Nona L. Brooks
Let us be sure that we are gaining a clearer understanding of the term matter as we consider the pages of this small volume; for without more light on matter, we shall not come nearer to a solution of the problems that confront us in our daily lives. Of these that of suffering is one of the most insistent, whether it takes the form of evil or of pain. What is suffering? What is evil? In order to approach a satisfactory answer to these questions, it is necessary to study carefully the meaning of form or matter.
What has been our concept of form? Something manifesting in limitation, and subject to inharmony and decay, is perhaps as clear an answer as most of us could give. The visible has been thought of as that which is separate from the invisible. We have been dealing with what we conceived to be two phases in the life process--a visible and an invisible existence, only one of which, the invisible, has been thought of as perfect. Imperfection has always clung to that which is manifested. Why should this be? Belief in separation is the answer. Let us make sure that we see form as Living Substance in manifestation, expressing according to the law of unity in infinite variety. To the one who sees this truth, the mystery of suffering begins to clear. What is the conclusion that thinkers in the realm of natural science are moving toward? It is a conclusion that has already been reached and accepted by Divine Scientists--that the universe of form is alive--that it is One Universal Intelligence in expression. We say that God is Spirit and that the universe of form is God in action. As natural science teaches one source or power, so we teach one Cause in the Universe of Spirit, which is Love Universal. We have learned that cause and effect are one, hence the expression of perfect cause is by nature, perfect. Whence the seeming imperfection? What is suffering? What we believe we experience in regard to our bodies and to all kinds of form. Wrong believing gives rise to untrue seeing; and imperfect seeing is the cause of that which we call imperfection. Where, then, shall we look for an answer to the mystery of why we suffer and why we sin in a universe of form which is God in action? You will see that we must turn to the thought realm where we have been harbouring misconceptions as to the nature of form; through thought training we can learn to see truth.
What shall we think about form? The natural scientist says that all form is vibration; he accounts for different forms by speaking of these as varying rates of vibration; but he deals with a universal substance which he calls ether. The discovery that matter is a mode of motion leads to the truth, that the universe of form is God-Activity. Infinite-Activity is form. We are told in Genesis that God saw His creation and called it very good. In the knowledge that time is only a concept in our thinking shall we change this great truth into the present tense to meet the views of the present day? God sees His creation and calls it very good. God is true to himself; He sees us and all that He is expressing, as one with Infinite-Life, hence, as whole. God is not expressing that which is unlike himself in nature, since cause and effect are one. What of suffering? Why do we suffer? Surely not because we are by nature intended to suffer but because we have been as a race unwilling to consecrate our thinking to the God-Standard.
Picture a world filled with God-Love and every one in it radiating outstreaming goodwill. Would there be any suffering? Would there be any evil? There could be neither suffering nor evil if all men were thinking true to God-Thought. Wars would end; greed would go; selfishness would cease; destruction would give place to constructiveness. We should see only God in action if the world were thinking true thoughts. It is only in the thought realm that we find suffering and evil, for it is here that we believe in separation, while the truth of life is oneness. As we think, so do we experience. Therefore, let us watch our thinking, for it is through the process of true thinking that we unfold into the consciousness of God and God in action as all there is. True thinking is the basis of all development; it is the key that unlocks the gates of the kingdom--the gates that our thoughts have been locking for us through misconceiving the true meaning of life.
We shall begin to solve the mystery of individual suffering and evils when we believe with all faith that God is thinking forth His own Ideas as perfect, complete, intelligent forms. This is the truth of creation. As we make this truth the basis of our thinking about the universe of form and of all human experiences, darkness, doubt, fear, and all other human limitations will vanish. Think of the universe of form as a living organism, by nature perfect, and you will draw the world of form around you, into the realm of your thought. Natural science tells us that the universe is a living organism controlled by mind; we believe that the Universe is Mind and Mind in action, and that every expression is conscious to a degree. Mind is manifesting everywhere; the flower evidences this; and so does the tiniest insect that crawls, as well as the mightiest solar system. The mind of the molecule is the God-Mind in manifestation; there is no other mind. Every cell thinks because it is Mind in expression. Mind, universal cause, is revealed by every expression in the universe of form. Universal Mind thinks only truth and wholeness; it is thinking you and me, as it is thinking the solar systems and the grains of sand. This infinite variety of activity shown forth in myriad forms of manifestation is all after a pattern in Divine Mind; each form has its part in God's mighty design of his activity--the universe of form. The Universe is glorified in God.
What of suffering from the standpoint of Omnipresence? It is purely mental. Pain is caused by fear; and there is nothing in Universal Mind to fear, for all is perfection. It is when we believe in another mind and power that our sufferings begin. Get back to God. Remember the foundation word--oneness. God above all, through all, in all!
You and I must decide as to whether we shall suffer and be sick. The choice is ours. Our attitude will determine what the effect of that which comes to us shall be. After our decision to stand true to Basis is made, we begin to grow in understanding, and the Universe becomes illumined for us with the light of God. We see that the Infinite Being is all and includes all. What God is, is wherever you and I are. Why should we suffer when God is through us and in us? Our own thinking must be at fault! Man, the spoken word of God, is in reality always divine and whole; consequently, in the real of him he does not suffer. It is through belief in separation that he suffers. There is only one God-Expression, and that is good, for God brings forth only that which is like unto himself. Each form of the infinite variety of God-Expression is inherently good. Each of us is always being brought forth by the power of His own consciousness. Expression is eternal; it is always good. We are alive in God. Can God suffer and be sick? Since the good is eternal, what about evil? Has it any place in the plan of existence? Could it really exist? Like suffering, evil is in the thought realm.
Tolstoi says, "God is That All, That Infinite All, of which I am conscious of being a part." Another has said, "God is the totalized consciousness of the whole."
Natural science is fast working out of the concept of a dead material universe tossed about by various forces, to a universe all force, life, soul, thought. God is not half dead, but wholly alive; hence the Universe is wholly good. In form, God the Infinite, is called finite, because infinity is centered and located in the visible expression of invisibility. The man who is conscious of this intimate relationship between himself and God is blessed indeed. There is no material universe in the sense of a universe apart from God.
Our suffering is purely mental; it is induced by belief in another power than the power of good. As soon as we separate ourselves in the thought realm from the realization of the eternal and ever present goodness of Life, we suffer. As long as men believe in two powers, they will suffer. Suffering and sin are the results of wrong thinking. Are these experiences mysterious? They are only the result of our unwillingness to face the full import of the law of cause and effect.
The mystery of evil is allied with the mystery of suffering. How can there be evil in a universe of form that is wholly good? Again I say, evil, like suffering, is in our thinking. There is no principle of evil, for principle is eternal, and evil is temporal. Where, then, does it originate? Whither does it go? That which has its inception in a wrong mental attitude really comes from ignorance and returns to nothing. Evil is a temporary condition of the mentality which can be banished when we choose to live aright, for since the power of good is at the foundation of all expression, evil has no real hold upon the individual. The power of good is the power inherent in the development of the world; it is all-powerful in civilization. Evil is being overcome by the setting of a higher thought standard for the race. Jesus overcame evil with good; this he did by his thinking. His love, deep, true, and steadfast, has touched humanity in a way that no other love ever has. We do not overcome evil by denying it with the lips; we must overcome it as Jesus did, with good.
Nine-tenths of the wrongs and sufferings of the world come from man's inhumanity to man. All conditions of evil, such as the sweat shop, unjust labor conditions, all immoral conditions, could be banished from the face of the earth, if men would turn their thought to universal love, for the evils of the world would fade away in the light of good.
There is no evil to the one who lives with the vision of God before him. Evil is the outer result of a mental condition of fear, ignorance, doubt, unbelief. As fear is the cause of suffering, so is it the cause of evil. We fix our attention on the dark places because we fear these; we emphasize darkness instead of light. Our world becomes peopled with fears, doubts, misgivings, and our birthright of health, peace, power, and joy seems to desert us. But does it really leave us? No, that cannot be. Since power, love, health, wisdom, and joy are the truth of us, these cannot really desert us, except when we turn our thought away from these to false images of sin and suffering; then we seem to lose our heritage of good for a time. True thinking brings us back to the good. We are by nature children of righteousness and truth. That evil is not one of the eternal realities is evidenced by the instability of its nature. Even though there are numerous world conditions which are obviously evil, such as war, jealousy, dishonesty, injustice, suspicion, it is also evident that these conditions have no place in the universal plan. God does not know these. Since God is all, evil must be a temporary condition without power. Evil always vanishes when you and I take a strong enough stand in God-Consciousness.
How is it, then, that we continue to believe in the power of evil and suffering in a Universe which is God and God in action? I believe that men are brought forth, children in consciousness in order that they may have the opportunity of working out their own salvation. The intent of the Father for his children is that they shall attain; hence they are brought forth perfect, divinely capable of unfolding. Great is the privilege of development! Men are left to make their own decisions, and to exercise their own free-will as to how and when to attain. God must desire the companionship of His children, or He would not have created them capable of Divine understanding. God knows about each one and shares in the development of the individual; every true thought you and I think is approved of God. Upon our decision to choose God as our comrade in every experience of life depends our well being. It is the Spirit which preserves us from all evil.
Ignorance keeps before us pictures of unrealities called evil and suffering, and fear keeps us bound to these. Knowledge of truth frees us from bondage, and right thinking makes us free from evil and suffering. These are mysteries only in so far as we give them power to shape the lives of individuals. Why do we suffer? Why do we sin? The same answer suffices for both questions. Our thinking is not true to the foundation principle of Life; the Universe of form is God in action. God is infinite Love, and in Love there is only light; there is no mystery.
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Symphony of Love