —Emerson
When we are ready to learn to swim we go into deep water, where we cannot touch the bottom and are "beyond our depth." We lie over gently and strike out, with confidence in the buoyancy of the sea and our power to keep afloat and direct our movements.
From that hour "wading" has lost its charms. We no longer care to hold each other's hands and jump up and down—making believe we are enjoying an ocean bath while choking with brine and nervous with the roar of the surf. We have found out that the quiet waters lie beyond the breakers, and that the greater the depth the easier for the swimmer.
We have become indifferent to the sight of shore or touch of bottom.
The strong swimmer is fearless. If he is wearied, he will float. He can diversify his stroke, swim on his back, tread water, dive, do anything but sink.
And what a glorious life electrifies him! What a sense of power over the new element, gained simply through his fearlessness! His movements are all natural and free.
Many of us venture into spiritual thought with something of the same anxiety we feel in taking our first surf bath. We hold to one another's hands and shout as the waves roll in.
We wet our feet and wade in shallow water. Perhaps we get into a bathing machine, and are pushed out among the wavelets by a "course of lessons," or possibly we even venture with the corks. But what do we know of the glorious ardor of the confident swimmer in the deep seas beyond the breakers, with only the great, buoyant waters underneath, the beautiful blue sky with fleecy clouds above us, and the sea gulls circling about.
Would we exchange the exhilaration of such an hour of strong and gladsome solitude for the companionship of the throngs of promenaders on the beach or the bathers in the pools?
We are only wading yet in the new thought, and many are simply shivering on the sands. The hidden treasures of the deep are but faintly suggested by the fragments strewn along the shore.
We are slowly awakening to the realization of our power, and of the infinite depth and riches of that which is our native element, in which we have our being. Let us cast fear to the winds, and know ourselves as buoyant swimmers. We have no need to sight the shore or touch the bottom of the Sea of Truth.
"In thy presence is fullness of joy." This should give us the keynote of existence. We expect the joy as the result of what we call "success." We think we can be happy when our purpose is accomplished.
Let us reverse our methods, and expect the "success" as the result of the joyful mind in which we live.
Let us look for the fulfillment of our purpose because of the happiness in which we work. A joyful spirit radiates a clear atmosphere, in which we can see afar; an anxious mind befogs us.
There can never be an honest excuse for worry, though no one ever lacks occasion for it. There are no conditions of life possible where we need be joyless after we have learned life's meaning, and opened our eyes to the presence of the everlasting good in which we live.
Life then becomes a continual feast. Until then we are paupers, even though our poverty is hidden by what the world calls "wealth."
The "rich" have many sorrows. No poverty of any sort can spring from spiritual life. It is fullness of joy.
There is somewhat low even in Hope.—Emerson.
Hope is certainly to be preferred to despair. But at the best it is only a mental bromide which tends to quiet our anxieties, aroused by fear.
It is a makeshift, after all, and could find no ratson d'etre except for our timidity. It is not a food essence, though it may act as a temporary stimulant. The normal constitution never requires stimulants or desires opiates. A healthy mind feels itself abundantly able to control and sustain the body without artificial aids.
Why, then, should we cultivate hope when a simple understanding of life endows us with the knowledge that no ill can befall us? When we get close to the heart of nature we gain the confidence of assurance. We know that the universal forces are unlimited, and furthermore, that we can draw on them at will. This leaves no standing ground for any fear, and consequently no use for hope, its antidote.
We are not saved by hope. We are saved by knowledge, which comes to us always from within ourselves.
It is a common error of belief of the novitiate in Mental Science that it is necessary for him to watch his thoughts and "treat himself," in order to maintain his equipoise in righteous living.
The habit of mental dosing is quite as pernicious as that of the pills and powders of the past. It draws the thought to self, when the very essence of all healing is to demagnetize such thought, and lead it to merge itself in the Universal Life with absolute repose and confidence. Our health is found in the thought of the unity of the Supreme Being, with the infinite diversities of its expression. This is harmony.
The sailor on the masthead feels no dizziness when he looks off into the blue above him. If he looks down upon the tossing deck of his little craft he often "loses his head" and falls. We must learn to enlarge our horizon; to look aloft; to take in the grand sweep of the arc, of which we find ourselves a part; to enlarge our definitions of "today" to include an infinite past with an infinite future; to dwell upon the buoyancy of the shoreless ocean, in which we are afloat, and of the boundless ether, in which we are learning to use our wings.