The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 16

Gloom, pessimism, malice, fear, hope, joyousness, trust, ease,—as psychic destiny.

Gloom is a psychic state, a state of feeling and of unsatisfied desires. It is not a state created in the present, but comes from the past. It was there created by brooding over unsuccessful attempts to satisfy a desire, without understanding the reason for the lack of success. A person busy with attempts to satisfy an appetite has no chance to brood. No matter what other trouble he will get into, if he keeps busy he will keep away gloom. At any period in the present when he is disappointed or depressed by acts or events, his gloom comes over him and envelops him. Gloom overtakes a person in cyclic periods. If he welcomes it, broods over the present and feels dissatisfied, that feeling feeds and adds to the gloom, which becomes ever deeper and its cycle more frequent. Finally gloom is always with him. Some people may even enjoy it as a steady companion, but this cannot last. The accumulation of gloom, an undefined, indistinct feeling, will lead to tangible and definite despondency and despair.

The cure for gloom is resolution and action. Desire cannot be satisfied or put down or killed; but it can be changed. It can be changed only by thinking. The best way to dissipate gloom is to inquire into it and try to see how and why it came. This very inquiry will tend to drive it away and it is at once weakened by resolution and action. At each return of the gloom its force will be lessened, if it is so met. Finally this treatment will dissipate it.

Pessimism, though a state of the feelings, is more mental in its nature than gloom. Pessimism results from thinking to satisfy desires. When the doer-in-the-body discovers that the desires cannot be satisfied, the discovery reacts on it and produces a psychic state of dissatisfaction. Everything is then felt by the doer-in-the-body as an illusion of the senses and a delusion of itself. The doer seeks happiness. But it cannot attain to happiness through the gratification of its feelings and desires and cannot realize the futility of trying to do so. Its dissatisfaction with itself and the world and the expectation of the worst in every situation comes from this failure of the doer to get what will satisfy its feelings and desires and from its not knowing that desires must be changed. It is subjected to a continuous urge, without having the means of satisfying it and therefore it feels that everything is wrong. Pessimism may be overcome by refusing to entertain gloom, despondency and malice and by seeing when it can be seen—and that is very often—cheer, hope, generosity and goodwill in the world. Pessimism is driven out when one is able to feel himself in the hearts of others and others in his own heart. Then one will soon discover that all things are not running on to ultimate doom, but that there is a bright and glorious future for the doers in human beings.

Malice is a state of the doer in which without provocation it desires harm to another or to people in general. The malice in revenge, jealousy, envy and anger is not referred to here. There are people who rejoice at the loss or injury that befalls others and who delight in doing harm and causing pain, injury or loss. This general state comes on by continual indulgence in anger, envy, jealousy, hatred and revenge. From the temporary outburst of these passions, the doer gradually becomes the channel through which malignant creatures opposed to humanity work. Then such a man will himself be cut off from the Light of his Intelligence and become a human aligned with evil forces against other human beings. This destiny can be prevented by checking the continual indulgence in anger and the other outbursts of passion. This is not saying that a man should not be angry under provocation, but refers to giving way to bursts of malignant passion. Besides checking the outbursts, he should put himself in the other’s place and try to be just, after having ascertained all the facts. Very often he himself is to blame. He should try to have a feeling of forbearance and goodwill.

Fear is a state of the doer due to its ignorance and to wrong acts done. Fear is the feeling of impending disaster. This ignorance relates to the uncertainty of time and place when the misfortune will come and what the thing that is to come will be. By fear is not meant the anxiety of going to a surgeon or of walking across a high trestle or of losing a sum of money, but is a state of constant dread, during certain periods, of some unknown disaster. It is a vague, harrowing oppression, a shrinking and drawing back, a feeling as of guilt though there is apparently nothing of which one is guilty. Sometimes the dread is definite, as of imprisonment, becoming a pauper, blindness. These feelings are psychic results of exteriorizations of past thoughts; namely, a feeling of the unbalanced remnants which must be balanced at the conjunction of time, condition and place. The unbalanced thoughts cycle in the mental atmosphere and at times affect the psychic atmosphere outside of the body. The human may feel the thoughts cycling in a general way and when there is a coincidence of cycles which will allow a manifestation, the feeling becomes more pronounced and special and is experienced as fear, which itself may be the means of drawing on the disaster.

This feeling is retribution for sins committed, and offers in every case an opportunity to balance some of the exteriorizations and to atone for the sins. If the doer shrinks from the apprehended disaster, wants to run away and refuses to meet it, it may escape for a time. It cannot escape forever because the sins go with it, as they are a part of it. If it continues to run away, it will be overtaken by the disaster as an actual physical punishment. When stricken by disgrace, disease, imprisonment or loss of fortune, the doer is less likely to balance and the tendency is to commit other sins.

If the doer does not run away from the indistinct apprehension of some disaster or from the fear of some definite calamity, it has an opportunity to change the desire that helped to conceive or entertain the thought that has to be balanced. All the doer need or can do, is to feel that it wants to do right and is willing to do or to suffer whatever is necessary to that end. When the doer gets itself into that feeling, it has strength; strength comes to it. If it holds that feeling of strength it will be able to go through any disaster. The duty of the present moment will be the means of precipitating the seeming disaster or a new duty will be made clear to the human, though it may not be clear to anyone else. The performance of his duty enables the human to defeat fear and throw off dread, because he has performed his part towards balancing the thought the cycling of which was felt as fear.

Despair is the ultimate state of fear, when the doer has not balanced the part it had in issuing a thought. Despair is giving up to fear without further effort to overcome or escape it.

Hope, which is concerned chiefly with feelings and desires, is born with the doer and is its companion. It is like a flash or reminiscence from the unmanifested. Hope is one of the great things in the experiences of the doer. It is linked with Intelligence and with ignorance. This is one of the mysterious things about hope. It connects the unmanifested with the manifested. It is that which does not change when Substance manifests in a primordial unit, nor does it change during all the changes of the unit, nor even after it becomes part of the doer in a human. The doer in the human is the first stage in which it may be perceived and where it can be felt as a state. It is in the Intelligence also and affects it. In the human it is a foretaste of conscious immortality. When the doer tries to grasp it, it disappears, but it soon reappears and then the human chases after it. It is often accused of deceiving, because the thing on which it seemed to rest has failed the human. This is not the fault of hope, but of the human, who must learn that he cannot depend upon things of sense. Hope remains with the doer to teach it this through all its lives in joy or sorrow, ease or discontent. So it performs a mighty function.

Hope is undying. As soon as the doer has failed to learn and is sunk in the slough of despondency and gloom, hope comes again and, like a beam of light, leads the doer out if the doer will follow. Without hope the human could not remain human. When the human is exhausted by grief or remorse, covered with shame and abandoned by the world, hope glimmers and brightens into a ray of light. The doer, in its darkest hours, looks for hope. While it looks for hope it cannot fail altogether. Hope cannot save the human, but it shows the way by which one can save himself and earn his conscious immortality.

Hope cannot give the doer wisdom or knowledge. It cannot give anything, but it can dimly show the way to everything that is attained, and to everything that fails; but the human must learn which is the way to failure and which the way to knowledge, immortality and wisdom. To the embodied doer hope is a feeling. While the doer seeks sensation hope must remain a feeling. To know hope the human must follow it out of the senses and into the Light of the Intelligence.

Joyousness is the sparkling good spirits that flow out of a healthy disposition. This comes as the natural expression of good feeling and continued activities without intent to do wrong. It is characteristic of the youth of the doer, but the doer may carry its joyousness with it through ages of bitter experiences. It pours out like the full-throated melody of the thrush, or enters into the feelings of others like the mimicry of the mockingbird or rises out of itself like the song of the skylark. It drives away gloom, melancholy and dull care as sunshine melts mists and darkness away. Joyousness remains with the doer as long as the doer has no settled intent to harm anyone. The thing that shuts out joyousness is malice. Feelings of hatred, envy, bitterness or ill-will, drive joyousness away and keep it out. It should be a natural part of the disposition of the doer, and while it is kept it attracts elementals which are sprightly, graceful, well disposed, like fun and carry life. They pour into the doer and keep up the wellspring of life. The age of the body is no bar to them, though they are chiefly attracted to youth. But young or old, it depends upon the doer, for joyousness is with the doer and is not a matter of the body.

Trust is a natural feeling of the doer that it can depend upon life, that it will not be harmed, that it can get along and find its way, that whatever the conditions are it will be borne over them, that it will swim and not sink. Trust sometimes is an indication that the human is innocent, without a wide experience, that he has not come into contact with all phases of life. When trust that is due to innocence is betrayed or fails, the human will show feelings of rancor, bitterness, gloom, doubt and suspicion. On the other hand, trust may be an evidence that the doer has had a wide, deep, lasting experience and that it can be depended upon by other doers. The doer itself will show by its speech and actions whether the state of trust is due to innocence or is its character as the result of long experience.

Eventually the human learns that he can trust and that it is better to trust and that there is a law that works for betterment, even though he cannot quite understand it. This is one of the reasons for religious faith. Trust is a reward for duties well performed, for goodwill, generosity and helpfulness. Trust is an expression of fundamental inclination to honesty. Even if this quality of trust seems at times out of place and without foundation, yet when the doer feels forsaken or cast down, it will bear it up and carry it along. The doer’s periods of dejection, if any, will be very short and it will never entertain bitterness or doubt. There will be always an underlying feeling that there is something to rely on, something that is beyond vicissitudes and all changes, and that it is with the doer.

Ease is a further development of trust. Only a developed doer can feel at ease in riches or in poverty, in sickness or in health. Ease comes to a doer only after it has been the victor in many battles and difficulties and has learned their ways and how to live with them. Ease does not depend on easy circumstances, but the doer maintains its ease notwithstanding any outward conditions, favorable or adverse. Ease is a feeling of confidence that the doer will find its way through life, and is a compensation for work well done in prior lives.