The stream of thought flows on; but most of its segments fall into the bottomless abyss of oblivion. Of some, no memory survives the instant of their passage. Of others, it is confined to a few moments, hours or days. Others, again, leave vestiges which are indestructible, and by means of which they may be recalled as long as life endures.
The voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our spontaneous cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully. And act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there. To feel brave, act as if we were brave, use all our will to that end, and courage will very likely replace fear. If we act as if from some better feeling, the bad feeling soon fold its tent like an Arab and silently steals away.
It has become a conviction with me that psychology may in the long run do much to change the conception of the fundamental nature of the religious life, which, on the whole, is now too generally made a matter of doctrine. It is too intellectual At the doors of most churches one is met by required beliefs in a particular conception of God, in a speculative theory about the divinity of Christ, definite ideas concerning sin and salvation, the efficacy of ordinances, and the claims of supernatural revelation. What people are really seeking is access to refreshing fountains of life, sources of strength and guidance. They crave association with people and institutions which may convey to them a sense of what is most worthwhile in life and what may furnish impulsion toward real and enduring values. They know pretty well what those values are when allowed to let their own deepest desires express themselves.
Stop thinking about your difficulties, whatever they are, and start thinking about God instead.
The moment you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, you should reject it instantly. Immediately switch your attention to the Presence of God. Do not stop to say "good-bye" to the error thought, but break the connection instantly and occupy your mind with good; you will be surprised how many difficulties will begin to melt away out of your life. Indeed, we may say that when error presents itself to consciousness, the first five seconds are Golden. In the text quoted above, Jesus teaches this lesson in his own graphic way. The immediate application of these words was, of course, to the coming siege of Jerusalem, but the idea involved is eternal. The holy place is your consciousness, and the abomination of desolation is any negative thought, because a negative thought means belief in the absence of God at the point concerned. Those who are in Judea are those who believe that prayer does change things; to flee to the mountains means to pray, especially that quick switching of the thought to the Presence of God, which I have mentioned.
What we have today, in modern industrial society, is not romantic and certainly not utopianÂ…But it is in very deep trouble and holds no promise of survival. We jolly well have to have the courage to dream if we want to survive and give our children a chance of survival.
There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
Language was a long time without having any other words than the names which had been given to sensible objects, such as these, tree, fruit, water, fire, and others, which they had more frequent occasion to mention.