Speech comes only with knowledge. Attain to knowledge and you will attain to speech.
Life itself has speech and is never silent. —"Light on the Path"
"The strongest and sweetest songs yet remain to be sung."
It has already become an axiom in metaphysics that all suffering comes from misdirected energy.
Pain is an abnormal expression of life forces that have been diverted from their proper channels or flow through them in disproportionate volume.
Nature cannot be suppressed when once awakened. Its energies cannot be long confined in storage batteries of single cells. They demand a large and varied expression. To this truth all departments of life continually testify. The fecundity and diversity of nature's powers are shown in all its kingdoms.
Man may choose the channels through which this tireless energy shall have its largest expression in his personal life—whether in animal and intellectual vigor wisely blended, or in either one of them unduly emphasized. The spiritual force will employ itself in either or both expressions subject to the direction of the individual's own will.
According to his choice will he manifest power. The highest expression makes the strongest demand upon the infinite source, and results in the largest growth. Power upon any plane is always increased by use.
A wholesome nature finds its pleasure in its work and does not require the goad of fame or greed.
The demonstration to itself of its own power to create is the liveliest satisfaction it can experience.
To widen its activities and employ them in service is its greatest gladness and presents no thought of sacrifice. There are many who find no pleasure outside the sensual life. Man does not belong among the grub worms, but among the birds. When we begin to comprehend our freedom we find our circulation quickened, and obstructions disappear as our impatience lessens.
The universal aim is happiness. We discover sooner or later that full satisfaction can be found only in right living. It is a necessity that all men should eventually become good or miss the fulfillment of the supreme purpose of human life.
Only in goodness do we find essential power, and only in power, satisfaction. Good is the strongest magnet known to us. Every pang of suffering is an impulse toward health and virtue. Nature will not be satisfied with any imperfect work.
Suppression is not dominion. We must root out and exterminate the wrong beliefs—the mental weeds. We must plough and harrow the ground, and plant an entirely new crop of goodly thoughts. Only in this way can we become proprietors of our fields—the lords of our domains.
We can better afford to give our land a thoroughly new sowing than to preserve large tracts of weeds for fear that in destroying them we shall part with a few heads of grain. Our work must be truly "radical"—root work. Let us not be too "nice" in the winnowing of our seed, for fear we should be thought erratic and peculiar.
It is more trouble to harmonize old thoughts and new than to begin again our thinking upon entirely new lines. The Nazarene discovered in his earliest work that it was absolutely useless to attempt the putting of new wine into the old bottles; inevitably it must burst the bottles. We need not fear that any truth will be lost to a truthful soul.
All error is the incomplete statement or manifestation of something real. It is a partial and imperfect inspiration, and speedily brings its own correction through the suffering that it entails.
The lesson of right expression is the most important we have to learn. It demands of us that we should guide emotion into its proper channels, and control the valves of feeling so that all utterance shall be normal and wholesome, and leave no smart or regret behind.
Immorality comes often from an injudicious suppression of natural and proper appetites which have been denied and strangled, when they should have been recognized and trained.
Strangulation is not the highest form of self-control, nor does it bring desirable results. There is usually as much intemperance in reformers as in sensualists, whatever be the banner under which they rally.
When Lazarus had heard the voice of the Christ he came out of his tomb, but found himself bound hand and foot with grave clothes.
It is not enough that the command of the spirit should reach us, "Come forth!"
We awaken—we move—but we need the further word, "Loose him and let him go."
Our grave clothes cling to us. They are our errors in which we have been educated, our false beliefs,—our prejudices, resentments, and regrets,—everything which in any way seems to bind us or to limit our sense of the perfect freedom which belongs to truth.
Resurrection brings us into newness of life, out of the shadows into the morning. We have nothing further to do with grave clothes.
Freedom and disease or poverty can never exist together. The one inevitably destroys the other.
We may choose between them, but can never hold them both. It is strange with what persistency we often cling to shrouds, and even sometimes miss the dreary shelter of the tomb that we have left.
Our fountains are too often choked with rubbish turned back upon themselves and draining their waters into stagnant pools.
Mind poisoning precedes blood poisoning. When we dwell in secret upon the thought of trouble, we expose ourselves to further dangers. We think, perhaps, that our lives have been darkened by tragedies of deepest suffering. We imagine ourselves to have endured heavier sorrows than often fall to the lot of men. Our days have been filled with grief; our bread has been as ashes, and "our tears have been our meat day and night."
Our most plaintive wailings are but those of children crying in the night. In the light of a larger life the trouble of the past will disappear as our horizon broadens.
We are still in our infancy, and suffering like children from sore gums and cutting teeth. As we grow, these things that seem so serious today will be forgotten or remembered only as our early primers.
When the morning comes to us we will find no cause of tears.
If we have preferred the mourners' seats to places at the banquet, it has been a matter of taste, and the funeral-baked meats have doubtless served our needs.
The flagons of joy have stood always at our elbow while we supped on sorrows. Life is never niggardly of its gladness. Heaviness of spirit is never imposed upon us without our consent.
Wherever we find a special difficulty of environment or weakness of character, we also find, if we look closely, a special faculty for grappling with it. We discover some strong point of opportunity or will opposed to it which is brought out with especial emphasis by the occasion—as we find in tropical countries vegetable antidotes for the bites and stings of poisonous reptiles that abound.
Wherever we find a marked trait of disposition, or a peculiar situation, we can soon discover, in a mental diagnosis, the seed-pod from which it grew and the opposite manifestation which made it necessary. Nature always aims at symmetry. She balances carefully her positive and negative forces. With every need there is some resource with which it can be met, for all supply in nature's wonderful expression has been developed in response to special demand. The soul is like a firefly or glow-worm. It radiates an inner light which illumines its own way. It possesses the magnetic power by which it can draw to itself the people and things it finds desirable. These interior forces have their corresponding organs in the eye which selects and the arms and hands which reach for the food that the mouth demands. Our spiritual radiations meet and mingle with those of other lives that are related to our own. Distance cannot separate us. We are guided to places and occupations which fulfill the purpose of our incarnation, and through which we give and receive all needful lessons.
Moving on these natural lines, we find the teachers and the tools that we require. The mysterious forces emanating from ourselves govern our environment at every moment. In Our journeyings they guide our choice of routes and plans of travel. In library or bookstore these invisible rays search out and bring to our attention that which we find helpful, no matter how remotely it may be hidden and shelved.
In what appears to be quite accidental ways particular paragraphs and pages that we need are brought before our eye. There is no search-light of man's invention which is anything more than a poor suggestion of this spiritual intelligence en lightening every human being. No magnet equals it in its attracting power. The universe is the field of its radiant energy.
Its currents are as irresistible as the law of gravitation. It is the expression of the same infinite wisdom which has provided for the sparrow and the lily.
As yet the race has made but small demands upon the natural resources of our planet.
Malthus' theory is weak in that it takes account of only visible supplies. It overlooks the fact that every fresh discovery in science shows us a new force stronger than any known before.
If steam is to be supplanted by electricity, and electricity by solar energy or liquid air, why should we be anxious about the exhaustion of forests and coal-beds?
If one drop of water contains an untold power, or a cubic foot of atmosphere the energy of 10,000 foot-tons, it would seem as if we had no lack of force at our command.
If nine-tenths of our nourishment is derived from the atmosphere, as is now claimed by science, it would surely be no impossible problem to dispense with the other tenth or find for it some substitute for the food we now think necessary.
At least we need not yet begin to tremble at the thought of a possible increase in population beyond the sustenance provided by Dame Nature.
It would be just as wise to fear lest the birds and fishes should exhaust their food-supply because they grew so rapidly in numbers.
If we would put our emphasis on circulation rather than accumulation we would find that much of our difficulty concerning supply would vanish. If we would recognize the value of the principle of giving in place of the constant thought of getting we would not so often find ourselves in poverty. We need to make more frequent use of the extensor muscles, to open and reach out to one another, instead of so constantly desiring to draw into ourselves. We talk of being just, and fail of being generous. The virtues upon which we pride ourselves are always developed at the cost of symmetry of character, and so changed into vices in the process.
Life is strong and true in its expression only when purpose and action are united and allied with will.
Never for an instant should we give lodgment to an untrue thought.
It opens the door to serious results, and puts our instrument out of tune. Impatience is explosive. It is like the nitrogen in gunpowder. We can no more predict the result of setting it free than we can tell the spot where lightning will strike when it has torn its way through the cloud and descended earthward.
Our only safety is in eradicating it altogether from our temperament.
Emphasis is generally both the child and father of impatience.
It implies a doubt of our own statement. When we are confident of the strength of our position our tones are steady, our speech is calm, and the entire expression of voice and action is in harmony with our highest thought.
Nature's chromatic scale has many octaves. The universal energy finds utterance in weeds as well as flowers, fruits, and forests. The same creative forces are at work in all.
Even the weeds are fragrant, after the cleansing of a storm, when the dust of the highway has been washed away.
Can we not see that the same transforming energy that is manifested among the most highly developed of our fellow-men is working also in the slums of the great cities? The corruption that we find so repulsive and distressing will be surely washed off by the storms of experience.
The divine principle which is within every human being will sometime manifest itself, for all are made in the image and likeness of supreme good. We cannot believe in God and refuse to believe in man.
Much of our distress at sin and suffering results from want of understanding of the principles that govern life. There are many foolish ones whose tearful sympathies are but the symptoms of a moral hysteria, in which they indulge themselves from an unconscious love of sensation and desire of approbation. In a court of spiritual equity they would be convicted of obtaining admiration under false pretenses.
If we could awaken tomorrow with the full assurance that all our desires would be accomplished speedily, might it not be possible that we would examine them more seriously? Might we not discover that some of our supposed desires would result in serious embarrassment? Do we really wish to have back among us all the friend9 for whom we are in mourning? Is it not true that sorrow at death is often in inverse ratio to the grief expressed, and that a deep veil or hat-band may be only a precaution to conceal the satisfaction of its wearer? There are many who delude themselves with fictitious troubles and have no grounds whatever for their claim that they have been defrauded of their happiness.
If, on the other hand, we could know that our sincerest wishes were on the eve of realization, how quickly would our lives respond to the stimulus of such a confidence!
What strength and gladness we would show, relieved from the depressing influences of old anxieties and fears!
What new vigor would assert itself as the result of losing all our doubts! With what a fine scorn we would look upon our tonics and doses, as quite useless in the new conditions of our minds! Dyspepsia and heart trouble, rheumatism and neuralgia, would vanish as if by magic, showing us that all causes of disease are in the mind and can be changed through mental impulse.
We may have this impulse now. It comes with the knowledge that all forces on the causal or astral plane are pledged to the fulfillment of man's purpose when that purpose is held unflinchingly. It is our fickleness and cowardice that oftenest defeat our aims. The man who dares and perseveres is the man who wins. Daring and perseverance are rare virtues, and always effectual when given right direction.
If we are not satisfied with what our lives express in their environment and bodily conditions, we must alter our desires and destroy our fears.
Freedom is to be had only on these terms. Back of all unrest is desire or fear gnawing like a worm at the root of happiness.
The imperfect results that we show in our activities are largely due to indecision and uncertainty of purpose. We need to learn that what we call ambition is a hindrance, not a help.
Large unfoldment is the only true aim of life, not great achievement or accumulation of material results.
The question is often asked, “How can I know my work and place?"
How do the planets find their orbits, and what keeps them true?
As we have said before, they move on the lines of least resistance, and we are subject to the same governing principle. This line is determined by our purpose.
We alternate continually between a belief in fate and an uncomfortable sense of personal responsibility.
Destiny and will, and our particular relation to them, are the questions that most vex us. We find it difficult to adjust these powers to our control and satisfaction. They are the columns upon which life rests, but the point of juncture in the arch that joins them is above the clouds and beyond our mortal sight.
Our proposition is incomplete. We are undertaking higher mathematics before we have mastered the tables.
There are other factors necessary to the solution of such questions which are not yet within our grasp. At this point faith becomes a scientific principle.
All natural science is based upon the postulate of an atom. This is an hypothesis that is not yet supported by any evidence of the senses. We have never seen, heard, tasted, smelled, or touched an atom. Yet we make it the corner-stone of all material science. We predicate its shape, move merits, and combinations. The most powerful microscope has not as yet revealed its existence, but this in no way disturbs our faith. We regard the atom as something infinitely small. Why should we not accept a law that governs it which is infinitely great? Let us attribute to this government infinite wisdom, power, and benevolence, expressed in an unfailing accuracy. This new factor helps us to contemplate fate with a sense of personal safety. It puts in our hands a magic-lantern which throws a flood of light upon one part of our problem.
Every revelation of science tends to strengthen and confirm this theory of orderly government.
Nature insists upon perfection, and all defective types carry the seeds of their own destruction. All healthy life perpetuates itself with an increasing power and momentum.
We believe that the law that governs the universe governs every single planet of its system. We must carry this statement further and apply it to every detail of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, else the atoms would move in chaos and all life would be erratic and indeterminate. What, then, could hold the planets in their orderly movement? If we accept this view we must include the individual life of man in the operation of the law. We must also extend it to every moment of his existence and every incident of his experience. We must choose between absolute government and absolute chaos. There is no middle ground conceivable.
This does not lead us to fatalism in the usual understanding of that word. We recognize a universal power and with it we identify man's will. We perceive that as he unfolds he learns to concentrate and direct all natural forces—that he embodies in himself all nature's kingdoms, elements, and forms. We are compelled to see in him the lawful ruler and ascribe to him both power and responsibility, awaiting only his recognition and acceptance.
But before he can be crowned he must take the oath of allegiance to his higher self, which is the individual expression of an infinite good. Little by little man discovers that his limitations are altogether those of ignorance and are, therefore, wholly mental. Larger recognition brings larger demands and the power of appropriation grows with the mastery of larger expression.
Every imperfect and false note that has been struck in this attempt of the race to master the harmonies of life has left its vibrations in earth's atmospheres.
Science asserts that all vibrations are eternal, whether of light or sound. Thus every act of a human being must be ineffaceably stamped in his surroundings, and every sound remain in the great cosmic ocean.
There are pictured scenes of strife and sacrifice, of cruelty and heroism, of gentleness and love; sights and sounds of an infinite range, embracing every note to which the human eye or ear can make response.
There are mists and fogs of thought as well as turbulent seas and angry billows. Our bodies are subject to an estimated pressure of fifteen pounds to the square inch of atmosphere and two hundred pounds of ether. Who shall estimate the' power of the thought currents which continually swirl about us, bringing to every mind influences of restlessness or peace?
Our troubled dreams are from these wandering impulses impinging on our lower consciousness when in a negative condition. Their influence will sometimes cling to us on awakening as moisture to our garments on a foggy morning at the shore. Much of our depression in the early hours of the day may be traced to superficial experiences on the astral plane. If we will recognize them as of no more significance than the passing clouds or showers of spring we may easily shake them off as we would the water from our clothes. Thought climates are as yet unrecognized by meteorologists. Yet they are no less real than those we seek for the relief of fleshly ills, and they are stimulating or depressing to our mental life. They are the secret impulses of those that surround us, the subtle emanation of their inmost purpose and desire.
Until one has developed his individuality he is constantly subject to these mental currents. As his own thought becomes more definite in its aims and positive in character he ceases to suffer from the thoughts of others.
When we are ready to yield to others all that we can give of loving help we shall not fail of anything we need in return. The compensation may take different form from what we would have chosen, but it will be none the less real. It may not be so much in the way of gratification as of discipline and a lesson in self-control, but whatever it may be it will surely add to the riches of our life, for it is the expression of the perfect law of equity, and with what measure we meet, it shall be measured to us again. When we have given to another all it is our privilege to give we will receive whatever it is our privilege to get from any person with whom we are brought into the relations of the home, the office, or society.
Through such relations we will pass to larger and better conditions, or, having fulfilled the purpose for which we were brought together, our lives will now diverge for working out the higher good of both. With this conviction we can look back without regret and forward without fear. Is it not better to frankly recognize this truth and work consciously and intelligently with it than to indulge ourselves in passive resentment or personal antagonism? In moments of clear vision we perceive that we have no enemy but ourselves, and that all our varied experiences have been the manifestation of our own unsuspected impulses.
If suffering brings us to this discovery at last its only purpose is fulfilled and we can go on our way rejoicing. We can at all times open our ears to either harmony or discord, for there is no environment yet discovered where either exists without the other.
Through the science of adjustment we learn to relate ourselves pleasantly and helpfully to every individual and incident that comes into our lives. Impatience delays results, while ready acceptance hastens them.
Success is the expression of true individuality. None can bestow it on another. None can prevent or hinder. It must be won by each of us, and through the winning we accomplish our development. This is a simple creed and one that never needs to be revised, as every step of progress furnishes fresh evidence of its truth.
We talk of love as an emotion, when we ought to recognize it as a principle that underlies the universe. Emotional love as compared with the spiritual principle is as the fleck of foam blown from the crest of the wave. It is but a faint suggestion of the tranquil depths below which no wind has ever ruffled and no sounding-line has ever fathomed. True love is a spiritual atmosphere rather than a personal impulse. It seeks nothing for itself but the opportunity of expression. Jealousy is greed of affection. It is the selfish clamor of unloving thought. It is a parody of love and always without excuse.
To understand life intelligently through all its various expressions it is necessary to distinguish between cause and occasion. We often confound the two. The wind that lays low one forest tree only strengthens another in its powers of endurance. The tree fell not simply because it was in the path of the gale, but because it was unsound or not deeply rooted. The storm was the occasion of its fall, but the real cause was in itself.
All our difficulties are but tests of our powers. None of them are sufficient to explain our failures. With every tribulation comes some comforting angel who is interested in our triumph and will reinforce our strength if we will accept the service that he offers. All the good powers of the universe are drawn to our side in the day of battle if we raise the banner of truth. The only boon truth ever asks is the opportunity of expression through our lips and lives, that we may receive her benediction.
Truth has never known defeat, and in so far as we ally ourselves with truth do we become invincible.
No chains of circumstance can fetter the true man. He asks no odds of fortune, and in every hour of adversity he expresses power, and calmly awaits the victory he knows is sure to come.
Nothing can be "beyond our strength," though much may be beyond our present understanding of how to make that strength available.
Eagerness and indolence are both obstructive and result in suffering.
Nothing can come to us except we draw it.
Nothing can stay when we let go.
Nothing can go till it has fulfilled its purpose.
Nothing that we can do can bring discredit upon truth.
If truth were dependent upon mortal demonstration for its credit it would long since have suffered bankruptcy.
Neither can we make a sacrifice for truth. It always compensates abundantly an honest seeker.