self-will

There is a great deal of self-will in the world, but very little genuine independence of character.

Deliverance is out of time into eternity, and is achieved by obedience and docility to the eternal Nature of Things. We have been given free will, in order that we may will our self-will out of existence and so come to live continuously in a “state of grace.” All our actions must be directed, in the last analysis, to making ourselves passive in relation to the activity and the being of divine Reality. We are, as it were, aeolian harps, endowed with the power either to expose themselves to the wind of the Spirit or to shut themselves away from it.

Let each one remember that he will make progress in all spiritual things only insofar as he rids himself of self-love, self-will and self-interest.

Christian freedom is neither the lonely rebellion of an atheistic existentialist nor the self-will of the rugged individualist. It is freedom-in-community.

There is a great deal of self-will in the world, but very little genuine independence of character.

Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life -- including ourselves. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator's creativity within us and our lives. We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves. Creativity is God's gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God. The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction. As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.

The true alternative to the outworn magic of primitive peoples is not the modern magic of persons disciplined in the applied sciences or the “new thought.” It is no solution of the ultimate moral and intellectual problem to trade self-will from the left hand of primitive magic to the right hand of applied science. What matters is a changed disposition and reference in this whole final commerce of man with his universe. Call it pure religion or pure science, the name does not matter. The one thing needful is that temper and disposition towards the will of God which we find in Jesus, Bernard, Pascal and Lister alike.

The men who returned from the third attempt to climb Mount Everest, made in the summer of 1924, have told us that from now on the character of the endeavor is clearly defined in advance. One of them has recently said that the higher altitudes, from 22,000 to 28,000 feet, reached by the last party, were attained not by sportsmen and scientists break­ing the mountain to their intention, but by men who had come to feel towards the mountain an almost mystical relationship. He said that the mountain itself, with its tremendous appeal, must take men to the top, and that only a spirit, which for the want of any other accurate word must be called religion, would ever carry men the last exacting two thousand feet.

What he seems to mean is that, in the presence of that imperious and majestic reality, the cheap coercive attempt to conquer the world must always break down, and that only something like the spirit of worship can draw and lift men at the last. The climbing of Mount Everest has ceased to be purely a geographical, political, and physiological problem. It has passed, as every great human endeavor must finally pass, into the realm of religion. And only the man whose peace is found in the imperious will of that terrific reality will ever stand upon its summit.

After he had dragged the blankets out of the empty tent at Camp VI, high up on the shoulder of Everest, and had laid them in a “T” on the snow to tell the watchers below that there was no trace of Mallory and Irvine, Odell closed the flap of the tent and began the third retreat to India. “I glanced up,” he says, “at the mighty summit above me, which ever and anon deigned to reveal its cloud-wreathed features. It seemed to look down with cold indiffer­ence on me, mere puny man, and to howl derision in wind gusts at my petition to yield up its secret—the mystery of my friends. What right had we to ven­ture thus far into the holy presence of the Supreme Goddess, or much more to sling at her our blasphe­mous challenges. If it were indeed the sacred ground of Chomo Lungma—the Goddess Mother of the Mountain Snows—had we violated it, was I now violating it? Had we approached her with due rev­erence and singleness of heart and purpose?”

That, in modern parable, is the crux of the tempta­tion in the wilderness. Magic in us dies and religion is born with that question which, if rightly answered, prefaces the true reference of the soul to God. What right have I to make trial of my God? Have I vio­lated his holy being with my self-will? Have I ap­proached him with due reverence and singleness of mind and heart?

Man is not yet so transfigured that he has ceased to keep the window of his mind and heart open towards Jerusalem, Galilee, Mecca, Canterbury, or Plymouth. The abstract proposal that we worship at any place where God lets down the ladder is not yet an adequate substitute for the deep desire to go up to some central sanctuary where the religious artist vindicates a concrete universal in the realm of the spirit.

Rights are either God-given as part of the divine plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government.