The Hidden Power, by Thomas Troward , at sacred-texts.com
"ENTERING into the spirit of it." What a common expression! And yet how much it really means, how absolutely everything! We enter into the spirit of an undertaking, into the spirit of a movement, into the spirit of an author, even into the spirit of a game; and it makes all the difference both to us and to that into which we enter. A game without any spirit is a poor affair; and association in which there is no spirit falls to pieces; and a spiritless undertaking is sure to be a failure. On the other hand, the book which is meaningless to the unsympathising reader is full of life and suggestion to the one who enters into, the spirit of the writer; the man who enters into the spirit of the music finds a spring of refreshment in some fine recital which is entirely missed by the cold critic who comes only to judge according to the standard of a rigid rule; and so on in every case that we can think of. If we do not enter the spirit of a thing, it has no invigorating effect upon us, and we regard it as dull, insipid and worthless. This is our everyday experience, and these are the words in which we express it.
[paragraph continues] And the words are well chosen. They show our intuitive recognition of the spirit as the fundamental reality in everything, however small or however great. Let us be right as to the spirit of a thing, and everything else will successfully follow.
By entering into the spirit of anything we establish a mutual vivifying action and reaction between it and ourselves; we vivify it with our own vitality, and it vivifies us with a living interest which we call its spirit; and therefore the more fully we enter into the spirit of all with which we are concerned, the more thoroughly do we become alive. The more completely we do this the more we shall find that we are penetrating into the great secret of Life. It may seem a truism, but the great secret of Life is its Livingness, and it is just more of this quality of Livingness that we want to get hold of; it is that good thing of which we can never have too much.
But every fact implies also its negative, and we never properly understand a thing until we not only know what it is, but also clearly understand what it is not. To a complete understanding the knowledge of the negative is as necessary as the knowledge of the affirmative; for the perfect knowledge consists in realising the relation between the two, and the perfect power grows out of this knowledge by enabling us to balance the affirmative and negative against each other in any proportion that we will, thus giving flexibility to what would otherwise be too rigid, and form to what would
otherwise be too fluid; and so, by uniting these two extremes, to produce any result we may desire. It is the old Hermetic saying, "Coagula et solve"--"Solidify the fluid and dissolve the solid"; and therefore, if we would discover the secret of "entering into the spirit of it," we must get some idea of the negative, which is the "not-spirit."
In various ages this negative phase has been expressed in different forms of words suitable to the spirit of the time; and so, clothing this idea in the attire of the present day, I will sum up the opposite of Spirit in the word "Mechanism." Before all things this is a mechanical age, and it is astonishing how great a part of what we call our social advance has its root in the mechanical arts. Reduce the mechanical arts to what they were in the days of the Plantagenets and the greater part of our boasted civilisation would recede through the centuries along with them. We may not be conscious of all this, but the mechanical tendency of the age has a firm grip upon society at large. We habitually look at the mechanical side of things by preference to any other. Everything is done mechanically, from the carving on a piece of furniture to the arrangement of the social system. It is the mechanism that must be considered first, and the spirit has to be fitted to the mechanical exigencies. We enter into the mechanism of it instead of into the Spirit of it, and so limit the Spirit and refuse to let it have its own way; and then, as a consequence, we get entirely
mechanical action, and complete our circle of ignorance by supposing that this is the only sort of action there is.
Yet this is not a necessary state of things even in regard to "physical science," for the men who have made the greatest advances in that direction are those who have most clearly seen the subordination of the mechanical to the spiritual. The man who can recognise a natural law only as it operates through certain forms of mechanism with which he is familiar will never rise to the construction of the higher forms of mechanism which might be built up upon that law, for he fails to see that it is the law which determines the mechanism and not vice versa. This man will make no advance in science, either theoretical or applied, and the world will never owe any debt of gratitude to him. But the man who recognises that the mechanism for the application of any principle grows out of the true apprehension of the principle studies the principle first, knowing that when that is properly grasped it will necessarily suggest all that is wanted for bringing it into practical use.
And if this is true in regard to so-called physical science, it is a fortiori true as regards the Science of Spirit. There is a mechanical attitude of mind which judges everything by the limitations of past experiences, allowing nothing for the fact that those experiences were for the most part the, results of our ignorance of spiritual law. But if we realise the true law
of Being we shall rise above these mechanical conceptions. We shall not deny the reality of the body or of the physical world as facts, knowing that they also are Spirit, but we shall learn to deny their power as causes. We shall learn to distinguish between the causa causta and the causa causans, the secondary or apparent physical cause and the primary or spiritual cause, without which the secondary cause could not exist; and so we shall get a new standpoint of clear knowledge and certain power by stepping over the threshold of the mechanical and entering into the spirit of it.
What we have to do is to maintain our even balance between the two extremes, denying neither Spirit nor the mechanism which is its form and through which it works. The one is as necessary to a perfect whole as the other, for there must be an outside as well as an inside; only we must remember that the creative principle is always inside, and that the outside only exhibits what the inside creates. Hence, whatever external effect we would produce, we must first enter into the spirit of it and work upon the spiritual principle, whether in ourselves or others; and by so doing our insight will become greatly enlarged, for from without we can see only one small portion of the circumference, while from the centre we can see the whole of it. If we fully grasp the truth that Spirit is Creator, we can dispense with painful investigations into the mechanical side of all our problems. If we are constructing from without, then we have to
calculate anxiously the strength of our materials and the force of every thrust and strain to which they may be subjected, and very possibly after all we may find that we have made a mistake somewhere in our elaborate calculations. But if we realise the power of creating from within, we shall find all these calculations correctly made for us; for the same Spirit which is Creator is also that which the Bible calls "the Wonderful Numberer." Construction from without is based upon analysis, and no analysis is complete without accurate quantitative knowledge; but creation is the very opposite of analysis, and carries its own mathematics with it.
To enter into the spirit of anything, then, is to make yourself one in thought with the creative principle that is at the centre of it; and therefore why not go to the centre of all things at once, and enter into the Spirit of Life? Do you ask where to find it? In yourself; and in proportion as you find it there, you will find it everywhere else. Look at Life as the one thing that is, whether in you or around you; try to realise the livingness of it, and then seek to enter into the Spirit of it by affirming it to be the whole of what you are. Affirm this continually in your thoughts, and by degrees the affirmation will grow into a real living force within you, so that it will become a second nature to you, and you will find it impossible and unnatural to think in any other way; and the nearer you approach this point the greater you will find your control over
both body and circumstances, until at last you shall so enter into the Spirit of it---into the Spirit of the Divine creative power which is the root of all things--that, in the words of Jesus, "nothing shall be impossible to you," because you have so entered into the Spirit of it that you discover yourself to be one with it. Then all the old limitations will have passed away, and you will be living in an entirely new world of Life, Liberty and Love, of which you yourself are the radiating centre. You will realise the truth that your Thought is a limitless creative power, and that you yourself are behind your Thought, controlling and directing it with Knowledge for any purpose which Love motives and Wisdom plans. Thus you will cease from your labours, your struggles and anxieties, and enter into that new order where perfect rest is one with ceaseless activity.