A grain of wheat is thrown into the ground. From it there grows a tall stem surrounded by leaves. At the top appear spikes or ears containing many grains just like the original, each of which is capable of bringing forth still other plants of the same kind. So life continues to express itself, although the original seed has entirely disappeared. Does this seem miraculous? It is an everyday occurrence. In all development, the form that we term a seed vanishes so that the life within it may continue.
Look at an acorn. It is a much larger seed than a grain of wheat, and seems to be entirely different; but the resemblance is close. First there is the outer protective shell, thicker and harder than that of the wheat kernel. Then there is the mass of nutritive material in which is imbedded the tiny germ cell, scarcely larger than that of the wheat, but containing within itself the same power, the force that we call life.
This acorn falls on good ground and is buried. Under the influence of moisture and warmth, the life in the germ cell awakes and growth begins. The material stored in the acorn furnishes the first food. The germ cell uses this, growing larger day by day, through an increase of cells, and finally bursting the protective shell. It sends rootlets downward into the earth in search of water and certain mineral salts. It also sends a shoot upward, which finally appears through the surface of the ground as a tiny stem supporting a few little leaves. It is seeking something in the air; and these leaves are the lungs through which it inhales the gas it needs, carbon dioxide, and exhales oxygen. It also wants the radiations of energy found in the sun’s light, and it is through the leaves that it absorbs these vibrations.
From this point, the plant carries on, within its cells, chemical processes that no man has ever been able to duplicate. It takes the carbon dioxide in-haled through its leaves and the water drawn in through its roots and makes from them cellulose, which is the woody structure of the tree. Carbon dioxide and water are special forms of substance. The life in the tree knows how to combine these into the new forms of substance that it desires to use.
Thus growth continues, ‘and the mighty oak comes into being from the tiny germ cell in the acorn, though the latter has long since disappeared. The casing, the seed, passes out of existence that the life may be free. An organism cannot do this voluntarily, but the life within knows how and can do it all. The life in you, too, was first manifested as a tiny cell. By a process quite similar to that used by the cell in the acorn, it developed into a man or a woman, through whom, in turn, it is trying to express itself still further.
As I said, no human being or other organism could do this by its innate will power, but there is something within that did it. We are at times aware of the presence of this power, and we won-der at it. But it is no miracle. It is God working in and through us for some end. And . there is something that we should know. Life builds the body without our conscious help, just as it builds the wheat stalk or the oak tree. And it never makes a mistake. It never brings forth wheat where there should be acorns, or acorns where there should be wheat. We should know that life can be trusted. Remember this little point, and stop trying to rear-range matters to suit your personal ideas. It can-not be done, and the attempt leads to trouble. Trust to the life within you to express itself perfectly.
As you look at a great oak tree, you know that you cannot put it back into the acorn from which it grew, even if the latter could be found. Yet it existed there. Yes, the great tree in all its completeness and grandeur was in the germ cell, but not in the material form. It was present as an idea. The life in that particular cell developed this idea, used it as a pattern, and is now expressing it as the tree in which it persists. You were in the germ cell from which you grew, as the idea of a human being, and the life there developed the body from this idea.
The growth of all ideas is similar. An idea enters the mind as a seed. If the ground be fertile it grows, and something comes from it. Many years ago a man received the idea that communication over wires by means of electricity is possible. This was the seed. He concentrated his thoughts on it, thus nourishing it, until it took a more definite form. Then he began working with his hands to bring this idea into expression. The first apparatus was crude, it is true, but it worked, and thus proved that the idea was good. Most people laughed at it and called it a toy; others denounced it as the invention of the devil; but the idea grew and expanded. Today the world is caged in by telegraph wires extending everywhere, over land and under water. But this was not all the development. To another man came the idea that these wires could be made to carry the sounds of the voice; so we have telephone lines also covering the earth. Now, as another expression of the original idea, we have the radio, penetrating no one knows how far. The oak has grown and is still developing. This was all contained in the seed idea which came to Samuel Morse, although he, with mortal vision, could not have foreseen the results any more than can you see the oak when you look at an acorn.
Some people claim that these things just happen, that the growth of the oak is due only to the influence of sunlight and moisture upon the inert matter. They forget the essential, the germ cell. Roast the acorn until this single cell is destroyed, and all the sun’s rays, and all the water in the universe could not bring forth an oak tree. There can be no expression of life without life. The wonderful chemical processes going on in the cells of the tree speak of intelligence and life. Now we know that life is a manifestation of intelligence, and that the two are one. So life is the real basis of all things. Life can do what mortal effort cannot do. It can create a tree, a flower, or a man. So we must say something else: Life knows how. Remember this.
Nothing happens by chance. There is a cause be-hind everything. Chance would mean chaos. Law and order simply mean intelligent thought and action. The beginning of anything is an idea, and its development is the work of life, intelligence. And it is this power in you that enables you to grasp ideas and to work them into shape. This magazine article itself began as a simple idea. I gave it thought, and secondary ideas gathered around it, thus developing it into what it is. The ideas of health, happiness, and abundance are seeds in your mind now. Let them grow, and they will build you into a strong tree.
Again look at the seed. The grain of wheat produces other grains in such abundance that food is provided for many forms of life, and there will still be sufficient for next season’s planting. It takes only one acorn to give birth to an oak, but each oak will bear so many acorns that all the squirrels can feed abundantly, and still a forest may be produced. Life takes care that there shall be sufficient for every need and to spare. Life is most generous. It is only when the manifestation of life tries to separate itself from the whole that niggardliness appears.
Everything in the universe shows purpose. See this in the seed. Why is there a hard shell filled with nutritive material around the germ cell? Simply in order that this precious life germ may have protection during its period of rest and in order that it may have food at hand when it awakes and begins anew its cycle of existence. This is not chance. The intelligence behind all activity is working with a definite aim. God has an end in view, and every-thing is serving toward that end. If an acorn feeds a squirrel, or if a grain of wheat appears in a loaf of bread on your table, shall we say that life has been balked by selfish interests? Not at all. Providing food for other living things is part of the work of life. It does this as an important part of the continuous expression of itself.
Here is an important lesson: God, life, gives Himself to you as your supply so that the life in you, an expression of Himself, may continue. He gives Himself to His creations because He is working toward an end. We in the relatively finite consciousness cannot see the finished work, so we are apt to claim that everything is at odds, and that things are going to the devil. This is not true. Just as the idea of the full-grown oak lay in that tiny germ cell in the acorn, so does the idea of perfect expression now exist in God-Mind. If there seems to be disturbance and trouble, it is due to our limited understanding’s having led us to meddle and try to substitute our personal will for that of divine wisdom. When we let go and begin to see everything as a perfect expression of Him, we shall find that there is nothing wrong, nothing to change. We cannot see the whole flight of stairs, but we can see the step upon which we are standing. Let us see this clearly and be ready to take the next step when it is shown to us.
Man himself is first an idea in the mind of God; then he is set free to build himself a body through which he can work to help along a great purpose. He is, absolutely, an expression of the life in all, and he must recognize this if he is to play his part well. That he may work more freely, he is given the power of individual expression, and the privilege of creating an outer personality. Too frequently he becomes lost in the personality and forgets the individual within. An acorn can never develop into anything but an oak. Man can be what he wills to be because he has individual creative powers. It is a question of making a wise choice and sticking to it, that is all. And in making this choice, how much better it is to forget the personal, and let the life within do the choosing; for, let us repeat, life knows how and what to do.
The question before you always is, Will you be a mighty oak, or will you be merely brushwood, living for a short time in the forest of life? Upon your answer depends your whole future. The acorn has no choice. You have. That is the great difference between man and the other expressions of life. In making this choice, look at it in the right way. If you see things from merely the personal, limited point of view, you will see only immediate conditions. Then you will be afraid to change, and you will decide to let well enough alone. In this case you will be merely an insignificant bush. But if you take the impersonal, the I AM view, you will decide to let God express Himself through you. Then you may become like the mighty oak or the still greater sequoia, specimens of which have been living on the California mountains since before the pyramids were built.
Perhaps some of these wonderful trees might truly say, if they could speak, “Before Abraham was born, I am.” They express the idea of immortality better than the inanimate hills, for they are life expressing itself in growth. And so are you, but you have still greater powers than any tree. Independent motion, action, and thought belong to you. They were yours from the beginning. They were latent powers within the seed cell from which your body grew. If you use these forces for your personal, selfish purposes, you will remain underbrush, which will eventually be cleared away. But if you let God use them through you, there is no limit to what you can reach; for there is no limit to Him. So use your power of choice wisely, forgetting the mere present, and thinking of the eternity before you. Let God do His work through you, and you may overtop the whole forest. Who knows?
Jesus knew Himself, the I AM, the expression of God, therefore He was actually the Christ in the flesh, the mightiest tree of all. He was the full manifestation of the Christ idea, and this same idea is present as a seed in you now. We are too apt to worship Him, instead of following Him. He did not come to be worshiped, but to serve us by helping us to make the wise choice, to recognize the Christ, the one life, right within us, and so to live the full, abundant life. We can each be like Him, but only when we find that seed, the Christ within us, develop it, and become one with it. It will then be expressed through us, and we too shall become giants in the forest of living beings.
An idea of good enters your mind. Recognize it as the seed of something great. Welcome it as a gift of the Father, nurture it, and let it develop within you. Perhaps it may lift you from adversity and also feed the hungry souls around you. The simplest idea may be the seed of the greatest results, for every such idea comes from the heart of the Infinite. Everything that man has accomplished began as an idea. It fell into good ground, took root, and grew. Learn to watch for ideas and to use them when they come. Depend on it, if you do not use an idea somebody else will; for we all have access to the source from which they come to us, and they grow for him who first grasps them and tends them. They are gifts of life itself, but they must be kept alive.
Substance is the basis of all things. The tree can only use it to make wood, leaves, and sap. You can use it in any form that you may desire. You may not know how to bring forth substance as love, as health, or as food and clothing, but the life within knows how. Life can be trusted. Believe in life. Life is prodigal in its supplying power; have faith in it. Leave your desires to life and your wishes will be granted, provided you do something. And this some-thing is simply to let life, God, good express itself through you. Do your appointed tasks and give thanks that life is expressing itself as you, and that you are growing to be a tree of value.
I am a mighty tree in the forest of God. I let God live His life in me, and He expresses His perfection in me now. I carry out His purposes, and all is well. I put my trust in life, God; for life is good, life is generous, life can be trusted, and life knows how.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”