No human being is without trouble of some kind, and let us remember that it is the sorrows and the troubles of life which are our true friends — friends because they strengthen our character, they give us a feeling of sympathy with those who suffer and are in pain; and also they enable us, by the strength of the moral fiber that they build in to us, to carry our own burdens with a lighter and a more joyous heart; so that in time, when the suffering has wrought its magical work upon us, the suffering no longer seems to us to be suffering, but we see it with quiet and luminous eyes, and a glad heart, as being the mysterious working of the very gods.
It is through suffering and yearning for light that we advance; and, when the light comes, then also come the great peace and the great wisdom, and our hearts are at rest.
So keep these thoughts in mind when your troubles come upon you, and try to cultivate beautiful calm, sweet inner peace, and a love for your fellows; and you will discover that these bring happiness and success in all things worth while.
Remember that the karman of suffering is never eternal, and is usually short, although it may seem long at the time; and once this karman has worked itself out, exhausted itself, then it ends, and gives birth to a new and better cycle. — G. de P. (extract from a letter to one in time of sorrow).
Now, I will try to answer your question regarding your lack of time to make a regular study of our deeper Theosophical teachings. I know just what your situation is, and I know how you long to devote more time to getting a knowledge of technical Theosophy. This indeed is very, very, very important; but, on the other hand, may I not point out to you that even greater and even nobler than having a knowledge of technical Theosophy is the devoting of one's life to our Masters" Cause, and this is what you are doing. This latter makes a karman even nobler than the spending of one's life in study of technical Theosophy, although that is important too.
Your situation reminds me of that of some chelas whose hearts yearn to pass more time in technical study of the Wisdom of the gods, but who are called upon by our Superiors to sacrifice their wish and to go forth into the world as messengers and envoys in order to give to others what they have already acquired. Don't you see that your case is somewhat like that of these chelas I speak of, who, in giving up their own heart's wish for more light, are growing spiritually, and actually gaining more interiorly than they would gain if they neglected a duty laid upon them by our Teachers?
Therefore take comfort in this thought. You are progressing spiritually and intellectually. You are also growing morally because you are living a noble life in service to our sacred Cause, giving all you can without thought of reward; and the Masters ask no more than this even from their highest disciples.
Therefore, do not feel sad, and do not be discouraged. You have asked for my frank opinion, and for my advice, and I am now giving these to you; and I tell you again that you are growing spiritually and intellectually faster in what you are now doing than you would if you sat down somewhere alone in luxurious ease and devoted your life to study for yourself alone. Remember that the chela's path begins in self-sacrifice for the world, and ends in self-sacrifice for the world — if indeed there be an ending, which is not the case. It is thus that the great Masters of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace are evolved. It is thus that the Buddhas are developed.
Nevertheless, technical study is very, very important, and I am so glad that you speak of this so frequently, because it shows that you have the exactly right view. But I know too that you are gaining a great deal of technical knowledge just by throwing yourself so whole-heartedly into the Theosophical work. You are absorbing it without perhaps realizing it. You are imbibing it from the Theosophical atmosphere; and all that I have read that you have written shows me that you are gaining a great deal of the technical understanding. It is an actual truth of white magic, that a man learns more by self-forgetful service in our Cause, than he does by thinking only of his own advancement and devoting his whole time to merely personal development. The latter, after all, and in the last analysis, is selfish, and closes the doors of both heart and mind to the entrance of the spiritual light; and therefore, although the desire for self-progress is de facto a noble one, yet when it is followed selfishly, the selfish desire actually prevents the attainment of the objective which such a man longs for. You have nothing to fear in this respect. Your life of beautiful service in our sacred Cause is placing you in a position spiritually and intellectually where you are really learning more, as I have said, perhaps without realizing it now, than you could in any other wise. I am well satisfied with your work. — G. de P. (extracts from a letter to a student who, in his devoted service, found but little time for Theosophical study).
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