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1. True Happiness
2. The Immortal Man
3. The Overcoming of Self
4. The Uses of Temptation
5. The Man of Integrity
7. Belief, the Basis of Action
8. The Belief that Saves
9. Thought and Action
10. Your Mental Attitude
11. Sowing and Reaping
12. The Reign of Law
13. The Supreme Justice
14. The Use of Reason
17. The Glorious Conquest
18. Contentment in Activity
19. The Temple of Brotherhood
20. Pleasant Pastures of Peace
Above Life’s Turmoil
First digital edition 2017 by Fabio De Angelis
We cannot alter external things, nor shape other peopleto our liking, nor mould the world to our wishes but we can alter internal things,-our desires, passions, thoughts,-we can shape our liking to other people, and we can mould the inner world of our own mind in accordance with wisdom, and so reconcile it tothe outer world if men and things. The turmoil of the world we cannot avoid, but the disturbances of mind we can overcome. The duties and difficulties of life claim our attention, but we can rise above all anxiety concerning them. Surrounded by noise, we can yet have a quiet mind; involved in responsibilities, the heart can be at rest; in the midst of strife, we can know the abiding peace. The twenty pieces which comprise this book, unrelated as some of them are in the letter, will be found to be harmoniousin the spirit, in that they point the reader towards those heights of self-knowledge and self-conquest which, rising above the turbulence of the world, lift their peaks where the Heavenly Silence reigns.
To maintain an unchangeable sweetness of disposition, to thinkonly thoughts that are pure and gentle, and to be happy under allcircumstances,- such blessed conditions and such beauty ofcharacter and life should be the aim of all, and particularly so ofthose who wish tolessen the misery of the world. If anyone hasfailed to lift himself above ungentleness, impurity, andunhappiness, he is greatly deluded if he imagines he can make theworld happier by the propagation of any theory or theology. He whois daily living inharshness, impurity, or unhappiness is day by dayadding to the sum of the world’s misery; whereas he whocontinually lives in goodwill, and does not depart from happiness,is day by day increasing the sum of the world’s happiness,and this independently of any religious beliefs which these may ormay not hold.
He who has not learned how to be gentle, or giving, loving andhappy, has learned very little, great though his book-learning andprofound his acquaintance which the letter of Scripture may be, forit is in the process of becoming gentle, pure, and happythat the deep, real and enduring lessons of life are learned.Unbroken sweetness of conduct in the face of all outward antagonismis the infallible indication of a self-conquered soul, the witnessofwisdom, and the proof of the possession of Truth.
A sweet and happy soul is the ripened fruit of experience andwisdom, and it sheds abroad the invisible yet powerful aroma of itsinfluence, gladdening the hearts of others, and purifying theworld. And allwho will, and who have not yet commenced, maybegin this day, if they will so resolve, to live sweetly andhappily, as becomes the dignity of a true manhood or womanhood. Donot say that your surroundings are against you. A man’ssurroundings are never against him; they are there to aidhim, and all those outward occurrences over which you losesweetness and peace of mind are the very conditions necessary toyour development, and it is only by meeting and overcoming themthat you can learn, and grow, and ripen. The fault is inyourself.
Pure happiness is the rightful and healthy condition of thesoul, and all may possess it if they will live purely andunselfish.
“Have goodwillTo all that lives, letting unkindnessdie,And greed and wrath, so that your lives be madeLike soft airspassing by.”
Is this too difficult for you? Then unrest and unhappiness willcontinue to dwell with you. Your belief and aspiration and resolveare all that are necessary to make it easy, to render it in thenear future a thing accomplished, a blessed state realised.
Despondency, irritability, anxiety and complaining, condemningand grumbling all these are thought-cankers, mind-diseases; theyare the indications of a wrong mentalcondition, and those whosuffer therefrom would do well to remedy their thinking andconduct. It is true there is much sin and misery in the world, sothat all our love and compassion are needed, but our misery is notneeded- there is already too much of that. No, it is ourcheerfulness and happiness that are needed for there is too littleof that. We can give nothing better to the world than beauty oflife and character; without this, all other things are vain; thisis pre-eminently excellent; it is enduring, real, and not to beoverthrown, and it includesall joy and blessedness.
Cease to dwell pessimistically upon the wrongs around you; dwellno more in complaints about, and revolt against, the evil inothers, and commence to live free from all wrong and evil yourself.Peace of mind, pure religion, and true reform lie this way.
If you would have others true, be true; if you would have theworld emancipated from misery and sin, emancipate yourself; if youwould have your home and your surroundings happy, be happy.
You can transform everything around you if you will transformyourself.
“Don’t bewail and bemoan..Don’t waste yourselfin rejection, nor bark against the bad,but chant the beauties ofthe good.”
And this you will naturally and spontaneously do as you realisethe good in yourself.
Immortality ishere and now, and is not a speculative somethingbeyond the grave. It is a lucid state of consciousness in which thesensations of the body, the varying and unrestful states of mind,and the circumstances and events of life are seen to be of afleeting andtherefore of an illusory character.
Immortality does not belong to time, and will never be found intime; it belongs to Eternity; and just as time is here and now, sois Eternity here and now, and a man may find that Eternity andestablish in it, if he will overcome the self that derives its lifefrom the unsatisfying and perishable things of time.
Whilst a man remains immersed in sensation, desire, and thepassing events of his day-by-day existence, and regards thosesensations, desires, and passing events as of the essence ofhimself, he can have no knowledge of immortality. The thing whichsuch a man desires, and which he mistakes for immortality,is persistence; that is, a continuous succession of sensationsand events in time. Living in, loving and clinging to, the thingswhich stimulate and minister to his immediate gratification, andrealising no state of consciousness above and independent of this,he thirsts for its continuance, and strives to banish the thoughtthat he will at last have to part from those earthly luxuries anddelights to which he has become enslaved, and which he regards asbeing inseparable from himself.
Persistence is the antithesis of immortality; and to be absorbedin it is spiritual death. Its very nature is change, impermanence.It is a continual living and dying.
The death of the body can never bestow upon a man immortality.Spirits are not different from men, and live their little feverishlife of broken consciousness, and are still immersed in change andmortality. The mortal man, he who thirsts for the persistence ofhis pleasure-loving personality is still mortal after death, andonly lives another life with a beginning and an end without memoryof the past, or knowledge of the future.
The immortal man is he who has detached himself from the thingsof time by having ascended into that state of consciousness whichis fixed and unvariable, and is not affected by passing events andsensations. Human life consists of an evermoving procession ofevents, and in this procession themortal man is immersed, and he iscarried along with it; and being so carried along, he has noknowledge of what is behind and before him. The immortal man is hewho has stepped out of this procession, and he stands by unmovedand watches it; and from hisfixed place he sees both the before,the behind and the middle of the moving thing called life. Nolonger identifying himself with the sensations and fluctuations ofthe personality, or with the outward changes which make up the lifein time, he has become the passionless spectator of his own destinyand of the destinies of the men and nations.
The mortal man, also, is one who is caught in a dream, and heneither knows that he was formerly awake, nor that he will wakeagain; he is a dreamer without knowledge, nothing more. Theimmortal man is as one who has awakened out of his dream, and heknows that his dream was not an enduring reality, but a passingillusion. He is a man with knowledge, the knowledge of both states-that of persistence, and that of immortality,- and is in fullpossession of himself.
The mortal man lives in the time or world state of consciousnesswhich begins and ends; the immortal man lives in the cosmic orheaven state of consciousness, in which there is neither beginningnor end, butan eternal now. Such a man remains poised and steadfastunder all changes, and the death of his body will not in any wayinterrupt the eternal consciousness in which he abides. Of such aone it is said, “He shall not taste of death”, becausehe has steppedout of the stream of mortality, and establishedhimself in the abode of Truth. Bodies, personalities, nations, andworlds pass away, but Truth remains, and its glory is undimmed bytime. The immortal man, then, is he who has conquered himself; whono longer identifies himself with the self-seeking forces of thepersonality, but who has trained himself to direct those forceswith the hand of a master, and so has brought them into harmonywith the causal energy and source of all things.
The fret and fever oflife has ceased, doubt and fear are castout, and death is not for him who has realised the fadelesssplendour of that life of Truth by adjusting heart and mind to theeternal and unchangeable verities.
Many people have veryconfused and erroneous ideas concerning theterms “the overcoming of self”, “the eradicationof desire”, and “the annihilation of thepersonality.” Some (particularly the intellectual who areprone to theories) regard it as a metaphysical theoryaltogetherapart from life and conduct; while others conclude thatit is the crushing out of all life, energy and action, and theattempt to idealise stagnation and death. These errors andconfusions, arising as they do in the minds of individuals, canonly be removed by the individuals themselves; but perhaps it maymake their removal a little less difficult (for those who areseeking Truth) by presenting the matter in another way.