The Secret of Secrets
Your Key to Subconscious Power
by U. S. Andersen
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Your secret self, that sleeping giant within you, can help you do anything and become anything. This comprehensive 12 chapter, 300+ page book reveals the mental magic by which the power of your mind can be perfected. This enlightening book by the author of the best-selling Three Magic Words carries forward the hopeful message of that inspiring book: It is no longer necessary for modern man to lead a life of quiet desperation. He can do something about his dilemma. The secret waits....
Four years prior to the publication of this book, U. S. Andersen gave thousands of readers a tremendously vital message in his first inspirational book, Three Magic Words: The Key to Power, Peace and Plenty. And literally thousands of readers wrote to him to say that they had changed the tone of their lives from negative to positive by following his teaching. "My whole life is changed. It is the most inspiring book I own," was a typical letter.
In The Secret of Secrets he delivers another tremendously vital message, one that will lead to mastery over circumstance and life. To the "three magic words" of his first book he now adds the "four steps" of the method for converting the realization of an indwelling God into a richer, fuller life.
Uell Stanley Andersen developed his inspiring, dynamic philosophy during a very active life. He learned about the psychology of winning when he was a football great. In World War II he served as a Naval officer and in the heat of battle learned that evil is the great illusion and that sin is error. In later years as a successful Los Angeles businessman, he learned that the secret of success is to create rather than to compete.
Three Magic Words gave the key to power, peace and plenty. His second inspirational book, The Secret of Secrets, shows how to use the mystic powers of the mind to gain mastery over oneself and one's environment.
What is this secret? And how can one discover what it is and learn to use it?
U. S. Andersen calls it THE SECRET OF SECRETS because, strangely enough, it is within each man and yet can set him free. It is a secret that is making itself known over the face of the earth. It has become the common meeting ground of all religions. Sri Aurobindo says "It is the one secure and all reconciling truth which is the very foundation of the universe. "It is this truth and its application to your own life that is the theme of THE SECRET OF SECRETS.
There is in man, below the level of his consciousness, a vaster mind, a mind of enormous power and knowledge, a mind universal in scope, common to all men but exclusive to none. U. S. Andersen furnishes ample proof that this mind exists and that you can tap it. Wise men have learned that the human mind is a magnificent machine with an infinite reservoir of power still untapped by the mass of men.
The magic moment when you learn to link with this power is the moment when the secret of abundance becomes yours . . . the spiritual equivalent of having a money tree in your own back yard.
This book is divided into twelve chapters. Each chapter is packed with illuminating case histories to make every idea clear. At the close of each chapter there is a "Meditation". . . beautifully phrased and meticulously compact summing up what has just been discussed.
Every chapter makes thrilling reading. "Health and Well-Being" is an attack on the negative prompters which make egos sick . . . the prompters which make people say, "I don't feel well," "I'm not very smart," "I'm ugly," "I'm lonely." Each physical and mental ailment has its counterpart in a spiritual ailment, the author shows; cure that and the physical and mental ailment is also healed.
The chapter on "Loving and Being Loved" is one of the wisest and, frankest discussions of this important subject that has appeared in print.
The chapter on the mystic powers of the mind deals with thought transference and other manifestations of the Universal Mind or what is known to science as extrasensory perception.
These are but three of the twelve chapters that can help you re-capture control over your inner and outer life. The seeds of all possibilities exist within you if you would only learn this SECRET OF SECRETS.
This book is intended to show how the spiritual realization of an indwelling God may be applied to the various problems of everyday living. My previous book, Three Magic Words, ended with the revelation that man's consciousness is God's consciousness in process of becoming. The Secret of Secrets begins with this premise, then lays down a method by which such awareness may be used for the practical end of a richer and fuller life.
This method is somewhat like Yoga. It was indicated by Sri Aurobindo in summing up the Bhagavad-Gita when he wrote, "The secret of action is one with the secret of life. Life is not for the sake of life alone, but for God. Action is for self-finding and not for its external fruits. There is an inner law of all things dependent on the supreme as well as the manifested nature of the self; the truth of works lies there. The largest law of action is therefore to find the truth of your highest and inmost existence and live in it. Only by discovering your true self can your doings be perfected in a divinely authentic action. Know then yourself. Know your true self to be God and one with the self of all others."
The method offered for mastery over life is to make a sacrament of every thought and deed, giving each to the Lord and Master of creation without attachment to results. By such a procedure a man gradually frees himself of the limitations of personal ego and comes to understand that a larger power, a greater self may be unloosed through his own nature. He sees that it is God who thinks in him, God who wills in him, God who acts through him, and a new spiritual center of gravity is established. The ego dissolves, God-consciousness comes, and a man's peace and power are immensely enhanced because he moves in tune with the infinite.
On the surface this appears a contradiction to the generally accepted premise that positive thinking can change one's life, but in fact that premise is developed here far beyond such psychological limitations. Positive thinking alone is not the key to attainment, else there never would be a confident failure. Man is not bigger than God, and in the end it avails him only heartache to impose his ego-will on God's will. Yet man is far more than a puppet; he is God Himself in process of becoming, and it is by seeking out the nature of this real self that he prospers. This, however, he cannot do without first having a positive viewpoint of life. He must believe in his own immortality, in the assured ends of truth, justice, beauty, and brotherhood on earth; and when at last he has laid aside ego and glimpsed the limitless dimensions of his true spiritual being, then he sees that nothing is impossible to him. He achieves divine consciousness, his word is law, his thoughts rule the universe.
Such is his
destiny. To that
end may this book lead you.
THE CORE OF THE PROBLEM
God dwelleth always right where thou art. Shed thy ego and thou wilt soon see hidden within thy most secret heart a plan that is perfect for thee.
WE PUNISH OURSELVES
Alex was a middle-aged man in a mid-western city. His history was an astonishing record of failure. Whatever he turned his hand to eventually crumbled about him. There came a time when he could not even find a job. He and his family were destitute.
His wife said, "I can't understand it. Alex is the kindest man I've ever known. He's a hard worker, and I know he's smart. Other men, smaller, meaner men, are successful, but poor Alex, all his luck is bad."
"Does he think so?" she was asked.
She nodded. "He believes God is punishing him."
It took a long time to persuade Alex that God punishes no one. His guilt complex was so deeply rooted that he was dangerously passive. He felt compelled to be kind to others because of this guilt, but he expected nothing but misfortune in return. His personality was so involuted that he lived as if in a funnel; he was all turned in on himself. Only when he began to sense finally the infinite spiritual presence of God did his ego start to dissolve. Then he began to see other people for the first time, not as extensions of his own personality, but as living embodiments of God. His sense of personal worth grew as he gained humility. One day he was offered a job by a chance acquaintance; today he is a vice-president in that company. The president says of him, "Alex inspires confidence. Something looks out of his eyes and says, 'I like you. Let's be partners.' " God-consciousness indeed has remade the life of this one-time failure.
SEEDS OF DESTINY
Each of us carries within him the spiritual causes that determine his destiny. Sometimes these causes are not so much spiritual as psychological "prompters," and when they become twisted through fear, hate, bitterness, or resentment our lives can be driven calamitously. But psychological prompters, no matter how deeply buried in the subconscious, can be overcome by spiritual understanding. This understanding may be arrived at by intellectual grasp, by suffering, or simply by humility, very often by all three, but once arrived at it is as a new birth of the soul. That which you fancy yourself to be you never have really been, for it is a thing that changes with the seasons and alters with the tides. What you truly are is a permanent thing, changeless, with its foundations planted in eternity. To let go of the old self and cleave to the new is the essence of spiritual growth. This new birth, without which, Jesus said, a man cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, completely alters the world.
He who views the world through the ego sees all things as existing outside himself. He feels separate, isolated, and the world appears to him as a series of unrelated things and objects all possessing certain inherent dangers to his own being. He feels small, harassed, unloved, to him the world seems cruel and unjust. Yet when he awakens to his true spiritual self, all the old fears and hates and resentments dissolve. He then sees his kinship with all things, attains to spiritual identification with them, grows into a spiritual oneness with all creation that no longer leaves room for his personal ego and its wounds and vanities. By letting go of his small self he attains to a vast self, a self that encompasses all things. Then at last he recognizes with Walt Whitman, "The whole theory of the universe is directed to one individual—namely to You."
It is through spiritual rebirth that we overcome all things. It is through our growth into the spiritual image of God that the purpose of life itself is fulfilled. For that purpose did spirit first become involved in matter, to that end shall it one day be free.
We are such materialists in this age of electronics and atom bombs that there is often much scoffing about the "spiritual" existence of man. Many there are who state that man is body only, that he comes into existence as a machine destined to run a certain length of time, that the apparent director within him is only an illusion fostered by the machine's acquisition of rational habit patterns. What a desert of mind and soul such a belief must be! What else can the holder of such a belief do but spin out his futile existence in a web of frustration and resentment? Look into the eyes of your loved ones and you know at once the living presence of spirit. It need not be weighed, measured, and counted; it is there, and you recognize it. All the mathematics and logic in the world can neither prove nor disprove it, but you know it just the same. Spirit recognizes spirit, for it is the same in each of us, invisible and indivisible.
This knowledge, though it exists in the intuitive center of every man, nevertheless needs some logical justification before it can break through the mental barriers of this materialistic age. "It is all well and good," says the materialist, "to talk of feelings and intuitions but you must admit that they cannot be proved or disproved. What religion needs is something concrete, a fact, something provable." Well, feelings are provable. All of us recognize an act of bravery, an act of love, an act of kindness, why then must there always be so much doubt over the validity of the conduct of a man who claims to know God? All actions spring from feelings, many of them from the most spiritual feelings, and if it were not for these intangibles, which no one can weigh, measure, or even classify adequately, this world would be as still and silent as a tomb.
MASTER OF CREATION
It is spirit, soul, consciousness that is ever first cause, master and mover of creation, alpha and omega of existence. It is God stuff, infinite, eternal, changeless, arrested but a moment in form, manifesting its myriad appearances as a dancer might display infinite numbers of costumes, but remaining always one, indivisible and changeless.
This is God, not a giant-sized man, not even a god as we might imagine in our minds and make an image of, but a power, a presence, a being, an infinite intelligence pervading all and creating all yet remaining unaltered amongst the ever-changing.
A professor at a western university was illustrating to his class examples of deductive and inductive reasoning. "Deductive reasoning," he stated, "is to reason from an effect to a cause. For example, I know I exist. I did not make myself or the world I live in, therefore I deduce that someone else did. This someone I call God. Now inductive reasoning, on the other hand, is to reason from cause to effect. For example, I know that I think and that this thinking increases my knowledge. Inductive reasoning, therefore, tells me that I may increase knowledge of my Creator through taking thought. That, gentlemen, in a nutshell, is all that is going on in the world." Wise man, he knew God through mind, but truth to tell, he also knew him through his heart.
SHEDDING THE EGO
Now, the core of the problem of existence is this: Most of us believe ourselves to be creatures of circumstance, pushed around by the whims of fate and buffeted on all sides by forces over which we have no control. When we do manage to persuade ourselves that we can exercise control over our inner and outer lives we often do so with a magnified ego that has convinced us of our power through fostering the illusion that we are better than others. Obviously such a delusion is doomed to short life. We attain to mastery neither through magnified ego (the worst of all possible solutions) nor through an involuted ego that brings a sense of personal worthlessness. We take the first and most important step to mastery by shedding the ego altogether and identifying ourselves with God.
While the foregoing may be read by many, it will be the rare reader who at once penetrates its meaning. For to let go of personal self is to suffer a kind of death. To shed the ego means to attain to a state of personal abstraction wherein we can view ourselves with detachment, neither condoning nor condemning, aware of our personal existence neither more nor less than we are aware of the existence of our fellows. It is this state of consciousness that teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves, not necessarily through an increased love for our neighbors, but more through a less personalized and more detached regard for ourselves. In this state we learn to identify ourselves with a greater consciousness, a vast intelligence. We feel it underlying our existence, buoying us up, supporting us, giving us our awareness. Little by little we expand to meet it, until that which we were, our ego, begins to recede, until at last we view our personal existence as through the inverted end of a telescope. Now we begin to see what we truly are and to let go of what we never really have been. Now the world is changed. It has no more resemblance to what it was before than we have to what we were before, for, in the words of Evelyn Underhill, "We behold at any specific moment not that which is but that which we are."
THE INFINITE POWER
God, first cause, unlimited consciousness, infinite intelligence, involves Himself in matter and manifests in myriad forms, not to prove anything, not to fight anything, not to overcome anything, not to separate right from wrong, but only for the pure joy of expression; and this, as we know it, is the beginning of things, of the manifest world, of the stars, of the planets, of life. God Himself becomes involved in matter, and what He becomes, while infinitely less than Himself in form and substance, nevertheless is Himself, true and entire, in spiritual potential. Nothing can become this or that but God; God is all, there is nothing else.
And so consciousness is arrested in form, in being, spun out in space and time as a man or a woman, calling itself by a name, peering outward at a world that seems to dwarf it, overcome by problems because it assumes itself to be contained within that world rather than perceiving the truth, which is that the world is contained within it. This is man, who has isolated himself with his developing ego, cut himself off from the roots of his power which are firmly placed in the reaches of space and time.
SOMETHING DEEP INSIDE
Joe McAdams was a strong, husky young man, a flyer in World War II. Joe had a vast appetite for life. He played and fought and laughed and frolicked, and in general comported himself like an enthusiastic bear cub. Then one day his plane was shot down. Joe was wounded in both legs, but managed to parachute from the flaming ship. He landed in the sea, where he floated for hours in his life jacket. Sharks attacked him. Joe fought them with his knife. When he finally was picked up he barely was conscious and had nearly bled to death. Both legs were so badly damaged they had to be amputated. Joe, intensely physical, joyous Joe, faced life as a cripple. He went into a state of shock. Though conscious, he would talk to no one. He had to be forcefed.
The plain fact was that Joe no longer wanted to live. He apparently had taken the mental stand that if he couldn't be whole in body he wanted nothing further to do with life. He grew gaunt and pale. His skin hung lifelessly on his mangled body. Yet he did not die. Some spark within him resisted. For many months he seemed to hover on the very brink of death, then he began to recover. First sign was a return of color to his face, then his eyes grew brighter, then one day he smiled; after that he rapidly regained his strength. With a zest he entered into the rehabilitation program, learned how to be expert with his new artificial legs, set about studying hard so that he eventually was accepted at one of the East's finest engineering schools. Today Joe holds a responsible job with one of the nation's leading manufacturers. Those who know and love him realize that a great change has been wrought in this young man, a change far greater and deeper than that undergone by his scarred body. There has been a subtle but deep change in his entire personality, in his very character. He is still the vital, energetic Joe everyone knew, but now around all his actions and words there hangs a new aura, a kind of otherworldliness, a spiritual quality that the old Joe McAdams never showed. Joe was asked about this.
"I guess it's pretty obvious I've changed," he said, "inside, I mean, where it really counts. And it's more than just a change. The old Joe McAdams died out there on that Pacific atoll where he lost his legs. I'm the new Joe, and I was born on that same Pacific atoll. I was born one day when I realized that everything in life changes and fades away and the only thing that stays is something inside you, something that is you and yet is not you and is big and powerful and always there. It's God, I think. That's what really changed me."
Do you assume for one moment that some freak of circumstance, some coincidental arrangement of atoms and molecules, some bizarre chance from among an infinite number of chances has caused you to exist? Have you not looked inward on yourself and become startled beyond all possibility of recovery by the tremendous and sudden awareness that you are you? There are no words to express the true miracle of this self discovery. That the world exists, the planets, the stars, the mountains, oceans, seas, is a workaday thing, the substance of life, the backdrop against which the play is staged. But suddenly to realize that you, that unique and individual you, are here, are witness, are called into being, this is to know God, fully and surely. Such a realization forever lays to rest all materialistic philosophy, all atheism, all agnosticism. God is, you are, God is in you.
One evening a professor of mathematics, a forceful experimenter and a questing man, was told of such spiritual revelation. "You say you experience this thing," he answered, "so I believe you. All right, let's accept it. God manifests himself in myriad forms through the mere joy of His being, and what He becomes is less than Himself for a moment but truly Himself in eternity. What's the point? Surely you recognize that people suffer. Many people you must have known have gone through anguish because they had not resources to cope with some worldly situation and thus were forced to suffer. Who suffered then, these people or God, and if either or both, why? Surely God is no masochist, enjoying self-punishment, yet why does He become less than Himself and literally frustrate and torture Himself?"
"It is not God who suffers, or even the people," he was told. "It is only the mask God has donned that suffers and this does not truly exist, but is only illusion."
"Is it illusion when a man is dying of cancer and he cannot even withhold his screams at the pain?"
"That which suffers is an illusion, bound to illusions, fed by illusions. This is ego, the sense of personal isolation from God. When an individual surrenders his ego he then identifies himself with God and no longer can suffer, nor can he die. Cancer cannot kill him, for cancer is an illusion, even as that which it preys upon is an illusion."
"You would have a most difficult time explaining that to the American Medical Association," the professor answered. "There is even a difficult time explaining it to those already convinced that spiritual causes precede physical causes. But that does not alter its validity. A whistle can be made that sounds a note so shrill that only the rare human ear can hear it. To the great majority of mankind the whistle is silent, but that does not mean it does not sound its note. There are those who hear the whistle; there are those who perceive God and thus are free of the sufferings of the ego."
"Then it is your belief that disease is just one of the sufferings of the ego?"
"What, in your opinion, causes disease?"
"The distortions of the ego—fear, hate, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, guilt, and their cousins. These work on the subconscious, call into existence physical counterparts to match the suffering ego."
"And what is the cure?"
"Shedding the ego and making a spiritual identification with God. Failing that, see your doctor."
He laughed. "I shall see mine first, thank you." He didn't however. Since that evening our professor has come a long way in spiritual discovery. His naturally inquisitive mind has led him down many roads, but now he is vigorous in his contention that all physical manifestation has a spiritual cause and that disease itself is just one more evidence of man's being out of joint with his spiritual source.
LIFE AGAINST LIFE
It is indeed difficult to shed feelings of separateness and isolation, for it almost seems that these are foisted upon us by the very nature of life. We look about us and on all sides we see living things preying on living things. The oft repeated picture of a number of fish, each successively larger than the next and simultaneously swallowing each other, seems to give us our most apt picture of life, "The eater, eating, is eaten." It is from this observation of what Darwin termed, "the survival of the fittest," that we perhaps develop our submerged hostilities and general cynicism toward the underlying lovingness of God. It is from this observation that we perhaps even develop our atheism, our spiritual hopelessness, our existentialism, our feelings that life is "against" us. What we fail to perceive is that God is all, that nothing is ever lost, strayed, or unredeemed. No one falls but what another takes his place, and no one truly falls and no one truly wins, for each is God.
Do you think for a moment that God wins victories over himself?
Yet the plain and irrevocable fact is this—life feeds on life. In the drama unfolded by master intelligence manifesting itself in myriad forms through the mere joy of existence, the procession of movement through time and space and matter is accomplished through one form being destroyed and replaced by another better and more serviceable and therefore truer form. Thus life feeds on life. It is almost as if God is thinking and each of his thoughts manifests a form and then another truer thought absorbs the old one, making a new form, and so on.
Now, of course, we come to the standard shout of dismay. "How can it be," the egoist moans, "that a just and loving God would conceive such a method of unfolding Himself, a method that visits untold suffering upon His children as they are forced to struggle, to suffer pain, be defeated, and finally die?" And the answer to this question is that it is illusion that we are separate from God, it is illusion that we are children of God, for each of us in his true nature is God Himself, whole and entire, and God does not suffer pain, defeat, or death. Only the ego suffers pain, is defeated and dies. And the ego is illusion only and never exists at all.
Why does God don this illusion then? Why, in each of His separate existences, does He not know Himself as God instead of as some individual person? The answer to that is the answer to the riddle of existence. When the infinite becomes the finite, it forsakes the inherent perception of the infinite, and its understanding becomes that of the thing it has become. Thus God, becoming a thing, no longer knows Himself as God, but only as the thing He has become. The thing He has become is the ego of the thing. It does not in any way alter the nature of God, nor is it even truth in itself, but simply exists as a consciousness to fit the form. Yet always underlying it is the consciousness of God, infinite, eternal, with vast reservoirs of knowledge and power seeping ever upward, molding the thing ever better, molding always through strife between ego and ego, yet underlying all with love.
MIRROR ON THE WORLD
Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the Sierras. From its slopes it is possible to look eastward on a clear day into the vast reaches of rugged Nevada. Nowhere, as far as the eye can see, is there sign of another human life. You can look upward, focus on a pinpoint in the blue, look outward, and the land undulates to a level horizon, look downward, and the earth seems remote, detached, the habitat and handiwork of another race. Here you can sense yourself as the very center of the universe. All lines of force and purpose pass through you. Move and the center moves with you. All things meet and resolve themselves here. You are the center of an unimaginable circle whose circumference is nowhere and whose center is everywhere, so that anyone, no matter who or what or where he may be, sensing the circle, senses himself as the center. This is God's universe; it is infinitely one.
No matter our spiritual dedication, however, material life continually forces itself upon us. Daily we meet tensions, competitions, exertions, emotional peaks and lassitudes, so that it is almost as if we were riding a roller coaster over bounding forces that we do not and cannot control. We feel isolated in our fleshy prisons and long for the touch and contact of another hand, the consolation that someone else exists and feels the same as we, alone also, reaching out. We are constantly beset by feelings of inferiority and personal unworthiness so that we adopt standards that are all based on our comparison with others. People are better looking, worse looking, smarter, dumber, taller, shorter, thinner, fatter, poorer, wealthier, stronger, weaker, healthier, sicker, more talented, less talented, always in reference to ourselves. We hold up a mirror to the world, and the mirror is our ego. We see everything through it, and everything is colored accordingly.
YOU SEE ONLY WHAT YOU ARE
Henry David Thoreau wrote, "What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate." It is this peculiarity of the ego, that it can only see what it already is, that blinds us to the vast possibilities of our lives. If the ego feels unloved, it finds only an unloving world. If it hates, the world hates it. If it is bitter and cynical, ii knows only a bitter and cynical world. Rare is the man and wise who perceives that all possibilities are right where he is. He need only change his perception to see them. He doesn't create them by changing his perception. He only becomes aware that they are there; they existed all the time.
It is this spiritual and psychological law, that all change much first be wrought in consciousness before it can be perceived in the outer world, that gives life its exciting possibilities. Each of us can, by an act of mental decision, alter his consciousness and thus alter his life. This is not to say, for example, that by some miracle you one day can be incapable of comprehending higher calculus and the next understand it perfectly simply because you have decided to understand it. Decide to understand it and you remove the barriers to understanding it. You first may have to learn arithmetic, algebra, plane and solid geometry, and a number of similar tools, but if your decision is made firmly, one day you will find yourself understanding calculus. The seeds of all possibilities exist within you. There is nothing too great, too vast, too undreamed of that you might not aspire to it and in time have it grow into the image of your dream.
THE POWER OF DECISION
A few years ago a young man came to Hollywood in an empty boxcar of a freight train. He had no money and only the few clothes on his back. He washed the dirt from his face in the rest-room of a gas station and went immediately to the gates of 20th Century Fox Studios where he requested an audience with Mr. Darryl Zanuck, production head of the studio. The gateman took in his soiled clothes, his lack of coat and tie. His face clouded with outrage. "Get out of here!" he shouted. "No bums or panhandlers allowed!"
The young man left, crestfallen. He had been so sure that his confidence, his very brash hopefulness would gain him the audience he sought that he had not even considered the possibility of failure. He could not even get through the gates of a studio! He was so shaken that he couldn't bring himself to try another, but that night he came to a decision. He would be an actor no matter the hardships and disappointments. He would let nothing daunt him. He would work, he would learn, he would study, and in the end, he made this solemn resolve, he would be an actor.
Next day he found a job washing dishes in a restaurant. He discovered a school for young actors, complete with theatre. He did well in a tryout, and when it was discovered he was short of funds he was given a job as custodian of the building in return for his tuition fees. He was also allowed to sleep in the theatre. He spent three years in this manner, working, intent on his resolution. Then one day as he was walking down the street, he was stopped and asked if he were an actor. He answered he was. He was offered a screen test. After the test came a contract, then a small part, then a larger one, then a starring role. Today he is one of Hollywood's biggest stars, secure at the top of his profession because he knows his job so well.
Many will insist that our young man would have been stopped on the street and asked if he were an actor regardless of whether he had spent those years working and studying to prepare himself, but we must insist otherwise. It was no coincidence that he was stopped. The quality of his consciousness attracted this circumstance to him, and his consciousness had been tempered to that quality by the years of training and discipline he had subjected himself to. Thus it is that always we call into existence around us those images that we visualize in the depths of our being, and any man, by the power of his decision, has the capacity to change his consciousness and thereby change his life.
It is by expanding our consciousness, then, that we may influence and even control our destinies, and the tool with which we are able to accomplish this is by forsaking the ego and identifying ourselves with God. It is obvious that an all wise and omnipotent God is aware of all things, past, present, and future. It is similarly obvious that the will of a person or individual ego imposed upon the will of God is not going to change God's plan. It is through such realization that we become aware of the futility and the suffering caused by the exertion of ego-will, but it is also through this realization that we run up against one of the greatest snags in the doctrine of free will as against that of predestination. For our contention is that despite the fact that all things in the future are known to God, man himself is possessed of free will, freedom to determine the events and happenings of his life.
FREE WILL AND PREDESTINATION
Some contend that if God knows what is going to happen that particular thing must happen and man cannot alter it and therefore he is a mere puppet and does not have free will. But the mistake that these contenders make is that they are thinking of man as ego rather than as a part of God, or even God Himself. Man is not separate from God. It is only the illusion of his ego that makes him appear so. And God is not deluded. Therefore He does not recognize man as man or individual men as individual men. When there is a thing to be done in the plan that He holds, He knows that He Himself in one of His myriad forms will do it. He does not concern Himself whether this particular form has the illusion that it is Bill Jones or Ed Brown. He only follows the law of His nature, and the consciousness best suited to the thing accomplishes the thing. Thus it is that as individual egos we have complete freedom, freedom to change or alter or improve the quality of our consciousness so that it will be best suited to the thing we want to do. When the consciousness has been so altered the thing to be done is inevitably attracted; this is God's law.
It is therefore through the alteration of consciousness and not through exertion of will that all things come to us. Ego-will is for one thing only and that is to impose discipline upon itself. The power to make a decision lies in the power to discipline the ego, and it is here and only here that ego-will may be and even must be exerted. Ego-will never can be exerted over things, over people. To attempt to do so only creates the opposite reaction. Confine your use of will power to yourself, to self-discipline, self-control. Develop in yourself the power to make clear-cut and firm decisions, to stick to them no matter the obstacles. In that manner you will expand your consciousness to meet the goals you have set for yourself.
In all things other than self-discipline we must learn to forsake ego-will and subject ourselves to the will of God. This is not the subjection we might first think it to be, for all we are doing is forsaking the ego, which is illusion anyway, and attuning ourselves to the will of our greater Self, which is God. By subjecting ourselves to the will of God we recognize Him not only in ourselves but in the world around us, in the people we meet, in the objects and things and circumstances of our days. We begin to see things as a whole, and we begin to find our places in that whole according to the quality of our consciousness, a consciousness that now is taking on greater and greater powers because it has begun to identify itself with God. In all things we see the master hand, and in many things the hand of the Master becomes our own.
One sometimes hears it said by those who have buried three-fourths of their natures that there is nothing in this world worthwhile except those things that have proven they are facts by taking form. A tree, they say, is a fact. It exists as a tangible thing and bears its own testimony to its existence, so that nothing more need be said about it. Even the kinds of trees, elm, birch, fir, cedar, etc., can be recognized without difficulty so that no debates, arguments, or theories need be postulated about them. All ideas, emotions, and feelings, say these materialists, are merely reactions of individual natures to a world full of things that are facts but which individual natures attempt to disguise in order to make them conform to personal desires. This last thesis, however, certainly smacks a good deal of an idea in itself and perhaps defeats the entire contention. In any case, defeated it is. For nothing in the world is more impotent than a thing in itself, and nothing in this world is more potent than an idea in itself.
FORM OUT OF IDEA
Follow the process of creation and you will see that the idea always precedes the thing and the thing is never the whole embodiment of the idea but only a partial manifestation of a vision dimly seen and partially understood. This particular conclusion not only may be applied to art, music, literature as the obviously creative fields, but as easily can be applied to the worlds of medicine, physics, chemistry, and electronics. A Tolstoy bringing forth from the recesses of his subconscious those ideas which took the concrete form of War and Peace is still no more a creator than Newton pondering the falling apple and from it arriving at the law of gravity. Each entertained an idea, each gave it form.
It is this power of decision, this law of form out of idea that is at once our salvation and our undoing. Sensing it, we sense all power within ourselves, but at the same time we build a wall around it that encysts it into the small thing the ego is. We can be anything we wish to be, take any stand we wish to take, the decision is ours. But as long as such decision or stand is motivated by the ego, it can have no greater power than that of the ego, which is scarcely any power at all.
If there is one thing in all life that is an unavoidable conclusion it is that all things are the manifestation of some Directing Intelligence with an absolute purposefulness of design. Life is going somewhere, is unfolding something, has a definite goal, and these things, even the most egoistic of us must admit, are in the hands of no man, or even group of men, but rather rest in the lap of the Intelligence that created all. Once we understand this, once we have complete faith in the existence of this Master Intelligence, once we know God, we no longer desire to change the world but immediately sense that our salvation as individuals lies in attuning ourselves to it.
No man, living in pride and vanity, can do this simple thing. Whether his ego is bloated because of his sense of superiority or whether it is involuted because of his sense of inferiority, it is one and the same. He has cut himself off from the roots of his being and no longer has the slightest wish to attune himself to the world, but rather insists that the world itself be changed. He is like a spoiled child, unheeding of others, unheeding of the plan by which the household is run. He thinks only of himself, sometimes even deluding himself that he is thinking of others, but he cannot see others at all. All things, all people, all events are only extensions of his ego, and as he is hurt, bitter, revengeful, joyful, victorious, or defeated so the world must change to meet his every mood. It is small wonder that he eventually is brought to his knees by force, by the laws of the universe, by disease, by misfortune, by fate. He has sealed his doom in his aloneness.
DEFINING THE EGO
For the purposes of definition it is perhaps best explained that throughout this text the term "ego" is used in the spiritual sense of the isolation of the individual self from the universal self, which is God. Under no circumstances is it to be interpreted solely in its popular sense as "conceit." Conceit, a sense of superiority, is only one face of ego. The other face is conceit's opposite, a sense of personal unworthiness, the all too prevalent "inferiority complex." The truly successful people in this world do not live in the ego. The successful person has subjected his ego to a greater power through a sense of personal devotion to a flame he does not always understand, whether he calls it God or not. It is the unsuccessful, the harried, the unloved who are bound by the ego, so turned in on themselves, so convinced in mind, body, and spirit that the world is a conspiracy directed against them that they subconsciously are manifesting every minute of every day those very conditions they fear and abhor. It is they who need the great vision of the vast Self underlying the egoistic self, of the power that is theirs to call upon once they have forsaken the ego and taken unto themselves their spiritual birthright. It is thus through a new awakening, a rebirth into spiritual oneness that all problems are conquered, never through attempting to dissolve the problem through an act of will.
LEARNING TO DECIDE
Virginia was thirty-eight years old when her asthma became unbearable. She had lived with it most of her life, but now finally it had reached the point where she scarcely was free of it for even a few moments of the day. Anything set her to wheezing, even the slightest emotional stress. She had taken pills, "shots," tried diets, moved from one corner of the country to the other, but still she continued to wheeze. At last she reached the point where she was both physically and mentally exhausted. She entered a sanitarium in an effort to regain her strength. There she settled into a state of complete apathy, refused to communicate with others, seemed decided not to disturb herself in any way. Her symptoms disappeared, of course, because they had been caused by emotional disturbance and Virginia now had suppressed her emotions completely. Eventually she was discharged and sent home, but her family was horrified at the change in her.
Her husband said, "Frankly, I'd a million times rather have her with asthma. At least she often was gay and charming and always a warm human being. Now she walks around like a zombie."
It was quite a problem to restore Virginia to life. By an act of will she had almost anesthetized herself completely. She not only had become incapable of feeling things emotionally, but physically she evidenced much the same anesthesia. She had an extremely high pain threshold, being insensitive to pinpricks over much of her body. She was completely involuted. The ego had turned in on itself by an act of will, and the rest of the world no longer existed for her. She had suffered, no doubt about it, but not enough for the ego to die. Rather it had magnified itself, grown inward in its isolation, until at last, in its little microcosm, it had become an entire universe.
Little by little Virginia was led back to life. One day she was persuaded to umpire a ball game between the youngsters of the neighborhood. Much persuasion was necessary, but eventually Virginia took the field. Though she once had been an accomplished player herself, for the first two innings Virginia obviously was confused. Each time the pitcher threw the ball she stared at home plate with visible effort. She was being forced to make a decision! After what seemed minutes she would call a ball or strike. Her voice always ended on a questioning note. In the third inning the team that had been behind managed to get runners on all bases, and their leading hitter came to bat. He hit a sharp grounder to left field, and it rolled beyond the fielder. The three base runners scored, and the hitter decided to stretch his triple to a home run. Meantime the left fielder had retrieved the hall, and he threw it toward home plate. The ball and the runner arrived at the same time. Everyone was on his feet immediately. The runner was safe! He was out! It depended on which side you were on. It was up to Virginia to call the play.
Thirty faces stared at her, each in the grip of his own emotions, each daring her to call against him. She could not possibly satisfy more than half the people. She blanched, seemed to quaver for a moment. Then in the summer sun, with the dust yet floating on the warm air, she announced, "You're out!"
Shouts of approval and disapproval were equal. Those who stood to lose by Virginia's decision surrounded her in a moment, shouted at her, glared at her, seemed to hate her, demanded that she retract, tell the truth, not lie. Then something happened. A change seemed to come over Virginia. She straightened, seemed more poised, more resolute, possessed of greater powers. She did not answer. She turned and walked back to her position behind the pitcher's mound. Those watching her sensed immediately the finality of her decision. They retired to the sidelines.
It was only a small thing perhaps, a game between children that occupied two hours of a Saturday afternoon, but it changed Virginia's life. In those two hours she discovered herself, discovered she could decide, could refuse to retreat, and she learned that her decision could change the world. Today she is a happy, integrated, vital person, all because she learned the power of decision.
OUTGROWTH OF THE INDWELLING GOD
Oh, there is in us a thing invincible, a thing of such power that only the smallest fraction of it ever is unloosed through the greatest of men. What is going on in life is the outgrowth of the indwelling God, and each of us is a stage in the development of this drama. In deciding, in daring to take a stand no matter the hazards or obstacles, we are reaching upward, touching God. All the ages of evolution, up through the slime and mist of a newly formed earth, have prepared us for this moment, the moment we first decide and having decided remain firm; and all the future ages of evolution rest upon that moment of first decision, for it is then that we exercise God-power, the power of being, the power of creation; it is then that we know our divinity, our immortality, our mission here upon the earth.
The past is but the beginning of a beginning, and all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn . . . A day will come when beings who are now latent in our thoughts and hidden in our loins shall stand upon this earth as one stands upon a footstool, and shall laugh and reach out their hands amid the stars.
—Herbert George Wells
And so we must attune ourselves to Him Who created the universe and Whose hand is to be seen in all works. It is only by knowing God that we can in the end understand ourselves; it is only by knowing God that we can fathom the purpose of life, the nature of good and evil, sense the master plan whereby each of us fulfills himself as an individual and unites himself with the Divine.
THE SECRET IS BREAKING THROUGH
There is a secret, which when known and understood, has the power to set men free. It is not a thing that can be summed up in so many words, though it has been and will continue to be so stated, but is rather a thing of spiritual experience, a feeling, an outgoing of the soul, a breaking through the shell of individual identity, a flowing together with God. For this purpose does the endless drama of birth and death and individual manifestation progress on earth and throughout the universe. To this end does each individual live. According as he realizes his own nature and his relationship with God does he fulfill himself and life.
This secret is rapidly making itself known over the face of the earth. It has become the common meeting ground of all religions. Whether you are Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, or Jew you stand with your fellows as one man the day you approach your Creator with single-mindedness and ask to know Him. He will not deny you. It is His purpose to enlighten you. Jesus said, "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom of heaven."
You can develop your spiritual awareness by engaging in daily meditation periods. For that purpose a meditation is appended at the end of this chapter and each subsequent one. Some are designed to overcome specific problems, all strive for spiritual wholeness, each is a bridge between the individual and his Creator, each explores the nature of being.