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Chapter 11

Not Demand, but Obedience

THE beginner might think, quite naturally, that having discovered the immense power of thought, all that he has to do is to make use of it according to his own sweet will. There is probably no greater error than this. It is because thought is so powerful, and its effects so far-reaching, that makes it important that we train our thoughts to correspond to the inner laws of the universe. We each form part of one complete whole. God is our Father or Centre and every man our brother. We are servants one of another. Until we realise this we are out of harmony with life and the universe, not only in our actions but in our thoughts; for, if we have a wrong idea of life, then all our thoughts must naturally be wrong also.

It has been said that we can conquer Nature only by obeying her laws. It is equally true that we can overcome life only by obeying the laws of life. If we do not think in harmony with the motif of life we become plaque spots in the Cosmic body. It is only when we become brothers of humanity, living in harmony with the laws of life and the great scheme of things, it is only then that we can experience harmony ourselves, and it is only then that our life can become really and truly successful, in the highest sense of the word.

It is possible to make demands upon life and to get what one demands. This leads to achievement, won of course at the cost of hard work and sacrifice. We have all to pay for our achievements. Those who are not willing to pay are not able to achieve. It is because achievement demands so much of us in the way of character—patience, perseverance, steadfastness, sacrifice—that makes it valuable as a builder of character. To keep one’s success and to remain unspoilt by it demands yet greater qualities of character than does its achievement. But all such achievement can bring neither happiness nor harmony if it is demanded from life selfishly, without any thought for others, without any thought of God.

No happiness, peace or harmony can ever result from making selfish demands upon life. It is true that there is a time in our life when it seems that everything is in our own hands, and that we are master of our fate, captain of our soul. This may spur us on to achieve and conquer, and to meet with experiences that are a necessary preparation for greater things. All this is good as far as it goes, and may be a very necessary phase in our life, but sooner or later we realise that, although in one sense we are master of fate, in that we can choose either good or evil, yet, all the time, “there is a Divinity that shapes our end, rough hew it though we may”. There is an internal harmony to which we must correspond. We belong to a complete whole, in which we have a place, and of which we form a part: we can come into correspondence with the harmony of this “whole”, only by becoming less selfish and more universal. In other words, we have to love God, and love our neighbour. Instead of forcing our will upon life: instead of making ourselves a centre around which everything else must revolve: instead of demanding and compelling, if we would find real happiness and true satisfaction at all, we must love and serve God and man, life and the world, and thus enter into the harmony of the Whole.

The inner law of life is love, but it is better for us to think of this as co-operation. To the extent that we think, work, act and feel in correspondence with this law, do we find true happiness, peace, satisfaction and the things which are precious above rubies and which no wealth can buy.

We see, then, why we should train ourselves to think thoughts of goodwill, instead of those of hate and resentment; of co-operation instead of selfish acquisitiveness; of service rather than personal gain. It is only thus that we can become brothers of humanity: it is only by becoming brothers of humanity that we can ever enter into correspondence, or a state of at-one-ness, with the internal harmony that is Divine.

We live in an orderly universe, for behind the disorder on the surface of life is an internal Divine Order. This Divine Order would find expression externally if every man were to come into harmony with it. But “self” stands in the way. Love, good-will, co-operation, these form the key by which man individually can find entrance to this inner harmony and order; and which by reason of his own entrance he can make it easier for his brother to find entrance also.

There is psychology being taught today, mostly in books from America, that is hurtful and malicious. It teaches the misuse of mind power by means of suggestion. The mind and will are used to compel others to act as desired by the “operator”. For instance, a salesman wants to get an order from a buyer of a certain house. While the latter is considering the matter the salesman uses strong mental suggestion that the buyer should sign the order. Unless the buyer is acquainted with this sort of thing he may be compelled to act against his better judgment. This practice of mental coercion is really criminal, although at present not legally so. It is practised in a variety of ways, but the one who suffers most is the one who practise the method and not his victims. Nemesis awaits all who misuse their mind powers in this way. We can never work against the laws of life without suffering for it very severely. Such mental malpractice as I have described is in complete opposition to the inner law of co-operation already mentioned; therefore it brings disorder and suffering in its train.


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