CREATIVE ATTITUDES ΔΔ
by FRED MORGAN
A REPRINT FROM "THE THEOSOPHIST" MARCH, 1960
A PUBLICATION OF THE THEOSOPHICAL
IN the last hundred
years we have made amazing progress but man is still a great mystery to man,
both inwardly and outwardly. It seems not difficult to explain our lack of
understanding. Man, obviously, is a very complex creature, even if we consider
there is no more to him than what is apparent. But there is a great deal more.
He is not only a physical being with thoughts and feelings but a spiritual
entity. About this we may hear the admonition: " Why get more involved
? Is it not enough that we do not understand the parts of him that are so
familiar ? Must we make the problem more difficult by introducing other factors
about which we are merely guessing ? What is a spiritual entity in any case?
We know man has a soul, but that surely has to do with religion and not with
medicine or science."
There partly lies the fault and the cause of our bewilderment. We divide man into parts and have specialists for each part. But we shall not solve our problem of understanding man unless we consider the total man, not only his body and his emotions and mind, but also man as a Spirit and how each part affects the others. First, we must consider man as a Spirit - divine and immortal. He is not merely a creature with physical, emotional and mental equipment about which there hovers in some mysterious way a spirit or soul which after death goes to the appropriate place for ever and ever. He is a Spirit, and the parts of him that we are more familiar with serve as vehicles of consciousness upon three lower planes of Nature. But only the Spirit endures. This is the real man, the spark of the Divine, that which makes man truly unique in all creation, that which gives him a divine yearning for God or his place of origin. With Western orthodox ideas we have the cart before the horse, the transient personality before the enduring Spirit, and we wonder why life is such a mystery, so full of contradictions, futility, anguish and frustration. About these distressing parts of the human situation there can hardly be exaggeration. The misery that is apparent is far outweighed by that which is hidden from our sight. Tens upon tens of thousands live lives of loneliness and equal numbers endure tasks that are monotonous and uninspiring, while strange relationships in marriage add to the sum of human suffering. No stratum of society escapes the misery that seems to be the heritage of humankind, for even those upon whom fortune smiles often find hatred and fear and frustration in their possessions and power .
So the individual tries to escape this misery by engaging in the countless distractions that this modern world of miracles offers. He is rarely if ever ,contemplative, and being alone is something to be carefully avoided. If the evening or the weekend promises no excitement, no trips or visitors, no theatre or parties, then something must be done about it or there will be a drifting into boredom or loneliness. In the human scene, as yet, distractions seem to be inevitable, but is any form of culture in the home coming to our rescue ? Where is music or literature as a part of home life ? Where is the stimulating art of intelligent conversation ? Perhaps we shall not see them again in this age of miracles. Not music of our own creation, or quiet hours of reading, or the delight of mature discussion, or the somewhat creative activity of making things with our own hands. We have become watchers and listeners to what has little valid claim to culture, at least only a sparse sprinkling against mountains of vulgarity and violence.
If we wish to understand a machine, one of our most complex electronic machines, we shall not get very far by examining all the knobs and lights and dials on the panel. We have also to get to the insides where the tubes and wires are. And when we have understood all these circuits we still are merely acquainted with what we can see. But what we cannot see is the most important, for out of the unseen comes what we can see. The same with man. What is behind the personality with its body, emotions and thought is far more intriguing and profound.
By all this we can readily see that man is not really at home here on this physical plane of Nature. He is actually a transient limited to these denser fields of consciousness, and we cannot approach an awareness of his true identity, the spiritual self, for it is magnificent beyond conception. And we may see, too, that this life of ours upon earth is but a brief pilgrimage. What happens to us is not so important as many of us may think. We need not feel that the world is tumbling about our ears when we lose a fortune or a loved one. We suffer severely from such misfortune or bereavement because of our strong sense of separateness and helplessness - we have nothing upon which to lean. Nor can we really escape this sorrow yet, but to understand more of the hidden side of life must bring some relief and eventually complete release.
Suffering is caused when we are in conflict with universal law, when we strike discordant notes or chords upon the Creator's instrument of life and form. And through this suffering we gradually learn to strike harmonious notes in resonance with Nature's basic unity. Most of us understand this - it is quite elementary. But many of us do not understand how deep this matter goes. Orthodox Western thought is circumscribed by a one life theme. We live but once and into this comparatively brief period we must make something of ourselves, get an education, strive always for security, justify our existence, love and be loved and always hope that good fortune will be our lot. Many of us fail to realize our hopes and dreams. They not only remain as such but misfortune plagues our lives. Ill-health gives us pain, our love is unrequited, frustration wears us down, and life becomes a battle of endurance. What have we done that we must suffer so ? Have we not been virtuous and kind ? We have our faults to be sure, but have we been so evil that we must be punished so severely ? Besides, are there not quite evil people who seem to escape all penalties ? Apparently there is no justice to universal law, if law there be. Why should the righteous suffer and the villains often go through life unscathed, arrogant and prosperous ? Nor is this all. Why the death of infants ? Why the crippled or insane ? Why all the misery and pain that should be so unnecessary, that seems to have no cause or justification ?
Within the theory
that we live but once there is no justice - all is chaos and confusion. This
world of conflict and contradictions is surely not the creation of a Supreme
Intelligence. It is the work of a lunatic - a cosmic fiend. There is no plan
or purpose. But, consider the matter. Is it not quite obvious that we are
trying to measure the universe with a yardstick ? Should we not, if only for
amusement, extend the scene and give rein to the imagination ? Is it possible
that we have lived on earth before ? Or should the question be: Is it possible
that we have not ? At least, for the time being, let us assume that we have.
It is not an uninteresting speculation, in fact, the thought is quite intriguing;
fantastic, too, perhaps. But it is not more fantastic than the discoveries
of modern science, and certainly not more fantastic than a universe created
by a loving God which bears in its bosom such dreadful things, such injustice,
such misery and frustration, such deep sorrow, such " immemorial infamies,
perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes ".
If we earnestly and most anxiously wish to know what is the truth, then must we not gamble with new ideas, or venture upon journeys without map or compass? No new lands were discovered by staying at home and reading history books or fairy tales. The world was enlarged by adventurers and the wilderness subdued by brave men. It is so in the world of ideas, and one thing is certain about life - nothing is static. All is changing, evolving, moving forward from one scene to another. Man in general is the laggard because he is a creature of choice. He wants comfort more than truth, security more than adventure. And he feels secure in static beliefs and rests comfortably upon the theories of life propounded, by men in authority, or rather finds some comfort in placing responsibility upon the shoulders of another. How can he prove that things are not as stated ? He has no easy way of proving anything, and surely ideas about man and the universe, about the hereafter, ideas that have endured for centuries, cannot be false.
Indeed, they can be, and they are. During the last century, material science has been compelled to abandon many a pet theory that was thought secure, and whole new worlds have since been discovered. Progress is not so easy in the fields of organized religion. The Church is made secure by creeds and doctrines and by organization that depend upon authority, the authority of God and those who represent Him. It serves a purpose in the evolutionary process, in man's search for truth, but obviously this is no field for adventure and experiment. It has a doctrine, a plan and purpose that cannot be changed or faith in the whole thing collapses and the Church itself tumbles into ruin carrying with it those in high places. History is replete with records of the decay of man's systems and temples. Outer forms change or disintegrate that better forms may accommodate evolving life. Shall we then adventure forth with new ideas, if only for the time being and for our amusement ? Shall we plant a new garden of ideas and see what grows?
We may be concerned mostly with apparent injustice in the cosmic scheme. How shall we endure the thought that God is not just? How can we entertain the proposition that there is no plan or purpose to life ? We see that there are immutable laws in Nature, laws upon which the scientist depends. To make an intelligent and just pattern to man's existence we must have a comprehensive and far-reaching law - not only law in the objective world but law that reaches throughout the total realm of man. Thought and feeling are forces in man subject to this law. As we think, so we be- ,come, and it would be quite irrational to suppose that this universal law affected only one plane of Nature and not the others. For, strange as it may seem, this material world is only a reflection of higher planes. We can see the truth of this when we consider that what man creates comes from desire and thought.
This universal law
is known as Karma, or cause and effect. Whatever we do or think or feel produces
an effect, disturbs the matter of the appropriate plane - physical, mental
or emotional. This is not difficult to observe in the world of solid matter,
nor too difficult to see in the realm, of thought and feeling. We know the
effect of anger or of love, what potent forces they have proved themselves
to be; and how optimistic attitudes can change the atmosphere of our environment
is quite apparent. We live in a world of conflicting forces, powerful and
weak, positive and negative, altruistic and acquisitive, hateful and affectionate,
and constantly the balance of Nature is changed for good or ill by the way
we live. Further, everything that happens is recorded upon Nature's memory
as a scene is engraved upon a photographic film. Not only this, but the identity
of one who projects a force upon any plane is recorded too. Each individual
has his unique and characteristic note, and all his actions bear his mark,
hold his peculiar tone. There are fingerprints on Nature's plane of memory
as unquestionable as those that in the end may trap the criminal on this plane
or free the innocent. These matters cannot be elaborately explained within
an address or article, but the deeper explanation is available in Theosophical
Now we have to join
three things together, the law of cause and effect, reincarnation, and the
continuity of consciousness. For if we are to explain apparent injustices
in this life we must seek causes in previous lives. To help in this we have
to bear in mind that there are no great gaps or voids in the matter of life
and death. There is a continuity of consciousness from one plane to another,
and time and space have vastly different values on each plane. What happened
two hundred or a thousand years ago in a previous life is only distant to
our mode of thought or state of consciousness. Those distant events are still
potentially as near and real as the far end of a movie film that passed through
the projector at the beginning of the show. We are attached by invisible cords
to the effects of all our actions, thoughts and feelings. At some time in
the near or distant future, in this or some future life, the balance in Nature
that we disturbed must be restored. Sometimes the balance is restored immediately,
sometimes delayed to serve the purpose of the cosmic plan, but we cannot escape
these unseen pressures of which we are the cause, for we become an intimate
part of them at their creation.
Thus it is that we reap what we sow, and thus it is explained why we suffer from things to which we seem to have given no cause. The cause lies somewhere in the past; if not in this life, then in a previous life. It becomes apparent now why we should try to live in harmony with Nature's basic law of unity and love, for in the present we lay the foundation and provide the materials for the future. It should also be more apparent now that what happens to us in this one life is not really of great importance. This one life is, so to speak, but an hour in school. We make mistakes but we learn by them. We may be failures, but understanding life is more important than success, in fact, understanding is the only kind of success that has any real significance. If our way of life is altruistic rather than acquisitive we are more in tune with the Infinite, and we plant our garden on broad and fertile acres rather than in a window-box, for greed and envy are narrowing and separative while affection and generosity widen our horizons and spread the warmth of the heart abroad.
Bearing in mind that no action is lost on whatever plane it is projected we may see the ,justice of the cosmic scheme. We wish to be an artist or musician, a man of letters or a scientist, or any of many other things that inspire humans to ambition, but so often all our efforts seem to end in failure or frustration. We devote years of study to this or that and then the walls come tumbling down. Fate, as we call it, has been unkind and the tools of our trade have been snatched away by a seemingly capricious trend of circumstance. But should we feel discouraged now that we have a wider knowledge of the ways of evolving life and form ? We know that no effort can be wasted, that all virtue and talent and power become a lasting part of us carried forward from one life to the next, and that death is but the gateway to greater freedom. So, if we fail in the worldly sense in this life, whatever effort has been made has banked the fires for future lives. With this thought in mind we are encouraged to persevere, add what we can of talent and power and virtue to the scales that must show weight in our favor at some future time.
Advancing age is a problem for many, and most of those who engage these thoughts have lost the bloom of youth. Some of us are too late with too little and we resign ourselves to thoughts of what is past or what is to come. We watch the flames die down and the fire merely smoulder. But nothing is too late except with the one-life theme. Keep the fires burning by any action that seems appropriate and inspiring. In this way we lay the foundations for a more productive or creative future life. Until we draw our last breath we can keep our minds alert and our spirits buoyant. In some measure through this attitude to life we may escape the hindrances and infirmities of old age, carrying the ball until the time comes for our journey home from whence we came. If we have packed this life with creative thought and action we shall have helped those within our sphere, which is far more important than thoughts of success for ourselves; and if advancing age is a problem we shall not forget that youth has its problems too. Fortunate are those young people who have the capacity to engage thoughts more profound. These have the flexibility of thought and feeling to invest in the teachings of Theosophy with compound interest and early in life encourage the development of creative attitudes. It is to youth that the world must turn for help. Youth with its inexhaustible enthusiasm, its love of freedom, its beauty and buoyancy. Youth and age are reconciled in the consideration that the former has its foot upon the accelerator and the latter on the brake. Age urges caution to youth's impetuous advance, and so a wise stability is achieved.
Our social system is founded upon the sense of separateness and each stands against the other. This is so clearly shown by the distressing condition of the world today. We are constantly fighting to avoid breakdowns in our economic system and foreign relationships, projecting force against force and not only producing more conflict but periodically finding ourselves the victims of catastrophe in a world war with the dreadful prospect of annihilation. To solve this problem we must perforce take a different view of life, escape from the narrow and frustrating grooves to which we have become so accustomed, examine the teachings of those in authority and try to see things clearly for ourselves. Beliefs are obviously static and within them the blind lead the blind in an effort to maintain the status quo. Those in authority, those in high places, are much less inclined to change, for that threatens position and authority. To make themselves secure, the great ones, those who hold the reins of world affairs, in religion, politics or diplomacy, support a deeply patterned way of life while behind them in strength are the media of propaganda. We are prisoners upon our own soil, slaves to colorless conventional thought and mood.
Then how are we to ameliorate or remedy the discord within this tragic human drama of frustration and bewilderment ? Shall we solve our problems by supporting one political party or another, in testing system after system built upon the same foundation ? If we shuffle the deck or demand a cut are we going to change the situation fundamentally, miraculously find harmony when all that has been changed is the position of the cards in their relationship and sequence ? No, the solution to the problem lies with the individual. He is the one who must have the inspiration, energy and courage to change, to see things with wider vision, not only to believe he is a spark of the divine but to act as if he were. And does he act as if he were by paying willing tribute through apathetic attitudes to the unimaginative and prosaic schemes of men that follow such uninspiring grooves ? The individual must be unique, exercise his initiative, intelligence and intuition. These things are a part of him, the most important part, and at his peril let him neglect them. If we neglect our physical body, fail to give it fresh air and exercise, proper food and cleanliness, we know what happens. It becomes flabby and lifeless, not a thing of energy and beauty but a burden to the mind and spirit for which it lives. The same with the deeper parts of man. Conform to lifeless grooves and patterns and the creative channel is blocked, move timidly in fear and the spirit is stifled, engage in selfish pursuits in open or obscure ways and we are in conflict with expanding life and the freedom and beauty of the cosmic scheme.
Not long ago a party of Britishers set out to cross the Atlantic in a balloon. They succeeded, but mostly by the hazardous and uncomfortable means of travel on the water. We are all crossing our own Atlantics in our own balloons but we fail to make fast progress because we carry too much baggage. If we wish to progress rapidly we must not be heavily burdened or forget the deeper purpose of the trip. But our almost complete attention is directed to what we carry and our eyes are fastened upon the car that holds us, not high in the air but perilously close to the waves beneath or even down upon them.
The approach to freedom and truth lies in the discarding of what bears us down, but with our attitude to life we constantly accumulate. If it is not things that we possess and cherish then it is schemes for our psychological security, a position in society, attachment to an organization, prestige in this or that and all manner of plans and activities for the support and perpetuation of this ambitious but transitory self. We cannot lighten our balloon by becoming hermits or retiring to the privacy and seclusion of our chambers. This is disaffection in the face of the enemy, and how shall we understand life if we try to avoid it ? No, we stand our ground but let nothing possess us. We may possess but not be possessed, for are we not sparks of the divine, projections of divinity, a most remarkable product of an evolutionary process and its pinnacle of life and form in this world? So, should we seek support from lesser things ? But this we do and the unhappy result is apparent on every hand. We are pawns when we might be kings and queens, cogs and bearings in a vast machine when we might be free, followers when we need not follow, believers when mere belief impedes our progress, schemers when to scheme is but the mark of selfish purpose.
But we must not be pessimistic or unjust in our appraisal of the human situation. In the last century or so we have made rapid progress, undermining the battlements of superstition, probing Nature's secrets with astonishing and somewhat alarming results, paying at least lip-service to the increasingly popular theme of the brotherhood of humanity, recognizing the rights of minorities, ordering through law the desegregation of our schools, laying the foundations for world government, forbidding aggression, ringing the earth with altruistic missions and paying much more attention and respect to those who investigate the occult side of life. The idea of reincarnation and the mysterious powers latent in man have attracted the attention of keen and unbiased minds in our universities. In fact, it is quite evident that life is proving too much for the ancient forms that have held it for so long and we see on every hand the disintegration of long established institutions and the gradual and painful integration of the new.
And those who observe and understand to some extent this advancing wave of life must actively support it, encouraging each truly creative idea and action, supporting what may yet be unpopular so long as it bears some deeper aspect of the truth. Not only this, but also recognizing what is spurious or shallow, for the forces of darkness are up in arms as must be in a world of opposites. New ideas are thoughtlessly exploited for selfish purpose as may be observed in the birth and rapid growth of pseudo-occult movements. Here lies a danger not to be ignored. In the objective world such abuse has limited fields in which to do harm but when we enter occult spheres we encounter more destructive forces where there is misinterpretation and desire to exploit. We can spot the pseudo-occult movements by their attitudes and motives. They emphasize what is sensational and promise great rewards in the quick development of latent powers through streamlined yoga courses and other mysterious practices. The spiritual aspirant who is alert will not be taken in by what is superficially attractive. He is interested in the more profound, in what may add to his enlightenment, and so through understanding lighten the burden of the world. He should not even be primarily interested in the development of his own latent powers such as clairvoyance. These things will come when the time is ripe, when he has learned to use with discrimination and intelligence what power he already possesses for the good of humanity.
That should be his
keynote and his main consideration; not concern about his own salvation but
how to be a force in the world for its enlightenment and progress. For this
purpose he must understand himself, know himself for what he is, be constantly
alert to the pressures around and within. In this he should have no fear or
prejudice, but try to be an unbiased observer of the scene, detecting and
analyzing deeper causes and watching for unsuspected motives. He should be
without prejudice because in the deeper sense there is no right or wrong but
only what is more and what is less mature, and, in any case, our moral codes
are loaded with hypocrisy. We do not condemn a bulb because it lies for a
long time in the ground, or register complaint when it bursts through the
soil without a bloom. We know that it will bloom in time. This should be our
attitude in our estimation of the human scene. The most miserable tramp or
the blackest of villains has only recently broken through the soil to sunlight.
The lives behind him are far fewer than in the case of the truly cultured
man and far, far fewer than those of the saint or sage. And shall we be so
sure that we are beyond the peril of being relatively as miserable or black
as the tramp or villain ? We know not what strange cornbinations of circumstance
may yet assail us to prove that humility is a most worthy attribute of human
nature. Nor shall we be too ready to judge another if we remember those well-known
lines of Robert Burns: " What's done we partly may compute, but know
not what's resisted."
All the foregoing considerations have been spoken or written of many time before, but we cannot too often be reminded of the basic truths, the truths that Theosophy teaches. Nor may we rest upon our oars if we are students of the Ancient Wisdom. To remain as pioneers we must continue with our pioneering or find ourselves settling into grooves that are just as dull as other grooves even though they are Theosophical. And with this thought in mind we shall remind ourselves that this exciting age in which we live is not only exciting because of the discoveries of science but also because of a reaching out to the world of ideas, a feeling for new interpretations of old truths, and awakening of higher and more creative faculties. It is a most difficult time for the student of the occult since he feels the impulse of the new but cannot suddenly divorce the old-he might be likened to one trying to change horses in midstream. One horse is the lower mind and the other is intuition; the former analyzes and the latter synthesizes; one is co-operative and the other competitive ; one is altruistic and the other acquisitive; one is retiring in disposition and the other aggressive. There are no hard and fast lines about this for most of us are a blending of both, but those who have in this life, or for several or many lives, engaged their thoughts upon the spiritual or more profound things of life have developed to a considerable degree the intuitional faculty. These intuitional types do not find life easy. They have to rub shoulders with a world that is fiercely competitive and cruel in many ways and their sensitivity suffers in no small degree. It is as it should be, as all things are in the deeper sense. For the precipitous and rugged heights that the spiritual aspirant challenges are not taken by a feeble assault. Great strength and determination are needed with a singleness of purpose. He gains this strength by intelligent contact with the world, learning how to be in it but not of it. No worldly loss, frustration or defeat, have much effect upon his armour, for the durable metal of which it is made has been fashioned by purity and affection.
It is mostly this intuitive one who is responsive to new ideas, to new interpretations, to creative attitudes, but let him keep his feet solidly upon the ground. He is usually flexible and refuses to become attached to patterns. He sees a truth but does not try to capture it, for he knows full well that what is secured and made static by the mind no longer holds the truth. In other words he becomes a channel for life's creative forces and not a vessel whose imprisoned contents soon bear the marks of futility and death. He is the one who truly leads the way into the new age, an age that is slowly being born and about which there is so much torment and confusion, so much sorrow and danger. He leads the way because he builds upon the solid foundation of affection and freedom, and throughout the world in a mysterious way these foundations are being laid by those who understand life's plan and purpose. It is not always what we see upon the surface that has great significance but the growth beneath that will later be reflected in the outer world. How triumphant must those feel who put a satellite into orbit and plan the invasion of the moon or Mars. But shall not a wiser posterity see them in their true light - clever playboys of an age of miracles, who play with the aching hearts and confused minds of millions, who keep men destitute that huge armies and great arsenals may be maintained, and attempted trips into outer spaces financed.
No, the true leaders are those who form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, those unknown or obscure groups scattered throughout the world who teach the truths of the Ancient Wisdom, who try to portray in their own lives something of the spirit of the new age that is to come, who are devoted to the cause of man's enlightenment and emancipation. But a great responsibility has been accepted by those who form these groups, the responsibility of being alert and wise to what is taking place in the world. They will succeed only by remaining receptive to creative thought or the deeper promptings of the intuition. They will certainly fail if they are concerned about themselves and their own salvation. They dare not make creeds for followers or feel that merely a deeper knowledge of the occult side of life gives them a passport to heaven. They have no rights but only duties, no rewards that they anticipate but only sacrifice. And it is in their ability to nourish the growth and development of higher states of consciousness with selfless purpose that they will be able to continue to lead the way. Such higher states do not come with knowledge alone. They come to those who do not cling tenaciously to patterns of the mind, to the philosophies and schemes of other men, but having faith in their own creativeness are alert to life's strange pressures in the present moment and depend not too much on disciplines.
Indeed, discipline too much revered may prove to be a tyrant. It is for us to keep an open and receptive mind and not hug too closely cherished concepts that came to us long years ago or only yesterday. It is, perhaps, not quite so important whether this thought or that bears the truth, or is deceptive, but it is important that we are free to examine the matter. Too easily we become burdened with a pattern and the mind becomes rigid when it loves security more than truth. The pioneer does not seek security and Theosophy would not be thus named if it were static or completely contained within the covers of its books. Moreover, Theosophy is the story of evolving life and form but the story is only partly told, and man completes the ensuing chapters as he lives from moment to moment. Shall we then, or are we able, to complete the remaining chapters before we have lived them by projecting ourselves into the future? We know the past, perhaps, but can we tell what the future holds in the way of truth ? What seems to have an affinity for truth today may prove to be otherwise tomorrow. The laws of reincarnation and karma are facts in nature but within the law man moves into the unknown when he has the wisdom and courage to let go the past and ignore the future. And into the unknown the pioneer must go if he is to remain a pioneer, seeing things for what they are, not for what they should be according to cherished patterns built upon the past.
Shall we then neglect the past completely ? How can we neglect it? Are we not a product of the past, an evolutionary product as old as the hills; and much more ancient than the recorded history of man? We are what the past has made us, or rather what we have made of ourselves throughout the past, and those peculiar pressures that drive us to unwise thought and action are partly the ghosts of yesterday, of childhood days and days of previous lives. But we can understand the past and see how it conditions us. Do we discern the nature of a thing or thought truly and simply, or is our awareness of it distorted by our conditioning?" Obviously it is. And in this way the past becomes an unenlightening influence. Our problem is to see things clearly for what they are, not heavily framed by our particular attitude or way of life. We cannot be deeply creative or unique if we are conditioned by our background, nor can we be alert and receptive in the only moment that is creative, the present moment, if we are thus conditioned. The whispering spirit may be heard when we are quiet within, when it is not drowned out by the constant activity of this self-assertive personality. Shall we experiment with this? It will not be easy in this blustering modern world, for challenge is constant and response to challenge an age-old habit. This does not mean that we shall become dull and uninteresting to those around us. Certainly not, for it is our present patterns that are thus inclined. No, we shall behave more as if we were gods in the making, reaching not for worldly treasures, seeking not for security in the manner of the world, but knowing, and perhaps proving, which sooner or later we must, that we are natives of celestial spheres probing the mysteries of Nature's lower planes.
Life, then, may take on a different aspect if we will. Nor shall we be likely merely to flirt with these ideas we have before us, or forget that there is cosmic plan and purpose behind what seems to be purposeless and without plan, but we shall give our thought and energy entirely to those parts of us that are more enduring and profound. And if we go into the matter of evolving life and form more deeply we shall reach the conclusion that things for the most part are not what they seem to be upon the surface. Our material scientists are discovering that beyond a certain area two plus two no longer make four, for they have approached the astral fringe of atomic structure and are quite puzzled. How much more puzzled may the student of occultism become as he investigates ? He will be wise not to jump to any conclusions or plot his future progress entirely from the patterns of the past. But of some things we can be sure. That love, for instance, is the basic and most potent force in the universe .Yet we cannot be sure that certain systems or thought or discipline will bring us closer to the truth. We like to think that they will, for then we have something to which we may cling and upon which we can build. But we may yet have to discard painfully some of our cherished concepts about who or what brings the truth.
In the meantime there is more than enough in the profound teachings of Theosophy to deepen our knowledge of life and give us a wider perspective ; to give to man his truly cosmic aspect, a dweller upon all planes of Nature; to give to the scientist wider fields in which to investigate, fields that taken in their proper relationship one to the other will reveal not only the oneness of life throughout infinite diversity but cosmic plan and purpose sustained by universal law. We can take encouragement in the thought that there are few problems that cannot be resolved by deep affection which demands no response or reward, affection that springs from understanding.
Twenty years ago at the University of Glasgow," W. MacNeile Dixon, in delivering the Gifford Lectures, said :
These are the features and faculties in man that the poets love and admire, his endurance, his resolution, his heroisms, his quixotry. Yes, the quixotry, the inexplicable preference, even to his own hurt, for- the noble and magnanimous, the high and honorable things. Miracles they are that outmiracle all others if atoms and the void produced these human qualities. It is in the exalted thoughts and still more soaring dreams of " that wild swan the soul," the admirable lunacies, the sudden gleams that illuminate the sombre landscape of human life that the poets find the revelation of the vital truth. They issue no commandments, they censure not, they upbraid not. In the fierce turmoil they are not utterly discouraged. They sympathize with every creature. They know, and yet, mirabile dictu, love the world. Theirs is a postulate, if you like, yet a postulate we must all make, if we are to enter the region of meanings at all, that our natural capacities, our natural instincts are not the casual spindrift of time, but of an earlier birth and longer lineage. As in the darkness, in the organism not yet born, the eye is formed to correspond to things invisible, and thus with confidence anticipates a world to come, so the soul's faculties, for love, for joy, for admiration, for achievement, correspond to a reality which exists, and is by them foretold. The soul does not provide itself with a passport for an imaginary country , and cannot vibrate to a note unsounded in the universe.
How simple then is our duty - loyalty to life, to the ship's company and to ourselves, that it may not be through our surrender that the great experiment of existence, whose issue remains in doubt, comes to an end in nothingness. " We must not obey," said Aristotle, " those who urge us, because we are human ;and mortal, to think human and mortal thoughts; in so far as we may we should practise immortality, and omit no effort to live in accordance with the best that is in us."
What a handful of dust is man to think such thoughts! Or is he, perchance, a prince in misfortune, whose speech at times betrays his birth ? I like to think that, if men are machines, they are machines of a celestial pattern, which can rise above themselves, and, to the amazement of the watching gods, acquit themselves as men. I like to think that this singular race of indomitable, philosophizing, poetical beings, resolute to carry the banner of Becoming to unimaginable heights, may be as interesting to the gods as they to us, and that they will stoop to admit these creatures of promise into their divine society.
that we are gods in the making and shows that we are as interesting to the
gods as they to us, but that they are more ready to stoop to admit us to their
divine society than we are to rise to such a divine occasion.
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