How shall we overcome a fault such as timidity? The way is by thinking thoughts of courage, visualizing pictures of courageous actions as done, also of the beauty of courage; visualizing these and similar things so that they picture themselves in our minds as thoughts and leave mental deposits, and in time instinctively we will act courageously from habit. Then follows the next step in consciousness: suddenly we will find ourselves courageous. We are timid, fearsome, because it is a habit. We have allowed timidity and fear to grow in us, and therefore we see things in a timid and fearsome way. When courage becomes habitual, timidity will of itself fall away, and we won't know when it falls. It is far easier than being timid and fearsome, and undergoing the suffering and shame that result.
But the trouble is that we don't visualize. We lack the creative spiritual imagination. I believe that no man or woman ever sins from deliberate choice. Sin or evil is so ugly, so repulsive, in some aspects so horrifying, that if we could visualize it clearly, and thus see it and its consequences, it would repel us and we would run from association with it. Nor do I believe that there is any "judgment" for sin. Who would do the judging? We are not fit to judge our fellows with quasi-infinitely correct vision. In one sense, the highest god in highest heaven is not fit for such a duty. There is no judgment in that sense; and, strictly speaking, I do not believe that there is any sin per se. There is simply warped judgment, ignorance, lack of vision, ethical ugliness, or moral obliquity. On the other hand, there is high aspiration, high thinking, moral beauty, inward splendor, the aspiration of the heart: all the noble qualities. Which of the two paths, therefore, do we choose?
Of course we must remember that all evildoing, or what is popularly called sin, actually is a violation of the fundamental law of nature which is harmony, a rupture of the coordinated relations of the universe; and the whole pressure of the universal forces instantly tends towards reestablishing that harmony. Consequently, while there is no judgment for sin or evildoing, there is all nature's power and weight against its continuance; and the restoring of harmony certainly brings suffering and pain to the one who has ruptured nature's harmony. This is what is meant, I suppose, when people speak of "judgment for sin." At the same time, and for exactly the same reasons, those who work in harmony with nature have a reward or recompense in the increased power and vision that come to them, for they are working with nature and for her, and all natural harmony is with them.
How can one gain the insight that enables one to perceive one's own weaknesses and shows one infallibly the best way to help others? The one way is by sympathy, love. It is the easiest thing in the world to follow the path of sympathy and love, the least troublesome and, finally, the path which leads to the finest, best, most heart-satisfying rewards.
In this connection let me draw your attention to a beautiful rule of action of the Orient expressed by Lao-tzu, the great teacher of Taoism in China: Do not struggle; do not fight. Do not be strenuous. Be calm. Be easy. Be collected. Be courageous. Love, forgive, have sympathy. This mode of action will bring you understanding. Having understanding, you will see. You will then know how to help. Love is clairvoyant, and a part of love is sympathy. Hence sympathy is clairvoyant.
But be sure that it is not personal love. In the latter case the veils of personality begin to thicken before the inner eye, because personal desire collects and thickens into one's aura the surrounding psychic atmosphere, and condenses it, and this it is which causes the thickening of the psychic veils, obscuring the inner vision and understanding. Everything that has as its motivating cause the desire for personal benefits is not true love. The essence of true love is self-forgetfulness, and to this rule there are no exceptions. Love forgives all things, and the reason that it does so is because it sympathizes, it understands. Understanding brings insight. Love shows the way and lights the path.
(From Sunrise magazine, April/May 2005; copyright © 2005 Theosophical University Press)