Selections from Joseph Sadony’s Muskegon Chronicle column
Have you learned to measure your success not by the competitors you have beaten, but by the new friends who have come to make your acquaintance?
If so, then you have, not doubt, also learned to be cautious whom you call your friend to your real friends, or you may be betrayed in your absence.
One often acquires new doubtful friends by the closeness of real ones; and, like familiarity breeding contempt, close contact often blinds loyalty and virtue because no wound has yet been made. But consider how the tears of an infant give a mother the claws of a tigress.
If you want a stronger hand of friendships, listen to a friend’s interest, making his memory a part of your own. This always forms a stronger bond by the union of both worlds of experience under one law of fidelity.
If you can’t hold friends when you’ve made them, you will make yourself your own enemy by deception in your forced intention of friendship… with a subtle purpose outside of your just possessions.
And, as a final thought, if a supposed friend does not appreciate and understand your sincere efforts in his behalf, do not condemn him. Just forget him as unworthy of your consideration. Save your efforts for those who have suffered as you did, thus forming a lasting friendship worth all your regrets.
Do you do all the forcing, or are you the one who is forced? In either case you but circulate counterfeit money according to the law adopted, while genuine currency may often be considered justified counterfeit, and counterfeit genuine, according to the law of justice.
If you are paid a week’s wages for labor done, does the wage in silver lose its value just because your neighbor trades only in paper representing gold? Does a kind deed deserve an unkind act in return? Should not deeds be measured by the sacrifice, the value of labor be determined according to what is expected and agreed up[on]? Should not an agreement be deemed a law, so that all concerned may understand the honor involved, and may know that a penalty or a forfeiture is demanded, regardless of the injured asking mercy for the guilty… for would not the unpunished be encouraged, the loser lax in law and order, and would not both thus unbalance the law of justice and normalcy?
The honest man has one recourse when persecuted. He knows the value of his own policy that right and justice will survive a guilty conscience and injustice, where time will execute the penalty and where he apparently loses today, but gains tomorrow, with compound interest. So sayeth the law throughout the world. Guilty to him who guilty thinks. Respect and honor to him who thinks in this trend.
Have you noticed a tendency to feel blue and despondent before bedtime, given to worry, regrets, and a premonition of failure and ill health? Still, have you not always felt more hopeful the next morning?
You should stop to realize that at night your vitality has been lowered, and that sleep will recharge you. You are thinking with a tired brain, tired thoughts which are only as you feel and think. Just compare the night with the morning a few hundred times, and it may convince you that its wet powder has no more force than that much wet sand.
So from now on the moment you begin to think with tired thoughts force yourself to realize that it’s O.K. until, as with a discharged battery, rest and recharging will bring out the sunshine of smiles once more. A good motto to remind you is, “Let not the mind reason when clouds obscure the sun.”
Everyone should have something to worry about, but he should not worry about it. A reasonable cause for worry keeps one cautious and charitable, reminding him of the inevitable, the law of adjustment and the danger of negative thinking. But worry itself plays on one string of the harp until out of tune, throwing the whole song out of harmony. A wise man know[s] that it is useless to worry over what cannot be helped, and what can be helped calls for action, not worry.
Supposing I developed a new kind of an apple, then grew an orchard and gathered in the apples but removed the seeds. I could well afford to give them away at cost, realizing that no one could grow them and that if I spread them far enough, many would want more, or offer a high price for seeds.
Well, that has been done by certain writers of spiritual books more concerned with picking the Bible to pieces and criticizing various doctrinal interpretations than with providing self-sustaining truth and inspiration.
If a man has the true faith it should teach him to judge not the faith of another lest he weaken his own. Why pick out of each religion that which sounds questionable? If one insists on criticism let him compare each ism or religion with the Golden Rule of every Master and great religion of the past, and if it does not agree in the use of a level, plumb or square, it will judge itself and condemn itself in the same way that 2 and 2 prove 4.
Instinct belongs to life without reason. Reason belongs to man without intuition. Intuition is of the soul what instinct is of the animal kingdom. Hence animals will ever be animal, to perpetuate themselves for the benefit of man. Instinct has its limitations and territory, but intuition is the eye of the soul that differentiates the mental from the physical, the spiritual from the mental. Thus the spirit of life functions in the animal, and the intellect in man’s mind as an instrument, while the soul with its ever-seeing eye uses the intellect as its body to manifest itself like the fingers of a musician on the keys of the piano to interpret the melody.
Now there’s the seed if you know how to grow it. Why should you pay a high price for it all wrapped up in fancy words as an “ancient secret”?
When a child is taught to begin life without mistakes, it needs no later correction. If a man lives within his means, he assumes no debts; he need not apologize nor hesitate, reflecting apprehensive, careless, thoughtless-ness of responsibility. What a student assumes, he is not apt to return (over years of habit) to rectify. It seems more appropriate to “cover up,” to patch, to substitute for his power and honor of self-respect: a substitutional foundation of the times, such as it may be… but inharmonious to what will be, to meet and accuse it as false. Then one is forced to return and rectify, or be judged according to the mistakes made, knowingly or through ignorance. The latter may be tolerated, but the former is always condemned.
So you see it is always best to be sure of a solid foundation before you build a structure of knowledge or hope upon it. It is far better to have a solid foundation and a weak structure, than a weak foundation and a strong structure. Should the building collapse, you can still rebuild, to correct your mistake and feel assured of your efforts. But not so with a weak foundation that that can never support weight or power.
As roots are always the foundation of blossoms and fruits, so should your first step always be toward the goal of ambitious expectancy, so every step may be measured in confidence of a happy ending to your journey.
When people forget how to play, it is time to beware; for it is a symptom that their culture has stopped growing under the stresses and strains that are sure to cause a play-less group or civilization sooner or later to decline or collapse. So you can make your own diagnoses. You need not worry about America so long as our men and women, boys and girls, still play… and that means not only games and sports, but hobbies and even hard labor not because one has to, or because he gets paid for it, but purely for the joy of it. That is the essence of freedom and sure sign of individual and social, local and national cultural health.
Find the individuals, the groups or the nations who do all they do under the compulsion of grim necessity, real or imagined, with never anything done for the pure enjoyment of self-expression free from all necessary objectives… find these people and you will have located the source, the cink, the cause and the victims of what is wrong with the world today. Where the soul of man has lost its capacity for innocent fun, “liberty” is a word without meaning, “equality” has lost its only social and cultural foundation, “fraternity” is replaced by bonds of fear and mutual suspicion, the unfailing symptom of spiritual atrophy. For Play is the root of which Religion is the blossom. Give that a thought and learn the deeper meaning of those words, “Except ye become again as a little child.”
Have you forgotten that each human being has a nurse and a servant in his reflex action? When you bump your shin, who rubs it, even against your own will? When you have a toothache or a headache you hold your hand over it, even without realizing it. When one arm is lame the other does the work of both gladly, to avoid the pain.
Who puts you to sleep against your will, when you need it? Who makes you cough when necessary , and though you know no better, while you are sleeping? Who makes you drink plenty of water when you haven’t sense enough to quench the thirst that reduces your fever; and who is it that creates nausea in order to prevent you from disorganizing your system? By this time you ought to have sense enough to have gotten acquainted with your servant and your nurse, and to give them a helping hand. As far as you can remember since childhood what part did you take in your physical and mental development? Did you make any extra preparation? Did you take interest in avoiding possible colds and contagion? If it was all the law of reflex, of cause and effect, then give it a respectable thought and learn its laws, and who does it all, and why. Even if you don’t solve the problem, you have at least introduced yourself to it, and are bound to profit by it.
For each of us there comes an hour in which we must be all alone, faced with our conscience, meditating how far we can go in passing through the door of the grave. When a man expects a duel, are not the weapons chosen? Will he not practice with them? Then why not seek a little solitude, to become used to it. Get acquainted with yourself, depending upon no one for the time being… as it will be when you stand before the Universal Judge to give reason why you expect admittance to the Great Unknown.
Have you ever knocked at the door of a Lodge or a Club, and wondered what was beyond it? You came of your own free will. Why? Bear in mind that the greatest Lodge is that at the door of which you will then stand… and every human being must knock at those portals, whether he wills it or not. If unwilling, one is but the lost sheep returning. So seek solitude occasionally. Be convinced of an individuality designated by the thumbprint of your right hand. And know that nature thus far has tolerated you because you were worthy, or it would have sent an executione r long before this to terminate your activities.
In solitude you will realize all these things, influenced not by fashion or creed, but only by the album of your memory and the ancestral paper and ink upon which it is recorded.
You may lose your faith and still survive if you have hope left to stimulate you to find what you think you lost. For hope is the root of faith, and in your hopeful search faith will be reestablished.
That is why it is so important for you to hold in reserve some personal interest as a companion to you in the solitude of later years when retirement is forced upon you. It would be fatal to you then, if separated from the only interest you possess.
An ax may be perfectly tempered and keen-edged, still it must have a handle of the very wood it is designed to cut. The handle must have a strong pair of hands to hold it, the hands must have arms, the arms a brain, and the brain must have thought to direct the ax where to strike; with reason and selection of timber for what the first motive intended.
There are many facts like these to which people give little if any thought. Another is that it is just as important to get tired, as it is to get rested. Through all our lives there must be that give and take which make up the alternating currents of interest. There must be a beginning and end to every story. If you speak of eternity that is where stories of time are written, to remind you of you.
Are you inclined to be apprehensive about something because you allowed a doubt to grow to man hood and become father of a lot of fears? Then just make up your mind to single out your greatest fear and face it. Dig it up. Meet it boldly; and see how wrong you were in magnifying it daily until you expected to find a mountain when it was only a little molehill.
Just try this out and you will find you were bluffing yourself all the while, adding layer upon layer of imagination, like a corn that created pain because of constant chafing. Remove the top of it and the pain will disappear. It’s better to go bareheaded than to wear a ten-pound high hat and get a headache. Likewise with your imaginary disasters that never happen unless you force them to come true by constant belief.
We are what we think we are, and what we think we think. We become so because we have thought it. So think what you want, and become just that. And remember that one who always procrastinates develops a psychosis to fear fear.
Some people say it was “fated” after a deed is done; but can we say that it will be fated when our will has that choice, for or against? What fatalists fail to realize is that fate has its limitations, and destiny its boundaries, so man may “will” over those things within his jurisdiction. He does have power to change things, to harness power or release it.
Fate and Destiny have real existence only above the power of man. It is his own fault if he becomes a slave to circumstances through fear and failure to exert his power of choice and will in achievement and prevention.
But there is a limit to man’s jurisdiction also. One can say, “I am the master of my fate” only when the criterion becomes a lifetime… when you judge the battle from a distance, and not from man to man. We can govern circumstances with the help of time if our willpower works in harmony with our soul of intuition. For then our Will is the captain, while the soul sails in that little ship created by God, and called “man”. But if you are truly the captain of your soul, then the soul is your ship, while the heavy, leaden keel that prevents it from capsizing, and holds it on its course, is your mortal responsibility on your way to the Destiny of God.
Have you ever noticed how a very simple little thing can change your entire day? Note what you start with when you get up… the difference between a good breakfast and a poor one… a good cartoon in the morning paper… good or bad news in the mail. If you let them, such things as these set the tempo and temper of the entire day.
See how it is if you miss a bus, train, or plane, or get a flat tire when just starting out. And, on the other hand, see the effect of finding more gas in your car than you thought you had. See the effect of a morning smile instead of a criticism. Are all these things magnified because of your low pressure on awakening, still relaxed and feeling that you have not had enough sleep? Or perhaps you had too much and are suffering a “hangover”. But watch those first blows or smiles of the day. They can be manipulated a little, by you and all concerned. It makes the wheels of life move a lot more smoothly.
The first seeds you plant in the Spring are apt to come up first, are they not? Well, why not think of this in planting thought on awakening every morning, and find weeds strangled before their destructive roots get hold on your emotions.
No matter what trouble you may have, your forefathers had it before you. Did not their religion of faith sustain them long enough to give you birth, and a chance to better their record?
Why not search beneath your rubbish of false pride, standing on bare ground away from your present power, looking at the same trouble as you will at the moment of your passing, all alone? Just practice it now, with a little forethought, and your passing may be as glorious as your mortal achievements, a fitting climax of your record.
Where are the glories of the past with its tinsel, fragrance, beauty and power? What is its value if but momentary, with so long a time to regret? Is it not like the poor girl, disillusion ed for a moment’s mistake, leaving a stain on the head of innocence?
Where is your artificial pleasure, when genuine is its neighbor?
Straw to cattle is roughage, to regulate and strengthen the digestive organs. Likewise physical exercise to a man’s health, and what he creates with it for his happiness. And likewise also with adversity and apparently avoidable sorrow. So before you complain find what seed has been planted, by whom, and why.
Some of the best suggestions in life are the most simple, the most obvious, and the least attention is paid to them. For example, when you think yourself miserable, just let your mind check up on a few people you know are far worse off than you are, but seem more contented than you are. How many times has this been suggested to you? Have you ever really done it? If so, what is the difference between them and you?
And another thing worth trying when you otherwise might not think of it. If you are a prisoner physically, why not open your mental eyes by a book of travel? Go with the author. Make that a state of mind, and to you it will be a reality, for a little while at least. Then come back to your “prison” and you will find the iron bars removed. You may even ask to have them replaced as a protection from the outside.
Did you ever realize the wonder of your memory, where you may live over your joys? But how often do you do so. Your regrets, yes; so you may complain, or demand sympathy. But just look over your photograph album of younger days. What is wrong if it does not give you a thrill? It’s your world, yours only. Why not repeat your fine mental dinner, and see its effect?
When you find yourself discouraged, why not seek the source, as you do when your new unpaid-for car knocks. You did not happen to think of it, because in your brain there is a janitor that is more patient to bear your mistakes until the last straw, while the first little straw in your carburetor ends your trip.
Give it a forethought, because nature will take care of your vital organs, but will pay you in years of life if you will but prevent the skin from being scratched. Likewise will your soul lead your spirit through the dark ages of man’s mistakes, if you will but believe in the resurrection of your own common sense out of the mire of superstition.
Are there not greater things to believe, to adopt, to accept, that are more human, normal, and beneficial, than the goblins of fools? Whoever invented appetite and the foundation of bread, also invented hunger to lead us on to beg, pray, fight, and labor for the release of all bonds that hold us subject to slavery… regardless what chains may hold us, as long as the mind of man is superior to all things on earth, proven by the fact that he can imagine what he will and materialize it to his will and pleasure. He has overcome, and will do so always, and much sooner if honest with himself.
Can we not with all confidence and assurance trust in the story of Christianity when all other religions have run so parallel with it for thousands of years? If it were only a myth, what kept its growth flourishing though kings and dictators tried to destroy it by propaganda and sentence of death? Still it came out victorious where all else was forgotten. So where and what is its power of sustenance, its enduring patience, its power to awaken faith, create martyrs , and conquer bestiality in producing moral, intellectual human beings.
Is this not evidence enough? One cannot refute or deny it, because it is an exhaustless and eternal source of truth and wisdom that is far beyond the logical reason of man. We believe it blindly because it is incomprehensible to our understanding. It is like an immortal ambition to seek a goal. When once reached, there comes the next one, the progress of eternity. For ambition and energy are immortal and transformative; the singing of birds in the Garden of Eden still vibrates through the air to be heard if sensitive enough to hear it. We do see the form of waves on the seashores of millions of years ago, by examining the strata of rocks. Nothing really dies. Even our flesh and bones are left for nature to preserve in some form, and our deed s in the living memory of friends and loved ones.