E2. Love Thyself.
There is a justifiable and righteous love for self. There can be no true spiritual growth without this higher love for self. Spiritual growth implies the cultivation and increase of every power and talent. It means the making of the symmetrically developed man and woman. Spiritual growth fostered by unceasing Demand of the Supreme Power will bring power to keep the body in perfect health to escape pain and disease—and will eventually carry man above the present limited conditions of mortality.
The higher love of self benefits others as well as ourselves. When we love a person, we send that person our quality of thought. If it is the aspiring order of thought it is for that person a literal element and agency of life and health in proportion to his or her capacity for absorbing and assimilating it. If we think meanly of ourselves—if we are beggarly in spirit—and are content to live on the bounty of others, if we care little for our personal appearance—if we are willing to get money by questionable means—it we believe there is no Supreme and overruling Power, governing our lives by an exact law, but that everything is left to chance, and that life is only a scramble for existence, we send in thought such beliefs to that person, and if our love is accepted it is only a means to drag down instead of a power to elevate.
How can we send the highest love to another if we do not have it for ourselves? If we are careless and unappreciative of the body’s great use to us—if we never give it a thought of admiration or gratitude for the many functions it performs for us—if we regard it with the same indifference that we may have for the post to which we hitch a horse, we shall send that same quality of sentiment and thought to the person we think most of, and the tendency of such thought on them will be to generate a similar disregard for themselves.
Either they will do this, or seeking light of the Infinite, they will find themselves obliged in self‑protection to refuse the love we send them, because of its coarser and grosser quality.
This is sometimes the error of mothers, who say: “I don’t care for myself so that my son or daughter’s welfare is assured. I give and devote my whole life to them.”
This means, “I am content to grow old and unattractive. I am content to slave and drudge so that my children may receive a good education and shine in society. I am an old and decaying weather‑beaten bulk and can’t hold together much longer, and the best use I can make of myself is to serve as a sort of foot‑bridge for them in the shape of nurse, grandmother, and overseer of the nursery and kitchen, while they are playing their parts in society.”
The daughter receives this thought with the mother’s inferior self‑neglecting love. She absorbs and it assimilates it. It becomes part of her being. She lives it, acts it out, and thirty years afterward is saying and doing the same and laying herself upon the shelf with the rest of the cracked teapots for her daughter’s sake.
Ancestral traits of character as bequeathed and transmitted from parent to child are the thoughts of the parent absorbed by the child.
When in thought, desire and aspiration we make the most of what the Infinite has given us (inclusive of these wonderful bodies), we shall have continual increase, and such increase will overflow of it own accord and benefit others.
The highest love for self means justice to self. If we are unjust to ourselves we shall be unavoidably unjust to those to whom we are of the greatest value. A general who should deprive himself of necessary food and give all his bread and meat to a hungry soldier, might in so doing weaken his body, and with his body weaken his mental faculties, lessen his capacity for command, thereby increasing the chances for the destruction of his entire army.
What is most necessary to know and what the Infinite will show us as we demand, is the value we are to others. In proportion to our power for increasing human happiness, and in proportion as we recognize that power will the needful agencies come to us for making our material condition more comfortable.
No man or woman can do their best work for themselves or others who lives in a hovel, dresses meanly and starves the spirit by depriving it of the gratification of its finer tastes. They will always carry the atmosphere and influence of the hovel with them, and that is brutalizing and degrading. If the Infinite worked on such a basis would the Heavens show the splendor of the Suns? Would the fields reflect that glory in the myriad hues of leaf and flower, in plumage of bird and hue of rainbow?
What in many cases prevents the exercise of this higher love and justice to self is the thought, “What will others say, and how will others judge me if I give myself what I owe to myself!” That is, you must not ride in your carriage until every needy relative has a carriage also. The general must not nourish his body properly because the hungry soldier might say that he was rioting in excess. When we appeal to the Supreme and our life is governed by a principle, we are not governed either by fear of public opinion or love of other’s approbation, and we may be sure that the Supreme will sustain us. If in any way we try to live to suit others we never shall suit them, and the more we try the more unreasonable and exacting do they become. The government of your life is a matter which lies entirely between God and yourself, and when your life is swayed and influenced from any other source you are on the wrong path.
Very few people really love themselves. Very few really love their own bodies with the higher love. That higher love puts ever‑increasing life in the body and ever‑increasing capacity to enjoy life.
Some place all their love on the apparel they put on their bodies; some on the food they put in their bodies; some on the use or pleasure they can get from their bodies.
That is not real love for self which gluts and gormandizes with food or which keeps the body continually under the influence of stimulants. It is not a real love for self which indulges to excess in any pleasure to be gotten from the body. The man who racks and strains his body and mind in the headlong pursuit of pleasure or business, loves that business or art unwisely. He has no regard for the instrument (the body) on which he is dependent for the materialization of his ideas. This is like the mechanic who should allow a costly tool by which he is enabled to do rare and elaborate work to rust or be otherwise injured through neglect.
That is not the highest love for self which puts on its best and cleanest apparel when it goes out to visit or promenade and wears ragged or soiled clothes indoors. That is love of the opinion or approbation of others. Such a person only dresses physically. There is a spiritual dressing of the body when the mind in which apparel is put on is felt by others. Whoever has it in any degree will evidence it in a certain style of carrying their clothes which no tailor can give.
The miser does not love himself. He loves money better than self. To live with a half‑starved body, to deny self of every luxury, to get along with the poorest and cheapest things, to deprive self of amusement and recreation in order to lay up money, is surely no love for the whole self. The miser’s love is all in his money bags, and his body soon shows how little love is put in it.
Love is an element as literal as air or water. It has many grades of quality with different people. Like gold, it may be mixed with grosser element. The highest and purest love comes to him or her who is most in communion and oneness with the Infinite Mind and ever demanding of the Infinite Mind for more and more of its wisdom. The regard and thought of such a person is of great value to any one on whom it is directed. And that person will of that wisdom be wisely economical of their sympathy for others and put a great deal of this higher love into themselves in order to make the most of themselves.
Some people infer from their religious teachings that the body and its functions are inherently vile, and depraved; that it is a clog and an incumbrance to any higher and more divine life; that it is corruptible “food for worms,” destined to return to dust and moulder in the earth. It has been held that the body should be “mortified,” that the flesh should be crucified and starved and subjected to rigorous penance and pains for its evil tendencies. Even youth with its freshness, beauty, vigor and vivacity has been held as almost a sin, or as a condition especially prone to sin.
When a person in any way mortifies and crucifies the body either by starving it or dressing meanly, or living in bare and gloomy surroundings, they generate and literally put in the body the thought of hatred for itself. Hatred of others or of self is a slow thought‑poison. A hated body can never be symmetrical or healthy. The body is not to be refined and purged of the lower and animal tendencies by being made responsible and continually blamed for these sins—by being counted as a clod and an incumbrance, which it is fortunate at last to shake off. Religion so called has in the past made a scapegoat of the body, accused it of every sin, and in so doing and thinking filled it with sin. As one result of this the professors of such religion have suffered pain and sickness. Their bodies have decayed and death has often been preceded by long and painful illness.
There is a mind of the body—a carnal or material mind—a mind belonging to the instrument used by the spirit. It is a mind or thought lower or cruder than that of the spirit.
But this mind of the body need not, as has been held, be ever at war with the higher mind of the spirit. It can through demand of the Infinite be made in time to act in perfect accord with the spirit. The Supreme Power can and will send us a supreme love for the body. That love we need to have. Not to love one’s body is not to love one expression of the Infinite Mind.
We are not inferring that you “ought” to have more love for your body, or that you “ought” in any respect to do or act differently from your deeds, acts and thoughts as they are at present. “Ought” is a word and idea regarding others that we have nothing to do with. There is no reason in saying to a blind man “you ought to see.” There is no more reason in saying to anyone “you ought not to have this or that defect of character.” Whatever our mental condition may be at present, we must act out.
A man cannot of his individual self put an atom more of the element of love in himself than he now has. Only the Infinite Mind can do that. Whatever of error in character and belief we have to‑day, we shall act out to‑day in thought or deed. But we need not always have that mind.
The Overruling Mind will as we demand give us new minds, new truths, new beliefs, and as these supplant and drive out old errors there will come corresponding changes for the better, in both mind and body. And these ever improving changes have no end. There is to these changes but one gate and one road. That gate and road lies in an unceasing demand of the Infinite to perfect us in its way.
“There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” In other words, we have a body of physical element which can be seen and felt, and we have another body (the spiritual), intangible to our physical senses. When we are able to love, cherish and admire our physical body as one piece of God’s handiwork, we are putting that higher love element not only into that physical body, but also into the spiritual body. We cannot of ourselves make this quality of love. It can come to us only through demand of the Infinite. It is not vanity or that lower pride which values more whatever effect its own grace and beauty may have on others than it values that grace and beauty. The higher love for the body will attend as carefully to its external adornment in the solitude of the forest as it would in the crowded city. It will no more debase itself by any vulgar act in privacy than it would before a multitude.
The Infinite as we demand will give us wisdom and light to know what we owe to ourselves. People have been over‑ridden with the idea of the “duties” they owed to parent, relative or friend. The road to heaven has been marked out as one full of sacrifice and self‑denial for the sake of others, and with little good or pleasure for self.
“If father or mother or sister or brother are steeped in a life‑long course of trespass and sin—if their lives have been one continual violation of spiritual law, bringing the inevitable penalty of disease and pain—if they are hardened and fossilized in their false beliefs, and regard your opinions as visionary and impractical, you cannot without injury have fellowship with them. If you pretend for sake of peace to agree with them you, are living a lie, and when you act or live a lie you materialize it and put it in your body, where it is a breeder of pain and unrest. If others cannot see the law of life as clearly as you, and in their blindness go stumbling on and filling themselves with decay and disease, it is not in the line of the highest justice that you should be called on to nurse them every time they are sick, to absorb their sick and unhealthy thought, to give them your life and vitality (for this you do when you think much of any one), and to be dragged down with them. You are not responsible for their blindness. Nor can you open their eyes and make them see what is proven to you to be truth. Only the Infinite can do that. You do those who are in this lower and material current of thought no real good in ministering to them physically or spiritually. You may, having the stronger mind, bolster them up for a time, and throwing your mind in theirs give them your strength, but you cannot do this always, and when your influence is removed, as some time it must be, they will fall back to their old condition. What then have you accomplished? You have taken so much force out of yourself that you owed to yourself, and you have taught them to depend on you and not on what every one must learn to depend—the Supreme Power. Let the dead then who are still above ground bury their dead. Give them a thought and wish for their highest welfare whenever you do think of them and leave them in God’s care.
But when you put the Higher Love into yourself—when you reserve your forces to raise yourself higher in the scale of being—when it is your aim and unceasing silent prayer to be raised out of the current of the lower and material thought into that spiritual condition beyond the reach of physical disease— when you aspire to have every sense and faculty refined and strengthened beyond the present lot of mortals—when you begin to realize through the proofs coming to you that these are possibilities, then you are a real benefit to everyone. You are then proving a law. You are showing that there is a road out of the ills which afflict humanity, and when others, seeing these things evidenced in your life, ask how you obtain them, you can reply, “I have grown, and am ever growing into a higher and happier condition of mind and body through knowledge of a law, and that law is as much for you to live by as for me.” You may be able to say, “I believe in the existence of the Great Overruling Power which will show me ever the happier way of life as I demand wisdom of that Power. I had little faith in the existence of that Power at first, but I was prompted to pray or demand ability to see its reality. Now my faith in its reality is growing firmer.”
To throw our whole being, care and thought into the welfare of others, no matter who they may be, without first asking of the Supreme if it be the wisest thing to do is a sin, for it is an endeavor to use the forces given us by that Power as we think best. The result is damage to self and a great lessening of ability to do real good to others.
Between the Supreme Mind and ourselves there will exist a love which is at once a love of ourselves and a love of that Mind. We must love what we draw from it, since what we draw and make part of self is drawn from God and is a part of God. Every thought we give to the Supreme Wisdom enriches us and directs us in the lasting path of happiness. Every thought we give to others not directed by that Higher Wisdom is unwisely bestowed. That Wisdom will direct our thought, love and sympathy to those on whom it can be bestowed without injury. To have our thoughts ever flowing spontaneously toward the Infinite Mind is to be one with God and a wise lover of self, as we feel ourselves more and more parts of God manifest in the flesh.
If we give sympathy and aid, material or moral, to others as they call for it and without reservation or judgment, people will take all we have to give and come opened‑mouthed for more. They will keep this up until we are exhausted.
No outsider will put a limit to your giving. You must do that yourself. What is called “generous impulse” is sometimes another name for extravagance and injustice to somebody. Those who fling money to servitors and overpay largely for trifling services often owe that money to others, or they may owe it to themselves. In the real spiritual domain of being, we find this injustice perpetrated on a still larger scale. Sympathetic natures sometimes give their whole lives to others. Giving thus their life and force to others becomes a fixed habit. They become unable to restrain or control their sympathy.
It overflows at everybody’s call. They deprive themselves of things really needed and take up with the poorest in order to satisfy a mania for the squandering of time, force, effort and thought on others. A widely spread idea prevails that we can never give too much or do too much for others. It argues that salvation is more readily attained by such reckless expenditure of self than in any other way. No matter how barren it makes our lives—no matter how much we deprive ourselves, it is to be made up to us ten‑fold in time.
We deem this a great mistake. We believe there is a Divine Economy which orders that when we give even of our thought, we give only as much as will really benefit others. Reckless prodigality throws dollars to children when cents would do them as much good.
Reckless prodigality of sympathy (force) often gives ten times more to a person than that person can appropriate.
What they cannot appropriate is lost for them, and when you have sent it once out you cannot recall it.
Undoubtedly to some the idea of giving so much love to self will seem very cold, hard and unmerciful. Still this matter may be seen in a different light, when we find that “looking out for Number One” as directed by the Infinite is really looking out for Number Two and is indeed the only way for permanently benefiting Number Two. The gifts conferred by the Supreme Power are “perfect gifts” and a “perfect gift” once received by us goes out and benefits many others. So soon as one person on this planet receives the “perfect gift” of immortality in the flesh, involving perfect health and freedom from all pain and disease, that gift will be contagious, for health is catching as well as disease. The corner‑stone of all symmetrical growth and constant increase of mental and physical power is the reservation and care of our thought forces. This wisdom can only come as we demand it of the Supreme Power.
I am often asked “How do you know what you assert?” Or “Have you proven these assertions to yourself?” I know what I assert to be true, because I have seen the beneficial results as regards health and condition in life proven me to an extent. Other proofs are constantly coming. But what is proven to me is really no permanently convincing proof to any other person. That kind of proof you can only get from yourself and
by the exercise and growth of your share of power given you by the Infinite. In the physical world we can safely accept the statement of a navigator who asserts his discovery of a new island. The island looks the same to every physical eye. But on the spiritual side of life spiritual things do not appear the same to all eyes. There are so to speak spiritual islands, and spiritual realities which one person can see and another cannot see. You will see and get proof of these in proportion as you grow and very possibly when you tell these things to others, they will call you a visionary or ascribe the material proof of such growth to some material cause. In the spiritual life every person is his or her own discoverer, and you need not be grieved if your discoveries are not believed in by others. It is not your business to argue and prove them to others. It is your business to push on, find more and increase your own individual happiness.
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Emporium Spa (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved July 2, 2021, from https://emporium-spa.com/
Mulford, P. (1886-1887). Love thyself. Your forces and how to use them (pp.733-744). Hollister, Missouri: YOGeBooks by Roger L. Cole. doi: 2015:01:16:10:43:09