Changing seasons — the warm sultry summer, the brisk cooling of autumn, the stillness and cold of winter, and the bright busy hum of spring — such is the coloring of our world, day to day, night after night. As our years unfold from youth into midlife and beyond we are delighted with the melody of life bathed in spirit, yet we are more and more appalled at corruption, selfishness, and greed. Seeing both sides of life so acutely, how do we find poise within it all? How do we stand clear-eyed with dignity in the presence of so much foulness? How should we view evil and cruelty, and what is our true duty regarding it?
The most natural tendency when witnessing darkness is to become dark ourselves. Turning away with contempt and dismay, we feel ourselves separate and stand apart from the wretchedness. Those of us who breathe the fresher air of better karma may be tempted to condemn and judge our brothers. Knowing this to be wrong, what then should be our mental stance toward them?
From time to time we touch that eternal spirit of all things. The "Wow," as a friend and I refer to it, those blissful moments, longer or shorter, when we experience the divine. It is the talisman to living life. At first we get glimpses here and there. We bathe in it for longer or shorter periods of time, sometimes not at all. It's easy to feel when God's beauty and majesty are before us, almost impossible when confronted with the opposite. Nonetheless, we need to learn to grow more and more into the "Wow" . . . to become it. Once this is mastered, we become a master of life.
Just as we see the Wow within the splendor of life, we should see it also within the illness and wickedness of life — in all situations. How? What then would be our mind-frame in seeing evil? Compassion, heartfelt pity for the wreck of life in its ignorance. Love that would embrace and soothe hatred, anger, and pain. It is our highest duty to engage in this process every day, with everything we witness. It is the mental stance to work towards.
In our quiet times we can raise our eyes and touch with devotion that which we hold more dear in our hearts than anything: that sacred bliss of eternal light. Just as we do then, so can we do when we are in pain, when we see pain — opening ourselves up completely to the pain and seeing right through it into the one eternal essence. There in the midst of it we will be comforted with a balm of understanding — a magic elixir! Not by diverting our eyes, but by seeing right into what we would avoid, do we find this elixir. Compassion overwhelms us and endears the unloved to us. Even physical pain seems to vanish.
As we travel this path, we can walk amid turmoil in calmness and throw away none of our brothers. We notice less distinctions, less diversity, in situations and circumstances. For underlying the many colors and shades of seasons there is only the eternal One.
(From Sunrise magazine, October/November 2004; copyright © 2004 Theosophical University Press)
In truth it is utterly impossible for any fragment of humanity to be secure and in peace and untroubled while any other fragment is in peril or oppressed, because inwardly and in reality we are one. — Katherine Tingley