Self-analysis is one of the phases of thought that is least accentuated in human life. We eagerly pass judgment on our neighbors; we are quite ready to criticize great writers and bogus ones; we read almost innumerable papers, magazines, stories, and books that are useless to us; but self-analysis is nowhere found as a practical feature of human life.
A man is heavily in the shadows if he has not been taught, or if he has not found out for himself, that he is essentially a spiritual being, that his soul is alive with superb possibilities. The hunger of his heart tells the story of how the soul longs for real freedom, how it is seeking recognition, how it is trying to find its place, to become more and more intelligent and better informed, how it seeks knowledge of facts in place of mere beliefs.
Another cannot give you what you own yourself. Self-analysis is the secret of coming into your own. Examine yourself: do not be satisfied with today or with the books you read or with the half-living that you call life. Dream yourself out into your greater possibilities. Visualize the future — if only a single year ahead. Day by day gain knowledge through self-examination, through the realization that man is spiritually immortal, through the royal dignity of the higher soul. Remember that this little span of seventy-seven or a hundred years is only a step in the progress that we as souls are about to make. When we do this, we can look back at our sorrows and trials and see that some of them were merely necessary experiences in our evolution. And some of the things that we considered injustices we will find seemed such because we looked at effects only and not at causes. When we find ourselves in that state, how broad, how liberal, how magnificent, how splendid we will be in the realization of the knowledge that bespeaks us as immortal.
Examine yourselves: question the eternal laws of life, ascertain the secret of the many riddles and problems which confront you. Why do our souls respond to the grander notes of music? Why are we carried away with the glory of the sun, the fragrance of the flowers, and the beauty of all that nature offers? Because then we are nearer the spiritual side of ourselves. Even if you cannot live up to your highest feelings, you touch the fringe of great truths in your aspirations; and when these are registered, the answer must come in time.
Find the higher self through self-analysis. To find the immortal self, the divinity in man, is to open up for yourself a new existence, a new vision, a grand and superb symphony of life, singing all the time though your ears may be deaf and your eyes cannot see. But within is the rising, surging, pulsating power of the soul, which tells the story of the eternity of man and his vast possibilities.
If a man has no more conception of the deeper things of life than mere brain-mind argument can give him, and if he is limited to the belief in one short earth-life, his power of self-analysis is very small. Real self-analysis is impossible to anyone who has not to a degree found his own essential divinity. Believing in his own essential divinity, something opens up in his nature. He finds himself on a line of investigation and research, he has made a beginning for his future happiness. He uses ordinary reason, of course, but he has something more. He must go beyond the limitations of the external man and visualize for himself a picture of the possibilities of the human soul. Then he reaches a point where real self-analysis is possible. Of course I am speaking from the standpoint of the idea of many lives in repeated incarnations on earth, the idea that man is divine in his potential qualities.
The man who accepts the idea that he is essentially divine must also accept the idea of spiritual growth, evolution. Evolution is often taught in a ridiculous manner, but evolution based on the essential divinity of man, on the eternal progress of the soul through the experiences of many earth-lives, ever approaching the great goal of perfection, is an inspiring and sublime doctrine and it can never conflict with any proved scientific fact.
The most beautiful secret is that no matter what knowledge man may acquire necessary to balance and adjust his own life and bring it into harmony with his aspirations, he must impart to others the peace and happiness which this knowledge gives him. There must be something more than merely gaining knowledge for himself, attaining wealth, winning a position, writing learned books, and being considered important or "advanced." There must be burning in his heart that spirit of mercy and compassion which will lessen man's inhumanity to man. That is the true love of the divine. The divine love is all-powerful and all-merciful. There is mercy in the laws that govern our being, mercy in nature, mercy in divinity.
The knowledge of external nature taught in the schools is necessary for our education, but it is not enough. There must be knowledge of the inner laws of being, familiarity with oneself, with one's weaknesses and one's strength. No real self-analysis is possible to the man satisfied in acquiring merely intellectual knowledge. With all his worldly attainments, the one thing that man most hungers for is knowledge of himself — the power to analyze and understand his own life. This is essential for his soul's advancement. When man finds this knowledge, then he can declare that the divine is love and that human life is essentially beautiful. Life is beautiful as far as we make it so. Every man makes or mars his own life according to his own inner knowledge and the choice that he daily makes of the path he will walk.
Everyone fails in his duty if he does not realize that we all owe a great duty to our fellow men — even to the most unfortunate and degraded. We might have been in the same position ourselves if we had had the same surroundings as they. We must acquire a new idea of compassion, a new sense of justice, then our consciences will grow. And as we climb the hills of progress and reach the heights and learn of the glory of life, of the glory of the divine, and the love and mercy in the human heart, then we shall, in the spiritual sense, embrace the whole of humanity. For brotherhood is a fact in nature. We are all united by the same natural laws and must follow the same divine guidance.
Lay up your treasures in heaven by rounding out your life on earth, freshening and beautifying it. Let each one fulfill his smallest duty to the fullest, and live hopefully and trustingly, uplifting the world by the purity of his individual life. The world needs a change. We need the sweetness and nobility which every living man and woman has potentially within himself or herself. This is the way to bring humanity up to a higher state of morality and dignity. The weakness of our present civilization is in man himself. The reason for it is that he allows the lower nature in him to rule instead of the higher, divine self which is immortal. The lower nature is the undeveloped side of him, which can be transmuted and brought up to a quality that leads ultimately to happiness and perfection.
If you could move out of the glamour of the world, out of the psychology of the age, away from the insanity of its unrest, you would find a new kingdom within yourselves. There is no limitation to the power of the spiritual soul of man. All that is needed is for the brain-mind, which belongs only to the mortal and dies when the body dies, to become conscious that there is this divine power of the higher soul. It may seem to us to be sleeping, but it is within the very nature of man. Reason has its place of course; but if we appeal only to our reason, only to the outward man or to the world's conventional thought, if we come under the psychological influence of the unrest of the age, we receive very heavy doses of despair. We manifest it in different ways — suicide is an extreme instance.
But there are a great many very splendid people who have within them royal qualities of superb character, yet they do not know it. And that is why they struggle so, that is why life is such a terrible riddle for them. If a man does not know his own essential divinity, he cannot know his own inner god nor begin even to think towards universal deity intelligently. He is the greatest of all mysteries, for the last thing in the world he would ever do would be to come to himself for knowledge. He refuses to challenge his heart, his soul, his principles, and his conscience. No! He will go anywhere and everywhere but to the right place, and still despair.
So the supreme courage of the soul can be manifest only in one who knows himself, at least to a degree. One who has such knowledge is as sure of it as he is that the sun shines, he is so sure of it that it is teeming through his whole nature. It revivifies him, gives him a new conscience and a steadfast courage. Any man can make the effort to reach that knowledge. It requires no great strain, no remarkable process of the mind. It is just a calm, quiet confidence in oneself, that one can reach the goal. Then comes the real joy of living. We must admit that we do not meet so many people in the world who carry in their lives or in their faces, or in anything they do or say, much that bespeaks the joy of living. But that is what we should all find, because nature is singing a beautiful song to our souls and our hearts all the time. There is something in the splendor of nature that appeals to us.
The more we know of our divine selves, and the larger consciousness we have of the greatness of life, the better we comprehend that it would be impossible in the divine scheme for man to be born on earth and fulfill his complete destiny in just one lifetime. It is impossible because the program is such a great one — it reaches out to eternity. What could be grander and more beautiful than to reach a point of certainty? Everything in life would change. I am firmly convinced that if we take care of our divine natures in the sense that we should, and if we utilize for all our lives this knowledge of right living, we would have the secret of longevity; and really and truly, the old would commence to grow young.