Theosophy – November 1896

THEOSOPHY IN THE HOME — Julia W. L. Keightley

Theosophical principles to be vital, must be lived from within, outwards. They should pass uninterruptedly from the state of intuitive ideas into that of objective activity. Pure intellect, analytical and agnostic in attitude, delays this process. While it searches the content of the heart in the spirit of a customs officer examining suspected luggage, much of the force of that heart's spontaneity is lost. We are dealing with questions of Force, and, from that aspect, intuitive ideas are deadened the moment they are intellectualized.

It imports much for the progress of Humanity that individual men shall at the present juncture learn to trust the heart-impulse lying at the back of Nature; that they shall transmute the potency of the Ideal into the Real in action, and so make Theosophy a living power in the Life.

In the daily practice of our philosophy we need a thread of light to guide us to that living heart of Nature whence Life, upspringing, wells forth to animate all lives. Shall this clue be found in the sad and labyrinthine homes of men, too oft abodes of the "living dead"? To live in conditions opposed to the laws of Life evolves activities of that separative order which conserves only to paralyze; which destroys with destruction in view as an end, and not as a means of building afresh. Could we discard the fatal habit of viewing acts and conditions as final and complete in themselves, could we see each interlinked with the whole plan of Nature, we should in that broader aspect regain a sense of proportion, of relativity, of interaction of states of Being, to which the minds of men today are either strangers, or wholly averse.

In respect of the Home, it would appear that the necessary clue may be found by regarding the Home in its true, its essential light. Life is full of false lights, false reflects from the falser Self; the homes of men are in the main unwisely viewed; they are regarded as centres of self-conservation. To most minds the function of the Home, of the Nation, of all organizations is, primarily, to establish a distinction between the life of that centre and other similar centres; to mark off a portion of Life for individual purposes. This is partially true, this use of centripetal force; but let not the centrifugal be omitted; neglect not the uses of interaction. The Home is a place where are gathered together the results of the personal life, a place where we garner all the accretions of a life pursued for the purposes of self; we maintain there the same unyielding central motives and plans, resisting all that opposes them. Home! It is a Kama-lokic treasury where the personal self takes its ease in a mirror lined domain, seeing on all sides itself in its multitudinous hopes and fears. My home, my children, my religion, my plans: So runs our dreary creed. The man or woman who has even changed the personal accent, so that it shall read my home, my children, my religion, has taken one step towards the Actual, has glimpsed a possible alteration in the tenor of life. Our homes, that should be causes, are results. Let us make them causal and final.

To do this, to elevate the Home in the scale of Power, we must recognize that it is, in essence, a sphere of action, a centre of Force. It imports much and continuously what forces we originate in our homes. The Home is a sphere of Life, not a centre of static or mechanical Force; it is an atmosphere where divine breaths are playing. All who come to it take from its energies and none can depart without having contributed to them, for each has brought and has taken away Life and the experiences of Life. Each contacts there a certain mode of Force whose impress has made for or against evolution. Every Home has a spirit which it unconsciously expresses; from this spirit men may learn, whether it be wisdom or foolishness, but that which is helpful alike to the dweller and the stranger within the gates is that spirit of broad tolerance which modern education so often aims to defeat. It is not sufficient that the Home should be hospitable to persons; let it be hospitable to ideas; the angels entertained unawares are not bodies; it is our high privilege to minister there to souls.

Consider with me for a moment that the soul chose its earthly dwelling, its various abodes in matter, whether of the body, the family, the nation, as centres of Life wherein it might best express itself, while evolving and gaining the experience now most needed by it. Yet in the modern Home we have attempted to crystallize the living Life into some form which shall represent the mind of the builder of the Home! When that living Light which evades our classification and mocks our sterilizing plan, pours into our mould of clay and breaks it, what futility of grief or wrath is ours! When some line of Karma is worked out, there comes a precious instant where further growth is possible. In that instant the forces of Life assist the budding soul to cast a husk away; it may, if it will, enter a further stage of unfolding, of development toward a fuller Life. Yet in the very moment when greater freedom becomes possible to the soul, the human mind names these agencies of liberation Death, Loss, Disappointment, Despair, until the shuddering soul — as human beings have been known to do — entreats that it may again feel the safe enfoldment of the prison wall. The Home is maintained as a higher form of limitation, but the aroma of Freedom is lost.

How then to make a Home which shall assist those souls who come to it as to a nucleus of Life, there to learn of the Mighty Teacher? There is no formula for this diviner atmosphere. It is created by the breath of the souls dwelling therein: it is themselves. This question may well be asked and must be often asked, with intervals of stern endeavor set firmly between each inquiry, before the true Home impulse can be communicated at all: each fresh propulsion of the heart towards this image assists in its evolution, until at last the centre becomes actual because it has been so long and so fervently ideal. Vibrating waves of Thought, pulsing about the image, have urged it on through the ether into the receptive air, have developed it from a thought into an action, from power latent to power alive and current in the world of men.

It thus seems that we must go to the field of Force for our answer, seeing that we deal with Forces, and not with a supposed solid, material fact called Home. The essence of all Energy is that it shall act and react; the moment it had ceased to interact it would have passed out of Being. It is unthinkable that Energy shall cease to be; though man in his folly endeavors to detain it in the cells he so laboriously builds for its occupation; yet in so far as he thinks and observes at all he comes to see that if he would make of his Home a living centre, he must first provide for the free interaction of Life there.

He does this by means of two great occult forces. The first of these is Harmony. Magic word, so oft repeated, so little known! Harmony! By its true use man the slave becomes man the master magician, balancing the Forces of his own existence. It is not to be presented in a nutshell, or to be verbally included between the covers of a book. It is to be sought for, to be lived, to be felt, but not to be described. It is not amiability, nor cheerfulness, nor sentiment, nor sympathy with those whom we can understand to the exclusion of the broad Whole whose sole common experience is Pain. By-products these; partial and temporary adjuncts which disappear in the fiercer throes of Life. Patience perhaps? Patience wears a tinge of sadness; she must merge into Contentment, her higher Self ere she can touch this master-chord of Harmony. In the Voice of the Silence we are told that the real Compassion is Harmony; I seem to descry it as that entire acceptance of the Law, that harmonious adjustment of the mind to the ebb and flow of Life.

The continual alterations in the mode of Life's action which we feel in our lives, are they not really the efforts of the Law to readjust those lives, bringing them into line with the currents of Life in that ether, that atmosphere, that heavenly breath which pours its tidal waves throughout our spheres in continual endeavor to adjust their individual pulsations to the universal action? Did we never think that Life must snatch us from the sands ere It could launch us on the shoreless sea? The evil which is not resisted of the wise is that seeming sorrow which is the breaking up of our hopes and habits under the action of a wider Law. To hold the Home as a place where Life may freely come and go; to teach each heart within that Home to cast itself freely upon Great Nature; to trust Life largely; thus, companions, shall we administer our stewardship faithfully.

From this point of view, the Home serves a universal purpose. Our children are not ours; they are Life's children; their souls sparks of the Mother-Soul, their bodies formed of lives of Mother-Nature. We and they came together, not by chance, but of set purpose. We are here for one another and because of one another, our purpose that of learning more of Life in company. Human Law compels us to feed, clothe and nurse our children; divine Law demands that we do the same by their minds. It is for us to assist these Egos to evolve their powers and train their thoughts. We can help their building of the brain by simple demonstrations of the Unity of all things, of the analogies of Nature. We can show them that every model man ever made has been patterned after some one of her forms, that every thought mind ever thinks takes effect in surrounding Life; we can call the tides, the winds, the stars in their courses to our aid; no example too high to serve the purpose of the true Home.

Our own relations with our home companions must be our first and continual illustration of these truths. We must look at the essence of things, see them in their wider relations, inform all our dealings with Love, with Compassion, with Harmony; shall we evoke these in other hearts if we have not poured them forth from our own? No; no; our lives alone are teachers and helpers of men: our fine language is nothing. The deed, and not the word, is eloquent.

Toleration is the second necessary Force. It is Harmony expressed in relation to mankind. It opens the mind and sweetens the heart. It enriches the individual life by many an experience not yet its own, for to the tolerant man many puzzles of existence are revealed. In pure practicality this quality is invaluable in every form of civic life. It is the Door of Heaven — that Heaven which is Harmony. A little child comes to its use as readily as the sage — more readily.

If continuously and steadfastly we view thoughts and acts from the standpoint of Force, we see that man evolves given Forces, causing them to play for good or ill in that centre he calls Home. The Home is not a toy we have made for ourselves; it is an offshoot of Karma wherein man meets his just debts and must pay them; not a private speculation for the furtherance of personal aims, but a focus of the Universal and Divine; a point of friction, if you will, between spirit and matter, but the contest is for advancement and not for retrogression of the human soul. Our homes should be so vital to the welfare of the community that each would be missed from its orbit as a planet from its system. It is there, and not elsewhere, that the gods await us. The Soul sheds her mild radiance upon these homes of men and would claim them for her own; she would use them for the sheltering of egos yet unborn; for the deeper unfolding of our latent powers; as altars of ministration to the race. Let but the heart of Love govern thee and thy home, and all shall presently be well with thee and with us all.