The Light of Reason
Edited by James Allen
Vol. IV. December 1st, 1903 No. 6
The expounding of the laws of being and the higher life.
The year is passing, and blessed are they who can let its mistakes, its sins, its injuries and wrongs pass away forever, and be remembered no more. The memory of injuries is ignoble, and to look back upon the past in order to resuscitate its evil and its wrongs is unworthy the mind of a true man or woman. Look back, by all means, if by doing so you can impress more deeply upon the heart some lesson of patience and sweetness, some comprehended precept of Love and Wisdom.
The past is dead and unalterable; let it sink into oblivion, but extract and retain its divine lessons; let those lessons be strength to you now, and make them the starting-points of a nobler, purer, more perfect life in the coming years. Let all thoughts of hatred, resentment, strife, and ill-will die with the dying year; erase from the tablet of your heart all malicious memories, all unholy grudges. Let the cry, "Peace on earth and goodwill to men!" which at this season re-echoes through the world from myriads of lips, be to you something more than an oft-reiterated platitude. Let its truth be practiced by you; let it dwell in your heart, and do not mar its harmony and peace by thoughts of ill-will.
For thousands of years the sages have taught, both by precept and example, that evil is only overcome by good, yet still that lesson, for the majority, remains unlearned. It is a lesson profound in its simplicity, and difficult to learn because men are blinded by the illusions of self Men are still engaged in resenting, condemning, and lighting the evil in their fellow-men, thereby increasing the delusions in their own hearts, and adding to the world's sum of misery and suffering. When they find out that their own resentment must be eradicated, and love put in its place, evil will perish for lack of sustenance.
I sought my wronger, early, late,
And all the wretched night and day
My dream and thought was slay, and slay.
My better self rose uppermost,
The beast within my bosom lost
Itself in love; peace from afar
Shone o'er me radiant like a star.
I slew my wronger with a deed,
A deed of love; I made him bleed
With kindness, and I filled for years
His soul with tenderness and tears.
—Selected from "Revenge" by Robert Loveman
Dislike, resentment, and condemnation are all forms of hatred, and evil cannot cease until these are taken out of the heart.
But the obliterating of injuries from the mind is merely one of the beginnings in Wisdom. There is a still higher and better Way, and readers of The Light of Reason especially, those who have from month to month received our message of goodwill, enlightenment, and peace, should earnestly seek that higher Way, and having found it, should strenuously walk it. And that Way is to so purify the heart and enlighten the mind that, far from having to forget injuries, there will be none to remember. For it is only pride and self that can be injured and wounded by the actions and attitudes of others; and he who takes pride and self out of his heart can never think the thought, "I have been injured by another," or "I have been wronged by another."
From a purified heart proceeds the right comprehension of things; and from the right comprehension of things proceeds the life that is peaceful, freed from bitterness and suffering, calm and wise. He who thinks, "This evil man has injured me," has not perceived the Truth in life; falls short of that enlightenment which disperses the erroneous idea of evil as a thing to be hatefully resented. He who is troubled and disturbed about the sins of others is far from Truth; he who is troubled and disturbed about his own sins is very near to the Gate of Wisdom. He in whose heart the flames of resentment burn, cannot know Peace nor understand Truth; he who will banish resentment from his heart, will know and understand. He who has taken evil out of his own heart, cannot resent or resist it in others, for he is enlightened as to its origin and nature, and knows it as a manifestation of the mistakes of ignorance. With the increase of enlightenment, sin becomes impossible. He who sins, does not understand: he who understands, does not sin. The pure man maintains his tenderness of heart toward those who ignorantly imagine they can do him harm. The wrong attitude of others toward him does not trouble him; his heart is at rest in Compassion and Love. Blessed is he who has no wrongs to remember, no injuries to forget; in whose pure heart no hateful thought about another can take root and flourish.
Those of our readers who are thinking of sending gifts of books to their friends at Christmas, will find our books eminently suited to this purpose; they are beautiful from an artistic point of view, and their contents will be likely to inspire and bless. Our advertisement pages should be studied.
More in this issue| The Art of Forgetting »
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.