"Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."--St. John 8:32
Sage: If a thing is true, there is a definite way in which it is true. And the truest thing in Life is that it contains inherent within itself absolute joy and liberty of mind, body, and affairs.
Pupil: Do you mean that my understanding of Life's laws can give me the realization of perfect liberty in my individual life?
Sage: Yes, providing you do not make the common error of judging everything from a material standpoint only. Recent research in physical science has established the fact that there is enough power in a lump of clay to destroy a city. All the average mind is able to see is the inert clay, whereas, in reality, it is the physical instrument which contains the invisible power.
Pupil: Then when I understand the law of vibration, I can get anything I want; achieve anything I desire?
Sage: Life fills all space, and through the understanding and use of Life's laws, you can give direction to a particular quality of creative force, which, if held in place by the will, is absolutely certain to reproduce in a corresponding physical form. What every human being wants is more liberty and more joy in life. From whatever angle you study the subject of Life, you will find that degrees of livingness and liberty are invariably manifested by varying degrees of intelligence. What you would term inanimate life represents the lower forms of intelligence; in plant life you recognize a higher degree of intelligence. To illustrate this, look at a flower. Is it not beautiful? Does it not prove to you the indisputable presence of a Great Intelligence which is expressing itself as beauty, form, and color, and above all, joy?
Sage: Still you will not find it difficult to recognize in the animal kingdom a quality of Life and Intelligence which is greatly in advance of that manifested in the flower. Then the intelligence which expresses itself in the mind of man as the power of initiative and selection is the highest expression of Intelligent Life. Thus you see that the inanimate, the plant, the animal, and the human all represent the same Universal Life, the only difference being in the varying degrees of intelligence. For example: You are expressing a very high degree of intelligence in desiring to understand the laws of Life. When you have discovered some part of these laws, you will ascend the scale of intelligence as you make practical application of your discoveries. Another example: Two men leave college with the same degrees and situated very similarly relative to social and financial position. Both study the laws of Mind; both are obliged to struggle. One, by making a great mental effort, keeps mentally above the discouraging conditions, and finally becomes a smooth read, while the other one becomes disheartened and ill, barely eking out a miserable existence. You can readily see where the high form of intelligence was manifested in these two cases. Intelligence was there, but it could only grow by being used constructively.
How Degrees of Intelligence Prove Man's Place in the Universe
Sage: The greater your intelligence, the more easily you can call into action the highest order of creative energy. The more highly you develop your intelligence (and I do not mean by this intellectuality or book learning --I mean self-education) the more you will find your old limited ideas of what you are not, cannot be, do, or have, imperceptibly slipping away. By using your intelligence and resting upon it to guide you Godward, you will come to recognize that you are as much a part of the very highest Intelligence as a drop of water in a part of the ocean. This steady recognition on your part, carried into your everyday affairs, will give you control over adverse circumstances, which you realize are, after all, only effects of lower degrees of intelligence, and will deliver you from falling a victim of a material universe. You are not a victim; you are a part of the Universe.
Pupil: Just what do you mean by "effects of lower degrees of intelligence?"
Sage: I mean, by a lower degree of intelligence, one that is unable to recognize itself as being one of the highest forms of life. The highest degree of intelligence is that form of life which is able to recognize itself as related to all existing Intelligence. For example: You can easily recall the last difficult situation you came through. It was the expression of the highest form of Intelligence which enabled you to think your way out of that.
The Intelligence Which Distinguishes Us from the Ape
Sage: You recognized your difficulty, but you also recognized your intelligence as being able to draw to itself, from out the whole Universe, ways and means of meeting that perplexing problem. The Law is ever the same. When you are convinced that every physical circumstances or thing has its origin in corresponding activities of the mind (thought), you are able to conquer adversity in any form, because you know you can always control your thoughts. You must always be determined do to your own thinking.
Pupil: It is not difficult for me to understand that the flower is the result of some invisible power, which must be Intelligence, but for me to realize that this same life and intelligent power in my life is not easy. I had not been taught to think in this way. However, you have made me realize that if I wish to learn, I must put into practice the directions you have given me. So when I needed to have five hundred dollars at a certain time and could not see any possible means of getting it, I tried to follow your instructions by mentally seeing myself as doing the thing I wished to do. I visualized myself paying my obligation, and in some way, which is still a mystery, I was able to feel quite calm about it. I made my mental picture and actually forgot to worry about the ways and means, and the money came. I did not quite understand then, and I do not know now, just how it happened. All that I am able to realize is that, by my obedience to your teaching, the day was saved for me, and I shall not forget it.
Now I would like to know if we inherit our tendencies of mind?
Sage: Most of us inherit our thoughts, just as we inherit the color of our eyes. If you intend to understand the relation existing between mental action and material conditions sufficiently well to control your circumstances, you must think for yourself, and in your own way, irrespective of what your ancestors thought, even though some of them might have brought desired results.
Pupil: That seems as impossible as reaching the horizon. However, if you tell me that I can arrive at the place where circumstances and conditions will be under my control, through a steady and determined effort to find out the truth along these lines, I shall do my own thinking from this moment. My present condition, however, seems beyond the control of any human being, much less myself and there have been times when I did control certain conditions, but at other times the same conditions were beyond my control. Why was that?
The Secret of Controlling Your Life Forces
Sage: The reason you succeeded, without understanding the power which you possesses, was that you used it unconsciously, according to the law of its own nature, and reached harmonious results (as in the incident that you have just related). Your ability, at all times, to use the unfailing power which is yours depends upon your recognition of its presence. The reason for your times of failure is that the distressing condition so wholly absorbs your attention that you are unable to think of anything else. At such times you entirely lose sight of the fact that your individual mind is the instrument through and in which the very highest form of intelligence and unfailing power is endeavoring to express itself. Also, that it always takes the form of your habitual thought. Therefore, when you believe that a situation is beyond your control, so it is.
Pupil: Which means that my control of circumstances is entirely measured by my capacity to know that the life and intelligence in me is the same Life and Intelligence which brought me into existence? The same Life in trees and all nature, and I tune in with all Life? Will this steady recognition give me direct contact with all the power and intelligence which exists? Would simply dwelling on this thought solve any situation which might arise?
Sage: No. "Faith without works is dead." God without expression is a nonentity. Thought without action is powerless. But your recognition that you are inseparably connected with the joy, life, intelligence, and power of the Great Whole, unwavering maintained and carried into practical application, will solve any problem, because your thought calls into specific action ideas of the very highest degree of intelligence and power, which naturally controls the lesser degrees. "The Lesser modes of life are in bondage to the law of their own being because they do not know the law." Therefore, when you know the Laws of Life, this knowledge gives you ideas which enable you to control all adverse circumstances and conditions.
Pupil: This is all so new to me, I do not quite grasp your meaning. Will you please give me an illustration?
How to Light the Pathway of Your Life
Sage: Well, suppose you were in a room where every comfort had been provided for you, but the room was in total darkness, and you were unable to locate the things you desired, although you were conscious of their presence. You were told that the room was electrically lighted, and instinctively you began to grope your way along the wall, where you were accustomed to look for a light switch. For hours you passed your hands up and down the walls as far as you could reach until you were quite fatigued. You were about to give up the search and make the best of a bad situation, but, overlapping this thought, there came the resolve that you would not abandon your effort until you had located it. You were determined to enjoy the good things awaiting you, so you renewed your search with the feeling of assurance that ultimately you would find a way to turn on the light.
After more fruitless endeavor, you paused to rest, and to wonder where that switch could possibly be, "It must be here, and I shall find it," you said to yourself, and again you passed your hands over the walls, although you felt certain that you had gone over every inch that you could reach. This time your thoughts and movements were not quite so tense, although equally determined. As your hands moved slowly up and down, your mind caught the idea that the switch might not be on the wall at all. You paused a moment, and the suggestion that it might be on the floor registered in your consciousness. But reason stepped in and argued, "Impossible. Whoever head of a light switch being placed on the floor!" But, the suggestion persisted, "why not try"
You have gone over what first seemed the most reasonable places to find it. Try the floor." So then you began to reach out uncertainly with your feet for some projection on the floor which might be a light switch.
Finding the Light
Almost instantly your feet came into contact with an unfamiliar object. You put your hand on what seemed to be a push button, but no light appeared. Nevertheless, you now felt quite sure that you had located the switch. You paused, and involuntarily asked yourself, "How does this thing work? It won't push and it won't pull." Back came the answer within yourself like a spoken word. "Sidewise." You moved it sidewise, and the room as flooded with light. Your joy at thus finding a responsive intelligence within yourself could not be expressed in words. It was a rapture of the heart which many have felt at times.
Pupil: Oh, I am so glad that the switch was found through clinging to the right mental attitude! Does such persistent effort always meet with such a satisfactory reward?
Sage: Yes, persistent, confident endeavor always brings satisfaction. In order to give you a complete picture from which you may logically reason in the future, let us consider the same situation from an opposite angle.
Imagine yourself in the same room under the same conditions. After several attempts at feeling around in the dark, you begin to feel tired, more or less discouraged, and you reason with yourself thus "Oh, what is the use? There may be a light switch in this room, and the room may contain everything I require, and again it may not." But something indefinable in yourself convinces you that not only is the light there, but so, also, are the things you enjoy and desire. You answer right back to yourself, "Well, if everything is here which I need and would enjoy, what a pity that I cannot find the switch! What a strange and unreasonable way some people have of doing things! I wonder why the light was not already turned on for me."
Pupil: You make it seem that one almost involuntarily and invariably blames circumstances or people for his failures.
"The Fault, Dear Brutus, Lies Not in the Stars, But in Ourselves, That We are Underlings"
Sage: You must admit that it is rare to find anyone who realizes that the cause of his failure or continued misfortune lies within himself. The reason for this is an almost universal lack of understanding on the part of the individual that a certain quality of thought brings to the consciousness a recognition of an intelligent power capable of attracting to him, and directing him to, the fulfillment of his purpose and the attainment of his desire. On the other hand, the inversion of this same power effects a negative result.
Pupil: You mean that a certain quality of thought enables one to do and be what he wishes, while the misuse of the same power seems to thwart one's purpose?
Sage: Yes. The idea is to use your power of thought and feeling positively, in order to attain positive results. Use it negatively, and you get negative results, because the unchangeable law is, "Intelligence always manifests in responsiveness." The whole action of the evolutionary process of Life, from its first inanimate beginning up to its manifestation in human form, is one continual intelligent response.
If you would induce yourself to recognize the presence of a Universal Intelligence which permeates all nature, you must also recognize a corresponding hidden deep down in all things --in the trees, the weeds, and flowers, in the animals, and in fact, in everything --which is ever ready to spring into action when appealed to. It will respond to your call as a child would obey when bidden to come and play.
In your first experience in the dark room, your all-absorbing thought was not so much about the darkness as about the light, and how it could be turned on. The positive "I will" quality of your thought brought up from the depth of your inmost soul a steady flow of intelligent power, which finally penetrated through to your intellect and guided your hand to the switch.
Pupil: But the second time when I also thought I must find the switch, there was no enlightened response. It seems to me that this is one's everyday experience. The first case seems like a miraculous coincidence.
Don't Look for Coincidences in Life: Every Effect Has Its Cause
Sage: Oh, no. All is Life, and all is law and order. There are no coincidences in reality, no "happen so's." You will realize this if you will recall some of your own experiences similar to the ones used in the illustrations. You often feel that you must have "light," and, after several attempts to avail yourself to it, your thought and feeling settle into the "I cannot do it" groove; "it may be possible for those who know how, but I don't," etc. The best method of learning the truth about this is to live your past experiences over again. Analyze what your thoughts and feelings were when you succeeded, and when you failed. Then draw your own deductions. No written or spoken words equal this kind of instruction.
Remember that all space is filled with a responsive Intelligence and Power ever ready to take any form which your sustaining thought-demand creates. This power can work only in terms of the thought instrument through which it operates. Humanity generally admits Jesus' ability, Jesus' power to use the spirit of intelligent life to produce material conditions --as in turning water into wine, but they doubt their ability to use the same Power in themselves, in spite of Jesus' assurance, "All things are possible unto you." Now this statement is either true or false. If true it is because your mind is the instrument in and through which this intelligent Principle of Life takes initiative action, and this action, in turn, is always in accordance with the laws of life, which are subjective in their nature.
Life's Greatest Purpose is to Express Joy, Beauty, and Power
Pupil: Am I right in concluding that this lesson in life, which is an ever-present, limitless, intelligent power, is ready at all times to be guided in any direction that my sustained thought may give it? If I permit to be anxious, discouraged, dissatisfied, I bring into action repelling, destructive forces? Life's purpose is to give expression to Its joy, beauty, and power, through Its particular instrument, my thought. Is this right?
Sage: You have grasped the letter of the lesson in a remarkable way. Now it remains only for you to experience the happiness of what you have learned. Do this by putting your knowledge to practical application, never losing sight of the fact that no matter what justification you may think you have at the time, any feeling of discouragement, dissatisfaction, or anxiety causes the fulfillment of your right desire to recede further and further away from you. Whereas, by persistent and determined endeavor to trust your own desires and ambitions as the specific expression of the universal loving, guiding, and protecting Principle, you will find that your supply for their fulfillment will unfold to you greater and greater liberty in every direction.
Pupil: When one does not wish to entertain negative thoughts, how can the sense of discouragement and anxiety be shut out? I am sure that it is not because one enjoys feeling worried that it seems so difficult to eliminate it. Do you mean that it is as possible to snap out of a thought one doesn't want as it is to step from one room to another? I should like to know how that is accomplished, as I have many unwelcome thoughts which I am wholly unable to dismiss at the time. After a period they leave, but it seems to me they use their own sweet will about it. I have honestly tried to rid myself of thoughts, which seemed to cling all the tighter when I tried to throw them off. It would be wonderful to cast off a thought as one would a garment! How can it be done?
Sage: By keeping a positive attitude of mind regarding your innermost desire as an accomplished fact, whether it be for a state of mind or for a thing. You cannot think positive and negative thoughts at the same time.
Pupil: Oh, is that true? It seems to me I have often been speaking to someone on a certain subject while my thoughts were on an entirely different one.
You Can Actually Think of Only One Thing at a Time
Sage: You were thinking one thing and saying another. You had only one thought. You automatically said one thing while thinking another. In short, your words were not the expression of the thought in your mind. Suppose you give yourself a test; try to think of yourself as a success and a failure at the same time. You will find it impossible to think positively and negatively simultaneously.
In our next lesson we will take this up more extensively and prove why it is true. Also why you, as an individual, can control circumstances, whether they be mental, physical, or financial, through the understanding of your personal relationship to the Intelligence which governs the universe.
Pupil: I know that what you say is true, but just what method should I employ to accomplish this? There are times when I become cross and impatient with myself because I give way to anxiety and fear (the very things which I know now will cause my defeat). And yet I will do it, just as I will eat something I like even though I know it will disagree with me. Could you give me a formula to use at such times?
How to Drive Anxiety Out of Your Mind
Sage: When the triad of enemies --fear, anxiety, and discouragement --assails you, poisoning your mind and body, weakening your power to attract what you want, begin instantly to take deep breaths, and repeat as fast as you can, aloud or silently, the following affirmation, which is an antidote to the poison and a powerful assurance and attraction of Good:
"The Life in me is inseverably connected with all the life that exists, and it is entirely devoted to my personal advancement."
If you are alert and can make this affirmative thought overlap the negative, anxious suggestion, you will very soon free yourself. If the tendency to dwell on these erroneous beliefs keeps recurring, go where you can be alone, repeat your affirmation, and endeavor to lift your mind up to your words, much as you would lift your breath from the bottom to the top of your lungs. Never be impatient with yourself because you do not quite succeed in your every endeavor. It is your intention that counts, not necessarily the absolute fulfillment of the letter. The ALL-KNOWING POWER THAT IS understands and rewards accordingly. Be diligent and patient, and you will surely succeed.