Your Heart’s Desire
~ by Emmet Fox
An old adage says: “God has a plan for every man, and He has one for you,” and this is absolutely correct. Your real problem, therefore, in fact the only problem that you ever have, is to find your true place in life. Find that, and everything else will follow almost automatically. You will be perfectly happy; and upon happiness, health will follow. You will be really prosperous. You will have all the supply that you require to meet your need, and this means that you will have perfect freedom; for poverty and freedom cannot go together. Until you do find your true place in life, however, you never will be really happy, no matter how much money or distinction you may acquire; and until you are happy, you will be neither healthy nor free.
Whoever you are, God has not made you without a definite purpose in view. The Universe is a universe; that is, it is a unified harmony, ad Divine Scheme. There can, therefore, be no such thing as a misfit, or an unwanted or unneeded piece. It could not happen that God could create a spiritual entity such as you are, without having a special purpose in view, and this means that there is a special and particular place in it for you. God never repeats Himself, and so He has never made two people alike, and it is for this reason that no two people could ever do quite the same work, or express themselves in quite the same way. That is why, rightly understood, there really need be no competition. There need be no such thing as, say two thousand people struggling for the same place in life. Whatever the place may be, there can be only one person who can fill it perfectly; and there are one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine other places somewhere waiting for the other people if only they will find them.
But how is one to find his true place in life? Is there any means whereby you many discover what it really is that God wishes you to do? You may feel inclined to say: “Even if it be true that God has some splendid thing that He wishes me to do, and to be, how can I possibly find out what it is?” Perhaps you may even be tempted to add: “I am a very plain, everyday sort of person; my circumstances are extremely restricted; the conditions of my life are just drab commonplace. How then can there be something wonderful, beautiful, splendid awaiting me? Or, even if there were, how could I possibly get to know about it?” And the answer is Divinely simple—Already in your past life from time to time, God Himself has whispered into your heart just that very wonderful thing, whatever it is, that He is wishing you to be, and to do, and to have. And that wonderful thing is nothing less than what is called Your Heart’s Desire. Nothing less than that. The most secret, sacred wish that lies deep down at the bottom of your heart, the wonderful thing that you hardly dare to look at, or to think about—the thing that you would rather die than have anyone else know of, because it seems to be so far beyond anything that your are, or have at the present time, that you fear that you would be cruelly ridiculed if the mere thought of it were known—that is just the very thing that God is wishing you do to or to be for Him. And the birth of that marvelous wish in your soul—the dawning of that secret dream—was the Voice of God Himself telling you to arise and come up higher because He had need of you.
God is Infinite Mind, and that Mind is ever seeking for more and for new expressions. “For such the Father seeketh to worship Him.” Now, because you are a human being, you are intended to be a new point of expression for God—a focal point in Infinite Mind, in fact, somewhat as an electric current in the circuit may be regarded as a focal point for the manifestation of the electric current in the circuit. A focal point for the Divine Self-expression—that is what you are intended to be; and if you are willing to become that, then you will be fulfilling your destiny, and you will experience absolutely perfect and unalloyed happiness and harmony, and eternal and unrestricted development. A few people have attained to this, but they are comparatively few. The great majority have lives full of problems of one kind or another that they have yet to work out. If one has perfect bodily health—and how few have even this, really perfect health—then he probably has financial difficulties; or it may be family troubles, an unhappy home life. If health, finances, and home relations are satisfactory, there can still be a sense of frustration in other directions. In any case, in the absence of all-round fullness and harmony of expression, there is frustration; and frustration means trouble.
Modern psychology has been slowly realizing that many human ills are traceable to mental suppression, but our study of fundamental Truth teaches us that all troubles of every kind is really failure on the part of the individual to be a completely free focal point of expression of God.
You say that you are unhappy, dissatisfied, perhaps ill or impoverished, a failure; and this is simply another way of putting the fact that you are not allowing the Will of God to have free play in your life—you are not doing the thing that He meant for you to do. You are drifting; or else you are trying to do something that He never intended you to do, and doing it badly, and distorting our soul in the process.
It is useless to blame Providence for your troubles, or to endeavor to saddle the responsibility upon other people. The universe operates strictly in accordance with Law, for God, among other things, is Principle, or Law, and where law obtains there can be no room for the idea of blame. If you break a law, you suffer the consequences, and that is all there is about it. It is not a matter of blame or punishment. It is just an impersonal question of cause and effect. This may seem hard at first sight, but actually it is your certain guarantee of ultimate victory and freedom. Impersonal Law is certain to hurt you when you work against it, but, for the same reason, it is equally certain to help you and heal you when you work with it.
A human soul may be thought of as an opening through which Infinite Energy is seeking a creative outlet. If that outlet be a clear, open channel, all is well. If, on the other hand, it should become obstructed by any means, then the Infinite Energy, the Life Forces, is frustrated, dammed back—and all sorts of local stresses are set up in the soul; and these we see as sickness, poverty, fear, anger, sin, and every kind of difficulty.
Now we are in a position to understand what the real art of living must be. It must be to make this channel clear and to keep it clear; and if only we will do this, we shall find that health, prosperity, full self-expression—true happiness, in short—will follow automatically.
People work so hard to bring health to their bodies; to bring prosperity, to bring happiness, to bring success into their lives; to bring artistic or literary gifts or talents with their grasp, to bring great new ideas from the outside; and, of course, they continually fail, because we cannot “bring” a single one of these things from the without to the within. The actually development is just the very reverse—they have to be released from the within that they may appear on the without. In short, we have not to build on from the outside; our task, as Browning says, is “to set free the imprisoned splendor.”
This process, the true manner of nature’s working, is well illustrated by a simple anecdote. A certain man was working in his garden, assisted by his little girl. She had undertaken the interesting task of watering the lawn by means of the usual rubber hose. Matters proceeded harmoniously enough until she suddenly cried out in disappointment: “Daddy, the water has stopped.” The father looked over, and taking the situation in at a glance, said quietly, “Well, take you foot off the hose.” The child had inadvertently placed her foot and most of her weight upon the soft rubber pipe, and thus, by her own action, shut off the water that she needed. She, of course, removed her foot at once, whereupon the water again flowed freely.
Five minutes later, she once more cried plaintively: “Daddy, the water has stopped again.’’ Her father glanced across and observed that now she had placed her other foot upon the hose. He replied: “Well, take your foot off.” The child did so, and again the stream flowed freely, and, as she had by this time learned her lesson, she did not repeat the mistake, and completed the interesting task she had chosen with so much satisfaction to herself.
The ultimate cause of all our troubles is just this. Behind all secondary and proximate causes lies the same primary mistake. We have been acting like the little girl in the story; we have been pressing our feet and the whole weight of our mentality upon the pipe line of life, and then complaining bitterly because the water does not flow. Man’s business is rightly to handle his Divine Spiritual Energy, and when he does this, he has found his true place, and then all goes well.
There is only one Fundamental Energy in the universe, but this energy may be applied by us either constructively or destructively, because God has given us Free Will. When we use it constructively, we are acting in harmony with the Will of God, and we are improving ourselves and our lives in every possible respect, and we are helping the world in general too. When we use it destructively, we damage ourselves, retard our progress, and waste an opportunity of helping mankind at large.
We use our energy destructively whenever we think or talk fear and limitation; whenever we grumble, or give way to self pity, or indulge in useless regrets, or, in fact, in any form of negative thinking. Most of all do we use our God given energy destructively when we hold thoughts of criticism and condemnation of others. All bitterness, resentment, spiritual pride, and self-righteousness, are peculiarly disastrous methods of misusing the Great Power, and that is why such thinking causes the terrible havoc that is does in people’s lives.
When we re in a condition of fear, anger, worry, our Divine Energy, instead of flowing in some positive, creative work, becomes dammed up within ourselves, like the water in the garden hose, and produces, all sorts of trouble in soul and body. Meanwhile, our true work in life is either missed altogether, or, starved of the supply of Life Force which it should receive, it languishes accordingly, and we get mediocrity, poverty, and failure.
That is why all true spiritual leaders are so insistent upon the need for unselfishness in motive, forgiveness of others, and of ourselves too, and for a general attitude of peace and good will towards all; for only in this way can we get that sense of true harmony and freedom that will permit the clear unobstructed flowing of the Divine Mind through us. Only in this way can we become a free channel for the Divine Energy to express Itself at the point of Being, which is our Selves. This spiritual state of consciousness in which the Life Force finds the unrestricted outlet which is so essential if we are to experience any kind of good, is technically known as serenity, and serenity, the great mystics are never tired of telling us, comes from within. It is not to be imposed from without by manipulating conditions or circumstances, or by any exercise of the will, but can only be derived from the natural, free flowing or our Divine Energy.
It is important to understand also that, that for practically purposes, the amount of this Energy that one has at his command is limited, and, therefore, all that is frittered away in unnecessary or trifling activity or thought is so much taken out of one’s capital, so much is withdrawn from the things that really matter in life. If only people understood this, they would save themselves a great deal of wear and tear in the course of the day. And, if all waste is foolish, how much more deadly is it to squander one’ resources upon the kind of thinking that is absolutely destructive. Yet, I have known people, as I suppose we all have, actually to rehearse trouble beforehand—thereby, of course, bringing it upon themselves—through saying such things as that they never had any luck, that hey felt quite sure that some important scheme would fail, and they expected to be ill, and so on. One who understands the Law of Being and how it works would no more think of wasting thought by allowing himself to occupy his mind with in-harmony than a business man would dream of throwing away money into the gutter as he walked the streets.
As far as God is concerned, our supply of Divine Energy is, of course, absolutely unlimited; there is no check of any kind upon the amount of it that we can appropriate, or, therefore, upon the things that we can do or be. Yet, for practical purposes, it remains that at any given time you can draw from the inexhaustible Source only in accordance with the measure of your understanding, just as you can draw water from the Atlantic only in accordance with the size of the vessel that you use. If you have a pint pitcher you can get only a pint of ocean water, although the number of pints in the Atlantic runs into inconceivable figures. At the same time, it is well to remember that very few people do, in fact, draw anything like as much of the Divine Energy as they could draw, even with their present understanding. Almost everyone is foolishly content to fill his pitcher, small as it may be, to somewhere very far short of the top.
It will now be clear to the student that discontent is not necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, it is your duty to be discontented with anything less than complete harmony and happiness. Discontent is an evil only when it takes the form of discouragement, cynicism, or despair. A wholesome discontent with dullness, failure, and frustration is your incentive for overcoming such things. Without it, you would never find your true place. But, whoever you are, our true place is calling, calling; and, because you really are a spark of the Divine, you will never be content until you answer.
Remember that this call is the call of God, and when God calls you to His Service, He pays all the expenses in whatever kind of coin. “Whatever soldier goeth to war at his own charge?” Whatever you may require to answer that call, God will provide, Money, opportunity, introductions, knowledge, training, freedom, leisure, if you be about His business and not your own.
Your Heart’s Desire is the Voice of God, and that Voice must be obeyed sooner or later.