Monday, December 4, 2017

Developing the Soul from Within


It is the natural right of every human being to be happy, to escape all
the miseries of life. Happiness is the normal condition, as natural as the
landscapes and the seasons. It is unnatural to suffer and it is only because of
our ignorance that we do suffer. Happiness is the product of wisdom. To attain
perfect wisdom, to comprehend fully the purpose of life, to realize completely
the relationship of human beings to each other, is to put an end to all
suffering, to escape every ill and evil that afflicts us. Perfect wisdom is unspeakable
joy.

Why do we suffer in life? Because in the scheme of nature we are being
forced forward in evolution and we lack the spiritual illumination that alone
can light the way and enable us to move safely among the obstacles that lie
before us. Usually we do not even see or suspect the presence of trouble until
it suddenly leaps upon us like a concealed tiger. One day our family circle is
complete and happy. A week later death has come and gone and joy is replaced
with agony. Today we have a friend. Tomorrow he will be an enemy and we do not
know why. A little while ago we had wealth and all material luxuries. There was
a sudden change and now we have only poverty and misery and yet we seek in vain
for a reason why this should be. There was a time when we had health and
strength; but they have both departed and no trace of a reason appears.

Aside from these greater tragedies of life innumerable things of lesser
consequence continually bring to us little miseries and minor heartaches. We
most earnestly desire to avoid them but we never see them until they strike us,
until in the darkness of our ignorance we happen upon them. The thing we lack
is the spiritual illumination that will enable us to look far and wide, finding
the hidden causes of human suffering and revealing the method by which they may
be avoided; and if we can but reach illumination the evolutionary journey can
be made both comfortably and swiftly. It is as though we must pass through a
long, dark room filled with furniture promiscuously scattered about. In the
darkness our progress would be slow and painful and our bruises many. But if we
could press a button that would turn on the electric light we could then make
the same journey quickly and with perfect safety and comfort.

The old method of education was to store the mind with as many facts,
or supposed facts, as could be accumulated and to give a certain exterior
polish to the personality. The theory was that when a person was born they were
a completed human being and that all that could be done for them was to load them
up with information that would be used with more or less skill, according to
the native ability they happened to be born with. The theosophical idea is that
the physical person, and all that constitutes their life in the physical world,
is but a very partial expression of the self; that in the ego of each there is
practically unlimited power and wisdom; that these may be brought through into
expression in the physical world as the physical body and its invisible
counterparts, which together constitute the complex vehicle of the ego's
manifestation, are evolved and adapted to the purpose; and that in exact
proportion that conscious effort is given to such self-development will
spiritual illumination be achieved and wisdom attained. Thus, the light that
leads to happiness is kindled from within and the evolutionary journey that all
are making may be robbed of its suffering.

Why does death bring misery? Chiefly because it separates us from those
we love. The only other reason why death brings grief or fear is because we do
not understand it and comprehend the part it plays in human evolution.  But the moment our ignorance gives way to
comprehension such fear vanishes and a serene happiness takes its place.

Why do we have enemies from whose words or acts we suffer? Because in
our limited physical consciousness we do not perceive the unity of all life and
realize that our wrong thinking and doing must react upon us through other
people a situation from which there is no possible escape except through ceasing
to think evil and then patiently awaiting the time when the causes we have
already generated are fully exhausted. When spiritual illumination comes, and
we no longer stumble in the night of ignorance, the last enemy will disappear
and we shall make no more forever.

Why do people suffer from poverty and disease? Only because of our exasperated
ignorance that makes their existence possible for us, and because we do not
comprehend their meaning and their lessons, nor know the attitude to assume
toward them. Had we but the wisdom to understand why they come to people, why
they are necessary factors in their evolution, they would trouble us no longer.
When nature's lesson is fully learned these mute teachers will vanish.

And so, it is with all forms of suffering we experience. They are at
once reactions from our ignorant misgivings and instructors that point out the
better way. When we have comprehended the lessons, they teach they are no
longer necessary and disappear. It is not by the outward acquirement of facts
that we become wise and great. It is by developing the soul from within until
it illuminates the consciousness with that flood of light called grace.