One of the most heartening and eye-opening teachings of Theosophy, and one that answers so many human problems is that of the Duality of Nature — Human Nature as well as Cosmic Nature. Through this knowledge we are in a position to apply Theosophy in a practical every-day manner. A little self-study will plainly indicate that within our being are two opposing forces, two "selves" each attempting triumph over the other. The question then becomes, which will we allow to win out? The answer is obvious. The moment we realize that there is a Friend within, a Lofty Nature, a God within our hearts, a Divine entity that has the ability of making the lower, petty, grumbling and selfish personality obey the higher mandates, a sudden courageous strength infills our being. Once we feel the friendly warmth pervading our being, we begin to listen for its "voice," and impulses arise to share our discovery with others.
This keynote not only changes our daily outlook, but our whole life becomes one of joyful service. Instead of duty being nothing but daily drudgery, our responsibilities a constant burden, those about us a nuisance preventing us from following our own selfish pursuits, we find a newborn Voice compelling service to others. This need not be in the form of frenzied emotionalism, a rushing among charitable organizations, forcing our ideas down others" throats "for their own good," or running around offering well meant but unwanted advice. No. That is only meddling, the lower personality doing good only to satisfy its own desires. The God within does good, not with loud noise and personal advertisement, not with thought of reward, or of earning what Theosophists call good karman, but silently, almost unconsciously, as the rose pours forth its perfume and sheds its beauty on all alike.
Practical, every-day Theosophy is simple. It means merely greeting those about us with an open hand, a friendly smile, a heartfelt word of cheer, the shining eye, and in most cases with a sympathetic, understanding silence. It means doing our daily duty in the home or in the business world with a devoted heart, in self-forgetful service for others. It means welding our daily actions together with the torch of love.
And yet, this is not always as easy as the saying of it. It is all very well to read of lofty ideals, to meet together in common discussion of them, to carry them in mind and heart. This is necessary for spiritual development. It is quite another thing, however, to practise these ideals on Monday morning when the toast burns, the paper is late, the baby is cross, and hubby has a grouch on. If we can put Theosophical ideals to practical use under such trying conditions, shedding the warm glow of a loving heart over the breakfast table, soothing ruffled tempers, bringing harmony out of chaos, then we can begin to feel the joy of living. Learning to give loving service under stress of daily trials is one way to become better acquainted with the habits of the Higher Nature.
Again, it is one thing to listen to old platitudes about forgiveness, loving our enemies, and turning the other cheek. It is quite another thing, however, to forgive the boss when he meets us in a fit of temper over some small oversight. It is not so easy to walk serenely through a sea of criticism hurled at us by a jealous neighbor or competitor, or to be philosophical when a most promising prospect leaves for parts unknown instead of signing on the dotted line. However, it is just such daily commonplaces that offer the opportunity of listening to the mandates of the Higher Self, of expanding the soul-life, of rising higher along the path of evolution. Where would be the necessity of effort were there no trial?
Is this not the very same pathway the Great Ones have walked? Somewhere in the dim past, in former lives the Great Souls such as Gautama the Buddha and Jesus called the Christ had no doubt to face just such daily problems. But by conquering them, by listening to the Higher Voice, the Friend within, they at last became that Higher Self in reality. Think of the hope behind these facts! What courage it should give us, how it should spur our efforts! For what these Great Souls accomplished by facing trial and temptation — and conquering them — we can also do.
Let us search for this Friendly Heart within, for it is ready for us to open its doors and allow the mellow light to shine forth for all the world to see. Let us not carry this light selfishly within, hidden from a troubled world, but let us share it with our next-door neighbor, the beggar at the door, the little child playing in the yard, the merchant down the street. Let us listen to the Voice of the Higher Self, and begin to make our life one of joy; not for our own benefit, but so that we can bring joy into the lives of others. Let us put our Theosophy into practical use, by remembering that
Toiling is not toiling
When the service that we give
Is to keep the living loving,
And to help the loving live.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE