The glorious consummation toward which organic evolution is tending is the production of the highest and most perfect psychical life."
"My mind to me a kingdom is.
For many years man has been studying the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms; but in all his investigations he has overlooked what is greater than all else—man himself. The most important pursuit in all this world is the study of man. It will repay the diligent student far more than any other line of research. "Know thyself," said a wise man in ancient times; and he might have added, "you will know all other people; you will know all else, because in this human mind—in this soul of ours—is contained everything to be found in the outer world."
To know ourselves the investigation must be carried on in a manner quite different from that governing all other lines of study. To know ourselves as we are we must set aside pride of self, we must examine into everything carefully and minutely. We need to know the cause of all man's varying emotions and the motives that prompt him to follow certain courses—such as shutting his mind to certain thoughts and events and opening it to others. In the past we believed what we wished to believe, without regard to its truth. A certain body of men had promulgated certain doctrines, and we took them for granted; we accepted them as the truth without investigation. Our ministers and our doctors have done our thinking for us. But this condition is rapidly passing away, and each individual soul is beginning to think and act for itself, the trammels that hitherto have bound the soul are being thrown aside.
In the study of man, a careful, thoughtful inquiry into the matter by oneself is necessary—not taking anything that others say as the indisputable truth, but investigating and seeing whether another's idea of truth appeals to the inquirer's highest sense of right, and whether it will prove beneficial if accepted.
The idea of storing up something for the future is exploded. What we want is health, strength, and happiness, here and now. The idea of going through the world with a long face, thinking it indicates religion, no longer passes current. The religion of Christ is a religion of hope, not despair; yet the majority of Christians carry about on their faces the opposites of brightness and happiness. We must investigate in the true way. Through the exercise of soul and mind and body the whole man grows strong and attains to true self-knowledge.
It is largely through the wonderful control of thought and breath that the Hindu adepts perform many of their remarkable feats. Indeed, the wonders transpiring every day, strange as they appear, are but trifling in comparison to those that will yet be disclosed through the human mind. We do not even dream in the present of the powers and possibilities of mind. We have power in our own souls to transform our bodies; to quicken the action of the heart and the blood; to strengthen every part of the body; and so to increase in knowledge of things good and true that ere long we may absolutely control our bodies.
Knowledge of the law and its application are essential to a thoroughly controlled, powerful life. There is a real science of life, one by which the mind is renewed, quickened and made strong. This renewing of the mind is in turn fully expressed in physical well-being. If we will carefully and thoughtfully examine into these matters, and then live in accordance with our knowledge, there is not one among us who may not be benefited both mentally and physically. Man comes as absolutely under the universal laws of God as suns and planets or systems of suns and planets that move in unison with eternal law. There can be no health nor happiness aside from conformity to the laws of God. In vain shall we seek for these blessings elsewhere.
Students of esoteric science claim that there is one great life-principle which is in all, through all, and above all. Exoteric science speaks of this principle as energy, or force; Christian people call it God; Hindus speak of it as Brahm. But they all mean exactly the same thing—"the Power that makes for righteousness," as Matthew Arnold aptly puts it. It is that "infinite and eternal Energy" of Herbert Spencer's belief. Every soul represents a part of it—therefore the Whole; in other words, it is "God working within us to will and to do." Our bodies, in turn, represent the force within us. The body is the outgrowth of the mind; hence, the mind can make it what it will. If in the past we have made errors, and as a result of them have weak or diseased bodies, remember that we have the power to correct those errors. We have the power to make our bodies what we will, if our wills be in accord with the divine will. It is through the power of God within us, for there is no other power. Everything in the universe gives evidence of it. It is in the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal kingdoms, and is found in the highest degree of manifestation in the life of man.
Our study of "self," therefore, rests on the foundation that there is but one supreme life-force in the universe. It naturally follows that there can be but one Intelligence, and that every sentient thing must manifest a certain degree of that Life and Intelligence. We find the degrees varying all the way up from the mineral to the animal kingdom—different degrees of manifestation; yet one power, one God working in all. "I the Lord am God, and besides me there is none else." It is a realization of this infinite potency in our own lives that will bring health and strength; it is the knowledge that we have the power of God within us—the power of all the universe working with us—that gives strength of mind and health of body. We must realize that it is not possible to be separated from this eternal source; that we are one with all power; and that the whole force of God's universe is working with us and for us, not against us.
The belief of a God afar off, a God of whom we know but little, is not the true thought; it is not the Christ idea, which is that "the Spirit within quickeneth and maketh whole every part of our being." It is, therefore, the spirit of God within us that brings health and strength; thus it is necessary first to realize the power of God in our own lives—to feel that we are one with it, and that all the intelligence we have is derived from this one source. Knowing God in this way brings eternal life, since we realize that if a part could cease to be the whole would cease to be; hence, man's heaven consists in a realization of the Spirit of God in his own life, and that knowledge brings a consciousness of eternal life.
One of the greatest of all questions that man has had to consider in the past is his attitude toward evil. Now, certain knowledge can be derived only from what we term evil. Evil is just as much a necessity in the world, to show man the good and true, as darkness is to reveal the presence of light; or we may say that evil represents the undeveloped or partial expression of life, which, however, always contains within itself the prophesy of wholeness—completeness; even as the seed, through all its varying stages of growth, carries within itself the prophesy of the ripened fruit. Evil indicates the absence of good, as ignorance indicates the absence of knowledge. We would have no idea of the beauties of light, of truth, of love, if their contradictories had not existed—if there were no darkness, no error, no hatred. And the reason is that we compare one with the other. If it were always light we would have no word for light—it would have no meaning. If people always told the truth we would have no word for truth.
It is only through the contradictory that we learn of the reality. Having once learned the reality, the unreality (the contradictory) becomes meaningless. But so long as we endow it with the same power as the reality, just so long will it have that degree of influence over us.
The great lesson for mankind to learn is the reality of good and the nothingness of "evil." There is no way of overcoming the false, unreal conditions of life (the evil) save through good. "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
For thousands of years the world has vainly tried to overcome evil by evil. Can we overcome darkness by darkness? No; only through light. Overcome evil by good; overcome ignorance by knowledge. When we have overcome the ignorance, the evil, and the darkness of the past will disappear; and the reason is plain; two ideas cannot dwell in the mind at one and the same time. If the mind is filled with thoughts of good and of truth, there is no possible room for those of evil or of falsehood. If a room is filled with light, all the darkness of the outer world cannot dispel one particle of that illumination; therefore, if we keep our lives surrounded by the light—if we keep the light burning within—there is no power without that can dispel it. We have the power to close our eyes to the light within ourselves; but no other soul in all the world can do it for us, because that light is a living reality that cannot be overcome from without.
We come now to the development of certain mental powers, or, rather, soul powers, because we have faculties transcending those that are purely mental. We find that through their development will come our greatest good, and that no single power occupies as great a place as that of the will, which is the most powerful force in the life of man when rightly directed and controlled. The will is the actual Self of man—the real man; and when it finds its true direction there arises a power that overcomes the false will. It is the development of this will to which Jesus referred. He recognized the contradictory will—purely human, or partial, and therefore to be overcome. He said, "Not my will, but Thine be done." To recognize the will of God as the supreme factor in our lives is of the utmost importance. We may not say we do things of ourselves—Jesus never said that. He said: "Of myself I can do nothing. The Father working within me, He doeth the work." One will alone reigns supreme.
Next in importance to the will comes the imaging faculty. If man uses this faculty aright (for we are now dealing with a faculty of mind, not of soul), he will obtain nothing from it save that which is good. Every ill, or evil, that enters into the life of man comes through the misuse of his imaging faculty. While everything is good in itself, it is only good as it is used aright. When man attempts to combine the different images from this outer world, though each in and of itself is good, he may produce evil through untrue combinations. For example, a web of cotton in itself is perfectly harmless; but by adding to it certain acids we can make gun-cotton and with it destroy a building. The force in the cotton is liberated in an instant, and that liberation causes the destruction. There is more sunshine—more force—in cotton than in any other manufactured substance; and if that force be suddenly liberated, the results are terrible.
Pictures of sorrow and evil fill the mind with anxiety, malice, hatred, jealousy, etc., and cause most of the distress of life. If we could but see that every experience that enters into the life of man comes for a good purpose—to show him something higher, better, and truer; if we could realize that all things are working together for good—then we might not have to undergo certain experiences that bring suffering. We would see that they contain lessons, and our great object would be so to profit by them that the experiences need not be repeated. But they will continue to recur until the lesson of life is learned.
If we image in our minds the good and true, we will obtain the good and true as results; because the mind first makes these pictures, and they afterward express themselves in the physical structure of man. We are suffering to-day from the evil pictures of the past. If we have filled our minds with fear, envy, anger, etc., we suffer, and wonder why we should be so afflicted. We wonder if God has sent these afflictions upon us, whereas we bring them upon ourselves as the result of false mental images, which in turn produce physical poisons.
When we use this imaging faculty aright we picture nothing save the good and true; hence we express that which is good and true in the body. The body is transformed through this "renewing of the mind." In no other way can we "present our bodies a living sacrifice" save through this direction of soul and mind faculties. There is no medicine known to-day that will bring health or salvation to any soul or body. No medical doctor can say truthfully that the system that he represents is founded on law. The law is that everything must work from within outward. We must work from the inner being to the outer. Man must be controlled by his spiritual faculties if he expects ever to be well and strong. There is no other way, for the Spirit alone quickeneth.
Faith and hope also enter into this subject. What is faith? Many think that it is belief in something that someone else has said. Others hold that faith is a belief that Jesus died two thousand years ago, and that in some way that belief will free them from all future trouble. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." What does that mean? It does not mean the kind of belief just mentioned. We are told that "the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin." The word blood always signifies "life." The life of Christ, as we make it manifest, is that which cleanses from all sin.
Belief in an event that occurred two thousand years ago is not going to save a man. Salvation that exempts the body is no salvation at all; for a Christian going about with a weak body is not manifesting the Christ nature. We never hear of Christ as being weak or sick. Faith is founded on knowledge, not credulity; but most of the so-called faith we have at present is founded on someone else's belief. True faith is always founded on personal knowledge; we never hear persons say they have faith in a man, and yet have no knowledge concerning him.
A true understanding of the power of God in our lives gives us both health and strength. Then our faith is real, and greater blessings may come into our lives because of our knowledge of both past and present which constitutes a living faith that shall endure forever.
Wherever we find faith, we find hope; because faith apart from hope is not conceivable. If the mind is filled with faith in God, then it is filled with hope. The person who goes about with a gloomy face, talking over depressing things, has neither faith nor hope. These qualities are essential in the life, and the more faith and hope one has in both God and man the better his life will be. The man that has little faith in his fellow man is not the one to trust. The more faith we have in one another—the more of God we recognize in one another—the better it is for us. The more of God we see in others the more of the divine we show in ourselves.
Finally, we come to the influence that one mind may have upon other minds. Every thought we think has some effect upon the lives of others. It is bound to affect other people either for good or ill; and when we realize the responsibility thus placed upon us we should use our thought-power with the greatest care. Every true thought that enters the soul is an angel that will carry peace and good-will to some other soul; and every evil and hateful thought that enters the mind is going out to mingle with the darkness and despair of other unenlightened souls. If we think true thoughts we need not care about the external word and deed. Both word and deed will take care of themselves through true feeling and thinking.
As a final summing up of what constitutes real Dominion and Power, let us realize that in true feeling is laid the foundation of a perfected "manhood." One needs to remember that thought is inwardly related to feeling and outwardly related to action. To feel, to become inspired from within, to touch the God-life, is the highest revelation in the life of man. It is the inner illuminations.
Jesus, when asked concerning God, did not say that God is mind or thought, but said, "God is love." Then to be inspired by the spirit of love is God-like. The great creative powers resident in the life of man have their fountain-head in feeling. "To feel after God" is what one New Testament writer says. Love, faith, hope, are the powers that live eternally in the life of man. All else may change; these must endure, throughout time, throughout eternity.
From this sun of life radiates all else. Even man's thoughts must take form through his feelings. Let us begin then, with the cultivation of the highest. Let us, in so far as is possible, use loving kindness and good will to all. Let faith become a spring of living water in the life through our having faith in God, in our fellow man, and in our own ideals concerning life and things of life, i Let the spirit of hope throw sunshine about our path in life, lighting our own way and throwing light upon the path of others; thus will the kingdom of God be revealed through us, and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
In its order it is as necessary to think as to feel. God gave us minds to think, to work out our own salvation in a full and complete way. Let us stop thinking the dead thoughts of bygone generations. Let us stop thinking on the authority of another's thought. Let us know, once and for all, that through the use of our own minds will come the truest and best solution of all questions presenting themselves to us in life. Think clearly. We must of necessity think clearly if our minds are illumined and made new from within. We must of necessity be positive in our thoughts if our minds are enlightened by the knowledge of an Omnipotent, Omniscient God, working within us to will and to do.
With our thought we shape and direct the force of life, giving it form in the outer world. Let us think, then, the God thoughts, creative and upbuilding thoughts, that make for health of mind and strength of body. Through centering our thought on the things we want to be or do the energy we use is not diverted into wrong channels, but finds perfect expression, and we accomplish what we will to accomplish. That which we will to be, we become.
Inner feeling and controlled thought produce the energy necessary for true action. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." It is through the right use of every organ of the body, under the direction of mind, that the whole organism becomes uniformly strong, that the life-blood pulsates evenly through all parts. Throughout God's great universe action prevails. Vibration is an eternal action of life.
A tree is known by its fruits. True action is the outer expression of true thoughts and feeling. There is no faith which does not take form in works. Work is a vital necessity for the well-being of man. One who does not work cannot enjoy health or happiness. One's greatest satisfaction comes in seeing his thought ideals take on visible form. Build castles in the air, but do not stop there. See them expressed on earth. Feel them, think them, and work for them. Grow mighty in doing. Through action let man, as the representative of God, become great in the world in which he lives. Remember this: that the Christ man loves, thinks, and acts.
More Articles by This Author Charles Brodie Patterson
- Canadian New Thought author
- Born in Nova Scotia in 1854 and died on June, 22nd 1917