Life is often considered to be complex, and the lives of many are such merely because there is not a real, honest striving after the good and true. There is an equivalent for everything in the world, and the question, will it pay? has a moral as well as a mercenary basis. And this apart from mere selfishness. All reasonings begin with oneself, or lead home to oneself we shall find that no matter what subject we consider, it will begin and end with ourselves; thus showing that we have in us all the elements of the material and spiritual universe. But these simple ground truths are lost sight of in our daily life; in fact, not enough consideration is given to the real things of life, and this because few discriminate between the real and the false. However complex modern life may seem, it is based upon one primary truth, that is, that each individual has rights. It is the recognition of the self in others, another rendering of “love thy neighbor as thyself."
Inferentially we feel from this our own spiritual nature, and as we recognize this fact, the more simple do the problems of life become. No movement that sets out to reform any portion of society, or to reconstruct it, can last, unless it is pervaded with a deep realization of man’s spiritual nature. Before there can be a material re-forming, there must be a spiritual in-forming. All thoughts or movements that appeal merely to the material man must ultimately fail and die.
The complexities of life arise from a wrong outlook. We are so hedged in by selfishness, and are so busy looking after our own interests, that we forget that others have interests, and are doing precisely as we are; or, if we do think, it is not to remedy the evil, but to aggravate it still more by more strenuous endeavor in the wrong direction, and so create more complexity. And after having spent years in spinning the web of habit closely around us, to turn and complain of the emptiness of everything, unmindful that it is the hollowness of our ideals that cause it, and that the mutterings of discontent that we indulge in, are but the reverberating echoes of our own selfish endeavorings. So we become cynical, and look upon life with jaundiced vision, and everything is a dirty yellow. No wonder pessimism exists. And all because we do not recognize the simple fact that we, with others, create circumstances. That we complain shows that our character is not perfect, otherwise we should know that these circumstances are our extended characters. By circumstance I do not mean the mere monetary conditions of individuals, but the actual shadowing forth of their minds, as reflected in their outlook upon life. This is of greater import than monetary considerations, though these too are influenced thereby. Then let us come back and try to realize the second simple truth; "that we with others create circumstance.”
Another simple truth that needs emphasizing is that we can alter our own condition personally to such a degree that our characters become modified, new traits cultivated, and vices eliminated, though really, this is but an extension of the previous proposition. There are two grand powers that we can use to bring about these results, and they are, meditation and action. It will at once be seen that no meditation can be of benefit unless its results are translated into action. The solving of the complex problems of life will not come about without action, and the best action is personal living of these principles in daily life. When this happens, life will become simple and peaceful, and full of happiness and joy. The sense of at-one-ment will spread through the whole being, and the unity of all things will be understood.
No hell but what he makes.
—Thomas A Kempis
—Charles Hanford Henderson