"What makes all physical or moral ill?'''
Among all people, in all climes, and during all ages, nothing has been so persistently sought as bodily health. The Elixir of Life has been the dream of chemist and alchemist it has even been considered seriously in our own day by physicians of high repute, as in the Browne-Sequard case. Although the method for attaining and keeping perfect health has been sought so diligently, there has been, as yet, no consummation of the desire. Yet the time is fast approaching when it will be much easier for people to possess health and strength than to be without them for both come through conformity to the inner law, and not through the observance of the laws of hygiene and physics. For thousands of years men have sought health and strength in the outer world, and the record has been failure from beginning to end. Man has explored the entire outer world for remedies for bodily ills, and he has not been able to find one infallible cure for any disease notwithstanding his extensive explorations and investigations. If he could but realize that within himself he has a power equal to every and any emergency, then he would find himself on the right road to health and happiness.
It is easier to be whole and well than to be ill for we are always more comfortable when we act with than against the laws of being. In one case we have all the laws of God's great universe acting in unison with us, for we are one with them. In the other case we are in opposition to law, in opposition to force, with only our weak, selfish wills to sustain us. Health does not come without personal effort on our part; but with effort and an understanding of the things necessary to think and do, we may attain health and keep ourselves well and strong.
The Power of God is in all things, and is always. Yet the realization of this Power must be the constantly dominating idea to make it an active force in man's own being. The qualities of mind with which the Creator has endowed us are to be used to bring mental and physical health. Foremost among these faculties are the power of mind to image clearly and the power of concentration — to thoroughly center the mind on the thing imaged. Besides the above there are the higher qualities of soul — faith, hope, and love.
Let the mind, when restful and peaceful, sense these inner impulses which naturally flow into it under such condition, and then allow it to shape and direct these impulses in their relation to the world outside.
Concentration of mind is most essential as an aid to health and strength. When we allow, the mind to wander from one thing to another, we are dissipating force; we are weakening our minds, and consequently our bodies. Concentration is essential in whatever we undertake if we would do well and without unnecessary effort. When guided aright, concentration gives strength to both the moral and physical character, which would be impossible to acquire otherwise. In whatever we think or do, we must instill force — the whole force of our thought. Having completed whatever we have been doing, we should then let it pass from the mind, and think of it no more, but turn our thoughts to something else and the change of thought from one thing to another will prove restful to mind and body. It is the change of thought that rests the body, and not sitting or reclining, only in so far as these postures may serve to change our thoughts. By holding fixedly to all thoughts which make for health and strength, we begin to experience the true action of will, and our thoughts begin to be expressed outwardly on the body. We must not allow the mind to flit fitfully from one thing to another, but we must have some view in mind for everything we undertake.
If we are sick and weak, we do not expect to be made well and whole by simply thinking that we are well. Something more than that is necessary. The mind must be kept in a restful, tranquil state by faith and trust thoughts of fear and doubt must be banished. We must think strong, true, uplifting thoughts. Give the body the nourishment it requires, keep it clean, and then pay as little attention to it as possible. Let the mind rise above the mere physical being, feel the Power of God in the soul, feel that this Power, as force, is working to bring about the highest good of the individual, and of humanity as a whole for it is the Power working within us to will and to do, and we are one with this life-giving Force. Let us be bright, hopeful, and trustful, thinking thoughts of health and strength. In conversation we should never dwell on the negative side, never talk of sickness, but of something that will make people better for listening. The person who allows his mind to dwell on disease may be spiritual regarding other things, but he will never fully express health and strength on his own body. Furthermore, the action of his mind on the minds of others will be far from beneficial, and will go far to undo the good he may have done in some other direction. The mind should be kept on the bright side of everything, and one should talk only of subjects that will uplift, that will cheer the heart of others, and then one will be doing real good in the world, being not only helpful to oneself, but to many others.
In the first place, we must understand the use of the qualities that God has given us, and then use them in obedience to His Will, through their true use will come everything that is bright and beautiful in life through their misuse will come all the ills that man is subject to — all the unhappiness that enters into life. We have the power given us to become whole, strong, and useful in this world, so that we may reap to-day an abundant harvest through the rightful use of these God-given powers. It is our privilege to save both soul and body now, and we do not have to wait for some indefinite future for reward for if we use aright our God-given faculties of mind and soul, we obtain present results; and the stronger the realization of our wonderful God-given powers the more wonderful the result.
To enumerate the things that will bring us the greatest gain, we have: First, the cultivation of the impulse of love, and we cultivate that best when we feel that it is a divine quality coming to us from God, and that it should be used for high and noble purposes and that its abuse — its prostitution — would consist in putting it to an ignoble selfish end. Second, there is the cultivation of the principle of hope through always seeing the better and truer side of life. Third, the cultivation of the impulse of faith through implicit trust in the All-Sustaining Power that is ever seeking to bring about the highest good to man. Fourth, the cultivation of the imaging faculty of mind so that the mind will reflect pictures of truth, pictures of purity, that will delight and satisfy the soul. Fifth, the cultivation of concentration so that the mind may become fully centered on what is most earnestly desired, and thus the true action of the mind may have its effect. Sixth, the cultivation of restfulness and peace, so that the mind may mirror thoughts of Eternal Truth, of Eternal Goodness and Love, until there is a realization of the unity existing between us and the Power that brought us into existence — the realization that we are one with God, that it is His Power working within us that doeth the work. Seventh, the cultivation of silence; for it is in the silence that we lose the thought of external life and come closely in contact with the spiritual; it is in the silence that we lose the thought of worldly, untrue desire, and come into a realizing sense of our nearness to the Heart of the universe; it is in the silence that the worries and anxieties that harden us are lost, and we feel the freedom that can only be felt through a nearer communion, through a closer knowledge, of God — the Living Presence in our souls.
If we could only devote a little time to silent meditation on the realities of life, the power that would flow into our lives would be of such a nature that it would change and transform our very being. We would come to a realization of the nearness of God to man we would find our spiritual life renewed and quickened; we would find that in dealing with our fellow-men we would be more kind and considerate, and the blessings derived through this inner, spiritual understanding would flow out from us as a blessing and light to others. Oh! could we but understand this entering into the closet of silence — this prayer rising from the inmost depths of being — so that we might become conscious of its reaching even to the very Throne of the Almighty, so that we might become conscious of the loving tenderness of our Father in Heaven.
Another faculty to cultivate is that of meekness, through realizing that all we possess or all we can ever hope to possess is a gift of God, and that our salvation is not through works, but that our works are only the natural outcome of a living faith, and this living faith is founded not on the criticisms of the world, but on a conscious knowledge of the laws of God as they become manifest in our own lives; on the knowledge that whenever we see and observe the law, naught but good results ensue; that all things that have come to us through the observation of the law of God have been good, and therefore, we have faith that all things that shall come to us at any time or place must be good. It is only when we realize in a spirit of meekness that of ourselves we can do nothing that we are in the right frame of mind to impart knowledge of the Love of God to others. It is only as we lose our lives in the Greater Life through renunciation of our own wills, that we come into a conscious knowledge of God's Will as being the controlling factor in our existence. It is only as we lose our lives through self-renunciation, and work for the good of others, that we begin to understand the meaning of life that our own little lives disappear, as it were, and we become merged in a larger life — into a truer understanding of man as one grand organism through which the Life of God flows unceasingly.
Temperance is another step on the upward path, and temperance finds its inception in the thought of man. There can be no true temperance of word or deed if we are lacking in temperance of thought. We should never allow our emotions to control us. No mental faculty should ever usurp the place of the higher soul attributes. Reason has its place, but reason and all mental faculties should be guided by the love-nature from within the soul of man. This would beget true temperance of thought, this would cause a levelling of the hills and a filling up of the valleys, and make the crooked places straight. We cultivate certain faculties of mind to such a degree that we lose sight of many things that would prove beneficial to us. We need temperance in all things, we need evenness and rounding out of character, we need to bring every passion under control. We must know that while the sense appetites and desires are to fulfill a certain mission in the development of man, they are, after all, of the earth earthy; they pertain to this world, and a time comes in the history of each soul when they cease to be; for they are of the physical man, and point as so many sign-boards to corresponding and greater possibilities in the soul — the possibilities that are not evanescent, but shall remain eternally as an inheritance from God to man.
The great Master said that not one jot or tittle of the law should pass away until all should be fulfilled; meaning by that that so long as man is under the dominion of the law, as it is related to all physical things, he will obtain the result of obedience or disobedience to that law, until, in the fullness of time, he will come to a knowledge and understanding that he is not of the earth earthy, but a spiritual being — the Lord from Heaven. And when this time comes, he will pass from under the earthly law and place himself under the dominion of laws of a more spiritual nature. In other words, the law that should rule his life will be found written in his own heart and soul, and thus he will become a law unto himself. With this will come a realization that he has passed from death unto life, unto the glorious liberty of a son of God. Humanity slowly treads the way that leads out of the desert of gloom and despair into a glorious land of light and liberty.
Jesus, the Christ, was the forerunner — the Savior — to point out the way whereby all men might come into a knowledge of the Love and Power of God as an undying principle in their own souls; and with this knowledge would come the realization of Eternal Life through the unity existing between God and man. The path is a straight and narrow one, yet it is the only way that leads to life everlasting. Peace and restfulness of mind are necessary conditions for those who would enter and travel this road. It is not the peace nor rest given by this world, but it is the peace and rest that come to the soul that seeks and finds the true way. It is a peace imparted unto man from God, difficult of comprehension by our human understanding it is something that we feel far more than we can explain, for it is perfect bliss. People may say that all these things are difficult of realization, that in this busy world, with all its hurry and rush, there is no time to give them much thought or attention. Must all our thought and attention be given to the body which passes away and is no more? Have we no time to give to the development of our souls — to the unfolding of a knowledge which God has engrafted into our very being? O how foolish to take such a position! No time to give to that which will benefit us eternally; and time enough to squander on the fleeting pleasures that vanish away!
"What though we wade in wealth or soar in fame!
Earth's highest station ends in, 'Here he lies'
And 'Dust to Dust' concludes her noblest song."