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Progression

Cycles ferried my cradle, rowing and rowing like cheerful boatmen.
For room to me, stars kept aside in their own rings.
Before I was born out of my mother, generations guided me.
My embryo has never been torpid, nothing could overlay it.
—Walt Whitman

I want to take you with me today out into unlimited space. I wish to leave behind the old man, mankind with its aches and pains, — “pains of years,” as some speak of them.

We will leave behind us our disappointments and grievances of every kind. Let us shake ourselves free from our pessimistic rags, and go forth. “Cycles ferried my cradle.” Stars have made room for me as I have come slowly, but surely, through the ages. “Generations have guided me.” There has been no chance in it all; but the beautiful and harmonious working of a law,—a law which is unchangeable and ever present, a law with which it is possible for us always to be in harmony.

We are ever growing and advancing, ever reaching out into the infinite, although at times we seem to be dead or asleep. But our divine part, or soul, has “never been torpid, nothing could overlay it.” This it is that has pushed us constantly forward to higher and better things. Nothing can prevent this spiritual awakenment. It is taking place every moment.

What do pain, discomforts, and unhappiness mean to soul? Absolutely nothing. The contortions of a gymnast might seem great suffering to a person who witnessed them, not understanding them. The twisting and writhing of a tree in a storm might seem unpleasant to look upon by some, but is beautiful when understood. So all seeming disaster and conflict in us, in the external, I believe, no more affects soul than it affects God.

Will you not come out of the personal, and live in the individual or soul part? Have done with your little perplexities that are not worth the breath you use in talking about them. Come forth in your largeness of soul. Let us be God-men.

This day before dawn I ascended a hill, and looked at the crowded heaven. And I said to my spirit, “When we become the enfolders of those orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of everything in them, shall we be filled and satisfied then?” And my spirit said, “No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond.” —Walt Whitman

Why is it that people wish to be satisfied? Satisfaction is stagnation. Glorious discontent is our guiding star. Discontent has brought us to our present point of awakenment. Do we ever move on consciously to better things, if perfectly contented? No, indeed, we sit right down, and do a large amount of waiting. That is the trouble in taking up metaphysics. We think we have the whole thing, and are so satisfied with its theories that we are content to sit, and then after a time wonder that we do not receive the benefit that we did at first from these teachings. We need the policeman of discontent to keep us “moving on.” We are not allowed to loiter.

Glorious discontent! How the Christian people have taught us to be content, that we could serve God by waiting in sickness and unhappiness, that we must know that our afflictions were sent by a loving God. People that believed these doctrines have died or been invalids for years. When the latter have become tired of being ill, — in other words, being discontented, — they have aroused themselves and gotten well. And I think the ones who died must have awakened with regret on the other side, wishing that they had done some energetic kicking on this before passing on.

There is always the point in the distance to be reached. We bend all our energies in that direction, reach our goal only to find out that the point of view has been extended, and we still are to travel on. Don't get discouraged with the distance. There is always a varied landscape. Get astride of your hobby horse discontent, and gallop cheerfully and happily onward, onward, through ages and ages to come; and a thousand years is but a day.

Experience after experience to be met, overcome, and left behind. On, always on, to new and larger and more subtle ones. Enjoy all things. This is unfolding spiritually. This is gaining a larger understanding of ourselves and the universe. We are in eternity now as much as we shall ever be. Why do we live as if living one little life of this planet? Break your bond of limitation, which is small thinking, and, as a result, small living. Do not be afraid to let discontent push you into the eternal, into the larger life, which has no limitations. Glorious discontent!

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Katharine H. Newcomb

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