The present generation, especially the youth of our time, is not without an earnest longing for spiritualization and the development of the divine forces in man. They attempt to reach this goal in many ways, but only a few succeed.
Why is spiritual attainment limited to the few? Is it so difficult to liberate ourselves from worldly desires to which the human soul is only too ready to yield? Or is it so hard to discover at all that we must free ourselves from worldly bonds in order to give birth and life to the divine forces within us?
The human mind is continuously disturbed by numberless forms of perception and thought, and the average man, being the helpless object of conflicting sensations, represents a labyrinth of unrest to the eye of the Enlightened, or to him who has considerably advanced on the road to higher knowledge. With many of our generation this inner unrest has already come to be a permanent condition, in which, without interruption, the vibrations of thought and perception mechanically revolve, just as in a vicious circle. There are but very few who have attained true inner balance.
Indeed, the most essential aim of our evolution should be this: To create in ourselves a divine center of rest, which stands immune to any change of conditions. Only after this has been achieved will the waves of emotion no longer be able to wash us away and cause us to perish. Only then "all things work together for the good," even if the greatest afflictions befall us.
In order to acquire the highest good we must, however, follow the road untiringly until the goal is reached.
Master Ekkehart says: "Do away with everything within you that is not from God, and only God will remain."
The more divine life increases in us the more earth-bound life decreases and loses its influence upon our soul. The eternal overcomes the temporal; the incorruptible the corruptible, which can no longer blind us or lead us astray. Doubts and worries cannot befall us, since the inner road has been unmistakably made known to us.
How can man ever overcome the obstacles on this burdensome road? Certainly, for the restless man of today it is difficult enough even to commence this change, this conscious turning away from the road hitherto pursued but now conceived as erroneous, and to do it so as not to grow fatigued in the presence of opposing conditions. It is often the wrong beginning that leads to defeat and despair.
Many of the present-day so-called esoteric schools point out to their disciples ways and means which necessarily cause aberration and failure. Most of the teachers of such schools consider, as the principal aim, the unfolding of the astral forces and medial abilities. This is a great mistake, involving serious danger. I have met many victims of those methods. The astral senses as well as the medial abilities, are, as a rule, much easier to awaken than those teachers believe. They forget, or do not take into consideration, that no one will successfully encounter this strange and transcendental world, unless he has first inwardly experienced these divine forces and already is in the process of developing them by daily struggle. The unawakened ones, restless in themselves, might become a mere tool of such forces and often end in religious mania, mediumship, and frenzy. Therefore, a certain theoretical study of the astral plane ought to be recommended only as far as it enables the student to distinguish between high and low, eternal and temporal. Exercises in meditation and concentration are useful only for the purpose of relaxing from worldly unrest and sinking into the divine.
It is also dangerous to repress our desires, if this be practicable at all. One is, indeed, well justified in warning against an exaggerated ascetic life and in emphasizing an organic spiritualization by means of ascetic practices and exercises.
Therefore, my advice is to try to regain "the innocence of the senses!" Indeed, we should strive for this innocence, which original man enjoyed, but lost in his "fall'. Feeling our way in awe we should proceed step by step, leaving behind us all that we, conscious of our guilt, recognise as impure and worthless.
Even this gradual process of purification will not be painless, but will require the entire strength of our mind and soul. Therefore steady concentration is a thing needed in this divine training. Yet this concentration must have its primary motif in relaxing into the divine. Only through this unfoldment the divine ray of inspiration will shine into the cloudless soul, just as the rays of the sun can reach us only through an open, unclouded sky. From inspiration will arise enthusiasm and inexhaustible perseverance, making us capable of concentrating on the highest goal. The awakened soul, then, sets its own problems with a fine, purified instinct — that is "with the innocence of the senses" — in accordance with its respective ability of achievement.
Even worldly activity will thus become a divine service. This course will be pursued unswervingly. Gradually the difference between working days and holidays ceases, because our entire life is filled with holy work in accordance with the divine will. Therefore, we should first learn: Placid devotion to divine inspiration — and then only can we will, work, and achieve. All this, however, must not be selfish in purpose — not motivated by ambition or graft or "the struggle for power."
The clearest way to purify and deepen Self consists in serving humanity. Selfless work of love is impossible without sacrifice and, therefore, represents the most powerful process of purification. To teach means more and more to delve into the Divine Being, and thus to draw more liberally from the fountain of life. Everyone may become a giver, if he does not cease striving for it. All those who understand that their co-operation is a necessity will attain the great patience of those who know that they are indispensable.
This patience is the foundation of love, warmth, and enthusiasm. Love and enthusiasm are inner gifts, the reward of faithful and patient service rendered to mankind. They resemble the holy flame which consumes all that is impure. Those who are filled with this spirit will not easily be depressed. They feel satisfied, raised to a higher existence, yes, actually redeemed. All external work develops into conscious inner activity. The end is no longer in the outer world; we search and find it in ourselves. If we strive whole-heartedly for these things we can lay the foundation for a truly spiritual life.