The mystic is one who lives ever in the consciousness of his divinity. He senses intuitively the divine life in all things. He sees within the outer, which is fleeting and perishable, an inner which is imperishable and eternal. He in whom the soul is ever active, ever urging to compassionate thought and deed — he is the true mystic.
The path of the mystic is a secret path, in a sense, and a silent and wonderful path. Yet it is open to all men, and is so simple and so near at hand that many who long to tread it yet turn away from it, thinking it to be something else.
The difficulty has been and is that, in making his choice between duty and desire, the disciple has ever two roads before him. He can follow after the vanity of vanities, or seek the mystery of mysteries. The wrong way is miscalled the easy way. In reality it is the hard way. The path of self-conquest, if only we travel as we can and as we should — that is the easy way.
Once we attune our minds to the great principles of brotherhood and service, our hearts open, our minds clear, and the new light that we long for will break.
If those who sometimes find themselves in a sea of questionings and confusion would just fall back upon the resources of the soul, what strength and peace would come! The soul is a stranger to us in a sense, and yet it is absolutely resourceful, and when we move out in thought and effort based on pure and high motives, it has always the means at hand to serve us.
We need today a larger faith and trust, and in this we find ourselves living in a condition where everything is possible; where everything we touch will blossom forth and bear gladness and joy to others. Receiving ourselves unstintedly, ungrudgingly, of that large and ample life which animates everything throughout universal space, we shall give freely with open hearts, so that no impoverished life shall ever flow from us.
Many who have reached a certain point sometimes wish to have full explanations given to them so that in some way they may derive personal benefit from the knowledge; but without the stimulus of effort, without trust, without faith, nothing is possible. We go to sleep with full faith that we will arise the next morning. We sow a seed with full faith that nature will perform her part, and the seed spring up and bear fruit.
It is in the silence that we shall find the key, if we choose to search for it, that will open books of revelation in our natures. We shall find there a strength that has never been ours before and that never could be until we sought this path. We shall find there the peace that passeth understanding. It may not come in a moment, nor in accord with puny wishes and desires, but if the motive is unselfish, it will come.
When a man in the silence becomes conscious of his own divine nature, he realizes if only for a moment that he is different from what he seems. He begins to feel that he is a god; he begins to let the imagination pulse through his heart, telling him of mighty things beyond ordinary comprehension, to feel something of his duty to humanity. This is discipline.
Discipline comes in many ways, but theosophy shows one how a man, without help of book or creature, may yet find his own inner power, be no longer a mere potentiality. He will dig into the depths of his being that he may find wisdom. He will discover within himself a new quality of intuition and, at last, when touched by the "feel" of this diviner life, the power of self-discipline will come to him, and he can stand and say: I know!
The more we are united in the silence in the attempt at self-purification, the nearer we are to the light. Never can we lose sight of the light, never of our obligations or our divinity, if we are to realize the sacredness of our calling.
There is something growing in our hearts and in our daily lives that cannot be described, that can only be felt. But once felt, deeply, profoundly, we are then moving along the true path. We are rarefying the air; we are sanctifying life.
There must be time for the calm, reflective attitude of mind. Study the conditions surrounding you, the motives that actuate you in this or that effort or work, and determine with absolute honesty whether they are selfish, unselfish, or mixed. This will be an uplifting, a clarifying process, for the conscience is at work. It is a confession, really, to the higher self, the divinity within you.
You invoke in such an effort the magic power latent in the silences of life. False ideas are gradually eliminated under such a process, and true ones find their way in. Things once deemed necessary to the personal life become no longer so; and in thus moving out into a larger field of thought and aspiration you move towards self-adjustment.
In such thought you eliminate your weaknesses, and you learn also one great truth, a truth accentuated by the Nazarene: that you cannot serve two masters. You cannot move in opposite directions at one and the same time; you cannot ride two horses at once; and those who try it are certain to find themselves, sooner or later, arriving nowhere and more than likely trampled under the feet of both.
We have but to take the first step in the true spirit of brotherliness, and all other steps will follow in natural sequence. We have to be warriors and fight the old fight unceasingly, but leagued with us in this ancient fight are all the hosts of light. Behind man, back of all things, broods the eternal spirit of compassion.
(From Sunrise magazine, December 1999/January 2000; copyright © 1999 Theosophical University Press)