“There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man’s lack of faith in his true Self.” …William James.
According to Wikipedia, William James was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and is believed by many to be one of the most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced.
I don’t know much more about him, and I haven’t read any of his works. But when I read this quote by him I quickly learned all I needed to know. I now agree with those who perceive him to be one of the most influential philosophers.
That being said, I must point out that I don’t consider this quote by him to be philosophical at all, but a statement of clear and absolute truth; as true as truth can be in this world. For those who learn to recognize their true Self have recognized the Spirit. And those who place their faith in the Spirit can fail in nothing.
Even so, no matter how true the quote is, if we don’t delve any deeper into it’s subject most will perceive it as a mere philosophical comment and nothing more. How could it be otherwise if we aren’t aware of what our true Self is? It would be impossible to place one’s faith in something until one understands what that something is.
“You see the flesh or recognize the Spirit.” …ACIM
There I go again, raising that pesky decision between seeing the flesh or recognizing the Spirit. I’m aware of how repetitive this blog is in its insistence that this decision is the most important one any of us will ever make. And make no mistake it is a decision, as is everything else we do in life.
When you look at another human being you’re going to see his or her body; that’s a given. But do you see that piece of flesh as the Soul God created; or do you recognize something more; much, much more? For right here, in this decision, as the Course says: “Have you established what you are, as flesh or Spirit in your own belief.”
But that being said, it doesn’t mean you have to make an immediate and absolute decision that you’re a Spiritual Being and nothing else. But it does mean that you accept the possibility that you’re a creation of a loving creator, and not simply a physical entity. By accepting the possibility of this truth you have made a giant stride away from darkness and toward light (understanding). It may be gradual or it may be quicker, but from here on your true Self will become more familiar to you in recognition of what you really are.
You are not two selves
The idea of recognizing your true Self may leave the impression you’re trying to recognize a self separate from the one you are now. That’s not the case, you never were, you are not now, nor will you ever be, two selves. It’s impossible to be both flesh and spirit, for they are opposites, and if one is true then the other is false. There is no compromise possible in this, for you are either one or the other.
Most of us see ourselves as something absolutely opposite of what we really are, which the Course describes as follows:“You see yourself as a ridiculous parody on God’s creation.” But even though this is how we see ourselves, it’s not what we are. The Course tells us simply and plainly what we really are: “You are One Self, united with your Creator, at one with every aspect of creation, and limitless in power and in peace.” Wow! We should take a moment and think about what we’re being told here.
As I also repeat often in this blog, I’ve accepted the Course as the ultimate in spiritual teachings. And as it says about itself: “This course will be believed entirely or not at all. For it is wholly true or wholly false and cannot be but partially believed.” Therefore I have no alternative other than to accept as truth its teaching that my true Self is limitless in power and in peace. And now my question is, who would not strive to become aware of, and place their faith in, something of this magnitude once it’s accepted as true? I would venture to answer, no one.
I can’t be sure what Mr. James meant when he referenced “Human Failure;” whether he was referring to individual failure or human failure as a whole. I’m going to assume he was talking about the failure of human society as a whole. For I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as a human that should be called a failure. I say this because not one of us knows enough concerning another’s life and circumstances to make such a judgment. As Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.”
Thomas Edison, during his quest to come up with a working light bulb, once said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Most other humans would have given up, and then been classified as failures by many who knew nothing about the amount of effort and determination involved.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” …Mahatma Gandhi:
It’s going to require some individual awakenings to our true Selves before any real change can happen concerning the failures of this world we see. And regardless of what we may want to belief, this is a failed world. All we need do is look around us with open eyes at all the homelessness, sickness, disease, misery, and the other negative conditions that plague the human condition to know this is true.
It may seem as if I’m being negative here, but actually I’m not. In fact, I’m being just the opposite, for I’m pointing out that there is a way to escape all the negative conditions this world offers. To do so will require a change of mind to think from a different thought system. It will require the withdrawal of our thinking from the ego’s thought system, and the placement of it in God’s Thought System. For in His Thoughts is where our true Self dwells.
If we desire a more loving, healthy, peaceful and less fearful world, then as the famous Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi pointed out in the above quote, we must be that change we wish to see;
What I’m about to say next may cause some to throw up their hands in disgust, curl their lips in a sneer and delete this post. Nevertheless the truth is true and nothing else is true, so I must say it regardless. Most people place their faith in an external god, and therefore they place it in nothing. As the Course informs us, there is nothing outside you. And it also plainly states: “When God created you, He made you part of Him.” Now I ask you; how could He be outside of you if you are part of Him?
If we’re ever to experience the positive changes we desire in this world and in our own lives, then we need to withdraw our faith from anything external to ourselves. And then, as William James implied, place it where it belongs; in our true Self. This Self is, as I quoted earlier, limitless in power and in peace. It could be nothing less than that, for it is part of God.
“God is but Love, and therefore so am I” …ACIM
The above quote from the Course is a reminder of what you are. It’s a description of your true Self. You are nothing but pure Love. As the Course also points out, Love created you like Itself.
In my opening quote, William James informed us that the only cause of human failure is man’s lack of faith in his true Self. I know not what his version of faith was, for it seems there have been various attempts at explaining the meaning of faith.
The Course teaches that faith is the difference between seeing the flesh or recognizing the Spirit. It tells us that “Faithlessness is the perception of a brother as a body.” In other words when we look at another human being it’s certain, as mention earlier, we’re going to see the body; that does not require one bit of faith. And so long as we exercise this faithlessness so long will we remain in darkness and experience all the negativity and miseries of the flesh.
“Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.” …Rabindranath Tagore
I love this metaphor by Rabindranath Tagore. I especially love his idea that faith feels the light rather than sees it while it’s still dark.
I think it fits right in with the idea of recognizing the Spirit while we’re still in the darkness of this physical world. As mentioned earlier we cannot see the Spirit, but if we exercise some faith in our decision to recognize It we will eventually realize and understand It’s there.
I’m going to close this post with a quote by the French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Thanks for visiting this blog – I truly am grateful
Remember: You will always be as God created you.
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