Above all things men desire security. But security means different things to different people. It is to every man the assured permanence of those things which he values most. To many, to most perhaps, it is written in terms of family or fortune. For a scholar his precious books are a symbol of it. The wise man seeks for it only in the freedom of his soul.
But is it possible to find any kind of security in an age whose very characteristic is its unpredictable quality? Not through possessions truly, nor in power, nor in position. Not even in the knowledge that friends and family are around one. Not to any outward thing can we look.
Recognising this, men are asking: What about the soul? Is it secure? This is the very question that Nature intends man to ask of himself. If he is not interested, she will contrive ways to force him to look inwards. She will strip the outward life of its glamour and of its security, so that he will begin to explore within, where the springs of life arise.
Yet, turning from the outer things, he finds at first that he is living, inwardly, in a subtle realm far more shifting and unreliable than the world of objects. He is within his own thought-and-feeling world whose labyrinthine ways are uncharted, whose resources are totally unknown to him, into whose depths and whose heights his consciousness plunges in a confused mingling of terrors and delights. He seems to be floating in a great sea of impalpable substance-energy, composed, he finds, not only of his own thoughts and feelings, but those of other men also, all mingling confusedly in a common reservoir of multifarious energies.
He has, in fact, begun to discover for himself, what the initiated seers of all ages have known and taught to their disciples, and which Theosophy is again calling attention to today, namely, that we, as invisible albeit substantial beings, are constantly washed around by, that we indeed live in, a great sea of ethereal substance sometimes called the Astral Light. It is the invisible medium by which thought speeds from mind to mind; the magic agent that unites us in an intercommunication far more swift and complete than does the radio.
Thus no man thinks unto himself alone. No impulse, whether of hate or love, dies in the mind that gave it birth. Once born, such energies go forth to become the common property of the race, to be picked up — who knows where or by whom — modified, added to, intensified, sent on again along the astral currents in a ceaseless round of action.
Unenlightened man is truly adrift in this astral sea. Through ignorance, and because of untrained powers, he becomes a victim of the very things he has himself created. He is tossed hither and yon. Every astral eddy threatens to engulf him. The mob hysterias of this age, as of others, the swift effects of evil propaganda, the political frenzies, the alarming spread of nervous and mental disease, the general instability both moral and mental, can be accounted for by the fact of the action of the Astral Light upon will-less souls or those souls whose wills are misdirected.
All this is reflected in the individual. He finds himself, even against his own reason and better instincts, at times like the present, indulging perhaps in bitter hatreds or corrosive criticisms, in sudden unaccountable uprisings of temper, in fits of depression that hold him as in a vise. He finds his powers of concentration lessening, his usual clear-thinking blurred; his purpose swayed now this way, now that.
In halcyon days he is not alarmed into an attitude of questioning and inquiry into the causes of psychological instability. But a time like the present so exaggerates the evil influences that play upon the weak human soul, that it serves as a vivid object lesson, and he again questions: Is there, then, no security for the human soul? Must it forever drift, a victim to elemental forces?
It is just here that Theosophy is ready with the answer, for it says — what every Savior of man has said — that there is at the center of man's being the impregnable stronghold of the true Self. Like a noble castle rising mightily from a storm-tossed sea, this inner sanctuary stands unscathed amid the swirling astral currents. It is no mere tower of escape for the timid soul, but the home of the true Self whose light shines above and beyond the troubled astral waves. Every Teacher has said: Find this true Self, by will and imagination, by devotion and courage; hold fast to It, become one with It. When this has been achieved, even in a small degree, then one finds that spiritual security which is our rightful heritage as human beings, and upon which all outward security if it is to be genuine must be built.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE