Universal Brotherhood – October 1898

THE SOUL KNOWS — Adelaide A. Deen Hunt

"In him who knows that all spiritual beings are the same in kind with the Supreme Spirit, what room can there be for delusion of mind, and what room for sorrow, when he reflects on the identity of spirit." — Yajur Veda.

How well it is for us that the soul does know. How would life be bearable were it not that such is the fact? How could we possibly reconcile our own vagaries or those of our friends or of humanity at large, with the protestations, the professed creeds, or the formulated beliefs which are (seemingly) daily and hourly transgressed in action? But life as we see it is only a distorted reflection in a mirror, the personality a Jack-in-the-box whose springs are disordered, and who consequently jumps at unseemly times, in unseemly ways, because its harmony has been disarranged. But even as he who manipulates the toy, knows that the fault lies in the twisted spring, so does the soul know that a similar warping of the mental reflection of the real truth, is the occasion of all the antics in which man indulges.

Let us take, for instance, the various and often absolutely opposing creeds which have sprung from the Truth the Master came to teach nearly two thousand years ago. How could one possibly reconcile the life of his followers, so called, with their professed belief in the usual interpretation of his words, were he not aware whether consciously or not that the Soul knows; that there is something above all this turmoil of assertion and denial, viewing all with calm judgment and absolute knowledge, certain that at some hour an awakening to the Real must come. Most creeds, founded on the misinterpreted rendering of the writings of the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, have postulated an Eternity of bliss or woe, resultant from the action of man during a mere seventy years of manifestation, and this eternal or rather sempiternal existence they attempt to identify with the Unlimited. In Oriental philosophy, we know that eternity meant a period of such far-reaching duration that it is beyond man's finite thought to conceive. The Brahmins have a period of time which they compute at 311,040,000,000,000 years which they call a Maha Kalpa or Brahma's age, containing innumerable periods of manifestation and withdrawal. This is beyond the mind to grasp. We cannot measure the time in which the Soul evolves from the Infinite, to pursue its cyclic round, until it becomes again involved in the Infinite. Yet throughout this tremendous sweep of years, in which all experience contained within its limit, is to be gained, gathered through many personalities, on many planes of consciousness, the Silent Spectator watches and waits.

How evident that all must have a sub-conscious knowledge of this truth, or personal man would never act as he does. Had he the faintest conception of that eternity, of which he talks so glibly or with emotional excitement, his whole course of life would be different, especially if he really believed that only seventy years was his allotted time in which, by a certain line of conduct, to obtain unending bliss or to doom himself to everlasting woe. Would he have time for fads, and fashions, and follies, continually doing the thing that afforded him personal gratification, or amusing himself — like one dancing on the brink of a precipice — at best only slightly restraining his passions or desires? Certainly not. Every moment would be spent in as determined an effort to secure eternal happiness, as is now given to securing whatever earthly advantage seems most desirable. The simple fact then is that all these assertions are, so far as man's personal conditions are concerned, mere modes of speech, and that really he does not believe them. Such an one is only aware in his innermost consciousness that somewhere, somehow, there is something connected with him that persists, that goes on and will continue to go on, let him do what he may.

Occasionally we find a person who has set himself to realize what he professes, and in such case we are apt to find the searcher after truth on these lines overcome by abject terror by a dread of having committed the "unpardonable sin," of being in torment continually, until, unless more wholesome modes of thought can be introduced, melancholy supervenes, reason is dethromed, and a certain needed experience in this incarnation is delayed.

Or take another instance in which one who has bound himself to some ascetic creed and tries to live the life prescribed. Let such an one, especially if it be a woman, be bound by the closest earthly ties to one who cannot see as she does, a so-called unbeliever; one who doesn't care for prayer (in the wife's idea an absolutely necessary means for salvation), who finds church-going a bore, and who would rather stay at home after his week's work and rest, read his newspapers or magazines, than listen to dogmas that have no possible meaning to him and whose limitations are barriers that he cannot endure. Imagine a wife or mother under such conditions. Would she have one happy moment if she really believed what she postulated? It could not be. No living soul would be willing to go into eternal bliss and feel that another soul with whom she was closely allied was destined to eternal torment. If she really thought so, she would either be steeped in deepest melancholy, plunged in despair, or else harry the poor victim of her doubts and fears out of all benefit to be derived from his present state of existence, through striving to make him see the error of his ways.

That such conditions rarely prevail and that each believes that somewhere, somehow, by a death-bed repentance, or some unknown virtue in the beloved one, all will come right, simply points to the fact that every one is aware that the soul is One, — that we are only differentiations under certain aspects: that eventually full evolution from material manifestation must come, and all souls be one again with the Oversoul — as each drop of a river or stream finds its way to the ocean, mixes, blends, and is one with it, but is still an individual drop, imperceptible in the whole. So. after all, these professed creeds are but distorted and limited reflections of the One Truth, simply carrying with them the fact, that the higher the aspiration, the more earnest the desire to find the Christos, the sooner will man become aware of his own soul and awaken to its knowledge.

How could we bear the petty cares of life, its frequent injustice, its misunderstandings, its pain, even its physical demands and weariness, were we not sure that these were merely transitory and of no account except for the lessons that they contain, and which we must learn if we would be through with them. Nothing but the fact that we are certain of this Silent Spectator who, undisturbed, immovable as the Sphinx, views all with knowledge that compasseth everlasting truth, could enable us to endure to the end. If, however, there is a moment in the day or week when we can enter into the secret chamber of the heart and learn the higher wisdom that the immortal part of us can teach, we shall realize that there is nothing but one point of time for us, and that point is the Eternal Now. We have nothing to do with the past. It is dead — let it bury its dead. The present contains it and its results. As for the future, that too is contained in the now, and the instant of time we are living contains the future as well as the past: consequents all we need consider is each moment as it is and strive to live that moment in its highest possibility. Thus may we attain to real perception of what life really is and means. If we could only keep this in mind how steady, how self-controlled, what forces we should be. Unfortunately we cannot or do not. The personality becomes rampant. We do not like the feel of the gad when it touches a sore spot and we flinch and rebel, though possibly, indeed we might say undoubtedly, it was the very discipline that we needed. We cross bridges continually that we never come to, we dwell on a past that we have nothing to do with, we shrink from what we consider the false judgment of our associates, and immediately retaliate by sitting in judgment on them — a judgment, which taken only from our point of view, is probably equally one-sided, or, it may be, entirely false. We are glad or sad, depressed or elated, troubled or rejoiced, according to circumstances, quite oblivious of the fact that they are entirely of our own making and need not be if we did not wish or permit them. What a waste of energy in all this!

Why should we not then try always to realize that the Soul knows, and endeavor to attain to a state of consciousness in which this knowledge may be completely apparent to us. Thus, and thus only, shall we cease to continue in our old ruts, to go through experiences of which we have already had too many; but, by conserving our energy, so uselessly wasted, become at peace with ourselves and so be at peace with the Universe, working in harmony with it.


Universal Brotherhood

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