The Theosophical Forum – February 1938


Psychoanalysts tell us that when a man is hugely arrogant, and treats his fellows with contempt, it is generally because lurking in his soul is a conviction that he is inferior to the run of humanity; that he must always be asserting himself outwardly as a kind of anodyne for the gnawing of that grief and shame within. The cure for such complexes, they say, is to lay bare the root of the trouble: a long and probably costly business. The cure, however, is much simpler and costs nothing. It is Theosophy: the study of Theosophy and the application of Theosophy in life.

All these complexes, and everything else that can trouble us, inhere in the personal self and the mysterious region that lies between it and the physical body. That region is broadly mapped out as consisting of the Astral Body, nearest to the physical and the model on which the latter is built; the Life-principle; and the Animal Soul, the seat of the passions and desires: these three form the vehicle of the Personal Self.

Now this bunch of four principles or elements, including the personal self and leaving out the physical body, is no Mahomet's coffin hanging in mid air unrooted and unattached. Although essentially unreal and illusory, it could not exist at all, or appear to exist except as the result of something Real. It is an appearance; but like every other appearance, it is caused by a Reality. The mirage you see in the desert is not there; but you would not see it there unless there were real lakes and forests somewhere for the desert atmosphere to reflect.

If you want to know what the personal self, the thing you call "I myself is, and how unreal it is, take the small-tooth comb of thought and examination to it, and try to find in that shifting phantasmagoria of likes and dislikes, memories and anticipations, the Central Thing that is essentially your Self. A little of this practice will convince you that it is not to be found there: that the thing you thought was yourself, and a real entity, is very well symbolized by a mirage; or that it is something like the play of colored lights on a screen they sometimes show at a cinema: flashing and shifting and changing, and nothing there really: the screen is a blank really. But there is a cause for that illusion; and there is a cause in the Realms of Reality for this illusion we think to be ourselves.

We can get clues as to what that cause in the Realms of Reality is: first, in our power to think, to reason, to probe for the meaning of things and judge, by what we know, of the nature of what is beyond our present knowledge: when we do this, our minds take shape and order somewhat; they begin to become less unstable, less shifting, unreal and illusory. But a man, merely by taking thought, cannot really add a cubit to his inward stature; something greater than thought is needed to illumine it and bring it to life; and that greater thing is Impersonal Love. Entering upon the exercise of the power to give out this, which we do possess: it is part of the human make-up: we come into a region where all things, all beings, all the Universe, is One; into a place in ourselves which is utterly calm and stable and joyous; and this gives us an indication of the Reality of Things: it tells us where the Real Self is to be found; and that it is the Self of our Universe.

In the personal self are the delusions and complexes; but there are no delusions or complexes in the Real Self, nor in any of the degrees of our being that are above the personal. Begin to think, and you are out of the region of the complexes. But you cannot rest there; you are not safe there, but must go farther: it is not thought alone that can carry you into the Realm of Reality. To reach that, Love is the wings on which you must soar. Stop regarding anybody as a nuisance, or as an inferior, or as an enemy; regard everyone as your most intimate self: your God-Self, that your whole business in life is to lure and coax and persuade and valiantly assist into manifestation. See in the personal self of the man who distresses you most, something to be revered and treated very tenderly, with inexhaustible kindness and patience; because that personal self is not what it seems to be, but verily the temple of the Holy Ghost, of the God-Self of yourself and the Universe. This practice takes you and keeps you out of the dominion of the complexes; it is the faith that makes you whole.

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