Copyright © 1996 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
In the sacredness of the silence great and wonderful things are done. One has not to move very far away from himself to realize that the very best thoughts he has ever had have remained for the most part unuttered. Man's greatest aspirations, his brightest dreams, his grandest hopes have been so deep in his heart-life, in his mind, and in the silent yearnings of his better nature that no words could utter them — so sacred are they and so little understood.
In spite of all the great efforts that have been made to spread the truth, this silent power in our hearts, in our longings, in our unuttered prayers tells of even better things for humanity all the time, just as far as our motives are unselfish and impersonal. If every man today could have just the one living idea of his own essential divinity, of his everlasting, eternal life, of his being a part of deity's great family!
Nothing is lost. Consider everything that happens in our waking and in our sleeping, in our thinking and in our talking, and still more in our silences. Is it understood or even dreamed that one's most beautiful and helpful ideas come in the silence? Think of the glory and mystery of the beautiful flowers: in the early springtime we have little evidence that anything is waiting for us, and then almost in a day, from all parts of the earth, everywhere, come these beautiful messengers of silence. There is certainly a mystery about them. We cannot yet fully tell what the wonderful processes are that have brought these flowers to such perfection. We do not know how long ago the first seed of them was planted.
There is so much that we meet in our everyday lives that we cannot explain, that we do not understand. The reason is that we have removed ourselves so far away from our higher source of knowledge — the better part of us, the nobler, aspiring, eternal part which is to be found only in the silence. The other part of us belongs in a sense only to the outer world, to the mortal man, to the one lifetime. But we shall live again and again!
Hug to your heart the idea that you are divine in essence. Believe that the best of yourself is to be found in the silence, when your soul is seeking recognition. Yet the soul of humanity is so lonely because men live so much on the outer plane and so little in the inner field of the aspirations and the hopes and the consciousness of their essential divinity.
We have been educated for ages to look outside of ourselves for help, so most people have tried to penetrate through the mysteries of life with the brain-mind alone and have never reached the Real, because they have depended upon external help instead of retiring into the silence of their deeper natures and feeling their own heart-throbs, so to speak, and challenging and questioning themselves. They do not reach it because struggling humanity has for ages been continually reminded of its mistakes, its weaknesses, its sins.
So men have had little time left for finding out who they are, where they come from, and whither they go. They have had little to satisfy their souls. There are some things that may satisfy a limited mind, the brain-mind, because that mind may be yet psychologized with the unrest of the age. It may mean well, but it does not know itself; consequently it does not aspire. But there are thousands and thousands in the world today who are seeking the light and the truth.
Considering prosperity and the poverty of our ideals, I shall speak of America in particular. We cannot help acknowledging that in the material sense America is prosperous, and as the country advances in its outward prosperity, so do the people to a degree. But they do not reach the deeper needs of their natures in this way, and what they do get through such prosperity is only for this one life, unless they are of the kind that believe there is more light and therefore long for, strive for, and work untiringly for more light. Such as these are moving in quite another direction than those entirely occupied with material prosperity. They have a superb trust because when one is absolutely conscious of his own essential divinity, the light breaks, the veil is lifted, and life has a new meaning.
In the great scheme of our spiritual evolution, it was intended that we should love one another in the truest sense — be brothers, live in the spirit of brotherhood. If we so lived and had the knowledge of our own essential divinity, all the rest that our souls long for would come. But without this there is no way to solve the perplexing problems which confront us. It is intended in the great plan of the universe that man should know himself. The greatest writers, savants, scientists, even the world's geniuses, go just so far, and they cannot go beyond because they have not the wonderful key which is that man is divine in essence. They do not see beyond this life.
Conscious of man's essential divinity, and still more conscious of the love of the great central source of life, all the rest is cared for if we are doing our duty, if we are living according to the best knowledge we have, and especially if, going beyond that, we are ever seeking more knowledge. Do not look upon the idea of man's essential divinity and his eternal life as such a faraway ideal. Consider it more deeply, and then look out into nature and see what she will tell you. Then come back to the realm of deeper thought and face yourself with knowledge, with enlightenment, with larger trust, conscious of the power to overcome through this trust.
Know well that we are challenged by the divine laws of life. It is not intended that we should be disconsolate or think we are such wretched sinners. Such a belief has no place in the great scheme of eternal life, which is all love. Reach out into the atmosphere of love — think of it, work for it, live for it, serve for it — then you will find a touch of that peace that you forever crave.
Every human face tells its story in a different way because we have all grown up differently and in different environments. So take the idea of self-directed evolution in connection with the idea that man has within himself the inner knowledge of his essential divinity and is able to direct his destiny — to make it strong, splendid, pure, and full of service, or otherwise.
It is remarkable that, in spite of all the grandeur and beauty of life, we allow ourselves — not intentionally or understandingly, but ignorantly — to drift into the vortex of the world's chaos, confusion, doubt, fear, restlessness, and despair. Yet every man is his own savior: he can curse his life or he can bless it. Until a man has the knowledge of his own essential divinity, he is not to be condemned for the mistakes he has made when looking outside for the light while it was within. But he is to blame if he continues doing so after he knows that there is another door open for him and that all he has to do is to enter in.
The stars and the light and the very atmosphere challenge every man, but first he must challenge himself. When we think along these lines we are out in a vast field of thought. We no longer suppose that this is the only world. We learn of the hundreds of other worlds and the hundreds of other planets. And then we might possibly have courage enough to believe that we have lived before and that some part of the knowledge that we have in our lives now, we have had before. But our lives are still unfinished because, if man is essentially divine, eternal, one wonders if a rational mind could conceive of man living only seventy-seven or one hundred years — just one lifetime in which to solve this great riddle of eternity.
There is a great poverty of ideals in human life today: the best of them are unexpressed. What field does the world offer in order fully to live out our ideals? Where is the comradeship or the education that will take us out of our limitations into a larger view of life and a larger view of the majesty of the infinite laws and the glory of living? In very truth humanity is crying today for the peace that comes from living out our inner ideals. Even the unborn children are calling for it.
While, as I said, material prosperity belongs only to this one life, yet surely you do not think for a moment that I would not wish you prosperity. But to be so absorbed in material gain in the outer life as to imagine that that is all, or that it is going to bring you the peace that your hearts crave — nay, it is only transitory. If this material prosperity is sustained by honest dealing and right conduct, it is a part of the scheme of life, but otherwise there is nothing to it. Better be out in the woods with no shelter than to be living as many are living today, gaining their prosperity at the expense of their suffering brothers.
I am more and more impressed with the poverty of our ideals today. I often ask myself, have we advanced? Has civilization reached a point where we can speak with pride of it as a glorious civilization? No, we cannot do it, because we must ever keep in mind those fellow human beings who are going downhill all the time, losing their way; those who have no faith, no love; those who have been overlooked and are drifting downwards. We must be doing something more than we have ever done, and we must do this very soon. We must raise the ideals of men to a higher standard. Too many people have their ideals for Sunday only and forget them the rest of the week.
Theosophy offers humanity a philosophy of life that is so optimistic that it brings to the realization of all the wonderful power of changing one's own life. Surely every man and woman in the world today can do better than they have done. The silent power that I spoke of is everywhere. You will not always see it under the name of theosophy: you will find it in the kingdom of nature, in the woods, in the stars as they speak their silent language to us, and in the silence of human hearts everywhere. And then your mind will go beyond into a grander vista of another world and more superb possibilities for all — even for the very least of us.
The things you have lost or missed in this life that really belong to your souls can be yours because everyone has another chance — always another chance! So let us work for the grander ideals and discourage anything and everything that leads to the extreme. Let us bring our boys and girls into a commonsense line of action — a more quiet, more thoughtful way of living and growing. Pray let them not suffer from our poverty of ideals. And because these ideals are not tangible, do not imagine they are not real: they are the greatest reality of our existence.
There are of course very good men and women everywhere; but they are the exceptions. And when I refer to the poverty of our ideals, I am not referring to our beautiful buildings, our splendid school edifices, our great inventions, nor to the world's enormous wealth of material possessions. No, I am talking about our children, our boys and girls who walk our streets every day. Most of them are not going the right way, many of them are drifting the wrong way — some rapidly, others slowly and insidiously. There is no real chance for them. Why? Because high ideals are not presented to them from Monday morning until Saturday night, as they should be. On the contrary, they have drummed into their ears, and they read in the newspapers and everywhere they turn, dollars, dollars! Now of course the dollar-and-cent question has its place, but our minds are made for something more. They are made to do grand thinking, to echo the thoughts of our higher natures. When the body dies, the brain-mind dies with it. What does go on forever is that eternal, spiritual part, the spiritual soul, the essential divinity.
The cry of the age is: More light, more light! We must therefore make truth so easy to understand that even the children can grasp it and grow in it and conquer and find the joy of living. Nowadays our boys and girls are not happy unless they are moving about, here, there, and everywhere. They think they must have the fever of excitement in their everyday lives. The restlessness of the youth is menacing. To change this condition, make your homes more attractive in the truest sense: illumine them with the light of real knowledge, bring them to a condition where your children will know that you have found the right way. Then you will begin to accentuate something new in your own souls that will reecho in your children and in all. Of course you must have your outward life and you must work for dollars and cents rationally. But you must divide your time and give to your souls, to your consciences, and to those you love a tribute of the gods, for such it proves to be when a man finds in this noisy world of ours that humanity is divine in essence and that nothing is lost in the great scheme of life. This gives a man a larger view, another view, and still another, which are not contradictory but are the result of his continuous growth, of his deep aspirations strengthened by his spiritual will.
One need not be surprised if he looks in the glass and finds that some of his wrinkles have gone out of his face, that his sorrow and despair have begun to vanish. He will begin to find in himself secrets of a divine love that warms his soul and enlightens his mind and enables him to give courage to others. Perhaps he will find in his own home new opportunities and ways of speaking more kindly and building more securely and more richly for the future through his knowledge of the everlasting life.
But we need not wait for another life. Every moment can be made so precious that ere long we shall have the evidence of true, splendid, royal ideals active in the world for our children, taking the place of all that distressed us yesterday. Then we shall find men and women growing more closely to the divine plan, more gloriously and splendidly for their fatherhood and motherhood and for the greater good of all humanity.
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