The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
October 2003 Vol. 6 Issue 8
Once again the time had come to start another day. It was not a good morning: I had slept badly; outside, the sky was grey and the air chilly.
Reluctantly I tried to clear my head and mentally organ-ize my day, but the prospect of the work to be done during the next few hours did nothing to cheer me up. There appeared to be a lot more dull, routine work than could be fitted into the hours available. I collected the morning paper, took a cup of coffee from the kitchen and sat down to read the news before starting to work. The headlines and commentary were full of the increase of violence, corruption, and economic depression in our world. The news was even more glum than my mood.
Out of the corner of my eye a slight movement on the table caught my attention. Putting down the paper I saw a tiny moth fluttering on the tablecloth. The poor little thing must have got into the house the previous day, had settled overnight on the flowers standing in a vase on the table, and was now nearly exhausted by its struggle to escape.
Carefully I picked up the tiny creature between my thumb and forefinger to carry it outside and set it free in the garden. Walking the short distance through the house, a few seconds of my lifetime unexpectedly took on a tremendous importance. As I held the little moth lightly, it kept moving its tiny wings and I was suddenly aware that the flutter of the moth's wings seemed to match my own pulsebeat. Small as they were, the movements of the moth filled my whole consciousness, and for one rare moment the beat of its wings and my own pulse appeared to be part of the Pulse of Life of this whole world, whose steady rhythm nothing can destroy and of which we all are a part.
I soon reached the garden and released the moth, which instantly fluttered away, and the thread that had linked me for a moment of awareness with the Oneness of Life was broken, but the memory of it remains.
Like a miracle, my glum mood had disappeared. Life was once more a challenge of expectations even though I faced the prospect of dull routine. -- Lo Guest
In our youth eternity lies before us. How long the time seems until we are old enough to go to school, . . . to date, . . . to vote, . . . to hold a responsible position, . . . to retire! Suddenly eternity is no longer ahead: a goodly part of life is in the past. It does no good to berate ourselves for all the wasted hours, nor can we be sure our good intentions for next time around will carry over in accessible form; perhaps some inkling will inhere to jog our future conscience and bring a modicum of wisdom to our spending of lives to come. But for now we can only husband what remains of our current action time on earth.
This calls for an evaluation of priorities. What is our desire? What do we wish to do with the years that remain, and what habits may be formed at this late stage of a constructive nature?
In our better moments we all make deliberate selection of a worthy motive over an unworthy one, desire the better rather than the inferior, but at best we find ourselves looking back over an uneven path, where effort has been sporadic and many sideslips have caused waste. It is then we realize that we need not drift with every wayward wish; we can marshal our true desires, examine, sift, and sort our motives, then select those worthy of allegiance and command our will. How straight and clear must be the path traveled by one who knows his aim and is not diverted from his direction. Or, with a life to spend, how useful it could be if every moment held the noblest effort we can muster, the highest goal, the greatest determination. -- B. Hagelin
The Bhagavad-Gita Book Circle continues on Thursday, October 2, 7:30-8:45 pm, at Newport Way Library. We will be reading Chapter 10. Subsequent meetings will be on Thursdays, October 16, November 6 and 20, 7:30-8:45 pm, at the Newport Way Library, 14250 SE Newport Way, Bellevue. Feel free to drop in at any meeting!
This month "Bringing Ourselves to Birth" is our subject. We will be discussing such questions as: What are our origins? Who are we, and what is our essential nature? How can we bring forth our full potential? Do we have more than one birth in this life? Why should we seek to be "born again"? What did Paul mean when he said "I die daily"? What is our supreme goal as human beings, and how can we achieve it? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge
Upcoming Topics(upcoming meetings will take place at Bellevue Regional Library)
Two things are involved in the development of spiritual powers. First, we must understand ourselves, then comprehend the universe of which we are a part. It is the same with any student. He who would research in a scientific laboratory must begin by learning the theory and then how to use the equipment with which to conduct experiments.
No door opens without the right key. The knowledge of our own constitution, of our own capacities and powers, is the key which will unlock the door to the inner worlds of being lying within and behind and beyond the physical world. Here is the meaning of the expression "self-directed evolution." The world lags in its evolution, suffering and confusion prevail, because for so long we have been taught to look outside ourselves for strength and spiritual wisdom.
Within lie all the wisdom and potencies of the universe. The urge to evolution through self-expression and experience does not come from blind physical nature. It comes from our own higher self, and only within ourselves can we find the knowledge and power to achieve the aims of evolution. Without our own vision, will power, and courage we could never get anywhere. A child can be helped and guided by parents and teachers, but only it can make itself walk, eat, study, or use its physical and mental faculties.
Self-directed evolution puts into our own hands the science of self-knowledge. In light of the seven basic elements of our constitution, it gives us the spiritual laws by which we can understand, control, and direct these elements. Only we ourselves can apply this knowledge in our daily lives to bring about a higher and quicker evolution of our own natures. Therefore the student no longer looks outside of himself for the strength to accomplish this, but becomes his own savior, powerful enough at last to make of himself a god in human form. Did not Jesus say: "Greater things than these shall ye do" and "the kingdom of God is within you" -- thus pointing the way to the spiritual basis of self-directed evolution?
Some of the highest forms of spiritual powers exist even now in all of us. There is the creative imagination, the power to visualize what we want or need or wish to do, and then give it form and direction. Everyone has it in some degree, and it can be developed in ourselves.
Another great power most people possess is will power. Without a strong and active will the creative imagination is useless. Let us emphasize the spiritual will, for the personal will, actuated as it often is by selfish desires and narrow interest, will not get us far. It too often results in a form of mere willfulness that may injure others and make difficult karma for the person himself. Personal will cannot serve in the inner spiritual realms of nature, but must first be purified and made impersonal. Only then does it become a spiritual power, trained and actuated by impersonal love.
The spiritual essence at the center of us, the root of being, is the same in every creature. It is therefore universal, common to all things. People need to visualize their spiritual nature and aspire to it. Until they have felt in their hearts the throb and thrill of the universal spirit, they cannot understand and practice impersonal love. For example, it is comparatively easy to love and sacrifice for our own children, but much more difficult to work for the well-being or happiness of all other people. So begins impersonal love, and when we have expanded our love and sense of responsibility to the whole world, sacrificing the personal to the spiritual will, we become gradually incapable of harming any living creature.
The thoughtful seeker will admit that such genuinely practiced thought and action demands an intense, continuous, and arduous self-training, but its rewards are beyond price. We lose all fear for ourselves, all worry over our own success. We acquire a broader wisdom in all the relationships and circumstances of life, because we are bringing the universal light to illumine our minds and hearts. This is what Jesus meant when he told us to seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and "all these things" shall be added unto us.
Reckon the days in which you have not been angry. I used to be angry every day; now every other day; then every third and fourth day; and if you miss it so long as thirty days, offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God. -- Epictetus