The whole journey from the Kingdom of Strife to the Kingdom of Love resolves itself into a process which may be summed up in the following words: The regulation and purification of conduct. Such a process must, if assiduously pursued, necessarily lead to perfection. It will also be seen that as the man obtains the mastery over certain forces within himself, he arrives at a knowledge of all the laws which operate in the realm of those forces, and by watching the ceaseless working of cause and effect within himself, until he understands it, he then understands it in its universal adjustments in the body of humanity.
Moreover, seeing that all the laws which govern human affairs are the direct outcome of the necessities of the human heart, he, having reformed and transmuted those necessities, has brought himself under the guidance of other laws which operate in accordance with the altered condition, and that, having mastered and overcome the selfish forces within himself, he can no longer be subject to the laws which exist for their governance.
The process is also one of simplification of the mind, a sifting away of all but the essential gold in character. And as the mind is thus simplified, the apparently unfathomable complexity of the universe assumes simpler and simpler aspects, until the whole is seen to resolve itself into, and rest upon, a few unalterable Principles; and these Principles are ultimately seen to be contained in one, namely LOVE.
The mind thus simplified, the man arrives at peace, and he now really begins to live. Looking back on the personal life which he has forever abandoned, he sees it as a horrible nightmare out of which he has awakened; but looking out and down with the eyes of the spirit, he sees that others continue to live it. He sees men and women struggling, fighting, suffering and perishing for that which is abundantly given to them by the bountiful hand of the Father, if they would only cease from all covetousness, and take it without hurt or hindrance; and compassion fills his heart, and also gladness, for he knows that humanity will wake at last from its long and painful dream.
In the early part of the journey he seemed to be leaving humanity far behind, and he sorrowed in his loneliness. But now, having reached the highest, having attained the goal, he finds himself nearer to humanity than ever before—yea, living in its very heart, sympathizing with all its sorrows, rejoicing in all its joys; for, having no longer any personal considerations to defend, he lives entirely in the heart of humanity.
He lives no longer for himself; he lives for others; and so living, he enjoys the highest bliss, the deepest peace.
For a time he searched for Compassion, Love, Bliss, Truth; but now he has verily become Compassion, Love, Bliss, Truth; and it may literally be said of him that he has ceased to be a personality, for all the personal elements have been extinguished, and there remain only those qualities and principles which are entirely impersonal. And those qualities are now manifested in the man's life, and henceforth the man's character.
And having ceased from the protection of the self, and living constantly in compassion, wisdom and love, he comes under the protection of the highest Law, the Law of Love; and he understands that Law, and consciously cooperates with it; yea, is himself inseparably identified with the Law.
"Forgoing self, the universe grows I": and he whose nature is compassion, wisdom and love cannot possibly need any protection; for those Principles themselves constitute the highest protection, being the real, the divine, the immortal in all men and women, and constituting the indestructible reality in the cosmic order.
Neither does he need to seek enjoyment whose very nature is Bliss, Joy, and Peace. As for competing with others, with whom should he compete who has lovingly identified himself with all? With whom should he struggle who has sacrificed himself for all? Whose blind, misguided, and ineffectual competition should he fear who has reached the source of all blessedness, and who receives at the hands of the Father all necessary things?
Having lost himself (his selfish personality), he has found himself (his divine nature, Love); and Love and all the effects of Love now compose his life. He can now joyfully exclaim:
I have put on the Garment of the Perfect Law;
I have entered the realm of the Great Reality;
Wandering is ended, for Rest is accomplished;
Pain and sorrow have ceased, for Peace is entered into;
Confusion is dissolved, for Unity is made manifest;
Error is vanquished, for Truth is revealed!
The Harmonizing Principle, Righteousness, or Divine Love, being found, all things are seen as they are, and not through the illusory mediums of selfishness and opinion; the universe is One, and all its manifold operations are the manifestation of one Law.
Hitherto in this work laws have been referred to, and also spoken of as higher and lower, and this distinction was necessary; but now the Kingdom is reached, we see that all the forces operative in human life are the varied manifestations of the One Supreme Law of Love. It is by virtue of this Law that Humanity suffers, that, by the intensity of its sufferings, it shall become purified and wise, and so relinquish the source of suffering, which is selfishness.
The Law and foundation of the universe being Love, it follows that all self-seeking is opposed to that Law, is an effort to overcome or ignore the Law, and as a result, every self-seeking act and thought is followed by an exact quota of suffering which is required to annul its effect, and so maintain the universal harmony. All suffering is, therefore, the restraint which the Law of Love puts upon ignorance and selfishness, and out of such painful restraint Wisdom at last emerges.
There being no strife and no selfishness in the Kingdom, there is therefore no suffering, no restraint; there is perfect harmony, equipoise, rest. Those who have entered it do not follow any animal inclinations (they have none to follow), but live in accordance with the highest Wisdom. Their nature is Love, and they live in love toward all.
They are never troubled about "making a living," as they are Life itself, living in the very Heart of Life; and should any material or other need arise, that need is immediately supplied without any anxiety or struggle on their part.
Should they be called to undertake any work, the money and friends needed to carry out that work are immediately forthcoming. Having ceased to violate their principles, all their needs are supplied through legitimate channels. Any money or help required always comes through the instrumentality of good people who are either living in the Kingdom themselves, or are working for its accomplishment.
Those who live in the Kingdom of Love have all their needs supplied by the Law of Love, with all freedom from unrest, just as those who live in the kingdom of self only meet their needs by much strife and suffering. Having altered the root cause in their heart they have altered all the effects in their inner and outer life. As self is the root cause of all strife and suffering, so Love is the root cause of all peace and bliss.
Those who are at rest in the Kingdom do not look for happiness to any outward possession. They see that all such possessions are mere transient effects that come when they are required, and after their purpose is served, pass away.
They never think of these things (money, clothing, food, etc.) except as mere accessories and effects of the true Life. They are therefore freed from all anxiety and trouble, and resting in Love, they are the embodiment of happiness.
Standing upon the imperishable Principles of Purity, Compassion, Wisdom and Love, they are immortal, and know they are immortal; they are one with God (the Supreme Good), and know they are one with God. Seeing the realities of things, they can find no room anywhere for condemnation. All the operations that occur upon the earth they see as instruments of the Good Law, even those called evil.
All men are essentially divine, though unaware of their divine nature, and all their acts are efforts, even though many of them are dark and impotent, to realize some higher good. All so-called evil is seen to be rooted in ignorance, even those deeds that are called deliberately wicked, so that condemnation ceases, and Love and Compassion become all in all.
But let it not be supposed that the children of the kingdom live in ease and indolence (these two sins are the first that have to be eradicated when the search for the Kingdom is entered upon); they live in a peaceful activity; in fact, they only truly live, for the life of self with its train of worries, griefs, and fears, is not real life.
They perform all their duties with the most scrupulous diligence, apart from thoughts of self, and employ all their means, as well as powers and faculties, which are greatly intensified, in building up the Kingdom of Righteousness in the hearts of others and in the world around them. This is their work—first by example, then by precept.
Having sold all that they have (renounced all self-interest in their possessions), they now give to the poor (give of their rich store of wisdom, love and peace to the needy in spirit, the weary and broken-hearted), and follow the Christ whose name is LOVE.
And they have sorrow no more, but live in perpetual gladness, for though they see suffering in the world, they also see the final Bliss and the Eternal Refuge of Love, to which whosoever is ready may come now, and to which all will come at last.
The children of the Kingdom are known by their life. They manifest the fruits of the Spirit—"love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance, self-control"—under all circumstances and vicissitudes. They are entirely free from anger, fear, suspicion, jealousy, caprice, anxiety, and grief. Living in the Righteousness of God, they manifest qualities which are the very reverse of those which occur in the world, and which are regarded by the world as foolishness.
They demand no rights; they do not defend themselves; do not retaliate; do good to those who attempt to injure them; manifest the same gentle spirit toward those who oppose and attack them as toward those who agree with them; do not pass judgment on others; condemn no person and no system, and live at peace with all.
The Kingdom of Heaven is perfect trust, perfect knowledge, and perfect peace. All is music, sweetness, and tranquility. No irritations, no bad tempers, no harsh words, no suspicions, no lust, and no disturbing elements can enter there.
Its children live in perfect sweetness, forgiving and forgiven, ministering to others with kindly thoughts and words, and deeds. And that Kingdom is in the heart of every man and woman; it is their rightful heritage, their own Kingdom; theirs to enter now. But no sin can enter therein; no self-born thought or deed can pass its Golden Gates; no impure desire can defile its radiant robes.
All may enter it who will, but all must pay the price, and that is the unconditional abandonment of self.
"If thou wilt be perfect, sell all that thou hast"; but at these words the world turns away "sorrowful, for it is very rich"; rich in money which it cannot keep; rich in fears which it cannot let go; rich in selfish loves to which it greedily clings; rich in grievous partings which it would fain escape; rich in seeking enjoyment; rich in pain and sorrow; rich in strife and suffering; rich in excitement and woe; rich in all things which are not riches, but poor in riches themselves which are not to be found outside the Kingdom; rich in all things that pertain to darkness and death, but poor in those things which are Light and Life.
He then, who would realize the Kingdom, let him pay the price and enter. If he have a great and holy faith he can do it now, and, letting fall from him like a garment the self to which he has been clinging, stand free. If he has less faith, he must rise above self more slowly, and find the Kingdom by daily effort and patient work. The Temple of Righteousness is built and its four walls are the four Principles—Purity, Wisdom, Compassion, and Love. Peace is its roof; its floor Steadfastness, its entrance-door is Selfless Duty, its atmosphere is Inspiration, and its music is the Joy of the perfect.
It cannot be shaken, and, being eternal and indestructible, there is no more need to seek protection in taking thought for the things of tomorrow. And the Kingdom of Heaven being established in the heart, the obtaining of the material necessities of life is no more considered, for, having found the Highest, all these things are added as effect to cause; the struggle for existence has ceased, and the spiritual, mental, and material needs are daily supplied from the universal abundance.
Master Spirit, meek and lowly;
Sought thee with a silent sorrow, brooding over the woes of men;
Vainly sought thy yoke of meekness
'Neath the weight of woe and weakness;
Finding not, yet in my failing, seeking over and over again.
In unrest and doubt and sadness
Dwelt I, yet I knew thy Gladness
Waited somewhere; somewhere greeted torn and sorrowing hearts like mine;
Knew that somehow I should find thee,
Leaving sin and woe behind me,
And at last thy Love would bid me enter into Rest divine.
Hatred, mockery, and reviling
Scorched my seeking soul defiling
That which should have been thy Temple, wherein thou shouldest move and dwell;
Praying, striving, hoping, calling;
Suffering, sorrowing in my falling,
Still I sought thee, groping blindly in the gloomy depths of Hell.
And I sought thee till I found thee;
And the dark powers all around me
Fled, and left me silent, peaceful, brooding over thy holy themes;
From within me and without me
Fled they when I ceased to doubt thee;
And I found thee in thy Glory, mighty Master of my dreams!
Yes, I found thee, Spirit holy,
Beautiful and pure and lowly;
Found thy Joy and Peace and Gladness; found thee in thy House of Rest;
Found thy strength in Love and Meekness,
And my pain and woe and weakness left me,
And I walked the Pathway trodden only by the blest.
More from James Allen
James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.