Here and there among your friends and mine are a few rare individuals who seem to have within them and about them a kind of serenity which is so real that it is almost tangible. It is a sort of potency in which we can refresh ourselves as we would at a spring in the cool of the woods. There is with this serenity, a quality that is dynamic, not passive, and an assurance against which all the fretful swirls of our anxieties and our suspicions break harmlessly and disappear. These magnetic persons have about them also a sense of endurance, as though their serenity had come to them not through a life protected from storms, but from having sailed through so many storms safely that the ordinary breezes of life do not trouble them at all.
In these days when the old familiar landmarks of our social, intellectual and political lives seem to be either demolished or bewitched, these few rare men and women become our life buoys. They rise and fall to the rhythm of currents and winds, but we know they have their anchors well grounded in some terrain which we cannot see. We know that within them there is a good store of oil, and a light that will not fail.
What is the secret of their difference? Oftentimes they have little in the way of possessions or worldly advantages, yet they have what we can truly call a culture for they are integrated, tolerant, compassionate. They are often rebels, but they are those dangerous and cheerful rebels who do not waste themselves in play-acting as liberators and reformers. So what is the source from which they draw that which makes them unique?
We are told that each individual has a sort of store house, or treasure house, into which is withdrawn at the end of each life all that remains from that life as the essence of experience. Just as the chaff is blown away as the kernels of grain are extracted from the sheaves in the threshing machine, so everything that has not been transmuted from activity into essence in the human life is also blown away and only the kernels are stored in that body of light which is the home of the Inner Thinker. The more diligent an individual has been in this process of transmutation, the greater the store of his treasure and the more radiant his immortal dwelling place. In it is stored so much of wisdom that whenever man returns to dwell there he has at his disposal so much truth, about so many things, that he has a universal vision. Here are stored kernels he has harvested in every state of being, in all the kingdoms of nature, in all the ages of this earth. So long as he dwells within that place of light he can look upon any experience in this life in its true perspective and he has compassionate understanding in abundance for all those who have not yet found their way back to their own dwelling-places of light. Even if he has just discovered for himself the key to that treasure house and has not more than begun to explore its resources, he cannot help but live and act like one who knows that he dwells in the centre of the whirlwind where there is peace. He knows the whirlwind rages and that the farther he wanders from that centre the more he will become prey to the devastating winds of life. And even if he must face them, and travel through them, he knows that, his task ended, he can return to the place of light which is immovable and indestructible.
No man even finds the way to that treasure house or the key to its door except through repeated and sometimes desperate crises. But once the Path is trodden to the end and the key of alignment is turned in the door, the whole inexhaustible treasure is his to spend freely for his fellows.
Each one who dwells in the centre of his own whirlwind knows the meaning of the process of return when he sees others on their way. Most important of all, today he sees the race travelling the Path and nearing the door. He knows that when the present series of crises is ended the door will open and the stored treasure and light of the race will be poured out. So in compassionate serenity, himself a very token of fulfillment and of victory, he who lives in the centre of his own whirlwind pours out his own individual light to cheer the long troubled road the race travels. The greater the number who achieve that serenity and who hold their lights steady, the easier will be the race's journey to its immediate goal, and the faster the travelling.
The unflickering light in the centre of the whirlwind. . . .
1. Reprinted by permission of the Editor from Toronto Theosophical News, October, 1940. (return to text)
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