When the mind turns inward to reflect upon any of the problems of life, immediately an army of conflicting thoughts is marshalled before the mind's eye and they appear as a panorama of living pictures, of such variable coloring and diversified theme that the brain becomes confused. It is necessary to focus them all into one picture which will bring the vital points into bold relief and place unimportant details in their proper place.
This mental confusion is caused by a vacillating viewpoint. The uncontrolled lower mind leads us hither and thither and we are unable to hold it for long at any one point.
Every question must be studied from at least two positions and both sides of life's picture analyzed. Each human being embodies two distinct and opposing natures, the two conflicting world forces. An angel and a demon struggle within him from the cradle to the grave and at each moment of his life, one or the other is reigning on the throne.
In face of our boasted twentieth century enlightenment, the world is full of ignorance, degradation and suffering, and human beings are tossed about in the whirlpool of material life, trying in vain to find an anchorage.
Although much progress has been made on some lines, the verdict of millions of unhappy hearts is that in the main it has not been on the right lines. For if it were, men would by this time be living together in brotherly love instead of amidst the strife and despotism we know exist everywhere, with their souls still hungry for truth and their hearts starved for love.
For the cause which has brought about this weight of woe and made the burden almost heavier than we can bear, we have not far to search. Every one of us knows that it is because of an innate self-love and man's inhumanity to his fellow man. And we have each helped to make this fair earth of ours a world of sorrows and human life a wail of anguish instead of a song of joy. We should also know that the only remedy for the existing condition, lies in retracing our steps and living again a simple, natural life in the bonds of universal brotherhood.
While selfishness in some form is the root of every evil, there are certain phases of the malady which are especially prominent and dangerous at this particular time. And not the least of these is a growing skepticism and mistrust of anything which cannot be cognized by one or more of the five physical senses. The ingress of this powerful foe to real knowledge is marked by its narrowing, withering influence upon the minds of men. The moment doubt is allowed to creep into the heart it takes root and rapidly grows into a rank weed which crowds out the pure impulses and clear perception of a trustful nature. It is a most subtle poison and surely grave responsibility rests with those who deliberately inject it into another's mind. The natural, simple faith of little children should be an object lesson and example to us, but instead of this, parents and teachers take great pains to crush out this bright flower from a higher realm and in its place encourage the growth of the hideous weeds of mistrust and suspicion.
Close upon the heels of doubt follows its inseparable companion, fear. An insane fear and mistrust of our magnificent powers is holding back the world with iron chains. "Faith" must be the basis of every act of our lives. If we do not believe that an undertaking will terminate as we plan, what incentive is there for attempting it? The successful outcome depends upon the quality of the faith. If we start out to do a thing with the thought, "it is no use trying, I cannot do it," how can we ever expect to accomplish anything?
No matter how many times we may fail, the fact that we keep on trying proves that we really know it is possible to succeed. In approaching any duty, if we would take the positive attitude of mind that "I can do this thing and will," already the ultimate success of the undertaking is assured.
It is a fact worthy of note that skepticism increases in the same ratio that advance is made on purely intellectual lines. Men who want tangible proof of everything generally turn to physical science thinking that here they will be able to prove as they go. They place implicit faith in the inexorable laws of nature which have already been discovered, but forget that every physical science began by assuming an hypothesis, which after countless experiments was modified until finally the governing law was discovered.
Our introduction to the study of mathematics, the only exact science known to the world, is to imagine something which has neither length, breadth nor thickness — the point — and by extending this imaginary something produce a line, and from this also hypothetical something, a surface. Upon this basis of imagination, or faith, is built the strong and magnificent foundation of all the sciences.
Likewise, the essence and spirit of all phenomena are above and beyond the material form. The anatomist may probe and dissect until the end of time and the vivisectionist, under the cloak of scientific investigation, may continue his fiendish cruelties, they will never come any nearer to grasping that something for which they are in search, and which ever eludes them, as long as they have only the physical senses at command.
Belief in the higher, spiritual laws is not based on inference any more than belief in physical laws. It is based on knowledge supplied by the higher senses. For we have other senses than the five which science admits. There is a sixth sense now rapidly developing in the race, that is intuition, and there are others finer and higher than this. It is through these that we are able to get a glimpse of the beauties and splendors of the realms which lie beyond gross matter.
With telescope and microscope men are searching the universe to discover the truth of things, but because they are still groping in the dark for the deepest truths, many have grown tired and lost faith that the mystery of life will ever be fathomed. And yet, down in the consciousness of every heart there surely is a profound conviction. We know that the light is breaking.
Faith in mere man-made creeds and dogmas may be decreasing and is, but confidence in the Divine Intelligence behind all manifestation is a flooding tide. Faith in our own divinity and infinite possibilities is a sovereign remedy for ills of the mind. Harmony is restored, and contentment and peace take the place of discord and strife. The whole outlook of life is altered and even the stagnant pool of physical vitality aroused to healthy activity.
It is the lower mind with its limitations which causes distrust of the intuitions of the higher nature to creep into the heart. We have an idea that the less we take on faith, the more reasonable we are. But in spite of the belief which most people have that "I am not deluded," the credulity of the mass of humanity today is amazing. We allow ourselves to be deluded and deceived every day of our lives by listening to the flattering, pampering voice of the personality and turning deaf ears to the still, small voice of our better selves.
Not only in matters which touch the moral and ethical side of the question are we blinded, but in the affairs of practical every-day life.
For instance, we know perfectly well that traps are set on every side to ensnare the unwary and yet we deliberately fall into them, enticed by some sugar plum, by plausible schemes that sound as though the only desire of the originator was to give you something, and your welfare his greatest care. There are large concerns doing business on these lines, with their success entirely dependent on gullible people. And they thrive and prosper. Is it not rather humiliating that our stupidity should have a commercial value?
But, thanks to the working of the great law, at last people are beginning to rouse themselves and are tearing away the veils which have been pulled over their eyes and commencing to realize that they are something more than intelligent animals. It is not a time for sugar-coated pills and conscience-drowning phrases, it is the pivotal time of the ages, and the evil forces are in the death struggle.
Already humanity is standing with abated breath, expecting some great event, they know not what.
We are standing at the threshold of the "Golden Age," the time of which poets have sung and prophets told. A time when human beings will dwell together in harmony, and wisdom and peace will abound. We have within us the power to re-create the glories of the past and greater glories and our responsibility is great. We have pictured this as still in a dim and distant future, but now is our opportunity to realize the dream. Do not let it be recorded of us, as of the disciples of old, that we failed in the great hour and could not enter in for lack of faith.