Part II—Some False Kingdoms
Now I propose to explore with you a few of those false Kingdoms which entice the Truth-seeker in his search for the true. The first I would call the Kingdom of Success or Prosperity. The dwellers in this kingdom have arranged themselves in classes just as we have done in this so-called United Kingdom. In the lower classes they seek to build their kingdom by physical force, by cruelly and unjustly exploiting their weaker fellows, by cunning schemes to cause their less cunning brothers to part with the material of which they desire to build their kingdom. The middle class of this kingdom, while knowing that the methods of the lower class are base and ignoble, yet still have a desire for personal prosperity and success, and strive to obtain them by more legitimate means. The upper class do not descend to physical force in their efforts to accumulate possessions. They "affirm" and "suggest" for their building material; nevertheless they still dwell in the kingdom of prosperity and success, and use all the powers they can command to attain their ends. These are the classes into which the kingdom is divided, and what of the things added to it? In the lower classes, strife, wars, burdens, some of which the people struggle under with all the pride of possession, unholy avarice, real soul-poverty, (whether they have much or little of the material they seek) misery, bondage, and death. In the middle classes confusion, doubt, perplexity, false excitement and disease. Occasionally to this class comes a glimpse of the real kingdom to those souls who directly reflect its light in their books and teachings. But so great is their attachment to those lesser heart desires that the mist of these still clouds the mind. In the upper class the things added take the form of self-delusion, self-glorification, unsatisfied desires, restlessness of mind and body and often both material and spiritual poverty. In this class also there is a great deal of admiration for the purely intellectual, which results in some strange confusion of the true and false kingdoms, most difficult to separate unless one keeps a simple and childlike mind. The distinctions between the kingdoms of moral righteousness and the kingdom of self-seeking are here so very subtle that many are deluded and led astray with unhappy results. The mental forces which this section of the kingdom of prosperity and success often have at their command are of the highest, if used in a simple desire for the spreading of enlightenment in the hearts and lives of men. In the hands of the self-seeking dweller in the kingdom of prosperity and success, however, they turn upon their possessor sooner or later with disastrous results.
Now let us pass on to another of the false kingdoms which stand in the path of the Truth-seeker—the kingdom of health. In this connection let me ask you to accept the word health as meaning personal bodily and mental health, the true meaning of the word, as you know, is Harmony, and in this broad sense it covers all planes; but it is so often used in the narrower sense that I would ask you to accept this meaning while we explore the kingdom of health. The people of this kingdom seem to have set up health as their first place heart-desire. For the worship of this god then they spend all their energy, time, and money. They rush to this place and that; they try the air of this country and the water of another; or perhaps they imagine that health is locked up in certain foods, and they try this food, and shun the other as a poison. Let us look closely here as we pass through this kingdom, so that we do not become confused as to the true place and importance of health. Perfect physical and mental health is a necessary and desirable possession, and all systems of diet and physical culture are filling their place in progress towards a true life; but sooner or later we have to learn that like all other personal possessions, health escapes us if we seek it for its own sake. As our servant, in seeking to bring the true kingdom into expression, health means general harmony, but as a kingdom, or first-place heart desire itself, health is a usurper.
Among the things added to this kingdom we find disease and suffering, irritability of temper, selfishness, confusion, and discord.
We have one other kingdom to explore before we leave the false kingdoms. This is a very subtle kingdom. Its mansions and fine scenery allure many a Truthseeker who dreams for a long while that he is in the real kingdom of unselfish Love. This is the Kingdom of Happiness, and its farther boundaries include the other false kingdoms. Many of the philosophers of this earth have named this the true kingdom and have misinformed us that the aim of life is the pursuit of happiness. Only the simple ones,—the Prophets, Seers, and Saviors have pointed Humanity to a higher and nobler way. In this kingdom all sorts of people live, and from the highest to the lowest there are many degrees. Only one thing they have in common, viz.: their first place heart desire is to be happy. To many of the subjects of this kingdom it is a necessity for certain other folk to be happy before they can attain their heart-desire; their family in some cases, their countrymen in others. These are the very highest souls in this kingdom who are ready to step away altogether into the true Kingdom. They already, in fact, live in that kingdom a considerable part of the time. The majority of the subjects, however, are seeking all the time their own happiness. The things added to this kingdom are restlessness, hard, narrow thought, strife and discord, complainings and misery. Like the other false kingdoms, the heart desires of its subjects remain unsatisfied because they are not yet in harmony with the Law of Love. They are still learning, through their present suffering, that this law works for universal joy by right living and not for personal happiness by any shorter road.
We have now explored together some of the more subtle of the false kingdoms that allure the best, and are ready to consider that kingdom of which the Prophets and Saviors have spoken.
(To be continued)