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True Use Of Kindness And Sympathy

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The ordinary use of sympathy is responsible for a very large portion of the ills and the troubles we find in the world; the reason being that nearly all suffering is mental before it is physical, and that mental suffering is almost invariably produced when we enter into sympathetic touch with the ills that we meet among relations, friends or associates. The average person would suffer but little if he suffered only from the troubles that arise in his own system. It is the pain that is felt through sympathy for others that gives him most of the burdens he finds it necessary to bear. It is considered a sign of kindness, goodness and high regard, however, to sympathize with others in this manner, or rather to suffer with others, but this is not the true use of kindness.

We do not help others by entering into the same weakness that is keeping them in a world of distress. We do not help the weak by becoming weak. We do not relieve sickness by becoming sick. We do not right the wrong by entering into the wrong, or doing wrong. We do not free man from failures by permitting ourselves to become failures. We do not emancipate those who are in bondage to sin by going and committing the same sin. This is very simple; but ordinary sympathy is based upon the idea that we sympathize with a person only when we suffer with that person.

We expect to relieve pain by proceeding to produce the same pain in our own systems; but we cannot remove darkness by entering into the dark We can remove wrong only by removing the cause of that wrong, and to remove the cause of wrong we must produce the cause of right. Darkness disappears when we produce light; likewise, sickness and trouble will vanish when we produce health and harmony, but we cannot produce health and harmony by entering into disease and trouble. This, however, is what ordinary sympathy does; it has, therefore, failed to relieve the world. The ordinary use of sympathy multiplies suffering by making suffering contagious. It causes the suffering of the one to give pain to the many, and then in turn causes the pain of the many to give additional pain to each individual person whose sympathy is aroused in the same connection. We must remove everything that tends to make ills contagious, whether it is physical or mental, and it is very evident that ordinary sympathy does spread pains and ills to a very great degree. Therefore, one of the first essentials in producing emancipation or in making real the ideal is to find the true use of sympathy.

Sympathy itself must not be removed, because it is one of the highest virtues of the soul. The average person, however, misapplies this virtue continuously, and in consequence brings pains and ills both to himself and others, that could easily have been prevented. There is a better use for sympathy, and through this better use we cause all the good things in life to become contagious. Instead of entering into sympathetic touch with the weakness that may temporarily exist in the personality of man we enter into sympathetic touch with the strength that permanently exists in the soul of man.

Instead of morbidly dwelling upon the ills and the wrongs which we find we proceed to gain the highest possible realization of the good, the right, the superior and the beautiful that we know has existence back of and above the superficial life of human nature. According to a metaphysical law, when we enter into mental contact with the good in man we awaken the power of that which is good in man, and the most perfect mental contact is produced by sympathy.

To sympathize with the soul is to increase the active power of the soul, because we always arouse into greater action that with which we sympathize, and when the active power of the soul is increased the weakness of the personality will become strength. To sympathize with the power of health and harmony in man will increase the power of health and harmony throughout his entire system and the elimination of sickness and trouble must inevitably follow. To sympathize with the pain a person may feel is to do nothing to relieve that person. You take the pain to yourself, but you do not take the pain away from the person with whom you sympathize.

You thus double the suffering instead of removing it entirely, as you should. On the other hand, when we refuse to recognize the suffering itself and proceed to awaken in that person that something that can remove the suffering we protect ourselves from pain, while we actually do something to relieve that person from pain. We do not suffer with the person that suffers, but we do something to remove suffering absolutely from everybody concerned; instead of entering into the pain we take that person out of pain. That is sympathy that is sympathy.

That is kindness that really results in a kind act. It does not weep, but does better. It removes both the cause and the effect of the weeping. It awakens that superior power in man that positively does produce emancipation. It does not cause suffering to be transmitted to a score of other persons who have done nothing to merit that suffering, but it stops the pain where it is and puts it out of existence absolutely.

Every form of suffering comes from the violation of some law in life. It is therefore wrong, but it cannot be righted by making a special effort to spread the results of that wrong among as many others as possible. This, however, ordinary sympathy does; it makes a special effort to make everybody feel bad because some one is not feeling as he should; but the pains of the many cannot give ease and comfort to the one, nor can many minds in bondage set one mind free.

When any one is feeling bad it will not help him to have a group of morbid minds suffer with him. When any one is sorry it will not remove the cause of his grief to have others decide to be sorry also. Do something so that person will not feel bad any more. Take him out of his trouble. That is real sympathy; and while you are helping him out make him feel that your heart is as tender as tenderness itself. Do something so that the grief may be removed through the realization of that greater truth that knows that all is well. That is kindness worthy of the name.

Those, however, who are in the habit of sympathizing in the ordinary way may think the new way cold, and devoid of feeling or love, but the fact is that it is the ordinary form of sympathy that is devoid of love. When you love a person who is in pain you will not stand around and weep pretending that you are also feeling bad. You will put on the countenance of light and cheerfulness and actually do something tangible to remove his pain.

That's love; and if you have real sympathy, you will minister to him with so much depth of feeling and tender kindness that you will touch the very innermost life of his soul. All love, all tenderness, all kindness and all real feeling come from the soul. Therefore, he whose sympathy is of the soul will receive his love and his kindness directly from the true source; in consequence, he will have more love and more kindness by far than the one whose sympathy is a form of morbid feeling.

The real purpose of true sympathy is twofold; first, to arouse in a greater measure that finer something in everybody with whom one may come in contact that will arouse this greater something, not only in others, but also in him who lives in this form of sympathy. In other words, to sympathize with the superior in man is to banish the wrong and the inferior by causing the expression of that divine something within that has the power to in life that is not only tender and sweet and beautiful, but is also immensely strong, strong with the strength of the Infinite; and second, to awaken everything in man that has quality, superiority and worth; that is, to make man feel the supreme power of his own inherent divinity.

There is something in man that is greater than all weakness, all ills, all wrongs, and when this something is awakened, developed and expressed, all weakness, all ills and all wrongs must disappear. To sympathize with this greater something makes all things well. Such a sympathy will tend to build a stronger life, a better life, a superior life, a more beautiful life; and to give such a sympathy to everybody is kindness indeed.

There may seem to be kindness in weeping with those who weep, but it is a far greater kindness to give those people the power to banish their sorrows completely, and he who does this is not cold; he is the very essence of the highest and most beautiful love. There is no joy in having sorrow. There is no pleasure in having pain. Therefore, what greater good can man do for man than to help him gain complete emancipation from all those things, and this is the purpose of this higher use of sympathy.

True sympathy is neither cold nor purely intellectual. It is real soul-feeling, while ordinary sympathy is simply a morbid mental feeling. True sympathy is the very fire of real spiritual love, because it springs from the very soul of love and is in constant touch with the unbounded power of that love. That such a sympathy should have extraordinary emancipating power is therefore most evident. The ordinary use of sympathy may appear to be kind. It may mean well, but it is usually misdirected kindness, and is nearly always weak. The higher use of sympathy, that is, the expression of divine sympathy, is not only kindness itself, but it has the spiritual understanding and the spiritual power to do what kindness wants to do.

Ordinary kindness is usually crippled. It lacks both the power to do and the understanding to know what to do. The true sympathy, however, not only has the power to feel kindly, but has the power to act kindly. It not only gives love and makes everybody feel that they are in the presence of real love, but it also gives that something that can cause the purpose of love to come true. Real love invariably aims to produce comfort, peace and emancipation. That is its purpose, and real sympathy can fulfill that purpose. Therefore, this higher sympathy is the sympathy that is sympathy.

The same principle should be employed in the use of every form of emotion, because every emotion is a movement of the mind conveying mental elements and powers with certain definite objects in view. Therefore, the way the emotion acts will determine to a very great extent whether these mental powers will build for better things, or produce undesirable conditions. Those movements of the mind or emotions that express themselves in love, heartfelt joy and spiritual feeling have a beneficial effect; while that mental feeling that is usually termed emotionalism is never wholesome.

True spiritual feeling is calm, but extremely beautiful and awakens orderly and harmoniously all the finer elements of human life. It is true spiritual feeling, or what may be termed emotions sublime, that gives action and expression to personal quality, mental worth and individual superiority. In other words, it is these actions of mind and soul that elevate thought, action, feeling, consciousness and desire above the planes of the ordinary. Such emotions should therefore be cultivated to the very highest and finest degree.

What is spoken of as heartfelt joy is that wholesome joy that comes directly from the heart and that has depth, reality and joyous feeling; but that joy that runs into uncontrolled ecstasy is never wholesome. Every feeling of joy that causes the mind to be carried away into excited or overwrought ecstasy is not joy, but mental intoxication. Such joy does not produce genuine happiness, and the reaction always disturbs the equilibrium of the wind.

Depth of thought, clear thinking, intellectual brilliancy, good judgment, mental poise, all of these will diminish in the mind that indulges in uncontrolled ecstasy, emotionalism or pleasure that produces excitability and overwrought emotional feeling. The feeling of love, when it is love, is always wholesome and elevating, but passionate desire is weakening unless it is permeated through and through with genuine love. A deep, strong feeling of love will turn all desires, whether mental or physical, into constructive channels, but we must be certain that it is real love and not an artificial feeling temporarily produced by the misuse of the imagination.

Here every mental movement that is intense, forced, overwrought or worked up to an abnormal pitch of excited enthusiasm leads to emotionalism, and emotionalism burns up energy. Nearly all kinds of nervous diseases can be traced directly or indirectly to emotionalism in one or more of its many forms; and as physical and mental weakness always follows the burning up of energy, a number of physical and mental ills can be traced to this source.

When emotionalism, fear, anger and worry are eliminated, all kinds of insanity and all kinds of nervous diseases will be things of the past; while the power, the capacity and the brilliancy of the average mind will increase to an extraordinary degree. Strong emotional feelings and intense enthusiasm will sometimes arouse a great deal of dormant, mental power. In consequence, people sometimes do exceptional things while under the emotional spell, but the entire process, as well as the final results, are very similar to that produced by alcoholic stimulants and other drugs. The system seems to be charged with a great deal of extra power for a while, but when the reaction comes the entire system becomes much weaker than it ever was before. The mind that permits itself to be aroused by intense, emotional feeling will gradually lose its power of clear thought.

The understanding will become so weakened that the principles of real truth cannot be fully comprehended, while the judgment will follow more and more the illusions of an overwrought imagination. The fact that religious feeling among millions is so closely associated with this overwrought state of emotionalism proves the importance of a better understanding of the use of these finer mental elements. Emotionalism compels the mind to follow mere feeling, and mere feeling, when not properly blended with clear understanding, will be misdirected at every turn.

Emotionalism also stupefies the finer perceptions by intoxicating the mind, and by burning up the finer mental energies; and since these finer perceptions are required to discern real truth we understand readily why highly emotional people cannot comprehend the principles of pure, spiritual metaphysics. Having been trained towards materialistic literalism instead of away from it, they are not to blame, however, for their present state and deserve no criticism. Nevertheless, those who wish to find real religion and real spirituality must learn to understand the psychology of emotion and must learn the true use of all the finer feelings of the mind.

There is something in man that is called religious feeling. It is present to a greater or lesser degree in everybody and cannot be removed, because it is a part of life itself. When in action, and it is never inactive very long, it expresses itself in some power of emotion. When this emotion or delicate mental movement is permitted to act without any definite purpose it becomes emotionalism; that is, mental energy running rampant, and becoming more and more intense until it destroys itself, as well as all the energy it originally contained.

On the other hand, when this feeling is directed towards the highest and the most perfect conception of truth, life and being that the mind can possibly picture, all that is lofty, ideal and beautiful will be developed in the mind and soul of that individual. This is natural, because there is nothing that has greater developing power than deep, spiritual feeling; a fact that those who desire to develop remarkable ability, extraordinary talent and rare genius will do well to remember.

There is no mental faculty that is more readily affected by the emotions than the imagination, and since the imagination is such a very important faculty, no mental or physical action that in any way interferes with the constructive work of the imagination should be permitted. Emotionalism, however, invariably excites the imagination, and an excited imagination will imagine all sorts of things that are not true. The mind will thus be filled with illusions, and in consequence, false beliefs, wrong thoughts, perverted states and misdirected mental energy will follow.

The result will be sickness, trouble, mistakes and failures in one or more of their many forms. It is now a well demonstrated truth that every thought has a definite power of its own, and, that power will produce its natural effect in some part of the human system. If the thought is not good the effect will naturally be undesirable, and conditions will be produced in mind or body that we do not want. But whatever we imagine, that we think; therefore, when we excite the imagination we imagine all manner of things that are untrue, unreal or abnormal; we produce false or perverted thought action in the mind; we think the wrong, and wrong thoughts invariably produce wrong conditions in mind or body, or both.

What we imagine we reproduce in ourselves to some degree, frequently to a marked degree; but an excited imagination simply cannot imagine what is good and wholesome. In every form of development, whether in the body, the mind or the soul, the imagining faculty is employed extensively. All growth is promoted by combining and recombining the elements of life in higher and higher forms, and since it is one of the functions of the imagination to produce these higher, more complex and more perfect combinations, development cannot take place unless the imagination works orderly, constructively and progressively.

An excited imagination will produce false mental combinations or may waste energy by attempting to combine mental elements that will not combine. An orderly imagination may be likened to a skilled workman who builds a beautiful mansion out of his bricks, while an excited imagination might be likened to some one who can do nothing more than pile those bricks into a heap. The fact that emotionalism always excites the imagination proves therefore how impossible it is for minds with uncontrolled emotions to develop the greatness that is latent within them.

Another fact of great importance in this connection is that emotionalism will intensify every mental tendency that may be active in mind at the time. If there is a tendency towards abnormal desires, emotionalism will intensify those desires so that it will be very difficult to resist temptation should it appear. On the other hand, pure spiritual feeling would transmute those desires, and produce instead, an ascending tendency, thus leading all the forces of mind towards higher ground.

To overcome emotionalism, intense mental feeling, anger, excitability and all overwrought or abnormal mental states, turn attention upon the spiritual heights of the soul whenever such mental feelings are felt. By training all mental feelings and emotions to move toward the deeper and the higher spiritual state of being these same feelings will become stronger, deeper, finer and more beautiful than they ever were before. We then establish the foundation upon which we can build an ideal character, and through such a character all the qualities of mind and soul can be used beneficially in the midst of every experience, whatever the nature of that experience may be.

To cause all the emotions to follow ascending tendencies will increase remarkably the power, the fineness, the life and the rapture of every phase of feeling, not only in the soul, but in the mind and the body as well. Every trace of coldness, indifference or lack of feeling will entirely disappear, and we shall develop instead that higher form of kindness, sympathy and spiritual emotion that is created in the likeness of divine emotion. Whoever employs this method will not permit his feelings to run wild at any time, but will cause the life and the power of every feeling to accumulate in his system.

He will hold them all in poise and use their energies intelligently in the building up of his whole life and in adding to the joy, the rapture and the delight of the living of a full, strong, ever-ascending state of existence. That person who controls his feelings and turns all the energies of those feelings upon the spiritual heights of the soul will actually become a living flame of love, sympathy and sublime emotion. Such a person will enjoy everything intensely, but his joy will be in such a high state of harmony that he will waste nothing in his life; instead, all the elements and powers of his life will continue to accumulate, thus giving added strength, worth and superiority to everything that he may physically, mentally or spiritually possess.

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