The true object of life is that man may attain wisdom through experience. This cannot be accomplished by giving in to the difficulties of life, but only by overcoming them. The promises of God are not made to those who fail in life’s battle, but to those who overcome. Neither are there any promises that man shall have an easy time and be happy ever afterward. Yet, it is after this that the majority of people are forever seeking an easy life, a good time, freedom from suffering, and care. But, despite all their seeking, they can never find that which they desire. There is always a fly in the ointment of their pleasure, something that robs them of true happiness; or, possibly, combinations of circumstances conspire to upset all their plans.
Life is a paradox; the true object of life is not the attainment of happiness, yet if we attain the true object of life we find happiness. Those who are ignorant of life’s true purpose and who seek happiness high and low, year after year, fail to find it. Like a will-o’-the-wisp, it forever eludes them. On the other hand, those who recognize the true object of life, and follow it, attain happiness without seeking it.
With-it times past, people have made God a convenience. They have thought they could drift through life, learning none of its disciplines, and then, when in trouble, or things were not to their liking, they could pray to God and have the unpleasant circumstances taken away. The same idea is prevalent today. People have left the old orthodoxy and look to various “cults” and “isms” to get them out of their difficulties. They do not believe now that they can curry special favor with God by prayer, but they firmly believe that they can get what they want from the Invisible by demanding it. They think that by this means they can have their way after all. By this, they mean having a good time, with no unpleasant experiences, trials, difficulties, adversities. They are, however, merely chasing rainbows. The easy life they seek constantly eludes them, simply because there is no such thing. The only easy life is the life of the strong soul who has overcome. His life is not easy in reality but appears relatively so because of his strength.
It is impossible to have an easy life, and, if it were possible, then life would be not worth living, for the sole object of life is the building of character and the attainment of wisdom through experience. Life to all of us must always be full of difficulty, and it is to help those, who, hitherto, have found life rather too much for them that this book is being written. What the majority are seeking is an easy life (which they will never find, but precisely the reverse) and for them, I have no message. But to those wise and awakened souls who are seeking for Truth, no matter from whence it may come, and who desire to overcome life and its difficulties, instead of weakly giving in to them, this idea, it is hoped, will bring a message.
At this stage we can get not go into the subject of why we should meet with disasters and adversity in this life, nor why some people should have, apparently, a smoother life than others.
We must therefore be satisfied to know that we have to meet trouble and overcome difficulty and that it is only by so doing that we can attain wisdom and build up character. The question, then, is not whether we shall meet the trouble and adversity or not, but rather, how we shall meet them.
Shall we be victorious or shall we be submerged? Shall we overcome life’s difficulties or shall we give in to them?
The majority of people are drifters on the sea of life. They are wafted here and blown there: they are also carried hither and thither by every current. It is only the few who realize that they have the Power of the Infinite within them by which they can rise superior to all their difficulties, overcome their own weaknesses, and, through victorious experience, attain wisdom.
At this point, some practical readers may say that attaining wisdom is all very well, but what he wants is practical help. He is perhaps out of work, has sickness in his house, and is in debt. Or, he may be well-to-do, and yet in the deepest distress and misery. To all such, I would say that they possess the power by which they can overcome all their difficulties, and, through overcoming, attain wisdom. A man’s success depends, more than anything, upon his faith in the good purpose of life: his faith in the Power of the Infinite within him, and his ability to overcome every obstacle in his path.
The extent of the Power that man can bring into his life is the measure of his faith in that Power. If his faith in It is small, then his life will be feeble and lacking in achievement. If his faith in the Power within him is large, then great will be the power manifesting in his life. The Power of the Infinite is illimitable and inexhaustible: all that is required is an unquenchable belief and trust in it. The weakest and most timid can make use of this Power. There is the same Power in the timid and weak as in the brave and strong. The weakness of the former is due to a lack of faith and belief in the Infinite Power within them.
Difficulties and troubles there will be in every life, and sometimes disaster and heartbreak, when the very earth slides from under the feet, yet, by calling upon the Power within, it is possible to rise from the ruins of cherished hopes stronger and “greater” through experience. Happiness and true success depend upon how the troubles and difficulties of life are met. Adversity comes to all, but if it is met in the right manner even failure can be made the stepping-stone to success. Trouble comes to all, but, while it makes some people stronger and better in every way, it submerges others so that they never rise again. The trouble is the same, it is how it is met that makes the difference. Those who meet difficulty and adversity in the feeble strength of their finite minds and false personality are speedily overwhelmed and broken by the storms of life. But those who rely upon, and have faith in the Power within them, can never be overwhelmed, neither can they ever be defeated. The Power, being infinite, is always sufficient, no matter how great the need may be.
One who realizes his own real spiritual identity knows that he can never die, that he can never be defeated, that he can never really fail. He may lose his body through the change that is called death; but he, the true man, can never die. Neither can he fail, though he is defeated a thousand times—he must rise again.
Only have faith in the Spiritual Power within you and you can know all the joys of overcoming and achievement. All things will become yours. Seek first the Kingdom within you (your spiritual union with the Infinite, and harmony with the Divine Will and Purpose) and all these things shall be added unto you. You will not need to fear the morrow, for you will know that all provision has already been made. There will be no need to hoard up wealth, for there will be the necessary daily supplies always available. There will be no need to live near a doctor, for God, the Infinite Life shall be your health. There will be no need for regret or lamentation, for you shall know that all is well. There will be no fear of future happenings, for you shall realize that the Infinite One makes no mistakes.