Copyright © 1996 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
The whole of humanity needs a new spiritual awakening. Knowledge of the great, splendid, inspiring, and eternal life of the soul is not yet ours, for if it were we would meet life with a new cheer, a new trust, a new hope, and a new love. We would have the key to our problems, we would be climbing the mountains, we would be living in the eternal and yet doing our full part here. We would be loving as we have never loved before, understanding as we have never understood before; we would be drawing all our thoughts out of our inward, spiritual natures, out of our aspirations. If we were to do this, the glory of the great universal law would shine in our hearts with every breath that we drew. Then we should clearly understand that this one lifetime is but one schooltime in our many lives.
When will the time come, when men will awaken? Only a very few here and there are boldly seeking the light. Half the good people in the world meet timidly the larger truths that are coming to humanity. Go out into the gardens of nature, away from the reach of men, and there find yourself, there talk to your God — or do it alone in the silence of your own nature, sounding the depths of your own soul — and you can never tell how soon the light will come to you.
The awakening must come through suffering if people are not ready to reach out and receive the light spontaneously, trustingly, lovingly, hopefully. You may read the best books and have the most learned teachers, but you never can get the real secrets of life that are at hand for each until you have found them within yourselves. Then there will be a new spiritual awakening in you, and you can answer humanity's cry for help. Through catching a glimpse of the soul's possibilities, everything will change. A wonderful soul-dignity will arise among men.
Let each man believe more in his own possibilities, hugging closely all that is true and beautiful and leaving behind him all his mistakes, setting aside his prejudices and stretching his mind out into the eternal things, realizing that this earth-life is necessary in a sense, but only so far as he concerns himself with his needs and not with his wants. If we could give one half as much time to our spiritual selves as we do to some of the nonessentials in our daily lives, we could make the world over. We have not to look to anything external for the help that we hunger for, we are to find it within ourselves, each one according to his own evolution.
Science fails by being too much materialized, and religion as it has been taught for so long fails for the same reason. We are not placed on this earth to be parrots or babies. We are here to redeem ourselves, to take our opportunities for self-directed evolution. There is nothing more terrible than to see so many splendid people just drifting about, accepting so-and-so simply because their grandfathers did. That is why I say that human life is a terrible tragedy, for the reason that the divine laws or the laws of nature are not understood. Life is not made beautiful, the real depth and glory of everyday life is not known because more time is spent in the material things than in the spiritual. When we can fashion love and justice into our lives and build a great new hope through the teaching of reincarnation, of more and more experiences so that we may continue to grow, then comes real independence of soul, then comes that wonderful spiritual awakening which is the keynote for the New Year.
I believe that when our children are born, or reincarnated, they are ready for the awakening, for the revelation of revelations in themselves. They might teach the elders when they come, but they are not given half a chance. Are they not tied down with customs and habits and set plans and the old limited idea of just one earth-life? What does the boy or girl have in the growing time to attach himself or herself to that has the basic spiritual life in it? And after a while they move into the psychological nightmare of half-dreaming and half-living instead of fully living.
When the material life is well understood and lived truly with an understanding of the spiritual life, we will not have to spend our time studying from books who and what we are: we will find inside our own natures a wonderful poem of life, a wonderful revelation. It may not come in a moment or in a day. It is something indescribable. Think of the spirit of universal brotherhood ripening the heart of humanity. All the difficulties that confront us would be surmounted. Sickness, disease, sudden death, and all the unnatural horrors of the world were never intended for us. They are the result of the misuse of knowledge or of the lack of knowledge.
But the divine glory of having a knowledge of life that is all-loving and all-powerful, in the belief that not one is lost, that self-directed evolution is the plan that we are a part of, each one moving according to his evolution and the ultimate goal the ever-expanding perfectibility of man! We will not presume to insult the divine laws by expressing an opinion as to when that will be. But it will come through the spiritual awakening of our higher natures, which are indestructible and eternal. A very few people can do tremendous things when their minds are rightly attuned to the needs of the hour. The divine laws of life are the factors that we must appeal to — we have enough of the world's pressures, of vice, of sin, of crime, of disharmony.
The world is filled with a tremendous amount of brain-power, great intellectual energy, and in some directions superb efforts for the advancement of the human race. But there is still something woefully lacking. While it is true that man is a thinker and that some men do much thinking, still we do not think deeply enough and so we do not comprehend the strength, the beauty, the grandeur, and the potency of man once he has raised his consciousness to a higher state. There is no limit to the possibilities of man's growth. As yet we are all as little children on the by-paths of life, often discouraged and then again renewing our courage. We have much to lead us astray, but the light shineth within. Every man has his own light, his own strength, his own ability, and his own opportunities if he will but grasp them. Instead of looking outwards or to others for a knowledge of the divine wisdom, look within — that is the place. Men must be led kindly to this spiritual awakening.
There is something tremendously fine in man when considered as a whole. His possibilities for future development are magnificent. But if one has no faith in anything outside of his thinking qualities, he can have no adequate idea of his own strength of character or of the possibilities of his life. He cannot get these until he has discovered within himself those spiritual qualities which come from his highest yearnings — the spiritual awakening. Sometimes it comes through sorrow and misery, sometimes much thinking and much questioning bring it, sometimes it overwhelms him like a revelation and takes him out of the common way of thinking into a new world of creative ideas. He awakens and finds who he is and why he is here. He commences to see that there are wonderful divine forces playing through human life all the time — visible and invisible.
Certainly whatever that source is that fashions this wonderful scheme of the universe, whatever that center of light or energy is that developed and brought us where we are, it has the power to explain the mystery of our lives, to tell us who we are, why we are here, whence we came, and that all knowledge is at our command if we seek it.
Theosophy teaches that man is essentially divine in nature and that the part of him which is not divine is what worries him, frets him, keeps him discouraged and down in the shadows, and creates all disharmony. That is not his higher nature; and he cannot live in his higher nature if he does not make room for it and make for it the right atmosphere. We have scarcely begun to think yet. We touch the fringe of great truths, but it takes human hands and human hearts to bring these truths closer to our understanding.
If our journey through life can be so solidly true that every note in thought and act is pure and every motive unselfish, then we shall be able to hear some of the undertones and overtones of the great harmonies of life: we shall have our spiritual awakening. These things are possible. Then there will come stealing into our natures, into our hearts, our heads, and our intentions, a larger charity for those who err, a new quality of tender compassion that will make us forgive our enemies. We will close our eyes at night knowing that something quite new and all our own has been born of our thought and our will power — not from our criticism, our intellectual harshness and severity, but from the softness, the tenderness, and the gentleness of our own hearts.
Think of the fear that people carry through life — the fear of death, of suffering, of poverty. Fear consumes a great deal of man's brain-oil and dissipates much of his energy and power. Once man's consciousness of his own essential divinity is aroused, it is like a new circulation of the blood: it makes new life, it gives new vision, it creates new hope, it can and does reflect itself onto the physical body.
What man needs more than anything else is balance. Unless man is a bump of walking egoism that nobody could endure, he knows in his striving and in his yearning that there is something more waiting for him, that there is something he should have had which he has not had. It takes so few to do grand and magnificent things when they are united. Many men do well, but they do not do well enough. Many men think, but they do not think deeply enough. Men have not faith enough in themselves to bring themselves to the point of challenge and self-analysis.
With this awakening to new and better things come revelations so sacred that no words can describe them. A man with full confidence and consciousness of his own essential divinity, though he may not have a dollar or a friend, yet has one of the treasures that every man must possess before he can reach a point of understanding and knowing his God or himself.
Death according to theosophy is rebirth. Understanding this we should not be ready to hold our loved ones with us when they must go. We should not hold them with regrets and tears and selfish grief. We should put these aches and pains aside and forget them, and thus help our loved ones to their freedom and their release from the body the soul has been struggling in. When you can think of death in this way it is a revelation. You can smile while the tears are bursting through your heart.
Move away from the psychology of just brain-mind thinking. We think we have educated ourselves, whereas it is the world that has educated us. We are an epitome of the world's joys and its woes. Our brain-mind shuts out the enlightenment that the soul would give us. The soul is the companion, the warrior, the friend. It travels the path for eternity, whereas the body is just the physical overcoat that we wear for this time while we are here on earth.
Move away from small, narrow, personal things and go into a higher state of consciousness. The feeling will be like that which comes to one who has been living down in a valley without seeing any sunshine for a long time, when suddenly he finds himself at the top of the hill with the most glorious vista of the world's beauty spread before him. The whole make-up is changed. One attains a quality of the mind that belongs to the immortal man — intuition. Depending upon your own intuition, the very trees and flowers will talk to you. You will be so sure of yourself that you cannot be interfered with, if you are on the right path of self-directed evolution.
What are mothers and fathers giving to their children that will stand by them when the parents are gone, that will make their lives bearable, that will enable them to understand the meaning of life and find its joy? Keep thinking and thinking more deeply, and before you know it you will find yourself caught up from this web of controversy and questioning. Enlightenment will come, more smiles will be on your face, more gladness in your eyes, more joy for your children and also for your community and therefore more peace for the world.
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