I sent my Soul through the Invisible
Some secret of that after-life to spell;
And by and by my Soul returned to me,
And answered, “I myself am Heaven and Hell.”
In the past we have speculated upon heaven and hell as places, and upon God as a person. Man begins by finding all outside of himself. As we go on reasoning about things to ourselves, we become convinced that heaven and hell are states, or conditions, and not localities. Then more thinking brings us to the conclusion that heaven and hell can be and are now just as much as they can ever be in the future. Then we reach the next step, and find that heaven and hell are within our own consciousness. This is getting things pretty near. God also, from being a person and at a distance, is brought, through our growth, near at hand. It becomes a beautiful and harmonious Law working or manifesting itself through each tiny atom. We feel that this Law not only operates in the atmosphere about us, but is also within, as every atom in our bodies is an atom of this Life, Energy, or Law. When we listen to others, when we speculate upon theories, do we really unfold? It seems to me that all that we really know we have learned by experience. It need not be experiences relating entirely to this incarnation. But all things that are really mine I have understood for myself, and not been made to understand by another. If I feel this to be true for me now, it is probable that it has always been, and will continue to be, for evermore.
I am an acme of things accomplished, and I am an encloser of things to be. — Walt Whitman
This quotation to me is absolute truth. I can know nothing, understand nothing, that is not within myself. I must contain, as soul, all that God is in quality, in order to become conscious of God in the smallest degree. For all growth is an unfolding, and not an addition to an imperfect beginning. If this latter were possible, it would signify God's incompleteness; and that is an impossibility to us in our present stage of evolution. I am not only what I have gained through experience in the past, but I am all that I am to gain or become conscious of in the future. Does not this thought, if dwelt upon, remove all fears? Can we fear, when we realize that we are actually all there is? Is it possible to fear the All-knowing? As soon as we know a thing, there is no fear connected with it. Do not fear yourself; and, really, that is all there is to fear. I mean it, truly. There is nothing below and nothing above, nothing without, nor within, that is not self. Say over and over again, “I do not fear myself.” All that you have found so far in your travels through this universe is self. Self is all that you understand. It is all you will ever know. For in understanding self you know the Infinite, the All. “I am It.”