The petition is, in his mind, invariably associated with seasons of great sorrow, disaster, and calamity, when, having apparently nothing else to hope for, a prayer is offered for the will of God! It is somewhat [Pg 15] vaguely held to be the appropriate expression for the last emergency, and that it implies resigning one's self to the most serious and irreferable calamity. There is also a nebulous feeling that while the will of God may be entirely appropriate to the conditions and circumstances of the aged, the poor, the unfortunate, and the defective classes, it is the last thing in the world to be invoked for the young, the gifted, the strong, and the brilliant orders of society.
It is tacitly relegated to a place in some last hopeless emergency, and not to a place in the creative energy of the most brilliant achievement. Now, as a matter of profoundest truth, this attitude is as remote from the clear realization of what is involved in the will of God as would be the conviction that the flying express train or the swift electric motor cars might be suitable enough for the aged, and the weary, and the invalid, and the people whose time was of little consequence, but that the young, the radiant, the eager, the gifted, the people to whom time was valuable, must go by their own conveyances of horse or foot under their immediate personal control.
This fallacy is no [Pg 16] more remote from truth than is the fallacy that the will of God is something to be accepted with what decorum of resignation one may, only when he cannot help it! On the contrary, the will of God is the infinitely great motor of human life. Its power is as incalculably greater over the soul than that of radium over other elements, as it is higher in the scale of being; as spirit rather than substance; and the Life Radiant is really entered upon when one has come absolutely to merge all his longing and desire into the divine purposes.
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It is like availing one's self of the great laws of attraction and gravitation in nature. With the human will identified with the divine will, every day's experience becomes invested with the keenest zest and interest. The events that may arise at any moment enlist the energy and fascinate the imagination. The consciousness of union with God produces an exquisite confidence in the wise and sweet enchantment of life; the constant receptivity of the soul to the influence and the guiding of the Holy Spirit make an atmosphere ecstatic, even under the most commonplace or outwardly depressing circumstances.
Celestial harmonies thrill the air. In this divine [Pg 17] atmosphere—the soul's native air—every energy is quickened. The divine realm is as truly the habitat of the spiritual man—who, temporarily inhabiting a physical body that he may thus come into relations with a physical world, is essentially a spiritual rather than a physical being—as the air is the habitat of the bird, or the water of the fish.
When the divine statement is made, "Without Me ye can do nothing," it is simply that of a literal fact.
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The gloom, the depression, the irritation that so often prevail and persist in mental conditions, do not arise, primarily, from any outward trial or perplexity; they are the result—the inevitable result—of the soul's lack of union with God; the lack of that rapport between the spirit of man and the divine spirit in which alone is exhilaration and joy. When this union is forged, when the human will rests perfectly in the divine will, one then absolutely knows, with the most positive and literal conviction, that "all things work together for good to them that love God.
Not merely that the pleasant and agreeable things [Pg 18] work together for good, but all things—pain, loss, sorrow, injustice, misapprehension. Then one realizes in his own experience the significance of the words, "We glory in tribulation, also. At the best, he relegates this order of ministry to the rank and file of humanity; to those whose lives are to his vision somewhat prosy and dull; and for himself he proposes to live in a world beautiful, where stars and sunsets and flames and fragrances enchant the hours, where, with his feet shod with silver bells, he is perpetually conscious of being.
He is perfectly confident that every life can be happy, if it will; and he regards sorrow as a wholly stupid and negative state which no one need fall into if only he have sufficient energy to generate a perpetual enchantment.
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Thus he dances down the years like the daffodils on the morning breeze, singing always his hymn to the radiant goddess: [Pg 19]. Then, one day, he awakens to find his world in ruins. Sorrow, pain, loss, have come upon him, and have come in the one form of all others that seems most impossible to bear. If it were death, even of the one dearest on earth, he would be sustained by divine consolations. If it were financial deprivation, he could meet it with fortitude and accept Goethe's counsel to "go and earn more.
The element of hopelessness in it,—his own utter inability to understand the cause of the sorrow which is literally a thunderbolt out of a clear sky,—plunges him almost into despair. He had endeavored to give the best, but the result is as if he had given the worst; [Pg 20] he had come to rely on a perfect and beautiful comprehension and sympathy, but he is confronted with the most inexplicable misapprehension of all his motives, the most complete misunderstanding of all his aspirations and prayers. This, or other combinations and conditions of which it may serve as a type, is one of the phases of human experience.
If pain were only the inevitable result of conscious and intentional wrong-doing, then might one even learn to refrain from the error and thus avoid the result. But a deeper experience in life, a more profound insight into the springs of its action, reveal that pain, as well as joy, falls into experience as an event encountered on the onward march, rather than as being, invariably, conditions created by ourselves. In the final analysis of being, we may have created the causes sometime and somewhere; but in the immediate sense we fail to discern the trace of our own action.
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A joy, a radiance undreamed of, suddenly drops into a day, making it a memorable date forever; a joy that transmutes itself into exaltation and a higher range of energy. Naturally, we count such an experience divine, [Pg 21] and offer our gratitude to God, the giver of all blessings. But a tragedy of sorrow, a darkness of desolation impenetrable and seemingly final, also falls suddenly into a day, and inexpressible amazement and incredulity that it can be real are added to the pain.
But it is real. The sunshine has vanished; the stars have hidden their light; the air is leaden where once it was all gold and rose and pearl; one is alone in the desert, in a loneliness that no voice sounds through, in an anguish that no human sympathy can reach or sustain. All that made life worth the living has been inexplicably withdrawn; and how, then, shall he live?
And why shall he live? The springs of energy are broken and his powers are paralyzed. Whatever he has hitherto done, whatever he has tried or hoped to do in the joyous exaltation of the days that have vanished from all save memory, he can do no longer.
It is not a question of choice, not a decision that he would not still continue his efforts; but it is the total impossibility of doing so that settles down upon him like a leaden pall. The blind cannot see, the deaf cannot hear, the dumb cannot speak, the [Pg 22] paralyzed cannot walk,—no matter how gladly they would fulfil these functions. So he looks at his own life. His world is in ruins, and he has no power to ever rebuild it again. In such conditions the problem of suicide may arrive like a ghastly spectre to confront the mind. It is a spectre that, according to statistics, is alarmingly prevalent.
The statisticians talk of periods of it as "an epidemic.
It is seen as the result of both great and of trivial causes. It is seen to follow a great sin, and to be the—terribly mistaken—refuge of a great sorrow. And the remedy lies,—where? It can hardly lie elsewhere than in a truer understanding of the very nature of life itself. The only remedy will be found in the larger general understanding that life cannot be extinguished.
One may destroy his physical body ,—he can do that at any moment and by an infinite variety of methods. But he cannot destroy himself. He may deprive himself of the instrument that was given to him for use in the physical world; he cannot escape from the duties [Pg 23] that he should have fulfilled when he had the means of doing so in the use of this instrument we call the body. If science and religion could clearly teach the awful results that follow suicide, the terrible isolation and deprivation in which the spiritual being who has thrown away his instrument of service finds himself, it would be the one effective cure for a demoralizing tendency.
- Bloody Mary in the Mirror: Essays in Psychoanalytic Folkloristics: Essays in Psychoanalytic Folkloristics / Alan Dundes..
- How to get supernatural powers.
- LILIAN WHITING!
- How to get supernatural powers.
- Calaméo - A Power We Call God;
If one has sinned, sometime and somewhere must he meet the consequences. He cannot escape them by escaping from his body, and the sooner he meets them, in repentance and atonement, the sooner will he work out to better and brighter conditions. If one encounters disaster or great personal sorrow, what then? One does not throw away all his possibilities of usefulness because he is himself unhappy. If he does do this he is ignoble. Life is a divine dream.
It is a divine responsibility, primarily between each soul and God. It is one's business to live bravely, with dignity, with faith, with generosity of consideration and good will, with love, indeed, which is the expression of the highest energy. Yet, with his personal world in ruins, what shall he do?
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He must learn that supreme [Pg 24] lesson of all time and eternity,—the lesson to accept and to joyfully embrace the will of God as thus revealed to him, in an inscrutable way. Until he shall learn to accept this experience as divine, and offer his gratitude to God for pain as sincerely as he offered it for experiences of joy and of beauty, he cannot enter upon the Life Radiant. For the radiant life is only achieved through these mingled experiences as all equally accepted from the Divine Power. Yet is it good to pray when all things are prosperous with us; Pray in fortunate days, for life's most beautiful fortune Kneels before the Eternal's gate, and with hands inter-folded, Praises, thankful and moved, the only Giver of blessings.
The Life Radiant comes when one can as sincerely thank God for pain as for joy; when, after long groping in the darkness, clinging, indeed, to his faith in God for without that he could not live an hour, though that faith be totally without sight , he suddenly realizes how a great sorrow has wrought in him a great result; that it has perfected and crystallized all that was nebulous in his faith, and that it has absolutely brought him into perfect rest in the Divine Will; that it has forged that indissoluble link which forevermore identifies his will with the will of God, and thus opens to him a realm fairer far than a "World Beautiful"—even a World Divine.
Only in this finer ether is revealed to him the Life Radiant; in the atmosphere made resplendent and glorious by this revelation of the soul's union with God. It is a life only experienced after one who has seen before him the Promised Land is led into the Wilderness instead, and who, standing there in the midst of denial, and defeat, and desolation, can rejoice in the sea of glass mingled with fire through which he must pass.
Only in this supreme surrender of the soul to God; [Pg 26] only in this rapture of union with the divine power, lies the Life Radiant. It is a glory not of earth; it is the instant crystallization of an intense and infinite energy that pours itself into every need of the varied human life. It is the igniting of a spark that flashes its illumination on every problem and perplexity.
It is the coming to "know God" in the sense meant by Saint Paul, and thus to enter into the eternal life. For the eternal life is not a term that implies mere duration. It implies present conditions. The eternal life is now. It is a spiritual state, and implies the profound and the realized union with God, rather than a prolongation of existence through countless ages. Only the eternal life can thus prolong itself. The life of the spirit is alone immortal. When one comes into any clear realization of this life of the spirit,—of its infinite outlook, its command of resources,—the entanglement with trifles falls off of itself.
Not unfrequently a great deal of time and energy is totally wasted in endeavoring to combat or to conquer the annoyances and troubles that beset one; that weight his wings and blind his eyes and render him impervious and unresponsive to the beauty and joy of life. Nine times out of ten it is far better to ignore these, to put them out of sight and out of mind, and press on to gain the clearer atmosphere, to create the new world. We need only obey. There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word.
Why need you choose so painfully your place, and occupation, and associates, and modes of action and of entertainment? Certainly there is a possible right for you that precludes the need of balance and wilful election.
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