The Pathway of Roses/The Life More Abundant
THE LIFE MORE ABUNDANT
I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.—John 10:10.
The greatest thing that man can do is to live. Everything that appears in any sphere of existence comes from life, and therefore everything increases with the increase of life. To live more is to become more and gain the power to accomplish more whatever the field of action may be; to live more is to enter more fully into the richness and joy of life itself, and there is no joy that is greater than that which comes from perpetual growth in real life.
The purpose of life is to live more life; the principal secret of perfection in any period of life is to live as large a life as that period can appreciate and employ, and to constantly add to the abundance of that large life is to make each period better than the one that went before. Growth in life means growth in health, growth in strength, growth in capacity, growth in mental brilliancy, growth in talent, growth in wisdom, growth in power, and, in brief, growth in everything that a normal state of existence can possibly need or desire. The mission of the Christ is therefore not purely transcendental, nor solely for some other world.
The teachings of the Christ are applicable to every part of personal existence, and may be applied with great profit in every circumstance or event that can arise in the great eternal now. What is more, no person can do full justice to anything he may undertake to do unless he enters into full harmony with the great mission of the Christ. The life more abundant can come only through the Christ, and we all need the life more abundant if we are to be true to our own marvellous nature.
The coming of the Christ, however, was not confined to a short period of time some two thousand years ago; the Christ comes now to every one who enters the spirit; and when He comes, He invariably brings the life more abundant. We may, at any time, enter the fullness of eternal life; and when we do, everything changes for the better. The life more abundant dispels the ills of existence in the same manner as light dispels darkness, and just as effectively, whatever those ills may be.
The ills of personal existence come principally from two causes: ignorance of divine law and false desire. The coming of the life more abundant gives the mind the necessary power to understand the laws of life; when we are in the life eternal we are in harmony with the laws of the life eternal, and will not misuse those laws any more. When we are filled with the richer life from within we no longer desire the lesser things in the without; we will not care for the wrong, having found everything that heart can wish for in the beautiful kingdom of the right.
To enter the life more abundant, first live the teachings of the Christ; not according to the letter but according to the spirit. The spirit is infinitely greater than the letter, and includes everything of worth that the letter may contain. Second, live now in the Christ consciousness. Know that the Christ is here, that His spirit is within you and all about you, and that you can be conscious of His presence at any time by simply opening your own mind to His kindness and tenderness and sublime love. Know that "I am with you, even to the end of the world," and think on these things.
The more attention we give to the great truth that the Christ is here with us now, the more we open the mind to the consciousness of His spiritual presence, and as we enter more and more into the consciousness of the Christ, we enter more and more into the limitless life of the Christ; thus we become filled, through and through, with the supreme power of that life that is eternal life.
The life eternal, however, is not distinct from any other form of life; it is the source of all life, and as we enter more and more into the life eternal we gain more life on every plane of being. We then begin to express the life more abundant through every part of body, mind and soul, and thus demonstrate conclusively that a strong soul does not mean a weak body.
The life of the soul is eternal life, and the more we unfold that life the more health, strength and vigor we give to the body; the mind becomes more brilliant, the personality more powerful, and the character more beautiful. And above all, we ascend to that sublime life on the heights that is fairer than ten thousand to the soul.
For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.—Mat. 16:25.
When you lose your life for the sake of Christ, you let go of the limited life that is living in you in order that the limitless life of the Christ may live in you. Likewise, when you deny yourself and follow the Christ you remove the personal self from the throne of your being and enthrone the superior spiritual self instead. There is therefore no sacrifice; you lose nothing but your limitations and your illusions, while you gain everything that the kingdom of God holds in store for man.
The belief that it is necessary to lose something of actual value in order to gain the life eternal is not the truth. Poverty in the personal life does not produce spiritual riches, nor does the sacrifice of temporal joys produce the bliss of heaven. The idea of self-sacrifice must be eliminated; so long as we think that we have to sacrifice all that is good in the visible world in order to gain the joys and the riches of the invisible, we are out of harmony with the beautiful order of the cosmos. In the true order of things all that is real is good, and all that is good, man has the privilege to enjoy now.
The only things that we are required to sacrifice are our ills, our defects, our weaknesses, our shortcomings, our limitations; in brief, we are required to remove the personal self and its imperfections from our world of existence. The true self-sacrifice is that which refuses to permit personal imperfections to rule in the personal life, and gives up to the light, the power and the life of the spirit.
When you deny yourself in the true manner, you deny your outer mind the privilege of rulership. You no longer follow the desires and the beliefs of the flesh; you no longer obey the dictates of the body; you declare that the body must serve the soul and the soul must serve the Christ. You thereby permit the supreme life of the Christ to live in you; the mind that was in Christ Jesus enters your mind, and His life and His power becomes your own. The lesser life is lost, the greater life has come in its place. The mere man in you is decreasing while the divine in you is increasing and will thus continue until you are perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
To try to save the personal life is to live exclusively for the limitations of external existence; in consequence, the mind becomes so absorbed in the lesser life without that it is wholly unconscious of the greater life within. But we cannot receive the greater life from within unless we are in conscious touch with that life, and since the within is the only source of life, we cease to receive life the moment we are consciously separated from the inner life.
To live entirely for the personal life is to be separated from the inner life, and therefore we are not receiving any more life. The personal life, however, that we are trying to save will be gradually used up, and thus we will lose what we are so anxious to save. But when we begin to live for the spirit, and begin to follow the Christ into the vast spiritual realms of limitless life, we will find more and more life; and the more life we find in the vast within the more life we will bring forth into the without. All the life that we become conscious of in the soul we will express in the mind and the body, and the personal self, instead of growing weaker, will grow stronger and stronger as it is filled more and more with life and power from on high. And thus, by losing ourselves in Christ we gain everything that exists in the supreme life of the Christ; we lose nothing, sacrifice nothing, while we find ourselves—all that we are in the image and likeness of God.
Live a beautiful life wherever you may be and you become a living benediction to all who may pass your way. You may see no immediate results; in fact, your beautiful life may have scattered its blessings so far and wide that you cannot find the exact places where the flowers grow that you planted; but that does not matter. You have given; in consequence, the world is better off and you are a stronger soul. You know that not a single good deed can be lost; somewhere it will bless somebody. You know that every good seed that you may sow in the garden of human life, will some day take root and grow. You may not remain long enough to see the flowers, but somebody will see those flowers, and the fact that your hand planted the seed is pleasure enough for you. To feel that you have given happiness to someone else, is the greatest happiness of all; and to know that millions will be inspired by the sublimity of your life ages after you are gone—could anything give a deeper joy to the soul? And yet, this is a privilege that is not given only to the few; there is not a soul that may not look forward to such a future and to such a life.
To be perfectly satisfied to let your light shine wherever you may go without ever looking back to see if there were results or no, is the mark of a great soul. So long as we do not wish to give unless we see visible results in exact places, our spirituality is not of the greatest; and so long as we require the personal testimony of those whom we have helped, to spur us on, our faith is nothing. He who has the true faith knows that spiritual living is a power wherever it is lived, and he never thinks of looking back to find if it was true. He scatters the seed and leaves results to Him that faileth not. He radiates the good and knows that that which is good can never cease to produce good.
When you realize that you are an entity through which God is expressed, and that your mind should be so transparent that the highest divine light may shine through and illumine the outer world, you have found your true place. To remain constantly in that beautiful place means that a higher power will be flowing through your being, radiating in every direction, giving the spirit of truth to everything you may think, say or do. You thus become a personal expression of the Word, and your life will be a message of truth to the race.
"Ye are the light of the world." Do not hide your spirituality in your feelings or your emotions. There is power in the spirit. Live this power, and give personal expression to everything that the spirit may contain. Then you will demonstrate to the world that the way of the spirit is the true way. When you are lifted up, hundreds and even thousands will come and go where you are going. Therefore, let the full glory of the spirit shine in your life; let power from on high manifest itself in everything that you may think or say or do, and great shall be your reward, both in this world and in the world to come. The spiritual life deprives you of nothing that has real worth, and gives you more and more of everything that has high worth.
"Agree with thine adversary quickly." There is a spiritual side to everything; enter into harmony with this spiritual side and the discord that seems to exist on the personal side will disappear. Forget those elements that are at variance and think only of those states that are perfectly at one with each other. You can easily find them; we find everything we seek, and whoever goes out to find harmony will discover that there is more harmony in the world than anything else, excepting life itself.