The Pathway of Roses/When Life is Worth Living
WHEN LIFE IS WORTH LIVING
To establish permanently the living of life in the spiritual state of being is the greatest need of man. But this is not possible so long as we live in that conception of spirituality that forgets the body. The body is the temple of the spirit, and must therefore receive just as much thought and attention as we give to the spirit. To neglect the body is to make real spirituality impossible, because real spirituality is a living thing, and must have a highly developed personality through which this living may be expressed. Spirituality is not simply in thought, feeling or abstract contemplation; there is no spirituality without the actual coming forth of real soul life; but the life of the soul does not come forth into tangible personal living unless the body is trained to respond to that life.
The spirituality that we seek is that full expression of the soul that fills every atom in the body and gives the sublime wholeness of divinity to the entire being of man. To be spiritual is to be complete in body, mind and soul; to live the fullness of real life in every element of life, and to bring forth the truest, the best and the most beautiful that exists within us. To become spiritual is to refine everything, perfect everything, beautify everything, and make the ideal real, not only in thought but in every part of physical life, mental life and spiritual life. To grow in spirituality is to continue perpetually to spiritualize the body, as well as mind and soul, until the visible man is as pure, as strong, as wholesome and as beautiful as the highest state of divine existence.
True spirituality will give health and vigor to the body, power and brilliancy to the mind, strength and perfection to the character, and sublime loveliness to the soul. The more spiritual you become the more beautiful you become in person, the more refined you become in all the elements of your nature, the more powerful you become in every thought and action, and the more comfort, happiness and real satisfaction you will receive from everything you may do in life. When spirituality is highly developed you live constantly on the heights; you see all things as they are in the real; you know that you are created in the image and likeness of God; you are in constant touch with the beauty and splendor of the cosmic world, and your joy is supreme. You are living in the light of the spirit, and your mind at times is so illumined by that light that your understanding of higher wisdom becomes extraordinary. You thus enter those lofty realms from which all true prophets have received their inspiration, and, accordingly, you become one of those who are chosen to be taught of God.
To enter real spirituality is to anchor the mind in that very power that holds and guides the universe; and such a mind is always safe. Such a mind will not go wrong; and even though it be strongly tempted, it will be removed from danger before it is too late. There is something in the higher world about us that can and does protect the soul; and those who are fixed on high in the spirit are ever in the care of this divine protection. Dangers, calamities or catastrophes will never touch them; they are invariably taken out safely, no matter what may happen; they are ever in the hands of God, and all is always well.
This higher guiding power, however, does not simply protect the chosen ones from that which is not desired; but those who have supreme faith in the spirit will be led on and on into the larger and larger realization of that which is desired. The spirit contains all, and to grow in the spirit is to receive all. Not simply that all that satisfies the demands of the intellect or the feelings of the soul, but that all that fully supplies every want, desire or need of the whole man. Spirituality is the highest good of all life realized in full living expression. In the spiritual life there is no need, neither is there any false desire. Every desire is true to the great purpose of eternal life, and every desire is fulfilled. In spiritual life every prayer is inspired by the wisdom of the spirit, and such prayers are always answered. Whatever God may lead us to do He will always give us the power to do.
The spiritual state of being is the great foundation of all being, and the source of everything that comes forth into perfect being; therefore, the more deeply we enter into the life and the power of the spirit the more fully conscious we become of those greater things that real life has in store; and whatever we become conscious of we invariably bring forth into tangible existence. The spiritual life contains real life, real power, real wisdom, real love, real harmony, real health, real purity, real peace, real joy, and to develop spirituality is to realize more and more of the real of these things until the perfection of divine being is unfolded and lived in the present personal form. In consequence, when we are in the spiritual life we need sacrifice nothing that has real value, while we gain more and more of everything that has greater value. When we begin to live the spiritual life we begin to feel that we are now upon the solid rock of eternal being, and we feel absolutely secure. We realize that we are in safety, in divinity, in the protecting care of higher power. We are becoming more and more conscious of the cosmic atmosphere, and this gives added assurance of complete protection, because this higher, sublimated atmosphere is so surcharged with living spirit that no ill from the world can possibly pass through. We are absolutely out of the ills of the world when we are in the spirit, just as we are absolutely out of darkness when we are in the light. And to grow in the spirit the first essential is to take what spiritual life we can now understand and give that life full, living expression in every atom of body, soul and mind.
There can be no real spirituality developed so long as we try to make such developments a matter of the soul alone; mind and body must be included or our efforts simply result in feelings and sentiments that are neither wholesome nor harmless. Spirituality is not a matter of sentiment, nor is it wholly concerned with a future state of existence. Spirituality is a full life just for to-day. It is a life that is all that it is now, and those who are in the spirit know that the time that now is, is eternal.
One touch of the spirit and all is well. Darkness and pain will vanish, sickness and sorrow take flight; weakness and bondage will pass away, and troubles can exist no more. To be touched by the spirit is to be filled through and through with the spirit, and where the spirit is there evil is not. What we have seen in our visions shall come to remain. What is revealed from on high shall come and abide with us always. Therefore let the soul dream on. Disturb not the peace of those sweet celestial slumbers, for what to us may appear to be spiritual sleep is but life in a greater world. And thus something from above comes to tell us, "dream on, fair soul, dream on."
To worship God in spirit and in truth, is to so live that we can always feel that he is with us no matter what we may think or say or do. To worship God is to take Him with us in everything, ask Him for everything, have faith that He will give us everything, and be grateful to Him because we inwardly know that we are receiving everything. To worship is not to believe and adore, but to live and love; not simply to accept the truth but to make the truth the living soul of every thought and word and deed. When we worship God in truth, we enter into His presence knowing that He is divine perfection and that we are created in His image and likeness. To believe that we are depraved beings, base sinners or imperfect human creatures, is not to be in the truth, because to be in the truth we are as God is. Therefore, while we have those beliefs we cannot worship God in truth. To worship God in truth we must enter the truth, and to enter the truth is to know that man is even now the perfect image of the Most High.
To worship God in the spirit, is to forget the letter and enter into the spiritual realization of His omnipresent life. When we are in the spirit we do not worship with audible words or visible attitudes, but with that exalted spiritual feeling that enters into the very soul of the Infinite and there awakens to the great eternal truth that "My Father and I are one." When we are in the spirit we inwardly know that "God is closer than breathing, nearer than hands and feet," and we can feel that sublime nearness thrill every atom in our being. We need nothing to prove to us that we are one with God, for we can feel that it is the truth. Nor do we question any more whether God be personal or not. We know that we are with Him and that He is with us; and that is sufficient. His personal presence is more real to us than our own existence; we therefore need not reason on that subject. We have seen Him in the spirit, but that which is in the spirit, form cannot measure, nor words define.
The word of God is the word of truth. All truth is Scripture wherever found or by whom presented; and all Scripture is written when the mind is in the spirit. Therefore, to understand the Scripture we must enter the spirit, and read while illumined by the spirit. We shall then find, upon every page, "the bread of heaven," "the waters of life," "the meat that ye know not of." The key to the Scriptures is not some system of symbolical interpretation, nor some special method of metaphysical or spiritual analysis. The key is simply to enter the spirit when you begin to read. The spirit reveals everything that is sacred and true.
To live exclusively in materiality, that is, in the lower story of being, is the cause of all weakness and weariness. The remedy for such conditions will therefore be found in spirituality, which means to live in the upper story. So long as the mind is "high" in the world of consciousness there can be no weakness or weariness in the person. We cannot be weary while we are filled with the strength of the Most High, and we are in perfect touch with this great strength while the mind is living in the "high places" of the spirit. When we come down to the earth, earthy we lose this superior power and become weak as mere men; we are limited in every respect and have to watch ourselves at every turn lest we overtax the system. But when we do all things in the realization that we are spiritual beings filled with supreme power from on high, there is no limit to what we can do. Our strength is eternally renewed because we are waiting upon the Lord; we are living with Him, doing all things for Him, and in return we receive all things from Him.
When the mind lives constantly in the higher states of being, more perfect oneness with the Infinite is attained. We come nearer and nearer to the Life and the Spirit of the Supreme, and, in consequence, we are supplied with new life and power every moment. We are going into the source of all power; we are beginning to live and move and have our being in the very essence of that power, and we are becoming stronger by far than all the weakness and the weariness in the world. We are no longer subject to the laws of material existence; what holds true in the life of mere man does not hold true for us any more; we have entered a new life and are ascending triumphantly to the supreme heights of that life. The seeming weakness of the flesh has given place to the limitless strength of the Spirit, for the very moment we begin to live in the spirit, the power of the spirit begins to live in us, and that which lives in us lives in every element of the body as well as in every attribute of mind and soul.
Spirituality is the perfect remedy for all the ills of life, and to live the spiritual life is the greatest thing that man can do. Therefore, to promote spiritual growth among all minds that are ready, is of more importance than all other objects and aims combined. Thousands realize this, and, in consequence, are ever in search for methods through which the life of the spirit may be found. Methods, however, are of secondary importance. When the heart begins to feel the need of the spirit, and all the powers of mind begin to desire the spirit, the perfect way will be opened. To promote spiritual growth we must live in the spiritual centre of the divine that is within us, but that divine center is not found through methods. No system of mental gymnastics can open the gates to the kingdom within; nor can any system of logical reasoning in abstract truth cause the mind to be illumined with light from on high. Spiritual illumination does not come through a mere intellectual process, however exact; it comes only when the desires of the heart are spiritualized by a power that is infinitely greater than man.
To think the truth, even with absolute exactness, will not avail unless we think in the spirit of truth. The intellectual form of the truth has no power; it is the inner spirit of the truth that gives life, freedom and illumination to man. And when we begin to know this inner spirit of the truth our minds have entered into the very soul of the real. Then it is that we gain power that to many seems superhuman; then it is that we take full possession of our own life and our own destiny; then it is that we find the faith that moves mountains, and through the life of this faith we press on and on to the great goal we have in view, removing every barrier in the way, overcoming every difficulty, surmounting every obstacle, rising higher than ever before every time we fall, transforming every seeming defeat into a great and glorious victory, passing through the fires of tribulation without even a hair being scorched, and coming out of every trying experience with greater purity and greater strength, realizing one ideal after another, ascending from one pinnacle of attainment to one that is higher still, finding answer after answer to the prayers we prayed in days gone by, until every desire is fulfilled and every dream of the soul made true.
There is no reason whatever why anyone should become discouraged, or be tempted to give up because the good things desired are not realized when expected. That which is your own will positively come to you, and everything is your own that you can use in the building of a greater and more beautiful life. Continue in the faith that you will now begin to realize the fullness of life, and enter into the inner spirit of that faith. Some of the greatest things in the world have been gained after many years of constant faith and prayer—things that would not have been gained if those who prayed had lived in discouragement and doubt. If there is anything that you can use in the building of a great life, pray for it until you receive it no matter how many months or years may be required to cause your prayer to come true. Pray in the inner spirit of faith and when the time is ripe, be it to-morrow or twenty years from now, your prayer will be answered.
When your prayers are not answered at once, do not come to the conclusion that it is not best for you to have it; if that which you pray for will add to the welfare of somebody's life, it is best for you to have it. Therefore, continue to pray for it until you receive it. It is best that you should have everything that is good and true and beautiful. All that is good is good for man, and it is the will of God that man should receive it. But God gives us only that which we desire. We have individual choice, and we must express our desire in the true spirit of faith. What we ask for will come when our faith is right and our life prepared to properly use the great good desired.
To promote spiritual growth the inner light must shine in the outer life, and the inner world of divine truth must be expressed in every part of mind and body. The expression of the divinity within is absolutely necessary, and must be in every direction. Thousands to-day are expressing truth only for the purpose of securing health of body and peace of mind, and though they are having good results they will find ere long that in trying to perfect only a part of the outer life they have failed to bring forth the whole of the inner life. They will also find that the marvelous powers of the within have been permitted to sleep. After some years such minds will find that they have accomplished nothing more than being well and comfortable physically. But this is not all that we are living for. A genius is asleep in the subconscious of every mind; a spiritual giant is within us awaiting recognition; and in the soul is the Christ knocking at the door. These must not be kept waiting age after age while we are only concerned with being well and happy on the surface. It is not right to live a small life no matter how comfortable that life may be when we have received the gifts of the supreme life from on high.
The expression of the spirit should be universal in all the actions of man. The labor of the hands should be filled with the life of the spirit; the work of the mind should be animated with the one power of spirit, and every act of consciousness should feel the divine presence of the spirit. There are few, however, who think of expressing divine spirit in every day work, and consequently, the spiritual life becomes a thing apart. But when the personal life is separated from the spirit, darkness, confusion, sickness and trouble begin; existence becomes a burden, and though we may possess the wealth of the world, life has nothing of worth to give. There is no joy in things unless the power of the spirit is in the world of things. There is nothing to live for unless we live for the spirit, and when we begin to live for the spirit all things, from the least importance in the physical realm to the most precious elements in the highest spiritual realms—all become ministering angels, adding eternally to the worth, the beauty and the joy of personal life. To him who lives in the spirit, everything in life has much to give, and to him, the best alone is given.
When we think, the mind should be filled with the spirit, and our intellects will become brilliant in the true sense of that term. When we read, our eyes should be filled with the spirit, and our sight will ever become stronger and better. When we work, every muscle in the body should be filled with the spirit, and we should renew our strength from the source divine. We thus cause the outer life and the inner life to become one life, and it is such a life that we are here to live now. Say that life is beautiful, no matter how things may appear on the surface. Say that you are strong and well no matter how the body may feel. You will thus speak the truth about the true state of being; and what you say, you create. Say that you are well and you create health. Say that life is divinely beautiful and you create such a life. And what we create to-day, we shall realize to-morrow.
There are a number of methods through which the spiritual nature of man can be developed and brought into larger and larger expression, but the majority of those methods are so complex that they lead more into intellectuality than into spirituality. To develop the mind, with its many faculties, complex methods are, as a rule, necessary, but to develop the soul, the simpler the methods are, the better. The secret is to keep the eye single upon the sublime spiritual state, to form the highest possible conception of the most perfect spiritual qualities imaginable, and to think of those things. The power of concentration is truly extraordinary whenever it may be applied, and its effectiveness is nowhere as thorough as in the world of the spirit. To think constantly of things spiritual, with an effort to enter more and more into the real life of the spirit, is to spiritualize all the elements of thought, all the phases of consciousness, and all the active states of realization. In consequence, everything in human life will become more spiritual.
What we think of we create; therefore the more we think of things spiritual the more spirituality we shall develop; and when the whole of thought is concentrated constantly upon our highest spiritual ideal, we shall actually move into the real spiritual state. There is a spiritual state of consciousness immediately above the usual conscious state, and it is the lifting of mind and thought up into this higher state that produces spirituality; therefore, spiritual development will necessarily require the ascending tendency in every action in life. This requirement, however, is invariably supplied, when the power of attention is constantly directed upon the spiritual state. When we think of that which is spiritual, everything in life begins to ascend towards the higher spiritual states; that is, when our thinking of the spiritual is inspired with a deep soul desire to rise and live on the heights.
Live with the beautiful side in human nature and your own life will grow more and more beautiful until you become an inspiration to all the world. Look for the greater good in all things and you will find God in all things. And when you find God in all things God will be with you in all things.
Say that life is beautiful, no matter how things may appear on the surface. Say that you are strong and well no matter how the body may feel. You will thus speak the truth about the true state of being; and what you say, you create. Say that you are well and you create health. Say that life is divinely beautiful and you create such a life. And what we create to-day, we shall realize tomorrow.
The pure in heart shall see God, and to be pure in heart is to think pure thoughts—the thought of sublime spiritual truth. The reason we do not see God is found in the fact that we have clouded our minds with impure thoughts—thought that is out of harmony with the divine order of things. Pure water is transparent; the same is true of a pure mind. The deep things of God are easily discerned through a pure mind, just as easily as the rocks of the river bed when the water is pure and still.