Miss S. E. S.—As the author of the book "From Poverty to Power," I am pleased to answer your questions concerning its teaching:—
First— By the term "soul-vision" is not meant astral sight, but direct spiritual perception, which is only obtained by controlling and purifying the mind.
Second—By the statement "Circumstances can only affect you in so far as you allow them to do so," is meant that the mastery of self renders all outward things subservient, so that they no longer affect either mind or body. The "woman with nerves," of whom you speak, will continue to be distracted by every outward disturbance until she puts her nerves in order. Where the nerves are disordered there is some inharmony in the mind and life, and the victim should find the cause of the evil and remove it. He who has mastered himself does not "endure" the outward noises of which you speak; he shuts his mind completely against them, so that they cannot find any entrance, and he remains calm and undisturbed in the midst of all.
Third—Speaking of a person whose life is burdened with cares, you ask, "Is it possible for such driven souls to follow your teaching?" It was for such souls that the book was written and the teaching given. No soul is driven by another; it is driven only by itself. (I speak this with knowledge, having descended into the depths; speak it with compassion, having striven, not vainly, up the heavenly heights.) Urged on by desire, men and women take upon themselves burdens which are heavy to bear, and very pitiful are their sufferings as one after another they break down under the strain of the life they have chosen to live. If they will give up the life of desire, and will embrace the Life of Regeneration, they will find rest, and will be driven no more.
Fourth—It is not true that "our noblest and best suffer most." That any man or woman suffers because of his or her purity and goodness is a delusion. And herein is contained a law which you can only prove and it demonstrate by becoming pure and good yourself. You cannot judge and measure the soul of another, and say just what degree of secret goodness and evil is contained therein, but you can know your own soul, and as you continue to purify yourself, you can prove, as you go along, the mathematical accuracy of the truth that Goodness is destructive of suffering, and that the clinging to self is the source of all affliction.
We have not read the series of books you mention, but this we know, that certain bodily exercises (mortifications) can never lead to blessedness. Yet there are five exercises which, if diligently and faithfully practiced, will lead to the highest bliss. The exercises are as follows:— 1. Self-Control—exercising the body with pure acts, the tongue with gentle speech, and the mind with blameless thoughts. 2. Patience— exercising forbearance and forgiveness toward all. 3. Humility—exercising meekness under great trial, not elevating one's own opinions, and not retaliating when attacked. 4. Compassion—exercising the deepest pity for all beings and creatures in their sufferings. 5. Charily or Love—exercising constant gentleness, ceasing from condemnation and judgment, not dwelling upon the faults of others, but bestowing loving thoughts upon all. No blessing will be withheld from him who faithfully practices these five exercises.
Miss E. C.—No, you cannot "shock" us by informing us of your religious persuasion. In thinking of men as men, we have lost sight of creeds. We have not read the poem you mention. We rejoice to know that you are coming through your great trial successfully. We shall always be glad to hear from you.
A. C.—You admire The Light of Reason, but cannot see that we have any "foundation" to rest upon and that we ignore the Bible. Our foundation is Love, the practice of Righteousness, the Spirit of Truth, without which the Bible could never have been written.
T. R.—We are always glad to receive your letters; they are intelligent, replete with interest, and full of human nature, and your last letter is especially so. That, after all your reading and reasoning, you should "have hitherto had no conception whatever of the thing called immortality" is not to be wondered at, for nothing is so little understood as the life of immortality. The fact that you have at last caught a glimpse of it is something to rejoice over, for even the first glimpse of this glorious life can only be enjoyed when a man has proceeded some distance along the path of self-renunciation. The gate of immortality is self-surrender, and through it alone can the eternal life be found.
We are glad to further elucidate our reference to "the Spirits" in the article "The Immortal Man." Yes, it is "quite certain" to us that there is a spirit or disembodied state, just as it is equally certain that there is a far higher state than that—the spiritual or law-embodied state. The three states, the bodied, the disembodied, and the spiritual, are contained in man's being now, and the three worlds, the visible, the invisible, and the spiritual, he already lives in, but the majority have immersed their consciousness so deeply in visible and material things as to have become dead to the other two states. All knowledge is contained in man's own being, and the jewels of wisdom will become his who will patiently dig there for them, and dig deep and deeper still. "Facts are not truths." Truths lie deeper, and the phenomena of the séance-room proves nothing. The proof of all Truth and of all states of being is within, and is not demonstrated by observation. Search for Truth by patient self-analysis and self-sacrifice; overcome yourself and receive the crown of immortality.
M. W. Y.—The questions which you ask can only ultimately be solved by yourself. This is why we told you to "look deeper." Truth can only be found by the effort of the individual, and all we can do is to give hints which may help him along the way. Carefully consider the hints we have already given, and do not throw them too quickly aside. We now add a few more hints which will help you if you are really seeking truth. All truth is revealed by the perfection of one's self. As you rise above self, with all that that word self implies, the larger, fuller, deeper life of the soul (as distinguished from the little, narrow life of the body) will gradually unfold itself, and as you rise above sin will you rise above suffering, and by so rising above them you will find their cause in yourself, and having found the cause in yourself, you will then see, with the clear vision of a pure mind, that the cause of all suffering is in the individual who suffers, even though he be a little child.
You say: "Sin and wickedness in this world, bringing in its train suffering here and everlasting death in the world to come, surely these are not realities that will bring peace to the heart of the perfect man." No, they are not. They are the unrealities which bring misery and despair to the heart of the imperfect. He has come out of all this darkness who has risen above his own sins, and, realizing "the joys of Heaven" now, he knows that all will at last reach the sinless state, and enjoy the realities of Love, Compassion, Purity and Peace. "Grief" cannot enter the abode of Truth.
A Learner—All, power, divine and human, resides in the individual. The Christ is within, not without, and the grace of God is none other than the grace of Good. lf a man does not believe that he can rise above sin, he cannot. He must first believe.
V. P. W.—Our Christ is "The Deathless One," the divine power of Love in the human heart, the overcomer of "moral death."
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.