Man is a conscious being, master of a minuscule cosmos of energies. The reigning deity of his being is as much of the divine essence as is the light of the sun. It takes many forms: we hear its voice in the music of the pines, we see its shadow in the glitter of the lake; the quiet opening of a flower and the fierce courage of a beast at bay. Every form of divinity finds response in the human heart. Searching for his link with divine nature man finds an endless road, a Jacob's ladder, whose highest rungs evade the grasp of cognition: divinity is not limited to the confines of the mind; all our being senses the Presence. Not remotely enthroned beyond the starry spaces but intimately diffused throughout all mortal things. Seeking divinity, we defeat our purpose by journeying too far. We must travel, not without but within ourselves to find the stronghold of consciousness.
What is this stronghold? Is it the body wherein we dwell for a space? No, its life disperses when consciousness departs. Is it the formative pattern which determines the body's form? This also is dependent on man's growth and changes in his character. The emotional or impulsive wishes that often guide our actions? These too are subject to change. Frequently we are swayed by wayward feelings, but honest search will establish that it is a voluntary submission seldom approved by the superior consciousness. Is this then the mind, its nature contradictory and at cross-purposes with itself? One could define two separate minds, one concerned with mundane tasks, the other exercising intellectual pursuits. There is choice and consciousness chooses: mind obeys.
Obeys what? Here exploration becomes an individual adventure, for who can probe the depths of another? Some may attain panoramic vision where others find an apparently blank wall of ego. Those who transcend this egoic center may find further links in the chain leading to the well-spring of consciousness beyond — a non-egoic universal state where the ego is seen as but an atom of a universal self.
All our doing originates in the ego, which wills it to be done. Our ever-renewed choice is between self-interest and nonself-interest. Self-interest comprises all actions directed to personal achievement and convenience. Nonself-interest covers the gamut of actions undertaken for others through utter dedication of all the ego's talents to an altruistic ideal.
With every sincere attempt to place the forces of self at the service of nature's beneficent processes, so much added strength accrues to the divine powers at work on the evolution of worlds. Whether we assist in this work of nature or not, evolution proceeds, though hampered by human unwillingness, or accelerated by the efforts of those who determine to be of use to the divine purpose.
This is human sacrifice. Sacrifice means "making sacred." We can make sacred our human faculties by placing them at the disposal of the divine purpose which inspires our being. In this sacrifice we provide the nectar on which the gods subsist.
(From Sunrise magazine, December 1998/January 1999. Copyright © 1998 by Theosophical University Press)