There are many ideas prevalent today which, to say the least, are mistaken ones; ideas, to remove which, would assuredly bring about a great betterment of existing conditions. Almost the greatest of these errors, at any rate in Spiritual importance, if not in physical magnitude, is the idea in which man's attitude to outer circumstances is involved. The generality of men regard circumstances and environments as altogether independent of, and extraneous to themselves, and in this habit of thought establish a very potent hindrance to their upward development. To state that this thought is wrong, that circumstances are not independent or self-existing, and that environment is not extraneous to ones personality, would not throw much light on the matter, but to show, if only feebly, that these conditions are the net result of man's gross mental life, will, if nothing else, establish a line of reasoning, following which, we may arrive at some helpful conclusion.
Given a mental effort, a thought, good, bad, or indifferent, initiated by any person, we must predicate from this cause set in motion, some effect, alike both in measure and quality to it. We must also determine in which direction this cause will work; whether it will directly react upon the person on his physical side, or whether, in supernature's subtle way, it will influence the more plastic body of the unhappened, molding it to a form suitable to the initial propelling effort, and producing what we know as circumstances.
Since the boundary dividing the physical and the mental is one which is impassable, and seeing that the forces of each plane are strictly confined each to its individual level, the latter direction, the molding of circumstances, would seem to be the more likely outlet, through which the mental energy expended will have effect. Thus from thought we have energy or motion—the cause, producing as its corresponding effect, what we know as happenings and surroundings; circumstances and environment.
Potentiality cast in mental mould.
It follows naturally from this, that what we know as adverse circumstances, must be the Outcome of wrong thinking; and likewise, be it said, a happy environment must be an essential following upon a mentality Spiritually attuned. Here, surely, is an incentive to earnest purification and control of thought. Now to apply these abstractions. "How am I to utilize this method of reasoning to aid my upward development?" asks the seeker. Let men, in everyday life, come to realize that their surroundings, and the circumstances in which they happen to be placed, are essentially resultant upon their mode of thought, and they at once arm themselves with a powerful weapon, wherewith they may defend themselves against a great deal of evil influence. Let them look upon everything as essential to their being, counting nothing unnecessary, and life's purpose is unfolded more and more to their intuition, and real Spiritual purpose displaces their former blind, useless groping. Then, also, let men take each circumstance, and discover in it the opportunity it possesses, and, as far as possible, grasp it and use it well. Each day then becomes one of really useful work, and such work as merits payment far beyond mere earthly dross.
Each circumstance is given to be overcome, and to overcome, men must rise above it. Let us see how we may rise above circumstances, how we may become independent of them. The word "independent" provides us with a key. Too long have men been dependent upon circumstances. How often do we hear the term "A victim of circumstances?" Too often, when we come to consider that man by nature is Divine, when we recognize that, within all there shines the beautiful Light of the Spirit. Nevertheless, the fact is there, circumstances are almost universally submitted to instead of being rendered subservient to the will of man. Let us rely on the Inner Surety, looking to it for our aid and comfort. When it comes home to us, that what has hitherto dominated us has been the impermanent and shadowy, can it be wondered that many there are of us, who cannot look back over our past lives without a sense of shuddering pain and regret for opportunities which have passed unheeded.
Let us rest on the Spiritual support within, ever casting our burden upon It. Let us not moan for the outer Babel of conflict and contention, but rather, joyfully exult in the Certainty to be found within us all. By practicing this, dependence upon, becomes indifference to, outward things: our thoughts are turned more and more inwards, ever carrying us nearer to our One Source, The Father.
Meditation, purification, and control of thought, the earnest direction of the intelligence to High Spiritual Ideals: these are all essential to the attainment of Knowledge. Let men follow these practices, and they surround themselves with an ever increasing Spiritual atmosphere: circumstances appear to them in a new light, all their innate Spiritual potentiality being revealed, and what formerly were obstacles, are translated into stepping-stones to help them on their upward path. How much trouble and perplexity are thus removed, and to what a great extent are men's doubts and uncertainties dispelled. They see before them their pathway clearly outlined, Spiritual guidance is rendered directly to them; and with The Goal in sight, they pursue their even course with footsteps ne'er flagging, eyes bright with hope assured, and heart beating high with Divine Courage and Happiness, reaching at length that State, where circumstances are I no more, and Love constitutes their only environment.