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"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he"

As a Man Thinketh (1902)
From Poverty to Power; or, The Realization of Prosperity and Peace (1901)
All These Things Added (1903)
Through the Gates of Good (1903)
Byways to Blessedness (1904)
Out from the Heart (1904)
The Life Triumphant: Mastering the Heart and Mind (1908)
The Mastery of Destiny (1909)
Above Life’s Turmoil (1910)
From Passion to Peace (1910)
Eight Pillars of Prosperity (1911)
Man: King of Mind, Body and Circumstance (1911)
Light on Life’s Difficulties (1912)
Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success (1913)
Men and Systems (1914)
The Shining Gateway (1915)
An unrewarded genius

James Allen is a literary mystery man. His inspirational writings have influenced
millions for good. Yet today he remains almost unknown...... None of his books give a
clue to his life other than to mention his place of residence - Ilfracombe, England. His
name cannot be found in a major reference work. Not even the Library of Congress or
the British Museum has much to say about him.

Who was this man who believed in the power of thought to bring fame, fortune and
happiness? Or did he, as Henry David Thoreau says, hear a different drummer?...
James Allen never gained fame or fortune. That much is true. His was a quiet,
unrewarded genius. He seldom made enough money from his writings to cover

Allen was born in Leicester, Central England, November 28, 1864. The family
business failed within a few years, and in 1879 his father left for America in an effort
to recoup his losses. The elder Allen had hoped to settle in the United States, but was
robbed and murdered before he could send for his family.

The financial crisis that resulted forced James to leave school at fifteen. He eventually
became a private secretary, a position that would be called administrative assistant
today. He worked in this capacity for several British manufacturers until 1902, when
he decided to devote all his time to writing.

Unfortunately, Allen's literary career was short, lasting only nine years, until his death
in 1912. During that period he wrote nineteen books, a rich outpouring of ideas that
have lived on to inspire later generations.

Soon after finishing his first book, From Poverty To Power, Allen moved to
Ilfracombe, on England's southwest coast. The little resort town with its seafront
Victorian hotels and its rolling hills and winding lanes offered him the quiet
atmosphere he needed to pursue his philosophical studies.

As A Man Thinketh was Allen's second book. Despite its subsequent popularity he was
dissatisfied with it. Even though it was his most concise and eloquent work, the book
that best embodied his thought, he somehow failed to recognize its value. His wife
Lily had to persuade him to publish it.

James Allen strove to live the ideal life described by Russia¹s great novelist and
mystic Count Leo Tolstoy - the life of voluntary poverty, manual labor and ascetic
self-discipline. Like Tolstoy, Allen sought to improve himself, be happy, and master
all of the virtues. His search for felicity for man on earth was typically Tolstoyan.
His day in Ilfracombe began with a predawn walk up to the Cairn, a stony spot on the
hillside overlooking his home and the sea. He would remain there for an hour in
meditation. Then he would return to the house and spend the morning writing. The
afternoons were devoted to gardening, a pastime he enjoyed. His evenings were spent
in conversation with those who were interested in his work.

A friend described Allen as a frail-looking little man, Christ-like, with a mass of

flowing black hair...... I think of him especially in the black velvet suit he always wore
in the evenings, the friend wrote. He would talk quietly to a small group of us then -
English, French, Austrian and Indian - of meditation, of philosophy, of Tolstoy or
Buddha, and of killing nothing, not even a mouse in the garden.

He overawed us all a little because of his appearance, his gentle conversation, and
especially because he went out to commune with God on the hills before dawn.

James Allen's philosophy became possible when liberal Protestantism discarded the
stern dogma that man is sinful by nature. It substituted for that dogma an optimistic
belief in man's innate goodness and divine rationality.

This reversal of doctrine was, as William James said, the greatest revolution of the
19th Century. It was part of a move toward a reconciliation of science and religion
following Darwin's publication The Origin of Species.

Charles Darwin himself hinted at the change in belief in The Descent of Man. In that
book he wrote, the highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that
we ought to control our thoughts..

Allen's work embodies the influence of Protestant liberalism on the one hand and of
Buddhist thought on the other. For example, the Buddha teaches, All that we are is the
result of what we have thought. Allen¹s Biblical text says, As a man thinketh in his
heart, so is he.

Allen insists upon the power of the individual to form his own character and to create
his own happiness. Thought and character are one, he says, and as character can only
manifest and discover itself through environment and circumstance, the outer
conditions of a person's life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his
inner state. This does not mean that a man's circumstances at any given time are an
indication of his entire character, but that those circumstances are so intimately
connected with some vital thought element within him that, for the time being, they
are indispensable to his development.
Allen starts us thinking - even when we would rather be doing something else. He
tells us how thought leads to action. He shows us how to turn our dreams into
realities...... His is a philosophy that has brought success to millions. It is the
philosophy of Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking and of Joshua
Liebman's Peace of Mind.

We become spiritually rich, Allen writes, when we discover the adventure within;
when we are conscious of the oneness of all life; when we know the power of
meditation; when we experience kinship with nature.

Allen's message is one of hope even in the midst of confusion. Yes, he says, humanity
surges with uncontrolled passion, is tumultuous with ungoverned grief, is blown about
by anxiety and doubt. Only the wise man, only he whose thoughts are controlled and
purified, makes the winds and the storms of the soul obey him.

Tempest-tossed souls, Allen continues, wherever you may be, under whatsoever
conditions you may life, know this - in the ocean of life the isles of blessedness are
smiling and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming.

And thus Allen teaches two essential truths: today we are where our thoughts have
taken us, and we are the architects - for better or worse - of our futures.

The works of James Allen are eminently practical. He never wrote theories, or for the
sake of writing, or to add another to the existing books. According to his wife, Allen
wrote when he had a message, and it became a message only when he had lived it in
his own life, and knew that it was good. Thus he wrote facts, which he had proven by
James Allen
Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:—
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass.

1. Foreword
2. Thought and Character
3. Effect of Thought on Circumstances
4. Effect of Thought on Health and the Body
5. Thought and Purpose
6. The Thought-Factor in Achievement
7. Visions and Ideals
8. Serenity


THIS little volume (the result of meditation and experience) is not intended as an exhaustive
treatise on the much-written-upon subject of the power of thought. It is suggestive rather than
explanatory, its object being to stimulate men and women to the discovery and perception of the
truth that—

"They themselves are makers of themselves."

by virtue of the thoughts, which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master-weaver, both
of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may
have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness.



1. Thought and Character

THE aphorism, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," not only embraces the whole of a man‘s
being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A
man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.

As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from
the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to
those acts called "spontaneous" and "unpremeditated" as to those, which are deliberately

Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits; thus does a man garner in the
sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry.

"Thought in the mind hath made us, What we are

By thought was wrought and built. If a man‘s mind
Hath evil thoughts, pain comes on him as comes
The wheel the ox behind....

..If one endure

In purity of thought, joy follows him
As his own shadow—sure."

Man is a growth by law, and not a creation by artifice, and cause and effect is as absolute and
undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things. A noble
and Godlike character is not a thing of favour or chance, but is the natural result of continued
effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with Godlike thoughts. An
ignoble and bestial character, by the same process, is the result of the continued harbouring of
grovelling thoughts.

Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which
he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly
mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man
ascends to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends
below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man
is their maker and master.

Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul which have been restored and brought to light in
this age, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this—that
man is the master of thought, the moulder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition,
environment, and destiny.

As a being of Power, Intelligence, and Love, and the lord of his own thoughts, man holds the key
to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by
which he may make himself what he wills.
Man is always the master, even in his weaker and most abandoned state; but in his weakness and
degradation he is the foolish master who misgoverns his "household." When he begins to reflect
upon his condition, and to search diligently for the Law upon which his being is established, he
then becomes the wise master, directing his energies with intelligence, and fashioning his
thoughts to fruitful issues. Such is the conscious master, and man can only thus become by
discovering within himself the laws of thought; which discovery is totally a matter of application,
self analysis, and experience.

Only by much searching and mining, are gold and diamonds obtained, and man can find every
truth connected with his being, if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul; and that he is the
maker of his character, the moulder of his life, and the builder of his destiny, he may unerringly
prove, if he will watch, control, and alter his thoughts, tracing their effects upon himself, upon
others, and upon his life and circumstances, linking cause and effect by patient practice and
investigation, and utilizing his every experience, even to the most trivial, everyday occurrence,
as a means of obtaining that knowledge of himself which is Understanding, Wisdom, Power. In
this direction, as in no other, is the law absolute that "He that seeketh findeth; and to him that
knocketh it shall be opened;" for only by patience, practice, and ceaseless importunity can a man
enter the Door of the Temple of Knowledge.

2. Effect of Thought on Circumstances

MAN‘S mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to
run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are
put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to
produce their kind.

Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and
fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong,
useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right,
useful, and pure thoughts. By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the
master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also reveals, within himself, the laws of
thought, and understands, with ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought-forces and mind
elements operate in the shaping of his character, circumstances, and destiny.

Thought and character are one, and as character can only manifest and discover itself through
environment and circumstance, the outer conditions of a person‘s life will always be found to be
harmoniously related to his inner state. This does not mean that a man‘s circumstances at any
given time are an indication of his entire character, but that those circumstances are so intimately
connected with some vital thought-element within himself that, for the time being, they are
indispensable to his development.

Every man is where he is by the law of his being; the thoughts which he has built into his
character have brought him there, and in the arrangement of his life there is no element of
chance, but all is the result of a law which cannot err. This is just as true of those who feel "out
of harmony" with their surroundings as of those who are contented with them.
As a progressive and evolving being, man is where he is that he may learn that he may grow; and
as he learns the spiritual lesson which any circumstance contains for him, it passes away and
gives place to other circumstances.

Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside

conditions, but when he realizes that he is a creative power, and that he may command the
hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful
master of himself.

That circumstances grow out of thought every man knows who has for any length of time
practised self-control and self-purification, for he will have noticed that the alteration in his
circumstances has been in exact ratio with his altered mental condition. So true is this that when
a man earnestly applies himself to remedy the defects in his character, and makes swift and
marked progress, he passes rapidly through a succession of vicissitudes.

The soul attracts that which it secretly harbours; that which it loves, and also that which it fears;
it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastened desires,—
and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own.

Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its
own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and
circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.

The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant
and unpleasant external conditions are factors, which make for the ultimate good of the
individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.

Following the inmost desires, aspirations, thoughts, by which he allows himself to be dominated,
(pursuing the will-o‘-the-wisps of impure imaginings or steadfastly walking the highway of
strong and high endeavour), a man at last arrives at their fruition and fulfilment in the outer
conditions of his life. The laws of growth and adjustment everywhere obtains.

A man does not come to the almshouse or the jail by the tyranny of fate or circumstance, but by
the pathway of grovelling thoughts and base desires. Nor does a pure-minded man fall suddenly
into crime by stress of any mere external force; the criminal thought had long been secretly
fostered in the heart, and the hour of opportunity revealed its gathered power. Circumstance does
not make the man; it reveals him to himself No such conditions can exist as descending into vice
and its attendant sufferings apart from vicious inclinations, or ascending into virtue and its pure
happiness without the continued cultivation of virtuous aspirations; and man, therefore, as the
lord and master of thought, is the maker of himself the shaper and author of environment. Even
at birth the soul comes to its own and through every step of its earthly pilgrimage it attracts those
combinations of conditions which reveal itself, which are the reflections of its own purity and,
impurity, its strength and weakness.

Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are. Their whims, fancies, and
ambitions are thwarted at every step, but their inmost thoughts and desires are fed with their own
food, be it foul or clean. The "divinity that shapes our ends" is in ourselves; it is our very self.
Only himself manacles man: thought and action are the gaolers of Fate—they imprison, being
base; they are also the angels of Freedom—they liberate, being noble. Not what he wishes and
prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers are only gratified and
answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions.

In the light of this truth, what, then, is the meaning of "fighting against circumstances?" It means
that a man is continually revolting against an effect without, while all the time he is nourishing
and preserving its cause in his heart. That cause may take the form of a conscious vice or an
unconscious weakness; but whatever it is, it stubbornly retards the efforts of its possessor, and
thus calls aloud for remedy.

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they
therefore remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to
accomplish the object upon which his heart is set. This is as true of earthly as of heavenly things.
Even the man whose sole object is to acquire wealth must be prepared to make great personal
sacrifices before he can accomplish his object; and how much more so he who would realize a
strong and well-poised life?

Here is a man who is wretchedly poor. He is extremely anxious that his surroundings and home
comforts should be improved, yet all the time he shirks his work, and considers he is justified in
trying to deceive his employer on the ground of the insufficiency of his wages. Such a man does
not understand the simplest rudiments of those principles which are the basis of true prosperity,
and is not only totally unfitted to rise out of his wretchedness, but is actually attracting to himself
a still deeper wretchedness by dwelling in, and acting out, indolent, deceptive, and unmanly

Here is a rich man who is the victim of a painful and persistent disease as the result of gluttony.
He is willing to give large sums of money to get rid of it, but he will not sacrifice his gluttonous
desires. He wants to gratify his taste for rich and unnatural viands and have his health as well.
Such a man is totally unfit to have health, because he has not yet learned the first principles of a
healthy life.

Here is an employer of labour who adopts crooked measures to avoid paying the regulation
wage, and, in the hope of making larger profits, reduces the wages of his workpeople. Such a
man is altogether unfitted for prosperity, and when he finds himself bankrupt, both as regards
reputation and riches, he blames circumstances, not knowing that he is the sole author of his

I have introduced these three cases merely as illustrative of the truth that man is the causer
(though nearly always is unconsciously) of his circumstances, and that, whilst aiming at a good
end, he is continually frustrating its accomplishment by encouraging thoughts and desires which
cannot possibly harmonize with that end. Such cases could be multiplied and varied almost
indefinitely, but this is not necessary, as the reader can, if he so resolves, trace the action of the
laws of thought in his own mind and life, and until this is done, mere external facts cannot serve
as a ground of reasoning.
Circumstances, however, are so complicated, thought is so deeply rooted, and the conditions of
happiness vary so, vastly with individuals, that a man‘s entire soul-condition (although it may be
known to himself) cannot be judged by another from the external aspect of his life alone. A man
may be honest in certain directions, yet suffer privations; a man may be dishonest in certain
directions, yet acquire wealth; but the conclusion usually formed that the one man fails because
of his particular honesty, and that the other prospers because of his particular dishonesty, is the
result of a superficial judgment, which assumes that the dishonest man is almost totally corrupt,
and the honest man almost entirely virtuous. In the light of a deeper knowledge and wider
experience such judgment is found to be erroneous. The dishonest man may have some
admirable virtues, which the other does, not possess; and the honest man obnoxious vices which
are absent in the other. The honest man reaps the good results of his honest thoughts and acts; he
also brings upon himself the sufferings, which his vices produce. The dishonest man likewise
garners his own suffering and happiness.

It is pleasing to human vanity to believe that one suffers because of one‘s virtue; but not until a
man has extirpated every sickly, bitter, and impure thought from his mind, and washed every
sinful stain from his soul, can he be in a position to know and declare that his sufferings are the
result of his good, and not of his bad qualities; and on the way to, yet long before he has reached,
that supreme perfection, he will have found, working in his mind and life, the Great Law which
is absolutely just, and which cannot, therefore, give good for evil, evil for good. Possessed of
such knowledge, he will then know, looking back upon his past ignorance and blindness, that his
life is, and always was, justly ordered, and that all his past experiences, good and bad, were the
equitable outworking of his evolving, yet unevolved self.

Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never
produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from
nettles but nettles. Men understand this law in the natural world, and work with it; but few
understand it in the mental and moral world (though its operation there is just as simple and
undeviating), and they, therefore, do not co-operate with it.

Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the
individual is out of harmony with himself, with the Law of his being. The sole and supreme use
of suffering is to purify, to burn out all that is useless and impure. Suffering ceases for him who
is pure. There could be no object in burning gold after the dross had been removed, and a
perfectly pure and enlightened being could not suffer.

The circumstances, which a man encounters with suffering, are the result of his own mental
inharmony. The circumstances, which a man encounters with blessedness, are the result of his
own mental harmony. Blessedness, not material possessions, is the measure of right thought;
wretchedness, not lack of material possessions, is the measure of wrong thought. A man may be
cursed and rich; he may be blessed and poor. Blessedness and riches are only joined together
when the riches are rightly and wisely used; and the poor man only descends into wretchedness
when he regards his lot as a burden unjustly imposed.

Indigence and indulgence are the two extremes of wretchedness. They are both equally unnatural
and the result of mental disorder. A man is not rightly conditioned until he is a happy, healthy,
and prosperous being; and happiness, health, and prosperity are the result of a harmonious
adjustment of the inner with the outer, of the man with his surroundings.

A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for
the hidden justice which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he
ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble
thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid
progress, and as a means of discovering the hidden powers and possibilities within himself.

Law, not confusion, is the dominating principle in the universe; justice, not injustice, is the soul
and substance of life; and righteousness, not corruption, is the moulding and moving force in the
spiritual government of the world. This being so, man has but to right himself to find that the
universe is right; and during the process of putting himself right he will find that as he alters his
thoughts towards things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him.

The proof of this truth is in every person, and it therefore admits of easy investigation by
systematic introspection and self-analysis. Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be
astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men
imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit
solidifies into circumstance. Bestial thoughts crystallize into habits of drunkenness and
sensuality, which solidify into circumstances of destitution and disease: impure thoughts of every
kind crystallize into enervating and confusing habits, which solidify into distracting and adverse
circumstances: thoughts of fear, doubt, and indecision crystallize into weak, unmanly, and
irresolute habits, which solidify into circumstances of failure, indigence, and slavish dependence:
lazy thoughts crystallize into habits of uncleanliness and dishonesty, which solidify into
circumstances of foulness and beggary: hateful and condemnatory thoughts crystallize into habits
of accusation and violence, which solidify into circumstances of injury and persecution: selfish
thoughts of all kinds crystallize into habits of self-seeking, which solidify into circumstances
more or less distressing. On the other hand, beautiful thoughts of all kinds crystallize into habits
of grace and kindliness, which solidify into genial and sunny circumstances: pure thoughts
crystallize into habits of temperance and self-control, which solidify into circumstances of repose
and peace: thoughts of courage, self-reliance, and decision crystallize into manly habits, which
solidify into circumstances of success, plenty, and freedom: energetic thoughts crystallize into
habits of cleanliness and industry, which solidify into circumstances of pleasantness: gentle and
forgiving thoughts crystallize into habits of gentleness, which solidify into protective and
preservative circumstances: loving and unselfish thoughts crystallize into habits of self-
forgetfulness for others, which solidify into circumstances of sure and abiding prosperity and
true riches.

A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on
the character and circumstances. A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can
choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.

Nature helps every man to the gratification of the thoughts, which he most encourages, and
opportunities are presented which will most speedily bring to the surface both the good and evil
Let a man cease from his sinful thoughts, and all the world will soften towards him, and be ready
to help him; let him put away his weakly and sickly thoughts, and lo, opportunities will spring up
on every hand to aid his strong resolves; let him encourage good thoughts, and no hard fate shall
bind him down to wretchedness and shame. The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying
combinations of colours, which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely
adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts.

"So You will be what you will to be;

Let failure find its false content
In that poor word, ‘environment,‘
But spirit scorns it, and is free.

"It masters time, it conquers space;

It cowes that boastful trickster, Chance,
And bids the tyrant Circumstance
Uncrown, and fill a servant‘s place.

"The human Will, that force unseen,

The offspring of a deathless Soul,
Can hew a way to any goal,
Though walls of granite intervene.

"Be not impatient in delays

But wait as one who understands;
When spirit rises and commands
The gods are ready to obey."

3. Effect of Thought on Health and the Body

THE body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be
deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. At the bidding of unlawful thoughts the body
sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts it becomes
clothed with youthfulness and beauty.

Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought. Sickly thoughts will express
themselves through a sickly body. Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a man as speedily as
a bullet, and they are continually killing thousands of people just as surely though less rapidly.
The people who live in fear of disease are the people who get it. Anxiety quickly demoralizes the
whole body, and lays it open to the, entrance of disease; while impure thoughts, even if not
physically indulged, will soon shatter the nervous system.

Strong, pure, and happy thoughts build up the body in vigour and grace. The body is a delicate
and plastic instrument, which responds readily to the thoughts by which it is impressed, and
habits of thought will produce their own effects, good or bad, upon it.
Men will continue to have impure and poisoned blood, so long as they propagate unclean
thoughts. Out of a clean heart comes a clean life and a clean body. Out of a defiled mind
proceeds a defiled life and a corrupt body. Thought is the fount of action, life, and manifestation;
make the fountain pure, and all will be pure.

Change of diet will not help a man who will not change his thoughts. When a man makes his
thoughts pure, he no longer desires impure food.

Clean thoughts make clean habits. The so-called saint who does not wash his body is not a saint.
He who has strengthened and purified his thoughts does not need to consider the malevolent

If you would protect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your
mind. Thoughts of malice, envy, disappointment, despondency, rob the body of its health and
grace. A sour face does not come by chance; it is made by sour thoughts. Wrinkles that mar are
drawn by folly, passion, and pride.

I know a woman of ninety-six who has the bright, innocent face of a girl. I know a man well
under middle age whose face is drawn into inharmonious contours. The one is the result of a
sweet and sunny disposition; the other is the outcome of passion and discontent.

As you cannot have a sweet and wholesome abode unless you admit the air and sunshine freely
into your rooms, so a strong body and a bright, happy, or serene countenance can only result
from the free admittance into the mind of thoughts of joy and goodwill and serenity.

On the faces of the aged there are wrinkles made by sympathy, others by strong and pure
thought, and others are carved by passion: who cannot distinguish them? With those who have
lived righteously, age is calm, peaceful, and softly mellowed, like the setting sun. I have recently
seen a philosopher on his deathbed. He was not old except in years. He died as sweetly and
peacefully as he had lived.

There is no physician like cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the body; there is no
comforter to compare with goodwill for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow. To live
continually in thoughts of ill will, cynicism, suspicion, and envy, is to be confined in a self made
prison-hole. But to think well of all, to be cheerful with all, to patiently learn to find the good in
all—such unselfish thoughts are the very portals of heaven; and to dwell day by day in thoughts
of peace toward every creature will bring abounding peace to their possessor.

4. Thought and Purpose

UNTIL thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment. With the majority
the bark of thought is allowed to "drift" upon the ocean of life. Aimlessness is a vice, and such
drifting must not continue for him who would steer clear of catastrophe and destruction.

They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles,
and self-pityings, all of which are indications of weakness, which lead, just as surely as
deliberately planned sins (though by a different route), to failure, unhappiness, and loss, for
weakness cannot persist in a power evolving universe.

A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it. He
should make this purpose the centralizing point of his thoughts. It may take the form of a
spiritual ideal, or it may be a worldly object, according to his nature at the time being; but
whichever it is, he should steadily focus his thought-forces upon the object, which he has set
before him. He should make this purpose his supreme duty, and should devote himself to its
attainment, not allowing his thoughts to wander away into ephemeral fancies, longings, and
imaginings. This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought. Even if he
fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is
overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will
form a new starting-point for future power and triumph.

Those who are not prepared for the apprehension of a great purpose should fix the thoughts upon
the faultless performance of their duty, no matter how insignificant their task may appear. Only
in this way can the thoughts be gathered and focussed, and resolution and energy be developed,
which being done, there is nothing which may not be accomplished.

The weakest soul, knowing its own weakness, and believing this truth ‘that strength can only be
developed by effort and practice, will, thus believing, at once begin to exert itself, and, adding
effort to effort, patience to patience, and strength to strength, will never cease to develop, and
will at last grow divinely strong.

As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man
of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.

To put away aimlessness and weakness, and to begin to think with purpose, is to enter the ranks
of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment; who make
all conditions serve them, and who think strongly, attempt fearlessly, and accomplish

Having conceived of his purpose, a man should mentally mark out a straight pathway to its
achievement, looking neither to the right nor the left. Doubts and fears should be rigorously
excluded; they are disintegrating elements, which break up the straight line of effort, rendering it
crooked, ineffectual, useless. Thoughts of doubt and fear never accomplished anything, and
never can. They always lead to failure. Purpose, energy, power to do, and all strong thoughts
cease when doubt and fear creep in.

The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies
of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them. thwarts himself at every

He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure. His every, thought is allied with
power, and all difficulties are bravely met and wisely overcome. His purposes are seasonably
planted, and they bloom and bring forth fruit, which does not fall prematurely to the ground.
Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force: he who knows this is ready to
become something higher and stronger than a mere bundle of wavering thoughts and fluctuating
sensations; he who does this has become the conscious and intelligent wielder of his mental

5. The Thought-Factor in Achievement

ALL that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.
In a justly ordered universe, where loss of equipoise would mean total destruction, individual
responsibility must be absolute. A man‘s weakness and strength, purity and impurity, are his
own, and not another man‘s; they are brought about by himself, and not by another; and they can
only be altered by himself, never by another. His condition is also his own, and not another
man‘s. His suffering and his happiness are evolved from within. As he thinks, so he is; as he
continues to think, so he remains.

A strong man cannot help a weaker unless that weaker is willing to be helped, and even then the
weak man must become strong of himself; he must, by his own efforts, develop the strength
which he admires in another. None but himself can alter his condition.

It has been usual for men to think and to say, "Many men are slaves because one is an oppressor;
let us hate the oppressor." Now, however, there is amongst an increasing few a tendency to
reverse this judgment, and to say, "One man is an oppressor because many are slaves; let us
despise the slaves."

The truth is that oppressor and slave are co-operators in ignorance, and, while seeming to afflict
each other, are in reality afflicting themselves. A perfect Knowledge perceives the action of law
in the weakness of the oppressed and the misapplied power of the oppressor; a perfect Love,
seeing the suffering, which both states entail, condemns neither; a perfect Compassion embraces
both oppressor and oppressed.

He who has conquered weakness, and has put away all selfish thoughts, belongs neither to
oppressor nor oppressed. He is free.

A man can only rise, conquer, and achieve by lifting up his thoughts. He can only remain weak,
and abject, and miserable by refusing to lift up his thoughts.

Before a man can achieve anything, even in worldly things, he must lift his thoughts above
slavish animal indulgence. He may not, in order to succeed, give up all animality and selfishness,
by any means; but a portion of it must, at least, be sacrificed. A man whose first thought is
bestial indulgence could neither think clearly nor plan methodically; he could not find and
develop his latent resources, and would fail in any undertaking. Not having commenced to
manfully control his thoughts, he is not in a position to control affairs and to adopt serious
responsibilities. He is not fit to act independently and stand alone. But he is limited only by the
thoughts, which he chooses.
There can be no progress, no achievement without sacrifice, and a man‘s worldly success will be
in the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal thoughts, and fixes his mind on the
development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance. And the
higher he lifts his thoughts, the more manly, upright, and righteous he becomes, the greater will
be his success, the more blessed and enduring will be his achievements.

The universe does not favour the greedy, the dishonest, the vicious, although on the mere surface
it may sometimes appear to do so; it helps the honest, the magnanimous, the virtuous. All the
great Teachers of the ages have declared this in varying forms, and to prove and know it a man
has but to persist in making himself more and more virtuous by lifting up his thoughts.

Intellectual achievements are the result of thought consecrated to the search for knowledge, or
for the beautiful and true in life and nature. Such achievements may be sometimes connected
with vanity and ambition, but they are not the outcome of those characteristics; they are the
natural outgrowth of long and arduous effort, and of pure and unselfish thoughts.

Spiritual achievements are the consummation of holy aspirations. He who lives constantly in the
conception of noble and lofty thoughts, who dwells upon all that is pure and unselfish, will, as
surely as the sun reaches its zenith and the moon its full, become wise and noble in character,
and rise into a position of influence and blessedness.

Achievement, of whatever kind, is the crown of effort, the diadem of thought. By the aid of self-
control, resolution, purity, righteousness, and well-directed thought a man ascends; by the aid of
animality, indolence, impurity, corruption, and confusion of thought a man descends.

A man may rise to high success in the world, and even to lofty altitudes in the spiritual realm,
and again descend into weakness and wretchedness by allowing arrogant, selfish, and corrupt
thoughts to take possession of him.

Victories attained by right thought can only be maintained by watchfulness. Many give way
when success is assured, and rapidly fall back into failure.

All achievements, whether in the business, intellectual, or spiritual world, are the result of
definitely directed thought, are governed by the same law and are of the same method; the only
difference lies in the object of attainment.

He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice
much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.

6. Visions and Ideals

THE dreamers are the saviours of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible, so
men, through all their trials and sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions
of their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers; it cannot let their ideals fade and
die; it lives in them; it knows them as they realities which it shall one day see and know.
Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage, these are the makers of the after-world, the
architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, labouring
humanity would perish.

He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it. Columbus
cherished a vision of another world, and he discovered it; Copernicus fostered the vision of a
multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe, and he revealed it; Buddha beheld the vision of a
spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered into it.

Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty
that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will
grow all delightful conditions, all, heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to
them, your world will at last be built.

To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to, achieve. Shall man‘s basest desires receive the fullest
measure of gratification, and his purest aspirations starve for lack of sustenance? Such is not the
Law: such a condition of things can never obtain: "ask and receive."

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what
you shall one day be; your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the
bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the
seedlings of realities.

Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not long remain so if you but perceive an
Ideal and strive to reach it. You cannot travel within and stand still without. Here is a youth hard
pressed by poverty and labour; confined long hours in an unhealthy workshop; unschooled, and
lacking all the arts of refinement. But he dreams of better things; he thinks of intelligence, of
refinement, of grace and beauty. He conceives of, mentally builds up, an ideal condition of life;
the vision of a wider liberty and a larger scope takes possession of him; unrest urges him to
action, and he utilizes all his spare time and means, small though they are, to the development of
his latent powers and resources. Very soon so altered has his mind become that the workshop can
no longer hold him. It has become so out of harmony with his mentality that it falls out of his life
as a garment is cast aside, and, with the growth of opportunities, which fit the scope of his
expanding powers, he passes out of it forever. Years later we see this youth as a full-grown man.
We find him a master of certain forces of the mind, which he wields with worldwide influence
and almost unequalled power. In his hands he holds the cords of gigantic responsibilities; he
speaks, and lo, lives are changed; men and women hang upon his words and remould their
characters, and, sunlike, he becomes the fixed and luminous centre round which innumerable
destinies revolve. He has realized the Vision of his youth. He has become one with his Ideal.

And you, too, youthful reader, will realize the Vision (not the idle wish) of your heart, be it base
or beautiful, or a mixture of both, for you will always gravitate toward that which you, secretly,
most love. Into your hands will be placed the exact results of your own thoughts; you will
receive that which you earn; no more, no less. Whatever your present environment may be, you
will fall, remain, or rise with your thoughts, your Vision, your Ideal. You will become as small
as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration: in the beautiful words of Stanton
Kirkham Davis, "You may be keeping accounts, and presently you shall walk out of the door that
for so long has seemed to you the barrier of your ideals, and shall find yourself before an
audience—the pen still behind your ear, the ink stains on your fingers and then and there shall
pour out the torrent of your inspiration. You may be driving sheep, and you shall wander to the
city-bucolic and open-mouthed; shall wander under the intrepid guidance of the spirit into the
studio of the master, and after a time he shall say, ‘I have nothing more to teach you.‘ And now
you have become the master, who did so recently dream of great things while driving sheep. You
shall lay down the saw and the plane to take upon yourself the regeneration of the world."

The thoughtless, the ignorant, and the indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not
the things themselves, talk of luck, of fortune, and chance. Seeing a man grow rich, they say,
"How lucky he is!" Observing another become intellectual, they exclaim, "How highly favoured
he is!" And noting the saintly character and wide influence of another, they remark, "How
chance aids him at every turn!" They do not see the trials and failures and struggles which these
men have voluntarily encountered in order to gain their experience; have no knowledge of the
sacrifices they have made, of the undaunted efforts they have put forth, of the faith they have
exercised, that they might overcome the apparently insurmountable, and realize the Vision of
their heart. They do not know the darkness and the heartaches; they only see the light and joy,
and call it "luck". They do not see the long and arduous journey, but only behold the pleasant
goal, and call it "good fortune," do not understand the process, but only perceive the result, and
call it chance.

In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the
measure of the result. Chance is not. Gifts, powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual
possessions are the fruits of effort; they are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions

The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart—this you will
build your life by, this you will become.

7. Serenity

CALMNESS of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient
effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than
ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.

A man becomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought evolved being, for
such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought, and as he
develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by
the action of cause and effect he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains
poised, steadfast, serene.

The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others; and
they, in turn, reverence his spiritual strength, and feel that they can learn of him and rely upon
him. The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for
good. Even the ordinary trader will find his business prosperity increase as he develops a greater
self-control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal with a man whose demeanour
is strongly equable.

The strong, calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty
land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. "Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered,
balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those
possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of
character, which we call serenity is the last lesson of culture, the fruitage of the soul. It is
precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold—yea, than even fine gold. How insignificant
mere money seeking looks in comparison with a serene life—a life that dwells in the ocean of
Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the Eternal Calm!

"How many people we know who sour their lives, who ruin all that is sweet and beautiful by
explosive tempers, who destroy their poise of character, and make bad blood! It is a question
whether the great majority of people do not ruin their lives and mar their happiness by lack of
self-control. How few people we meet in life who are well balanced, who have that exquisite
poise which is characteristic of the finished character!

Yes, humanity surges with uncontrolled passion, is tumultuous with ungoverned grief, is blown
about by anxiety and doubt only the wise man, only he whose thoughts are controlled and
purified, makes the winds and the storms of the soul obey him.

Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this:
In the ocean of life the isles of Blessedness are smiling, and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits
your coming. Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines
the commanding Master; He does but sleep: wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is
mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, "Peace, be still!"
The Realization of Prosperity and Peace
James Allen

Part I: The path to prosperity
1. The lesson of evil
2. The world a reflex of mental states
3. The way out of undesirable conditions
4. The silent power of thought: controlling and directing one‘s forces
5. The secret of health, success, and power
6. The secret of abounding happiness
7. The realization of prosperity

Part II: The way of peace

1. The power of meditation
2. The two masters, self and truth
3. The acquirement of spiritual power
4. The realization of selfless love
5. Entering into the infinite
6. Saints, sages and saviors: the law of service
7. The realization of perfect peace


I looked around upon the world, and saw that it was shadowed by sorrow and scorched by the
fierce fires of suffering. And I looked for the cause. I looked around, but could not find it; I
looked in books, but could not find it; I looked within, and found there both the cause and the
self-made nature of that cause. I looked again, and deeper, and found the remedy.

I found one Law, the Law of Love; one Life, the Life of adjustment to that Law; one Truth, the
truth of a conquered mind and a quiet and obedient heart. And I dreamed of writing a book
which should help men and women, whether rich or poor, learned or unlearned, worldly or
unworldly, to find within themselves the source of all success, all happiness, all accomplishment,
all truth. And the dream remained with me, and at last became substantial; and now I send it
forth into the world on its mission of healing and blessedness, knowing that it cannot fail to reach
the homes and hearts of those who are waiting and ready to receive it.

James Allen.
Part I: The path of prosperity
1. The lesson of evil

Unrest and pain and sorrow are the shadows of life. There is no heart in all the world that has not
felt the sting of pain, no mind has not been tossed upon the dark waters of trouble, no eye that
has not wept the hot blinding tears of unspeakable anguish.

There is no household where the Great Destroyers, disease and death, have not entered, severing
heart from heart, and casting over all the dark pall of sorrow. In the strong, and apparently
indestructible meshes of evil all are more or less fast caught, and pain, unhappiness, and
misfortune wait upon mankind.

With the object of escaping, or in some way mitigating this overshadowing gloom, men and
women rush blindly into innumerable devices, pathways by which they fondly hope to enter into
a happiness which will not pass away.

Such are the drunkard and the harlot, who revel in sensual excitements; such is the exclusive
aesthete, who shuts himself out from the sorrows of the world, and surrounds himself with
enervating luxuries; such is he who thirsts for wealth or fame, and subordinates all things to the
achievement of that object; and such are they who seek consolation in the performance of
religious rites.

And to all the happiness sought seems to come, and the soul, for a time, is lulled into a sweet
security, and an intoxicating forgetfulness of the existence of evil; but the day of disease comes
at last, or some great sorrow, temptation, or misfortune breaks suddenly in on the unfortified
soul, and the fabric of its fancied happiness is torn to shreds.

So over the head of every personal joy hangs the Damocletian sword of pain, ready, at any
moment, to fall and crush the soul of him who is unprotected by knowledge.

The child cries to be a man or woman; the man and woman sigh for the lost felicity of childhood.
The poor man chafes under the chains of poverty by which he is bound, and the rich man often
lives in fear of poverty, or scours the world in search of an elusive shadow he calls happiness.

Sometimes the soul feels that it has found a secure peace and happiness in adopting a certain
religion, in embracing an intellectual philosophy, or in building up an intellectual or artistic
ideal; but some overpowering temptation proves the religion to be inadequate or insufficient; the
theoretical philosophy is found to be a useless prop; or in a moment, the idealistic statue upon
which the devotee has for years been laboring, is shattered into fragments at his feet.

Is there, then, no way of escape from pain and sorrow? Are there no means by which bonds of
evil may be broken? Is permanent happiness, secure prosperity, and abiding peace a foolish
No, there is a way, and I speak it with gladness, by which evil can be slain for ever; there is a
process by which disease, poverty, or any adverse condition or circumstance can be put on one
side never to return; there is a method by which a permanent prosperity can be secured, free from
all fear of the return of adversity, and there is a practice by which unbroken and unending peace
and bliss can be partaken of and realized.

And the beginning of the way which leads to this glorious realization is the acquirement of a
right understanding of the nature of evil.

It is not sufficient to deny or ignore evil; it must be understood. It is not enough to pray to God to
remove the evil; you must find out why it is there, and what lesson it has for you.

It is of no avail to fret and fume and chafe at the chains which bind you; you must know why and
how you are bound. Therefore, reader, you must get outside yourself, and must begin to examine
and understand yourself.

You must cease to be a disobedient child in the school of experience and must begin to learn,
with humility and patience, the lessons that are set for your edification and ultimate perfection;
for evil, when rightly understood, is found to be, not an unlimited power or principle in the
universe, but a passing phase of human experience, and it therefore becomes a teacher to those
who are willing to learn.

Evil is not an abstract some thing outside yourself; it is an experience in your own heart, and by
patiently examining and rectifying your heart you will be gradually led into the discovery of the
origin and nature of evil, which will necessarily be followed by its complete eradication.

All evil is corrective and remedial, and is therefore not permanent. It is rooted in ignorance,
ignorance of the true nature and relation of things, and so long as we remain in that state of
ignorance, we remain subject to evil.

There is no evil in the universe which is not the result of ignorance, and which would not, if we
were ready and willing to learn its lesson, lead us to higher wisdom, and then vanish away. But
men remain in evil, and it does not pass away because men are not willing or prepared to learn
the lesson which it came to teach them.

I knew a child who, every night when its mother took it to bed, cried to be allowed to play with
the candle; and one night, when the mother was off guard for a moment, the child took hold of
the candle; the inevitable result followed, and the child never wished to play with the candle

By its one foolish act it learned, and learned perfectly the lesson of obedience, and entered into
the knowledge that fire burns. And, this incident is a complete illustration of the nature, meaning,
and ultimate result of all sin and evil.

As the child suffered through its own ignorance of the real nature of fire, so older children suffer
through their ignorance of the real nature of the things which they weep for and strive after, and
which harm them when they are secured; the only difference being that in the latter case the
ignorance and evil are more deeply rooted and obscure.

Evil has always been symbolized by darkness, and Good by light, and hidden within the symbol
is contained the perfect interpretation, the reality; for, just as light always floods the universe,
and darkness is only a mere speck or shadow cast by a small body intercepting a few rays of the
illimitable light, so the Light of the Supreme Good is the positive and life-giving power which
floods the universe, and evil the insignificant shadow cast by the self that intercepts and shuts off
the illuminating rays which strive for entrance.

When night folds the world in its black impenetrable mantle, no matter how dense the darkness,
it covers but the small space of half our little planet, while the whole universe is ablaze with
living light, and every soul knows that it will awake in the light in the morning.

Know, then, that when the dark night of sorrow, pain, or misfortune settles down upon your soul,
and you stumble along with weary and uncertain steps, that you are merely intercepting your
own personal desires between yourself and the boundless light of joy and bliss, and the dark
shadow that covers you is cast by none and nothing but yourself.

And just as the darkness without is but a negative shadow, an unreality which comes from
nowhere, goes to nowhere, and has no abiding dwelling place, so the darkness within is equally a
negative shadow passing over the evolving and Lightborn soul.

―But,‖ I fancy I hear someone say, ―why pass through the darkness of evil at all?‖ Because, by
ignorance, you have chosen to do so, and because, by doing so, you may understand both good
and evil, and may the more appreciate the light by having passed through the darkness.

As evil is the direct outcome of ignorance, so, when the lessons of evil are fully learned,
ignorance passes away, and wisdom takes its place. But as a disobedient child refuses to learn its
lessons at school, so it is possible to refuse to learn the lessons of experience, and thus to remain
in continual darkness, and to suffer continually recurring punishments in the form of disease,
disappointment, and sorrow.

He, therefore, who would shake himself free of the evil which encompasses him, must be willing
and ready to learn, and must be prepared to undergo that disciplinary process without which no
grain of wisdom or abiding happiness and peace can be secured.

A man may shut himself up in a dark room, and deny that the light exists, but it is everywhere
without, and darkness exists only in his own little room.

So you may shut out the light of Truth, or you may begin to pull down the walls of prejudice,
self-seeking and error which you have built around yourself, and so let in the glorious and
omnipresent Light.

By earnest self-examination strive to realize, and not merely hold as a theory, that evil is a
passing phase, a self-created shadow; that all your pains, sorrows and misfortunes have come to
you by a process of undeviating and absolutely perfect law; have come to you because you
deserve and require them, and that by first enduring, and then understanding them, you may be
made stronger, wiser, nobler.

When you have fully entered into this realization, you will be in a position to mould your own
circumstances, to transmute all evil into good and to weave, with a master hand, the fabric of
your destiny.

What of the night, O Watchman! see‘st thou yet

The glimmering dawn upon the mountain heights,
The golden Herald of the Light of lights,
Are his fair feet upon the hilltops set?

Cometh he yet to chase away the gloom,

And with it all the demons of the Night?
Strike yet his darting rays upon thy sight?
Hear‘st thou his voice, the sound of error‘s doom?

The Morning cometh, lover of the Light;

Even now He gilds with gold the mountain‘s brow,
Dimly I see the path whereon even now
His shining feet are set toward the Night.

Darkness shall pass away, and all the things

That love the darkness, and that hate the Light
Shall disappear for ever with the Night:
Rejoice! for thus the speeding Herald sings.

2. The world a reflex of mental states

What you are, so is your world. Everything in the universe is resolved into your own inward
experience. It matters little what is without, for it is all a reflection of your own state of

It matters everything what you are within, for everything without will be mirrored and colored

All that you positively know is contained in your own experience; all that you ever will know
must pass through the gateway of experience, and so become part of yourself.

Your own thoughts, desires, and aspirations comprise your world, and, to you, all that there is in
the universe of beauty and joy and bliss, or of ugliness and sorrow and pain, is contained within
By your own thoughts you make or mar your life, your world, your universe, As you build within
by the power of thought, so will your outward life and circumstances shape themselves

Whatsoever you harbor in the inmost chambers of your heart will, sooner or later by the
inevitable law of reaction, shape itself in your outward life.

The soul that is impure, sordid and selfish, is gravitating with unerring precision toward
misfortune and catastrophe; the soul that is pure, unselfish, and noble is gravitating with equal
precision toward happiness and prosperity.

Every soul attracts its own, and nothing can possibly come to it that does not belong to it. To
realize this is to recognize the universality of Divine Law.

The incidents of every human life, which both make and mar, are drawn to it by the quality and
power of its own inner thought-life. Every soul is a complex combination of gathered
experiences and thoughts, and the body is but an improvised vehicle for its manifestation.

What, therefore, your thoughts are, that is your real self; and the world around, both animate and
inanimate, wears the aspect with which your thoughts clothe it.

―All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thoughts; it is made
up of our thoughts.‖ Thus said Buddha, and it therefore follows that if a man is happy, it is
because he dwells in happy thoughts; if miserable, because he dwells in despondent and
debilitating thoughts,

Whether one be fearful or fearless, foolish or wise, troubled or serene, within that soul lies the
cause of its own state or states, and never without. And now I seem to hear a chorus of voices
exclaim, ―But do you really mean to say that outward circumstances do not affect our minds?‖ I
do not say that, but I say this, and know it to be an infallible truth, that circumstances can only
affect you in so far as you allow them to do so.

You are swayed by circumstances because you have not a right understanding of the nature, use,
and power of thought.

You believe (and upon this little word belief hang all our sorrows and joys) that outward things
have the power to make or mar your life; by so doing you submit to those outward things,
confess that you are their slave, and they your unconditional master; by so doing, you invest
them with a power which they do not, of themselves, possess, and you succumb, in reality, not to
the mere circumstances, but to the gloom or gladness, the fear or hope, the strength or weakness,
which your thought-sphere has thrown around them.

I knew two men who, at an early age, lost the hard-earned savings of years. One was very deeply
troubled, and gave way to chagrin, worry, and despondency.
The other, on reading in his morning paper that the bank in which his money was deposited had
hopelessly failed, and that he had lost all, quietly and firmly remarked, ‗‘Well, it‘s gone, and
trouble and worry won‘t bring it back, but hard work will.‖

He went to work with renewed vigor, and rapidly became prosperous, while the former man,
continuing to mourn the loss of his money, and to grumble at his ‗‘bad luck,‖ remained the sport
and tool of adverse circumstances, in reality of his own weak and slavish thoughts.

The loss of money was a curse to the one because he clothed the event with dark and dreary
thoughts; it was a blessing to the other, because he threw around it thoughts of strength, of hope,
and renewed endeavor.

If circumstances had the power to bless or harm, they would bless and harm all men alike, but
the fact that the same circumstances will be alike good and bad to different souls proves that the
good or bad is not in the circumstance, but only in the mind of him that encounters it.

When you begin to realize this you will begin to control your thoughts, to regulate and discipline
your mind, and to rebuild the inward temple of your soul, eliminating all useless and superfluous
material, and incorporating into your being thoughts alone of joy and serenity, of strength and
life, of compassion and love, of beauty and immortality; and as you do this you will become
joyful and serene, strong and healthy, compassionate and loving, and beautiful with the beauty of

And as we clothe events with the drapery of our own thoughts, so likewise do we clothe the
objects of the visible world around us, and where one sees harmony and beauty, another sees
revolting ugliness.

An enthusiastic naturalist was one day roaming the country lanes in pursuit of his hobby, and
during his rambles came upon a pool of brackish water near a farmyard.

As he proceeded to fill a small bottle with the water for the purpose of examination under the
microscope, he dilated, with more enthusiasm than discretion, to an uncultivated son of the
plough who stood close by, upon the hidden and innumerable wonders contained in the pool, and
concluded by saying, ‗‘Yes, my friend, within this pool is contained a hundred, nay, a million
universes, had we but the sense or the instrument by which we could apprehend them.‖ And the
unsophisticated one ponderously remarked, "I know the water be full o‘ tadpoles, but they be
easy to catch.‖

Where the naturalist, his mind stored with the knowledge of natural facts, saw beauty, harmony,
and hidden glory, the mind unenlightened upon those things saw only an offensive mud-puddle.

The wild flower which the casual wayfarer thoughtlessly tramples upon is, to the spiritual eye of
the poet, an angelic messenger from the invisible.
To the many, the ocean is but a dreary expanse of water on which ships sail and are sometimes
wrecked; to the soul of the musician it is a living thing, and he hears, in all its changing moods,
divine harmonies.

Where the ordinary mind sees disaster and confusion, the mind of the philosopher sees the most
perfect sequence of cause and effect, and where the materialist sees nothing but endless death,
the mystic sees pulsating and eternal life.

And as we clothe both events and objects with our own thoughts, so likewise do we clothe the
souls of others in the garments of our thoughts.

The suspicious believe everybody to be suspicious; the Liar feels secure in the thought that he is
not so foolish as to believe that there is such a phenomenon as a strictly truthful person; the
envious see envy in every soul; the miser thinks everybody is eager to get his money; he who has
subordinated conscience in the making of his wealth, sleeps with a revolver under his pillow,
wrapped in the delusion that the world is full of conscienceless people who are eager to rob him,
and the abandoned sensualist looks upon the saint as a hypocrite.

On the other hand, those who dwell in loving thoughts, see that in all which calls forth their love
and sympathy; the trusting and honest are not troubled by suspicions; the good-natured and
charitable who rejoice at the good fortune of others, scarcely know what envy means; and he
who has realized the Divine within himself recognizes it in all beings, even in the beasts.

And men and women are confirmed in their mental outlook because of the fact that, by the law
of cause and effect, they attract to themselves that which they send forth, and so come in contact
with people similar to themselves.

The old adage, ―Birds of a feather flock together,‖ has a deeper significance than is generally
attached to it, for in the thought-world as in the world of matter, each clings to its kind.

Do you wish for kindness? Be kind.

Do you ask for truth? Be true.
What you give of yourself you find;
Your world is a reflex of you.

If you are one of those who are praying for, and looking forward to, a happier world beyond the
grave, here is a message of gladness for you, you may enter into and realize that happy world
now; it fills the whole universe, and it is within you, waiting for you to find, acknowledge, and
possess. Said one who knew the inner laws of Being,‖

When men shall say Io here, or Io there, go not after them; the kingdom of God is within you.‖

What you have to do is to believe this, simply believe it with a mind unshadowed by doubt, and
then meditate upon it till you understand it.
You will then begin to purify and to build your inner world, and as you proceed, passing from
revelation to revelation, from realization to realization, you will discover the utter powerlessness
of outward things beside the magic potency of a self-governed soul.

If thou would‘st right the world,

And banish all its evils and its woes,
Make its wild places bloom,
And its drear deserts blossom as the rose,-
Then right thyself.

If thou would‘st turn the world

From its long, lone captivity in sin,
Restore all broken hearts,
Slay grief, and let sweet consolation in,-
Turn thou thyself.

If thou would‘st cure the world

Of its long sickness, end its grief and pain;
Bring in all-healing joy,
And give to the afflicted rest again,-
Then cure thyself.

If thou would‘st wake the world

Out of its dream of death and dark‘ning strife,
Bring it to Love and Peace,
And Light and brightness of immortal Life,-
Wake thou thyself.

3. The way out of undesirable conditions

Having seen and realized that evil is but a passing shadow thrown, by the intercepting self,
across the transcendent Form of the Eternal Good, and that the world is a mirror in which each
sees a reflection of himself, we now ascend, by firm and easy steps, to that plane of perception
whereon is seen and realized the Vision of the Law.

With this realization comes the knowledge that everything is included in a ceaseless interaction
of cause and effect, and that nothing can possibly be divorced from law.

From the most trivial thought, word, or act of man, up to the groupings of the celestial bodies,
law reigns supreme. No arbitrary condition can, even for one moment, exist, for such a condition
would be a denial and an annihilation of law.

Every condition of life is, therefore, bound up in an orderly and harmonious sequence, and the
secret and cause of every condition is contained within itself, The law, ―Whatsoever a man sows
that shall he also reap,‖ is inscribed in flaming letters upon the portal of Eternity, and none can
deny it, none can cheat it, none can escape it.
He who puts his hand in the fire must suffer the burning until such time as it has worked itself
out, and neither curses nor prayers can avail to alter it.

And precisely the same law governs the realm of mind. Hatred, anger, jealousy, envy, lust,
covetousness, all these are fires which bum, and whoever even so much as touches them must
suffer the torments of burning.

All these conditions of mind are rightly called ―evil,‖ for they are the efforts of the soul to
subvert, in its ignorance, the law, an they, therefore, lead to chaos and confusion within, and are
sooner or later actualized in the outward circumstances as disease, failure, and misfortune,
coupled with grief, pain, and despair.

Whereas love, gentleness, good-will, purity, are cooling airs which breathe peace upon the soul
that woes them, and, being in harmony with the Eternal Law, they become actualized in the form
of health, peaceful surroundings, and undeviating success and good fortune.

A thorough understanding of this Great Law which permeates the universe leads to the
acquirement of that state of mind known as obedience.

To know that justice, harmony, and love are supreme in the universe is likewise to know that all
adverse and painful conditions are the result of our own disobedience to that Law.

Such knowledge leads to strength and power, and it is upon such knowledge alone that a true life
and an enduring success and happiness can be built.

To be patient under all circumstances, and to accept all conditions as necessary factors in your
training, is to rise superior to all painful conditions, and to overcome them with an overcoming
which is sure, and which leaves no fear of their return, for by the power of obedience to law they
are utterly slain.

Such an obedient one is working in harmony with the law, has in fact, identified himself with the
law, and whatsoever he conquers he conquers for ever, whatsoever he builds can never be

The cause of all power, as of all weakness, is within; the secret of all happiness as of all misery is
likewise within.

There is no progress apart from unfoldment within, and no sure foothold of prosperity or peace
except by orderly advancement in knowledge.

You say you are chained by circumstances; you cry out for better opportunities, for a wider
scope, for improved physical conditions, and perhaps you inwardly curse the fate that binds you
hand and foot.

It is for you that I write; it is to you that I speak. Listen, and let my words burn themselves into
your heart, for that which I say to you is truth:
You may bring about that improved condition in your outward life which you desire, if you will
unswervingly resolve to improve your inner life.

I know this pathway looks barren at its commencement (truth always does, it is only error and
delusion which are at first inviting and fascinating,) but if you undertake to walk it; if you
perseveringly discipline your mind, eradicating your weaknesses, and allowing your soul-forces
and spiritual powers to unfold themselves, you will be astonished at the magical changes which
will be brought about in your outward life.

As you proceed, golden opportunities will be strewn across your path, and the power and
judgment to properly utilize them will spring up within you. Genial friends will come unbidden
to you; sympathetic souls will be drawn to you as the needle is to the magnet; and books and all
outward aids that you require will come to you unsought.

Perhaps the chains of poverty hang heavily upon you, and you are friendless and alone, and you
long with an intense longing that your load may be lightened; but the load continues, and you
seem to be enveloped in an ever-increasing darkness.

Perhaps you complain, you bewail your lot; you blame your birth, your parents, your employer,
or the unjust Powers who have bestowed upon you so undeservedly poverty and hardship, and
upon another affluence and ease.

Cease your complaining and fretting; none of these things which you blame are the cause of your
poverty; the cause is within yourself, and where the cause is, there is the remedy.

The very fact that you are a complainer, shows that you deserve your lot; shows that you lack
that faith which is the ground of all effort and progress.

There is no room for a complainer in a universe of law, and worry is soul-suicide. By your very
attitude of mind you are strengthening the chains which bind you, and are drawing about you the
darkness by which you are enveloped, Alter your outlook upon life, and your outward life will

Build yourself up in the faith and knowledge, and make yourself worthy of better surroundings
and wider opportunities. Be sure, first of all, that you are making the best of what you have.

Do not delude yourself into supposing that you can step into greater advantages whilst
overlooking smaller ones, for if you could, the advantage would be impermanent and you would
quickly fall back again in order to learn the lesson which you had neglected.

As the child at school must master one standard before passing onto the next, so, before you can
have that greater good which you so desire, must you faithfully employ that which you already

The parable of the talents is a beautiful story illustrative of this truth, for does it not plainly show
that if we misuse, neglect, or degrade that which we possess, be it ever so mean and
insignificant, even that little will be taken from us, for, by our conduct we show that we are
unworthy of it.

Perhaps you are living in a small cottage, and are surrounded by unhealthy and vicious

You desire a larger and more sanitary residence. Then you must fit yourself for such a residence
by first of all making your cottage as far as possible a little paradise. Keep it spotlessly clean.
Make it look as pretty and sweet as your limited means will allow. Cook your plain food with all
care, and arrange your humble table as tastefully as you possibly can.

If you cannot afford a carpet, let your rooms be carpeted with smiles and welcomes, fastened
down with the nails of kind words driven in with the hammer of

patience. Such a carpet will not fade in the sun, and constant use will never wear it away.

By so ennobling your present surroundings you will rise above them, and above the need of
them, and at the right time you will pass on into the better house and surroundings which have all
along been waiting for you, and which you have fitted yourself to occupy.

Perhaps you desire more time for thought and effort, and feel that your hours of labor are too
hard and long. Then see to it that you are utilizing to the fullest possible extent what little spare
time you have.

It is useless to desire more time, if you are already wasting what little you have; for you would
only grow more indolent and indifferent.

Even poverty and lack of time and leisure are not the evils that you imagine they are, and if they
hinder you in your progress, it is because you have clothed them in your own weaknesses, and
the evil that you see in them is really in yourself. Endeavor to fully and completely realize that in
so far as you shape and mould your mind, you are the maker of your destiny, and as, by the
transmuting power of self-discipline you realize this more and more, you will come to see that
these so-called evils may be converted into blessings.

You will then utilize your poverty for the cultivation of patience, hope and courage; and your
lack of time in the gaining of promptness of action and decision of mind, by seizing the precious
moments as they present themselves for your acceptance.

As in the rankest soil the most beautiful flowers are grown, so in the dark soil of poverty the
choicest flowers of humanity have developed and bloomed.

Where there are difficulties to cope with, and unsatisfactory conditions to overcome, there virtue
most flourishes and manifests its glory.
It may be that you are in the employ of a tyrannous master or mistress, and you feel that you are
harshly treated. Look upon this also as necessary to your training. Return your employer‘s
unkindness with gentleness and forgiveness.

Practice unceasingly patience and self-control. Turn the disadvantage to account by utilizing it
for the gaining of mental and spiritual strength, and by your silent example and influence you
will thus be teaching your employer, will be helping him to grow ashamed of his conduct, and
will, at the same time, be lifting yourself up to that height of spiritual attainment by which you
will be enabled to step into new and more congenial surroundings at the time when they are
presented to you.

Do not complain that you are a slave, but lift yourself up, by noble conduct, above the plane of
slavery. Before complaining that you are a slave to another, be sure that you are not a slave to

Look within; look searchingly, and have no mercy upon yourself. You will find there, perchance,
slavish thoughts, slavish desires, and in your daily life and conduct slavish habits.

Conquer these; cease to be a slave to self, and no man will have the power to enslave you. As
you overcome self, you will overcome all adverse conditions, and every difficulty will fall before

Do not complain that you are oppressed by the rich. Are you sure that if you gained riches you
would not be an oppressor yourself?

Remember that there is the Eternal Law which is absolutely just, and that he who oppresses
today must himself be oppressed tomorrow; and from this there is no way of escape.

And perhaps you, yesterday (in some former existence) were rich and an oppressor, and that you
are now merely paying off the debt which you owe to the Great Law. Practice, therefore,
fortitude and faith.

Dwell constantly in mind upon the Eternal justice, the Eternal Good. Endeavor to lift yourself
above the personal and the transitory into the impersonal and permanent.

Shake off the delusion that you are being injured or oppressed by another, and try to realize, by a
profounder comprehension of your inner life, and the laws which govern that life, that you are
only really injured by what is within you. There is no practice more degrading, debasing, and
soul-destroying than that of self-pity.

Cast it out from you. While such a canker is feeding upon your heart you can never expect to
grow into a fuller life.

Cease from the condemnation of others, and begin to condemn yourself. Condone none of your
acts, desires or thoughts that will not bear comparison with spotless purity, or endure the light of
sinless good.
By so doing you will be building your house upon the rock of the Eternal, and all that is required
for your happiness and well-being will come to you in its own time.

There is positively no way of permanently rising above poverty, or any undesirable condition,
except by eradicating those selfish and negative conditions within, of which these are the
reflection, and by virtue of which they continue.

The way to true riches is to enrich the soul by the acquisition of virtue. Outside of real heart-
virtue there is neither prosperity nor power, but only the appearances of these. I am aware that
men make money who have acquired no measure of virtue, and have little desire to do so; but
such money does not constitute true riches, and its possession is transitory and feverish.

Here is David‘s testimony:- For I was envious at the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the
wicked...... Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart could wish. -Verily I
have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence... When I thought to know
this it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God, then understood I their

The prosperity of the wicked was a great trial to David until he went into the sanctuary of God,
and then he knew their end.

You likewise may go into that sanctuary. It is within you. It is that state of consciousness which
remains when all that is sordid, and personal, and impermanent is risen above, and universal and
eternal principles are realized.

That is the God state of consciousness; it is the sanctuary of the Most High. When by long strife
and self-discipline, you have succeeded in entering the door of that holy Temple, you will
perceive, with unobstructed vision, the end and fruit of all human thought and endeavor, both
good and evil.

You will then no longer relax your faith when you see the immoral man accumulating outward
riches, for you will know, that he must come again to poverty and degradation.

The rich man who is barren of virtue is, in reality, poor, and as surely, as the waters of the river
are drifting to the ocean, so surely is he, in the midst of all his riches, drifting towards poverty
and misfortune; and though he die rich, yet must he return to reap the bitter fruit of all of his

And though he become rich many times, yet as many times must he be thrown back into poverty,
until, by long experience and suffering he conquers the poverty within.

But the man who is outwardly poor, yet rich in virtue, is truly rich, and, in the midst of all his
poverty he is surely traveling towards prosperity; and abounding joy and bliss await his coming.
If you would become truly and permanently prosperous, you must first become virtuous.
It is therefore unwise to aim directly at prosperity, to make it the one object of life, to reach out
greedily for it, To do this is to ultimately defeat yourself.

But rather aim at self-perfection, make useful and unselfish service the object of your life, and
ever reach out hands of faith towards the supreme and unalterable Good.

You say you desire wealth, not for your own sake, but in order to do good with it, and to bless
others. If this is your real motive in desiring wealth, then wealth will come to you; for you are
strong and unselfish indeed if, in the midst of riches, you are willing to look upon yourself as
steward and not as owner.

But examine well your motive, for in the majority of instances where money is desired for the
admitted object of blessing others, the real underlying motive is a love of popularity, and a desire
to pose as a philanthropist or reformer.

If you are not doing good with what little you have, depend upon it the more money you got the
more selfish you would become, and all the good you appeared to do with your money, if you
attempted to do any, would be so much insinuating self-laudation.

If your real desire is to do good, there is no need to wait for money before you do it; you can do
it now, this very moment, and just where you are. If you are really so unselfish as you believe
yourself to be, you will show it by sacrificing yourself for others now.

No matter how poor you are, there is room for self-sacrifice, for did not the widow put her all
into the treasury?

The heart that truly desires to do good does not wait for money before doing it, but comes to the
altar of sacrifice and, leaving there the unworthy elements of self, goes out and breathes upon
neighbor and stranger, friend and enemy alike the breath of blessedness.

As the effect is related to the cause, so is prosperity and power related to the inward good and
poverty and weakness to the inward evil.

Money does not constitute true wealth, nor position, nor power, and to rely upon it alone is to
stand upon a slippery place.

Your true wealth is your stock of virtue, and your true power the uses to which you put it.
Rectify your heart, and you will rectify your life. Lust, hatred, anger, vanity, pride, covetousness,
self-indulgence, self-seeking, obstinacy,- all these are poverty and weakness; whereas love,
purity, gentleness, meekness, compassion, generosity, self-forgetfulness, and self-renunciation,-
all these are wealth and power.

As the elements of poverty and weakness are overcome, an irresistible and allconquering power
is evolved from within, and he who succeeds in establishing himself in the highest virtue, brings
the whole world to his feet.
But the rich, as well as the poor, have their undesirable conditions, and are frequently farther
removed from happiness than the poor. And here we see how happiness depends, not upon
outward aids or possessions, but upon the inward life.

Perhaps you are an employer, and you have endless trouble with those whom you employ, and
when you do get good and faithful servants they quickly leave you. As a result you are beginning
to lose, or have completely lost, your faith in human nature.

You try to remedy matters by giving better wages, and by allowing certain liberties, yet matters
remain unaltered. Let me advise you.

The secret of all your trouble is not in your servants, it is in yourself; and if you look within, with
a humble and sincere desire to discover and eradicate your error, you will, sooner or later, find
the origin of all your unhappiness.

It may be some selfish desire, or lurking suspicion, or unkind attitude of mind which sends out
its poison upon those about you, and reacts upon yourself, even though you may not show it in
your manner or speech.

Think of your servants with kindness, consider of them that extremity of service which you
yourself would not care to perform were you in their place.

Rare and beautiful is that humility of soul by which a servant entirely forgets himself in his
master‘s good; but far rarer, and beautiful with a divine beauty, is that nobility of soul by which a
man, forgetting his own happiness, seeks the happiness of those who are under his authority, and
who depend upon him for their bodily sustenance.

And such a man‘s happiness is increased tenfold, nor does he need to complain of those whom
he employs. Said a well known and extensive employer of labor, who never needs to dismiss an
employee: ―I have always had the happiest relations with my workpeople.

If you ask me how it is to be accounted for, I can only say that it has been my aim from the first
to do to them as I would wish to be done by.‖ Herein lies the secret by which all desirable
conditions are secured, and all that are undesirable are overcome.

Do you say that you are lonely and unloved, and have ―not a friend in the world‖? Then, I pray
you, for the sake of your own happiness, blame nobody but yourself.

Be friendly towards others, and friends will soon flock round you. Make yourself pure and
lovable, and you will be loved by all.

Whatever conditions are rendering your life burdensome, you may pass out of and beyond them
by developing and utilizing within you the transforming power of self-purification and self-
Be it the poverty which galls (and remember that the poverty upon which I have been dilating is
that poverty which is a source of misery, and not that voluntary poverty which is the glory of
emancipated souls), or the riches which burden, or the many misfortunes, griefs, and annoyances
which form the dark background in the web of life, you may overcome them by overcoming the
selfish elements within which give them life.

It matters not that by the unfailing Law, there are past thoughts and acts to work out and to atone
for, as, by the same law, we are setting in motion, during every moment of our life, fresh
thoughts and acts, and we have the power to make them good or ill.

Nor does it follow that if a man (reaping what he has sown) must lose money or forfeit position,
that he must also lose his fortitude or forfeit his uprightness, and it is in these that his wealth and
power and happiness are to be found. He who clings to self is his own enemy and is surrounded
by enemies.

He who relinquishes self is his own savior, and is surrounded by friends like a protecting belt.
Before the divine radiance of a pure heart all darkness vanishes and all clouds melt away, and he
who has conquered self has conquered the universe.

Come, then, out of your poverty; come out of your pain; come out of your troubles, and sighings,
and complainings, and heartaches, and loneliness by coming out of yourself.

Let the old tattered garment of your petty selfishness fall from you, and put on the new garment
of universal Love. You will then realize the inward heaven, and it will be reflected in all your
outward life.

He who sets his foot firmly upon the path of self-conquest, who walks, aided by the staff of
Faith, the highway of self-sacrifice, will assuredly achieve the highest prosperity, and will reap
abounding and enduring joy and bliss.

To them that seek the highest good

All things subserve the wisest ends;
Nought comes as ill, and wisdom lends
Wings to all shapes of evil brood.

The dark‘ning sorrow veils a Star

That waits to shine with gladsome light;
Hell waits on heaven; and after night
Comes golden glory from afar.

Defeats are steps by which we climb

With purer aim to nobler ends;
Loss leads to gain, and joy attends
True footsteps up the hills of time.
Pain leads to paths of holy bliss,
To thoughts and words and deeds divine-,
And clouds that gloom and rays that shine,
Along life‘s upward highway kiss.

Misfortune does but cloud the way

Whose end and summit in the sky
Of bright success, sunkiss‘d and high,
Awaits our seeking and our stay.

The heavy pall of doubts and fears

That clouds the Valley of our hopes,
The shades with which the spirit copes,
The bitter harvesting of tears,

The heartaches, miseries, and griefs,

The bruisings born of broken ties,
All these are steps by which we rise
To living ways of sound beliefs.

Love, pitying, watchful, runs to meet

The Pilgrim from the Land of Fate;
All glory and all good await
The coming of obedient feet.

4. The silent power of thought: controlling and directing one’s forces

The most powerful forces in the universe are the silent forces; and in accordance with the
intensity of its power does a force become beneficent when rightly directed, and destructive
when wrongly employed.

This is a common knowledge in regard to the mechanical forces, such as steam, electricity, etc.,
but few have yet learned to apply this knowledge to the realm of mind, where the thought-forces
(most powerful of all) are continually being generated and sent forth as currents of salvation or

At this stage of his evolution, man has entered into the possession of these forces, and the whole
trend of his present advancement is their complete subjugation. All the wisdom possible to man
on this material earth is to be found only in complete self-mastery, and the command, ―Love
your enemies,‖ resolves itself into an exhortation to enter here and now, into the possession of
that sublime wisdom by taking hold of, mastering and transmuting, those mind forces to which
man is now slavishly subject, and by which he is helplessly borne, like a straw on the stream,
upon the currents of selfishness.
The Hebrew prophets, with their perfect knowledge of the Supreme Law, always related outward
events to inward thought, and associated national disaster or success with the thoughts and
desires that dominated the nation at the time.

The knowledge of the causal power of thought is the basis of all their prophecies, as it is the
basis of all real wisdom and power. National events are simply the working out of the psychic
forces of the nation.

Wars, plagues, and famines are the meeting and clashing of wrongly-directed thought-forces, the
culminating points at which destruction steps in as the agent of the Law.

It is foolish to ascribe war to the influence of one man, or to one body of men. It is the crowning
horror of national selfishness. It is the silent and conquering thought-forces which bring all
things into manifestation.

The universe grew out of thought. Matter in its last analysis is found to be merely objectivized
thought. All men‘s accomplishments were first wrought out in thought, and then objectivized.

The author, the inventor, the architect, first builds up his work in thought, and having perfected it
in all its parts as a complete and harmonious whole upon the thought-plane. he then commences
to materialize it, to bring it down to the material or sense-plane.

When the thought-forces are directed in harmony with the over-ruling Law, they are up-building
and preservative, but when subverted they become disintegrating and self-destructive.

To adjust all your thoughts to a perfect and unswerving faith in the omnipotence and supremacy
of Good, is to co-operate with that Good, and to realize within yourself the solution and
destruction of all evil. Believe and ye shall live.

And here we have the true meaning of salvation; salvation from the darkness and negation of
evil, by entering into, and realizing the living light of the Eternal Good.

Where there is fear, worry, anxiety, doubt, trouble, chagrin, or disappointment, there is ignorance
and lack of faith.

All these conditions of mind are the direct outcome of selfishness, and are based upon an
inherent belief in the power and supremacy of evil; they therefore constitute practical atheism;
and to live in, and become subject to, these negative and soul-destroying conditions of mind is
the only real atheism.

It is salvation from such conditions that the race needs, and let no man boast of salvation whilst
he is their helpless and obedient slave.

To fear or to worry is as sinful as to curse, for how can one fear or worry if he intrinsically
believes in the Eternal justice, the Omnipotent Good, the Boundless Love? To fear, to worry, to
doubt, is to deny, to dis-believe.
It is from such states of mind that all weakness and failure proceed, for they represent the
annulling and disintegrating of the positive thought-forces which would otherwise speed to their
object with power, and bring about their own beneficent results.

To overcome these negative conditions is to enter into a life of power, is to cease to be a slave,
and to become a master, and there is only one way by which they can be overcome, and that is by
steady and persistent growth in inward knowledge.

To mentally deny evil is not sufficient; it must, by daily practice, be risen above and understood.
To mentally affirm the good is inadequate; it must, by unswerving endeavor, be entered into and

The intelligent practice of self-control, quickly leads to a knowledge of one‘s interior thought-
forces, and, later on, to the acquisition of that power by which they are rightly employed and

In the measure that you master self, that you control your mental forces instead of being
controlled by them, in just such measure will you master affairs and outward circumstances.

Show me a man under whose touch everything crumbles away, and who cannot retain success
even when it is placed in his hands, and I will show you a man who dwells continually in those
conditions of mind which are the very negation of power.

To be for ever wallowing in the bogs of doubt, to be drawn continually into the quicksands of
fear, or blown ceaselessly about by the winds of anxiety, is to be a slave, and to live the life of a
slave, even though success and influence be for ever knocking at your door seeking for

Such a man, being without faith and without self-government, is incapable of the right
government of his affairs, and is a slave to circumstances; in reality a slave to himself. Such are
taught by affliction, and ultimately pass from weakness to strength by the stress of bitter
experience. Faith and purpose constitute the motive- power of life.

There is nothing that a strong faith and an unflinching purpose may not accomplish. By the daily
exercise of silent faith, the thought-forces are gathered together, and by the daily strengthening
of silent purpose, those forces are directed toward the object of accomplishment.

Whatever your position in life may be, before you can hope to enter into any measure of success,
usefulness, and power, you must learn how to focus your thought-forces by cultivating calmness
and repose. It may be that you are a business man, and you are suddenly confronted with some
overwhelming difficulty or probable disaster. You grow fearful and anxious, and are at your
wit‘s end.

To persist in such a state of mind would be fatal, for when anxiety steps in, correct judgment
passes out. Now if you will take advantage of a quiet hour or two in the early morning or at
night, and go away to some solitary spot, or to some room in your house where you know you
will be absolutely free from intrusion, and, having seated yourself in an easy attitude, you
forcibly direct your mind right away from the object of anxiety by dwelling upon something in
your life that is pleasing and blissgiving, a calm, reposeful strength will gradually steal into your
mind, and your anxiety will pass away.

Upon the instant that you find your mind reverting to the lower plane of worry bring it back
again, and re-establish it on the plane of peace and strength.

When this is fully accomplished, you may then concentrate your whole mind upon the solution
of your difficulty, and what was intricate and insurmountable to you in your hour of anxiety will
be made plain and easy, and you will see, with that clear vision and perfect judgment which
belong only to a calm and untroubled mind, the right course to pursue and the proper end to be
brought about.

It may be that you will have to try day after day before you will be able to perfectly calm your
mind, but if you persevere you will certainly accomplish it. And the course which is presented to
you in that hour of calmness must be carried out.

Doubtless when you are again involved in the business of the day, and worries again creep in and
begin to dominate you, you will begin to think that the course is a wrong or foolish one, but do
not heed such suggestions.

Be guided absolutely and entirely by the vision of calmness, and not by the shadows of anxiety.
The hour of calmness is the hour of illumination and correct judgment.

By such a course of mental discipline the scattered thought-forces are re-united, and directed,
like the rays of the search-light, upon the problem at issue, with the result that it gives way
before them.

There is no difficulty, however great, but will yield before a calm and powerful concentration of
thought, and no legitimate object but may be speedily actualized by the intelligent use and
direction of one‘s soul-forces.

Not until you have gone deeply and searchingly into your inner nature, and have overcome many
enemies that lurk there, can you have any approximate conception of the subtle power of
thought, of its inseparable relation to outward and material things, or of its magical potency,
when rightly poised and directed, in readjusting and transforming the life-conditions.

Every thought you think is a force sent out, and in accordance with its nature and intensity will it
go out to seek a lodgment in minds receptive to it, and will react upon yourself for good or evil.
There is ceaseless reciprocity between mind and mind, and a continual interchange of thought-

Selfish and disturbing thoughts are so many malignant and destructive forces, messengers of
evil, sent out to stimulate and augment the evil in other minds, which in turn send them back
upon you with added power.
While thoughts that are calm, pure, and unselfish are so many angelic messengers sent out into
the world with health, healing, and blessedness upon their wings, counteracting the evil forces;
pouring the oil of joy upon the troubled waters of anxiety and sorrow, and restoring to broken
hearts their heritage of immortality.

Think good thoughts, and they will quickly become actualized in your outward life in the form of
good conditions. Control your soul-forces, and you will be able to shape your outward life as you

The difference between a savior and a sinner is this, that the one has a perfect control of all the
forces within him; the other is dominated and controlled by them.

There is absolutely no other way to true power and abiding peace, but by self-control, self-
government, self-purification. To be at the mercy of your disposition is to be impotent, unhappy,
and of little real use in the world.

The conquest of your petty likes and dislikes, your capricious loves and hates, your fits of anger,
suspicion, jealousy, and all the changing moods to which you are more or less helplessly subject,
this is the task you have before you if you would weave into the web of life the golden threads of
happiness and prosperity.

In so far as you are enslaved by the changing moods within you, will you need to depend upon
others and upon outward aids as you walk through life.

If you would walk firmly and securely, and would accomplish any achievement, you must learn
to rise above and control all such disturbing and retarding vibrations.

You must daily practice the habit of putting your mind at rest, ―going into the silence,‖ as it is
commonly called. This is a method of replacing a troubled thought with one of peace, a thought
of weakness with one of strength.

Until you succeed in doing this you cannot hope to direct your mental forces upon the problems
and pursuits of life with any appreciable measure of success. It is a process of diverting one‘s
scattered forces into one powerful channel.

Just as a useless marsh may be converted into a field of golden corn or a fruitful garden by
draining and directing the scattered and harmful streams into one wellcut channel, so, he who
acquires calmness, and subdues and directs the thoughtcurrents within himself, saves his soul,
and fructifies his heart and life.

As you succeed in gaining mastery over your impulses and thoughts you will begin to feel,
growing up within you, a new and silent power, and a settled feeling of composure and strength
will remain with you.
Your latent powers will begin to unfold themselves, and whereas formerly your efforts were
weak and ineffectual, you will now be able to work with that calm confidence which commands

And along with this new power and strength, there will be awakened within you that interior
Illumination known as ―intuition,‖ and you will walk no longer in darkness and speculation, but
in light and certainty.

With the development of this soul-vision, judgment and mental penetration will be incalculably
increased, and there will evolve within you that prophetic vision by the aid of which you will be
able to sense coming events, and to forecast, with remarkable accuracy, the result of your efforts.

And in just the measure that you alter from within will your outlook upon life alter; and as you
alter your mental attitude towards others they will alter in their attitude and conduct toward you.

As you rise above the lower, debilitating, and destructive thought-forces, you will come in
contact with the positive, strengthening, and up-building currents generated by strong, pure, and
noble minds, your happiness will be immeasurably intensified, and you will begin to realize the
joy, strength, and power, which are born only of self-mastery.

And this joy, strength, and power will be continually radiating from you, and without any effort
on your part, nay, though you are utterly unconscious of it, strong people will be drawn toward
you, influence will be put into your hands, and in accordance with your altered thought-world
will outward events shape themselves.

―A man‘s foes are they of his own household,‖ and he who would be useful, strong, and happy,
must cease to be a passive receptacle for the negative, beggardly, and impure streams of thought;
and as a wise householder commands his servants and invites his guests, so must he learn to
command his desires, and to say, with authority, what thoughts he shall admit into the mansion
of his soul.

Even a very partial success in self-mastery adds greatly to one‘s power, and he who succeeds in
perfecting this divine accomplishment, enters into possession of undreamed-of wisdom and
inward strength and peace, and realizes that all the forces of the universe aid and protect his
footsteps who is master of his soul.

Would you scale the highest heaven,

Would you pierce the lowest hell,
Live in dreams of constant beauty,
Or in basest thinkings dwell.

For your thoughts are heaven above you,

And your thoughts are hell below,
Bliss is not, except in thinking,
Torment nought but thought can know.
Worlds would vanish but for thinking;
Glory is not but in dreams;
And the Drama of the ages
From the Thought Eternal streams.

Dignity and shame and sorrow,

Pain and anguish, love and hate
Are but maskings of the mighty
Pulsing Thought that governs Fate.

As the colors of the rainbow

Makes the one uncolored beam,
So the universal changes
Make the One Eternal Dream.

And the Dream is all within you,

And the Dreamer waiteth long
For the Morning to awake him
To the living thought and strong.

That shall make the ideal real,

Make to vanish dreams of hell
In the highest, holiest heaven
Where the pure and perfect dwell.

Evil is the thought that thinks it;

Good, the thought that makes it so
Light and darkness, sin and pureness
Likewise out of thinking grow.

Dwell in thought upon the Grandest,

And the Grandest you shall see ;
Fix your mind upon the Highest,
And the Highest you shall be.

5. The secret of health, success and power

We all remember with what intense delight, as children, we listened to the nevertiring fairy-tale.
How eagerly we followed the fluctuating fortunes of the good boy or girl, ever protected, in the
hour of crisis, from the evil machinations of the scheming witch, the cruel giant, or the wicked

And our little hearts never faltered for the fate of the hero or heroine, nor did we doubt their
ultimate triumph over all their enemies, for we knew that the fairies were infallible, and that they
would never desert those who had consecrated themselves to the good and the true.
And what unspeakable joy pulsated within us when the Fairy-Queen, bringing all her magic to
bear at the critical moment, scattered all the darkness and trouble, and granted them the complete
satisfaction of all their hopes, and they were ―happy ever after.‖

With the accumulating years, and an ever-increasing intimacy with the so-called ―realities‖ of
life, our beautiful fairy-world became obliterated, and its wonderful inhabitants were relegated,
in the archives of memory, to the shadowy and unreal.

And we thought we were wise and strong in thus leaving for ever the land of childish dreams, but
as we re-become little children in the wondrous world of wisdom, we shall return again to the
inspiring dreams of childhood and find that they are, after all, realities.

The fairy-folk, so small and nearly always invisible, yet possessed of an all-conquering and
magical power, who bestow upon the good, health, wealth, and happiness, along with all the gifts
of nature in lavish profusion, start again into reality and become immortalized in the soul-realm
of him who, by growth in wisdom, has entered into a knowledge of the power of thought, and the
laws which govern the inner world of being.

To him the fairies live again as thought-people, thought-messengers, thoughtpowers working in

harmony with the over-ruling Good. And they who, day by day, endeavor to harmonize their
hearts with the heart of the Supreme Good, do in reality acquire true health, wealth, and

There is no protection to compare with goodness, and by ―goodness‖ I do not mean a mere
outward conformity to the rules of morality; I mean pure thought, noble aspiration, unselfish
love, and freedom from vainglory.

To dwell continually in good thoughts, is to throw around oneself a psychic atmosphere of

sweetness and power which leaves its impress upon all who come in contact with it.

As the rising sun puts to rout the helpless shadows, so are all the impotent forces of evil put to
flight by the searching rays of positive thought which shine forth from a heart made strong in
purity and faith.

Where there is sterling faith and uncompromising purity there is health, there is success, there is
power. In such a one, disease, failure, and disaster can find no lodgment, for there is nothing on
which they can feed.

Even physical conditions are largely determined by mental states, and to this truth the scientific
world is rapidly being drawn.

The old, materialistic belief that a man is what his body makes him, is rapidly passing away, and
is being replaced by the inspiring belief that man is superior to his body, and that his body is
what he makes it by the power of thought.
Men everywhere are ceasing to believe that a man is despairing because he is dyspeptic, and are
coming to understand that he is dyspeptic because he is despairing, and in the near future, the
fact that all disease has its origin in the mind will become common knowledge.

There is no evil in the universe but has its root and origin in the mind, and sin, sickness, sorrow,
and affliction do not, in reality, belong to the universal order, are not inherent in the nature of
things, but are the direct outcome of our ignorance of the right relations of things.

According to tradition, there once lived, in India, a school of philosophers who led a life of such
absolute purity and simplicity that they commonly reached the age of one hundred and fifty
years, and to fall sick was looked upon by them as an unpardonable disgrace, for it was
considered to indicate a violation of law.

The sooner we realize and acknowledge that sickness, far from being the arbitrary visitation of
an offended God, or the test of an unwise Providence, is the result of our own error or sin, the
sooner shall we enter upon the highway of health.

Disease comes to those who attract it, to those whose minds and bodies are receptive to it, and
flees from those whose strong, pure, and positive thought-sphere generates healing and life-
giving currents.

If you are given to anger, worry, jealousy, greed, or any other inharmonious state of mind, and
expect perfect physical health, you are expecting the impossible, for you are continually sowing
the seeds of disease in your mind.

Such conditions of mind are carefully shunned by the wise man, for he knows them to be far
more dangerous than a bad drain or an infected house.

If you would be free from all physical aches and pains, and would enjoy perfect physical
harmony, then put your mind in order, and harmonize your thoughts. Think joyful thoughts;
think loving thoughts; let the elixir of goodwill course through your veins, and you will need no
other medicine. Put away your jealousies, your suspicions, your worries, your hatreds, your
selfish indulgences, and you will put away your dyspepsia, your biliousness, your nervousness
and aching joints.

If you will persist in clinging to these debilitating and demoralizing habits of mind, then do not
complain when your body is laid low with sickness. The following story illustrates the close
relation that exists between habits of mind and bodily conditions.

A certain man was afflicted with a painful disease, and he tried one physician after another, but
all to no purpose. He then visited towns which were famous for their curative waters, and after
having bathed in them all, his disease was more painful than ever.

One night he dreamed that a Presence came to him and said, ―Brother, hast thou tried all the
means of cure?‖ and he replied, ―I have tried all.‖ ―Nay,‖ said the Presence, ―Come with me, and
I will show thee a healing bath which has escaped thy notice.‖
The afflicted man followed, and the Presence led him to a clear pool of water, and said, ―Plunge
thyself in this water and thou shalt surely recover,‖ and thereupon vanished.

The man plunged into the water, and on coming out, Io! his disease had left him, and at the same
moment he saw written above the pool the word ―Renounce.‖ Upon waking, the fall meaning of
his dream flashed across his mind, and looking within he discovered that he had, all along, been
a victim to a sinful indulgence, and he vowed that he would renounce it for ever.

He carried out his vow, and from that day his affliction began to leave him, and in a short time he
was completely restored to health. Many people complain that they have broken down through
over-work. In the majority of such cases the breakdown is more frequently the result of foolishly
wasted energy.

If you would secure health you must learn to work without friction. To become anxious or
excited, or to worry over needless details is to invite a breakdown.

Work, whether of brain or body, is beneficial and health-giving, and the man who can work with
a steady and calm persistency, freed from all anxiety and worry, and with his mind utterly
oblivious to all but the work he has in hand, will not only accomplish far more than the man who
is always hurried and anxious, but he will retain his health, a boon which the other quickly

True health and true success go together, for they are inseparably intertwined in the thought-
realm. As mental harmony produces bodily health, so it also leads to a harmonious sequence in
the actual working out of one‘s plans.

Order your thoughts and you will order your life. Pour the oil of tranquility upon the turbulent
waters of the passions and prejudices, and the tempests of misfortune, howsoever they may
threaten, will be powerless to wreck the barque of your soul, as it threads its way across the
ocean of life.

And if that barque be piloted by a cheerful and never-failing faith its course will be doubly sure,
and many perils will pass it by which would other-wise attack it.

By the power of faith every enduring work is accomplished. Faith in the Supreme; faith in the
over-ruling Law; faith in your work, and in your power to accomplish that work, -here is the rock
upon which you must build if you would achieve, if you would stand and not fall.

To follow, under all circumstances, the highest promptings within you; to be always true to the
divine self; to rely upon the inward Light, the inward Voice, and to pursue your purpose with a
fearless and restful heart, believing that the future will yield unto you the meed of every thought
and effort; knowing that the laws of the universe can never fail, and that your own will come
back to you with mathematical exactitude, this is faith and the living of faith.

By the power of such a faith the dark waters of uncertainty are divided, every mountain of
difficulty crumbles away, and the believing soul passes on unharmed.
Strive, O reader! to acquire, above everything, the priceless possession of this dauntless faith, for
it is the talisman of happiness, of success, of peace, of power, of all that makes life great and
superior to suffering.

Build upon such a faith, and you build upon the Rock of the Eternal, and with the materials of
the Eternal, and the structure that you erect will never be dissolved, for it will transcend all the
accumulations of material luxuries and riches, the end of which is dust.

Whether you are hurled into the depths of sorrow or lifted upon the heights of joy, ever retain
your hold upon this faith, ever return to it as your rock of refuge, and keep your feet firmly
planted upon its immortal and immovable base.

Centered in such a faith, you will become possessed of such a spiritual strength as will shatter,
like so many toys of glass, all the forces of evil that are hurled against you, and you will achieve
a success such as the mere striver after worldly gain can never know or even dream of. ―If ye
have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this, ... but if ye shall say unto this mountain, be
thou removed and be thou cast into the sea, it shall be done.‖

There are those today, men and women tabernacled in flesh and blood, who have realized this
faith, who live in it and by it day by day, and who, having put it to the uttermost test, have
entered into the possession of its glory and peace.

Such have sent out the word of command, and the mountains of sorrow and disappointment, of
mental weariness and physical pain have passed from them, and have been cast into the sea of

If you will become possessed of this faith you will not need to trouble about your success or
failure, and success will come.

You will not need to become anxious about results, but will work joyfully and peacefully,
knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results.

I know a lady who has entered into many blissful satisfactions, and recently a friend remarked to
her, ―Oh, how fortunate you are! You only have to wish for a thing, and it comes to you.‖

And it did, indeed, appear so on the surface; but in reality all the blessedness that has entered into
this woman‘s life is the direct outcome of the inward state of blessedness which she has,
throughout life, been cultivating and training toward perfection.

Mere wishing brings nothing but disappointment; it is living that tells.

The foolish wish and grumble; the wise, work and wait. And this woman had worked; worked
without and within, but especially within upon heart and soul; and with the invisible hands of the
spirit she had built up, with the precious stones of faith, hope, joy, devotion, and love, a fair
temple of light, whose glorifying radiance was ever round about her.
It beamed in her eye; it shone through her countenance; it vibrated in her voice; and all who
came into her presence felt its captivating spell.

And as with her, so with you. Your success, your failure, your influence, your whole life you
carry about with you, for your dominant trends of thought are the determining factors in your

Send forth loving, stainless, and happy thoughts, and blessings will fall into your hands, and your
table will be spread with the cloth of peace.

Send forth hateful, impure, and unhappy thoughts, and curses will rain down upon you, and fear
and unrest will wait upon your pillow. You are the unconditional maker of your fate, be that fate
what it may. Every moment you are sending forth from you the influences which will make or
mar your life.

Let your heart grow large and loving and unselfish, and great and lasting will be your influence
and success, even though you make little money.

Confine it within the narrow limits of self-interest, and even though you become a millionaire
your influence and success, at the final reckoning will be found to be utterly insignificant.
Cultivate, then, this pure and unselfish spirit, and combine with purity and faith, singleness of
purpose, and you are evolving from within the elements, not only of abounding health and
enduring success, but of greatness and power.

If your present position is distasteful to you, and your heart is not in your work, nevertheless
perform your duties with scrupulous diligence, and whilst resting your mind in the idea that the
better position and greater opportunities are waiting for you, ever keep an active mental outlook
for budding possibilities, so that when the critical moment arrives, and the new channel presents
itself, you will step into it with your mind fully prepared for the undertaking, and with that
intelligence and foresight which is born of mental discipline.

Whatever your task may be, concentrate your whole mind upon it, throw into it all the energy of
which you are capable. The faultless completion of small tasks leads inevitably to larger tasks.
See to it that you rise by steady climbing, and you will never fall. And herein lies the secret of
true power.

Learn, by constant practice, how to husband your resources, and to concentrate them, at any
moment, upon a given point. The foolish waste all their mental and spiritual energy in frivolity,
foolish chatter, or selfish argument, not to mention wasteful physical excesses.

If you would acquire overcoming power you must cultivate poise and passivity. You must be
able to stand alone. All power is associated with immovability. The mountain, the massive rock,
the storm-tried oak, all speak to us of power, because of their combined solitary grandeur and
defiant fixity; while the shifting sand, the yielding twig, and the waving reed speak to us of
weakness, because they are movable and non-resistant, and are utterly useless when detached
from their fellows.
He is the man of power who, when all his fellows are swayed by some emotion or passion,
remains calm and unmoved. He only is fitted to command and control who has succeeded in
commanding and controlling himself.

The hysterical, the fearful, the thoughtless and frivolous, let such seek company, or they will fall
for lack of support; but the calm, the fearless, the thoughtful, and let such seek the solitude of the
forest, the desert, and the mountain-top, and to their power more power will be added, and they
will more and more successfully stem the psychic currents and whirlpools which engulf

Passion is not power; it is the abuse of power, the dispersion of power. Passion is like a furious
storm which beats fiercely and wildly upon the embattled rock whilst power is like the rock
itself, which remains silent and unmoved through it all.

That was a manifestation of true power when Martin Luther, wearied with the persuasions of his
fearful friends, who were doubtful as to his safety should he go to Worms, replied, ―If there were
as many devils in Worms as there are tiles on the housetops I would go.‖

And when Benjamin Disraeli broke down in his first Parliamentary speech, and brought upon
himself the derision of the House, that was an exhibition of germinal power when he exclaimed,
―The day will come when you will consider it an honor to listen to me.‖

When that young man, whom I knew, passing through continual reverses and misfortunes, was
mocked by his friends and told to desist from further effort, and he replied, ―The time is not far
distant when you will marvel at my good fortune and success,‖ he showed that he was possessed
of that silent and irresistible power which has taken him over innumerable difficulties, and
crowned his life with success.

If you have not this power, you may acquire it by practice, and the beginning of power is
likewise the beginning of wisdom. You must commence by overcoming those purposeless
trivialities to which you have hitherto been a willing victim.

Boisterous and uncontrolled laughter, slander and idle talk, and joking merely to raise a laugh, all
these things must be put on one side as so much waste of valuable energy.

St. Paul never showed his wonderful insight into the hidden laws of human progress to greater
advantage than when he warned the Ephesians against ―Foolish talking and jesting which is not
convenient,‖ for to dwell habitually in such practices is to destroy all spiritual power and life.

As you succeed in rendering yourself impervious to such mental dissipations you will begin to
understand what true power is, and you will then commence to grapple with the more powerful
desires and appetites which hold your soul in bondage, and bar the way to power, and your
further progress will then be made clear.
Above all be of single aim; have a legitimate and useful purpose, and devote yourself
unreservedly to it. Let nothing draw you aside ; remember that the doubleminded man is unstable
in all his ways.

Be eager to learn, but slow to beg. Have a thorough understanding of your work, and let it be
your own; and as you proceed, ever following the inward Guide, the infallible Voice, you will
pass on from victory to victory, and will rise step by step to higher resting-places, and your ever-
broadening outlook will gradually reveal to you the essential beauty and purpose of life.

Self-purified, health will be yours; faith-protected, success will be yours; self-governed, power
will be yours, and all that you do will prosper, for, ceasing to be a disjointed unit, self-enslaved,
you will be in harmony with the Great Law, working no longer against, but with, the Universal
Life, the Eternal Good.

And what health you gain it will remain with you; what success you achieve will be beyond all
human computation, and will never pass away; and what influence and power you wield will
continue to increase throughout the ages, for it will be a part of that unchangeable Principle
which supports the universe.

This, then, is the secret of health, -a pure heart and a well-ordered mind ; this is the secret of
success, -an unfaltering faith, and a wisely-directed purpose; and to rein in, with unfaltering will,
the dark steed of desire, this is the secret of power.

All ways are waiting for my feet to tread,

The light and dark, the living and the dead,
The broad and narrow way, the high and low,
The good and bad, and with quick step or slow,
I now may enter any way I will,
And find, by walking, which is good, which ill.

And all good things my wandering feet await,

If I but come, with vow inviolate,
Unto the narrow, high and holy way
Of heart-born purity, and therein stay;
Walking, secure from him who taunts and scorns,
To flowery meads, across the path of thorns.

And I may stand where health, success, and power

Await my coming, if, each fleeting hour,
I cling to love and patience; and abide
With stainlessness; and never step aside
From high integrity ; so shall I see
At last the land of immortality.

And I may seek and find; I may achieve,

I may not claim, but, losing, may retrieve.
The law bends not for me, but I must bend
Unto the law, if I would reach the end
Of my afflictions, if I would restore
My soul to Light and Life, and weep no more.

Not mine the arrogant and selfish claim

To all good things; be mine the lowly aim
To seek and find, to know and comprehend,
And wisdom-ward all holy footsteps wend,
Nothing is mine to claim or to command,
But all is mine to know and understand.

6. The secret of abounding happiness

Great is the thirst for happiness, and equally great is the lack of happiness. The majority of the
poor long for riches, believing that their possession would bring them supreme and lasting

Many who are rich, having gratified every desire and whim, suffer from ennui and repletion, and
are farther from the possession of happiness even than the very poor.

If we reflect upon this state of things it will ultimately lead us to a knowledge of the all important
truth that happiness is not derived from mere outward possessions, nor misery from the lack of
them; for if this were so, we should find the poor always miserable, and the rich always happy,
whereas the reverse is frequently the case.

Some of the most wretched people whom I have known were those who were surrounded with
riches and luxury, whilst some of the brightest and happiest people I have met were possessed of
only the barest necessities of life.

Many men who have accumulated riches have confessed that the selfish gratification which
followed the acquisition of riches has robbed life of its sweetness, and that they were never so
happy as when they were poor.

What, then, is happiness, and how is it to be secured? Is it a figment, a delusion, and is suffering
alone perennial? We shall find, after earnest observation and reflection, that all, except those
who have entered the way of wisdom, believe that happiness is only to be obtained by the
gratification of desire.

It is this belief, rooted in the soil of ignorance, and continually watered by selfish cravings, that
is the cause of all the misery in the world.

And I do not limit the word desire to the grosser animal cravings; it extends to the higher psychic
realm, where far more powerful, subtle, and insidious cravings hold in bondage the intellectual
and refined, depriving them of all that beauty, harmony, and purity of soul whose expression is
Most people will admit that selfishness is the cause of all the unhappiness in the world, but they
fall under the soul-destroying delusion that it is somebody else‘s selfishness, and not their own.

When you are willing to admit that all your unhappiness is the result of your own selfishness you
will not be far from the gates of Paradise; but so long as you are convinced that it is the
selfishness of others that is robbing you of joy, so long will you remain a prisoner in your self-
created purgatory.

Happiness is that inward state of perfect satisfaction which is joy and peace, and from which all
desire is eliminated. The satisfaction which results from gratified desire is brief and illusionary,
and is always followed by an increased demand for gratification.

Desire is as insatiable as the ocean, and clamors louder and louder as its demands are attended to.

It claims ever-increasing service from its deluded devotees, until at last they are struck down
with physical or mental anguish, and are hurled into the purifying fires of suffering. Desire is the
region of hell, and all torments are centered there.

The giving up of desire is the realization of heaven, and all delights await the pilgrim there,

I sent my soul through the invisible,

Some letter of that after life to spell,
And by-and-by my soul returned to me,
And whispered, I myself am heaven and hell,‖

Heaven and hell are inward states. Sink into self and all its gratifications, and you sink into hell;
rise above self into that state of consciousness which is the utter denial and forgetfulness of self,
and you enter heaven.

Self is blind, without judgment, not possessed of true knowledge, and always leads to suffering.
Correct perception, unbiased judgment, and true knowledge belong only to the divine state, and
only in so far as you realize this divine consciousness can you know what real happiness is.

So long as you persist in selfishly seeking for your own personal happiness, so long will
happiness elude you, and you will be sowing the seeds of wretchedness.

In so far as you succeed in losing yourself in the service of others, in that measure will happiness
come to you, and you will reap a harvest of bliss.

It is in loving, not in being loved,

The heart is blessed;
It is in giving, not in seeking gifts,
We find our quest.

Whatever be thy longing or thy need,

That do thou give;
So shall thy soul be fed, and thou indeed
Shalt truly live.

Cling to self, and you cling to sorrow, relinquish self, and you enter into peace. To seek selfishly
is not only to lose happiness, but even that which we believe to be the source of happiness.

See how the glutton is continually looking about for a new delicacy wherewith to stimulate his
deadened appetite; and how, bloated, burdened, and diseased, scarcely any food at last is eaten
with pleasure.

Whereas, he who has mastered his appetite, and not only does not seek, but never thinks of
gustatory pleasure, finds delight in the most frugal meal. The angel-form of happiness, which
men, looking through the eyes of self, imagine they see in gratified desire, when clasped is
always found to be the skeleton of misery. Truly, ―He that seeketh his life shall lose it, and he
that loseth his life shall find it.‖

Abiding happiness will come to you when, ceasing to selfishly cling, you are willing to give up.
When you are willing to lose, unreservedly, that impermanent thing which is so dear to you, and
which, whether you cling to it or not, will one day be snatched from you, then you will find that
that which seemed to you like a painful loss, turns out to be a supreme gain.

To give up in order to gain, than this there is no greater delusion, nor no more prolific source of
misery; but to be willing to yield up and to suffer loss, this is indeed the Way of Life.

How is it possible to find real happiness by centering ourselves in those things which, by their
very nature, must pass away? Abiding and real happiness can only be found by centering
ourselves in that which is permanent.

Rise, therefore, above the clinging to and the craving for impermanent things, and you will then
enter into a consciousness of the Eternal, and as, rising above self, and by growing more and
more into the spirit of purity, self-sacrifice and universal Love, you become centered in that
consciousness, you will realize that happiness which has no reaction, and which can never be
taken from you.

The heart that has reached utter self-forgetfulness in its love for others has not only become
possessed of the highest happiness but has entered into immortality, for it has realized the

Look back upon your life, and you will find that the moments of supremest happiness were those
in which you uttered some word, or performed some act, of compassion or self-denying love.
Spiritually, happiness and harmony are, synonymous.

Harmony is one phase of the Great Law whose spiritual expression is love. All selfishness is
discord, and to be selfish is to be out of harmony with the Divine order.
As we realize that all-embracing love which is the negation of self, we put ourselves in harmony
with the divine music, the universal song, and that ineffable melody which is true happiness
becomes our own.

Men and women are rushing hither and thither in the blind search for happiness, and cannot find
it; nor ever will until they recognize that happiness is already within them and round about them,
filling the universe, and that they, in their selfish searching are shutting themselves out from it.

I followed happiness to make her mine,

Past towering oak and swinging ivy vine.
She fled, I chased, o‘er slanting hill and dale,
O‘er fields and meadows, in the purpling vale;
Pursuing rapidly o‘er dashing stream.
I scaled the dizzy cliffs where eagles scream;
I traversed swiftly every land and M.
But always happiness eluded me.

Exhausted, fainting, I pursued no more,

But sank to rest upon a barren shore.
One came and asked for food, and one for alms
I placed the bread and gold in bony palms.
One came for sympathy, and one for rest;
I shared with every needy one my best;
When, Io! sweet Happiness, with form divine,
Stood by me, whispering softly, ‗I am thine‘.

These beautiful lines of Burleigh‘s express the secret of all abounding happiness. Sacrifice the
personal and transient, and you rise at once into the impersonal and permanent.

Give up that narrow cramped self that seeks to render all things subservient to its own petty
interests, and you will enter into the company of the angels, into the very heart and essence of
universal Love.

Forget yourself entirely in the sorrows of others and in ministering to others, and divine
happiness will emancipate you from all sorrow and suffering.

―Taking the first step with a good thought, the second with a good word, and the third with a
good deed, I entered Paradise.‖ And you also may enter into Paradise by pursuing the same
course. It is not beyond, it is here. It is realized only by the unselfish.

It is known in its fullness only to the pure in heart. If you have not realized this unbounded
happiness you may begin to actualize it by ever holding before you the lofty ideal of unselfish
love, and aspiring towards it.
Aspiration or prayer is desire turned upward. It is the soul turning toward its Divine source,
where alone permanent satisfaction can be found. By aspiration the destructive forces of desire
are transmuted into divine and all-preserving energy.

To aspire is to make an effort to shake off the trammels of desire; it is the prodigal made wise by
loneliness and suffering, returning to his Father‘s Mansion.

As you rise above the sordid self; as you break, one after another, the chains that bind you, will
you realize the joy of giving, as distinguished from the misery of grasping - giving of your
substance; giving of your intellect; giving of the love and light that is growing within you.

You will then understand that it is indeed ―more blessed to give than to receive.‖ But the giving
must be of the heart without any taint of self, without desire for reward. The gift of pure love is
always attended with bliss. If, after you have given, you are wounded because you are not
thanked or flattered, or your name put in the paper, know then that your gift was prompted by
vanity and not by love, and you were merely giving in order to get; were not really giving, but

Lose yourself in the welfare of others; forget yourself in all that you do; this is the secret of
abounding happiness.

Ever be on the watch to guard against selfishness, and learn faithfully the divine lessons of
inward sacrifice; so shall you climb the highest heights of happiness, and shall remain in the
neverclouded sunshine of universal joy, clothed in the shining garment of immortality.

Are you searching for the happiness that does not fade away?

Are you looking for the joy that lives, and leaves no grievous day?

Are you panting for the waterbrooks of Love, and Life, and Peace?

Then let all dark desires depart, and selfish seeking cease.

Are you ling‘ring in the paths of pain, grief-haunted, stricken sore?

Are you wand‘ring in the ways that wound your weary feet the more?

Are you sighing for the Resting-Place where tears and sorrows cease?

Then sacrifice your selfish heart and find the Heart of Peace.

7. The realization of prosperity

It is granted only to the heart that abounds with integrity, trust, generosity and love to realize true
prosperity. The heart that is not possessed of these qualities cannot know prosperity, for
prosperity, like happiness, is not an outward possession, but an inward realization.
The greedy man may become a millionaire, but he will always be wretched, and mean, and poor,
and will even consider himself outwardly poor so long as there is a man in the world who is
richer than himself, whilst the upright, the open-handed and loving will realize a full and rich
prosperity, even though their outward possessions may be small.

He is poor who is dissatisfied; he is rich who is contented with what he has, and he is richer who
is generous with what he has.

When we contemplate the fact that the universe is abounding in all good things, material as well
as spiritual, and compare it with man‘s blind eagerness to secure a few gold coins, or a few acres
of dirt, it is then that we realize how dark and ignorant selfishness is; it is then that we know that
self-seeking is self-destruction.

Nature gives all, without reservation, and loses nothing; man, grasping all, loses everything.

If you would realize true prosperity do not settle down, as many have done, into the belief that if
you do right everything will go wrong. Do not allow the word ―competition‖ to shake your faith
in the supremacy of righteousness.

I care not what men may say about the ―laws of competition,‖ for do I not know the
unchangeable Law, which shall one day put them all to rout, and which puts them to rout even
now in the heart and life of the righteous man?

And knowing this Law I can contemplate all dishonesty with undisturbed repose, for I know
where certain destruction awaits it. Under all circumstances do that which you believe to be
right, and trust the Law; trust the Divine Power that is imminent in the universe, and it will never
desert you, and you will always be protected.

By such a trust all your losses will be converted into gains, and all curses which threaten will be
transmuted into blessings. Never let go of integrity, generosity, and love, for these, coupled with
energy, will lift you into the truly prosperous state.

Do not believe the world when it tells you that you must always attend to ―number one‖ first, and
to others afterwards. To do this is not to think of others at all, but only of one‘s own comforts.

To those who practice this the day will come when they will be deserted by all, and when they
cry out in their loneliness and anguish there will be no one to hear and help them. To consider
one‘s self before all others is to cramp and warp and hinder every noble and divine impulse.

Let your soul expand, let your heart reach out to others in loving and generous warmth, and great
and lasting will be your joy, and all prosperity will come to you. Those who have wandered from
the highway of righteousness guard themselves against competition; those who always pursue
the right need not to trouble about such defense.

This is no empty statement, There are men today who, by the power of integrity and faith, have
defied all competition, and who, without swerving in the least from their methods, when
competed with, have risen steadily into prosperity, whilst those who tried to undermine them
have fallen back defeated.

To possess those inward qualities which constitute goodness is to be armored against all the
powers of evil, and to be doubly protected in every time of trial; and to build‘ oneself up in those
qualities is to build up a success which cannot be shaken, and to enter into a prosperity which
will endure forever.

The White Robe of the Heart Invisible

Is stained with sin and sorrow, grief and pain,
And all repentant pools and springs of prayer
Shall not avail to wash it white again.

While in the path of ignorance I walk,

The stains of error will not cease to cling
Defilements mark the crooked path of self,
Where anguish lurks and disappointments sting.

Knowledge and wisdom only can avail

To purify and make my garment clean,
For therein lie love‘s waters ; therein rests
Peace undisturbed, eternal, and serene.

Sin and repentance is the path of pain,

Knowledge and wisdom is the path of Peace
By the near way of practice I will find
Where bliss begins, how pains and sorrows cease.

Self shall depart, and Truth shall take its place

The Changeless One, the Indivisible
Shall take up His abode in me, and cleanse
The White Robe of the Heart Invisible.

Part II: The way of peace

1. The power of meditation

Spiritual meditation is the pathway to Divinity. It is the mystic ladder which reaches from earth
to heaven, from error to Truth, from pain to peace. Every saint has climbed it; every sinner must
sooner or later come to it, and every weary pilgrim that turns his back upon self and the world,
and sets his face resolutely toward the Father‘s Home, must plant his feet upon its golden rounds.
Without its aid you cannot grow into the divine state, the divine likeness, the divine peace, and
the fadeless glories and unpolluting joys of Truth will remain hidden from you.

Meditation is the intense dwelling, in thought, upon an idea or theme, with the object of
thoroughly comprehending it, and whatsoever you constantly meditate upon you will not only
come to understand, but will grow more and more into its likeness, for it will become
incorporated into your very being, will become, in fact, your very self. If, therefore, you
constantly dwell upon that which is selfish and debasing, you will ultimately become selfish and
debased; if you ceaselessly think upon that which is pure and unselfish you will surely become
pure and unselfish.

Tell me what that is upon which you most frequently and intensely think, that to which, in your
silent hours, your soul most naturally turns, and I will tell you to what place of pain or peace you
are traveling, and whether you are growing into the likeness of the divine or the bestial.

There is an unavoidable tendency to become literally the embodiment of that quality upon which
one most constantly thinks. Let, therefore, the object of your meditation be above and not below,
so that every time you revert to it in thought you will be lifted up; let it be pure and unmixed
with any selfish element; so shall your heart become purified and drawn nearer to Truth, and not
defiled and dragged more hopelessly into error.

Meditation, in the spiritual sense in which I am now using it, is the secret of all growth in
spiritual life and knowledge. Every prophet, sage, and savior became such by the power of
meditation. Buddha meditated upon the Truth until he could say, "I am the Truth." Jesus brooded
upon the Divine immanence until at last he could declare, "I and my Father are One."

Meditation centered upon divine realities is the very essence and soul of prayer. It is the silent
reaching of the soul toward the Eternal. Mere petitionary prayer without meditation is a body
without a soul, and is powerless to lift the mind and heart above sin and affliction. If you are
daily praying for wisdom, for peace, for loftier purity and a fuller realization of Truth, and that
for which you pray is still far from you, it means that you are praying for one thing while living
out in thought and act another. If you will cease from such waywardness, taking your mind off
those things the selfish clinging to which debars you from the possession of the stainless realities
for which you pray: if you will no longer ask God to grant you that which you do not deserve, or
to bestow upon you that love and compassion which you refuse to bestow upon others, but will
commence to think and act in the spirit of Truth, you will day by day be growing into those
realities, so that ultimately you will become one with them.

He who would secure any worldly advantage must be willing to work vigorously for it, and he
would be foolish indeed who, waiting with folded hands, expected it to come to him for the mere
asking. Do not then vainly imagine that you can obtain the heavenly possessions without making
an effort. Only when you commence to work earnestly in the Kingdom of Truth will you be
allowed to partake of the Bread of Life, and when you have, by patient and uncomplaining effort,
earned the spiritual wages for which you ask, they will not be withheld from you.

If you really seek Truth, and not merely your own gratification; if you love it above all worldly
pleasures and gains; more, even, than happiness itself, you will be willing to make the effort
necessary for its achievement.

If you would be freed from sin and sorrow; if you would taste of that spotless purity for which
you sigh and pray; if you would realize wisdom and knowledge, and would enter into the
possession of profound and abiding peace, come now and enter the path of meditation, and let
the supreme object of your meditation be Truth.

At the outset, meditation must be distinguished from idle reverie. There is nothing dreamy and
unpractical about it. It is a process of searching and uncompromising thought which allows
nothing to remain but the simple and naked truth. Thus meditating you will no longer strive to
build yourself up in your prejudices, but, forgetting self, you will remember only that you are
seeking the Truth. And so you will remove, one by one, the errors which you have built around
yourself in the past, and will patiently wait for the revelation of Truth which will come when
your errors have been sufficiently removed. In the silent humility of your heart you will realize

"There is an inmost centre in us all

Where Truth abides in fulness; and around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in;
This perfect, clear perception, which is Truth,
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Blinds it, and makes all error; and to know,
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without."

Select some portion of the day in which to meditate, and keep that period sacred to your purpose.
The best time is the very early morning when the spirit of repose is upon everything. All natural
conditions will then be in your favor; the passions, after the long bodily fast of the night, will be
subdued, the excitements and worries of the previous day will have died away, and the mind,
strong and yet restful, will be receptive to spiritual instruction. Indeed, one of the first efforts you
will be called upon to make will be to shake off lethargy and indulgence, and if you refuse you
will be unable to advance, for the demands of the spirit are imperative.

To be spiritually awakened is also to be mentally and physically awakened. The sluggard and the
self-indulgent can have no knowledge of Truth. He who, possessed of health and strength, wastes
the calm, precious hours of the silent morning in drowsy indulgence is totally unfit to climb the
heavenly heights.

He whose awakening consciousness has become alive to its lofty possibilities, who is beginning
to shake off the darkness of ignorance in which the world is enveloped, rises before the stars
have ceased their vigil, and, grappling with the darkness within his soul, strives, by holy
aspiration, to perceive the light of Truth while the unawakened world dreams on.

"The heights by great men reached and kept,

Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night."
No saint, no holy man, no teacher of Truth ever lived who did not rise early in the morning. Jesus
habitually rose early, and climbed the solitary mountains to engage in holy communion. Buddha
always rose an hour before sunrise and engaged in meditation, and all his disciples were enjoined
to do the same.

If you have to commence your daily duties at a very early hour, and are thus debarred from
giving the early morning to systematic meditation, try to give an hour at night, and should this,
by the length and laboriousness of your daily task be denied you, you need not despair, for you
may turn your thoughts upward in holy meditation in the intervals of your work, or in those few
idle minutes which you now waste in aimlessness; and should your work be of that kind which
becomes by practice automatic, you may meditate while engaged upon it. That eminent Christian
saint and philosopher, Jacob Boehme, realized his vast knowledge of divine things whilst
working long hours as a shoemaker. In every life there is time to think, and the busiest, the most
laborious is not shut out from aspiration and meditation.

Spiritual meditation and self-discipline are inseparable; you will, therefore, commence to
meditate upon yourself so as to try and understand yourself, for, remember, the great object you
will have in view will be the complete removal of all your errors in order that you may realize
Truth. You will begin to question your motives, thoughts, and acts, comparing them with your
ideal, and endeavoring to look upon them with a calm and impartial eye. In this manner you will
be continually gaining more of that mental and spiritual equilibrium without which men are but
helpless straws upon the ocean of life. If you are given to hatred or anger you will meditate upon
gentleness and forgiveness, so as to become acutely alive to a sense of your harsh and foolish
conduct. You will then begin to dwell in thoughts of love, of gentleness, of abounding
forgiveness; and as you overcome the lower by the higher, there will gradually, silently steal into
your heart a knowledge of the divine Law of Love with an understanding of its bearing upon all
the intricacies of life and conduct. And in applying this knowledge to your every thought, word,
and act, you will grow more and more gentle, more and more loving, more and more divine. And
thus with every error, every selfish desire, every human weakness; by the power of meditation is
it overcome, and as each sin, each error is thrust out, a fuller and clearer measure of the Light of
Truth illumines the pilgrim soul.

Thus meditating, you will be ceaselessly fortifying yourself against your only real enemy, your
selfish, perishable self, and will be establishing yourself more and more firmly in the divine and
imperishable self that is inseparable from Truth. The direct outcome of your meditations will be
a calm, spiritual strength which will be your stay and resting-place in the struggle of life. Great is
the overcoming power of holy thought, and the strength and knowledge gained in the hour of
silent meditation will enrich the soul with saving remembrance in the hour of strife, of sorrow, or
of temptation.

As, by the power of meditation, you grow in wisdom, you will relinquish, more and more, your
selfish desires which are fickle, impermanent, and productive of sorrow and pain; and will take
your stand, with increasing steadfastness and trust, upon unchangeable principles, and will
realize heavenly rest.
The use of meditation is the acquirement of a knowledge of eternal principles, and the power
which results from meditation is the ability to rest upon and trust those principles, and so become
one with the Eternal. The end of meditation is, therefore, direct knowledge of Truth, God, and
the realization of divine and profound peace.

Let your meditations take their rise from the ethical ground which you now occupy. Remember
that you are to grow into Truth by steady perseverance. If you are an orthodox Christian,
meditate ceaselessly upon the spotless purity and divine excellence of the character of Jesus, and
apply his every precept to your inner life and outward conduct, so as to approximate more and
more toward his perfection. Do not be as those religious ones, who, refusing to meditate upon the
Law of Truth, and to put into practice the precepts given to them by their Master, are content to
formally worship, to cling to their particular creeds, and to continue in the ceaseless round of sin
and suffering. Strive to rise, by the power of meditation, above all selfish clinging to partial gods
or party creeds; above dead formalities and lifeless ignorance. Thus walking the high way of
wisdom, with mind fixed upon the spotless Truth, you shall know no halting-place short of the
realization of Truth.

He who earnestly meditates first perceives a truth, as it were, afar off, and then realizes it by
daily practice. It is only the doer of the Word of Truth that can know of the doctrine of Truth, for
though by pure thought the Truth is perceived, it is only actualized by practice.

Said the divine Gautama, the Buddha, "He who gives himself up to vanity, and does not give
himself up to meditation, forgetting the real aim of life and grasping at pleasure, will in time
envy him who has exerted himself in meditation," and he instructed his disciples in the following
"Five Great Meditations":--

"The first meditation is the meditation of love, in which you so adjust your heart that you long
for the weal and welfare of all beings, including the happiness of your enemies.

"The second meditation is the meditation of pity, in which you think of all beings in distress,
vividly representing in your imagination their sorrows and anxieties so as to arouse a deep
compassion for them in your soul.

"The third meditation is the meditation of joy, in which you think of the prosperity of others, and
rejoice with their rejoicings.

"The fourth meditation is the meditation of impurity, in which you consider the evil
consequences of corruption, the effects of sin and diseases. How trivial often the pleasure of the
moment, and how fatal its consequences.

"The fifth meditation is the meditation on serenity, in which you rise above love and hate,
tyranny and oppression, wealth and want, and regard your own fate with impartial calmness and
perfect tranquillity."

By engaging in these meditations the disciples of the Buddha arrived at a knowledge of the
Truth. But whether you engage in these particular meditations or not matters little so long as
your object is Truth, so long as you hunger and thirst for that righteousness which is a holy heart
and a blameless life. In your meditations, therefore, let your heart grow and expand with ever-
broadening love, until, freed from all hatred, and passion, and condemnation, it embraces the
whole universe with thoughtful tenderness. As the flower opens its petals to receive the morning
light, so open your soul more and more to the glorious light of Truth. Soar upward upon the
wings of aspiration; be fearless, and believe in the loftiest possibilities. Believe that a life of
absolute meekness is possible; believe that a life of stainless purity is possible; believe that a life
of perfect holiness is possible; believe that the realization of the highest truth is possible. He who
so believes, climbs rapidly the heavenly hills, whilst the unbelievers continue to grope darkly and
painfully in the fog-bound valleys.

So believing, so aspiring, so meditating, divinely sweet and beautiful will be your spiritual
experiences, and glorious the revelations that will enrapture your inward vision. As you realize
the divine Love, the divine Justice, the divine Purity, the Perfect Law of Good, or God, great will
be your bliss and deep your peace. Old things will pass away, and all things will become new.
The veil of the material universe, so dense and impenetrable to the eye of error, so thin and
gauzy to the eye of Truth, will be lifted and the spiritual universe will be revealed. Time will
cease, and you will live only in Eternity. Change and mortality will no more cause you anxiety
and sorrow, for you will become established in the unchangeable, and will dwell in the very heart
of immortality.

Star of wisdom

Star that of the birth of Vishnu,

Birth of Krishna, Buddha, Jesus,
Told the wise ones, Heavenward looking,
Waiting, watching for thy gleaming
In the darkness of the night-time,
In the starless gloom of midnight;
Shining Herald of the coming
Of the kingdom of the righteous;
Teller of the Mystic story
Of the lowly birth of Godhead
In the stable of the passions,
In the manger of the mind-soul;
Silent singer of the secret
Of compassion deep and holy
To the heart with sorrow burdened,
To the soul with waiting weary:--
Star of all-surpassing brightness,
Thou again dost deck the midnight;
Thou again dost cheer the wise ones
Watching in the creedal darkness,
Weary of the endless battle
With the grinding blades of error;
Tired of lifeless, useless idols,
Of the dead forms of religions;
Spent with watching for thy shining;
Thou hast ended their despairing;
Thou hast lighted up their pathway;
Thou hast brought again the old Truths
To the hearts of all thy Watchers;
To the souls of them that love thee
Thou dost speak of Joy and Gladness,
Of the peace that comes of Sorrow.
Blessed are they that can see thee,
Weary wanderers in the Night-time;
Blessed they who feel the throbbing,
In their bosoms feel the pulsing
Of a deep Love stirred within them
By the great power of thy shining.
Let us learn thy lesson truly;
Learn it faithfully and humbly;
Learn it meekly, wisely, gladly,
Ancient Star of holy Vishnu,
Light of Krishna, Buddha, Jesus.

2. The two masters, self and truth

Upon the battlefield of the human soul two masters are ever contending for the crown of
supremacy, for the kingship and dominion of the heart; the master of self, called also the "Prince
of this world," and the master of Truth, called also the Father God. The master self is that
rebellious one whose weapons are passion, pride, avarice, vanity, self-will, implements of
darkness; the master Truth is that meek and lowly one whose weapons are gentleness, patience,
purity, sacrifice, humility, love, instruments of Light.

In every soul the battle is waged, and as a soldier cannot engage at once in two opposing armies,
so every heart is enlisted either in the ranks of self or of Truth. There is no half-and-half course;
"There is self and there is Truth; where self is, Truth is not, where Truth is, self is not." Thus
spake Buddha, the teacher of Truth, and Jesus, the manifested Christ, declared that "No man can
serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the
one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."

Truth is so simple, so absolutely undeviating and uncompromising that it admits of no

complexity, no turning, no qualification. Self is ingenious, crooked, and, governed by subtle and
snaky desire, admits of endless turnings and qualifications, and the deluded worshipers of self
vainly imagine that they can gratify every worldly desire, and at the same time possess the Truth.
But the lovers of Truth worship Truth with the sacrifice of self, and ceaselessly guard themselves
against worldliness and self-seeking.
Do you seek to know and to realize Truth? Then you must be prepared to sacrifice, to renounce
to the uttermost, for Truth in all its glory can only be perceived and known when the last vestige
of self has disappeared.

The eternal Christ declared that he who would be His disciple must "deny himself daily." Are
you willing to deny yourself, to give up your lusts, your prejudices, your opinions? If so, you
may enter the narrow way of Truth, and find that peace from which the world is shut out. The
absolute denial, the utter extinction, of self is the perfect state of Truth, and all religions and
philosophies are but so many aids to this supreme attainment.

Self is the denial of Truth. Truth is the denial of self. As you let self die, you will be reborn in
Truth. As you cling to self, Truth will be hidden from you.

Whilst you cling to self, your path will be beset with difficulties, and repeated pains, sorrows,
and disappointments will be your lot. There are no difficulties in Truth, and coming to Truth, you
will be freed from all sorrow and disappointment.

Truth in itself is not hidden and dark. It is always revealed and is perfectly transparent. But the
blind and wayward self cannot perceive it. The light of day is not hidden except to the blind, and
the Light of Truth is not hidden except to those who are blinded by self.

Truth is the one Reality in the universe, the inward Harmony, the perfect Justice, the eternal
Love. Nothing can be added to it, nor taken from it. It does not depend upon any man, but all
men depend upon it. You cannot perceive the beauty of Truth while you are looking out through
the eyes of self. If you are vain, you will color everything with your own vanities. If lustful, your
heart and mind will be so clouded with the smoke and flames of passion, that everything will
appear distorted through them. If proud and opinionative, you will see nothing in the whole
universe except the magnitude and importance of your own opinions.

There is one quality which pre-eminently distinguishes the man of Truth from the man of self,
and that is humility. To be not only free from vanity, stubbornness and egotism, but to regard
one‘s own opinions as of no value, this indeed is true humility.

He who is immersed in self regards his own opinions as Truth, and the opinions of other men as
error. But that humble Truth-lover who has learned to distinguish between opinion and Truth,
regards all men with the eye of charity, and does not seek to defend his opinions against theirs,
but sacrifices those opinions that he may love the more, that he may manifest the spirit of Truth,
for Truth in its very nature is ineffable and can only be lived. He who has most of charity has
most of Truth.

Men engage in heated controversies, and foolishly imagine they are defending the Truth, when in
reality they are merely defending their own petty interests and perishable opinions. The follower
of self takes up arms against others. The follower of Truth takes up arms against himself. Truth,
being unchangeable and eternal, is independent of your opinion and of mine. We may enter into
it, or we may stay outside; but both our defense and our attack are superfluous, and are hurled
back upon ourselves.
Men, enslaved by self, passionate, proud, and condemnatory, believe their particular creed or
religion to be the Truth, and all other religions to be error; and they proselytize with passionate
ardor. There is but one religion, the religion of Truth. There is but one error, the error of self.
Truth is not a formal belief; it is an unselfish, holy, and aspiring heart, and he who has Truth is at
peace with all, and cherishes all with thoughts of love.

You may easily know whether you are a child of Truth or a worshiper of self, if you will silently
examine your mind, heart, and conduct. Do you harbor thoughts of suspicion, enmity, envy, lust,
pride, or do you strenuously fight against these? If the former, you are chained to self, no matter
what religion you may profess; if the latter, you are a candidate for Truth, even though outwardly
you may profess no religion. Are you passionate, self-willed, ever seeking to gain your own
ends, self-indulgent, and self-centered; or are you gentle, mild, unselfish, quit of every form of
self-indulgence, and are ever ready to give up your own? If the former, self is your master; if the
latter, Truth is the object of your affection. Do you strive for riches? Do you fight, with passion,
for your party? Do you lust for power and leadership? Are you given to ostentation and self-
praise? Or have you given up the love of riches? Have you relinquished all strife? Are you
content to take the lowest place, and to be passed by unnoticed? And have you ceased to talk
about yourself and to regard yourself with self-complacent pride? If the former, even though you
may imagine you worship God, the god of your heart is self. If the latter, even though you may
withhold your lips from worship, you are dwelling with the Most High.

The signs by which the Truth-lover is known are unmistakable. Hear the Holy Krishna declare
them, in Sir Edwin Arnold‘s beautiful rendering of the "Bhagavad Gita":--

"Fearlessness, singleness of soul, the will

Always to strive for wisdom; opened hand
And governed appetites; and piety,
And love of lonely study; humbleness,
Uprightness, heed to injure nought which lives
Truthfulness, slowness unto wrath, a mind
That lightly letteth go what others prize;
And equanimity, and charity
Which spieth no man‘s faults; and tenderness
Towards all that suffer; a contented heart,
Fluttered by no desires; a bearing mild,
Modest and grave, with manhood nobly mixed,
With patience, fortitude and purity;
An unrevengeful spirit, never given
To rate itself too high--such be the signs,
O Indian Prince! of him whose feet are set
On that fair path which leads to heavenly birth!"

When men, lost in the devious ways of error and self, have forgotten the "heavenly birth," the
state of holiness and Truth, they set up artificial standards by which to judge one another, and
make acceptance of, and adherence to, their own particular theology, the test of Truth; and so
men are divided one against another, and there is ceaseless enmity and strife, and unending
sorrow and suffering.

Reader, do you seek to realize the birth into Truth? There is only one way: Let self die. All those
lusts, appetites, desires, opinions, limited conceptions and prejudices to which you have hitherto
so tenaciously clung, let them fall from you. Let them no longer hold you in bondage, and Truth
will be yours. Cease to look upon your own religion as superior to all others, and strive humbly
to learn the supreme lesson of charity. No longer cling to the idea, so productive of strife and
sorrow, that the Savior whom you worship is the only Savior, and that the Savior whom your
brother worships with equal sincerity and ardor, is an impostor; but seek diligently the path of
holiness, and then you will realize that every holy man is a savior of mankind.

The giving up of self is not merely the renunciation of outward things. It consists of the
renunciation of the inward sin, the inward error. Not by giving up vain clothing; not by
relinquishing riches; not by abstaining from certain foods; not by speaking smooth words; not by
merely doing these things is the Truth found; but by giving up the spirit of vanity; by
relinquishing the desire for riches; by abstaining from the lust of self-indulgence; by giving up
all hatred, strife, condemnation, and self-seeking, and becoming gentle and pure at heart; by
doing these things is the Truth found. To do the former, and not to do the latter, is pharisaism and
hypocrisy, whereas the latter includes the former. You may renounce the outward world, and
isolate yourself in a cave or in the depths of a forest, but you will take all your selfishness with
you, and unless you renounce that, great indeed will be your wretchedness and deep your
delusion. You may remain just where you are, performing all your duties, and yet renounce the
world, the inward enemy. To be in the world and yet not of the world is the highest perfection,
the most blessed peace, is to achieve the greatest victory. The renunciation of self is the way of
Truth, therefore,

"Enter the Path; there is no grief like hate,

No pain like passion, no deceit like sense;
Enter the Path; far hath he gone whose foot
Treads down one fond offense."

As you succeed in overcoming self you will begin to see things in their right relations. He who is
swayed by any passion, prejudice, like or dislike, adjusts everything to that particular bias, and
sees only his own delusions. He who is absolutely free from all passion, prejudice, preference,
and partiality, sees himself as he is; sees others as they are; sees all things in their proper
proportions and right relations. Having nothing to attack, nothing to defend, nothing to conceal,
and no interests to guard, he is at peace. He has realized the profound simplicity of Truth, for this
unbiased, tranquil, blessed state of mind and heart is the state of Truth. He who attains to it
dwells with the angels, and sits at the footstool of the Supreme. Knowing the Great Law;
knowing the origin of sorrow; knowing the secret of suffering; knowing the way of emancipation
in Truth, how can such a one engage in strife or condemnation; for though he knows that the
blind, self-seeking world, surrounded with the clouds of its own illusions, and enveloped in the
darkness of error and self, cannot perceive the steadfast Light of Truth, and is utterly incapable
of comprehending the profound simplicity of the heart that has died, or is dying, to self, yet he
also knows that when the suffering ages have piled up mountains of sorrow, the crushed and
burdened soul of the world will fly to its final refuge, and that when the ages are completed,
every prodigal will come back to the fold of Truth. And so he dwells in goodwill toward all, and
regards all with that tender compassion which a father bestows upon his wayward children.

Men cannot understand Truth because they cling to self, because they believe in and love self,
because they believe self to be the only reality, whereas it is the one delusion.

When you cease to believe in and love self you will desert it, and will fly to Truth, and will find
the eternal Reality.

When men are intoxicated with the wines of luxury, and pleasure, and vanity, the thirst of life
grows and deepens within them, and they delude themselves with dreams of fleshly immortality,
but when they come to reap the harvest of their own sowing, and pain and sorrow supervene,
then, crushed and humiliated, relinquishing self and all the intoxications of self, they come, with
aching hearts to the one immortality, the immortality that destroys all delusions, the spiritual
immortality in Truth.

Men pass from evil to good, from self to Truth, through the dark gate of sorrow, for sorrow and
self are inseparable. Only in the peace and bliss of Truth is all sorrow vanquished. If you suffer
disappointment because your cherished plans have been thwarted, or because someone has not
come up to your anticipations, it is because you are clinging to self. If you suffer remorse for
your conduct, it is because you have given way to self. If you are overwhelmed with chagrin and
regret because of the attitude of someone else toward you, it is because you have been cherishing
self. If you are wounded on account of what has been done to you or said of you, it is because
you are walking in the painful way of self. All suffering is of self. All suffering ends in Truth.
When you have entered into and realized Truth, you will no longer suffer disappointment,
remorse, and regret, and sorrow will flee from you.

"Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul;
Truth is the only angel that can bid the gates unroll;
And when he comes to call thee, arise and follow fast;
His way may lie through darkness, but it leads to light at last."

The woe of the world is of its own making. Sorrow purifies and deepens the soul, and the
extremity of sorrow is the prelude to Truth.

Have you suffered much? Have you sorrowed deeply? Have you pondered seriously upon the
problem of life? If so, you are prepared to wage war against self, and to become a disciple of

The intellectual who do not see the necessity for giving up self, frame endless theories about the
universe, and call them Truth; but do thou pursue that direct line of conduct which is the practice
of righteousness, and thou wilt realize the Truth which has no place in theory, and which never
changes. Cultivate your heart. Water it continually with unselfish love and deep-felt pity, and
strive to shut out from it all thoughts and feelings which are not in accordance with Love. Return
good for evil, love for hatred, gentleness for ill-treatment, and remain silent when attacked. So
shall you transmute all your selfish desires into the pure gold of Love, and self will disappear in
Truth. So will you walk blamelessly among men, yoked with the easy yoke of lowliness, and
clothed with the divine garment of humility.

O come, weary brother! thy struggling and striving

End thou in the heart of the Master of ruth;
Across self‘s drear desert why wilt thou be driving,
Athirst for the quickening waters of Truth

When here, by the path of thy searching and sinning,

Flows Life‘s gladsome stream, lies Love‘s oasis green?
Come, turn thou and rest; know the end and beginning,
The sought and the searcher, the seer and seen.

Thy Master sits not in the unapproached mountains,

Nor dwells in the mirage which floats on the air,
Nor shalt thou discover His magical fountains
In pathways of sand that encircle despair.

In selfhood‘s dark desert cease wearily seeking

The odorous tracks of the feet of thy King;
And if thou wouldst hear the sweet sound of His speaking,
Be deaf to all voices that emptily sing.

Flee the vanishing places; renounce all thou hast;

Leave all that thou lovest, and, naked and bare,
Thyself at the shrine of the Innermost cast;
The Highest, the Holiest, the Changeless is there.

Within, in the heart of the Silence He dwelleth;

Leave sorrow and sin, leave thy wanderings sore;
Come bathe in His Joy, whilst He, whispering, telleth
Thy soul what it seeketh, and wander no more.

Then cease, weary brother, thy struggling and striving;

Find peace in the heart of the Master of ruth.
Across self‘s dark desert cease wearily driving;
Come; drink at the beautiful waters of Truth.

3. The acquirement of spiritual power

The world is filled with men and women seeking pleasure, excitement, novelty; seeking ever to
be moved to laughter or tears; not seeking strength, stability, and power; but courting weakness,
and eagerly engaged in dispersing what power they have.
Men and women of real power and influence are few, because few are prepared to make the
sacrifice necessary to the acquirement of power, and fewer still are ready to patiently build up

To be swayed by your fluctuating thoughts and impulses is to be weak and powerless; to rightly
control and direct those forces is to be strong and powerful. Men of strong animal passions have
much of the ferocity of the beast, but this is not power. The elements of power are there; but it is
only when this ferocity is tamed and subdued by the higher intelligence that real power begins;
and men can only grow in power by awakening themselves to higher and ever higher states of
intelligence and consciousness.

The difference between a man of weakness and one of power lies not in the strength of the
personal will (for the stubborn man is usually weak and foolish), but in that focus of
consciousness which represents their states of knowledge.

The pleasure-seekers, the lovers of excitement, the hunters after novelty, and the victims of
impulse and hysterical emotion lack that knowledge of principles which gives balance, stability,
and influence.

A man commences to develop power when, checking his impulses and selfish inclinations, he
falls back upon the higher and calmer consciousness within him, and begins to steady himself
upon a principle. The realization of unchanging principles in consciousness is at once the source
and secret of the highest power.

When, after much searching, and suffering, and sacrificing, the light of an eternal principle
dawns upon the soul, a divine calm ensues and joy unspeakable gladdens the heart.

He who has realized such a principle ceases to wander, and remains poised and self-possessed.
He ceases to be "passion‘s slave," and becomes a master-builder in the Temple of Destiny.

The man that is governed by self, and not by a principle, changes his front when his selfish
comforts are threatened. Deeply intent upon defending and guarding his own interests, he regards
all means as lawful that will subserve that end. He is continually scheming as to how he may
protect himself against his enemies, being too self-centered to perceive that he is his own enemy.
Such a man‘s work crumbles away, for it is divorced from Truth and power. All effort that is
grounded upon self, perishes; only that work endures that is built upon an indestructible

The man that stands upon a principle is the same calm, dauntless, self-possessed man under all
circumstances. When the hour of trial comes, and he has to decide between his personal comforts
and Truth, he gives up his comforts and remains firm. Even the prospect of torture and death
cannot alter or deter him. The man of self regards the loss of his wealth, his comforts, or his life
as the greatest calamities which can befall him. The man of principle looks upon these incidents
as comparatively insignificant, and not to be weighed with loss of character, loss of Truth. To
desert Truth is, to him, the only happening which can really be called a calamity.
It is the hour of crisis which decides who are the minions of darkness, and who the children of
Light. It is the epoch of threatening disaster, ruin, and persecution which divides the sheep from
the goats, and reveals to the reverential gaze of succeeding ages the men and women of power.

It is easy for a man, so long as he is left in the enjoyment of his possessions, to persuade himself
that he believes in and adheres to the principles of Peace, Brotherhood, and Universal Love; but
if, when his enjoyments are threatened, or he imagines they are threatened, he begins to clamor
loudly for war, he shows that he believes in and stands upon, not Peace, Brotherhood, and Love,
but strife, selfishness, and hatred.

He who does not desert his principles when threatened with the loss of every earthly thing, even
to the loss of reputation and life, is the man of power; is the man whose every word and work
endures; is the man whom the afterworld honors, reveres, and worships. Rather than desert that
principle of Divine Love on which he rested, and in which all his trust was placed, Jesus endured
the utmost extremity of agony and deprivation; and today the world prostrates itself at his
pierced feet in rapt adoration.

There is no way to the acquirement of spiritual power except by that inward illumination and
enlightenment which is the realization of spiritual principles; and those principles can only be
realized by constant practice and application.

Take the principle of divine Love, and quietly and diligently meditate upon it with the object of
arriving at a thorough understanding of it. Bring its searching light to bear upon all your habits,
your actions, your speech and intercourse with others, your every secret thought and desire. As
you persevere in this course, the divine Love will become more and more perfectly revealed to
you, and your own shortcomings will stand out in more and more vivid contrast, spurring you on
to renewed endeavor; and having once caught a glimpse of the incomparable majesty of that
imperishable principle, you will never again rest in your weakness, your selfishness, your
imperfection, but will pursue that Love until you have relinquished every discordant element,
and have brought yourself into perfect harmony with it. And that state of inward harmony is
spiritual power. Take also other spiritual principles, such as Purity and Compassion, and apply
them in the same way, and, so exacting is Truth, you will be able to make no stay, no resting-
place until the inmost garment of your soul is bereft of every stain, and your heart has become
incapable of any hard, condemnatory, and pitiless impulse.

Only in so far as you understand, realize, and rely upon, these principles, will you acquire
spiritual power, and that power will be manifested in and through you in the form of increasing
dispassion, patience and equanimity.

Dispassion argues superior self-control; sublime patience is the very hall-mark of divine
knowledge, and to retain an unbroken calm amid all the duties and distractions of life, marks off
the man of power. "It is easy in the world to live after the world‘s opinion; it is easy in solitude
to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect
sweetness the independence of solitude."
Some mystics hold that perfection in dispassion is the source of that power by which miracles
(so-called) are performed, and truly he who has gained such perfect control of all his interior
forces that no shock, however great, can for one moment unbalance him, must be capable of
guiding and directing those forces with a master-hand.

To grow in self-control, in patience, in equanimity, is to grow in strength and power; and you can
only thus grow by focusing your consciousness upon a principle. As a child, after making many
and vigorous attempts to walk unaided, at last succeeds, after numerous falls, in accomplishing
this, so you must enter the way of power by first attempting to stand alone. Break away from the
tyranny of custom, tradition, conventionality, and the opinions of others, until you succeed in
walking lonely and erect among men. Rely upon your own judgment; be true to your own
conscience; follow the Light that is within you; all outward lights are so many will-o‘-the-wisps.
There will be those who will tell you that you are foolish; that your judgment is faulty; that your
conscience is all awry, and that the Light within you is darkness; but heed them not. If what they
say is true the sooner you, as a searcher for wisdom, find it out the better, and you can only make
the discovery by bringing your powers to the test. Therefore, pursue your course bravely. Your
conscience is at least your own, and to follow it is to be a man; to follow the conscience of
another is to be a slave. You will have many falls, will suffer many wounds, will endure many
buffetings for a time, but press on in faith, believing that sure and certain victory lies ahead.
Search for a rock, a principle, and having found it cling to it; get it under your feet and stand
erect upon it, until at last, immovably fixed upon it, you succeed in defying the fury of the waves
and storms of selfishness.

For selfishness in any and every form is dissipation, weakness, death; unselfishness in its
spiritual aspect is conservation, power, life. As you grow in spiritual life, and become established
upon principles, you will become as beautiful and as unchangeable as those principles, will taste
of the sweetness of their immortal essence, and will realize the eternal and indestructible nature
of the God within.

No harmful shaft can reach the righteous man,

Standing erect amid the storms of hate,
Defying hurt and injury and ban,
Surrounded by the trembling slaves of Fate.

Majestic in the strength of silent power,

Serene he stands, nor changes not nor turns;
Patient and firm in suffering‘s darkest hour,
Time bends to him, and death and doom he spurns.

Wrath‘s lurid lightnings round about him play,

And hell‘s deep thunders roll about his head;
Yet heeds he not, for him they cannot slay
Who stands whence earth and time and space are fled.

Sheltered by deathless love, what fear hath he?

Armored in changeless Truth, what can he know
Of loss and gain? Knowing eternity,
He moves not whilst the shadows come and go.

Call him immortal, call him Truth and Light

And splendor of prophetic majesty
Who bideth thus amid the powers of night,
Clothed with the glory of divinity.

4. The realization of selfless love

It is said that Michael Angelo saw in every rough block of stone a thing of beauty awaiting the
master-hand to bring it into reality. Even so, within each there reposes the Divine Image awaiting
the master-hand of Faith and the chisel of Patience to bring it into manifestation. And that Divine
Image is revealed and realized as stainless, selfless Love.

Hidden deep in every human heart, though frequently covered up with a mass of hard and almost
impenetrable accretions, is the spirit of Divine Love, whose holy and spotless essence is undying
and eternal. It is the Truth in man; it is that which belongs to the Supreme: that which is real and
immortal. All else changes and passes away; this alone is permanent and imperishable; and to
realize this Love by ceaseless diligence in the practice of the highest righteousness, to live in it
and to become fully conscious in it, is to enter into immortality here and now, is to become one
with Truth, one with God, one with the central Heart of all things, and to know our own divine
and eternal nature.

To reach this Love, to understand and experience it, one must work with great persistency and
diligence upon his heart and mind, must ever renew his patience and keep strong his faith, for
there will be much to remove, much to accomplish before the Divine Image is revealed in all its
glorious beauty.

He who strives to reach and to accomplish the divine will be tried to the very uttermost; and this
is absolutely necessary, for how else could one acquire that sublime patience without which there
is no real wisdom, no divinity? Ever and anon, as he proceeds, all his work will seem to be futile,
and his efforts appear to be thrown away. Now and then a hasty touch will mar his image, and
perhaps when he imagines his work is almost completed he will find what he imagined to be the
beautiful form of Divine Love utterly destroyed, and he must begin again with his past bitter
experience to guide and help him. But he who has resolutely set himself to realize the Highest
recognizes no such thing as defeat. All failures are apparent, not real. Every slip, every fall,
every return to selfishness is a lesson learned, an experience gained, from which a golden grain
of wisdom is extracted, helping the striver toward the accomplishment of his lofty object. To

"That of our vices we can frame

A ladder if we will but tread
Beneath our feet each deed of shame,"
is to enter the way that leads unmistakably toward the Divine, and the failings of one who thus
recognizes are so many dead selves, upon which he rises, as upon stepping-stones, to higher

Once come to regard your failings, your sorrows and sufferings as so many voices telling you
plainly where you are weak and faulty, where you fall below the true and the divine, you will
then begin to ceaselessly watch yourself, and every slip, every pang of pain will show you where
you are to set to work, and what you have to remove out of your heart in order to bring it nearer
to the likeness of the Divine, nearer to the Perfect Love. And as you proceed, day by day
detaching yourself more and more from the inward selfishness the Love that is selfless will
gradually become revealed to you. And when you are growing patient and calm, when your
petulances, tempers, and irritabilities are passing away from you, and the more powerful lusts
and prejudices cease to dominate and enslave you, then you will know that the divine is
awakening within you, that you are drawing near to the eternal Heart, that you are not far from
that selfless Love, the possession of which is peace and immortality.

Divine Love is distinguished from human loves in this supremely important particular, it is free
from partiality. Human loves cling to a particular object to the exclusion of all else, and when
that object is removed, great and deep is the resultant suffering to the one who loves. Divine
Love embraces the whole universe, and, without clinging to any part, yet contains within itself
the whole, and he who comes to it by gradually purifying and broadening his human loves until
all the selfish and impure elements are burnt out of them, ceases from suffering. It is because
human loves are narrow and confined and mingled with selfishness that they cause suffering. No
suffering can result from that Love which is so absolutely pure that it seeks nothing for itself.
Nevertheless, human loves are absolutely necessary as steps toward the Divine, and no soul is
prepared to partake of Divine Love until it has become capable of the deepest and most intense
human love. It is only by passing through human loves and human sufferings that Divine Love is
reached and realized.

All human loves are perishable like the forms to which they cling; but there is a Love that is
imperishable, and that does not cling to appearances.

All human loves are counterbalanced by human hates; but there is a Love that admits of no
opposite or reaction; divine and free from all taint of self, that sheds its fragrance on all alike.

Human loves are reflections of the Divine Love, and draw the soul nearer to the reality, the Love
that knows neither sorrow nor change.

It is well that the mother, clinging with passionate tenderness to the little helpless form of flesh
that lies on her bosom, should be overwhelmed with the dark waters of sorrow when she sees it
laid in the cold earth. It is well that her tears should flow and her heart ache, for only thus can
she be reminded of the evanescent nature of the joys and objects of sense, and be drawn nearer to
the eternal and imperishable Reality.

It is well that lover, brother, sister, husband, wife should suffer deep anguish, and be enveloped
in gloom when the visible object of their affections is torn from them, so that they may learn to
turn their affections toward the invisible Source of all, where alone abiding satisfaction is to be

It is well that the proud, the ambitious, the self-seeking, should suffer defeat, humiliation, and
misfortune; that they should pass through the scorching fires of affliction; for only thus can the
wayward soul be brought to reflect upon the enigma of life; only thus can the heart be softened
and purified, and prepared to receive the Truth.

When the sting of anguish penetrates the heart of human love; when gloom and loneliness and
desertion cloud the soul of friendship and trust, then it is that the heart turns toward the sheltering
love of the Eternal, and finds rest in its silent peace. And whosoever comes to this Love is not
turned away comfortless, is not pierced with anguish nor surrounded with gloom; and is never
deserted in the dark hour of trial.

The glory of Divine Love can only be revealed in the heart that is chastened by sorrow, and the
image of the heavenly state can only be perceived and realized when the lifeless, formless
accretions of ignorance and self are hewn away.

Only that Love that seeks no personal gratification or reward, that does not make distinctions,
and that leaves behind no heartaches, can be called divine.

Men, clinging to self and to the comfortless shadows of evil, are in the habit of thinking of divine
Love as something belonging to a God who is out of reach; as something outside themselves, and
that must for ever remain outside. Truly, the Love of God is ever beyond the reach of self, but
when the heart and mind are emptied of self then the selfless Love, the supreme Love, the Love
that is of God or Good becomes an inward and abiding reality.

And this inward realization of holy Love is none other than the Love of Christ that is so much
talked about and so little comprehended. The Love that not only saves the soul from sin, but lifts
it also above the power of temptation.

But how may one attain to this sublime realization? The answer which Truth has always given,
and will ever give to this question is,--"Empty thyself, and I will fill thee." Divine Love cannot
be known until self is dead, for self is the denial of Love, and how can that which is known be
also denied? Not until the stone of self is rolled away from the sepulcher of the soul does the
immortal Christ, the pure Spirit of Love, hitherto crucified, dead and buried, cast off the bands of
ignorance, and come forth in all the majesty of His resurrection.

You believe that the Christ of Nazareth was put to death and rose again. I do not say you err in
that belief; but if you refuse to believe that the gentle spirit of Love is crucified daily upon the
dark cross of your selfish desires, then, I say, you err in this unbelief, and have not yet perceived,
even afar off, the Love of Christ.

You say that you have tasted of salvation in the Love of Christ. Are you saved from your temper,
your irritability, your vanity, your personal dislikes, your judgment and condemnation of others?
If not, from what are you saved, and wherein have you realized the transforming Love of Christ?
He who has realized the Love that is divine has become a new man, and has ceased to be swayed
and dominated by the old elements of self. He is known for his patience, his purity, his self-
control, his deep charity of heart, and his unalterable sweetness.

Divine or selfless Love is not a mere sentiment or emotion; it is a state of knowledge which
destroys the dominion of evil and the belief in evil, and lifts the soul into the joyful realization of
the supreme Good. To the divinely wise, knowledge and Love are one and inseparable.

It is toward the complete realization of this divine Love that the whole world is moving; it was
for this purpose that the universe came into existence, and every grasping at happiness, every
reaching out of the soul toward objects, ideas and ideals, is an effort to realize it. But the world
does not realize this Love at present because it is grasping at the fleeting shadow and ignoring, in
its blindness, the substance. And so suffering and sorrow continue, and must continue until the
world, taught by its self-inflicted pains, discovers the Love that is selfless, the wisdom that is
calm and full of peace.

And this Love, this Wisdom, this Peace, this tranquil state of mind and heart may be attained to,
may be realized by all who are willing and ready to yield up self, and who are prepared to
humbly enter into a comprehension of all that the giving up of self involves. There is no arbitrary
power in the universe, and the strongest chains of fate by which men are bound are self-forged.
Men are chained to that which causes suffering because they desire to be so, because they love
their chains, because they think their little dark prison of self is sweet and beautiful, and they are
afraid that if they desert that prison they will lose all that is real and worth having.

"Ye suffer from yourselves, none else compels,

None other holds ye that ye live and die."

And the indwelling power which forged the chains and built around itself the dark and narrow
prison, can break away when it desires and wills to do so, and the soul does will to do so when it
has discovered the worthlessness of its prison, when long suffering has prepared it for the
reception of the boundless Light and Love.

As the shadow follows the form, and as smoke comes after fire, so effect follows cause, and
suffering and bliss follow the thoughts and deeds of men. There is no effect in the world around
us but has its hidden or revealed cause, and that cause is in accordance with absolute justice.
Men reap a harvest of suffering because in the near or distant past they have sown the seeds of
evil; they reap a harvest of bliss also as a result of their own sowing of the seeds of good. Let a
man meditate upon this, let him strive to understand it, and he will then begin to sow only seeds
of good, and will burn up the tares and weeds which he has formerly grown in the garden of his

The world does not understand the Love that is selfless because it is engrossed in the pursuit of
its own pleasures, and cramped within the narrow limits of perishable interests mistaking, in its
ignorance, those pleasures and interests for real and abiding things. Caught in the flames of
fleshly lusts, and burning with anguish, it sees not the pure and peaceful beauty of Truth.
Feeding upon the swinish husks of error and self-delusion, it is shut out from the mansion of all-
seeing Love.

Not having this Love, not understanding it, men institute innumerable reforms which involve no
inward sacrifice, and each imagines that his reform is going to right the world for ever, while he
himself continues to propagate evil by engaging it in his own heart. That only can be called
reform which tends to reform the human heart, for all evil has its rise there, and not until the
world, ceasing from selfishness and party strife, has learned the lesson of divine Love, will it
realize the Golden Age of universal blessedness.

Let the rich cease to despise the poor, and the poor to condemn the rich; let the greedy learn how
to give, and the lustful how to grow pure; let the partisan cease from strife, and the uncharitable
begin to forgive; let the envious endeavor to rejoice with others, and the slanderers grow
ashamed of their conduct. Let men and women take this course, and, lo! the Golden Age is at
hand. He, therefore, who purifies his own heart is the world‘s greatest benefactor.

Yet, though the world is, and will be for many ages to come, shut out from that Age of Gold,
which is the realization of selfless Love, you, if you are willing, may enter it now, by rising
above your selfish self; if you will pass from prejudice, hatred, and condemnation, to gentle and
forgiving love.

Where hatred, dislike, and condemnation are, selfless Love does not abide. It resides only in the
heart that has ceased from all condemnation.

You say, "How can I love the drunkard, the hypocrite, the sneak, the murderer? I am compelled
to dislike and condemn such men." It is true you cannot love such men emotionally, but when
you say that you must perforce dislike and condemn them you show that you are not acquainted
with the Great over-ruling Love; for it is possible to attain to such a state of interior
enlightenment as will enable you to perceive the train of causes by which these men have
become as they are, to enter into their intense sufferings, and to know the certainty of their
ultimate purification. Possessed of such knowledge it will be utterly impossible for you any
longer to dislike or condemn them, and you will always think of them with perfect calmness and
deep compassion.

If you love people and speak of them with praise until they in some way thwart you, or do
something of which you disapprove, and then you dislike them and speak of them with dispraise,
you are not governed by the Love which is of God. If, in your heart, you are continually
arraigning and condemning others, selfless Love is hidden from you.

He who knows that Love is at the heart of all things, and has realized the all-sufficing power of
that Love, has no room in his heart for condemnation.

Men, not knowing this Love, constitute themselves judge and executioner of their fellows,
forgetting that there is the Eternal Judge and Executioner, and in so far as men deviate from them
in their own views, their particular reforms and methods, they brand them as fanatical,
unbalanced, lacking judgment, sincerity, and honesty; in so far as others approximate to their
own standard do they look upon them as being everything that is admirable. Such are the men
who are centered in self. But he whose heart is centered in the supreme Love does not so brand
and classify men; does not seek to convert men to his own views, not to convince them of the
superiority of his methods. Knowing the Law of Love, he lives it, and maintains the same calm
attitude of mind and sweetness of heart toward all. The debased and the virtuous, the foolish and
the wise, the learned and the unlearned, the selfish and the unselfish receive alike the benediction
of his tranquil thought.

You can only attain to this supreme knowledge, this divine Love by unremitting endeavor in self-
discipline, and by gaining victory after victory over yourself. Only the pure in heart see God, and
when your heart is sufficiently purified you will enter into the New Birth, and the Love that does
not die, nor change, nor end in pain and sorrow will be awakened within you, and you will be at

He who strives for the attainment of divine Love is ever seeking to overcome the spirit of
condemnation, for where there is pure spiritual knowledge, condemnation cannot exist, and only
in the heart that has become incapable of condemnation is Love perfected and fully realized.

The Christian condemns the Atheist; the Atheist satirizes the Christian; the Catholic and
Protestant are ceaselessly engaged in wordy warfare, and the spirit of strife and hatred rules
where peace and love should be.

"He that hateth his brother is a murderer," a crucifier of the divine Spirit of Love; and until you
can regard men of all religions and of no religion with the same impartial spirit, with all freedom
from dislike, and with perfect equanimity, you have yet to strive for that Love which bestows
upon its possessor freedom and salvation.

The realization of divine knowledge, selfless Love, utterly destroys the spirit of condemnation,
disperses all evil, and lifts the consciousness to that height of pure vision where Love, Goodness,
Justice are seen to be universal, supreme, all-conquering, indestructible.

Train your mind in strong, impartial, and gentle thought; train your heart in purity and
compassion; train your tongue to silence and to true and stainless speech; so shall you enter the
way of holiness and peace, and shall ultimately realize the immortal Love. So living, without
seeking to convert, you will convince; without arguing, you will teach; not cherishing ambition,
the wise will find you out; and without striving to gain men‘s opinions, you will subdue their
hearts. For Love is all-conquering, all-powerful; and the thoughts, and deeds, and words of Love
can never perish.

To know that Love is universal, supreme, all-sufficing; to be freed from the trammels of evil; to
be quit of the inward unrest; to know that all men are striving to realize the Truth each in his own
way; to be satisfied, sorrowless, serene; this is peace; this is gladness; this is immortality; this is
Divinity; this is the realization of selfless Love.

I stood upon the shore, and saw the rocks

Resist the onslaught of the mighty sea,
And when I thought how all the countless shocks
They had withstood through an eternity,
I said, "To wear away this solid main
The ceaseless efforts of the waves are vain."

But when I thought how they the rocks had rent,

And saw the sand and shingles at my feet
(Poor passive remnants of resistance spent)
Tumbled and tossed where they the waters meet,
Then saw I ancient landmarks ‘neath the waves,
And knew the waters held the stones their slaves.

I saw the mighty work the waters wrought

By patient softness and unceasing flow;
How they the proudest promontory brought
Unto their feet, and massy hills laid low;
How the soft drops the adamantine wall
Conquered at last, and brought it to its fall.

And then I knew that hard, resisting sin

Should yield at last to Love‘s soft ceaseless roll
Coming and going, ever flowing in
Upon the proud rocks of the human soul;
That all resistance should be spent and past,
And every heart yield unto it at last.

5. Entering into the infinite

From the beginning of time, man, in spite of his bodily appetites and desires, in the midst of all
his clinging to earthly and impermanent things, has ever been intuitively conscious of the
limited, transient, and illusionary nature of his material existence, and in his sane and silent
moments has tried to reach out into a comprehension of the Infinite, and has turned with tearful
aspiration toward the restful Reality of the Eternal Heart.

While vainly imagining that the pleasures of earth are real and satisfying, pain and sorrow
continually remind him of their unreal and unsatisfying nature. Ever striving to believe that
complete satisfaction is to be found in material things, he is conscious of an inward and
persistent revolt against this belief, which revolt is at once a refutation of his essential mortality,
and an inherent and imperishable proof that only in the immortal, the eternal, the infinite can he
find abiding satisfaction and unbroken peace.

And here is the common ground of faith; here the root and spring of all religion; here the soul of
Brotherhood and the heart of Love,--that man is essentially and spiritually divine and eternal, and
that, immersed in mortality and troubled with unrest, he is ever striving to enter into a
consciousness of his real nature.
The spirit of man is inseparable from the Infinite, and can be satisfied with nothing short of the
Infinite, and the burden of pain will continue to weigh upon man‘s heart, and the shadows of
sorrow to darken his pathway until, ceasing from his wanderings in the dream-world of matter,
he comes back to his home in the reality of the Eternal.

As the smallest drop of water detached from the ocean contains all the qualities of the ocean, so
man, detached in consciousness from the Infinite, contains within him its likeness; and as the
drop of water must, by the law of its nature, ultimately find its way back to the ocean and lose
itself in its silent depths, so must man, by the unfailing law of his nature, at last return to his
source, and lose himself in the great ocean of the Infinite.

To re-become one with the Infinite is the goal of man. To enter into perfect harmony with the
Eternal Law is Wisdom, Love and Peace. But this divine state is, and must ever be,
incomprehensible to the merely personal. Personality, separateness, selfishness are one and the
same, and are the antithesis of wisdom and divinity. By the unqualified surrender of the
personality, separateness and selfishness cease, and man enters into the possession of his divine
heritage of immortality and infinity.

Such surrender of the personality is regarded by the worldly and selfish mind as the most
grievous of all calamities, the most irreparable loss, yet it is the one supreme and incomparable
blessing, the only real and lasting gain. The mind unenlightened upon the inner laws of being,
and upon the nature and destiny of its own life, clings to transient appearances, things which
have in them no enduring substantiality, and so clinging, perishes, for the time being, amid the
shattered wreckage of its own illusions.

Men cling to and gratify the flesh as though it were going to last for ever, and though they try to
forget the nearness and inevitability of its dissolution, the dread of death and of the loss of all
that they cling to clouds their happiest hours, and the chilling shadow of their own selfishness
follows them like a remorseless specter.

And with the accumulation of temporal comforts and luxuries, the divinity within men is
drugged, and they sink deeper and deeper into materiality, into the perishable life of the senses,
and where there is sufficient intellect, theories concerning the immortality of the flesh come to be
regarded as infallible truths. When a man‘s soul is clouded with selfishness in any or every form,
he loses the power of spiritual discrimination, and confuses the temporal with the eternal, the
perishable with the permanent, mortality with immortality, and error with Truth. It is thus that
the world has come to be filled with theories and speculations having no foundation in human
experience. Every body of flesh contains within itself, from the hour of birth, the elements of its
own destruction, and by the unalterable law of its own nature must it pass away.

The perishable in the universe can never become permanent; the permanent can never pass away;
the mortal can never become immortal; the immortal can never die; the temporal cannot become
eternal nor the eternal become temporal; appearance can never become reality, nor reality fade
into appearance; error can never become Truth, nor can Truth become error. Man cannot
immortalize the flesh, but, by overcoming the flesh, by relinquishing all its inclinations, he can
enter the region of immortality. "God alone hath immortality," and only by realizing the God
state of consciousness does man enter into immortality.

All nature in its myriad forms of life is changeable, impermanent, unenduring. Only the
informing Principle of nature endures. Nature is many, and is marked by separation. The
informing Principle is One, and is marked by unity. By overcoming the senses and the
selfishness within, which is the overcoming of nature, man emerges from the chrysalis of the
personal and illusory, and wings himself into the glorious light of the impersonal, the region of
universal Truth, out of which all perishable forms come.

Let men, therefore, practice self-denial; let them conquer their animal inclinations; let them
refuse to be enslaved by luxury and pleasure; let them practice virtue, and grow daily into high
and ever higher virtue, until at last they grow into the Divine, and enter into both the practice and
the comprehension of humility, meekness, forgiveness, compassion, and love, which practice and
comprehension constitute Divinity.

"Good-will gives insight," and only he who has so conquered his personality that he has but one
attitude of mind, that of good-will, toward all creatures, is possessed of divine insight, and is
capable of distinguishing the true from the false. The supremely good man is, therefore, the wise
man, the divine man, the enlightened seer, the knower of the Eternal. Where you find unbroken
gentleness, enduring patience, sublime lowliness, graciousness of speech, self-control, self-
forgetfulness, and deep and abounding sympathy, look there for the highest wisdom, seek the
company of such a one, for he has realized the Divine, he lives with the Eternal, he has become
one with the Infinite. Believe not him that is impatient, given to anger, boastful, who clings to
pleasure and refuses to renounce his selfish gratifications, and who practices not good-will and
far-reaching compassion, for such a one hath not wisdom, vain is all his knowledge, and his
works and words will perish, for they are grounded on that which passes away.

Let a man abandon self, let him overcome the world, let him deny the personal; by this pathway
only can he enter into the heart of the Infinite.

The world, the body, the personality are mirages upon the desert of time; transitory dreams in the
dark night of spiritual slumber, and those who have crossed the desert, those who are spiritually
awakened, have alone comprehended the Universal Reality where all appearances are dispersed
and dreaming and delusion are destroyed.

There is one Great Law which exacts unconditional obedience, one unifying principle which is
the basis of all diversity, one eternal Truth wherein all the problems of earth pass away like
shadows. To realize this Law, this Unity, this Truth, is to enter into the Infinite, is to become one
with the Eternal.

To center one‘s life in the Great Law of Love is to enter into rest, harmony, peace. To refrain
from all participation in evil and discord; to cease from all resistance to evil, and from the
omission of that which is good, and to fall back upon unswerving obedience to the holy calm
within, is to enter into the inmost heart of things, is to attain to a living, conscious experience of
that eternal and infinite principle which must ever remain a hidden mystery to the merely
perceptive intellect. Until this principle is realized, the soul is not established in peace, and he
who so realizes is truly wise; not wise with the wisdom of the learned, but with the simplicity of
a blameless heart and of a divine manhood.

To enter into a realization of the Infinite and Eternal is to rise superior to time, and the world,
and the body, which comprise the kingdom of darkness; and is to become established in
immortality, Heaven, and the Spirit, which make up the Empire of Light.

Entering into the Infinite is not a mere theory or sentiment. It is a vital experience which is the
result of assiduous practice in inward purification. When the body is no longer believed to be,
even remotely, the real man; when all appetites and desires are thoroughly subdued and purified;
when the emotions are rested and calm, and when the oscillation of the intellect ceases and
perfect poise is secured, then, and not till then, does consciousness become one with the Infinite;
not until then is childlike wisdom and profound peace secured.

Men grow weary and gray over the dark problems of life, and finally pass away and leave them
unsolved because they cannot see their way out of the darkness of the personality, being too
much engrossed in its limitations. Seeking to save his personal life, man forfeits the greater
impersonal Life in Truth; clinging to the perishable, he is shut out from a knowledge of the

By the surrender of self all difficulties are overcome, and there is no error in the universe but the
fire of inward sacrifice will burn it up like chaff; no problem, however great, but will disappear
like a shadow under the searching light of self-abnegation. Problems exist only in our own self-
created illusions, and they vanish away when self is yielded up. Self and error are synonymous.
Error is involved in the darkness of unfathomable complexity, but eternal simplicity is the glory
of Truth.

Love of self shuts men out from Truth, and seeking their own personal happiness they lose the
deeper, purer, and more abiding bliss. Says Carlyle--"There is in man a higher than love of
happiness. He can do without happiness, and instead thereof find blessedness.

... Love not pleasure, love God. This is the Everlasting Yea, wherein all contradiction is solved;
wherein whoso walks and works, it is well with him."

He who has yielded up that self, that personality that men most love, and to which they cling
with such fierce tenacity, has left behind him all perplexity, and has entered into a simplicity so
profoundly simple as to be looked upon by the world, involved as it is in a network of error, as
foolishness. Yet such a one has realized the highest wisdom, and is at rest in the Infinite. He
"accomplishes without striving," and all problems melt before him, for he has entered the region
of reality, and deals, not with changing effects, but with the unchanging principles of things. He
is enlightened with a wisdom which is as superior to ratiocination, as reason is to animality.
Having yielded up his lusts, his errors, his opinions and prejudices, he has entered into
possession of the knowledge of God, having slain the selfish desire for heaven, and along with it
the ignorant fear of hell; having relinquished even the love of life itself, he has gained supreme
bliss and Life Eternal, the Life which bridges life and death, and knows its own immortality.
Having yielded up all without reservation, he has gained all, and rests in peace on the bosom of
the Infinite.

Only he who has become so free from self as to be equally content to be annihilated as to live, or
to live as to be annihilated, is fit to enter into the Infinite. Only he who, ceasing to trust his
perishable self, has learned to trust in boundless measure the Great Law, the Supreme Good, is
prepared to partake of undying bliss.

For such a one there is no more regret, nor disappointment, nor remorse, for where all selfishness
has ceased these sufferings cannot be; and whatever happens to him he knows that it is for his
own good, and he is content, being no longer the servant of self, but the servant of the Supreme.
He is no longer affected by the changes of earth, and when he hears of wars and rumors of wars
his peace is not disturbed, and where men grow angry and cynical and quarrelsome, he bestows
compassion and love. Though appearances may contradict it, he knows that the world is
progressing, and that

"Through its laughing and its weeping,

Through its living and its keeping,
Through its follies and its labors, weaving in and out of sight,
To the end from the beginning,
Through all virtue and all sinning,
Reeled from God‘s great spool of Progress, runs the golden
thread of light."

When a fierce storm is raging none are angered about it, because they know it will quickly pass
away, and when the storms of contention are devastating the world, the wise man, looking with
the eye of Truth and pity, knows that it will pass away, and that out of the wreckage of broken
hearts which it leaves behind the immortal Temple of Wisdom will be built.

Sublimely patient; infinitely compassionate; deep, silent, and pure, his very presence is a
benediction; and when he speaks men ponder his words in their hearts, and by them rise to higher
levels of attainment. Such is he who has entered into the Infinite, who by the power of utmost
sacrifice has solved the sacred mystery of life.

Questioning Life and Destiny and Truth,

I sought the dark and labyrinthine Sphinx,
Who spake to me this strange and wondrous thing:--
"Concealment only lies in blinded eyes,
And God alone can see the Form of God."

I sought to solve this hidden mystery

Vainly by paths of blindness and of pain,
But when I found the Way of Love and Peace,
Concealment ceased, and I was blind no more:
Then saw I God e‘en with the eyes of God.
6. Saints, sages, and saviors: the law of service

The spirit of Love which is manifested as a perfect and rounded life, is the crown of being and
the supreme end of knowledge upon this earth.

The measure of a man‘s truth is the measure of his love, and Truth is far removed from him
whose life is not governed by Love. The intolerant and condemnatory, even though they profess
the highest religion, have the smallest measure of Truth; while those who exercise patience, and
who listen calmly and dispassionately to all sides, and both arrive themselves at, and incline
others to, thoughtful and unbiased conclusions upon all problems and issues, have Truth in
fullest measure. The final test of wisdom is this,--how does a man live? What spirit does he
manifest? How does he act under trial and temptation? Many men boast of being in possession of
Truth who are continually swayed by grief, disappointment, and passion, and who sink under the
first little trial that comes along. Truth is nothing if not unchangeable, and in so far as a man
takes his stand upon Truth does he become steadfast in virtue, does he rise superior to his
passions and emotions and changeable personality.

Men formulate perishable dogmas, and call them Truth. Truth cannot be formulated; it is
ineffable, and ever beyond the reach of intellect. It can only be experienced by practice; it can
only be manifested as a stainless heart and a perfect life.

Who, then, in the midst of the ceaseless pandemonium of schools and creeds and parties, has the
Truth? He who lives it. He who practices it. He who, having risen above that pandemonium by
overcoming himself, no longer engages in it, but sits apart, quiet, subdued, calm, and self-
possessed, freed from all strife, all bias, all condemnation, and bestows upon all the glad and
unselfish love of the divinity within him.

He who is patient, calm, gentle, and forgiving under all circumstances, manifests the Truth.
Truth will never be proved by wordy arguments and learned treatises, for if men do not perceive
the Truth in infinite patience, undying forgiveness, and all-embracing compassion, no words can
ever prove it to them.

It is an easy matter for the passionate to be calm and patient when they are alone, or are in the
midst of calmness. It is equally easy for the uncharitable to be gentle and kind when they are
dealt kindly with, but he who retains his patience and calmness under all trial, who remains
sublimely meek and gentle under the most trying circumstances, he, and he alone, is possessed of
the spotless Truth. And this is so because such lofty virtues belong to the Divine, and can only be
manifested by one who has attained to the highest wisdom, who has relinquished his passionate
and self-seeking nature, who has realized the supreme and unchangeable Law, and has brought
himself into harmony with it.

Let men, therefore, cease from vain and passionate arguments about Truth, and let them think
and say and do those things which make for harmony, peace, love, and good-will. Let them
practice heart-virtue, and search humbly and diligently for the Truth which frees the soul from all
error and sin, from all that blights the human heart, and that darkens, as with unending night, the
pathway of the wandering souls of earth.
There is one great all-embracing Law which is the foundation and cause of the universe, the Law
of Love. It has been called by many names in various countries and at various times, but behind
all its names the same unalterable Law may be discovered by the eye of Truth. Names, religions,
personalities pass away, but the Law of Love remains. To become possessed of a knowledge of
this Law, to enter into conscious harmony with it, is to become immortal, invincible,

It is because of the effort of the soul to realize this Law that men come again and again to live, to
suffer, and to die; and when realized, suffering ceases, personality is dispersed, and the fleshly
life and death are destroyed, for consciousness becomes one with the Eternal.

The Law is absolutely impersonal, and its highest manifested expression is that of Service. When
the purified heart has realized Truth it is then called upon to make the last, the greatest and
holiest sacrifice, the sacrifice of the well-earned enjoyment of Truth. It is by virtue of this
sacrifice that the divinely-emancipated soul comes to dwell among men, clothed with a body of
flesh, content to dwell among the lowliest and least, and to be esteemed the servant of all
mankind. That sublime humility which is manifested by the world‘s saviors is the seal of
Godhead, and he who has annihilated the personality, and has become a living, visible
manifestation of the impersonal, eternal, boundless Spirit of Love, is alone singled out as worthy
to receive the unstinted worship of posterity. He only who succeeds in humbling himself with
that divine humility which is not only the extinction of self, but is also the pouring out upon all
the spirit of unselfish love, is exalted above measure, and given spiritual dominion in the hearts
of mankind.

All the great spiritual teachers have denied themselves personal luxuries, comforts, and rewards,
have abjured temporal power, and have lived and taught the limitless and impersonal Truth.
Compare their lives and teachings, and you will find the same simplicity, the same self-sacrifice,
the same humility, love, and peace both lived and preached by them. They taught the same
eternal Principles, the realization of which destroys all evil. Those who have been hailed and
worshiped as the saviors of mankind are manifestations of the Great impersonal Law, and being
such, were free from passion and prejudice, and having no opinions, and no special letter of
doctrine to preach and defend, they never sought to convert and to proselytize. Living in the
highest Goodness, the supreme Perfection, their sole object was to uplift mankind by manifesting
that Goodness in thought, word, and deed. They stand between man the personal and God the
impersonal, and serve as exemplary types for the salvation of self-enslaved mankind.

Men who are immersed in self, and who cannot comprehend the Goodness that is absolutely
impersonal, deny divinity to all saviors except their own, and thus introduce personal hatred and
doctrinal controversy, and, while defending their own particular views with passion, look upon
each other as being heathens or infidels, and so render null and void, as far as their lives are
concerned, the unselfish beauty and holy grandeur of the lives and teachings of their own
Masters. Truth cannot be limited; it can never be the special prerogative of any man, school, or
nation, and when personality steps in, Truth is lost.

The glory alike of the saint, the sage, and the savior is this,--that he has realized the most
profound lowliness, the most sublime unselfishness; having given up all, even his own
personality, all his works are holy and enduring, for they are freed from every taint of self. He
gives, yet never thinks of receiving; he works without regretting the past or anticipating the
future, and never looks for reward.

When the farmer has tilled and dressed his land and put in the seed, he knows that he has done
all that he can possibly do, and that now he must trust to the elements, and wait patiently for the
course of time to bring about the harvest, and that no amount of expectancy on his part will
affect the result. Even so, he who has realized Truth goes forth as a sower of the seeds of
goodness, purity, love and peace, without expectancy, and never looking for results, knowing
that there is the Great Over-ruling Law which brings about its own harvest in due time, and
which is alike the source of preservation and destruction.

Men, not understanding the divine simplicity of a profoundly unselfish heart, look upon their
particular savior as the manifestation of a special miracle, as being something entirely apart and
distinct from the nature of things, and as being, in his ethical excellence, eternally
unapproachable by the whole of mankind. This attitude of unbelief (for such it is) in the divine
perfectibility of man, paralyzes effort, and binds the souls of men as with strong ropes to sin and
suffering. Jesus "grew in wisdom" and was "perfected by suffering." What Jesus was, he became
such; what Buddha was, he became such; and every holy man became such by unremitting
perseverance in self-sacrifice. Once recognize this, once realize that by watchful effort and
hopeful perseverance you can rise above your lower nature, and great and glorious will be the
vistas of attainment that will open out before you. Buddha vowed that he would not relax his
efforts until he arrived at the state of perfection, and he accomplished his purpose.

What the saints, sages, and saviors have accomplished, you likewise may accomplish if you will
only tread the way which they trod and pointed out, the way of self-sacrifice, of self-denying

Truth is very simple. It says, "Give up self," "Come unto Me" (away from all that defiles) "and I
will give you rest." All the mountains of commentary that have been piled upon it cannot hide it
from the heart that is earnestly seeking for Righteousness. It does not require learning; it can be
known in spite of learning. Disguised under many forms by erring self-seeking man, the
beautiful simplicity and clear transparency of Truth remains unaltered and undimmed, and the
unselfish heart enters into and partakes of its shining radiance. Not by weaving complex theories,
not by building up speculative philosophies is Truth realized; but by weaving the web of inward
purity, by building up the Temple of a stainless life is Truth realized.

He who enters upon this holy way begins by restraining his passions. This is virtue, and is the
beginning of saintship, and saintship is the beginning of holiness. The entirely worldly man
gratifies all his desires, and practices no more restraint than the law of the land in which he lives
demands; the virtuous man restrains his passions; the saint attacks the enemy of Truth in its
stronghold within his own heart, and restrains all selfish and impure thoughts; while the holy
man is he who is free from passion and all impure thought, and to whom goodness and purity
have become as natural as scent and color are to the flower. The holy man is divinely wise; he
alone knows Truth in its fullness, and has entered into abiding rest and peace. For him evil has
ceased; it has disappeared in the universal light of the All-Good. Holiness is the badge of
wisdom. Said Krishna to the Prince Arjuna--

"Humbleness, truthfulness, and harmlessness,

Patience and honor, reverence for the wise,
Purity, constancy, control of self,
Contempt of sense-delights, self-sacrifice,
Perception of the certitude of ill
In birth, death, age, disease, suffering and sin;
An ever tranquil heart in fortunes good
And fortunes evil, ...
... Endeavors resolute
To reach perception of the utmost soul,
And grace to understand what gain it were
So to attain--this is true wisdom, Prince!
And what is otherwise is ignorance!"

Whoever fights ceaselessly against his own selfishness, and strives to supplant it with all-
embracing love, is a saint, whether he live in a cottage or in the midst of riches and influence; or
whether he preaches or remains obscure.

To the worldling, who is beginning to aspire towards higher things, the saint, such as a sweet St.
Francis of Assisi, or a conquering St. Anthony, is a glorious and inspiring spectacle; to the saint,
an equally enrapturing sight is that of the sage, sitting serene and holy, the conqueror of sin and
sorrow, no more tormented by regret and remorse, and whom even temptation can never reach;
and yet even the sage is drawn on by a still more glorious vision, that of the savior actively
manifesting his knowledge in selfless works, and rendering his divinity more potent for good by
sinking himself in the throbbing, sorrowing, aspiring heart of mankind.

And this only is true service--to forget oneself in love towards all, to lose oneself in working for
the whole. O thou vain and foolish man, who thinkest that thy many works can save thee; who,
chained to all error, talkest loudly of thyself, thy work, and thy many sacrifices, and magnifiest
thine own importance; know this, that though thy fame fill the whole earth, all thy work shall
come to dust, and thou thyself be reckoned lower than the least in the Kingdom of Truth!

Only the work that is impersonal can live; the works of self are both powerless and perishable.
Where duties, howsoever humble, are done without self-interest, and with joyful sacrifice, there
is true service and enduring work. Where deeds, however brilliant and apparently successful, are
done from love of self, there is ignorance of the Law of Service, and the work perishes.

It is given to the world to learn one great and divine lesson, the lesson of absolute unselfishness.
The saints, sages, and saviors of all time are they who have submitted themselves to this task,
and have learned and lived it. All the Scriptures of the world are framed to teach this one lesson;
all the great teachers reiterate it. It is too simple for the world which, scorning it, stumbles along
in the complex ways of selfishness.
A pure heart is the end of all religion and the beginning of divinity. To search for this
Righteousness is to walk the Way of Truth and Peace, and he who enters this Way will soon
perceive that Immortality which is independent of birth and death, and will realize that in the
Divine economy of the universe the humblest effort is not lost.

The divinity of a Krishna, a Gautama, or a Jesus is the crowning glory of self-abnegation, the end
of the soul‘s pilgrimage in matter and mortality, and the world will not have finished its long
journey until every soul has become as these, and has entered into the blissful realization of its
own divinity.

Great glory crowns the heights of hope by arduous struggle won;

Bright honor rounds the hoary head that mighty works hath done;
Fair riches come to him who strives in ways of golden gain.
And fame enshrines his name who works with genius-glowing brain;
But greater glory waits for him who, in the bloodless strife
‘Gainst self and wrong, adopts, in love, the sacrificial life;
And brighter honor rounds the brow of him who, ‘mid the scorns
Of blind idolaters of self, accepts the crown of thorns;
And fairer purer riches come to him who greatly strives
To walk in ways of love and truth to sweeten human lives;
And he who serveth well mankind exchanges fleeting fame
For Light eternal, Joy and Peace, and robes of heavenly flame.

7. The realization of perfect peace

In the external universe there is ceaseless turmoil, change, and unrest; at the heart of all things
there is undisturbed repose; in this deep silence dwelleth the Eternal.

Man partakes of this duality, and both the surface change and disquietude, and the deep-seated
eternal abode of Peace, are contained within him.

As there are silent depths in the ocean which the fiercest storm cannot reach, so there are silent,
holy depths in the heart of man which the storms of sin and sorrow can never disturb. To reach
this silence and to live consciously in it is peace.

Discord is rife in the outward world, but unbroken harmony holds sway at the heart of the
universe. The human soul, torn by discordant passion and grief, reaches blindly toward the
harmony of the sinless state, and to reach this state and to live consciously in it is peace.

Hatred severs human lives, fosters persecution, and hurls nations into ruthless war, yet men,
though they do not understand why, retain some measure of faith in the overshadowing of a
Perfect Love; and to reach this Love and to live consciously in it is peace.

And this inward peace, this silence, this harmony, this Love, is the Kingdom of Heaven, which is
so difficult to reach because few are willing to give up themselves and to become as little
"Heaven‘s gate is very narrow and minute,
It cannot be perceived by foolish men
Blinded by vain illusions of the world;
E‘en the clear-sighted who discern the way,
And seek to enter, find the portal barred,
And hard to be unlocked. Its massive bolts
Are pride and passion, avarice and lust."

Men cry peace! peace! where there is no peace, but on the contrary, discord, disquietude and
strife. Apart from that Wisdom which is inseparable from self-renunciation, there can be no real
and abiding peace.

The peace which results from social comfort, passing gratification, or worldly victory is
transitory in its nature, and is burnt up in the heat of fiery trial. Only the Peace of Heaven
endures through all trial, and only the selfless heart can know the Peace of Heaven.

Holiness alone is undying peace. Self-control leads to it, and the ever-increasing Light of
Wisdom guides the pilgrim on his way. It is partaken of in a measure as soon as the path of
virtue is entered upon, but it is only realized in its fullness when self disappears in the
consummation of a stainless life.

"This is peace,
To conquer love of self and lust of life,
To tear deep-rooted passion from the heart
To still the inward strife."

If, O reader! you would realize the Light that never fades, the Joy that never ends, and the
tranquillity that cannot be disturbed; if you would leave behind for ever your sins, your sorrows,
your anxieties and perplexities; if, I say, you would partake of this salvation, this supremely
glorious Life, then conquer yourself. Bring every thought, every impulse, every desire into
perfect obedience to the divine power resident within you. There is no other way to peace but
this, and if you refuse to walk it, your much praying and your strict adherence to ritual will be
fruitless and unavailing, and neither gods nor angels can help you. Only to him that overcometh
is given the white stone of the regenerate life, on which is written the New and Ineffable Name.

Come away, for awhile, from external things, from the pleasures of the senses, from the
arguments of the intellect, from the noise and the excitements of the world, and withdraw
yourself into the inmost chamber of your heart, and there, free from the sacrilegious intrusion of
all selfish desires, you will find a deep silence, a holy calm, a blissful repose, and if you will rest
awhile in that holy place, and will meditate there, the faultless eye of Truth will open within you,
and you will see things as they really are. This holy place within you is your real and eternal self;
it is the divine within you; and only when you identify yourself with it can you be said to be
"clothed and in your right mind." It is the abode of peace, the temple of wisdom, the dwelling-
place of immortality. Apart from this inward resting-place, this Mount of Vision, there can be no
true peace, no knowledge of the Divine, and if you can remain there for one minute, one hour, or
one day, it is possible for you to remain there always. All your sins and sorrows, your fears and
anxieties are your own, and you can cling to them or you can give them up. Of your own accord
you cling to your unrest; of your own accord you can come to abiding peace. No one else can
give up sin for you; you must give it up yourself. The greatest teacher can do no more than walk
the way of Truth for himself, and point it out to you; you yourself must walk it for yourself. You
can obtain freedom and peace alone by your own efforts, by yielding up that which binds the
soul, and which is destructive of peace.

The angels of divine peace and joy are always at hand, and if you do not see them, and hear
them, and dwell with them, it is because you shut yourself out from them, and prefer the
company of the spirits of evil within you. You are what you will to be, what you wish to be, what
you prefer to be. You can commence to purify yourself, and by so doing can arrive at peace, or
you can refuse to purify yourself, and so remain with suffering.

Step aside, then; come out of the fret and the fever of life; away from the scorching heat of self,
and enter the inward resting-place where the cooling airs of peace will calm, renew, and restore

Come out of the storms of sin and anguish. Why be troubled and tempest-tossed when the haven
of Peace of God is yours!

Give up all self-seeking; give up self, and lo! the Peace of God is yours!

Subdue the animal within you; conquer every selfish uprising, every discordant voice; transmute
the base metals of your selfish nature into the unalloyed gold of Love, and you shall realize the
Life of Perfect Peace. Thus subduing, thus conquering, thus transmuting, you will, O reader!
while living in the flesh, cross the dark waters of mortality, and will reach that Shore upon which
the storms of sorrow never beat, and where sin and suffering and dark uncertainty cannot come.
Standing upon that Shore, holy, compassionate, awakened, and self-possessed and glad with
unending gladness, you will realize that

"Never the Spirit was born, the Spirit will cease to be never;
Never was time it was not, end and beginning are dreams;
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the Spirit for ever;
Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems."

You will then know the meaning of Sin, of Sorrow, of Suffering, and that the end thereof is
Wisdom; will know the cause and the issue of existence.

And with this realization you will enter into rest, for this is the bliss of immortality, this the
unchangeable gladness, this the untrammeled knowledge, undefiled Wisdom, and undying Love;
this, and this only, is the realization of Perfect Peace.
O thou who wouldst teach men of Truth!
Hast thou passed through the desert of doubt?
Art thou purged by the fires of sorrow? hath ruth
The fiends of opinion cast out
Of thy human heart? Is thy soul so fair
That no false thought can ever harbor there?

O thou who wouldst teach men of Love!

Hast thou passed through the place of despair?
Hast thou wept through the dark night of grief?
does it move
(Now freed from its sorrow and care)
Thy human heart to pitying gentleness,
Looking on wrong, and hate, and ceaseless stress?

O thou who wouldst teach men of Peace!

Hast thou crossed the wide ocean of strife?
Hast thou found on the Shores of the Silence,
Release from all the wild unrest of life?
From thy human heart hath all striving gone,
Leaving but Truth, and Love, and Peace alone?
James Allen

Part I: Entering the Kingdom
1. The Soul‘s Great Need
2. The Competitive Laws and The Law of Love
3. The Finding of a Principle
4. At Rest in The Kingdom and All Things Added
Part II: The Heavenly Life
1. The Divine Centre
2. The Eternal Now
3. The "Original Simplicity"
4. The Unfailing Wisdom
5. The Might of Meekness
6. The Righteous Man
7. Perfect Love
8. Perfect Freedom
9. Greatness and Goodness
10. Heaven in the Heart


In seeking for pleasures here and rewards hereafter men have destroyed (in their hearts) the
Temple of Righteousness, and have wandered from the Kingdom of Heaven. By ceasing to seek
for earthly pleasures and heavenly rewards, the Temple of Righteousness is restored and the
Kingdom of Heaven is found. This truth is for those who are ready to receive it; and this book
also is for those whose souls have been prepared for the acceptance of its teaching.

James Allen.
Part I: Entering the Kingdom
1. The Soul’s Great Need

I sought the world, but Peace was not there;

I courted learning, but Truth was not revealed;
I sojourned with philosophy, but my heart was sore with vanity.
And I cried, Where is Peace to be found!
And where is the hiding place of truth!

Filius Lucis

EVERY HUMAN SOUL IS IN NEED. The expression of that need varies with individuals, but
there is not one soul that does not feel it in some degree. It is a spiritual and casual need which
takes the form, in souls of a particular development, of a deep and inexpressible hunger which
the outward things of life, however abundantly they may be possessed, can never satisfy. Yet the
majority, imperfect in knowledge and misled by appearances, seek to satisfy this hunger by
striving for material possessions, believing that these will satisfy their need, and bring them

Every soul, consciously or unconsciously, hungers for righteousness, and every soul seeks to
gratify that hunger in its own particular way, and in accordance with its own particular state of
knowledge. The hunger is one, and the righteousness is one, but the pathways by which
righteousness is sought are many.

They who seek consciously are blessed, and shall shortly find that final and permanent
satisfaction of soul which righteousness alone can give, for they have come into a knowledge of
the true path.

They who seek unconsciously, although for a time they may bathe in a sea of pleasure, are not
blessed, for they are carving out for themselves pathways of suffering over which they must walk
with torn and wounded feet, and their hunger will increase, and the soul will cry out for its lost
heritage—the eternal heritage of righteousness.

Not in any of the three worlds (waking, dream and sleep) can the soul find lasting satisfaction,
apart from the realization of righteousness. Bodied or disembodied, it is ceaselessly driven on by
the discipline of suffering, until at last, in its extremity, it flies to its only refuge—the refuge of
righteousness—and finds that joy, satisfaction, and peace which it had so long and so vainly

The great need of the soul, then, is the need of this permanent principle, called righteousness, on
which it may stand securely and restfully amid the tempest of earthly existence, no more
bewildered, and whereon it may build the mansion of a beautiful, peaceful, and perfect life.

It is the realization of this principle where the Kingdom of Heaven, the abiding home of the soul,
resides, and which is the source and storehouse of every permanent blessing. Finding it, all is
found; not finding it, all is lost. It is an attitude of mind, a state of consciousness, an ineffable
knowledge, in which the struggle for existence ceases, and the soul finds itself at rest in the midst
of plenty, where its great need, yea, its every need, is satisfied, without strife and without fear.
Blessed are they who earnestly and intelligently seek, for it is impossible that such should seek in

2. The Competitive Laws and the Law of Love

When I am pure
I shall have solved the mystery of life,
I shall be sure
(When I am free from hatred, lust and strife)
I am in truth, and Truth abides in me.
I shall be safe and sane and wholly free
When I am pure.

IT HAS BEEN SAID that the laws of Nature are cruel; it has likewise been said that they are
kind. The one statement is the result of dwelling exclusively upon the fiercely competitive aspect
of Nature; the other results from viewing only the protective and kindly aspect. In reality, natural
laws are neither cruel or kind; they are absolutely just—are, in fact, the outworking of the
indestructible principle of justice itself.

The cruelty, and consequent suffering, which is so prevalent in Nature, is not inherent in the
heart and substance of life; it is a passing phase of evolution, a painful experience, which will
ultimately ripen into the fruit of a more perfect knowledge; a dark night of ignorance and unrest,
leading to a glorious morning of joy and peace.

When a helpless child is burnt to death, we do not ascribe cruelty to the working of the natural
law by virtue of which the child was consumed; we infer ignorance in the child, or carelessness
on the part of its guardians. Even so, men and creatures are daily being consumed in the invisible
flames of passion, succumbing to the ceaseless interplay of those fiery psychic forces which, in
their ignorance, they do not understand, but which they shall at last learn how to control and use
to their own protection, and not, as at present, foolishly employ them to their own destruction.

To understand, control and harmoniously adjust the invisible forces of its own soul is the
ultimate destiny of every being and creature. Some men and women, in the past, have
accomplished this supreme and exalted purpose; some, in the present, have likewise succeeded,
and, until this is done, that place of rest wherein one receives all that is necessary for one‘s well-
being and happiness, without striving, and with freedom from pain, cannot be entered.

In an age like the present, when, in all civilized countries, the string of life is strained to its
highest pitch, when men and women, striving each with each in every department of life for the
vanities and material possessions of this perishable existence, have developed competition to the
utmost limit of endurance—in such an age the sublimest heights of knowledge are scaled, the
supremest spiritual conquests are achieved; for when the soul is most tired, its need is greatest,
and where the need is great, great will be the effort. Where, also, the temptations are powerful,
the greater and more enduring will be the victory.

Men love the competitive strife with their fellows, while it promises, and seems to bring them
gain and happiness; but when the inevitable reaction comes, and the cold steel of selfish strife
which their own hands have forged enters their own hearts, then, and not till then, do they seek a
better way.

"Blessed are they that mourn,"—that have come to the end of strife, and have found the pain and
sorrow to which it leads; for unto them, and unto them only, can open the door which leads to the
Kingdom of Peace.

In searching for this Kingdom, it is necessary to fully understand the nature of that which
prevents its realization—namely, the strife of nature, the competitive laws operative in human
affairs, and the universal unrest, insecurity and fear which accompany these factors; for without
such an understanding there can be no sound comprehension as to what constitutes the true and
false in life, and therefore no real spiritual advancement.

Before the true can be apprehended and enjoyed, the false must be unveiled; before the real can
be perceived as the real, the illusions which distort it must be dispersed; and before the limitless
expanse of Truth can open before us, the limited experience which is confined to the world of
visible and superficial effects must be transcended.

Let, therefore, those of my readers who are thoughtful and earnest, and who are diligently
seeking, or are willing to seek, for that basis of thought and conduct which shall simplify and
harmonize the bewildering complexities and inequalities of life, walk with me step by step as I
open up the way to the Kingdom; first descending into Hell (the world of strife and self-seeking)
in order that, having comprehended its intricate ways, we may afterwards ascend into Heaven
(the world of Peace and Love).

It is the custom in my household, during the hard frosts of winter, to put out food for the birds,
and it is a noticeable fact that these creatures, when they are really starving, live together most
amicably, huddling together to keep each other warm, and refraining from all strife; and if a
small quantity of food be given them they will eat it with comparative freedom from contention;
but let a quantity of food which is more than sufficient for all be thrown to them, and fighting
over the coveted supply at once ensues.

Occasionally we would put out a whole loaf of bread, and then the contention of the birds
became fierce and prolonged, although there was more than they could possibly eat during
several days. Some, having gorged themselves until they could eat no more, would stand upon
the loaf and hover round it, pecking fiercely at all newcomers, and endeavouring to prevent them
from obtaining any of the food. And along with this fierce contention there was noticeably a
great fear. With each mouthful of food taken, the birds would look around in nervous terror,
apprehensive of losing their food or their lives.
In this simple incident we have an illustration—crude, perhaps, but true—of the basis and
outworking of the competitive laws in Nature and in human affairs. It is not scarcity that
produces competition, it is abundance; so that the richer and more luxurious a nation becomes,
the keener and fiercer becomes the competition for securing the necessaries and luxuries of life.

Let famine overtake a nation, and at once compassion and sympathy take the place of
competitive strife; and, in the blessedness of giving and receiving, men enjoy a foretaste of that
heavenly bliss which the spiritually wise have found, and which all shall ultimately reach.

The fact that abundance, and not scarcity, creates competition, should be held constantly in mind
by the reader during the perusal of this book, as it throws a searching light not only on the
statements herein contained, but upon every problem relating to social life and human conduct.
Moreover, if it be deeply and earnestly meditated upon, and its lessons applied to individual
conduct, it will make plain the Way which leads to the Kingdom.

Let us now search out the cause of this fact, in order that the evils connected with it may be

Every phenomenon in social and national life (as in Nature) is an effect, and all these effects are
embodied by a cause which is not remote and detached, but which is the immediate soul and life
of the effect itself. As the seed is contained in the flower, and the flower in the seed, so the
relation of cause and effect is intimate and inseparable. An effect also is vivified and propagated,
not by any life inherent in itself, but by the life and impulse existing in the cause.

Looking out upon the world, we behold it as an arena of strife in which individuals,
communities, and nations are constantly engaged in struggle, striving with each other for
superiority, and for the largest share of worldly possessions.

We see, also, that the weaker fall out defeated, and that the strong — those who are equipped to
pursue the combat with undiminished ardour — obtain the victory, and enter into possession.
And along with this struggle we see the suffering which is inevitably connected with it — men
and women, broken down with the weight of their responsibilities, failing in their efforts and
losing all; families and communities broken up, and nations subdued and subordinated.

We see seas of tears, telling of unspeakable anguish and grief; we see painful partings and early
and unnatural deaths; and we know that this life of strife, when stripped of its surface
appearances, is largely a life of sorrow. h that aspect of human life with which we are now
dealing; such are the effects as we see them; and they have one common cause which is found in
the human heart itself.

As all the multiform varieties of plant life have one common soil from which to draw their
sustenance, and by virtue of which they live and thrive, so all the varied activities of human life
are rooted in, and draw their vitality from, one common source—the human heart. The cause of
all suffering and of all happiness resides, not in the outer activities of human life, but in the inner
activities of the heart and mind; and every external agency is sustained by the life which it
derives from human conduct.
The organized life-principle in man carves for itself outward channels along which it can pour its
pent-up energies, makes for itself vehicles through which it can manifest its potency and reap its
experience, and, as a result, we have our religious, social and political organizations.

All the visible manifestations of human life, then, are effects; and as such, although they may
possess a reflex action, they can never be causes, but must remain forever what they are—dead
effects, galvanized into life by an enduring and profound cause.

It is the custom of men to wander about in this world of effects, and to mistake its illusions for
realities, eternally transposing and readjusting these effects in order to arrive at a solution of
human problems, instead of reaching down to the underlying cause which is at once the centre of
unification and the basis upon which to build a peace-giving solution of human life.

The strife of the world in all its forms, whether it be war, social or political quarrelling, sectarian
hatred, private disputes or commercial competition, has its origin in one common cause, namely,
individual selfishness. And I employ this term selfishness in a far-reaching sense; in it I include
all forms of self-love and egotism— I mean by it the desire to pander to, and preserve at all
costs, the personality.

This element of selfishness is the life and soul of competition, and of the competitive laws. Apart
from it they have no existence. But in the life of every individual in whose heart selfishness in
any form is harboured, these laws are brought into play, and the individual is subject to them.

Innumerable economic systems have failed, and must fail, to exterminate the strife of the world.
They are the outcome of the delusion that outward systems of government are the causes of that
strife, whereas they are but the visible and transient effect of the inward strife, the channels
through which it must necessarily manifest itself. To destroy the channel is, and must ever be
ineffectual, as the inward energy will immediately make for itself another, and still another and

Strife cannot cease; and the competitive laws must prevail so long as selfishness is fostered in the
heart. All reforms fail where this element is ignored or unaccounted for; all reforms will succeed
where it is recognized, and steps are taken for its removal.

Selfishness, then, is the root cause of competition, the foundation on which all competitive
systems rest, and the sustaining source of the competitive laws. It will thus be seen that all
competitive systems, all the visible activities of the struggle of man with man, are as the leaves
and branches of a tree which overspreads the whole earth, the root of that tree being individual
selfishness, and the ripened fruits of which are pain and sorrow.

This tree cannot be destroyed by merely lopping off its branches; to do this effectively, the root
must be destroyed. To introduce measures in the form of changed external conditions is merely
lopping off the branches; and as the cutting away of certain branches of a tree gives added vigour
to those which remain, even so the very means which are taken to curtail the competitive strife,
when those means deal entirely with its outward effects, will but add strength and vigour to the
tree whose roots are all the time being fostered and encouraged in the human heart. The most that
even legislation can do is to prune the branches, and so prevent the tree from altogether running

Great efforts are now being put forward to found a "Garden City," which shall be a veritable
Eden planted in the midst of orchards, and whose inhabitants shall live in comfort and
comparative repose. And beautiful and laudable are all such efforts when they are prompted by
unselfish love. But such a city cannot exist, or cannot long remain the Eden which it aims to be
in its outward form, unless the majority of its inhabitants have subdued and conquered the
inward selfishness.

Even one form of selfishness, namely, self-indulgence, if fostered by its inhabitants, will
completely undermine that city, levelling its orchards to the ground, converting many of its
beautiful dwellings into competitive marts, and obnoxious centres for the personal gratification
of appetite, and some of its buildings into institutions for the maintenance of order; and upon its
public spaces will rise jails, asylums, and orphanages, for where the spirit of self-indulgence is,
the means for its gratification will be immediately adopted, without considering the good of
others or of the community (for selfishness is always blind), and the fruits of that gratification
will be rapidly reaped.

The building of pleasant houses and the planting of beautiful gardens can never, of itself,
constitute a Garden City unless its inhabitants have learned that self-sacrifice is better than self-
protection, and have first established in their own hearts the Garden City of unselfish love. And
when a sufficient number of men and women have done this, the Garden City will appear, and it
will flourish and prosper, and great will be its peace, for "out of the heart are the issues of life."

Having found that selfishness is the root cause of all competition and strife, the question
naturally arises as to how this cause shall be dealt with, for it naturally follows that a cause being
destroyed, all its effects cease; a cause being propagated, all its effects, however they may be
modified from without, must continue.

Every man who has thought at all deeply upon the problem of life, and has brooded
sympathetically upon the sufferings of mankind, has seen that selfishness is at the root of all
sorrow—in fact, this is one of the truths that is first apprehended by the thoughtful mind. And
along with that perception there has been born within him a longing to formulate some methods
by which that selfishness might be overcome.

The first impulse of such a man is to endeavour to frame some outward law, or introduce some
new social arrangements or regulations, which shall put a check on the selfishness of others.

The second tendency of his mind will be to feel his utter helplessness before the great iron will of
selfishness by which he is confronted.

Both these attitudes of mind are the result of an incomplete knowledge of what constitutes
selfishness. And this partial knowledge dominates him because, although he has overcome the
grosser forms of selfishness in himself, and is so far noble, he is yet selfish in other and more
remote and subtle directions.
This feeling of "helplessness" is the prelude to one of two conditions—the man will either give
up in despair, and again sink himself in the selfishness of the world, or he will search and
meditate until he finds another way out of the difficulty. And that way he will find. Looking
deeper and ever deeper into the things of life; reflecting, brooding, examining, and analysing;
grappling with every difficulty and problem with intensity of thought, and developing day by day
a profounder love of Truth—by these means his heart will grow and his comprehension expand,
and at last he will realize that the way to destroy selfishness is not to try to destroy one form of it
in other people, but to destroy it utterly, root and branch, in himself.

The perception of this truth constitutes spiritual illumination, and when once it is awakened in
the mind, the "straight and narrow way" is revealed, and the Gates of the Kingdom already loom
in the distance.

Then does a man apply to himself (not to others) these words—And why beholdest thou the mote
that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how wilt thou
say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own
eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shall thou see clearly
to cast out the mote out of thine brother’s eye.

When a man can apply these words to himself and act upon them, judging himself mercilessly,
but judging none other, then will he find his way out of the hell of competitive strife, then will he
rise above and render of non-effect the laws of competition, and will find the higher Law of
Love, subjecting himself to which every evil thing will flee from him, and the joys and blessings
which the selfish vainly seek will constantly wait upon him. And not only this, he will, having
lifted himself, lift the world. By his example many will see the Way, and will walk it; and the
powers of darkness will be weaker for having lived.

It will here be asked, "But will not man who has risen above his selfishness, and therefore above
the competitive strife, suffer through the selfishness and competition of those around him? Will
he not after all the trouble he has taken to purify himself, suffer at the hands of the impure?"

No, he will not. The equity of the Divine Order is perfect, and cannot be subverted, so that it is
impossible for one who has overcome selfishness to be subject to those laws which are brought
into operation by the action of selfishness; in other words, each individual suffers by virtue of his
own selfishness.

It is true that the selfish all come under the operation of the competitive laws, and suffer
collectively, each acting, more or less, as the instrument by which the suffering of others is
brought about, which makes it appear, on the surface, as though men suffered for the sins of
others rather than their own. But the truth is that in a universe the very basis of which is
harmony, and which can only be sustained by the perfect adjustment of all its parts, each unit
receives its own measure of adjustment, and suffers by and of itself.

Each man comes under the laws of his own being, never under those of another. True, he will
suffer like another, and even through the instrumentality of another, if he elects to live under the
same conditions as that other. But if he chooses to desert those conditions and to live under
another and higher set of conditions of which that other is ignorant, he will cease to come under,
or be affected by, the lower laws.

Let us now go back to the symbol of the tree and carry the analogy a little further. Just as the
leaves and branches are sustained by the roots, so the roots derive their nourishment from the
soil, groping blindly in the darkness for the sustenance which the tree demands. In like manner,
selfishness, the root of the tree of evil and of suffering, derives its nourishment from the dark soil
of ignorance. In this it thrives; upon this it stands and flourishes. By ignorance I mean something
vastly different from lack of learning; and the sense in which I use it will be made plain as I

Selfishness always gropes in the dark. It has no knowledge; by its very nature it is cut off from
the source of enlightenment; it is a blind impulse, knowing nothing, obeying no law, for it knows
none, and is thereby forcibly bound to those competitive laws by virtue of which suffering is
inflicted in order that harmony may be maintained.

We live in a world, a universe, abounding with all good things. So great is the abundance of
spiritual, mental and material blessings that every man and woman on this globe could not only
be provided with every necessary good, but could live in the midst of abounding plenty, and yet
have much to spare. Yet, in spite of this, what a spectacle of ignorance do we behold!

We see on the one hand millions of men and women chained to a ceaseless slavery, interminably
toiling in order to obtain a poor and scanty meal and a garment to cover their nakedness; and on
the other hand we see thousands, who already have more than they require and can well manage,
depriving themselves of all the blessings of a true life and of the vast opportunities which their
possessions place within their reach, in order to accumulate more of those material things for
which they have no legitimate use. Surely men and women have no more wisdom than the beasts
which fight over the possession of that which is more than they can all well dispose of, and
which they could all enjoy in peace!

Such a condition of things can only occur in a state of ignorance deep and dark; so dark and
dense as to be utterly impenetrable save to the unselfish eye of wisdom and truth. And in the
midst of all this striving after place and food and raiment, there works unseen, yet potent and
unerring, the Overruling Law of Justice, meting out to every individual his own quota of merit
and demerit. It is impartial; it bestows no favours; it inflicts no unearned punishments:

It knows not wrath nor pardon; utter-true

It measures mete, its faultless balance weighs;
Times are as nought, tomorrow it will judge,
Or after many days.

The rich and the poor alike suffer for their own selfishness; and none escapes. The rich have their
particular sufferings as well as the poor. Moreover, the rich are continually losing their riches;
the poor are continually acquiring them. The poor man of today is the rich man of tomorrow, and
vice versa.
There is no stability, no security in hell, and only brief and occasional periods of respite from
suffering in some form or other. Fear, also, follows men like a great shadow, for the man who
obtains and holds by selfish force will always be haunted by a feeling of insecurity, and will
continually fear its loss; while the poor man, who is selfishly seeking or coveting material riches,
will be harassed by the fear of destitution. And one and all who live in this underworld of strife
are overshadowed by one great fear—the fear of death.

Surrounded by the darkness of ignorance, and having no knowledge of those eternal and life-
sustaining Principles out of which all things proceed, men labour under the delusion that the
most important and essential things in life are food and clothing, and that their first duty is to
strive to obtain these, believing that these outward things are the source and cause of all comfort
and happiness.

It is the blind animal instinct of self-preservation (the preservation of the body and personality),
by virtue of which each man opposes himself to other men in order to "get a living" or "secure a
competency," believing that if he does not keep an incessant watch on other men, and constantly
renew the struggle, they will ultimately "take the bread out of his mouth."

It is out of this initial delusion that comes all the train of delusions, with their attendant
sufferings. Food and clothing are not the essential things of life; not the causes of happiness.
They are non-essentials, effects, and, as such, proceed by a process of natural law from the
essentials, the underlying cause.

The essential things in life are the enduring elements in character—integrity, faith, righteousness,
self-sacrifice, compassion, love; and out of these all good things proceed.

Food and clothing, and money are dead effects; there is in them no life, no power except that
which we invest with them. They are without vice and virtue, and can neither bless nor harm.
Even the body which men believe to be themselves, to which they pander, and which they long
to keep, must very shortly be yielded up to the dust. But the higher elements of character are life
itself; and to practice these, to trust them, and to live entirely in them, constitutes the Kingdom of

The man who says, "I will first of all earn a competence and secure a good position in life, and
will then give my mind to those higher things," does not understand these higher things, does not
believe them to be higher, for if he did, it would not be possible for him to neglect them. He
believes the material outgrowths of life to be the higher, and therefore he seeks them first. He
believes money, clothing and position to be of vast and essential importance, righteousness and
truth to be at best secondary; for a man always sacrifices that which he believes to be lesser to
that which he believes to be greater.

Immediately after a man realizes that righteousness is of more importance than the getting of
food and clothing, he ceases to strive after the latter, and begins to live for the former. It is here
where we come to the dividing line between the two Kingdoms—Hell and Heaven.
Once a man perceives the beauty and enduring reality of righteousness, his whole attitude of
mind toward himself and others and the things within and around him changes. The love of
personal existence gradually loses its hold on him; the instinct of self-preservation begins to die,
and the practice of self-renunciation takes its place. For the sacrifice of others, or of the
happiness of others, for his own good, he substitutes the sacrifice of self and of his own
happiness for the good of others. And thus, rising above self, he rises above the competitive
strife which is the outcome of self, and above the competitive laws which operate only in the
region of self, and for the regulation of its blind impulses.

He is like the man who has climbed a mountain, and thereby risen above all the disturbing
currents in the valleys below him. The clouds pour down their rain, the thunders roll and the
lightnings flash, the fogs obscure, and the hurricanes uproot and destroy, but they cannot reach
him on the calm heights where he stands, and where he dwells in continual sunshine and peace.

In the life of such a man the lower laws cease to operate, and he now comes under the protection
of a higher Law—namely, the Law of Love; and, in accordance with his faithfulness and
obedience to this Law, will all that is necessary for his well-being come to him at the time when
he requires it.

The idea of gaining a position in the world cannot enter his mind, and the external necessities of
life, such as money, food and clothing, he scarcely ever thinks about. But, subjecting himself for
the good of others, performing all his duties scrupulously and without thinking of reward, and
living day by day in the discipline of righteousness, all other things follow at the right time and
in the right order.

Just as suffering and strife inhere in, and spring from, their root cause, selfishness, so blessedness
and peace inhere in, and spring from, their root-cause, righteousness. And it is a full and all-
embracing blessedness, complete and perfect in every department of life, for that which is
morally and spiritually right is physically and materially right.

Such a man is free, for he is freed from all anxiety, worry, fear, despondency, all those mental
disturbances which derive their vitality from the elements of self, and he lives in constant joy and
peace, and this while living in the very midst of the competitive strife of the world.

Yet, though walking in the midst of Hell, its flames fall back before and around him, so that not
one hair of his head can be singed. Though he walks in the midst of the lions of selfish force, for
him their jaws are closed and their ferocity is subdued. Though on every hand men are falling
around him in the fierce battle of life, he falls not, neither is he dismayed, for no deadly bullet
can reach him, no poisoned shaft can pierce the impenetrable armour of his righteousness.
Having lost the little, personal, self-seeking life of suffering, anxiety, fear, and want, he has
found the illimitable, glorious, self-perfecting life of joy and peace and plenty.

"Therefore take no thought, saying ‘What shall we eat?‘ or, ‘What shall we drink?‘ or,
‘Wherewithal shall we be clothed? . . .‘ For your heavenly Father knoweth ye have need of all
these things. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness, and all these things
shall be added unto you."
3. The Finding of a Principle

Be still, my soul, and know that peace is within

Be steadfast, heart, and know that strength divine
Belongs to thee; cease thy turmoil, mind,
And thou the everlasting rest shall find.

HOW THEN SHALL A MAN reach the Kingdom? By what process shall he find the light which
alone can disperse his darkness? And in what way can he overcome the inward selfishness which
is strong, and deeply rooted?

A man will reach the Kingdom by purifying himself, and he can only do this by pursuing a
process of self-examination and self-analysis. The selfishness must be discovered and understood
before it can be removed. It is powerless to remove itself, neither will it pass away of itself.

Darkness ceases only when light is introduced; so ignorance can only be dispersed by
Knowledge; selfishness by Love. Seeing that in selfishness there is no security, no stability, no
peace, the whole process of seeking the Kingdom resolves itself into a search for a Principle; a
divine and permanent Principle on which a man can stand secure, freed from himself—that is,
from the personal element, and from the tyranny and slavery which that personal self exacts and

A man must first of all be willing to lose himself (his self-seeking self) before he can find
himself (his Divine Self). He must realize that selfishness is not worth clinging to, that it is a
master altogether unworthy of his service, and that divine Goodness alone is worthy to be
enthroned in his heart as the supreme master of his life.

This means that he must have faith, for without this equipment there can be neither progress nor
achievement. He must believe in the desirability of purity, in the supremacy of righteousness, in
the sustaining power of integrity; he must ever hold before him the Ideal and Perfect Goodness,
and strive for its achievement with ever-renewed effort and unflagging zeal.

This faith must be nurtured and its development encouraged. As a lamp, it must be carefully
trimmed and fed and kept burning in the heart, for without its radiating flame no way will be
seen in the darkness; he will find no pathway out of self. And as this flame increases and burns
with a steadier light, energy, resolution, and self-reliance will come to his aid, and with each
step, his progress will be accelerated until at last the Light of Knowledge will begin to take the
place of the lamp of faith, and the darkness will commence to disappear before its searching

Into his spiritual sight will come the Principles of the divine Life, and as he approaches them,
their incomparable beauty and majestic symmetry will astonish his vision, and gladden his heart
with a gladness hitherto unknown.

Along this pathway of self-control and self-purification (for such it is) every soul must travel on
its way to the Kingdom. So narrow is this way, and so overgrown with the weeds of selfishness
is its entrance, that it is difficult to find, and, being found, cannot be retained except by daily
meditation. Without this the spiritual energies grow weaker, and the man loses the strength
necessary to continue. As the body is sustained and invigourated by material food, so the spirit is
strengthened and renewed by its own food—namely meditation upon spiritual things.

He, then, who earnestly resolves to find the Kingdom will commence to meditate, and to rigidly
examine his heart and mind and life in the light of that Supreme Perfection which is the goal of
his attainment.

On his way to that goal, he must pass through three Gateways of Surrender. The first is the
Surrender of Desire; the second is the Surrender of Opinion; the third is the Surrender of Self.
Entering into meditation, he will commence to examine his desires, tracing them out in his mind,
and following up their effects in his life and upon his character; and he will quickly perceive that,
without the renunciation of desire, a man remains a slave both to himself and to his surroundings
and circumstances. Having discovered this, the first Gate, that of the Surrender of Desire, is
entered. Passing through this Gate, he adopts a process of self-discipline which is the first step in
the purification of the soul.

Hitherto he has lived as a slavish beast; eating, drinking, sleeping, and pursuing enjoyment at the
beck and call of his lower impulses; blindly following and gratifying his inclinations without
method, not questioning his conduct, and having no fixed centre from which to regulate his
character and life.

Now, however, he begins to live as a man; he curbs his inclinations, controls his passions, and
steadies his mind in the practice of virtue. He ceases to pursue enjoyment, but follows the
dictates of his reason, and regulates his conduct in accordance with the demands of an ideal.
With the introduction of this regulating factor in his life, he at once perceives that certain habits
must be abandoned.

He begins to select his food, and to have his meals at stated periods, no longer eating at any time
when the sight of food tempts his inclination. He reduces the number of meals per day and also
the quantity of food eaten.

He no longer goes to bed, by day or night, to indulge in pleasurable indolence, but to give his
body the rest it needs, and he therefore regulates his hours of sleep, rising early, and never
encouraging the animal desire to indulge in dreamy indolence after waking.

All those foods and drinks which are particularly associated with gluttony, cruelty, and
drunkenness he will dispense with altogether, selecting the mild and refreshing sustenance which
Nature provides in such rich profusion.

These preliminary steps will be at once adopted; and as the path of self-government and self-
examination is pursued, a clearer and ever clearer perception of the nature, meaning, and effects
of desire will be developed, until it will be seen that the mere regulation of one‘s desires is
altogether inadequate and insufficient, and that the desires themselves must be abandoned, must
be allowed to fall out of the mind and to have no part hi the character and life.
It is at this point where the soul of the seeker will enter the dark Valley of Temptation, for these
desires will not die without a struggle, and without many a fierce effort to reassert the power and
authority with which they have hitherto been invested. And here the lamp of faith must be
constantly fed and assiduously trimmed, for all the light that it can throw out will be required to
guide and encourage the traveller in the dense gloom of this dark Valley.

At first his desires, like so many wild beasts, will clamour loudly for gratification. Failing in that,
they will tempt him to struggle with them that they may overthrow him. And this last temptation
is greater and more difficult to overcome than the first, for the desires will not be stilled until
they are utterly ignored; until they are left unheeded, unconditionally abandoned, and allowed to
perish for want of food.

In passing through this Valley, the searcher will develop certain powers which are necessary to
his further development, and these powers are—self-control, self-reliance, fearlessness, and
independence of thought.

Here also he will have to pass through ridicule and mockery and false accusation; so much so,
that some of his best friends, yea, even those whom he most unselfishly loves, will accuse him of
folly and inconsistency, and will do all they can to argue him back to the life of animal
indulgence, self-seeking, and petty personal strife.

Nearly everybody around him will suddenly discover that they know his duty better than he
knows it himself, and, knowing no other and higher life than their own of mingled excitement
and suffering, they will take great pains to win him back to it, imagining, in their ignorance, that
he is losing so much pleasure and happiness, and is gaining nothing in return.

At first this attitude of others toward him will arouse in him acute suffering; but he will rapidly
discover that this suffering is caused by his own vanity and selfishness, and is the result of his
own subtle desire to be appreciated, admired, and thought well of; and immediately this
knowledge is arrived at, he will rise into a higher state of consciousness, where these things can
no longer reach him and inflict pain. It is here where he will begin to stand firm, and to wield
with effect the powers of mind already mentioned.

Let him therefore press on courageously, heeding neither the revilings of his friends without nor
the clamourings of his enemies within; aspiring, searching, striving; looking ever toward his
Ideal with eyes of holy love; day by day ridding his mind of selfish motive, his heart of impure
desire; stumbling sometimes, sometimes falling, but ever travelling onward and rising higher;
and, recording each night in the silence of his own heart the journey of the day, let him not
despair if but each day, in spite of all its failures and falls, record some holy battle fought, though
lost, some silent victory attempted, though unachieved. The loss of today will add to the gain of
tomorrow for him whose mind is set on the conquest of self.

Passing along the Valley, he will at last come to the Fields of Sorrow and Loneliness. His
desires, having received at his hands neither encouragement nor sustenance, have grown weak,
and are now falling away and perishing. He is climbing out of the Valley, and the darkness is less
dense; but now he realizes for the first time he is alone. He is like a man standing upon the
lowest level of a great mountain, and it is night. Above him towers the lofty peak, beyond which
shine the everlasting stars; a short distance below him are the glaring lights of the city which he
has left, and from it there come up to him the noises of its inhabitants—a confused mingling of
shouts, screams, laughter, rumblings of traffic, and the strains of music. He thinks of his friends,
all of whom are in the city, pursuing their own particular pleasures, and he is alone upon the

That city is the City of Desire and Pleasure, the mountain is the Mountain of Renunciation, and
the climber now knows that he has left the world, that henceforth for him its excitements and
strifes are lifeless things, and can tempt him no more. Resting awhile in this lonely place, he will
taste of sorrow and learn its secret; harshness and hatred will pass from him; his heart will grow
soft, and the first faint broodings of that divine compassion, which shall afterwards absorb his
whole being, will overshadow and inspire him. He will begin to feel with every living thing in its
strivings and sufferings, and gradually, as this lesson is learned, his own sorrow and loneliness
will be forgotten in his great calm love for others, and will pass away.

Here, also, he will begin to perceive and understand the workings of those hidden laws which
govern the destinies of individuals and nations. Having risen above the lower region of strife and
selfishness within himself, he can now look calmly down upon it in others and in the world, and
analyse and comprehend it, and he will see how selfish striving is at the root of all the world‘s

His whole attitude toward others and the world now undergoes a complete change, and
compassion and love begin to take the place of self-seeking and self-protection in his mind; and
as a result of this, the world alters in its attitude toward him.

At this juncture he perceives the folly of competition, and, ceasing from striving to overtop and
get the better of others, he begins to encourage them, both with unselfish thoughts, and, when
necessary, with loving acts; and this he does even to those who selfishly compete with him, no
longer defending himself against them.

As a direct result of this, his worldly affairs begin to prosper as never before; many of his friends
who at first mocked him commence to respect, and even to love him, and he suddenly wakes up
to the fact that he is coming in contact with people of a distinctly unworldly and noble type, of
whose existence he had no knowledge while living in his lower selfish nature. From many parts
and from long distances these people will come to him to minister to him and that he may
minister to them, spiritual fellowship and loving brotherhood will become potent in his life, and
so he will pass beyond the Fields of Sorrow and Loneliness.

The lower competitive laws have now ceased to operate in his life, and their results, which are
failure, disaster, exposure, and destitution, can no longer enter into and form part of his
experience; and this not merely because he has risen above the lower forms of selfishness in
himself, but because also, in so rising, he has developed certain power of mind by which he is
enabled to direct and govern his affairs with a more powerful and masterly hand.
He, however, has not yet travelled far, and unless he exercises constant watchfulness, may at any
time fall back into the lower world of darkness and strife, revivifying its empty pleasures and
galvanizing back to life its dead desires. And especially is there danger when he reaches the
greatest temptation through which man is called to pass— the temptation of doubt.

Before reaching, or even perceiving, the second Gate, that of Surrender of Opinion, the pilgrim
will come upon a great soul-desert, the Desert of Doubt. And here for a time he will wander
around, and despondency, indecision, and uncertainty, a melancholy brood, will surround him
like a cloud, hiding from his view the way immediately in front of him.

A new and strange fear, too, will possibly overtake him, and he will begin to question the
wisdom of the course he is pursuing. Again the allurements of the world will be presented to
him, dressed in their most attractive garb, and the drowning din and stimulating excitement of
worldly battle will once more assume a desirable aspect.

"After all, am I right? What gain is there in this? Does not life itself consist of pleasure and
excitement and battle, and in giving these up am I not giving up all? Am I not sacrificing the
very substance of life for a meaningless shadow? May it not be that, after all, I am a poor
deluded fool, and that all these around me who live the life of the senses and stand upon its solid,
sure, and easily procured enjoyments are wiser than I?"

By such dark doubtings and questionings will he here be tempted and troubled, and these very
doubts will drive him to a deeper searching into the intricacies of life, and arouse within him the
feeling of necessity for some permanent Principle upon which to stand and take refuge.

He will therefore, while wandering about in this dark Desert, come into contact with the higher
and more subtle delusions of his own mind, the delusions of the intellect; and, by contrasting
these with his Ideal, will learn to distinguish between the real and the unreal, the shadow and the
substance, between effect and cause, between fleeting appearances and permanent Principles.

In the Desert of Doubt a man is confronted with all forms of illusion, not only the illusions of the
senses, but also those of abstract thought and religious emotion. It is in the testing of, grappling
with, and ultimately destroying, these illusions that he develops still higher powers, those of
discrimination, spiritual perception, steadfastness of purpose, and calmness of mind, by the
exercise of which he is enabled to unerringly distinguish the true from the false, both in the
world of thought and that of material appearances.

Having acquired these powers, and learned how to use them in his holy warfare as weapons
against himself, he now emerges from the Desert of Doubt, the mists and mirages of delusion
vanish from his pathway, and there looms before him the second Gate, the Gateway of the
Surrender of Opinion.

As he approaches this Gate, he sees before him the whole pathway along which he is travelling,
and, for a space, obtains a glimpse of the glorious heights of attainment toward which he is
moving; he sees the Temple of the Higher Life in all its majesty, and already he feels within him
the strength and joy and peace of conquest. With Sir Galahad he can now exclaim:
"I....saw the Grail,
The Holy Grail...
....And one will crown me king
Far in the spiritual city."

for he knows that his ultimate victory is assured.

He now enters upon a process of self-conquest, which is altogether distinct from that which he
has hitherto pursued. Up to the present he has been overcoming, transmuting, and simplifying his
animal desires; now he commences to transmute and simplify his intellect. He has, so far, been
adjusting his feelings to his Ideals; he now begins to adjust his thoughts to that Ideal, which also
assumes at this point larger and more beautiful proportions, and for the first time he perceives
what really constitutes a permanent and imperishable Principle.

He sees that the righteousness for which he has been searching is fixed and invariable; that it
cannot be accommodated to man, but that man must reach up to, and obey it; that it consists of
an undeviating line of conduct, apart from all considerations of loss or gain, of reward of
punishment; that, in reality, it consists in abandoning self, with all the sins of desire, opinion, and
self-interest of which that self is composed, and in living the blameless life of perfect love
toward all men and creatures. Such a life is fixed and perfect; it is without turning, change, or
qualification, and demands a sinless and perfect conduct. It is, therefore, the direct antithesis of
the worldly life of self.

Perceiving this, the seeker sees that, although he has freed himself from the baser passions and
desires which enslave mankind, he is still in bondage to the fetters of opinion; that although he
has purified himself with a purity to which few aspire, and which the world cannot understand,
he is still defiled with a defilement which is difficult to wash away—he loves his own opinions,
and has all along been confounding them with Truth, with the Principle for which he is seeking.

He is not yet free from strife, and is still involved in the competitive laws as they occur in the
higher realm of thought. He still believes that he (in his opinions) is right, and that others are
wrong; and in his egotism, has even fallen so low as to bestow a mock pity on those who hold
opinions the reverse of his own. But now, realizing this more subtle form of selfishness with
which he is enslaved, and perceiving all the train of sufferings which spring from it, having also
acquired the priceless possession of spiritual discernment, he reverently bends his head and
passes through the second Gateway toward his final peace.

And now, clothing his soul with the colourless Garment of Humility, he bends all his energies to
the uprooting of those opinions which he has hitherto loved and cherished.

He now learns to distinguish between Truth, which is one and unchangeable, and his own and
others‘ opinions about Truth, which are many and changeable.

He sees that his opinions about Goodness, Purity, Compassion, and Love are very distinct from
those qualities themselves, and that he must stand upon those divine Principles, and not upon his
opinions. Hitherto he has regarded his own opinions as of great value, and the opinions of others
as worthless, but now he ceases to so elevate his own opinions and to defend them against those
of others, and comes to regard them as utterly worthless.

As a direct result of this attitude of mind, he takes refuge in the practice of pure Goodness,
unalloyed with base desire and subtle self-love, and takes his stand upon the divine Principles of
Purity, Wisdom, Compassion, and Love, incorporating them into his mind, and manifesting them
in his life.

He is now clothed with the Righteousness of Christ (which is incomprehensible to the world) and
is rapidly becoming divine. He has not only realized the darkness of desire; he has also perceived
the vanity of speculative philosophy, and so rids his mind of all those metaphysical subtleties
which have no relation to practical holiness, and which hitherto encumbered his progress and
prevented him from seeing the enduring realities in life.

And now he casts from him, one after another, his opinions and speculations, and commences to
live the life of perfect love toward all beings. With each opinion overcome and abandoned as a
burden, there is an increased lightness of spirit, and he now begins to realize the meaning of
being "free."

The divine flowers of Gladness, Joy, and Peace spring up spontaneously in his heart, and his life
becomes a blissful song. And as the melody in his heart expands, and grows more and more
perfect, his outward life harmonizes itself with the inward music.

All the effort he puts forth being now free from strife, he obtains all that is necessary for his
well-being, without pain, anxiety, or fear. He has almost entirely transcended the competitive
laws, and the Law of Love is now the governing factor in his life, adjusting all his worldly affairs
harmoniously, and without struggle or difficulty on his part.

Indeed, the competitive laws as they occur in the commercial world, have been long left behind,
and have ceased to touch him at any point in his material affairs. Here, also, he enters into a
wider and more comprehensive consciousness, and viewing the universe and humanity from the
higher altitudes of purity and knowledge to which he has ascended, perceives the orderly
sequence of law in all human affairs.

The pursuit of this Path brings about the development of still higher powers of mind, and these
powers are—divine patience, spiritual equanimity, non-resistance, and prophetic insight. By
prophetic insight I do not mean, the foretelling of events, but direct perception of those hidden
causes which operate in human life, and, indeed, in all life, and out of which spring the
multifarious and universal effects and events.

The man here rises above the competitive laws as they operate in the thought world, so that their
results, which are violence, ignominy, grief, humiliation and distress and anxiety in all their
forms, no longer occur in his life.

As he proceeds, the imperishable Principles which form the foundation and fabric of the universe
loom before him, and assume more and more symmetrical proportions. For him there is no more
anguish; no evil can come near his dwelling; and there breaks upon him the dawning of the
abiding Peace.

But he is not yet free. He has not yet finished his journey. He may rest here, and that as long as
he chooses; but sooner or later he will rouse himself to the last effort, and will reach the final
goal of achievement—the selfless state, the divine life.

He is not yet free from self, but still clings, though with less tenacity, to the love of personal
existence, and to the idea of exclusive interest in his personal possessions. And when he at last
realizes that those selfish elements must also be abandoned, there appears before him the third
Gate—the Gateway of Surrender of Self.

It is no dark portal which he now approaches, but one luminous with divine glory, one radiant
with a radiance with which no earthly splendour can vie, and he advances toward it with no
uncertain step. The clouds of Doubt have long been dispersed; the sounds of the voices of
Temptation are lost in the valley below; and with firm gait, erect carriage, and a heart filled with
unspeakable joy, he nears the Gate that guards the Kingdom of God.

He has now given up all but self-interest in those things which are his by legal right, but he now
perceives that he must hold nothing as his own; and as he pauses at the Gate, he hears the
command which cannot be evaded or denied: "Yet lackest thou one thing; sell all that thou hast,
and distribute unto the poor, and thou shall have treasure in Heaven."

And passing through the last great Gate, he stands glorious, radiant, free, detached from the
tyranny of desire, of opinion, of self; a divine man—harmless, patient, tender, pure; he has found
that for which he had been searching—the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.

The journey to the Kingdom may be a long and tedious one, or it may be short and rapid. It may
occupy a minute, or it may take a thousand ages. Everything depends on the faith and belief of
the searcher. The majority cannot "enter in because of their unbelief"; for how can men realize
righteousness when they do not believe in it nor in the possibility of its accomplishment?

Neither is it necessary to leave the outer world, and one‘s duties therein. Nay, it can only be
found through the unselfish performance of one‘s duty. Some there are whose faith is so great
that, when this truth is presented to them, they can let all the personal elements drop almost
immediately out of their minds, and enter into their divine heritage.

But all who believe and aspire to achieve will sooner or later arrive at victory if, amid all their
worldly duties, they faint not, nor lose sight of the Ideal Goodness, and continue, with unshaken
resolve to "press on to Perfection."

4. At Rest in the Kingdom and All Things Added

THE WHOLE JOURNEY from the Kingdom of Strife to the Kingdom of Love resolves itself
into a process which may be summed up in the following words: The regulation and purification
of conduct. Such a process must, if assiduously pursued, necessarily lead to perfection. It will
also be seen that as the man obtains the mastery over certain forces within himself, he arrives at a
knowledge of all the laws which operate in the realm of those forces, and by watching the
ceaseless working of cause and effect within himself, until he understands it, he then understands
it in its universal adjustments in the body of humanity.

Moreover, seeing that all the laws which govern human affairs are the direct outcome of the
necessities of the human heart, he, having reformed and transmuted those necessities, has
brought himself under the guidance of other laws which operate in accordance with the altered
condition, and that, having mastered and overcome the selfish forces within himself, he can no
longer be subject to the laws which exist for their governance.

The process is also one of simplification of the mind, a sifting away of all but the essential gold
in character. And as the mind is thus simplified, the apparently unfathomable complexity of the
universe assumes simpler and simpler aspects, until the whole is seen to resolve itself into, and
rest upon, a few unalterable Principles; and these Principles are ultimately seen to be contained
in one, namely LOVE.

The mind thus simplified, the man arrives at peace, and he now really begins to live. Looking
back on the personal life which he has forever abandoned, he sees it as a horrible nightmare out
of which he has awakened; but looking out and down with the eyes of the spirit, he sees that
others continue to live it. He sees men and women struggling, fighting, suffering and perishing
for that which is abundantly given to them by the bountiful hand of the Father, if they would
only cease from all covetousness, and take it without hurt or hindrance; and compassion fills his
heart, and also gladness, for he knows that humanity will wake at last from its long and painful

In the early part of the journey he seemed to be leaving humanity far behind, and he sorrowed in
his loneliness. But now, having reached the highest, having attained the goal, he finds himself
nearer to humanity than ever before—yea, living in its very heart, sympathizing with all its
sorrows, rejoicing in all its joys; for, having no longer any personal considerations to defend, he
lives entirely in the heart of humanity.

He lives no longer for himself; he lives for others; and so living, he enjoys the highest bliss, the
deepest peace.

For a time he searched for Compassion, Love, Bliss, Truth; but now he has verily become
Compassion, Love, Bliss, Truth; and it may literally be said of him that he has ceased to be a
personality, for all the personal elements have been extinguished, and there remain only those
qualities and principles which are entirely impersonal. And those qualities are now manifested in
the man‘s life, and henceforth the man‘s character.

And having ceased from the protection of the self, and living constantly in compassion, wisdom
and love, he comes under the protection of the highest Law, the Law of Love; and he
understands that Law, and consciously co-operates with it; yea, is himself inseparably identified
with the Law.
"Forgoing self, the universe grows I": and he whose nature is compassion, wisdom and love
cannot possibly need any protection; for those Principles themselves constitute the highest
protection, being the real, the divine, the immortal in all men and women, and constituting the
indestructible reality in the cosmic order.

Neither does he need to seek enjoyment whose very nature is Bliss, Joy, Peace. As for competing
with others, with whom should he compete who has lovingly identified himself with all? With
whom should he struggle who has sacrificed himself for all? Whose blind, misguided, and
ineffectual competition should he fear who has reached the source of all blessedness, and who
receives at the hands of the Father all necessary things?

Having lost himself (his selfish personality), he has found himself (his divine nature, Love); and
Love and all the effects of Love now compose his life. He can now joyfully exclaim—

I have made the acquaintance of the Master of Compassion;

I have put on the Garment of the Perfect Law,
I have entered the realm of the Great Reality;
Wandering is ended, for Rest is accomplished;
Pain and sorrow have ceased, for Peace is entered into;
Confusion is dissolved, for Unity is made manifest;
Error is vanquished, for Truth is revealed!

The Harmonizing Principle, Righteousness, or Divine Love, being found, all things are seen as
they are, and not through the illusory mediums of selfishness and opinion; the universe is One,
and all its manifold operations are the manifestation of one Law.

Hitherto in this work laws have been referred to, and also spoken of as higher and lower, and this
distinction was necessary; but now the Kingdom is reached, we see that all the forces operative
in human life are the varied manifestations of the One Supreme Law of Love. It is by virtue of
this Law that Humanity suffers, that, by the intensity of its sufferings, it shall become purified
and wise, and so relinquish the source of suffering, which is selfishness.

The Law and foundation of the universe being Love, it follows that all self-seeking is opposed to
that Law, is an effort to overcome or ignore the Law, and as a result, every self-seeking act and
thought is followed by an exact quota of suffering which is required to annul its effect, and so
maintain the universal harmony. All suffering is, therefore, the restraint which the Law of Love
puts upon ignorance and selfishness, and out of such painful restraint Wisdom at last emerges.

There being no strife and no selfishness in the Kingdom, there is therefore no suffering, no
restraint; there is perfect harmony, equipoise, rest. Those who have entered it do not follow any
animal inclinations (they have none to follow), but live in accordance with the highest Wisdom.
Their nature is Love, and they live in love toward all.

They are never troubled about "making a living," as they are Life itself, living in the very Heart
of Life; and should any material or other need arise, that need is immediately supplied without
any anxiety or struggle on their part.
Should they be called to undertake any work, the money and friends needed to carry out that
work are immediately forthcoming. Having ceased to violate their principles, all their needs are
supplied through legitimate channels. Any money or help required always comes through the
instrumentality of good people who are either living in the Kingdom themselves, or are working
for its accomplishment.

Those who live in the Kingdom of Love have all their needs supplied by the Law of Love, with
all freedom from unrest, just as those who live in the kingdom of self only meet their needs by
much strife and suffering. Having altered the root cause in their heart they have altered all the
effects in their inner and outer life. As self is the root cause of all strife and suffering, so Love is
the root cause of all peace and bliss.

Those who are at rest in the Kingdom do not look for happiness to any outward possession. They
see that all such possessions are mere transient effects that come when they are required, and
after their purpose is served, pass away.

They never think of these things (money, clothing, food, etc.) except as mere accessories and
effects of the true Life. They are therefore freed from all anxiety and trouble, and resting in
Love, they are the embodiment of happiness.

Standing upon the imperishable Principles of Purity, Compassion, Wisdom and Love, they are
immortal, and know they are immortal; they are one with God (the Supreme Good), and know
they are one with God. Seeing the realities of things, they can find no room anywhere for
condemnation. All the operations that occur upon the earth they see as instruments of the Good
Law, even those called evil.

All men are essentially divine, though unaware of their divine nature, and all their acts are
efforts, even though many of them are dark and impotent, to realize some higher good. All so-
called evil is seen to be rooted in ignorance, even those deeds that are called deliberately wicked,
so that condemnation ceases, and Love and Compassion become all in all.

But let it not be supposed that the children of the kingdom live in ease and indolence (these two
sins are the first that have to be eradicated when the search for the Kingdom is entered upon);
they live in a peaceful activity; in fact, they only truly live, for the life of self with its train of
worries, griefs, and fears, is not real life.

They perform all their duties with the most scrupulous diligence, apart from thoughts of self, and
employ all their means, as well as powers and faculties, which are greatly intensified, in building
up the Kingdom of Righteousness in the hearts of others and in the world around them. This is
their work—first by example, then by precept.

Having sold all that they have (renounced all self-interest in their possessions), they now give to
the poor (give of their rich store of wisdom, love and peace to the needy in spirit, the weary and
broken-hearted), and follow the Christ whose name is LOVE.
And they have sorrow no more, but live in perpetual gladness, for though they see suffering in
the world, they also see the final Bliss and the Eternal Refuge of Love, to which whosoever is
ready may come now, and to which all will come at last.

The children of the Kingdom are known by their life. They manifest the fruits of the Spirit—
"love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance, self-
control"—under all circumstances and vicissitudes. They are entirely free from anger, fear,
suspicion, jealousy, caprice, anxiety, and grief. Living in the Righteousness of God, they
manifest qualities which are the very reverse of those which occur in the world, and which are
regarded by the world as foolishness.

They demand no rights; they do not defend themselves; do not retaliate; do good to those who
attempt to injure them; manifest the same gentle spirit toward those who oppose and attack them
as toward those who agree with them; do not pass judgement on others; condemn no person and
no system, and live at peace with all.

The Kingdom of Heaven is perfect trust, perfect knowledge, perfect peace. All is music,
sweetness, and tranquillity. No irritations, no bad tempers, no harsh words, no suspicions, no
lust, and no disturbing elements can enter there.

Its children live in perfect sweetness, forgiving and forgiven, ministering to others with kindly
thoughts and words, and deeds. And that Kingdom is in the heart of every man and woman; it is
their rightful heritage, their own Kingdom; theirs to enter now. But no sin can enter therein; no
self-born thought or deed can pass its Golden Gates; no impure desire can defile its radiant robes.

All may enter it who will, but all must pay the price, and that is—the unconditional
abandonment of self.

"If thou wilt be perfect, sell all that thou hast"; but at these words the world turns away
"sorrowful, for it is very rich"; rich in money which it cannot keep; rich in fears which it cannot
let go; rich in selfish loves to which it greedily clings; rich in grievous partings which it would
fain escape; rich in seeking enjoyment; rich in pain and sorrow; rich in strife and suffering; rich
in excitement and woe; rich in all things which are not riches, but poor in riches themselves
which are not to be found outside the Kingdom; rich in all things that pertain to darkness and
death, but poor in those things which are Light and Life.

He then, who would realize the Kingdom, let him pay the price and enter. If he have a great and
holy faith he can do it now, and, letting fall from him like a garment the self to which he has
been clinging, stand free. If he have less faith, he must rise above self more slowly, and find the
Kingdom by daily effort and patient work. The Temple of Righteousness is built and its four
walls are the four Principles— Purity, Wisdom, Compassion, Love. Peace is its roof; its floor
Steadfastness, its entrance-door is Selfless Duty, its atmosphere is Inspiration, and its music is
the Joy of the perfect.

It cannot be shaken, and, being eternal and indestructible, there is no more need to seek
protection in taking thought for the things of tomorrow. And the Kingdom of Heaven being
established in the heart, the obtaining of the material necessities of life is no more considered,
for, having found the Highest, all these things are added as effect to cause; the struggle for
existence has ceased, and the spiritual, mental, and material needs are daily supplied from the
universal abundance.

Long I sought thee, Spirit holy,

Master Spirit, meek and lowly;
Sought thee with a silent sorrow,
brooding over the woes of men;
Vainly sought thy yoke of meekness
‘Neath the weight of woe and weakness;
Finding not, yet in my failing,
seeking over and over again.

In unrest and doubt and sadness

Dwelt I, yet I knew thy Gladness
Waited somewhere; somewhere
greeted torn and sorrowing hearts like mine;
Knew that somehow I should find thee,
Leaving sin and woe behind me,
And at last thy Love would bid me
enter into Rest divine.

Hatred, mockery, and reviling

Scorched my seeking soul defiling
That which should have been thy Temple,
wherein thou shouldest move and dwell;
Praying, striving, hoping, calling;
Suffering, sorrowing in my falling,
Still I sought thee, groping blindly in the
gloomy depths of Hell.

And I sought thee till I found thee;

And the dark powers all around me
Fled, and left me silent, peaceful, brooding
over thy holy themes;
From within me and without me
Fled they when I ceased to doubt thee;
And I found thee in thy Glory, mighty Master
of my dreams!

Yes, I found thee, Spirit holy,

Beautiful and pure and lowly;
Found thy Joy and Peace and Gladness;
found thee in thy House of Rest;
Found thy strength in Love and Meekness,
And my pain and woe and weakness left me,
And I walked the Pathway trodden only by the blest.

Part II: The Heavenly Life

1. The Divine Centre

THE secret of life, of abundant life, with its strength, its felicity, and its unbroken peace is to find
the Divine Centre within oneself, and to live in and from that, instead of in that outer
circumference of disturbances — the clamours, cravings, and argumentations which make up the
animal and intellectual man. These selfish elements constitute the mere husks of life, and must
be thrown away by him who would penetrate to the Central Heart of things — to Life itself.

Not to know that within you that is changeless, and defiant of time and death, is not to know
anything, but is to play vainly with the unsubstantial reflections in the Mirror of Time. Not to
find within you those passionless Principles which are not moved by the strifes and shows and
vanities of the world, is to find nothing but illusions which vanish as they are grasped.

He who resolves that he will not rest satisfied with appearances, shadows, illusions shall, by the
piercing light of that resolve, disperse every fleeting phantasy, and shall enter into the substance
and reality of life. He shall learn how to live, and he shall live. He shall be the slave of no
passion, the servant of no opinion, the votary of no fond error. Finding the Divine Centre within
his own heart, he will be pure and calm and strong and wise, and will ceaselessly radiate the
Heavenly Life in which he lives — which is himself.

Having betaken himself to the Divine Refuge within, and remaining there, a man is free from sin.
All his yesterdays are as the tide-washed and untrodden sands; no sin shall rise up against him to
torment and accuse him and destroy his sacred peace; the fires of remorse cannot scorch him, nor
can the storms of regret devastate his dwelling-place. His to-morrows are as seeds which shall
germinate, bursting into beauty and potency of life, and no doubt shall shake his trust, no
uncertainty rob him of repose. The Present is his, only in the immortal Present does he live, and
it is as the eternal vault of blue above which looks down silently and calmly, yet radiant with
purity and light, upon the upturned and tear-stained faces of the centuries.

Men love their desires, for gratification seems sweet to them, but its end is pain and vacuity; they
love the argumentations of the intellect, for egotism seems most desirable to them, but the fruits
thereof are humiliation and sorrow. When the soul has reached the end of gratification and
reaped the bitter fruits of egotism, it is ready to receive the Divine Wisdom and to enter into the
Divine Life. Only the crucified can be transfigured; only by the death of self can the Lord of the
heart rise again into the Immortal Life, and stand radiant upon the Olivet of Wisdom.

Thou hast thy trials? Every outward trial is the replica of an inward imperfection. Thou shalt
grow wise by knowing this, and shalt thereby transmute trial into active joy, finding the
Kingdom where trial cannot come. When wilt thou learn thy lessons, O child of earth! All thy
sorrows cry out against thee; every pain is thy just accuser, and thy griefs are but the shadows of
thy unworthy and perishable self. The Kingdom of Heaven is thine; how long wilt thou reject it,
preferring the lurid atmosphere of Hell — the hell of thy self-seeking self?

Where self is not there is the Garden of the Heavenly Life, and

"There spring the healing streams

Quenching all thirst! there bloom the immortal flowers
Carpeting all the way with joy! there throng Swiftest and sweetest hours !"

The redeemed sons of God, the glorified in body and spirit, are"bought with a price," and that
price is the crucifixion of the personality, the death of self; and having put away that within
which is the source of all discord, they have found the universal Music, the abiding Joy.

Life is more than motion, it is Music; more than rest, it is Peace; more than work, it is Duty;
more than labour, it is Love; more than enjoyment, it is Blessedness; more than acquiring money
and position and reputation, it is Knowledge, Purpose, strong and high Resolve.

Let the impure turn to Purity, and they shall be pure; let the weak resort to Strength, and they
shall be strong; let the ignorant fly to Knowledge, and they shall be wise. All things are man‘s,
and he chooses that which he will have. To-day he chooses in ignorance, to-morrow he shall
choose in Wisdom. He shall "work out his own salvation" whether he believe it or not, for he
cannot escape himself, nor transfer to another the eternal responsibility of his own soul. By no
theological subterfuge shall he trick the Law of his being, which shall shatter all his selfish
makeshifts and excuses for right thinking and right doing. Nor shall God do for him that which it
is destined his soul shall accomplish for itself. What would you say of a man who, wanting to
possess a mansion in which to dwell peacefully, purchased the site and then knelt down and
asked God to build the house for him? Would you not say that such a man was foolish? And of
another man who, having purchased the land, set the architects and builders and carpenters at
work to erect the edifice, would you not say that he was wise? And as it is in the building of a
material house, even so it is in the building of a spiritual mansion. Brick by brick, pure thought
upon pure thought, good deed upon good deed, must the habitation of a blameless life rise from
its sure foundation until at last it stands out in all the majesty of its faultless proportions. Not by
caprice, nor gift, nor favour does a man obtain the spiritual realities, but by diligence,
watchfulness, energy, and effort.

"Strong is the soul, and wise and beautiful;

The seeds of God-like power are in us still;
Gods are we, bards, saints, heroes, if we will."

The spiritual Heart of man is the Heart of the universe, and, finding that Heart, man finds the
strength to accomplish all things. He finds there also the Wisdom to see things as they are. He
finds there the Peace that is divine. At the centre of man‘s being is the Music which orders the
stars — the Eternal Harmony. He who would find Blessedness, let him find himself; let him
abandon every discordant desire, every inharmonious thought, every unlovely habit and deed,
and he will find that Grace and Beauty and Harmony which form the indestructible essence of
his own being.
Men fly from creed to creed, and find — unrest; they travel in many lands, and discover —
disappointment; they build themselves beautiful mansions, and plant pleasant gardens, and reap
— ennui and discomfort. Not until a man falls back upon the Truth within himself does he find
rest and satisfaction; not until he builds the inward Mansion of Faultless Conduct does he find
the endless and incorruptible Joy, and, having obtained that, he will infuse it into all his outward
doings and possessions.

If a man would have peace, let him exercise the spirit of Peace; if he would find love, let him
dwell in the spirit of Love; if he would escape suffering, let him cease to inflict it; if he would do
noble things for humanity, let him cease to do ignoble things for himself. If he will but quarry the
mine of his own soul, he shall find there all the materials for building whatsoever he will, and he
shall find there also the central Rock on which to build in safety.

Howsoever a man works to right the world, it will never be righted until he has put himself right.
This may be written upon the heart as a mathematical axiom. It is not enough to preach Purity,
men must cease from lust; to exhort to love, they must abandon hatred; to extol self-sacrifice,
they must yield up self; to adorn with mere words the Perfect Life, they must be perfect.

When a man can no longer carry the weight of his many sins, let him fly to the Christ, whose
throne is the centre of his own heart, and he shall become light-hearted, entering the glad
company of the Immortals.

When he can no longer bear the burden of his accumulated learning, let a man leave his books,
his science, his philosophy, and come back to himself, and he shall find within, that which he
outwardly sought and found not — his own divinity.

He ceases to argue about God who has found God within. Relying upon that calm strength which
is not the strength of self, he lives God, manifesting in his daily life the Highest Goodness, which
is Eternal Life.

2. The Eternal Now

NOW is thy reality in which time is contained. It is more and greater than time; it is an ever-
present reality. It knows neither past nor future, and is eternally potent and substantial. Every
minute, every day, every year is a dream as soon as it has passed, and exists only as an imperfect
and unsubstantial picture in the memory, if it be not entirely obliterated.

Past and future are dreams; now is a reality. All things are now; all power, all possibility, all
action is now. Not to act and accomplish now is not to act and accomplish at all. To live in
thoughts of what you might have done, or in dreams of what you mean to do, this is folly: but to
put away regret, to anchor anticipation, and to do and to work now, this is wisdom.

Whilst a man is dwelling upon the past or future he is missing the present; he is forgetting to live
now. All things are possible now, and only now. Without wisdom to guide him, and mistaking
the unreal for the real, a man says, "If I had done so and so last week, last month, or last year, it
would have been better with me to-day"; or, "I know what is best to be done, and I will do it to-
morrow." The selfish cannot comprehend the vast importance and value of the present, and fail
to see it as the substantial reality of which past and future are the empty reflections. It may truly
be said that past and future do not exist except as negative shadows, and to live in them — that
is, in the regretful and selfish contemplation of them— is to miss the reality in life.

"The Present, the Present is all thou hast

For thy sure possessing;
Like the patriarch‘s angel, hold it fast,
Till it gives its blessing.
"All which is real now remaineth,
And fadeth never:
The hand which upholds it now sustaineth
The soul for ever.

"Then of what is to be, and of what is done,

Why queriest thou?
The past and the time to be are one,
And both are NOW !"

Man has all power now; but not knowing this, he says, "I will be perfect next year, or in so many
years, or in so many lives." The dwellers in the Kingdom of God, who live only in the now, say,
"I am perfect now," and refraining from all sin now, and ceaselessly guarding the portals of the
mind, not looking to the past nor to the future, nor turning to the left or right, they remain
eternally holy and blessed." Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation."

Say to yourself, "I will live in my Ideal now; I will manifest my Ideal now; I will be my Ideal
now; and all that tempts me away

from my Ideal I will not listen to; I will listen only to the voice of my Ideal." Thus resolving, and
thus doing, you shall not de-part from the Highest, and shall eternally manifest the True.

"Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road.

Henceforth I ask not good fortune: I myself am good fortune.
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing;
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms.
Strong and content, I take to the open road."

Cease to tread every byway of dependence, every winding side-way that tempts thy soul into the
shadow-land of the past and the future, and manifest thy native and divine strength now. Come
out into" the open road. "That which you would be, and hope to be you may be now. Non-
accomplishment resides in your perpetual postponement, and, having the power to postpone, you
also have the power to accomplish — to perpetually accomplish: realize this truth, and you shall
be to-day, and every day, the ideal man of whom you dreamed.

Virtue consists in fighting sin day after day. but holiness consists in leaving sin, Unnoticed and
ignored, to die by the wayside; and this is done, can only be done, in the living now. Say not unto
thy soul, "Thou shall be purer to-morrow"; but rather say, "Thou shalt be pure now." To-morrow
is too late for anything, and he who sees his help and salvation in to-morrow shall continually
fail and fall to-day.

Thou didst fall yesterday? Didst sin grievously? Having realized this, leave it. instantly-and
forever, and watch that thou sinnest not now. The while thou art bewailing the past, every gate of
thy soul remains unguarded against the entrance of sin now. Thou shalt not rise by grieving over
the irremediable past, but by remedying the present.

The foolish man, loving the boggy side-path of procrastination rather than the firm Highway of
Present Effort, says, "I will rise early to-morrow; I will get out of debt to-morrow; I will carry
out my intentions to-morrow." But the wise man, realizing the momentous import of the Eternal
Now, rises early to-day; keeps out of debt to-day; carries out his intentions to-day; and so never
departs from strength and peace and ripe accomplishment.

That which is done now remains; that which is to be done to-morrow does not appear. It is
wisdom to leave that which has not arrived, and to attend to that which is; and to attend to it with
such a consecration of soul and concentration of effort as shall leave no possible loophole for
regret to creep in.

A man‘s spiritual comprehension being clouded by the illusions of self, he says, "I was born on
such a day, so many years ago, and shall die at my allotted time." But he was not born, neither
will he die, for how can that which is immortal, which eternally is, be subject to birth and death?
Let a man throw off his illusions, and then he will see that the birth and death of the body are the
mere incidents of a journey, and not its beginning and end.

Looking back to happy beginnings, and forward to mournful endings, a man‘s eyes are blinded,
so that he beholds not his own immortality; his ears are closed, so that he hears not the ever-
present harmonies of Joy; and his heart is hardened, so that it pulsates not to the rhythmic sounds
of Peace.

The universe, with all that it contains, is now. Put out thy hand, O man, and receive the fruits of
Wisdom! Cease from thy greedy striving, thy selfish sorrowing, thy foolish regretting, and he
content to live.

Act now, and, lo! all things are done; live now, and, behold! thou art in the midst of Plenty; be
now, and know that thou art perfect.

3. The "Original Simplicity"

LIFE is simple. Being is simple. The universe is simple. Complexity arises in ignorance and self-
delusion. The "Original Simplicity" of Lao-tze is a term expressive of the universe as it is, and
not as it appears. Looking through the woven network of his own illusions, man sees
interminable complication and unfathomable mystery, and so loses himself in the labyrinths of
his own making. Let a man put away egotism, and he will see the universe in all the beauty of its
pristine simplicity. Let him annihilate the delusion of the personal "I," and he will destroy all the
illusions which spring from that "I." He will thus "re-become a little child," and will "revert to
Original Simplicity."

When a man succeeds in entirely forgetting (annihilating) his personal self, he be-comes a mirror
in which the universal Reality is faultlessly reflected. He is awakened, and henceforward he
lives, not in dreams, but realities.

Pythagoras saw the universe in the ten numbers, but even this simplicity may be further reduced,
and the universe ultimately be found to be contained in the number ONE, for all the numerals
and all their infinite complications are but additions of the One.

Let life cease to be lived as a fragmentary thing, and let it be lived as a perfect Whole; the
simplicity of the Perfect will then be revealed. How shall the fragment comprehend the Whole?
Yet how simple that the Whole should comprehend the fragment. How shall sin perceive
Holiness? Yet how plain that Holiness should understand sin. He who would become the Greater
let him abandon the lesser. In no form is the circle contained, but in the circle all forms are
contained. In no colour is the radiant light imprisoned, but in the radiant light all colours are
embodied, Let a man destroy all the forms of self, and he shall apprehend the Circle of
Perfection; let him submerge, in the silent depths of his being, the varying colours of his thoughts
and desires, and he shall be illuminated with the White Light of Divine Knowledge. In the
perfect chord of music the single note, though forgotten, is indispensably contained, and the drop
of water becomes of supreme usefulness by losing itself in the ocean. Sink thyself
compassionately in the heart of humanity, and thou shalt reproduce the harmonies of Heaven;
lose thyself in unlimited love toward all, and thou shalt work enduring works and shalt become
one with the eternal Ocean of Bliss.

Man evolves outward to the periphery of complexity, and then involves backward to the Central
Simplicity. When a man discovers that it is mathematically impossible for him to know the
universe before knowing himself, he then starts upon the Way which leads to the Original
Simplicity. He begins to unfold from within, and as he Unfolds himself, he enfolds the universe.

Cease to speculate about God, and find the all-embracing Good within thee, then shalt thou see
the emptiness and vanity of speculation, knowing thyself one with God.

He who will not give up his secret lust, his covetousness, his anger, his opinion about this or that,
can see nor know nothing; he will remain a dullard in the school of Wisdom, though he be
accounted learned in the colleges.

If a man would find the Key of Knowledge, let him find himself. Thy sins are not thyself; they
are not any part of thyself; they are diseases which thou hast come to love. Cease to cling to
them, and they will no longer cling to thee. Let them fall away, and thy self shall stand revealed.
Thou shalt then know thyself as Comprehensive Vision, Invincible Principle, Immortal Life, and
Eternal Good.

The impure man believes impurity to be his rightful condition, but the pure man knows himself
as pure being; he also, penetrating the Veils, sees all others as pure being. Purity is extremely
simple, and needs no argument to support it; impurity is interminably complex, and is ever
involved in defensive argument. Truth lives itself. A blameless life is the only witness of Truth.
Men cannot see, and will not accept the witness until they find it within themselves; and having
found it, a man becomes silent before his fellows. Truth is so simple that it cannot be found in
the region of argument and advertisement, and so silent that it is only manifested in actions.

So extremely simple is Original Simplicity, that a man must let go his hold of everything before
he can perceive it. The great arch is strong by virtue of the hollowness underneath, and a wise
man becomes strong and invincible by emptying himself.

Meekness, Patience, Love, Compassion, and Wisdom — these are the dominant qualities of
Original Simplicity; therefore the imperfect cannot understand it. Wisdom only can apprehend
Wisdom, therefore the fool says, "No man is wise." The imperfect man says, "No man can be
perfect," and he therefore remains where he is. Though he live with a perfect man all his life, he
shall not behold his perfection. Meekness he will call cowardice; Patience, Love, and
Compassion he will see as weakness; and Wisdom will appear to him as folly. Faultless
discrimination belongs to the Perfect Whole, and resides not in any part, therefore men are
exhorted to refrain from judgement until they have themselves manifested the Perfect Life.

Arriving at Original Simplicity, opacity disappears, and the universal transparency becomes
apparent. He who has found the indwelling Reality of his own being has found the original and
universal Reality. Knowing the Divine Heart within, all hearts are known, and the thoughts of all
men become his who has become the master of his own thoughts; therefore the good man does
not defend himself, but moulds the minds of others to his own likeness.

As the problematical transcends crudity, so Pure Goodness transcends the problematical. All
problems vanish when Pure Goodness is reached; therefore the good man is called "The slayer of
illusions." What problem can vex where sin is not? O thou who strivest loudly and restest not!
retire into the holy silence of thine own being, and live therefrom. So shalt thou, finding Pure
Goodness, rend in twain the Veil of the Temple of Illusion, and shalt enter into the Patience,
Peace, and transcendent Glory of the Perfect, for Pure Goodness and Original Simplicity are one.

4. The Unfailing Wisdom

A MAN should be superior to his possessions, his body, his circumstances and surroundings, and
the opinions of others, and their attitude towards him. Until he is this, he is not strong and
steadfast. He should also rise superior to his own desires and opinions; and until he is this, he is
not wise.

The man who identifies himself with his possessions will feel that all is lost when these are lost;
he who regards himself as the outcome and the tool of circumstances will weakly fluctuate with
every change in his outward condition; and great will be his unrest and pain who seeks to stand
upon the approbation of others.

To detach oneself from every outward thing, and to rest securely upon the inward Virtue, this is
the Unfailing Wisdom. Having this Wisdom, a man will be the same whether in riches or
poverty. The one cannot add to his strength, nor the other rob him of his serenity. Neither can
riches defile him who has washed away all the inward defilement, nor the lack of them degrade
him who has ceased to degrade the temple of his soul.

To refuse to be enslaved by any outward thing or happening, regarding all such things and
happenings as for your use, for your education, this is Wisdom. To the wise all occurrences are
good, and, having no eye for evil, they grow wiser every day. They utilize all things, and thus put
all things under their feet. They see all their mistakes as soon as made, and accept them as
lessons of intrinsic value, knowing that are no mistakes in the Divine Order. They thus rapidly
approach the Divine Perfection. They are moved by none, yet learn from all. They crave love
from none, yet give love to all. To learn, and not to be shaken; to love where one is not Loved :
herein lies the strength which shall never fail a man. The man who says in his heart, "I will teach
all men, and learn from none," will neither teach nor learn whilst he is in that frame of mind, but
will remain in his folly.

All strength and wisdom and power and knowledge a man will find within himself, but. he will
not find it in egotism; he will only find it in obedience, submission, and willingness to learn. He
must obey the Higher, and not glorify himself in the lower. He who stands upon egotism,
rejecting reproof, instruction, and the lessons of experience, will surely fall; yea, he is already
fallen. Said a great Teacher to his disciples, "Those who shall be a lamp unto them-selves,
relying upon themselves only, and not relying upon any external help, but holding fast to the
Truth as their lamp, and, seeking their salvation in the Truth alone, shall not look for assistance
to any besides themselves, it is they among my disciples who shall reach the very topmost
height! But they must be willing to learn." The wise man is always anxious to learn, but never
anxious to teach, for he knows that the true Teacher is in the heart of every man, and must
ultimately be found there by all. The foolish man, being governed largely by vanity, is very
anxious to teach, but unwilling to learn, not having found the Holy Teacher within who speaks
wisdom to the humbly listening soul. Be self-reliant, but let thy self-reliance be saintly and not

Folly and wisdom, weakness and strength are within a man, and not in any external thing, neither
do they spring from any external cause. A man cannot be strong for another, he can only be
strong for himself; he cannot overcome for another, he can only overcome of himself. You may
learn of another, but you must accomplish for yourself. Put away all external props, and rely
upon thy Truth within you. A creed will not bear a man up in the hour of temptation; he must
possess the inward Knowledge which slays temptation. A speculative philosophy will prove a
shadowy thing in the time of calamity; a man must have the inward Wisdom which puts an end
to grief.

Goodness, which is the aim of all religions, is distinct from religions themselves. Wisdom, which
is the aim of every philosophy, is distinct from all philosophies. The Unfailing Wisdom is found
only by constant practice in pure thinking and well-doing; by harmonizing one‘s mind and heart
to those things which are beautiful, lovable, and true.

In whatever condition a man finds himself, he can always find the True; and he can find it only
by so utilizing his present condition as to become strong and wise. The effeminate hankering
after rewards, and the craven fear of punishment, let them be put away forever, and let a man
joyfully bend himself to the faithful performance of all his duties, forgetting himself and his
worthless pleasures, and living strong and pure and self-contained; so shall he surely find the
Unfailing Wisdom, the God-like Patience and strength. "The situation that has not its Duty, its
Ideal, was never yet occupied by man. . . . Here or nowhere is thy Ideal. Work it out therefrom,
and, working, believe, live, be free. The Ideal is in thyself, the impediment, too, is in thyself: thy
condition is but the stuff thou art to shape that same Ideal out of. What matters whether such
stuff be of this sort or that, so the form thou give it be heroic, be poetic? Oh, thou that pinest in
the imprisonment of the Actual, and criest bitterly to the gods for a kingdom wherein to rule and
create, know this of a truth: the thing thou seekest is already within thee, here and now, couldest
thou only see!"

All that is beautiful and blessed is in thyself, not in thy neighbour‘s wealth. Thou art poor? Thou
art poor indeed if thou art not stronger than thy poverty! Thou hast suffered calamities? Well,
wilt thou cure calamity by adding anxiety to it? Canst thou mend a broken vase by weeping over
it. or restore a lost delight by thy lamentations? There is no evil but will vanish if thou wilt
wisely meet it. The God-like soul does not. grieve over that which has been, is, or will be, hut
perpetually rinds the Divine Good, and gains wisdom by every occurrence.

Fear is the shadow of selfishness, and cannot live where loving Wisdom is. Doubt, anxiety, and
worry are unsubstantial shades in the underworld of self, and shall no more trouble him who will
climb the serene altitudes of his soul. Grief, also, will be for ever dispelled by him who will
comprehend the Law of his being. He who so comprehends shall find the Supreme Law of Life,
and he shall find that it is Love, that it is imperishable Love. He shall become one with that
Love, and loving all, with mind freed from all hatred and folly, he shall receive the invincible
protection which Love affords. Claiming nothing, he shall suffer no loss; seeking no pleasure, he
shall find no grief; and employing all his powers as instruments of service, he shall evermore live
in the highest state of blessedness and bliss.

Know this: — thou makest and unmakest thyself; thou standest and fallest by what thou art.
Thou art a slave if thou prefer-rest to be; thou art a master if thou wilt make thyself one. Build
upon thy animal desires and intellectual opinions, and thou buildest upon the sand; build upon
Virtue and Holiness, and no wind nor tide shall shake thy strong abode. So shall the Unfailing
Wisdom uphold thee in every emergency, and the Everlasting Arms gather thee to thy peace.

"Lay up each year Thy harvest of well-doing, wealth that kings

Nor thieves can take away. When all the things
Thou callest thine, goods, pleasures, honours fall,
Thou in thy virtue shalt survive them all."

5. The Might Of Meekness

THE mountain bends not to the fiercest storm, but it shields the fledgling and the lamb; and
though all men tread upon it, yet it protects them, and bears them up upon its deathless bosom.
Even so is it with the meek man who, though shaken and disturbed by none, yet compassionately
bends to shield the lowliest creature, and, though he may be despised, lifts all men up. and
lovingly protects them.

As glorious as the mountain in its silent is the divine man in his silent Meekness; like its form,
his loving comparison is expansive and sublime. Truly his body, like the mountain‘s base, is
fixed in the valleys and the mists; but the summit of his being is eternally bathed in cloudless
glory, and lives with the Silences.

He who has found Meekness has found divinity; he has realized the divine consciousness, and
knows himself as divine. He also knows all others as divine, though they know it not themselves,
being asleep and dreaming. Meekness is a divine quality, and as such is all powerful. The meek
man overcomes by not resisting, and by allowing himself to be defeated he attains to the
Supreme Conquest.

The man who conquers another by force is strong; the man who conquers himself by Meekness
is mighty. He who conquers another by force will himself likewise be conquered; he who
conquers himself by Meekness will never be overthrown, for the human cannot overcome the
divine. The meek man is triumphant in defeat. Socrates lives the more by being put to death; in
the crucified Jesus the risen Christ is revealed, and Stephen in receiving his stoning defies the
hurting power of stones. That which is real cannot be destroyed, but only that which is unreal.
When a man finds that within him which is real, which is constant, abiding, changeless, and
eternal, he enters into that Reality, and becomes meek. All the powers of darkness will come
against him. but they will do him no hurt, and will at last, depart from him.

The meek man is found in the time of trial; when other men fall he stands. His patience is not
destroyed by the foolish passions of others, and when they come against him he does not "strive
nor cry," He knows the utter powerlessness of all evil, having overcome it in himself, and lives
in the changeless strength and power of divine Good.

Meekness is one aspect of the operation of that changeless Love which is at the Heart of all
things, and is therefore an imperishable quality. He who lives in it is without fear, knowing the
Highest, and having the lowest under his feet.

The meek man shines in darkness, and flourishes in obscurity. Meekness cannot boast, nor
advertise itself, nor thrive on popularity. It is practised, and is seen or not seen; being a spiritual
quality it is perceived only by the eye of the spirit. Those who are not spiritually awakened see it
not, nor do they love it, being enamoured of, and blinded by, worldly shows and appearances.
Nor does history take note of the meek man. Its glory is that of strife and self-aggrandizement;
his is the glory of peace and gentleness. History chronicles the earthly, not the heavenly acts. Yet
though he lives in obscurity he cannot be hidden (how can light be hid?) ; he continues to shine
after he has withdrawn himself from the world, and is worshipped by the world which knew him

That the meek man should be neglected, abused, or misunderstood is reckoned by him as of no
account, and therefore not to be considered, much less resisted. He knows that all such weapons
are the flimsiest and most ineffectual of shadows. To them, therefore, who give him evil he gives
good. He resists none, and thereby conquers all.

He who imagines he can be injured by others, and who seeks to justify and defend himself
against them, does not understand Meekness, does not comprehend the essence and meaning of
life. "He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me.— In those who harbour such
thoughts hatred will never cease . . . for hatred ceases not by hatred at any time; hatred ceases by
love." What sayest thou, thy neighbour has spoken thee falsely? Well, what of that? Can a falsity
hurt thee? That which is false is false, and there is an end of it. It is without life, and without
power to hurt any but him who seeks to hurt by it. It is nothing to thee that thy neighbour should
speak falsely of thee, but it is much to thee that thou shouldst resist him, and seek to justify
thyself, for, by so doing, thou givest life and vitality to thy neighbour‘s falseness, so that thou art
injured and distressed. Take all evil out of thine own heart, then shalt thou see the folly of
resisting it in another. Thou wilt be trodden on? Thou art trodden on already if thou thinkest thus.
The injury that thou seest as coming from another comes only from thyself. The wrong thought,
or word, or act of another has no power to hurt thee unless thou galvanize it into life by thy
passionate resistance, and so receivest it into thyself. If any man slander me, that is his concern,
not mine. I have to do with my own soul, not with my neighbour‘s. Though all the world
misjudge me, it is no business of mine; but that I should possess my soul in Purity and Love, that
is all my business. There shall be no end to strife until men cease to justify themselves. He who
would have wars cease let him cease to defend any party — let him cease to defend himself. Not
by strife can peace come, but by ceasing from strife. The glory of Cæsar resides in the resistance
of his enemies. They resist and fall. Give to Cæsar that which Cæsar demands, and Cæsar‘s glory
and power are gone. Thus, by submission does the meek man conquer the strong man : but it is
not that outward show of submission which is slavery, it is that inward and spiritual submission
which is freedom.

Claiming no rights, the meek man is not troubled with self-defence and self-justification; he lives
in love, and therefore comes under the immediate and vital protection of the Great Love which is
the Eternal Law of the universe. He neither claims nor seeks his own; thus do all things come to
him, and all the universe shields and protects him.

He who says, "I have tried Meekness, and it has failed," has not tried Meekness. It cannot be
tried as an experiment. It is only arrived at by unreserved self-sacrifice. Meekness does not
consist merely in non-resistance in action; it consists pre-eminently in non-resistance in thought,
in ceasing to hold or to have any selfish, condemnatory, or retaliatory thoughts. The meek man,
therefore, cannot "take offence" or have his "feelings hurt," living above hatred, folly, and
vanity. Meekness can never fail.

O thou who searchest for the Heavenly Life! strive after Meekness; increase thy patience and
forbearance day by day; bid thy tongue cease from all harsh words; withdraw thy mind from
selfish arguments, and refuse to brood upon thy wrongs: so living, thou shalt carefully tend and
cultivate the pure and delicate flower of Meekness in thy heart,

until at last, its divine sweetness and purity and beauteous perfection shall be revealed to thee,
and thou shalt become gentle, joyful, and strong. Repine not that thou art surrounded by irritable
and selfish people; but rather rejoice that thou art so favoured as to have thine own imperfections
revealed to thee, and that thou art so placed as to necessitate within thee a constant struggle for
self-mastery and the attainment, of perfection. The more there is of harshness and selfishness
around thee the greater is the need of thy Meekness and love. If others seek to wrong thee, all the
more is it needful that thou shouldst cease from all wrong, and live in love; if others preach
Meekness, humility, and love, and do not practice these, trouble not. nor be annoyed; but do
thou, in the silence of thy heart, and in thy contact with others, practice these things, and they
shall preach themselves. And though thou utter no declamatory word, and stand before no
gathered audience, thou shalt teach the whole world. As thou becomest meek, thou shalt learn the
deepest secrets of the universe. Nothing is hidden from him who overcomes himself. Into the
cause of causes shalt thou penetrate, and lifting, one after another, every veil of illusion, shalt
reach at last the inmost Heart of Being. Thus becoming one with Life, thou shalt know till life,
and, seeing into causes, and knowing realities, thou shalt be no more anxious about thyself, and
others, and the world, but shalt see that all things that are, are engines of the Great Law.
Canopied with gentleness, thou shalt bless where others curse; love where others hate; forgive
where others condemn; yield where others strive; give up where others grasp: lose where others
gain, And in their strength they shall be weak ; and in thy weakness thou shalt be strong; yea,
thou shalt mightily prevail. He that hath not unbroken gentleness hath not Truth:

"Therefore when Heaven would save a man, it enfolds him with gentleness."

6. The Righteous Man

THE righteous man is invincible. No enemy can possibly overcome or confound him; and he
needs no other protection than that of his own integrity and holiness.

As it is impossible for evil to overcome Good, so the righteous man can never be brought low by
the unrighteous. Slander, envy, hatred, malice can never reach him, nor cause him any suffering,
and those who try to injure him only succeed ultimately in bringing ignominy upon themselves.

The righteous man, having nothing to hide, committing no acts which require stealth, and
harbouring no thoughts and desires which he would not like others to know, is fearless and
unashamed. His step is firm, his body upright, and his speech direct and without ambiguity. He
looks everybody in the face. How can he fear any who wrongs none? How can he be ashamed
before any who deceives none? And ceasing from all wrong he can never be wronged; ceasing
from all deceit he can never be deceived.

The righteous man, performing all his duties with scrupulous diligence, and living above sin, is
invulnerable at every point. He who has slain the inward enemies of virtue can never be brought
low by any outward enemy; neither does he need to seek any protection against them,
righteousness being an all-sufficient protection.

The unrighteous man is vulnerable at almost every point; living in his passions, the slave of
prejudices, impulses, and ill-formed opinions, he is continually suffering (as he imagines) at the
hands of others. The slanders, attacks, and accusations of others cause him great suffering
because they have a basis of truth in himself; and not having the protection of righteousness, he
endeavours to justify and protect himself by resorting to retaliation and specious argument, and
even to subterfuge and deceit.

The partially righteous man is vulnerable at all those points where he falls short of righteousness,
and should the righteous man fall from his righteousness, and give way to one sin, his
invincibility is gone, for he has thereby placed himself where attack and accusation can justly
reach and injure him, because he has first injured himself.

If a man suffers or is injured through the instrumentality of others, let him look to himself, and,
putting aside self-pity and self-defence, he will find in his own heart the source of all his woe.

No evil can happen to the righteous man who has cut off the source of evil in himself; living in
the All-Good, and abstaining from

sin in thought, word and deed, whatever happens to him is good; neither can any person, event,
or circumstance cause him suffering, for the tyranny of circumstance is utterly destroyed for him
who has broken the bonds of sin.

The suffering, the sorrowing, the weary, and broken-hearted ever seek a sorrowless refuge, a
haven of perpetual peace. Let such fly to the refuge of the righteous life; let them come now and
enter the haven of the sinless state, for sorrow cannot overtake the righteous; suffering cannot
reach him who does not waste in self-seeking his spiritual substance; and he cannot be afflicted
by weariness and unrest whose heart is at peace with all.

7. Perfect Love

THE Children of Light, who abide in the Kingdom of Heaven, see the universe, and all that it
contains, as the manifestation of one Law — the Law of Love. They see Love as the moulding,
sustaining, protecting, and perfecting Power immanent in all things animate and inanimate. To
them Love is not merely and only a rule of life, it is the Law of Life, it is Life itself. Knowing
this, they order their whole life in accordance with Love, not regarding their own personality. By
thus practising obedience to the Highest, to divine Love, they become conscious partakers of the
power of Love, and so arrive at perfect Freedom as Masters of Destiny.

The universe is preserved because Love is at the Heart of it. Love is the only preservative power.
Whilst there is hatred in the heart of man, he imagines the Law to be cruel, but when his heart is
mellowed by Compassion and Love, he perceives that the Law is Infinite Kindness. So kind is
the Law that it protects man against his own ignorance, Man, in his puny efforts to subvert the
Law by attaching undue importance to his own little personality, brings upon himself such trains
of suffering that he is at last compelled, in the depth of his afflictions, to seek for Wisdom; and
finding Wisdom, he finds Love, and knows it as the Law of his being, the Law of the universe.
Love does not punish; man punishes himself by his own hatred; by striving to preserve evil
which has no life by which to preserve itself, and by trying to subvert Love, which can neither be
overcome nor destroyed, being of the substance of Life. When a man burns himself, does he
accuse the fire? Therefore, when a man suffers, let him look for some ignorance or disobedience
within himself.
Love is Perfect Harmony, pure Bliss, and contains, therefore, no element of suffering. Let a man
think no thought and do no act which is not in accordance with pure Love, and suffering shall no
more trouble him. If a man would know Love, and partake of its undying bliss, he must practice
it in his heart; he must become Love.

He who always acts from the spirit of Love is never deserted, is never left in a dilemma or
difficulty, for Love (impersonal Love) is both Knowledge and Power. He who has learned how
to Love has learned how to master every difficulty, how to transmute every failure into success,
how to clothe every event and condition in garments of blessedness and beauty.

The way to Love is by self-mastery, and, travelling that way, a man builds himself up in
Knowledge as he proceeds. Arriving at Love, he enters into full possession of body and mind, by
right of the divine Power which he has earned.

"Perfect Love casteth out fear." To know Love is to know that there is no harmful power in the
whole Universe. Even sin itself, which the worldly and unbelieving imagine is so unconquerable,
is known as a very weak and perishable thing, that shrinks away and disappears before the
compelling power of Good. Perfect Love is perfect Harmlessness. And he who has destroyed, in
himself, all thoughts of harm, and all desire to harm, receives the universal protection, and
knows himself to be invincible.

Perfect Love is perfect Patience. Anger and irritability cannot dwell with it nor come near it. It
sweetens every bitter occasion with the perfume of holiness, and transmutes trial into divine
strength. Complaint, is foreign to it. He who loves bewails nothing, but accepts all things and
conditions as heavenly guests; he is therefore constantly blessed, and sorrow does not overtake

Perfect Love is perfect Trust. He who has destroyed the desire to grasp can never be troubled
with the fear of loss. Loss and gain are alike foreign to him. Steadfastly maintaining a loving
attitude of mind toward all, and pursuing, in the performance of his duties, a constant and loving
activity, Love protects him and evermore supplies him in fullest measure with all that he needs.

Perfect Love is perfect Power. The wisely loving heart commands without exercising any
authority. All things and all men obey him who obeys the Highest. He thinks, and lo! he has
already accomplished! He speaks, and behold! a world hangs upon his simple utterances! He has
harmonized his thoughts with the Imperishable and Unconquerable Forces, and for him
weakness and uncertainty are no more. His every thought is a purpose; his every act an
accomplishment; he moves with the Great Law, not setting his puny personal will against it, and
he thus becomes a channel through which the Divine Power can flow in unimpeded and
beneficent expression. He has thus become Power itself.

Perfect Love is perfect Wisdom. The man who loves all is the man who knows all. Having
thoroughly learned the lessons of his own heart, he knows the tasks and trials of other hearts, and
adapts himself to them gently and without ostentation. Love illuminates the intellect; without it
the intellect is blind and cold and lifeless. Love succeeds where the intellect fails; sees where the
intellect is blind ; knows where the intellect is ignorant, Reason is only completed in Love, and is
ultimately absorbed in it. Love is the Supreme Reality in the universe, and as such it contains all
Truth. Infinite Tenderness enfolds and cherishes the universe; therefore is the wise man gentle
and childlike and tender-hearted. He sees that the one thing which all creatures need is Love, and
he gives unstintingly. He knows that all occasions require the adjusting power of Love, and he
ceases from harshness.

To the eye of Love all things are revealed, not as an infinity of complex effects, but in the light
of Eternal Principles, out of which spring all causes and effects, and back into which they return.
"God is Love;" therefore than Love there is nothing more perfect. He who would find pure
Knowledge let him find pure Love.

Perfect Love is perfect Peace. He who dwells with it has completed his pilgrimage in the
underworld of sorrow. With mind calm and heart at rest, he has banished the shadows of grief,
and knows the deathless Life.

If thou wouldst perfect thyself in Knowledge, perfect thyself in Love. If thou wouldst reach the
Highest, ceaselessly cultivate a loving and compassionate heart.

8. Perfect Freedom

THERE is no bondage in the Heavenly Life. There is Perfect Freedom. This is its great glory.
This Supreme Freedom is gained only by obedience. He who obeys the Highest cooperates with
the Highest, and so masters every force within himself and every condition without. A man may
choose the lower and neglect the Higher, but the Higher is never overcome by the lower: herein
lies the revelation of Freedom. Let a man choose the Higher and abandon the lower; he shall then
establish himself as an Overcomer, and shall realize Perfect Freedom.

To give the reins to inclination is the only slavery; to conquer oneself is the only freedom. The
slave to self loves his chains, and will not have one of them broken for fear he would be
depriving himself of some cherished delight. He clings to his gratifications and vanities,
regarding freedom from them as an empty and undesirable condition. He thus defeats and
enslaves himself.

By self-enlightenment is Perfect Freedom found. Whilst a man remains ignorant of himself, of

his desires, of his emotions and thoughts, and of the inward causes which mould his life and
destiny, having neither control nor understanding of himself, he will remain in bondage to
passion, sorrow, suffering, and fluctuating fortune. The Land of Perfect Freedom lies through the
Gate of Knowledge.

All outward oppression is but the shadow and effect of the real oppression within. For ages the
oppressed have cried for liberty, and a thousand man-made statutes have failed to give it to them.
They can give it only to themselves; they shall find it only in obedience to the Divine Statutes
which are inscribed upon their hearts. Let them resort to the inward Freedom, and the shadow of
oppression shall no more darken the earth. Let men cease to oppress themselves, and no man
shall oppress his brother.
Men legislate for an outward freedom, yet continue to render such freedom impossible of
achievement by fostering an inward condition of enslavement. They thus pursue a shadow
without, and ignore the substance within. Man will be free when he is freed from self. All
outward forms of bondage and oppression will cease to be when man ceases to be the willing
bond-slave of passion, error, and ignorance. Freedom is to the free.

Whilst men cling to weakness they cannot have strength; whilst they love darkness they can
receive no light; and so long as they prefer bondage they can enjoy no liberty. Strength, light,
and freedom are ready now, and can be had by all who love them, who aspire to them. Freedom
does not reside in coöperative aggression, for this will always produce, reactively, coöperative
defence — warfare, hatred, party strife, and the destruction of liberty. Freedom resides in
individual self-conquest. The emancipation of Humanity is frustrated and withheld by the self-
enslavement of the unit. Thou who criest to man and God for liberty, liberate thyself!

The Heavenly Freedom is freedom from passion, from cravings, from opinions, from the tyranny
of the flesh, and the tyranny of the intellect — this first, and then all outward freedom, as effect
to cause. The Freedom that begins within, and extends outwardly until it embraces the whole
man, is an emancipation so complete, all-embracing, and perfect as to leave no galling fetter
unbroken. Free thy soul from all sin, and thou shalt walk a freed and fearless man in the midst of
a world of fearful slaves; and, seeing thee, many slaves shall take heart and shall join thee in thy
glorious freedom.

He who says, "My worldly duties are irksome to me: I will leave them and go into solitude,
where I shall be as free as the air," and thinks to gain freedom thus, will find only a harder
slavery. The tree of Freedom is rooted in Duty, and he who would pluck its sweet fruits must
discover joy in Duty.

Glad-hearted, calm, and ready for all tasks is he who is freed from self. Irksomeness and
weariness cannot enter his heart, and his divine strength lightens every burden so that its weight
is not felt. He does not run away from Duty with his chains about him, but breaks them and
stands free.

Make thyself pure; make thyself proof against weakness, temptation, and sin; for only in thine
own heart and mind shalt thou find that Perfect Freedom for which the whole world sighs and
seeks in vain.

9. Greatness And Goodness

GOODNESS, simplicity, greatness — these three are one, and this trinity of perfection cannot be
separated. All greatness springs from goodness, and all goodness is profoundly simple, Without
goodness there is no greatness. Some men pass through the world as destructive forces, like the
tornado or the avalanche, but they are not great; they are to greatness as the avalanche is to the
mountain. The work of greatness is enduring and preservative, and not violent and destructive.
The greatest souls are the most gentle.
Greatness is never obtrusive. It works in silence, seeking no recognition. This is why it is not
easily perceived and recognized. Like the mountain, it towers up in its vastness, so that those in
its immediate vicinity, who receive its shelter and shade, do not see it. Its sublime grandeur is
only beheld as they recede from it. The great man is not seen by his contemporaries; the majesty
of his form is only outlined by its recession in time. This is the awe and enchantment of distance.
Men occupy themselves with the small things; their houses, trees, lands. Few contemplate the
mountain at whose base they live, and fewer still essay to explore it. But in the distance these
small thing disappear, and then the solitary beauty of the mountain is perceived. Popularity,
noisy obtrusiveness, and shallow show, these superficialities rapidly disappear, and leave behind
no enduring mark: whereas greatness slowly emerges from obscurity, and endures for ever.

Jewish Rabbi and rabble alike saw not the divine beauty of Jesus; they saw only an unlettered
carpenter. To his acquaintances, Homer was only a blind beggar, but the centuries reveal him as
Homer the immortal poet. Two hundred years after the farmer of Stratford (and all that is known
of him) has disappeared, the real Shakespeare is discerned. All true genius is impersonal. It
belongs not to the man through whom it is manifested; it belongs to all. It is a diffusion of pure
Truth: the Light of Heaven descending on all mankind.

Every work of genius, in whatsoever department of art, is a symbolic manifestation of

impersonal Truth. It is universal, and finds a response in every heart in every age and race.
Anything short of this is not genius, is not greatness. That work which defends a religion
perishes; it is religion that lives. Theories about immortality fade away; immortal man endures;
commentaries upon Truth come to the dust; Truth alone remains. That only is true in art which
represents the True; that only is great in life which is universally and eternally true. And the True
is the Good; the Good is the True.

Every immortal work springs from the Eternal Goodness in the human heart, and it is clothed
with the sweet and unaffected simplicity of goodness. The greatest art is, like nature, artless. It
knows no trick, no pose, no studied effort. There are no stage-tricks in Shakespeare; and he is the
greatest of dramatists because he is the simplest. The critics, not understanding the wise
simplicity of greatness, always condemn the loftiest work. They cannot discriminate between the
childish and the childlike. The True, the Beautiful, the Great, is always childlike, and is
perennially fresh and young.

The great man is always the good man; he is always simple. He draws from, nay, lives in, the
inexhaustible fountain of divine Goodness within; he inhabits the Heavenly Places; communes
with the vanished great ones; lives with the Invisible: he is inspired, and breathes the airs of

He who would be great let him learn to be good. He will therefore become great by not seeking
greatness. Aiming at greatness a man arrives at nothingness; aiming at nothingness he arrives at
greatness. The desire to be great is an indication of littleness, of personal vanity and
obtrusiveness. The willingness to disappear from gaze, the utter absence of self-aggrandizement
is the witness of greatness.
Littleness seeks and loves authority. Greatness is never authoritative, and it thereby becomes the
authority to which the after ages appeal. He who seeks, loses; he who is willing to lose, wins all
men. Be thy simple self, thy better self, thy impersonal self, and lo! thou art great! He who
selfishly seeks authority shall succeed only in becoming a trembling apologist courting
protection behind the back of acknowledged greatness. He who will become the servant of all
men, desiring no personal authority, shall live as a man, and shall be called great. "Abide in the
simple and noble regions of thy life, obey thy heart, and thou shalt reproduce the foreworld
again." Forget thine own little self, and fall back upon the Universal self, and thou shalt
reproduce, in living and enduring forms, a thousand beautiful experiences; thou shalt find within
thyself that simple goodness which is greatness.

"It is as easy to be great as to be small," says Emerson; and he utters a profound truth.
Forgetfulness of self is the whole of greatness, as it is the whole of goodness and happiness. In a
fleeting moment of self-forgetfulness the smallest soul becomes great; extend that moment
indefinitely, and there is a great soul, a great life. Cast away thy personality (thy petty cravings,
vanities, and ambitions) as a worthless garment, and dwell in the loving, compassionate, selfless
regions of thy soul, and thou art no longer small—thou art great.

Claiming personal authority, a man descends into littleness; practising goodness, a man ascends
into greatness. The presumptuousness of the small may, for a time, obscure the humility of the
great, but it is at last swallowed up by it, as the noisy river is lost in the calm ocean.

The vulgarity of ignorance and the pride of learning must disappear. Their worthlessness is
equal. They have no part in the Soul of Goodness. If thou wouldst do, thou must be. Thou shalt
not mistake information for Knowledge; thou must know thyself as pure Knowledge. Thou shalt
not confuse learning with Wisdom; thou must apprehend thyself as undefiled Wisdom.

Wouldst thou write a living book? Thou must first live; thou shalt draw around thee the mystic
garment of a manifold experience, and shalt learn, in enjoyment and suffering, gladness and
sorrow, conquest and defeat, that which no book and no teacher can teach thee. Thou shalt learn
of life, of thy soul; thou shalt tread the Lonely Road, and shalt become; thou shalt be. Thou shalt
then write thy book, and it shall live; it shall be more than a book. Let thy book first live in thee,
then shalt thou live in thy book.

Wouldst thou carve a statue that shall captivate the ages, or paint a picture that shall endure?
Thou shalt acquaint thyself with the divine Beauty within thee. Thou shalt comprehend and
adore the Invisible Beauty ; thou shalt know the Principles which are the soul of Form; thou shalt
perceive the matchless symmetry and faultless proportions of Life, of Being, of the Universe;
thus knowing the eternally True thou shalt carve or paint the indescribably Beautiful.

Wouldst thou produce an imperishable poem? Thou shalt first live thy poem; thou shalt think and
act rhythmically; thou shalt find the never-failing source of inspiration in the loving places of thy
heart. Then shall immortal lines flow from thee without effort, and. as the flowers of wood and
field spontaneously spring, so shall beautiful thoughts grow up in thine heart and, enshrined in
words as moulds to their beauty, shall subdue the hearts of men.
Wouldst thou compose such music as shall gladden and uplift the world? Thou shalt adjust thy
soul to the Heavenly Harmonies. Thou shalt know that thyself, that life and the universe is
Music. Thou shalt touch the chords of Life. Thou shalt know that Music is everywhere; that it is
the Heart of Being; then shalt thou hear with thy spiritual ear the Deathless Symphonies.

Wouldst thou preach the living word? Thou shalt forego thyself, and become that Word. Thou
shalt know one thing—that the human heart is good, is divine; thou shalt live on one thing—
Love. Thou shalt love all, seeing no evil, thinking no evil, believing no evil; then, though thou
speak but little, thy every act shall be a power, thy every word a precept. By thy pure thought,
thy selfless deed, though it appear hidden, thou shalt preach, down the ages, to untold multitudes
of aspiring souls.

To him who chooses Goodness, sacrificing all, is given that which is more than and includes all.
He becomes the possessor of the Best, communes with the Highest, and enters the company of
the Great.

The greatness that is flawless, rounded, and complete is above and beyond all art. It is Perfect
Goodness in manifestation; therefore the greatest souls are always Teachers.

10. Heaven In The Heart

THE toil of life ceases when the heart is pure. When the mind is harmonized with the Divine
Law the wheel of drudgery ceases to turn, and all work is transmuted into joyful activity. The
pure-hearted are as the lilies of the field, which toil not, yet are fed and clothed from the
abundant storehouse of the All-Good. But the lily is not lethargic; it is ceaselessly active,
drawing nourishment from earth and air and sun. By the Divine Power immanent within it, it
builds itself up, cell by cell, opening itself to the light, growing and expanding towards the
perfect flower. So is it with those who, having yielded up self-will, have learned to coöperate
with the Divine Will. They grow in grace, goodness, and beauty, freed from anxiety, and without
friction and toil. And they never work in vain; there is no waste action. Every thought, act, and
thing done subserves the Divine Purpose, and adds to the sum-total of the world‘s happiness.

Heaven is in the heart. They will look for it in vain who look elsewhere. In no outward place will
the soul find Heaven until it finds it within itself; for, wherever the soul goes, its thoughts and
desires will go with it; and, howsoever beautiful may be its outward dwelling-place, if there is
sin within, there will be darkness and gloom without, for sin always casts a dark shadow over the
pathway of the soul—the shadow of sorrow.

This world is beautiful, transcendently and wonderfully beautiful. Its beauties and inspiring
wonders cannot be numbered; yet, to the sin-sodden mind, it appears as a dark and joyless place.
Where passion and self are, there is hell, and there are all the pains of hell; where Holiness and
Love are, there is Heaven, and there are all the joys of Heaven.

Heaven is here. It is also everywhere. It is wherever there is a pure heart. The whole universe is
abounding with joy, but the sin-bound heart can neither see, hear, nor partake of it. No one is, or
can be, arbitrarily shut out from Heaven; each shuts himself out. Its Golden Gates are eternally
ajar, but the selfish cannot find them; they mourn, yet see not; they cry, but hear not. Only to
those who turn their eyes to heavenly things, their cars to heavenly sounds, are the happy Portals
of the Kingdom revealed, and they enter and are glad.

All life is gladness when the heart is right, when it is attuned to the sweet chords of holy Love.
Life is Religion, Religion is life and all is Joy and Gladness. The jarring notes of creeds and
parties, the black shadows of sin, let them pass away for ever; they cannot enter the Door of Life;
they form no part of Religion. Joy, Music, Beauty—these belong to the True Order of things;
they are of the texture of the universe; of these is the divine Garment of Life woven. Pure
Religion is glad, not gloomy. It is Light without darkness or shadow.

Despondency, disappointment, grief — these are the reflex aspects of pleasurable excitement,
self-seeking, and desire. Give up the latter, and the former will for ever disappear; then there
remains the perfect Bliss of Heaven.

Abounding and unalloyed Happiness is man‘s true life; perfect Blessedness is his rightful portion
; and when he loses his false life and finds the true he enters into the full possession of his
Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven is man‘s Home; and it is here and now, it is in his own heart,
and he is not left without Guides, if he wills to find it. All man‘s sorrows and sufferings are the
result of his own self-elected estrangement from the Divine Source, the All-Good, the Father, the

Heart of Love. Let him return to his Home; his peace awaits him.

The Heavenly-hearted are without sorrow and suffering, because they are without sin. What the
worldly-minded call troubles they regard as pleasant tasks of Love and Wisdom. Troubles
belong to hell; they do not enter Heaven. This is so simple it should not appear strange. If you
have a trouble it. is in your own mind, and nowhere else; you make it, it is not made for you; it is
not in your task; it is not in that outward thing. You are its creator, and it derives its life from you
only. Look upon all your difficulties as lessons to be learned, as‘ aids to spiritual growth, and lo!
they are difficulties no longer! This is one of the Pathways up to Heaven.

To transmute everything into Happiness and Joy, this is supremely the work and duty of the
Heavenly-minded man. To reduce everything to wretchedness and deprivation is the process
which the worldly-minded unconsciously pursue. To live in Love is to work in Joy. Love is the
magic that transforms all things into power and beauty. It brings plenty out of poverty, power out
of weakness, loveliness out of deformity, sweetness out of bitterness, light out of darkness, and
produces all blissful conditions out of its own substantial but indefinable essence.

He who loves can never want. The universe belongs to Goodness, and it therefore belongs to the
good man. It can be possessed by all without stint or shrinking, for Goodness, and the abundance
of Goodness (material, mental, and spiritual abundance), is inexhaustible. Think lovingly, speak
lovingly, act lovingly, and your every need shall be supplied; you shall not walk in desert places,
and no danger shall overtake you.

Love sees with faultless vision, judges true judgement, acts in wisdom. Look through the eyes of
Love, and you shall see everywhere the Beautiful and True; judge with the mind of Love, and
you shall err not. shall wake no wail of sorrow; act in the spirit of Love, and you shall strike
undying harmonies upon the Harp of Life.

Make no compromise with self. Cease not to strive until your whole being is swallowed up in
Love. To love all and always—this is the Heaven of heavens. "Let there be nothing within thee
that is not very beautiful and very gentle, and then will there be nothing without thee that is not
beautified and softened by the spell of thy presence." All that you do, let it be done in calm
wisdom, and not from desire, impulse, or opinion; this is the Heavenly way of action.

Purify your thought-world until no stain is left, and you will ascend into Heaven while living in
the body. You will then see the things of the outward world clothed in all beautiful forms.
Having found the Divine Beauty within ourselves, it springs to life in every outward thing. To
the beautified soul the world is beautiful.

Undeveloped souls are merely unopened flowers. The perfect Beauty lies concealed within, and
will one day reveal itself to the full-orbed light of Heaven. Seeing men thus, we stand where evil
is not, and where the eye beholds only good. Herein lies the peace and patience and beauty of
Love—it sees no evil. He who loves thus becomes the protector of all men. Though in their
ignorance they should hate him, he shields and loves them.

What gardener is so foolish as to condemn his flowers because they do not develop in a day?
Learn to love, and you shall see in all souls, even those called "degraded," the Divine Beauty,
and shall know that it will not fail to come forth in its own season. This is one of the Heavenly
Visions; it is out of this that Gladness comes.

Sin, sorrow, suffering — these are the dark gropings of the unopened soul for Light. Open the
petals of your soul and let the glorious Light stream in.

Every sinful soul is an unresolved harmony. It shall at last strike the Perfect Chord, and swell the
joyful melodies of Heaven.

Hell is the preparation for Heaven; and out of the debris of its ruined hovels are built pleasant
mansions wherein the perfected soul may dwell.

Night is only a fleeting shadow which the world casts, and sorrow is but a transient shade cast by
the self. "Come out into the Sunlight." Know this, O reader! that you are divine. You are not cut
off from the Divine except in your own unbelief. Rise up, O Son of God! and shake off the
nightmare of sin which binds you; accept your heritage—the Kingdom of Heaven! Drug your
soul no longer with the poisons of false beliefs. You are not "a worm of the dust" unless you
choose to make yourself one. You are a divine, immortal, God-born being, and this you may
know if you will to seek and find. Cling no longer to your impure and grovelling thoughts, and
you shall know that you are a radiant and celestial spirit, filled with all pure and lovable
thoughts. Wretchedness and sin and sorrow are not your portion here unless you accept them as
such; and if you do this, they will be your portion hereafter, for these things are not apart from
your soul-condition: they will go wherever you go; they are only within you.
Heaven, not hell, is your portion here and always. It only requires you to take that which belongs
to you. You are the master, and you choose whom you will serve. You are the maker of your
state, and your choice determines your condition. What you pray and ask for (with your mind
and heart, not with your lips merely), this you receive. You are served as you serve. You are
conditioned as you condition. You garner in your own.

Heaven is yours; you have but to enter in and take possession; and Heaven means Supreme
Happiness, Perfect Blessedness; it leaves nothing to be desired; nothing to be grieved over. It is
complete satisfaction now and in this world. It is within you ; and if you do not know this, it is
because you persist in turning the back of your soul upon it. Turn round and you shall behold it.

Come and live in the sunshine of your being. Come out of the shadows and the dark places. You
are framed for Happiness. You are a child of Heaven. Purity, Wisdom, Love, Plenty, Joy, and
Peace—these are the eternal Realities of the Kingdom, and they are yours, but you cannot
possess them in sin; they have no part in the Realm of Darkness. They belong to "the Light
which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," the Light of spotless Love. They are the
heritage of the holy Christ-Child who shall come to birth in your soul when you are ready to
divest yourself of all your impurities. They are your real self.

But he whose soul has been safely delivered of the Wonderful Joy-Child does not forget the
travail of the world.
James Allen

1. Introduction
2. The Gate and the Way
3. The Law and the Prophets
4. The Yoke and the Burden
5. The Word and the Doer
6. The Vine and the Branches
7. Salvation This Day

THE genius of the present age in matters spiritual is towards simplicity, and the hunger of the
human heart is for Truth naked and uninvolved. That hunger will eventually bring about (is
already bringing about) its own satisfaction, and here and there are men and women who,
passing through the Gateway of Self-conquest, are entering into possession of the Transcendent

The closing years of the nineteenth century witnessed the culmination of Formalism, and the
spiritual reaction is now firmly established. Already "the end of old faiths and beginning of the
new" is discernible to all who have removed from their mental vision somewhat of the textual
dust of dying creeds, and have penetrated, however faintly, that sublime region of Truth which is
discoverable only by practice, and which is made manifest by pure thoughts and holy deeds.

The universal decay of effete religious systems which the world is witnessing today is matter for
rejoicing; it is the death which precedes Life; it is the passing away of the false in order that the
True may be more fully revealed. The True can, at worst, but remain hidden. It endures. It
remains forever. Its invincibility cannot be qualified, and he who has but one momentary glimpse
of the True can never again be anxious for its safety. That about which men are anxious is the
false, which they mistake for the True, and this, in spite of all their anxiety, must fade away at

In the lives of all the Great Teachers we see a manifestation of that Universal Truth, the majesty
and splendor of which is as yet but dimly comprehended by mankind, but which must, during the
gradual transformation and transmutation which the accumulating ages shall effect, at last
become the possession of all. That Truth, as manifested by the Teachers, was written by them, as
it only can be written, in thoughts and deeds of the loftiest moral excellence which have been
permanently impressed upon the mind of mankind by their embodiment in preceptial form. It is
to the sweet lives and inspiring words of these mighty Teachers that the eyes of a hungering and
thirsty world are again being turned, and the Light of Life is being lighted up, the world over, in
hearts that are ready to attune themselves to the Eternal Song of Love and Peace. What religions
have failed to do, Religion will accomplish; what the Priest has obscured, the Spirit of Truth in
the heart of man will make plain, and the world is now finding spiritual healing and refreshment
in turning away from traditional and historic accretions, and going back to the pure Fountain of
Truth as revealed to them so simply, clearly and beautifully by their blameless Teachers, and
which had its inexhaustive spring within themselves.

To aid men and women (more particularly those in Christian countries) more speedily to find this
abiding Truth, these articles, setting forth the life and precepts of Jesus, were written. Formalism
and self were heavy burdens to carry, and in directing the minds of men to blamelessness of
conduct and purity of heart, I know I can leave the result with the Supreme Law, and that there
are those who will read and, having read, will pass from the burdensome complexities of
ignorance and formalism to the joyful simplicity of Enlightenment and Truth.

James Allen.
1. The Gate And The Way

Strait is the Gate, and narrow is the Way, which leadeth unto Life, and few there be that find it.


A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things.


The supreme aim of all religions is to teach men how to live; and the learning and the living are
religion itself. The purification of the human heart, the building up of a blameless life, and the
perfecting of the soul, these are the great underlying and enduring factors in all religions and
creeds the world over. That which is vital in every religion is the striving after, and the practice
of, Goodness; all things else are accretions, superfluities, illusions. Goodness — and by
Goodness I mean sinlessness — is the beautiful and imperishable form of Religion, but creeds
and religions are the perishable garments, woven of the threads of opinion, in which men clothe
it. One after another religions come and go, but Religion, being Life itself, endures forever. Let
men cease to quarrel over the garments and strive to perceive the universality and beauty of the
indwelling form; thus will they become wedded to it, will become one with the supreme
Goodness. Religion is Goodness; Goodness is Religion.

We know nothing higher than Goodness. We can conceive of nothing more beautiful than
Goodness. Beholding the Perfect Goodness, men call it God. Seeing that Goodness practiced by
man, men worship him as God.

We behold Jesus as a sinless man; in him is the Perfect Goodness revealed, not obscurely and
metaphysically, but in all his words and deeds; and it is by virtue of his sinlessness that he is
accepted as an Examplar and universal Teacher.

The Teachers of mankind are few. A thousand years may pass by without the advent of such a
one; but when the True Teacher does appear, the distinguishing feature by which he is known is
his life. His conduct is different from that of other men, and his teaching is never derived from
any man or book, but from his own life. The Teacher first lives, and then teaches others how they
may likewise live. The proof and witness of his teaching is in himself, his life. Out of millions of
preachers, one only is ultimately accepted by mankind as the true Teacher, and the one who is
thus accepted and exalted is he who lives. All the others are mere disquisitionaries and
commentators, and as such they rapidly pass out of human ken.

Jesus, the Teacher, lived, in all its perfection, and in the face of the most adverse conditions, the
divine life of Love; he pursued the true life of Goodwill, as distinguished from the false life of
self-seeking, which the majority elect to follow. In him there was no element of selfishness, all
his thoughts, words and acts being prompted by the spirit of Love. To this spirit of Love he so
entirely subjected his personality that he became one with it, so much so that he literally became
Divine Love personified. His complete victory over the personality was accomplished by
obedience to the Divine Law of Love within himself, by virtue of which he became divine, and
his whole teaching is to the effect that all who practice the same obedience will realize the same
divine Life, will become consciously divine.

The unalterable meekness, undying compassion, sweet forgiveness, and unending love and
patience of Jesus are the themes of a thousand hymns, the subject of millions of heartfelt prayers;
and this is so because those qualities are recognized everywhere and by all men as being
distinctively divine. To make the practice of these qualities the chief object of life constitutes
Religion! to deny them, and to continue to live in their selfish opposites — pride, condemnation,
harshness, hatred, and anger — constitutes irreligion.

Men everywhere, in their inmost hearts though they may deny it argumentatively, know that
Goodness is divine; and Jesus is worshipped as God, not for any claim he made, nor because of
any miraculous circumstance connected with his life, but because he never departed from the
Perfect Goodness, the Faultless Love. "God is Love," Love is God. Man knows no God except
Love manifesting in the human heart and life in the form of stainless thoughts, blameless words,
and deeds of gentle pity and forgiveness, and he can only know this God in the measure that he
has realized Love in his own heart by self-subjugation. The God which forms the subject of
theological argument, and whose existence or non-existence men are so eager to prove, is the
God of hypothesis and speculation. He who, by overcoming self, has found, dwelling within him,
the Supreme Love, knows what that Love is far beyond the reach of all selfish argument, and can
only be lived; and he lives, leaving vain argument to those who will not come up higher.

Having by obedience, entered into full possession of the Divine Life, Jesus gave to the world
certain spiritual rules, by the observance of which all men could become sons of God, could live
the Perfect Life. These rules or precepts are so simple, direct, and unmistakable that it is
impossible to misunderstand them. So plain and unequivocal are they that even an unlettered
child could grasp their meaning without difficulty. All of them are directly related to human
conduct and can be applied only by the individual in his own life. To carry out the spirit of these
rules in one‘s daily conduct constitutes the whole duty of life, and lifts the individual into the full
consciousness of his divine origin and nature, of his oneness with God, the Supreme Good. It is
here, however, where the difficulty arises, for, although there are millions of men and women
worshipping Jesus as God in a miraculous or metaphysical sense, there are really very few who
believe in his precepts, and who attempt to carry them out in their life. In the precepts themselves
there can be no difficulty or misunderstanding; all this lies in the unbelief of those who read the
precepts. Men do not carry out the precepts of Jesus because they do not believe it possible to do
so, and so they never try; whilst there are others who, believing it possible and necessary to carry
them out, are not willing to make the personal sacrifices which those precepts demand. Yet, apart
from the earnest striving to live out the teachings of Jesus there can be no true life. To merely
call Jesus "Lord" does not constitute discipleship, but to weave his words into the fabric of one‘s
life, to put into execution his divine and selfperfecting precepts, this, and this only, constitutes

Let it be understood thus early that with the almost innumerable creeds which have been built
upon the Hebrew Scriptures, I have absolutely nothing to do. I have to do entirely with the life
and teaching of Jesus, and with the vital realities in the human heart to which that teaching is
directed. I have to do with Goodness, not with speculation; with Love, not with theological
theories; with self-perfection, not with fleeting opinions.

Jesus was a supremely good man; this all men know, and to know this is allembracing and all
sufficient. He has left precepts which, if a man will guide his conduct by them, will lead him
unerringly to the Supreme Goodness; to know this is gladdening and glorious.

A good man is the flower of humanity, and to daily grow purer, nobler, more Godlike, by
overcoming some selfish tendency, is to be continually drawing nearer to the Divine Heart. "He
that would be my disciple let him deny himself daily," is a statement which none can
misunderstand or misapply, howsoever he may ignore it. Nowhere in the universe is there any
substitute for Goodness, and until a man has this, he has nothing worthy or enduring. To the
possession of Goodness there is only one way, and that is, to give up all and everything that is
opposed to Goodness. Every selfish desire must be eradicated; every impure thought must be
yielded up; every clinging to opinion must be sacrificed; and it is in the doing of this that
constitutes the following of Christ. That which is above all creeds, beliefs and opinions is a
loving and self-sacrificing heart. The life of Jesus is a demonstration of this truth, and all His
teaching is designed to bring about this holy and supreme consummation.

To dwell in love always and towards all is to live the true life, is to have Life itself. Jesus so
lived, and all men may so live if they will humbly and faithfully carry out his precepts. So long
as they refuse to do this, clinging to their desires, passions and opinions, they cannot be ranked
as his disciples; they are the disciples of self. "Verily, verily, I say unto you: whosoever
committeth sin is the servant of sin," is the searching declaration of Jesus. Let men cease to
delude themselves with the belief that they can retain their bad tempers, their lusts, their harsh
words and judgments, their personal hatreds, their petty contentions and darling opinions, and yet
have Christ. All that divides man from man, and man from Goodness is not of Christ, for Christ
is Love.

To continue to commit sin is to be a doer of sin, a follower of self, and not a doer of
righteousness and a follower of Christ. Sin and Christ cannot dwell together, and he who accepts
the Christ life of pure Goodness, ceases from sin. To follow Christ means to give up all, in our
mind and conduct, that antagonizes the spirit of Love, and this, we shall find as we proceed,
necessitates complete self-surrender, refusing to harbor any thought that is not pure,
compassionate and gentle. The Christ-spirit of Love puts an end, not only to all sin, but to all
division and contention. If I contend for an opinion, say, about the divinity of Jesus Christ,
against the opinion of another as to his non-divinity, I at once create division and strife, and
depart from the Christ, the spirit of Love. When Christ is disputed about, Christ is lost.

It is no less selfish and sinful to cling to opinion than to cling to impure desire. Knowing this, the
good man gives up himself unreservedly to the spirit of Love, and dwells in Love towards all,
contending with none, condemning none, hating none, but loving all, seeing behind their
opinions, their creeds and their sins, into their striving, suffering and sorrowing hearts. "He that
loveth his life shall lose it." Eternal Life belongs to him who will obediently relinquish his petty,
narrowing, sin-loving, strifeproducing personal self, for only by so doing can he enter into the
large, beautiful, free and glorious life of abounding Love. Herein is the Path of Life; for the strait
Gate is the Gate of Goodness, and the narrow Way is the Way of Renunciation, or selfsacrifice.
So strait is the Gate that no sin can pass through, and so narrow is the Way that he who essays to
walk it can take with him no selfish thought as his companion.

2. The Law And The Prophets

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for
this is the Law and the Prophets.


If thou wilt enter info life; keep the Commandments


The commandments and precepts of Jesus were given to men to be kept. This is so simple and
self-evident a truth that there ought to be no necessity to state it; yet, after the precepts of Jesus
have been before the world for nearly nineteen hundred years, this necessity not only exists, but
is very great, so widespread is the belief that the tasks embodied in the precepts are not only
utterly impracticable, but altogether impossible of human accomplishment. This disbelief in the
possibility of carrying out the divine commands is the primary delusion, due to ignorance, in
which men are caught, and it is impossible for any man to comprehend spiritual things until he
destroys it.

The words of Jesus are the direct outcome of an intimate knowledge of divine Law, and his every
utterance is in harmonious relationship with the Eternal Substance. This a man finds as he molds
the spiritual life contained in those words into his own life — that is, as he succeeds in living the

Let us now examine these precepts, and see how they are to be carried out, and what they imply
and involve. Most of them are embodied in the Sermon on the Mount, and all of them are
directly related to individual conduct, so that there are only two possible ways of dealing with
them, namely, to practice them or to ignore them.

It is not necessary for me to refer to them all separately, as, not only have my readers the Bible at
their command, but each precept is based upon the same divine principle, and to learn the spirit
of one is to know the spirit of them all. Indeed, seeing that not only all the precepts, but that the
whole duty of life in its human and divine relationship has been embodied in the seventeen
words, "all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them,"
it is only necessary to refer to the other precepts in order to elucidate the carrying out of this one,
for in learning this one precept, the whole range of spiritual life and knowledge is involved:
"This is the Law and the Prophets."

The precept is extremely simple; this is why men have failed to understand it and to put it into
effect. Its application, however, to the soul of the individual leaves no room for selfishness and
self-compromise, and so comprehensive is it that to carry it out in its entirety means the
attainment of Christ-like perfection of character. But before a man can put it into practice, he
must strive to understand it, and even this initial step necessitates a self-surrender which few are
willing to make. A man can learn nothing unless he regards himself as a learner. Before a man
can learn anything of the divine spirit within, he must come to the feet of Christ divested of all of
his desires, his opinions and views, yea, even of his cherished ideal, regarding himself as a little
child, knowing nothing, blind and ignorant, seeking knowledge. Before this attitude of humility
is adopted, the attainment of divine life and knowledge is impossible; but he who will adopt it
will rapidly enter into the highest revelations, and the carrying out of the precept will soon
become easy and natural to him.

Having clothed himself with humility the first questions a man asks himself are: "How am I
acting towards others?" "What am I doing to others?" "How am I thinking of others?" "Are my
thoughts of and acts to-ward others prompted by unselfish love, as I would theirs should be to
me, or are they the outcome of personal dislike, of petty revenge, or of narrow bigotry and
condemnation?" As a man, in the sacred silence of his soul, asks himself these searching
questions, applying all his thoughts and acts to the spirit of the primary precept of Jesus, his
understanding will become illuminated so that he will unerringly see where he has hitherto
failed; and he will also see what he has got to do in rectifying his heart and conduct, and the way
in which it is to be done. Such a man has become a disciple of Christ at whose feet he sits, and
whose commands he is prepared to carry out no matter at what sacrifice to himself.

One hour‘s daily meditation upon this precept, combined with a sincere wish to learn its meaning
and a determination to carry it out, would rapidly lift a man above his sinful nature into the clear
light and freedom of divine Truth, for it would compel him to re-model his entire life, and to turn
right round in his attitude towards others. Let a man, before acting, ask himself the question,
"Should I like others to do this to me?" and he will soon find his way out of his spiritual
darkness, for he will then begin to live for others instead of for himself; will adjust his thoughts
and conduct to the Principle of divine Love, instead of blindly following his selfish inclinations.
However others act towards him, he will begin to act towards all in a calm, quiet, forgiving
spirit. If others attack his attitude, his beliefs, his religion, he will not retaliate, and will cease
from attacking others, realizing that it is his supreme duty to carry out his divine Master‘s
commands; and the carrying out of those commands will demand the re-adjustment, not only of
his thoughts and acts, but of every detail of his life, even down to his eating and drinking and

As he proceeds in this new life, the Teachings of Jesus will become luminous with a new light,
vital with a new life, and he will feel that every precept is for him, and that he must carry them
out, ceasing to accuse others because they do not carry them out. As he reads the words "Judge
not," he will know that he must cease from all harsh and unkind judgment, that he must think
kindly of all, just as much so of those who are unkind to him as of those who are kind to him;
that if others judge and condemn him, he must not do so to them, and, putting aside all personal
considerations, must deal with them in the spirit of equity, wisdom and love. It will thus be seen
that even in carrying out the one simple precept, "Judge not," a man must necessarily rise above
much that is merely personal and selfish, and will develop unusual spiritual strength. This course
of conduct, diligently pursued, will lead to the observance of the precept, "Resist not evil," for if
a man ceases to judge others as evil, he will cease to resist them as evil.
Of late years much has been written about non-resistance to evil, but he who would comprehend
the spiritual significance of this, or indeed of any precept, must not rest content with mere
dialectic definitions of it, but must assiduously practise it; he can only find its meaning by doing
it. And in the doing of this precept, a man will destroy in himself the eye of evil, and in its place
he will learn to look through the eye of good, the eye of Truth; when he will see that evil is not
worth resisting, and that the practice of the good is supremely excellent.

Whilst a man is engaged in resisting evil, he is not only practicing the good, he is actually
involved in the like passion and prejudice which he condemns in another, and as a direct result of
his attitude of mind, he himself is resisted by others as evil. Resist a man, a party, a law, a
religion, a government as evil, and you yourself will be resisted as evil. He who considers it as a
great evil that he should be persecuted and condemned, let him cease to persecute and condemn.
Let him turn away from all that he has hitherto regarded as evil, and begin to look for the good,
taking passion, resentment and retaliation out of his heart, and he will very soon see that what he
has all along been resisting as evil has no existence as such, and that it was merely an
exaggerated and illusionary reflection of the passion and folly which were in himself. So deep
and far-reaching is this precept that the practice of it will take a man far up the heights of
spiritual knowledge and attainment, and when, by following its demands, he has so far purified
and overcome himself as to see good and not evil in all men and all things, he will then be
prepared to carry out a still higher precept {though one contained in the primary precept),
namely, "Love your enemies."

Over none of the precepts do men stumble more than this one, and the cause for such stumbling
is near at hand and very plain. It is to be expected that men who regard fighting, retaliation, and
hatred towards their enemies as indications of nobility of character should look upon this precept
as not only an impracticable, but a very foolish command. And from their standpoint of
knowledge they are right. If man be regarded as a mere animal cut off from the Divine, those
fierce, destructive qualities which are esteemed noble in the beast, are noble in man.

To such men, living in their animal qualities and instincts, meekness, forgiveness and self-
denying love appear as cowardice, effeminacy and weak sentimentality. If, however, we
recognize in man certain divine qualities, more active in some than others, but possessed in a
measure by all, such as love, purity, compassion, reason, wisdom, etc., which lift him above the
animal, then the precept, "Love your enemies," not only appears practicable, but is seen to
represent the rightful and legitimate state of man. To the man, therefore, who says, "This is an
impossible precept," I would say, "You are right, to you it is impossible; but it is only your
unbelief in the efficacy of those qualities which constitute Goodness, and your belief in the
power of the animal forces, that make it so; reverse your attitude of mind, and the impossibilities
will fade away."

No man can carry out and understand this precept who is not willing to renounce his animal
nature. He who would find the Christ, the pure spirit of Truth, must cease to warp and blind his
spiritual vision by flattering his feelings and passions. The source of all enmity within himself
must be destroyed. Hatred is none the less hatred when it is called dislike. Personal antipathies,
however natural they may be to the animal man, can have no place in the divine life. Nor can a
man see spiritual things or receive spiritual truths while his mind is involved in malice, dislike,
animosity, revenge, or that blind egotism which thinks "I, in my views, am right, and you are

The keeping, then, of the commandment, "Love your enemies," necessitates the removal, from
the heart, of all hatred and egotism, and as this is accomplished, the Principle of Divine Love,
which is unchangeably the same towards all, — the just and the unjust, the sinful and the saintly,
— takes the place, in the consciousness, of those violent animal and personal loves which are
continually changing, and coming and going, and which are inseparably linked with their
opposite of violent hatred. It is impossible to love one‘s enemies whilst living in the animal
personality, for that personality is of the very nature of blind love and hatred; it is only by
deserting the personal elements, that the impersonal, divine Love which does not alter with the
changing attitudes of others, is found, and can become the dominating factor in one‘s conduct;
and when that is done, the disciple realizes that his true nature is divine.

The Love, then, which enables a man to deal kindly with his enemies, and to do to others as he
would like others to do to him, irrespective of their attitude of mind, is not an emotion, impulse
or preference, but a state of divine knowledge arrived at by practice; and as this knowledge is
perfected in the mind, the Eternal Principles of the Divine Law of which the Prophets spoke, and
on which they stood, are comprehended.

He who will keep the precepts of Jesus, will conquer himself and will become divinely
illuminated. He who will not keep them will remain in the darkness of his lower nature, shut out
from all understanding of Spiritual Principles and of the Divine Law. Herein, also, resides the
infallible test of discipleship, for it was none other than Jesus the Christ who said, "He that
loveth me not keepeth not my sayings," and "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them,
he it is that loveth me."

3. The Yoke And The Burden

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find
rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.


Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.


Humanity is essentially divine. Every precept of Jesus rests upon this truth. If man were not
divine, the precepts would be both worthless and meaningless, as there would be nothing within
him (no divine spirit) to which they could appeal. The very fact that man is capable of loving his
enemies, and of returning good for evil, is an attestation of his inward and essential divinity. If
sin were man‘s natural and rightful condition, it would be right that he should remain in it, and
there would be no necessity to exhort him to virtue and holiness, for it would be impossible for
him to act otherwise than in accordance with his original nature. Whenever men exhort their
fellows to virtue, nobility of action, purity of thought, and unselfishness, they unconsciously
assert and emphasize man‘s originally divine nature, and proclaim, though perhaps they know it
not, his superiority to sin, and his God-like power to overcome it.

So long, however, has man dwelt in the habitations of sin, that he has at last come to regard
himself as native to it, and as being cut off from the Divine Source, which he believes to be
outside and away from him. He has thereby lost the consciousness and knowledge of his own
divinity, of his essential oneness with God, the Spirit of Good. Humanity at present is in the
position of the Prodigal Son, wandering in the Far Country of Sin, and attempting to live upon
the swinish husks of base desires and false beliefs; and every divine precept and command is a
call to man to return to his Father‘s House, his Original Innocence, and to recover and re-
establish the knowledge of his substantial oneness with the Divine.

The whole of the teaching of Jesus is an exhortation to men to do as he did, to live as he lived; he
thereby recognizes and affirms the inherent equality of Humanity with Himself, and in declaring
"I and my Father are One," he speaks not alone for himself but for all men. The difference
between the life of Jesus and that of other men is not arbitrarily imposed, nor does it exist in
essentiality, it is self-imposed and exists in individual choice. Jesus fully recognized his oneness
with the Father (the Divine Source), and lived consciously in that oneness; other men (speaking
broadly) not only do not recognize their oneness with the Divine, but do not believe it; it is
therefore impossible for them, by virtue of their unbelief, to rise to the dignity and majesty of the
Divine Life. Whilst a man regards himself as being the creature of sin, believing himself to be
originally degraded, he must necessarily remain degraded, and subject to sin; but let him realize
that he is originally divine, that he is not, never was and never can be, cut off from the Divine
except in his own ignorance and willful choice, and he will at once rise above sin, and
commence to manifest the Divine Life.

Man is primarily a spiritual being, and as such, is of the nature and substance of the Eternal
Spirit, the Unchangeable Reality, which men call God. Goodness, not sin, is his rightful
condition; perfection, not imperfection, is his heritage, and this a man may enter into and realize
now if he will grant the condition, which is the denial or abandonment of self, that is, of his
feverish desires, his proud will, his egotism and self-seeking — all that which St. Paul calls the
"natural man."

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes the way of action and thought by which the divine
life is to be lived, and after having laid down the whole duty of man as a spiritual being, a son of
God, He exhorts men to live as becomes their divine relationship, in the words, "Be ye therefore
perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." In sounding this high call to
perfection, Jesus, far from commanding an impossibility, merely urges men to live their true life
of divine perfection, and to give up their false life of self-seeking and sin.

The "yoke" which Jesus calls upon men to take upon themselves is the yoke of obedience —
obedience to the divine nature which is in every man, no longer obeying the lower desires and
impulses; and the "burden" is the burden of a sinless life. Such a yoke is "easy," because it
entails no suffering, and such a burden is "light," for it is relieved of the weight of sorrow,
anxiety and fear. It is the life of self-seeking which is so uneasy, while the burden of sin, even of
the mildest forms of sin, is heavy and wearisome. To know the truth of this, a man has only to
look around upon the world, and then within his own soul.

Jesus recognized the divine in all men, even those called "evil," and he dwelt upon it and
reiterated it. The idea of man being innately degraded, a lost creature, incapable of lifting himself
to the heights of Goodness and Righteousness, nowhere enters into either the words, conceptions,
or teaching of Jesus. On the other hand, the whole of his teaching affirms and emphasises man‘s
innate Goodness, and his unlimited capacity for practicing goodness. When he says, "Condemn
not and ye shall not be condemned; forgive and ye shall be forgiven; give and it shall be given
unto you; good measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over shall men give into
your bosoms," he plainly tells us that if we will only put away all resentment, and treat others
with kindness, forgiveness and gentle consideration, we shall then find that men are so
intrinsically good that they will heap kindnesses without number upon us. He who would find
how good at heart men are, let him throw away all his ideas and suspicions about the "evil" in
others, and find and practice the good within himself.

Jesus also speaks of the "righteous," and those who "hunger and thirst for righteousness," of "the
meek," "the merciful," "the pure in heart," and "the peacemakers," and declares that all such are
blessed. He draws our attention to the fact that those who regard themselves as evil, are so far
from being evil that they know how to give good gifts to their children, and that even the
publicans and sinners return love for love. His testimony to the guileless innocence of little
children seems to have been much overlooked and ignored by those who call themselves his
followers, and in all his references to and treatment of, the fallen; he looks behind and away from
the surface defilement (which other men regard as the real man, and dwell upon and exaggerate
its enormity), and sees and brings forth the divine beauty and goodness hidden away under the
accumulation of sin.

He speaks of sinners as "captives" and "blind," and that it was his mission to preach deliverance
and restore sight, clearly indicating that sin is foreign to man, and that sinlessness is his true
state; and he even declares that men shall do greater works than he did.

Nowhere in the whole range of history or inspiration is there to be found such testimony to the
lofty nobility and essential purity and goodness (doubtless more or less latent) of human heart
than in the words and deeds of Jesus. In his divine goodness he knew the human heart, and he
knew that it was good.

Man has within him the divine power by which he can rise to the highest heights of spiritual
achievement; by which he can shake off sin and shame and sorrow, and do the will of the Father,
the Supreme Good; by which he can conquer all the powers of darkness within, and stand radiant
and free; by which he can subdue the world, and scale the lofty pinnacles of Truth. This can man,
by choice, by resolve, and by his divine strength, accomplish; but he can only accomplish it in
and by obedience; he must choose meekness and lowliness of heart; he must abandon strife for
peace; passion for purity; hatred for love; self-seeking for self-sacrifice, and must overcome evil
with good; for this is the holy Way of Truth; this is the safe and abiding salvation; this is the
yoke and burden of the Christ.
4. The Word And The Doer

Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man
which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the wind
blew and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.


If ye continue in my word, then ye are my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the Thruth, and
the Truth shall make you free.


The Gospel of Jesus is a Gospel of living and doing. If it were not this, it would not voice the
Eternal Truth. Its Temple is Purified Conduct, the entrance-door to which is Self-surrender. It
invites men to shake off sin, and promises, as a result, joy and blessedness and perfect peace.

There is one characteristic in the teachings of all those Great Souls who have been worshipped
by mankind as saviors, and that is that they bring to light and appeal directly to, the simple facts
and truths of the soul and of life; and in the teaching of Jesus this feature stands out pre-
eminently. Strictly speaking, he put forward no theory, advanced no creed, laid no claim to any
particular "views," and propounded no speculative philosophy. He was content to state that
which is.

Men are so taken up with their pleasures, theories, theologies, and philosophies that they cannot
comprehend the simple facts of life, and it is supremely the office of the true teacher to bring
men back to the simple and beautiful realities of their own souls. The false teacher, he who can
perceive the simple truths of Duty and of Conduct, and does not see himself and other men as
they are, when asked to point out the Way of Truth, will declare that it lies entirely in the
acceptance of his own particular theology, and will warn the questioner against all other systems
of theology. Not so, however, the true Teacher, he who knows the human heart, and who sees
life as it is; and particularly not so, Jesus, who when questioned of the Way of Life, always told
his questioner to go and do certain things. Never once did he refer a questioner to any views,
theories, or deftly woven philosophies of his own, or indeed of other men. He referred them to
duty and to purity of life and conduct, and the only things he warned them against were their
own sins. And, truly, this is all that is needful. A man either abandons sin or clings to it; if the
former, he does all and realizes the Law of Life; if the latter, he does nothing, and remains
ignorant, blind, without understanding.

Truth is contained in conduct, and not in any system of thought; and to live purely and
blamelessly is infinitely superior to all wordy doctrines. Let a man carefully study every system
of theology, and he will at last find that one selfless thought, one pure deed, puts them all to
shame. Truth is divorced from the controversies of the creeds, but it shines with undimmed luster
in the self-forgetting deed. How beautifully this is illustrated in the parables of Jesus, and how
forcibly it is brought out in many of the incidents of his life; particularly in that one recorded in
the tenth chapter of Luke, where the lawyer asks, "Master, what shall I do to inherit Eternal
Life?" The answer of Jesus is to ask him to repeat the chief commandment, which being done,
Jesus simply says, "This do, and thou shalt live." Whereupon the lawyer, wishing to draw Jesus
into an argument, in order, no doubt, to confound him, asks, "And who is my neighbor?"

We then have the incomparable parable of the good Samaritan, wherein Jesus shows in the
simplest language and imagery, yet forcibly and unmistakably, that religious observances are so
many vain and useless burdens unless accompanied by good deeds, and that the so-called
worldly man who does unselfish deeds has already found Eternal Life; while the so-called
religious man who shuts up his soul against mercy and unselfishness, is shut out from Life. To
comprehend the full force of this parable it is necessary to bear in mind that the Priests and the
Levites were regarded by the Jews as being the highly favored and chosen of God, whereas the
Samaritans were regarded as being entirely outside the pale of salvation.

Jesus recognized no religion outside of conduct; and truly there is none. Pure Goodness is
Religion, and outside it there is no religion. There are innumerable doctrines, and there is much
strife and heated controversy, but a man is only truly religious when he succeeds in rising above
these and this, and reaches that loving place in his heart where all hateful distinctions are burnt
away by the pure flames of compassion and love. And in this divine place Jesus stood, and he
calls other men thither to receive rest and peace.

That Jesus was meek, and lowly, and loving, and compassionate, and pure, is very beautiful, but
it is not sufficient; it is necessary, reader, that you also should be meek, and lowly, and loving
and compassionate and pure. That Jesus subordinated his own will to the will of the Father, it is
inspiring to know, but it is not sufficient; it is necessary that you, too, should likewise
subordinate your will to that of the overruling Good. The grace and beauty and goodness that
were in Jesus can be of no value to you, cannot be understood by you, unless they are also in
you, and they can never be in you until you practice them, for, apart from doing, the qualities
which constitute Goodness do not, as far as you are concerned, exist. To adore Jesus for his
divine qualities is a long step towards Truth, but to practice those qualities is Truth itself; and he
who truly adores the perfection of another will not rest content in his own imperfection, but will
fashion his soul after the likeness of that other. To us and to all there is no sufficiency, no
blessedness, no peace to be derived from the goodness of another, not even the goodness of God;
not until the goodness is done by us, not until it is by constant effort, incorporated into our being,
can we know and possess its blessedness and peace. Therefore, thou who adorest Jesus for his
divine qualities, practice those qualities thyself, and thou too shalt be divine.

The teaching of Jesus brings men back to the simple truth that righteousness, or rightdoing, is
entirely a matter of individual conduct, and not a mystical something apart from a man‘s
thoughts and actions, and that each must be righteous for himself; each must be a doer of the
word, and it is a man‘s own doing that brings him peace and gladness of heart, not the doings of

Millions of people worship Jesus and call him Lord, but Jesus does not leave us in any difficulty
or doubt as to who are his disciples, as to who have entered into Life! His words are directness
and simplicity itself, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom
of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven." And again, "Why call ye
me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" And they are the doers of the Father‘s will
who shape their conduct to the divine precepts.

The doer of the word demonstrates and proves its truth in his own mind and life. He thus knows
the Eternal Rock as a substantial reality within himself, and he builds thereon the Temple of
Righteousness which no rains of grief, no winds of temptation and no floods of sin can destroy or
undermine. It is only the doer of forgiveness who tastes the sweets of forgiveness; it is only he
who practices love and mercy and righteousness who receives into his heart the overflowing
measure of their blessedness; and none but he who dwells in peace toward all can know the
boundless and immeasurable peace. Thus is the doer of the word the disciple indeed, and
continuing in that word, becoming one with it in heart and mind, he knows the Truth which frees
the soul from the bondage of sin.

5. The Vine And The Branches

I am the Vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth
much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.


Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


The Christ is the Spirit of Love, which is the abiding and indwelling Reality in man. Yet though
its perfected Temple is the human form, and it can only visibly and consciously manifest itself in
and through the human personality, it is impersonal in its nature, is a universal and eternal
Principle, and is at once the source and the substance of Life.

In this Principle of Love, all Knowledge, Intelligence, and Wisdom are contained, and until a
man realizes it as the one vital Reality of his being, he does not fully comprehend the Christ.
Such glorious realization is the crown of evolution, the supreme aim of existence. Its attainment
is complete salvation, emancipation from all error, ignorance, and sin.

This principle is in all men, but is not manifested by all; and it is not known and manifested by
men because they continue to cling to those personal elements which obscure its presence and
power. Every personal element in human nature is changeable and perishable, and to cling to
them is to embrace negations, shadows, death. In the material world, an object cannot be
perceived until all intervening obstacles are removed; and in the spiritual region an abiding
Principle cannot be apprehended until every impermanent element is relinquished. Before a man
can know Love as the abiding Reality within him, he must utterly abandon all those human
tendencies which frustrate its perfect manifestation. By so doing he becomes one with Love —
becomes Love itself; he then discovers that he is, and always has been, divine and one with God.
Jesus, by his complete victory over the personality, realized and manifested his oneness with the
Supreme Spirit; and, subordinating his entire nature and life to impersonal Love, he became
literally an embodiment of the Christ. He is therefore truly called the Christ.

"When Jesus said, "Without Me ye can do nothing," he spoke not of his perishable form, but of
the Universal Spirit of Love of which his conduct was a perfect manifestation; and this utterance
of his is the statement of a simple truth; for the works of man are vain and worthless when they
are done for personal ends, and he himself remains a perishable being, immersed in darkness and
fearing death, so long as he lives in his personal gratifications. The animal in man can never
respond to and know the divine; only the divine can respond to the divine. The spirit of hatred in
man can never vibrate in unison with the Spirit of Love; Love only can comprehend Love, and
become linked with it. Man is divine; man is of the substance of Love; this he may realize if he
will relinquish the impure, personal elements which he has hitherto been blindly following, and
will fly to the impersonal Realities of the Christ Spirit; and these Realities are Purity, Humility,
Compassion, Wisdom, Love.

Every precept of Jesus demands the unconditional sacrifice of some selfish, personal element
before it can be carried out. Man cannot know the Real whilst he clings to the unreal; he cannot
do the work of Truth whilst he clings to error. Whilst a man cherishes lust, hatred, pride, vanity,
self-indulgence, covetousness, he can do nothing, for the works of all these sinful elements are
unreal and perishable.

Only when he takes refuge in the Spirit of Love within, and becomes patient, gentle, pure, pitiful,
and forgiving, does he work the works of Righteousness, and bear the fruits of Life. The vine is
not a vine without its branches, and even then it is not complete until those branches bear fruit.
Love is not complete until it is lived by man; until it is fully understood by him and manifested
in his conduct. A man can only consciously ally himself to the Vine of Love by deserting all
strife, and hatred, and condemnation, and impurity, and pride, and self-seeking and by thinking
only loving thoughts and doing loving deeds. By so doing, he awakens within him the divine
nature which he has heretofore been crucifying and denying.

Every time a man gives way to anger, impatience, greed, pride, vanity, or any form of personal
selfishness, he denies the Christ, he shuts himself out from Love. And thus only is Christ denied,
and not by refusing to adopt a formulated creed. Christ is only known to him who by constant
striving has converted himself from a sinful to a pure being, who by noble, moral effort has
succeeded in relinquishing that perishable self which is the source of all suffering and sorrow
and unrest, and has become rational, gentle, peaceful, loving, and pure.

Man‘s only refuge from sin is sinless Love, flying to and dwelling in which, and abandoning all
else as evanescent, unreal, and worthless, daily practicing love towards all in heart and mind and
deed, harboring no injurious or impure thoughts, he discovers the imperishable Principles of his
being, enters fully into the knowledge of his oneness with eternal Life, and receives the never-
ending Rest.

6. Salvation This Day

This day is salvation come to this house.

Jesus to Zacchaeus

Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.


I have tried to show, in the five foregoing chapters, that the Teaching of Jesus is based entirely
on the perfection of conduct, and can be summed up in the one word Goodness. Jesus manifested
this Goodness in his life, and his Teaching is vitally powerful because it is rooted in his life, his
conduct. His command, "Follow me," is literal and actual, not in the sense of a slavish imitation
of the external details of his life, but in scaling (as he scaled) the heights of Goodness and Pity
and Love by the conquest of self. The glory of his Teaching is embodied in his precepts, as the
splendor of his life is wrapped up in them, and he who adopts those precepts as the guides of his
life will so perfect his conduct by purifying the inward springs of thought and action as to
become a spiritualized and sinless being, fulfilling the whole duty of life and the purpose of
existence. Herein also is contained complete salvation, namely, freedom from sin.

The word salvation is only mentioned by Jesus twice, and only one of these utterances (that to
Zacchaeus) can be said to have any vital significance for us; yet in that one brief statement we
are fully enlightened as to its meaning by virtue of its pointed application to the altered conduct
of Zacchaeus. This man, we infer, had hitherto been hard, exacting, and grasping, but though he
had not yet seen in person the new Teacher, his message had reached his ears, and he had opened
his heart to the Good News that man can and should repent, and abandon selfish and sinful
practices for good and sinless conduct. And this he had done, and, having proved its blessedness,
no wonder that when Jesus came to his house he "received him joyfully," and told him how he
had abandoned wrong-doing for right-doing; evil for good; the selfish for the unselfish life. Jesus
did not inquire into the "religious views" of Zacchaeus, did not impose upon him any change of
view or opinion; did not demand that he believe anything about Jesus as being the Messiah, the
Son of God, etc. Zacchaeus had changed his conduct; had completely turned round in his attitude
toward others; had abandoned greed for generosity, extortion for charity, honesty for dishonesty,
selfishness for unselfishness, evil for good, — and this was sufficient, as Jesus declared in the
words, "This day is salvation come to this house."

The only salvation recognized and taught by Jesus is salvation from sin, and the effects of sin,
here and now; and this must be old selfishness, the old life of self, in any or every shape, only by
doing this, and turning to the new life of gentleness, and purity, and humility, and unselfish love,
can a man be said to be saved from sin; and then he is saved indeed, for, no more practicing it, it
can trouble him no more. Herein also is Heaven, not a speculative heaven beyond the tomb, but a
real, abiding, and ever present Heaven in the heart; a Heaven from which all the hellish desires
and moods and sufferings are banished, where Love rules, and from which Peace is never absent.

Good newsindeed is that message of Jesus which reveals to man his divine possibilities; which
says in substance to sin-stricken humanity, "Take up thy bed and walk;" which tells man that he
need no longer remain the creature of darkness and ignorance and sin if he will but believe in
Goodness, and will watch and strive and conquer until he has actualized in his life the Goodness
that is sinless. And in thus believing and overcoming, man not only has the guide of that Perfect
Rule which Jesus has embodied in his precepts, he has also the inward Guide, the Spirit of Truth
in his own heart, "The Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," which, as he
follows it, will infallibly witness to the divine origin of those precepts.

He who will humbly pass through the Gate of Good, resolving that every element of his nature
that is not pure and true and lovable shall be abandoned, that every violation of the Divine
precepts shall be abolished, to him, faithful, humble, true, will be revealed the sublime Vision of
the Perfect One, and, day by day purifying his heart and perfecting his conduct in accordance
with his vision, he will sooner or later rise above all the subtleties of his lower nature, will wash
away every ignominious stain from his soul, and realize the perfect goodness of the eternal
James Allen

1. Foreword
2. Right Beginnings
3. Small Tasks and Duties
4. Transcending Difficulties and Perplexities
5. Burden-Dropping
6. Hidden Sacrifices
7. Sympathy
8. Forgiveness
9. Seeing No Evil
10. Abiding Joy
11. Silentness
12. Solitude
13. Standing Alone
14. Understanding the Simple Laws of Life
15. Happy Endings

Along the highways of Burma there is placed, at regular distances away from the dust of the
road, and under the cool shade of a group of trees, a small wooden building called a ―rest-house‖,
where the weary traveller may rest a while, and allay his thirst and assuage his hunger and
fatigue by partaking of the food and water which the kindly inhabitants place there as a religious

Along the great highway of life there are such resting places; away from the heat of passion and
the dust of disappointment, under the cool and refreshing shade of lowly Wisdom, are the
humble, unimposing ―rest-houses‖ of peace, and the little, almost unnoticed, byways of
blessedness, where alone the weary and footsore can find strength and healing.

Nor can these byways be ignored without suffering. Along the great road of life, hurrying, and
eager to reach some illusive goal, presses the multitude, despising the apparently insignificant
―rest-houses‖ of true thought, not heeding the narrow little byways of blessed action, which they
regard as unimportant; and hour by hour men are fainting and falling, and numbers that cannot
be counted perish of heart-hunger, heart-thirst, and heart-fatigue.

But he who will step aside from the passionate press, and will deign to notice and to enter the
byways which are here presented, his dusty feet shall press the incomparable flowers of
blessedness, his eyes be gladdened with their beauty, and his mind refreshed with their sweet
perfume. Rested and sustained, he will escape the fever and the delirium of life, and, strong and
happy, he will not fall fainting in the dust, nor perish by the way, but will successfully
accomplish his journey.

James Allen

Broad Park Avenue

Ilfracombe, England.
1. Right Beginnings

―All common things, each day‘s events,

That with the hour begin and end;
Our pleasures and our discontents
Are rounds by which we may ascend.‖

―We have not wings, we cannot soar;

But we have feet to scale and climb.‖


―For common life, its wants

And ways, would I set forth in beauteous hues.‖


Life is full of beginnings. They are presented every day and every hour to every person. Most
beginnings are small, and appear trivial and insignificant, but in reality they are the most
important things in life.

See how in the material world everything proceeds from small beginnings. The mightiest river is
at first a rivulet over which the grasshopper could leap; the great flood commences with a few
drops of rain; the sturdy oak, which has endured the storms of a thousand winters, was once an
acorn; and the smouldering match, carelessly dropped, may be the means of devastating a whole
town by fire.

Consider, also, how in the spiritual world the greatest things proceed from smallest beginnings.
A light fancy may be the inception of a wonderful invention or an immortal work of art; a spoken
sentence may turn the tide of history; a pure thought entertained may lead to the exercise of a
world-wide regenerative power; and a momentary animal impulse may lead to the darkest crime.

Have you yet discovered the vast importance of beginnings? Do you really know what is
involved in a beginning? Do you know the number of beginnings you are continuosly making,
and realise their full import? If not, come with me for a short time, and thoughtfully explore this
much ignored byway of blessedness, for blessed it is when wisely resorted to, and much strength
and comfort it holds for the understanding mind.

A beginning is a cause, and as such it must be followed by an effect, or a train of effects, and the
effect will always be of the same nature as the cause. The nature of an initial impulse will always
determine the body of its results. A beginning also presupposes an ending, a consummation,
achievement, or goal. A gate leads to a path, and the path leads to some particular destination; so
a beginning leads to results, and results lead to a completion.
There are right beginnings and wrong beginnings, which are followed by effects of a like nature.
You can, by careful thought, avoid wrong beginnings and make right beginnings, and so escape
evil results and enjoy good results.

There are beginnings over which you have no control and authority- these are without, in the
universe, in the world of nature around you, and in other people who have the same liberty as

Do not concern yourself with these beginnings, but direct your energies and attention to those
beginnings over which you have complete control and authority, and which bring about the
complicated web of results which compose your life. These beginnings are to be found in the
realm of your own thoughts and actions; in your mental attitude under the variety of
circumstances through which you pass; in your conduct day by day - in short, in your life as you
make it, which is your world of good or ill.

In aiming at the life of Blessedness one of the simplest beginnings to be considered and rightly
made is that which we all make everyday - namely, the beginning of each day‘s life.

How do you begin each day? At what hour do you rise? How do you commence your duties? In
what frame of mind do you enter upon the sacred life of a new day? What answer can you give
your heart to these important questions? You will find that much happiness or unhappiness
follows upon the right or wrong beginning of the day, and that, when every day is wisely begun,
happy and harmonious sequences will mark its course, and life in its totality will not fall far short
of the ideal blessedness.

It is a right and strong beginning to the day to rise at an early hour. Even if your worldly duty
does not demand it, it is wise to make of it a duty, and begin the day strongly by shaking off
indolence. How are you to develop strength of will and mind and body if you begin every day by
yielding to weakness? Self-indulgence is always followed by unhappiness. People who lie in bed
till a late hour are never bright and cheerful and fresh, but are the prey of irritabilities,
depressions, debilities, nervous disorders, abnormal fancies, and all unhappy moods. This is the
heavy price which they have to pay for their daily indulgence. Yet, so blinding is the pandering
to self that, like the drunkard who takes his daily dram in the belief that it is bracing up the
nerves which it is all the time shattering, so the lie-a-bed is convinced that long hours of ease are
necessary for him as a possible remedy for those very moods and weaknesses and disorders of
which his indulgence is the cause. Men and women are totally unaware of the great losses which
they entail by this common indulgence: loss of strength both of mind and body, loss of
prosperity, loss of knowledge, and loss of happiness.

Begin the day, then, by rising early. If you have no object in doing so, never mind; get up, and go
out for a gentle walk among the beauties of nature, and you will experience a buoyancy, a
freshness, and a delight, not to say a peace of mind, which will amply reward you for your effort.
One good effort is followed by another; and when a man begins the day by rising early, even
though with no other purpose in view, he will find that the silent early hour is conducive to
clearness of mind and calmness of thought, and that his early morning walk is enabling him to
become a consecutive thinker, and so to see life and its problems, as well as himself and his
affairs, in a clearer light; and so in time he will rise early with the express purpose of preparing
and harmonising his mind to meet any and every difficulty with wisdom and calm strength.

There is, indeed, a spiritual influence in the early morning hour, a divine silence and an
inexpressible repose, and he who, purposeful and strong, throws off the mantle of ease and
climbs the hills to greet the morning sun will thereby climb no inconsiderable distance up the
hills of blessedness and truth.

The right beginning of the day will be followed by cheerfulness at the morning meal, permeating
the house-hold with a sunny influence; and the tasks and duties of the day will be undertaken in a
strong and confident spirit, and the whole day will be well lived.

Then there is a sense in which every day may be regarded as the beginning of a new life, in
which one can think, act, and live newly, and in a wiser and better spirit.

―Every day is a fresh beginning;

Every morn is the world made new,
Ye who are weary of sorrow and sinning,
Here is a beautiful hope for you,
A hope for me and a hope for you.‖

Do not dwell upon the sins and mistakes of yesterday so exclusively as to have no energy and
mind left for living rightly today, and do not think that the sins of yesterday can prevent you
from living purely today. Begin today aright, and, aided by the accumulated experiences of all
your past days, live it better than any of your previous days; but you cannot possibly live it better
unless you begin it better. The character of the whole day depends upon the way it is begun.

Another beginning which is of great importance is the beginning of any particular and
responsible undertaking. How does a man begin the building of a house? He first secures a plan
of the proposed edifice and then proceeds to build according to the plan, scrupulously following
it in every detail, beginning with the foundation. Should he neglect the beginning - namely, the
obtaining of a mathematical plan - his labour would be wasted, and his building, should it reach
completion without tumbling to pieces, would be insecure and worthless. The same law holds
good in any important work: the right beginning and first essential is a definite mental plan on
which to build. Nature will have no slipshod work, no slovenliness, and she annihilates
confusion, or rather, confusion is in itself annihilation. Order, definiteness, purpose eternally and
universally prevail, and he who in his operations ignores these mathematical elements at once
deprives himself of substantiality, completeness, success.

―Life without a plan,

As useless as the moment it began,
Serves merely as a soil for discontent
To thrive in, an encumbrance ere half spent.‖

Let a man start in business without having in his mind a perfectly formed plan to systematically
pursue and he will be incoherent in his efforts and will fail in his business operations. The laws
which must be observed in the building of a house also operate in the building up of a business.
A definite plan is followed by coherent effort; and coherent effort is followed by well-knit and
orderly results - to wit, completeness, perfection, success, happiness.

But not only mechanical and commercial enterprise - all undertakings, of whatsoever nature,
come under this law. The author‘s book, the artist‘s picture, the orator‘s speech, the reformer‘s
work, the inventor‘s machine, the general‘s campaign, are all carefully planned in the mind
before the attempt to actualise them is commenced; and in accordance with the unity, solidarity,
and perfection of the original mental plan will be the actual and ultimate success of the

Successful men, influential men, good men are those who, amongst other things, have learned
the value and utilised the power which lies hidden in those obscure beginnings which the foolish
man passes by as ―insignificant.‖

But the most important beginning of all - that upon which afflication or blessedness inevitably
depends, yet is most neglected and least understood - is the inception of thought in the hidden,
but causal region of the mind. Your whole life is a series of effects having their cause in thought
- in your own thought. All conduct is made and moulded by thought; all deeds, good or bad, are
thoughts made visible. A seed put into the ground is the beginning of a plant or tree; the seed
germinates, the plant or tree comes forth into the light and evolves. A thought put into the mind
is the beginning of a line of conduct: the thought first sends down its roots into the mind, and
then pushes forth into the light in the forms of actions or conduct, which evolve into character
and destiny.

Hateful, angry, envious, covetous, and impure thoughts are wrong beginnings, which lead to
painful results. Loving, gentle, kind, unselfish and pure thoughts are right beginnings, which lead
to blissful results. This is so simple, so plain, so absolutely true! and yet how neglected, how
evaded, and how little understood!

The gardener who most carefully studies how, when, and where to put in his seeds obtains the
best results and gains the greater horticultural knowledge. The best crops gladden the soul of him
who makes the best beginning. The man who most patiently studies how to put into his mind the
seeds of strong, wholesome, and charitable thoughts, will obtain the best results in life, and will
gain greater knowledge of truth. The greatest blessedness comes to him, who infuses into his
mind the purest and noblest thoughts.

None but right acts can follow right thoughts; none but a right life can follow right acts - and by
living a right life all blessedness is achieved.

He who considers the nature and import of his thoughts, who strives daily to eliminate bad
thoughts and supplant them with good, comes at last to see that thoughts are the beginnings of
results which affect every fibre of his being, which potently influence every event and
circumstance of his life. And when he thus sees, he thinks only right thoughts, chooses to make
only those mental beginnings which lead to peace and blessedness.
Wrong thoughts are painful in their inception, painful in their growth, and painful in their
fruitage. Right thoughts are blissful in their inception, blissful in their growth, and blissful in
their fruitage.

Many are the right beginnings which a man must discover and adopt on his way to wisdom; but
that which is first and last, most important and all embracing, which is the source and fountain of
all abiding happiness, is the right beginning of the mental operations - this implies the steady
development of self-control, will-power, steadfastness, strength, purity, gentleness, insight, and
comprehension. It leads to the perfecting of life, for he who thinks perfectly has abolished all
unhappiness, his every moment is peaceful, his years are rounded with bliss - he has attained to
the complete and perfect blessedness.

2. Small Tasks and Duties

―Wrapped in our nearest duty is the key

Which shall unlock for us the Heavenly Gate:
Unveiled, the Heavenly Vision he shall see,
Who cometh not too early nor too late.‖

―Like the star

That shines afar,
Without haste
And without rest,

Let each man wheel with steady sway

Round the task that rules the day,
And do his best.‖


As pain and bliss inevitably follow on wrong and right beginnings, so unhappiness and
blessedness are inseparably bound up with small tasks and duties. Not that a duty has any power
of itself to bestow happiness or the reverse - this is contained in the attitude of the mind which is
assumed towards the duty - and everything depends upon the way in which it is approached and

Not only great happiness but great power arises from doing little things unselfishly, wisely, and
perfectly, for life in its totality is made up of little things. Wisdom inheres in the common details
of everyday existence, and when the parts are made perfect the Whole will be without blemish.

Everything in the universe is made up of little things, and the perfection of the great is based
upon the perfection of the small. If any detail of the universe were imperfect the Whole would be
imperfect. If any particle were omitted the aggregate would cease to be. Without a grain of dust
there could be no world, and the world is perfect because the grain of dust is perfect. Neglect of
the small is confusion of the great. The snowflake is as perfect as the star; the dew drop is as
symmetrical as the planet; the microbe is not less mathematically proportioned than the man. By
laying stone upon stone, plumbing and fitting each with perfect adjustment, the temple at last
stands forth in all its architectural beauty. The small precedes the great. The small is not merely
the apologetic attendant of the great, it is its master and informing genius.

Vain men are ambitious to be great, and look about to do some great thing, ignoring and
despising the little tasks which call for immediate attention, and in the doing of which there is no
vainglory, regarding such ―trivialities‖ as beneath the notice of great men. The fool lacks
knowledge because he lacks humility, and, inflated with the thought of self-importance, he aims
at impossible things.

The great man has become such by the scrupulous and unselfish attention which he has given to
small duties. He has become wise and powerful by sacrificing ambition and pride in the doing of
those necessary things which evoke no applause and promise no reward. He never sought
greatness; he sought faithfulness, unselfishness, integrity, truth; and in finding these in the
common round of small tasks and duties he unconsciously ascended to the level of greatness.

The great man knows the vast value that inheres in moments, words, greetings, meals, apparel,
correspondence, rest, work, detached efforts, fleeting obligations, in the thousand-and-one little
things which press upon him for attention - briefly, in the common details of life. He sees
everything as divinely apportioned, needing only the application of dispassionate thought and
action on his part to render life blessed and perfect. He neglects nothing; does not hurry; seeks to
escape nothing but error and folly; attends to every duty as it is presented to him, and does not
postpone and regret. By giving himself unreservedly to his nearest duty, forgetting alike pleasure
and pain, he attains to that combined childlike simplicity and unconscious power which is

The advice of Confucius to his disciples: ―Eat at your own table as you would at the table of a
king,‖ emphasises the immeasurable importance of little things, as also does that aphorism of
another great teacher, Buddha: ―If anything is to be done, let a man do it, let him attack it
vigorously.‖ To neglect small tasks, or to execute them in a perfunctory or slovenly manner, is a
mark of weakness and folly.

The giving of one‘s entire and unselfish attention to every duty in its proper place evolves, by a
natural growth, higher and ever higher combinations of duties, because it evolves power and
develops talent, genius, goodness, character. A man ascends into greatness as naturally and
unconsciously as the plant evolves a flower, and in the same manner, by fitting, with unabated
energy and diligence, every effort and detail in its proper place, thus harmonising his life and
character without friction or waste of power.

Of the almost innumerable recipes for the development of ―will-power‖ and ―concentration‖
which are now scattered abroad, one looks almost in vain for any wholesome hint applicable to
vital experience. ―Breathings,‖ ―postures,‖ ―visualisings,‖ ―occult methods‖ are practices as
delusive as they are artificial and remote from all that is real and essential in life; while the true
path - the path of duty, of earnest and undivided application to one‘s daily task - along which
alone will-power and concentration of thought can be wholesomely and normally developed,
remains unknown, untrodden, unexplored even by the elect.
All unnatural forcing and straining in order to gain ―power‖ should be abandoned. There is no
way from childhood to manhood but by growth; nor is there any other way from folly to wisdom,
from ignorance to knowledge, from weakness to strength. A man must learn how to grow little
by little and day after day, by adding thought to thought, effort to effort, deed to deed.

It is true the fakir gains some sort of power by his long persistence in ―postures‖ and
―mortifications,‖ but it is a power which is bought at a heavy price, and that price is an equal loss
of strength in another direction. He is never a strong, useful character, but a mere fantastic
specialist in some psychological trick. He is not a developed man, he is a maimed man.

True will-power consists in overcoming the irritabilities, follies, rash impulses and moral lapses
which accompany the daily life of the individual, and which are apt to manifest themselves on
every slight provocation; and in developing calmness, self-possession, and dispassionate action
in the press and heat of worldly duties, and in the midst of the passionate and unbalanced throng.
Anything short of this is not true power, and this can only be developed along the normal
pathway of steady growth in executing ever more and more masterfully, unselfishly, and
perfectly the daily round of legitimate tasks and pressing obligations.

The master is not he whose ―psychological accomplishments,‖ rounded by mystery and wonder,
leave him in unguarded moments the prey of irritability, of regret, of peevishness, or other petty
folly or vice, but he whose ―mastery‖ is manifested in fortitude, non-resentment, steadfastness,
calmness, and infinite patience. The true Master is master of himself; anything other than this is
not mastery but delusion. The man who sets his whole mind on the doing of each task as it is
presented, who puts into it energy and intelligence, shutting all else out from his mind, and
striving to do that one thing, no matter how small, completely and perfectly, detaching himself
from all reward in his task - that man will every day be acquiring greater command over his
mind, and will, by ever-ascending degrees, become at last a man of power - a Master.

Put yourself unreservedly into your present task, and so work, so act, so live that you shall leave
each task a finished piece of labour - this is the true way to the acquisition of will-power,
concentration of thought, and conservation of energy. Look not about for magical formulas, for
strained and artificial methods. Every resource is already with you and within you. You have but
to learn how wisely to apply yourself in that place which you now occupy. Until this is done
those other and higher places which are waiting for you cannot be taken possession of, cannot be

There is no way to strength and wisdom but by acting strongly and wisely in the present moment,
and each present moment reveals its own task. The great man, the wise man does small things
greatly regarding nothing as ―trivial‖ that is necessary. The weak man, the foolish man, does
small things carelessly, and meanly, hankering the while after, some greater work for which, in
his neglect and inability in small matters, he is ceaselessly advertising his incapacity. The man
who leasts governs himself is always more ambitious to govern others and assume important
responsibilities. ―Who so neglects a thing which he suspects he ought to do because it seems too
small a thing is deceiving himself; it is not too little but too great for him that he doeth it not.‖
And just as the strong doing of small tasks leads to greater strength, so the doing of those tasks
weakly leads to greater weakness. What a man is in his fractional duties that he is in the
aggregate of his character. Weakness is as great a source of suffering as sin, and there can be no
true blessedness until some measure of strength of character is evolved. The weak man becomes
strong by attaching value to little things and doing them accordingly. The strong man becomes
weak by falling into looseness and neglect concerning small things, thereby forfeiting his simple
wisdom and squandering his energy. Herein we see the beneficent operation of that law of
growth which is expressed in the little understood words: ―To him that hath shall be given, and
from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.‖ Man instantly gains or
loses by every thought he thinks, every word he says, every act he does, and every work to which
he puts hand and heart. His character from moment to moment is a graduating quantity, to or
from which some measure of good is added or subtracted during every moment, and the gain or
loss is involved, even to absoluteness, in each thought, word, and deed as these follow each other
in rapid sequence.

He who masters the small becomes the rightful possessor of the great. He who is mastered by the
small can achieve no superlative victory.

Life is a kind of cooperative trust in which the whole is of the nature of, and dependent upon, the

A successful business, a perfect machine, a glorious temple, or a beautiful character is evolved

from the perfect adjustment of a multliplicity of parts.

The foolish man thinks that little faults, little indulgences, little sins, are of no consequence; he
persuades himself that so long as he does not commit flagrant immoralities he is virtuous, and
even holy; but he is thereby deprived of virtue, and holiness, and the world knows him
accordingly; it does not reverence, adore, and love him; it passes him by; he is reckoned of no
account; his influence is destroyed. The efforts of such a man to make the world virtuous, his
exhortations to his fellow-men to abandon great vices, are empty of substance and barren of
fruitage. The insignificance which he attaches to his small vices permeates his whole character
and is the measure of his manhood: he is regarded as an insignificant man. The levity with which
he commits his errors and publishes his weakness comes back to him in the form of neglect and
loss of influence and respect: he is not sought after, for who will seek to be taught of folly? His
work does not prosper, for who will lean upon a reed? His words fall upon deaf ears, for they are
void of practice, wisdom, and experience, and who will go after an echo?

The wise man, or he who is becoming wise, sees the danger which lurks in those common
personal faults which men mostly commit thoughtlessly and with impunity; he also sees the
salvation which inheres in the abandonment of those faults, as well as in the practice of virtuous
thoughts and acts which the majority disregard as unimportant, and in those quiet but momentous
daily conquests over self which are hidden from other‘s eyes.

He who regards his molest delinquencies as of the gravest nature becomes a saint. He sees the far
reaching influence, good or bad, which extends from his every thought and act, and how he
himself is made or unmade by the soundness or unsoundness of those innumerable details of
conduct which combine to form his character and life, and so he watches, guards, purifies, and
perfects himself little by little and step by step.

As the ocean is composed of drops, the earth of grains, and the stars of points of light, so is life
composed of thoughts and acts; without these, life would not be. Every man‘s life, therefore, is
what his apparently detached thoughts and acts make it. There combination is himself. As the
year consists, of a given number of sequential moments, so a man‘s character and life consists of
a given number of sequential thoughts and deeds, and the finished whole will bear the impress of
the parts.

―All sorts of things and weather

Must be taken in together,
To make up a year
And a sphere.‖

Little kindnesses, generosities, and sacrifices make up a kind and generous character. Little
renounciations, endurances, and victories over self make up a strong and noble character. The
truly honest man is honest in the minutest details of his life. The noble man is noble in every
little thing he says and does.

It is a fatal delusion with men to think that life is detached from the momentary thought and act,
and not to understand that the passing thought and deed is the foundation and substance of life.
When this is fully understood all things are seen as sacred, and every act becomes religious.
Truth is wrapped up in infinitesimal details. Thoroughness is genius.

―Possessions vanish, and opinions change,

And passions hold a fluctuating seat:
But, by the storms of circumstance unshaken,
And subject neither to eclipse nor wane,
Duty exists.‖

You do not live your life in the mass; you live it in the fragments and from these the mass
emerges. You can will to live each fragment nobly if you choose, and, this being done, there can
be no particle of baseness in the finished whole. The saying ―Take care of the pence and the
pounds will take care of themselves‖ is seen to be more than worldly-wise when applied
spiritually, for, to take care of the present, passing act, knowing that by so doing the total sum
and amount of life and character will be safely preserved, is to be divinely wise. Do not long to
do great and laudable things; these will do themselves if you do your present task nobly. Do not
chafe at the restrictions and limitations of your present duty but be nobly unselfish in the doing
of it, putting aside discontent, listlessness, and the foolish contemplation of great deeds which lie
beyond you - and lo! already the greatness for which you sighed begins to appear. There is no
weakness like peevishness. Aspire to the attainment of inward nobility, not outward glory, and
begin to attain it where you now are.
The irksomeness and sting which you feel to be in your task are in your mind only. Alter your
attitude of mind towards it, and at once the crooked path is made straight, the unhappiness is
turned into joy.

See that your every fleeting moment is strong, pure, and purposeful; put earnestness and
unselfishness into every passing task and duty; make your every thought, word, and deed sweet
and true; thus learning, by practice and experience, the inestimable value of the small things of
life, you will gather, little by little, abundant and enduring blessedness.

3. Transcending Difficulties and Perplexities

And Perplexities ―Man who man would be Must rule the empire of himself; in it Must be
supreme, establishing his throne On vanquished will, quelling the anarchy Of hopes and fears,
being himself alone.‖


―Have you missed in your aim? Well, the mark is still shining. Did you faint in the race? Well,
take breath for the next.‖

Ellu Wheelar Wilcose.

To suggest that any degree of blessedness may be extracted from difficulties and perplexities will
doubtless appear absurd to many; but truth is ever paradoxical, and the curses of the foolish are
the blessings of the wise. Difficulties arise in ignorance and weakness, and they call for the
attainment of knowledge and the acquisition of the strength.

As understanding is acquired by right living, difficulties become fewer, and perplexities

gradually fade away, like the perishable mists which they are.

Your difficulty is not contained, primarily, in the situation which gave rise to it, but in the mental
state with which you regard that situation and which you bring to bear upon it. That which is
difficult to a child presents no difficulty to the matured mind of the man; and that which to the
mind of an unintelligent man is surrounded with perplexity would afford no ground for
perplexity to an intelligent man.

To the untutored and undeveloped mind of the child how great, and apparently insurmountable,
appear the difficulties which are involved in the learning of some simple lesson. How many
anxious and laborious hours and days, or even months, its solution costs; and, frequently, how
many tears are shed in hopeless contemplation of the unmastered, and apparently
insurmountable, wall of difficulty! Yet the difficulty is in the ignorance of the child only, and its
conquest and solution is absolutely necessary for the development of intelligence and for the
ultimate welfare, happiness, and usefulness of the child.

Even so is it with the difficulties of life with which older children are confronted, and which it is
imperative, for their own growth and development, that they should solve and surmount; and
each difficulty solved means so much more experience gained, so much more insight and
wisdom acquired; it means a valuable lesson learned, with the added gladness and freedom of a
task successfully accomplished.

What is the real nature of a difficulty? Is it not a situation which is not fully grasped and
understood in all it bearings? As such, it calls for the development and exercise of a deeper
insight and broader intelligence than has hitherto been exercised. It is an urgent necessity calling
forth unused energy, and demanding the expression and employment of latent power and hidden
resources. It is, therefore, a good angel, albeit disguised; a friend, a teacher; and, when calmly
listened to and rightly understood, leads to larger blessedness and higher wisdom.

Without difficulties there could be no progress, no unfoldment, no evolution; universal

stagnation would prevail, and humanity would perish of ennui. Let a man rejoice when he is
confronted with obstacles, for it means that he has reached the end of some particular line of
indifference or folly, and is now called upon to summon up all his energy and intelligence in
order to extricate himself, and to find a better way; that the powers within him are crying out for
greater freedom, for enlarged exercise and scope.

No situation can be difficult of itself; it is the lack of insight into its intricacies, and the want of
wisdom in dealing with it, which give rise to the difficulty. Immeasurable, therefore, is the gain
of a difficulty transcended.

Difficulties do not spring into existence arbitrarily and accidentally; they have their causes, and
are called forth by the law of evolution itself, by the growing necessities of the man‘s being.
Herein resides their blessedness.

There are ways of conduct which end inevitably in complications and perplexities, and their are
ways of conduct which lead, just as inevitably, out of troublesome complexities. Howsoever
tightly a man may have bound himself round he can always unbind himself. Into whatsover
morasses of trouble and trackless wastes of perplexity he may have ignorantly wandered he can
always find his way out again, can always recover the lost highway of uninvolved simplicity
which leads, straight and clear, to the sunny city of wise and blessed action. But he will never do
this by sitting down and weeping in despair, nor by complaining and worrying and aimlessly
wishing he were differently situated. His dilemma calls for alertness, logical thought, and calm
calculation. His position requires that he shall strongly command himself; that he shall think and
search, and rouse himself to strenuous and unremitting exertion in order to regain himself. Worry
and anxiety only serve to heighten the gloom and exaggerate the magnitude of the difficulty. If
he will but quietly take himself to task, and retrace, in thought, the more or less intricate way by
which he has come to his present position, he will soon perceive where he made mistakes; will
discover those places where he took a false turn, and where a little more thoughtfulness,
judgement, economy, or self-denial would have saved him. He will see how, step by step, he has
involved himself, and how a riper judgement and clearer wisdom would have enabled him to
take an altogether different and truer course. Having proceeded thus far, and extracted from his
past conduct this priceless grain of golden wisdom, his difficulty will already have assumed less
impregnable proportions, and he will then be able to bring to bear upon it the searchlight of
dispassionate thought, to thoroughly anatomize it, to comprehend it in all its details, and to
perceive the relation which those details bear to the motive source of action and conduct within
himself. This being done, the difficulty will have ceased, for the straight way out of it will
plainly appear, and the man will thus have learned, for all time, his lesson; will have gained an
item of wisdom and a measure of blessedness of which he can never again be deprived.

Just as there are ways of ignorance, selfishness, folly, and blindness which end in confusion and
perplexity, so there are ways of knowledge, self-denial, wisdom, and insight which lead to
pleasant and peaceful consummations. He who knows this will meet difficulties in a courageous
spirit, and, in overcoming them, will evolve truth out of error, bliss out of pain, and peace out of

No man can be confronted with a difficulty which he has not the strength to meet and subdue.
Worry is not merely useless, it is folly, for it defeats that power and intelligence which is
otherwise equal to the task. Every difficulty can be overcome if rightly dealt with; anxiety is,
therefore, unnecessary. The task which cannot be overcome ceases to be a difficulty, and
becomes an impossibility; and anxiety is still unnecessary, for there is only one way of dealing
with an impossibility - namely, to submit to it. The inevitable is the best.

―Heartily know,
When half-gods go,
The gods arrive.‖

And just as domestic, social, and economic difficulties are born of ignorance and lead to riper
knowledge, so every religious doubt, every mental-perplexity, every heart-beclouding shadow,
presages greater spiritual gain, is prophetic of a brighter dawn of intelligence for him on whom it

It is a great day in the life of a man (though at the time he knows it not) when bewildering
perplexities concerning the mystery of life take possession of his mind, for it signifies that his era
of dead indifference, of animal sloth, of mere vegetative happiness, has come to an end, and that
henceforth he is to live as an aspiring, self-evolving being. No longer a mere human animal, he
will now begin to live as a man, exerting all his mental energies to the solution of life‘s
problems, to the answering of those haunting perplexities which are the sentinels of truth, and
which stand at the gate and threshold of the Temple of Wisdom.

―He it is who, when great trials come,

Nor seeks nor shuns them, but doth calmly stay.‖

Nor will he ever rest again in selfish ease and listless ignorance; nor sleekly sate himself upon
the swine‘s husks of fleshly pleasures; nor find a hiding-place from the ceaseless whisperings of
his heart‘s dark and indefinable interrogatories. The divine within him has awakened; a sleeping
god is shaking off the incoherent visions of the night, never again to slumber, never again to rest
until his eyes rest upon the full, broad day of Truth.

It is impossible for such a man to hush, for any length of time, the call to higher purposes and
achievements which is aroused within him, for the awakened faculties of his being will
ceaselessly urge him on to the unravelling of his perplexities; for him there is no more peace in
sin, no more rest in error, no final refuge but in Wisdom.

Great will be the blessedness of such a man when, conscious of the ignorance of which his
doubts and perplexities are born, and acknowledging and understanding that ignorance, not
striving to hide himself from it, he earnestly applies himself to its removal, seeks unremittingly,
day after day, for that pathway of light which shall enable him to dispel all the dark shadows,
dissolve his doubts, and find the solution to all his pressing problems. And as a child is glad
when it has mastered a lesson long toiled over, just so a man‘s heart becomes light and free when
he has satisfactorily met some worldly difficulty; even so, but to a far greater degree, is the heart
of a man rendered joyous and peaceful when some vital and eternal question which has been
long brooded over and grappled with is at last completely answered, and its darkness is for ever

Do not regard your difficulties and perplexities as portentous of ill; by so doing you will make
them ill; but regard them as prophetic of good, which, indeed, they are. Do not persuade yourself
that you can evade them; you cannot. Do not try to run away from them; this is impossible, for
wherever you go they will still be there with you - but meet them calmly and bravely; confront
them with all the dispassion and dignity which you can command; weigh up their proportions;
analyse them; grasp their details; measure their strength; understand them; attack them, and
finally vanquish them. Thus will you develop strength and intelligence; thus will you enter one of
those byways of blessedness which are hidden from the superficial gaze.

4. Burden-Dropping

―This to me is life;
That if life be a burden, I will join
To make it but the burden of a song.‖


―Have you heard that it was good to gain the day?

I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same
spirit in which they are won.‖

Walt Whitman.

We hear and read much about burden-bearing, but of the better way of burdendropping very little
is heard or known. Yet why should you go about with an oppressive weight at your heart when
you might relieve yourself of it and move amongst your fellows heart-free and cheerful? No man
carries a load upon his back except to necessarily transfer something from one place to another;
he does not saddle his shoulders with a perpetual burden, and then regard himself as a martyr for
his pains; and why should you impose upon your mind a useless burden, and then add to its
weight the miseries of self-condolence and self-pity? Why not abandon both your load and your
misery, and thus add to the gladness of the world by first making yourself glad? No reason can
justify, and no logic support, the ceaseless carrying of a grievous load. As in things material a
load is only undertaken as a necessary means of transference, and is never a source of sorrow, so
in things spiritual a burden should only be taken up as a means towards some good and necessary
end, which, when attained, the burden is put aside; and the carrying of such a burden, far from
being a source of grief would be a cause for rejoicing.

We say that bodily mortifications which some religious ascetics inflict upon themselves are
unnecessary and vain; and are the mental mortifications which so many people inflict upon
themselves less unnecessary and vain?

Where is the burden which should cause unhappiness or sorrow? It does not exist. If a thing is to
be done let it be done cheerfully, and not with inward groanings and lamentations. It is of the
highest wisdom to embrace necessity as a friend and guide. It is of the greatest folly to scowl
upon necessity as an enemy, and to wish or try to overcome or avoid her. We meet our own at
every turn, and duties only become oppressive loads when we refuse to recognize and embrace
them. He who does any necessary thing in a niggardly and complaining spirit, hunting the while
after unnecessary pleasures, lashes himself with the scorpions of misery and disappointment, and
imposes upon himself a doubly-weighted burden of weariness and unrest under which he
incessantly groans.

―Wake thou, O self, to better things;

To yonder heights uplift thy wings;
Take up the psalm of life anew;
Sing of the good, sing of the true;
Sing of full victory o‘er wrong;
Make though a richer, sweeter song;
Out of thy doubting, care and pain
Weave thou a joyous, glad refrain;
Out of thy thorns a crown weave thou
Of rare rejoicing. Sing thou, now.‖

I will give my cheerful, unselfish, and undivided attention to the doing of all those things which
enter into my compact with life, and, though I walk under colossal responsibilities, I shall be
unconscious of any troublesome weight or grievous burden.

You say a certain thing (a duty, a companionship, or a social obligation) troubles you, is
burdensome, and you resign yourself to oppression with the thought: ―I have entered into this,
and will go through with it, but it is a heavy and grievous work.‖ But is the thing really
burdensome, or is it your selfishness that is oppressing you? I tell you that that very thing which
you regard as so imprisoning a restriction is the first gateway to your emanicipation; that work
which you regard as a perpetual curse contains for you the actual blessedness which you vainly
persuade yourself lies in another and unapproachable direction. All things are mirrors in which
you see yourself reflected, and the gloom which you perceive in your work is but a reflection of
that mental state which you bring to it. Bring a right, an unselfish, state of heart to the thing, and
lo! it is at once transformed, and becomes a means of strength and blessedness, reflecting back
that which you have brought to it. If you bring a scowling face to your looking glass will you
complain of the glass that it glowers upon you with a deformed visage, or will you put your face
right, and so get back from the reflector a more pleasing countenance?

If it is right and necessary that a thing should be done then the doing of it is good, and it can only
become burdensome in wishing not to do it. The selfish wish makes the thing appear evil. If it is
neither right nor necesssary that a thing should be done then the doing of it in order to gain some
coveted pleasure is folly, which can only lead to burdensome issues.

The duty which you shirk is your reproving angel; the pleasure which you race after is your
flattering enemy. Foolish man! when will you turn round and be wise?

It is the beneficence of the universe that it is everywhere, and at all times, urging its creatures to
wisdom as it demands coherence of its atoms. That folly and selfishness entail suffering in ever-
increasing degrees of intensity is preservative and good, for agony is the enemy of apathy and
the herald of wisdom.

What is painful? What is grievous? What is burdensome? Passion is painful; folly is grievous;
selfishness is burdensome.

―It is the dark idolatry of self

Which, when our thoughts and actions once are done,
Demands that man should weep, and bleed, and groan.‖

Eliminate passion, folly and selfishness from your mind and conduct and you will eliminate
suffering from your life. Burden-dropping consists in abandoning the inward selfishness and
putting pure love in its place. Go to your task with love in your heart and you will go to it light-
hearted and cheerful.

The mind, through ignorance creates its own burdens and inflicts its own punishments. No one is
doomed to carry any load. Sorrow is not arbitrarily imposed. These things are self-made. Reason
is the rightful monarch of the mind, and anarchy reigns in his spiritual kingdom when his throne
is usurped by passion. When love of pleasure is to the fore, heaviness and anguish compose the
rear. You are free to choose. Even if you are bound by passion, and feel helpless, you have
bound yourself, and are not helpless. Where you have bound you can unbind. You have come to
your present state by degrees, and you can recover yourself by degrees, can reinstate reason and
dethrone passion. The time to avoid evil is before pleasure is embraced, but, once embraced, its
train of consequences should teach you wisdom. The time to decide is before responsibilities are
adopted, but, once adopted, all selfish considerations, with their attendant grumblings, whinings,
and complainings, should be religiously excluded from the heart. Responsibilities lose their
weight when carried lovingly and wisely.

What heavy burden is a man weighted with which is not made heavier and more unendurable by
weak thoughts of selfish desires? If your circumstances are ―trying‖ it is because you need them
and can evolve the strength to meet them. They are trying because there is some weak spot
within you, and they will continue to be trying until that spot is eradicated. Be glad that you have
the opportunity of becoming stronger and wiser. No circumstances can be trying to wisdom;
nothing can weary love. Stop brooding over your own trying circumstances and contemplate the
lives of some of those about you.

Here is a woman with a large family who has to make ends meet on a pound a week. She
performs all her domestic duties, down to the washing, finds time to attend on sick neighbours,
and manages to keep entirely out of the two common quagmires - debt and despondency. She is
cheerful from morning to night, and never complains of her ―trying circumstances.‖ She is
perennially cheerful because she is unselfish. She is happy in the thought that she is the means of
happiness to others. Were she to brood upon the holidays, the pretty baubles, the lazy hours of
which she is deprived; of the plays she cannot see, the music she cannot hear, the books she
cannot read, the parties she cannot attend, the good she might do, the friendships she is debarred
from forming; of the many pleasures which might only be hers if her circumstances were more
favourable - if she brooded thus what a miserable creature she would be! How unbearably
labourious her work would become! How every little domestic duty would hang like a millstone
about her neck, dragging her down to the grave which, unless she altered her state of mind, she
would quickly reach, killed by - selfishness! But, not living in vain desires for herself, she is
relieved of all burdens, and is happy. Cheerfulness and unselfishness are sworn friends. Love
knows no heavy toil.

Here is another woman, with a private income which is more than sufficient, combined with
leisure and luxury, yet, because she is called upon to forfeit a portion of her time, pleasure, and
money to discharge some obligation which she wishes to be rid of, and which should be to her a
work of loving service, or fostering in her heart some ungratified desire, she is perpetually
discontented and unhappy, and complains of ―trying circumstances‖. Discontent and Selfishness
are inseparable companions. Self-love knows no joyful labour.

Of the two sets of circumstances above depicted (and life is crowded with such contrasted
instances) which are the ―trying‖ conditions? Is it not true that neither of them are trying, and
that both are blest or unblest in accordance with the measure of love or selfishness which is
infused into them? Is not the root of the whole matter in the mind of the individual and not in the

When a man, who has recently taken up the study of some branch of theology, religion, or
―occultism,‖ says: ―If I had not burdened myself with a wife and family I could have done a
great work; and had I known years ago what I know now I would never have married.‖ I know
that that man has not yet found the commonest and broadest way of wisdom (for there is no
greater folly than regret), and that he is incapable of the great work which he is so ambitious to
perform. If a man has such deep love for his fellow-men that he is anxious to do a great work for
humanity he will manifest that surpassing love always and in the place where he now is. His
home will be filled with it, and the beauty and sweetness and peace of his unselfish love will
follow wherever he goes, making happy those about him and transmuting all things into good.
The love that goes abroad to air itself, and is undiscoverable at home, is not love - it is vanity.

Have I not seen (Oh, pitiful sight!) the cheerless home and neglected children of the misguided
missioner and religionist? It is on such self-delusion as this that self-pity and self-martyrdom
ever wait, and its self-inflicted misery is regarded by the deluded one as a holy and religious
burden which he or she is called upon to bear.

Only a great man can do a great work; and he will be great wherever he is, and will do his noble
work under whatsoever conditions he may find himself when he has unfolded and revealed that

Thou who art so anxious to work for humanity, to help thy fellow-men, begin that work at home;
help thyself, thy neighbour, thy wife, thy child. Do not be deluded; until thou doest, with utmost
faithfulness, the nearer and the lesser thou canst not do the farther and greater.

If a man has lived many years of his life in lust and selfish pleasure it is in the order of things
that his accumulated errors should at last weigh heavily upon him, as, until they are thus brought
home to him, he will not abandon them, will not exert himself to find a better life; but whilst he
regards his self-made, self-imposed burdens as ―holy crosses‖ imposed upon him by the
Supreme, or as marks of superior virtue, or as loads which Fate, circumstances, or other people
have heaped undeservedly and unjustly upon him, he is but lengthening out his folly, increasing
the weight of his burdens, and multiplying his pains and sorrows. Only when such a man wakes
up to the truth that his burdens are of his own making, that they are the accumulated effects of
his own acts, will he cease from unmanly self-pity and find the better way of burden-dropping;
only when he opens his eyes to see that his every thought and act is another brick, another stone,
built into the temple of his life will he develop the insight which will enable him to recognise his
own unstable handiwork, the unflinching manliness to acknowledge it, and the courage to build
more nobly and enduringly.

Painful burdens are necessary, but only so long as we lack love and wisdom.

The Temple of Blessedness lies beyond the outer courts of suffering and humiliation and to reach
it the pilgrim must pass through the outer courts. For a time he will linger in the outer, but only
so long as, through his own imperfect understanding, he mistakes it for the inner. While he pities
himself and confounds suffering with holiness he will remain in suffering: but when, casting off
the last unholy rag of self-pity, he perceives that suffering is a means and not an end, that it is a
state self-originated and self-propagated, then, converted and right-minded, he will rapidly pass
through the outer courts, and reach the inner abode of peace.

Suffering does not originate in the perfect but in the imperfect; it does not mark the complete but
the incomplete; it can, therefore, be transcended. Its self-born cause can be found, investigated,
comprehended, and for ever removed.

It is true therefore, that we must pass through agony to rest, through loneliness to peace; but let
the sufferer not forget that it is a ―passing through;‖ that the agony is a gateway and not a
habitation; that the loneliness is a pathway and not a destination; and that a little farther on he
will come to the painless and blissful repose.

Little by little is a burden accumulated; imperceptibly and by degrees is its weight increased. A
thoughtless impulse, a gross self-indulgence, a blind passion yielded to and gratified again and
again; an impure thought fostered, a cruel word uttered, a foolish thing done time after time, and
at last the gathered weight of many follies becomes oppressive. At first, and for a time, the
weight is not felt; but it is being added to day after day, and the time comes when the
accumulated burden is felt in all its galling weight, when the bitter fruits of selfishness are
gathered, and the heart is troubled with the weariness of life. When this period arrives let the
sufferer look to himself; let him search for the blessed way of burden-dropping, finding which he
will find wisdom to live better, purity to live sweeter, love to live nobler; will find, in the
reversal of that conduct by which his burdens were accumulated, light-hearted nights and days,
cheerful action, and unclouded joy.

―Come out of the world - come above it -

Up over its crosses and graves;
Though the green earth is fair and I love it,
We must love it as masters, not slaves,
Come up where the dust never rises -
But only the perfume of flowers -
And your life shall be glad with surprises
Of beautiful hours.‖

5. Hidden Sacrifices

―What need hath man

Of Eden passed, or Paradise to come,
When heaven is round us and within ourselves?‖
―Lowliness is the base of every virtue:
Who goes the lowest, builds, doubt not, the safest.‖


―Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise

From outward things, whate‘er you may believe.‖


It is one of the paradoxes of Truth that we gain by giving up; we lose by greedily grasping. Every
gain in virtue necessitates some loss in vice; every accession of holiness means some selfish
pleasure yielded up; and every forward step on the path of Truth demands the forfeit of some
self-assertive error.

He who would be clothed in new garments must first cast away the old, and he who would find
the True must sacrifice the false. The gardener digs in the weeds in order that they may feed,
with their decay, the plants which are good for food; and the Tree of Wisdom can only flourish
on the compost of uprooted follies. Growth - gain - necessitates sacrifice - loss.
The true life, the blessed life, the life that is not tormented with passions and pains, is reached
only through sacrifice, not necessarily the sacrifice of outward things, but the sacrifice of the
inward errors and defilements, for it is these, and these only, which bring misery into life. It is
not the good and true that needs to be sacrificed but the evil and false; therefore all sacrifice is
ultimately gain, and there is no essential loss. Yet at first the loss seems great, and the sacrifice is
painful, but this is because of the self-delusion and spiritual blindness which always accompany
selfishness, and pain must always accompany the cutting away of some selfish portion of one‘s
nature. When the drunkard resolves to sacrifice his lust for strong drink he passes through a
period of great suffering, and he feels that he is forfeiting a great pleasure; but when his victory
is complete, when the lust is dead, and his mind is calm and sober, then he knows that he has
gained incalculably by the giving up of his selfish animal pleasure. What he has lost was evil and
false and not worth keeping - nay, its keeping enatiled continual misery - but what he has gained
in character, in self-control, in soberness had greater peace of mind, is good and true, and it was
necessary that he should acquire it.

So it is with all true sacrifice; it is at first, and until it is completed, painful, and this is why men
shrink from it. They cannot see any purpose in abstaining from and overcoming selfish
gratification, it seems to them like losing so much that is sweet; seems to them like courting
misery, and giving up all happiness and pleasure. And this must be so; for if a man could know
that by giving up his particular forms of selfishness his gain in happiness would be
immeasurably greater, unselfishness (which is now so difficult of attainment) would then be
rendered infinitely more difficult of achievement, for his desire for the greater gain - his
selfishness - would thereby be greatly intensified.

No man can become unselfish, and thereby arrive at the highest bliss, until he is willing to lose,
looking for neither gain nor reward: it is this state of mind which constitutes unselfishness. A
man must be willing to humbly sacrifice his selfish habits and practices because they are untrue
and unworthy, and for the happiness of those about him, without expecting any reward or
looking for any good to accrue to himself; nay, he must be prepared to lose for himself, to forfeit
pleasure and happiness, even life itself, if by so doing he can make the world more beautiful and
happy. But does he lose? Does the miser lose when he gives up his lust for gold? Does the thief
lose when he abandons stealing? Does the libertine lose when he sacrifices his unworthy
pleasures? No man loses by the sacrifice of self, or some portion of self; nevertheless, he thinks
he will lose by so doing, and because he so thinks he suffers and this is where the sacrifice comes
in - this is where he gains by losing.

All true sacrifice is within; it is spiritual and hidden, and is prompted by deep humility of heart.
Nothing but the sacrifice of self can avail, and to this must all men come sooner or later during
their spiritual evolution. But in what does this selfabnegation consist? How is it practised?
Where is it sought and found? It consists in overcoming the daily proneness to selfish thoughts
and acts; it is practised in our common intercourse with others; and it is found in the hour of
tumult and temptation.

There are hidden sacrifices of the heart which are infinitely blessed both to him that makes them
and those for whom they are made, albeit their making costs much effort and some pain. Men are
anxious to do some great thing, to perform some great sacrifice which lies beyond the necessities
of their experience, while all the time, perhaps, they are neglecting the one thing needful, are
blind to that sacrifice which by its very nearness is rendered imperative. Where lurks your
besetting sin? Where lies your weakness? Where does temptation assail you most strongly?
There shall you make your first scarifice, and shall find thereby the way unto your peace.
Perhaps it is anger or unkindness. Are you prepared to sacrifice the angry impulse and word, the
unkind thought and deed? Are you prepared to silently endure abuse, attack, accusation, and
unkindness, refusing to pay back these in their own coin? Nay, more, are you prepared to give in
return for these dark follies kindness and loving protection? If so, then you are ready to make
those hidden scarifices which lead to beatific bliss.

If you are given to anger or unkindness offer it up. These hard, cruel, and wrong conditions of
mind never brought you any good; they can never bring you anything but unrest, misery, and
spiritual blindness. Nor can they ever bring to others anything but unhappiness. Perhaps you will
say: ―But he was unkind to me first; he treated me unjustly.‖ Perhaps so, but what a poor excuse
is this! What an unmanly and ineffectual refuge! For if his unkindness toward you is so wrong
and hurtful yours to him must be equally so. Because another is unkind to you is no justification
of your own unkindness, but is rather a call for the exercise of great kindness on your part. Can
the pouring in of more water prevent a flood? Neither can unkindness lessen unkindness. Can
fire quench fire? Neither can anger overcome anger.

Offer up all unkindness, all anger. ―It takes two to make a quarrel;‖ don‘t be the ―other one.‖ If
one is angry or unkind to you try to find out where you have acted wrongly; and, whether you
have acted wrongly or not, do nto throw back the angry word or unkind act. Remain silent, self-
contained, and kindly disposed; and learn, by continual effort in right-doing, to have compassion
upon the wrongdoer.

Perhaps you are habitually impatient and irritable. Know, then, the hidden sacrifice which it is
needful that you should make. Give up your impatience. Overcome it there where it is wont to
assert itself. Resolve that you will yield no longer to its tyrannical sway but will conquer it and
cast it out. It is not worth keeping a single hour, nor would it dominate you for another moment
if you were not labouring under the delusion that the follies and perversities of others render
impatience on your part necessary. Whatever others may do or say, even though they may mock
and taunt you, impatience is not only unnecessary, it can never do any other than aggravate the
evil which it seeks to remove. Calm, strong, and deliberate action can accomplish much, but
impatience and its accompanying irritability are always indiactions of weakness and inefficiency.
And what do they bestow upon you? Do they bestow rest, peace, happiness, or bring these to
those about you? Do they not, rather, make you and those about you wretched? But though your
impatience may hurt others it certainly hurts and wounds and impoverishes yourself most of all.

Nor can the impatient man know aught of true blessedness, for he is a continual source of trouble
and unrest to himself. The calm beauty and perpetual sweetness of patience are unknown to him,
and peace cannot draw near to soothe and comfort him.

There is no blessedness anywhere until impatience is sacrificed; and its sacrifice means the
development of endurance, the practice of forbearance, and the creation of a new and gentler
habit of mind. When impatience and irritability are entirely put away, are finally offered up on
the altar of unselfishness, then is realised and enjoyed the blessedness of a strong, quiet, and
peaceful mind.

―Each hour we think

Of others more than self, that hour we live again,
And every lowly sacrifice we make
For other‘s good shall make life more than self,
And ope the windows of thy soul to light
From higher spheres. So hail thy lot with lot with joy.‖

Then there are little selfish indulgences, some of which appear harmless, and are commonly
fostered; but no selfish indulgence can be harmless, and men and women do not know what they
lose by repeatedly and habitually succumbing to effeminate and selfish gratifications. If the God
in man is to rise strong and triumphant, the beast in man must perish. The pandering to the
animal nature, even when it appears innocent and seems sweet, leads away from truth and
blessedness. Each time you give way to the animal within you, and feed and gratify him, he
waxes stronger and more rebellious, and takes firmer possession of your mind, which should be
in the keeping of Truth. Not until a man has sacrifice some apparently trivial indulgence does he
discover what strength, what joy, what poise of character and holy influence he has all along
been losing by that gratification; not until a man sacrifices his hankering for pleasure does he
enter into the fulness of abiding joy.

By his personal indulgences a man demeans himself, forfeits self-respect to the extent and
frequency of his indulgence, and deprives himself of exemplary influence and the power to
accomplish lasting good in his work in the world. He also, by allowing himself to be led by blind
desire, increases his mental blindness, and fails of that ultimate clearness of vision, that clarified
percipience which pierces to the heart of things and comprehends the real and the true. Animal
indulgence is alien to the perception of Truth. By the sacrifice of his indulgences man rises
above confusion and doubt, and arrives at the possession of insight and surety.

Sacrifice your cherished and coveted indulgence; fix your mind on something higher, nobler, and
more enduring than ephemeral pleasure; live superior to the craving for sense-excitement, and
you will live neither vainly nor uncertainly.

Very far-reaching in its effect upon others, and rich with the revelations of Truth for him who
makes it, is the sacrifice of self-assertion - the giving up of all interference with the lives, views,
or religion of other people, substituting for it an understanding love and sympathy. Self-assertion
or opinionativeness is a form of egotism or selfishness most generally found in connection with
intellectualism and dialectical skill. It is blindly presumptive and uncharitable, and, more often
than not, is regarded as a virtue; but when once the mind has opened to perceive the way of
gentleness and self-sacrificing love then the ignorance, deformity, and painful nature of self-
assertion become apparent.

The victim of self-assertion, setting up his own opinions as the standard of right and the measure
of judgment, regards all those as wrong whose lives and opinions run counter to his own, and,
being eager to put others right, is thereby prevented from putting himself right. His attitude of
mind brings about him opposition and contradiction from people who are anxious to put him
right, and this wounds his vanity and makes him miserable, so that he lives in an almost
continual fever of unhappy, resentful and uncharitable thoughts. There can be no peace for such
a man, no true knowledge, and no advancement until he sacrifices his desire to bend others to his
own way of thinking and acting. Nor can he understand the hearts of others, and enter lovingly
into their strivings and aspirations. His mind is cramped and embittered, and he is shut out from
all sweet sympathy and spiritual communion.

He who sacrifices the spirit of self-assertion, who in his daily contact with others put aside his
prejudices and opinions, and strives both to learn from others and to understand them as they are,
who allows to others perfect liberty (such as he exercises himself) to choose their own opinions,
their own way in life - such a man will acquire a deeper insight, a broader charity, and a richer
bliss than he has hitherto experienced, and will strike a byway of blessedness from which he has
formerly shut out.

Then there is the sacrifice of greed and all greedy thoughts. The willingness that others should
possess rather than we; the not-coveting of things for ourselves but rejoicing that they are
possessed and enjoyed by others, that they bring happiness to others; the ceasing to claim one‘s
―own‖, and the giving up to others, unselfishly and without malice, that which they exact. This
attitude of mind is a source of deep peace and great spiritual strength. It is the sacrifice of self-
interest. Material possessions are temporary, and in this sense we cannot truly call them our own
- they are merely in our keeping for a short time - but spiritual possessions are eternal and must
ever remain with us. Unselfishness is a spiritual possession which is only secured by ceasing to
covet material possessions and enjoyments, by ceasing to regard things as for our own special
and exclusive pleasure, and by our readiness to yield them up for the good of others.

The unselfish man, even though he finds himself involved in riches, stands aloof, in his mind,
from the idea of ―exclusive possession‖, and so escapes the bitterness and fear and anxiety which
ever accompany the covetous spirit. He does not regard any of his outward accretions as being
too valuable to lose, but he regards the virtue of unselfishness as being too valuable to the world
- to suffering humanity - to lose or cast away.

And who is the blessed man? He who is ever hankering after more possessions, thinking only of
the personal pleasure he can get out of them? or he who is ever ready to give up what he has for
the good and happiness of others? By greed happiness is destroyed; by not-greed happiness is

Another hidden sacrifice, one of great spiritual beauty and of powerful efficacy in the healing of
human sorrows, is the sacrifice of hatred - the giving up of all bitter thoughts against others, of
all malice, dislike, and resentment. Bitter thoughts and blessedness cannot dwell together. Hatred
is a fierce fire that scorches up, in the heart of him who harbours it, all the sweet flowers of peace
and happiness, and makes a hell of every place where it comes.

Hatred has many names and many forms but only one essence - namely, burning thoughts of
resentment against others. It is sometimes, by its blind votaries called by the name of religion,
causing them to attack, slander, and persecute each other because they will not accept each
other‘s views of life and death, thus filling the earth with miseries and tears.

All resentment, dislike, ill-thinking, and ill-speaking of others is hatred, and where there is hatred
there is always unhappiness. No one has conquered hatred while thoughts of resentment towards
others spring up in his mind. This sacrifice is not complete until a man can think kindly of those
who try to do him wrong. Yet it must be made before true blessedness can be realised and
known. Beyond the hard, cruel, steely gates of hatred waits the divine angel of love, ready to
reveal herself to him who will subdue and sacrifice his hateful thoughts, and conduct him to his

Whatever others may say of you, whatever they may do to you, never take offence. Do not return
hatred with hatred. If another hates you perhaps you have, consciously or unconsciously, failed
somewhere in your conduct, or there may be some misunderstanding which the exercise of a
little gentleness and reason may remove; but, under all circumstances, ―Father, forgive them‖ is
infinitely better, sweeter, and nobler than ―I will hve nothing more to do with them.‖ Hatred is so
small and poor, so blind and wretched. Love is so great and rich, so far-seeing and blissful.

―The highest culture is to speak no ill:

The best reformer is the man whose eyes
Are quick to see all beauty and all worth;
And by his own discreet, well-ordered life
Alone reproves the erring.‖

Sacrifice all hatred, slay it upon the holy altar of of devotion - devotion to others. Think no more
of any injury to your own petty self, but see to it that henceforth you injure and wound no other.
Open the flood gates of your heart for the inpouring of that sweet, great, beautiful love which
embraces all with strong yet tender thoughts of protection and peace, leaving not one, nay, not
even he who hates or despises or slanders you, out in the cold.

Then there is the hidden sacrifice of impure desires, of weak self-pity and degrading self-praise,
of vanity and pride, for these are unblest attitudes of mind, deformities of heart. He who makes
them, one by one, gradually subduing and overcoming them, will, according to the measure of
his success, rise above weakness and suffering and sorrow, and will comprehend and enjoy the
perfect and imperishable blessedness.

Now, all these hidden sacrifices which are here mentioned are pure, humble heart-offerings.
They are made within; are offered up on the sacred, lonely, unseen altar of one‘s own heart. Not
one of them can be made until the fault is first silently acknowledged and confessed. No man can
sacrifice an error until he first of all confess (to himself) ―Iam in error;‖ when, yielding it up, he
will perceive and receive the truth which his error formerly obscured.

―The kingdom of heaven cometh not by observation,‖ and the silent sacrifice of self for the good
of others, the daily giving up of one‘s egotistic tendencies, is not seen and rewarded of men, and
brings no loud blazon of popularity and praise. It is hidden away from the eyes of all the world,
nay, even from the gaze of those who are nearest to you, for no eyes of flesh can perceive its
spiritual beauty. But think not that because it is unperceived it is therefore futile. Its blissful
radiance is enjoyed by you, and its power for good over others is great and far-reaching, for
though they cannot see it, nor, perhaps understand it, yet they are unconsciously influenced by it.
They will not know what silent battles you are fighting, what eternal victories over self you are
achieving, but, they will feel your altered attitude, your new mind, wrought of the fabric of love
and loving thoughts, and will share somewhat in its happiness and bliss. They will know nothing
of the frequent fierceness of the fight you are waging, of the wounds you receive and the healing
balm you apply, of the anguish and the after-peace; but they will know that you have grown
sweeter and gentler, stronger and more silently self-reliant, more patient and pure, and that they
are rested and helped by your presence. What rewards can compare with this? Beside the fragrant
offices of love the praises of men are gross and fulsome, and in the pure flame of a selfless heart
the flatteries of the world are turned to ashes. Love is its own reward, its own joy, its own
satisfaction; it is the final refuge and resting-place of passion-tortured souls.

The sacrifice of self, and the acquisition of the supreme knowledge and bliss which it confers, is
not accomplished by one great and glorious act but by a series of lesser and successive sacrifices
in the ordinary life of the world, by a succession of steps in the daily conquest of Truth over
selfishness. He who each day accomplishes some victory over himself, who subdues and puts
behind him some unkind thought, some impure desire, some tendency to sin, is everyday
growing stronger, purer, and wiser, and every dawn finds him nearer to that final glory of Truth
which each self-sacrificing act reveals in part.

Look not outside thee nor beyond thee for the light and blessedness of Truth, but look within;
thou wilt find it within the narrow sphere of thy duty, even in the humble and hidden sacrifices
of thine own heart.

6. Sympathy

―When thy gaze

Turns it on thine own soul, be most severe:
But when it falls upon a fellow-man
Let kindliness control it; and refrain
From that belittling censure that springs forth
From common lips like weeds from marshy soil.‖

Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

―I do not ask the wounded person how he feels,

I myself become the wounded person.‖

Walt Whitman.

We can only sympathise with others in so far as we have conquered ourselves. We cannot think
and feel for others while we are engaged in condoling with and pitying ourselves; cannot deal
tenderly and lovingly with others while we are anxious for our own pre-eminence or for the
exclusive preservation of ourselves, our opinions, and our own generally. What is sympathy but
thoughtfulness for others in the forgetfulness of self?

To sympathise with others we must first understand them, and to understand them we must put
away all personal preconceptions concerning them, and must see them as they are. We must
enter into their inner state and become one with them, looking through their mental eyes and
comprehending the range of their experience. You cannot, of course, do this with a being whose
wisdom and experience are greater than your own; nor can you do it with any if you regard
yourself as being on a higher plane than others (for egotism and sympathy cannot dwell
together), but you can practise it with all those who are involved in sins and sufferings from
which you have successfully extricated yourself, and, though your sympathy cannot embrace and
overshadow the man whose greatness is beyond you, yet you can place yourself in such an
attitude towards him as to receive the protection of his larger sympathy and so make for yourself
an easier way out of the sins and sufferings by which you are still enchained.

Prejudice and ill-will are complete barriers to the giving of sympathy, while pride and vanity are
total barriers to its reception. You cannot sympathise with a person for whom you have
conceived a hatred; you cannot enjoy the sympathy of one whom you envy. You cannot
understand the person whom you dislike, or he for whom, through animal impulse, you have
framed an ill-formed affection. You do not, cannot, see him as he is, but see only your own
imperfect notions of him; see only a distorted image of him through the exaggerating medium of
your illgrounded opinions.

To see others as they are you must not allow impulsive likes and dislikes, powerful prejudices, or
egotistic considerations to come between you and them. You must not resent their actions or
condemn their beliefs and opinions. You must leave yourself entirely out, and must, for the time
being, assume their position. Only in this way can you become en rapport with them, and so
fathom their life, their experience, and understand it, and when a man is understood it becomes
impossible to condemn him. Men misjudge, condemn, and avoid each other because they do not
understand each other, and they do not understand each other because they have not overcome
and purified themselves.

Life is growth, development, evolution, and there is no essential distinction between the sinner
and the saint - there is only a difference in degree. The saint was once a sinner; the sinner will
one day be a saint. The sinner is the child; the saint is the grown man. He who separates himself
from sinners, regarding them as wicked men to be avoided, is like a man avoiding contact with
little children because they are unwise, disobedient, and play with toys.

All life is one, but it has a variety of manifestations. The grown flower is not something distinct
from the tree: it is a part of it; is only another form of leaf. Steam is not something apart from
water: it is but another form of water. And in like manner good is transmuted evil: the saint is the
sinner developed and transformed.

The sinner is one whose understanding is undeveloped, and he ignorantly chooses wrong modes
of action. The saint is one whose understanding is ripened, and he wisely chooses right modes of
action. The sinner condemns the sinner, condemnation being a wrong mode of action. The saint
never condemns the sinner, remembering that he himself formerly occupied the same place, but
thinks of him with deep sympathy, regarding him in the light of a younger brother or a friend, for
sympathy is a right and enlightened mode of action.

The perfected saint, who gives synpathy to all, needs it of none, for he has transcended sin and
suffering, and lives in the enjoyment of lasting bliss; but all who suffer need sympathy, and all
who sin must suffer. When a man comes to under38 stand that every sin, whether of thought or
deed, receives its just quota of suffering he ceases to condemn and begins to sympathise, seeing
the sufferings which sin entails; and he comes to such understanding by purifying himself.

As a man purges himself of passions, as he transmutes his selfish desires and puts under foot his
egotistic tendencies, he sounds the depths of all human experiences - all sins and sufferings and
sorrows, all motives and thoughts and deeds - and comprehends the moral law in its perfection.
Complete self-conquest is perfect knowledge, perfect sympathy, and he who views men with the
stainless vision of a pure heart views them with a pitying heart, sees them as a part of himself,
not as something defiled and separate and distinct, but as his very self, sinning as he has sinned,
suffering as he has suffered, sorrowing as he has sorrowed, yet, withal, glad in the knowledge
that they will come, as he has come, to perfect peace at last.

The truly good and wise man cannot be a passionate partisan, but extends his sympathy to all,
seeing no evil in others to be condemned and resisted, but seeing the sin which is pleasant to the
sinner, and the after-sorrow and pain which the sinner does not see, and, when it overtakes him,
does not understand.

A man‘s sympathy extends just so far as his wisdom reaches, and no further; and a man only
grows wiser as he grows tenderer and more compassionate. To narrow one‘s sympathy is to
narrow one‘s heart, and so to darken and embitter one‘s life. To extend and broaden one‘s
sympathy is to enlighten and gladden one‘s life and to make plainer to others the way of light
and gladness.

To sympathise with another is to receive his being into our own, to become one with him, for
unselfish love indissolubly unites, and he whose sympathy reaches out to and embraces all
humankind and all living creatures has realised his identity and oneness with all, and
comprehends the universal Love and Law and Wisdom. Man is shut out from Heaven and Peace
and Truth only in so far as he shuts out others from his sympathy. Where his sympathy ends his
darkness and torment and turmolis begin, for to shut others out from our love is to shut ourselves
out from the blessedness of love, and to become cramped in the dark prison of self.

―Whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his

own funeral dressed in a shroud.‖

Only when one‘s sympathy is unlimited is the Eternal Light of Truth revealed; only in the Love
that knows no restriction is the boundness bliss enjoyed.

Sympathy is bliss; in it is revealed the highest, purest blessedness. It is divine, for in its
reciprocal light all thought of self is lost, and there remains only the pure joy of oneness with
others, the ineffable communion of spiritual identity. Where a man ceases to sympathise he
ceases to live, ceases to see and realise and know.

One cannot truly sympathise with others until all selfish considerations concerning them are put
away, and he who does this and strives to see others as they are, strives to realise their particular
sins, temptations, and sorrows, their beliefs, opinions, and prejudices, comes at last to see exactly
where they stand in their spiritual evolution, comprehends the arc of their experience, and knows
that they cannot for the present act otherwise than they do. He sees that their thoughts and acts
are prompted by the extent of their knowledge, or their lack of knowledge, and that if they act
blindly and foolishly it is because their knowledge and experience are immature, and they can
only come to act more wisely by gradual growth into more enlightened states of mind. He also
sees that though this growth can be encouraged, helped, and stimulated by the influence of a
riper example, by seasonable words and well-timed instruction, it cannot be unnaturally forced;
the flowers of love and wisdom must have time to grow, and the barren branches of hatred and
folly cannot be all cut away at once.

Such a man finds the doorway into the inner world of those with whom he comes in contact, and
he opens it and enters in and dwells with them in the hidden and sacred sanctuary of their being.
And he finds nothing to hate, nothing to revile, nothing to condemn in that sacred place, but
something to love and tend, and, in his own heart, room only for greater pity, greater patience,
greater love.

He sees that he is one with them, that they are but another aspect of himself, that their natures are
not different from his own, except in modification and degree, but are identical with it. If they
are acting out certain sinful tendencies he has but to look within to find the same tendencies in
himself, albeit, perhaps, restrained or purified; if they are manifesting certain holy and divine
qualities he finds the same pure spirit within himself, though, perhaps, in a lesser degree of
power and development.

―One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.‖

The sin of one is the sin of all; the virtue of one is the virtue of all. No man can be separate from
another. There is no difference of nature but only difference of condition. If a man thinks he is
separated from another by virtue of his superior holiness he is not so separated, and his darkness
and delusion are very great. Humanity is one, and in the holy sanctuary of sympathy saint and
sinner meet and unite.

It is said of Jesus that He took upom Himself the sins of the whole world - that is, He identified
Himself with those sins, and did not regard Himself as essentially separate from sinners but as
being of a like nature with them - and his realisation of His oneness with all men was manifested
in His life as profound sympathy with those who, for their deep sins, were avoided and cast off
by others.

And who is it that is in the greatest need of sympathy? Not the saint, not the enlightened seer, not
the perfect man. It is the sinner, the unenlightened man, the imperfect one; and the greater the sin
the greater is the need. ―I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance‖ is the
statement of One who comprehended all human needs. The righteous man does not need your
sympathy, but the unrighteous; he who, by his wrong-doing, is laying up for himself long periods
of suffering and woe is in need of it.

The flagrantly unrighteous man is condemned, despised, and avoided by those who are living in
a similar condition to himself, though for the time being, they may not be subject to his particular
form of sin, for that withholding of sympathy and that mutual condemnation which are so rife is
the commonest manifestation of that lack of understanding in which all sin takes its rise. While a
man is involved in sin he will condemn others who are likewise involved, and the deeper and
greater his sin the more severe will be his condemnation of others. It is only when a man begins
to sorrow for his sin, and so to rise above it into the clearer light of purity and understanding, that
he ceases from condemning others and learns to sympathise with them. But this ceaseless
condemnation of each other by those who are involved in the fierce play of the passions must
needs, be, for it one of the modes of operation of the Great Law which universally and eternally
obtains, and the unrighteous one who falls under the condemnation of his fellows will the more
rapidly reach a higher and nobler condition of heart and life if he humbly accepts the censure of
others as the effect of his own sin, and resolves henceforward to refrain from all condemnation
of others.

The truly good and wise man condemns none, having put away all blind passion and selfishness
he lives in the calm regions of love and peace, and understands all modes of sin, with their
consequent sufferings and sorrows. Enlightened and awakened, freed from all selfish bias, and
seeing men as they are, his heart responds in holy sympathy with all. Should any condemn,
abuse, or slander him he throws aroundthem the kindly protection of his sympathy, seeing the
ignorance which prompts them so to act, and knowing that they alone will suffer for their wrong

Learn, by self-conquest and the acquisition of wisdom, to love him whom you now condemn, to
sympathise with those who condemn you. Turn your eyes away from their condemnation and
search your own heart, to find, perchance, some hard, unkind, or wrong thoughts which, when
discovered and understood, you will condemn yourself.

Much that is commonly called sympathy is personal affection. To love them who love us is
human bias and inclination; but to love them who do not love us is divine sympathy.

Sympathy is needed because of the prevalence of suffering, for there is no being or creature who
has not suffered. Through suffering sympathy is evolved. Not in a year or a life or an age is the
human heart purified and softened by suffering, but after many lives of intermittent pain, after
many ages of ever recurring sorrow, man reaps the golden harvest of his experiences, and
garners in the rich, ripe sheaves of love and wisdom. And then he understands, and
understanding, he sympathises.

All suffering is the result of ignorantly violated law, and after many repetitions of the same
wrong act, and the same kind of suffering resulting from that act, knowledge of the law is
acquired, and the higher state of obedience and wisdom is reached. Then there blossoms the pure
and perfect flower of sympathy.
One aspect of sympathy is that of pity - pity for the distressed or pain-stricken, with a desire to
alleviate or help them bear their sufferings. The world needs more of this divine quality.

―For pity makes the world

Soft to the weak, and noble for the strong.‖

But it can only be developed by eradicating all hardness and unkindness, all accusation and
resentment. He who, when he sees another suffering for his sin, hardens his heart and thinks or
says: ―It serves him right‖- such a one cannot exercise pity nor apply its healing balm. Every
time a man acts cruelly towards another (be it only a dumb creature), or refuses to bestow needed
sympathy, he dwarfs himself, deprives himself of ineffable blessedness, and prepares himsrelf
for suffering.

Another form of sympathy is that of rejoicing with those who are more successful than ourselves,
as though their success were our own. Blessed indeed is he who is free from all envy and malice,
and can rejoice and be glad when he hears of the good fortune of those who regard him as an

The protecting of creatures weaker and more indefensible than oneself is another form in which
this divine sympathy is manifested. The helpless frailty of the dumb creation calls for the
exercise of the deepest sympathy. The glory of superior strength resides in its power to shield,
not to destroy. Not by the callous of destruction of weaker things is life truly lived, but by their

―All life
Is linked and kin,‖

and the lowest creature is not separated from the highest but by greater weakness, by lesser
intelligence. When we pity and protect we reveal and enlarge the divine life and joy within
ourselves. When we thoughtlessly or callously inflict suffering or destroy, then our divine life
becomes obscured, and its joy fades and dies. Bodies may feed bodies, and passions passions,
but man‘s divine nature is only nurtured, sustained, and developed by kindness, love, sympathy,
and all pure and unselfish acts.

By bestowing sympathy on others we increase our own. Sympathy given can never be wasted.
Even the meanest creature will respond to its heavenly touch, for it is the universal language
which all creatures understand. I have recently heard a true story of a Dartmoor convict whose
terms of incarceration in various convict stations extended to over forty years. As a criminal he
was considered one of the most callous and hopelessly abandoned, and the warders found him
almost intractable. But one day he caught a mouse - a weak, terrified, hunted thing like himself -
and its helpless frality, and the similarity of its condition with his own, appealed to him, and
started into flame the divine spark of sympathy which smouldered in his crime-hardened heart,
and which no human touch had ever wakened into life.

He kept the mouse in an old boot in his cell, fed, tended, and loved it, and in his love for the
weak and helpless he forgot and lost his hatred for the strong. His heart and his hand were no
longer against his fellows. He became tractable and obedient to the uttermost. The warders could
not understand his change; it seemed to them little short of miraculous that this most hardened of
all criminals should suddenly be transformed into the likeness of a gentle, obedient child. Even
the expression of his featires altered remarkably: a pleasing smile began to play around the
mouth which had formerly been moved to nothing better than a cruel grin, and the implacable
hardness of his eyes disappeared and gave place to a soft, deep, mellow light. The criminal was a
criminal no longer; he was saved, converted; clothed, and in his right mind; restored to
humaneness and to humanity, and set firmly on the pathway to divinity by pitying and caring for
a defenceless creature. All this was made known to the warders shortly afterwards, when, on his
discharge, he took the mouse away with him.

Thus sympathy bestowed increases its store in our own hearts, and enriches and fructifies our
own life. Sympathy given is blessedness received; sympathy withheld is blessedness forfeited. In
the measure that a man increases and enlarges his sympathy so much nearer does he approach the
ideal life, the perfect blessedness; and when his heart has become so mellowed that no hard,
bitter, or cruel thought can enter and detract from its permanent sweetness, then indeed is he
richly and divinely blessed.

7. Forgiveness

―If men only understood

All the emptiness and acting
Of the sleeping and the waking
Of the souls they judge so blindly,
Of the hearts they pierce so unkindly,
They, with gentler words and feeling,
Would apply the balm of healing-
If they only understood.‖
―Kindness, nobler ever than revenge.‖


The remembering of injuries is spiritual darkness; the fostering of resentment is spiritual suicide.
To resort to the spirit and practice of forgiveness is the beginning of enlightenment; it is also the
beginning of peace and happiness. There is no rest for him who broods over slights and injuries
and wrongs; no quiet repose of mind for him who feels that he has been unjustly treated, and
who schemes how best to act for the discomfiture of his enemy.

How can happiness dwell in a heart that is so disturbed by ill-will? Do birds resort to a burning
bush wherein to build and sing? Neither can happiness inhabit in that breast that is aflame with
burning thoughts of resentment. Nor can wisdom come and dwell where such folly resides.

Revenge seems sweet only to the mind that is unacquainted with the spirit of forgiveness; but
when the sweetness of forgiveness is tasted then the extreme bitterness of revenge is known.
Revenge seems to lead to happiness to those who are involved in the darkness of passion; but
when the violence of passion is abandoned, and the mildness of forgiveness is restored to, then it
is seen that revenge leads to suffering.

Revenge is a virus which eats into the very vitals of the mind, and poisons the entire spiritual
being. Resentment is a mental fever which burns up the wholesome energies of the mind, and
―taking offence‖ is a form of moral sickness which saps the healthy flow of kindliness and good-
will, and from which men and women should seek to be delivered. The unforgiving and resentful
spirit is a source of great suffering and sorrow, and he who harbours and encourages it, who does
not overcome and abandon it, forfeits much blessedness, and does not obtain any measure of true
enlightenment. To be hard-hearted is to suffer, is to be deprived of light and comfort; to be
tender-hearted is to be serenely glad, is to receive light and be well comforted. It will seem
strange to many to be told that the hard-hearted and unfrogiving suffer most; yet it is profoundly
true, for not only do they, by the law of attraction, draw to themselves the revengeful passions in
other people, but their hardness of heart itself is a continual source of suffering. Every time a
man hardens his heart against a fellow-being he inflicts upon himself five kinds of suffering -
namely, the suffering of loss of love; the suffering of lost communion and fellowship; the
suffering of a troubled and confused mind; the suffering of wounded passion or pride; and the
suffering of punishment inflicted by others. Every act of unforgiveness entails upon the doer of
that act these five sufferings; whereas every act of forgiveness brings to the doer five kinds of
blessedness - the blessedness of love; the blessedness of increased communion and fellowship;
the blessedness of a calm and peaceful mind; the blessedness of passion stilled and pride
overcome; and the blessedness and kindness and good-will bestowed by others.

Numbers of people are today suffering the fiery torments of an unforgiving spirit, and only when
they make an effort to overcome that spirit can they know what a cruel and exacting taskmaster
they are serving. Only those who have abandoned the service of such a master for that of the
nobler master of forgiveness can realise and know how grievous a service is the one, how sweet
the other.

Let a man contemplate the strife of the world: how individuals and communities, neighbours and
nations, live in continual retaliations towards each other; let him realise the heartaches, the bitter
tears, the grievous partings and misunderstandings - yea, even the blood-shed and woe which
spring from that strife - and, thus realising, he will never again yield to ignoble thoughts of
resentment, never again take offence at the actions of others, never again live in unforgiveness
towards any being.

―Have good-will
To all that lives, letting unkindness die
And greed and wrath; so that your lives be made
Like soft airs passing by.‖

When a man abandons retaliation for forgiveness he passes from darkness to light. So dark and
ignorant is unforgiveness that no being who is at all wise or enlightened could descend to it; but
its darkness is not understood and known until it is left behind, and the better and nobler course
of conduct is sought and practised. Man is blinded and deluded only by his own dark and sinful
tendencies; and the giving up of all unforgiveness means the giving up of pride and certain forms
of passion, the abandonment of the deeply-rooted idea of the importance of one-self and of the
necessity for protecting and defending that self; and when that is done the higher life, greater
wisdom, and pure enlightenment, which pride and passion completely obscured, are revealed in
all their light and beauty.

Then there are petty offences, little spites and passing slights, which, while of a less serious
nature than deep-seated hatreds and revenges, dwarf the character and cramp the soul. They are
due to the sin of self and self-importance and thrive on vanity. Whosoever is blinded and deluded
by vanity will continually see something in the actions and the attitudes of others towards him at
which to take offence, and the more there is of vanity the more greatly will the imaginary slight
or wrong be exagerrated. Moreover, to live in the frequent indulgence of petty resentments
increase the spirit of hatred, and leads gradually downward to greater darkness, suffering, and
self-delusion. Don‘t take offence or allow your feelings to be hurt, which means - get rid of pride
and vanity. Don‘t give occasion for offence or hurt the feelings of others, which means - be
gently considerate, forgiving, and charitable towards all.

The giving up - the total uprooting - of vanity and pride is a great task; but it is a blessed task,
and it can be accomplished by constant practice in non-resentment and by meditating upon one‘s
thoughts and actions so as to understand and purify them; and the spirit of forgiveness is
perfected in one in the measure that pride and vanity are overcome and abandoned.

The not-taking-offence and the not-giving-offence go together. When a man ceases to resent the
actions of others he is already acting kindly towards them, considering them before himself or
his own defence.Such a man will be gently in what he says and does, will arouse love and
kindness in others, and not stir them up to ill-will and strife. He will also be free from all fear
concerning the actions of others towards him, for he who hurts none fears none. But the
unforgiving man, he who is eager to ―pay back‖ some real or imaginary slight or injury, will not
be considerate towards others, for he considers himself first, and is continually making enemies;
he also loves in the fear of others, thinking that that they are trying to do towards him as he is
doing towards them. He who contrives the hurt of others fears others.

That is a beautiful story of Prince Dhirgayu which was told by an ancient Indian teacher to his
disciples in order to impress them with the truth of the ublime percept that ―hatred ceases not by
hatred at any time; hatred ceases by not-hatred.‖ The story is as follows:- Brahmadatta, a
powerful king of Benares, made war upon Dirgheti, the king of Kosala, in order to annex his
kingdom, which was much smaller than his own. Dirgheti, seeing that it was impossible for him
to resist the greater power of bramhadatta, fled, and left his kingdom in his enemy‘s hands. For
some time he wandered from place to place in disguise, and at last settled down with his queen in
an artisan‘s cottage; and the queen gave birth to a son, whom they called Dirghayu.

Now, King Brahmadatta was anxious to dsicover the hiding-place of Dirgheti, in order to put to
death the conquered king, for he thought, ―Seeing that I have deprived him of his kingdom he
may someday treacherously kill me If I do not kill him.‖

But many years passed away, and Dirgheti devoted himself to the education of his son,. who by
dilligent application, became learned and skillful and wise.
And after a time Dirgheti‘s secret became known, and he, fearing that brahmadatta would
discover him and slay all three, and thinking more of the life of his son than his own, sent away
the prince. Soon after the exile king fell into the hands of Brahmadatta, and was, along with his
queen, executed.

Now Brahmadatta thought: I have got rid of Dirgheti and his queen, but thier son , Prince
Dirghayu, lives, and he will be sure to contrive some means of effecting my assassination; yet he
is unknown to any, and I have no means of discovering him.‖ So the king lived in great fear and
continual distress of mind.

Soon after the execution of his parents, Dirghayu, under an assumed name, sought employment
in the king‘s stables, and was engaged by the master of elephants.

Dirghayu quickly endeared himself to all, and his superior abilities came at last under the notice
of the king, who had the young man brought before him, and was so charmed with him that he
employed him in his own castle, and he proved to be so able and diligent that the king shortly
placed him in a position of great trust under himself.

One day the king went on a long hunting expedtion, and became seperated from his retinue,
Dirghayu alone remaining with him. And the king, being fatigued with his exertions, lay down,
and slept with his head in Dirghayu‘s lap. Then Dirghayu thought: This king has greatly wronged
me. He robbed my father of his kingdom, and slew my parents, and he is now entirely in my
power.‖ And he drew his sword, thinking to slay Brahmadatta. But, remembering how his father
had taught him never to seek revenge but to forgive to the uttermost, he sheathed his sword.

At last the king awoke out of a disturbed sleep, and the youth inquired of him why he looked so
frightened. ―My sleep‖, said the king ―is always restless, for I frequently dream that I am in the
power of young Dirghayu and that he is alone to slay me. While lying here I again dreamed that
with greater vividness than ever before and it has filled me with dread and terror.

Then the youth, drawing his sword, said: ―I am Prince Dirghayu, and you are in my power: the
time of vengeance has arrived.‖

Then the king fell upon his knees and begged Dirghayu to spare his life. And Dirghayu said: ―It
is you, O King! who must spare my life. For many years you have wished to find me in order
that you might kill me; and , now that you have found me, let me beg of you to grant me my

And there and then did Brahmadatta and Dirghayu grant each other life, took hands, and
solemnly vowed never to harm each other. And so overcome was the king by the noble and
forgiving spirit of Dirghayu that he gave him his daughter in marriage, and restored to him his
father‘s kingdom.

Thus hatred ceases by not-hatred- by forgiveness, which is very beautiful, and is sweeter and
more effective than revenge. It is the beginning of love, of that divine love that does not seek its
own; and he who practises it, who perfects himself in it, comes at last to realise that blessed state
wherein the torments of pride and vanity and hatred and retaliation are forever dispelled, and
good-will and peace are unchanging and unlimited. In that state of calm, silent bliss, even
forgiveness passes away, and is no longer needed, for he who has reached it sees no evil to resent
but only ignorance and delusion on which to have compassion, and forgiveness is only needed so
long as there is any tendency to resent, retaliate, and take offence. Equal love towards all is the
perfect law, the perfect state in which all lesser states find their completion. Forgiveness is one of
the doorways in the faultless temple of Love Divine.

8. Seeing No Evil

The solid, solid universe

Is pervious to love;
With bandaged eyes he never errs,
Around, below, above.
His blinding light
He flingeth white
On God‘s and Satan‘s brood,
And reconciles
By mystic wiles
The evil and the good.‖


―If thou thinkest evil, be thou sure

Thine acts will bear the shadow of the stain;
And if they thought be perfect, then thy deed
Will be as of the perfect, true, and pure.‖

After Confucius.

After much practice in forgiveness and having cultivated the spirit of forgiveness up to a certain
point, knowledge of the actual nature of good and evil dawns upon the mind, and a man begins to
understand how thoughts and motives are formed in the human heart, how they develop, and
how take birth in the form of actions. This marks the opening of a new vision in the mind, the
commencement of a nobler, higher, diviner life; for the man now begins to perceive that there is
no necessity to resist or resent the actions of others towards him, whatever those actions may be,
and that all along his resentment has been caused by his own ignorance, and that his own
bitterness of spirit is wrong. Having arrived thus far he will take himself with some such
questionings as these: ―Why this continual retaliation and forgiveness? Why this tormenting
anger against another and then this repentance and forgiveness? Is not forgiveness the taking
back of one‘s anger, the giving up of one‘s resentment; and if anger and resentment are good and
necessary why repent of them and give them up? If it is so beautiful, so sweet, so peacful to get
rid of all feelings of bitterness and to utterly and wholly forgive, would it not be still more
beautiful and sweet and peaceful never to grow bitter at all, never to know anger, never to resent
as evil the action of another, but always to live in the experience of that pure, calm, blissful love
which is known when an act of forgiveness is done, and all unruly passion towards another is put
away? If another has done me wrong is not my hatred towards him wrong, and acn one wrong
right another? Moreover, has he by his wrong really injured me, or has he injured himself? Am I
not injured by my own wrong rather than by his? Why, then, do I grow angry? why do I resent,
retaliate, and engage in bitter thoughts? Is it not because my pride is piqued or my vanity
wounded or my selfishness thwarted? Is not because my blind animal passions are aroused and
allowed to subdue my better nature? Seeing that I am hurt by another person‘s attitude towards
me because of my own pride or vanity or ungoverned and unpurified passions, would it not be
better to look to the wrong in myself rather than the wrong in another, to get rid of pride and
vanity and passion, and so avoid being hurt at all?

By such self-questionings and their elucidation in the light of mild thoughts and dispassionate
conduct a man, gradually overcoming passion and rising out of the ignorance which gave rise to
passion, will at last reach that blessed state in which he will cease to see evil in others, and will
dwell in universal good-will and love and peace. Not that he will cease to see ignorance and
folly; not that he will cease to see suffering and sorrow and misery; not that he will cease to
distinguish between acts that are pure and impure, right and wrong, for, having put away passion
and prejudice, he will see these things in the full, clear light of knowledge, and exactly as they
are; but he will cease to see anything-any evil power- in another which can do him injury, which
he must violently oppose and strive to crush, and against which he must guard himself. Having
arrived at right understanding of evil by purging it away from his own heart he sees that it is a
thing that does not call for hatred and fear and resenment but for consideration, compassion, and

Shakespeare through one of his characters says: ―There is no darkness but ignorance.‖ All evil is
ignorance, is dense darkness of mind, and the removal of sin from one‘s mind is a coming out of
darkness into spiritual light. Evil is the negation of good, just as darkness is the negation, or
absence of light, and what is there in a negation to arouse anger or resentment? When night
settles down upon the world who is so foolish as to rail at the darkness? The enlightened man,
likewise, does not accuse or condemn the spirtual darkness in men‘s hearts which is manifested
in the form of sin, though by gentle reproof he may sometimes point out where the light lies.

Now the ignorance to which I refer as evil, or as the source of evil, is two-fold. There is wrong-
doing which is committed without any knowledge of good and evil, and where there is no choice
- this is unconscious wrong-doing. Then there is wrong-doing which is done in the knowledge
that it ought not to be done - this is conscious wrong-doing; but both unconscious and conscious
wrong-doing arise in ignorance-that is, ignorance of the real nature and painful consequences of
the wrong-doing.

Why does a man continue to do certain things which he feels he ought not to do? If he knows
that what he is doing is wrong where lies the ignorance?

He continues to do those things because his knowledge of them is incomplete. He only knows he
ought not to do them by certain precepts without and qualms of conscience within, but he does
not fully and completely understand what he is doing. He knows that certain acts bring him
immediate pleasure, and so, in spite of the troubled conscience which follows that pleasure, he
continues to commit them. He is convinced that the pleasure is good and desireable, and
therefore to be enjoyed. He does not know that pleasure and pain are one, but thinks he can have
the one without the other. He has no knowledge of the law which governs human actions, and
never thinks of associating his sufferings with his own wrongdoing, but believes that they are
caused by the wrong-doing of others or are the mysterious dispensations of Providence, and
therefore not to be inquired into or understood. He is seeking happiness, and does those things
which he believes will bring him most enjoyment, but he acts in entire ignorance of the hidden
and inevitable consequences which attach to his actions.

Said a man to me once who was the victim of a bad habit: ―I know the habit is a bad one, and
that it does me more harm than good‖ I said: ― If you know that what you are doing is bad and
harmful why do you continue to do it?‖ And he replied: ―Because it is pleasnt, and I like it.

This man, of course,did not really know that his habit was bad. He had been told that it was, and
he thought he knew or believed it was, but in reality he thought it was good, that it was
conducive to his happiness and well-being, and therefore he continue to practise it. When a man
knows by experience that a thing is bad, and that every time he does it he injuries body or mind,
or both; when his knowledge of that thing is so complete that he is accquainted with its hole train
of baneful effects, then he cannot only not do it any longer, he cannot even desire to do it, and
even the pleasure that was formerly in that thing becomes painful. No man would put a
venomous snake in his pocket because it is prettily coloured. He knows that a deadly sting lurks
in those beautiful markings. Nor, when a man knows the unavoidable pain and hurt which lie
hidden in wrong thoughts and acts, does he continue to think and commit them. Even the
immediate pleasure which formerly he greedily sought is gone from them; their surface
attractiveness has vanished; he is no longer ignorant concerning their true nature; he sees them as
they are.

I knew a young man who was in business, and although a member of a church, and occupying
the position of voluntary religious instructor, he told me that it was absolutely necessary to
practise lying and deception in business, otherwise sure and certain ruin would follow. He said
he knew lying was wrong, but while he remained in business he must continue to do it. Upon
questioning him I found, of course, that he had never tried truth and honesty in his business, had
not even thought of trying the better way, so firmly convinced was he that it was not possible for
him to know whether or not it would be productive or ruin. Now, did this young man know that
lying was wrong? There was a preceptial sense only in which he knew, but there was a deeper
and more real sense in which he did not know. He had been taught to regard lying as wrong, and
his conscience bore out that teaching, but he believed that it brought to him profit, proesperity
and happiness, and that honesty would bring him loss, poverty, and misery - in a word, he
regarded lying, deep in his heart, as the right thing to do, and honesty as the wrong practice. He
had no knowledge whatever of the real nature of the act of lying: how it is, on the instant of its
committal, loss of character, loss of self-respect, loss of power, usefulness, and influence, and
loss of blessedness; and how it unerrinngly leads to loss of reputation and loss of material profit
and prosperity. Only when such a man begins to consider happiness of others, prefers to embrace
the loss which he fears rather than clutch at the gain which he desires, will he obtain that real
knowledge which lofty moral conduct alone can reveal; and then, experiencing the greater
blessedness, he will see how, all along, he has been deceiving and defrauding himself rather than
others, has been living in darkest ignorance and self-delusion.
These two common instances of wrong-doing will serve to illustrate and make plainer, to those
of my readers who, while searching for Truth, are as yet doubtful, uncertain, and confused, the
deep Truth that all sin, or evil, is a condition of ignorance and therefore to be dealt with in a
loving and not a hateful spirit.

And as with bad habits and lying so with all sin - with lust, hatred, malice, envy, pride, vanity,
self-indulgence and selfishness in all its forms; it is a state of spiritual darkness, the absence of
the Light of Truth in the heart, the negation of knowledge.

Thus when, by overcoming the wrong condition in one‘s own heart, the nature of evil is fully
realised and mere belief gives place to living knowledge, evil can no longer be hatefully
condomned and voilently resisted, and the wrong-doer is thought of with tender compassion.

And this brings us to another aspect of evil-namely, that of individual freedom; the right of every
person to choose his own actions. Along with the seeing of evil in others is the desire to convert
or coerce others into one‘s own ways of thinking and acting. Probably the commenest delusion in
which men are involved is that of thinking that what they themselves believe and think and do is
good, and all that is otherwise is evil, and therfore to be powerfully condemned and resisted. It is
out of this delusion that all persecutions springs. There are christians who regard all Atheists as
men wholly evil, as given up to the service of an evil power; and there are Atheists who firmly
believe that all christians are doing the greatest harm to the whole human race by their
―superstitious and false doctrines.‖ The truth is that neither the christian nor the Atheist is evil,
nor in the service of evil, but each is choosing his own way, and is pursuing that course which he
is convinced is right.

Let a man quietly contemplate the fact that numbers of followers of various religons the world
over are, as they ever were, engaged in condemning each other as evil and wrong, and regarding
themselves as good and right, and it will help him to realise how all evil is merely ignorance,
spiritual darkness; and earnest meditation on that fact will be found to be one of the greatest aids
in developing greater kindness, charity, insight and breadth of mind.

The truly wise and good man sees good in all, evil in none. He has abandoned the folly of
wanting others to think and act as he thinks and acts, for he sees men are variously constituted,
are at different points in their spritual evolution, and must, of necessity, think and act differently.
Having put away hatred, condemnation, egotism, and prejudice he has become enlightened, and
sees that purity, love compassion, gentleness, patience, humility, and unselfishness are
manifestations of light and knowledge; while impurity, hatred, cruelty, passion, darkness and
ignorance; and that whether men are living in light or darkness thay are one and all doing that
which they think is necessary, are acting in accordance with thier own measure of light or
darkness. The wise man understands and understanding, he ceases from all bitterness and

Every man acts in accordance with his nature, with his own sense of right and wrong, and is
surely gathering in the results of his own experience. There is one supreme right which evry
being possesses - to think and act as he chooses. If he chooses to think and act selfishly, thinking
of his own immediate happiness only and not of that of others , then he will rapidly bring upon
himself, by the action of the moral law of cause and effect, such afflictions as will cause him to
pause and consider, and so find a better way. There is no teacher to compare with experience, no
chastisement so corrective and purifying as that which men ignorantly inflict upon themselves.
The selfish man is the ignorant man; he chooses his own way, but it is a way which leads to
suffering, and through suffering to knowledge and bliss. The good man is the wise man; he
likewise chooses his own way, but he chooses it in the full light of knowledge, having passed
through the stages of ignorance and suffering, and arrived at knowledge and bliss.

A man begins to understand what ―seeing no evil‖ is when, putting away all personal desires in
his judgments of others, he considers them from their own standpoint, and judges their actions
not from his own standard but from theirs. It is because men setup arbitrary standards of right
and wrong, and are anxious that all should conform to their particular standard, that they see evil
in each other. A man is only rightly judged when he is judged not from my standard or yours but
from his own, and to deal with him thus is not judgment it is Love. It is only when we look
through the eyes of Impersonal Love that we become enlightened, and see others as they really
are; and a man is approaching that Love when he can say in his heart: ―Who am I that I should
judge another? Am I so pure and sinless that I arraign men and pass the judgment of evil upon
them? Rather let me humble myself, and correct mine own errors, before assuming the position
of supreme judge of those of other men.‖

It was said by one of old to those who were about to stone, as evil, a woman taken in the act of
committing one of the darkest sins: ―He that is without sin let him cast the first stone‖; and
though he who said it was without sin yet he took up no stone, nor passed any bitter judgment,
but said, with infinite gentleness and compassion: ―Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no

In the pure heart there is no room left where personal judgements and hatreds can find
lodgement,for it is filled to overflowing with tenderness and love; it sees no evil; and only as
men succeed in seeing no evil in others will they become free from sin and sorrow and suffering.

No man sees evil in himself or his own acts except the man who is becoming enlightened, and
then he abandons those acts which he has come to see are wrong. Every man justifies himself in
what he does, and, however evil others may regard his conduct, he himself thinks it to be good
and necessary; If he did not he would not, could not do it. The angry man always justifies his
anger; the covetous man his greed; the impure man his unchastity; the liar considers that his
lying is altogether necessary; the slanderer believes that, in vilifying the characters of those
whom he dislikes, and warning other people against their ―evil‖ natures, he is doing well; the
thief is convinced that stealing is the shortest and best way to plenty, prosperity, and happiness;
and even the murderer thinks that there is a ground of justification for his deed.

Every man‘s deeds are in accordance with the measure of his own light or darkness, and no man
can live higher than he is or act beyond the limits of his knowl55 edge. Nevertheless, he can
improve himself, and thereby gradually increase his light and extend the range of his knowledge.
The angry man indulgence in raillery and abuse because his knowledge does not extend to
forbearance and patience. Not having practised gentleness, he does not understand it, and cannot
choose it; nor can he know, by its comparison with the light of gentleness,the darkness of anger.
It is the same with the liar, the slanderer, and the thief; he lives in this dark condition of mind and
action because he is limited to it by his immature knowledge and experience, because never
having lived in the higher conditions, he has no knowledge of them, and it is, to him, as if they
were non-existent: ―The light shineth in the darkness and the darkness comprehendenth it not.
Nor can he understand even the conditions in which he is living, because, being dark, they are
necessarily devoid of all knowledge.

When a man driven by repeated sufferings to at last reflect upon his conduct, comes to see that
his anger or lying, or whatever ignorant condition he may have been living in, is productive only
of trouble and sorrow then he abandons it, and commences to search for , and practise, the
opposite and enlightened condition; and when he is firmly established in the better way, so that
his knowledge of both conditions is complete, then he realises in what great darkness he had
formerly lived. This knowledge of good and evil by experience constitutes enlightment.

When a man begins to look, as it were, through the eyes of others, and to measure them by thier
own standard and not by his, then he ceases from seeing of evil in others, for he knows that every
man‘s perception and standard of good and evil is different; that there is no vice so low but some
men regard itas good; no virtue so high but some men regard it as evil; and what a man regards
as good that to him is good; what he regards as evil that to him is evil.

Nor will the purified man, who has ceased to see evil in others, have any desire to win men to his
own ways or opinions, but will rather help them in their own particular groove, knowing that an
enlarged experience only, and not merely change of opinion can lead to higher knowledge and
greater blessedness.

It will be found that men see evil in those who differ from them, good in those who agree with
them. The man who greatly loves himself and is enarmoured of his opinions will love all those
who agree with him and will dislike all those who disagree with him. ―If ye love them that love
ye, what reward have ye?.... Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.‖ Egotism and
vanity make men blind. Men of opposing religious views hate and persecute each other; men of
opposing political views fight and condemn each other. The partisan measures all men by his
own standard, and sets up his judgements accordingly. So convinced is he that he is right and
others wrong that he atlast persuades himself that to inflict cruelty on others is both good and
necessary in order to coerce them into his way of thinking and acting, and so bring them to the
right - his right - against their own reason and will.

Men hate, condemn, resist and inflict suffering upon each other, not because they are
intrinsically evil, not because they are deliberately ―wicked‖ and are doing, in the full light of
truth, what they know to be wrong, but because they regard such conduct as necessary and right.
All men are intrinsically good, but some are wiser than others, are older in experience than
others. I recently heard, in substance, the following conversation between two men whom I will
call D- and E-. The third person refered to as X is a prominent politician:-

E. Every man reaps the result of his own thoughts and deeds, and suffers for his own wrong.
D. If that is so, and if no man can escape from the penalty of his evil deeds, what an inferno
some of our men in power must be preparing for themselves.

E. Whether a man is in power or not, so long as he lives in ignorance and sin, he will reap sorrow
and suffering.

D. Look, for instance, at X-, a man totally evil, given up entirely to selfishness and ambition;
surely great torments are reserved for so unprincipled a man.

E. But how do you know he is so evil.

D. By his works, his fruits. When I see a man doing evil I know that he is evil; and I cannot even
think of X- but I burn with righteous indignation. Iam sometimes inclined to doubt that there is
an overruling power for good when I see such a man in a position where he can do so much harm
to others.

E. What evil is he commiting?

D. His whole policy is evil. He will ruin the country if he remains in power.

E. But while there are large numbers of people who think of X- as you do there are also large
numbers, equally intelligent, who look on him as good and able, who admire him for his
excellent qualities, and regard his policy as beneficent and making for national progress. He
owes his position to these people; are they also evil?

D. They are deceived and mislead. And this only makes - X‘s evil all the greater, in that he can
so succesfully employ his talents in deceiving others in order to gain his own selfish ends. I hate
the man.

E. May it not be possible that you are deceived?

D. In what way?

E. Hatred is self-deception; love is self-enlightenment. No man can see either himself or others
clearly until he ceases from hatred and practises love.

D. That sounds very beautiful, but it is impracticable. When I see a man doing evil to others, and
deceiving and misleading them, I must hate him. It is right that I should do so. X- is without a
spark of conscience.

E. X- may or may not be all you beleive to be, but, even if he is, according to your own words,
he should be pitied and not condemned.

D. How so?

E. You say he is without a conscience.

D. Entirely so.

E. Then he is a mental cripple.Do you hate the blind because they cannot see, that dumb because
they cannot speak, or the deaf because they cannot hear? When a captain has lost his rudder or
broken his compass do you condemn him beause he did not keep his ship off the rocks? Do you
hold him responsible for the loss of life? If a man is totally devoid of conscience he is without
the means of moral guidance, and all his selfishness must, perforce, appear to him good and right
and proper. X- may appear evil to you, but is he evil to himself? Does he regard his own conduct
as evil?

D. Whether he regards himself as evil or not he is evil.

E. If I were to regard you as evil because of your hatred for X- should I be right?

D. No.

E. Why not?

D. Because in such a case hatred is necessary, justifiable and righteous. There is such a thing as
righteous anger, righteous hatred.

E. Is there such a thing as righteous selfishness, righteous ambition, righteous evil? I should be
quite wrong in regarding you as evil, because you are doing what you are convinced is right,
because you regard your hatred for X- as part of your duty as a man and a citizen; nevertheless,
there is a better way that that of hatred, and it is the knowledge of this better way that prevents
me from hating X- as you do, because however wrong his conduct might appear to me, it is not
wrong to him nor to his supporters; moreover, all men reap as they sow.

D. What, then, is that better way?

E. It is the way of Love; the ceasing to regard others as evil. It is a blessed and peaceful state of

D. Do you mean that there is a state which a man can reach wherein he will grow angry when he
sees people doing evil?

E. No, I do not mean that, for while a man regards others as evil he will continue to grow angry
with them; but I mean that a man can reach a state of calm insight and spotless love wherein he
sees no evil to grow angry with, wherein he understands the various natures of men - how they
are prompted to act, and how they reap, as the harvest of their own thoughts and deeds, the tares
of sufferings and the corn of bliss. To reach that state is to regard all men with compassion and

D. The state that you picture is a very high one- it is, no doubt, a very holy and beautiful one- but
it is a state that I should be sorry to reach; and I should pray to be preserved from a state of mind
were I could not hate a man like X- with an intense hatred.
Thus by this conversation it will be seen that D- regarded his hatred as good. Even so all men
regard that which they do as necessary to be done. The things which men habitually practice
those things they believe in. When faith in a thing wholly ceases it ceases to be practised. D-‘s
individual liberty is equal to that of other men, and he has a right to hate another if he so wishes,
nor will he abandon his hatred until he discovers, by the sorrow and unrest which it entails, how
wrong and foolish and blind it is, and how, by its practice, he is injuring himself.

A great Teacher was once asked by one of His disciples to explain the distinction between good
and evil, and holding His hand with the fingers pointing downward, He said: ―Where is my hand

And the disciple replied: ―It is ponting downward.‖

Then, turning His hand upward, the Teacher asked: ―Where now is my hand pointing?‖

And the disciple answered: ―It is pointing upward.‖

―That,‖ said the Teacher, ―is the distinction between evil and good.‖

By this simple illustration He indicated that evil is merely wrongly-directed energy, and good
rightly-directed energy, and that the so-called evil man becomes good by reversing his conduct.

To understand the true nature of evil by living in the good is to cease to see other men as evil.
Blessed is he who, turning from the evil in others exerts himself in the purification of his own
heart. He shall one day become of ―too pure eyes to behold evil.‖

Knowing the nature of evil, what does it behove a man to do? It behoves him to live only in that
which is good: therefore if a man condemn me, I will not condemn him in return; if he revile me
I will give him kindness; if he slander me I will speak of his good qualities, if he hate me then he
greatly needs, and shall receive, my love. With the impatient I will be patient; with the greedy I
will be generous, and with the violent and quarrelsome I will be mild and peaceable. Seeing no
evil, whom should I hate or who regard as mine enemy?

―Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you, my brother, my sister?

I‘m so sorry for you. They are not murderous or jealous upon me;
All has been gentle with me, I keep no account with lamentation;
What have I to do with lamentation?‖

He who sees men as evil imagines that behind those acts which are called ―wicked‖ there is a
corporate and substantial evil prompting those particular sins but he of stainless vision sees the
deeds, themselves as the evil, and knows that there is no evil power, no evil soul or man behind
those deeds. The substance of the universe is good; there is no substance of evil.Goodalone is
permanent; there is no fixed or permanent evil.

As brothers and sisters, born of the same parents and being of one house-hold, love each other
through all vicissitudes, see no evil in each other, but overlook all errors, and cling together in
the strong bonds of affection-even so the good man sees humanity as one spiritual family, born
of the same Father-Mother, being of the same essence and making for the same goal, and he
regards all men and women as his brothers and sisters, makes no divisions and distinctions, sees
none as evil, but is at peace with all. Happy is he who attains to this blessed state.

9. Abiding Joy

―Who carry music in their heart

Through dusky alne and wrangleing mart,
plying their daily toil with busier feet,
Because their secret souls a holier repeat.‖

―Serene will be our days and bright,

And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,
And joy its own security.


ABIDING joy! Is there such a thing? Where is it? Who possesses it? Yea; there is such a thing. It
is where there is no sin. It is possessed by the pure hearted.

As darkness is a passing shadow, and light is substance that remains, so sorrow is fleeting, but
joy abides for ever. No true thing can pass away and become lost; no false thing can remain and
be preserved. Sorrow is false, and it cannot live; joy is true, and it cannot die. Joy may become
hidden for a time, but it can be always be recovered; sorrow may remain for a period, but it can
be transcended and dispersed.

Do not think your sorrow will remain; it will pass away like a cloud. Do not believe that the
torments of sin are ever your portion; they will vanish like a hideous nightmare. Awake! arise!
Be holy and Joyful!

You are the creator of your own shadows; you desire and then you grieve; renounce and then you
all rejoice.

You are not the impotent slave of sorrow; the Never-Ending Gladness awaits your Home-
coming.You are not the helpless prisioner of the darkness and dreams of sin; even now the
beautiful light of holiness shines upon your sleeping lids, ready to greet your awakening vision.

In the heavy, troubled sleep of sin and self the abiding joy is lost and forgotten; its undying
music is no more heard, and the fragrance of its fadeless flowers no longer cheers the heart of the

But when sin and self are abandoned, when the clinging to things for personal pleasure is put
away, then the shadows of grief disappear, and the heart is restored to its Imperishable Joy.
Joy comes and fills the self-emptied heart; it abides with the peaceful; its reign is with the pure.

Joy flees from the selfish; it deserts the quarrel-some; it is hidden from the impure. Joy is as an
angel so beautiful and delicate and chaste that she can only dwell with holiness. She cannot
remain with selfishness; she is wedded to Love. Every man is truly happy in so far as he is
unselfish; he is miserable in so far as he is selfish. All truly good men, and by good men I mean
those who have fought victoriously the battle against self, are men of joy. How great is the
jubiliation of the saint ! No true teacher promises sorrow as the ultimate of life; he promises joy.
He points to sorrow, but only as a process which sin has rendered necessary. Where self ends
grief passes away. Joy is the companion of righteousness. In the divine life tender compassion
fills the place where weeping sorrow sat. During the process of becoming unselfish there are
periods of deep sorrow. Purification is necessarily severe. All becoming is painful. Abiding joy
is its completion is realised only in the perfection of being, and this is

―A state
Where all is lovelines, and power and love,
With all sublimest qualities of mind,
.. Where all
Enjoy entire dominion o‘er themselves.
Acts, feelings, thoughts, conditions, qualities.‖

Consider how a flower evolves and becomes; at first there is a little germ groping its way in the
dark soil towards the upper light; then the plant appears, and leaf is added unto leaf; and finally
the perfected flower appears, in the sweet perfume and chaste beauty of which all effort ceases.

So, with human life; at first the blind groping for the light in the dark soil of selfishness and
ignorance; then the coming into the light, and the gradual overcoming of selfishness with its
accompanying pain and sorrow; and finally the perfect flower of a pure, unselfish life, giving
forth, without effort, the perfume of holiness and the beauty of joy.

The good, the pure, are the superlatively happy. However men may argumentatively deny or
qualify this, humanity instinctively knows it to be true. Do not men everywhere picture their
angels as the most joyful of beings? There are joyful angels in bodies of flesh; we meet them and
pass on; and how many of those who come in contact with them are sufficiently pure to see
vision within the form - to see the incorruptible angel in its common instrument of clay?

―They needs must grope who cannot see, The blade before the ear must be; The outward symbols
disappear From him whose inward sight is clear.‖

Yes; the pure are the joyful. We look almost in vain for any expressions of sorrow in the words
of Jesus. The ―Man of Sorrows‖ is only completed in the Man of Joy.

―I, Buddha, who wept with all my brother‘s tears, Whose heart was broken by a whole world‘s
woe, Laugh and am glad, for there is Liberty!‖
In sin, and in the struggle against sin, there is unrest and affliction, but in the perfection of Truth,
in the path of Righteousness, there is abiding joy.

―Enter the Path! There spring the healing streams Quenching all thirst! There bloom th‘ immortal
flowers Carpeting all the way with joy! There throng Swiftest and sweetest hours!‖

Tribulation lasts only so long as there remains some chaff of self which needs to be removed.
The tribulum, or threshing-machine, ceases to work when all the grain is separated from chaff;
and when the last impurities are blown away from the soul, tribulation has completed its work,
and there is no more need for it; then abiidng joy is realised.

All the saints and prophets and saviors of the race have proclaimed with rejoicing the ―Gospel‖
or the ―Good News.‖ All men know what Good News is - An impending calamity avoided, a
disease cured, friends arrived or returned in safety, difficulties overcome, success in some
enterprise assured - but what is the ―Good News‖ of the saintly ones? This: that there is peace for
the troubled, healing for the afflicted, gladness for the grief-stricken, victory for the sinful, a
homecoming for the wanderer, and joy for the sorrowing and broken-hearted. Not that these
beautiful realities shall be in some future world, but they are here and now, that they are known
and realised and enjoyed; and are, therefore, proclaimed that all may accept them who will break
the galling bonds of self and rise into the glorious liberty of unselfish love.

Seek the highest Good, and as you find it, as you practise it and realise it, you will taste the
deepest, sweetest joy. As you succeed in forgetting your own selfish desires in your
thoughtfulness for others, in your care for others, in your service for others, just so far and no
further will you find and realise the abiding joy in life.

Inside the gateway of unselfishness lies the elysium of Abiding Joy, and whosoever will may
enter in, whosoever doubts let him come and see.

And knowing this - that selfishness leads to misery, unselfishness to joy, not merely for one‘s
self alone - for if this were all how unworthy could be our endeavours! - but for the whole world
and because all with whom we live and come in contact will be the happier and truer for our
unselfishness; because Humanity is one, and the joy of one is the joy of all - knowing this let us
scatter flowers and not thorns in the common ways of life - yea, even in the highway of our
enemies let us scatter the blossoms of unselfish love - so shall the pressure in their footprints fill
the air with the perfume of holiness and gladen the world with the aroma of joy.

10. Silentness

―Be still! The crown of life is silentness.

Give thou a quiet hour to each long day,
Too much of time we spend in profitless
And foolish talk. Too little do we say.
―If thou wouldst gather words that shall avail,
Learning a wisdom worthy to express,
Leave for a while thy chat and empty tale-
Study the golden speech of silentness.‖


―Be still, my soul.

Rest awhile from the feverish activities in
which you lose yourself.
Be not afraid to be left alone with yourself
for one short hour.‖

Ernest Crosly.

In the words of a wise man there is great power, but his silence is more powerful still. The
greatest men teach us most effectively when they are purposely silent. The silent attitude of the
great man noted, perhaps, by one or two of his disciples only is recorded and preserved through
the ages; while the obtrusive words of the merely clever talker, heard, perhaps, by thousands, and
at once popularised, are neglected and forgotten in, at most, a few generations. The silence of
Jesus, when asked by Pilate ―What is Truth?‖ is the impressive, the awful silence of profound
wisdom; it is pregnant with humility and reproof, and perpetually rebukes that shallowness that,
illustrating the truth that ―fools step in where angels fear to tread,‖ would in terms of triteness
parcel out the universe, or think to utter the be-all and the end-all of the mystery of things in
some textual formula or theological platitude. When, plied with questions about Brahma (God)
by the argumentative Brahmans, Buddha remained silent, he taught them better than they knew,
and if by his silence he failed to satisfy the foolish he thereby profoundly in65 structed the wise.
Why all this ceaseless talk about God, with its accompaniment of intolerance? Let men practise
some measure of kindliness and good-will, and thereby acquaint themselves with the simple
rudiments of wisdom. Why all these speculative arguments about the nature of God? Let us first
understand somewhat of ourselves. There are no greater marks of folly and moral immaturity
than irreverence and presumption; no greater manifestations of wisdom and moral maturity than
reverence and humility. Lao-Tze, in his own life, exemplified his teaching that the wise man
―teaches without words.‖ Disciples were attracted to him by the power which ever accompanies
a wise reserve. Living in comparative obscurity and silence, not courting the ear of men, and
never going out to teach, men sought him out and learned of him wisdom.

The silent acts of the Great Ones are beacons to the wise, illuminating their pathway with no
uncertain radiance, for he would attain to virtue and wisdom must learn, not only when to speak
and what to say, but also when to remain silent and what not to say. The right control of the
tongue is the beginning of wisdom; the right control of the mind is the consummation of wisdom.
By curbing his tongue a man gains possession of his mind, and to have complete possession of
one‘s mind is to be a Master of Silence.

The fool babbles, gossips, argues, and bandies words. He glories in the fact that he has had the
last word and has silenced his opponent. He exults in his own folly, is ever on the defensive, and
wastes his energies in unprofitable channels. He is like a gardener who continues to dig and plant
in unproductive soil.
The wise man avoids idle words, gossip, vain argument, and self-defence. He is content to
appear defeated; rejoices when he is defeated, knowing that, having found and removed another
error in himself he has thereby become wiser. Blessed is he who does not strive for the last word!

―Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through

fog with linguists and contenders;
I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait―

Silence under provocation is the mark of a cultured and sympathetic soul. The thoughtless and
unkind are stirred by every slight provocation, and will lose their mental balance by even the
appearance of a personal encroachment. The selfpossession of Jesus is not a miracle; it is the
flower of culture, the diadem of wisdom. When we read of Jesus that ―He answered never a
word‖ and of Buddha that ―He remained silent,‖ we get a glimpse of the vast power of silence, of
the silent majesty of true greatness.

The silent man is the powerful man. The victim of garrulity is devoid of influence; his spiritual
energies are dissipated. Every mechanic knows that before a force can be utilised and definitely
directed it must be conserved and stored; and the wise man is a spiritual mechanic who conserves
the energies of his mind, holds them in masterful abeyance, ready at any moment to direct them,
with effective purpose, to the accomplishment of some necessary work.

The true strength is in silentness. It is well said that ―The dog that barks does not bite.‖ The grim
and rarely broken silence of the bull-dog is the necessary adjunct to that powerfully concentrated
and effectual action for which the animal is known and feared. This, of course, is a lower form of
silentness, but the principle is the same. The boaster fails; his mind is diverted from the main
purpose; and his energies are frittered away upon self-glorification. His forces are divided
between his task and the reward to himself, the greater portion going to feed the lust of reward.
He is like an unskilful general who loses the battle through dividing his forces instead of
concentrating them upon a point. Or he is like a careless engineer who leaves open the waste-
valve of his engine and allows the steam to run down. The modest, silent, earnest man succeeds:
freed from vanity, and avoiding the dissipation of self-glorification, all his powers are
concentrated upon the successful performance of his task. Even while the other man is talking
about his powers he is already about his work, and is so much nearer than the other to its
completion. It is a law everywhere and always that energy distributed is subject unto energy
conserved. The noisy and boasting Charles will ever be thrown by the quiet and modest Orlando.

It is a law universally applicable that quietness is strength. The business man who succeeds never
talks about his plans, methods, and affairs, and should he, turned giddy by success, begin to do
this he will then commence to fail. The man of great moral influence never talks about himself
and his spiritual victories, for, should he do so, in that moment his moral power and influence
would be gone, and, like Samson, he would be shorn of his strength. Success, worldly or
spiritual, is the willing servant of strong, steady, silent, unflinching purpose. The most powerful
disintegrating forces make no noise. The greatly-overcoming mind works silently.

If you would be strong, useful, and self-reliant learn the value and power of silentness. Do not
talk about yourself. The world instinctively knows that the vain talker is weak and empty, and so
it leaves him to his own vanity. Do not talk about what you are going to do but do it, and let your
finished work speak for itself. Do not waste your forces in criticising and disparaging the work
of others but set about to do your own work thoroughly and well. The worst work with
earnestness and sweetness behind it is altogether better than barking at others. While you are
disparaging the work of others you are neglecting your own. If others are doing badly help and
instruct them by doing better yourself. Neither abuse others nor account their abuse of any
weight. When attacked remain silent: in this way you will conquer yourself, and will, without the
use of words, teach others.

But the true silence is not merely a silent tongue; it is a silent mind. To merely hold one‘s
tongue, and yet to carry about a disturbed and rankling mind, is no remedy for weakness and no
source of power. Silentness, to be powerful, must envelop the whole mind, must permeate every
chamber of the heart; it must be the silence of peace. To this broad, deep, abiding silentness a
man attains only in the measure that he conquers himself. While passions, temptations, and
sorrows disturb, the holier, profounder depths of silence are yet to be sounded. To smart under
the words and actions of others means that you are yet weak, uncontrolled, unpurified. So rid
your heart of the disturbing influences of vanity and pride and selfishness that no petty spite can
reach you, no slander or abuse disturb your serene repose. As the storm rages ineffectually
against a well-built house, while its occupant sits composed and happy by his fire side within, so
no evil without can disturb or harm him who is well fortified with wisdom; self-governed and
silent, he remains at peace within. To this great silence the self-conquered man attains.

―Envy and calumny, and hate and pain, And that unrest which men miscall delight, Can touch
him not, nor torture him again―

There is no commoner error amongst men than that of supposing that nothing can be
accomplished without much talking and much noise. The busy, shallow talker regards the quiet
thinker or silent doer as a man wasted; he thinks silentness means ―doing nothing, and that
hurrying, bustling, and ceaseless talking means ―doing much.‖ He also confounds popularity
with power. But the thinker and doer is the real and effectual worker. His work is at the root and
core and substance of things, and as Nature silently, yet with hidden and wondrous alchemy,
transmutes the rude elements of earth and air into tender leaves, beautiful flowers, delectable
fruits, - yea into a myriad forms of beauty - even so does the silent purposeful worker transform
the ways of men and the face of the world by the might and magic of his silently-directed energy.
He wastes no time and force in tinkering with the ever-changing and artificial surface of things,
but goes to the living vital centre, and works therefrom and thereon; and in due season, perhaps
when his perishable form is withdrawn from the world, the fruits of his obscure but imperishable
labours come forth to gladden the world. But the words of the talker perish. The world reaps no
harvest from the sowing of sound.

He who conserves his mental forces also conserves his physical forces. The strongly quiet, calm
man lives to a greater age, and in the possession of better health than the hurrying, noisy man.
Quiet, subdued mental harmony is conducive to physical harmony - health. The followers of
George Fox are today the healthiest, longest-lived and most successful portion of the British
community, and they live quiet, unostentatious, purposeful lives, avoiding all worldly
excitements and unnecessary words. They are a silent people, all their meetings being conducted
on the principle that ―Silence is Power.‖

Silentness is powerful because it is the outcome of self-conquest, and the more successfully a
man governs himself the more silent he becomes. As he succeeds in living to a purpose and not
to the pleasures of self he withdraws himself from the outer discords of the world and reaches to
the inward music of peace. Then when he speaks there is purpose and power behind his words,
and when he maintains silence there is equal or even greater power therein. He does not utter that
which is followed by pain and tears; does not do that which is productive of sorrow and remorse.
But, saying and doing those things only which are ripe with thoughtfulness, his conscience is
quiet, and all his days are blessed.

11. Solitude

―Why idly seek from outward things

The answer inward silence brings?
Why climb the far-off hills with pain,
A nearer view of heaven to gain?
In lowliest depths of bosky dells
The hermit Contemplation dwells,
Whence, piercing heaven, with screened sight,
He sees at noon the stars, whose light
Shall glorify the coming night.‖


―In the still hour when passion is at rest

Gather up stores of wisdom in thy breast.‖


Man‘s essential being is inward, invisible, spiritual, and as such it derives its life, strength, from
within, not from without. Outward things are channels through which its energies are expended,
but for renewal it must fall back on the inward silence.

In so far as man strives to drown this silence in the noisy pleasures of the senses, and endeavours
to live in the conflicts of outward things, just so much does he reap the experiences of pain and
sorrow, which, becoming at last intolerable, drive him back to the feet of inward Comforter, to
the shrine of the peaceful solitude within.

As the body cannot thrive on empty husks, neither can the spirit be sustained on empty pleasures.
If not regularly fed the body loses its vitality, and, pained with hunger and thirst, cries out for
food and drink. It is the same with the spirit: it must be regularly nourished in solitude on pure
and holy thoughts or it will lose its freshness and strength, and will at last cry out in its painful
and utter starvation. The yearning of an anguish-stricken soul for light and consolation is the cry
of a spirit that is perishing of hunger and thirst. All pain and sorrow is spiritual starvation, and
aspiration is the cry for food. It is the Prodigal Son who, perishing of hunger, turns his face
longingly towards his Father‘s home.

The pure life of the spirit cannot be found; but is lost, in the life of the senses. The lower desires
are ever clamorous for more, and they afford no rest. The outward world of pleasure, personal
contact, and noisy activities is a sphere of wear and tear which necessitates the counterbalancing
effect of solitude. Just as the body requires rest for the recuperation of its forces, so the spirit
requires solitude for the renewal of its energies. Solitude is as indispensable to man‘s spiritual
welfare as sleep is to his bodily well-being; and pure thought, or meditation, which is evoked in
solitude, is to the spirit what activity is to the body. As the body breaks down when deprived of
the needful rest and sleep, so do the spirits of men break down, being deprived of the necessary
silence and solitude. Man, as a spiritual being, cannot be maintained in strength, uprightness, and
peace except he periodically withdraw himself from the outer world of perishable things and
reach inwardly towards the abiding and imperishable realities. The consolations of the creeds are
derived from the solitude which those creeds enforce. The regular observance of the ceremonies
of formal religion, attended, as they are, with concentrated silence and freedom from worldly
distractions, compels men to do unconsciously that which they have not yet learned to do
consciously - namely, to concentrate the mind periodically on the inward silence, and meditate,
though very briefly, on high and holy things. The man who has not learned to control and purify
his mind in seasons of chosen solitude, yet whose awakening aspirations grope for something
higher and nobler than he yet possesses, feels the necessity for the aid of ceremonial religion; but
he who has taken himself in hand with a view to self-conquest, who withdraws into solitude in
order to grapple with his lower nature, and masterfully bend his mind in holy directions, requires
no further aid from book or priest or Church. The Church does not exist for the pleasure of the
saint but for the elevation of the sinner.

In solitude a man gathers strength to meet the difficulties and temptations of life, knowledge to
understand and conquer them, and wisdom to transcend them. As a building is preserved and
sustained by virtue of the foundation which is hidden and unobserved, so a man is maintained
perpetually in strength and peace by virtue of his lonely hour of intense thought which no eye

It is in solitude only that a man can be truly revealed to himself, that he can come to understand
his real nature, with all its powers and possibilities. The voice of the spirit is not heard in the
hubbub of the world and amid the clamours of conflicting desires. There can be no spiritual
growth without solitude.

There are those who shrink from too close a scrutiny of themselves, who dread too complete a
self revelation, and who fear that solitude which would leave them alone with their own thoughts
and call up before their mental vision the wraith of their desires. And so they go where the din of
pleasure is loudest and where the reproving voice of Truth is drowned. But he who loves Truth,
who desires and seeks wisdom, will be much alone. He will seek the fullest, clearest revelation
of himself, will avoid the haunts of frivolity and noise, and will go where the sweet, tender voice
of the spirit of Truth can speak within him and be heard.
Men go after much company and seek out new excitements, but they are not acquainted with
peace; in diverse paths of pleasure they search for happiness but they do not come to rest;
through diverse ways of laughter and feverish delirium they wander after gladness and life, but
their tears are many and grievous, and they do not escape death.

Drifting upon the ocean of life in search of selfish indulgences men are caught in its storms and
only after many tempests and much privation do they fly to the Rock of Refuge which rests in
the deep silence of their own being.

While a man is absorbed in outward activities he is giving out his energies and is becoming
spiritually weaker, and in order to retain his moral vigour he must resort to solitary meditation.
So needful is this that he who neglects it loses or does not attain the right knowledge of life; nor
does he comprehend and overcome those most deeply rooted and subtlest of sins which appear
like virtues deceiving the elect, and to which all but the truly wise succumb.

―True dignity abides with him alone,

Who, in the silent hour of inward thought,
Can still suspect and still revere himself
In lowliness of heart.‖

He who lives, without ceasing in outward excitement lives most in disappointments and griefs.
Where the sounds of pleasure are greatest heart-emptiness is the keenest and deepest. He, also,
whose whole life, even if not one of lust for pleasure, is centered in outward works, who deals
only with the changing panorama of visible things, never falling back, in solitude, upon the inner
and invisible world of permanent being, such a man does not attain knowledge and wisdom, but
remains empty; he cannot aid the world, cannot feed its aspirations, for he has no food to offer it,
his spiritual store being empty. But he who courts solitude in order to search for the truth of
things, who subdues his senses and makes quite his desires, such a man is daily attaining
knowledge and wisdom; he becomes filled with the spirit of truth; he can aid the world, for his
spiritual store is full, and is kept well replenished.

While a man is absorbed in the contemplation of inward realities he is receiving knowledge and
power; he opens himself, like a flower, to the universal light of Truth, and receives and drinks in
its life-imparting rays; he also goes to the eternal foundation of knowledge and quenches his
thirst in its inspiring waters. Such a man gains, in one hour of concentrated thought, more
essential knowledge than a whole year‘s reading could impart. Being is infinite and knowledge is
illimitable and its source inexhaustible, and he who draws upon the innermost depths of his being
drinks from the spring of divine wisdom which can never run dry, and quaffs the waters of

It is this habitual association with the deep realities of being, this continual drinking in of the
Water of Life at its perennial source, that constitutes genius. The resources of genius are
inexhaustible because they are drawn from the original and universal source, and for the same
reason the works of genius are ever new and fresh. The more a genius gives out the fuller he
becomes. With the accomplishment of every work his mind extends and expands, reaches out
more vastly, and sees wider and ever wider ranges of power. The genius is inspired. He has
bridged the gulf between the finite and infinite. He needs no secondary aids, but draws from that
universal spring which is the source of every noble work. The difference between a genius and
an ordinary man is this - the one lives in inward realities, the other in outward appearances; the
one goes after pleasure, the other after wisdom; the one relies on books, the other relies upon his
own being. Book-learning is good when its true place is understood, but is not the source of
wisdom. The source of wisdom is in life itself, and is comprehended by effort, practice, and
experience. Books give information but they cannot bestow knowledge; they can stimulate but
cannot accomplish - you must put forth effort, and achieve for yourself. The man who relies
entirely upon books, and does not go to the silent resources within himself, is superficial, and
becomes rapidly exhausted. He is uninspired (though he may be extremely clever), for he soon
reaches the end of his stock of information, and so becomes void and repetitious. His works lack
the sweet spontaneity of life and ever-renewed freshness of inspiration. Such a man has cut
himself off from the infinite supply and deals, not with life itself, but with dead or decaying
appearances. Information is limited; knowledge is boundless.

The inspiration of genius and greatness is fostered, evolved, and finally completed in solitude.
The most ordinary man who conceives a noble purpose, and, summoning all his energies and
will, broods upon and ripens his purpose in solitude will accomplish his object and become a
genius. The man who renounces the pleasure of the world, who avoids popularity and fame, and
who works in obscurity and thinks in solitude for the accomplishment of a lofty ideal for the
human race, becomes a seer and a prophet. He who silently sweetens his heart, who attunes his
mind to that which is pure and beautiful and good, who in long hours of lonely contemplation
strives to reach to the central an eternal heart of things, brings himself in touch with the inaudible
harmonies of being, opens himself for the reception of the cosmic song, and becomes at last a
singer and a poet.

And so with all genius: it is the child of solitude - a very simple-hearted child - wide-eyed and
listening and beautiful, yet withal to the noise-enamoured world an incomprehensible mystery, of
which it is only now and then vouchsafed a glimpse from beyond the well-guarded Portals of

―In man‘s self arise August anticipations; symbols, types Of a dim splendour ever on before In
that eternal circle life pursues.‖ St.Paul, the cruel persecutor and blind bogot, after spending three
years alone in the desert, comes forth a loving apostle and an inspired seer. Gautama Siddhartha,
the man of the world, after six years (in the forest) of lonely struggle with his passions and
intense meditation upon the deep mysteries of his nature, becomes Buddha, the enlightened one,
the embodiment of calm, serene wisdom, to whom a heart-thirsty world turns to refreshing
waters of immortality. Lao-tze, an ordinary citizen filling a worldly office, in his search for
knowledge courts solitude, and discovers Tao, the Supreme Reason, by virtue of which he
becomes a world-teacher. Jesus, the unlettered carpenter, after many years of solitary
communion upon the mountains with the Unfailing Love and Wisdom, comes forth a blessed
saviour of mankind.

Even after they had attained, and had scaled the lofty heights of divine knowledge these Great
Souls were much alone, and retired frequently for brief seasons of solitude. The greatest man
will fall from his moral height and lose his influence if he neglects that renewal of power which
can only be obtained in solitude. These Masters attained their power by consciously harmonising
their thoughts and lives with the creative energies within themselves, and by transcending
individuality and sinking their petty personal will in the Universal Will they became Masters of
Creative Thought, and stand as the loftiest instruments for the outworking of cosmic evolution.

And this is not miraculous, it is a matter of law; it is not mysterious except in so far as law is
mysterious. Every man becomes a creative master in so far as he subordinate himself to the
universally good and true. Every poet, painter, saint, and sage is the mouth-piece of the Eternal.
The perfection of the message varies with the measure of individual selflessness. In so far as self
intervenes the distinctness of the work and message becomes blurred. Perfect selflessness is the
acme of genius, the consummation of power.

Such self-abnegation can only be begun, pursued, and completed in solitude. A man cannot
gather together and concentrate his spiritual forces while he is en74 gaged in spending those
forces in worldly activities, and although after power is attained the balance of forces can be
maintained under all circumstances, even in the midst of the antagonistic throng, such power is
only secured after many years of frequent and habitual solitude.

Man‘s true Home is in the Great Silence - this is the source of all that is real and abiding within
him; his present nature, however, is dual, and outer activities are necessary. Neither entire
solitude nor entire action is the true life in the world, but that is the true life which gathers, in
solitude, strength and wisdom to rightly perform the activities of life; and as a man returns to his
home in the evening, weary with labour, for that sweet rest and refreshment which will prepare
him for another day‘s toil, so must he would not break down in the labour of life come away
form the noise and toil of the world‘s great workshop and rest for brief periods in his abiding
Home in the Silence. He who does this, spending some portion of each day in sacred and
purposeful solitude, will become strong and useful and blessed.

Solitude is for the strong, or for those who are ready to become strong. When a man is becoming
great, he becomes solitary. He goes in solitude to seek, and that which he seeks, he finds, for
there is a Way to all knowledge, all wisdom, all truth, all power. And the Way is for ever open,
but it lies through soundless solitudes and the unexplored silences of man‘s being.

12. Standing Alone

―By all means use to be alone, Salute thyself; see what thy soul doth wear.‖

George Herbert.

He that has light within his own clear breast My sit in the center and enjoy bright day.‖


In the life of blessedness self-reliance is of the utmost importance. If there is no peace there must
be strength; if there is to be security there must be stability; if there is to be lasting joy there must
be no leaning upon things which at any moment may be snatched away for ever.
A man does not commence to truly live until he finds an immovable center within himself on
which to stand, by which to regulate his life, and from which to draw his peace. If he trusts to
that which fluctuates he also will fluctuate; if he leans upon that which may be withdrawn he will
fall and be bruised; if he looks for satisfaction in perishable accumulations he will starve for
happiness in the midst of plenty.

Let a man learn to stand alone, looking to no one for support; expecting no favours, craving no
personal advantages; not begging, nor complaining, not craving, nor regretting, but relying upon
the truth within himself, deriving his satisfaction and comfort from the integrity of his own heart.

If a man can find no peace within himself where shall he find it? If he dreads to be alone with
himself what steadfastness shall he find in company? If he can find no joy in communion with
his own thoughts how shall he escape misery in his contact with others? The man who has yet
found nothing within himself upon which to stand will nowhere find a place of constant rest.

Men everywhere are deluded by the superstition that their happiness rests with other people and
with outward things, and, as a result, they live in continual disappointments, regrets, and
lamentations. The man who does not look for happiness to any others or to external things, but
finds within himself its inexhaustible source, will be self-contained and serene under all
circumstances, and will never become the helpless victim of misery and grief. The man who
looks to others for support, who measures his happiness by the conduct of others and not by his
own, who depends upon their co-operation for his peace of mind - such a man has no spiritual
foothold, his mind is tossed hither and thither with the continual changes going on around him,
and he lives in that ceaseless ebb and flow of the spirits which is wretchedness and unrest. He is
a spiritual cripple, and has yet to learn how to maintain his mental center of gravity, and so go
without the aid of crutches.

As a child learns to walk in order to go about from place to place of itself strong and unaided, so
should a man learn to stand alone, to judge and think and act for himself, and to choose, in the
strength of his own mind, the oath-way which he shall walk.

Without is change and decay and insecurity, within is all surety and blessedness. The soul is
sufficient of itself. Where the need is there is the abundant supply. Your eternal dwelling-place is
within; go there and take possession of your mansion; there you are a king, elsewhere you are a
vassal. Be contended that others shall manage or mismanage their own little kingdom, and see to
it that you reign strongly over your own. Your entire well-being and the well-being of the whole
world lies there. You have a conscience, follow it; you have a mind, clarify it; you have a
judgment, use and improve it; you have a will, employ and strengthen it; you have knowledge,
increase it; there is a light within your soul, watch it, tend it, encourage it, shield it from the
winds of passion, and help it to burn with a steadier and ever steadier radiance. Leave the world
and come back to yourself. Think as a man, act as a man, live as a man. Be rich in yourself, be
complete in yourself. Find the abiding center within you and obey it. The earth is maintaining its
orbit by its obedience to its center the sun. Obey the center of light that is within you; let others
call it darkness if they will. You are responsible for yourself, are accountable to yourself,
therefore rely upon yourself. If you fear yourself who will place confidence in you? If you are
untrue to yourself where shall you find the sweet satisfaction of Truth?
The great man stands alone in the simple dignity of independent manhood; he pursues his own
path fearlessly, and does not apologise or ―beg leave.‖ Criticism and applause are no more to him
than the dust upon his coat, of which he shakes himself free. He is not guided by the changing
opinions of men but guides himself by the light of his own mind. Other men barter away their
manhood for messes of flattery or fashion.

Until you can stand alone, looking for guidance neither to spirits nor mortals, gods nor men, but
guiding yourself by the light of the truth within you, you are not unfettered and free, not
altogether blessed. But do not mistake pride for self-reliance. To attempt to stand upon the
crumbling foundation of pride is to be already fallen. No man depends upon others more than the
proud man. He drinks in their approbation and resents their censure. He mistakes flattery for
sound judgment, and is most easily hurt or pleased by the opinions of others. His happiness is
entirely in the hands of others. But the self-reliant man stands, not upon personal pride, but on an
abiding law, principle, ideal, reality within himself. Upon this he poises himself, refusing to be
swept from his strong foothold either by the waves of passion within or the storms of opinion
without, but should he at any time lose his balance he quickly regains himself, and is fully
restored. His happiness is entirely in his own hands.

Find your center of balance and succeed in standing alone, and, whatever your work in life may
be, you will succeed; you will accomplish what you set your mind upon , for the truly self-reliant
man is the invincible man. But though you do not rely upon others, learn of them. Never cease to
increase in knowledge, and be ever ready to receive that which is good and useful. You can not
have too much humility; the most self-reliant men are the most humble. ―No aristocrat, no prince
born to the purple, can begin to compare with the self-respect of the saint. Why is he lowly, but
that he knows that he can well afford it, resting on the largeness of God in him.‖ Learn of all
men, and especially of the masters of Truth, but do not lose your hold upon the truth that the
ultimate guidance is in yourself. A master can say : ―Here is the path,‖ but he can neither compel
you to walk it nor walk it for you. You must put forth your own efforts , must achieve by your
own strength, must make his truth your truth by your own unaided exertions; you must implicitly
trust yourself.

―This thing is God - to be Man with thy might,

To grow great in the strength of thy spirit,
And live out thy life as the light.‖

You are to be master of yourself, lord over yourself, not fawning and imitating, but doing your
work as a living, vital portion of the universe; giving love but not expecting it; giving sympathy
but not craving for it; giving aid but not depending upon it. If men should censure your work,
heed them not. It sufficeth that your work be true: rest you in this sufficiency. Do not ask : ―Will
my work please?‖ but : ―Is it real?‖ If your work be true the criticism of men cannot touch it; if it
be false their disapproval will not slay it quicker than it will die of itself. The words and acts of
Truth cannot pass away until their work is fully accomplished; the words and acts of error cannot
remain, for they have no work to do. Criticism and resentment are alike superfluous.

Free yourself from the self-imposed tyranny of slavish dependence, and stand alone, not as an
isolated unit, but as a sympathetic portion of the whole. Find the Joy that results from well -
earned freedom, the peace that flows from wise selfpossession, the blessedness that inheres in
native strength.

―Honour to him who, self-complete, if lone,

Carves to the grave one pathway all his own,
And heeding naught that men may think or say,
Asks but his soul if doubtful of the way.‖

13. Understanding the Simple Laws of Life

―Watch narrowly
The demonstration of a truth, its birth,
And you trace back the effluence to its spring
And source within us.‖


―More is the treasure of law than gems;

Sweeter than comb its sweetness. Its delights,
Delightful past compare.‖

The Light of Asia.

WALKING those byways which I have so far pointed out, resting in their beauty and drinking in
their blessedness, the pilgrim along life‘s broad highway will in due time come to one wherein
his last burden will fall from him, where all his weariness will pass away, where he will drink of
light-hearted liberty, and rest in perpetual peace. And this most blessed of spiritual byways, the
richest source of strength and comfort, I call The Right Understanding of the Simple Laws of
Life. He who comes to it leaves behind him all lack and longing, all doubt and perplexity, all
sorrow and uncertainty. He lives in the fulness of satisfaction, in light and knowledge, in
gladness and surety. He who comprehends the utter simplicity of life, who obeys its laws and
does not step aside into the dark paths and complex mazes of selfish desire, stands where no
harm can reach him, where no enemy can lay him low - and he doubts, desires, and sorrows no
more. Doubt ends where reality begins; painful desire ceases where the fulness of joy is
perpetual and complete; and when the Unfailing and Eternal Good is realised what room is there
for sorrow?

Human life when rightly lived is simple with a beautiful simplicity, but it is not rightly lived
while it is bound to a complexity of lusts, desires, and wants- these are not the real life but the
burning fever and painful disease which originate in an unenlightened condition of mind. The
curtailing of one‘s desires is the beginning of wisdom; their entire mastery its consummation.
This is so because life is bounded by law, and ,being inseparable from law, life has no need that
is not already supplied. Now lust, or desire, is not need, but a rebellious superfluity, and as such
it leads to deprivation and misery. The prodigal son, while in his father‘s house, not only had all
that he required, but was surrounded by a superabundance. Desire was not necessary, because all
things were at hand; but when desire entered his heart he ―went into a far country,‖ and ―began
to be in want,‖ and it was only when he became reduced to the utmost extremity of starvation
that he turned with longing towards his father‘s home. This parable is symbolical of the
evolution of the individual and the race. Man has come into such a complexity of cravings that
he lives in continual discontent, dissatisfaction, want, and pain; and his only cure lies in a return
to the Father‘s Home - that is, to actual living or being as distinguished from desiring. But a man
does not do this until he is reduced to the last extremity of spiritual starvation ; he has then
reaped the experience of pain and sorrow as the result of desire, and looks back with longing
towards the true life of peace and plenty; and so he turns round, and begins his toilsome journey
back towards his Home, towards that rich life of simple being wherein is emancipation from the
thraldom and fever and hunger of desire, and this longing for the true life, for Truth, Reality,
should not be confounded with desire: it is aspiration. Desire is the craving for possession:
aspiration is the hunger of the heart for peace. The craving for things leads ever farther and
farther from peace, and not only ends in deprivation but is, in itself, a state of perpetual want.
Until it comes to an end rest, satisfaction, is an impossibility. The hunger for things can never be
satisfied, but the hunger for peace can and the satisfaction of peace is found, is fully possessed,
when all selfish desire is abandoned. Then there is fulness of joy, abounding plenty, and rich and
complete blessedness. In this supremely blessed state life is comprehended in its perfect
symmetry and simplicity and the acme of power and usefulness is attained. Then even the hunger
for peace ceases, for peace becomes the normal condition, is fully possessed, constant and never-
varying. Men, immersed in desire, ignorantly imagine that the conquest of desire, leads to
inactivity, loss of power, and lifelessness. Instead , it leads to highly concentrated activity, to the
full employment of power, and to a life so rich, so glorious, and so abundantly blessed as to be
incomprehensible to those who hunger for pleasures and possessions. Of this life only can it be

―Here are no sounds of discord - no profane

Or senseless gossip of unworthy things-
Only the songs of chisels and of pens,
Of busy brushes, and ecstatic strains
Of souls surcharged with music most divine
Here is no idle sorrow, no poor grief
For any day or object left behind -
For time is counted precious, and herein
Is such complete abandonment of Self
That tears turn into rainbows, and enhance
The beauty of the land where all is fair.‖

When a man is rescued from selfish desire his mind is unencumbered, and he is free to work for
humanity. No longer racing after those gratifications which leave him hungry still, all his powers
are at his immediate command. Seeking no rewards he can concentrate all his energies upon the
faultless completion of his duties, and so accomplish all things and fulfill all righteousness.

The fully enlightened and fully blessed man is not prompted to action be desire but works from
knowledge. The man of desire needs the promise of reward to urge him to action. He is as a child
working for the possession of a toy. But the man of knowledge, living in the fulness of life and
power, can at any moment bring his energies into requisition for the accomplishment of that
which is necessary. He is, spiritually, a full-grown man; for him all rewards have ceased; to him
all occurrences are good; he lives always in complete satisfaction. Such a man has attained to
life, and his delight ( and it is a sweet, perpetual, and never-failing delight) is in obedience to the
simple demands of exact and never-failing law.

But this life of supreme blessedness is an end, and the pilgrim who is striving towards it, the
prodigal returning to it, must travel thither, and employ means to get there. He must pass through
the country of his animal desires, disentangling himself from their intricacies, simplifying them,
overcoming them; this is the way, and he has no enemies but what spring within himself. At first
the way seems hard because, blinded by desire, he does not perceive the simple structure of life,
and its laws are hidden from him; but as he becomes more simple in his mind the direct laws of
life become unfolded to his spiritual perception, and at once the point is reached where these
laws begin to be understood and obeyed; then the way becomes plain and easy; there is no more
uncertainty and darkness, but all is seen in the clear light of knowledge.

It will help to accelerate the progress of the searcher for the true and blessed life if we now turn
to a consideration of some of these simple laws which are rigidly mathematical in their

―The elementary laws never apologise.‖

All life is one, though it has a diversity of manifestations; all law is one, but it is applicable and
operative in a variety of ways. There is not one law for matter and another for mind, not one for
the material and visible and another for the spiritual and invisible; there is the same law
throughout. There is not one kind of logic for the world and another for the spirit, but the same
logic is applicable to both. Men faithfully, and with unerring worldly wisdom, observe certain
laws or rules of action in material things, knowing that to ignore or disobey them would be great
folly on their part, ending in disaster for themselves and confusion for society and the state, but
they err in supposing and believing that the same rules do not apply in spiritual things, and
thereby suffer for their ignorance and disobedience.

It is a law in worldly things that a man shall support himself, that he shall earn his living, and
that ―He that will not work, neither shall he eat.‖ Men observe this law, recognising its justice
and goodness, and so earn the necessary material sustenance. But in spiritual things men, broadly
speaking, deny and ignore the operation of this law. They think that, while it is absolutely just
that a man should earn his material bread, and that the man who shirks this law should wander in
rags ands want, it is right that they should beg for their spiritual bread, think it to be just that they
should receive all spiritual blessings without either deserving or attempting to earn them. The
result is that most men wander in spiritual beggary and want - that is, in suffering and sorrow -
deprived of spiritual sustenance, of joy and knowledge and peace.

If you are in need of any worldly thing - food, clothing, furniture, or other necessary - you do not
beg of the storekeeper to give it to you; you ask the price of it, pay for it with your money, and
then it becomes your own. You recognise the perfect justice in giving an equivalent for what you
receive, and would not wish it to be otherwise. The same just law prevails in spiritual things. If
you are in need of any spiritual thing - joy, assurance, peace, or whatelse soever - you can only
come into full possession of it by giving an equivalent; you must pay the price for it. As you
must give a portion of your material substance for a worldly thing so you must give a portion of
your immaterial substance for a spiritual thing. You must yield up some passion or lust or vanity
or indulgence before the spiritual possession can be yours. The miser who clings to his money
and will not give up any of it because of the pleasure which its possession affords him cannot
have any of the material comforts of life. He lives in continual want and discomfort in spite of all
his wealth. The man who will not give up his passions, who clings to anger, unkindness,
sensuality, pride, vanity, self-indulgence, for the momentary pleasure which their gratification
affords him is a spiritual miser; he cannot have any spiritual comforts, and suffers continual
spiritual want and uneasiness in spite of the wealth of worldly pleasures which he fondly hugs
and refuses to give up.

The man who is wise in worldly things neither begs nor steals, but labours and purchases, and
the world honours him for his uprightness. The man who is wise in spiritual things neither begs
nor steals, but labours in his own inner world, and purchases his spiritual possessions. Him the
whole universe honours for his righteousness.

It is another law in worldly things that a man who engages himself to another in any form of
employment shall be content with the wages upon which he agreed. If at the end of his week‘s
work, and on receiving his wages, he were to ask his employer for a larger sum, pleading that,
though he could not justly claim it and did not really deserve it, yet he expected it, he would not
only not receive the larger sum but would, doubtless, be discharged from his post. Yet in
spiritual things men do not think it to be either foolish or selfish to ask for those blessings -
spiritual wages - upon which they never agreed, for which they never laboured, and which they
do not deserve. Every man gets from the law of the universe that upon which he agrees and for
which he works - no more, no less; and he is continually entering into agreements with the
Supreme Law - the Master of the universe. For every thought and act which he gives he receives
its just equivalent; for all work done in the form of deeds he receives the wages due to him.
Knowing this, the enlightened man is always content, always satisfied, and in perfect peace,
knowing that whatever he receives (be it that men call misfortune or good fortune) he has earned.
The Great Law never cheats any man of his just due, but it says to the railer and the complainer
―Friend didst thou not agree with me for a penny a day?‖

Again, if a man would grow rich in worldly goods he must economise, and husband his financial
resources until he has accumulated sufficient capital to invest in some branch of industry; then he
must judiciously invest his little store of capital, neither holding it too tightly nor letting it go
carelessly. He thus increases both in worldly wisdom and worldly riches. The idle spendthrift
cannot grow rich; he is wasteful and riotous. He who would grow rich in spiritual things must
also economise, and husband his mental resources. He must curb his tongue and his impulses,
not wasting his energy in idle gossip, vain argument, or excesses of temper. In this way he will
accumulate a little store of wisdom which is his spiritual capital, and this he must send out into
the world for the good of others, and the more he uses it the richer will he become. Thus does a
man increase in both heavenly wisdom and heavenly riches. The man who follows his blind
impulses and desires and does not control and govern his mind is a spiritual spendthrift. He can
never become rich in divine things.
It is a physical law that if we would reach the summit of a mountain we must climb thither. The
path must be sought and then carefully followed, and the climber must not give up and go back
because of the labour involved and the difficulties to be overcome, nor on account of aching
climbs, otherwise his object cannot be accomplished. And this law is also spiritual. He who
would reach the high altitudes of moral or intellectual grandeur must climb thither by his own
efforts. He must seek out the pathway and then assiduosly follow it, not giving up and turning
back, but surmounting all difficulties, and enduring for a time trials, temptations, and heartaches,
and at last he will stand upon the glorious summit of moral perfection, the world of passion,
temptation, and sorrow beneath his feet, and the boundless heavens of dignity stretching vast and
silent above his head.

If a man would reach a distant city, or any place of destination, he must travel thither. There is no
law by which he can be instantly transported there. He can only get there by putting forth the
necessary exertion. If he walks he will put forth great exertion, but it will cost him nothing in
money; if he drives or takes train, there will be less actual labour, but he must pay in money for
which he has laboured. To reach any place requires labour; this cannot be avoided; it is law.
Equally so spiritually. He who would reach any spiritual destination, such as purity, compassion,
wisdom, or peace, must travel thither, and must labour to get there. There is no law by which he
can suddenly be transported to any of these beautiful spiritual cities. He must find the most direct
route and then put forth the necessary labour, and at last he will come to the end of his journey.

These are but a few of the many laws, or manifestations of the One Great Law, which are to be
understood, applied and obeyed before the full manhood and maturity of spiritual life and
blessedness can be attained. There is no worldly or physical law which is not operative, with
equal exactness, in the spiritual realm - that is, the inner and invisible world of man‘s beings. Just
as physical things are the shadows and types, of spiritual realities so worldly wisdom is the
reflected image of Divine Wisdom. All those simple operations of human life in worldly things
which men never question, but follow and obey implicitly because of their obvious plainness and
exactness, obtain in spiritual things with the same unerring accuracy; and when this is
understood, and these laws are as implicitly obeyed in spiritual as in worldly matters, then has a
man reached the firm standing-ground of exact knowledge; his sorrows are at an end, and he can
doubt no more.

Life is uninvolved, uncompromising justice; its operations are simple, invincible logic. Law
reigns for ever, and the heart of law is love. Favouritism and caprice are the reverse of both law
and love. The universe has no favourites; it is supremely just, and gives to every man his rightful
earnings. All is good because all his according to law, and because all his according to law, man
can find the right way in life, and, having found it, can rejoice and be glad. The Father of Jesus is
the Unfailing Good which is embodied in the law of things. ―No evil can happen to a good man
either in life or death.‖ Jesus recognised the good in his own fate, and exonerated all his
persecutors from blame. ―No man,‖ he declared, ―taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of
myself.‖ That is, he himself had brought about his own end.

He who has, by simplifying his life and purifying his mind, arrived at an understanding of the
beautiful simplicity of being, perceives the unvarying operation of law in all things, and knows
the result of all his thoughts and deeds upon himself and the world - knows what effects are
bound up with the mental causes which he sets in motion. He then thinks and does only those
thoughts and deeds that are blessed in their inception, blessed in their growth, and blessed in
their completion. Humbly accepting the lawful results of all the deeds done when in a state of
ignorance, he neither complains nor fears nor questions, but is at rest in obedience, is perfectly
blessed in his knowledge of the Good Law.

―The tissue of our life to be

We weave with colours all our own,
And in the field of Destiny
We reap as we have sown.
―And if we reap as we have sown,
And take the dole we deal,
The law of pain is love alone,
The wounding is to heal.‖

14. Happy Endings

―Such is the Law which moves to righteousness,

Which none at last can turn aside or stay;
The heart of it is Love, the end of it
Is peace and consummation sweet. Obey.‖

The Light of Asia.

―So, haply, when thy task shall end,

The wrong shall lose itself in right,
And all thy week-day Sabbaths blend
With the long Sabbath of the Light!‖


Life has many happy endings, because it has much that is noble and pure and beautiful. Although
there is much sin and ignorance in the world, many tears, and much pain and sorrow, there is
also much purity and knowledge, many smiles, and much healing and gladness. No pure thought,
no unselfish deed can fall short of its felicitous result, and every such result is a happy

A pleasant home is a happy ending; a successful life is a happy ending; a task well and faithfully
done is a happy ending; to be surrounded by kind friends is a happy ending. A quarrel put away,
grudges wiped out, unkind words confessed and forgiven, friend restored to friend - all these are
happy endings. To find that which one has long and tediously sought; to be restored from tears to
gladness; to awaken in the bright sunlight out of the painful nightmare of sin, to strike, after
much searching, the Heavenly Way in life - these are, indeed, blessed consummations.

He who looks for, finds, and enters the byways which I have indicated will come to this one
without seeking it, for his whole life will be filled with happy endings. He who begins right and
continues right does not need to desire and search for felicitous results; they are already at hand;
they follow as consequences; they are the certainties, the realities of life.

There are happy endings which belong solely to the material world; these are transient, and they
pass away. These are happy endings which belong to the spiritual world; these are eternal, and
they do not pass away. Sweet are companionships, pleasures, and material comforts, but they
change and fade away. Sweeter still are Purity, Wisdom, and the knowledge of Truth, and these
never change nor fade away. Wherever a man goes in this world he can take his worldly
possessions with him; but soon he must part company with them, and if he stands upon these
alone, deriving all his happiness from them, he will come to a spiritual ending of great emptiness
and want. But he has attained to the possession of spiritual things can never be deprived of his
source of happiness: he will never have to part company with it, and wherever he goes in the
whole universe he will carry his possession with him. His spiritual end will be the fulness of joy.

Happy in the Eternal Happiness is he who has come to that Life from which the thought of self is
abolished. Already, even now and in this life, he has entered the Kingdom of Heaven, Nirvana,
Paradise, the New Jerusalem, the Olympus of Jupiter, the Valhalla of the Gods. He knows the
Final Unity of Life, the Great Reality of which these fleeting and changing names are but feeble
utterances. He is at rest on the bosom of the Infinite.

Sweet is the rest and deep the bliss of him who has freed his heart from its lusts and hatreds and
dark desires; and he who, without any shadow of bitterness or selfishness resting upon him, and
looking out upon the world with boundless compassion and love, can breathe, in his inmost
heart, the blessing:

Peace unto all living things,

making no exceptions or distinctions - such a man has reached that happy ending which can
never be taken away, for this is the perfection of life, the fulness of peace, the consummation of
perfect blessedness.
James Allen

1. The Heart and The Life

2. The Nature and Power of Mind
3. Formation of Habit
4. Doing and Knowing
5. First Steps in The Higher Life
6. Mental Conditions and Their Effects
7. Exhortation
1. The Heart and The Life

AS THE HEART, SO IS THE LIFE. The within IS ceaselessly becoming the without. Nothing
remains unrevealed. That which is hidden is but for a time; it ripens and comes forth at last.
Seed, tree, blossom, and fruit are the fourfold order of the universe. From the state of a man‘s
heart proceed the conditions of his life. His thoughts blossom into deeds; and his deeds bear the
fruitage of character and destiny.

Life is ever unfolding from within, and revealing itself to the light, and thoughts engendered in
the heart at last reveal themselves in words, actions, and things accomplished.

As the fountain from the hidden spring, so flows forth a man‘s life from the secret recesses of his
heart. All that he is and does is generated there. All that he will be and do will take its rise there.

Sorrow and happiness, suffering and enjoyment, fear and hope, hatred and love, ignorance and
enlightenment, are nowhere but in the heart. They are solely mental conditions.

Man is the keeper of his heart; the watcher of his mind; the solitary guard of his citadel of life.
As such, he can be diligent or negligent. He can keep his heart more and more carefully. He can
more strenuously watch and purify his mind; and he can guard against the thinking of
unrighteous thoughts—this is the way of enlightenment and bliss.

On the other hand, he can live loosely and carelessly, neglecting the supreme task of rightfully
ordering his life—this is the way of self-delusion and suffering.

Let a man realize that life in its totality proceeds from the mind, and lo, the way of blessedness is
opened up to him! For he will then discover that he possesses the power to rule his mind, and to
fashion it in accordance with his Ideal. So will he elect to strongly and steadfastly walk those
pathways of thought and action which are altogether excellent. To him, life will become
beautiful and sacred; and sooner or later, he will put to flight all evil, confusion, and suffering.
For it is impossible for a man to fall short of liberation, enlightenment, and peace, who guards
with unwearying diligence the gateway of his heart.

2. The Nature and Power of Mind

MIND IS THE ARBITER of life. It is the creator and shaper of conditions, and the recipient of
its own results. It contains within itself both the power to create illusion and to perceive reality.
Mind is the infallible weaver of destiny. Thought is the thread, good and evil deeds are the "warp
and woof" or foundation, and the web, woven upon the loom of life, is character. Mind clothes
itself in garments of its own making.

Man, as a mental being, possesses all the powers of mind, and is furnished with unlimited choice.
He learns by experience, and he can accelerate or retard his experience. He is not arbitrarily
bound at any point, but he has bound himself at many points, and having bound himself he can,
when he chooses, liberate himself.
He can become bestial or pure, ignorant or noble, foolish or wise, just as he chooses. He can, by
reoccurring practice, form habits, and he can, by renewed effort, break them off. He can surround
himself with illusions until Truth is completely lost, and he can destroy each of those illusions
until Truth is entirely recovered. His possibilities are endless; his freedom is complete.

It is the nature of the mind to create its own conditions, and to choose the states in which it shall
dwell. It also has the power to alter any condition, to abandon any state. This it is continually
doing as it gathers knowledge of state after state by repeated choice and exhaustive experience.

Inward processes of thought make up the sum of character and life. Man can modify and alter
these processes by bringing will and effort to bear upon them. The bonds of habit, impotence,
and sin are self-made, and can only be destroyed by one‘s self. They exist nowhere but in one‘s
mind, and although they are directly related to outward things, they have no real existence in
those things.

The outer is molded and animated by the inner, and never the inner by the outer. Temptation
does not arise in the outer object, but in the lust of the mind for that object. Nor do sorrow and
suffering belong by nature to the external things and happenings of life, but in an undisciplined
attitude of mind toward those things and happenings.

The mind that is disciplined by Purity and fortified by Wisdom avoids all those lusts and desires
which are inseparately bound up with affliction, and so arrives at enlightenment and peace.

To condemn others as evil, and to curse at outside conditions as the source of evil, increases and
does not lessen, the world‘s suffering and unrest. The outer is but the shadow and effect of the
inner, and when the heart is pure all outward things are pure.

All growth and life is from within outward; all decay and death is from without inward. This is
the universal law. All evolution proceeds from within. All adjustment must take place within. He
who ceases to strive against others, and employs his powers in the transformation, regeneration,
and development of his own mind, conserves his energies and preserves himself. And as he
succeeds in harmonizing his own mind, he leads others by consideration and charity into a like
blessed state.

The way of enlightenment and peace is not gained by assuming authority and guidance over
other minds, but by exercising a lawful authority over one‘s own mind, and by guiding one‘s self
in pathways of steadfast and lofty virtue.

A man‘s life proceeds from his heart and his mind. He has compounded that mind by his own
thoughts and deeds. It is within his power to refashion that mind by his choice of thought. In this
manner he can transform his life. Let us see how this is to be done.

3. Formation of Habit

EVERY ESTABLISHED mental condition is an acquired habit, and it has become such by
continuous repetition of thought. Despondency and cheerfulness, anger and calmness,
covetousness and generosity—indeed, all states of mind—are habits built up by choice, until
they have become automatic. A thought constantly repeated at last becomes a fixed habit of the
mind, and from such habits proceeds one‘s life.

It is in the nature of the mind to acquire knowledge by the repetition of its experiences. A
thought which is very difficult, at first, to hold and dwell upon, at last becomes, by constantly
being held in the mind, a natural and habitual practice.

A boy, when commencing to learn a trade, cannot even handle his tools right, much less use
them correctly, but after long repetition and practice, he plies them with perfect ease and
consummate skill. Likewise, a state of mind, at first apparently incapable of realization, is, by
perseverance and practice, at last acquired and built into the character as a natural and
spontaneous condition.

In this power of the mind to form and reform its habits, its conditions, is contained the basis of a
man‘s salvation. It is the open door to perfect liberty by the mastery of self. For as a man has the
power to form harmful habits, so he equally has the same power to create habits that are
essentially good. And here we come to a point which needs some clarifying, and which calls for
deep and earnest thought on the part of my reader.

It is commonly said to be easier to do wrong than right, to sin than to be holy. Such a condition
has come to be regarded, almost universally, as a self-evident truth.

No less a teacher than the Buddha has said: "Bad deeds, and deeds hurtful to ourselves, are easy
to do; what is beneficial and good, that is very difficult to do."

And with regards to humanity generally, this is true, but it is only true as a passing experience, a
fleeting factor in human evolution. It is not a fixed condition of things. It is not the nature of an
eternal truth. It is easier for men to do wrong than right, because of the prevalence of ignorance,
because the true nature of things, and the essence and meaning of life, are not understood.

When a child is learning to write, it is extremely easy to hold the pen wrongly, and to form his
letters incorrectly, but it is painfully difficult to hold the pen and to write properly. This is
because of the child‘s ignorance of the art of writing, which can only be dispelled by persistent
effort and practice, until, at last, it becomes natural and easy to hold the pen correctly, and
difficult, as well as altogether unnecessary, to do the wrong thing.

It is the same in the vital things of mind and life. To think and do rightly requires much practice
and renewed effort. But the time comes at last when it becomes habitual and easy to think and do
rightly, and difficult, as it is then seen to be altogether unnecessary, to do that which is wrong.

Just as an artisan becomes, by practice, accomplished in his craft, so you can become, by
practice, accomplished in goodness. It is entirely a matter of forming new habits of thought. And
he to whom right thoughts have become easy and natural, and wrong thoughts and acts difficult
to do, has attained to the highest virtue, to pure spiritual knowledge.
It is easy and natural for men to sin because they have formed by incessant repetition, harmful
and unenlightened habits of thought. It is very difficult for the thief to refrain from stealing when
the opportunity occurs, because he has lived so long in covetous and greedy thoughts.

But such difficulty does not exist for the honest man who has lived so long with upright and
honest thoughts. He has thereby become so enlightened as to the wrong, folly, and fruitlessness
of theft, that even the remotest idea of stealing does not enter his mind. The sin of theft is a very
extreme one, and I have introduced it in order to more clearly illustrate the force and formation
of habit. But all sins and virtues are formed in the same way.

Anger and impatience are natural and easy to thousands of people, because they are constantly
repeating angry and impatient thoughts and acts. And with each repetition the habit is more
firmly established and more deeply rooted.

Calmness and patience can become habitual in the same way—by first grasping through effort, a
calm and patient thought, and then continuously thinking it, and living in it, until "use becomes
second nature," and anger and impatience pass away forever. It is in this manner that every
wrong thought may be expelled from the mind; that every untrue act may be destroyed; that
every sin may be overcome.

4. Doing and Knowing

LET A MAN REALIZE that his life, in its totality, proceeds from his mind. Let him realize that
the mind is a combination of habits which he can, by patient effort, modify to any extent, and
over which he can thus gain complete ascendancy, mastery, and control. At once, he will have
obtained possession of the key which shall open the door to his complete emancipation.

But freedom from the ills of life (which are the ills of one‘s mind) is a matter of steady growth
from within, and not a sudden acquisition from without. Hourly and daily must the mind be
trained to think stainless thoughts, and adapt right and dispassionate attitudes under those
circumstances in which it is prone to fall into wrong and passion. Like the patient sculptor upon
his marble, the aspirant to the Right Life must gradually work upon the crude material of his
mind until he has wrought out of it the Ideal of his holiest dreams.

In working toward such supreme accomplishment, it is necessary to begin at the lowest and
easiest steps, and proceed by natural, progressive stages to the higher and more difficult. This
law of growth, progress, evolution, and unfoldment, by gradual and ever ascending stages, is
absolute in every department of life, and in every human accomplishment. Where it is ignored,
total failure will result.

In acquiring education, in learning a trade, or in pursuing a business, this law is fully recognized
and minutely obeyed by all. But in acquiring Virtue, in learning Truth, and in pursuing the right
conduct and knowledge of life, it is unrecognized and disobeyed by nearly all. Hence Virtue,
Truth, and the Perfect Life remain unpracticed, unacquired, and unknown.
It is a common error to suppose that the Higher Life is a matter of reading, and the adoption of
theological or metaphysical hypotheses, and that Spiritual Principles can be understood by this
method. The Higher Life is higher living in thought, word, and deed, and the knowledge of those
Spiritual Principles which are imminent in man and in the universe can only be acquired after
long discipline in the pursuit and practice of Virtue.

The lesser must be thoroughly grasped and understood before the greater can be known. Practice
always precedes real knowledge.

The schoolmaster never attempts to teach his pupils the abstract principles of mathematics at the
start. He knows that such a method of teaching would be in vain, and learning impossible. He
first places before them a simple sum, and, having explained it, leaves them to do it. When, after
repeated failures and ever renewed effort, they have succeeded in doing it correctly, a more
difficult task is set before them, and then another and another. It is not until the pupils have,
through many years of diligent application, mastered all the lessons in arithmetic, that he
attempts to unfold to them the underlying mathematical principles.

In learning a trade, say that of a mechanic, a boy is not at first taught the principles of mechanics,
but a simple tool is put in his hand and he is told how rightly to use it. He is then left to do it by
effort and practice. As he succeeds in plying his tools correctly, more and more difficult tasks are
set before him, until after several years of successful practice, he is prepared to study and grasp
the principles of mechanics.

In a properly governed household, the child is first taught to be obedient, and to conduct himself
properly under all circumstances. The child is not even told why he must do this, but is
commanded to do it. Only after he has far succeeded in doing what is right and proper, is he told
why he should do it. No father would attempt to teach his child the principles of ethics before
exacting from him the practice of family duty and social virtue.

Thus practice ever precedes knowledge even in the ordinary things of the world, and in spiritual
things, in the living of the Higher Life, this law is rigid in its demands.

Virtue can only be known by doing, and the knowledge of Truth can only be arrived at by
perfecting oneself in the practice of Virtue. To be complete in the practice and acquisition of
Virtue is to be complete in the knowledge of Truth.

Truth can only be arrived at by daily and hourly doing the lessons of Virtue, beginning with the
simplest, and passing on to the more difficult. A child patiently and obediently learns his lessons
at school by constantly practicing, ever exerting himself until all failures and difficulties are
surmounted. Likewise does the child of Truth, undaunted by failure, and made stronger by
difficulties, apply himself to rightdoing in thought and action. As he succeeds in acquiring
Virtue, his mind unfolds itself in the knowledge of Truth, and it is a knowledge in which he can
securely rest.

5. First Steps in The Higher Life

SEEING THAT THE PATH OF VIRTUE is the Path of Knowledge, and that before the all-
embracing Principles of Truth can be comprehended, perfection in the more lowly steps must be
acquired, how, then, shall a disciple of Truth begin?

How shall one who aspires to the righting of his mind and the purification of his heart—that
heart which is the fountain and repository of all the issues of life—learn the lessons of Virtue?
How does he thus build himself up in the strength of knowledge, destroying ignorance and the
ills of life? What are the first lessons, the first steps? How are they learned? How are they
practiced? How are they mastered and understood?

The first lessons consist in overcoming those wrong mental conditions which are most easily
eradicated, and which are the common barriers to spiritual progress, as well as in practicing the
simple domestic and social virtues. The reader will be better aided if I group and classify the first
ten steps in three lessons as follows: Vices of the Body to be Overcome and Eradicated

(First Lesson: Discipline of the Body)

1st step: Idleness, Laziness or Indolence

2nd step: Self-Indulgence or Gluttony

(Second Lesson: Discipline of Speech)

3rd step: Slander

4th step: Gossip and Idle Conversation
5th step: Abusive and Unkind Speech
6th step: Frivolity or Irreverent Speech
7th step: Critical, Captious or Fault-finding Speech

(Third Lesson: Discipline of Tendencies)

8th step: Unselfish Performance of Duty

9th step: Unswerving Rectitude or Moral Integrity
10th step: Unlimited Forgiveness

The two vices of the body, and the five of the tongue, are so called because they are manifested
in the body and tongue. Also, by so definitely classifying them, the mind of the reader will be
better helped. But it must be clearly understood that these vices arise primarily in the mind, and
are wrong conditions of the heart worked out in the body and the tongue.

The existence of such chaotic conditions is an indication that the mind is altogether
unenlightened as to the real meaning and purpose of life, and their eradication is the beginning of
a virtuous, steadfast, and enlightened life.

But how shall these vices be overcome and eradicated? By first, and at once, checking and
controlling their outward manifestations and by suppressing the wrong act. This will stimulate
the mind to watchfulness and reflection until, by repeated practice, it will come to perceive and
understand the dark, wrong, and erroneous conditions of mind, out of which such acts spring. It
will then abandon them entirely.

It will be seen that the first step in the discipline of the mind is the overcoming of indolence or
laziness. This is the easiest step, and until it is perfectly accomplished, the other steps cannot be
taken. The clinging to indolence constitutes a complete barrier to the Path of Truth. Indolence
consists in giving the body more ease and sleep than it requires, in procrastinating, and in
shirking and neglecting those things which should receive immediate attention.

This condition of laziness must be overcome by rousing up the body at an early hour, giving it
just the amount of sleep it requires for complete recuperation, and by doing promptly and
vigorously, every task, every duty, no matter how small, as it comes along.

On no account should food or drink be taken in bed. And to lie in bed after one has awakened,
indulging in ease and reverie, is a habit fatal to promptness and resolution of character, and
purity of mind. Nor should one attempt to do his thinking at such a time. Strong, pure, and true
thinking is impossible under such circumstances. A man should go to bed to sleep, not to think.
He should get up to think and work, not to sleep.

The next step is the overcoming of self-indulgence or gluttony. The glutton is he who eats for
animal gratification only, without considering the true end and object of eating. He eats more
than his body requires, and is greedy after sweet things and rich dishes.

Such undisciplined desire can only be overcome by reducing the quantity of food eaten, and the
number of meals per day, and by resorting to a simple and uninvolved diet. Regular hours should
be set apart for meals, and eating at other times should be rigidly avoided. Suppers should be
abolished, as they are altogether unnecessary, and promote heavy sleep and cloudiness of mind.

The pursuit of such a method of discipline will rapidly bring the once ungoverned appetite under
control, and as the sensual sin of self-indulgence is taken out of the mind, the right selection of
foods will be instinctively and infallibly adapted to the purified mental condition.

It should be well borne in mind that a change of heart is the needful thing, and that any change of
diet which does not promote this end is futile. When one eats for enjoyment, he is gluttonous.
The heart must be purified of sensual craving and gustatory lust.

When the body is well controlled and firmly guided; when that which is to be done is done
vigorously; when no task or duty is delayed; when early rising has become a delight; when
frugality, simplicity, temperance, and abstinence are firmly established; when one is contented
with the food which is put before him, no matter how scanty and plain, and the craving for
gustatory pleasure is at an end—then the first two steps in the Higher Life are accomplished.
Then is the first great lesson in Truth learned. Thus is established in the heart the foundation of a
poised, self-governed, virtuous life.

The next lesson is the lesson of Virtuous Speech, in which there are five orderly steps. The first
of these is overcoming the habit of slanderous speech. Slander consists of inventing or repeating
unkind and evil reports about others, in exposing and magnifying the faults of others, or of
absent friends, and in introducing unworthy insinuations. The elements of thoughtlessness,
cruelty, insincerity, and untruthfulness enter into every slanderous act.

He who aims at the living of the right life will commence to check the cruel word of slander
before it has gone forth from his lips. He will then check and eliminate the insincere thought
which gave rise to it.

He will watch that he does not vilify or defame anyone. He will refrain from disparaging,
defaming, and condemning the absent friend, whose face he has so recently smiled into or kissed,
or whose hand he has shaken. He will not say of another that which he dare not say to his face.
Thus, coming at last to think sacredly of the character and reputation of others, he will destroy
those wrong conditions of mind which give rise to slander.

The next step is the overcoming of gossip and idle conversation. Idle speech consists in talking
about the private affairs of others, in talking merely to pass away the time, and in engaging in
aimless and irrelevant conversation. Such an ungoverned condition of speech is the outcome of
an ill-regulated mind.

The man of virtue will bridle his tongue, and thus learn how rightly to govern the mind. He will
not let his tongue run idly and foolishly, but will make his speech strong and pure, and will either
talk with a purpose or remain silent.

Abusive and unkind speech is the next vice to be overcome. The man who abuses and accuses
others has himself wandered far from the Right Way. To hurl hard words and names at others is
to sink deeply into folly. When a man is inclined to abuse, curse, and condemn others, let him
restrain his tongue and look within himself. The virtuous man refrains from all abusive language
and quarreling. He employs only words that are useful, necessary, pure, and true.

The sixth step is the overcoming of levity, or irreverent speech. Light and frivolous talking; the
repeating of crude jokes; the telling of vulgar stories, having no other purpose than to raise an
empty laugh; offensive familiarity, and the employment of contemptuous and disrespectful
words when speaking to or of others, and particularly of one‘s elders and those who rank as
one‘s teachers, guardians or superiors—all of this will he put away by the lover of Virtue and

Upon the altar of irreverence absent friends and companions are immolated for the passing
excitement of a momentary laugh, and all the sanctity of life is sacrificed to the zest for ridicule.
When respect towards others and the giving of reverence where reverence is due are abandoned,
Virtue is abandoned. When modesty, significance, and dignity are eliminated from speech and
behavior, Truth is lost. Yea, even its entrance gate is hidden away and forgotten.

Irreverence is degrading even in the young, but when it accompanies grey hairs, and appears in
the demeanor of the preacher—this is indeed a piteous spectacle. And when this can be imitated
and followed after, then are the blind leading the blind, then have elders, preachers, and people
lost their way.
The virtuous will be of earnest and reverent speech. He will think and speak of the absent as he
thinks and speaks of the dead—tenderly and sacredly. He will put away thoughtlessness, and
watch that he does not sacrifice his dignity to gratify a passing impulse to frivolity and
superficiality. His humor will be pure and innocent, his voice will be subdued and musical, and
his soul will be filled with grace and sweetness as he succeeds in conducting himself as becomes
a man of Truth.

The last step in the second lesson is the overcoming of criticism, or fault-finding speech. This
vice of the tongue consists in magnifying and harping on small or apparent faults, in foolish
quibbling and hair-splitting, and in pursuing vain arguments based upon groundless suppositions,
beliefs, and opinions.

Life is short and real, and sin, sorrow and pain are not remedied by carping and contention. The
man who is ever on the watch to catch at the words of others in order to contradict and dispute
them, has yet to reach the higher way of holiness, the truer life of self-surrender. The man who is
ever on the alert to check his own words in order to soften and purify them will find the higher
way and the truer life. He will conserve his energies, maintain his composure of mind, and
preserve within himself the spirit of Truth.

When the tongue is well controlled and wisely subdued; when selfish impulses and unworthy
thoughts no longer rush to the tongue demanding utterance; when the speech has become
harmless, pure, gentle, gracious, and purposeful, and no word is uttered but in sincerity and
honesty—then are the five steps to virtuous speech accomplished, then is the second great lesson
in Truth learned and mastered.

And now some will ask, "But why all this discipline of the body and restraint of the tongue?
Surely the Higher Life can be realized and known without such strenuous labor, such incessant
effort and watchfulness?" No, it cannot. In the spiritual as the material, nothing is done without
labor, and the higher cannot be known until the lower is fulfilled.

Can a man make a table before he has learned how to handle a tool and drive a nail? And can a
man fashion his mind in accordance with Truth before he has overcome the slavery of his body?

As the intricate subtleties of language cannot be understood and wielded before the alphabet and
the simplest words are mastered, neither can the deep subtleties of the mind be understood and
purified before the ABC of right conduct is perfectly acquired.

As for the labor involved—does not the youth joyfully and patiently submit himself to a seven-
years‘ apprenticeship in order to master a craft? And does he not, day by day, carefully and
faithfully carry out every detail of his master‘s instructions, looking forward to the time when,
perfected through obedience and practice, he shall be himself a master?

Where is the man who sincerely aims at excellence in music, painting, literature, or in any trade,
business, or profession who is not willing to give his whole life to the acquirement of that
particular perfection? Shall labor, then, be considered where the very highest excellence is
concerned—the excellence of Truth?
He who says, "The Path which you have pointed out is too difficult; I must have Truth without
labor, salvation without effort," that man will not find his way out of the confusions and
sufferings of selfhood. He will not find the calm, well-fortified mind and the wisely ordered life.
His love is for ease and enjoyment, and not for Truth.

He who, deep in his heart, adores Truth, and aspires to know it, will consider no labor too great
to be undertaken, but will adopt it joyfully and pursue it patiently. By perseverance in practice he
will come to the knowledge of Truth.

The necessity for this preliminary discipline of the body and tongue will be more clearly
perceived when it is fully understood that all these wrong outward conditions are merely the
expressions of wrong conditions of the heart. An indolent body means an indolent mind; an ill-
regulated tongue reveals an ill-regulated mind, and the process of remedying the manifested
condition is really a method of rectifying the inward state.

Moreover, the overcoming of these conditions is only a small part of what is really involved in
the process. The ceasing from evil leads to, and is inseparably connected with, the practice of
good. While a man is overcoming laziness and self-indulgence, he is really cultivating and
developing the virtues of abstinence, temperance, punctuality, and self-denial. He is acquiring
the strength, energy, and resolve which are indispensable to the successful accomplishment of
the higher tasks. While he is overcoming the vices of speech, he is developing the virtues of
truthfulness, sincerity, reverence, kindliness, and self-control, and is gaining that mental
steadiness and fixedness of purpose, without which the more remote subtleties of the mind
cannot be regulated, and the higher stages of conduct and enlightenment cannot be reached.

Also, as he has to do right, his knowledge deepens, and his insight is intensified. Just as a child‘s
heart is glad when a school task is mastered, so with each victory achieved, the man of virtue
experiences a bliss which the seeker after pleasure and excitement can never know.

And now we come to the third lesson in the Higher Life, which consists of practicing and
mastering, in one‘s daily life, three great fundamental Virtues:

1) Unselfish Performance of Duty

2) Unswerving Rectitude (Moral Integrity)
3) Unlimited Forgiveness

Having prepared the mind by overcoming the more surface and chaotic conditions mentioned in
the first two lessons, the striver after Virtue and Truth is now ready to enter upon greater and
more difficult tasks, and to control and purify the deeper motives of the heart.

Without the right performance of duty, the higher virtues cannot be known, and Truth cannot be
apprehended. Duty is generally regarded as an irksome labor, a compulsory something which
must be toiled through, or be in some way avoided. This way of regarding duty proceeds from a
selfish condition of mind, and a wrong understanding of life. All duty should be regarded as
sacred, and it s faithful and unselfish performance one of the leading rules of conduct. All
personal and selfish considerations should be extracted and cast away from the doing of one‘s
duty, and when this is done, duty ceases to be irksome, and becomes joyful. Duty is only irksome
to him who craves some selfish enjoyment or benefit for himself. Let the man who is chafing
under the irksomeness of his duty look to himself, and he will find that his wearisomeness
proceeds, not from the duty itself, but from his selfish desire to escape it.

He who neglects duty, be it great or small, or of a public or private nature, neglects Virtue. He
who in his heart rebels against duty, rebels against Virtue. When Duty becomes a thing of love,
and when every particular duty is done accurately, faithfully, and dispassionately, there is much
subtle selfishness removed from the heart, and a great step is taken towards the heights of Truth.
The virtuous man concentrates his mind on the perfect doing of his own duty, and does not
interfere with the duty of another.

The ninth step is the practice of Unswerving Rectitude or Moral Integrity. This Virtue must be
firmly established in the mind, and so enter into every detail of a man‘s life. All dishonesty,
deception, trickery, and misrepresentation must be forever put away, and the heart purged of
every vestige of insincerity and deception. The least digression from the path of rectitude or
righteousness is a deviation from Virtue.

There must be no extravagance and exaggeration of speech, but the simple truth should be stated.
Engaging in deception, no matter how apparently insignificant, for boastful pride, or with the
hope of personal advantage, is a state of delusion which one should make efforts to dispel. It is
demanded of the man of Virtue that he shall not only practice the most rigid honesty in thought,
word, and deed, but that he shall be exact in his statements, omitting and adding nothing to the
actual truth.

In thus shaping his mind to the principle of Rectitude or moral integrity, he will gradually come
to deal with people and things in a just and impartial spirit, considering equity before himself,
and viewing all things with freedom from personal bias, passion, and prejudice. When the Virtue
of Rectitude is fully practiced and comprehended, so that all temptation to untruthfulness and
insincerity has ceased, then is the heart made purer and nobler. Then is character strengthened,
and knowledge enlarged, and life takes on a new meaning and a new power. Thus is the ninth
step accomplished.

The tenth step is the practice of Unlimited Forgiveness. This consists in overcoming the sense of
injury which springs from vanity, selfishness and pride; and in exercising disinterested charity
and large-heartedness towards all. Spite, retaliation, and revenge are so utterly ignoble, so base,
and so small and foolish, as to be altogether unworthy of being noticed or harbored. No one who
fosters such conditions in his heart can lift himself above folly and suffering, and guide his life
aright. Only by casting them away, and ceasing to be moved by them, can a man‘s eyes be
opened to the true way of life. Only by developing a forgiving and charitable spirit can he hope
to approach and perceive the strength and beauty of a well-ordered life.

In the heart of the strongly virtuous man, no feeling of personal injury can arise. He has put away
all retaliation, and has no enemies. If other men should regard themselves as his enemies, he will
regard them kindly, understanding their ignorance, and making full allowance for it.
When this state of heart is arrived at, then the tenth step in the discipline of one‘s selfseeking
inclinations is accomplished. Then the third great lesson in Virtue and Knowledge is learned and

Having thus laid down the first ten steps and three lessons in right-doing and rightknowing, I
leave those of my readers who are prepared for them to learn and master them in their everyday

There is, of course, a still higher discipline of the body, a more far-reaching discipline of the
tongue, and greater and more all-embracing virtues to acquire and understand before the highest
state of bliss and knowledge can be grasped. But it is not my purpose to deal with them here. I
have expounded only the first and easiest lessons on the Higher Path, and by the time these are
thoroughly mastered, the reader will have become so purified, strengthened, and enlightened,
that he will not be left in the dark as to his future progress.

Those of my readers who have completed these three lessons will already have perceived,
beyond and above, the high altitudes of Truth, and the narrow and precipitous track which leads
to them, and will choose whether they shall proceed.

The straight Path which I have laid down can be pursued by all with greater profit to themselves
and to the world. And even those who do not aspire to the attainment of Truth, will develop
greater intellectual and moral strength, finer judgment, and deeper peace of mind by perfecting
themselves in this Path. Nor will their material prosperity suffer by this change of heart; nay, it
will be rendered truer, purer, and more enduring. For if there is one who is capable of succeeding
and fitted to achieve, it is the man who has abandoned the petty weaknesses and everyday vices
of his kind, who is strong enough to rule his body and mind, and who pursues with fixed resolve
the path of unswerving integrity and sterling virtue.

6. Mental Conditions and Their Effects

WITHOUT GOING into the details of the greater steps and lessons in the right life (a task
outside the scope of this small work) a few hints concerning those mental conditions from which
life in its totality springs seem in order. These hints will prove helpful to those who are ready and
willing to penetrate further into the inner realm of heart and mind where Love, Wisdom, and
Peace await the rapidly progressing student of life.

All sin is ignorance. It is a condition of darkness and undevelopment. The wrongthinker and the
wrong-doer is in the same position in the school of life as the ignorant pupil in the school of
learning. He has yet to learn how to think and act correctly, that is, in accordance with Law. The
pupil in learning is not happy so long as he does his lessons wrongly. Likewise, unhappiness
cannot be escaped while sin remains unconquered.

Life is a series of lessons. Some are diligent in learning them, and they become pure, wise, and
altogether happy. Others are negligent, and do not apply themselves. They remain impure,
foolish, and unhappy.
Every form of unhappiness springs from a wrong condition of mind. Happiness is inherent in
right conditions of mind. Happiness is mental harmony, unhappiness is mental inharmony. While
a man lives in wrong conditions of mind, he will live a wrong life, and will suffer continually.

Suffering is rooted in error. Bliss is inherent in enlightenment. There is salvation for man only in
the destruction of his own ignorance, error, and self-delusion. Where there are wrong conditions
of mind there is bondage and unrest. Where there are right conditions of mind there is freedom
and peace.

Here are some of the leading wrong mental conditions and their disastrous effects upon one‘s

1. Hatred—which leads to injury, violence, disaster, and suffering.

2. Lust—which leads to confusion of intellect, remorse, shame, and wretchedness.

3. Covetousness—which leads to fear, unrest, unhappiness, and loss.

4. Pride—which leads to disappointment, humiliation, and lack of self-knowledge.

5. Vanity—which leads to distress and mortification of spirit.

6. Condemnation—which leads to persecution and hatred from others.

7. Ill-will—which leads to failures and troubles.

8. Self-indulgence—which leads to misery, loss of judgment, grossness, disease, and neglect. 9.

Anger—which leads to the loss of power and influence.

10. Desire or Self-slavery—which leads to grief, folly, sorrow, uncertainty, and loneliness.

The above wrong conditions of mind are merely negations. They are states of darkness and
deprivation and not of positive power. Evil is not a power; it is ignorance and misuse of good.
The hater is he who has failed to do the lesson of Love correctly, and he suffers in consequence.
When he succeeds in doing it rightly, the hatred will have disappeared, and he will see and
understand the darkness and impotence of hatred. This is so with every wrong condition.

The following are some of the more important right mental conditions and their beneficial effects
upon one‘s life:

1. Love—which leads to gentle conditions, bliss, and blessedness.

2. Purity—which leads to intellectual clearness, joy, invincible confidence.

3. Selflessness—which leads to courage, satisfaction, happiness, and abundance.

4. Humility—which leads to calmness, restfulness, knowledge of Truth.

5. Gentleness—which leads to emotional equilibrium, contentment under all circumstances.

6. Compassion—which leads to protection, love, and reverence from others.

7. Goodwill—which leads to gladness, success.

8. Self-control—which leads to peace of mind, true judgment, refinement, health, and honor.

9. Patience—which leads to mental power, far-reaching influence.

10. Self-conquest—which leads to enlightenment, wisdom, insight, and profound peace.

The above right conditions of mind are states of positive power, light, joyful possession, and
knowledge. The good man knows. He has learned to do his lessons correctly, and thereby
understands the exact proportions which make up the sum of life. He is enlightened, and he
knows good and evil. He is supremely happy, doing only that which is divinely right.

The man who is involved in the wrong conditions of mind, does not know. He is ignorant of
good and evil, of himself, of the inward causes which make his life. He is unhappy, and believes
other people are entirely the cause of his unhappiness. He works blindly, and lives in darkness,
seeing no central purpose in existence, and no orderly and lawful sequence in the course of

He who aspires to the attainment of the Higher Life in its completion—who would perceive with
unveiled vision the true order of things and the meaning of life—let him abandon all the wrong
conditions of the heart, and persevere unceasingly in the practice of good. If he suffers, or
doubts, or is unhappy, let him search within until he finds the cause, and having found it, let him
cast it away. Let him so guard and purify his heart that every day less of evil and more of good
shall issue therefrom. So he will daily become stronger, nobler, and wiser. So will his
blessedness increase, and the Light of Truth, growing ever brighter and brighter within him, will
dispel all gloom, and illuminate his Pathway.

7. Exhortation

DISCIPLES OF TRUTH, lovers of Virtue, seekers of Wisdom; you, also, who are sorrow
stricken, knowing the emptiness of the self-life, and who aspire to the life that is supremely
beautiful, and serenely joyful—take now yourselves in hand, enter the Door of Discipline, and
know the Better Life.

Put away self-delusion. Behold yourself as you are, and see the Path of Virtue as it is. There is no
lazy way to Truth. He who would stand upon the mountain‘s summit must strenuously climb,
and must rest only to gather strength. But if the climbing is less glorious than the cloudless
summit, it is still glorious. Discipline in itself is beautiful, and the end result of discipline is
Rise early and meditate. Begin each day with a conquered body, and a mind fortified against
error and weakness. Temptation will never be overcome by unprepared fighting. The mind must
be armed and arrayed in the silent hour. It must be trained to perceive, to know, to understand.
Sin and temptation disappear when right understanding is developed.

Right understanding is reached through unabated discipline. Truth cannot be reached but through
discipline. Patience will increase by effort and practice, and patience will make discipline

Discipline is irksome to the impatient man and the lover of self, so he avoids it, and continues to
live loosely and confusedly.

Discipline is not irksome to the lover of Truth, and he will find the infinite patience which can
wait, work, and overcome. Just as the joy of the gardener who sees his or her flowers develop
day by day, so is the joy of the man of discipline who sees the divine flowers of Purity, Wisdom,
Compassion, and Love, grow within his heart.

The loose-liver cannot escape sorrow and pain. The undisciplined mind falls, weak and helpless,
before the fierce onslaught of passion.

Array well your mind, then, lover of Truth. Be watchful, thoughtful, and resolute. Your salvation
is at hand; your readiness and effort are all that are needed. If you fail ten times, do not be
disheartened. If you should fail a hundred times, rise up and pursue your way. If you should fail
a thousand times, do not despair. When the right Path is entered, success is sure if the Path is not
utterly abandoned.

First strife, and then victory. First labor, and then rest. First weakness, and then strength. In the
beginning the lower life, and the glare and confusion of battle, and at the end the Life Beautiful,
the Silence, and the Peace.

All common things, each day‘s events, That with the hour begin and end; Our pleasures and our
discontents Are rounds by which we may ascend. We have not wings, we cannot soar; But we
have feet to scale and climb.

Mastering the Heart and Mind
James Allen

1. Foreword
2. Faith and Courage
3. Manliness, Womanliness and Sincerity
4. Energy and Power
5. Self-Control and Happiness
6. Simplicity and Freedom
7. Eight Thinking and Repose
8. Calmness and Resource
9. Insight and Nobility
10. Man the Master
11. Knowledge and Victory


EVERY BEING LIVES in his own mental world. His joys and sorrows are the creations of his
own mind, and are dependent upon the mind for their existence. In the midst of the world,
darkened with many sins and sorrows, in which the majority live, there abides another world,
lighted up with shining virtues and unpolluted joy, in which the perfect ones live. This world can
be found and entered, and the way to it is by self-control and moral excellence. It is the world of
the perfect life, and it rightly belongs to man, who is not complete until crowned with perfection.
The perfect life is not the faraway, impossible thing that men who are in darkness imagine it to
be; it is supremely possible, and very near and real. Man remains a craving, weeping, sinning,
repenting creature just so long as he wills to do so by clinging to those weak conditions. But
when he wills to shake off his dark dreams and to rise, he arises and achieves.

James Allen

Hail to Thee, Man divine! the conqueror

Of sin and shame and sorrow; no more weak,
Wormlike, and groveling art thou; no, nor
Wilt thou again bow down to things that weak
Scourgings and death upon thee; thou dost rise
Triumphant in thy strength; good, pure and wise.
1. Faith and Courage

FOR THOSE WHO WILL FIGHT BRAVELY and not yield, there is triumphant victory over all
the dark things of life. I state this at the beginning, that the reader may know there is no
uncertainty about it. In the course of this book I shall show what are the elements, in character
and conduct, which go to build up the life of calm strength and superlative victory.

To stand face to face with truth; to arrive, after innumerable wanderings and pains, at wisdom
and bliss; not to be finally defeated and cast out, but ultimately to triumph over every inward
foe—such is man‘s divine destiny, such his glorious goal. And this, every saint, sage, and savior
has declared.

In the present stage of the life of humanity, comparatively few reach this place of triumph—
though all will reach it at last—yet there is a glorious company of perfect ones who have attained
in the past, and their number is being added to with each succeeding age. Men are as yet learners
in the school of life, and most men die learners. But there are some who, in this life, through
fixity of purpose and strenuous fighting against darkness, pain, and ignorance, acquire a right
knowledge of life and pass joyfully beyond the pupil stage.

Man is not to remain forever a schoolboy in the universe, to be whipped for follies and errors.
When he wills and wishes, he can set his mind upon his task and master the lessons of life,
becoming a confident and skilled scholar, living in understanding and peace, and not in
ignorance and misery.

The sorrows of life are profound and deeply rooted, but they can be fathomed and rooted out.
The passions and emotions of human nature are, in their ungoverned state, overwhelming and
painfully conflicting, but they can be so softened down, harmonized, and wisely directed and
understood, as to become obedient servants for the outworking of enlightened purposes.

The difficulties of life are great, its battle fierce, and its wished-for issues are uncertain and
elusive; so much so, that every hour men and women are breaking down under the strain. Yet
these conditions have no objective and arbitrary existence. In their true nature they are subjective
and purely mental, and can be transcended. There is no inherent and permanent evil in the
universal order; and the mind can be lifted up to the moral altitude where evil can touch it no

A steadfast faith in an Eternal and Universal Justice, in an over-ruling Good, is the prelude to the
Life Triumphant. The man who aims to become strong, serene, and steadfast at heart must, at the
onset, have no doubt that the Heart of Life is good. He who is to gaze upon the Cosmic Order
and experience the rapture of emancipation must realize that there is no disorder in his life but
that which he creates. This realization is difficult, so prone is the mind, in its imperfect stages, to
self-pity and self-justification, but it can be attained, and must be attained by him who is to live
the freed life. At first it must be believed, and the belief must be adhered to, until it ripens into
realization and knowledge.
The sufferings of life are greatly reduced when they are accepted as disciplinary experiences, and
the man of faith does so accept them. The sufferings of life are transcended and put away when
all experiences are accounted good, and are utilized in the development of character, and the man
of knowledge does so regard and utilize them.

Faith is the grey dawn which precedes the full and perfect day of knowledge. Without it there
can be no attainment of strength, no permanent security of heart. The man of faith does not
succumb when difficulties present themselves; he does not despair when troubles overtake him.
However steep and dark his path may seem, he looks forward to a brighter pathway ahead. He
sees a destination of rest and light beyond. They who have no faith in the triumph of good
ignominiously succumb to the elements of evil. And this must be so; for he who does not elevate
good, elevates evil, and, seeing evil as the master of life, he receives the wages of evil.

There are those who, having yielded to defeat in the battle of life, talk thoughtlessly about the
wrongs they have suffered at the hands of others. They believe—and try to make others
believe—that they would have been successful or rich or famous but for the treachery and
villainy of those about them. They tell, for the thousandth time, how they have been deceived,
defrauded, and degraded by others. They imagine that they themselves are all trust, all
innocence, all honesty and good nature, and that nearly everyone else is all that is bad and
malicious. They tell how they would have been just as prosperous and honored as others if they
had been as selfish as those others; and that their great drawback, and the chief source, in
themselves, of their failures, is that they were born with too great an endowment of

Such self-praising complainers cannot distinguish between good and evil, and their faith in
human nature and the goodness of the universe is dead. Looking upon others, they have eyes for
evil only; looking upon themselves, they see only suffering innocence. Rather than discover any
evil in themselves, they would have all humanity bad. In their hearts they have enthroned the
wretched Demon of Evil as the Lord of Life, and see in the course of things only a selfish
scramble in which the good is always crushed and the evil rises triumphant. Blind to their own
folly, ignorance, and weakness, they see nothing but injustice in their fate, nothing but misery
and wretchedness in their present condition.

He who would have even a useful and successful life—yet alone a spiritually noble and
victorious one—must at once root out and cast away this wretched condition of mind that
negates all that is good and pure, and gives preeminence to all that is base and impure.
Misfortune, misery and defeat most surely await the man who believes that dishonesty, deceit
and selfishness are the best weapons whereby to achieve a successful life. What courage and
strength can a man develop, and what quiet and happiness can he enjoy, who believes that in
order to keep pace with others he must continually deny and discourage the better qualities of his
nature? The man who believes that evil is more powerful than good, and that bad men have the
best of life, is still involved in the elements of evil; and, being so involved, he suffers—must
necessarily suffer—defeat.

It may appear to you that the world is given over to wickedness; that the bad prosper, and the
good fail; that there is nothing but chance, injustice, and disorder. But do not believe this: regard
it as an elusive appearance. Conclude that you do not see life as it really is; that you have not yet
fathomed the causes of things, and that when you can look upon life through a purer heart and a
wiser mind, you will see and understand its equity. And truly when you do so look at life, you
will see good where you now see evil, order where now appears disorder, and justice where now
injustice seems to prevail.

The universe is a cosmos, not a chaos, and the bad do not prosper. It is true there is much evil in
the world, otherwise there would be no necessity for moral aims, but there is also much misery in
the world, and the evil and misery are related as cause and effect. It is equally true that there is
much good in the world, and much abiding gladness, and the good and gladness are related as
cause and effect. He who has acquired that faith in the power and supremacy of good, which no
apparent injustice, no amount of suffering, and no catastrophe can shake, will pass through all
emergencies, all trials and difficulties, with a sublime courage that defies the demons of doubt
and despair. He may not succeed in all his plans. He may even encounter much failure; but when
he fails, it will be that he may frame nobler purposes and ascend to higher achievements. He will
only fail in order to reach a success greater than that of which he first dreamed. His life will not,
cannot, be a failure. Some of its details will fail, but this will be but the breaking of weak links in
the chain of character and events, in order that the whole may be made more strong and

There is an animal courage which can calmly face the fire of an enemy in battle, or the fierce
rage of beasts, but which fails in the battle of life and breaks down when confronted with the
beasts that rage within one‘s own heart. It requires a higher, diviner courage to remain calm in
the hour of deprivation and calamity than in the heat of battle, to overcome self than to overcome
another. And this diviner courage is the companion of faith.

A mere theological belief (commonly confused with faith) will not avail. Beliefs about God,
Jesus, Creation, etc., are merely surface opinions (derived chiefly from custom) which do not
reach down to the real life of a man and have no power to bestow faith. Such beliefs may
accompany faith, but they are distinct from it. Frequently, those who hold most tenaciously to
particular beliefs about God, Jesus, and the Bible are most lacking in faith—that is, they give
way to complaint, despondency, and grief immediately after some petty trouble overtakes them.
If one is given to irritability, anxiety, hopelessness, and lamentations over the simple things of
life, let him know that, in spite of his religious belief or metaphysical philosophy, he lacks faith.
For where faith is there is courage, there is fortitude, there is steadfastness and strength.

The opinions of men are lightly to be considered, for they are changing with every new breeze of
thought. They have very little part in the reality of things, being the bubbles of a surface
effervescence. But behind all opinions there is the same human heart. The "godless" are they
who are goodless, even though they may be members of churches and make a great profession of
faith in God. The "godly" are they who are goodly even though they make no profession of
religion. The complainers and bewailers are the faithless and unbelieving. Those who deny or
belittle the power of good, and in their lives and actions affirm and magnify the power of evil,
are the only real atheists.
Faith bestows that sublime courage that rises superior to the petty and selfish disappointments
and troubles of life, that acknowledges no defeat except as a step to victory; that is strong to
endure, patient to wait, and energetic to struggle. It perceives the benign law of Truth in all
things, and is assured of the final triumph of the heart, and the kingly power of the mind.

Light up, then, the lamp of faith in your heart, and walk through the darkness guided by its
illuminating rays. Its light is dim, and cannot be compared with the sunlight brilliance of
knowledge, but it suffices to lead one safely through the mists of doubt and the black darkness of
despair; along the narrow, thorny ways of sickness and sorrow, and over the treacherous planes
of temptation and uncertainty. It enables man to ward off and outstrip the foul beasts that rage in
the jungle of his heart, and to reach safely the open plains of a pure life and the mountain levels
of conquest where the dim light of faith is no longer needed. For, leaving behind him all the
darkness, all the doubt, error, and sorrow, he enters into a new consciousness and upon a higher
round of life, works, and acts, and lives self-contained and peaceful, in the full and glorious light
of knowledge.

2. Manliness, Womanliness and Sincerity

BEFORE A MAN CAN BE TRULY GODLY, he must be manly; before a woman can be truly
godly, she must be womanly. There can be no true goodness apart from moral strength.
Simpering, pretense, artificial behavior, flatteries, insincerities and smiling hypocrisies—let
these things be forever destroyed and banished from our minds. Evil is inherently weak,
ineffectual, and cowardly. Good is essentially strong, effective, and courageous. In teaching men
and women to be good, I teach them to be strong, free, self-reliant. They will greatly
misunderstand me and the principles which I enunciate who imagine that because I teach
gentleness, purity, and patience I teach the cultivation of an effeminate weakness. It is only the
manly man and the womanly woman who can properly understand those divine qualities. No one
is better equipped to achieve the Life Triumphant than they who, along with active moral
qualities and a high sense of purity and honor, are also possessed of the strong animal nature of
the normal man.

That animal force which, in various forms, surges within you, and which, in the hour of
excitement, carries you blindly away, causing you to forget your higher nature and to forfeit your
manly dignity and honor—that same force controlled, mastered, and rightly directed, will endow
you with a divine strength by which you can achieve the highest, noblest, most blissful victories
of true living.

The savage within you is to be scourged and disciplined into obedience. You are to be the master
of your heart, your mind, yourself. Man is only weak and abject when he gives up the reins of
government to the lower, instead of directing the lower by the higher. Your passions are to be
your servants and slaves, not your masters. See that you keep them in their places, duly
controlled and commanded, and they shall render you faithful, strong, and happy service.

You are not "vile." There is no part of your body or mind that is vile. Nature does not make
mistakes. The Universe is framed on Truth. All your functions, faculties, and powers are good,
and to direct them rightly is wisdom, holiness, happiness; to direct them wrongly is folly, sin,
and misery.

Men waste themselves in excesses; in bad tempers, hatreds, gluttonies, and unworthy and
unlawful pleasures, and then blame life. They should blame themselves. A man should have
more self-respect than to abuse his nature in any way. He should command himself always;
should avoid excitement and hurry; should be too noble to give way to anger, to resent the
actions and opinions of others, or fruitlessly to argue with an abusive and cantankerous assailant.

A quiet, unobtrusive, and unoffending dignity is the chief mark of a ripe and perfect manhood.
Honor others and respect yourself. Choose your own path and walk it with a firm, unflinching
step, but avoid a meddlesome interference with others. In the true man opposing qualities are
blended and harmonized; a yielding kindness accompanies an unbending strength. He adapts
himself gently and wisely to others without sacrificing the steadfast principles upon which his
manhood is built. To have that iron strength that can go calmly to death rather than yield one jot
of truth, along with that tender sympathy that can shield the weak and mistaken enemy, is to be
manly with a divine manhood.

Be true to the dictates of your own conscience, and respect all who do the same, even though
their conscience should lead them in a direction the reverse of your own. One of the most
unmanly tendencies is to pity another because he chooses opinions or religion contrary to those
of one‘s self. Why pity a man because he is an agnostic, or an atheist, or a Buddhist, or a
Christian? Because he does not hold this opinion or that belief? Such pity should be rightly
named contempt. It is the office of pity to feel for the weak, the afflicted, and the helpless.

Pity never says "I pity you"; it does kind deeds. It is superciliousness that professes pity for the
strong, the self-reliant, for those who have the courage to mark out their own path and to walk it
boldly. Why should he be forced to hold my opinion or yours? If what I say and do appeal to his
reason and conscience as right, then he will be one with me and will work hand and hand with
me. But if my work be not his work, he is nonetheless a man. He has his duty, though it not be
my duty. When I meet one who is self-respecting, and who dares to think for himself, I will
salute him as a man, and not harbor in my heart a contemptible pity for him, because, indeed, he
rejects my conclusions.

If we are to be responsible, self-acting beings in a law-begotten universe, let us be masters of our

own wills, and respect the free will of others. If we are to be strong and manly, let us be large-
hearted and magnanimous. If we are to triumph over the miseries of life, let us rise superior to
the pettiness of our nature.

Men weep in their weakness, and cry out in misery of heart and degradation of mind. How plain,
then, is the way of emancipation; how sublime the task of triumph! Be master of yourself.
Eliminate weakness. Exorcise the mocking fiend, selfishness, in whom is all weakness and
wretchedness. Do not pander to unnatural cravings, to unlawful desires, or to morbid self-love
and self-pity. Give them no quarter, but promptly stamp them out with disciplinary decision and
A man should hold himself, as it were, in the hollow of his hand. He should be able to take up
and to lay down. He should know how to use things, and not be used by them. He should neither
be the helpless captive of luxury nor the whipped slave of want, but should be self-contained and
self-sufficient, master of himself under all conditions. He must train and direct his will in the
way of self-mastery which is the way of obedience—obedience to the law of his nature.
Disobedience to law is the supreme evil in man, the source of all his sin and sorrow. In his
ignorance he imagines he can triumph over law and subdue the wills of others. He thus destroys
his power.

Man can triumph over his disobedience, over ignorance, sin, egotism, and lawlessness. He can
conquer self; and herein lies his manly strength and divine power. He can comprehend the law of
his being, and obey it as a child obeys the will of its father. He can sit the crowned king of all his
functions and faculties, using them wisely in unselfish service, and not as instruments of
selfishness and greed. There is no bad habit that he cannot uproot, no sin that he cannot subdue,
no sorrow that he cannot comprehend and conquer. "Let a man then know his worth, and keep
things under his feet. Let him not peep or steal, or skulk up and down with the air of a charity
boy or an interloper, in the world which exists for him."

A manly self-reliance is not only compatible with, but is the accompaniment of, a divine
humility. A man is only arrogant and egotistic when he usurps authority over others. He cannot
claim nor exercise too great an authority over himself. Strong selfcommand, with gentle
consideration for others, combine to make the truly manly man.

To begin with, a man must be honest, upright, sincere. Deceit is the blindest folly. Hypocrisy is
the weakest thing on earth. In trying to deceive others, a man most of all deceives himself. A
man should be so free from guile, meanness, and deceit as to be able to look everybody in the
face with a clear, open, unflinching gaze, free from shame and confusion, and with no inward
shrinking or misgivings. Without sincerity a man is but a hollow mask, and whatsoever work he
attempts to do, it will be lifeless and ineffectual. Out of a hollow vessel nothing but the sound of
hollowness can come; and from insincerity nothing but empty words can proceed.

Many are not consciously hypocrites, yet fall victims, thoughtlessly, to little insincerities which
undermine happiness and destroy the moral fabric of their character. Some of these people go
regularly to their place of worship. They pray daily, year after year, for a purer heart and life, yet
come from their devotions to vilify an enemy, or, worse still, to ridicule or slander an absent
friend for whom, when they meet him or her, they will have nothing but smiles and smooth
words. The pitiful part of it is that they are totally unconscious of their insincerity, and when
their friends desert them, they speak complainingly of the faithlessness and hollowness of the
world, and of people generally, and tell you sadly that there are no true friends in this world.
Truly, for such there are no abiding friendships. For insincerity, even if not seen, is felt, and
those who are incapable of bestowing trust and truth, cannot receive it. Be true to others, and
others will be true to you. Think well of an enemy, and defend the absent friend. If you have lost
faith in human nature, discover where you have gone wrong yourself.

In the Confucian code of morals sincerity is one of the "Five Great Virtues," and Confucius thus
speaks of it:
"It is sincerity which places a crown upon your lives. Without it, our best actions would be
valueless; the seemingly virtuous, mere hypocrites; and the shining light which dazzles us with
its splendor, but a poor passing gleam ready to be extinguished by the slightest breath of passion.
. . To be pure in mind, you must be free from selfdeception— you must hate vice as you would a
disagreeable odor, and love virtue as you would some beautiful object. There can be no self-
respect without it, and this is why the superior man must be guarded in his hours of solitude.

"The worthless man secretly employs his idle moments in vicious acts, and there is no limit to
his wickedness. In the presence of the pure he plays the hypocrite, and puts forward none but his
good qualities. Yet how does this disguise hide him when his true character is revealed to the
first scrutinizing glance?

"It has been said that there is a strict watch kept over that which is pointed at by many hands, and
gazed at by many eyes. It is in solitude, then, that the upright man has the greatest reason to be

Thus the sincere man does not do or say that which he would be ashamed of were it brought to
light. His uprightness of spirit enables him to walk upright and confident among his fellow men.
His presence is a strong protection, and his words are direct and powerful because they are true.
Whatever may be his work, it prospers. Though he may not always please the ears of men, he
wins their hearts; they rely on him, trust, and honor him.

Courage, self-reliance, sincerity, generosity and kindness—these are the virtues which constitute
a robust manhood. Without them, a man is but clay in the hands of circumstances; a weak,
wavering thing that cannot rise into the freedom and joy of a true life. Every young man should
cultivate and foster these virtues, and as he succeeds in living them will he prepare to achieve the
Life Triumphant.

I see coming upon the earth a new race of men and women—men who will be men indeed,
strong, upright, noble; too wise to stoop to anger, uncleanness, strife, and hatred—women who
would be women indeed, gentle, truthful, pure; too compassionate to stoop to gossip, slander,
and deception. From their loins will proceed superior beings of the same noble type; and the dark
fiends of error and evil will fall back at their approach. These noble men and women will
regenerate the earth. They will dignify man, and vindicate nature, restoring humanity to love,
happiness, and peace; and the life of victory over sin and sorrow will be established in the earth.

3. Energy and Power

HOW WONDERFUL is the universal energy! Never-tiring, inexhaustible, and apparently eternal
in its operation, it moves in atom and in star, informing the fleeting shapes of tune with its
restless, glowing, pulsating power.

Man is a portion of this creative energy, and in him it manifests, through a combination of
mental faculties, as affection, passion, intelligence, morality, reason, understanding, and wisdom.
He is not merely a blind conductor of energy, but he consciously uses, controls, and directs it.
Slowly, but with certainty, is he gaining control of the forces without, and is making them do
obedient service. And just as surely will he gain control of the forces within—the subtle energies
of thought—and direct them into channels of harmony and happiness.

Man‘s true place in the Cosmos is that of a king, not a slave, a commander under the law of
Good and not a helpless tool in the reign of Evil. His own body and mind are the dual dominion
over which he is to reign, a Lord of Truth, the master of himself, the wise user and controller of
his store of pure, eternal, creative energy. Let him walk the earth unashamed, strong, valiant,
tender, and kind; no longer prostrate in self-abasement, but walking erect in the dignity of perfect
manhood; not groveling in selfishness and remorse, nor crying for pardon and mercy, but
standing firm and free in the sublime majesty of a sinless life.

Long has man regarded himself as vile, weak, and unworthy, and has been content to remain so.
But in the new era which has just now burst upon the world, he is to make a glorious discovery
that he is pure, powerful, and noble when he rises up and wills. The rising up is not against any
outward enemy; not against neighbor, nor governments, nor laws, nor spirits, nor principalities,
but against the ignorance, folly, and misery which beset him in the dominion of his own mind.
For it is only by ignorance and folly that man is slavish; by knowledge and wisdom his kingdom
is restored.

Let them who will, preach man‘s weakness and helplessness, but I will teach his strength and
power. I write for men, not for babes; for those who are eager to learn, and earnest to achieve; for
those who will put away (for the world‘s good) a petty personal indulgence, a selfish desire, a
mean thought, and live on as though it were not, without craving and regret. The Truth is not for
the frivolous and the thoughtless. The Life Triumphant is not for triflers and loiterers.

Man is a master. If he were not, he could not act contrary to law. Thus his so-called weakness is
an indication of strength; his sin is the inversion of his capacity for holiness. For what is his
weakness and sin but misdirected energy, misapplied power? In this sense, the wrongdoer is
strong, not weak; but he is ignorant, and exerts his strength in wrong directions instead of right,
against the law of things instead of with it.

Suffering is the recoil of misdirected strength, The bad man becomes good by reversing his
conduct. If you are weeping over your sins, cease to commit those sins and establish yourself in
their opposing virtues. It is thus that weakness is converted into strength, helplessness into
power, and suffering into bliss. By turning his energies from the old channels of vice, and
directing them into the new channels of virtue, the sinner becomes a saint.

While the universal energy may be unlimited, in particular forms its sum is strictly limited. A
man is possessed of a given amount of energy, and he can use it or misuse it, can conserve and
concentrate it, or dissipate and disperse it. Power is concentrated energy; wisdom is that energy
adapted to beneficent ends. He is the man of influence and power who directs all his energies
towards one great purpose, and patiently works and waits for its fulfillment, sacrificing his
desires in other and more pleasant directions. He is the man of folly and weakness who, thinking
chiefly of pleasure, gratifies the desire of the hour, or follows the whim and impulse of the
moment, and so drifts thoughtlessly into peevishness and poverty of mind.
The energy used in one direction is not available for use in other directions; this is a universal
law both in mind and matter. Emerson calls it "the law of compensation." Gain in a given
direction necessitates loss in its opposite direction. The force placed in one scale is deducted
from the other scale. Nature is always endeavoring to strike a balance. The energy which is
dissipated in idleness is not given to work. The pleasure-seeker cannot also be a Truth-seeker.

The force wasted in a fit of bad temper is drawn from the man‘s store of virtue, particularly the
virtue of patience. Spiritually, this law of compensation is the law of sacrifice. Selfish pleasure
must be sacrificed if purity is to be gained; hatred must be yielded up if love is to be acquired;
vice must be renounced if virtue is to be embraced.

Earnest men soon discover that if they are to accomplish anything that is successful, strong, and
enduring, in worldly, intellectual, or spiritual channels, they must curb their desires, and sacrifice
much that seems sweet; yea, even much that seems important.

Hobbies, bodily and mental indulgences, enticing companionships, alluring pleasures, and all
work that does not tend to some central purpose in his life must be sacrificed by the man of
strong resolve. He opens his eyes to the fact that time and energy are strictly limited, and so he
economizes the one and concentrates the other.

Foolish men waste their energies in swinish ease and gluttonous indulgence, in frivolous
pleasures and empty talk, in hateful thoughts and irritable outbursts of passion, in vain
controversy and meddlesome interference. They then complain that many are more "fortunately
equipped than they are for a useful, successful, or great life, and they envy their honored
neighbor who has sacrificed self to duty, and has devoted all his energies to the faithful
performance of the business of his life.

"He who is just, speaks the truth, and does what is his own business, him the world will hold
dear." Let a man attend to his own business, concentrating all his energies upon the perfect
accomplishment of the task of his life, not stepping aside to condemn or interfere with the duties
of others, and he will find life simple, strong, and happy.

The universe is girt with goodness and strength, and it protects the strong and the good. Evil and
weakness are self-destructive. Dissipation is annihilation. All nature loves strength. I see no
inherent cruelty in "the survival of the fittest." It is a spiritual as well as a natural law. The
stronger qualities of the beast are the fittest to evolve a higher type. The nobler moral qualities in
man are his emancipators, and it is well that they should dominate and ultimately crush out the
ignoble tendencies.

Most certain it is that he who gives dominion to the lower, courts destruction, and does not
survive, either in the struggle of life without or the battle of Truth within. The life given to the
lower is lost to the higher; yea, it is finally lost also to the lower, and so all is lost, for evil is
ultimately nothingness. But the life given to the higher is preserved, and is not lost to anything,
for, while it sacrifices much that the world holds precious, it does not sacrifice anything that is
precious in reality.
The untrue and worthless must perish, and he who consecrates himself to the good and the true is
content that they should perish, and so at last he stands where sacrifice ends, and all is gain—
such a one survives in the struggle of life without, and he conquers in the battle of Truth within.

First, then, be strong. Strength is the firm basis on which is built the temple of the Triumphant

Without a central motive and fixed resolve, your life will be a poor, weak, drifting, unstable
thing. Let the act of the moment be governed by the deep abiding purpose of the heart. You will
act differently at different times, but the act will not be wrong if the heart is right. You may fall
and go astray at times, especially under great stress, but you will quickly regain yourself, and
you will grow wiser and stronger, thereby, so long as you guide yourself by the moral compass
within, and do not throw it away to gratify indulgence and give yourself up to uncertain drifting.

Follow your conscience. Be true to your convictions. Do at the moment what you regard as right,
and put away all procrastination, vacillation, and fear. If you are convinced that in the
performance of your duty under certain circumstances the severest measures are necessary, carry
out those measures, and let there be no uncertainty about it. Err on the side of strength rather than
weakness. The measures you adopt may not be the best, but if they are the best you know, then
your plain duty is to carry them out. By so doing you will discover the better way, if you are
anxious for progress, and are willing to learn. Deliberate beforehand, but in the tune of action do
not hesitate.

Avoid anger and stubbornness, lust and greed. The angry man is the weak man. The stubborn
man, who refuses to learn or mend his ways, is the foolish man. He grows old in folly, and grey
hairs do not bring him reverence or honor. The sensualist has energy for pleasure only, and
reserves none for manliness and self-respect. The greedy man is blind to the nobility of human
nature and the glory of a true life; he spends his energies in perpetuating the miseries of hell,
instead of enjoying the happiness of heaven.

Your strength is with you, and you can spend it in burrowing downward or in climbing upward.
You can dissipate it in selfishness or conserve it in goodness. The same energy will enable you to
become a beast or a god. The course along which you direct it will determine its effect. Do not
think the thought, "My mind is weak," but convert weakness into strength, and energy into power
by redirecting your mental forces. Turn your thoughts into noble channels. Put away vain
longings and foolish regrets; abolish complaint and self-condolence, and have no dalliance with
evil. Lift your face upward. Rise up in your divine strength, and spurn from your mind and life
all meanness and weakness. Do not live the false life of a whining slave, but live the true life of a
conquering master.

4. Self-Control and Happiness

WHEN MENTAL ENERGY IS allowed to follow the line of least resistance, and to fall into
easy channels, it is called weakness. When it is gathered, focused, and forced into upward and
different directions, it becomes power; and this concentration of energy and acquisition of power
is brought about by means of self-control.
In speaking of self-control, one is easily misunderstood. It should not be associated with a
destructive repression, but with a constructive expression. The process is not one of death, but of
life. It is a divine and masterly transmutation in which the weak is converted into the strong, the
coarse into the fine, and the base into the noble; in which virtue takes the place of vice, and dark
passion is lost in bright intellectuality.

The man who merely smothers up and hides away his real nature, without any higher object in
view than to create a good impression upon others concerning his character, is practicing
hypocrisy and not self-control. As the mechanic transmutes coal into gas, and water into steam,
and then concentrates and utilizes the finer forces for the comfort and convenience of others, so
the man who intellectually practices selfcontrol transmutes his lower inclinations into the finer
qualities of intelligence and mortality to the increase of his own and the world‘s happiness.

A man is happy, wise, and great in the measure that he controls himself; he is wretched, foolish,
and mean in the measure that he allows his animal nature to dominate his thoughts and actions.

He who controls himself controls his life, his circumstances, his destiny, and wherever he goes
he carries his happiness with him as an abiding possession. He who does not control himself, is
controlled by passions, by his circumstances, and his fate; and if he cannot gratify the desire of
the moment, he is disappointed and miserable. He depends for his fitful happiness on external

There is no force in the universe which can be annihilated or lost. Energy is transformed, but not
destroyed. To shut the door on old and bad habits is to open it to new and better ones.
Renunciation precedes regeneration. Every self-indulgence, every forbidden pleasure, every
hateful thought renounced is transformed into something more purely and permanently beautiful.
Where debilitating excitements are cut off, there spring up rejuvenating joys. The seed dies that
the flower may appear; the grub perishes, but the dragonfly comes forth.

Truly, the transformation is not instantaneous; nor is the transition a pleasant and painless
process. Nature demands effort and patience as the price of growth. In the march of progress,
every victory is contested with struggle and pain; but the victory is achieved, and it abides. The
struggle passes; the pain is temporary only. To demolish a firmly fixed habit, to break up a
mental tendency that has become automatic with long use, and to force into birth and growth a
fine characteristic or lofty virtue—to accomplish this necessitates a painful metamorphosis, a
transitional period of darkness, to pass through which patience and endurance are required.

This is where men fail. This is where they slip back into their old, easy, animal ruts, and abandon
self-control as too strenuous and severe. Thus they fall short of permanent happiness, and the life
of triumph over evil is hidden from their eyes.

The permanent happiness which men seek in dissipation, excitement, and abandonment to
unworthy pleasure is found only in the life which reverses all this— the life of self-control. So
far as a man deviates from perfect self-command, just so far does he fall short of perfect
happiness. He sinks into misery and weakness, the lowest limit of which is madness, entire lack
of mental control, the condition of irresponsibility. In so far as a man approximates to perfect
self-command, just so near does he approach to perfect happiness, and rise into joy and strength.
So glorious are the possiblities of such divine manhood, that no limit can be set to its grandeur
and bliss.

If a man will understand how intimately, yea, how inseparably, self-control and happiness are
associated, he has but to look into his own heart, and upon the world around, to find there the joy
destroying effects of uncontrolled tendencies. Looking upon the lives of men and women, he will
perceive how the hasty word, the bitter retort, the act of deception, the blind prejudice and
foolish resentment bring wretchedness and even ruin in their train. Looking into his own life,
what days of consuming remorse, of restless anxiety, and of crushing sorrow rise up before his
mind—periods of intense suffering through which he has passed through lack of selfcontrol.

But in the right life, the well-governed life, the victorious life, all these things pass away. New
conditions obtain, and purer, more espiritual instruments are employed for the achievements of
happy ends. There is no more remorse, because there is no more wrong-doing. There is no more
anxiety, because there is no more selfishness. There is no more sorrow, because Truth is the
source of action.

The much desired thing which self pursues with breathless and uncontrolled eagerness, yet fails
to overtake, comes unbidden, and begs to be admitted, to him who works and waits in perfect
self-command. Hatred, impatience, greed, self-indulgence, vain ambitions, and blind desires—
the instruments by which self shapes its illfinished existence, what clumsy tools they are, and
how ignorant and unskillful are they who employ them! Love, patience, kindness, self-discipline,
transmuted ambitions, and chastened desires—instruments of Truth, by which is shaped a
wellfinished existence, what perfect tools they are, and how wise and skillful are they who use

Whatsoever is gained by feverish haste and selfish desire is attained in fuller measure by
quietness and renunciation. Nature will not be hastened. She brings all perfection in due season.
Truth will not be commanded. He has his conditions and must be obeyed. Nothing is more
superfluous than haste and anger.

A man has to learn he cannot command things, but that he can command himself; that he cannot
coerce the wills of others, but that he can mold and master his own will: and things serve him
who serve Truth. People seek guidance of him who is master of himself.

It is a little understood, yet simple and profound truth, that the man who cannot command
himself under the severest external stress is unfit to guide others or to control affairs. It is the
fundamental principle in the moral and political teachings of Confucius that, before attempting to
govern affairs, a man should learn to govern himself. Men who habitually give way, under
pressure, to hysterical suspicions, outbursts of resentment, and explosions of anger, are unfit for
weighty responsibilities and lofty duties, and usually fail, sooner or later, even in the ordinary
duties of life, such as the management of their own family or business. Lack of self-control is
foolishness, and folly cannot take precedence over wisdom. He who is learning how to subdue
and control his turbulent, wandering thoughts is becoming wiser every day. Though for a time
the Temple of Joy will not be completed, he will gather strength in laying its foundations and
building its walls; and the day will come when, like a wise master-builder, he will rest at peace in
the beautiful habitation which he has built. Wisdom inheres in self-control and in wisdom is
"pleasantness and peace."

The life of self-control is no barren deprivation, no wilderness of monotony. Renunciation there

is, but it is a renunciation of the ephemeral and false in order that the abiding and true may be
realized. Enjoyment is not cut off; it is intensified. Enjoyment is life; it is the slavish desire for it
that kills. Is there anywhere a more miserable man than he who is always longing for some new
sensation? Is there anywhere a more blessed being than he who, by self-control, is satisfied,
calm, and enlightened? Who has most of physical life and joy—the glutton, the drunkard, and the
sensualist who lives for pleasure only, or the temperate man who holds his body in subjection,
considering its needs and obeying its uses?

I was once eating a ripe, juicy apple as it came from the tree, and a man near me said, "I would
give anything if I could enjoy an apple like that." I asked, "Why can‘t you?" His answer was, "I
have drunk whiskey and smoked tobacco until I have lost all enjoyment in such things." In
pursuit of elusive enjoyments, men lose the abiding joys of life.

And as he who controls his senses has most of physical life, joy, and strength, so he who controls
his thoughts has most of spiritual life, bliss, and power. For not only happiness, but knowledge
and wisdom also are revealed by self-control. As the avenues of ignorance and selfishness are
closed, the open gates of knowledge and enlightenment appear. Virtue attained is knowledge
gained. The pure mind is an enlightened mind. He has well-being who controls himself well.

I hear men speak of the "monotony of goodness." If looking for things in the spirit which one has
given up in the letter were "goodness," then indeed would it be monotonous. The man of self-
control does not merely give up his base pleasures, he abandons all longing for them. He presses
forward, and does not look back; and fresh beauties, new glories, sublimer vistas await him at
every step.

I am astonished at the revelations which lie hidden in self-control; I am captivated by the infinite
variety of Truth, I am filled with joy at the grandeur of the prospect; I am gladdened by its
splendor and its peace.

Along the way of self-control there is the joy of victory; the consciousness of expanding and
increasing power; the acquisition of the imperishable riches of divine knowledge; and the
abiding bliss of service to humankind. Even he who travels only a portion of the way will
develop a strength, achieve a success, and experience a joy which the idle and the thoughtless
cannot know. And he who goes all the way will become a spiritual conqueror; he will triumph
over all evil, and will blot it out. He will gaze with enrapt vision upon the majesty of the Cosmic
Order, and will enjoy the immortality of Truth.

5. Simplicity and Freedom

YOU HAVE KNOWN what it is to be physically encumbered by some superfluous load. You
have experienced the happy relief of dispensing with such a load. Your experience illustrates the
difference between a life burdened with a complexity of desires, beliefs, and speculations, and
one rendered simple and free by the satisfaction of its natural needs, and a calm contemplation of
the facts of existence, eliminating all argument and speculation.

There are those who cumber their drawers, cupboards, and rooms with rubbish and clutter. To
such an extent is this carried sometimes, that the house cannot be properly cleaned, and vermin
swarms. There is no use for the rubbish, but they will not part with it, even though by so doing,
they would also get rid of the vermin. But they like to think that it is there; like to feel that they
have got it, especially if they are convinced that nobody else has its like. They reason that it may
be of some use someday; or it may become valuable; or it brings up old associations which they
occasionally resuscitate and take a paradoxical pleasure in sorrowing over.

In a sweet, methodical, well-managed house, such superfluities, bringing with them dirt,
discomfort, and care, are not allowed to accumulate. Or should they have accumulated, they are
gathered up and consigned to the fire and the trash bin, when it is decided to cleanse and restore
the house, and give it light, comfort, and freedom.

In a like manner men hoard up in their minds mental rubbish and clutter, cling tenaciously to it,
and fear its loss. Insatiate desires; thirsty cravings for unlawful and unnatural pleasures;
conflicting beliefs about miracles, gods, angels, demons, and interminable theological
complexities, hypothesis is piled upon hypothesis, speculation is added to speculation, until the
simple, beautiful, all-sufficient facts of life are lost to sight and knowledge beneath the
metaphysical pile.

Simplicity consists in being rid of this painful confusion of desires and superfluity of opinions,
and adhering only to that which is permanent and essential. And what is permanent in life? What
is essential? Virtue alone is permanent; character is essential. So simple is life when it is freed
from all superfluities and rightly understood and lived that it can be reduced to a few
unmistakable, easy-tounderstand, though hard-to-practice principles. And all great minds have so
simplified life.

Buddha reduced it to eight virtues, in the practice of which he declared that men would acquire
perfect enlightenment. And these eight virtues he reduced to one, which he called compassion.

Confucius taught that the perfection of knowledge was contained in five virtues, and these he
expressed in one which he called Reciprocity, or Sympathy.

Jesus reduced the whole of life to the principle of Love. Compassion, Sympathy, Love, these
three are identical. How simple they are, too! Yet I cannot find a man who fully understands the
depths and heights of these virtues, for who so fully understood them would embody them in
practice. He would be complete, perfect, divine. There would be nothing lacking in him of
knowledge, virtue, and wisdom.

It is only when a man sets earnestly to work to order his life in accordance with the simple
precepts of virtue, that he discovers what piles of mental rubbish he has hoarded up, and which
he is now compelled to throw away. The exactions, too, which such a course of conduct make
upon his faith, endurance, patience, kindness, humility, reason, and strength of will, are, until the
mind approaches the necessary condition of purity and simplicity, painful in their severity. The
clearing-out process, whether of one‘s mind, home, or place of business, is not a light and easy
one, but it ends in comfort and repose.

All complexities of detail, whether in things material or mental, are reducible to a few
fundamental laws or principles by virtue of which they exist and are regulated. Wise men govern
their lives by a few simple rules. A life governed by the central principle of love will be found to
be divinely consistent in all its details. Every thought, word, act, will fall into proper place, and
there will be no conflict and confusion.

"What," asked the learned man of the Buddhist saint who had acquired a wide reputation for
sanctity and wisdom—"what is the most fundamental thing in Buddhism?" The saint replied,
"The most fundamental thing in Buddhism is to cease from evil and to learn to do good." "I did
not ask you," said the learned man, "to tell me what every child of three knows. I want you to tell
me what is the most profound, the most subtle, and the most important thing in Buddhism." "The
most profound, the most subtle, the most important thing in Buddhism," said the saint, "is to
cease from evil and to learn to do well. It is true that a child of three may know it, but grey-
haired old men fail to put it into practice."

The commentator then goes on to say that the learned man did not want facts; he did not want
Truth. He wanted to be given some subtle metaphysical speculation which would give rise to
another speculation, and then to another and another, and so afford him an opportunity of
bringing into play the wonderful intellect of which he was so proud.

A member of a philosophical school once proudly said to me, "Our system of metaphysics is the
most perfect and the most complicated in the world." I discovered how complicated it was by
becoming involved in it and then pursuing the process of disentanglement back to the facts of
life, simplicity, and freedom.

I have since learned how better to utilize my energy and occupy my time in the pursuit and
practice of those virtues that are firm and sure, rather than to waste it in the spinning of the pretty
but unsubstantial threads of metaphysical cobwebs.

But while regarding with disfavor assumption and pride, and that vanity which mistakes its own
hypothesis for reality, I set no premium on ignorance and stupidity. Learning is a good thing. As
an end in itself, as a possession to be proud of, it is a dead thing; but as a means to the high ends
of human progress and human good it becomes a living power. Accompanied with a lowly mind,
it is a powerful instrument for good.

The Buddhist saint was no less learned than his proud questioner, but he was more simple and
wise. Even hypotheses will not lead us astray if they are perceived as mere hypotheses and are
not confounded with facts. Yet the wisest men dispense with all hypotheses, and fall back on the
simple practice of virtue. They thus become divine, and arrive at the acme of simplicity,
enlightenment, and emancipation.
To arrive at the freedom and joy of simplicity, one must not think less, he must think more; only
the thinking must be set to a high and useful purpose, and must be concentrated upon the facts
and duties of life, instead of dissipated in unprofitable theorizing.

A life of simplicity is simple in all its parts because the heart which governs it has become pure
and strong; because it is centered and rested in Truth. Harmful luxuries in food and vain
superfluities in dress; exaggerations of speech and insincerities of action; thoughts that tend to
intellectual display and empty speculation—all these are set aside in order that virtue may be
better understood and more earnestly embraced. The duties of life are undertaken in a spirit from
which self is eliminated, and they become transfigured with a new and glorious light, even the
light of Truth. The great fundamental facts of life, heretofore hidden from knowledge, are plainly
revealed, and the Eternal Verities, about which the wordy theorizers can only guess and argue,
become substantial possessions.

The simple-hearted, the true-hearted, the virtuous and wise, are no longer troubled with doubts
and fears about the future and the unknown and unknowable. They take their stand upon the duty
of the hour, and on the known and the knowable. They do not barter away the actual for the
hypothetical. They find in virtue an abiding security. They find in Truth an illuminating light
which, while it reveals to them the true order of the facts of life, throws a halo of divine promise
about the abyss of the unknown; and so they are at rest.

Simplicity works untrammelled, and becomes greatness and power. Suspicions, deceptions,
impurities, despondencies, bewailings, doubts, and fears—all these are cast away, left behind and
ignored, and the freed man, strong, self-possessed, calm, and pure, works in unclouded
assurance, and inhabits heavenly planes.

6. Right Thinking and Repose

LIFE IS A COMBINATION OF HABITS, some baneful, some beneficent, all of which take
their rise in the one habit of thinking. The thought makes the man; therefore right-thinking is the
most important thing in life. The essential difference between a wise man and a fool is that the
wise man controls his thinking, the fool is controlled by it. A wise man determines how and what
he shall think, and does not allow external things to divert his thought from the main purpose.
But a fool is carried captive by every tyrant thought as it is aroused within him by external
things, and he goes through life the helpless tool of impulse, whim, and passion.

Careless, slovenly thinking, commonly called thoughtlessness, is the companion of failure,

wrongdoing, and wretchedness. Nothing, no prayers, no religious ceremonies, not even acts of
charity, can make up for wrong-thinking. Only right-thinking can rectify a wrong life. Only the
right attitude of mind towards men and things can bring repose and peace.

The Triumphant Life is only for him whose heart and intellect are attuned to lofty virtue. He
must make his thought logical, sequential, harmonious, symmetrical. He must mold and shape
his thinking to fixed principles, and thereby establish his life on the sure foundation of
knowledge. He must not merely be kind, he must be intelligently kind; must know why he is
kind. His kindness must be an invariable quality, and not an intermittent impulse interspersed
with fits of resentment and acts of harshness. He must not merely be virtuous under virtuous
circumstances; his virtue must be of a kind that shall continue to shine with unabated light when
he is assailed with vicious circumstances. He must not allow himself to be hurled from the throne
of divine manhood by the shocks of fate or the praise and blame of those around him. Virtue
must be his abiding habitation; his refuge from the whirlwind and the storm.

And virtue is not only of the heart; it is of the intellect also; and without this virtue of the
intellect, the virtue of the heart is imperiled. Reason, like passion, has its vices. Metaphysical
speculations are the riot of the intellect, as sensuality is the riot of the affections. The highest
flights of speculation—pleasing as they are—reveal no place of rest, and the strained mind must
return to facts and moral principles to find that truth which it seeks. As the soaring bird returns
for refuge and rest to its nest in the rock, so must the speculative thinker return to the rock of
virtue for surety and peace.

The intellect must be trained to comprehend the principles of virtue, and to understand all that is
involved in their practice. Its energies must be restrained from wasteful indulgence in vain
subtleties, and be directed in the path of righteousness and the way of wisdom. The thinker must
distinguish, in his own mind, between reality and assumption. He must discover the extent of his
actual knowledge. He must know what he knows. He must also know what he does not know. He
must learn to discriminate between belief and knowledge, error and Truth.

In his search for the right attitude of mind which perceives truth, and works out a wise and
radiant life, he must be more logical than logic, more merciless in exposing the errors of his own
mind than the most sarcastic logician is in exposing the errors of the minds of others. After
pursuing this course of discrimination for a short time, he will be astonished to find how small is
the extent of his actual knowledge; yet he will be gladdened by its possession, for small as it is, it
is the pure gold of knowledge. And what is better, to have a few grains of gold hidden away in
tons of ore, where it is useless, or to extract the gold and throw away the ore?

As the miner sifts away bushels of dull earth to find the sparkling diamond, so the spiritual
miner, the true thinker, sifts away from his mind the accumulation of opinions, beliefs,
speculations, and assumptions to find the bright jewel of Truth which bestows upon its possessor
wisdom and enlightenment.

And the concentrated knowledge which is ultimately brought to light by this sifting process is
found to be so closely akin to virtue that it cannot be divided from it, cannot be set apart as
something different.

In his search for knowledge Socrates discovered virtue. The divine maxims of the Great
Teachers are maxims of virtue. When knowledge is separated from virtue, wisdom is lost. What
a man practices, that he knows. What he does not practice, that he does not know. A man may
write treatises or preach sermons on Love, but if he treats his family harshly, or thinks spitefully
of his enemy, what knowledge has he concerning Love?

In the heart of the man of knowledge there dwells a silent and abiding compassion that shames
the fine words of the noisy theorist. He only knows what peace is whose heart is free from
hatred, who lives in peace with all. Cunning definitions of virtue only serve to deepen ignorance
when they proceed from vice-stained lips. Knowledge has a deeper source than the mere
memorizing of information. That knowledge is divine which proceeds from acquaintance with
virtue. The humility which purges the intellect of its empty opinions and vain assumptions also
fortifies it with a searching insight and invincible power. There is a divine logic which is
indistinguished from love. The reply, "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first
stone," is unanswerable logic. It is also perfect love.

The wrong thinker is known by his vices; the right thinker is know by his virtues. Troubles and
unrest assail the mind of the wrong thinker, and he experiences no abiding repose. He imagines
that others can injure, snub, cheat, degrade and ruin him. Knowing nothing of the protection of
virtue, he seeks the protection of self, and takes refuge in suspicion, spite, resentment, and
retaliation, and is burnt in the fire of his own vices.

When slandered, he slanders in return; when accused, he recriminates; when assailed, he turns
upon his adversary with double fierceness. "I have been treated unjustly!" exclaims the wrong
thinker, and then abandons himself to resentment and misery. Having no insight and unable to
distinguish evil from good, he cannot see that his own evil, and not his neighbor‘s, is the cause of
all his trouble.

The right thinker is not concerned with thoughts about self and self-protection, and the wrong
actions of others towards him cannot cause him trouble or unrest. He cannot think—"This man
has wronged me." He perceives that no wrong can reach him but by his own evil deeds. He
understands that his welfare is at his own hands, and thus none but himself can rob him of
repose. Virtue is his protection, and retaliation is foreign to him. He holds himself steadfastly in
peace, and resentment cannot enter his heart. Temptation does not find him unprepared, and it
assails in vain the strong citadel of his mind. Abiding in virtue, he abides in strength and peace.

The right-thinker has discovered and acquired the right attitude of mind toward men and
things—the attitude of a profound and loving repose. And this is not resignation, it is wisdom. It
is not indifference, but watchful and penetrating insight. He has comprehended the facts of life;
he sees things as they are. He does not overlook the particulars of life, but reads them in the light
of cosmic law; sees them in their right relations as portions of the universal scheme. He sees the
universe is upheld by justice. He watches, but does not engage in, the petty quarrels and fleeting
strifes of men. He cannot be partisan. His sympathy is with all. He cannot favor one portion more
than another. He knows that good will ultimately conquer in the world, as it has conquered in
individuals; that there is a sense in which good already conquers, for evil defeats itself.

Good is not defeated; justice is not set aside. Whatever man may do, justice reigns, and its
eternal throne cannot be assailed and threatened, much less conquered and overthrown. This is
the source of the true thinker‘s abiding repose. Having become righteous, he perceives the
righteous law. Having acquired Love, he understands the Eternal Love. Having conquered evil,
he knows that good is supreme.

He is only the true thinker whose heart is free from hatred, lust, and pride; who looks out upon
the world through eyes washed free from evil; whose bitterest enemy arouses no enmity, but only
tender pity in his heart; who does not talk vainly about things of which he has no knowledge, and
whose heart is always at peace.

And by this a man may know that his thoughts are in accordance with the Truth—that there is no
more bitterness in his heart, that malice has departed from him; that he loves where he formerly

A man may be learned, but if he is not wise he will not be a true thinker. Not by learning will a
man triumph over evil; not by much study will he overcome sin and sorrow. Only by conquering
himself will he conquer evil; only by practicing righteousness will he put an end to sorrow.

Not for the clever, nor the learned, nor the self-confident is the Life Triumphant, but for the pure,
the virtuous, the wise. The former achieve their particular success in life, but the latter alone
achieve the Great Success, a success so invincible and complete that even an apparent defeat
shines with added victory.

Virtue cannot be shaken; virtue cannot be confounded; virtue cannot be overthrown. He who
thinks in accordance with virtue, who acts righteously, whose mind is the servant of truth, he it is
who conquers in life and in death. For virtue must triumph, and Righteousness and Truth are the
pillars of the universe.

7. Calmness and Resource

HE WHO HAS TRUTH is always self-possessed. Hurry and excitement, anxiety and fear have
no place in the purified mind and the true life. Self-conquest results in perpetual calm. Calmness
is the radiant light which adds a luster to all the virtues. Like the nimbus round the head of the
saint, it surrounds virtue with its shining halo. Without calmness a man‘s greatest strength is but
a kind of exaggerated weakness. Where is a man‘s spiritual strength—where indeed, is his
ordinary manly strength— who loses his balance with almost every petty disturbance from
without? And what enduring influence can a man have who forgets himself in sinful
abandonment or unseemly rage in the hour of temptation and crisis?

The virtuous put a check upon themselves, and set a watch upon their passions and emotions. In
this way they gain possession of the mind, and gradually acquire calmness. And as they acquire
calmness, they acquire influence, power, greatness, abiding joy, and fullness and completeness
of life.

Those who do not put a check upon themselves, whose emotions and passions are their masters,
who crave excitement and race after unholy pleasures— these are not yet fit for a life of joyful
victory, and can neither appreciate nor receive the beautiful jewel of calmness. Such may pray
for peace with their lips, but they do not desire it in their hearts; or the word "peace" may only
mean to them another kind of periodic pleasure which they desire to enjoy.

In the life of calm there are no fitful periods of sinful excitement followed by reactionary hours
of sorrow and remorse. There are no foolish elations followed by equally foolish depressions; no
degrading actions followed by misery and loss of selfrespect. All these things are put away, and
what remains is Truth, and Truth is forever encircled with peace. The calm life is new unbroken
bliss. Duties which are irksome to the ungoverned are things of joy to the calm man. Indeed, in
the calm life, the word "duty" receives a new meaning. It is no longer opposed to happiness, but
it is one with happiness. The calm man, the right-seeing man, cannot separate joy from duty.
Such separation belongs to the mind and life of the pleasure-hunter and lover of excitement.

Calmness is difficult to attain because men cling blindly to the lower disturbances of the mind
for the passing pleasure which these disturbances afford. Even sorrow is sometimes selfishly
gloated over as a kind of occasional luxury. But though difficult to attain, the way which leads to
its attainment is simple. It consists of abandoning all those excitements and disturbances which
are opposed to it, and fortifying one‘s self in these steadfast virtues, which do not change with
changing events and circumstances, which have no violent reactions, and which therefore bestow
perpetual satisfaction and abiding peace.

He only finds peace who conquers himself, who strives, day by day, after selfpossession, greater
self-control, greater calmness of mind. One can only be a joy to himself and a blessing to others
in the measure that he has command of himself; and such self-command is gained only by
persistent practice. A man must conquer his weaknesses by daily effort. He must understand
them and study how to eliminate them from his character. If he continues to strive, not giving
way, he will gradually become victorious. Each little victory gained (though there is a sense in
which no victory can be called little) will be so much more calmness acquired and added to his
character as an eternal possession.

He will thus make himself strong, capable, and blessed, fit to perform his duties faultlessly, and
to meet all events with an untroubled spirit. But even if he does not, in this life, reach that
supreme calm which no shock can disturb, he will become sufficiently self-possessed and pure to
enable him to fight the battle of life fearlessly, and to leave the world a little richer for having
known the goodness of his presence.

By constantly overcoming self, a man gains a knowledge of the subtle intricacies of his mind;
and it is this divine knowledge which enables him to become established in calmness. Without
self-knowledge there can be no abiding peace of mind, and those who are carried away by
tempestuous passions cannot approach the holy place where calmness reigns. The weak man is
like one who, having mounted a fiery steed, allows it to run away with him, and carry him
withersoever it wills. The strong man is like one who, having mounted the steed, governs it with
a masterly hand, and makes it go in whatever direction, and at whatever speed he commands.

Calmness is the crowning beauty of a character that has become, or is becoming, divine, and is
restful and peace-giving to all who come in contact with it. Those who are still in their weakness
and doubt, find the presence of the calm mind restful to their troubled minds, inspiring to their
faltering feet, and rich with healing and comfort in the hour of sorrow. For he who is strong to
overcome self is strong to help others. He who has conquered soul-weariness is strong to help the
weary on the way. That calmness of mind, which is not disturbed or overthrown by trials and
emergencies, or by the accusations, slanders, and misrepresentations of others, is born of great
spiritual strength. It is the true indication of an enlightened and wise understanding. The calm
mind is the exalted mind. Divinely gentle and externally strong is that man who does not lose his
serenity, nor forget his peace when falsehoods and indignities are heaped upon him. Such
calmness is the perfect flower of self-control. It has been slowly and laboriously gained, by
patiently passing through the fires of suffering, by subjecting the mind to a long process of

The calm man has discovered the spring of both happiness and knowledge within himself, and it
is a spring than can never run dry. His powers are at his full command, and there is no limit to
his resources. In whatever direction he employs his energies, he will manifest originality and
power. And this is so because he deals with things as they are, and not with mere opinions about
things, If he has any opinions left, he is no longer enamored of them, but sees them as they are—
mere opinions, and therefore of no intrinsic value. He has abolished egotism, and, by obedience
to law, has become one with the power in nature and the universe. His resources are
untrammeled by selfishness; his energies unhindered by pride.

There is a sense in which he has ceased to regard anything as his own. Even his virtues belong to
Truth, and not exclusively to his person. He has become a conscious principle of Cosmic Power,
and is no longer a mean, dwarfed thing, seeking petty personal ends. And having put away self,
he has put away the greed, the misery, the troubles and fears which belong to self. He acts
calmly, and accepts all consequences with equal calmness. He is efficient and accurate, and
perceives all that is involved in any undertaking. He does not work blindly; he knows that there
is no chance of favor.

The mind of the calm man is like the surface of a still lake; it reflects life and the things of life
truly. Whereas, the troubled mind, like the troubled surface of the lake, gives back a distorted
image of all things which fall upon it. Gazing into the serene depths within him, the self-
conquered man sees a just reflection of the universe. He sees the Cosmic Perfection; sees the
equity in his own lot. Even those things which are regarded by the world as unjust and grievous
(and which formerly appeared so to him) are now known to be the effects of his own past deeds,
and are therefore joyfully accepted as portions of the perfect whole. Thus his calmness remains
with him with its illimitable fund of resource in joy and enlightenment.

The calm man succeeds where the disturbed man fails. He is fit to deal with any external
difficulty, who has successfully grappled with the most intricate difficulties and problems within
his own heart. He who has succeeded in governing the within is best equipped to govern the
without. The calm mind perceives a difficulty in all its bearings and understands best how to
meet it. The disturbed mind is the lost mind. It has become blind, seeing not whither to go, but
only feeling its own unhappiness and fear.

The resources of the calm man are superior to all incidents which may befall him. Nothing can
alarm him, nothing can find him unprepared, nothing can shake his strong and steadfast mind.
Wheresoever duty may call him, there will his strength manifest itself; there will his mind, free
from the frictions of self, exhibit its silent and patient power. Whether he be engaged in things
worldly or things spiritual, he will do his work with concentrated vigor and penetrating insight.

Calmness means that the mind is harmoniously adjusted, perfectly poised. All its extremes once
so antagonistic and painful are reconciled, merged into one grand central principle with which
the mind has identified itself. It means that the runaway passions are tamed and subjected, the
intellect is purified, and the will is merged into the Cosmic Will. That is, it is no longer centered
upon narrow personal ends, but is concerned with the good of all.

A man is not wholly victorious until he is perpetually calm. While passing things disturb him, his
understanding is unripe, his heart is not altogether pure. A man cannot advance in the triumph of
life while he flatters and deceives himself. He must awake, and be fully alive to the fact that his
sins, sorrows, and troubles are of his own making, and belong to his own imperfect condition. He
must understand that his miseries have their root in his own sins, and not in the sins of others. He
must strive after calmness as the covetous man strives after riches; and he must not rest satisfied
with any partial attainment. He will thus grow in grace and wisdom, in strength and peace, and
calmness will descend upon his spirit as the refreshing dew descends upon the flowers.

Where the calm mind is, there is strength and rest, there is love and wisdom. There is one who
has fought successfully innumerable battles against self, who, after long toil in secret against his
own failings, has triumphed at last.

8. Insight and Nobility

IN THE PURSUIT AND PRACTICE OF VIRTUE, there at last comes a time when a divine
insight dawns upon the mind. It searches into the causes and principles of things, which, once
attained, establishes its possessor firmly in virtue. It renders him invulnerable to the assaults of
temptation, and invincible in his work for the world.

When the understanding is ripened by the culture of virtue, vicious inclinations disappear, and
wrong-doing becomes impossible. When individual conduct is perceived as an unbroken series
of causes and effects, the perceiving mind finally decides for virtue, and the lower selfish
elements are just cast away forever.

Until a man perceives the just law which operates in human life, whatever virtue he may
manifest at any given time, he is not firmly established in nobility of character, he is not fully
armored with righteousness, and is not safely lodged in his final refuge. Not having acquired that
perfect insight which knows good and evil and which perceives the effects of all deeds both good
and bad, he breaks down when assailed by temptation at those points in his character which are
not well fortified. Those which have, so far, dimmed his spiritual insight, and barred him from
perfect vision. By thus breaking down, he discovers that within which has hindered him. And by
setting to work to remove the hindrance, he ascends still higher in the scale of virtue, and
approaches nearer to the perfect insight into the true order of life which makes a man divine.

Under certain circumstances a man, held in restraint by the influence of friends, by custom and
environment, and not by his own inherent purity and strength, will appear to have, and may
believe he possesses, a virtue of which he knows nothing in reality. And his lack of such virtue
only appears when all outward restraints are withdrawn, and, under temptation, the concealed
weakness and vice make themselves manifest.
On the other hand, the man of superior virtue will seem, in a familiar environment, to be much
the same as his weaker fellows, and his virtue will not be apparent to those about him. But when
he is suddenly brought in contact with great temptations or extraordinary events, his latent virtue
appears in all its beauty and strength.

Insight destroys the dominion of evil and reveals the faultless operation of the Good Law. The
man of perfect insight cannot sin, because he fully understands the nature of good and evil. And
it is impossible for one who knows good and evil, in all their ramifications of cause and effect, to
choose the evil and reject the good. Just as the sane man would not choose ashes in preference to
food, so the spiritually awakened man would not choose evil in preference to good. The presence
of sin is an indication of self-delusion and of ignorance; the spiritual vision is warped or
undeveloped, and there is confusion of mind concerning the nature of good and evil.

In the early stages of virtue, a man arrays himself against the forces of evil which appear to him
to be overpowering in their might, and almost, if not entirely, unconquerable. But with the
advent of insight, a new light is thrown upon the nature of things, and evil appears as it actually
is—a small, dark, powerless thing, a mere negation, and not a formidable force or combination
of forces. The man of insight knows that the root of evil is ignorance—and not an intelligent
power—and that all sin and suffering proceed therefrom. Thus, knowing evil to be merely a
depravation of good, he cannot hate it, but manifests compassion for all sinning and suffering

Indeed, he who has so far conquered the evil in his own heart, as to know the nature and source
of evil, cannot possibly hate, dislike, or despise any being, no matter how far removed from
virtue it may be. But, while fully perceiving the degradation of character, he understands the dark
spiritual condition from which such degradation springs, and so he pities and helps where,
without insight, he would hate and despise. Love ever attends upon insight, and pity waits on

That insight which proceeds from self-purification and long acquaintance with virtue makes
itself manifest in the form of ripeness of character. There is an unchanging strength and
sweetness combined; a clearness of intellect, a virile strength of will and a gentleness of heart—a
combination which denotes a cultured, mellowed, perfected being; one who has acquired
sympathy, compassion, purity, and wisdom. Thus, while "Goodness gives insight," insight
renders goodness permanent, fixes the mind in the love and practice of all that is pure and noble,
and stamps upon man‘s brow the seal of divinity.

The man whose goodness is of the kind that does not alter with altered environment, or with the
changing attitudes of those around him, has reached the Divine Goodness; he understands the
Supreme Good. He is no longer concerned with evil as a thing that can harm, but he is concerned
with good only. And so he ignores evil and recognizes only good. He perceives that men commit
evil out of the mistaken idea of good, and, thus perceiving, no hatred against any can enter his
peaceful heart.

The life of such a man is powerful, no matter how obscure it may be, for goodness is the most
powerful thing in the world. The fact of his living and moving among men confers incalculable
benefit upon the race, although during his lifetime this may not be perceived or understood. So
powerful is goodness that the destiny of the world was, is, and will be in the hands of the good.

Those who are good are the guides and emancipators of humanity. In the present period of its
development, they are taking the race rapidly along in its evolutionary journey; and this, not in
any mystical or miraculous sense, but in a very practical and normal sense, by their exemplary
lives, by the power of their deeds. The good men who help the world are not wonder-workers,
though undeveloped minds have ever tried to make them such—but the workers of
righteousness, servants of the Good Law.

The world never was, is not, and will not be, under the dominion of evil, for such a condition
would mean non-existence, evil being merely the negation of good, as darkness is the negation of
light. It is light, and not darkness which is the sustaining power. Evil is the weakest thing in the
world, and cannot accomplish anything. The universe not only makes for good, the universe is
good, and evil always falls short and fails.

Insight is seeing in the Light of Truth, that Light which is the revealer of all things. As the light
of day reveals all objects in the world in their proper forms, so when the Light of Truth enters the
mind it reveals all the things of life in their proper proportions. He who searches his own heart
by the aid of Truth, searches all hearts. He who, by long searching, has perceived the Perfect
Law which is operative in his mind, has revealed the Divine Law which is the stay and substance
of the universe.

Insight disperses error and puts an end to superstition. Sin is the only error, Men attack each
other‘s beliefs and remain in ignorance. When they get rid of their own sins they will become

Superstition springs from sin. Looking through darkened eyes, men see evil things which are
delusions of ignorance; conceiving in their hearts unlawful things, their imagination is troubled
with monsters and terrors which have no existence in reality. Where there is pure insight there is
no fear. Devils, demons, wrathful and jealous gods, vampires and evil spirits, and all the hideous
host of the ideological monsters, have vanished from the universe along with the feverish
nightmare which gave them birth. And before the rapt gaze of the purified one there spreads a
universe of orderly beauty and inviolate law.

The man of insight lives in the beatific vision of the saints, not as a fleeting experience in a
moment of exceptional purity, but as a constant, normal condition of mind. He has completed his
long journey through self and sorrow, and is at peace. He has conquered, and is glad.

He sees all the sin, misery, and pain that are in the world more plainly and vividly than other
men. But he now sees it as it is in its cause, inception, growth, and fruitage, not as it appeared to
him when he was blindly involved in it, and his mind was distorted by impurities.

He watches the growth of beings, from the immature to the mature, through periods of change
and pain, with tender compassion and solicitude, as the mother watches the growth of her child
through the helpless period of its infancy.
He sees justice operating in all things. While men are waxing wrathful over the triumph of
wrong, he knows that wrong has not triumphed, but is brought to naught. He sees the overruling
Right which, though concealed from worldly eyes, remains forever unshaken. He sees the
littleness, the puny weakness, the blind folly of evil as compared with the majesty, the invincible
power, and the all-seeing wisdom of Good. And thus, knowing and seeing, his mind is finally
fixed in that which is good. He is devoted to Truth, and his delight is in the doing of

When insight is born in the mind, Reality stands revealed; not a metaphysical reality distinct
from the universe; not a speculative reality other than the things of life, but the Reality of the
universe itself, the Reality of "things-in-themselves." Insight is triumphant over change and
decay, for it perceives the abiding in change, the eternal in the transient, the immortal in the
things which pass away.

And herein is the meaning of that fixed nobility of character of the saints and sages, and
superlatively, of the Great Teachers of the Race—that they perceive and abide in Reality. They
know life in its completion; they understand and obey the Righteous Law. Having conquered
self, they have conquered all delusions; have triumphed over sin, they have triumphed over
sorrow; having purified themselves, they see the Perfect Cosmos.

He who chooses the right, the pure, the good, and clings to them through all misunderstandings,
insults, and defeat, reaches, at last, the place of insight, and his eyes open upon the world of
truth. Then his painful discipline is ended; the lower conditions no more affect him or cause him
sorrow. Purity and joy abide with him, and the universe again rejoices in the triumph of good,
and hails another conqueror.

9. Man the Master

BY THE MASTERY OF SELF, a distinct form of consciousness is evolved which some would
call divine. It is distinguished from that ordinary human consciousness, which craves personal
advantages and gratifications on the one hand, and is involved in remorse and sorrow on the
other. This divine consciousness concerns itself with humanity and the universe, with eternal
verities, with righteousness, wisdom, and truth, and not with pleasures, protection, and
preservation of the personality. Not that personal pleasure is destroyed, but that it is no longer
craved and sought, it no longer takes a foremost place. It is purified, and it is received as the
effect of right thought and action, and is no longer an end in itself.

In divine consciousness there is neither sin nor sorrow. Even the sense of sin has passed away,
and the true order and purpose of life being revealed, no cause is found for lamentation. Jesus
called this state of consciousness "The Kingdom of Heaven"; Buddha named it "Nirvana"; Lao-
Tze‘s term for it was "Tao"; Emerson refers to it as "The Over-Soul"; and Dr. Bucke calls it
"Cosmic Consciousness" in his valuable work bearing that title.

The ordinary human consciousness is self-consciousness. Self, the personality, is placed before
everything else. There are ceaseless anxieties and fears concerning the self. Its possible loss is
thought to be the most grievous calamity, and its eternal preservation the most important thing in
the universe.

In divine consciousness all this has passed away. Self has disappeared. Therefore, there can be
no more fears and anxieties concerning the self, and things are considered and known as they are,
and not as they afford pleasure or cause pain to self, not as self wishes them to be for its own
temporal or eternal happiness.

The self-conscious man is subject to desire; the divinely conscious man is master of desire. The
former considers what is pleasant or unpleasant; the latter acts from the righteous law without
reference to pleasure or pain.

The race is passing through self-consciousness to divine consciousness; through the slavery of
self, with its sense of sin and shame, to the freedom of Truth, with its sense of purity and power.
The Great Teachers and Saviors of the race have already attained. In former existences they have
already passed through all forms of selfconsciousness, and now, having subjugated self, have
become divinely conscious.

They have reached the summit of evolution on this earth, and have no further need to be reborn
in the self-conscious form. They are Masters of Life. Having conquered self, they have acquired
the Supreme Knowledge. Some of them are worshiped as God because they manifest a wisdom
and a consciousness which is quite distinct from the normal self-consciousness of humanity, and
which is therefore regarded with, and surrounded by, incomprehensible mystery. Yet, in this
divine consciousness there is no mystery, but, on the contrary, a transparent simplicity which
becomes apparent when the confusions of self are dispersed.

The abiding gentleness, the sublime wisdom, the perfect calm of the Great Teachers—qualities
which appear supernatural when viewed from the selfconsciousness state—are seen to be simple
and natural when the first glimmering of divine consciousness dawns in the mind. And such
divine consciousness does not appear until a high degree of morality is attained by self-conscious

Man becomes divinely conscious, divinely wise, divinely gentle and strong in the measure that
he subdues and dominates within, those passions by which humanity is subdued and dominated.
The divine master is one who has attained mastery over self. The abiding nobility, beneficent
characteristics, and unobtrusive virtue which mark off the spiritually enlightened man from
others, are the fruits of self-conquest, the logical outcome of a long struggle to master and
comprehend those mental forces which the self-conscious man blindly obeys without

Self-conscious man is a slave to self. Obeying self-centered inclinations, he is in submission to

his passions, and to the sorrows and pains which allegiance to those passions inflict upon him.
He is conscious of sin and sorrow, but sees no way out of these conditions. And so he invents
theologies which he substitutes for effort, and which, while affording him fitful comfort through
uncertain hope, leave him the easy victim of sin, and the willing prey of sorrow.
Divinely conscious man is the master of self. He obeys Truth and not self. He curbs and directs
his inclinations and is conscious of a growing power over sin and sorrow. He sees that there is a
way out of these conditions by the path of self-mastery. He needs no theologies to aid him, but
exerts himself in right-doing, and is gladdened by a sense of victory and increasing purity and
power. When his mastery is complete, he has no inclinations but those which accord with Truth.
He has then become the conqueror of sin, and is no longer subject to sorrow.

Enlightened, wise, and evermore peaceful and happy is he who has subjected, overcome, and
cast out the turbulent self that reigned within. The tempests of sorrow do not chill him. The cares
and troubles which beset man pass him by, and no evil thing overtakes him. Secure in divine
virtue, no enemy can overthrow him; no foe can do harm. Kind and peaceful, no person, power,
nor place can rob him of repose.

There is no enemy but self, no darkness but ignorance, no suffering but that which springs from
the insubordinate elements of one‘s own nature.

No man is truly wise who is involved in likes and dislikes, wishes and regrets, desires and
disappointments, sins and sorrow. All these conditions belong to the selfconscious state, and are
indications of folly, weakness, and subjection.

He is truly wise who, in the midst of worldly duties, is always calm, always gentle, always
patient. He accepts things as they are, and does not wish nor grieve, desire nor regret. These
things belong to the divinely conscious state, the dominion of Truth, and are indications of
enlightenment, strength, and mastery.

He who does not desire riches, fame, or pleasures; who enjoys what he has, yet does not lament
when it is taken from him, he is indeed wise.

He who desires riches, fame, and pleasure; who is discontented with what he has, yet laments
when it is taken from him, he is indeed foolish.

Man is fitted for conquest, but the conquest of territory will not avail; he must resort to the
conquest of self. The conquest of territory renders man a temporal ruler, but the conquest of self
makes him an eternal conqueror.

Man is destined for mastery; not the mastery of his fellow men by force, but the mastery of his
own nature by self-control. The mastery of his fellow men by force is the crown of egotism, but
the mastery of self by self-control is the crown of humility.

He is man the master who has shaken off the service of self for the service of Truth, who has
established himself in the Eternal Verities. He is crowned, not only with perfect manhood, but
with divine wisdom. He has overcome the disturbances of the mind and the shocks of life. He is
superior to all circumstances. He is the calm spectator, but no longer the helpless tool, of events.
No more a sinning, weeping, repenting mortal, he is pure, rejoicing, upright immortal. He
perceives the course of things with a glad and peaceful heart; a divine conqueror, master of life
and death.
10. Knowledge and Victory

FAITH IS THE BEGINNING of the Triumphant Life, but knowledge is its consummation. Faith
reveals the way, but knowledge is the goal. Faith suffers many afflictions; knowledge has
transcended affliction. Faith endures; knowledge loves. Faith walks in darkness, but believes;
knowledge acts in light, and knows. Faith inspires to effort; knowledge crowns effort with
success. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for"; knowledge is the substance of those things
possessed. Faith is the helpful staff of the pilgrim; knowledge is the City of Refuge at the
journey‘s end. Without faith there will be no knowledge, but when knowledge is acquired, the
work of faith is finished.

The Life Triumphant is a life of knowledge; and by knowledge is meant, not booklearning, but
life-learning; not superficial facts committed to memory, but the deep facts and truths of life,
grasped and comprehended. Apart from this knowledge there is no victory for man, no rest for
his weary feet, no refuge for His aching heart.

There is no salvation for the foolish except by becoming wise. There is no salvation for the sinful
except by becoming pure. There is no liberation for man from the turmoil and troubles of life but
through divine knowledge reached by the pathway of a pure and blameless life. Nowhere is there
permanent peace except in an enlightened condition of mind; and a pure life and an enlightened
mind are identical.

But there is salvation for the foolish because wisdom can be acquired. There is salvation for the
sinful because purity can be embraced. There is liberation for all men from the troubles and
turmoil of life because whosoever wills to do so—whether rich or poor, learned or unlearned—
can enter the lowly way of blamelessness which leads to perfect knowledge. And because of
this—that there is deliverance for the captives and victory for the defeated—there is rejoicing in
the High Places, and the universe is glad.

The man of knowledge, being victorious over himself, is victorious over sin, over evil, over all
the disharmonies of life. Out of the old mind marred by sin and sorrow, he has framed a new
mind glorified by purity and peace. He has died out of the old world of evil, and is reborn in a
new world where love and faultless law prevail, where evil is not, and he has become deathless
in immortal Good.

Anxiety and fear, grief and lamentation, disappointment and regret, wretchedness and remorse—
these things have no part in the world of the wise. They are the shadowy inhabitants of the world
of self, and cannot five, nay, they are seen to have no substantiality—in the light of wisdom. The
dark things of life are the dark conditions of a mind not yet illuminated by the light of wisdom.
They follow self as the shadow of substance. Where selfish desires go, there they follow; where
sin is, there they are. There is no rest in self; there is no light in self. And where the flames of
turbulent passions and fires of consuming desires are rife, the cool airs of wisdom and peace are
not felt.
Safety and assurance, happiness and repose, satisfaction and contentment, joy and peace—these
are the abiding possessions of the wise, earned by right of selfconquest, the results of
righteousness, the wages of a blameless life.

The substance of a right life is enlightenment (knowledge), and the spirit of knowledge is peace.
To be victorious over self in all the issues of life is to know life as it is in reality, and not as it
appears in the nightmare of self. It is to be in peace in all passages, and not to be stricken with
trouble and grief in the common happenings of life.

As the ripe scholar is no more troubled by incorrect work and lessons imperfectly done, and the
painful reproof and punishment formerly inflicted by his teachers are left behind forever, so the
perfected scholar in virtue, the wise man and woman, the enlightened doer of righteousness, is no
more troubled with wrongdoing and folly (which are merely the imperfectly accomplished
lessons of life), and the scourging of sorrow and remorse have passed away forever.

The skilled scholar has no more doubt or fear concerning his ability. He has overcome and
dispersed the ignorance of his intellect. He has attained to learning, and he knows that he has
attained. And he so knows because, having undergone innumerable tests in the forms of lessons
and examinations, he has at last proved his skill by passing successfully through the severest
tests of scholarship. And now he no longer fears, but rejoices when severe tests are applied to
prove his ability. He is capable, confident, and glad.

Even so the skilled doer of righteousness is no more troubled with doubt and fear concerning his
destiny. He has overcome and dispersed the ignorance of his heart. He has attained to wisdom,
and he knows that he has attained. And he so knows because where he formerly failed and fell
when tested by the wrong conduct of others, he now maintains his patience and calmness under
the severest tests of accusation and reproof.

Herein is the glory and victory of divine knowledge, that understanding the nature of deeds, both
good and bad, the enlightened doer of good deeds no longer suffers through the bad deeds of
others. Their actions towards him can never cause him pain and sorrow, nor rob him of his peace.
Having taken refuge in good, evil can no more reach nor harm him. He returns good for evil, and
overcomes the weakness of evil by the power of good.

The man who is involved in bad deeds imagines that the bad deeds of others are powerful to do
him injury and are filled with grievous harm against him. He is stung with pain and
overwhelmed with sorrow, not for his own bad deeds (for these he does not see) but for the
wrong deeds of others. Involved in ignorance, he has no spiritual strength, no refuge, and no
abiding peace.

The man victorious over self is the true seer. He is not the seer of spirits or supernatural
phenomena, for such seeing is narrow and illusory. He is the seer of life as it is, both in its
particular aspects and in its divine principles; the seer of the spiritual universe of cosmic law,
cosmic love, and cosmic liberty.
The man of knowledge and victory, who has shaken off the painful dreams of self, has awakened
with a new vision which beholds a new and glorified universe, He is the seer of the Eternal, and
is blessed with perfect love and endless peace. He is lifted far above all sordid desires, narrow
aims, and selfish love and hate; and being so lifted up he perceives the lawful course of things,
and does not grieve when overtaken by the inevitable. He is above the world of sorrow, not
because he has become cold and cruel, but because he abides in a love where no thought of self
can enter, and where the well-being of others is all-in-all. He is sorrowless because he is selfless.
He is serene because he knows that whatever he receives, it is good, and whatever is taken from
him, that also is good. He has transmuted sorrow into love, and is filled with infinite tenderness
and abounding compassion. His power is not violent, ambitious, worldly, but pure, peaceful,
heavenly, and he is possessed of a hidden strength which knows how to stand and when to bend
for the good of others and the world.

He is a Teacher, though he speaks but little. He is a Master, yet he has no desire to rule others.
He is a Conqueror, but makes no attempt to subdue his fellow men. He has become a conscious
instrument for the outworking of cosmic law, and is an intelligent, enlightened power directing
the evolution of the Race.

At this, the beginning of a new epoch, let the Good News again go forth throughout the world
that there is purity for the sinful, comfort for the afflicted, healing for the broken-hearted, and
triumph for the defeated. In your heart, O man! O woman! stained as it is with sin, and torn with
conflicting desires, there is a place of power, a citadel of strength. You are the dwelling-place of
the Supreme Good, and the Scepter of Victory awaits you: deep in your consciousness is the
High Seat of Empire. Arise, O stricken one! Ascend your rightly throne!
James Allen

1. Deeds, Character, and Destiny

2. The Science of Self-Control
3. Cause and Effect in Human Conduct
4. Training of the Will
5. Thoroughness
6. Mind-Building and Life-Building
7. Cultivation of Concentration
8. Practice of Meditation
9. The Power of Purpose
10. The Joy of Accomplishment
1. Deeds, Character, and Destiny

THERE is, and always has been, a widespread belief in Fate, or Destiny, that is, in an eternal and
inscrutable Power which apportions definite ends to both individuals and nations. This belief has
arisen from long observation of the facts of life.

Men are conscious that there are certain occurrences which they cannot control, and are
powerless to avert. Birth and death, for instance, are inevitable, and many of the incidents of life
appear equally inevitable.

Men strain every nerve for the attainment of certain ends, and gradually they become conscious
of a Power which seems to be not of themselves, which frustrates their puny efforts, and laughs,
as it were, at their fruitless striving and struggle.

As men advance in life, they learn to submit, more or less, to this overruling Power which they
do not understand, perceiving only its effects in themselves and the world around them, and they
call it by various names, such as God, Providence, Fate, Destiny, etc.

Men of contemplation, such as poets and philosophers, step aside, as it were, to watch the
movements of this mysterious Power as it seems to elevate its favorites on the one hand, and
strike down its victims on the other, without reference to merit or demerit.

The greatest poets, especially the dramatic poets, represent this Power in their works, as they
have observed it in Nature. The Greek and Roman dramatists usually depict their heroes as
having foreknowledge of their fate, and taking means to escape it; but by so doing they blindly
involve themselves in a series of consequences which bring about the doom which they are
trying to avert. Shakespeare‘s characters, on the other hand, are represented, as in Nature, with
no foreknowledge (except in the form of presentiment) of their particular destiny. Thus,
according to the poets, whether the man knows his fate or not, he cannot avert it, and every
conscious or unconscious act of his is a step towards it.

Omar Khayyam‘s Moving Finger is a vivid expression of this idea of Fate:

"The Moving Finger writes, and having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."

Thus, men in all nations and times have experienced in their lives the action of this invincible
Power or Law, and in our nation today this experience has been crystallized in the terse proverb,
"Man proposes, God disposes."

But, contradictory as it may appear, there is an equally widespread belief in man‘s responsibility
as a free agent.
All moral teaching is an affirmation of man‘s freedom to choose his course and mold his destiny:
and man‘s patient and untiring efforts in achieving his ends are declarations of consciousness of
freedom and power.

This dual experience of fate on the one hand, and freedom on the other, has given rise to the
interminable controversy between the believers in Fatalism and the upholders of free will —a
controversy which was recently revived under the term "Determinism versus Freewill."

Between apparently conflicting extremes there is always a "middle way" of balance, justice, or
compensation which, while it includes both extremes, cannot be said to be either one or the
other, and which brings both into harmony; and this middle way is the point of contact between
two extremes.

Truth cannot be a partisan, but, by its nature, is the Reconciler of extremes; and so, in the matter
which we are considering, there is a "golden mean" which brings Fate and Free will into close
relationship, wherein, indeed, it is seen that these two indisputable facts in human life, for such
they are, are but two aspects of one central law, one unifying and all-embracing principle,
namely, the law of causation in its moral aspect.

Moral causation necessitates both Fate and Free will, both individual responsibility and
individual predestination, for the law of causes must also be the law of effects, and cause and
effect must always be equal; the train of causation, both in matter and mind, must be eternally
balanced, therefore eternally just, eternally perfect. Thus every effect may be said to be a thing
preordained, but the predetermining power is a cause, and not the fiat of an arbitrary will.

Man finds himself involved in the train of causation. His life is made up of causes and effects. It
is both a sowing and a reaping. Each act of his is a cause which must be balanced by its effects.
He chooses the cause (this is Free will), he cannot choose, alter, or avert the effect (this is Fate);
thus Free will stands for the power to initiate causes, and destiny is involvement in effects.

It is therefore true that man is predestined to certain ends, but he himself has (though he knows it
not) issued the mandate; that good or evil thing from which there is no escape, he has, by his
own deeds, brought about.

It may here be urged that man is not responsible for his deeds, that these are the effects of his
character, and that he is not responsible for the character, good or bad, which was given him at
his birth. If character was "given him" at birth, this would be true, and there would then be no
moral law, and no need for moral teaching; but characters are not given ready made, they are
evolved; they are, indeed, effects, the products of the moral law itself, that is— the products of
deeds. Character result of an accumulation of deeds which have been piled up, so to speak, by
the individual during his life.

Man is the doer of his own deeds; as such he is the maker of his own character; and as the doer
of his deeds and the maker of his character, he is the molder and shaper of his destiny. He has the
power to modify and alter his deeds, and every time he acts he modifies his character, and with
the modification of his character for good or evil, he is predetermining for himself new
destinies— destinies disastrous or beneficent in accordance with the nature of his deeds.
Character is destiny itself; as a fixed combination of deeds, it bears within itself the results of
those deeds. These results lie hidden as moral seeds in the dark recesses of the character,
awaiting their season of germination, growth, and fruitage.

Those things which befall a man are the reflections of himself; that destiny which pursued him,
which he was powerless to escape by effort, or avert by prayer, was the relentless ghoul of his
own wrong deeds demanding and enforcing restitution; those blessings and curses which come to
him unbidden are the reverberating echoes of the sounds which he himself sent forth.

It is this knowledge of the Perfect Law working through and above all things; of the Perfect
Justice operating in and adjusting all human affairs, that enables the good man to love his
enemies, and to rise above all hatred, resentment, and complaining; for he knows that only his
own can come to him, and that, though he be surrounded by persecutors, his enemies are but the
blind instruments of a faultless retribution; and so he blames them not, but calmly receives his
accounts, and patiently pays his moral debts.

But this is not all; he does not merely pay his debts; he takes care not to contract any further
debts. He watches himself and makes his deeds faultless. While paying off evil accounts, he is
laying up good accounts. By putting an end to his own sin, he is bringing evil and suffering to an

And now let us consider how the Law operates in particular instances in the outworking of
destiny through deeds and character. First, we will look at this present life, for the present is the
synthesis of the entire past; the net result of all that a man has ever thought and done is contained
within him. It is noticeable that sometimes the good man fails and the unscrupulous man
prospers— a fact which seems to put all moral maxims as to the good results of righteousness
out of account— and because of this, many people deny the operation of any just law in human
life, and even declare that it is chiefly the unjust that prosper.

Nevertheless, the moral law exists, and is not altered or subverted by shallow conclusions. It
should be remembered that man is a changing, evolving being. The good man was not always
good; the bad man was not always bad. Even in this life, there was a time, in a large number of
instances, when the man who is now just, was unjust; when he who is now kind, was cruel; when
he who is now pure, was impure.

Conversely, there was a time in this life, in a number of instances, when he who is now unjust,
was just; when he who is now cruel, was kind; when he who is now impure, was pure. Thus, the
good man who is overtaken with calamity today is reaping the result of his former evil sowing;
later he will reap the happy result of his present good sowing; while the bad man is now reaping
the result of his former good sowing; later he will reap the result of his present sowing of bad.

Characteristics are fixed habits of mind, the results of deeds. An act repeated a large number of
times becomes unconscious, or automatic— that is, it then seems to repeat itself without any
effort on the part of the doer, so that it seems to him almost impossible not to do it, and then it
has become a mental characteristic.
Here is a poor man out of work. He is honest, and is not a shirker. He wants work, and cannot get
it. He tries hard, and continues to fail. Where is the justice in his lot? There was a time in this
man‘s condition when he had plenty of work. He felt burdened with it; he shirked it, and longed
for ease. He thought how delightful it would be to have nothing to do.

He did not appreciate the blessedness of his lot. His desire for ease is now gratified, but the fruit
for which he longed, and which he thought would taste so sweet, has turned to ashes in his
mouth. The condition which he aimed for, namely, to have nothing to do, he has reached, and
there he is compelled to remain till his lesson is thoroughly learned.

And he is surely learning that habitual ease is degrading, that to have nothing to do is a condition
of wretchedness, and that work is a noble and blessed thing. His former desires and deeds have
brought him where he is; and now his present desire for work, his ceaseless searching and asking
for it, will just as surely bring about its own beneficent result. No longer desiring idleness, his
present condition will, as an effect, the cause of which is no longer propagated, soon pass away,
and he will obtain employment; and if his whole mind is now set on work, and he desires it
above all else, then when it comes he will be overwhelmed with it; it will flow in to him from all
sides, and he will prosper in his industry.

Then, if he does not understand the law of cause and effect in human life, he will wonder why
work comes to him apparently unsought, while others who seek it strenuously fail to obtain it.
Nothing comes unbidden; where the shadow is, there also is the substance. That which comes to
the individual is the product of his own deeds.

As cheerful industry leads to greater industry and increasing prosperity, and labor shirked or
undertaken discontentedly leads to a lesser degree of labor and decreasing prosperity, so with all
the varied conditions of life as we see them— they are the destinies wrought by the thoughts and
deeds of each particular individual. So also with the vast variety of characters— they are the
ripening and ripened growth of the sowing of deeds.

As the individual reaps what he sows, so the nation, being a community of individuals, reaps also
what it sows. Nations become great when their leaders are just men; they fall and fade when their
just men pass away. Those who are in power set an example, good or bad, for the entire nation.

Great will be the peace and prosperity of a nation when there shall arise within it a line of
statesmen who, having first established themselves in a lofty integrity of character, shall direct
the energies of the nation toward the culture of virtue and development of character, knowing
that only through personal industry, integrity, and nobility can national prosperity proceed.

Still, above all, is the Great Law, calmly and with infallible justice meting out to mortals their
fleeting destinies, tear-stained or smiling, the fabric of their hands. Life is a great school for the
development of character, and all, through strife and struggle, vice and virtue, success and
failure, are slowly but surely learning the lessons of wisdom.
2. The Science of Self-Control

WE live in a scientific age. Men of science are numbered by thousands, and they are ceaselessly
searching, analyzing, and experimenting with a view to discovery and the increase of knowledge.

The shelves of our libraries, both public and private, are heavy with their load of imposing
volumes on scientific subjects, and the wonderful achievements of modern science are always
before us— whether in our homes or in our streets, in country or town, on land or sea— there
shall we have before us some marvelous device, some recent accomplishment of science, for
adding to our comfort, increasing our speed, or saving the labor of our hands.

Yet, with all our vast store of scientific knowledge, and its startling and rapidly increasing results
in the world of discovery and invention, there is, in this age, one branch of science which has so
far fallen into decay as to have become almost forgotten; a science, nevertheless, which is of
greater importance than all the other sciences combined, and without which all science would but
subserve the ends of selfishness, and aid in man‘s destruction—I refer to the Science of Self-

Our modern scientists study the elements and forces which are outside themselves, with the
object of controlling and utilizing them. The ancients studied the elements and forces which were
within themselves, with a view to controlling and utilizing them, and the ancients produced such
mighty Masters of knowledge in this direction, that to this day they are held in reverence as gods,
and the vast religious organizations of the world are based upon their achievements.

Wonderful as are the forces in nature, they are vastly inferior to that combination of intelligent
forces which comprise the mind of man, and which dominate and direct the blind mechanical
forces of nature. Therefore, it follows that, to understand, control, and direct the inner forces of
passion, desire, will, and intellect, is to be in possession of the destinies of men and nations.

As in ordinary science, there are, in this divine science, degrees of attainment; and a man is great
in knowledge, great in himself, and great in his influence on the world, in the measure that he is
great in self-control.

He who understands and dominates the forces of external nature is the natural scientist; but he
who understands and dominates the internal forces of the mind is the divine scientist; and the
laws which operate in gaining a knowledge of external appearances, operate also in gaining a
knowledge of internal varieties.

A man cannot become an accomplished scientist in a few weeks or months, nay, not even in a
few years. But only after many years of painstaking investigation can he speak with authority,
and be ranked among the masters of science. Likewise, a man cannot acquire self-control, and
become possessed of the wisdom and peace giving knowledge which that self-control confers,
but by many years of patient labor; a labor which is all the more arduous because it is silent, and
both unrecognized and unappreciated by others; and he who would pursue this science
successfully must learn to stand alone, and to toil unrewarded, as far as any outward emolument
is concerned.
The natural scientist pursues, in acquiring his particular kind of knowledge, the following five
orderly and sequential steps:

1. Observation: that is, he closely and persistently observes the facts of nature.

2. Experiment: Having become acquainted, by repeated observations, with certain facts, he

experiments with those facts, with a view to the discovery of natural laws. He puts his facts
through rigid processes of analysis, and so finds out what is useless and what of value; and he
rejects the former and retains the latter.

3. Classification: Having accumulated and verified a mass of facts by numberless observations

and experiments, he commences to classify those facts, to arrange them in orderly groups with
the object of discovering some underlying law, some hidden and unifying principle, which
governs, regulates, and binds together these facts.

4. Deduction: Thus he passes on to the fourth step of deduction. From the facts and results which
are before him, he discovers certain invariable modes of action, and thus reveals the hidden laws
of things.

5. Knowledge: Having proven and established certain laws, it may be said of such a man that he
knows. He is a scientist, a man of knowledge.

But the attainment of scientific knowledge is not the end, great as it is. Men do not attain
knowledge for themselves alone, nor to keep it locked secretly in their hearts, like a beautiful
jewel in a dark chest. The end of such knowledge is use, service, the increase of the comfort and
happiness of the world. Thus, when a man has become a scientist, he gives the world the benefit
of his knowledge, and unselfishly bestows upon mankind the results of all his labors.

Thus, beyond knowledge, there is a further step of Use: that is, the right and unselfish use of the
knowledge acquired; the application of knowledge to invention for the common weal.

It will be noted that the five steps or processes enumerated follow in orderly succession, and that
no man can become a scientist who omits any one of them. Without the first step of systematic
observation, for instance, he could not even enter the realm of knowledge of nature‘s secrets.

At first, the searcher for such knowledge has before him a universe of things: these things he
does not understand; many of them, indeed, seem to be irreconcilably opposed one to the other,
and there is apparent confusion; but by patiently and laboriously pursuing these five processes,
he discovers the order, nature, and essences of things; perceives the central law or laws which
bind them together in harmonious relationship, and so puts an end to confusion and ignorance.

As with the natural scientist, so with the divine scientist; he must pursue, with the same self-
sacrificing diligence, five progressive steps in the attainment of self-knowledge, self-control.
These five steps are the same as with the natural scientist, but the process is reversed, the mind,
instead of being centered upon external things, is turned back upon itself, and the investigations
are pursued in the realm of mind (of one‘s own mind) instead of in that of matter.
At first, the searcher for divine knowledge is confronted with that mass of desires, passions,
emotions, ideas, and intellections which he calls himself, which is the basis of all his actions, and
from which his life proceeds.

This combination of invisible, yet powerful, forces appears confusedly;

some of them stand, apparently, in direct conflict with each other, without any appearance or
hope of reconciliation; his mind in its entirety, too, with his life which proceeds from that mind,
does not seem to have any equitable relation to many other minds and lives about him, and
altogether there is a condition of pain and confusion from which he would fain escape.

Thus, he begins by keenly realizing his state of ignorance, for no one could acquire either natural
or divine knowledge, if he were convinced that without study or labor he already possessed it.

With such perception of one‘s ignorance, there comes the desire for knowledge, and the novice
in self-control enters upon the ascending pathway, in which are the following five steps:

1. Introspection. This coincides with the observation of the natural scientist. The mental eye is
turned like a searchlight upon the inner things of the mind, and its subtle and ever varying
processes are observed and carefully noted. This stepping aside from selfish gratifications, from
the excitements of worldly pleasures and ambitions, in order to observe, with the object of
understanding, one‘s nature, is the beginning of self-control. Hitherto, the man has been blindly
and impotently borne along by the impulses of his nature, the mere creature of things and
circumstances, but now he puts a check upon his impulses and, instead of being controlled,
begins to control.

2. Self-analysis. Having observed the tendencies of the mind, they are then closely examined,
and are put through a rigid process of analysis. The evil tendencies (those that produce painful
effects) are separated from the good tendencies (those that produce peaceful effects); and the
various tendencies, with the particular actions they produce, and the definite results which
invariably spring from these actions, are gradually grasped by the understanding, which is at last
enabled to follow them in their swift and subtle interplay and profound ramifications. It is a
process of testing and proving, and, for the searcher, a period of being tested and proved.

3. Adjustment. By this time, the practical student of things divine has clearly before him every
tendency and aspect of his nature, down to the profoundest promptings of his mind, and the most
subtle motives of his heart. There is not a spot or corner left, which he has not explored and
illuminated with the light of self-examination.

He is familiar with every weak and selfish point, every strong and virtuous quality. It is
considered the height of wisdom to be able to see ourselves as others see us, but the practitioner
of self-control goes far beyond this: he not only sees himself as others see him, he sees himself as
he is. Thus, standing face to face with himself, not striving to hide away from any secret fault; no
longer defending himself with pleasant flatteries; neither underrating nor overrating himself or
his powers, and no more cursed with self-praise or self-pity, he sees the full magnitude of the
task which lies before him; sees dearly ahead the heights of self-control, and knows what work
he has to do to reach them.

He is no longer in a state of confusion, but has gained a glimpse of the laws which operate in the
world of thought, and he now begins to adjust his mind in accordance with those laws. This is a
process of weeding, sifting, cleansing. As the farmer weeds, cleans, and prepares the ground for
his crops, so the student removes the weeds of evil from his mind, cleanses and purifies it
preparatory to sowing the seeds of righteous actions which shall produce the harvest of a well
ordered life.

4. Righteousness. Having adjusted his thoughts and deeds to those minor laws which operate in
mental activities in the production of pain and pleasure, unrest and peace, sorrow and bliss, he
now perceives that there is involved in those laws one Great Central Law which, like the law of
gravitation in the natural world, is supreme in the world of mind; a law to which all thoughts and
deeds are subservient, and by which they are regulated and kept in their proper sphere.

This is the law of Justice or Righteousness, which is universal and supreme. To this law he now
conforms. Instead of thinking and acting blindly, as the nature is stimulated and appealed to by
outward things, he subordinates his thoughts and deeds to this central principle. He no longer
acts from self, but does what is right— what is universally and eternally right. He is no longer
the abject slave of his nature and circumstances, he is the master of his nature and circumstances.

He is no longer carried hither and thither on the forces of his mind; he controls and guides those
forces to the accomplishment of his purposes. Thus, having his nature in control and subjection,
not thinking thoughts nor doing deeds which oppose the righteous law, and which, therefore, that
law annuls with suffering and defeat, he rises above the dominion of sin and sorrow, ignorance
and doubt, and is strong, calm, and peaceful.

5. Pure Knowledge. By thinking right and acting right, he proves, by experience, the existence of
the divine law on which the mind is framed, and which is the guiding and unifying principle in
all human affairs and events, whether individual or national. Thus, by perfecting himself in self-
control, he acquires divine knowledge; he reaches the point where it may be said of him, as of
the natural scientist, that he knows.

He has mastered the science of self-control, and has brought knowledge out of ignorance, order
out of confusion. He has acquired that knowledge of self which includes knowledge of all men;
that knowledge of one‘s own life which embraces knowledge of all live — as for all minds are
the same in essence (differing only in degree), are framed upon the same law; and the same
thoughts and acts, by whatsoever individual they are wrought, will always produce the same

But this divine and peace bestowing knowledge, as in the case of the natural scientist, is not
gained for one‘s self alone; for if this were so, the aim of evolution would be frustrated, and it is
not in the nature of things to fall short of ripening and accomplishment; and, indeed, he who
thought to gain this knowledge solely for his own happiness would most surely fail.
So, beyond the fifth step of Pure Knowledge, there is a still further one of Wisdom, which is the
right application of the knowledge acquired; the pouring out upon the world, unselfishly and
without stint, the result of one‘s labors, thus accelerating progress and uplifting humanity.

It may be said of men who have not gone back into their own nature to control and purify it, that
they cannot clearly distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong. They reach after those
things which they think will give them pleasure, and try to avoid those things which they believe
will cause them pain.

The source of their actions is self, and they only discover right painfully and in a fragmentary
way, by periodically passing through severe sufferings, and lashings of conscience. But he who
practices self-control, passing through the five processes, which are five stages of growth, gains
that knowledge which enables him to act from the moral law which sustains the universe. He
knows good and evil, right and wrong, and, thus knowing them, lives in accordance with good
and right. He no longer needs to consider what is pleasant or what is unpleasant, but does what is
right; his nature is in harmony with his conscience, and there is no remorse; his mind is in unison
with the Great Law, and there is no more suffering and sin; for him evil is ended, and good is all
in all.

3. Cause and Effect in Human Conduct

IT is an axiom with the scientists that every effect is related to a cause. Apply this to the realm of
human conduct, and there is revealed the principle of Justice.

Every scientist knows (and now all men believe) that perfect harmony prevails throughout every
portion of the physical universe, from the speck of dust to the greatest sun. Everywhere there is
exquisite adjustment. In the sidereal universe, with its millions of suns rolling majestically
through space and carrying with them their respective systems of revolving planets, its vast
nebula, its seas of meteors, and its vast army of comets traveling through illimitable space with
inconceivable velocity, perfect order prevails; and again, in the natural world, with its
multitudinous aspects of life, and its infinite variety of forms, there are the clearly defined limits
of specific laws, through the operation of which all confusion is avoided, and unity and harmony
eternally obtain.

If this universal harmony could be arbitrarily broken, even in one small particular, the universe
would cease to be; there could be no cosmos, but only universal chaos. Nor can it be possible in
such a universe of law that there should exist any personal power which is above, outside, and
superior to, such law in the sense that it can defy it, or set it aside; for whatsoever beings exist,
whether they be men or gods, they exist by virtue of such law; and the highest, best, and wisest
among all beings would manifest his greater wisdom by his more complete obedience to that law
which is wiser than wisdom, and than which nothing more perfect could be devised.

All things, whether visible or invisible, are subservient to, and fall within the scope of, this
infinite and eternal law of causation. As all things seen obey it, so all things unseen — the
thoughts and deeds of men, whether secret or open— cannot escape it.
"Do right, it recompenseth; do one wrong, The equal retribution must be made."

Perfect justice upholds the universe; perfect justice regulates human life and conduct. All the
varying conditions of life, as they obtain in the world today, are the result of this law reacting on
human conduct. Man can (and does) choose what causes he shall set in operation, but he cannot
change the nature of effects; he can decide what thoughts he shall think, and what deeds he shall
do, but he has no power over the results of those thoughts and deeds; these are regulated by the
overruling law.

Man has all power to act, but his power ends with the act committed. The result of the act cannot
be altered, annulled, or escaped; it is irrevocable. Evil thoughts and deeds produce conditions of
suffering; good thoughts and deeds determine conditions of blessedness. Thus man‘s power is
limited to, and his blessedness or misery is determined by his own conduct. To know this truth,
renders life simple, plain, and unmistakable; all the crooked paths are straightened out, the
heights of wisdom are revealed, and the open door to salvation from evil and suffering is
perceived and entered.

Life may be likened to a sum in arithmetic. It is bewilderingly difficult and complex to the pupil
who has not yet grasped the key to its correct solution, but once this is perceived and laid hold
of, it becomes as astonishingly simple as it was formerly profoundly perplexing. Some idea of
this relative simplicity and complexity of life may be grasped by fully recognizing and realizing
the fact that, while there are scores, and perhaps hundreds, of ways in which a sum may be done
wrong, there is only one way by which it can be done right, and that when that right way is found
the pupil knows it to be the right; his perplexity vanishes, and he knows that he has mastered the

It is true that the pupil, while doing his sum incorrectly, may (and frequently does) think he has
done it correctly, but he is not sure; his perplexity is still there, and if he is an earnest and apt
pupil, he will recognize his own error when it is pointed out by the teacher. So in life, men may
think they are living rightly while they are continuing, through ignorance, to live wrongly; but
the presence of doubt, perplexity, and unhappiness are sure indications that the right way has not
yet been found.

There are foolish and careless pupils who would like to pass a sum as correct before they have
acquired a true knowledge of figures, but the eye and skill of the teacher quickly detect and
expose the fallacy. So in life there can be no falsifying of results; the eye of the Great Law
reveals and exposes. Twice five will make ten to all eternity, and no amount of ignorance,
stupidity, or delusion can bring the result up to eleven.

If one looks superficially at a piece of cloth, he sees it as a piece of cloth, but if he goes further
and inquires into its manufacture, and examines it closely and attentively, he sees that it is
composed of a combination of individual threads, and that, while all the threads are
interdependent, each thread pursues its own way throughout, never becoming confused with its
sister thread. It is this entire absence of confusion between the particular threads which
constitutes the finished work a piece of cloth; any inharmonious commingling of the thread
would result in a bundle of waste or a useless rag.
Life is like a piece of cloth, and the threads of which it is composed are individual lives. The
threads, while being interdependent, are not confounded one with the other. Each follows its own
course. Each individual suffers and enjoys the consequences of his own deeds, and not of the
deeds of another. The course of each is simple and definite; the whole forming a complicated, yet
harmonious, combination of sequences. There are action and reaction, deed and consequence,
cause and effect, and the counterbalancing reaction, consequence, and effect is always in exact
ratio with the initiatory impulse.

A durable and satisfactory piece of cloth cannot be made from shoddy material, and the threads
of selfish thoughts and bad deeds will not produce a useful and beautiful life — a life that will
wear well, and bear close inspection. Each man makes or mars his own life; it is not made or
marred by his neighbor, or by anything external to himself. Each thought he thinks, each deed he
does, is another thread— shoddy or genuine— woven into the garment of his life; and as he
makes the garment so must he wear it. He is not responsible for his neighbor‘s deeds; he is not
the custodian of his neighbor‘s actions; he is responsible only for his own deeds; he is the
custodian of his own actions.

The "problem of evil" subsists in a man‘s own evil deeds, and it is solved when those deeds are
purified. Says Rousseau:

"Man, seek no longer the origin of evil; thou thyself art its origin."

Effect can never be divorced from cause; it can never be of a different nature from cause.
Emerson says:

"Justice is not postponed; a perfect equity adjusts the balance in all parts of life."

And there is a profound sense in which cause and effect are simultaneous, and form one perfect
whole. Thus, upon the instant that a man thinks, say, a cruel thought, or does a cruel deed, that
same instant he has injured his own mind; he is not the same man he was the previous instant; he
is a little viler and a little more unhappy; and a number of such successive thoughts and deeds
would produce a cruel and wretched man. The same thing applies to the contrary— the thinking
of a kind thought, or doing a kind deed— an immediate nobility and happiness attend it; the man
is better than he was before, and a number of such deeds would produce a great and blissful soul.

Thus individual human conduct determines, by the faultless law of cause and effect, individual
merit or demerit, individual greatness or meanness, individual happiness or wretchedness. What
a man thinks, that he does; what he does, that he is. If he is perplexed, unhappy, restless, or
wretched, let him look to himself, for there and nowhere else is the source of all his trouble.

4. Training of the Will

WITHOUT strength of mind, nothing worthy of accomplishment can be done, and the
cultivation of that steadfastness and stability of character which is commonly called "willpower"
is one of the foremost duties of man, for its possession is essentially necessary both to his
temporal and eternal well being. Fixedness of purpose is at the root of all successful efforts,
whether in things worldly or spiritual, and without it man cannot be otherwise than wretched,
and dependent upon others for that support which should be found within himself.

The mystery which has been thrown around the subject of cultivation of the will by those who
advertise to sell "occult advice" on the matter for so many dollars, should be avoided and
dispelled, for nothing could be further removed from secrecy and mystery than the practical
methods by which alone strength of will can be developed.

The true path of will cultivation is only to be found in the common everyday life of the
individual, and so obvious and simple is it that the majority, looking for something complicated
and mysterious, pass it by unnoticed.

A little logical thought will soon convince a man that he cannot be both weak and strong at the
same time, that he cannot develop a stronger will while remaining a slave to weak indulgences,
and that, therefore, the direct and only way to that greater strength is to assail and conquer his
weaknesses. All the means for the cultivation of the will are already at hand in the mind and life
of the individual; they reside in the weak side of his character, by attacking and vanquishing
which the necessary strength of will be developed. He who has succeeded in grasping this
simple, preliminary truth, will perceive that the whole science of will cultivation is embodied in
the following seven rules:

1. Break off bad habits.

2. Form good habits.

3. Give scrupulous attention to the duty of the present moment.

4. Do vigorously, and at once, whatever has to be done.

5. Live by rule.

6. Control the tongue.

7. Control the mind.

Anyone who earnestly meditates upon, and diligently practices, the above rules, will not fail to
develop that purity of purpose and power of will which will enable him to successfully cope with
every difficulty, and pass triumphantly through every emergency.

It will be seen that the first step is the breaking away from bad habits. This is no easy task. It
demands the putting forth of great efforts, or a succession of efforts, and it is by such efforts that
the will can alone be invigorated and fortified. If one refuses to take the first step, he cannot
increase in willpower, for by submitting to a bad habit, because of the immediate pleasure which
it affords, one forfeits the right to rule over himself, and is so far a weak slave. He who thus
avoids self-discipline, and looks about for some "occult secrets" for gaining willpower at the
expenditure of little or no effort on his part, is deluding himself, and is weakening the willpower
which he already possesses.

The increased strength of will which is gained by success in overcoming bad habits enables one
to initiate good habits; for, while the conquering of a bad habit requires merely strength of
purpose, the forming of a new one necessitates the intelligent direction of purpose. To do this, a
man must be mentally active and energetic, and must keep a constant watch upon himself. As a
man succeeds in perfecting himself in the second rule, it will not be very difficult for him to
observe the third, that of giving scrupulous attention to the duty of the present moment.

Thoroughness is a step in the development of the will which cannot be passed over. Slipshod
work is an indication of weakness. Perfection should be aimed at, even in the smallest task. By
not dividing the mind, but giving the whole attention to each separate task as it presents itself,
singleness of purpose and intense concentration of mind are gradually gained — two mental
powers which give weight and worth of character, and bring repose and joy to their possessor.

The fourth rule — that of doing vigorously, and at once, whatever has to be done — is equally
important. Idleness and a strong will cannot go together, and procrastination is a total barrier to
the acquisition of purposeful action. Nothing should be "put off" until another time, not even for
a few minutes. That which ought to be done now should be done now. This seems a little thing,
but it is of far reaching importance. It leads to strength, success, and peace.

The man who is to manifest a cultivated will must also live by certain fixed rules. He must not
blindly gratify his passions and impulses, but must school them to obedience. He should live
according to principle, and not according to passion.

He should decide what he will eat and drink and wear, and what he will not eat and drink and
wear; how many meals per day he will have, and at what times he will have them; at what time
he will go to bed, and at what time get up. He should make rules for the right government of his
conduct in every department of his life, and should religiously adhere to them. To live loosely
and indiscriminately, eating and drinking and sensually indulging at the beck and call of appetite
and inclination, is to be a mere animal, and not a man with will and reason.

The beast in man must be scourged and disciplined and brought into subjection, and this can only
be done by training the mind and life on certain fixed rules of right conduct. The saint attains to
holiness by not violating his vows, and the man who lives according to good and fixed rules, is
strong to accomplish his purpose.

The sixth rule, that of controlling the tongue, must be practiced until one has perfect command of
his speech, so that he utters nothing in peevishness, anger, irritability, or with evil intent. The
man of strong will does not allow his tongue to run thoughtlessly and without check.

All these six rules, if faithfully practiced, will lead up to the seventh, which is the most important
of them all — namely, rightly controlling the mind. Self-control is the most essential thing in
life, yet least understood; but he who patiently practices the rules herein laid down, bringing
them into requisition in all his ways and undertakings, will learn, by his own experience and
efforts, how to control and train his mind, and to earn thereby the supreme crown of manhood —
the crown of a perfectly poised will.

5. Thoroughness

THOROUGHNESS consists in doing little things as though they were the greatest things in the
world. That the little things of life are of primary importance, is a truth not generally understood,
and the thought that little things can be neglected, thrown aside, or slurred over, is at the root of
that lack of thoroughness which is so common, and which results in imperfect work and unhappy

When one understands that the great things of the world and of life consist of a combination of
small things, and that without this aggregation of small things the great things would be
nonexistent, then he begins to pay careful attention to those things which he formerly regarded as
insignificant. He thus acquires the quality of thoroughness, and becomes a man of usefulness and
influence; for the possession or non-possession of this one quality may mean all the difference
between a life of peace and power, and one of misery and weakness.

Every employer of labor knows how comparatively rare this quality is — how difficult it is to
find men and women who will put thought and energy into their work, and do it completely and
satisfactorily. Bad workmanship abounds. Skill and excellence are acquired by few.
Thoughtlessness, carelessness, and laziness are such common vices that it should cease to appear
strange that, in spite of "social reform," the ranks of the unemployed should continue to swell,
for those who scamp their work today will, another day, in the hour of deep necessity, look and
ask for work in vain.

The law of the survival of the fittest is not based on cruelty, it is based on justice: it is one aspect
of that divine equity which everywhere prevails. Vice is "beaten with many stripes"; if it were
not so, how could virtue be developed? The thoughtless and lazy cannot take precedence of, or
stand equally with, the thoughtful and industrious. A friend of mine tells me that his father gave
all his children the following piece of advice:

"Whatever your future work may be, put your whole mind upon it and do it thoroughly; you need
then have no fear as to your welfare, for there are so many who are careless and negligent that
the services of the thorough man are always in demand."

I know those who have, for years, tried almost in vain to secure competent workmanship in
spheres which do not require exceptional skill, but which call chiefly for forethought, energy,
and conscientious care. They have discharged one after another for negligence, laziness,
incompetence, and persistent breaches of duty — not to mention other vices which have no
bearing on this subject; yet the vast army of the unemployed continues to cry out against the
laws, against society, and against Heaven.

The cause of this common lack of thoroughness is not far to seek; it lies in that thirst for pleasure
which not only creates a distaste for steady labor, but renders one incapable of doing the best
work, and of properly fulfilling one‘s duty. A short time ago, a case came under my observation
(one of many such), of a poor woman who was given, at her earnest appeal, a responsible and
lucrative position. She had been at her post only a few days when she began to talk of the
"pleasure trips" she was going to have now she had come to that place. She was discharged at the
end of a month for negligence and incompetence.

As two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, so the mind that is occupied with
pleasure cannot also be concentrated upon the

perfect performance of duty.

Pleasure has its own place and time, but its consideration should not be allowed to enter the mind
during those hours which should be devoted to duty. Those who, while engaged in their worldly
task, are continually dwelling upon anticipated pleasures, cannot do otherwise than bungle
through their work, or even neglect it when their pleasure seems to be at stake.

Thoroughness is completeness, perfection; it means doing a thing so well that there is nothing
left to be desired; it means doing one‘s work, if not better than anyone else can do it, at least not
worse than the best that others do. It means the exercise of much thought, the putting forth of
great energy, the persistent application of the mind to its task, the cultivation of patience,
perseverance, and a high sense of duty. An ancient teacher said, "If anything has to be done, let a
man do it, let him attack it vigorously"; and another teacher said, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth
to do, do it with thy might."

He who lacks thoroughness in his worldly duties, will also lack the same quality in spiritual
things. He will not improve his character; will be weak and half-hearted in his religion, and will
not accomplish any good and useful end. The man who keeps one eye on worldly pleasure and
the other on religion, and who thinks he can have the advantage of both conditions, will not be
thorough either in his pleasure seeking or his religion, but will make a sorry business of both. It
is better to be a whole-souled worldling than a half-hearted religionist; better to give the entire
mind to a lower thing than half of it to a higher.

It is preferable to be thorough, even if it be in a bad or selfish direction, rather than inefficient

and squeamish in good directions, for thoroughness leads more rapidly to the development of
character and the acquisition of wisdom; it accelerates progress and unfoldment; and while it
leads the bad to something better, it spurs the good to higher and ever higher heights of
usefulness and power.

6. Mind-Building and Life-Building

EVERYTHING, both in nature and the works of man, is produced by a process of building. The
rock is built up of atoms; the plant, the animal, and man are built up of cells; a house is built of
bricks, and a book is built of letters. A world is composed of a large number of forms, and a city
of a large number of houses. The arts, sciences, and institutions of a nation are built up by the
efforts of individuals. The history of a nation is the building of its deeds.
The process of building necessitates the alternate process of breaking down. Old forms that have
served their purpose are broken up, and the material of which they are composed enters into new
combinations. There is reciprocal integration and disintegration. In all compounded bodies, old
cells are ceaselessly being broken up, and new cells are formed to take their place.

The works of man also require to be continually renewed until they have become old and useless,
when they are torn down in order that some better purpose may be served. These two processes
of breaking down and building up in Nature are called death and life; in the artificial works of
man they are called destruction and restoration.

This dual process, which obtains universally in things visible, also obtains universally in things
invisible. As a body is built of cells, and a house of bricks, so a man‘s mind is built of thoughts.
The various characters of men are none other than compounds of thoughts of varying
combinations. Herein we see the deep truth of the saying, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is
he." Individual characteristics are fixed processes of thought; that is, they are fixed in the sense
that they have become such an integral part of the character that they can be only altered or
removed by a protracted effort of the will, and by much self-discipline. Character is built in the
same way as a tree or a house is built— namely, by the ceaseless addition of new material, and
that material is thought. By the aid of millions of bricks a city is built; by the aid of millions of
thoughts a mind, a character, is built.

Every man is a mind builder, whether he recognizes it or not. Every man must perforce think,
and every thought is another brick laid down in the edifice of mind. Such "brick laying" is done
loosely and carelessly by a vast number of people, the result being unstable and tottering
characters that are ready to go down under the first little gust of trouble or temptation.

Some, also, put into the building of their minds large numbers of impure thoughts; these are so
many rotten bricks that crumble away as fast as they are put in, leaving always an unfinished and
unsightly building, and one which can afford no comfort and no shelter for its possessor.

Debilitating thoughts about one‘s health, enervating thoughts concerning unlawful pleasures,
weakening thoughts of failure, and sickly thoughts of self-pity and self-praise are useless bricks
with which no substantial mind temple can be raised.

Pure thoughts, wisely chosen and well placed, are so many durable bricks which will never
crumble away, and from which a finished and beautiful building, and one which affords comfort
and shelter for its possessor, can be rapidly erected.

Bracing thoughts of strength, of confidence, of duty; inspiring thoughts of a large, free,

unfettered, and unselfish life, are useful bricks with which a substantial mind temple can be
raised; and the building of such a temple necessitates that old and useless habits of thought be
broken down and destroyed.

"Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul! As the swift seasons roll."
Each man is the builder of himself. If he is the occupant of a jerry-built hovel of a mind that lets
in the rains of many troubles, and through which blow the keen winds of oft-recurring
disappointments, let him get to work to build a more noble mansion which will afford him better
protection against those mental elements. Trying to weakly shift the responsibility for his jerry-
building on to the devil, or his forefathers, or anything or anybody but himself, will neither add
to his comfort, nor help him to build a better habitation.

When he wakes up to a sense of his responsibility, and an approximate estimate of his power,
then he will commence to build like a true workman, and will produce a symmetrical and
finished character that will endure, and be cherished by posterity, and which, while affording a
never failing protection for himself, will continue to give shelter to many a struggling one when
he has passed away.

The whole visible universe is framed on a few mathematical principles. All the wonderful works
of man in the material world have been brought about by the rigid observance of a few
underlying principles; and all that there is to the making of a successful, happy, and beautiful
life, is the knowledge and application of a few simple, root principles.

If a man is to erect a building that is to resist the fiercest storms, he must build it on a simple,
mathematical principle, or law, such as the square or the circle; if he ignores this, his edifice will
topple down even before it is finished.

Likewise, if a man is to build up a successful, strong, and exemplary life — a life that will
stoutly resist the fiercest storms of adversity and temptation — it must be framed on a few
simple, undeviating moral principles.

Four of these principles are Justice, Rectitude, Sincerity, and Kindness. These four ethical truths
are to the making of a life what the four lines of a square are to the building of a house. If a man
ignores them and thinks to obtain success and happiness and peace by injustice, trickery, and
selfishness, he is in the position of a builder who imagines he can build a strong and durable
habitation while ignoring the relative arrangement of mathematical lines, and he will, in the end,
obtain only disappointment and failure.

He may, for a time, make money, which will delude him into believing that injustice and
dishonesty pay well; but in reality his life is so weak and unstable that it is ready at any moment
to fall; and when a critical period comes, as come it must, his affairs, his reputation, and his
riches crumble to ruins, and he is buried in his own desolation.

It is totally impossible for a man to achieve a truly successful and happy life who ignores the
four moral principles enumerated, whilst the man who scrupulously observes them in all his
dealings can no more fail of success and blessedness than the earth can fail of the light and
warmth of the sun so long as it keeps to its lawful orbit; for he is working in harmony with the
fundamental laws of the universe; he is building his life on a basis which cannot be altered or
overthrown, and, therefore, all that he does will be so strong and durable, and all the parts of his
life will be so coherent, harmonious, and firmly knit that it cannot possibly be brought to ruin.
In all the universal forms which are built up by the Great Invisible and unerring Power, it will be
found that the observance of mathematical law is carried out with unfailing exactitude down to
the most minute detail. The microscope reveals the fact that the infinitely small is as perfect as
the infinitely great.

A snowflake is as perfect as a star. Likewise, in the erection of a building by man, the strictest
attention must be paid to every detail.

A foundation must first be laid, and, although it is to be buried and hidden, it must receive the
greatest care, and be made stronger than any other part of the building; then stone upon stone,
brick upon brick is carefully laid with the aid of the plumb line, until at last the building stands
complete in its durability, strength, and beauty.

Even so it is with the life of a man. He who would have a life secure and blessed, a life freed
from the miseries and failures to which so many fall victims, must carry the practice of the moral
principles into every detail of his life, into every momentary duty and trivial transaction. In every
little thing he need be thorough and honest, neglecting nothing.

To neglect or misapply any little detail— be he commercial man, agriculturist, professional man,
or artisan— is the same as neglecting a stone or a brick in a building, and it will be a source of
weakness and trouble.

The majority of those who fail and come to grief do so through neglecting the apparently
insignificant details.

It is a common error to suppose that little things can be passed by, and that the greater things are
more important, and should receive all attention; but a cursory glance at the universe, as well as a
little serious reflection on life, will teach the lesson that nothing great can exist which is not
made up of small details, and in the composition of which every detail is perfect.

He who adopts the four ethical principles as the law and base of his life, who raises the edifice of
character upon them, who in his thoughts and words and actions does not wander from them,
whose every duty and every passing transaction is performed in strict accordance with their
exactions, such a man, laying down the hidden foundation of integrity of heart securely and
strongly, cannot fail to raise up a structure which shall bring him honor; and he is building a
temple in which he can repose in peace and blessedness— even the strong and beautiful Temple
of his life.

7. Cultivation of Concentration

CONCENTRATION, or the bringing of the mind to a center and keeping it there, is vitally
necessary to the accomplishment of any task. It is the father of thoroughness and the mother of
excellence. As a faculty, it is not an end in itself, but is an aid to all faculties, all work. Not a
purpose in itself, it is yet a power which serves all purposes. Like steam in mechanics, it is a
dynamic force in the machinery of the mind and the functions of life.
The faculty is a common possession, though in its perfection it is rare— just as will and reason
are common possessions, though a perfectly poised will and a comprehensive reason are rare
possessions— and the mystery which some modern mystical writers have thrown around it is
entirely superfluous.

Every successful man, in whatever direction his success may lie, practices concentration, though
he may know nothing about it as a subject of study; every time one becomes absorbed in a book
or task, or is rapt in devotion or assiduous in duty, concentration, in a greater or lesser degree, is
brought into play.

Many books purporting to give instructions on concentration make its practice and acquisition an
end in itself. Than this, there is no surer nor swifter way to its destruction. The fixing of the eyes
upon the tip of the nose, upon a doorknob, a picture, a mystical symbol, or the portrait of a saint;
or the centering of the mind upon the navel, the pineal gland, or some imaginary point in space (I
have seen all these methods seriously advised in works on this subject) with the object of
acquiring concentration, is like trying to nourish the body by merely moving the jaw as in the act
of eating, without taking food. Such methods prevent the end at which they aim.

They lead towards dispersion and not concentration; towards weakness and imbecility rather than
towards power and intelligence. I have met those who have squandered, by these practices, what
measure of concentration they at first possessed, and have become the prey of a weak and
wandering mind.

Concentration is an aid to the doing of something; it is not the doing of something in itself. A
ladder has no divine knowledge, or the sweeping of a floor — without resorting to methods
which have no practical bearing on life; for what is concentration but the bringing of a well
controlled mind to the doing of that which has to be done?

He who does his work in an aimless, a hurried, or thoughtless manner, and resorts to his artificial
"concentration methods" — to his doorknob, his picture, or nasal extremity — in order to gain
that which he imagines to be some kind of mystical power — but which is a very ordinary and
practical quality — though he may drift towards insanity (and I knew one man who became
insane by these practices), he will not increase in steadiness of mind.

The great enemy of concentration — and therefore of all skill and power— is a wavering,
wandering, undisciplined value in and of itself, but only in so far as it enables us to reach
something which we could not otherwise reach. In like manner, concentration is that which
enables the mind to accomplish with ease that which it would be otherwise impossible to
accomplish; but of itself it is a dead thing, and not a living accomplishment.

Concentration is so interwoven with the uses of life that it cannot be separated from duty; and he
who tries to acquire it apart from his task, his duty, will not only fail, but will diminish, and not
increase, his mental control and executive capacity, and so render himself less and less fit to
succeed in his undertakings.
A scattered and undisciplined army would be useless. To make it effective in action and swift in
victory it must be solidly concentrated and masterfully directed. Scattered and diffused thoughts
are weak and worthless. Thoughts marshaled, commanded, and directed upon a given point, are
invincible; confusion, doubt, and difficulty give way before their masterly approach.
Concentrated thought enters largely into all successes, and informs all victories.

There is no more secret about its acquirement than about any other acquisition, for it is governed
by the underlying principle of all development, namely, practice. To be able to do a thing, you
must begin to do it, and keep on doing it until the thing is mastered. This principle prevails
universally— in all arts, sciences, trades; in all learning, conduct, religion. To be able to paint,
one must paint; to know how to use a tool skillfully, he must use the tool; to become learned, he
must learn; to become wise, he must do wise things; and to successfully concentrate his mind, he
must concentrate it. But the doing is not all— it must be done with energy and intelligence.

The beginning of concentration, then, is to go to your daily task and put your mind on it,
bringing all your intelligence and mental energy to a focus upon that which has to be done; and
every time the thoughts are found wandering aimlessly away, they should be brought promptly
back to the thing in hand.

Thus the "center" upon which you are to bring your mind to a point, is (not your pineal gland or
a paint in space), but the work which you are doing every day; and your object in thus
concentrating is to be able to do your work with smooth rapidity and consummate skill; for until
you can thus do your work, you have not gained any degree of control over the mind; you have
not acquired the power of concentration.

This powerful focusing of one‘s thought and energy and will upon the doing of things is difficult
at first as everything worth acquiring is difficult— but daily efforts, strenuously made and
patiently followed up, will soon lead to such a measure of self-control as will enable one to bring
a strong and penetrating mind to bear upon any work undertaken; a mind that will quickly
comprehend all the details of the work, and dispose of them with accuracy and dispatch.

He will thus, as his concentrative capacity increases, enlarge his usefulness in the scheme of
things, and increase his value to the world, thus inviting nobler opportunities, and opening the
door to higher duties; he will also experience the joy of a wider and fuller life.

In the process of concentration there are the four following stages:

1. Attention.

2. Contemplation.

3. Abstraction.

4. Activity in Repose.
At first the thoughts are arrested, and the mind is fixed upon the object of concentration, which is
the task in hand— this is attention. The mind is then roused into vigorous thought concerning the
way of proceeding with the task— this is contemplation.

Protracted contemplation leads to a condition of mind in which the doors of the senses are all
closed against the entrance of outside distractions, the thoughts being wrapped in, and solely and
intensely centered upon, the work in hand — this is abstraction. The mind thus centered in
profound cogitation reaches a state in which the maximum of work is accomplished with the
minimum of friction— this is activity in repose.

Attention is the first stage in all successful work. They who lack it fail in everything. Such are the
lazy, the thoughtless, the indifferent and incompetent. When attention is followed by an
awakening of the mind to serious thought, then the second stage is reached. To ensure success in
all ordinary, worldly undertakings, it is not necessary to go beyond these two stages.

They are reached, in a greater or lesser degree, by all that large army of skilled and competent
workers which carries out the work of the world in its manifold departments, and only a
comparatively small number reach the third stage of abstraction; for when abstraction is reached,
we have entered the sphere of genius.

In the first two stages, the work and the mind are separate, and the work is done more or less
laboriously, and with a degree of friction; but in the third stage, a marriage of the work with the
mind takes place, there is a fusion, a union, and the two become one: then there is a superior
efficiency with less labor and friction. In the perfection of the first two stages, the mind is
objectively engaged, and is easily drawn from its center by external sights and sounds; but when
the mind has attained perfection in abstraction, the subjective method of working is
accomplished, as distinguished from the objective.

The thinker is then oblivious to the outside world, but is vividly alive in his mental operations. If
spoken to, he will not hear; and if plied with more vigorous appeals, he will bring back his mind
to outside things as one coming out of a dream; indeed, this abstraction is a kind of waking
dream, but its similarity to a dream ends with the subjective state: it does not obtain in the mental
operations of that state, in which, instead of the confusion of dreaming, there is perfect order,
penetrating insight, and a wide range of comprehension. Whoever attains to perfection in
abstraction will manifest genius in the particular work upon which his mind is centered.

Inventors, artists, poets, scientists, philosophers, and all men of genius, are men of abstraction.
They accomplish subjectively, and with ease, that which the objective workers— men who have
not yet attained beyond the second stage in concentration— cannot accomplish with the most
strenuous labor.

When the fourth stage— that of activity in repose— is attained, then concentration in its
perfection is acquired. I am unable to find a single word which will fully express this dual
condition of intense activity combined with steadiness, or rest, and have therefore employed the
term "activity in repose."
The term appears contradictory, but the simple illustration of a spinning top will serve to explain
the paradox. When a top spins at the maximum velocity, the friction is reduced to the minimum,
and the top assumes that condition of perfect repose which is a sight so beautiful to the eye, and
so captivating to the mind, of the schoolboy, who then says his top is "asleep."

The top is apparently motionless, but it is the rest, not of inertia, but of intense and perfectly
balanced activity. So the mind that has acquired perfect concentration is, when engaged in that
intense activity of thought which results in productive work of the highest kind, in a state of quiet
poise and calm repose. Externally, there is no apparent activity, no disturbance, and the face of a
man who has acquired this power will assume a more or less radiant calmness, and the face will
be more sublimely calm when the mind is most intensely engaged in active thought.

Each stage of concentration has its particular power. Thus the first stage, when perfected, leads
to usefulness; the second leads to skill, ability, talent; the third leads to originality and genius;
while the fourth leads to mastery and power, and makes leaders and teachers of men.

In the development of concentration, also, as in all objects of growth, the following stages
embody the preceding ones in their entirety. Thus in contemplation, attention is contained; in
abstraction, both attention and contemplation are embodied; and he who has reached the last
stage, brings into play, in the act of contemplation, all the four stages.

He who has perfected himself in concentration is able, at any moment, to bring his thoughts to a
point upon any matter, and to search into it with the strong light of an active comprehension. He
can both take a thing up and lay it down with equal deliberation. He has learned how to use his
thinking faculties to fixed purposes, and guide them towards definite ends. He is an intelligent
doer of things, and not a weak wanderer amid chaotic thought.

Decision, energy, alertness, as well as deliberation, judgment, and gravity, accompany the habit
of concentration; and that vigorous mental training which its cultivation involves, leads, through
ever increasing usefulness and success in worldly occupations, towards that higher form of
concentration called "meditation," in which the mind becomes divinely illumined, and acquires
the heavenly knowledge.

8. Practice of Meditation

WHEN aspiration is united to concentration, the result is meditation. When a man intensely
desires to reach and realize a higher, purer, and more radiant life than the merely worldly and
pleasure loving life, he engages in aspiration; and when he earnestly concentrates his thoughts
upon the finding of that life, he practices meditation.

Without intense aspiration, there can be no meditation. Lethargy and indifference are fatal to its
practice. The more intense the nature of a man, the more readily will he find meditation, and the
more successfully will he practice it. A fiery nature will most rapidly scale the heights of Truth
in meditation, when its aspirations have become sufficiently awakened.
Concentration is necessary to worldly success: meditation is necessary to spiritual success.
Worldly skill and knowledge are acquired by concentration: spiritual skill and knowledge are
acquired by meditation. By concentration a man can scale the highest heights of genius, but he
cannot scale the heavenly heights of Truth: to accomplish this, he must meditate.

By concentration a man may acquire the wonderful comprehension and vast power of a Caesar;
by meditation he may reach the divine wisdom and perfect peace of a Buddha. The perfection of
concentration is power; the perfection of meditation is wisdom.

By concentration, men acquire skill in the doing of the things of life — in science, art, trade,
etc.,— but by meditation, they acquire skill in life itself; in right living, enlightenment, wisdom,
etc. Saints, sages, saviors— wise men and divine teachers — are the finished products of holy

The four stages in concentration are brought into play in meditation; the difference between the
two powers being one of direction, and not of nature. Meditation is therefore spiritual
concentration; the bringing of the mind to a focus in its search for the divine knowledge, the
divine life; the intense dwelling, in thought, on Truth.

Thus a man aspires to know and realize, above all things else, the Truth; he then gives attention
to conduct, to life, to self-purification: giving attention to these things, he passes into serious
contemplation of the facts, problems, and mystery of life: thus contemplating, he comes to love
Truth so fully and intensely as to become wholly absorbed in it, the mind is drawn away from its
wanderings in a multitude of desires, and, solving one by one the problems of life, realizes that
profound union with Truth which is the state of abstraction; and thus absorbed in Truth, there is
that balance and poise of character, that divine action in repose, which is the abiding calm and
peace of an emancipated and enlightened mind.

Meditation is more difficult to practice than concentration because it involves a much more
severe self-discipline than that which obtains in concentration. A man can practice concentration
without purifying his heart and life, whereas the process of purification is inseparable from

The object of meditation is divine enlightenment, the attainment of Truth, and is therefore
interwoven with practical purity and righteousness. Thus while, at first, the time spent in actual
meditation is short — perhaps only half an hour in the early morning — the knowledge gained in
that half hour of vivid aspiration and concentrated thought is embodied in practice during the
whole day.

In meditation, therefore, the entire life of a man is involved; and as he advances in its practice he
becomes more and more fitted to perform the duties of life in the circumstances in which he may
be placed, for he becomes stronger, holier, calmer, and wiser. The principle of meditation is
twofold, namely:

1. Purification of the heart by repetitive thought on pure things.

2. Attainment of divine knowledge by embodying such purity in practical life.

Man is a thought being, and his life and character are determined by the thoughts in which he
habitually dwells. By practice, association, and habit, thoughts tend to repeat themselves with
greater and greater ease and frequency; and so "fix" the character in a given direction by
producing that automatic action which is called "habit."

By daily dwelling upon pure thoughts, the man of meditation forms the habit of pure and
enlightened thinking which leads to pure and enlightened actions and well performed duties. By
the ceaseless repetition of pure thoughts, he at last becomes one with those thoughts, and is a
purified being, manifesting his attainment in pure actions, in a serene and wise life.

The majority of men live in a series of conflicting desires, passions, emotions, and speculations,
and there are restlessness, uncertainty, and sorrow; but when a man begins to train his mind in
meditation, he gradually gains control over this inward conflict by bringing his thoughts to a
focus upon a central principle.

In this way the old habits of impure and erroneous thought and action are broken up, and the new
habits of pure and enlightened thought and action are formed; the man becomes more and more
reconciled to Truth, and there is increasing harmony and insight, a growing perfection and peace.

A powerful and lofty aspiration towards Truth is always accompanied with a keen sense of the
sorrow and brevity and mystery of life, and until this condition of mind is reached, meditation is
impossible. Merely musing, or whiling away the time in idle dreaming (habits to which the word
meditation is frequently applied), are very far removed from meditation, in the lofty spiritual
sense which we attach to that condition.

It is easy to mistake reverie for meditation. This is a fatal error which must be avoided by one
striving to meditate. The two must not be confounded. Reverie is a loose dreaming into which a
man falls; meditation is a strong, purposeful thinking into which a man rises. Reverie is easy and
pleasurable; meditation is at first difficult and irksome.

Reverie thrives in indolence and luxury; meditation arises from strenuousness and discipline.
Reverie is first alluring, then sensuous, and then sensual. Meditation is first forbidding, then
profitable, and then peaceful. Reverie is dangerous; it undermines self-control. Meditation is
protective; it establishes self-control.

There are certain signs by which one can know whether he is engaging in reverie or meditation.

The indications of reverie are:

1. A desire to avoid exertion.

2. A desire to experience the pleasures of dreaming.

3. An increasing distaste for one‘s worldly duties.

4. A desire to shirk one‘s worldly responsibilities.

5. Fear of consequences.

6. A wish to get money with as little effort as possible.

7. Lack of self-control.

The indications of meditation are:

1. Increase of both physical and mental energy.

2. A strenuous striving after wisdom.

3. A decrease of irksomeness in the performance of duty.

4. A fixed determination to faithfully fulfill all worldly responsibilities.

5. Freedom from fear.

6. Indifference to riches.

7. Possession of self-control.

There are certain times, places, and conditions in and under which it is impossible to meditate,
others wherein it is difficult to meditate, and others wherein meditation is rendered more
accessible; and these, which should be known and carefully observed, are as follows:

Times, Places, and Conditions in which Meditation is Impossible:

1. At, or immediately after, meals.

2. In places of pleasure.

3. In crowded places.

4. While walking rapidly.

5. While lying in bed in the morning.

6. While smoking.

7. While lying on a couch or bed for physical or mental relaxation.

Times, Places and Conditions in which Meditation is Difficult:

1. At night.

2. In a luxuriously furnished room.

3. While sitting on a soft, yielding seat.

4. While wearing gay clothing.

5. When in company.

6. When the body is weary.

7. If the body is given too much food.

Times, Places, and Conditions in which it is Best to Meditate:

1. Very early in the morning.

2. Immediately before meals.

3. In solitude.

4. In the open air or in a plainly furnished room.

5. While sitting on a hard seat.

6. When the body is strong and vigorous.

7. When the body is modestly and plainly clothed.

It will be seen by the foregoing instructions that ease, luxury, and indulgence (which induce
reverie) render meditation difficult, and when strongly pronounced make it impossible; while
strenuousness, discipline, and self-denial (which dispel reverie), make meditation comparatively
easy. The body, too, should be neither overfed nor starved; neither in rags nor flauntingly
clothed. It should not be tired, but should be at its highest point of energy and strength, as the
holding of the mind to a concentrated train of subtle and lofty thought requires a high degree of
both physical and mental energy.

Aspiration can often best be aroused, and the mind renewed in meditation, by the mental
repetition of a lofty precept, a beautiful sentence or a verse of poetry. Indeed, the mind that is
ready for meditation will instinctively adopt this practice. Mere mechanical repetition is
worthless, and even a hindrance.

The words repeated must be so applicable to one‘s own condition that they are dwelt upon
lovingly and with concentrated devotion. In this way aspiration and concentration harmoniously
combine to produce, without undue strain, the state of meditation. All the conditions above stated
are of the utmost importance in the early stages of meditation, and should be carefully noted and
duly observed by all who are striving to acquire the practice; and those who faithfully follow the
instructions, and who strive and persevere, will not fail to gather in, in due season, the harvest of
purity, wisdom, bliss, and peace; and will surely eat of the sweet fruits of holy meditation.

9. The Power of Purpose

DISPERSION is weakness; concentration is power. Destruction is a scattering, preservation a

uniting, process. Things are useful and thoughts are powerful in the measure that their parts are
strongly and intelligently concentrated. Purpose is highly concentrated thought.

All the mental energies are directed to the attainment of an object, and obstacles which intervene
between the thinker and the object are, one after another, broken down and overcome. Purpose is
the keystone in the temple of achievement. It binds and holds together in a complete whole that
which would otherwise lie scattered and useless.

Empty whims, ephemeral fancies, vague desires, and half-hearted resolutions have no place in
purpose. In the sustained determination to accomplish there is an invincible power which
swallows up all inferior considerations, and marches direct to victory.

All successful men are men of purpose. They hold fast to an idea, a project, a plan, and will not
let it go; they cherish it, brood upon it, tend and develop it; and when assailed by difficulties,
they refuse to be beguiled into surrender; indeed, the intensity of the purpose increases with the
growing magnitude of the obstacles encountered.

The men who have molded the destinies of humanity have been men mighty of purpose. Like the
Roman laying his road, they have followed along a well defined path, and have refused to swerve
aside even when torture and death confronted them. The Great Leaders of the race are the mental
road makers, and mankind follows in the intellectual and spiritual paths which they have carved
out and beaten.

Great is the power of purpose. To know how great, let a man study it in the lives of those whose
influence has shaped the ends of nations and directed the destinies of the world. In an Alexander,
a Caesar, or a Napoleon, we see the powe