Initiative is the creative faculty within you, a spark of the Infinite Creator. The man of initiative is like a shooting star—creating something from nothing, making the impossible possible by the great inventive power of Spirit.
Examine a dozen minds—most remind you of one-horse-power engines. Most people’s lives consist of waking, eating, engaging in amusements, and sleeping. Weeks, months, and years pass, and they are always the same. They have aged but they have not changed.
Different types of initiative
How does one acquire initiative? There are three types of initiative—the extraordinary, the medium, and the common. The common type is shown by the person who tries only to improve on the inventions of other people. Such a person has not yet developed the power to think independently and creatively for himself.
The medium type of initiative is shown by people who write a little book or invent something new but on a very small scale. The extraordinary quality of initiative is that which makes you stand in blazing fame. We see this type of initiative in men like Luther Burbank and Thomas Edison.
Is God partial to these men, that they had this particular greatness? Did God specially choose them to experience so much glory? No–anyone can become great. But you must first get in touch with the Infinite Power within you, which is the source of all initiative. By practicing meditation and following the teachings of yoga, you can develop that initiative and bring it into play. The ones who struggled long ago now see the fruition of their actions.
Those who look for glory are never great. Their inflated pride prevents them from receiving God’s power. Those who enjoy giving to others, giving strength, courage, and inspiration—all such people are great.
Have faith that God will respond
When I first started lecturing I made up my mind that I would lecture by inspiration, and not by collecting the ideas of others. I believed that the Infinite Creative Power was behind my words, so I did not say, “Father, do it.” Instead, I said, “I want to do it Father, but you must guide me; you must inspire me.” I now know without a doubt that the Great Spirit which is the source of all inspiration and knowledge is within me. If that is behind me, how can I fail?
My Master, Sri Yukteswar, used to say: “Remember this: if you have that kind of faith, and if there is something you desire which doesn’t exist, it will be created for you.” Because I had that faith in God and the strength of will, new product lines were created to give me the things I needed.
Conscious acts of determination
Defeat, disease, lack of prosperity—all of these are God’s tests for you. God’s tests are designed to bring into play the almighty power of Spirit that is within you, so you can fulfill your destiny on the stage of life. God will not allow you to be tested more than you are able to bear. So never say, “God has forsaken me.” Say, instead, “I may be defeated one hundred times, but I am going to conquer.”
The man of extraordinary initiative swallows all difficulties. No matter how impossible it seems to accomplish his goal, he never gives up. As long as he lives, he engages in ongoing acts of determination.
Fear destroys initiative by paralyzing the will. Use fear as a stimulus to dive deep into the inner consciousness where you will find the understanding and power that will permanently remove the causes of fear.
Why people fail
On the stage of life, people often fail because they try to play a different part from the one God designed for them. God intended this world to be a huge show to entertain us, not to make us suffer. But we forget the Stage Manager and want to play the wrong parts.
How do you find out what part suits you? Always strive to be in tune with the Stage Manager. If we all want to be kings, who will be the servants? In God’s eyes, the parts played by kings and servants are exactly the same. If God gives you the tragedy parts, always remember that they are but parts in a play, designed to bring out your innate God-given strength.
On the stage of life, always strive to play your part well, realizing that the infinite power of Spirit is always with you. Attune yourself to that power and whether you are working in the factory, running a business, or mixing with people, always say, “I and my Father are one. What He can create, so can I.”
Excerpted from Inner Culture, June 1936; Praecepta Lessons, 1938