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In the world today there are two definite trends of thought. One trend is based on orthodox tradition, which holds fast to everything of the past. The other trend is militant liberalism, which seeks to circumvent the traditions of the past and to establish a new regime.

Between orthodox traditions and militant liberalism there is a happy hunting ground. This happy hunting ground is the world in which we live. It is a practical world made up of all kinds of people, just like you and me. No one knows where we came from, and no one knows where we are going when we leave here. There is one thing certain, we are here and it is ours to make full use of now.

It is your mission while here to make use of the common sense and reason which God has given you. You have the ability to analyze and fathom out all the events, precepts and traditions of the past. It is your privilege to take from these any knowledge or wisdom that will help you to interpret and to understand the present.

In preparing a book entitled The Seven Great Events of Democracy, I have traced back the growth and development of democracy over thirty-three hundred years. One of the events I selected happened in the eleventh century before Christ. This is a traditional event, and for the past three thousand years the knowledge and wisdom expressed in that event have been a contributing factor in man's quest for understanding. It has been a beacon light to guide and direct man in each succeeding generation in the path of righteousness. All through the years it has given man faith, hope, complacency, courage and determination. Through its power and influence, man has been able to conquer dread, doubt and uncertainty. Through its inspiration man has been able to plow through the quicksands of discouragement, overcome the quagmires of defeat, and forge ahead to place himself on the solid rock of progress and good fortune.

This event is the Twenty-third Psalm. These six verses express in one hundred and eighteen words one of the most invigorating and inspiring messages ever written. It is a positive affirmation expressing absolute assurance in God as the All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Present, and All-Providing Shepherd to supply all of our physical needs, and to give us health, happiness and peace of mind to enjoy all of the re-sources of life, including the physical, the mental and the spiritual. I have made the precepts expressed in this Psalm a part of my life. They have been a source of strength and endurance. I believe and feel them. I can heartily recommend the Twenty-third Psalm as a formula to help you make a wise use of the present.

Verse by verse this is what the Psalm means to me:

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

This is a positive affirmation of Faith in God as the Supreme Being, the Supreme Intelligence, the Supreme Ruler and also the All-Seeing, All-Knowing, All-Loving, All-Present, All-Providing and All-Embracing Power and Spirit to guide and to direct me in all my activities. As the Shepherd guides, directs and cares for his sheep with loving kindness, so I rely on the love, the intelligence, wisdom, grace and power of God to guide, direct and to care for me. If I live, move and have my being in God, then it is only common sense on my part to recognize His Intelligence, to realize His Presence, and to demonstrate His Power in my activities. A feeling of this relationship establishes unity and harmony in all my contacts and provides me with a complete abundance of all the things I need, both physical and spiritual. Thus, I shall not want, because God supplies all my needs. When I walk out in the country on a cold, clear night, and observe the skies teeming with sparkling stars, a glimpse of the universe with its infinite magnitude passes before me. I feel if God can take care of all these worlds upon worlds without end, surely he can take care of little Earl. So far he has not failed. Glory to His greatness.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.

This is a positive statement of fact. It expresses growth, division, expansion, unlimited quantities, and inexhaustible supplies. Green indicates continued growth, and this means that God will continue to replenish the earth to take care of everything that He Creates. The only thing that wants is man and this is owing largely to his own lack of understanding.

Pastures suggest wide-open fields with freedom to act. As an individual, I can roam and enjoy these green pastures and partake of their bounty, and if I do these things with the right spirit, hundreds of people will aid me. To feel that I am in the midst of inexhaustible supplies gives me a sense of security.

"He leadeth me beside the still waters."

This statement does not say tomorrow, but it says now. To be conscious of green pastures, and a world overflowing with everything I need destroys worry, anxiety and dread. This feeling of security brings me in contact with the still waters, which engenders harmony, unity and peace of mind.

He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

A watch has the same works, either running or stopped. It needs winding every now and then. A man is like a watch, he needs winding. The only way to wind a man is to give his mind something on which to feed. His spirit must be restored.

In my own experience when confusion, conflict and discord usurp my reserve and I feel depleted, I turn to this Psalm I am now discussing and endeavor to feel its full content pouring into my consciousness. Then, like a flash, the radiant light of the All-Present Shepherd renews, revitalizes and restores my whole being with life and power, and with a full assurance that all is well. Again, I am ready to begin anew. I stand revealed to my true self. Thus, I can sing with joy: "He restoreth my soul."

"He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."

Of all the words in the English language, the one that helps me most in the paths of righteousness is wisdom. Wisdom instructs me to make the wise use of everything. In life, I deal with three principal things. They are people, words and things. Wisdom teaches me to love and respect people. It instructs me to use the kind of words that inspire people to act. It directs me to make the proper utilization of things that build and conserve. Everything responds to good treatment. By using wisdom I find myself in the paths of right-use-ness for the sake of His name. In the Thirty-seventh Psalm, I find these words: "I have been young and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread."

Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Whatever the condition is, it could have been worse. Troubles are only a temporary shadow. They are a ray of sun dressed in black. Penetrate the black and there is light.

Fear has four letters. Three of these letters spell "ear." Therefore, three-fourths of the word is ear. It is largely based on hear-say. It is product of superstition. It is the ignorance of God, the lack of good, and the absence of love.

What is evil? Turn the word around and it spells "live." Live means life. God is life. If I live in harmony with God, the principle of good, evil has no influence.

When I analyze evil, I find it is only a danger signal. It is a red flag to warn of an impending danger. It means "Watch your step." As an example, an engineer on a locomotive who ignores the signal of a red flag may be facing imminent danger. Therefore, when evil appears in my midst, I know it is time to stop, look, think and right about face.

"Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

Rod signifies authority and staff indicates the power to direct. One of the most comforting thoughts is to realize and be conscious of the fact that I am on this earth by the authority of a Supreme Being, and to know that this Supreme Being is always available to direct me. Another comforting thought is to realize that God is a perfect Cause. Man is the effect and the effect can never be unlike the Cause. No evil or harm can touch God, the Cause. Therefore, it can not harm or touch man, the effect. Man at all times may rest assured and fortified while leaning on the sustaining power of a Perfect Cause. When the yoke is binding, and the burden is heavy, I console myself. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Who are my enemies? Negative thinking is my worst enemy and meanest foe. Most of the enemies of man are figments of the imagination, ghosts of dreams and phantoms of discord. As the old man said, he had many enemies, but he could never find them. Lloyd George so aptly said: "Face one half your enemies and they will disappear, and then face the other half and they will disappear." Under the direction of the Great Shepherd, I can feast on positive thoughts in the presence of negative enemies with absolute assurance of protection and security.

Pour oil on a raging sea and it calms the water. Fill your consciousness with positive thoughts of good, and the turbulent thoughts of discord, dread and disunity will give way to poise, tranquility and calmness.

Ingratitude, arrogance, dissipation, impudence, greed and selfishness are human frailties, and yet underneath all these there is hidden in the human consciousness God's loving cup that runneth over with all the good things of life. This cup contains the common denominator among all men. That denominator is Love or a feeling of kindness that always manifests it-self in the hour of need. As an example: Thousands of people pass the corner of a busy street, all intent on getting some place with no apparent interest in each other, and yet let one member in that group get into an accident, and a thousand friendly hands are out to offer help.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

When I know that I am in good hands, what else can follow me but good? I do not worry and fret about the next world. My motto is, enjoy the one I am now in. Why should I spoil the beauty, the majesty, the glory and goodness of the present world, by speculating on one which no one knows? Learn to en-joy this one. If there is another world for me, God is there to take care of it. So why worry?

To practice the simple faith expressed in this Psalm admits me to what I think is the house of the Lord. That house is a state of consciousness. It is a state of harmony and unity. It is All-Intelligent and the only intelligence. It is All-Powerful and the only power. It is All-Active and the only action. It is All-Present, and the only presence. When I make use of these principles, life takes on a new meaning. I put off the old man and put on the new one. The only time to live is while I am living.

"What is time?" someone asked the Sphinx. "Time is Now," replied the Sphinx. No one learns anything rightly until he learns to know that every day is the best day. No knowledge can be of greater importance to man than to realize fully and appreciate the secret of the Sphinx. "Time is in the present." Lamenting over the past and fretting about the future robs many of the opportunity of being successful and happy now.

When God created man He gave him toes. Toes are the means by which man can grip the ground. Keep your feet on the ground. Keep your activities centered in the present. The present hour alone is yours. The past is history. It is over the dam. It is gone forever. Forget it. The future has wings. It is always one step ahead of you. The present has toes. It is always where you are. The center of the past, and the center of the future, are in the present. The past and the future are only thoughts in the present. You can think only in the present. The present owns the past, and has an option on the future. The future only completes the Plans made in the present. The best way to prepare for the future is to make full use of the present. Tomorrow is only the shadow of today. Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yester-day.

An old Chinese proverb says: "It is only the great that truly appreciate that the real great always remains as a child." A valuable lesson may be gained by observing the simple way in which a child acts. A child does not mull over the past nor anticipate the future. It is so earnestly engaged in present activities that no time is wasted in speculation. Free from doubt, free from dread and free from inhibitions with which passing years seem to burden people, a child often exhibits a clearer, more comprehensive perception than do older people.

The ability is the power to act, and the time to act is now. It can only perform in the present. The ability cannot function freely when it is weighed down by ghosts of the past or phantoms of the future. To function efficiently it must function freely. One of the indispensable prerequisites of efficiency is peace of mind. Peace of mind is not a commodity that can be Purchased. You cannot get it in bottles, in night courses or by taking one or two tablets before each meal. It is an individual achievement, and must be attained through understanding. The best way to achieve peace of mind is to understand thoroughly what peace of mind is.

What is peace of mind? It is harmony and unity in thinking. The mind is not static. It is dynamic. It is a continuous flow of consciousness. Thoughts of all kinds are constantly passing through the mind. When harmony and unity prevail in your thoughts you have peace of mind.

How can you establish and maintain harmony and unity in thought?

The best way to do this is to eliminate conflict.

The conflict that disturbs the harmony and unity in the flow of thought is precipitated by a civil war. The battle in this civil war is between the five senses and the intelligence. An understanding of this battle will help you to put an end to the civil war and win an all time victory for peace of mind.

The five senses are incessantly picking up impressions. These impressions are conveyed to the intelligence. The intelligence, through the power of reason, consolidates these impressions into thoughts. Some of these thoughts want to start a conflict, but these thoughts have no power. The judgment which is the final arbiter of reason can enjoy any of these thoughts. On the other hand it can also declare any of these thoughts null and void, and by exercising this power can disarm all inharmonious thoughts at their source.

This wins the battle and ends the civil war. This act on your part makes the intelligence the big boss and you the master. Applying this principle you can manage and train your five senses and instead of being a slave to them, you can have them working for you. As the master, you can establish and maintain harmony and unity in the flow of thoughts. You can sit back and enjoy peace of mind.

Another thing to realize is that intelligence is the Spirit and Power of God operating in and through you. Nothing can harm God and no thought can harm intelligence. Remember the intelligence has the power to master any thought which the five senses can pick up.

Another aid to help you to be the master of thought is to fortify yourself from within. As Marcus Aurelius says: "Man must be arched and buttressed from within, else the temple wavers to dust." The way to buttress yourself is to practice and demonstrate your power of reason and to accept only as your companion a host of good thoughts.

Another aid is to appraise yourself properly. Respect and appreciation for others starts with yourself. Do not belittle yourself, maintain your dignity, and endeavor to make the most of your own ability.

A rabbit does not degrade himself or go around complaining because he is not a hawk. He becomes a good rabbit and fulfills his place in life. What you have is yours and, if you make use of it, you will have more.

Accept yourself for what you are, take the good with the bad. After all you do not encounter angels on this plane, and if you did you possibly would not recognize them.

These four lines always come in handy:

There is so much good in the worst of us,

And so much bad in the best of us,

That it does not behoove any of us

To talk about the rest of us.

It will also help you to be tolerant. You heard about the fellow who got married and wanted to shape his wife's ideals up according to his own. Well, he didn't. Life is a compromise and to accept it on these terms is to add to your own peace of mind. A man is entitled to his opinion and tolerance is to respect this opinion without believing or sharing in it. A respect for another's point of view will always enlarge your own.

As Voltaire said: "I do not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Tolerance is getting rid of prejudice and hatred. It is trying to establish a true relationship between situations on an impersonal basis. It is a good quality to practice and pays big dividends.

Another aid to your peace of mind is to get rid of vanity. The world was here when you came. It will be here when you are gone. You cannot change it. You cannot reform it. In fact, you cannot change anything but your attitude about it. Adjust yourself to the world as you find it. Enter into your occupation with a spirit of sportsmanship. Train yourself to enjoy it, and things will come your way.

Another aid to your peace of mind is to have a system. It helps you to plan your work and work your plan. It teaches you to do things that lie clearly at hand rather than anticipate or discount the things that lie in the distant future.

Victor Hugo once said: "He who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life. The orderly arrangement of his time is like a ray of light which darts it-self through all of his occupations. But when no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidents, chaos will soon reign."

The people who do things in life, who live strong, vibrant, joyous, happy and conquering lives, are the ones who make use of the present. Of course, they make mistakes, they stumble, they fall, they encounter obstacles, hardships and heartaches. They do not quarrel or grumble with these adversities. They use them as a stepping stone to greater achievement.

Life says: Go on. Be finished with the past. Let the dead bury the dead. It was good. It was bad. It was weak. It was strong. Even so, it is all over. So what?

If you have done right, keep it up. If you have done wrong, begin to do right. Reformation and determination will defeat sin and bad habits.

An everlasting Now reigns in nature. Everything conforms to the present and takes full advantage of its bounty. The sun never puts off shining, the stars never fail to come out at night. The rose blooms once it is ready to perform the act. All animals live only in the present. Consider the lilies of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea--they never lack for what they need.

The best way to make full use of the present is to turn the heat of love on all inward grief’s, all secret jealousies, all silent inhibitions, all ingrown selfishness, all sour grudges, all bitter envies, all malignant hates, and all distasteful memories. Love brings a feeling of kindness, that will relax you. It will free you from all the old skeletons of the past, and will also help you to avoid any new-hatched phantoms of the future.

Exercise your sense of humor. Train yourself to laugh. Do not take things or people too seriously and by no means yourself. Welcome irritations and they lose their power. If people are uncivil, give it no thought. Do not even consider it. Laugh it off. After all, it is not man's action that troubles you, it is the thought and consideration that you give them. Resist the devil and he will make it hot for you, feel good about him and he disappears. Maintain a sense of humor. It will relax you mentally and this means peace of mind and efficiency.

The Lord's Prayer says: "Give us this day our daily bread." This is a positive statement, a positive prayer for the present. It puts into practice the principles outlined in this chapter.

The Present, the Present is all thou hast, For thy sure possessing, Like the patriarch's angel, hold it fast, Till it gives its blessing.

The present is overflowing with milk and honey. It is brimful of new ideas, new hopes, new adventures and new opportunities. Let nothing stand between you and these blessings. Partake of them, use and enjoy them.

"Rejoice and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven." This is one of the great admonitions taught by Jesus in "The Sermon on the Mount." Practice this precept and great will be your reward right here. It will animate you. It will free you from all restraint. It will release you from all anxiety, worry and dread. You will be a free man in a free world. You will know the good old days are right here and now. Heaven is here--are you?


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