''All forces have been steadily employed to complete and delight me.
Now on this spot I stand with my robust soul." —Walt Whitman
The shadow land of failure lies always close to the sun land of success. Their provinces are curiously related. They interpenetrate each other. We cross the borderland unconsciously and do not discern the lines of separation. We are not challenged by any sentinels. We are only drawn insensibly to our own point of attraction for the passing hour by the magnetic currents into which we have allowed ourselves to drift. There is nothing more dangerous than depression and discouragement. Their tides and currents float us always to disaster. When we permit the winds to blow from a new quarter we find the clouds are quickly scattered. We easily sail away from the dark shores of foreboding and fear to lands of beauty and luxuriance.
The difference is as great as if we had exchanged the Arctic seas of the North for the aromatic forests of the South.
There is as much reality in our thought latitudes as in geographical limits.
When we have perceived this truth we do not sit down shivering by the wayside to wait for the clouds to scatter. We waste no time in sorrowing over shattered ideals, but we boldly enter a new thought land. What we have failed to discover in one country of our wanderings we diligently seek in another, until we find our largest hopes and longings satisfied. It is our spiritual geography that has been at fault. What we have desired does exist. We shall discover it when we put aside the pettiness of personal caprice and search with the devotion of King Arthur's knights in their quest of the Holy Grail.
We can best correct the imperfections in ourselves and others by constantly emphasizing ideals instead of punishing faults. We must hold steadfastly to our confidence in better things rather than weaken ourselves with thoughts of failure.
Every life is typified in the history of the race.
The individual passes through his barbaric and feudal ages and comes through "renaissance” to higher conditions, until the golden age is reached at last in his soul's development.
It has been said that mortal life is like a term at school; yet in comparison with the greater life of which it is a part, it can be only as a single hour in the class-room. It is but an incident in the existence of the immortal ego and can hardly reach the dignity of an event. Do we not greatly exaggerate its value and significance? Do we not needlessly exercise ourselves upon the sensations of the hour? Are they really of any greater consequence than the nursery games of children, of which in later life they have no recollection? Why should we persist in breaking our hearts over experiences which are so rapidly fading out of our horizon even while we grieve? Nothing in mortal life can possibly arrive at the importance of real tragedy.
The deepest of our sufferings are only tracings in the sands of the seashore, to be erased by the next wave of time.
In this larger view of life we find all anguish melt away. The tense conditions of our mind which have arisen from our ignorant and childish conceptions pass. We find peace in the “Everlasting Arms" which are enfolding us, and from which we can never fall away.
The birds are always singing in our heavens, the light is always shining, help is always near, and our mountains are always full of invisible hosts sent for our deliverance; yet how often we are deaf to the melodies and blind to the brightness and power because our fears have closed the avenues of spiritual perception! We sit sad and comfortless, walled in by our grief, while to every word of consolation we but shake our heads and cry, "Never was sorrow like my sorrow."
It is as important to relax our minds as it is to concentrate them. Relaxation and concentration are opposite poles of the same mental currents. It is desirable that we understand and alternate these conditions wisely, else we shall be always either tense or scattered. Concentration is true quietness rather than intensity.
On the stage of human action we are often obliged to wait our call between the parts assigned to us. Let us learn to wait patiently and not rush upon the boards before our time, else we will unfit ourselves through our impatience for the playing of our proper part in the drama. We cannot miss our cue if we desire only to fulfil our opportunities. We should not act until the hour of action compels. We should not speak until the utterance is necessary. In the time of action we will find the open way, and in the hour of speech there will be no lack of words.
If we will learn to live without haste we will learn to live without our present urgent need of rest.
Our weariness comes from ignorance of our powers. We fear their exhaustion and suffer from perhaps unconscious protest against the demands of our occupations. We hold the expectation of reaction and fatigue. Thus our weariness results from mental friction of some sort rather than excessive activity. All haste implies anxiety and fear. Hurry is only worry under another name. It is often indulged habitually by those who would not acknowledge themselves to be anxious.
The minutes saved by hurry are as useless as the pennies saved by parsimony.
Economies of time and money do not feed a full-grown soul.
Freedom expresses always and everywhere a sense of ever-present power to command all things. Success results from confident demand upon ourselves. We fail because our purposes are easily broken off.
When purpose and action are in harmony, they are like the united movement of the wind and tide.
A truly concentrated life promptly rejects every thought of past or future that would disturb its confidence in the present hour.
It accepts nothing that will not feed its power.
When we have planted a wheat-field or an orchard, and a blight destroys the ripening grain or a frost kills the fruit, our confidence in nature is not weakened, though our labor has ended fruitlessly. We plant again and again in confident expectation of the harvest. But when we fail in our earliest efforts to demonstrate the power of thought, and disease still clings to us, or the opulence we have sought is still delayed, we are very apt to heed our doubts and yield to our despair. Yet the fruit of thought is as well assured as that of the fields.
Health and prosperity result from our awakening to consciousness of spiritual power. Courage is developed by necessity of action. When life is comfortable we easily lose momentum. Arrested motion transmutes energy into heat.
Inflammation, fever, and congestion are the natural results of interrupted circulation in thought life.
As we become aroused to the higher vibrations of spirit we become indifferent to the lower vibrations of matter, knowing we can control them.
Every man is the Supreme Being of his own life. No good or evil can come to him except as he makes it possible.
Distrust of himself is only another form of vanity—a fear lest he should not fulfill his personal expectation. It forgets the infinite power upon which he can draw at will. It is as much a fault to fear a seeming weakness in ourselves as actually to manifest it outwardly.
It sometimes happens that the only debt we can pay on demand is what is called the "debt of nature," and so the weak man dies through an exaggerated consciousness of weakness. He fails to perceive the strength that he embodies, which would be sufficient if properly directed to extricate him from all his troubles.
Our fears are always premature and lead us to confusion.
Resurrection is the awakening of force. It is not through dropping our material bodies, but by obtaining true possession and control of them that we can ever realize its meaning.
When we have attained to spiritual realization our bank bills will be to us of no more value or significance than bits of paper. Deeds and stock certificates will be as worthless as old rags.
Opulence within will certainly express itself in opulence without. Spiritual power is creative and dominates all things. It is not dependent upon strongboxes filled with fanciful “securities." When once it has been recognized and put in motion it is always the master and never the slave of its material possessions.
The inexhaustible energies of nature are at our service when we have learned to make a confident demand upon them. We do not need so much to study the conservation of our forces and resources as the power we possess of prompt renewal. Every so-called "law" in science is manifested under prescribed conditions. If the conditions are changed there is a different result in action, and one law is transcended by another.
He who governs the conditions is the lawmaker. Thus every man becomes a law unto himself. The science of metaphysics is a study of adjustment. It is an application of common sense to practical affairs, with confidence that we can regulate our mental attitude toward persons and events. There is in it no element of mystery. It does not require anything but the simplest intellectual effort upon natural lines.
Pessimism is like a derelict wreck at sea. It drifts without a helmsman, at the mercy of every wind and tide. Submerged below the water line, it is a menace to every brave mariner who spreads his sails to the breeze, and hangs his signal lights aloft. It is an obstruction to navigation and a danger to every craft that floats in the same sea. It rolls in the trough of the ocean a water-logged and lifeless thing against which all seamen must be warned.
We are often so bewildered by false theories on one hand and false practices on the other that our lives are complicated and ensnared. But if we are polarized in purpose we will be balanced for action.
The magnetic needle does not struggle to reach the north.
It is so well adjusted that the electric currents of the earth and air in their steady flow will swing it always toward the pole. When it vacillates through any temporary distraction they will bring it surely and speedily into line again with their persistent forces. There is no danger that it will mistake the points of the compass. Upon the stability of this magnetic law we venture fearlessly with our fleets and navies into unknown waters. May we not have the same confidence in the soul's perceptions?
Why is our guiding principle so often deflected in life's voyage? Every wrong thought tends to depolarize it. Every hour of indulgence in false purpose or emotion turns it from its lodestar. Impatience and selfishness of every kind obstruct the equable flow of spiritual currents through the individual life.
Every doubt and fear operates to scatter them.
Absolute confidence in the eternal wisdom, love, and power of life is necessary to clear seeing and right doing.
We are impatient at every difficulty and turn the highest stimulus of life into an occasion for self-pity and discouragement. We treat adversity as an enemy when it is our truest friend. It is a demonstration of the accurate operation of the laws of cause and consequence. If we analyze intelligently we will always find a rare gem of truth imbedded in our stoniest experiences.
If we do not quickly agree with our adversity it casts us into the prison of doubt, from which we never emerge till we have paid the uttermost farthing. Nor could the soul wish us to go free till we had learned to rightly interpret the law from which we suffered. Pain is persistent energy. It is the manifestation of life.
All our suffering comes from battles with ourselves. After we have been sufficiently bruised and beaten by the conditions we have attracted, we begin to understand the needlessness of strife.
When we are willing to feed upon the husks of our emotions and sensations we must not complain of the pangs of starvation.
True life deals with causes rather than effects. It does not concern itself with shadows. It is not interested in appearances, nor does it question how it looks to the outsider. It desires only right results. It recognizes that the shadow is illusive and misleading, and employs itself in the molding of the substance that throws the shadow. It does not dwell on negative conditions, but on positive forces. In our reaction from the old insistence upon "doing" we emphasize the value of the silence in which we study being. But there are perils in the calm as well as in the storm. We must be careful that we do not lose our steerage way. No philosophy can be really good which leads to helplessness and inactivity.
The largest life expresses itself in largest action. Spiritual wisdom improves its purpose and method without reducing its activities. Real growth never results in indolence.
Let us roll the drum and sound the bugle note as loud and clear as possible. But the cheer of the living hero daring all things in the charge is more inspiring than any sound of drum or bugle. Is it not better to march shoulder to shoulder in the column and keep step to the grand music of life that leads us forward than to be stragglers and grumblers in the rear? Is it not better to embody the faith that we profess and manifest it in our daily living than to show our ingenuity in criticism and our eloquence in complaints.
We think, perhaps, that we love music, and find mathematics distasteful. We respond readily to sentimental appeals, but are reluctant to meet the homely duties that demand our daily care. In reality music and mathematics are but different expressions of the same law.
Were it not for the accurate variation in the vibrations of notes and fixed counts in the rests musical chords would be impossible. Mathematics is a spiritual science—music is its rhythmic expression appealing to the emotional nature as Euclid's propositions appeal to the reason. Each is reducible to the terms of the other as sound and color, differentiated only by the number of their vibrations through which they reach the different senses in their different development.
It is difficult to say which is the greater marvel to the human mind, the diversity, or unity of life.
The science of thought is the music of life's mathematical problems. It is the fresh grouping of the notes and rests, enabling us to strike new chords.
The question of harmony or discord in any event concerning us is governed wholly by our point of view. Art and science are dependent upon careful measurements as well as on the inspiration of genius.
The simplest task, the smallest duty which falls to us, are equally important as the heroic deed. The plainest speech and action are sometimes the most essentially heroic. In life's drama the play that goes on behind the scenes is often more beautiful than that performed before the footlights to the music of the orchestra and the applause of an admiring public.
If we cannot immediately provide for those we love all that we would wish in material advantages we can at least fulfill their higher good by holding them in the kingdom of mind in which we rule in the thought of opulence and health and righteousness. Such thoughts bring their fruit as well as the labor of the hands. We need not drag our dear ones down with us into dungeons of fear. Fear results from unaccustomed situations, and the failure to apply our principles with confidence that they are sufficient to solve all problems.
We can no longer indulge our apprehensions when we have come to understanding.
We are always under the protection of the universal law.
It transmutes every experience into good, and our most painful hours "may be turned to beautiful results." We cannot gauge life rightly by our sensations of comfort and discomfort, except to understand that all discomfort reveals our needs. If the hand or foot were to concentrate its sensibilities upon itself with fear that it were too remote from the heart or head to share in their energies and watchful care the circulation of the arterial system would be immediately disturbed.
We know that any pain in hand or foot is instantly telegraphed to the brain, and the great central organ of the heart responds without delay to every unusual demand.
Can we not have equal confidence in the great heart and head of Being—the principle that we call God?
It is more difficult to fall than to stand, for all the laws of gravitation and mechanics combine to hold us on our feet. There is an intelligent power behind every one that is more interested in his preservation than he is himself, because it has' a better understanding of his value and a purpose in expressing its own life through his.
Life continually seeks expression, and places a high value upon every opportunity.
If we could once realize the wisdom of the spirit that guides us and the force which protects us we could never again harbor a fear. All our anxieties are trivial in view of the infinite provision for our needs.
It is at the point at which we seem to stand alone in our trouble, and darkness shuts down about us, that the real test comes. We are face to face with the question, "Does law govern in my life or am I left to chance? Is the power I have thought supreme indifferent or helpless in this hour of pressing need? Shall I listen to the voice of the senses and curse God and die?"
Yet how quickly could all our difficulties be relieved from the inexhaustible resources of an infinite mind! How promptly could our vitality be quickened by the creative power we call life!
How very small are our pecuniary wants in comparison with the boundless wealth about us! How easily could our heart hunger be satisfied with some small fragments from the feast of Love!
But the misgivings linger—fears of disease, of poverty, of loneliness. The soul refuses to feed upon crusts and will not be satisfied with anything partial and incomplete. So it is shut out from everything but the springs within itself, and at length in our extremity we dig for these hidden waters.
It is in our night of agony in the garden that our angels appear. They have never been absent from our side, but sorrow rends the veil from our eyes and discloses the presence of our celestial helpers.
We find our dangers have been exaggerated because we were unconscious of our unseen allies. All our fears have vanished with the night. Joy and confidence have come with the dawn.
There is no doubt that, sooner or later, everyone can accomplish his desires if he will hold to them with an unvarying and persistent confidence. But as we move forward we discover better things than those we sought. We are like mountain travelers discerning always higher peaks beyond the elevations they have reached, and which could not be seen from the lower levels.
We come but slowly to the recognition of our opportunities.
The largest attainments are not possible while we paralyze ourselves with doubt of our abilities. "I can do all things" is the voice of the higher consciousness.
Incredulity is not the sign of a superior intelligence. Faith is scientific and not superstitious. It is the result of large experience and knowledge. Its scope rightly measures the intelligence of its possessor.
A pessimistic and skeptical tone is the expression of a narrow mind and limited experience.
Atheism is a disease—a superstition. The atheist is a bigot of the crudest type. He is usually a fanatic of the violent order. Fanaticism grows always upon thin soil.
It is the ignorant mind that is suspicious. The possibilities of life are far beyond the present range of our discoveries, and every step of progress opens a grander horizon.
When the young bird first leaves its nest it can only cling to the bough on which the nest is built. It begins to stretch its wings, but has not learned its power to master the force of gravitation. A little later and the nest and bough are left behind. The bird has flown beyond the clouds. It has acquired the science of motion and command of its wings. It has gained freedom through its fearlessness.
When we have learned that we can do a thing, not because it is simple and easy in itself, but because we are strong enough to do it, the action is a delight and not an effort.
When we are confident of victory the home stretch is a pleasant one, and the winning post an easy goal.
We sometimes fancy we would like to get done with life.
Such moments of weariness and weakness come at times to most of us. Yet for every human life that passes out of the objective phase, there are thousands seeking eagerly to enter, knowing as they do that the mortal has a rare and privileged opportunity of gaining that which is not otherwise attainable.
If we could only see our daily trials as they will appear to us a little farther on the road, we would greet them with a buoyant and boisterous welcome instead of cowering and groaning with alarm.
Does trouble challenge us to walk with it a mile? Fearlessly let us go with it twain.
Does it rudely snatch away our cloak? Let us offer it our coat also. We will never meet in life a trial that can halt us on the highway like a robber and compel us to throw up our hands unless we choose to ignore our power and yield to a force that, in the nature of things, must always be inferior to ourselves.
We are not dying of starvation but of overfeeding. Life is an embarrassment of riches. Our illnesses show that we have not been denied, but allowed too much indulgence of our follies. We have not selected our food wisely. We do not need to suffer from impoverishment in any direction if we are ready to choose that which ministers to our growth.
Life is not so cruel as to give us mouths we cannot feed or passions we cannot control. Nor does it develop aspirations that we cannot satisfy. Increasing strength of appetite develops corresponding power of government.
Hunger quickens our perceptions and leads us to nature's storehouses. Aspiration furnishes us pinions upon which we wing our way to paradise.
Every ideal can be made practical as soon it is distinctly denned, for the power to image and to execute are one and the same thing.
There is no such thing as a false hope related to the individual himself. Our hope may be imperfect, but when we have developed it into an intelligent purpose it has already entered upon fulfillment. We can sometimes judge of the character and value of the work awaiting us by the severity of the experiences we have passed in preparation for it. Are we suffering today? It is that we may have the wisdom needful for some suffering one whom we may help tomorrow.
After the baptism of sorrow comes the baptism of consolation. We must learn to let go of the good things in order to arrive at better things, as the tree lets go its buds that they may ripen into blossoms, and lets go the blossoms that the fruit may come.
Instead of indulging the thought "this is very trying," we should remind ourselves "this is my test and I am glad to prove my strength or discover my weakness." We need to detach ourselves from any difficult situation—to look at it apart from personal considerations—to stand outside ourselves and view the question quite dispassionately, as though it concerned another and were a matter of indifference to us, to put aside the present suffering with the assurance that there is balm in Gilead and the pain will quickly pass.
Our best work is often struck out in the white heat of suffering, and there comes a time when the soul understands that its choicest fruit is ripened on the tree of knowledge which grows in the garden of sorrow.
Experience deals us just the blows we need to teach us equilibrium.
The life of every day would be a pleasure if we would permit ourselves to thoroughly enjoy the work in hand.
Disease and misfortune result from habits of mind.
We cannot have a sickly body or environment without a sickly thought behind it.
Our mental attitude today determines our success tomorrow.
Specific gravity governs in our affairs as truly as in material science.
It carries us promptly to the plane to which our confident or anxious thoughts relate us. The force we waste upon our fears is all that would be necessary for the achievement of our purpose.