It is encouraging to consider the grand truth of universal brotherhood when we, who are less gifted, read and hear about the magnificent and splendid things done by the leaders and top-figures among men — the princes of industry and state, and those who, through their devotion to scientific research and high thinking have guided the race onward and forward to the point it now has reached. In such figures we don't mind contemplating the mirror reflecting ourselves and saying: — "This is I who stand there bathed in the light of the public's just acclaim and admiration!"
It gives us a boost to know that the Self pronounced and consciously felt by a Newton, a Bruno or a Florence Nightingale is of the self-same essence as ourselves, to know that it lies within our powers to so purify ourselves as to one day raise this part of our natures to those levels. "What one man has done, another can do." The god-spark in the heart of every man is the same and will shine as brightly through any vehicle which has made itself worthy thereof.
If, however, we focus our attention in another direction and observe the derelicts of human tragedy, whether behind bars or not, we likewise must raise the mirror to ourselves. If its reflections are true in the one case, we cannot dodge them in the other — for within each human being there resides, as long as the struggle is still going on, the self-same spark of the universal Self. The "glass," like those in the famous Hall of Mirrors, may contort the reflection, nor will the likeness flatter, but truly is it not we who are there reflected also?
I cannot help thinking that the effort made by me personally in improving my mind and in pulling myself up by my bootstraps, through the mysterious links that tie us all together, may in some way be felt by those other parts of me which are there represented; for if this unity is real, and I believe it to be, then the effort by any section of it must benefit in some measure the whole. This thought alone should keep us pulling, not others' boot-straps, but our own, the harder.
(From Sunrise magazine, April 1952; copyright © 1952 Theosophical University Press)