THEOSOPHY, Vol. 83, No. 12, October, 1995
(Pages 358-361; Size: 10K)

SPIRIT IN ACTION(1)

SPIRITUAL knowledge includes every action. How difficult the path of action is! Every occurrence, every object, every energy may be used for or against the great end; in each, Nature strives to contain Spirit, and Spirit strives to be free. Shall the substance paralyze the motion, or shall the motion control the substance? The interrelation of these two is manifestation. The ratio of activity governs spiritual development; when the Great Force has gained its full momentum. It is a Force intelligent, self-conscious and spiritual: its lower forms, or vehicles, or correlates may be evoked by us, but Itself comes only of Its own volition. We can only prepare a vehicle for It, in which, as Behmen [Jacob Boheme] says, "the Holy Ghost may ride in Its own chariot."

Then, too, remember the influences of this present age. What despair and agony of doubt exist today in all places! In this time of upturning, the wise man waits. He bends himself, like the reed, to the blast, so that it may blow over his head. It is an age of iron. A forest of iron trees, black and forbidding, with branches of iron and brilliant leaves of steel. Let us wait then for natural changes, knowing that if the eye is fixed where the light shines, we shall presently know what to do. This hour is not ripe. But unripe fruit gets ripe, and falls or is plucked.

To "turn away in horror" is not detachment -- we are not our bodies nor mere minds, but the real part of us in which Karma inheres. It attaches to our real inner selves by attachment repulsion. That is, if we love vice or anything, it seizes on us by attachment; if we hate anything, it seizes on our inner selves by reason of the strong horror we feel for it. In order to prevent a thing we must understand it; we cannot understand while we fear or hate it. We are not to love vice, but are to recognize that it is a part of the whole, and, trying to understand it, we thus get above it. This is the "doctrine of opposites" spoken of in The Bhagavad-Gitâ. Good and Evil are only the two poles of the one thing. In the Absolute, Evil is the same thing as Good in this way. One with absolute knowledge can see both Good and Evil, but he does not feel Evil to be a thing to flee from, and thus he has to call it merely the other pole. We say Good and Evil as certain events seem pleasant or unpleasant to us or to our present civilization. And so we have coined those two words. They are bad words to use. But, in fact there can be no real Evil nor Good; if our aim is right, our acts cannot be evil.

Now, all acts are dead when done; it is in the heart that they are conceived and are already there done. As the heart and mind are the real planes of error, it follows that we must look to it that we do all acts merely because they are to be done. It then becomes difficult only to separate ourselves from the act. We can never as human beings rise above being the instruments through which that called Good and Evil comes to pass. Good and Evil are the result of comparison and are not in themselves absolute. Thought is bounded, and we seek to enter the boundless. When we recognize this truth we make use of that natural energy called Thought for comparison, instruction, and removal of doubt. So the student comes to see that he is not to do either "Good" or "Evil," but do any number of acts set before him, and meanwhile not ever to regard much his line of conduct, but rather his line of motive, for his conduct follows necessarily from his motive.

It would seem that Good and Evil are not inherent in things themselves, but in the uses to which those things are put by us. They are conditions of manifestation. Many things commonly immoral are consequences of the unjust laws of man, of egotistic social institutions: such things are not immoral per se, but relatively so. They are immoral only in point of time. Nor does evil inhere in us, but in our ignorance; it is one of the great illusions of Nature. All these illusions cause the soul to experience in matter until it has consciously learned every part. Our good is relative, and evil is only the limitation of soul by matter. How, then, shall we say that any state is evil in the absolute sense?

The work upon which all disciples are employed is that of rendering the body more porous, more fluidic, more responsive to all spiritual influences which arise in the inner center, in soul, which is an undivided part of the great Soul of all, and less receptive of the outside material influences generated by the unthinking world and by the qualities in nature. Abstract thought is said to be "the power of thinking of a thing apart from its qualities"; but these qualities are the phenomenal, the evident, and they make the most impression upon our senses.

The plan of quiet passive resistance, or rather, laying under the wind is good in all attacks. Resist without resisting. Patience is needed in order that the passage of time required for the bodily instrument to be altered or controlled is complete. Violent is not so good as gentle control, continuous and firmly unrelaxed. Gentleness is better because an opposition is always provoked, and, of course, if that which produces it is gentle, it will also be the same. This gives the unaccustomed student more time and gradual strength.

In order to offset the terribly cold effect of perceiving the littleness of human affairs, one must inculcate in oneself a great compassion. If this is not done, contempt comes on, and the result is dry, cold, hard, repellent and obstructive to all good work. Let us then extend help to all who come our way. This will be true progress: the veils that come over our souls fall away when we work for others. Let that be the real motive, and the quantity of work done makes no difference.

Spirituality is, then, a condition of Being which is beyond expression in language. Call it a rate of vibration, far beyond our cognizance. Its language is the language of motion, in its incipiency, and its perfection is beyond words and even thought. The mystery of the ages is man -- each one of us.

We must all be servants before we can hope to be masters in the least. No effort, even the smallest, is ever in vain; knowing this each one can "try, ever keep trying."

Difficulties and friction are the accompaniments of existence, and if everything was smooth and all right all the time we would have nothing to do. Our movement is a reform one, dealing with the very character of the race, and therefore neither we nor the other members of the race are perfect. Reflect on the question: "What would you do if all our ideals for man were accomplished, if altruism were universal?" We would have to emigrate to some worse planet to have scope for our feelings. Hence we should accept all the difficulties as part of the day's work, and try to get as many people arranged for help as we can -- work to bring the truths of Theosophy before the greatest number of persons; then our best efforts must have good results.


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

Plans for the future need not be made, for if every present duty is performed, all plans will be made by nature. 


--Tibetan Verse

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(1) NOTE: Collated from Letters That Have Helped Me. [Note: A link to this book of letters by William Q. Judge is found in the Theosophical books and articles section that is located in the lower portion of the "Additional Articles" Index page.--Compiler.]
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