The best minds now believe that the ideal can be made real; that every lofty idea can be applied in practical living, and that all that is beautiful on the heights of existence can be made permanent expressions in personal existence. …
The ideal world is limitless and the process of making real the ideal is endless. To know how to begin is the principal secret, and he who has learned this secret may go on further and further, forever and forever, until he reaches the most sublime heights that endless existence has in store. …
No attempt has been made to formulate the ideas, methods and principles presented, into a definite system. In fact, the tendency to form a new system of thinking or a new philosophy of life, has been purposely avoided. Closely defined systems invariably become obstacles to advancement, and we are not concerned with new philosophies of life. Our purpose is the living of a greater and a greater life, and in such a life all philosophies must constantly change.
In preparing the following pages, the object has been to… emphasize the fact that the possibilities that are latent in the human mind are nothing less than marvelous, and that the way to turn those possibilities to practical use is sufficiently simple for anyone to understand. But no method has been presented that will not tend to suggest new and better methods as required for further advancement. The best ideas are those that inspire new ideas, better ideas, greater ideas. The most perfect science of life is that science that gives each individual the power to create and recreate his own science as he ascends in the scale of life.
Great souls are developed only where minds are left free to employ the best known methods according to their own understanding and insight. And it is only as the soul grows greater and greater that the ideal can be made real. It is individuality and originality that give each person the power to make his own life as he may wish it to be; but those two important factors do not flourish in definite systems. There is no progress where the soul is placed in the hands of methods; true and continuous progress can he promoted only where all ideas, all methods and all principles are placed in the hands of the soul.
We have selected the best ideas and the best methods known for making the ideal real, and through this work, will place them in your hands. We do not ask you to follow these methods; we simply ask you to use them.
To have ideals is not only simple but natural. It is just as natural for the mind to enter the ideal as it is to live. In fact, the ideal is an inseparable part of life; but to make the ideal real in every part of life is a problem, the solution of which appears to be anything but simple. To dream of the fair, the high, the beautiful, the perfect, the sublime, that everyone can do; but everyone has not learned how to make his dreams come true, nor realize in the practical world what he has discerned in the transcendental world.
The greatest philosophers and thinkers in history, with but few exceptions, have failed to apply their lofty ideas in practical living, not because they did not wish to, but because they had not discovered the scientific relationship existing between the ideal world and the real world. The greatest thinker of the past century confessed that he did not know how to use in every day life the remarkable laws and principles that he had discovered in the ideal. He knew, however, that those laws and principles could be applied; that the ideal could be made real, and he stated that he positively knew that others would discover the law of realization, and that methods would be found in the near future through which any ideal could be made real in practical life; and his prophecy has come true.
To understand the scientific relationship that exists between the real and the ideal, the mind must have both the power of interior insight and the power of scientific analysis, as well as the power of practical application; but we do not find, as a rule, the prophet and the scientist in the same mind. The man who has visions and the man who can do things do not usually dwell in the same personality; nevertheless, this is necessary. And every person can develop both the prophet and the scientist in himself. He can develop the power to see the ideal and also the power to make the ideal real. The large mind, the broad mind, the deep mind, the lofty mind, the properly developed mind can see both the outer and the inner side of things.
Such a mind can see the ideal on high, and at the same time understand how to make real, tangible and practical what he has seen. The seeming gulf between the ideal and the real, between the soul's vision and the power of practical action is being bridged in thousands of minds today, and it is these minds who are gaining the power to make themselves and their own world as beautiful as the visions of the prophet; but the ideal life and the world beautiful are not for the few only. Everybody should learn how to find that path that leads from the imperfections of present conditions to the world of ideal conditions, the world of which we have all so frequently dreamed.
To proceed, the principal obstacle must first be removed; and this obstacle is the tendency to lose faith whenever we fail to make real the ideal the very moment we expect to do so. This tendency is present to some degree in nearly every mind that is working for greater things, and it postpones the day of realization whenever it is permitted to exercise its power of retrogression.
Many a person has fallen into chronic despondency after having had a glimpse of the ideal, because it was so very beautiful, so very desirable, in fact, the only one thing that could satisfy, and yet seemingly so far away and so impossible to reach. But here is a place where we must exercise extraordinary faith. We must never recognize the gulf that seems to exist between our present state and the state we desire to reach. On the other hand, we must continue in the conviction that the gulf is only seeming and that we positively shall reach the ideal that appears in the splendors of what seems to be a distant future, although what actually is very near at hand.
Those who have more faith and more determination do not, as a rule, fall down when they meet this seeming gulf; they inwardly know that every ideal will some time be realized. It could not be otherwise, because what we see in the distance is invariably something that lies in the pathway of our own eternal progress, and if we continue to move forward we must inevitably reach it. But even to these the ideal does at times appear to be very far away, and the time of waiting seems very long. They are frequently on the verge of giving up and fears arise at intervals that many unpleasant experiences may, after all, be met before the great day of realization is gained; however, we cannot afford to entertain such fears for a moment nor to think that anything unpleasant can transpire during the period of transition; that is, the passing from the imperfections of present conditions to the joys and delights of an ideal life.
We must remember that… no matter what our object in view may be, and that discouragement is very liable to cause a break in the engine that is to take our train to the fair city we so long have desired to reach.
The time of waiting may seem long during such moments as come when the mind is down, but so long as the mind is on the heights the waiting time disappears, and the pleasure of pursuit comes to take its place. …
There are many who give up temporarily all efforts toward reaching their ideals, thinking it is impossible and that nothing is gained by trying, but such minds should realize that they are simply making their future progress more difficult by retarding their present progress. Such minds should realize the great fact that every ideal can be made real, because nothing is impossible.
…So long as we continue to pursue the ideal we ascend into larger and larger mental states, and thus increase our power to make real the ideals that are before us. The belief that it is impossible to make real the ideal has no foundation whatever in truth. It is simply an illusion produced by fear and has no place in the exact science of life. When you discern an ideal you discover something that lies in your own onward path. Move forward and you simply cannot fail to reach it; but when you are to reach the coveted goal depends upon how rapidly you are moving now. Knowing this, and knowing that fear, doubt, discouragement and indifference invariably retard this forward movement, we shall find it most profitable to remove those mental states absolutely.
The true attitude is the attitude of positive conviction; that is, to live in the strong conviction that whatever we see before us in the ideal will positively be realized, sooner or later, if we only move forward, and we can make it sooner if we will move forward steadily, surely and rapidly during every moment of the great eternal now. To move forward steadily during the great eternal now is to realize now as much of the ideal as we care to appropriate now; no waiting therefore is necessary.
To begin to move forward is to begin to make real the ideal, and we will realize in the now as much of the ideal as is necessary to make the now full and complete. To move forward steadily during the great eternal now is to eternally become more than you are; and to become more than you are is to make yourself more and more like your ideal; and here is the great secret, because the principle is that you will realize your ideal when you become exactly like your ideal, and that you will realize as much of your ideal now as you develop in yourself now.
The majority, however, feel that they can never become as perfect as their ideal; others, however, think that they can, and that they will sometime, but that it will require ages, and they dwell constantly upon the unpleasant belief that they may in the meantime have to pass through years and years of ordinary and undesirable experience; but they are mistaken, and besides, are retarding their own progress every moment by entertaining such thoughts.
If all the time and all the energy that is wasted in longing and longing, yearning and yearning were employed in scientific, practical self development, the average person would in a short time become as perfect as his ideal. He would thus realize his ideal, because we attract from the without what corresponds exactly to what is active in our own within. When we attain the ideal and the beautiful in our own natures, we shall meet the ideal and the beautiful wherever we may go in the world, and we will find the same things in the real that we dreamed of in the ideal.
When we see an ideal we usually begin to long for it and hope that something remarkable may happen so as to bring it into our possession, and we thus continue to long and yearn and wait with periods of despondency intervening. We simply use up time and energy to no avail. When we see an ideal the proper course to pursue is to begin at once to develop that ideal in our own nature. We should never stop to wait and see whether it is coming true or not, and we should never stop to figure how much time it may require to reach our goal. The secret is, begin now to be like your ideals, and at the proper time that ideal will be made real.
The very moment you begin to rebuild yourself in the exact likeness of your ideal you will begin to realize your ideal, because we invariably gain possession of that of which we become conscious; and to begin to develop the ideal in ourselves is to begin to become conscious of the ideal. To give thought to time is to stop and measure time in consciousness, and every stop in consciousness means retarded progress. Real progress is eternal; it is a forward movement that is continuous now, and in the realization of such a progress no thought is ever given to time. To live in the life of eternal progress is to gain ground every moment. It means the perpetual increase of everything that has value, greatness and worth, and the mind that lives in such a life cannot possibly be discouraged or dissatisfied. Such a mind will not only live in the perpetual increase of everything that heart can wish for, but will also realize perpetually the greatest joy of all joys, the joy of going on. The discouraged mind is the mind that lives in the emptiness of life, but there can be no emptiness in that life that lives in the perpetual increase of all that is good and beautiful and ideal. …
When we understand that we all may have different ideals we will find that we have an undeveloped correspondent in ourselves to every ideal that we may discern, and if we proceed to develop these corresponding parts there will be some ideals realized every day. Today we may succeed in making real an ideal that we first discovered a year ago. Tomorrow we may reach a goal towards which we have been moving for years, and in a few days we may realize ideals that we have had in view during periods of time varying from a few weeks to several years; and if we are applying the principles that underlie the process of making real the ideal, we may at any time realize ideals of which we have dreamed for a life time. Consequently, when we approach this subject properly we shall daily come into the possession of something that is our own. All the beautiful things of which we have dreamed will be coming into our world and there will be new arrivals every day.
This is the life of the real idealist, and we cannot picture a life that is more complete and more satisfying; but it is not only complete in the present. It is constantly growing larger and more desirable, thus giving us daily a higher degree of satisfaction and joy. When we discern an ideal that ideal has come within the circle of our own capacity for development, and the power to develop that ideal in ourselves is therefore at hand. The mind never discerns those ideals that are beyond the possibility of present development. Thus we realize that when an ideal is discerned it is proof positive that we have the power to make it real now.
Those who have not found their ideals in any shape or form whatever have simply neglected to make their own ideal nature strong, positive and pronounced. To live in negative idealism is to continue to dream on without seeing a single dream come true; but when the ideals we discern in our own natures become strong, positive working forces our dreams will soon come true; our ideals will be realized one after the other until life becomes what it is intended to be, a perpetual ascension into all that is rich, beautiful and sublime.
Whether we speak of environments, attainments, achievements, possessions, circumstances, opportunities, friends, companions or the scores of things that belong in our world, the law is the same. We receive an ideal only when we become just like that ideal. If we seek better friends, we shall surely find them and retain them, if we develop higher and higher degrees of friendship. If we wish to associate with refined people, we must become more refined in action, thought and speech. If we wish to reach our ideals in the world of achievement, we must develop greater ability, capacity and power. If we desire better environments, we must not only learn to appreciate the beautiful, but must also develop the power to produce those things that have true quality, high worth and real superiority. The great secret is to become more useful in the world; that is, useful in the largest and highest sense of that term. He who gives his best to the world will receive the best in return.
The world needs able men and women; people who can do things that are thoroughly worth while; people who can think great thoughts and transform such thoughts into great deeds; and to secure such men and women the world will give anything that it may hold in its possession. To make real the ideal, proceed to develop greatness, superiority and high worth in yourself. Train the mind to dwell constantly upon the borderland of the highest ideals that you can possibly picture; but do not simply yearn for what you can see, and do not covet what has not yet become your own. Proceed to remake yourself into the likeness of that ideal and it will become your own.
To proceed with this great development, the whole of life must be changed to conform with the exact science of life; that is, that science that is based upon the physical and the metaphysical united as the one expression of all that is great and sublime in the soul. The new way of thinking about things, viewing things and doing things must be adopted in full, and this new way is based upon the principle that the ideal actually is real, and therefore should be approached not as a future possibility, but as a present actuality.
Think of the ideal as if it were real and you will find it to be real. Meet all things as if they contained the ideal, and you will find that all things will present their ideals to you, not simply as mere pictures, but as realities. View the whole of life from the heights of existence; then you will see things as they are and deal with things accordingly; you will see that side of the whole of existence that may be termed the better side, and in consequence, you will grow into the likeness of that better side. When you grow into the likeness of the better side of all things, you will attract the better side of all things, and the ideal in everything in the world will be made real in your world.
To formulate rules in detail that will apply to each individual case is neither possible nor necessary. All have not the same present needs nor the same previous training; but there are certain general principles that apply to all, and these, if followed according to the individual viewpoint, will produce the results desired. If the proper beginning is made, the subsequent results will not only be greater and be realized in less time, but much useless experience and delay will be avoided. These principles, or prime essentials, are as follows:
When you undertake to live an ideal life and seek to promote your advancement in every direction, you will find that much cannot be gained until your entire being is placed in a proper condition for growth; the reason being that the ideal is ever advancing toward higher ideals, and you must improve yourself before you can better your life.
It has been found that all laws of growth require order, harmony and stillness for proper action; therefore, to live peacefully, think peacefully, act peacefully and speak peacefully are important essentials. This will not only put the entire being into proper condition for growth, but will also conserve energy, and when you begin to live the larger life you will want to use properly all your forces; neither misusing or wasting anything.
To acquire stillness never "try hard," but simply exercise general self control in everything you do. Never be anxious about results, and they will come with less effort, and in less time. Whenever you have a moment to spare relax the whole person, mind and body; just let everything fall into the easiest position possible. Make no effort to relax, simply let go. So long as you try to relax you will not succeed. While in this relaxed condition be quiet; do not move a muscle; breathe deeply but gently, and think only of peace and stillness. Before you go to sleep at night relax your entire system, and fall asleep with peace in your mind; bathe your mind and body, so to speak, in the crystal sea of the beautiful calm.
These methods alone will work wonders in a few weeks. While you are at work hold yourself from anxious hurry or disturbed action; work in the attitude of poise and you will accomplish much more in the same given time and you will be a far better workman. Train yourself to come into the realization of perfect peace by gently holding a deep strong desire for peace and by ordering all your actions to harmonize with the peaceful goal in view. The result will be "the peace that passeth understanding," and for this alone your gratitude will be both boundless and endless.
Rejoice and Be Glad
Cheerfulness is not only a good medicine, but it is food for mind and body. The cheerful life will fill every atom with new life, and it is to the faculties of the mind what sunshine is to the flowers and trees…
Look at the bright side of things you develop brightness in yourself. This brightness will strengthen all your faculties so that you can easily overcome what obstacles may be in your way, and thus gain the victory desired. Direct your attention constantly to the bright side of things…
At first this may not be possible in the absolute sense, but perseverance never fails to win. However, do not try hard; gently direct your attention to the bright side and know that you can. Ere long it will be second nature for you to live on the sunny side. The value of this attainment is very great… because joyousness will increase life, power, energy and force; this we all know from personal experience, and we wish to have all the life and power that we can possibly secure…
Let your heart and your soul sing at all times. When you do not feel the joyous music within, produce it with your own imagination, and ere long it will come of itself with greater and greater abundance; your soul will want to sing because it feels music, and there are few joys that equal the joy that comes when music is felt in the soul. There are so many things that are sweet and beautiful in life that when we once find the key to harmony we shall always rejoice. In the meantime, be happy for the good you have found, and through that very attitude you will develop the power to attract better things than you ever had before. This personal existence is brimful of good things and happy souls will find them all.
Have Faith in Abundance
…Have faith in yourself; have faith in faith… Relate yourself to the best that is in everything.
We all know the value of self confidence, but faith is infinitely deeper, larger and higher. Self confidence helps us to believe in ourselves, as we are at present, and thus helps us to make a better use of the talents we now possess; but faith elevates the mind into the consciousness of our larger and superior possibilities, and thus increases perpetually the power, the capacity and the efficiency of the talents we now possess. Faith brings out the best that is within us and puts that best to work now.
He who follows faith may frequently go out upon the seeming void, but he always finds the solid rock. The reason is that faith has superior vision and goes instinctively to the very thing we desire to find. Faith does not expect things to come of themselves. Faith never stands and waits; it does things; but while at work believes that the goal will be reached and the undertaking accomplished. The person who works in the attitude of faith can never fail; because through faith he draws upon the inexhaustible.
Live in the Spirit
To express this statement in its simplest terms, we would say that to live in the spirit is to live in the upper story of mind and thought, or to live on the good side, the bright side and the true side of everything…
When we begin to think the truth all kinds of illusions and false beliefs will gradually vanish, and we shall not only understand that we are spiritual beings, but we shall feel that we are all that divine life can be…
To live in the spirit, live in the highest and most perfect state now, and do not for a moment come down. At first this state will simply be a life that is finer, larger and more harmonious, where things move more smoothly and where the value of life seems to constantly increase; but ere long living in the spirit will mean far more than merely a pleasing state of existence, and the further we advance the more this wonderful life will be…
The spiritual life is the real life, the foundation of all life, the essence of all life, the soul of all life, and every true statement concerning the spiritual life is an exact scientific fact readily demonstrated by anyone who will apply the principle. And happy is the soul that does apply this principle, for such a soul will find life in the spirit, not only to be real, but to be infinitely more perfect, more wonderful and more beautiful than anyone has ever dreamed.
Give your best to the world…
When we give our best we not only receive the best in return from the outer world, but we also receive the best from the inner world. When you give your best you bring forth your best, and it is the bringing forth of your best that causes you to become better and better. When you become better you will meet better people and enter into better environments, and everything in your life will change for the better, because like does attract like.
To give much is to become much, provided we give our best and give with the heart. The giving that comes simply from the hand does not count, no matter how large it may be. It brings nothing back to us nor does it bring permanent good to anybody else.
When you give your best you do not give from your oversupply or from that which you cannot use. If you have something that you cannot use, it does not belong to you, and you cannot give, in the true sense of the term, what is not your own.
To give does not mean simply to give money, unless that is the best you have; but rather to give your own service, your own talents, your ability, your own true worth and your own real self. The man who lives a real life at all times and under all circumstances is giving his best and the very best possible that can be given. A real life truly lived in the world is a power, and the person who lives such a life is a power for good wherever he may be. The presence of such a person is an inspiration and a light, as we all know. The man who loves the whole world with heart and soul, and loves without ceasing is doing far more for the race than he who endows universities, and will receive a far greater reward.
We must remember, however, that such a love is not mere sentiment. Real love is a power and will cause the person who has it to do his very best for everybody under every possible circumstance.
That person whose heart is with the race will never be satisfied with inferior work. He will never shirk nor leave the problems of life to somebody else; he will go in and push wherever something good is being done, and he will constantly endeavor to render better and better service where ever his field of action may be. Such a person will give his best to the world, whether he gives through the channels of art or mechanics, music or literature, physical labor or intellectual labor, ideas or real living.
What he does will be the best, and what he receives in return will be the best that the world is able to give. Give the best that you are through every thought, word and deed; that is the principle; and your life will be constantly enriched both from without and from within. Through the daily application of this principle you will develop superiority in mind, soul, character and life, and the world will be better off because you are here.
Look for the best everywhere and you will find the best wherever you go. Why this is so is a matter upon which many delight to speculate, but the why does not concern us just now. It is the fact that this law works that concerns us, and concerns us very much. Not everybody can fully understand why the best is always found by him who never looks for anything but the best, but everybody can look for the best everywhere and thereby find the best; and it is the finding of the best that attracts our attention. It is real results that we are looking for, and the simpler the method the better.
The man who will constantly apply this law will not remain in undesirable environments very long, nor will he occupy an inferior position very long; better things will positively come his way and he will not have to wait an age for the change. The man who looks for the best is constantly thinking about the best and constantly impressing his mind with the best thought about everything; and since man is as he thinks we can readily understand why such a man will become better and better; therefore, by looking for the best everywhere he will not only find the best in the external world, but he will create the best in his mental world; this will give him a greater mind, which in turn will produce higher attainments and greater achievements. That man, however, who is always looking for the worst will constantly think about the worst and will fill his mind with inferior thoughts; that he, himself, will become inferior by such a process is a foregone conclusion.
We shall positively find, sooner or later, what we constantly look for; it is, therefore, profitable to look for the best everywhere and at all times; we become like those things that we constantly and deeply think about; it is, therefore, profitable to think only of the best whatever may come or not. The average person may not find the best the very first day this principle is applied. Most of us have strayed so far away from this mode of thinking and living that it may take some time to get back to the path that leads to the best; but one thing is certain, whoever will look for the best everywhere, and continue to do so for a reasonable length of time, will find that path; besides, he will have more delightful experiences while he is training himself to apply this principle than he has had for any similar period before. This, however, will be only the beginning; the future has far greater things in store, if he will continue to look for the best and never look for anything else.
If you want present conditions to become stepping stones to better things, you must get on the better side of present conditions...
We must be in harmony with the present if we wish to advance, because in order to advance we must use the present, but we cannot use that with which we are not in harmony.
When a person fails to realize his ideals, there is a reason; usually the cause is this: he simply longs for the ideal but does not work himself up to the ideal. And to work himself up to the ideal he needs everything that he can get and use now; by taking what he can get he secures something to work with in promoting his present progress, and by looking upon this something as good he will turn it to good account.
Live in the present only, and seek to make the great eternal now as full and complete as possible. It is what we do for the present that counts; the past is gone, and the future is not ready to be acted upon. Give your time, your talent and your power to that which is now at hand and you will do things worth while, you will not waste thought upon what you expect to do, but you will turn all your energies upon that which you now can do; results will positively follow.
The man who does things worth while in the present will not have to worry about the future; for such a man the future has rich rewards in abundance. The greater the present cause the greater the future effect. …
He who lives for the present only will live a larger life, a happier life, a far more useful life; this is perfectly natural, because he will not scatter his forces over past ages and future ages, but will concentrate his whole life, all his power, all his ability upon that which he is trying to do now; he will be his best today, because he will give all of his best to the life of today, and he who is his best today will be still better tomorrow.
Make the best use of every occasion, and nothing but opportunities will come your way. He who makes the best of everything will attract the best of everything, and it is always an opportunity to meet the best.
There are occasions that seem worthless, and the average person thinks he is wasting time while he is passing through such states, but no matter how worthless the occasion may seem to be the one who makes the best use of it while he is in it will get something of real value out of it; in addition, the experience will have exceptional worth, because whenever we try to turn an occasion to good account we turn everything in ourselves to good account. The person who makes the best use of every occasion is developing his mind and strengthening his own character every day; to such a person every occasion will become an opportunity and will consequently place him in touch with the greater world of opportunities.
THE FIRST THOUGHT IN IDEAL THINKING.
The spiritual life being the complete life, the full expression of life in body, mind and soul, it is evident that the right use of the spiritual life will produce and bring everything that man may need or desire. The source of everything has the power to produce everything, provided the power within that source is used according to exact spiritual law.
The spiritual life being the source of all that is necessary to a full and perfect life, and the kingdom within being the source of the spiritual life, we can readily understand why the kingdom should be sought first; and also why everything that we may require will be added when the first thought is given to spiritual living, ideal thinking and righteous action. Righteous action, however, does not simply imply moral action, but the right use of the elements of life in all action.
Every part of the outer world is filled and permeated with an inner world, and everything that appears in the outer world is a partial manifestation or expression of what exists in a perfect and complete state in the inner world. …
Man is what he is in the without, because he has sought the corresponding elements in the within, and he may change the without in any manner desired by seeking first in the within those qualities and attributes that he may desire…
To give the first thought at all times to the great spiritual kingdom within, it is not necessary to withdraw attention from the outer world nor to deny one's self the good things that may exist in the outer world. To seek the kingdom first is to give one's strongest thought to the spiritual life, and to make spiritual thought the predominating thought in everything that one may do in life; in other words, live so closely to the spiritual kingdom within that you are fully conscious of that kingdom every moment, and depend absolutely upon supreme power to carry you through whatever you may undertake to do.
To seek the kingdom first the heart must be in the spirit; that is, to live in the full realization of the inner spiritual life at all times must be the one predominating desire. However, the mental conception of the spiritual life must not be narrow, but must contain the perfection of everything that can possibly appear in life.
To think of the spiritual life as being distinct from mind and body, is to prevent the elements of the great interior life from being expressed in mind and body, and what is not expressed cannot be lived. The spiritual life in this larger sense must be thoroughly lived in mind and body. The power of the spiritual must be made the soul of all power, and the law of spiritual action must be made the rule and the guide in all action.
When the spiritual is lived in all life the richness and the quality and the worth of the spiritual will be expressed in all life, and spiritual worth means the sum total of all worth. There are any number of minds in the world who now realize this greater worth and who have found the spiritual riches within to an extraordinary degree, but they have not in every instance sought righteousness; therefore, these spiritual riches have been of no use; frequently they have become obstacles in the living of a life of personal welfare and growth.
The righteous man is never weak, never sick, and is never in a state of discord or disorder… Righteous action is that action that is always harmonious and that always works for better things, greater things, higher things. …
To enter the kingdom within is to enter the perpetual increase of power, because there is no limit to the power of the spirit, and the more power we enter into or become conscious of the more power we shall give to mind and body; in consequence, the more spiritual we become the stronger we become, the more able we become, the more competent we become and the more we can accomplish whatever our work may be; and he who can do good work in the world invariably receives the good things of the world. To his life will be added all those things that can make personal existence rich and beautiful. To enter the kingdom within is to enter the life of freedom. There is no bondage in the spirit, and as we grow in the spirit we grow out of every form of bondage. One adverse condition after another disappears until absolute freedom is gained. …
There are thousands of aspiring souls in this age that are trying to develop their powers and talents so that they might be of greater use in the world, but if these would seek the kingdom first, they would find within themselves the real source of every talent; and as the only way to permanently increase anything is to increase the expressions of its source we understand perfectly why greatness can come only when we begin to live in the great within.
We must always bear in mind that what we become conscious of we bring forth into personal expression, but we cannot become conscious of the larger source of any quality or talent unless we enter into the spirit of that quality and talent, and as the spirit of all things has its source of real existence in the kingdom within, we must enter this interior world if we wish to become conscious of a larger and a larger measure of those things that we wish to express. …
Many a person, however, has failed while on the very verge of his victory, because he neglected the kingdom when he began to see the change coming. By giving his first thought to the material benefits that he expected to secure, his consciousness is taken away from the spirit and becomes confused in those things that had not as yet been placed in the true order of perpetual increase. The result is a scattering of forces and his loss upon the hold of the good things that were beginning to gravitate towards his world.
While ascending this upward path we must at every step keep the eye single upon the kingdom, upon the spiritual, upon the larger and the higher life within. When the other things are being added we must not forget the kingdom and give our first thoughts to the other things. We shall enjoy these other things so much the more, if we continue to give the first thought to the spirit. This is evident, because while giving the first thought to the spirit everything that comes into our world will be spiritualized, refined and perfected, and will thus be given added power and worth. When we continue to give the first thought to the spiritual kingdom those other things that are added will enter our world at their best and we shall thus receive the best that those things may have to give.
We are always at our best when we are on the heights, and we gain the power to create, produce and attract those things from every part of life that correspond to the life on the heights. Therefore, by living on the heights in the spiritual kingdom we gain everything that we may require; we gain the best of everything that we may require, and we are in that condition where we can make the best use of what comes, and enjoy what comes to the highest and most perfect degree.
The human race, however, is the product of human thought…
To make the ideal real upon earth, all thinking must be ideal; and to cause all things to become ideal the foundation of all things must be based upon pure spiritual thought; that is, every thought that is created in the mind must be animated with this great first thought, the thought of the kingdom within and the full righteous expression of that kingdom.
THE IDEAL AND THE REAL MADE ONE.
If we wish to be strong in mind and body and do the best possible work, harmony is absolutely necessary and we must be in the best possible condition to make real the ideal.
… [The person] who expects to find everything right and meets the world in that attitude is daily nourishing his mind with right thoughts, wholesome thoughts and constructive thoughts; he thinks the most of that which is right, and is therefore steadily growing more and more into the likeness of that which is right, perfect, worthy and good; he is daily changing for the better, and through this constant change he steadily rises in the scale and thereby meets the better and the better at every turn.
FIRST STEP TOWARDS COMPLETE EMANCIPATION.
We cannot let go of that which is not desired until we have acquired the mental art of letting go, and to acquire this art we must practice upon our own minds. That is, we must learn to let go from our own minds all those things that we do not wish to retain.
PATHS TO PERPETUAL INCREASE.
The universe is overflowing with all manner of good things and there is enough to supply every wish of every heart with abundance still remaining.
The creative forces within us are constantly making us just like those things upon which we habitually concentrate attention.
CONSIDER THE LILIES
If you are longing for greater accomplishments and a larger sphere of usefulness, then be your very best in the place that you occupy now.
The mighty oak grows great because it grows in the present; it does not think of the past or the future; it is what it is now; it does not wish to become mighty; it simply grows on silently and continually. …
Be what you are today. Do not be satisfied to be less than you can today and do not strive to be more. Progress, growth, advancement, attainment, these do not come through overreaching. The mind that overreaches will have a reaction; he will fall to the bottom and will have to begin all over again.
Real attainment comes by being your best where you are just for today, by filling the present moment with all the life you are conscious of; no more. If you try to express more life than you can comfortably feel in consciousness, you are overreaching and you will have a fall. The great mistake of the age is to strive, to go about our work as if it were extremely difficult. The man who works the hardest usually accomplishes the least; while the truly great man is the man who has trained his life and his power to work through him. …
What is within us is constantly pressing for expression. We do not have to call it forth nor labor so much to bring it into action. All we are required to do is to permit ourselves to be what we are, to permit what is within to express itself fully and completely. We do not have to work so hard to become great. We are all naturally great, and our potential greatness is ever ready to manifest, if we would only cease our striving and let life live. …
We may believe that every step forward that we have taken has been produced through personal efforts and hard work, but in this we are mistaken. …
The world seeks to gain greater things through personal ambition and hard work. The true way to attain greater things is to permit the greatness that is within to have full expression; likewise when we seek health, happiness and harmony or a beautiful life, the true course is to permit those things to come forth and act through us; they are ready to appear. We do not have to work for them or strive so hard to secure them. They are now at hand and will express themselves through us the very moment we grant them permission.
We have all discovered that whenever we become perfectly still and permit supreme life to live in us we can feel power accumulating in our system until we feel as if we could move mountains. We have also felt that while turning attention to the everlasting joy within and opening the mind fully to this joy that there came into being a state of happiness, comfort and contentment that seemed infinitely more perfect than the imagination has ever pictured the joys of heaven to be. Likewise when we failed to find health in the without or through external means we invariably found the precious gift coming from within, the moment we gave up, so to speak, to its wholesome life and power. …
When we consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, we find that they naturally permit the life that is within them to unfold; they do not try to grow; they have, as everything has, the power of growth within them and they grow because they do not hinder that interior power and growth from having their way. Likewise, when we know that divinity reigns within us we do not have to work hard nor many years to reach that state. We will grow and develop, both mentally and spiritually, when we permit the divinity within to unfold. Everything seeks self expression. Nothing in nature, visible or invisible, will have to be forced into expression, because at the very heart of all things there is the deep, strong desire to come forth and be.
Therefore, if we wish to ascend in the scale of life, we must cease those confused and destructive states of mind that hinder expression, and become as the lilies of the field. Give the life within permission to really live in us. The life within will live our life and give us a beautiful life. The power within will do our work and do that work extremely well. The divinity within will make us Godlike in all things, and never cease to give us the things of the spirit so long as we permit those things to come forth and abide in personal existence. …
To obtain health, happiness and harmony we need simply let life live. Real life already has these things, and when we let life live in us those things will be expressed through us. The next essential is to resolve that we will be fully contented simply to live.
COUNT IT ALL JOY
Every person desires to make the most of himself, but to accomplish this all latent power must be awakened, and there is nothing that will bring forth our latent powers more thoroughly than the doing of what seems difficult. When you find yourself shrinking from certain tasks you have discovered a weak faculty within yourself. Refuse to let that faculty remain in such a condition. …
When you resolve to do certain things and proceed with a conviction that you will enjoy the work thoroughly, you will find real pleasure in that work; besides, you will do the work very well.
We should never look for weakness, but when we find it we should proceed at once to change it into strength.
Tasks that seem difficult and demands that seem unreasonable are after all neither difficult nor unreasonable. They are simply golden opportunities for you to become what you never were before. They are but paths to greater achievements, sweeter joys and a larger life. Therefore, when you meet such occasions, count it all joy.
WHAT DETERMINES THE DESTINY OF MAN
The destiny of every individual is being hourly created by himself, and what he is to create at any particular time is determined by those ideals that he entertains at that time. The future of a person is not preordained by some external power, nor is fate controlled by some strange, mysterious force that masterminds alone can comprehend and employ. It is ideals that control fate, and all minds have their ideals wherever in the scale of life they may be. To have ideals is not simply to have dreams or visions of that which lies beyond the attainments of the present; nor is idealism a system of ideas that the practical mind may not have the privilege to entertain. To have ideals is to have definite objects in view, be those objects very high or very low, or anywhere between those extremes…
It is therefore evident that any individual may become more, achieve more, secure more and create for himself a greater and a greater destiny by simply beginning to live, think and work for a superior group of ideals. …
To have high ideals is to give those forces something extraordinary to work for, and the fate of man is the result of what his creative forces hourly produce. Every force in the human system is producing something, and that something will become a part of the individual. It is therefore evident that any individual can constantly improve the power, the quality and the worth of his being by directing the forces of his system to produce that which has quality and worth.
TO HIM THAT HATH SHALL BE GIVEN
The basis of all possession is found in the consciousness of man, and not in exterior circumstances, laws or conditions. If a man's consciousness is accumulative, he will positively accumulate, no matter where he may live; but whether his riches are to be physical, intellectual or spiritual will depend upon the construction of his mind.
THE LIFE THAT IS WORTH LIVING
The opportunity to make of yourself a great soul, a marvelous mind and a higher developed personality is at hand, and by taking advantage of this opportunity you will awaken within yourself those powers that can do great things.
You will thus cause your present to become all that you may wish it to be; you will build for a future that which will be nothing less than extraordinary; and you will be living a life that is thoroughly worth living in the great eternal now.
You will be making the ideal real at every step of the way, but every moment will lead you into worlds that are richer and realms that are fairer than you ever dreamed of before.
THE ART OF GETTING WHAT IS WANTED
Mere personal desires are usually out of harmony with the present process of soul-growth, and therefore there is no supply in our immediate mental vicinity for what those desires naturally need. …
When we desire only those things that are best for us now, that is, those things that are necessary to a full and complete life in the present, we shall receive what we desire at the very time when those things are needed. What is best for us now is ready in the mental world to be expressed through us. …
The average person is full of artificial desires, desires that have been suggested by what other people possess or require. But the question is not what we need now to compete with other people so as to make more extravagant external appearances than other people. The question is, what do we need now to make our present life as full, as complete and as perfect as it possibly can be made now.
Ask yourself this question and your artificial desires will disappear. In the first place, you will try to ascertain what you are living for, and what may be required to promote that purpose of life that may seem true to your deeper thought on the subject. In the second place, you will realize that since it is the present and the present only for which you are living you will concentrate your attention upon the living of life now. This will bring the whole power of desire down upon the present moment and engage all the forces of life to work for the perfection of the present moment. The result will be the elimination of nearly everything that is foreign to your present state of existence.
PATHS TO HAPPINESS
Happiness, however, is not the result of any one single cause. It is the result of many ideal states of being grouped together into one harmonious whole. …
Happiness does not come from having much, but from being much; therefore, anything that will tend to bring forth into tangible expression more and more of the real being of man will add to his joy.
The principles necessary to the perpetual increase of happiness are as follows:
Live the Simple Life
The complex life is not only a burden to existence, but is invariably an obstacle to the highest attainments and welfare of man; and the majority, even among those whose tangible possessions are very insignificant, are living a complex life; but when the average person is told to remove complexity from his world and adopt simplicity he almost invariably destroys the beauty of life. …
To live the simple life is not to return to primitive conditions nor to decide to be satisfied with nothing, or next to nothing. It is possible to live the simple life in the midst of all the luxuries that wealth can buy, because simplicity does not spring from the quantity of possession but from the arrangement of possession.
The central idea in the living of a simple life is to eliminate non-essentials. The question should be, "Which of the things that are about me do I need to promote the greatest welfare of my life?" To answer this question will not be difficult, because almost anyone can determine at first thought what is needed and what is not needed to a complete life. When the decision is made, non-essentials should be removed as quickly as possible. True, we must avoid extremes, and whatever we do we must do nothing to decrease the beauty or the harmony of life.
There are a great many things in the world of the average person that he simply thinks he needs, though he knows that those things never did anything but retard his progress.
The serene life, if lived in poise, will keep the system brimful of energy at all tunes, and so long as you are filled through and through with life and energy you wilt be full of spirit and joy. …
Our object should not be to do many things, but to do good things. If we can do many things that are good, very well, but we must have duality first in the mind; the quantity will increase as we grow in capacity, and there is nothing that promotes the increase of mental and physical capacity more than calm, serene living. The sweetest joys that the mind can feel usually come from those deep peaceful realizations of the soul when all is quiet and serene. Therefore, to cultivate the habit of living always in this beautiful calm will invariably add happiness to happiness every day of continued existence.
Find the good that you already possess, then enjoy it. Better things are even now on the way and through the harmony of contentment you will be prepared to receive them. You will also be in that higher state of mental discernment where you can know good things when you see them.
Many people are so much disturbed by the discord of discontent that they are unable to recognize the good things already in their world; thus they add doubly to the cause of discontent. Contentment, however, does not mean to be so satisfied with present conditions that we do not care to change them. True contentment not only appreciates the full value of the present, but also appreciates those greater powers in life that can perpetually add to the value of the present; therefore, the contented mind gains everything that life can give in the great eternal now, while at the same time perpetually increasing the richness, the worth and the beauty of the great eternal now.
Look for the ideal everywhere; live in ideal environments when possible; but if not possible in an external sense create for yourself an ideal environment in the internal sense. Live in ideal mental worlds no matter what external worlds may be. Associate as much as possible with ideal people, and if you are living an ideal life in your own mental and spiritual life, you will attract ideal people wherever you go. …
We want the best. We deserve the best, and we can secure the best by seeking the best and the best only. Live your own ideal life. Seek the ideal both in the within and in the without, and aim to make the ideal real in every thought, word and deed; you will thus cause every moment to add to your joy.
Develop everything in your nature and place all the elements in your being in perfect harmony. You will thus ascend perpetually to higher states of being and greater realms of joy.
Much of the discord and unhappiness that comes into life is the direct result of one-sidedness and undevelopment, and these can be permanently removed only through the orderly development of the whole man.
Body, mind and soul must be perfectly balanced in every sense of that term. The more perfectly you are balanced the greater will be your joy, because a balanced nature is conducive to harmony, and harmony is conducive to happiness.
CREATING IDEAL SURROUNDINGS.
If the surroundings in which you live are not what you wish them to be, know that you can change them. You can make those surroundings ideal. You can make those surroundings better and better at every step in your advancement, thus making real higher and higher ideals in your life. This is a positive truth and should be impressed so deeply upon every mind that no former belief on the subject can cause us to doubt our possession of this power for a moment. The importance of thus impressing this fact upon the mind becomes very evident when we understand that no matter how much we may know, we will have no results so long as we are in doubt as to whether what we have undertaken is really possible or not. …
To create ideal surroundings, the first essential is to gain a clear understanding of what actually constitutes your surroundings. The world in which you live is a state of many elements, factors, forces and activities. The physical environment with all its various phases and conditions has been considered the most important, but this is not necessarily true, because the mental environment is just as much a part of the world in which you live as the physical.
The term "world" is not confined simply to visible things; it also includes states of mind, mental tendencies, thoughts, desires, motives and all the different phases of consciousness. The place in which you live physically, the place in which you live mentally, the place in which you live morally and spiritually, these places combined constitute the world in which you live. All of these states and conditions are necessary parts of your surroundings, and it is your purpose to make these necessary parts as beautiful, as perfect and as ideal as possible.
The place where you work with your hands and with your brain is a part of your world, but the same is true of the place where you work in your dreams, in your aspirations and in your ideals. The circumstances and events of your life, physically and mentally; the opportunities that are constantly passing your way; the people you meet in your work; the people you think of in your thoughts; the people you associate with and friends that are near; the various elements of nature, both visible and invisible; the many groups of things in all their various phases that you come in contact with in your daily living; all of these belong in your world.
To enter into details it would be possible to mention many hundreds of different elements or factors that compose the world in which the average person lives; but to be brief we can say that your world is composed of everything that enters your life, your home, your experience, your thought and your dreams of the ideal. All of these play their part in bringing to you the good that you may desire or the ills that you may receive. Consequently, since the world in which you live is so very complex and since so much of it belongs to the mental side of life, the process of change must necessarily involve mental laws, as well as physical laws; but here the majority have made their mistake.
Many great reformers and human benefactors have tried to emancipate the race through the change of exterior laws and external conditions alone, forgetting that most of the troubles of man and nearly all of his failures have their origin in the misuse of the mind. We all know that mind is the most prominent factor in the life of man, and yet this factor has been almost entirely overlooked in our former efforts to change the conditions of the race. Everything that man does begins in his mind; therefore, every change that is to take place in the life of man must begin in his mind.
This being true, we understand readily why modern metaphysics and the new psychology can provide the long looked for essentials to human emancipation and advancement. When we examine all the various things that go to make up the world in which we live we may find it difficult to discover the real source of them all. How they were produced; who produced them; why they happened to come to us, or why we went to them; these are problems that we are called upon to solve before we can begin to create ideal surroundings.
To solve these problems the first great fact to realize is that we are the creators of our own environments; but at first sight this fact may not be readily accepted, because there are so many things that seem to be the creation of others. There are two kinds of creation, however, the direct and the indirect. In direct creation you create with the forces of your own life, your own thought and your own actions, and your own creations are patterned after the ideas in your own mind; but in what is termed indirect creation some one else creates what you desire. It is your creation, however, in a certain sense, because it was your desire that called it forth. To state the fact in another manner, the world in which you live may be your own direct creation or it may be the creation of another, but you went into that other one's world to live.
In the majority of cases, the world in which the individual lives is produced partly by his own efforts and partly by the efforts of others, though there is nothing in his world that he has not desired or called forth in some manner and at some time during his existence. There are a number of people who are living in worlds created almost entirely by others; in fact, the world of the average person is three-fourths the creation of the race mind; but the question is, why does a person enter into a world that is created by others; why does he not live exclusively in a world created by himself?
There are many fine minds who are living in the world of the submerged tenth, but they did not create that world. That inferior state existed long before the birth of its present inhabitants; but why have those gone to live there who were not born there, and why have those who were born there not gone away to some better world of their own superior creation? Why do the people who live in that inferior world continue to perpetuate all its conditions? No world can continue to exist unless the people who live in that world continue to create those conditions that make up that world. Then why do not those people who live in the world of the submerged tenth cease the creating of that inferior world and begin the creation of the superior world when we know they have the power to do so? These are great questions, but they all have very simple answers. To answer these questions the first great fact to be realized is that the mind of man is the most important factor in everything that he does, and since no person can change his environments until he changes his actions we realize that the first step to be taken is the change of mind. Learn to change your mind for the better, and you will soon learn how to change your surroundings for the better. Before you proceed, however, there is another important condition to be considered; it is the fact that a portion of what is found in our world is created by ourselves, while the rest is the product of those minds with which we work or live. In the home each individual contributes to the qualities of the world which all the members of that home have in common, but each individual lives in a mental world distinctly his own, unless he is so negative that he has not a single individual purpose or thought. When the mental world of each individual is developed to a high degree it will become so strong that the fate of that individual will not be affected by the adverse conditions that may exist in the home. …
To enter a world that does not correspond with yourself and to go in and live where you do not naturally belong is to go astray, and such an action will not only cause all the forces and elements of your life to be misdirected, but you will place yourself in that position where nothing that is your own can come to you. There are vast multitudes, however, who have gone astray in this manner, and that is the reason why we find so many people who are misplaced, who do not realize their ideals, and who have not the privilege to enjoy their own.
But we may ask, why do people go astray in this manner; why do we associate with people that do not belong in our world; why do we enter environments that do not correspond to our nature; why do we enter vocations for which we are not adapted, and why do we pursue plans, ideas and ambitions that lead us directly away from the very thing that our state of development requires?