"The precept for life in general and for every one is: Exhibit only thy spiritual, thy life, in the external, and by means of the external in thy actions, and observe the requirements of thy inner being and its nature."
Here is not only an undying basis for all real education, but also the basis of all true religion, as well as the basis of all ideal philosophy. Yes, there could be no evolution, unless the essence of all to be evolved, unfolded, were already involved in the human soul. To follow the higher leadings of the soul, which is so constituted that it is the inlet, and as a consequence the outlet of Divine Spirit, Creative Energy, the real source of all wisdom and power; to project its leadings into every phase of material activity and endeavour, constitutes the ideal life. It was Emerson who said: " Every soul is not only the inlet, but may become the outlet of all there is in God." To keep this inlet open, so as not to shut out the Divine inflow, is the secret of all higher achievement, as well as attainment.
There is a wood separated by a single open field from my house. In it, halfway down a little hillside, there was some years ago a spring. It was at one time walled up with rather large loose stone- some three feet across at the top. In following a vaguely defined trail through the wood one day in the early spring, a trail at one time evidently considerably used, it led me to this spot. I looked at the stone enclosure, partly moss-grown. I wondered why, although the ground was wet around it, there was no water in or running from what had evidently been at one time a well-used spring.
A few days later when the early summer work was better under way, I took an implement or two over, and half scratching, half digging inside the little wall, I found layer after layer of dead leaves and sediment, dead leaves and sediment. Presently water became evident, and a little later it began to rise within the wall. In a short time there was nearly three feet of water. It was cloudy, no bottom could be seen. I sat down and waited for it to settle.
Presently I discerned a ledge bottom and the side against the hill was also ledge. On this side, close to the bottom, I caught that peculiar movement of little particles of silvery sand, and looking more closely I could see a cleft in the rock where the water came gushing and bubbling in. Soon the entire spring became clear as crystal, and the water finding evidently its old outlet, made its way down the little hillside. I was soon able to trace and to uncover its course as it made its way to the level place below.
As the summer went on I found myself going to the spot again and again. Flowers that I found in no other part of the wood, before the autumn came were blooming along the little watercourse. Birds in abundance came to drink and to bathe. Several times I have found the half-tame deer there. Twice we were but thirty to forty paces apart. They have watched my approach, and as I stopped, have gone on with their drinking, evidently unafraid- as if it were likewise their possession. And so it is.
After spending a most valuable hour or two in the quiet there one afternoon, I could not help but wonder as I walked home whether perchance the spring may not be actually happy in being able to resume its life, to fulfil, so to speak, its destiny; happy also in the service it renders flowers and the living wild things- happy in the service it renders even me. I am doubly happy and a hundred times repaid in the little help I gave it. It needed help, to enable it effectively to keep connection with its source. As it became gradually shut off from this, it weakened, became then stagnant, and finally it ceased its active life.
Containing a fundamental truth deeper perhaps than we realise, are these words of that gifted seer, Emanuel Swedenborg: " There is only one Fountain of Life, and the life of man is a stream therefrom, which if it were not continually replenished from its source would instantly cease to flow." And likewise these: " Those who think in the light of interior reason can see that all things are connected by intermediate links with the First Cause, and that whatever is not maintained in that connection must cease to exist."
There is a mystic force that transcends any powers of the intellect or of the body, that becomes manifest and operative in the life of man when this God-consciousness becomes awakened and permeates his entire being. Failure to realise and to keep in constant communion with our Source is what causes fears, forebodings, worry, inharmony, conflict, conflict that downs us many times in mind, in spirit, in body- failure to follow that Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, failure to hear and to heed that Voice of the soul, that speaks continually clearer as we accustom ourselves to listen to and to heed it, failure to follow those intuitions with which the soul, every soul, is endowed, and that lead us aright and that become clearer in their leadings as we follow them. It is this guidance and this sustaining power that all great souls fall back upon in times of great crises.
This single stanza by Edwin Markham voices the poet's inspiration:
At the heart of the cyclone tearing the sky, And flinging the clouds and the towers by,
Is a place of central calm; So, here in the roar of mortal things I have a place where my spirit sings,
In the hollow of God's palm.
"That the Divine Life and Energy actually lives in us," was the philosopher Fichte's reply to the proposition- " the profoundest knowledge that man can attain." And speaking of the man to whom this becomes a real, vital, conscious realisation, he said: " His whole existence flows forth, softly and gently, from his Inward Being, and issues out into Reality without difficulty or hindrance."
There are certain faculties that we have that are not a part of the active thinking mind; they seem to be no part of what we might term our conscious intelligence. They transcend any possible activities of our regular mental processes, and they are in some ways independent of them. Through some avenue, suggestions, intuitions of truth, intuitions of occurrences of which through the thinking mind we could know nothing, are at times borne in upon us; they flash into our consciousness, as we say, quite independent of any mental action on our part, and sometimes when we are thinking of something quite foreign to that which comes to, that which " impresses " us.
This seems to indicate a source of knowledge, a faculty that is distinct from, but that acts in various ways in conjunction with, the active thinking mind. It performs likewise certain very definite and distinct functions in connection with the body. It is this that is called the subconscious mind- by some the superconscious or the supernormal mind, by others the subliminal self.
Just what the subconscious mind is no man knows. It is easier to define its functions and to describe its activities than it is to state in exact terms what it is. It is similar in this respect to the physical force- if it be a physical force- electricity. It is only of late years that we know anything of electricity at all. To-day we know a great deal of its nature and the laws of its action. No man living can tell exactly what electricity is. We are nevertheless making wonderful practical applications of it. We are learning more about it continually. Some day we may know what it actually is.
The fact that the subconscious mind seems to function in a realm apart from anything that has to do with our concious mental processes, and also that it has some definite functions as both directing and building functions to perform in connection with the body, and that it is at the same time subject to suggestion and direction from the active thinking mind, would indicate that it may be the true connecting link, the medium of exchange, between the soul and the body, the connector of the spiritual and the material so far as man is concerned.