The Path – October 1894


Every new mind is a new classification. Every incarnate soul presents us with a new aspect of that Self by reason of which we exist. Yet here is one who has in fact, if not in theory, set around himself a barrier. Within it certain of his fellows have been honored with admission. From them he can learn; others he can only teach. Perhaps those so highly favored are students of older date than he himself; perhaps they are scholars of recognized achievements. What indeed is to be learned from one who cannot even talk good English? Another, hearing that "within oneself the key to the mystery lies hidden", delves within his own mind in search of its secret workings. He is enough for himself, he thinks. He will expound to those unhappy seekers after the objective as much of what he has discovered as they can understand. He has not learned their language; but then how could he? Yet a third will study Nature, will roam the fields, will watch the lilies grow, will listen to the music of the wind as it croons amidst the trees. Man, he says, has become diseased, and is no longer a natural growth, but one of Nature's great mistakes. Or perhaps The Ancients alone were possessed of the occult truth. Nothing worth the hearing or the reading has been written for some two thousand years. This age is matter-sodden; the spirit has gone out of it. Then he buries himself in musty volumes of a bygone age, seeking in them the Light of lights.

Barriers all. Why such false limits to the unlimited? Is not the Self in our midst today as yesterday and forever? Is not man, corrupt or incorrupt, Its chief expression, Its long-worn vesture? And if one could judge of a city by one inhabitant, it could only be after many travels through many lands and with a perfect knowledge of race and type and history.

Wise indeed is he who finds his teacher everywhere. In stone and star and scroll, in man and child, in the present and the past — in boundless Nature. Who would exile Life from any point in space? Is there an atom that is not conscious? And is there not Motion and that which moves, both in ourselves and everywhere without? The fall of a leaf, the chance word of friend or foe — both show us the workings of forces which as the agents of law might help in the downfall of nations.

We must interpret other minds by ours; but we must learn to understand our own by those around us. Mind is something more than our own mind. Only a fool in his pride will think that that man at any rate can teach him nothing. There is naught existing from which we have not much to learn. Nor need we make such haste to teach. Many, like live volcanoes, perpetually pour forth a stream of smothering verbiage; not waiting to be asked, seeking but an ear into which to turn their surplus energy. Their word must be heard. Of ignorance in themselves they rarely have time to think. An answer is always ready, though not of necessity correct.

Yet it is possible to teach by proper learning. If we seek in all things their lesson, we give whilst we receive. We admit no barriers; we turn to each and all and listen, looking for the Self. It speaks. The poorest, meaning thing on earth knows something we do not know. By causing its expression, by receiving in humility some simple fact, some glimpse of truth, we teach. Whether it be from man or beast or mineral, we give strength to its inner life. We have called forth that which lay hidden; we have helped in the birth of a thought.

The true learner is a teacher of wisdom. All that he takes he bestows; all that he gives is returned to him with increase. But this give and take is not his doing; it is the movement of that Law upon which he waits.

We have but one tireless Friend, who, though forsaken, forsaketh not; who, throughout long neglect, standeth at hand, waiting but a call to lighten our hearts of their burdens. His memory doth not fail. When thy friends abandon thee, when they ask of thee a price for their friendship thou canst not pay, this Friend stands as forever unshaken and ready. Yet, oh my brother, if in thy loneliness thou turnest to the faithful One, forget not that he standeth also by those who do not stand by thee. Behind them he is hidden. Then turn not thy face from their sight, lest thou shouldst lose the vision of this thy Comforter and Companion. His homes are not numbered. He answereth thy cry from strange places, though thou callest him from out the chamber of thy heart.

The Path