All good is ever with us; we but want
Wisdom to take it; we are poor and scant
Only in lacking wisdom; that acquired,
The good is ours that we so long desired.
When we have once reached that plane of knowledge and realization that evil is not a power, but a shadow thrown across life by our own thoughts, then we are in a position to become architects of our own destiny, builders of our own house of life.
The belief in evil as a power always enslaves the individual, so that it is impossible for him to see a way out of his unhappy conditions, his undesirable circumstances, or bad environment. Naturally, he concludes that being the victim of an arbitrary law he cannot hope tor release, so he submits to the evil and continues to live in it. If this were true of life then well might we come to the conclusion that—
“The Heart of Boundless Being is a. curse,
The Soul of things fell pain."
But when once the vision of the Good Law—the Law of the Universe—is comprehended, then everything is altered and Hope springs into life, where dark despair had reigned.
“Ye are not bound! The Soul of things is sweet,
The Heart of Being is celestial rest.
Stronger than woe is will; that which was Good
Doth pass to better—Best.”
Ho! ye who suffer! KNOW!
“Ye suffer from yourselves. None else compels, None other holds you that ye live and die, And whirl upon the wheel, and hug and kiss Its spokes of agony,"
The same Law and Order that works in the Great Universe works in every detail of my life and yours. "Without perfect order the planets would clash; without such Law and Order the sun and the moon would be disorderly in their movements,” and we could never depend upon them. “In God’s universe perfect order must he maintained at all times,” and everything must be governed by a perfect Law.
And it is because man does not see this operating in his own life and affairs that he creates confusion, limitation, and disorder in them. I have already pointed out to you the creative power of the thought or imagination in my recently published book, The Creative Imagination, in which I have also tried to prove to you, by the authority of the Scriptures, that mankind, endowed by God with freedom to create what he will by the power of his own imagination, yet nevertheless makes his own conditions, subject to the Law of Cause and Effect,—the Law of Order and Justice—which law is the foundation of life, and without which all would be disorder and confusion.
If men had been taught to regulate their thinking and doing according to the Law of Cause and Effect, how much happier life would have been for us all. Had mankind only realized that life in all its details is governed by a law that cannot be escaped, and that to make life all that means blessedness, happiness, prosperity, and success, man has to come into line with the law, and order his life according to It, what a glorious thing life would have been!
With such a knowledge we know that nothing can ever be divorced from law. “From the most trivial thought, word, or act of men and women, up to the groupings of the celestial bodies, law reigns supreme." Therefore, no arbitrary condition can for a single moment exist, for such a condition would be a denial and an annihilation of law. The cause of every condition lies within itself, for it is the outworking of the Law of Cause and Effect.
And the law cannot be set aside, broken, nor altered by the caprice or the wish of any. Not even God Himself can do that, for it would be a denial of Himself.
Perhaps one will ask, “But how does this law work in my life, and how can I build upon it?”
You will ﬁnd this law to be the law of mind in the individual. It works out for us through the channels of mind, for “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” and as every act of life has its foundation in thinking, and every word is ﬁrst a thought, then we must look to the foundations of life (our thinking) to ﬁnd where we are living short of the perfect order of the Law of Good. Said the prophet, speaking as the impersonal law, “I will bring mischief upon this people, even the fruit of their own thoughts.” Now, was the mischief inherent in the law? Did the law create the mischief? Not so; the mischief was created by the thoughts of the people, and was the direct outcome of their own thinking, and so it had to come, according to the law. Had the thinking of the people been pure, holy, honest, upright, noble, and God-like, then mischief could not possibly have come upon them, but Good and only Good! And surely we would not have it otherwise? We do know where we are once we come to a knowledge of the law, and knowing, can live under the blessedness of conﬁdence and assurance, for it is the knowledge that brings peace.
Just as we know we cannot put our hands into the ﬁre without burning them, so we know that we cannot do wrong and enjoy right, neither can we do right and as a consequence suffer wrong. Thoughts of hatred, resentment, anger, jealousy, lust, covetousness, avarice, insincerity, double-mindedness, deceit, uncleanness— all these are seeds of a kind from which a like harvest must grow around us, and the nature of the harvest (this harvest of our own sowing) must be pain, suffering, sorrow, disappointment, poverty, limitation, fear, loneliness, and trouble. These are the effects of causes set in motion by ourselves—by our own thinking. “Destiny is but ripened fruit.”
“The cause of your bondage, as of your deliverance, is within. The injury that comes to you (apparently) through others is the rebound of your own deeds, the reﬂex of your own mental attitude. They are the instruments, YOU ARE THE CAUSE."
Said the Buddha,
“That which ye sow ye reap. See yonder ﬁelds!
The sesamum was sesamum, the com was corn.
The Silence and the Darkness knew!
So IS A MAN’S FATE BORN.
“He cometh, reaper of the things He sowed,
Sesamum, corn, so much east in past birth;
And so much weed and poison-stuff, which mar Him and the aching earth.”
Here we have the idea of rebirth, with which I am not dealing in this book, but the law holds good whether we consider it in regard to the outworking of one life, or of many lives. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”—and whether we reap it (happily for us) in one life, or come back to reap it in another, to my mind is immaterial, the truth alone is the thing that matters, and the knowledge that we must recognize the law here, or at some future time, and come into line with It if we are to be free, happy, and blessed, is all that concerns us. If we do not in this life reap the harvest of our mistakes and wrong thinking and doing, then so much the worse for us, for it still lies before us. If, knowing the law, we have sown only the good seed in our ﬁeld of life, then let the harvest come now, or then, it matters not, for the seed time (the waiting time) and the harvest must both be glorious and beautiful.
Now, it may be that some may feel very discouraged and disheartened when they read these words, for remembering seeds they have sown in the past they may feel that they have nothing to look forward to but a bitter harvest. Let us go to that wonderful poem again in The Light of Asia, and what do we read? The Master had been preaching on this very subject, the Law of Cause and Effect, and, after voicing that Truth of the Great Law, He remembered how some would, in ignorance of it, have ﬁlled their lives with wrong thinking, and would therefore feel a great fear of the harvest. So He spake thus unto them
“He cometh reaper of the things He sowed,
Sesamum, corn, so much cast in past birth;
And so much weed and poiso-stuff,
Which mar Him and the aching earth.
“If he shall labor rightly, rooting these,
And planting wholesome seedlings where they grew,
Fruitful and fair and clean the ground shall be,
And rich the harvest due.
“If he who liveth, learning whence woe springs,
Endureth patiently, striving to pay
His utmost debt for ancient evils done
In Love and Truth alway;
“If making none to lack, he thoroughly purge
The lie and lust of self forth from his blood”;
and here we have the Law of Atonement in regard to those who have robbed others, who have used "sweated labor" or underpaid their employees, thereby growing rich on the blood of their fellows. "It making none to lack"—so the way is made clear, the Way of Atonement, for all who, recognizing the error of the past, and wishing to “make good” begin at once to “labor rightly,” rooting up the "poison-stuff” and "planting wholesome seedlings where they grew.” The Law of Atonement is a part of the Law of Cause and Effect, The Law of the Universe.
To those who have caused others to sufer by hardness of heart or cruelty of speech and behavior, the Master says:
“Suffering all meekly, rendering for offence
Nothing but grace and good;
“If he shall day by day dwell merciful,
Holy and kind and just and good; and rend
Desire from where it clings with bleeding roots,
Till love of life shall end:
"He—dying—leaveth as the sum of him
A life-count closed, whose ills are dead and quit,
Whose good is quick and mighty, far and near,
So that fruits follow it."
“…he hath wrought the purpose through
Of what did make him Man.
“Never shall yearnings torture him, nor sins
Stain him, nor ache of earthly joys or woes
Invade his safe eternal peace."
Thank God we have a knowledge of The Law of Atonement as well as the Law of Cause and Effect--but rather should I thank God that this glorious aspect of The Law of the Universe has been made known to us, for in it there is Hope for the despairing, and for all who have vowed to walk in It, and order their lives according to It, there comes the knowledge that brings peace.