give even out of our necessaries, according to our circumstances,
author:family source：Green temples and red face network browse: 【大middle小】 release time:2023-12-03 08:46:17 Comments:
The question inevitably arises, How can this power be obtained? And there is only one answer--the same answer which has to be given for the attainment of ANY power or faculty. There is no royal road. The only way is (however imperfectly) to DO the thing in question, to practice it. If you would learn to play cricket, the only way is to play cricket; if you would be able to speak a language, the only way is to speak it. If you would learn to swim, the only way is to practice swimming. Or would you wish to be like the man who when his companions were bathing and bidding him come and join them, said: "Yes, I am longing to join you, but I am not going to be such a fool as to go into the water TILL I KNOW HOW TO SWIM!"
There is nothing but practice. If you want to obtain that priceless power of commanding Thought--of using it or dismissing it (for the two things go together) at will--there is no way but practice. And the practice consists in two exercises: (a) that of concentration--in holding the thought steadily for a time on one subject, or point of a subject; and (b) that of effacement--in effacing any given thought from the mind, and determining NOT to entertain it for such and such a time. Both these exercises are difficult. Failure in practicing them is certain --and may even extend over years. But the power equally certainly grows WITH practice. And ultimately there may come a time when the learner is not only able to efface from his mind any given thought (however importunate), but may even succeed in effacing, during short periods, ALL thought of any kind. When this stage is reached, the veil of illusion which surrounds all mortal things is pierced, and the entrance to the Paradise of Rest (and of universal power and knowledge) is found.
Of indirect or auxiliary methods of reaching this great conclusion, there are more than one. I think of life in the open air, if not absolutely necessary, at least most important. The gods--though sometimes out of compassion they visit the interiors of houses--are not fond of such places and the evil effluvium they find there, and avoid them as much as they can. It is not merely a question of breathing oxygen instead of carbonic acid. There is a presence and an influence in Nature and the Open which expands the mind and causes brigand cares and worries to drop off--whereas in confined places foolish and futile thoughts of all kinds swarm like microbes and cloud and conceal the soul. Experto Crede. It is only necessary to try this experiment in order to prove its truth.
Another thing which corresponds in some degree to living physically in the open air, is the living mentally and emotionally in the atmosphere of love. A large charity of mind, which refuses absolutely to shut itself in little secluded places of prejudice, bigotry and contempt for others, and which attains to a great and universal sympathy, helps, most obviously, to open the way to that region of calm and freedom of which we have spoken, while conversely all petty enmity, meanness and spite, conspire to imprison the soul and make its deliverance more difficult.
It is not necessary to labor these points. As we said, the way to attain is to sincerely TRY to attain, to consistently PRACTICE attainment. Whoever does this will find that the way will open out by degrees, as of one emerging from a vast and gloomy forest, till out of darkness the path becomes clear. For whomsoever really TRIES there is no failure; for every effort in that region is success, and every onward push, however small, and however little result it may show, is really a move forward, and one step nearer the light.
The true nature of the Self is a matter by no means easy to compass. We have all probably at some time or other attempted to fathom the deeps of personality, and been baffled. Some people say they can quite distinctly remember a moment in early childhood, about the age of THREE (though the exact period is of course only approximate) when self-consciousness--the awareness of being a little separate Self--first dawned in the mind. It was generally at some moment of childish tension-- alone perhaps in a garden, or lost from the mother's protecting hand--that this happened; and it was the beginning of a whole range of new experience. Before some such period there is in childhood strictly speaking no distinct self-consciousness. As Tennyson says (In Memoriam xliv):
The baby new to earth and sky, What time his tender palm is prest Against the circle of the breast, Hath never thought that "This is I."
It has consciousness truly, but no distinctive self-consciousness. It is this absence or deficiency which explains many things which at first sight seem obscure in the psychology of children and of animals. The baby (it has often been noticed) experiences little or no sense of FEAR. It does not know enough to be afraid; it has never formed any image of itself, as of a thing which might be injured. It may shrink from actual pain or discomfort, but it does not LOOK FORWARD--which is of the essence of fear--to pain in the future. Fear and self-consciousness are closely interlinked. Similarly with animals, we often wonder how a horse or a cow can endure to stand out in a field all night, exposed to cold and rain, in the lethargic patient way that they exhibit. It is not that they do not FEEL the discomfort, but it is that they do not envisage THEMSELVES as enduring this pain and suffering for all those coming hours; and as we know with ourselves that nine-tenths of our miseries really consist in looking forward to future miseries, so we understand that the absence or at any rate slight prevalence of self-consciousness in animals enables them to endure forms of distress which would drive us mad.