CHAPTER XXI NEVER A SECRET IN THE WORLD
There never has been and never can be a secret in this world. This is an entirely new proposition, which, if understood, would prevent much crime and unhappiness, and would enrich all mankind. There has always been an idea that many things can be done secretly; that, for instance, one can lie, and it will never be known; that one can cheat and defraud another, and not be found out; that a thief can enter a home without detection; that immorality can be carried on without society being the wiser. All these wrongs are being done under the belief that they can be accomplished secretly, and most of them are done in this manner so far as our world is concerned. Mankind has been taught that God sees all and knows all, but men and women do not believe it; otherwise crimes would not be committed, and the moral code would not be violated.
Pride and the speech of people have a great influence on conduct.
Now, suppose the thief knew that if he took the property of another, his act would, beyond peradventure, be exposed in the morning paper, and he would be under immediate arrest. With conviction absolutely certain, would he commit the crime?
Suppose the business man, or captain of finance, knew that if he formed unlawful combinations and defrauded the public, he would certainly be imprisoned; suppose men and women knew that violations of the moral code would be known and censured within the hour – would wrong and crime go rampant through the land? Men and women do these acts in the belief that they are discreet enough to so cover them, that they will never be known. Such people have little idea that every act – I will go further – everything is known by those in the afterlife who are interested in our welfare. But they are far away one says. No, they touch elbows and walk beside us day by day. One cannot comprehend God as a personality witnessing each act and knowing the individual thought of over 400,000,000 of people, but one can comprehend the fact that the afterlife is inhabited by those who have passed through the earth-life, that they improve their condition by helping those in need of assistance, that by their silent suggestion through the sub-conscious brain, they try to aid us, keep in touch with our thought, and are silent witnesses of all the wrong in the physical world.
I do not mean that all the inhabitants of the afterlife know each wrong act. What I do mean is that every man, woman, or child has loved ones in the afterlife who take a deep interest in his or her welfare, be their position high or low. In other words, the ties of blood, the bonds of love, the interest of friends are not severed by dissolution. As the father, mother, brother, sister, wife, or child, know by experience the awful effect of wrong-doing, and are able to come about us and witness our conduct, note our mental vibrations and so read our thoughts, is it not the most natural thing in the world that they should try to stay our evil acts? If mankind knew this fact – that nothing is ever really done in secret – would wrong be committed at all?
Men and women are restrained often by pride; they only stray from the path of rectitude when they think that they go in secret. Teach men the truth, and it will help to make the home sacred, to empty the prisons; it will add more than any other one thing to the sum total of human happiness.
Again, the churches teach in substance that though our sins be scarlet, yet we can become as white as snow, and that there is forgiveness for all sin. One sect goes so far as to vest that power in the church. The practical result of such teaching has been-and is – to license wrong and crime.
Men do wrong under the impression that in some way they will escape the just consequences of their wrongful act. I have said before, and I will say again, that the world is not a jumble, but controlled by law; for every effect there is a cause, and that cause is governed by law. Every act produces a result. Every thought being material creates a condition about us, and is retained in one of the sixteen or more million cells of the brain. When, therefore, any one goes out of this life and enters the etheric where everything, the good and bad, is intensified beyond mind – measure, the storehouse of the brain is opened, and he or she is confronted with the record which has been made. Nothing is forgotten; the good get reward, otherwise courage would be lost; punishment for wrong-doing is terrible beyond words. Every one must bear his own burden, must meet again every wrongful act and make in ways that are provided complete restitution. This is very difficult, and the way is very long.
One who believes that the world of men marks the beginning or the end has no more comprehension of the true situation than the mole, following the path which it has made under the dead grass in the meadow-lands, knows of the physical world.
I have been told two most important truths by those who have honored me by their teaching: that there never has been and never can be a secret in the world: that man has no savior but himself, and that the wrong which he does, he must undo. Whatever obligations he contracts, he must meet. I have had other teachings that have appealed most strongly to reason. One of these is “do no worry,” but fit yourself to meet situations from day to day. The obstacles which we meet are of our own creation, the troubles we have are of our own making. If we possessed all wisdom, we would then be Gods, and not make mistakes. No one is perfect in this world or has reached full development, and until such time every one as a result of lack of wisdom and judgment will continue to make mistakes and create obstacles over which he will stumble. But that is not misfortune; mistakes are necessary, and it is only by creating and overcoming them that we gain wisdom, and know how to avoid the same conditions again. They are the stepping stones to the heights of understanding, and are good for us. Let us meet them cheerfully and appreciate the lesson each teaches. Ordinary errors ought not to cause us anxiety, for it is only through them that we make progress. A just and full appreciation of this fact would take from the mind the useless burden of worry. Calamity is Nature’s spur; trials are not only essential, but are disciplinary; misfortune is opportunity.
Other desirable things which I have learned from this unusual source are: “We have no right to burden others with our sorrows”; all Nature is optimistic, all tending toward good; as one thinks, so he is. There are some men so pessimistic that given the choice of two evils, they insist upon taking both; they see no good in anything and are ever looking upon the dark side, anticipating misfortune. The mind is a wonderful force, its influence extending much further than we have any idea of, and one can do very much to make the world happier. On the other hand, one can do much to make others unhappy by throwing upon them one’s own mental condition, and many people by force of habit do this, unmindful of the result.
I recall not long ago a morning in the springtime. The sun was warm, the air balmy, dandelions bared their velvety bosom to the sky, tulips and daffodils fringed the borders. The lawns were carpeted with green, birds had returned from the south and were building nests and singing. It was a morning when a temperament that could not respond to environment was poor indeed. As I stepped out upon the avenue on my way to my office, I saw a prominent citizen approaching. His head was bent, his eyes were fixed on the stone walk, his mouth was set; dissatisfaction and unrest showed in his face. The impression, as his mental condition touched my own, was most depressing. I knew the man well; involuntarily turning as I met him, I said:
“Don’t take that down into the city today.” “Take what?” he answered quickly.
“The countenance you are wearing this morning,” I replied.
He looked at me in amazement for a moment and inquired: “What is the matter with it?”
I spoke with kindness, saying: “It is full of discontent, unrest, and worry; you look at war with all mankind. You will make miserable every man, woman, and child who sees you with your present expression.”
“Have I made that impression on you?” he asked.
“Yes,” I answered.
“I would not like to create that impression,” was the reply. “I have never thought that my mental attitude affected those with whom I came in contact. That is a new idea to me.”
“Have you observed the morning?” I asked.
“No,” he answered, “I have been so engrossed in thought that I have not observed the day.”
I then said: “I want you to forget the things you are worrying about. Look up and see how beautiful the world is, and feel what a privilege is ours to be a part of it. Listen to the songs of the robins, watch the blue birds, respond to the flowers, get in harmony with it all, and as we meet those we know greet them cordially, and watch the effect on them and on yourself.”
He walked for a little way in silence; the suggestion was working, his jaws were relaxed, the frown had left his face; his eyes had kindled, his lips smiled. With his expression wholly changed, he walked, a different man, and as he met his friends and acquaintances with a cheery “good morning,” his joy and happiness radiated. Others caught the charm of his personality, the world was happier, and so was he.