Chapter 12 – Making Your Self the Master – Divine Guidance and Personal Will

DIVINE GUIDANCE AND PERSONAL WILL

Harvey Hardman
Making Your Self the Master
© Harvey Hardman
Denver, Colorado, 1935.

“When he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will
guide you into all truth.”
— Jesus.
 

[121] Guidance of any kind involves two primary factors: first, personal will or intelligence–the object to be guided; second, the law governing conditions with reference to which guidance is sought to be applied. There is always the self to be guided or to accept guidance in relation to the guiding agency or device. Back of the device is law; back of the choice is personal will.

We may get direction from a map, a magnetic compass, aviation or nautical instruments. But we have to know the law operating through these guiding agencies; and why and how they work, before we can take full advantage of them. The Spirit of Truth operates in these scientific methods of guidance. The universe is one, though it manifests itself in different ways. Natural guidance is divine; Divine guidance is natural.

We may be influenced by the weather, a modified form of guidance; by people’s thoughts and moods; by group habits; and in other incidental ways too numerous to mention. Most frequently of all, perhaps, the individual [122] is guided by his own feelings, desires and prejudices. Many people allow themselves to be guided by fortune-tellers, crystal-gazers, spiritualistic mediums, astrologers, omens, superstitious signs, numbers, and so on. All of which are in direct opposition to Divine Guidance.

We may have Divine Guidance when we are willing to subordinate the personal will to the Will of the Father that dwelleth in us. When we turn from all dependence on external guides, and depend only on the Inner Guide, we become strong, self-dependent, and live and act from our own center of power and intelligence.

This is the law of the universe. It applies to everything. The principle of government is in the atom, the earth, the stars. It is in the single cell, the plant, the animal, the insect, and man.

The principle of government acts as the law of affinity and repulsion in the atoms of chemistry; as gravitational force in the mass, attracting or repelling other masses. No will is involved except that of eternal law. No guidance is involved except that of absolute principle.

In the living form the principle of government is also inherent. However, a new factor, intelligence, is added, or rather has been evolved [123] by the organism, which confers the capacity for spontaneous action from its own center of power.

Action of the individual insect or animal is no longer exactly predictable, and the higher the type of creature, the more complex these elements of spontaneous action become, until in man reason and self-consciousness supplant instinctive action and desire.

We must remember, in our study of this principle of guidance, that the instinct, operating with such mysterious and effective power in birds, insects, animals, and even plants, is most certainly divine guidance. It is the operation of the center of authority in each creature, which we must call God, Life, Mind, or some other name to indicate the presence of Divine Intelligence.

Man, with his powers of reason, is still guided in many of his activities, by instinct. But these instincts are no longer pure. They are modified, adulterated, by the intrusion of elements that have arisen out of self-consciousness, reason, and the opinions of others. This was necessary in the evolution of the soul toward the ideal of Divine Guidance, that is, self-government based on the law of the higher consciousness.

As the marvellous instinct of the bee, the [124] ant, the water-fowl, and other creatures, operates from some mysterious center within, so when we come to accept or realize Divine Guidance, it is a power equivalent to instinct, but on a higher plane. In short, we do not have to pray all the time for Divine Guidance and then wonder about results. The real thing, when we get it, or have a living faith in such guidance, is as natural as breathing, or better still, as natural as our normal faith in the efficiency and dependability of the laws of nature.

The attainment of the consciousness of Divine Guidance is through growth. The personal will is involved in the degree that we must be willing to cooperate with the Law. My will in inviolate. It is the insignia of my individuality, of my sonship, of my identity in Universal Mind. I must will to Divine Guidance, and accept it when I have found the Principle upon which it is based.

I know, as my point of beginning, that this Principle is within me, just as the principle of instinct is within the animal. It awaits my recognition. In many ways I know I have been divinely guided all my life, even when I knew nothing about the Law of guidance. But my personal will, my ignorance, my false beliefs often got in the way and caused me trouble. Worry and fear darkened my vision. Now I know the Principle of perfect guidance is [125] within me, and I turn to it, trust it, and seek to understand it. It is what Jesus called the Spirit of Truth.

This Spirit is the eternal, my divine Self, as distinct from my intellectual self, with which I can will to do wrong rather than right. The Spirit of Truth in me cannot err, any more than the principle of mathematics can act erroneously.

The captain of a ship can ignore his mathematics, and steer the vessel by his feeling, or he can miscalculate his position and go astray. But the principle of navigation is perfect, and its perfection is as much proved by the effects of his miscalculation as by his correct use of the principle. When the wreck occurs, it is proof that he failed to follow the rule; when he reaches port safely, it is proof that he used the rule scientifically.

It is even so in our use of the Principle of Divine Guidance. But with this difference: The master mariner has absolute faith in his nautical instruments, in mathematics, in the laws of planetary motion, in the stability of the stars. Very few of us have such faith in the God that lives within us. If we have, we trust Him. We know that this trust is well founded, regardless of appearances. No matter what happens, no matter if storms arise and [126] difficulties beset our course, all is well. The Captain, the Master within, sees and knows what is best.

This attitude of trust in Him does away with worry. It cures us of the habit of whining about life. It sweetens the day with hope. Faith in the wisdom of the Guide grows stronger. We learn to love and to trust Him. We know that everything is coming out all right, even though our personal will sometimes gets in the way with troublesome results. Bitterness, hatred, despair, fear; these cannot abide in the heart that has learned to trust the Divine Guide.

Broadly, I should say the difference between the person who has learned the secret of faith in the Indwelling Master, and the one who has not, is that the latter worries and frets and fears, while the former loves and trusts and hopes. Both will come out all right in the long run, but the one will be happy enroute and make others happy, while the other will fuss and complain about the weather, the fellow-passengers, the fare, and the time required to make the trip, making himself and others generally miserable.

It is, in the last analysis, a matter of using the personal will to bring every thought and desire into harmonious relation to the law [127] of life and the Universal Power. No one can know all about the Law, nor, comparatively speaking, more than a small part of it. But we see in nature and its eternal laws enough to convince us that there is an Infinite Purpose operating in the Universe; that, in spite of appearances, law governs all, and truth is at the heart of all things.

So we can best serve our own interests, as well as the great Purpose, by accepting the Power as it flows to us from day to day; by being grateful for what we have and for what we know, and by being happy in the assurance that we cannot lose our way. “I know not where His islands lift their fronded palms in air; I only know I cannot drift beyond his love and care.”

Chapter 13

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Making Your Self the Master
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