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Dear all,

 

The following text is being offered at no charge in it's entirety. 

 

James Allen's work is classic and I also offer his work As a Man Thinketh here.

 

Enjoy with peace.

 

Love, Love, Love,

 

Jenifer

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE - These texts are being offered in their entirety for personal use only.  Redistribution in any part is not authorized and NO REVENUE in any form is to be obtained from the use of these files.  PLEASE RESPECT THIS POLICY. 

 

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THE WAY OF PEACE

 

 

BY JAMES ALLEN

 

CONTENTS

 

THE POWER OF MEDITATION

 

THE TWO MASTERS, SELF AND TRUTH

 

THE ACQUIREMENT OF SPIRITUAL POWER

 

THE REALIZATION OF SELFLESS LOVE

 

ENTERING INTO THE INFINITE

 

SAINTS, SAGES, AND SAVIORS; THE LAW OF SERVICE

 

THE REALIZATION OF PERFECT PEACE

 

 

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 that

 

    "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.

 

 

 

 

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 Truth.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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 character.

 

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 principle.

 

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.

 

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 recognize

 

    "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 things.

 

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 found.

 

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 heart.

 

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 peace.

 

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.

 

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 Eternal.

 

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.

 

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, indestructible.

 

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 service.

 

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.

 

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 children.

 

    "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 you.

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

   Happy Tweets begin January 2013!

 

 

 

 

 

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