Now that the darker days are receding, we are reminded of Hermann Hesse: "Strange to walk in the fog . . ." We may feel alone when the fog is around us, but are we really? I think we are alone only insofar as no one else is able to make decisions for us — we must always decide ourselves, knowing that we are responsible for every feeling, thought, and action.
In every moment of our lives we find our past, present, and future. What we experience today is ourselves, and we inflict on ourselves both the good and the bad. Whom can we blame when we are suffering, and to whom can we be grateful for our wonderful experiences and perceptions? It is our higher self, our inner god, who spurs us on again and again to further development. Don't we all feel that through self-conquest and loving thoughts we can reach the inner freedom that makes us so happy? Even if only for brief moments, these still give us the power and courage to take the next step on our way. Thus the karmic wheel continues to turn, because the gods can work only with karma, not against it.
Some may think these thoughts are unrealistic, but they are not. Wars and their consequences — what could be called the cancer of nations — come upon us just as in the old saying: "Give your little finger to the devil, and he will take your whole hand." Because the source of these dark circumstances reaches very far and deep into the past, and because we live under the influence of duality, we can hardly trace the reasons behind them except with reference to karma. We need to keep in mind that all the causes engendered as we live and act in matter will have their consequences here on earth. Ignorance, hatred, greed, and selfishness are strong forces that constantly seek effects. This should be a warning and a reminder of the ethical foundation that is a living force in all nations, wherever understanding and sincere people work.
(From Sunrise magazine, February/March 1997. Copyright © 1997 by Theosophical University Press)