THE POSSIBILITIES OF LIFE
Thoreau pointed out that there are artists in life, persons who can change the color of a day, and make it beautiful to those with whom they come in contact. We claim that there are masters in life, who make it divine, as in all other arts. Is it not the greatest art of all, this which affects the very atmosphere in which we live? That it is the most important is seen at once, when we remember that every person who draws the breath of life affects the mental and moral atmosphere of the world, and helps to color the day for those about him. Those who do not help to elevate the thoughts and lives of others must of necessity either paralyze them by indifference, or actively drag them down. When this point is reached, then the art of life is converted into the science of death. . . .
And no one can be quite inactive. Although many bad books and pictures are produced, still not every one who is incapable of writing or painting well insists on doing so badly . . .
Neither happiness nor prosperity are always the best of bedfellows for such undeveloped mortals as most of us are; they seldom bring with them peace, which is the only permanent joy. The idea of peace is usually connected with the close of life and a religious state of mind. That kind of peace will, however, generally be found to contain the element of expectation. The pleasures of this world have been surrendered, and the soul waits contentedly in expectation of the pleasures of the next. The peace of the philosophic mind is very different from this and can be attained to early in life when pleasure has scarcely been tasted, as well as when it has been fully drunk of. The American Transcendentalists discovered that life could be made a sublime thing without any assistance from circumstances or outside sources of pleasure and prosperity. Of course this had been discovered many times before, and Emerson only took up again the cry raised by Epictetus. But every man has to discover this fact freshly for himself, and when once he has realized it he knows that he would be a wretch if he did not endeavor to make the possibility a reality in his own life. The stoic became sublime because he recognized his own absolute responsibility and did not try to evade it; the Transcendentalist was even more, because he had faith in the unknown and untried possibilities which lay within himself. . . The Theosophist who is at all in earnest, sees his responsibility and endeavors to find knowledge; living, in the meantime, up to the highest standard of which he is aware . . . Man's life is in his own hands, his fate is ordered by himself. — Lucifer, vol. /, p. 338
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We live in an atmosphere of gloom and despair, but this is because our eyes are downcast and riveted to the earth, with all its physical and grossly material manifestations. If, instead of that, man proceeding on his life-journey looked — not heavenward, which is but a figure of speech, but — within himself and centered his observation on the inner man, he would soon escape from the coils of the great serpent of illusion. From the cradle to the grave, his life would then become supportable and worth living even in its worst phases. — Lucifer, vol. 1, p. 112.
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Each of us can relatively reach the Sun of Truth even on this earth, and assimilate its warmest and most direct rays. . . . We know that by paralyzing gradually within ourselves the appetites of the lower personality, and thereby deadening the voice of the purely physiological mind — that mind which depends upon, and is inseparable from, its medium or vehicle, the organic brain — the animal man in us may make room for the spiritual; and once aroused from its latent state, the highest spiritual senses and perceptions grow in us in proportion, and develop pari passu with the "divine man." — Lucifer, p. 428
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Hitherto, it was remarked in almost every historical age that a wide interval, almost a chasm, lay between practical and ideal perfection. Yet, as from time to time certain great characters appeared on earth who taught mankind to look beyond the veil of illusion, man learned that the gulf was not an impassable one; that it is the province of mankind through its higher and more spiritual races to fill the great gap more and more with every coming cycle; for every man, as a unit, has it in his power to add his mite toward filling it. Yes; there are still men, who, notwithstanding the present chaotic condition of the moral world, and the sorry debris of the best human ideals, still persist in believing and teaching that the now ideal human perfection is no dream, but a law of divine nature; and that, had mankind to wait even millions of years, still it must some day reach it and become a race of gods.
Meanwhile, the periodical rise and fall of human character on the external plane takes place now, as it did before, and the ordinary average perception of man is too weak to see that both processes occur each time on a higher plane than the preceding. But as such changes are not always the work of centuries, for often extreme changes are wrought by swift-acting forces — e. g., by wars, speculations, epidemics, the devastation of famines or religious fanaticism — therefore do the blind masses imagine that man ever was, is, and will be the same. To the eyes of us, moles, mankind is like our globe — seemingly stationary. And yet, both move in space and time with an equal velocity, around themselves, and — onward. — (Lucifer, Vol. V, p. 270)
1. Extracts from the writings of H. P. Blavatsky. (return to text)
Universal Brotherhood Path