Concentration means holding the chosen mental picture to the exclusion of all others till your objective life becomes the picture. "I AM THAT WHICH I THINK MYSELF TO BE!" The Ideal Life is the Real Life and this unseen Ideal Life is the one that alone concerns us. The laws of matter, are the Laws of spirit. They are but reflections of the unseen Laws, because Nature is one. No line can be drawn between the Here and the There; between the present and the past, or the future; between Cause and Effect. The Universe is a Unit, and as such we are to live It. Not to live in it, but to live It, for we are It. This Life of the body that has so troubled us, is the life of appearance, and with appearances hereafter we are not to deal; will deal with eternal verities, i. e. with Ideals which cause these appearances. The goal of every endeavor is Ideal, and that Ideal is REALITY OF SPIRIT. Let this Ideal manifest in perfect faith, by letting it alone, save to hold to it as Will. The Ideal will carry you to the goal of its own mani-festation.
"A thread of Law runs through thy prayer
Stronger than iron cables are;
And Love and Longing towards its goal
Are pilots sweet to guide the soul.
So Life must live, and Soul must sail
And Unseen over Seen prevail
And all God's argosies come to shore
Though ocean smile or rage and roar."
And you are to remember that this voyage of unfold-ment is eternal and you are to be happy every rod of the way. The joy of life is in creating, in unfolding, in going on.
I must turn to the poets at this stage of the discussion, for they are the truest philosophers, sages and seers, because they live in and report the Ideal, which is Truth.
I close this section with a little poem by an unknown author, prefacing it with extracts from Sam Walter
Foss and from Kipling. Foss says: -
There is no bourn, no ultimate. The very farthest star, But rims a sea of other stars extending just as far. There's no beginning and no end. As in the ages gone The greatest joy of joys shall be - the joy of going on.
Kipling says of the Ideal: -
Our face is far from this our war,
Our call and counter-cry, I shall not find Thee quick and kind
Nor know thee till I die. Enough for me in dreams to see
And touch Thy garment's hem; Thy feet have trod so near to God
I may not follow them.
But all these poets fail to give us the practical lesson which I wish you to draw from their lines and that is - by worshiping the 1deal, we become that Ideal. Therefore there is no better practice for you than to concentrate upon beautiful extracts of Great Thinkers and saintly persons. You can easily find them. The Twenty-third Psalm and other poetic, and therefore wise passages of scripture are familiar, so I do not quote them. But I will give you these "boiled down" expressions from the poets for memorizing, that the mental pictures they create may become in you physical manifestations. This little poem tells you that the realm in which you really live is never perfectly reflected in the objective life. So regard it a lesson how to live the Ideal here and now.
"I think that the song that's sweetest, Is one that is never sung - But lies at the heart of the singer, Too grand for mortal tongue, And sometimes in the silence Between the day and the night, He fancies that its measures Bid farewell to the light.
A picture that is fairer, Than all that have a part, Among the master-pieces, In the marble halls of art, Is one that haunts the painter, In all his golden dreams, And to the painter only A real picture seems.
The noblest grandest poem, Lies not in blue and gold, Among the treasured volumes The rosewood bookshelves hold; But in bright and glowing vision It comes to the poet's brain, But when he tries to grasp it, He finds his efforts vain.
A fairy hand from dream-land Beckons us here and there, And when we strive to grasp it It vanishes into air. And thus our fair Ideal Floats always just before, And we in love and longing, Reach for it ever more."
I wonder if ever a song was sung
But the singer's heart sang sweeter! I wonder if ever a rhyme was sung,
But the thoughts surpassed the meter! I wonder if ever a sculptor wrought,
Till the stone echoed his ardent thought! Or if ever a painter in light and shade
The dream of his inmost heart conveyed.
- J. G. Harney.
That haunting dream of better, forever at our side, It tints the far horizon, it sparkles on the tide. The cradle of the present too narrow is for rest.
The feet of the Immortal leap forth to seek the Best.
- Lucy Larcom.
In my first little book I gave the Law thus, and I have never been able to improve upon it. Let it close this section:
Affirm that which you desire as a present reality.
Live as if it were already manifest.
And you shall find it manifest.
I will here, in view of what has been said, translate it thus: -
Create an Ideal.
Live that Ideal; and
You will become that Ideal.
Concentration upon, and consecration to, the Ideal, brings it into manifestation.