Sitting in my quiet study, looking out over my small garden, the turbulent world seems far away. At this time of year the Australian garden is a riot of colors and bright greens. Perhaps it is the peace of my study that makes me ask: Why only here? Why can't the world be at peace? What is wrong with us humans that we cannot live in harmony together?
Perhaps we have become so sophisticated and materialistic that the simplest message of all our religions has become too difficult for us to understand. It is expressed in a variety of words, but always with the same meaning: "Do unto your neighbor what you would like him to do unto you." Simple, yes, but to act upon at all times probably the most difficult commandment to follow.
Sitting in my peaceful office, my thoughts take me out into the world, so full of hate and killing, not only in wars and revolutions but often for a few cents to buy drugs, or simply for the lust to kill. The commandment "Thou shalt not kill" is forgotten, and with my mind's eye I see waves of hate pulsing through the air. Some point to the fact that we are living in a dark age, but that is no excuse for all this violence. We alone are responsible for the actions we take and the decisions we make, be they good, evil, or all shades in between. Acknowledging this to myself, I also realized how difficult it is to make the right decision and not to be caught up in the negative thought-streams of this world. But how do we, to the best of our ability, see correctly and choose the right action?
Glancing at the shelves lining my study, my eyes come to rest on Mme. Blavatsky's books, and I am reminded of one of the ancient truths she tried to bring back to our civilization: that humanity can live in peace and harmony, and therefore survive, only if it is strong enough to live as a brotherhood of men. Is this really such a far-fetched idea? Is a brotherhood of mankind the impossibility some try to make us believe? Picture after picture arose in my mind, some evil, some good. The evil was strong, noisy, and clamoring for recognition, but the good — the love between people, the utter selfless helpfulness extended from one human being to another in need — did not need to clamor for recognition, it was just there, being the promise that all of mankind will turn towards it and help it grow, and by its growth defeat evil once again.
A brotherhood of men! Yes, it is not only a possibility, it is a certainty. Pandora's box gave us the secret of the strength to overcome every adversity — hope. This strongest ally tells us: There will be a brotherhood of men so that people can live, work, and strive together in peace and harmony. — Lo Guest
(From Sunrise magazine, December 2002/January 2003; copyright © 2002 Theosophical University Press)
There is no finer joy than to live for others, to put our own selfish tendencies away. It is the highest form of yoga to endeavor to focus one's attention outwards, to give our devotion to others as if to God — for does not God lie within all?
It takes an inner hand to gently guide our attention out to others, to all the lives around us, great and small: the plants that need watering, the spider that's trapped indoors, the dog that needs to play, the child who speaks, the husband or wife who needs companionship, the neighbor fussing with his mower or building a new fence, or a grandparent who needs a helping hand. All of these are wonderful moments in which to draw ourselves out and make life a little better for those around us.
Self-centeredness and self-absorption is a hard nut to crack. But with fortitude, it can be done. And once the sweet meat is tasted, there is the dawning of a new age for the inner man. He knows the worthlessness of striving for self and the fruitlessness of merely acquiring things. Happiness has been discovered to lie elsewhere, in the happiness of his brother. — Doreen Melbrod