As a spirit, you are a part of God or the Infinite Force or Spirit of good. As such part, you are an ever-growing power which can never lessen, and must always increase, even as it has in the past through many ages always increased, and built you up, as to intelligence, to your present mental stature. The power of your mind has been growing to its present quality and clearness through many more physical lives than the one you are now living. Through each past life you have unconsciously added to its power. Every struggle of the mind–be it struggle against pain, struggle against appetite, struggle for more skill in the doing of anything, struggle for greater advance in any art or calling, struggle and dissatisfaction at your failings and defects–is an actual pushing of the spirit to greater power, and a greater relative completion of yourself,–and with such completion, happiness. For the aim of living is happiness.
There is today more of you, and more of every desirable mental quality belonging to you, than ever before. The very dissatisfaction and discontent you may feel concerning your failings is a proof of this. If your mind was not as clear as it is, it could not see those failings. You are not now where you may have been in a mood of self-complacency, when you thought yourself about right in every respect. Only you may, now, in looking at yourself, have swung too far in the opposite direction; and, because your eyes have been suddenly opened to certain faults, you may think these faults to be constantly increasing. They are not. The God in yourself–the ever-growing power in yourself–has made you see an incompleteness in your character; yet that incompleteness was never so near a relative completion as now. Of this the greatest proof is, that you can now see what in yourself you never saw or felt before.
No talent of yours ever stops growing any more than the tree stops growing in winter. If you are learning to paint or draw or act or speak in public or do anything, and cease your practice entirely for a month or a year or two years, and then take it up again, you will find after a little that an increase of that talent has come; that you have new ideas concerning it, and new power for execution.
You ask, “What is the aim of life?” In a sense, you cannot aim your own life. There is a destiny that aims it,–a law which governs and carries it. To what? To an ever-increasing and illimitable capacity for happiness as your power increases, and increase it must. You cannot stop growing, despite all appearances to the contrary. The pain you have suffered has been through that same growth of the spirit pressing you harder and harder against what caused you misery, so that at last you should take that pain as a proof that you were on some wrong path, out of which you must get as soon as possible; and when you cry out hard, and are in living earnest to know the right way, something will always come to tell you the right way; for it is a law of nature that every earnest call is answered, and an earnest demand or prayer for anything always brings the needed supply.
What is the aim of life? To get the most happiness out of it; to so learn to live that every coming day will be looked for in the assurance that it will be as full, and even fuller, of pleasure than the day we now live in; to banish even the recollection that time can hang heavily on our hands; to be thankful that we live; to rise superior to sickness or pain; to command the body, through the power of the spirit, so that it can feel no pain; to control and command the thought so that It shall ever increase in power to work and act separate, apart, and afar from our body, so that it shall bring us all that we need of house or land or food or clothes, and that without robbing or doing injustice to anyone; to gain in power so that the spirit shall ever recuperate, reinvigorate, and rejuvenate the body so long as we desire to use it, so that no part or organ shall weaken, wither, or decay; to be learning ever new sources of amusement for ourselves and others; to make ourselves so full of happiness and use for others, that our presence may ever be welcome to them; to be no one’s enemy and every one’s friend,–that is the destiny of life in those domains of existence where people as real as we, and much more alive than we, have learned, and are ever learning, how to get the most of heaven out of life. That is the inevitable destiny of every individual spirit.
You cannot escape ultimate happiness and permanent happiness as you grow on and on in this and other existences; and all the pains you suffer, or have suffered, are as prods and pokes to keep you out of wrong paths,–to make you follow the law. And the more sensitive you grow, the more clearly will you see the law which leads away from all pain, and ever toward more happiness, and to a state of mind where it is such an ecstasy to live, that all sense of time is lost,–as the sense of time is lost with us when we are deeply interested or amused, or gaze upon a thrilling play or spectacle,–so that in the words of the biblical record, “a day shall be as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day.”
The Nirvana of the Hindus suggests all the possibilities of life coming to our planet,–“Nirvana ” implying that calmness, serenity, and confidence of mind which comes of the absolute certainty that every effort we make, every enterprise we undertake, must be successful; and that the happiness we realize this month is but the stepping-stone to the greater happiness of next. If you fell that the trip of foreign travel you now long for and wish for was as certain to come as now you are certain that the sun rose this morning; if you knew that you would achieve your own peculiar and individual proficiency and triumph in painting or oratory, or as an actor or sculptor, or in any art, as surely as now you know you can walk downstairs, you would not of course feel any uneasiness. In all our relatively perfected lives we shall know this, because we shall know for an absolute certainty that when we concentrate our mental force or thought on any plan or pursuit or undertaking, we are setting at work the attractive force of thought- substance to draw to us the means or agencies or forces or individuals to carry out that plan, as certainly as the force of muscle applied to a line draws the ship to its pier.
Here is the cornerstone of all successful effort in this existence or any other. Never in thought acknowledge an impossibility. Never in mind reject what to you may seem the wildest idea with scorn; because, in so doing, you may not know what you are closing the door against. To say anything is impossible because it seems impossible to you, is just so much training in the dangerous habit of calling out “Impossible!” to every new idea. Your mind is then a prison full of doors, barred to all outside, and you the only inmate. “All things” are possible with God. God works in and through you. To say ” Impossible!” as to what you may do or become is a sin. It is denying God’s power to work through you. It is denying the power of the Infinite Spirit to do through you far more than what you are now capable of conceiving in mind. To say “Impossible!” is to set up your relatively weak limit of comprehension as the standard of the universe. It is as audacious as to attempt the measurement of endless space with a yard-stick.
You should say, “It is possible for me to become anything which I admire.” You should say, ” It is possible for me to become a writer, an orator, an actor, an artist.” You have then thrown open the door to your own temple of art within you. So long as you said “Impossible!” you kept it closed. Your “I can’t” was the iron bolt locking that door against you. Your “I can” is the power shoving back that bolt.