The world is a Mirror of Infinite Beauty, yet no man sees it. It is a Temple of Majesty, yet no man regards it. It is a Region of Light and Peace, did not man disquiet it. It is the Paradise of God . . . the Place of Angels and the Gate of Heaven. -- Thomas Traherne
In the confusion of the world today, perhaps out of a hundred we might find only five or ten who have the broader vision that would enable them to see that the infinite life is mirrored in earth-life. Human experience on earth, which is but a station, a stopping place in the progress of the soul, gives us the opportunity to find not only our own spiritual nature and the infinite powers within us, but also to know the meaning of life and to see its beauty even in material nature.
But material life has been made paramount. Our disquieting of this region of light and peace comes not altogether from intention, but because a great psychological wave of ignorance has been brooding over humanity for thousands of years. The uncertainty and insecurity of human life make it impossible to realize in this life the beauty and grandeur that is mirrored through the Infinite. Humanity must realize that the infinite laws, which have fashioned everything and hold everything in their keeping, are also for us. It is for us to work with them.
To understand the infinite beauty of life, we must thrill with the knowledge of our own essential divinity, we must find it in the depths of our hearts, of our consciences, and it must illumine our minds. I often meet charming people of great culture who have everything they want and expect the world to look at and admire them. They have wealth, culture, and refinement, but they are lacking the knowledge of their own essential divinity which every man and woman must have if they are to find the region of peace, the temple of majesty.
In this age of inquiry, it is our right to find our heritage, and we cannot find it until we challenge ourselves and learn who we are, what we are, whence we came, and whither we go. Looking into the answers to these all-important questions requires no wealth, no great intellectual attainments. It requires only a determined purpose to look upon life with a larger vision. Galileo said that in order to know whether the world was round or flat, he had to go above it so as to look down and see it. There is a bit of occultism in this. We must rise above our ordinary selves and soar beyond the modern way of thinking. We must bury our prejudices and perhaps assume the attitude of mind we were in as little children. We must begin over again in a sense, and try to find in our hearts some of the tender feelings we had then, but which we have let pass us. The artificiality of modern life is distorting and destroying the spiritual life in man.
Real knowledge is self-knowledge, and this is to be gained through the challenging of the self, the finding of one's own strength and weaknesses, and recognizing the duality of human nature. That which destroys faith and carries us away from the path onto the sidetracks of weakness and passion and vice is the imperfect, animal part of our nature. Yet there is mirrored in our soul the infinite beauty of life which Traherne speaks of. It is for all; but it is only to be unfolded through a new trust, a new conception of life, a larger love for humanity, and a greater consciousness of the divinity within.
The mirror of infinite beauty can be seen in the wonderful mysteries of the simplest flowers, in the trees, in the immensity of the ocean, in the stars, and in the heavens. Then look into the eyes of humanity and, in spite of all we see there overshadowing the spiritual self, let a person challenge himself to find his own soul and that infinite beauty will shine out through his eyes. It will warm his heart, and he will realize that the conquest of self has been made.
Those who struggle in shadows and perplexities of any kind can find the mirror of infinite beauty. But to be steadfast and firm on one's feet, to move along daily in the consciousness of one's divinity, one must rise above his passions and desires, take an absolutely new view of life, and live according to the knowledge gained. This cannot be done until one eliminates from his mind the limitations that do not belong to the higher self. They obscure and destroy all that is best and noblest in the nature and disquiet these regions of infinite beauty.
Some have said, "Oh, the goal is grand and beautiful, your theory is wonderful, but it is such hard work!" But it is not so if we go about it in the right way. To ingrain these teachings into our lives and build ourselves up to a position where we can rise in our visions and in our conceptions of greater things and look down upon and overcome our weaknesses, we must remember that step by step we climb. We must not expect to acquire full knowledge in a day, a week, a month, a year, or even in one lifetime.
With the ultimate ever in mind, we must yet live for the day. No matter how great the present difficulties, the struggles in business and the duties that pertain to the subject at hand can bring home to us a realization of some of the infinite beauty of life that cannot come to us in any other way. We have not to look ahead to future years with fear and dread, but to eliminate from our minds all those ideas that have taken root which make us the progeny of doubt and fear and, according to the old conception, of sin. But times are changing. Evolution is pushing its way into the thought-life of the world and molding minds accordingly, and it tells us of the possibility of making of this world the mirror of infinite beauty.
Man gets what he works for, and if he doesn't work for it he doesn't get it. Mere thinking about the joy of life and even reveling in it will not bring it. But when one wants truth so much that he is actually hungry for it, he gets it. It is the wine of life, the revelation of the book of life. No language can describe it -- the most beautiful things in life can never be described in words; the holiest part of our religious nature can never be uttered in words, but it is the region of light and peace.
Those who desire the truth, who have the courage to enter a new life, who have the desire to be reborn in a sense, must throw overboard everything that has held them down in their limitations, in their doubts, their fears, their dislikes, their passions. Why? Because the soul is seeking its evolution in the house of flesh, it is seeking to help the being to become that which it knows it can be. But the human mind, even though cultured, is frequently the slave to this idea and that, this one's opinion and that one's opinion, and this "ism" and that "ism," so that the mind reflects only life's confusion, corruption, distress, and doubt.
Yet man is a majestic being if he knows his own spiritual nature and works assiduously to become that which he was intended to be, that he may fulfill his mission as a noble representative of the higher law. Thus he may become a great factor in the divine scheme of things, making for beauty, harmony, peace, and joy. He is walking the path of self-conquest with such clear perceptions, such earnestness, such steadfastness, that his whole nature is reflected in the mirror of infinite beauty.
There is a splendor in soul-life; and when the soul reigns, commands, and overcomes, victory is won for the whole world. Then will we no longer disquiet the region of light and peace. We will have reached a point where we can challenge ourself and say to our own passions, selfishness, and weaknesses, "Get Thee behind me, Satan!" -- for they are the Satans of our own creation. We will find that these conditions in our nature that are not controlled and not conquered in one life will have to be met and conquered in another.
We must realize that what counts in life is not what we want or what we believe in: it is what is or what will be. We cannot move the sun or the moon, the planets or the stars, but it is great to know that we can change ourselves, that we are the makers of our own destiny, that we can compel the brain-mind, which is but an instrument, to be under the control of the soul. We cannot depend merely upon the intellectual life and be so wrapped up in it that, when the body dies, the soul has to go on and on returning to earth-life, trying it over again having made little progress. The urge of the soul towards perfection never dies. It is for us to nurse our higher natures, the potential qualities within us, to nurse the pictures and dreams of a future life, of a better life in this life, and to hold tenderly and affectionately in our hearts the love of the higher law which makes of this world a mirror of infinite beauty for all.
(From Sunrise magazine, February/March 2002; copyright © 2001 Theosophical University Press)