The Light of Reason
Edited by James Allen
Vol. III. February 1st, 1903 No. 2
The expounding of the laws of being and the higher life.
Readers of The Light of Reason are constantly sending Editorial communications to our Publishing Department, and orders for books and subscriptions for the journal to the Editor. We therefore draw their attention to our Announcements page on the back of the first leaf, which should be carefully read. By remembering that our Editorial and Publishing Departments are distinct, and addressing their letters accordingly, our readers will not only obviate delay in receiving replies, but will save us unnecessary work, and at the same time avoid any possibility of confusion. This also applies to Editors sending exchange journals. Will they please note?
Our printer has guaranteed to have the book, "All These Things Added," ready for us to supply our customers by the date of the publication of the current issue of The Light of Reason; so that the book may now be purchased. The contents of the book, given in the advertisement on another page of this issue, will convey some idea as to its trend of thought and general character. It deals with the competitive laws from the individual (not collective) standpoint, and shows a way by which the individual may completely transcend the necessity for competition and strife, and live constantly (whilst involved in all his worldly business and duties) in the midst of peace, lifted above all want and care, anxiety and fear; how, in fact, he may enter the Kingdom of Heaven here and now. The second portion of the book is expressive of the life as lived by those who have entered the Kingdom: a life of abounding Joy and Freedom and Blessedness, freed from all inharmonious elements and conditions, perfect and complete.
A reader requests me to write upon the subject of desire, and I gladly accede to his request. First, what is desire? Simply stated, it is a craving for something which we do not possess; and combined with this craving there is the belief that possession of the coveted thing will bring great happiness. They, therefore, who are governed by desire, subserve all their energies to the end that they may gratify their cravings. Should they be frustrated in gaining that which is desired, disappointment results; should the a object be gained, and afterwards lost, grief follows; and even when the object of desire is both gained and retained, it does not confer the perfect happiness which was hoped for and expected. Desire always produces suffering. Desire and pain are inseparable.
Men and women continually talk of being "grievously disappointed," of "suffering acutely," and of being "worried and upset" because the course of events has thwarted their desires; and the majority of people look upon such conditions of mind as being perfectly natural and unavoidable. And both natural and unavoidable they are to the life of desire; but in the life of selfless Duty and pure Purpose such disturbing conditions can have no place. To cease from desire is to cease from suffering. To find an imperishable Principle from which to live, and upon which to stand, instead of remaining a slave to personal inclination, is to exchange fleeting excitements and recurring seasons of suffering for permanent Peace and abiding Joy.
Aspiration should not be confounded with desire. It is the effort of the soul to rise above desire. It is that which purifies and transmutes desire. As desire belongs to the life of the animal in man, so aspiration is of the life of God in man. It is a delusion to suppose that life is rooted in desire, and that man cannot live apart from it. Life is rooted in Love (not affection), of which desire is the subversion; and not only can man live without desire, he does not truly live until he has conquered it.
Let a man cease to be a mere creature, following slavishly where blind desire may lead; let him put away effeminate longings; and petty personal cravings as foolish and ignoble, and live steadfastly in Self-control, Duty, and Purpose. Until he has accomplished this, he is not a man; has not learned how to live as a man; and when he has succeeded in living as a man, he will then be prepared to learn how to live as a god, a divine man, with mind poised in perpetual Peace, and heart steadfastly centered in unchangeable Love.
Above the region of desire abides the angelic joy, and man can reach up to it. He can be a pure and happy being if he will, or he can be an impure and wretched one. He is not a "weak worm of the dust" unless he makes himself so by the slavery of desire; he is a strong archangel clothed in flesh, and this he may know if he will choose the true and the beautiful; if he will no longer crawl, but will lift himself up, and walk erect, and live.
More in this issue| Through the Gate of Good »
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.