"The Principia of Spiritual Life"
Thomas Parker Boyd
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To seekers of Truth everywhere,
To all who would find the Way,
To those with a passion to serve,
To those who would rise to supreme command
of the forces of the Almighty,
And to those whose fidelity is to the High
standards of Truth,
This book is affectionately dedicated.
THE approach to the most abstract question of truth seekers is marked by such questions as, "Is there a God?" If so, "may He be known?" "Is He available in human life?" "Can we know the secret of His Infinite Power, so as to make it usable in human affairs?" These are questions of every human heart, but they seem so inexplicable that the masses, incapable of sustained thinking, accept all that is told them, while others put aside all such problems and set themselves to a purely material existence.
The thinkers of all ages in their quest for ultimate truth, have taken for their thesis—whatever is may be known. And the records are filled with the stories of these colossal minds and their achievements. True most of them scaled the heights with a certain angle of approach, but they found an available God whose action is immediate. One such seer so clearly grasped the truth that he could say, "It shall not rain except at my word," and it worked for him.
The power to rise to such heights of command could arise only in a vital knowledge of the All Power, who said, "I give you power to command." Still it must be said that few if any of these illumined ones could pass on the knowledge of how they did it. It is true that Jesus told His followers that if they were of His mind—His consciousness of God, they should do His works. But comparatively few of them rose to the level of high command.
The world waited for centuries for one to rise up and write the Principia of the material world, and the world still waits for some spiritual Newton to rise up and state the Principia of the Spiritual Life so clearly that men can grasp them and speak the word of truth with the same miracle-working power that it had when it fell from the matchless lips of Jesus, two thousand years ago.
Amazing as the statement seems, the hope of its fulfillment is warranted by the word of Jesus Christ, "The work that I do shall ye do, and greater works than these shall ye do." This can mean nothing else than the continued and increasing mastery over all the powers of life, to restore the world to conformity with the divine idea. The hope of its realization rests primarily on the simple logic that what has been done can be done again. Its doing rests upon the knowledge of infallible Principle, and use of the laws of its operation.
Let one get a clear mental grasp of the Principle of Being, and the knowledge of its technique, and he shall do the works of Jesus. To the task of elucidating that truth this book is dedicated. It has worked for all whose minds have grasped the mighty scope of Divine Principle, and whose hearts have realized that it was the truth of God. It will work for anyone who will so know the truth, for truth, as such, does not make one free, but knowing the truth does.
To seeking a mental grasp of the Principle of Truth and an inner experimental knowledge of its power I commend you.
T. P. B.
THE IDEA OF GOD
THE necessities of logical thinking require an Alpha of all beginnings. Any idea beyond which the mind may go compels the mind to travel back in search of the ultimate origin. Only when we have found the idea beyond which the mind cannot go, and back of which its processes need not go, is the mind free to move forward in its quest for all knowable truth. Its infinite unfoldment is predicated on the fact that it does not have to be returning to examine the foundations of knowledge.
One thinker conceives that Law is the ultimate idea, but he is inevitably confronted with the fact that there could be no finality in law unless that law were conceived as being the expression of the existence and operation of an intelligent Law-giver. Mighty as is the effect of action and reaction, or cause and effect, their finality depends upon a recognition of them as God's habit of action.
Another thinker posits Nature as the ultimate idea, which accounts for all expansion, but as he unfolds his thesis he is compelled to endow Nature with all the attributes, powers and qualities of the Infinite Being.
One Philosopher, seeking to avoid the implication of infinity or eternity and its negative and limited shadow called, "Time," presents us with the concept of Duration. He unfolds his idea with a seriousness that implies that all intelligences are waiting for his pronouncement just as Chanticleer seems to think that the rising of the sun depends upon the lustiness of his crowing. It did not seem to occur to him that duration is merely an extension of, "Time," the most uncertain of all mental concepts.
Another chose Will as the substitute for the idea of God, but as he unfolded its action in becoming, and rising from unconsciousness to consciousness, he attributes to it intelligence and power to be found nowhere else than in the Supreme Being.
Whatever theory men may advance as to the source and goal of life it must submit itself to the rational faculty, and justify its acceptance by conforming to the underlying principle of all scientific truth. Men accept the theory of gravitation because it explains all the facts of attraction and repulsion in its realm of action. So also men accept the molecular theory of physics, the nebular hypothesis, the vibratory movement of light, the theory of evolution, because they explain the particular phenomena of nature in the realms to which they refer. In like manner rational people accept the idea of God, the Absolute Being, because it explains all phenomena in the mental, material and spiritual realms.
The most ancient thinkers, whose thought is available to us, conceived an absolute, impersonal Being, without attributes or qualities, utterly beyond the mind of man to grasp. To this concept they gave the name "Brahm," "the Absolute," "Tat," etc. They did not try to define the Absolute, but confined themselves to considering the world of phenomena, which they regarded as emanations or expressions of the Absolute. But above all these manifestations of matter, of ebb and flow, of mutation, there stood the eternal principle of substance, the eternal calm, the changeless Principle governing all change. And this, with little modification, is still the idea of God among thinkers. But such a concept of God is beyond the average mind to comprehend or the human heart to know by experience, so that all religions and philosophies have been compelled to present a modification of the idea of the Absolute.
The Hindus first worked out a formula of the Trinity composed of Brahma, Vishnu and Seva, neither of whom were the Absolute in toto, but all together presenting under terms of relationship, the qualities of the Absolute. These personalities were all masculine, leaving no explanation for the presence of the feminine qualities dominant in human life, so they gave Seva a consort called Shakti, who being feminine, provided for that element in all living.
The ancient Egyptians followed somewhat the same mental process, descending from Amon the Absolute, to Aton-Ra, then to the Trinity of Osiris the Father, Isis the Mother, and Horus the Son.
The Greeks gave an impersonal Trinity as the Good, the Beautiful, and the True, as a means of grasping the idea of the Absolute.
The Christian theologians brought forth the Trinity as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each being God in a different form of personality. Three persons in the Godhead, yet but one God. These were all masculine, leaving no provision for the origin of feminine qualities. Only in recent years has the concept changed, presenting the Spirit as the Mother principle of Being, and with this change arose the question of how the Virgin Birth could be true, or how could two feminines produce anything. This seems to have been a problem amongst the early thinkers, for the first Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Church gave out this statement, that each person in the Trinity possessed in some degree all the attributes of God, hence the Mother God could also function in giving life.
The metaphysical world of thought confines itself to the idea of God as principle, finding no necessity for the Trinity concept. To them God is spirit, the principle of all Being, and man is essentially spirit, possessing in some degree all the qualities of Being, and by establishing a consciousness of who and what he is, all the inherent powers of spirit within him may be multiplied by all the powers of the whole Spirit of God. Furthermore, metaphysicians holding that according to the universal doctrine of the Trinity each personality of the Trinity possesses all the powers of God without dividing or disturbing the substance of God, there is no logical reason why the Absolute should not express Himself in myriad forms of personality without disturbing the essence of Being, and hence every man or woman coming into the world is God individualized.
These are purely mental conceptions of the idea of God. They are the findings of reason in dealing with the most abstract of all subjects of thought. One may grasp them with little or no effect on his daily life, his achievements or his hopes. For God is not denned by a name, nor is His power set free by a syllogism. One may use all the mighty names of power, and repeat all the mantras, without the slightest increase of power, for God must be known both by reason and intuition. Not only ought the mind to know why we believe in God, but the human heart must by experience know Him, if His power is to be set free in human life. Not only must the mind react to the idea of God, but the emotional life through intuition must react to the fact of God.
Accepting the gospel records of the life of Jesus as setting forth a fragmentary but true narration of the vital facts in his life, we have portrayed an intimate knowledge of God which stands peerless among the recorded experiences of all seers in all ages. While the idea of God is clearly indicated, the fact of God, as He may be known, is the dominant motive power in his whole life. Such attributes as the All Knowing, the All Powerful, the All Present, and the Immanent Being, while not defined, are made the basis of an experience of God, and the secret of divine power in all life's relations. He acted upon them and they worked in him and through him and for him, so that there could never be a question as to their truth and validity. Much as we act upon known principles or laws in the material world and because they work, we accept them as true. For that which works in any realm, material, mental, or spiritual, must be true.
The idea of God followed will lead to the fact of God, and the theory of spiritual primacy carefully followed will lead to the experience of spiritual dominion. One's ability to use the powers of God does not depend upon any theory he may hold concerning the nature and method of the Supreme Being, but rather on the degree of his conscious oneness with God. It is noticeable in the record of the life of Jesus that no matter what problem confronted Him, He never prayed for power to meet it. Such was His conscious identification with God that He proceeded to speak as God, "Take up thy bed and walk." "Be opened," "Come out of him." When He spoke, God spoke. When He acted, God acted. And this is the secret of all dominion. An inner awareness of God which gives authority to act as God. It is the recognition of the immediacy of God both in presence and in action. Power is his and there is no other power, action is his and there is no other action, is the finding of the illumined soul of man. This, one may find in a moment of time, or it may come out of the processes and experiences of a lifetime, depending on one's ability to become one-pointed in his perception and acceptance of the fact of God.
Having the mind grounded in the idea of God by a rationale of all known facts, and the heart established in the realization of God as the Ultimate Reality, the source and goal of life, the next step is generalization. This is a process of logical deduction and inference by which the main truth is made to include and explain all truth. God being Life it includes all forms of life. God being all Substance, every form of substance originates in Him. Law being God's habit of action, is universal, expressing the will of God in all action and operation. In a word it is God's world and all that is in it, through which He manifests Himself as man expresses himself through his body.
These are logical findings of the mind and intuitional experiences of the heart, and they pave the way to the discovery and statement of the principles governing all life, including the spiritual. They are not arbitrary statements, but the findings of the mind in the light of all known facts.
THE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH
SCIENCE does not create anything. It merely takes things as they are or appear and by observation, analysis, and classification, formulates a theory of their nature and occurrence, which it confirms by further observation and experiment. Science recognizes but two forms of truth—the known and the unknown. It has discarded the idea of the unknowable. Its theory of knowing is that mind knows by relating itself to any subject of thought. Any thought or fact beats in upon the mind's attention, and to that stimulus mind reacts and in that reaction knowledge is born. In true science mind does not condition, limit, or change the facts of existence, but is conditioned in its conclusions by the facts.
Science discerns the presence of a principle of intelligible relationships in all observable things, and predicates a theory of an intelligent faculty of relationships, which leads further to the conception of a Limitless Intelligence—the Infinite Knower. Science observing the phenomena of life concerns itself with a study of such facts.
Life itself it cannot analyze. Life refuses to go into the crucible or submit itself to analysis. But by the study of life's phenomena science is able to present certain light on the nature of life and its processes. Living is conditioned by one's ability to react to the stimulus of the life principle. When the body can no longer so respond its dissolution has begun. The vigor of all life's functions depends on one's ability to take that which is not itself, and make it the self—this applies not only to the body, but also to the mind, and the spiritual nature of man. Nutrition is the first demand of the body, and as long as it can assimilate material substance, its vital tide rises. The demand of mind is to know, and as long as it can receive and digest new thought materials, its processes are active and fresh. The spiritual life which is man himself, grows in vigor and splendor, so long as it seeks and appropriates the spiritual pabulum ever available to it. From this it would appear that one might live on here indefinitely, but so far no one is known to have done so. We are confronted by that inevitable biological curve of emergence, growth, maturity, reproduction, decline and dissolution. By understanding and applying the principles of life, we may prolong portions of this curve and extend our lives far beyond the traditional "span of life," but how to live forever in this body is as yet an undiscovered boon, if such were ever intended by Infinite wisdom to be the lot of man.
Science in dealing with the problem of power finds a limitless supply of power everywhere. The waterfall, steam, coal, electricity, were all elements in man's marvelous achievement, yet they are known to be merely elementary forms or sources of power, for science has discovered that a single atom of matter contains more potential energy than all the waterfalls of earth. To find how to unlock and set free the power of the atom is the self-appointed task of science. And be sure it will find the secret, and then the waterfall and other agencies will be relegated to join the dodo and other extinctions. It is plain that each discovered agency of power is more refined than the preceding one, and it is a fair inference that we are moving up to the recognition that all power is ultimately spiritual in its essence, and that back of all manifested activities there is an infinite reservoir of power, which we designate as Omnipotence.
Science recognizes a limitless supply for all the demands of life. Substance in every form for man's needs is present always. The prodigality of nature is a living wonder. A thousand blooms burst forth while one peach comes to maturity. Yet in this world of abundant substance millions suffer want. Poverty is a common disorder of humanity. Just why there should be lack in a world where there is abundance for all, and plenty to spare, gives food for thought. Primarily the cause is lack of the means of distribution, or rather lack of the use of such means. Then there is the failure to apply the laws of supply and demand. In other words, ignorance or neglect of the laws of economics. Finally, the failure to recognize the Source of supply results in a poverty consciousness which keeps one from receiving that which is his very own.
For abundance is in its last analysis a richness of consciousness. These riches must be invested as service, in return for which we receive the material symbols of supply. Merely affirming that God is my supply and then doing nothing about it effectively blocks the possession of supply, while to recognize the source of supply and follow up by being "diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord," will empty the cornucopia into your hands.
As science advanced from the consideration of purely material things, and began to consider the facts of the mental life, there began to develop a science of mind. It is now an accepted truth that the states and actions of mind have a tremendous influence upon man's body, upon his economic, social and ethical life. It is observable that thoughts which have little or no appeal to the emotional life have far less effect upon the body and the states of life, than do those thoughts which carry a deep emotional and self-interest appeal.
Science further observes that something in man reaches out beyond the tangible facts of existence, and brings in reports of powers and activities unknown to the classifications of science. So that there looms within the vision of man, another dimension of life whose activities can only be estimated by their effects upon the beholder. For instance, love and peace, and altruism, have a profound effect on the character of him who intuitively knows and practices them. For intuition is the faculty of the spiritual self.
Science recognizes that a man's physical experiences are valid to himself. It further accepts the truth that one's experiences in mental life are valid to himself. It must therefore concede that one's spiritual experiences, resulting from the operation of forces outside the three-dimensional life, must be valid to him who reports them. They are not necessarily valid to anyone else, but should a large number of people report similar experiences under like conditions it indicates the validity of such experiences to all mankind.
Science thus rises to the dignity of Divine Science when it accepts such facts and seeks to formulate the method and process, and classify the power that operates. The analysis of the spiritual life is just as essential as is that of the mental and physical life. Without it one goes blindly through life's maze, while with it, he proceeds safely on an intelligent pathway of unfoldment.
In analyzing man's physical life science does not confine itself to the body alone, but has recourse to the biological pattern, deeply hidden in every life in which the physical condition of millions of ancestors play a part in his physical characteristics and endowments. It likewise accepts the fact that this hidden pattern accounts for qualities of excellence and of idiosyncrasies in the mental life which are otherwise unexplainable. It further sees that the spiritual activities and emotional states of his ancestors have a profound effect upon his spiritual life. Yet neither one nor all of these can account for man as he is. He is explainable only by his relation to the whole constitution of the Universe of which he is the microcosm. In other words he is vitally one with the material world; he is inseparably identified with the mental world, and he is likewise one in nature and essence with God, who is Spirit. The recognition of the reality of these realms of life, and to live in accordance with their comparative values, is to find the key to life's fulfillment.
To the extent that one relates his mind to any truth he becomes identified with the truth, and as he relates himself to all truth he becomes the embodiment of all truth, so that he can say, "I am the Truth." He does not affirm it in order to become it, but he declares it because he has become conscious of it. Nor does this imply that he consciously knows all that is to be known, but that he has found the roots of all knowing within himself. This may be startling, but there is a check on it beyond which one may not go. Any knowledge of truth to bolster the pride, to magnify the self, or to use for self-aggrandizement, has a way of slipping from the grasp of the knower. But let him have as the high note of his life's attainment such an idea as, "The Truth, whose I am and whom I serve," he has in his consciousness the magnet of all attainment. The greatest truth teacher of the ages declared, "I am among you as one that serveth," and therein lay the secret of His mastery of all Truth. One who would know the truth that he may help, finds the twelve gates of the Temple of Truth open and welcoming him to its treasure house.
It is evident that the scientific method must be used in judging the value of any philosophical speculation. Also that metaphysics and mysticism must bear the orderly investigation of the ideas they present, by methods suited to the class of phenomena which they report. Only by bringing them under the strong searchlight of rational investigation will one be kept from unwarranted conclusions, and wild speculation. It so happens that both these methods of seeking knowledge submit themselves to scientific test. The nature of these phenomena and the method of their happening, and the validity of their findings, may be tested and proven. In fact, everything that pertains to life and its experiences may be weighed so that we may confidently hold fast to that which is reasonably proven to be true. It would be a great protection to the public if every teacher of any school were required to say, "this is an authenticated fact or that is a theory for which there are no proofs to set forth." Thus does science safeguard both the ways of knowing and of knowledge itself, and of all that may be known which is at the present unknown.