Man is a weaver who from the wrong side works on the carpet of time. The day will come when he will see the right side and understand the grandeur of the pattern he with his own hands has woven through the centuries, without seeing anything but a tangle of string. — de Lamartine
Everyone admires a Persian carpet, even if old and worn: its lovely blend of color, intricacy of design, sturdy workmanship and, most of all, the devotion woven into the fabric by generations of weavers. In the old days children also were taught the ancient craft, tiny fingers guided in the choice of color, selection of wool, reeds, felt, linen or silk and, most essential, how to follow the sacred motifs. When an error was made, they were told not to pull it out, but to carry right on and compensate for whatever slip they may have made. Working on the underside, they knew little how the finished product would look. Not till the carpet was completed was the pattern revealed.
An appealing parable: we cannot erase the errors we have made; we must carry on and try as best we may to unfold the inner pattern of our lives. Most of us are slow learners, but once the lesson sinks in, the knowledge is stored in our character. Nothing is lost, nothing wasted; all becomes tuition, learning experiences for the soul. In truth, we are each the weaver on the loom of our own making, weaving the weft of our affections and aspirations, antipathies and desires on the warp of character that we have built through many lives, and which will be the foundation for incarnations to come. Though we but faintly realize it, we are — instinctively for the most part, and at times intuitively — following an ancient pattern traced by our greater self. "There's a divinity that shapes our ends, / Rough-hew them how we will" (Hamlet).
We are not puppets to be pulled and pushed by whim or caprice — divine or demonic. "Know ye not that ye are gods?" asked Jesus of his people, and that "the Most High dwelleth within you"? Words so profound we cannot comprehend the full wonder of their power to regenerate the soul. We are gods-in-the-making, fashioning our own design: essentially solar beings whose cycle of experience stretches over many aeons; periodically planetary beings, returning to earth in cycle after cycle, until the pattern is completed for this wheel of life.
Every life is a chapter in its own history, the fruitage of past sowings and the promise of future reapings, which in turn become the sowings of new cycles of experience still to unfold. Could we see ourselves from within or above, we would marvel at the possibilities that lie latent, awaiting the magic moment of soul awakening. Could we glimpse behind the seeming, we would be astonished at the innate grandeur of even the most desperate of souls. The struggle to make gods out of the clay of our humanhood is by no means a losing cause; errors and slips of weaving we will doubtless make but, if we persevere, one day we may discover we have made a carpet of such beauty and harmony it may be taken for an ancient Persian prayer rug fashioned of purest silk.
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The theme of our 1997 Special Issue, "Cycles: Wheels within Wheels," brought a wide variety of responses from our contributors. Yet we have but lightly brushed the surface of a subject as profound as it is practical. Is there a being in any kingdom who is not subject to the overall purpose and design of its kingdom? Surely, all of earth's families of lives are, whether consciously or not, co-participants in the pulsating life-force inherent in the cosmic depths.
(From Sunrise magazine, April/May 1997. Copyright © 1997 by Theosophical University Press)