Eighth Remedy: Trusting The White Life
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Whatever relation the person for whom you fear may sustain to you, you are urged to trust him to the beneficence of the Universal System. I know that life is full of accidents; but continual dwelling on the fact does no one the least good, and will do you a great deal of harm — and perhaps bring your friend to an injury which would not otherwise befall him. Courageous and confident thought might save him many an ill. The man who laughs at this suggestion knows little of the vast power of thought in our life. This power of thought is a part of the System, and its design is human welfare. All appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, the Universal System is a friend to every human being on the globe. Our trouble here seems in part to be a false estimate of "evil." If a friend is injured, falls ill, or is taken hence, each case is assumed necessarily to be a total misfortune to him. Each case, on the contrary, may involve his highest welfare. My friend the business man went bankrupt at fifty years of age, through the failures of others, and in ten years had established a splendidly paying factory, when ill-health assailed him, compelling a long, courageous fight for restoration. And he insists that his bad health has led him into the new world of the new thought and that he is all the better for his experience. It is a great mistake to acknowledge every so-called "evil" as purely a misfortune. It is the habit of conquest to look for the brighter possibilities in every turn of life. The bright thinker is the happier; he lets loose the grace and power of his own thought, and he not only gives the Universe a better standing, but he also assists in its huge struggle for adjustment meaning the welfare of all. I say, then, let the unknown good possibilities have weight. In-numerable as are the evils of life, the System seeks, in every specimen of misfortune, to bestow some compensation. What rank egotism and cankering pessimism it is to hot-house the notion that the Universe is down on you or your friend, so that you must incessantly worry lest the evil design be carried out! In its effort to compensate, the System does not always appear to succeed,. to be sure, but the want of success is not an expression of the nature of things; it is rather due to a perversion thereof. The nature of things is friendly to all who are in harmony with its laws, and to those who are out of harmony its hard usage is still friendly, seeking to restore right relations with itself. When it wages war, the design is to put iron into human blood. When it hurts, the ultimate meaning is to warn against real evil, violation of the law of best estate, and to urge to a higher plane of living.
What is to be gained by any opposite opinion? And, too, whence the instruction of that vast theory, evolution? The last word of modern science to the individual is a kindly word. The obverse of the phrase, "the survival of the fittest," is, "Nature struggles to impart to all the power of surviving."
This Universe is throned in goodness. With amazing patience and adaptiveness, it seeks to put itself at the disposal of every human. In the sunrise of eternity the All-Good executed a warranty deed of all values to all souls, and now covenants and agrees, on the Infinite Soul, to warrant and defend the title, and to put the willing grantee into full and undisturbed possession — if he will harmonize with law. The arms of the System are arms, not of war, but of protection. In myriads of cases it has protected the child, the husband, the wife, the friend, all unseen and unknown. It will continue this overarching kindness. It is for us, not to displace it by our worries, but to trust it.
Why, man, the Universe is the only home you will ever know. It is the wretchedest spleen to criticise it, and the worst folly to doubt it.
II. SECOND VARIETY OF WORRIES—FEAR OF HUSBAND OR WIFE FOR THE OTHER. There are wives who create unhappiness for themselves and their husbands by ceaseless weeping solicitude during the latter's absence—beyond the hour, at the office, in the field, "off on business," and so on interminably. Because the man is not a poodle dog, he frets, secretly, perhaps, but almost inevitably, or lives, like "patience on a monument, smiling at grief," or forsakes the arena of psychic conflict as frequently as possible.
I have in mind one unfortunate whose slightest failure to appear when expected threw his wife into hysterics of nervous tears. This man could not get hurt; he was not of that kind. He always returned, "sound as a bullet," moral as the decalogue, while the wife slowly undermined her health. This woman's worry meant "to strangle"— the man.
The remedy is the larger confidence practised and insisted upon by the resolute will, with fear-thought shut out and held out. If, because of moral considerations, the larger confidence seems impossible, one must steel oneself to the facts, and, in all available ways, reduce suffering to a minimum. I do not see in marriage any claim upon either party to martyrdom.
There are husbands, also, who nurse deadly fear for their wives. Foolish jealousy may constitute the cause, or the woman may seriously threaten the honor of husband or home. The instance is, nevertheless, no cause for the feeling of fear, remembering that fear and reason are not identical in the matter, but is a call for the curbing of suffering to narrowest limits. How shall this be accomplished?
NINTH REMEDY: Reason and Will Combined for Betterment. Groundless jealousy can be cured only by vigorous reason and persistent will-effort. Such jealousy is a disease for which the patient must administer his own remedies. It dishonors the woman, issues from obscured or perverted reason, and indicates destroyed self-control. Groundless jealousy never ac-companies genuine love. It is the badge of passion. When a man is jealous of a woman, he suspects evil of her. Passion can endure such a state of mind and flame out more fiercely, but real love dies instantly under the blast of a false requital — or, swears to save the object of its fears.
What passes for love where jealousy thrives is physical selfishness. Reason, then, and will, must cultivate the true confidence of genuine affection. The man who suspects me is my enemy.
The pathos of it all, however, is the fact that neither love nor passion, in many cases, remains, while honor quails and the suffering goes on. What, then, shall be done with the life so injured?
TENTH REMEDY: Cultivating the Happiness Habit. Every human being possesses within himself a measure of personal resource by which some degree of peace and life-success may be secured. The Universe has gifts for all. The subject of the present fears, man or woman, must cultivate the personal capacity for happiness and claim a legitimate share of Welfare — a portion of the universal gifts - in spite of all distressing circumstances. This requires the heroic will, but the achievement is certainly possible. The moment you begin to believe that your soul is sovereign and royal in lineage, that moment the possibility will appear. If one does the utmost best under existing circumstances, and courageously insists upon maintaining an inner sense of honor and a peace born of personal resources, one has risen above even such deadly causes of suffering.
ELEVENTH REMEDY: Reliance on Personal Resources. It is a huge mistake in life to permit happiness and welfare to depend so largely, as many do, upon some single human being. Undue dependence is not normal, and is by no means designed in the plan of life. "Call no man master." You are therefore urged to cultivate your own personal resources for happiness and unfoldment, and to rely less upon others for these boons. For him who cannot find his own kingdom within, there is no kingdom. If you cannot be happy within yourself, no human can make you happy. All your unfoldment must come from your own activity, and the less that activity depends upon the stimulation of others, the more truly are you master. No man can give you courage. No woman can kill your fears. In your self alone lie the secret and the power of the con-quest of fear for others. "Self is the Lord of Self; who else could be Lord?"
III. REMAINING VARIETIES OF FEAR FOR OTHERS. These are comparatively rare, yet, none the less real for that. There are those who seem to be constantly distressed for the welfare of mere strangers. Children on the street excite nameless nervous apprehension. Some one, man or woman, is forever about to be knocked down. Now a high-strung carriage-horse threatens to become frightened by trolley-car or automobile. Now it is an automobile that suggests danger to some unknown person. Trees and buildings are everywhere on the verge of toppling over upon passers-by. So the exciting list draws itself out. Human life is always in jeopardy. These fearsome souls are kept in a state of incessant tension. They enjoy neither walk nor drive. Even observation from a drawing-room window has its suggestions of favorite trouble. Anxiety enslaves them, harassing fears torture. In case of an accident, they are seized with palpitation of the heart, or are overcome by faintness. Any sudden movement in life upsets them. The unforeseen is always occasion for collapse.
TWELFTH REMEDY: Cultivation of Tone and Will. The basal difficulty here is probably want of healthy nerve-tone — a condition in which one is easily unbalanced by any flash-light imagination. Such persons should vigorously carry on a long regime for full-blooded bodies and steady nerves, at least for the best self-control possible. In the meantime, the impulse of nervous fear should always be instantly suppressed by assertion of the will. The ability to do this is the result of prolonged persistence in most cases, but may be acquired at less expense by resolute suggestion to the subconscious self declaring that you are perfectly poised, at peace within, and wholly subject to control.
THIRTEENTH REMEDY: Undue Responsibility Declined. I have had personal experience in this nervous fear for the remote contingency, and have found a very potent remedy in cultivated indifference. You are wasting vital force unnecessarily, and, inasmuch as you are the invalid, you may morally cultivate a reasonable indifference. Affirm, then, of these people, children or adults: "They are not my own; I will no longer torture myself in behalf of strangers."
Akin to the fear suggested is the feeling of vague responsibility for neighborhood, town or commonwealth which burdens some curious souls. There are unfortunates who carry solemn obligation to protect other people in masses. Now it is the lodge that lies heavily upon their hearts; now it is their ward, their church, their party, the city or the state. They are not only interested in these objects, but they are fearfully interested and nervously apprehensive of all sorts of imaginary perils threatening the organization. Strangely enough, they flatter themselves that they are the conserving minority. Why is it that the people of state or church are so stupid!
Now, this stupidity, so monstrous to social nervousness, is very largely imaginary. The fact is, the so-called stupid people are really public-spirited and do entertain notions of human welfare, but they do not think as the nervous one desires and they refuse to worry because they are healthy-minded, content to discover evils as the facts make known. Sane thought feels that no man is called upon to shoulder a globe, that very few souls are raised up to stand responsible for a nation or an age, and that these are elected to leadership by all votes save their own. "The man who would be king" is always found out. A healthy person holds that responsibility for neighborhood, state, nation, age, belongs to all the people. "Act well your part, there all the (burden) lies." People who worry over these huge questions are diseased, and should overcome the trouble by cultivating indifference for evils which others do not see. If this looks immoral, it is to be remembered that the case is one of invalidism, which is entitled to cure, .and that the remedy merely calls for destruction of worry and fear, not of ideal notions concerning our life. The most useful thing a sick man can do, so far as the general welfare is concerned, is to recover his health. If the world-worry distresses you, you are abnormal, and your only practical remedy is the practice of the mood of indifference.