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The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit by Ralph Waldo Trine online


page 1 of 6 | table of contents

The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit by Ralph Waldo Trine

The life of the Spirit, or, in other words, the true religious life, is not a life of mere contemplation or a life of inactivity. As Fichte, in "The Way Toward the Blessed Life," has said: "True religion, notwithstanding that it raises the view of those who are inspired by it to its own region, nevertheless, retains their Life firmly in the domain of action, and of right moral action.... Religion is not a business by and for itself which a man may practise apart from his other occupations, perhaps on certain fixed days and hours; but it is the inmost spirit that penetrates, inspires, and pervades all our Thought and Action, which in other respects pursue their appointed course without change or interruption. That the Divine Life and Energy actually lives in us is inseparable from Religion."

How thoroughly this is in keeping with the thought of the highly illumined seer, Swedenborg, is indicated when he says: "The Lord's Kingdom is a Kingdom of ends and uses." And again: "Forsaking the world means loving God and the neighbour; and God is loved when a man lives according to His commandments, and the neighbour is loved when a man performs uses." And still again: "To be of use means to desire the welfare of others for the sake of the common good; and not to be of use means to desire the welfare of others not for the sake of the common good but for one's own sake.... In order that man may receive heavenly life he must live in the world and engage in its business and occupations, and thus by a moral and civil life acquire spiritual life. In no other way can spiritual life be generated in man, or his spirit be prepared for heaven."

We hear much today both in various writings and in public utterances of "the spiritual" and "the spiritual life." I am sure that to the great majority of men and women the term spiritual, or better, the spiritual life, means something, but something by no means fully tangible or clear-cut. I shall be glad indeed if I am able to suggest a more comprehensible concept of it, or putting it in another form and better perhaps, to present a more clear-cut portraiture of the spiritual life in expression--in action.

And first let us note that in the mind and in the teachings of Jesus there is no such thing as the secular life and the religious life. His ministry pertained to every phase of life. The truth that he taught was a truth that was to permeate every thought and every act of life.

We make our arbitrary divisions. We are too apt to deny the fact that the Lord is the Lord of the week-day, the same as He is the Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus refused to be bound by any such consideration. He taught that every act that is a good act, every act that is of service to mankind is not only a legitimate act to be done on the Sabbath day, but an act that _should_ be performed on the Sabbath day. And any act that is not right and legitimate for the Sabbath day is neither right nor legitimate for the week-day. In other words, it is the spirit of righteousness that must permeate and must govern every act of life and every moment of life.

In seeking to define the spiritual life, it were better to regard the world as the expression of the Divine mind. The spirit is the life; the world and all things in it, the material to be moulded, raised, and transmuted from the lower to the higher. This is indeed the law of evolution, that has been through all the ages and that today is at work. It is the God-Power that is at work and every form of useful activity that helps on with this process of lifting and bettering is a form of Divine activity. If therefore we recognise the one Divine life working in and through all, the animating force, therefore the Life of all, and if we are consciously helping in this process we are spiritual men.