All men and women can, if they will, have at their command the knowledge, the wisdom, the power, to solve the world problem we are facing today. It is useless to talk about serving humanity in some vague way, and appealing to people in the mass - it cannot be done if we cannot go to a single individual and meet his needs and problems. Unless you and I as individuals are convinced from having proved it in our own lives, from having conquered ourselves, and are therefore able honestly and sincerely to declare a victory where we previously had defeat, we cannot do anything. Until we have solved our own problem, it is useless to attempt to solve the world problem.
If you have suffered, if you have struggled, if you have had to register defeat in your moral and spiritual life - and show me the man or woman who has not; and more, if you see men and women and children around you that you want to help by bringing to them the regenerating power of spiritual knowledge - then you will come to recognize that you never will be able to do it until you have learned the secret of regenerating your own life.
First we have to ask ourselves the questions: Do we really believe in the divinity and power of our own innermost nature and, if so, how are we to reach it and make it effective so that it will not only transform our own life, but transform the environment around us? Do we believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a practical statement that can be lived in this modern world by ordinary men and women? Or do we regard it as a beautiful ideal to be put on the shelf somewhere and worshiped from a distance - to dream about as a possibility for us in some infinitely remote future? Do we think that that great master who lived and worked in Palestine meant what he said when he commanded all men to be perfect as their Father in Heaven is perfect? So many of us just shrug our shoulders and say, "Stuff, platitudes, impractical nonsense!" I believe it is not only practical, but that it is sheer folly to ignore it.
If we are going to tackle it, we have to begin with being honest with ourselves, and with others. It means sincerity, truth in daily living; it means love at all times and in all circumstances - divine love, shining like the sun impersonally for all, whether we like them or whether we dislike them; whether they are our friends or we think they are our foes. Therefore it means real, absolute unselfishness, to the extent and power of our being.
If we have reached the point where we have suffered enough, and have within us that yearning of our heart towards what we may call God or Deity, or Goodness or Wisdom, then we can do something. But make no mistake about it, it means that we will have to exert every ounce of physical, emotional, psychic, intellectual, and spiritual powers that we possess. We will have to go all out for it, and dedicate everything that we are and have - every day surrender our personal will and our personal ego. And then if we know how to pray in the real sense of the word - which means the upward surge of our purified desire or aspiration to the god within us, to the universal and supreme spirit that dwells within us and around us everywhere - it will flow into us, it will make of us a new being instinct with power to change ourselves and the world.
There is an old saying that one man and God is a majority, and he is, because one man dedicated, cleansed, purified, filled with the power of the spirit, can work what seem to the ordinary man and woman miracles. He can change the lives of people and help them to a recognition of their own divine nature. I have seen men and women who have all their lives registered spiritual and moral defeat transformed by just these ideas; their faces reflecting the splendor of a risen sun. They are able to bring into the lives of others, into their businesses, into their factories, into the very Parliaments, the strength, the peace and spiritual vision that is theirs.
Once we have taken the first step of working a spiritual revolution in ourselves, on the small, ancient, and narrow way, we shall have done enough, even in that short time, to have made a profound impression upon the collective state of the world's consciousness.
(From Sunrise magazine, February/March 2002. Copyright © 2002 by Theosophical University Press)
The world's mythologies represent a language. Like any language, it uses symbols to represent ideas and make possible the transfer of thoughts from mind to mind. Some of the most valuable knowledge we have - the essential purpose of human living - lies hidden in myths, for by intimations they convey realities that may otherwise pass us by. To gain their glowing wisdom we must purify our nature - for the dross of personal weaknesses thickens the obscuring lens of personality - and give free rein to the whispers of conscience, for the language of myth demands a participation in discovery. We are not supercargo in the ark of growth; each must put forth some effort of his own if he is to earn the benefit of understanding which leads to wisdom. The Golden Fleece is not easily won. The Golden Fleece represents the divine wisdom which is the goal of all human endeavor, while the forces that seek to thwart the quest are the accumulated load of karmic failings that weigh down the soul. Only with the help of Medea, his karmic earnings, could Jason overcome the impossible tests set by her father, King Aetes, and reach the coveted prize that hung in a sacred grove in a huge oak tree. The achieved triumph over faults and adverse tendencies provides the hero with the weaponry needed to perform his task. Instructed by Medea, he conquers the brazen bulls, forces them to till the field, sows the dragon's teeth, and finally overcomes the horde of armed foes that spring up from them.
We all possess the gifts of the hero in varying degree. Our tasks may seem impossible to carry out, but they are not. We have ourselves created current obstacles and aids, and have all the properties that make our task feasible, whether we choose to train and utilize helpful or opposing qualities in our daily lives.