Study of the twin powers of the human mind is far more subtle and difficult than study of what is familiarly known as the "pairs of opposites." Even the weakest of thinkers will have little trouble discerning love from hate, or pleasure from pain. But where is the man who has mastered the relation of those two-fold powers of soul, which, though to all outward appearances the same, are yet separated by a line which makes them either infernal or divine? Where is the man who knows the shading of difference between aspiration and ambition, imagination and fancy, faith and belief? No one but recognizes the life-giving force of enthusiasm, but where draw the line between enthusiasm and fanaticism? Do we possess such insight into our own minds that, faced with the necessity of decision, we readily discern between wisdom and head-learning? Caught in the web of human relationships, are we able to distinguish love from infatuation before a lifetime wrong is done? The antithetical nature of the "opposites" is obvious. It is the seeming identity of mind powers, and man's inability to discern between them, that is the cause of all the world's delusions. Says Wm. Q. Judge:
Manas, or the Thinker is the reincarnating being, the immortal who carries the results and values of all the different lives lived on earth or elsewhere. Its nature becomes dual as soon as it is attached to a body.
This, says H. P. Blavatsky, is the key to the whole mystery of man's inner nature. Because mind is dual during the period of incarnation, every one of its powers presents a two-fold aspect, one bearing kinship for the god above, the other showing traits of the inconstant personality. But as the English language has been evolved by people unskilled in philosophic thought, its terms, even where they exist, are vague and ambiguous. Dictionaries do not link such words with either aspect of the dual man, the result being that when one says "my friend has great imagination" or "he is a man of strong will" — both, creative powers of the Higher Mind — in all probability the faculties at work are mere fancy or desire, faint expressions of the lower self.
Faith, like all powers of the human soul, is two-fold in its nature. The higher, having its roots in the Immortal Self, is pure, holy and divine, and consequently has naught to do with the reasoning of the brain mind. Fed from above by the fire of knowledge, it makes no mistakes, for it looks directly to the heart of things. It is true wisdom or enlightenment, no nobler quality existing in the whole makeup of the inner man. But alas, what passes for that term today! Man's divinest faculty, with potent creative power, lowered to the level of blind belief — a mere nothingness based on ignorance and fear. Better by far the word faith had never been heard, for then at least no one would glory in the possession of ignorance, nor could priests and preachers convince their followers that there is virtue in blindness. Identical though they seem to the average man, faith and belief are an infinity apart, separated by an abyss to be spanned only by him who wills to know.
Man's feeling of Deity, that there is something behind all that is, behind his feelings of justice and immortality, is a perception common to the whole human race. It springs from knowledge impacted in the imperishable center of his nature — and is true faith. But how is the man strong in such convictions ever to learn that though the feelings are true, his ideas regarding these truths are false, that the church dogmas of god, miracle and vicarious atonement are mere belief? How is he to understand that the impulse to a higher life, that feelings of charity, love and compassion, felt strongly in his soul, come from inner faith and not from outer belief? To separate the two is as difficult for the average man as to realize that within his human frame are two minds. For this reason true teachers ever warn against proselyting, against making any attempt to unsettle those fast fixed in their beliefs, lest the serenity of their faith be disturbed or destroyed, lest they be caused to relax in their duty to that which they see to be right.
The dogmas and beliefs which encumber men's souls, ruinous though they be to the inner faith, are not to be stripped off from the outside by some ambitious converter. They must be shed from within by the awakening Higher Mind. As the new-born shoot, making room for next year's growth, pushes old leaves from off the twig, so the evolving spirit of man, in the course of cyclic rise, breaks through the limiting walls of creed. What is given us in Theosophy, says Robert Crosbie, "is for the purpose of arousing the attention of that Center within us which can see, which can know, which can do, when IT resumes its own nature and status."
"With faith all things are possible," say the ancient sages. For faith is that great engine of the occult cosmos which sets the Will in motion. Through it man links himself with his ideal, encompasses within his sphere the whole structure of that upon which his heart is set. Working upon the extremely tenuous matter of the invisible universe, faith surrounds any project with a living substance, making of it a unified whole capable of co-ordinated action among all its parts. By virtue of what else may anything be said to live, except it possess a circulatory system linking each part with every other part, except a common impulse permeate the whole? It is through this subtle medium that the will and conviction of the crusader carries through and touches the hearts of his supporters. Through it men in business reach their employees and inspire their work with the fire of enthusiasm. On the inner framework of faith and confidence one can help his fellows build a higher life, for devotion to the ideal in another brings out all that the ideal holds.
Man's ignorance of the workings of such inner dynamics is no proof against the fact of their existence. For where is the man who understands perfectly the machinery even of the digestive system in its work of transforming food into flesh, or of the eye in seeing, or the brain and vocal chords in changing idea into sound? These do their work whether we be ignorant or wise. So works the machinery of the occult cosmos. By means of faith all men accomplish unknowingly great things. But once one's faith is lost, whether in a business, cause, or private undertaking, that thing is dead, the only remaining witness to its ever having existed being the physical shell, empty and soulless, left to disintegrate on the material plane. Faith is the cohesive power of nature by virtue of which even the seven principles of man remain intact. Lost or destroyed, death ensues.
If this be true of worldly undertakings, how much more true must it be of a high and noble Cause, having for its aim the welfare of the human race! The ideal of the Theosophical Movement is a universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color. That ideal is kept in being by the Faith, the Will, of its great Founders. The aim and objective of Theosophists is work upon that ideal, the erection invisibly of a strong bond of comradeship, the nucleus from which all else may flow. But can this be done without faith in the ideal and in humanity? Can it be done without faith in each other, in those of our fellow companions who, like ourselves, are striving toward the same end? Not by doubt or intellectual argument can this purpose be achieved. Not by belief, which at best is skin deep, nor any other of the powers of the lower mind. It is by Faith alone — that creative faculty of the Higher Mind by which we envision the ideal and see reflected in the present the promise of what must be. To "keep the faith" means to hold the vision, to steadfastly act on the basis of it alone.
1. Reprinted from Theosophy, October, 1943, with permission of the publishers, The Theosophy Company, Los Angeles, California. (return to text)
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