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The Heavenly Vision

I was not disobedient unto the Heavenly Vision.
—Acts 26:19

There are few words that so thrill one with a sense of new and diviner possibilities, that are so deeply freighted with the positiveness of the higher life, as these. They comprehend all the greatness which results from the entire spiritualization of thought, all that glow and gladness in noble endeavor and successful achievement which comes because one has not been disobedient unto the Heavenly Vision. So far as this obedience is regarded in the light of limitation, of sacrifice, of exaction, of resigning a very certain and positive and tangible satisfaction for a vague and intangible and inexplicable thing, for one having Do significance save to the mystic or to the cloistered monk—so far from that, this obedience is the very reverse. It is the positive and not the negative good; it is walking in illumination rather than stumbling in darkness; it is holding the clue to the labyrinth instead of groping through it blindly; it is movement with, rather than against, the force of spiritual gravitation; it is like rowing with the tide, cutting the wood with the grain; it is indeed to have found the secret of success. It is to gain the vantage ground whereunto all things shall be added.

There is no possibility of doubting that humanity is on the threshold of a life so much higher and more potent than the present that to enter on its realization will make a new heaven and a new earth. The change will be as great as that from the grub to the butterfly. Humanity will find its wings. Mental and psychic power will assert their sway. The entire scenery of life will be transformed. Unsuspected stores of energy will be liberated. Mankind will live in exaltation and enthusiasm. There will be abounding life, not plodding existence. Life will then be what Emerson says it should always be—an ecstasy. The psychic transformation that is drawing near will give far more wonderful results than any of the splendid conquests of science in the past.

The moment we come into the realm of spirit all things are possible. What on the natural plane would seem miracle becomes as simple as the most everyday occurrence. It seems not impossible that the earth may be the theater of a new life—of newness of life on a plane heretofore undescried, and which, if conceived of at all, has been believed could only wait the experiences of the soul after the change called death. But let humanity once come into the actual realization that the human race is a race of spirits—of spirits dwelling in temporary physical bodies; that those bodies are the instrument through which the spirit comes in contact with material life and gains its earthly experience, but that the body need not limit the power of spirit, but be used for spiritual power to work through—and life is altered at once. This is the transformation of energy that is drawing near. The unhappiness of life is limited to the material and the temporal; its happiness lies in the spiritual and the permanent. One's birthright is happiness. It is as freely offered as the sunshine and the air. It is a spiritual state, and not conditioned by material limits. Not only is it every man's privilege to be happy; it is his duty, his manifest obligation. Happiness is the condition of his higher achievements and his higher usefulness. It is the exhilaration of the highest energy, and lends wings.

The problem of fate and free-will is one that has tortured many a life as its curious and contradictory phases are studied. No one can observe thoughtfully the phenomena of living; can note how, like a prearranged plan, little details and events fit into each other as if all were parts of one great whole, without recognizing a unity which we call fate. Hawthorne has said: 'Our individual fate exists in the limestone of time. We fancy that we carve it out, but its ultimate shape is prior to all our efforts.' Certainly, the days and their train of events seem to us oftener found than made. We close our eyes at night with as little idea of what may come into the next day, even, of our own lives, as into that of our neighbor's. What, indeed, may not lie in wait for us? Fortune or ill fortune, death or illness, or a sudden surprise of joy. We are as utterly powerless to predict our own immediate future as that of the veriest stranger. Even more: we are hardly less powerless to predict our own acts, our own states of mind that may be induced by action and reaction of currents of activity still undiscerned. We go on to meet these unknown days freighted with the incalculable, like ships sailing over an unknown ocean, perhaps to encounter icebergs or tempests, perhaps to sail stately and serene through summer seas under a summer sky.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may he we shall reach the Happy Isles.
—From "Ulysses" by Lord Alfred Tennyson

But as the mariner has his compass and the pole-star, as the Israelites had the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day, so to each is revealed the Heavenly Vision—the special guidance and illumination for his own pathway. When the impatient word is repressed, and one strives for patience and serenity and love; when the uncharitable word is unsaid, the suspicion checked, and a finer—and almost invariably truer, because finer—confidence given in its place; when the aid it comes in our way to give is gladly done because it seemed a special and individual appeal—is it not then that we are obedient to the Heavenly Vision?

Whatsoever thing thou doest
To the least of Mine and lowest,
That thou doest unto Me.
—From "The Legend Beautiful" by Mark Twain

The Heavenly Vision shines upon us in our ideals. There are persons who say they must live the worldly life—the life of getting and greed and gain—because, indeed, they have not wealth, because they must' get a living '; and they seem to believe that 'a living' is something achieved only out of a scramble of competition and selfishness. In getting this living, they omit to live—a matter that the unprejudiced mind might fancy of equal importance. But even this 'living,' whose getting appears to absorb so much ill-directed energy, is infinitely better achieved on the higher plane of unselfishness and of love. The effort to protect our neighbor in his rights and privileges best ensures our own. The joy we feel in his gladness brightens our own life. The rejoicing in his prosperity is the most inevitable passport to our own, for all humanity is so closely interwoven and interlinked. To take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself, is simply to keep in the right current of noble activities, to follow the Heavenly Vision. Thus there need be no anxiety. Life becomes harmony and peace. It unfolds by a law of spiritual evolution.

We are just as much in the presence of the Lord here today, this hour, as we shall ever be, except that as one grows more spiritual and less material, as his perceptions are opened to spiritual things and his temperament becomes more responsive to spiritual influences, he is, of course, more in the presence of the Lord than when he was steeped and stifled in the material life. The man who can see possesses the sunshine more than the man who cannot see, although the sunshine is the same all the time. We are spirits now, or we are nothing. We are dwelling in the body as an instrument through which the spirit must work in order to work in a physical world. We are spirits, but spirits embodied. Does not this realization invest this part of our life with a new dignity, as well as a new responsibility? This world, so far as it is anything, is a spiritual world now, though in a cruder and lower state of development than that which the spirit enters after leaving the body. But the forces that govern it are of spirit; for there is no force but spirit. The life of vegetation is but the dawning of spiritual life. It is all under the great law of evolution.

To live truly and see clearly in this world of spiritual forces that we are in; to discern our appointed way and hearken to the angelic guidance that attends each and all of us; to discover and to follow the polarity of our own nature, and thus realize our own ideal, is to make life a success. This only is success. All else, without this realization, is failure. It is failure to suppose that happiness is conditioned by possessions or by surroundings. It is failure to take it for granted that happiness is not intended for this life but is to be the miracle of some other in some vague and unknown future. It is a mistake to be anxious and worried over a future, because, indeed, though we are fortunate today or this year, we may not be in ten years from this time. The same Power that upholds us today will uphold us any number of years from today, if we keep in touch with spiritual forces. The power is in ourselves, the impediment is in ourselves; and instead of an exclusive struggle to lay up money to provide for a far-away future, should be the effort to come into possession of the finer forces; to enter into the familiar knowledge of the apportionment and the use of our spiritual powers, whose use opens to us the infinite world; to live in touch with all this divine life that, once gained, offers to us that which eye hath not seen nor mind conceived—the infinite wonder and beauty of spirituality. Only as life is held receptive to these divine influences does it become great, and worthy to receive the leading of the Heavenly Vision!

The End

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Lilian Whiting

  • Born on October 3rd, 1859 in Niagara Falls, New York and died in 1942
  • Author and journalist
  • Edited The Boston Traveler and The Boston Budget

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