Many of the greatest problems in human life, science and religion do not answer. Let us take up one problem which we will call "The Great Quest." I do not mean alone the quest to escape from pain and suffering, that is included, but especially the unrest and discontent which come to the most prosperous and successful — often in the very hour of triumph. When men realize, as some time they must do, that all the world is empty and all desires vain, they ask, "Why, O why, all this longing, desire and discontent? Why do disappointment and despair haunt men from the cradle to the grave — if for too long they have been content?"
The answer is simple — if we only knew it.
Man is essentially a spiritual being. His heart seeks, yearns, for spiritual light and life. He inwardly realizes that the whole material world is the outer garment of Spirit. It is a shell, a husk. Man's heart can never be satisfied with husks. Let him crack the nut of life. Seek within for the kernel. Reject the husks, yet treat them respectfully, for they may be very useful in their place, if wisely and properly used.
The Great Quest is the search for Reality, for the heart of things, for the kernel of the nut. The spiritual nature of man demands a spiritual life. It will never, for long, be satisfied with less.
Matter and spirit are not distinct and separate entities. They are One. Spirit is the eternal, divine life that shines through matter, on which matter rests, of which matter is the lowest plane, state or degree — the dregs. We live in spirit as the great earth does in the free and fluid ether, which penetrates and sustains it and us; yet we see it not, though we are of it, bathed in it, and penetrated by it.
When a man realizes his own Divinity and recognizes in all around him the same divinity, the eternal Beauty shining through, he fastens his attention, his interest, on That. All his life undergoes a change for the better. Illusions and burdens fall away from him. Hope springs eternally in his breast and he feels that that hope is being, to a degree, eternally realized. The hope grows perennially and its realization grows along with it.
When a man's Higher nature awakens, pessimism, ennui, depression, discouragement, despair and even the blues, are gone forever. He may suffer, but having discovered the source of his being, he no longer says that Life is just one difficulty after another. True, it may be. But difficulties are no excuse for dejection. Difficulties are the spice of life to the strong man. Overcoming them is the athletic training by which strength of character is developed. Without difficulties our wills would atrophy. We should welcome them. They are more useful than pleasures. Pleasures teach us nothing, it is said. Some seek pleasures as an end in themselves, but pleasures overindulged in, bring reactions and satiety. The wise accept pleasures as the dusty traveler accepts the wayside inn, or the refreshing spring and shady grove — temporary refreshments.
When a man has found his own Soul he has found within himself a Place of Peace and of exhaustless energy that is infinitely more than pleasure. Within the heart of man is a Place of Peace where love and joy abide forever.
These are not negative virtues, but strong and positive qualities that cannot be irritated by any disturbance or overcome by any difficulty.
All this is not an idle dream, or just a beautiful picture. It is what evolution has in store for every evolving entity. It is a Hope, a Promise, and a Possibility, which every questing soul strives for and eventually will attain.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE