This completes the series of musings, originally published over a 6-month period. I think it goes to show how, contrary to popular belief, Theosophy has quite a down-to-earth, pragmatic, practical daily living philosophy to it.
If you desire to labor for the good of the world, it will be unwise for you to strive to include it all at once in your efforts. If you can help elevate or teach but one soul — that is a good beginning, and more than is given to many.
It has been written that he who lives the Life shall know the doctrine. Few there be who realize the significance of The Life.
It is not by intellectually philosophizing upon it, until reason ceases to solve the problem, nor by listening in ecstatic delight to the ravings of an Elemental clothed — whose hallucinations are but the offspring of the Astral — that the life is realized. Nor will it be realized by the accounts of the experiences of other students. For there be some who will not realize Divine Truth itself, when written, unless it be properly punctuated or expressed in flowery flowing words.
Remember this: that as you live your life each day with an uplifted purpose and unselfish desire, each and every event will bear for you a deep significance — an occult meaning — and as you learn their import, so do you fit yourself for higher work.
There are no rose-gardens upon the way in which to loiter about, nor fawning slaves to fan one with golden rods of Ostrich plumes. The Ineffable Light will not stream out upon you every time you may think you have turned up the wick, nor will you find yourself sailing about in an astral body, to the delight of yourself and the astonishment of the rest of the world, simply because you are making the effort to find wisdom.
He who is bound in any way — he who is narrow in his thoughts — finds it doubly difficult to pass onward. You may equally as well gain wisdom and light in a church as by sitting upon a post while your nails grow through your hands. It is not by going to extremes or growing fanatical in any direction that the life will be realized.
Be temperate in all things, most of all in the condemnation of other men. It is unwise to be intemperate or drunken with wine. It is equally unwise to be drunken with temperance. Men would gain the powers; or the way of working wonders. Do you know, O man, what the powers of the Mystic are? Do you know that for each gift of this kind he gives a part of himself? That it is only with mental anguish, earthly sorrow, and almost his heart's blood, these gifts are gained? Is it true, think you, my brother, that he who truly possesses them desires to sell them at a dollar a peep, or any other price? He who would trade upon these things finds himself farther from his goal than when he was born.
There are gifts and powers. Not just such as you have created in your imagination, perhaps. Harken to one of these powers: He who has passed onward to a certain point, finds that the hearts of men lie spread before him as an open book, and from there onward the motives of men are clear. In other words he can read the hearts of men. But not selfishly; should he but once use this knowledge selfishly, the book is closed — and he reads no more. Think you, my brothers, he would permit himself to sell a page out of this book?
Time — that which does not exist outside the inner circle of this little world — seems of vast importance to the physical man. There comes to him at times, the thought that he is not making any progress, and that he is receiving nothing from some Mystic source. From the fact that he has the thought that no progress is being made the evidence is gained that he is working onward. Only the dead in living bodies need fear. That which men would receive from Mystic sources is frequently often repeated, and in such a quiet, unobtrusive voice, that he who is waiting to hear it shouted in his ear, is apt to pass on unheeding.
Urge no man to see as yourself, as it is quite possible you may see differently when you awake in the morning. It is wiser to let the matter rest without argument. No man is absolutely convinced by that. It is but blowing your breath against the whirlwind.
It was at one time written over the door: "Abandon Hope, all ye who enter here."* It has taken hundreds of years for a few to come to the realization that the wise men had not the slightest desire for the company of a lot of hopeless incurables in the mysteries. There is to be abandoned hope for the gratification of our passions, our curiosities, our ambition or desire for gain. There is also another Hope — the true; and he is a wise man who comes to the knowledge of it. Sister to Patience, they together are the Godmothers of Right Living, and two of the Ten who assist the Teacher.**
American Mystic - The Path – February 1887
* Dante, Divine Comedy, Inferno III, 9, "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate". A similar explanation can be foundin the writings of 13th century mystic Jacopone da Todi.
** This can be seen as a reference to the Ten Paramitas.