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Orison Swett Marden.

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to come ; and whenever the minister heard me
laugh, he would remind me that I had bet-
ter be thinking of my " latter end," and pre-
paring for the death which might come at any
moment. Laughter was considered frivolous
and worldly ; and as for playing in the house
— it would not be tolerated for an instant.

Melancholy, solemnity used to be regarded as
a sign of spirituality, but it is now looked upon
as the imprint of a morbid mind. There is no
religion in it. True religion is full of hope, sun-
shine, optimism, and cheerfulness. It is joyous
and glad and beautiful. There is no Christian-



300 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

ity in the ugly, the discordant, the sad. The
reHgion which Christ taught was bright and
beautiful. The sunshine, the " lilies of the
field," the "birds of the air," the hills, the
valleys, the trees, the mountains, the brooks —
all things beautiful — were in His teaching.
There was no cold, dry theology in it. It was
just happy Christianity !

Cheerfulness is one of the great miracle-
workers of the world. It reenforces the whole
man, doubles and trebles his power, and gives
new meaning to his life. No man is a failure
until he has lost his cheerfulness, his optimistic
outlook. The man who does his best and car-
ries a smiling face and keeps cheerful in the
midst of discouragements, when things go
wrong and the way is dark and doubtful, is
sure to win.

" Laugh until I come back," was a noted
clergyman's "good-by" salutation. It is a good
one for us all.



XVII. THE SUN-DIAL'S MOTTO



XVII. THE SUN-DIAL'S MOTTO




N a famous sun-dial it is
written : " I record none but
hours of sunshine." Every
human life would be beauti-
fied by making this a life
motto.

What a great thing it
would be if we could only learn to wipe out
of our memories forever everything unpleas-
ant, everything which brings up bitter memo-
ries and unfortunate associations and depress-
ing, discouraging suggestions! If we could
only keep the mind filled with beautiful
thoughts which uplift and encourage, the
efficiency of our lives would be multiplied.

Are not some people so unfortunately con-
stituted that they are unable to remember
pleasant, agreeable things? When you meet
them they always have some sad story to tell,
something that has happened to them or is
surely going to happen. They tell you about
the accidents, narrow escapes, losses, and af-
flictions they have had. The bright days and
happy experiences they seldom mention. They
recall the disagreeable, the ugly, the discord-
ant. The rainy days make such an impression

303



304 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

upon their minds that they seem to think it
rains about all of the time.

There are others who do just the reverse.
They always talk of the pleasant things, good
times, and agreeable experiences of their lives.
I know some of these people who have had all
sorts of misfortunes, losses, sorrows, and yet
they so seldom speak of them or refer to them,
that you would think they never had had any-
thing in their lives but good fortune, that they
had never had any enemies, that everybody
had been kind to them. These are the people
who attract us, the people we love.

The habit of turning one's sunny side
toward others is a result of the practice of
holding charitable, loving, cheerful thoughts
perpetually in the mind ; while the gloomy, sar-
castic, mean character is formed by harboring
hard, uncharitable, unkind thoughts until the
brain becomes set toward the dark, so that the
life can only radiate gloom.

Some people's minds are like a junk shop;
they contain things of considerable value
mixed with a great deal of rubbish. There is
no system or order in them. These minds retain
everything — good, bad, or indifferent. They
can never bear to throw anything away, for
fear it might be of service at some time, so



THE SUN-DIAL'S MOTTO 305

that their mental storehouses are clogged with
all sorts of rubbish. If these people would only
have a regular house-cleaning and throw away
all the rubbish, everything of a doubtful value,
and systematize and arrange what is left, they
might amount to something; but no one can
do good work with his mind full of discord
and confusion.

Get rid of the mental rubbish. Do not go
through life burdened with non-essential,
meaningless things. Everywhere we see people
who are handicapped, doing everything to a
great disadvantage, because they never will
let go of an}'thing. They are like the over-care-
ful housekeeper, who never throws anything
away, for fear it may be of use in the future,
and whose attic and woodshed, and every
closet and corner in the house, are piled up
with rubbish which " might be wanted some
time." The practice of throwing away rubbish
of all kinds is of inestimable value.

Occasionally we come across minds that are
like public cabs. Now you see in them a good-
looking man or woman — a beautiful character ;
a little later a drunkard or vicious woman. In
other words, the cabman picks up the first
customer he finds, not caring whether he is
good or bad. So this order of mind picks up



3o6 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

all sorts of ideas, good, bad, and indifferent,
without selection or choice. It is like a sponge ;
it absorbs everything that comes near it. It is
impossible for such a mind to be clean, pure,
free from enemy thoughts, conflicting thought
currents, inharmonious vibrations or demoral-
izing influences.

One of the greatest accomplishments of the
finest character is the ability to order his mind
and to exclude from it all the enemy thoughts
— thoughts that bring friction and discord into
the life, thoughts that depress, that stunt, that
darken.

No mind can do good work when clouded
with unhappy or vicious thoughts. The mental
sky must be clear or there can be no enthu-
siasm, no brightness, clearness, or efficiency in
our mental work.

If you would do the maximum of which you
are capable, keep the mind filled with sunshine,
with beauty and truth, with cheerful, uplifting
thoughts. Bury everything that makes you un-
happy and discordant, everything that cramps
your freedom, that worries you, before it buries
you.

The mental temple was not given us for the
storing of low, base, mean things. It was in-
tended for the abode of the gods, for the treas-



THE SUX-DIAL'S AlOTTO 307

VLTing of high purposes, grand aims, noble
aspirations.

It is a shame, and will some time be looked
upon as a disgrace, for a human being bearing
the stamp of divinity to be dominated by base,
unworthy, demoralizing thoughts. The time
will come when one will be as much ashamed
of harboring a disagreeable, discordant, con-
taminating thought as he would feel if he were
caught stealing. When a man once gets a true
perception of himself, of his grandeur and dig-
nity, and infinite possibilities, he will not allow
himself to be dominated by the mental enemies
which now dog him from the cradle to the
grave.

Man was not made to express discord, but
harmony ; to express beauty, truth, love, and
happiness ; wholeness, not halfness ; complete-
ness, not incompleteness.

No one has learned the art of true living
until he has trained his mind to forget every
experience from which he can no longer derive
any advantage — that will hinder his progress
and make him unhappy. Xo matter how great
a mistake you have made, it should be for-
gotten, buried forever. Don't keep digging it
up. You have learned the lesson there is in it
for you. The only good use you can make of



3o8 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

an unfortunate mistake is to make it a start-
ing-point for something better.

What is there to be gained by harboring in-
juries, by dwelhng upon misfortunes, by mor-
bid worrying over our faikires? Did it ever
pay to harbor shghts and imagined insults ?

There is only one thing to do with a dis-
agreeable thought or experience, and that is,
get rid of it ; hurl it out of your mind as you
would a thief out of your house. You cannot
afford to give shelter to enemies of your peace
and comfort.

If you have hard feelings, unkindly thoughts
toward others, if you are trying to " get
square " with some one who has injured you,
or if you are suffering from jealousy, envy, or
hatred, dispel these killing emotions, these dis-
cordant feelings, as vicious enemies. Say to
yourself : " This is not manly, this is not
friendly, this is not humane; these are the
thoughts for the base, degraded ; they are not
the sort of thoughts for one who is trying to
stand for something in the world."

So long as you harbor the hatred thought,
the jealous thought, the revenge, worry, anx-
iety, or fear thought, you must suffer — just as
a pedestrian with gravel in his shoes must
suffer until he removes it.



THE SUN-DIAL'S MOTTO 309

We cannot harbor any grudge, any hatred
against another without suffering a frightful
loss in our own nature. It coarsens, ani-
maHzes, brutalizes us. On the other hand, the
holding of the kindly feeling, the love thought,
the helpful, charitable, magnanimous thought,
ennobles the life, beautifies the character, en-
riches the nature. Our mental attitude gives
its color to the life. What it is, we are like
toward others. If that is hateful, we are hate-
ful ; if that is revengeful, we have a revenge-
ful disposition. We are like our ideals. I have
never known a really good person who had
a mean, contemptible estimate of other people,
or who was always criticising them, question-
ing their motives, imputing to them low, self-
ish motives.

Do not go about nursing some fancied
wrong or insult or grudge against somebody,
cherishing unkind feelings toward any one.
Such thoughts poison the brain. They sting
and corrupt. Bitterness in the heart is like a
leaven, which works its way through the entire
system. The constant dwelling upon bitter
things saps your vitality and lessens your abil-
ity to do something worth while. These are
enemies of your youthfulness, of your happi-
ness and success. You cannot afford to have



3IO PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

them festering in your heart and tormenting
your mind.

Do not remember anything disagreeable
which can cripple your efficiency or mar your
work. Just wipe it out of your memory, no
matter how much it may hurt your pride to
do so. Your great aim should be progress, and
you cannot afiford to have a lot of rubbish
clinging to you which keeps you back or hin-
ders your speed in your life race. You need
all your energv*, every ounce of power you
possess, for the race. Husband your strength
for the main issue. Alake every ounce of force
tell.

Make up your mind to be large, gener-
ous, and charitable, to forget slights or in-
juries, not to harbor malice, but to remember
that most people are kind at heart and would
not intentionally slight or injure you. Show
your charitable side to every one. Be cheerful,
kind, and helpful, no matter what others may
do to you or say about you. Learn always to
put a charitable interpretation upon people's
motives and you will be surprised at the effect
of your attitude, not only upon yourself, but
also upon those with whom you are associated.
The kindly, helpful, sympathetic thought held
toward your enemies will work like a leaven in



THE SUN-DIAL'S MOTTO 311

their characters and change them for the better
a thousand times quicker than seeking revenge
or trying to get even with them.

The man who radiates good cheer to every-
body, who says kind things about people, who
sees in his fellow-man the man God made,
the immortal, perfect man — not the sin-
racked, the vice-scarred man — is the one we
love and admire.

Why should we remember the unkind things
people say of us? If we practised the art of
forgetting these things we should learn to love
where we once hated, to admire where w^e de-
spised, to help where we hindered, to praise
where we criticised.

The good excludes the bad ; the higher al-
ways shuts out the lower ; the greater motive,
the grander affection excludes the lesser, the
lower. The good is more than a match for
the bad.

A wpman who has had great sorrows and
afflictions says : *' I made the resolution that I
would never sadden any one with my troubles.
I have laughed and told jokes when I could
have wept. I have smiled in the face of every
misfortune. I have tried to let every one go
away from my presence with a happy word and
bright thought to carry with them. Happiness '



312 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

makes happiness, and I myself am happier
than I would have been had I sat down and
bemoaned my fate."

When you were in the dumps, " blue " and
discouraged, worried and almost ready to give
up the struggle for the thing you were trying
to reach, did you never meet some sunny,
jovial, humorous character, through whose in-
fluence it seemed that the whole world was
changed in a few minutes — the whole atmos-
phere cleared of bogies and haunting skeletons
— and you caught the contagion of the humor
and good cheer, and were another person?
This was due only to your change of thou ght.
the new suggestions held in your mind. It was
only a question of the expulsive power of a
stronger motive, affection, or idea. If we only
knew the philosophy of this expulsive power
of a stronger, higher motive to drive out the
weaker or the lower, we could quickly clear
the mental atmosphere of all the clouds of
doubt and despair, of all worry and anxiety
and uncertainty by substituting their opposites.

If we did not harbor in the mind the things
that are not good for us, they would not make
such a lasting impression upon us. In fact,
they would not get hold of us. It is the har-
boring of them, turning them over and over,



THE SUX-DIAL'S MOTTO 313

thinking of them, that intrenches them in the
mind.

The way to get rid of error is to keep the
mind full of truth ; the way to get rid of dis-
cord is to keep saturated with harmony, the
love thought.

Harmony is the realit}', the entity, the crea-
tive force. The time will come when the child
will be taught from the outset how to protect
himself from insidious enemies of mind and
body, how to keep himself in harmony by al-
ways living in the light of hope and truth,
where ghosts and hideous shadows cannot live.
He will be trained in the knowledge that truth
and beauty, joy and gladness, harmony, good-
will thoughts, health thoughts, will kill their
opposites ; that they have the same effect upon
them that water has upon fire.



XVIII. "AS YE SOW



XVIII. "AS YE SOW"

Thought is another name for fate,
Choose, then, thy destiny, and wait —
For love brings love, and hate brings hate.

— Ella Wheeler Wilcox.



"Beautiful thoughts crystallize into habits of grace
and kindness, which solidify into genial and sunny
circumstances."




S it not a strange fact that
while men know with abso-
lute ceiiainty that what they
sow or plant in the soil will
come back to them in exact
kind, that it is absolutely im-
possible to sow corn and get
a crop of wheat, they entirely disregard this
law when it comes to mental sowing?

On what principle can we expect a crop of
happiness and contentment when for years we
have been sowing seed thoughts of exactly the
opposite character ? How can we expect a crop
of health when we are all the time sowing dis-
ease thought seeds?

We would think a farmer insane who should
sow thistle seeds all over his farm and expect
to reap wheat. But we sow fear thoughts,
worry thoughts, anxious thoughts, doubt

317



3i8 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

thoughts, and wonder that we are not in per-
petual harmony.

The harvest from our thoughts is just as
much the result of law as that of the farmer's
sowing. Seed corn can only produce corn. A
man's achievement is the harvest, big or little,
beautiful or blighted, abundant or scarce, ac-
cording to the character of the thoughts he
has sown.

A man who sows failure thoughts can no
more reap a success harvest than the farmer
can get a wheat crop from thistles. If he sows
optimistic seed, the harmony, health, purity,
truth thoughts, the thoughts of abundance
and prosperity, of confidence and assurance,
he will reap a corresponding harvest; but if
he sows discord he will reap discordant con-
ditions.

Harmony is power; discord is weakness.
Pessimistic thoughts are thistles which check
the good products and ruin the harvest.

How simple our great life problems would
become if we could only realize that the mental
laws are just as scientific as the physical laws !
Every thought generated in the brain is a seed
which must produce its harvest — thistle or
rose, weed or wheat.

Our careers are the harvests of our mental



"AS YE SOW" 319

sowing. If we sow the wind we shall reap the
whirlwind.

If we sow the thoughts of abundance, of
plenty, we shall reap accordingly; but if we
sow the mean, pinched, sting}- failure thought
we shall reap a poverty harvest. In other
words, the life harvest must follow the thought.
When we see a selfish, repulsive face, we know
that it is the harvest of selfish, vicious sowing.
On the other hand, when we see a calm inspir-
ing face, we know that it has come from the
sowing of harmonious, helpful thought seeds.

If there is any one law of the universe em-
phasized over and above all others, it is that
like produces like everywhere and always.

A person who should take a knife and begin
to slash his flesh until the blood flowed would
be shut up in an insane asylum ; but we are all
the time slashing our mental selves with the
edged thought-tools — hatred, revenge, anger,
jealousy — and yet we think ourselves sane,
normal.

Every thought is a seed which produces a
mental plant exactly like itself. If there is
venom in the seed thoui^ht-platit there zvill be
venom in the fruit which will poison the life,
which will destroy happiness and efficiency.

If you sell yourself to your desires, you



320 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

must expect the harvest to correspond. A man
who sells himself to a selfish life, a life of get-
ting and never giving, must not complain if
there are thistles and thorns in his harvest.
Life is just to us. It gives us what we pay for.
The truth is, many of us ask for things with-
out being willing to pay the price, and, of
course, we receive only as we pay, for Nature
keeps a cash store. She gives us everything we
pay for ; we take away nothing without leaving
the price.

The coming man will know that if he wants
to produce a crop of prosperity he must not
sow failure or poverty seeds, seeds of dis-
couragement or doubt. He will sow the seed
that will produce the crop he wants. If he
wants to produce a character-crop of beauty,
sweetness, and loveliness, he will sow the seeds
of kijidness, love, and helpfulness ; and he will
know that if he sows seeds of hatred, jeal-
ousy, bitterness, and revenge he will get the
same kind of a crop — hideous, noxious weeds.

The coming man will live scientifically. He
will know that there is only one way to pro-
duce physical harmony, vigor, strength ; that
is, by sowing thought-seeds which are akin to
the health crop he seeks. He will be just as
certain of the character of his thought-crop as



"AS YE SOW" 321

the farmer is certain that his harvest will cor-
respond with his seed.

The body is simply a reflection of the mind ;
it cannot be an}'thing else. It would be impos-
sible for a person to hold only beautiful, lov-
ing thoughts in the mind and not have the
body correspond and come into harmony with
the habitual thinking. It is only a question of
time. There is no guess-work about the proc-
esses. There is an absolutely inexorable law:
Like must produce like.

It is impossible for a thief to injure the per-
son he steals from half so much as he injures
himself. He inconveniences his victim, but
stabs himself with a venomous weapon. We
are so constituted that it is impossible to injure
another willingly without injury to ourselves.
If we would be good to ourselves we must
be good to others also. We cannot possibly
strike our neighbor without receiving the
blow ourselves. This is the new philosophy
which Christ taught. Before his day it was
" An eye for an eye," an unkindness for an
unkindness, a thrust for a thrust, a blow for
a blow ; but he taught that we must not strike
back. " Ye have heard that it hath been said.
An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth :
but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil : but



3^2 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek,
turn to him the other also."

" Ye have heard that it hath been said. Thou
shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you. Love your enemies, bless
them that curse you, do good to them that hate
you, and pray for them which despitefully use
you and persecute you." This is as scientific
as the laws of chemistry or mathematics.

The coming man will find that indulgence in
retaliation for real or fancied injury, indul-
gence in hatred or revenge, will only rob him
of power and mar his own achievement.

The infant puts his hand in the flame or
on the hot stove until the pain teaches him
better. After we have tortured ourselves with
thoughts which tear and lacerate us, after we
have had experience enough of this kind, we
shall learn that it is too expensive a business,
that we cannot afford to pay such a price for
the sake of '' getting square " with another.
Self-protection will keep us from it when we
know enough.

We may complain of our condition to-day,
but we are simply reaping what we sowed yes-
terday. There is no dodging this reaping. The
only way to get a different harvest to-morrow
is to sow differently to-day. Everything we do,



"AS YE SOW" 323

every thought that passes through our mind,
is a seed which we throw out into the soil, the
world, and which must give a harvest like
itself. Many people complain because their
harvest is so full of thorns, thistles, and weeds ;
but if they analyzed their lives they would find
that they had been sowing seeds of selfishness,
jealousy, and envy. If they had sown seeds of
unselfishness, kindness, happiness, and love,
they would have had a very different kind of
harvest.

The time will come when an intelligent per-
son will no more think of indulging a cruel,
envious, jealous thought toward another than
he would put his hand into the flames.

The future man will not lacerate himself
with vicious thoughts. He will not stab him-
self with jealousy or hatred thoughts, with
fear or sick thoughts, because, like the child
who will not put his hand in the fire after
he has learned that it burns, he will want to
avoid the pain they cause.

THE END



7 9 22



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Online LibraryOrison Swett MardenPeace, power, and plenty → online text (page 14 of 14)