“Is permanent happiness, secure prosperity, and abiding peace a foolish dream? No, there is a way, and I speak it with gladness, by which evil can be slain for ever; there is a process by which disease, poverty, or any adverse condition or circumstance can be put on one side never to return; there is a method by which a permanent prosperity can be secured, free from all fear of the return of adversity, and there is a practice by which unbroken and unending peace and bliss can be partaken of and realized. And the beginning of the way which leads to this glorious realization is the acquirement of a right understanding of the nature of evil. It is not sufficient to deny or ignore evil; it must be understood. It is not enough to pray to God to remove the evil; you must find out why it is there, and what lesson it has for you. It is of no avail to fret and fume and chafe at the chains which bind you; you must know why and how you are bound. Therefore, reader, you must get outside yourself, and must begin to examine and understand yourself.” ~James Allen
I’m not sure Mr. Allen is correct in saying it is possible to have permanent happiness. After all, even the happiest of people suffer grief at the loss of a loved one, pain from illness, and so on. So we can’t be happy all of the time, but we can have happiness most of the time. Of course, life isn’t all about happiness. Life is about learning and growing. In order to do that, we have to face some hardships. So happiness shouldn’t really be the primary goal of one seeking spiritual enlightenment.
On this one, I can agree with Allen. One can be financially secure all the time. But I have learned from one very successful business person that financial security isn’t primarily about having huge amounts of money. It is having the knowledge that if some disaster causes you to lose what you have, you have the necessary skills to get it back. With that attitude, you don’t have to be ridiculously greedy to be financially secure. And even spiritual people can have financial security. The well-known Psychic Edgar Casey is reported to have said that he didn’t worry about money. He knew that when he needed it, God would find a way to get it to him. And for him, that seemed to work.
Yes, Allen is correct. The secret to a generally happy, prosperous, and peaceful life is understanding evil. He is also correct in saying the solution is not to deny that evil exists, or to acknowledge it’s existence, but simply ignore it. If we ignore gravity, we still have to deal with it. If we pretend gravity doesn’t exist, we don’t start floating away like a weightless balloon. Gravity exists so we have to deal with it. The same is true of evil. Pretending we are in a fantasy land where there is no evil doesn’t help us or anyone else. And it doesn’t stop evil from having an effect on us. As an old saying goes, the devils greatest power lies in making you believe that he doesn’t exist. That makes it so much easier for him to manipulate you.
Mr. Allen also says praying to God to keep the evil away from you isn’t a solution. Again, he is correct. If God was willing to do that, evil would long ago have ceased to exist. Yet as everyone with an actual brain knows, evil is real and very active these days. In fact, evil seems to be getting stronger. That, however, may be due to it being the End Times, which means, among other things, that evil truly will cease to exist sometime soon.
We have to deal with evil as it is, just as we deal with wind, rain, and gravity just as they are. Pretending they are not there doesn’t help. You can deal with rain by using an umbrella. But an umbrella doesn’t help at all with gravity. You have to use the right tools for the specific problem. You start to deal with evil by looking at yourself. Are you truly good, or do you sometimes give in to evil? If you are honest with yourself, you will admit that you have done some evil in your lifetime, even if only of the very minor kind. Understanding evil means understanding yourself. Not that you are evil, but evil works through all of us.
The most important thing is to learn to know the difference between your own divine intuition talking to you, and an emissary of evil doing the same. This is not easy and takes much practice. It helps quite a lot to awaken your spiritual faculties: your spirit and soul. When you awaken them using the light of the spiritual sun, you have available to you a source of absolute good and absolute truth. The soul may sometimes find it difficult to directly communicate with your brain-mind, but it never tells you lies. It is never evil. You have to understand evil and deny it the right to control you. Understanding evil, and avoiding it, is a large part of being a good person.