AN ETERNAL CAREER
by Frank L. Hammer
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The purpose of this book is to acquaint readers with the fact that they are immortal souls embarked upon an eternal career. Also, to impress upon them that they are every day, yes, every moment, fashioning the bodies and creating the conditions of their future existence.
Unfortunately most people incorrectly suppose life to be only that brief interlude between birth and death; consequently they live as if this world were all and devote themselves to mundane affairs and material pursuits. Indeed, the appalling futility and the purposelessness of the lives of the vast majority can be traced to this delusion—that life is but a temporary affair ending forever at death.
If this were true, that earthly existence is all—there would be little purpose in learning to live; in fact there would be no sense at all to being born. If this fallacy prevailed justice would be a huge farce and life a hollow mockery; as for some the earthly sojourn is very brief, while others abide here for many years. Nature however, never suffers a wasteful arrangement; for unlike temporal careers life cannot be ended if one makes a failure of it, or because he is "tired of it all." This being the case, preparation for life should be the first concern of every man.
Inasmuch that mankind in general is still in bondage to the idea that it is exempt, and not subject like the rest of the universe to natural laws, it is not surprising that so many try to relinquish life in despair and desperation. Since men will never have surcease from their afflictions until they do understand and harmonize themselves with God's ever present laws, it is of paramount importance that everyone be educated to this end. Our hope is that this book will prove a help in this direction.
What Is Life?; What Is Human Nature?; What Is Man?; Unity; The Mystery of Suffering; Love; Religion; Where Is God?; Accidents; Unfinished Business; Supply and Demand; Preparation; The Mystery of Death.
WHAT IS LIFE?
Life is an unsolved mystery, an unfinished symphony, the solution and conclusion of which is known only to God.
Reluctant as Life is about divulging its secrets, certain laws and principles have been discovered which serve as clues for those attempting to wrest from it an answer. Some of these follow.
God is Life—the First Great Cause and Source of all things, created and uncreated, manifested and unmanifested.
Life has neither beginning nor end and is the invisible Principle animating all forms. Life is independent of forms, but forms are dependent on Life. Life is limitless, but forms are limited. Life is priori and posteriori to form. For example, when Life withdraws from the human body, the body becomes a corpse and disintegrates. But man is and was a spirit long before incarnated in flesh, and continues to be after the form is discarded.
Man is an effect from God the Cause, and the Cause and the effect are one. We are dependent on God first for existence and evermore for support. In Him we live and move and have our being, which is not a neighborly relation, but one of ineffable permeation. Apart from God there is nothing.
God, or Life, is constantly projecting Himself into all manner of forms, and extends without inequality and separation into all men. God is in all, and all are in God expressing Him according to their capacity and organization. The lowest contains the highest undeveloped, while the highest pervades the lowest. Man is an abridged edition of his Creator with all of His powers and faculties in a latent degree. Man is God in quality but not in quantity. From Life there is no escape, no door to annihilation; when once created and individualized, man is an eternal fact in the universe.
Life, as known to man, is associated with consciousness and intelligence, in one form or another, on some sphere of expression or another. Life without self-consciousness would be merely an abstraction, not a being.
What is man's relation to Life? It is analogous to his relation to the air which he inhales and exhales. He is a participator, a spectator and a vehicle of Life. As with the air so with Life; it is ours to use but never to possess.
The meaning of Life is never found in the world of effects or unrealities; but only in the spiritual realm of causation or realities. It eludes the intellect but reveals itself to intuition.
Life is not a vicarious but a personal affair, and has to be lived in order to be understood. The teacher is experience which eventually makes us wiser.
The purpose of Life is expression, progression and liberation from ignorance which is the mother of all vices, the author of all sorrows.
Life to be understood must be studied in its eternal aspect, for only thus does it have dignity and security. Fragmentary, fleeting terrestrial existence separated from the whole of Life is as useless and purposeless as a finger severed from the body. The part is worthless without the whole; and only by contemplating the whole of Life can we have a true conception of any of its parts. Those who believe Life is only associated with the form have not yet learned their spiritual ABC's. Life is not chopped into bits, but is an eternal stream of flowing consciousness. It is an eternal journey, with innumerable stopovers where we change trains and then continue.
Throughout all nature one sees a miraculous power ever at work; a perfect harmony between all its parts and abundant provision for all created things. The Creator has endowed all according to their requirements, with capacities and faculties for obtaining from Life, the Unlimited Source, that which is needed for sustenance. Plants instinctively draw from the soil and the air what is necessary for their growth and nourishment. Animals who have infallible instinct choose that which is beneficial and reject that which is harmful. Man in common with the lower forms of life must also nourish his body. He does not eat, breathe, drink and sleep to sustain Life, but to sustain his form. Life is God and is self-sustained.
Man not only has his body to nourish, but also his mind and soul. For this purpose his Creator has endowed him not only with instinct but also with intelligence and intuition, enabling him to appropriate from Life that which is essential for his triune nature. What man selects, that he reflects. If he ardently craves material things, he will manifest wealth, fame, health, possessions, etc. Consciously or unconsciously his thoughts are in rapport with the laws governing this plane. One who persistently concentrates on money will not attract spiritual things, nor vice versa. "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
When the goal or aim is for intellectual attainments, wisdom, understanding of certain subjects, one's thoughts or antennae tune in on the mental sphere of life. Geniuses of art, literature, science, music and mathematics express Life from that plane of consciousness.
When the selective process is spiritual, the Life expressed is of that nature. Religious and ethical teachers, like Christ, Buddha and Confucius, consciously tapped Life's spiritual resources, enriching not only themselves, but humanity as well.
The great masses of humanity have not commenced to live, are hardly aware of their possibilities. They express chiefly on the physical plane and, through ignorance of Life's laws, frequently attract the undesirable and destructive. Conscious of only the material, they overdevelop it to the exclusion of the spiritual, becoming lopsided. They become great in one direction and remain small in all the others. A millionaire is usually regarded as a criterion of success. If his intellectual and spiritual development were as great as his material, he would be a composite of Croesus, Socrates and Christ—a Colossus.
Man's sphere of activity extends far into time and space, into the real, invisible world where his consciousness broadens, enabling him to attain Life's greatest enjoyment—conscious expression of his higher powers.
Man like God has the power to create and thoughts are his tools. Thought is the ancestor of all manifested things, for to think is to create. Man's use of his creative power makes his happiness, health, success, or their opposites. Thought projects itself in like conditions to material things, and all things on this earth are effects of man's thinking. What has man created? Mostly Frankensteins—war, famine, disease, pestilence, sorrow, suffering, destruction. There is no evil in the world save that which man has created. There is only ONE God, ONE Power, ONE Life; and man's use or misuse of this Force creates his happiness or misery. Evil is temporary, while good is eternal.
Good living is easy and simple; wrong living is difficult and complex, especially when false prophets and foolish methods are followed.
Life is ageless and so is the soul; Life is changeless and so is the soul. The only change is our attitude towards Life which comes with expansion of consciousness, a larger mental horizon. None of us will have the same ideas a hundred years from now. Some may say, at that time none of us will know anything. How much we will know, depends entirely on our efforts to progress, advance and utilize our time and talents. Life is a becoming process and is what we make it.
"Is Life worth living?" That depends entirely on who is living it, and for what he is living. His years may be many, yet his life be an empty vessel. Many persons go through their earthly expression never seeing any of the true things, but only the objective. Others see in nature and humanity a harmony of spirit and soul, a sublime and exalted idea of Divine Mind.
Nothing is more noticeable amongst individuals than the difference which exists in the love of Life. All possess the instinct, but its degrees vary more than is generally imagined. Some desire earthly life so intensely that they view death as the greatest calamity; they would rather live in endless misery, than part with existence, which they suppose is associated only with form. Other individuals experience no such passion for earthly life. To them death is not appalling, and the prospect of immortality is not essential to their enjoyment of the present life.
"Life begins at forty?" Life begins when the person resolves to live on more than one dimension, when he realizes that the real Life of man is in the mind and spirit.
"Life is a disappointment, failure, trap, web, farce, joke, etc." Just as light falls on all substances alike, but is very differently reflected, so is Life interpreted. No two people have the same attitude towards Life, for no two people are alike. However, Life, or God, never plays jokes on His children; never fails or disappoints those who keep His commandments.
"I don't see what they get out of Life," one often hears people say when regarding the plight of the blind, maimed, crippled and deformed. These individuals frequently get far more out of Life than those who regard them with compassion, but who are unable to see beneath the surface. In their extremity they have turned to God and draw deeply from the wellsprings of Life. Whatever experience turns man to God is not a calamity, but a blessing in disguise.
Recently we saw, standing before a sports shop, a handsome young man, with an amputated leg, looking long and longingly at some tennis rackets. What do you suppose he was thinking about? How do you think he would answer the question: "What is Life?"
"Why do some people get so much out of life, while others get so little?" One gets exactly as much out of life as he has put into it. One might as well try to draw money from a bank without first making deposits as to expect Life to pay dividends without first making investments. God is the Exchequer of Life's bank and He always pays with heavy interest.
"Life," says society coolly, well-dined and well-wined, sitting before its comfortable fire, "is a struggle for existence, the issue of which is the survival of the fittest." So is the law of the jungle, only the jungle is more humane.
Substance, motion, consciousness are the three principles of Life we encounter everywhere. We are living not in a dead but in a living world; not in an unconscious but a conscious universe in which death implies a change of garment or form.
There is only ONE world and that is populated with living people. Billions walk this earth of which statistics take no account. The "dead" are those who are insensible to their better selves; unresponsive to spiritual vibrations; impervious to all except the promptings of their dense, physical organism, whose life is associated with the eating, drinking and sleeping form.
These are the dead—buried in graves of flesh.
WHAT IS HUMAN NATURE?
Human nature is the basis of character, the temperament and disposition; it is that indestructible matrix upon which the character is built, and whose shape it must take and keep throughout life. This we call a person's nature.
The basic nature of human beings does not and cannot change. It is only the surface that is capable of alteration, improvement and refinement; we can alter only people's customs, manners, dress and habits. A study of history reveals that the people who walked this earth in antiquity were moved by the same fundamental forces, were swayed by the same passions, and had the same aspirations as the men and women of today. The pursuit of happiness still engrosses mankind the world over.
Moreover no one wishes his nature to change. One may covet the position of President or King, but would not change places with them unless it meant the continuance of his own identity. Each man sees himself as unique, and so far as he is concerned, the hub of the universe, different from any other individual. Apologies are in order when Mr. Smith is mistaken for Mr. Jones.
Although human nature resists all efforts at alteration, there are some people who never weary of trying to make others over, usually into a replica of themselves. Public reformers, for example, who would dare tell God how the race could be improved. They consider themselves the model for all mankind, and strive to make others conform to their own image and likeness, as they are confident that such similarity will bring about the millennium.
Then there are the wives who cherish the fond delusion that husbands are capable of reform, and vice versa; and mothers who endeavor to mould their children into an ideal of their own. Failing in their ambitious attempts to remodel others, these people will admit: "You cannot change people."
Why should anyone wish to change another's nature? What makes some people believe that they can improve the Creator's work? If human nature were the work of man it would require a great deal of rectification. But since it is created by God, we can be assured that it is potentially God-like. In fact, human nature and Divine Nature are analogous. This is certain, if man had the power to change the nature of any species it would become either a hybrid, a freak or a monstrosity.
For whenever man tampers with nature he only succeeds in defiling it, for deterioration follows such violation.
Not even education is able to change human nature, although many people labor under this delusion. Many parents expect education to make a dull child bright. Children can only be trained and guided along the lines of their inherent capabilities, they cannot depart from nature's pattern. A moron is one, not for lack of education, but because his intelligence is incapable of normal training. Learning, instead of overcoming mental disability, tends only to expose it. Not even Jesus, the greatest of teachers, was able to change the nature of his disciples, who to the very end retained their original character, and manifested their original tendencies.
For centuries we have had dinned in our ears that "man is a miserable sinner," "a frail mortal prone to error and sin," "a weakling whose nature is corrupt and base." These disparaging assertions originate in the fallacious theory that man is a product of matter. Human nature is God Nature; and as such it needs to be respected, for never before has its original Divinity been so doubted and its dignity so debased.
Since human nature resists all efforts at modification and alteration, it is useless to legislate toward uniformity—to require men to be what they are not. Laws which depend upon compulsion instead of persuasion or education never work. Those which aim at regimentation likewise miscarry. Human differences, dissimilar capacities, ideas and talents must be recognized. The most successful governments are those which permit and encourage men to develop their basic differences.
Human beings were created unlike, and the more they unfold the more will they differ. Their innate unlikeness cannot be eradicated, but it can and should be developed. Compulsory conformity in all respects is contrary to man's nature, and induces him to break those laws that restrict his freedom of expression and action. The masses must some day awaken from their stupor and begin to think. Thought is of course about the last thing rulers encourage; their ambition is to eliminate it altogether.
Every man unfolds a distinct character over which circumstances and education have only the most limited control. No two people will ever draw the same conclusions from the same experiences, but each must interpret events and fit them into the mosaic of his own life's pattern. Human nature is ever true to itself, not to systems of faith or education. Each holds to the structure of the mould into which the soul was cast at the time of its individualization. The qualities born in one remain as potentials whether they have a chance to develop or not. Under pressure, or change of interest, they can partially or wholly disappear from view for considerable periods of time; but nothing can permanently modify them, nothing can obliterate them.
The constancy of human nature is proverbial, as no one believes that a man can fundamentally change his nature. This is why it is so difficult for one who has acquired an unsavory reputation to re-establish himself in public confidence. People know from experience that an individual who in one year displays knavish characteristics seldom in the next becomes any different. Nor does a thief become a trustworthy employee, or a miser a philanthropist. Nor does a man change and become a liar, coward or traitor at fifty or sixty; if he is one then, he has been one ever since his character was formed. Big criminals are first little criminals, just as giant oaks are first little acorns.
Although man is potentially perfect he is far from being actually so. If he were actually perfect there would be nothing for preachers, teachers and humanitarians to do; no use for churches, schools, courts and prisons. Therefore while it is impossible to change human nature, it can be studied, controlled and directed, and this should be the supreme function of our religious, educational and social institutions.
Man is perfect as a seed is perfect, germinally. The spirit is perfect, but when it inhabits human structures, it participates in the imperfections of the latter; and during its association with matter takes on the mortal weaknesses, desires and limitations. But the spirit, the inner man, remains untouched and undefiled by evil. Only the outer man,—the personality and the physical body—becomes imperfect, due to ignorance, wrong thinking and violation of the laws of being. The outer man, too, was originally perfect, but man has so desecrated and abused it that today it is a far cry from the original model.
Man's majesty and nobility are taken for granted, although his faults and weaknesses are constantly paraded before our eyes. Only when behavior deviates from the normal does it attract attention. The good neighbor, the conscientious citizen, the kind father and faithful husband pass unnoticed. But the murderer, robber or wife beater is singled out for publicity, because such conduct is unusual.
Man's inherent goodness, moreover, is revealed by his countless acts of heroism, unselfishness and sacrifice. Daily one reads of men saving others at the peril of their own lives. One plunges into the surf and rescues a swimmer from drowning; another dashes into a burning house and carries a stranger to safety; others snatch a child from the wheels of death; many give their blood that others may live. Not only the Nazarene but countless unnamed and unrecorded men have given their lives for their fellowmen, not only on the battlefront but on the home-front as well.
We care not how outwardly base and cruel a man may appear to be, there is a vulnerable spot within every man. There is a spark of Divinity which must be appealed to.
Some will deny man's Divinity, especially in times of war. True, today many men have reverted to a stage lower than savage, but this is the result of coercion. They would have shunned such action if left to themselves. "Whenever stupid rulers disagree, they commit conspiracies against mankind and cunningly incite them to murder one another," is as true today as in the time of Carlyle, the author of this statement. If people had access to the truth, wars would be impossible; but truth will never be available so long as governments control the news and its sources. The tragedy of it! Men are capable of so much heroism, nobility, generosity and kindness. But leaders who should encourage this conduct, incite them to fly at each other's throats like mad dogs.
The reports of psychiatrists prove that murder is a violation of human nature. During World War I, one-third of all casualties were mental disorders. Thirty-four thousand mentally disabled veterans from previous wars are still in government hospitals, costing to date more than a billion dollars. It is still too soon to count the victims of the recent slaughter, but the number will far exceed those of previous wars.
Now another carnival of carnage is halted, the last shot is fired for some people. But the war is not over for these hundreds of thousands of insane and shell-shocked victims who are still in their world of hell, secluded from the public, forgotten and neglected by the politicians and the war-for-profit patrioteers.
not and cannot change but unfolds its inherent pattern on the loom of
Time. All created things fulfill their destiny and the purpose for
were created. We may not understand why God made man as He has; we can
endeavor to understand man as he is. He has a nature and its laws can
It was not said of man, "thus far shalt thou go, and no farther." He
was made to advance; the power to do so distinguishes him from the
true knowledge of God is universally written in man's nature; and every
to know more, every aspiration, looks toward the achievement of this