Do you, in querulous mood, ask yourself, "Does life pay?"
If you do, make this candid answer every time that the question comes into your mind, "Yes, life pays. It pays me all that I am worth."
The question will not present itself after you have regained consciousness of your spiritual identity. But until you have learned what you are, it frequently may arise. A rigid application of the honest answer to the question will do you a number of favors: It will explain itself in ways that will convince you that life plays fair; it will reveal why your efforts do not always produce expected results; it will make plain the challenging fact that God's wage scale is exact; that on His pay roll no favorites are listed; it will show you that you cannot be paid for your earning capacity only; it will teach you the most important fact in the economics of the universe: Life pays an accurate wage. It pays you for what you do. More vitally than that, it pays you in what you do.
You find about you the products of your labor. Nothing is given to you; you get what you earn; you earn what you get. Circumstances are not accidents. Friendships are not chance-wrought. The two and two of your endeavors equal the four of your results. You are cause and your circumstances are effect.
To forestall disappointments you must be
intensely honest with yourself. Do not expect more and better than you have earned; do not expect less and poorer than you have earned. Self-conceit and self-abasement are equally unfair, equally misleading. You may be advised that in order to be heard you must blow your own horn. Before acting on that advice, consider what kind of music you will produce. Persons who blow their own horns usually are poor musicians. They run a monotone on the third note of the scale -- mi, mi, mi. This is music only to the ears of the hornblowers. Do not expect the wage of applause for such a performance.
Poise toward life is compounded of confidence and modesty. Be confident when you remember what you are. Be modest when you remember who you are. You know that you have power; you know that acting of yourself you may misuse your power. The mind that is full of its own conceits cannot find room for the activity of divine ideas. Jesus was supreme in the poise of blended confidence and modesty. When He gave His final instructions to His disciples, He confidently said, "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth" (Matt. 28:18). On an occasion when He was addressed as "good Master," He modestly said, "Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, even God" (Mark 10:18).
The rule is: Let your living, not your tongue, recommend you. Self-deceptions and pretenses do not long avail. They never are wholly successful, for there is no reality in them. A presence as of insincerity accompanies one who tries to appear what he is not, but sincerity clothes the honest one as with a
holy vestment. Your living justifies a high claim or makes a high claim ridiculous. What your living justifies you do not have to demand. You possess by virtue of having accomplished. The otherwise great man is small when he boasts of his own achievements. Results announce themselves. A survey of life will show you that all the meanness is yours, that all the goodness is God's.
Your consciousness pervades your work, and gives it character -- your character. You are recognized as clearly by your work as you are by your walk, your speech, your manners, your face. You are more broadly known by your work than by your personality; your personality is restricted, but your work is imprinted on the substance of the universe and recorded by the minds of men.
Respect your work; it is the expression of your soul. It presents you to the world. It is a form of you.
The heroes and the world characters of former times live today in what they accomplished. Years do not diminish but rather increase the wage of love and gratitude bestowed upon those who work beneficently. Time does not apologize for those who work for the hurt of others, nor does it minimize the nature of their deeds. It identifies the worker with his work, and names effect for the cause of effect. So the name Christian is properly given to whatever is clean with the cleanness of the Christ, and Mephistophelean is used to denote cunning devoted to debauchery.
Your work will live if it has life in it. If it has
not life in it, your work never has lived, it never can be made to live. Real work, living work, is of the real world, the world wherein God is recognized. Real work discloses yourself to yourself; it enlarges your awareness of power; it expands your mind to receive more of God. It makes you aware of the partnership that always has existed between you and God. "My Father worketh even until now, and I work" (John 5:17), said Jesus, in declaring that the soul is to make manifest the things of God.
Your real work is the building of yourself. All effort not directed that way is auxiliary to the main endeavor. Accumulated objects of monetary value are not a gauge of your reward in the real world. Money or its equivalent is lawful, necessary, sure, when you rightly relate yourself to life. But to believe and to practice the belief that the success of your living is to be computed by your financial resources is to confuse values and to misdirect your efforts.
It is said that when Queen Elizabeth I was told that her time life had reached the measure of but a few hours, she cried, "Millions of gold for minutes of time!" The vain and self-willed queen had accumulated much fictitious wealth. Fortitude, courage, faith, the wages of the unselfish worker, had not been her award. Life paid her, but at the balancing of the books her assets did not sustain her
or give her courage to fact the possible demands of the unknown.
Monetary values are not the wages of life. They belong in another category. They relate to the fictitious. If you spend your life merely in making a living you finally must acknowledge bankrupt in essential wealth. A broader, richer mind, a far-visioning and buoyant soul, a sure, a reassuring contact with the realities, are the values gained from life when you live for life and not for manifestation. Life pays. You name your recompense by what you do, by what you are.
You have much to learn. One elementary lesson is that a surface defeat may contain the germ of a transcendent success. Tests are the whetstones on which you are to sharpen the metal of your ability. I have seen this proved many times, but never more convincingly than in the case of a boy who had rounded eight years of experience when he made the discovery that a temporary check holds potential gain. The case of the boy:
John was tough-muscled, courageous, a valiant devotee of the manly art of self-defense. Sometimes he carried the manly art out of its self-defensive area into the area of offensive overtures. He was champion of his neighborhood.
One day he came home showing signs of battle, and rather the worse for the encounter. One eye was blacker than nature had made it; one cheek was redder than its usual hue; his nose presented larger proportions than the family remembered. His father said:
"You've been fighting again."
"Yes," said John. "I've been fighting."
"You mixed with the new boy in the next block."
"And he trimmed you," grinned the father.
"Yes, he trimmed me," admitted John, "but I got practice out of it."
If you find yourself "trimmed" by any enterprise you have undertaken, be like John, a philosopher. Get practice out of it. Your "trimmings" are not ordained for the purpose of giving you practice. You receive them because you are not yet fit to cope with the situations that you challenge. If you get practice out of them you will find yourself fit for greater matters. Practice induces growth. If you treat experiences as punishment you acknowledge outlawry in yourself. If you treat experience as practice you acknowledge yourself an apprentice training for mastership. The lad John of the story is now a man, devoting his strength and his fearlessness to bringing nature under the dominion of man, for the benefit of man.
Be the model that you think others should be. Then you always will have a standard of endeavor and attainment. The excellence that you demand should be demanded of yourself, since you have conceived that idea of excellence. Be wiser, live better, attain to sublimer heights than you expect of your teachers. Unless the pupil surpass the teacher progress will cease. Devote to better living the energy that you could spend in criticism; then your vision will become so clear that you will find nothing
to criticize anywhere; your demand on yourself will be so inclusive that there will be left no space in which to harp at others.
If you live right your ability steadily will increase. Solar systems may slow down and cease. Mind never can do either. While you let the mind of God think itself in you, increase of intelligence and ability distinguishes your life.
Today in time is the fruit of your yesterdays. Tomorrow is the bud on the stalk of today. If you count progress by time, in order to be consistent you must expect the life wage to increase with the passing years. As your business thrives and as your finances accumulate you must see to it that your mental and your moral assets also increase. Otherwise you will become a moneyed mendicant. If you count progress by improvement of consciousness, you will know how to make life richer and you will notice that your efforts exactly tally with your rewards. Then you will not bewail the passing of the years. Time and eternity, the procession of events, will not distract your attention from life. And life will reward you for your fidelity by uncovering more of itself in you.
Do not hope to trade your years for pleasures. That portion of eternity which you call time cannot be exchanged for baubles; time is your present concept of everlastingness, and your use it is noted on your wage account. But this does not mean that life is merciless. It means that life cannot be mocked; it means that the only crop that you can reap is the crop that you sow in your consciousness.
You cannot have a spiritualized, redeemed body, without first spiritualizing, redeeming your consciousness. The incorruptible, living body of God is the essential body, from which your physical body emerges. Your essential body occupies your physical body, and your physical body will be converted into the substance of God's body as you let the body of God diffuse itself through your flesh, cleansing the atomic entities and awakening them in the resurrection of immortality.
Your essential body is the reality of which your flesh body is the three-dimensional representative. Your essential body possesses and exercises faculties that your mind has translated as organs of your physical body. The use that you give an organ may represent the faculty on which the organ is based. Misuse blunts, perverts, and finally destroys the sensibility of the organ misused. Physical death follows continued or extreme misuse of any part of the physical body. But in any change that comes to your physical body your essential body is not destroyed, not even impaired.
When revealed or partially revealed, the essential body appears to the beholder as an angel or as a glorified soul. On the mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John saw the essential body of Jesus (Matt. 17:1-9). The body that was there revealed was the body which absorbed His body of the resurrection; the body so beautiful that His disciples did not recognize it; the body to which walls and barred doors were not barriers. The radiance and the amazing beauty of your essential body could persuade one
looking upon it that you might be Moses or Elijah, an angel or an archangel. The body and the mind of God are in you what they are in those who are highest in the courts of heaven; they adapt themselves to your use in any realm of life.
In four instances I have witnessed transfigurations, two of which occurred in one person. The circumstances which attended these occurrences were described here:
I was conversing with a woman of much spiritual consecration. One who measures life by time would not call her a young woman.
As we talked a change appeared in her countenance. There was a suffusing of lines, a forming of a new contour. Color and expression of indescribable loveliness followed. The alterations absorbed the countenance that I had known, and I stood face to face with a glorious being. I was not dreaming; my senses were alert; I kept my consciousness of place and circumstance; I remembered that this splendid one was also a woman of my acquaintanceship. I steadily observed the apocalypse; it was not fleeting. A number of minutes must have passed before my attention was demanded by another. When I again had opportunity to look at the one in whom I had seen the transfiguration, the mask had been drawn over the essential body and the physical again stood forth.
A few days later, I, with two other women, called on this woman. She had sustained a bereavement of one extremely dear. I spoke but little, listening to the brave words of the sorrowing one, and to the
sweet, wise words of the others. Again transfiguration began, working in the three. The change was complete in each; radiant was each with the life supernal, more than young was each in the agelessness of eternal being. From what was there opened to my vision I learned John's meaning in the statement, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth."
I know a woman who has been semi-invalid for years. The physical is pallid, bent, and deeply carved by sufferings, yet to me this woman always within carries the flow, the vigor, the rounded proportions, and the free, upright grace of her early womanhood.
Not one of these experiences has come as a result of my trying to bring it about. I never seek a particular experience, never visualize it, never image it.
The integrity of your efforts counts. Your words, your claims, your intentions speed forward to manifestation when they are vitalized by an intense sincerity. You cannot afford to cheat yourself by assuming that you have done the work that yet remains to be done. The enterprise of righteous living demands your all. Evolution is the man's return to God. Your return is swift or slow, governed by your industry. Mind leads; the body follows the mind. By this order of procedure comes the redemption of your mind and your body. Your better understanding of life is the reward that gives you greatest happiness. Life pays; it pays by giving itself.
Life pays you in the currency of the realm where-in you operate.
If you serve in the realm of the fictitious your wage will be paid you in the spurious currency of that realm. There, where there is no livingness, you frantically struggle to accumulate the form of supply that will support you after you have let your faith in years deplete your ability. Having received your wage, you find that it does not meet your entire need. You feel that some better part is lacking; that, despite our labors and your accumulations, there is something yet to be acquired. You begin to appreciate the truth in the words, "Man shall not live by bread alone."
If you serve in the realm of the real your wage is paid you in the living currency of that realm. There, where life has everlasting dominion, you work with God in an increasing power, to produce enduring results. You amalgamate with all good; you arrive at peace. You prove the truth in the words, "Man shall ... live ... by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt 4:4).
In the realm of the fictitious you hate, and your hate brings you hate; your suspicions are returned with suspicion; your feeling of insecurity rewards you with insecurity.
In the realm of the real you love, and your love pays you with love; your trust reaps you a hundred-fold increase of trust; your feeling of security becomes the fact of security.
The surest thing in life is that life pays.
When you think in accord with the real, you
automatically shut out your consciousness all matters that pertain to the fictitious; you find that God is your companion, and that His kingdom is your home. The work of compelling your mind to think in accord with reality pays a royal wage: It causes our involuntary thinking to adjust itself to the heavenly conditions of the real world.
You do not have to receive out of the fictitious. You choose; your choice is your compensation. If someone should try to give you an infuriated rattlesnake you would not put out your hand to take the serpent. Yet you feel that you must receive and even cherish the poisonous serpents tendered you by the fictitious world. You say that pain, poverty, disappointment, and grief are mighty realistic while they last, admitting that they are not real in the sense of inherency. Well, if you grasp the serpent, there is an antidote for its bite. The antidote is the reality that you spurned for the fiction. You do not have to receive an emissary from the fictitious; you do not have to accept an offering from the fictitious. It always takes two to make a bargain. What you admit into your life from either the fictitious or the real is your pay for opening the door between you and the realm from which you receive.
"He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it," (Matt. 10:39) said Jesus, in speaking of the one who forsakes unreality for reality. The exchange here indicated does not involve rewards. Your act produces. Christ is the essence. Christ also is the intelligence that, acting on essence, brings together you and the kingdom of heaven. Do not work for rewards; work
to find God. Your wage will be the discovery of God within your individuality.
The Mind of God informs you that when you speak and act in appeal to the outer, the outer is all that can recompense you. The recompense made by the outer is inconstant, ephemeral. The popular idol must cease to be himself; he must become the constant spectacular appeal that his public demands of him. If he does not do this he is cast from his pedestal, upon which is placed the one who more completely forsakes himself. It cannot be otherwise. The fictitious must maintain its fictions, and he who does not measure to the specifications suffers eclipse. "Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my king, he would not in mine age have left me naked to my enemies," said Wolsey in his extremity. The king to whose personal vanities and vices the cardinal had ministered, disclaimed him, excluded him from royal favor, when the old churchman revolted at further prostitution of his ecclesiastical powers. Wolsey was paid by the temporal king whom he had served; he would not be paid by the King of Eternity whom he had not served.
The national hero, even when truly heroic, is forsaken by the people when the national mind is defiled by insidious propaganda. Being truly heroic, he continues to worship and to obey the realities. He has not courted the fictitious; therefore repudiation by the fictitious does not alter his trend. The genius of life supports him; that is his predestined reward. The charlatan has his reward in the brief applause of the public. What the fictitious promotes
it also overthrows. Like produces like; like seeks and inevitably finds like; like cleaves to like and coalesces with like in all realm, world without end. A high seat in the synagogue is reserved for you if you are living on the level of its altitude.
To get, you must give. The metaphysician did not make this law; he discovered it. When you understand this law you will acknowledge it to be the loveliest provision in the Mind of God. With a delight hitherto unknown, you will delight in knowing this law and in keeping it with utmost fidelity in every detail. The law is your agent that exchanges the fictitious for the real in your mind.
If you try to get without giving you will get a hard heart; you will feel that you must be served without regard to the welfare of others. If you try to get without rendering an equivalent for what you obtain you will get a misunderstanding of life. There must be displacement or there is no room for the new, no room for expansion of that which you would increase. If you try to get without sharing you will be forced to present a petition in bankruptcy before the court of life; you will not have given and received for the benefit of all those necessarily interested in the transaction.
Life is exchange between you and God. You name what is exchanged and how much is exchanged. Give your limited good for His unlimited good. Give your foolishness for His wisdom. Give your weakness for His strength. The fictions that you offer Him will cease in His realities, to trouble you and the universe no more.
Challenge God to a race in giving and see if you can disburse more rapidly and more fully than He will reimburse. If possible to conceive, let your ideal be that of giving more than you get, thus showing yourself to be opulent, fearless, magnificent. When you give you are rich -- you have enough to share. When you do not give you are poor -- you have little for yourself, and that little will diminish under the unwise treatment of hoarding. By continued inactivity the germ in the acorn shrinks; becomes incapable of growth; finally dies.
You receive what you give. Have you ever quarreled? If you have, you can recall how you received what you gave: Bitter words, sharp retorts, in hard tones and accompanied by angry looks, catapulted forth and volleyed back. That was a giving intended to burden the receiver with shame; that was a receiving that scorched and abashed. Have you ever spoken the word of sincere esteem? Corresponding to the sentiment, your tone softened, your eyes were eloquent of good will. Then, also, you received as you gave, respect for respect, appreciation for appreciation. Life is just, exact. If you still are a baby in mind, you will fear that fact. If you are feeding your mind on the food that promotes growth, you will welcome that fact as an opportunity to prove your mettle.
You benefit by what you bestow, if you have learned life well enough to know that you cannot be deprived of reality. All truth is susceptible of proof in the exoteric as in the esoteric. Immunity from the pains of the exoteric is gained by
conscious habitation in the esoteric. The need for physical sustenance was satisfied in Jesus by His giving the water of life to the woman at the well. Joan of Arc warned her executioners to stand away from the that was consuming her body. Such occurrences as these are not of the supernatural; they are of the superhuman. They are of the real world; you have the support of the realm in which you consciously live. The senses make no demand on the spiritual consciousness, in which you have eternal life and never-failing sustenance. I have proved this to a degree, and in this particular manner:
At one time I lived in a district where the water was unpleasingly flavored by mineral solutions. Consequently the water to be used as drink was filtered.
One evening at social affair I became thirsty. I spoke of wanting a drink. The woman with whom I had been talking also wanted a drink. We went into the refreshment room. Neither of us cared for fruit punch; we both asked for water.
Only a half glass of filtered water was available. The attendant proffered me the water. I took the glass and held it out to my companion, asking her to drink. She demurred, but I insisted. Finally I said, "I am sure that if you will drink the water I shall cease to be thirsty." She looked mystified. Again I urged her, and she drank. When she had drained the glass my thirst ceased. For the remainder of the evening I was as thoroughly refreshed as I would have been had I drunk all the water that I at first felt I needed. I do not remember drinking on reaching my home.
You possess what you give. What you bestow on another is his; it still is yours, because you have in you the consciousness of the thing. To be conscious of a thing is to possess it. Consciousness is the germ of things, and you possess whatever you impart; your giving opens in you the floodgates to the exhaustless resource. If you will remember that truth you never will feel depleted.
What you share you increase. "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven." In whatever you agree with the sons of God, you share with them. In whatever you agree with another to ask of God, you receive, and the other receives. Two of you become conscious of possessing. You retain what you impart: You have a garden of lovely roses. I look at your garden, and say, "Your roses are wonderfully fair." You select the loveliest rose, cut it from the stem, and present it to me. Though I bear the rose away with me, it still is your rose. Your love, your attentive watchfulness, your devotion to beauty, produced the rose. What you produce is yours. What you give me is mine. You have your loveliest rose; I have your loveliest rose. Nothing can take the rose from me to whom you gave the rose. Nothing can take the rose from you while you retain the spirit of the rose. There was one rose; your giving has made it become two roses.
Life is just, exact. God is merciful, the opulent bestower of Himself. Amen.
Heard are the voices,
Heard are the sages,
The world and the ages:
Choose well; your choice Is brief, and yet endless.
Here eyes do regard you
In eternity's stillness;
Here is all fullness,
Ye brave, to reward you:
Work, and despair not.
You are the justly recompensed worker of the universe.
Life pays. It pays me all that I am worth.
I give as I receive. I receive as I give.
I give myself to God that I may receive Him.