Too many of us are asleep; we sleep and dream. We dream dreams, and all too often these dreams are the upsurgings of the lower, personal, easily self-satisfied ego of ours. But others of us dream visions of incomparable beauty — not merely physical beauty, but beauty of any kind: spiritual beauty, intellectual beauty, ay, even beauty of wondrous nature around us. And every such new envisioning of a marvel awakens us by just so much. Oh, how we sleep and are forgetful of what we are and of the richness around us which is ours for the taking, ours if we will take it! For there is naught that stands in the way of taking except oneself. There are none so blind as they who refuse to see; none so deaf as they who refuse to hear; and, on the other hand, none so wise as they who meet every new experience in life's wondrous adventure with the feeling: there is an angel behind this for me; I must learn what that angelic messenger is trying to tell me. Every experience is such.
So now facing what is taking place in the world today we must recognize it as no chance event, no haphazard or fortuitous occurrence, not the blind blows of fate, but the working out of the events which are coming. We must recognize that behind these events there is spiritual power, spiritual force. It will all work out to an already predestined and sublime ending. For despite the agony and the sadness that we in our blindness feel, there is the wind of the spirit sweeping over the earth, rearranging, remaking, reshaping. And the agonies and sorrows that come, come from ourselves, blind humans that we are who will not enter into nature's majestic processes, helping her, but instead oppose her, and in opposing her suffer.
One may say: "Alas, we know not how to act in consonance with nature's laws!" But the statement is not true, for men have been taught since immemorial time that right is right, just is just, wrong is wrong. How then may we choose between the right and the wrong? Just here enters in a difficulty; not that it exists in itself, but we create it. It is not right to employ violence and force — there is the first law: "Thou shalt not kill." Violate this law, and you set yourself in opposition to nature's processes. Even in ordinary affairs man's genius recognizes this, and it is imbodied in our systems of jurisprudence today, an advance truly; for no longer is it considered logical for the avenger, the one wronged, to seek out his enemy and engage in mortal combat. We are advancing, for the time was when to refuse to recognize what was then called one's honor would have subjected a man to shameful ostracism. Our ideas have enlarged. Is there a man or woman in the world today who would dare to tell me that the only way to settle disputes is by violence, when, mayhap, victory will perch upon the banners of the one who is less right than the other?
The way to settle disputes is by reason, by refusing to accept anything less grand than that. For he who takes up the sword, as the Avatara Jesus put it, by the sword will he perish. Perhaps not immediately, but in the long run. Disputes are righteously and in justice resolved on the basis of reason and right, not on the basis of the heavy hand of violence.
We ask why we suffer. We ask why these things have fallen upon us. In our ignorance of our own higher selves, and in our lack of a perfect confidence in the eternal laws of cosmic life, we take to ourselves the duties of the avenger. What man knows enough to judge any other man unto the scaffold? So well are these principles recognized that there is not a civilized society today that recommends them. They all want justice; they all want to use reason. Why don't they use it? And using it, why don't they abide by it? Face facts if you want to know the reason of the suffering and agony, the terror and appalling privations that are upon us. It is no extracosmic God, or intracosmic God, who has put these horrible things upon us, his blind children. It is we ourselves.
I am not preaching a doctrine of illogical pacifism, in the sense of submitting to anything without struggle; for society must protect itself. But let it protect itself by means which laws, national and international, have already established, and to which the greatest and supposedly most civilized nations on earth have years ago pledged their honor and their allegiance. But when the test comes: "Oh, no; this is a matter of national honor. We will attend to this ourselves!" Then when the heavy blows fall, when happiness and honor have fled, when want and misery stalk through our streets, we cry unto high heaven and say: "What have I done that these things should fall upon me?" Were there no means of securing, of establishing right, it would be a different matter. But there are recognized and accepted means, to which the so-called statesmen of our world have pledged their allegiance in solemn compact.
The wind of the spirit that is blowing over the world, tumultuous, cold, and biting as it seems to our sensitive lives, is nevertheless the wind of the spirit, and it will blow away the fogs and illusions; and men once more at last can see peace, and prosperity, and self-respect.
It is well to remember that while our hearts may ache — and the man is inhuman whose heart today does not ache over what our brothers in humanity are everywhere enduring — behind the suffering there is learning; behind and beyond the present events there is a dawn. Let us as individuals do our part in helping to bring the new day, when violence will be seen for the folly that it is, and the reign of justice and reason and fellow feeling will be with us and around us. If not, we shall have a recurrence, and worse, of what now we are passing through, and after that another recurrence still worse than the former, and so on to the remains of our civilization, until our civilized society will vanish in flame and blood.
Those of you who may be alive to see the handwriting on the wall had better awaken. Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin! "Weighed, Weighed, Wanting — the Persians!"
The tragedy of society is that it has lost its trust in an abiding spiritual power in this world of ours, and reason has lost its seat. This entire universe of ours is but an appearance, an outer shell, a physical body, manifesting the tremendous forces at work on the other side of the veil of nature; and no man, no demigod or god, can offend or oppose these powers with impunity. Law rules this world, and sooner or later the gods will descend from their azure seats. Let us see that they come to us as envoys of happiness and peace, rather than with the flaming swords avenging overthrown innocence.
You will tell me: "You are preaching after the event." But this is not true, for worse will come unless we heed. These things have been told to mankind from immemorial time. The man who said, "God and I are a majority against the whole world" was no flamboyant egoist — if we understand his meaning.
I have felt impelled to speak of the wind of the spirit blowing over the earth. It will extinguish all false lights; the true and the holy will but burn the brighter and will remain. Yet judge not. Things do not happen in a day. Perhaps it may be fifty years before we know at least something of the inner meaning of what is now coming upon us: of good, of ill; of high, of low; of pathos or of bathos. But this that I have called the wind of the spirit is clairvoyant in the heavenly sense. It is the spirit of Earth, if you wish, and its works are utter true. All that is grand and unselfish will live. What is false and selfish, this wind will not merely pass by, but mayhap overthrow. Put your whole trust in the divine power behind nature and live in accordance therewith, and nature will look upon you as working with her and therefore as her master and will make obeisance. — Excerpted from Wind of the Spirit
(From Sunrise magazine, December 2001/January 2002. Copyright © 2002 by Theosophical University Press)
Despite its destructive tendencies, humanity is a class of young gods, part of Gaia's spiritual heart, the Hierarchy of Compassion. There are no simple, rapid cures for blindness and selfishness, for we need time to mature spiritually. Our ethics can reflect universal brotherhood — seeing all beings as divinities and thus loved as sacred. Creative solutions to current global challenges may fuse future sciences with the arts and religion, supporting an ageless wisdom. Our capacity to live compassionately with other beings should naturally follow. — John Van Mater, Jr.