The Simple Truth

By Lawrence Merkel

The contemporary scene, with its sharp accent on satellites, rockets, missiles and antimissile missiles gives ample reason for thought and reflection. And if we are to take as gospel some of the pronouncements of supposed experts, we may not have too much time left to think and reflect! Whether these forebodings are true or exaggerated, a strong jolt to our complacency can be healthy indeed, especially if it serves to make us take a penetrating look at ourselves.

For one thing, we are being forced to realize that we are all in this together — the blast of 100,000 tons of TNT is no respecter of race, religion, or political party — and it is small consolation to be the richest man in the cemetery, if cemeteries will still be extant following that grim contingency. So, perhaps stating it too ominously, survival is a matter of concern for each one of us.

This potent era is a teacher in another way. We are re-learning the homely virtues — patience, humility, courage — and a lot more than these. Events are forcing us to make choices, hard but necessary ones. We are having to decide what is really of value in life. Are the gadgets, push-button comforts and conveniences and the latest fashions important? Have they added something to our inner fiber that can't be blown to bits by a bomb?

Not that material progress and invention in themselves are to be shunned. Quite the contrary; but to pedestal them as the be-all and end-all measure of man's stature is surely no more than an ephemeral response to the serious obligations of day-to-day living. And as the Great Law and its agencies go about the business of refining our sense of values, we will be nudged and prodded to distinguish, finally, between our needs and our wants. The self-discipline that comes from meeting only the former is most effective. Count on it that the going gets rougher when something or somebody else does the disciplining. So the hour may be here for some hardship and sacrifice — important growth factors for everyone, not just for the other fellow.

We have long heard the biblical injunction, "Thy will be done." A more inclusive statement has never been uttered; it can provide the key to all thought and action. Thy will, the dictates of the highest and best in us, are always sound and worth heeding. The lower promptings, selfish, limited and egotistic, only hinder our progress. Here, then, is our battleground: oversimplified perhaps when first encountered, but nonetheless accurate. We have lots of company in this fight, and the new sense of values it offers may reduce the need for tranquilizers!

The forces of right and justice won their battle aeons ago — the momentum of the upward cycle is with us; and if we do our task, fully and completely, we have nothing to fear. This season is a good time to confirm that faith, with resolve and action.

(From Sunrise magazine, December 1981/January 1982. Copyright © 1982 by Theosophical University Press)


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