The Hidden Power, by Thomas Troward , at sacred-texts.com
WE often do not sufficiently recognise the truth of Walt Whitman's pithy saying, "I am not all contained between my hat and my boots," and forget the two-fold nature of the "I AM," that it is at once both the manifested and the unmanifested, the universal and the individual. By losing sight of this truth we surround ourselves with limitations; we see only part of the self, and then we are surprised that the part fails to do the work of the whole. Factors crop up on which we had not reckoned, and we wonder where they come from, and do not understand that they necessarily arise from that great unity in which we are all included.
It is the grand intelligence and livingness of Universal Spirit continually pressing forward to manifestation of itself in a glorious humanity.
This must be effected by each individual's recognition of his power to co-operate with the Supreme Principle through an intelligent conception of its purpose and of the natural laws by which that purpose is accomplished--a recognition which can proceed only from the realisation that he himself is none other than the same Universal Principle in particular manifestation.
When he sees this he sees that Walt Whitman's saying is true, and that his source of intelligence, power, and purpose is in that Universal Self, which is his as well as another's just because it is universal, and which is therefore as completely and entirely identified with himself as. though there were no other expression of it in the world.
The understanding which alone gives value to knowledge is the understanding that, when we employ the formula "I am, therefore I can, therefore I will," the "I AM" with which the series starts is a being who, so to speak, has his head in heaven and his feet upon the earth, a perfect unity, and with a range of ideas far transcending the little ideas which are limited by the requirements of a day or an hour. On the other hand, the requirements of the day and the hour are real while they last, and since the manifested life can be lived only in the moment that now is, whether it be to-day or ten thousand years hence, our need is to harmonise the life of expression with the life of purpose, and by realising in ourselves the source of the highest purposes to realise also the life of the fullest expression.
This is the meaning of prayer. Prayer is not a foolish seeking to change the mind of Supreme Wisdom, but it is an intelligent seeking to embody that wisdom in our thoughts so as more and more perfectly to express it in expressing ourselves. Thus, as we gradually grow into the habit of finding this inspiring
[paragraph continues] Presence within ourselves, and of realising its forward movement as the ultimate determining factor in all true healthful mental action, it will become second nature to us to have all our plans, down to the apparently most trivial, so floating upon the undercurrent of this Universal Intelligence that a great harmony will come into our lives, every discordant manifestation will disappear, and we shall find ourselves more and more controlling all things into the forms that we desire.
Why? Because we have attained to commanding the Spirit and making it obey us? Certainly not, for "if the blind lead the blind both shall fall into the ditch"; but because we are companions of the Spirit, and by a continuous and growing intimacy have changed, not "the mind of the Spirit," but our own, and have learned to think from a higher standpoint, where we see that the old-world saying "know thyself" includes the knowledge of all that we mean when we speak of God.
I AM IS ONE
This may seem a very elementary proposition, but it is one of which we are too apt to lose sight. What does it mean? It means everything; but we are most concerned with what it means in regard to ourselves, and to each of us personally it means this. It means that there are not two Spirits, one which is myself and one which is another. It means that there is not some
great unknown power external to myself which may be actuated by perfectly different motives to my own, and which will, therefore, oppose me with its irresistible force and pass over me, leaving me crushed and broken like the devotee over whom the car of Jaggarnath has rolled. It means that there is only one mind, one motive, one power--not two opposing each other--and that my conscious mind in all its movements is only the one mind expressing itself as (not merely through) my own particular individuality.
There are not two I AMS, but one I am. Whatever, therefore, I can conceive the Great Universal Life Principle to be, that I am. Let us try fully to realise what this means. Can you conceive the Great Originating and Sustaining Life Principle of the whole universe as poor, weak, sordid, miserable, jealous, angry, anxious, uncertain, or in any other way limited? We know that this is impossible. Then because the I AM is one it is equally untrue of ourselves. Learn first to distinguish the true self that you are from the mental and physical processes which it throws forth as the instruments of its expression, and then learn that this self controls these instruments, and not vice versa. As we advance in this knowledge we know ourselves to be unlimited, and that, in the miniature world, whose centre we are, we ourselves are the very same overflowing of joyous livingness that the Great Life Spirit is in the Great All. The I AM is One.