Copyright © 1996 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
Help Nature and work on with her; and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance.
And she will open wide before thee the portals of her secret chambers, lay bare before thy gaze the treasures hidden in the very depths of her pure virgin bosom. Unsullied by the hand of Matter, she shows her treasures only to the eye of Spirit — the eye which never closes, the eye for which there is no veil in all her kingdom.
Then will she show thee the means and way, the first gate and the second, the third, up to the very seventh. And then, the goal — beyond which lie, bathed in the sunlight of the Spirit, glories untold, unseen by any save the eye of Soul. — H. P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence
I have looked over the blue waters of the Pacific, and watched the sun rise above the mountains and listened to mockingbirds singing, and the beauty of the awakening world grew marvelous for me with suggestions of the hidden harmonies of life. Then I thought of humanity and wondered what would happen could the veil of external things fall from before our eyes and reveal the glory of the law: we should stand in silence motionless, thrilled through with the grace and plenitude of its compassion.
Long ago there was a time when men lived in purity of thought and act, knew little of selfishness, and moved through the experiences of their incarnations not bound down or interfered with as the human mind is today. Better than we do they understood how to conduct their lives: there was not the rush and whirl of things. They lived more inwardly, in communion with what is best and noblest — the splendor of spiritual life was manifest, and through all human consciousness shone deepest reverence for nature and truth. Better than we do, too, they knew how to work with nature, and found in her something the people of modern times have never discovered.
How many today are satisfied with their lives or sure that they possess the truth or know whence they came when they were born or, after death, whither they are going? Yet there is a promise in our hearts and in the divine law that all that mankind has been, it shall be again, and all that we have forgone we shall recover.
We lost touch ages ago with the Mighty Mother, nature, and now need to go to her again, for the most part in her forests or on her hilltops or by the seashore, to find our own souls in her quiet places and to learn that all matter responds to the spiritual touch. Out beyond hearing and seeing and thinking are infinite laws that control our lives. Divine laws hold us in their keeping: immediately behind the veil of visible things, and but a little way from the consciousness of our mortal selves, are higher forces at work for our good.
They speak to the soul to make the way broad and beautiful; they speak to us at all times through the sunlit sky and the starlight. The shining silences of nature proclaim to us always the greatness of the world and the hidden grandeur of man, so that in the desert, in the deep caverns of the earth, under the heaviest weight of sorrow, "he that hath ears to hear" is never alone. Were he lost in the great waste places or in a rudderless boat on the open sea, or were he on the brink of created things and far from the world of men, he would carry within him still the kingdom of heaven and might find in his heart all the revelations for which humanity is longing.
It is the spiritual message that the world is crying for: a baptism of the spirit of the divinity of man, whereby we should be made to realize that the heavens are opening to our needs; that the light is breaking and new stars are shining; that the things we do not see are greater than the things we see — what the heart yearns for more than we know; that nature is supremely just, and in all this grand universal scheme of being not a thought, not an aspiration, not the smallest effort is lost or wasted.
You who are despairing, who have little faith in yourselves or hope of tomorrow or belief that you can control your conditions, seek aid here of the Great Mother: look up into the blue sky or the stars, catch in the air the feeling of her universal life, and then examine yourselves and discover that many of your sorrows have come to you because you have not been willing to suffer. There are treasures of experience in suffering. Any real attainment must come through discipline; no matter how it may be outwardly, we can meet it as that which will call forth the stronger side of us, until it becomes at last the pride and joy of our lives and we love it as we love the sunshine and the aroma of flowers.
We cannot succeed unless we work with nature, who will not accept half-hearted service. We receive no answer when we call to her only in moments of dilemma or disappointment and then turn again and desert her. She has no word for the insincere or indifferent; she responds only to those whose minds are awake to the highest aims. It is as we reach out in thought to the best and noblest that her answer comes back to us. Out of the great dark surroundings of life dawns the enlightenment of the inner man when the soul of man shall speak, and we who were under the shadow of our affairs and difficulties become aware that this is indeed the gods' universe which divine laws do govern, and that nature is all friendly and humanity need not be otherwise. For there is no need for all this human quarreling and fighting and doubting: could we trust ourselves, we should trust our neighbors; could we trust our neighbors, we should trust the divine law. Then we should know that life is beautiful and true.
Fear is the basis of all discouragement. Only cultivate fearlessness in meeting the trials from without and the weaknesses within, and you cease to be alone. You attain discernment of a grand companionship ever present with you and become aware of the god "that is within you and yet without you," the Everywhere-existing whose voice you may hear, listening for it, in your own spirit, and no less in the murmur of the brooks and in the birds' chorusings. For the mystery in the heart of nature is also the mystery in the heart of man, and the same wonderful powers are in both.
The secret of life is impersonal love. It is impersonality that is our great need today; impersonality wins her secrets from the Mystic Mother. If we dismiss the idea of a personal God and dismiss our own personalities with all their limitations and misgivings; if we carry our minds beyond self into the limitless, our thought into the universal order, and from the inmost recesses of our consciousness regard the universe in its magnificence until, lifted out of ourselves, we recognize within ourselves greater things than ever we have dreamed of, and draw near to inspirations unendingly beautiful and rich; and make question then as to the interpretation of it and the meaning of all these limitless rhythms of law and order that throng the immensity of space — her answer will come back to us. We shall behold the universe as the outgrowth, the expression, of an infinite scheme proceeding from an inmost source beyond our comprehension — the fountain, the center, the unknowable absolute light — flowing out from which, following the plan of evolutionary law, passing through the many lives ordained for our growth towards perfection, we are here to work out the purposes of existence.
Godlike qualities lie sleeping within us, the spiritual things that mark us immortal, for here within the heart is the kingdom of heaven, and the only recompense a man needs is to become aware of his own divinity. It is there, a creative power within us, by whose virtue he who has patience to endure and work shall behold the fruit of his efforts: the human family glorified and brought to the goal his heart tells him may be reached.
An order of life shall yet be established by those who have gone through the schools of experience, birth after birth, round after round, until they have lifted themselves out of the strain and sorrow of the world in order that they might heal the world of its strain and sorrow; and their building will be of a new kind — a type of civilization higher than anything we have read of or imagined. The minds of men will expand in the atmosphere of universal brotherhood till all are orators, geniuses, wonders. Earth will give up its secrets and the stars declare the mighty mystery of their lives. Things of old unheard of will come from the hearts of men; we shall hear the answer to the pleadings of the advance guard.
How many believe it possible to establish the kingdom of heaven upon earth? The majority even of the so-called spiritually-minded carry their thoughts into far spaces when they think of it; yet it is here within the heart: it is in man, it is on earth, and we can come into it because we are part of the universal scheme. The grandeur of creation and all that vast quietude above us, the mysterious sublimity we look out upon, proclaim to us that which no man sees, none regards; and that this earth is the paradise of God, the place of souls or angels, the gate of heaven. Yet we have seen in the flowers and in the stars only that part of them which many have seen, and heard but what many have heard in the winds and in the roaring of the sea. There are millions of lights in heaven we have never caught sight of — there are millions of planets evolving — and wonders in the world around us of which we have never conceived.
Some day humanity will find a way of living more apart in the outer sense in order to come more closely together in the inner. Far from the strained, tied-up condition of our cities we shall be out always in her wide domains with nature, where her morning silences shall assure us of the presence of the divine. We shall walk with God daily and read the mysteries of the eternal in the lights of heaven and the blossoms of the valleys, and in every blade of grass by the roadside and every godlike attribute in man. What noble things we love now, we shall love more; what is beautiful to us now will be much more beautiful; the heights our souls aspire to, that seem now so far beyond hope of attainment, will be ours.
There is no limit to the possible expansion of human life and the growth of the soul — here on this earth which is the paradise of God and the place for souls to love and serve and grow in, working on and on toward the perfection of mankind. Nature is entirely beneficent; the universal laws that have us in their keeping are forever dependable. The god in us is always striving to bring us to that higher life which is lived solely to benefit mankind; the souls of men are calling always to the minds of men to listen, obey and be free.
The soul is not a thing to be set aside and, as it were, locked up for awhile and brought out upon occasions. It is that nobler part of our nature that rises to every situation and meets it with patience and courage — the power that often sweeps into a man's life unawares and carries him out beyond all brain-mind thought into the great broad road of service. It must be given breadth and scope and the large environment it demands.
The knowledge of it comes not in any world-startling or magical way and is not to be purchased save by the surrender of a man's passionate and lustful nature to the god within. It is a knowledge that steals upon us in the quiet of the nighttime and in all our peaceful moments, when we serve our fellows and ask for no reward but the glory that shines through the silence on him who has done his utmost and the peace of mind that is for those who are striving. Through our smallest actions it may enter: when we are at our best and in love with what is truest and noblest; when we are in despair, yet cling to our high ideals and dreams. Something comes home to us and we say, this will of mine is free that but now wavered and was surrounded and oppressed; I can look with perfect trust into tomorrow and into eternity.
It is a knowledge that must be evoked from within: each must earn it through his own efforts. It cannot be conveyed in words — the greatest of seers could not explain it nor the greatest of orators make it clear. Each must find within himself the light and the key, the fire and redemptive stimulation, making his mind free and receptive as the flowers to the sunlight, awaking to the glory of the morning and ascending to the mountain peaks of light.
But let a man seek it for his own sake, and all his efforts will amount to nothing. He must do it for the salvation of the race, aware that there is no separateness on the inner planes, that we are all brothers and our brothers' keepers, and that not until we get real knowledge of the inner self in ourselves can we interpret our other selves, our fellowmen. We must understand the delicate and intricate interaction and functioning of the different parts of our own being before we can claim understanding of the laws of universal life.
At any moment in every life the hour of revelation may be at hand. It requires no epoch or special season, nor the beginning or end of any outer cycle. In regions within ourselves where intellect is not, but imagination has full scope for its greatness, we touch the infinite off and on at all times and stand on the brink of vast possibilities and truths. We can draw upon resources greater than we dream of.
Imagination is not the peculiar property of men of genius and exceptional talent, but a power innate in everyone, that which might help each to find his soul. It is the handmaiden of the god in man and our guide into that kingdom of heaven within, which is the realm of thought where the soul speaks to the heart and mind in the silent places of our lives, in the moments when we verge upon greatness, when an overwhelming consciousness comes in upon us of the universality of the divine life and of the divine possibilities latent in man; when the silences of great nature cry to us tidings of the god in ourselves and we feel the nearness, the companionship, of that which it would be presumption to define, but in whose universal presence we must tinge our thoughts and feelings with a certain solemnity, a mystery and grandeur, before the mirror of this infinite beauty — in the temple of this majesty — standing in an attitude of larger reverence . . . in silence.
In silence we must stand, to gather out of that solemn beauty the joy humanity needs. Much more can be expressed through silence, always, than through speech. The inner life which is music — the overtones and undertones of the universal harmony — is only accessible in the silence. Music lifts for awhile the veil between ourselves and the unseen, the unspoken, the unknowable; but there is a music that cannot be heard, that the heart can feel and the soul realize and the mind reach to, so potent that it is without outward sound.
Before ever man was on earth, nature, dwelling alone in her beauty and secret mysterious power, felt the need of some grander manifestation of divinity and, as it were, cried aloud to the higher law to bring a new power into the world. In answer to her prayer man stepped into the arena of life — man the master, thrilled through and held and controlled by the divine spark, the spiritual center of his being. Then when thus the human soul was first incarnate here, out of its own inmost depths and out of the heart of the deep silences of nature a glorious song arose that swept and echoed through the universe — "The Stars of Morning sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for joy" — the soul of man and the soul of nature singing in harmony. And the song became assimilated with the silence of the stars and the mountains and the murmur of the forests and the seas, and has sung itself down since through all the reaches of time: its magical overtones, heard in our hearts, reminding us of our lost godhood, of our goal which is perfection, and of the unflinching courage proper to us as souls.
Only in the silent and secret recesses of our being can we hear it; only there can truth be fully known. When the outer senses are stilled and self-control takes possession of the mind, listening inwardly, one may hear the deeper notes of the divine melody. It works on inner and quiet lines, touches our consciousness here and there, quickening it to greater sensitivity.
Our outer ears are deaf to it because we have willed them away from hearing. Our minds cannot perceive because with our indifference we have rebuked the higher law and allowed the confused thoughts of the lower man, mean or doubting, to keep us in the shadows. Yet wherever we might be, in the darkest corner of the earth or the most beautiful, were our sense not dulled with the noise of the world we should hear the grand symphony.
Go back in thought to the time of your childhood when the world was beautiful to you, and such appreciation of the fullness of life came over you that your inmost soul told you of its own divine nature, and you felt in your heart the presence of God. You caught the sound, inwardly, of the mighty undertones and overtones then! To all of us such moments of revelation come; and if they pass quickly it is because our thoughts run so in the grooves of self and we hold our minds, which divested of self-satisfaction might become superb factors in the refashioning of human affairs, too often as if each day were eternity and our business in it nothing but to make trouble for ourselves.
As a child in the woods of my father's estate in New England I learned to love the silence. The fragrance of the pines and laurels was the breath of the Great Spirit, the love that brooded over all things. I felt as though I were some winged thing; at unexpected moments a master-power awakening within me filled my brain with pictures that came and went. It spoke to me through the silence of the pines, and when a bird chirped or a small breeze stirred the branches, the sound blended in my thought with infinity and became for me a message from the divinity within.
It all came back when I went up into those same woods again a few years ago. The old beauty was there, and the feeling of the infinite life above and about me and the infinite presence I could trust: God that is all-beauty, the reality behind this world of appearances, the supreme beyond the range of thought "in whom we live and move and have our being." I never was so sure of the greatness of humanity, never so sure of myself, as I was then out under the old pines and oak trees with the sun shining down through the leaves and gleaming between the tree trunks on the Merrimac, until every ripple seemed sacred and a reminder of the warmth and glory of life. I felt through sun and trees and river the immeasurable joy that flows towards us forever through shining nature and her silence.
And then came a pang because humanity will not believe, since it does not hear and see and will not listen for the great song of life, and is shut out from all this sacredness and dwells exiled and oblivious in this radiant universe, its spiritual home, and knows nothing of the inward beauty, the symphonies that are yet unheard — knows nothing of the divinity that thrills through ourselves and all things.
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