The world is my country, and to do good is my religion.
Fifty years ago this was considered a very unusual statement, and even today it is thought to be a broad one. But it has its limitations, and we can make a larger statement; that is, the universe is my country, and to be good, or God-like, is my religion.
This is a true statement, and is unlimited. By religion we mean the life we live. We cannot talk about religion as a thing to get, but we must live it every hour. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” It is “being, and not seeming”; and the doing is the result of the being. We have said, if we do, then we will be; but it is just the reverse. We are; and so, as a result, we do. Some of us think about this world; some think about the next; some think about their own families; and some think of nothing but themselves, — that is, their bodies.
These different lines of thinking are all very limited, as you readily see. Let us think of this world and the next as one. Let us know that we have no family of our own, but are all one family. Let us know that our bodies are not ourselves, but that it takes souls with bodies to constitute what we call ourselves. Let us get into the Universal. Let us take down our fences. Let us recognize that the universe is ours to explore and to understand. Do not be afraid of the immensity of it. Realize the freedom we derive from such thinking; and, as a result must follow the cause, we thus gain perfect freedom.
Do not spill thy soul. Do not descend. Keep thy state. Stay at home in thine own heaven. — Emerson
When we take up the thought of the Universal, we must also take up the thought of Individuality. We are not now speaking of personality; that we drop as we come into our true relation to the Universal, for it is always the selfishness of our consciousness.
Individuality belongs to soul and is never lost or destroyed. That is the Divinity within. “Do not descend”; that is, do not come down into the personal. “Keep thy state”; that is, thy Godlike existence. “Stay at home in thine own heaven”; that is, do not expect to find happiness or harmony, which is heaven, without, but “stay at home” stay within. Where are we, — wandering without, dissatisfied and discontented, or are we at home in our own heaven?
The road to perfect joy, peace, and love can be pointed out; but it remains for each one to walk therein. No one can walk for another. Let us find ourselves in the Universal by realizing our Individuality.