SO universal is the habit of blaming circumstances or other people for the troubles of our own lives that I know a strong assertion of the fact that the source of all trouble lies entirely within ourselves will meet with contradiction and resentment from many readers. It takes courage to look to one’s self entirely for pain which seems to be caused by others, but if once we do it, and are thoroughly clean-cut about it in every thought and word and action, the release from bondage seems almost miraculous.
When I say “look to ourselves” I do not mean necessarily that we are to blame. Often we have inherited tendencies for which we are not in the least to blame until we find them out, and cutting ourselves off from bondage to circumstances or to other people enables us to find them out, — then of course we are to blame if we do not work in the way to conquer them.
As gradually we learn that it is our own attitude toward life that makes us suffer, not the circumstances and people in life, we come nearer and nearer to our freedom. I do not imagine that any one ever reaches entire freedom in this life, — but we can go a long way in our process toward it, — and, as we steadily insist upon keeping to the. straight road, the way grows more and more interesting and the contrast is so great between the habitual and customary bondage to people and circumstances and the healthy habit of working to throw off such bondage, as to give us always a growing sense of relief which is delightful.
The tendency is, when we read a book which has in it more or less of practical truth, to say, How good this would be for so-and-so but this book, dear reader, although I hope you may give it where it is useful, is primarily written. for YOU.
Annie Payson Call