The mystic is one who lives ever in the consciousness of his divinity. He senses intuitively the divine life in all things. He sees within the outer, which is fleeting and perishable, an inner which is imperishable and eternal.
He in whom the soul is ever active, ever urging to compassionate thought and deed — he is the true mystic.
The path of the mystic is a secret path, in a sense, and a silent and wonderful path. Yet it is open to all men, and is so simple and so near at hand that many, who long to tread it yet turn away from it, thinking it to be something else.
If the student will accept the primary truths of theosophy, and will seek to live according to them, every page and every line of The Secret Doctrine will have its message for him. But mere book study will avail little; something more than that is required and demanded: the full understanding of the teachings is possible only as the life conforms to those teachings. The true doctrine is secret, hidden; not by the teacher, but in the very nature of the teaching itself, and to gain it, the student must enter by the only door which gives entrance — the living of the life.
The one who seeks to fashion his life accordingly will find himself more than an ephemeral spark of Being; he will come to realize that in very truth he is participant in an immortal drama, dating back for millions of years and stretching forward to heights and depths beyond the wildest dreams of poetic imagination. Yet he must learn too that the goal cannot be gained without effort, and that it depends upon himself to take part consciously in the glorious future that awaits the human race, and that conscious cooperation in the uplifting of the race is essential.
Success does not come without effort, without long and often repeated effort, but the intensity and imposed necessity of the struggle, the very desire to make the effort, show that there is already a living power within the heart that demands and will reward beyond all conception strong and unfaltering service. "Progress," said H.P.B., "is made step by step, and each step gained by heroic effort. Conquered passions, like slain tigers, can no longer turn and rend you. Be hopeful, then, not despairing. With each morning's awakening try to live through the day in harmony with the Higher Self. 'Try' is the battle-cry, taught by the Teachers to each pupil. Naught else is expected of you. One who does his best does all that can be asked.
The difficulty has been and is, that in making his choice between duty and desire, the disciple has ever two roads before him. He can follow after the vanity of vanities, or seek the mystery of mysteries.
The wrong way is miscalled the easy way. In reality it is the hard way. The path of self-conquest, if only we travel as we can and as we should — that is the easy way.
There are many ways by which one can follow the easy road, so called, for temptations are everywhere. But he who is willing to follow the road that leads to the light, the road that enables man, conscious of his divinity, to think correctly, to live in the light, and to follow his ideals regardless of the opinions of men — he is one in ten millions.
New opportunities are before us, new demands are being made, for it is a new time. Open the doors of your nature, then, and admit the waiting powers that are outside. The spirit of love is knocking, and opportunities are before you that are undreamed of in their scope.
Once we attune our minds to the great principles of brotherhood and service, our hearts open, our minds clear, and the new light that we long for will break.
If those who sometimes find themselves in a sea of questionings and confusion would just fall back upon the resources of the soul, what strength and peace would come! The soul is a stranger to us, in a sense, and yet it is absolutely resourceful, and when we move out in thought and effort based on pure and high motives, it has always the means at hand to serve us.
A new energy is being liberated from the center of life. This stream of force, for such it is, is felt at first as a mighty Niagara, rushing forward with such rapidity that it threatens to engulf everything; but as it approaches a climax it spreads out in every direction; its currents circulate over the whole earth, and its influence pervades all things. Nothing can rest still; all things are pushed forward by that great solar energy now being set free. Care should be taken that it is not misdirected, and all personal barriers should be removed before they are ground to powder. This force acts everywhere; the gods are its ministrants. There is no need to retire to the woods for the inspiration which it gives, for where the needs of humanity are greatest the presence of the Helpers can be felt most.
We need today a larger faith and trust, and in this we find ourselves living in a condition where everything is possible; where everything we touch will blossom forth and bear gladness and joy to others. Receiving ourselves unstintedly, ungrudgingly, of that large and ample life which animates everything throughout universal space, we shall give freely with open hearts, so that no impoverished life shall ever flow from us.
Many who have reached a certain point sometimes wish to have full explanations given to them so that in some way they may derive personal benefit from the knowledge; but without the stimulus of effort, without trust, without faith, nothing is possible. We go to sleep with full faith that we will arise the next morning. We sow a seed with full faith that nature will perform her part, and the seed spring up and bear fruit.
The great trouble with the human race is that its members do not rightly value the imagination with which they are blessed. It is imagination, recognized as a liberating power, that produces the gems of poetry and art which we so much admire, and it is the mind properly guided by this power which will elevate us all.
I do not believe in miracles, but I hold that the imagination has a wonderful and creative power. I hold that if we let it soar in the world of spiritual and creative thought — and are not afraid to let it soar — it can create what truly seem to be miraculous things.
Yet the imagination, like all things, is dual. Along lower lines it is as disintegrative in its power as it is creative and constructive on higher lines.
Visualize! Visualize! You touch a mystic law when you create in imagination the picture of mighty things, for you open a door to new powers within yourself. Something in the way of potent energies is awakened and called into life and strength both without you and within. If you aspire, visualize your aspirations. Make a mind-picture of your spiritual ideals, a picture of the spiritual life as you know it to be, and carry that picture with you day by day. Cherish it as a companion. Carry it with you for breakfast, dinner and supper, and before you know it a new life has been born. Before you know it the ideal has become the real and you have taken your place as a creator, truly, in the great, divine scheme of life.
The power of silence! It is in the silence that we shall find the key, if we choose to search for it, that will open books of revelation in our natures. We shall find there a strength that has never been ours before and that never could be until we sought this path. We shall find there the peace that passeth understanding. It may not come in a moment, nor in accord with puny wishes and desires, but if the motive is unselfish, it will come.
It steals into the life, into the heart and mind, like the grandest symphonies in music. It carries you above and out of and beyond your difficulties and your trials, and prepares you for the real life. The silence! The one touch of silent prayer!
When a man in the silence becomes conscious of his own divine nature, he realizes if only for a moment that he is different from what he seems. He begins to feel that he is a god; he begins to let the imagination pulse through his heart, telling him of mighty things beyond ordinary comprehension, to feel something of his duty to humanity. This is discipline.
Discipline comes in many ways, but theosophy shows one how a man, without help of book or creature, may yet find his own inner power, be no longer a mere potentiality. He will dig into the depths of his being that he may find wisdom. He will discover within himself a new quality of intuition and, at last, when touched by the 'feel' of this diviner life, the power of self-discipline will come to him, and he can stand and say: I know!
The more we are united in the silence in the attempt at self-purification, the nearer we are to the light. Never can we lose sight of the light, never of our obligations or our divinity, if we are to realize the sacredness of our calling. There is so much in these few words: the sacredness of one's calling!
There is something growing in our hearts and in our daily lives that cannot be described, that can only be felt. But once felt, deeply, profoundly, we are then moving along the true path. We are rarefying the air; we are sanctifying life.
Let us not forget that we are working together for the purpose of serving humanity and bringing to it the knowledge that it needs; that this is not a commercial effort, nor simply an ordinary educational effort, but that it is a spiritual effort in the highest sense; and for that reason we must be spiritually endowed with those qualities that make for true nobility.
I echo the words of my predecessor, William Quan Judge: "There is no idleness for the Mystic. He finds his daily life among the roughest and hardest of the labors and trials of the world perhaps, but goes his way with smiling face and joyful heart, nor grows too sensitive for association with his fellows, nor so extremely spiritual as to forget that some other body is perhaps hungering for food."
For we are one in essence; there is the interblending of forces so delicate, so subtle, that they cannot be perceived on this plane, yet they are ever at work, making or marring the destiny of a soul.
There is self-destruction, even on physical lines, in carrying an atmosphere of wrong thought. We have it in our power not only to build our bodies into health, but to retain that health very much longer than the allotted threescore years and ten. I hold it a duty to work towards this end, by right thinking and abstemious and thoughtful living. Moreover, in such an effort, if it is made unselfishly, we can positively temper our bodies, much as metal can be tempered, so that they are unaffected by things that would put a strain upon them ordinarily.
You must take time for self-analysis. There must be time for the calm, reflective attitude of mind. Study the conditions surrounding you, the motives that actuate you in this or that effort or work, and determine with absolute honesty whether they are selfish, unselfish, or mixed. This will be an uplifting, a clarifying process, for the conscience is at work. It is a confession, really, to the higher self, the divinity within you.
You invoke in such an effort the magic power latent in the silences of life. False ideas are gradually eliminated under such a process, and true ones find their way in. Things once deemed necessary to the personal life become no longer so; and in thus moving out into a larger field of thought and aspiration you move towards self-adjustment.
In such thought you eliminate your weaknesses, and you learn also one great truth, a truth accentuated by the Nazarene: that you cannot serve two masters. You cannot move in opposite directions at one and the same time; you cannot ride two horses at once; and those who try it are certain to find themselves, sooner or later, arriving nowhere and more than likely trampled under the feet of both.
Think on these things in the silence; and remember that when a selfish or personal thought creeps in during silence, the door is shut and the light cannot find its place; the soul is barred, and the day will bring little to you that will satisfy the better side of your nature.
In the true condition of mind and heart there arises a sweet peace, which does not descend upon us from above, for we are in the midst of it. It is not like the sunshine, for no transitory clouds obscure its rays, but it is permanent and ever-abiding through all the days and years. Nothing can move us when this condition is reached.
We have but to take the first step in the true spirit of brotherliness, and all other steps will follow in natural sequence. We have to be warriors and fight the old fight unceasingly, but leagued with us in this ancient fight are all the hosts of light. Behind man, back of all things, broods the eternal spirit of compassion.
Humanity has long wandered through the dark valley of bitter experiences; but the mountain heights are again seen, suffused with the glow of dawn and the promise of a new Golden Age a pathway is once more shown to that realm where the gods abide.
See the gates of life and peace standing open before you, if you have but faith and trust to enter in. But none can enter alone; each must bring with him the sad and sorrowing. None can cross the threshold alone, but must help to bear the burdens of the overburdened, must aid the feeble steps of those who are discouraged, must support those who are bowed down with sin and despair; and as he sends out the radiation of that joy and strength which he receives from his own aspirations and devotion to the higher self, joy and strength and power shall enter into the lives of these others, and together they shall pass through into Life.
A vow is an action rising like a star high above the level of the common deeds of life. It is a witness that the outer man has at that moment realized its union with the inner, and the purpose of its existence, registering a great resolve to become one with the Father in Heaven.
At that moment the radiant path of light is seen with the eye of pure vision, the disciple is reborn, the old life is left behind, he enters a new way. For a moment he feels the touch of a guiding hand ever stretched out to him from the inner chamber. For a moment his ear catches the harmonies of the soul.
All this and more is the experience of those who make this vow with their whole hearts, and as they constantly renew it, and constantly renew their endeavor, the harmonies come again and again, and the clear path is once more beheld.
They carry the inspiration into outer life, and energize with it their common duties, high and low: gain from it strength for self-sacrifice, and thus bringing the inner into the outer, pouring forth in deeds that wine of divine life of which they have learned to partake, they achieve, little by little, the harmony of perfect life. Each effort carves the path of the next, and in no long time one single moment's silence will bring forth to the disciple's aid the strength of his soul.
Think of nature in her splendor and her glory, her supreme, divine willingness to serve, of how she stands in the silence, urging us to the better things of life! Then think of music — of how it steals into our souls and our lives, bringing us, if only for a moment, into a unity and concord of spirit such as are rarely found. Could we hold the feeling born of such experiences, could we carry their inspiration with us from morning to night, from night to morning, in our duties, our struggles, our sorrows, our battles in the great arena of life — joy would indeed abide with us, even with suffering as our lot.
Nature is so beneficent, so ready to heal and bless. When the pressure of cares and trials is almost too great to be borne and I feel the need of help in finding a larger patience, I go to nature, and there I find it again and again. She is the mystic mother of us all.
You cannot observe nature without realizing that there is within and behind the outer an inner, a center of mystic life. In her more beautiful aspects she has attained to something which humanity lacks. And yet when the human touch is given there is a response: the flower that is nurtured by man's hand becomes a more beautiful flower, because there is a spiritual unity in the efforts of man and nature, working together. One whose heart is touched with the love of these things is growing spiritually and someday will find the great, the profounder, meaning of life.
Every time the wind blows it is singing you a song of the gods. Every time a flower blossoms it is bringing you a message from the higher law. Every time you hear the ocean as it beats against the shore and recedes in musical rhythm, it is speaking to your soul — a voice from nature, verily a voice from God. The magnitude, the grandeur of these things, the possibilities folded within them — these can truly be sensed only in the silence.
But alas! we do not pause; we will not listen to the inner voice that is ever calling us to the better things of life. We have no time — or so we think; we are in the whirl and nightmare of delusion. The glory of the higher law is little perceived by the multitude; the grandeur of nature is not felt as it might be, nor is music, nor the diviner silent harmonies of our own higher selves. We are hidebound in our prejudices and misconceptions, and — let me say it plainly — in our ignorance. So that in spite of the royal, divine light within us, we are in the shadows and we cannot find our way.
When I look out over the world and see humanity with its unbrotherliness and despair, if it were not for the birds and flowers, the trees and the blue overhead, I could not bear the picture: I should lose heart. But between mankind and nature a mystic alliance exists, and this, once recognized and acknowledged, becomes a redemptive power.
Every day has its brightness, its bloom, its color, every day is the happiest I ever lived. There is no thought of yesterday or tomorrow, only the joy of living today the happiness of the passing moment, the unity of all life and the noble plan of life universal. I see on one side forces of darkness, on the other those of light, but I do not dwell on the dark side. I turn my eyes to greet the rising sun.
A new hope is dawning on humanity. This hope is the mainspring of progression and the evidence of it can be seen everywhere; the great heart of nature pulsates with joy, as it did in the days preceding the dawn of the dark age. Men and women who have so long borne the heavy burden of life, whose hearts have been well-nigh broken by the weight of many sorrows, feel the new joy awakened by the great symphonies of harmony which are now being sounded. It is felt in the heart of man and gives rise to constant aspiration; it is the quality which makes him great.
The golden light is shining; the herald of the morning proclaims the message of love anew; the ripples of the waves on the seashore lisp the glad song; the breeze bears it on its bosom; the tints of the flowers convey it; it shines forth from the stars in their sparkling brilliance., the great blue dome above suggests it; the birds warble it forth from every tree, the newborn babe is a complete revelation of it; the eyes of the loved ones passing into the great beyond impart the strength and courage of that great hope, and point to a future day when they shall return again to carry on their work. For hope incarnates from age to age, and where hope dwells, beauty and love abide for ever.
The Law is immutable and Love is eternal.
Yet, as in every advance that nature makes, as the cycles in their wheeling course come round, there are some who lag behind and lose sight of their heritage, blinded by the desire for personal gain, by ambition and love of power; so that today there are some who refuse the opportunity that for ages their souls have waited for. The cycles have brought them and ourselves to the point of former achievement and former failure. We and they have met in the past as in this life, and shall meet again in the future, and by our action today we are forging the links that shall help or mar their progress, as well as our own and that of all humanity, in the future.
But the crucial point of the cycle is past; the fiercest ordeal is over; no powers in heaven or hell can longer stay the onward progress of humanity. The hosts of light are already victorious.