Words Are Too Easy words are too easy letters are too light springing to the touch of anyone who might grab a pen and scrawl a line not bothered in the least by igonrance of talent or amount of truth released why then have I got nothing made of stronger stuff to make my resolution in but just these bits of fluff for as it stands right now my fingers freeze halfway reluctant to commit with all the weakness words convey but then again, upon reflection is that really what I want? to be forever laced to a scribbling of font better then, to write thoughts out leave them rough and bare for the human mind is volatile quite capable of err -- Galina Tucker
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 56-61]
Modern men and women, both older and younger, form a generation that we can, I believe, adequately describe as 'a lost generation'; and the cause of it, the reason for our mental wandering and emotional groping, is the loss of our understanding and hold of a common or universally accepted ethical and intellectual standard. This is shown by the Babel of voices surrounding us everywhere, by the hungry human hearts, and even by the eager human minds searching for Truth and not knowing where to find it, nor its guidance: human minds searching for a sufficient and satisfying inner light, for something that will guide us in solving the problems facing us.
We are, indeed, a lost generation, and it is not the youth only who are lost. Elders and youth are both lost in this sense; in fact it is the elders who are even more perplexed than are the youth of today. Our whole generation is blind, walking in darkness, not knowing whither to turn for the longed-for light; and the Babel of voices that arises from the immense human crowd is something frightening and significant in its clamor and confused insistence upon panaceas and nostrums of various kinds, political and otherwise.
One hearkens vainly while lending an ear to this turbulent Babel, which too often is mere babble, in order to find constructive suggestions that are of universal application. It is rare indeed to hear voices speaking with the authority of knowledge; and I will venture to suggest the reason of it all.
If there is a common struggle or fight in progress and you go down into the arena of turmoil definitely intending to fight those already fighting there, and to outshout them, the chances are small that what you have to say will receive attention; the probability is that you are going to be hurt. This is because the would-be reformer simply descends to the level of the shouting squabblers. Such is not the manner by which to bring about anything that is universally and definitely constructive in idea, or attractively new or helpful, or that will explain and solve the problems causing the universal disturbance. You are simply descending into the battle yourself, trying to overcome violence with violence, force with force; and this procedure never has succeeded, and I venture to say that it never will.
This does not mean to imply that force is always to be ignored in human relations. Sometimes it is necessary wisely albeit kindly to use force, but always without violence and in order to overcome an evil. Such employment of force or power should always be a merely temporary event or procedure, and should never be used save in an impersonal and upright manner, and for a good cause, and for the common weal. Justice to all is never to be gained by descending into the arena of battle and 'fighting it out' there. Justice is rarely gathered into pockets, so to say; and very rarely indeed is it wholly on one side of a question.
Our generation is lost, intellectually and morally, because it has lost its vision. "Without a vision the people perish" -- an old Hebrew saying based on a comprehensive view of human psychology as demonstrated in history, and therefore a saying that is full with truth. It is invariably a vision or an idea, or a body of ideas, which guides men upwards to glory or downwards to the pit; for Plato was fully right: it is ideas that make or unmake civilizations, build up or overthrow established institutions; and it is just grandly universal ideas, and the will to follow them -- ideas and ideals that all men feel to be true and inerrant from truth -- which men today lack. It is just because men today lack vision, i.e., an inner knowledge of the right thing to do, of a clear way out of their troubles, that as nations we are where we now are.
We are now at the end of one form of civilization, which, like the Roman Empire in its time, has reached its term, its breaking-up, and we are facing the opening measures of the cosmic drama that is now coming in. It will depend upon the innate wisdom and sense of high justice inherent in men's hearts and minds, whether our present civilization will go down in blood and despair, or whether it will take breath and time in order to recover itself: whether, with the dawning of a new intellectual and moral perception of justice and reason, it will stop its descent down the declivity and begin to rise to new heights overtopping the finest that as yet racially we have attained. This latter can be done; and it is man's higher nature only, his intuitions and instincts for justice and reason, nothing else, that will bring it to pass with surety: man's innate sense of justice, his inherent sense of right, and the common recognition that reason and not violence is the way out -- and upwards to safety, peace, and progress.
History with its silent but tremendously powerful voice shows us, as we hearken to its mandates, that there is absolutely no other way out for us; that there is no other complete solution or one that will be satisfactory to all types of human minds, to all types of human character. There is freedom for all; each people seek their own salvation on their own lines, but in ethical directions accompanied by reason and a desire to do justice. Even an enlightened self-interest, with its always keen eye for individual advantage, must see the universal benefits and securities of such a plan.
All stable human institutions are founded on these intuitions and instincts, and upon naught else. Were it otherwise, then our sense of order and law, our very respect for our courts of law, international or national, were collectively a monstrous deception, and an ignominious and miserable farce; and all sane men realize that our laws are based on the rules of justice and impartial reason, tempered with impersonal mercy.
I am not one of those gloomy pessimists who say that man is but a 'poor worm,' with instincts born of his association with dust, and intuitions that are unfounded in fact, and that therefore he cannot solve his problems adequately. He can indeed solve them if he has the will so to do. We are indeed approaching the end of our civilization, and are fascinated and hold our breath as we watch the phenomena of its breaking up; but all too often we forget that this has been a civilization of matter almost wholly, where things of matter often counted as the only ones permanently worthwhile.
There are no longer new lands to which we may send our young people to colonize, for they all have been preempted or taken. The rule of force and of material values has prevailed almost universally, rather than the rules of international justice and common human rights. For eighteen hundred years, more or less, it has been the rule: let each grab what he may; let each hold what he can. The conduct of the peoples of the earth has been largely based on this purely materialistic and selfish foundation. We sowed the wind; we are now as a body of spiritually bankrupt peoples reaping the whirlwind.
Is it not time that the more far-seeing and superior minds of the world should see to it that calmness and reason and impartial justice shall henceforth prevail? Is there any other and better way out of our troubles and difficulties than by solving them wisely? The only way by which they may be solved is by reason, by justice. If men deliberately refuse to listen to reason, if men deliberately refuse to wish or to will to do justice, then it seems certain that down we shall go, and our civilization, our great cities, and the manifold works and labors of millions of hands through the years shall be dust and ruined heaps.
There would seem to be no other way out; no god will step into the arena of human pain and willful ignorance and pull us wretched mortals out of the world-mess that we have created for ourselves, mostly through rabid self-interest and through our willfully turning away from the paths of justice and peace. We alone must save ourselves; and when we begin to do this in the manner pleasing to the higher Powers, then we shall make an undeniable appeal for their aid and guidance, and we shall receive it. Hercules helps the wagoner, indeed; but only when the wagoner begins to help himself -- and in the right way.
It is the sheerest foolishness and the most blatant of all ethical and intellectual poppycock to aver that man's destiny, now that the waste places of the earth have been taken, is blocked; that there is no future for those who were not 'in at the beginning.' Such an attitude is contradicted by every page of the annals of universal history. We must remember that nothing, no human institution, is unchangeable, eternally the same; and that the shifting and continuously varying scenes of human history in the past -- a certain fact of truth -- promise that the future will be as full as the past has been with the shifting of cosmic scenery, and the changing of human interests and fields of activity.
The greatest peoples of the earth have not been those possessing the greatest extent of territory, but precisely those who have been the foremost in the reception of ideas and in the application of progressive ideas to the building up of human institutions based on and usually proclaiming, if not, alas, always following, the ideals of impersonal justice and trained reason; for these are spiritual qualities -- which in fact are universal.
Let us fill our hearts with eternal gratitude to the watching though silent Cosmic Powers, that the horizons now before us as men in all parts of the earth, and without distinction of race or creed, are spiritual and intellectual horizons, beyond which there are for us unknown regions of infinitely vast extent waiting conquest by human genius, when we shall give rein to the instincts and intuitions of the human soul. Look then at what lies before us if we will to bring justice unmotivated by self-interest and the love of honor and truth to work amongst us!
One of the main causes, and perhaps the foremost cause, of our troubles, both national and international, is that men commonly, with many grand exceptions, however, are still holding to the belief in force, in violence, as being the way to solve our troubles. Such procedure never has succeeded permanently, and never will. Violence breeds violence; violence grows by violence. Hatred breeds hatred; selfishness breeds other selfishness.
It is one of the objectives -- let me say duties -- of the Theosophical Movement to show men the simple precepts of reason; that life should be governed by the grand ethical instincts of the human soul, which are based on no human conventions but on the orderliness of Nature's own structure and processes. Out of these ethical instincts spring the directing precepts of reason and our will to do justice, teaching us that the 'way out' lies within ourselves: not in our armies nor in our navies, nor in all the dreadful methods of mutual destruction that man's evil genius has invented. These last are not even temporary remedies and bring no satisfactory adjusting of troubles. At best, the machinery of defense should be used as police machines; for then their use becomes justified, because then they would be employed in the cause of justice and used with reason only.
Our problems will never be solved by our mad rush in competitive armament, bringing about universal distrust, fear, anxiety, and crushing the peoples with taxation that threatens to grow beyond their power to meet, and almost making them hate the conditions under which they live their lives. It is the old folly, now recognized by all, to argue that by piling up armaments and inventing new devices of horrible destruction, and by increasing the use of violent force, by and by war will become so horrible that men will shrink in fearsome terror from it. Of all the fallacies and stupid arguments, this is the worst that has ever been inflicted on the suffering minds of mankind.
You will never succeed in stopping war by organizing yourselves into associations or societies swearing to refuse service to your government, and defying it in case of war. That procedure, in my judgment, is abominably wrong. We may admire the idealistic courage and ideal thoughts of the young men and women who, it seems, are doing this. But they overlook the fact that they are merely announcing their declaration to declare war of a kind upon their own government and country, if war should come, thereby introducing disorder and intestine strife among themselves.
Let the youth of the different peoples of whatever country set the example of fidelity and loyalty, each youth to his own government, thus proving the strength and worth of the moral ideal of citizenship; yet, on the other hand, as the world badly needs the idealisms and chivalry resident in the younger generation, let youth express these likewise by raising its voice loud and insistent, powerfully declaring itself for universal justice and reason, and do so by the measures of established law. In this manner, the voice of the world's youth will penetrate into all places, closed and open; for their insistence upon their rights as the coming generation soon to shoulder the burthen of the older, will reach sympathetic ears too numerous to count. Novus ordo saeclorum!
I should like to see complete disarmament of the peoples take place, by mutual compact and convention, to be replaced by an international navy, officered and manned by men drawn in rotation from the different maritime or even inland peoples of the globe, and trained for this purpose. I should like to see the armies of the world reduced to relatively small national police forces solely. The duties of the international navy would be the policing of the seas, the repressing of piracy, and the making of the high seas and coastal waterways safe for the commerce of the peoples of the world. There is not one thing to prevent this double achievement of human constructive genius -- except a psychology that everyone detests and all fear: a psychology that has merely grown up to be a habit of human thinking.
One may pray and hope that the prominent men in the world today, those who hold the destinies of the peoples more or less in their hands, will hearken, will listen, to the heartbeat, the unexpressed and growing Will of the peoples for a permanent solving of their troubles. If they do so, the names of these men will go down in history; they will be remembered not so much by statues and monuments in stone, but their names will be emblazoned in perpetuity in the long-lasting fabric of human hearts. Their memory shall remain for ages to come as the fire of love and gratitude burning in human hearts.
Again I repeat: a Brotherhood of the Peoples based on reason and justice and functioning for the common good, for the progress of all, is both practicable and practical, and will someday be seen to be inevitable. Why not therefore lay the foundations of it now!
By Katherine Tingley
[From THE TRAVAIL OF THE SOUL, pages 59-70]
Self-analysis is one of the phases of thought that is least accentuated in human life. We eagerly pass judgment on our neighbors. We are quite ready to criticize and to 'place' our great writers and the bogus ones. We read almost innumerable papers, magazines, stories, and books that are useless to us. But self-analysis is nowhere found as a practical feature of human life.
A man is heavily in the shadows if he has not been taught, or if he has not found out for himself, that he is essentially a spiritual being, that his soul is alive with superb possibilities. The hunger of his heart tells the story of how the soul longs for real freedom. How it is seeking recognition! How it is trying to find its place, to become more and more intelligent, and better informed! How it seeks knowledge of facts in place of mere beliefs!
Another cannot give you what you own yourself. Self-analysis is the secret of coming into your own. Examine yourself! Do not be satisfied with today or with the books you read or with the half-living that you call life! Dream yourself out into your greater possibilities! Visualize the future -- if only a single year ahead! Day by day gain knowledge through self-examination, through the realization that man is spiritually immortal, through the royal dignity of the higher soul.
Remember that this little span of seventy-seven or a hundred years is only a step in the progress that you as souls are about to make. When you do this, you can look back at your sorrows and trials and see that some of them were merely necessary experiences in your evolution. And some of the things that you considered injustices you will find seemed such, because you looked at effects only and not at causes. When you find yourself in that state, how broad, how liberal, how magnificent, how splendid, you will be in the realization of the knowledge that bespeaks you as immortal!
Examine yourselves! Question the eternal laws of life! Ascertain the secret of the many riddles and problems that confront you! Why do our souls respond to the grander notes of music? Why are we carried away with the glory of the sun, the fragrance of the flowers, and the beauty of all that Nature offers? Because then we are nearer the spiritual side of ourselves.
Even if you cannot live up to your highest feelings, you touch the fringe of great truths in your aspirations; and when these are registered, the answer must come in time.
Find the Higher Self through self-analysis! To find the immortal self, the divinity in man, is to open up for yourself a new existence, a new vision, a grand and superb symphony of life, singing all the time, though your ears may be deaf and your eyes cannot see. But within is the rising, surging, pulsating power of the soul, which tells the story of the eternity of man and his vast possibilities.
A man cannot be a Theosophist unless he is a thinker -- unless he has reached a point where he is not satisfied with what he has been taught and tried to believe. His unrest has turned him in the direction of investigation, and in his search for truth, he has found Theosophy. In finding Theosophy, he has found himself.
If a man has no more conception of the deeper things of life than mere brain-mind argument can give him, and if he is limited to the belief in one short earth-life of seventy-seven or a hundred years, his power of self-analysis is very small.
Real self-analysis is impossible to anyone who has not to a degree found his own essential divinity. Believing in his own essential divinity, something opens up in his nature. He finds himself on a line of investigation and research. He has made a beginning for his future happiness. He uses ordinary reason, of course; but he has something more. He must go beyond the limitations of the external man and visualize for himself a picture of the possibilities of the human soul. Then he reaches a point where real self-analysis is possible.
Of course I am speaking from the standpoint of a Theosophist, who accepts the idea of many lives in repeated incarnations on earth, who accepts the idea that man is divine in his potential qualities. Thus Theosophy gives us a really great man -- quite a dignified contrast to the teaching we received in our childhood, that we were all born miserable sinners!
The man who accepts the idea that he is essentially divine must also accept the idea of spiritual growth, evolution. Evolution is often taught in a ridiculous manner; but evolution based on the essential divinity of man, on the eternal progress of the soul through the experiences of many earth-lives, ever approaching the great goal of perfection, is an inspiring and sublime doctrine, and it can never conflict with any proved scientific fact.
Our Theosophical teachings are based on eternal Truth. In fact, if one will take the trouble to study them, he will find that once in a while the Theosophist does have a sensible idea!
The most beautiful secret of the Theosophical teaching is that, no matter what knowledge man may acquire necessary to balance and adjust his own life and bring it into harmony with his aspirations, he must impart to others the peace and happiness that this knowledge gives him. There must be something more than merely gaining knowledge for himself, attaining wealth, winning a position, writing learned books, and being considered important or 'advanced.' There must be burning in his heart that spirit of mercy and compassion, which will lessen man's inhumanity to man.
That is the true love of the Divine. The Divine Love is all-powerful and all-merciful. There is mercy in the laws that govern our being, mercy in Nature, mercy in divinity.
Potential divine qualities are sleeping within every man. They are still sleeping, because we turn away from them. Though the sun is shining, if we turn away from it and go into the shadows, we lose its warmth.
Theosophy lifts the veil. It opens the door. It silences argument with its facts. It is not a new set of teachings at all. It is as old as the ages and was taught thousands of years before Jesus Christ. It is the parent-religion, because it holds within itself the elements of all that is best in every religion.
The knowledge of external nature taught in our schools is necessary for our education, but it is not enough. There must be knowledge of the inner laws of being, familiarity with oneself, with one's weaknesses and one's strength.
Theosophy brings man close to his own essentially divine nature. It gives him a right royal courage, even in the face of death, which Theosophy teaches means rebirth and spiritual progress for the soul.
No real self-analysis is possible to the man satisfied in acquiring merely intellectual knowledge. With all his worldly attainments, the one thing that man most hungers for is knowledge of himself -- the power to analyze and understand his own life. This is essential for his soul's advancement.
When man finds this knowledge, then he can declare that the Divine is love, and that human life is essentially beautiful. Life is beautiful as far as we make it so. Every man makes or mars his own life, according to his own inner knowledge and the choice that he daily makes of the path he will walk.
Everyone fails in his duty, if he does not realize that we all owe a great duty to our fellow men -- even to the most unfortunate and degraded. We might have been in the same position ourselves, if we had had the same surroundings as they.
We must acquire a new idea of compassion, a new sense of justice. Then our consciences will grow; and as we climb the hills of progress and reach the heights and learn of the glory of life, of the glory of the Divine, and the love and mercy in the human heart, then we shall, in the spiritual sense, embrace the whole of humanity. For brotherhood is a fact in nature. We are all united by the same natural laws and must follow the same divine guidance.
Lay up your treasures in heaven by rounding out your life on earth, freshening and beautifying it. Let each one fulfill his smallest duty to the fullest, and live hopefully and trustingly, uplifting the world by the purity of his individual life.
The world needs a change. We need the sweetness and nobility that every living man and woman has potentially within himself or herself. This is the way to bring humanity up to a higher state of morality and dignity.
The weakness of our present civilization is in man himself. The reason for it is that he allows the lower nature in him to rule instead of the higher, divine self, which is immortal. The lower nature is the undeveloped side of him, which can be transmuted and brought up to a quality that leads ultimately to happiness and perfection.
My heart is warm for humanity, burning with the hope that all may find at least some part of what I have learned of the meaning of life through my knowledge of Theosophy.
If you could move out of the glamour of the world, out of the psychology of the age, away from the insanity of its unrest, you would find a new kingdom within yourselves. Each one of us has the key to the situation, which appeals to all that is noblest and best in our hearts.
There is no limitation to the power of the spiritual soul of man. All that is needed is for the brain-mind, which belongs only to the mortal and dies when the body dies, to become conscious that there is this divine power of the higher soul. It may seem to us to be sleeping, but it is within the very nature of man. Reason has its place of course; but if we appeal only to our reason, only to the outward man, or to the conventional thought of the world, if we come under the psychological influence of the unrest of the age, we receive very heavy doses of despair. We manifest it in different ways. Suicide is an extreme instance.
But there are a great many very splendid people, who have within them royal qualities of superb character; yet they do not know it. And that is why they struggle so; that is why life is such a terrible riddle for them.
If a man does not know his own essential divinity, he has not the key to the situation; he cannot know his own inner God nor begin even to think towards Universal Deity intelligently. He does not know himself. He is the greatest of all mysteries, for the last thing in the world that he would ever do is to come to himself for knowledge. He refuses to challenge his heart, his soul, his principles, and his conscience. No! He will go anywhere and everywhere but to the right place, and still despair!
So the supreme courage of the soul that I have often spoken of can be manifest only in one who knows himself, at least to a degree. One who has such knowledge is as sure of it as he is that the sun shines; he is as sure of it as he is of the pure love for his mother; he is so sure of it that it is teeming through his whole nature; it revivifies him, puts new blood in his veins, gives him a new conscience, so to speak, and a steadfast courage.
Any man can make the effort to reach that knowledge. It requires no great strain, no remarkable process of the mind or anything of that sort. It is just a calm, quiet confidence in oneself, that one can reach the goal. Then the real joy of living comes.
We must admit that we do not meet so many people in the world who carry in their lives, in their faces, or in anything they do or say, much that bespeaks the joy of living. But that is what we should all find; because Nature is singing a beautiful song to our souls and our hearts all the time. There is something in the splendor of Nature that appeals to us.
The more we know of our divine selves, and the larger consciousness we have of the greatness of life, the better we comprehend that it would be impossible in the divine scheme for man to be born on earth and fulfill his complete destiny in just one lifetime. It is impossible because the program is such a great one -- it reaches out to eternity.
What could be grander and more beautiful than to reach a point of certainty? Everything in life would change. I am not an extremist; I follow middle lines; but I am firmly convinced that if we take care of our divine natures in the sense that we should, and if we utilize for all our lives this knowledge of right living, we would have the secret of longevity; and really and truly, the old would commence to grow young.
By Andrew Rooke
Most of us frequently listen to music. We have a radio in the background at home; we hear music in supermarkets as we shop and in the railway station or lift as we make our way to work. Music is an essential feature of modern life. Did you ever think that besides the music blaring from a million radios and televisions that a sea of cosmic music surrounds us, harmoniously vibrating life-atoms that form the vehicles of spiritual forces underlying manifestation? Perhaps the beautiful colors in nature are manifestations of the symphonic harmonies singing about us. From the gurgling of a brook to the complex melodies of a classical symphony, the many forms of music we hear are translations to our plane of music that fills the Universe.
This truth provides the key to the use of music for healing as practiced since antiquity. Just as each musician plays his part in an orchestra, each of us inaudibly sings his or her keynote as part of the larger harmony of the environment. Theosophical teacher, G. de Purucker, tells us that:
[A human being is] somewhat like a sounding board, strung with seven chords like Apollo's lyre, across which sweep the winds of eternity, and the combined notes of these chords produce within him a cosmic symphony -- each one of us being a living mystic lyre vibrating in sympathy with the Music of the Spheres.
-- FOUNTAIN SOURCE OF OCCULTISM, page 203
Playing out of time or out of tune, a violinist brings disharmony to the performance of a symphony; similarly, our disharmonious thoughts and actions eventually result in physical or mental ill health. Men of medicine long ago learned to use music in the healing of mind and body. So-called primitive men down to native people worldwide today use incantation, song, rhythm, and sound to ward off evil spirits, absolve sins, or placate the gods. Initiate priests-physicians of ancient Egypt, who called music the "physic of the soul," specialized in its use to alleviate a wide range of disease, especially mental illness. The ancient Persians played the lute to cure many illnesses, and Hebrews record the story of David who soothed the madness of Saul by the power of his harp.
Greek legend tells of Orpheus who charmed the wild beasts and stilled troubled minds with his lyre. Homer recommended music to counter negative emotions; the physician Asclepiads of Bithynia in 100 BC is reputed to have used music to cure disorders of the ear and to advocate the use of a trumpet played in the Phrygian mode against the affected parts of the body to relieve sciatica.
Likewise, Democritus believed that the melodious strains of the flute could cure many diseases. Pythagoras used music to treat nervous illnesses, while Plato went so far as to link music with the future welfare of entire nations. Aristotle believed music to be an emotional catharsis, and his most famous student, Alexander the Great, used music to rouse his troops to martial ardor and to calm them after battle.
Galen, Physician to the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, was a firm believer in the application of music for healing, and for many centuries, his influence on the development of medicine in Europe was profound. He also recommended the playing of a flute upon afflicted parts of the body on the principle of a "musical bath" -- the principle being that prolonged immersion in a particular note caused sympathetic vibrations in the nerve fibers, thus relieving pain.
Roman statesmen such as Cicero and Seneca followed the Platonic belief that music profoundly affected the whole basis of social behavior. The Roman physician Celsus, who had an extensive influence on European medicine down to the Middle Ages, recognized it therapeutic effect on the mentally ill in the manner of modern psychiatric hospitals. In later centuries, the Austrian physician Mesmer (1734-1815) prescribed the use of a glass harmonica to induce magnetic cures.
As we interact within the intricate patterns of nature, it is but a short step in our analogy to conclude that by reestablishing inner harmony, we restore good health, and that music forms a natural medium to achieve this end. For beyond the effect of music on the body, the ancients were even more aware of the power of music on the emotions, mind, and soul.
The Swiss physician Paracelsus restated the occult principle that discordant states of mind interfere with the normal happiness of the individual. If allowed to continue, they lead eventually to bodily dysfunction and ill health.
Along with the ancients, Paracelsus believed that every living thing radiates or vibrates, and believed that certain herbal remedies, colors, and sounds have the capacity to restore normalcy to disturbed centers of the body. By surrounding the sick person with things that stimulate inspiration and focus consciousness on spiritual reality, like beautiful music, one brings the inner constitution to find balance gradually, and the body reflects this in time with a cure.
One of the first hospital uses of music therapy in the twentieth century was to strengthen the morale of wounded and especially shell-shocked soldiers of World War II. These therapeutic uses were based on laboratory studies in the 1930s and speculation in the early part of the last century on the healing properties of music.
In the 1940s, music therapy was included in the curricula of the University of Kansas and Michigan State University. Since then, it has been applied in a wide variety of ways ranging from the relief of boredom from repetitive exercises in physiotherapy and aerobics to direct psychiatric treatment. The latter forms the main use of music therapy in helping mentally disturbed patients to reestablish communication, encouraging self-confidence, socialization, and restoring the sense of self-worth in severely withdrawn and mentally retarded people.
Most experimentation since the 1960s aims to identify and correlate the physiological effects of different types of music with their efficacy in reducing anxiety. These experiments have led to the use of background music in hospitals, patient's waiting areas, delivery rooms, and of course, the ever-present Musak at public venues. It also stimulates higher productivity in factories and by thousands of tradesmen singing along with their radios whilst they work outside your window early in the morning! At a more serious level, recent studies have shown that beautiful music reduces the amount of medication required by seriously ill cancer patients and that doctors could reduce the amount of anesthetics for mothers awaiting delivery.
After pondering the effects of music on health, perhaps we can begin to understand why ancient Greeks equated the Good and Beautiful with Order and Harmony as reflections of Truth. Greek philosopher Aristotle likened the man who attempts to live a good life to a musician. Both express the harmonies within themselves and thus encourage balance and symmetry in the sphere of their influence. Along with the Greeks, perhaps we can now appreciate that a life well lived should be considered a work of art worth cultivating.
For more on esoteric music see ROCK MUSIC AND SPIRITUALITY in the November 2006 issue and THE CULTURE OF MUSIC FROM A THEOSOPHICAL STANDPOINT September 2006 issue of THEOSOPHY WORLD.
By Kenneth Morris
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, September 1921, pages 212-17]
Men are not greatly individualized: they follow customs and fashions and do most of their thinking en masse. This is what is meant by the much talk we hear nowadays about the herd-mind, -- a term by the way with no disparagement in it, not implying the vulgar herd or the like. It simply seems to be a fact that when two or three -- hundreds, thousands, or millions -- are gathered together in the name of any idea -- sectarian, religious, political, or above all national -- they form a kind of entity: a kind of soul incarnates among them, to whose motions they conform, from which they take their life, to which, in fact, they stand in much the same relation as the atoms of our bodies do to us. Hence that strange phenomenon and the general fierce intolerance of originality. How dare a man be unlike other people!
Patriotism, considered philosophically, is a manifestation of this herd-instinct. In this saying, there is neither compliment nor insult. It may be the highest or lowest of influences. It may glorify a nation and inspire the whole world, or it may produce beastly wars and hasten the downfall of the object of its loyalty. It is generally cried up as a virtue; it very often is an abominable vice. But then, it very often is a virtue too. And there is always a virtue that it might be: which is loyalty to the higher nature of one's country and to its truest and real interests, which are the real interests of the world.
It is not to the interests of any country to attack, oppress, treat cruelly, or to desire to dominate another country. Woe unto us that we do not understand that with whatsoever measure we mete, it shall be meted unto us again! And yet when a nation sets out upon that cruel path, it passes for patriotism that all its sons shall aid and abet, not seeing that under Karma -- a real thing, Christian nations, or the Nazarene lied -- the aid is being given to your own nation's ruin.
The national entities are strangely like men. Every man is a window into Heaven, however thickly the dirt incrusted may render that window opaque. Every one is a channel, however clogged, between the God-world and this. Poets, artists, and musicians, though no more advanced in their evolution than other men, are those who have a singular faculty of getting glimpses of that divine and most real realm, and of putting on record what color, what luminosity thereof they may have seen. When they rise to any height, they give you a picture of the Soul of Man: something, to say nothing more than that about it, as beautiful as any flower -- clean, pure, beautiful, and holy. Of such essence are we made; only we catch no vision of it, or very rarely. The essence here is mingled with the dust of earth, and these muddy personalities result.
But see: each one who so glimpses Beauty (that is the Soul) sees her differently. In one, the light is through a ruby, in another, through an opal or a sapphire. Shelley's HYMN OF PAN and Keats's NIGHTINGALE are both reflections of the Soul and its world; they are alike in being radiant or translucent; the light that shines through both is the same; the purity of the jewels is the same; but the jewels themselves are different.
That all moral or ethical qualities are implied in Beauty must be obvious; for let the lower nature emit one puff of its miasma, and the Beauty recedes at once, withered or grown dim. Passion is the absolute antithesis and enemy of Poetry, though so often supposed its chief ally.
Such Beauty, the Divine Self, dwells too in the heart of the national entity; so nationalism and patriotism can be a means of coming at the Divine. When a pure, and especially a compassionate, love of country is aroused, this vision is very easily seen. Your meadows become the playgrounds of Faerie; your streams sing songs mysterious and super mundane; your mountains are the palaces of Gods. Teuton, Celt, or Latin, look inward thus and there is no end to the exquisite richness that rewards you. And it is all wealth for the world. With these gems, all the national literatures are starred; and of whatever nation you are, you are the better (or unless a fool, you may be) for the discoveries in the Divine Country that have been made through the patriotism even of the people you most traduce.
Those lines of Scott's about the "man with soul so dead who never to himself hath said," are excellent; if your native heather can tell you the secrets, God reward it, for it is doing God's work! But the great thing is that you shall have ears to hear, and that the secrets shall be known to you and pass into your heart; your native heather is only one of the many mouths through which the Infinite may whisper to you; if it is the only one that can make you hear, it is because of your limitations, not because of its peculiar virtue. The greatest of Irish (or living) poets has written out the doctrine more fully and nobly:
Who are exiles? as for me, Where beneath the diamond dome Lies the light on hill and tree, There my palace is and home.
-- But it was still on "the fair hills of Holy Ireland" that he discovered that.
Getting at the Divine through the National Soul is the Higher Patriotism. This is a widely different thing from what I have seen recently miscalled by that name: the sense that you have, willy-nilly, to band together with a number of other countries in an empire against the rest of the world. Oh this 'against' business! How mankind is hoodooed with it! To Tophet with all such nonsense; forswear this sack, for God's sake, and live cleanly!
But our lower and limited natures are insidious; and even when high vision is glimpsed through the National Soul, there remains a danger. From that source accessible to us, what splendor shines! But how of those others, the poor benighted foreigners, to whom that source is not accessible? We do not argue it out thus; but take things for granted. We contrast our National Soul, which we know for divinely beautiful, not with the other fellow's National Soul (of which commonly we know nothing), but with his somewhat ugly national personality; we forget that our national personality is ugly enough too, and jump to the fool's conclusion that our nation is peculiar; that we alone are in touch with the divine worlds.
We have been the protagonists of civilization, liberty, poetry, the arts; our existence and well-being are essential to the world. Let the others go hang! English, French, Germans, Swedes, Americans, and Italians, we all talk or think that way; and in all cases, it is the purest bosh. It is the half truth, which is the most pernicious kind of lie; the true half of it is that whatever bright thing we have seen in our National Soul is actually there. Each nation, as each man, is divine at the center of its being; the worst of it is that that divinity is so excellently concealed. You must get subjective glimpses of it or none at all.
So the nation whose name abroad has usually "perfidious" for its epithet, at home is thought the very embodiment of truth and honor, because the natives are conscious of its ideal, and the foreigners are affected only by its outward performance and conduct. We are so constituted. We know of our own aspirations and strivings, which to us are our very selves; and we are acutely conscious of our neighbors' fallings short.
Every nation is a peculiar people, having its own links with heaven; each also has a lower nature, having traffic with deep hell. Unfortunately it is the selfishness, the greed, the tyranny, and cruelty that appear most in history and to the world. It is a truism that nations are much wickeder than men, much more brazenly selfish, much more blindly cruel. We condone doings in our nations that we ourselves should shrink from. The nations that have sinned least are those that have had least opportunity to sin. They need not brag about that. Let them cultivate a cosmic spirit and altruism now; that when their time comes and they are great, they may act for mankind and not for self-interest.
When the Great Mother, Nature, desires that a man shall be born, she collects physical atoms upon a mold, and the personal qualities that are due there and into this combination, Something shines out of the Divine -- an individual Soul. She does the like when she desires that there shall be a nation. Every century, almost every generation, sees a nation born somewhere; surely it is time we knew that this is a natural process, governed by law, not fortuitous or due to the special perversity of this people or that.
Here are a people that have not been a nation before, or not for a long time. They are part of an empire or larger unit; they are a chance collection of atoms governed from some center outside them. Though they have their own traditions, perhaps their own language and even literature, there is no herd-consciousness of the national kind among them; and though they may be oppressed and hate their governors, there is no possibility of unity among them, and so no effectual resistance. Oppressed or not, governed from abroad or not, it is this lack of herd-consciousness that is their prime characteristic. There is no national soul or it is in abeyance.
And then something begins to happen. Dynamic souls come into incarnation, and the land that was quite flat, provincial, and uninteresting becomes a whirl of mental and spiritual activity. Perhaps the old traditions become vitally significant, and vital literature is made of them; perhaps the language that has suffered neglect so long is revived, polished, standardized, and from a peasants' patois becomes a vehicle of culture. The people rally round the language, the traditions, and the old literature. They rally round a claim to political independence if they have been dependent or the call to unity if they have been disunited. A vortex in the unseen has come into being. The outward signs are many and complex; the inward fact single and simple. It is a national soul that has entered into incarnation, a new nation that has been born.
These things happen, and a philosophical thinker will understand that they happen by law. They are natural phenomena, not under the control of governments. All over the world, children are being born; and what process will you adopt, short of a general Massacre of the Innocents, to prevent high, ancient, and heroic souls that have led the world aforetime from gathering en masse in some long unconsidered corner of the globe? Mohammed, Mazzini, Joan -- some great one rushes in and sounds a call to souls that flock in then in response, and what was a no-nation and unimportant waste becomes a great center of world-activities. Whether this will always be the way, who can tell? But we have all history, even the most recent, to proclaim to us that it is the way in this present stage of our human evolution. Who can doubt now that Joan came to accomplish a divine work? When an individual soul incarnates, it is to fulfill the purposes of its existence.
Nations are like men in another respect: they die. There is nothing permanent about them. Consider the changes that have been; and realize that nothing is certain except change. Trace the language of the British Empire and North America back two thousand years and you find it a little dialect spoken by a few thousand people from northern Holland to southern Denmark; in two thousand years from now, what dialect, now hardly known to science, may not be spread over five continents? What little village or tribe that is now, may not then be ruling half the world?
"My country, right or wrong," may be the cry of patriotism; but it is the cry of patriotism and not of the higher kind. The will in a man to dominate his neighbors and keep his subordinates well under foot lest he should lose caste in the world and sometime be attacked and in a bad position for defense is not very ethical. When it appears in a nation, is it to be called by the same name that we give to the compassionate inspiration of a Mazzini or a Joan? It profits nations, as little as men, to gain the whole world and lose their own souls.
We may someday evolve beyond the National stage of evolution and completely understand that humanity is one nation; at present, however, we have to deal with nations; and every century will be seeing new ones arise and old ones die. If there were statesmen about, they would be devising means whereby this might be accomplished without horror; they would not seek to freeze the fleeting present into a dead impossible eternity. This is the path of the Higher Patriotism: To see to it that one's nation does the best it can do for the world, to bring out its genius and sound its most divine note, to see that it is unstained by such abominations as vivisection and capital punishment, that it shall not waste its life outraging nature in the effort to get rich or remain powerful, that it shall give every child born into it the fullest and fairest chances to live a wholesome and a splendid life. That it shall be manly, not sinning against others for fear lest they should sin against it; that it shall shine beautifully in its life-cycle, and trust in death at last to be natural, peaceful, and beautiful. And the Higher Patriotism pays: because these are the courses that lead to a long and illuminating national life.
A redeemed humanity would consist, first, of nations that understood and practiced this kind of patriotism. New nations would still be born under those conditions, but there would be no effort to slay them at birth. And Nature would still ordain -- as she does by quickening and heightening the quality of the birthrate -- that now one, now another, the nations should expand, but there would be no barriers raised. Population would flow in where there was room for it, and no one would forbid. Loyalty would come to mean above all things loyalty to humanity, to the humanity nearest about you, and to the whole.
Earth itself would see to it that there should be no sickening uniformity of culture. Climate, soil, and influences subtler still would produce differences of type as they do now. All our human troubles come from working against the laws of Nature; and it is useless to plead ignorance of those laws. The substance of them is written in our conscience, and it is always selfishness that prompts to transgression.
By Odette Tchernine
[From THE ARYAN PATH, July 1963, pages 309-14]
I was having dinner recently with a widely-travelled woman friend and her husband. They had been stationed abroad a great deal, he being in a senior position in one of the Services. From the wilder parts of Malaya and from remote country places in our own British Isles, she had noted fascinating recollections of strange incidents and semi-mysteries. "I think," she concluded, after giving a description of one odd experience, "that there are many 'leftovers' from immemorial ages."
She was alluding to influences that at times seem to attach to places and objects; influences which make themselves felt by persons who may possess an acute sense of developed perception. Those attributes, forces, or effects -- call them what you will -- could perhaps be named "vibration-remnants," for want of a better term.
I will say no more about her experiences just now as they make such interesting listening material that I hope to persuade her to write them down.
But that descriptive term of hers, "leftovers," made me think of things, incidents, as well as places, in spite of the fact that I am very skeptical of emblems or articles reputed to carry good or bad luck. This may be an unpopular statement to make, but to me the bought charm-trinket is nonsense, though quite often a decorative and pleasing bit of fun to wear, and should it ever become a good influence, it is only because you think of it as such, or because someone else does for you, having given it to you in a spirit of kindness and good wishing.
No. The things I have in mind as examples possibly of "vibration-remnants" are the unexpected objects that definitely seem to have acquired an atmosphere, or aura, of something that can be felt, though not always elucidated.
About a year ago, my gold wrist watch had to go to the jeweler's for cleaning and repairs. To be without a watch on my left wrist is to me quite a handicap -- no doubt because of the importance of the time element in my work. As the repairs would take a good ten days or a fortnight, the jeweler, who owned the shop in Fleet Street where friends and I had dealt for years, produced another watch to lend me to wear in the meanwhile. I said "owned" the shop in the past tense, as the business changed hands a few months ago.
The watch lent was a man's gold one, square in shape, on a broad dark leather strap -- a typical man's watch. Judging by the type, it might have belonged to an airman, I remember thinking as I put it on, for it was not new though handsome and in very good condition.
As the days wore on, I became aware of something persistent and continuous that seemed to be "getting at me," and at first I did not know to what to attribute this sensation. The impression was not frightening or very troublesome, except that it made me feel tired, just as if I were straining to understand something I could simply not understand. It was like a silent voice asking me to listen and try to realize something or the other. And I never could.
The watch on my wrist did not occur to me until one night as I was going to bed, having wound it up and put it down on my bedside table, the sense of some communication trying to reach me was so strong that at last I guessed from where that mysterious vibration came.
It was the watch!
This so puzzled me that I found myself talking aloud: "So it is you? Well, what now? How? Where? What?" I knew I was being told or asked something but I could not catch the language. No answer came, either audible or mental, to my question.
I began to speculate about it, and next day, very cautiously, so as not to be thought too eccentric; I asked the jeweler if he knew to whom it had belonged. No. He had no idea. A man came into the shop one day and offered it for sale. The jeweler bought it, and that ended the transaction. The shop kept no records of casual purchases made over the counter. I inquired how much it would be to buy it, feeling increasingly guilty of eccentricity. A few pounds, he told me. I metaphorically planted my two feet firmly on the ground, and decided, No! My own would be ready next day, and back to the jeweler's must go that mysterious masculine object that was so tantalizing me. Perhaps I was being too imaginative.
The watch persisted in its mute "asking," but of course I exchanged it next day for my own watch, and refused to listen. In later months, my watch required again a minor adjustment. Reticently I then asked if I could borrow the strange watch for the few days mine would be away. But the watch had been sold. I wondered if it was tantalizing its new owner.
Since then, I have concluded that whatever it was that hung about that man's gold watch, it had nothing to do with me, and that one's own non-material problem mysteries and curiosities were quite enough without probing possibly remote trivial influences that had no connection with one personally, and that for all one knew might not have too happy connotations.
Here is another example of "left-over" remnants -- this one more complete than my watch riddle, and with an explanation. Margery Lawrence, the novelist, told me of this incident that happened a few years ago at a dinner party. One of the guests, a girl, had a string of blue beads which she was wearing diadem-like around her head. They were decoratively draped, the pendant-style largest bead resting on her forehead. It is believed she had only just acquired them.
The conversation around the table was general and animated, the kind of mixed chatter associated with dinner-table talk. The girl with the blue beads was gradually looking more and more uneasy, and at last turning to her neighbor, remarked, "You know, it is getting hotter and hotter here."
He glanced quickly at her, and so did the other diners, in great surprise, for it was not a warm night at all. The girl went on in apparent distress, "I feel I can't breathe." The man next to her happened to be an expert Egyptologist, and he suddenly asked her: "Are those money-beads you are wearing -- they are not lucky, you know!" He was very serious about it.
The girl put her hand up and touched the beads, and to her horror felt that they were burning hot. With a gasp, she tore them off her head and flung them away from her on the table. Then she slid sideways in her chair in a dead faint.
When she had recovered, the Egyptologist, who meanwhile had been examining the beads, told her: "Those are actually what were known, and still are, as money-beads. They were bribes, invocations put in the tombs. This string was an invocation to the spirit of fire, to guard and protect a tomb from theft. They should never have been removed. Throw them away."
The girl did, and she was none the worse for her frightening experience. I often wonder what happened to the beads, and whether that "vibration-remnant" could be felt by all those who handled them, but that is a tenuous sequel which could not be traced. Later the girl married, and Margery Lawrence lost sight of her.
Another friend of mine, this one, like me, not a dyed-in-the-wool accepter of every strange happening or experience, told me one or two stories of what can sometimes be accidentally evoked by touching one of those objects that have retained "something." I always feel that it is from the uncommitted persons one learns of the most convincing experiences. This friend described to me how once, in the nature of an experiment, friends of hers, a married couple, gave her a small object to psychometrize to see if she obtained any reactions. She had never experimented in psychometry before.
Immediately as she held the object, she received a mental picture of a rose garden and hedge and a little path running from it into a wood. She sensed a pervading atmosphere of great contentment and happiness. The husband and wife smiled as they listened to her summing-up of sensations received.
"That was a true picture," he said, putting the object -- I think it was a seal -- back into his pocket. "You have described exactly the garden around a house we had. That path and the flowers were exact pictures. We spent many happy hours in that wood."
In recent months, I had to take part in a small private psychic circle. This was for reasons of commissioned research. One evening, at one point in the procedure, each participant was asked to hold some small easily handled possession of his or her neighbor in the seated circle, and without examining it (the lighting was dim anyhow), describe any psychometrical experience obtained.
I gave our hostess, who was sitting on my right, a small silver medallion which had been left to me by a very great friend no longer in this world, and which I always wear. It is fixed to a brooch pin with a safety catch, and on the pin shaft, I always wear as well a small silver cross set with turquoises, the origin of which is unknown to me.
As our hostess held the two objects which my usage linked into one, her reactions were very definite. "I don't know what I am holding, but I can't stand it much longer, for the impact of pain I'm getting is so strong that it feels as if it is killing me."
At her words, I said, "I'll take it back!" I took it from her, certainly startled.
Now the friend from whom I had the medallion had been very ill, some time before he died just under four years ago. Yet, I did wonder if what she was getting might have been some influence from the little cross of unknown origin and not from the medallion at all, since I wear the two articles together.
The very next morning after that incident, I received a letter containing what at first seemed very bad professional news. Through a financial crisis a few thousand miles away, it looked as if I was going to lose a useful connection overseas. I wondered if my hostess of the night before had merely felt a premonition of the mental distress the bad news gave me. (I may add here that after all I did not lose that overseas connection, but continued it on a reorganized basis.)
Experts on psychic matters, when I described the odd experience of the medallion, seemed to think that the bad news I received immediately after the psychometry test on the medallion brooch was purely coincidence; that the terrific impact of suffering she had felt was far more probably a vibration of the actual pain that had been endured by the original owner of the medallion before he left it to me. The incident centers on something so personal that I did not feel inclined at first to write about the medallion, or to put it to a further test. However, I was quite recently persuaded to take it and the cross to another psychic expert of integrity.
This lady held the two objects separately. I dismiss her remarks on the cross as frankly these were not relevant, but her reactions on holding my medallion (a silver one with an embossed design) is another story, and seems quite a convincing summing-up.
As she held it, she felt the pains of illness and trouble vibrations exactly the same as did my hostess of a few weeks before and without receiving any clue from me -- any clue that I am aware of, that is! I became nearly convinced that the "leftovers" there belonged to the medallion, and were connected with the friend who had died, for her subsequent comments of her impressions were more complete than that first unexpected violent reaction from the first psychometrist. Her comments contained confirmations and proofs which only I could have recognized, including an insistent request that I must always wear the coin-shaped trinket.
Objectively, there is an opposing theory which can be applied to many of the allegedly spiritual impressions received, and complete honesty cannot ignore it. That is the opinion that many of those impressions are nothing but proof of the existence of a complicated telepathic pattern.
Is a form of hitherto unidentified telepathy operating between the aware minds, and the subconscious minds, the explanation or part explanation to account for the "leftovers" that cling to so-called inanimate things? I would subscribe to the term "part-explanation," for there is an unexplored quantity relative to these riddles.
And in spite of the fact that it is better to leave "leftovers" of total strangers alone, the riddle of the unknown man's watch which could not be solved still puzzles me at times.
By Grace F. Knoche
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1921, pages 311-16.]
You enter a new classroom in life's great School of Experience when you enter Lomaland gates.
-- Katherine Tingley
When we entered Lomaland gates, we were not saints nor sacrosanct, any of us, but we did feel that the world's way was a worthless way; we did feel that the only hope for the world lay in the finding of a better way; and we did feel, undoubtedly, that no sacrifice would be too great if only we could be made fit to help the world to find it -- although 'sacrifice' is not the suitable word in this connection, for all that we had to lay down were things that had long lost their value to us or had no real value at all, while we received in exchange the greatest thing in the world.
But it takes more than a few aspirations, or a few correct ideas, or a few years of even sincere spiritual effort to wipe away stains that have been seeping into our souls for the best part of eighteen millions of years. So that very soon we came to see that before we could help the world, we had to find a way to help ourselves along some very new lines. And it was here that the Teacher's real work began upon us. Here was set the theme for her great Symphony of Hope, but here were written down, alas, long jangled progressions of trial and disappointment as well. Still, to the degree that we found the secret of true cooperation and in spite of falls and failures just kept on, the task became not an impossible one for her, while for us a peace and joy came into life that, as has been said so well in one of our little devotional books, was not so much a reward for those things left behind as a state that simply blotted out the memory of them.
If we failed to cooperate, however, with the Teacher and with each other, if we could not relinquish the set idea that one can ride two horses at the same time and make a success of it, then indeed was our path a debatable one, strewn with thorns of humiliation and thick with stumbling-blocks.
The student who enters Lomaland gates faces two paths at the outset, and he has to make his mind up as to which one he will take. If he chooses the path of self-mastery and love, every bit of selfishness, weakness, or fear in his make-up is challenged, for the lower nature knows that its day of domineering is over when the soul steps into place. That is why it is often in periods of the greatest effort and directly in the wake of right choice that one realizes most keenly the ancient truth that the weaknesses of the ordinary man or woman may reappear with changed aspect in the heart of the disciple -- and sometimes with such artifice and under such disguises as to turn him off the real path for a time.
It is just at this point, warns the Teacher, that he can take with profit the ancient advice to 'square accounts' with himself at each day's close, and to let no thought pass through the mind, as Plato warns us as well, 'unexamined.'
Consider, for instance, the world's crowning sin, unbrotherliness, so well described by Katherine Tingley as "the insanity of the age." The very fact that we are here, students within Lomaland gates, learning how to form a nucleus of Brotherhood, is a challenge to every unbrotherly possibility in our natures and to the unbrotherly passion of the world. And if there is that in our natures that permits the entrance of selfish hopes -- there we are! Something happens to cross us; someone, all without intending to, gives our self-love a little rub; a strong desire is thwarted by another who, we think mistakenly, is in our way; or we make an exhibition of some hitherto unsuspected weakness, and then think we must cover it up; or any other of a dozen things, all equally ridiculous when set forth in cold type.
Instead of getting our little tossed boat righted and back into the proper channel then and there by the unfailing compass of self-examination, we may let ourselves be swept into some mental whirl or eddy that throws us still further out of the right course. Unbrotherliness at its worst wells up within us for the moment or the day, to ruin or to rule, and the Teacher has another fever-patient on her hands who might have been, instead, a royal worker for better things.
The truth is that most people, as the world goes, will not give up just one little satisfaction-room: that little sacred corner in the mind that is reserved for My Lord Personality. Another has more attention than we, a larger income, greater opportunities, less 'menial' duties -- all know the sorry list. And yet we sincerely aspire to be better and do better things. But a little examination of the subject -- as much study, say, as would be demanded by a geography lesson or a new collar pattern -- would show us a wholly different aspect. There is Karma to be studied and the endless chapters in that mysteriously opening book, the Duality of Man. How did we spend our youth? We did so over our books and our duties, or working our own sweet will and having a good time? Different methods plant different sorts of seed, and no man yet has gathered good wheat from tare-sown acres.
But only the serious-minded few, as the world goes, will study these matters in the sweet pure light of Brotherhood; and so the besieging thought is let in that such another is 'favored' while we are set aside, and before long our sense of justice and our peace of mind depart and that other individual begins to irritate us without our being able to see why. Let him so much as come into the room and we become fidgety and annoyed. A superficial observer would conclude that he must have injured us, and deeply, for what else could possibly set up such a crisscross mental state? But here again self-examination and a little consideration of some of the old, old truths would reveal a very different situation, for they would bring us at once into contact with one of those collateral, hidden laws that cluster about the great central law of Brotherhood like satellites about a central orb. H.P. Blavatsky sets it forth very clearly:
Men never forgive, or relent toward, those whom they injure. We hate our victims in proportion to the harm we do them. This is a truth as old as the world.
-- ISIS UNVEILED, II, page 330
Here is a typical case of the besetting sin of the world appearing, with changed aspect, in the heart of the disciple -- though by no means in the hearts of all, for some have not the world's deep mark upon them when they enter Lomaland gates. But with many the mark is there and erasure means patience, trust, and time. Now why can we not probe our natures deeply enough, and study the great law of Brotherhood profoundly enough, to erase this mark, once and forever, before infinite harm is done? It is absurd to think we can cherish unbrotherly feelings and nobody will find it out. The Teacher knows it -- in substance if not in detail; our comrades know it, for many of them have met the same difficulty in their own natures and have the insight that self-conquest gives; and our victim knows it, or someday will.
That other may not be perfect, but still may be trying to do his part with intensity of will and devotion of which we little dream. It does not look so to us, of course, but we must expect to see things off color when looking through green spectacles or blue or red ones. What we take for a guileless stupidity in that other -- and we wouldn't mind his knowing our opinion, by the way -- may be just the mask he has put on to hide a keenness of suffering that even we would hesitate to inflict. It may be that he thinks there is a better way than to wallow in recrimination. It may even be that there is a refreshing disposition on his part to give the Leader a free hand in her management of our special case of weakness; for, probe the matter to the bottom, we are affected by the very disease that has the world almost prostrate at the present time -- unbrotherliness.
Wisely indeed has Katherine Tingley described it as "the insanity of the age." We haven't learned to live and let live yet, in the full, deep meaning of the term. We protest loyalty to the dear Leader in one breath, and in the next wonder how she can "have so much patience" with this one or that one, when her patience may be all but exhausted in our own case, if the truth were to be told. That is not loyalty; it is arrogance; it is outrage; it is meddlesome interference; it is the limit of disloyalty to the very Soul in Man.
There is no topic upon which the Teachers of Theosophy have dwelt with such persistence and such love as upon this one of Brotherhood. If they give so much time to it, don't you agree that we ought to give a little? Should we not think about it more deeply, more seriously, and more often? How can we expect to solve our problems and settle the pleading questions of a distraught world if we will not study it? Ignorance never settled any question yet.
We have entered upon a path and upon a different life, and the undertaking is no comedy and no play-spell. If we think it is, we are playing for some serious awakenings. We are here, in Lomaland, in the shadow of her gates, to have our natures molded and remolded, and that means cleansing fires. But these fires are of two sorts and may be lighted in either of two ways. Here again it is a matter of choice and there is no one to coerce us: we are absolutely free to choose.
If the purifying flames are those of aspiration, then they work quickly, quietly, beautifully, and the bright gold of character shines out almost before we are aware, pure and glowing, radiant and alive. If they are the hot fires of ill will and a chastening Karma in consequence of the unbrotherly course we take, then they work intensely and more time is needed, and humiliation is our lot. All fires, in the last analysis, are lighted by us, and there must be fires for the purifying of the soul. The question simply is: which kind do we prefer?
We can love each other if we want to do so. To cultivate the notion that we 'belong' with this one or that one, that we are 'drawn' to one and 'repelled' by another, is to make an ally of nonsense that may lead us into serious mistakes. Besides, it is not just. It has no foundation in the deeper ethics of Theosophy. It is true that there are those who, perhaps because they worked together harmoniously in past lives, as many of us feel that we must have done, slip naturally into harmonious relations here. But it is also true that everything in this world of duality, where "light and darkness are the world's eternal ways," has its counterfeit and its antipodal self, and we can see clearly that some who may be strongly attracted to each other do not, as coworkers, pan out at all. They do not help each other nor do they help our common work. The 'attraction' may be nothing more than animal magnetism, a little action and reaction on lines of unconscious flattery, or some other of the myriad plays and interplays of the lower nature of one into the lower nature of the other. It may be, that is, but the safe way is never to lose sight of this as an ever-present possibility.
Since this is true, is it not well to be a little chary of the feeling that if we are attracted to this one, or feel an unreasoning dislike for that one, it is some elective affinity business, or some old persecution-score, that has come back to be revived -- an ancient and special something with its roots in the beginnings of Time? It may be all this -- oh, certainly -- but it may also be no older, or any more important from a spiritual standpoint, than the flesh that covers us and leads us such a chase, or than the clothes we wear.
Realizing this, we can cultivate that dispassion towards those about us that is keyed to real service to them and is of the essence of lasting love. Better still, we can throw aside our cranks and crotchets, and all our burdensome impedimenta of jealousies, grouches, discontent, and mean little hunger for notice or for personal power.
Not until then can we pass through the Gate of Brotherhood -- to find on the other side, perhaps, those whom we had never suspected, when our mental temperature was hovering at the danger-point, were nearer the goal than we! For those who pass through this gate gain a new vision and find new eyes, and they never report what they see there. It is a gate of surprises, this gate. It is the central gate, the fourth of the spiritual seven, Libra in the Zodiac of the Soul. Read the "Voice" and see if this is not true. It is the gate of balance, the place where we are weighed to see if there is actually in us the reality that we profess. And everyone can pass through it who will. The question is never "Can I?" but rather "Do I want to pass through?"
We are here, or we say we are, to fit ourselves to preach Brotherhood to the world. But how many will listen to our preaching if there is not in our lives the reality that we profess? Would we hang on the words of Socrates, think you, had he played the coward at Amphipolis or Potidaea, or in that fiercer battle for the soul and its right to speak, before his judges? A dozen modern essayists can be named who have said things just as fine -- yet where is their power to kindle aspiration and make over the awakening life? Take up the PHAEDO, the ION, the APOLOGY, or any of those immortal dialogs, or better yet read THE LAWS -- the very type is alive, afire! It is glowing, leaping, iridescent with the pure flame of spiritual reality. Take up these modern expositions of duty, honor, or ethics, and you go to sleep.
It is the life that endows the message of that life with whatever of the Flame it carries; it is that alone which is lasting, that alone which is true; everything else is a makeshift, everything else is a sham. This alone is the Eternal Reality. It sings down through the ages in a choral of the Divine, and it is in this infinite singing that we are asked to sustain a part. Did ever students have such privilege before?
As Katherine Tingley says, we are not here to fight each other's battles, but our own. We are not here to lord it over others or manage their lives for them -- leave the world and its conventions to do that -- but to manage our own lives and lord it over ourselves. We are not here to fill our heads with book-knowledge only, but our hearts with genuine knowledge, for that includes all the rest. We are not here to learn to argue, but to love. It is the ancient, the spiritual way.
By Reginald W. Machell
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, October 1918, pages 314-20]
That is a very old admonition, and one that has not been seriously considered by many who believe that they have assimilated the advice contained in it.
Usually, I suppose, it is taken to mean that the ant is such an excellent illustration of industry, and consequently of wisdom, that a man must necessarily become more virtuous by the mere consideration of his ways and that his wisdom will thereby be increased.
But if one does go to the ant, which is an easy matter if one does not try to enter his abode, and if one considers his ways, which is certainly an entertaining occupation, one will be amazed at the extraordinary lack of efficiency and waste of energy displayed by these industrious workers.
One calls their restless activity "work," supposing that it is all purposive and effective, but observation seems to refute this supposition.
I have seen these indefatigable operators travel back and forth and roundabout in various directions as if diligently searching for something. Finally one of them will seize upon some large object that he and the rest had passed by and over many times before, and taking hold of it by his head-end, he will pull backwards laboriously, changing the direction of his journey as circumstances may determine.
The others continue to ignore him and his prize until some one of them seems to be struck with an idea and attaches himself by his front-end to the object, but not with any intention of co-operating in the labor of his fellow, nor in opposition, but simply, as it were, obeying a similar impulse to take hold and pull backwards, in whatever direction his tail-end happens to point.
If the two happen to be holding on in the same direction, the journey continues until one of the two decides to get a new grip. Then he proceeds to pull as energetically as before in whatever direction he may find himself, always pulling backwards. If his pull is just exactly opposite to the other fellow's, then the object stops. Then perhaps a third and a fourth lay hold, all acting in the same manner, with admirable singleness of purpose and utter disregard of consequences. The result is observed to be that the object will travel in a manner that illustrates the scientific law of the resolution of forces, the direction and rate of progress being the result of the balancing of these various forces.
After some considerable expenditure of force in this manner and some devious wanderings of the prize which is the object of their industrious attention, they seem to lose interest in that occupation. Abandoning their treasure, they recommence their search, if it be a search, with undiminished energy.
You may observe that the ants seem to be always active and always energetic; hustlers, in fact.
Returning to the abandoned prize, the observer may find that it has attracted the attention of some other industrious searcher who also has passed the said object many times before recognizing its value. Then the whole performance begins again and the object travels for a time in some other direction, to be later abandoned as before. This kind of thing goes on for hours, and there is never any relaxation of activity or mitigation of industry.
Occasionally a worker seems to succeed in striking the direction of the hole, by which the cave is entered, and he disappears with his treasure. But of all the extravagant displays of apparently wasted energy, misdirected effort, ineffectual exertion, and lack of cooperation that I have witnessed, the ways of the ant are the most remarkable.
All of which is, of course, an evidence of man's lack of wisdom. It would seem that his mode of observation must be defective, or his intelligence unsuited to the task; for a consideration of the ways of the ant, so far, would hardly seem calculated to excite his admiration for these inefficient hustlers. Perhaps that is the lesson he was to learn. Perhaps the folly of hustling had been discovered in the old days when that proverb was new.
I remember an old workman replying to an impatient superintendent who had reproached him for not hustling with the quiet retort: "There's no time for hustling when there's work to be done."
Now that sounds like human common sense, but evidently it would be nonsense to an ant. And here comes in the chance to extract wisdom from the consideration of the ways of these remarkably organized creatures. There is apparently a different mode of consciousness operative in men and ants, and unless a man can think as an ant thinks (if it does think), feel as an ant feels, see as it sees, and know as it knows, and can remember these experiences on returning to his normal human condition of mind, he will not be able to know the purposes that guide these creatures or to judge of the efficiency of their labor.
So it may be that before we are able to go to the ant and consider his ways, we must first gain intuition, which is surely akin to wisdom.
Man's intellect usually acts on the most material plane of mind, which is in the field of reason and logic. The higher side of the intelligence is imaginative, intuitive, and perceptive. That is to say, there is in man a power to put his inner consciousness into direct connection with truth, or with facts as they are in themselves, so as to attain to what the ancients called wisdom or direct perception of the nature of things: while in his brain-mind operations, he can only observe appearances, compare his observations, reason, and deduce results, all based on the observation of the appearances alone.
It is probable that the ants do not reason as we reason, that they do not see as we see, that they are not individualized as we are to the point of forgetting our underlying unity of consciousness. In fact, it is probable that they are in a different line of evolution from ours.
If this is so, then man ought to understand that before he can learn wisdom from the consideration of their ways, he must be able to look on the world through their eyes, and through their perceptive apparatus (not to use the word intelligence). Failing that, he cannot be rightly said to have complied with the admonition "Go to the ant." He has not gone to the ant, but rather has remained just where he was -- a man among men, looking on from his world at the operations of beings whose consciousness may be active on a different plane of mind.
From this point of view, it is not so easy to go to the ant; and if we got there, we might find it hard to bring back the memory of our experiences in that state just as it is difficult to bring back to memory the experiences of deep sleep. Most people know that on waking up they are sometimes aware of having had some interesting experience which seemed quite vivid to their mind until they opened their eyes and fully woke up. Then it was gone. Now this shows that we cannot even 'go to ourselves' and bring back the result of our consideration of the ways of that inner world in which we spend so much of our life without gaining any wisdom that is profitable to us in the waking state.
May it not be that in that state of deep sleep, the real man, freed from the limitations of his brain-mind, lives in a state of direct self-consciousness which is only intelligible to the brain-mind when translated into terms of time and space, unrolled like a picture-film in a series of views that express continuity of action? It may be that there was no such succession of events in the inner state. It may be that our inner consciousness has a mode of operation that is not subject to time and space as understood by the brain-mind in its waking state. And it may be that the ants are no further removed from human beings in their mental methods than the waking man is from the sleeper.
If someone should therefore say: " Go to sleep, consider your dreams, and be wise," he might be giving good advice, but advice that would certainly prove very misleading, for the only dreams known to the untrained student are delusions and distortions of half-remembered sleep-experiences. Not until we can go to sleep consciously and carry our consciousness through the change of state can we profitably consider our dreams and be wise.
If our measure of time is variable even as our moods and if we are dependent upon the clock as umpire in the game of hide-and-seek that we call life, so are we almost equally dependent upon mechanical instruments for the establishment of a reliable measure of space. In fact, one might almost say that we measure distance by time, for we do really estimate distance more by the time it takes for us to get to a place than by any abstract value that miles have as units of space.
What is a unit of space? What possible unit can there be for a man other than the size of his own body, or of its parts, or of the distance he can stretch or cover in his stride. These certainly have a definite meaning to him, but as to what size his body itself is, he has no idea. He may say it is five or six feet tall, but then what size is a foot? Oh, you say, a foot is so many inches and an inch is the length of the first joint of the thumb, and so on, but as to what size the last of these units is in terms that really mean something, he has really no idea.
The world we live on may be very small or very big; all we know is that it is measurably proportionate to our body and to the time it takes us to go from one point to another. We make maps and plans in order to check and control our personal impressions of distance, and we indicate the height of mountains and the depths of oceans in the same way by mechanical means without which we should be unable to agree.
Even as it is, men who are trained in such matters regard their personal judgment as entirely unreliable for anything like accurate measurement, and the generality of men have but the vaguest notions as to size, distance, height, or depth, and as to direction, are dependent upon reference to the position of the sun and stars. Few have any independent sense of direction.
This is even more noticeable when we come to the way in which men of different races indicate objects and express distance and direction in space. A casual glance at the art of other races or of men of our own race at remote periods will make us wonder if they saw as we see.
Art critics of the past were in the habit of assuming that these differences in modes of representation were entirely due to lack of knowledge or of technical skill. But as our own knowledge of history has advanced, we have come to see that some of these earlier races were more highly educated than men of our own age, while the average of intelligence also was in their favor. From this it would appear probable that the difference in their manner of expressing form and distance pictorially was not due to their inferiority in intelligence, but to an actually different conception of space from that with which we are more or less familiar.
I say more or less familiar advisedly, for there are some rather remarkable differences of opinion as to the right mode of expressing form in art among men of our own day, and of our own race, who are all engaged in the study or practice of art.
Would it not be more intelligent to credit these men with sincerity in their efforts to express their own conceptions of space, of form, of light and shade, and of color in a manner that in some way corresponds to their own peculiarity of vision than to attribute the differences to lack of education or of intelligence?
The more advanced art critics of today are taking a broader view of such matters, it is true, but I venture to doubt if they have begun to realize how extremely personal is the usual idea of space, form, or distance when thrown back upon it and deprived of mechanical instruments or methods of measurement and computation.
Here again we find that space has a different meaning in dreams, in some dreams, though of course all dreams are promptly translated into terms of the waking consciousness. Yet we know how easily we pass from one place to another. Also in thought we know how capricious that our idea of distance is. It is a matter of common experience that we may live in close, very close proximity to another person and yet never get near him in any real sense. And in saying this, I mean that the distance between our bodies is not a real, true, or satisfying expression of the nearness of our real selves.
We may have acquired the habit of declaring that distances measureable in feet, yards, or miles are real, and that distances which can only be felt and expressed in terms of emotion are purely imaginary. But I ask you, is not this contrary to our actual feeling and knowledge? Is the mechanical measure the real test of nearness between human souls?
Be that as it may, we certainly have experience of occasions upon which our conceptions of space have given the lie to our accepted rules of measurement, and these experiences must prove to us that even human beings may see space in an unusual way. If so, why should we imagine that other creatures do not see it in even a more widely different manner?
It is a fact that a painter sees space (that is of course objects in space) in a way that differentiates him from a sculptor. There is a pictorial vision and a sculptural, as also an architectural way of seeing. Thus a sculptor who is essentially a sculptor, and not merely a painter who has missed his vocation, sees a figure 'in the round' or, as it were, synthetically, mentally grasping the form as a whole as if his vision permeated the form and felt it rather than saw it. A painter sees a picture, and he might see a form from a number of points of view, conceive of a group or a single figure, and model it in this way with some success, but he would not be seeing as the true sculptor seems to see.
Of course in all such questions, there is difficulty in finding out how another person sees, because we are not generally trained to intuitive perception or to sympathetic vision. Indeed the average education ignores such modes of vision and perception and tends to unify and standardize the functions of the mind as if they were mechanical motions controlled by mechanical means. The result is the deadening of the more delicate functions of the inner man by the use of which alone true knowledge is to be achieved.
Probably most people today doubt the possibility of consciously passing through those gates that we call death, and sleep, and birth and of passing consciously out of the limits of the personality and returning to the normal state with memory of what was seen or heard or experienced in the other states. But the ancients declared that this was the only way to attain to wisdom.
One who could do this might profitably study dreams and might translate his knowledge so gained into language intelligible to ordinary men, but few appear to have escaped the delusion peculiar to this field of investigation. True Teachers are rare, while the number of those who undertake to impart occult instruction for money is beyond belief, and the number of self-deluded dreamers who though (spiritually) blind are willing to be leaders is astonishing.
The vanity of the human heart encourages all dreamers to ascribe a high source to all their experiences, and so makes them a danger to themselves as well as to those who look to them for guidance.
There is a world of quiet sarcasm in that injunction " ... and be wise." It is slipped in so gently and innocently, as if wisdom comes to anyone who considers the ways of the ant.
I venture to think that the last should be first: "Be wise, and then you may learn from the ant or from any other creature, even from yourself, for all creatures have their correspondences somewhere in the complexity of human nature."
The possibility of the existence of creatures on this earth whose consciousness is operating on a different plane from that on which the human mind is usually active may seem a wild hypothesis until we recall the fact that we ourselves spend one-third of our life in a state that is generally a complete mystery to us.
When we remember that even in our waking state, which we would probably declare to be absolutely controlled by conditions of time and space, we are so uncertain as to our measure of time that we are compelled continually to regulate our minds by reference to a machine, which is supposed to record the passage of time but which has little enough correspondence with that 'succession of our states of consciousness' which constitutes actual time. Then we may hesitate before attributing to other creatures any such conception of time as we human beings have agreed to recognize.
If we will go to the consideration of the ants in a more liberal frame of mind, we may indeed gain wisdom, which the world lacks most of all.
You may say that if all creatures have their correspondences in the nature of man, it is therefore better to study ourselves than the other creatures. But there is a real advantage in such observations, for they tend to take the mind away from the personality, which is its prison-house. There is a vast difference between real self-study and the self-absorption in which most people are so deeply involved and from which they must free themselves before they can begin really to study their own nature.
If we do carefully consider our own experiences in sleep or waking, we shall be forced to admit that we have a thousand different rates of time which have to be artificially corrected by references to a clock of some kind. Certainly, we may find that we have in the body itself a timekeeper, not to speak of the sun above, but we also know that thought and emotion have a measure of time that seems to be altogether capricious, and dreams defy all known systems of measurement.
Consider these things and be wise.
Know that the real man is something more than a body with desires and appetites, something more than a mind with thoughts and emotions, something that is not living in the same measure of time and space as that which conditions the life of the body.
Know this and you will be on the path that leads to wisdom, for you will be on the path that leads inward and upward to knowledge of the real Self and to freedom from the delusion of the false.