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The Unity of Life

No human eyes Thy face may see;
No human thought Thy form may know;
But all creation dwells in Thee,
And Thy great life through all doth flow.
—T. W. Higginson
Oh, the little birds sang east, and the little birds sang west.
And I smiled to think God's greatness flowed around our incompleteness, Round our restlessness, His rest.
—Mrs. Browning

In our study of the science of life, we should always bear in mind that the universe is governed by law, in each and every part. Nothing is exempt from the operation of law—from the atom to the sun.

When we make a careful study of law in relation to man we find that it is founded on love, because whenever we conform to the law of love every result is good—it benefits and helps us in every way, far beyond our anticipations; but when we act in opposition to it we get results that are not beneficial. The one who obeys the law is blessed; the one who does not obey is not blessed.

Put two healthy plants of the same species in boxes filled with earth; place them in the sun light, water one of the plants and allow the other to go without water. In a number of days you will find one plant all shriveled up by the sun and the other growing luxuriantly. The difference in their condition is due to the relation of the plants to the sun. One is benefited by the heat and light; the other through lack of care on your part has its form destroyed. The power that gives life to the plant can also destroy it, and so we may receive vitality from the omnipotent Source of all life and yet not receive the fullness that is our due because of wrong relations to that Source. Our life is like that of the withered plant—in a condition not in accord with Nature. When we are in harmony with law we grow just as unconsciously, in one sense, as does the plant.

We make a great many useless efforts to grow, but when we understand the laws of life and conform thereto our growth is natural and without struggle. Yet we need to recognize the fact that we have something to do—to get all the knowledge of true living that we can, and then to make proper use of it. We are far from wise when we seek knowledge merely for its own sake; but we show wisdom when we seek knowledge in order that we may use it. It is required of us that we relate ourselves to the world about us in the right way. How are we related to it? How are we related to God and to our fellow-man? These are some of the great questions of life.

Let us first consider our relation to God. The soul is differentiated spirit; that is, each soul contains within itself a picture (or image) of the great universal soul. All divine possibilities and all qualities are in the soul—the God love, the God life, the God power. The universal soul is the all-comprehensive Soul. Everything that is in God enters into the human soul; thus does God seek expression through the life of man. When we give expression to the Godlike qualities within us, the individual soul comes into conscious relationship with the universal soul, and we begin to realize that the soul is at one with God—one in faith, one in purpose, and one in love.

We only begin to live as we realize our soul life; then we begin to see the unity of life in the world about us. We see that everything is related to everything else and that we ourselves are related to every part—that there is no separation between our own lives and the lives of others. Our neighbor is ourself. We are members one of another. Only as each individual sees his relation to the great Whole does he become thoroughly helpful.

We can see, therefore, how much depends upon the way in which we relate ourselves to mankind. In doing for others we do for God and for ourselves. If this view of life were more widely taken, all dissensions and all "hard feelings," all bitter and unkind words, would pass away, and we should no more think of finding fault with another than of criticizing some organ of the body.

If the body were weak or diseased, we would try to overcome that condition by giving it more care and thought. We should do the same with our fellow-men. Instead of finding fault with those who injure us, we should reflect that anger, strife, and discord are unreal things; that they appear only on the surface of life; that they never enter the soul of man. The real self does not express these conditions; they are images that we picture in our minds because we believe in the separateness of God and man. When we realize that we are not separate, but all one, we shall not think anything of the unkind word or deed, because we know it proceeds from unreality and will pass away as we express more and more of God's own image and likeness.

If we take this view of life, we shall find that the little things that have disturbed us in the past will have no power over us in any way. We shall keep on doing good, whatever other people may do. The Christ law is that we should do good to others, and we can only do that when we recognize the oneness and unity of life. When we look at the individual life as separate or detached, we see a great many things that seem to be wrong in the outer world. In one sense they are wrong, but sometimes through wrong-doing we learn how to do right. We learn the law of God through the results that follow its infraction. We know the truth by that which contradicts it.

Much time is wasted in lamenting the evil condition of the world, but the world is not made better by such lamentation. A thought that is not productive of good is idle, and the sooner one gets rid of it the better. The true way to help the world is to let one's light so shine that others may see and learn.

As we try to bring our lives into harmony with eternal law, we often find that we have formed bad habits; and when we try to get rid of them it seems almost impossible, and we wonder why this is. It is because we are related to the rest of mankind. There is a law of attraction. When we form certain habits and continue them until they have become thoroughly established in mind, we have through the power of thought related ourselves to all people thinking and doing the things that have occupied our attention. Those others are our real relatives.

Suppose it has been our habit to take exception to people who differ with us. Suppose it has been our custom to find fault with people who it seemed to us were not doing right. Through this critical habit all the fault-finding people of the world have become related to us, and the effect of this relationship is that if we try to give up fault-finding there is an impulse that leads us to continue to criticize others. That impulse is the power of other minds, related to us, acting upon our own. Until we break off that relationship and establish a new one the result will be the same. If we form a habit of thinking kindly and saying kind words, in a short time we become mentally related to all kindly natured people in the world, and it becomes much easier to say a kind word and do a kind deed than the reverse. This is because we have all the force of loving thoughts pouring into our lives.

To be well and strong let us take this thought: "It is right that I should be well and strong. God is the Source of my life; in Him I live and move and have my being. I have no life apart from God; He is my strength and my help, and everything is mine because it is God's." By letting the mind dwell on this and similar thoughts, little by little we establish a relationship with all healthy minds, and all our thoughts become filled with health (harmony). A mind is only sane as it sees and knows that" all is of God that is or is to be, and God is good."

By viewing life in this way we become related to all this order of thought; it keeps pouring in upon us, and we become strong and vigorous and express health and poise. We see the brightness of life, the joy of living, and the joy of being in the world and doing good.

We cannot easily break away from these relationships of life if they have once been thoroughly fixed. It is only through persistent effort that this can be done, but the reader should not think that because he has tried once and failed he cannot succeed. Anyone can overcome any condition. If little by little we have been building up an environment of sickness and disease, we have the power to overcome it; the only question is as to whether we will use that power. Power is given to us to be thoroughly well and strong, to be thoroughly poised, and to do God's will in everything—not in some things, but in everything. We are all equal to it so far as we know God's will; and that is all that is expected, because if we do the will we shall "know of the doctrine"—we shall know the truth.

We are equal to everything that presents itself in life; otherwise it would not present itself to us. The very fact that a duty to perform comes to us shows that we have the power to do it; otherwise it would not come. Each and every one of us is confronted by something, and the problem that seems the largest one to us today is the one for us to solve—if we will only let ourselves do this. It makes no difference how hard it seems to be; the fact that we can do what we will remains true. It is not, however, according to the weak, human will, but through the recognition of the universal will acting in and through us, that we can express what we desire to express. When we will in God's will to do things right, we can do all things; for no ideal can enter His mind to which He cannot give expression.

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Charles Brodie Patterson

  • Canadian New Thought author
  • Born in Nova Scotia in 1854 and died on June, 22nd 1917
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