To have a spiritual anchor is a prerequisite of balanced living. When the storms of life bear down upon us, as they do from time to time, and often unexpectedly, we can head into the gale, drop anchor and outride the tempest. It prevents us from being driven onto the rocks of despair, for we realize that it is a passing thing. A little of the rigging may be damaged or even carried away, and some of the contraband and surplus cargo may be washed overboard. But when the storm has passed and the skies have again cleared, repairs can be made and new bearings taken. The hull, the essential self, is still sound and undamaged, and with the necessary repairs, we can weigh anchor and again sail on. — All of which brings another factor into the picture.
It is just as important to have a spiritual sail as it is to have a spiritual anchor. Religion, like everything else in life, is, or should be, a progressive experience. If Nature abhors a vacuum, she also abhors crystallized immobility. Yet we see about us every day, those who continuously ride at anchor and, spiritually speaking, get nowhere.
They neither weigh anchor nor do they raise a sail, but ride the dead calm of complacency, which can be as fatal to spiritual progress as the raging storm without an anchor, or the dead calm of the Sargasso Sea without a breeze, surrounded by miles of floating weeds. Their anchors have become embedded in the silt of centuries that the moving currents of life have washed down the river of time. Unlike the fabled Argosies of old, or the discoverers of "new Continents of Thought," they fear to venture into new waters, lest they sail off the edge of their flat, little world. Any change in the wind of ideas, any fresh breeze bearing new concepts in human thinking that ruffles the water on the sea of life, is interpreted as an evil omen presaging disaster.
The wise mariner knows when to anchor and when to sail. He has learned it by sailing, by observing the ebb and flow of a thousand varied experiences, by sounding the depths of the deeper currents of life, guided by the magnetic compass of conscience — not by continually riding at anchor. He does not fear to raise the sails of his mind and be borne to new experiences by the winds of the Spirit.
(From Sunrise magazine, March 1954; copyright © 1954 Theosophical University Press)