In these days, when the conversation turns almost invariably to discussions relative to war and its accompaniments, how may the Theosophist best preserve his own inner peace, and direct the thought currents that whirl about him?
We cannot begin to do this effectively until we, each one of us, has set his own, and no one else's house in order. The old adage, "Example is better than precept," may be trite, but it is also true. Others may listen, temporarily impressed by our Theosophic ideals, but they will also, even while acknowledging their beauty, almost subconsciously question — "Has this man — this woman, got what he or she claims to have — a guiding light which controls and beautifies the life of the recipient?"
Having attended to our own duties in this matter, it is essential to preserve harmony about us, to avoid and discourage destructive criticism of others, to be positive in our attitude to life and its lessons.
In these days of strain and danger to the physical and mental apparatus, often thrown out of gear, concentration tends to become difficult; emotion, whether of fear, anxiety, or grief threatens to usurp the will. At such a time it may be useful to recall the words of someone who has had experience of life's trials and dangers, and hold them in the mind, even repeating them, mantra fashion. You know the sort of thing — each will have some particular favorite, something appropriate to the moment. There are so many in our own Theosophical literature, that it is hardly necessary to quote any. But as an antidote to depression I have often found W. Q. Judge's words invaluable:
I could never let the least fear or despair come before me, but if I cannot see the road nor the goal for the fog, I would simply sit down and wait; I would not allow the fog to make me think no road was there, and that I was not to pass it. The fog must lift.
Do you know Bunyan's song from The Pilgrim's Progress — "Who would true valor see"? Every line of it inspires courage, steadfastness. I like the bit:
No goblin nor foul fiend shall daunt his spirit,
He knows he at the end, shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away, he'll not fear what men say,
He'll labour night and day, to be a pilgrim.
When the siren goes, when the bombs begin to fall, such memorized lines may spring to the mind, and may help to recall to us the fact that we are pilgrims whose job is to be undeterred and undaunted by anything that Karman may demand that we should face.
Such lines act as a trumpet-call to the spirit, a summons to the Warrior within, who will not fail to answer the call.
And while life in human form gives us the chance, let us not belittle the value of human sympathy and encouragement. This does not mean a putting of the lower before the Higher Self. We have to reveal our divinity in our humanity, as Jesus the Avatara did. Do not let us forget the letter that heartens, the greeting and commendation that warms. And do not let us neglect, in these days of over-taxed limbs and minds, the Theosophical Lodge meetings. If we make the effort, neglecting no duties, we shall derive new strength from such meetings; and too we shall radiate on those invisible and intangible lines of communication, the Force which works for good, for harmony, for the spread of Truth and right understanding. We shall be allying ourselves consciously and surely with the Cosmic Builders to defeat the Powers of Destruction
1. Reprinted from Y Fforwtn Theosofaidd, May-June, 1941. (return to text)