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Henry Bates

Henry Bates

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The Way to a Wonderful Life Message for March 15, 2015

          We are all more complex than we appear to be and more than we will probably realize in a single lifetime, this is a fact and the truth.  I have often wondered what it is that "causes" people to judge other people especially in a negative way.  Apparently this has been a poison in the mind of mankind throughout history as even the Master Mind Jesus taught that we are not to judge.  From the Gospel of Luke 6:37 we can read, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."  Obviously he saw this as an ideal that we should all strive to attain and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that there must have been a great deal of evidence coming to him to cause him to speak out about judgments.  And Shakespeare included this in "Hamlet", "for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."  And that's a fact.

         Not all judgmen
ts are apparent to others but only to those who hold such judgments.  Judgments can be passive and unspoken but still the effects that they have on the mind and the soul of mankind is not passive at all.  Judgments are often revealed not by what is said, but what is not said.  Either way they are driven by the soul of the individual and this is a hard truth for many to realize.  So hard in fact, that blame and excuses can become passionately felt when the effects of judgment block the good in an individual's life.  And at this point we want to change ... which is the intelligent reaction.

          Let me share with you some wisdom related to this from Horatio Dresser taken from his book, "The Greatest Truth": 
"It is clear that we must distinguish between the body and the self or soul.  When we turn from the body more specifically to the self, we learn that the self is a complex being and demands careful analysis.  The fact that we are dissatisfied, and wish we might change our disposition, shows that there are different aspects of the self.  What we complain of is not the full self, but the lower nature, through whose experiences the higher nature is evolving.  What causes us to complain is the higher nature within us spurring us to development.  The lower self can be changed; it is changing all the time.  We may come to consciousness of that change and aid it by idealistic thought.
          The profounder question is this:  Do we really desire to change the higher self?  How many of us understand what the higher self is?  The whole question of individuality is involved in the answer.  In the ultimate sense of the word, individuality evidently means both one's own most intimately personal self, the true ego, and the divine ideal.  The important thing in life is to realise the diviner self in all its fullness, to express it for the good of humanity.  Individuality is the centre of the soul.  It is that which is original in us.  When we pause to consider, we discover that there is nothing we would sooner lose than this higher self.  As for changing it - why, it is one's soul.  What one really desires is not to change but more nobly to realise and manifest the soul.
          When we begin to look at the self from this higher point of view, we learn that a vast amount of time is misspent in the attempt to change the self.  We try to "make ourselves over" when in reality there is nothing we would rather be than that which we truly are."

       It is this trying to "make ourselves over" that causes us to see in other people that which we have within our own consciousness.  Why?  Because we can only see in the world what we perceive to be true within our own mind, heart and soul.  There are people who will never look within themselves for the reflection of what they see in the world or especially in others.  The Master Mind Jesus made it less complex, at least for some, when he said, "when you see me, you see the Father" ... in other words you see Spirit/Mind ... your mind reflecting your beliefs, your judgments, your positive thoughts or your bad attitude ... for G-d always reflects back to us what we believe to be true.

          Let's go back to Horatio Dresser and let's be reminded that he was a Swedenborg teacher: 
"There is a sense, then, in which we can change our dispositions and change them most effectively.  One's disposition is one's way of thinking and acting.  Bring the higher self more into play and new habits will be formed.  A person of a nervous, excitable disposition may become in a few years unusually calm and moderate.  The change does not come about by working on the nervousness and trying to calm it, but by cultivating inner peace, poise, equanimity.  Best of all, the development of a wiser philosophy of life is accompanied by peace of mind.  It is remarkable what changes may be wrought by persistence in the wiser direction.  Some who have changed themselves from restless, excitable persons to moderate, well-poised individuals, find it difficult to persuade people that they were once entirely lacking in repose.
       Finally, the discovery that we can change our dispositions means that selfishness is not unconquerable.  Everybody knows that selfishness will yield if one will but make the effort.  There is no excuse for taking this part of ourselves as we find it.  Before each of us there is a spiritual ideal, and no one knows how far or how high the endeavour to realise the ideal may carry the soul.  Just as in a democratic country it is always possible for people in the common walks of life to rise into power, so in the spiritual universe "there is always room at the top."  There is a more or less fixed individuality within each of us, but even this may be subject to change.  At any rate, no man fully knows himself as yet.  Meanwhile, the most rational procedure is to assume that we are practically modifiable without limit.  No one can hope too much or dare too much in a universe where perfection is the ideal, where the Christ spirit is ever ready to uplift, and where the grace of God enables every man to "grow in grace.

What is our "soul revealing" to us?  That is a question each of us must answer for ourselves.  As we focus in our mind on our ideals and cultivate patterns of thoughts within that foster a greater realization of the immensity of our ability to create our greatest joys yet, we shall find ourselves losing from our mind those thoughts and beliefs that previously hindered our receptivity to the greater things still that are ours to experience.  We shall see in others the incredible spirit that we feel within our own soul ... our soul revealing the evolving transformation that is being awakened at the deepest level of our being.

And some final words from Horatio Dresser:  "There are few discoveries in regard to the human mind of more consequence than the revelation which shows the power of prejudice.  Some might say that it is more important to become aware of the power of fear, or to awaken to the influence and scope of suggestion.  But oftentimes a man's prejudices are far more deeply rooted than his fears, and to show him the power of suggestion you must show him that his life is narrowed by his preconceptions.  One may be aware of fear and may be valiantly at work to overcome it, but the peculiarity of a prejudice is that one is unconscious of it.  To discover that one is prejudiced is forthwith to see that in the respect in question one stands absolutely in one's own light."


Keep the faith!
. Henry Bates

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