Was the Secret to Life Revealed in 1897?

Was the Secret to Life Revealed in 1897? May 4, 2022

In Tune with The Infinite
Dutch first edition of “In Tune with The Infinite”, 1913, via Wikimedia Commons

Every few years, a spirituality bestseller comes out that captures the imagination of the public. In recent times, there’s been The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Before that, you might remember The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield or Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach.

Once upon a time, there was a spirituality book even bigger than those classics. It was first published back in 1897 and since it is now 125 years old, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of it. It’s titled In Tune with the Infinite by Ralph Waldo Trine and it’s considered by some to be the greatest spirituality book of all time.

A pioneer in the era’s New Thought Movement, Trine wrote over a dozen books. However, it was this one that caught fire with the public and went on to sell over 2 million copies. Just how popular was In Tune with the Infinite? I own a used copy that dates to 1909 and on the worn dustcover here’s what the publisher had to say:

It has become a world classic. One traveler writes that he came across a man reading it while sitting on the banks of the Yukon; another that he finds it in the shops and even the little railway stations in Burma and Ceylon (Ed: now Sri Lanka). An American reviewer said: “For one to say that he has never heard of ‘In Tune with the Infinite’ is similar to saying that he has never heard of the Constitution of the United States.”

For a book that achieved such worldwide popularity, its main message was relatively simple. It was repeated again and again, because the author believed this knowledge was the secret to a happy and fulfilling life. It had to do with a realization—that God is everywhere and always present. Trine believed that:

God is the “Infinite Spirit” of life and is present in and through all things. This spirit surrounds us on all sides. You and I have the power, within us, to open or close ourselves to this divine inflow exactly as we choose.

The key to realizing “the power within us,” what Trine alternately refers to as the Infinite Spirit, Infinite Power and Infinite Life, was to recognize that it is always there and accessible at all times. By getting “in tune with the infinite” we can then access “a divine source of love and guidance,” and our lives can be changed for the better.

What follows are 8 of my favorite passages, which I’ve organized by subject. I’ve also done some editing, including updating some of the language and using gender-neutral pronouns where possible. By reading these passages, you’ll get the gist of Trine’s message. Much of what he wrote all those years ago still has the ring of truth today.

#1.  Find Your Center

Find your center and live in it. Surrender it to no person. The more you do this, the more you will find yourself growing stronger. How can you find your center? By realizing your oneness with the Infinite Power, and by living continually with this realization.

#2. Listen to the Voice of the Soul

When we recognize our true selves, and our oneness with the Infinite Life, the voice of intuition, the voice of the soul, the voice of God speaks clearly. When you listen to, and obey it, it speaks even more clearly, until there comes a time when it is absolutely unerring in its guidance.

#3. Be an Optimist

The optimist is right. The pessimist is right. The one differs from the other like the light from the dark. Yet both are right. Each is right from their own individual point of view, and this point of view is the determining factor in our lives. It determines whether you have a life of power or of impotence, of peace or pain, of success or failure.

#4. Live in Love

Live only in the thought of love for all and you will draw love to you from all. Live in the thought of malice or hatred, and malice and hatred will come back to you.

#5. Know Yourself

There is no better way to help yourself than to know yourself.  Become aware of the power lying dormant within your own soul, for it is through your own soul that the voice of God speaks to you. This is the interior guide. This is the light that lights every person. This is intuition. This is the voice of the higher self, the voice of the soul, the voice of God.

#6. See the Good in All

The moment we recognize ourselves as one with the Infinite, we become so filled with love that we see only the good in all. And when we realize that we are all one with this Infinite Spirit, then we realize that in a sense we are all one with each other. Wherever we go, whenever we come in contact with our fellow man, we are able to recognize the God within. We thus look only for the good, and we find it.

#7. Follow the Law of Prosperity

This is the law: When apparent adversity comes, don’t let it get you down, but make the best of it. Always look forward for better things, for more prosperous conditions. To hold yourself in this attitude of mind is to set into operation subtle, silent, and irresistible forces that sooner or later will actualize in material form that which is today merely an idea. Ideas have power, and ideas, when rightly planted and rightly tended, are the seeds that actualize material conditions.

#8. Bring Joy Everywhere You Go

Carry with you this inspiration and continually offer a good word and blessings wherever you go; so that your friends and all people will say, your coming brings peace and joy. As you pass the tired, and weary, and even sin-sick people along the street, they will feel a certain divine touch that may awaken a new life in them. Such are the subtle powers of the human soul when it aligns itself with the Divine.

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