William Q Judge wrote many interesting articles in a short 10-year span, but today we present a basic, classic article, one that never grows old... Written in a kind of mystical, proverbial tone that was part of most 19th-century mystical writers' repertoire, but not a style that he used very often...
"Work as those work who are ambitious. — Respect life as those do who desire it. — Be happy as those are who live for happiness." — Light on the Path.
We are tried in wondrous ways, and in the seemingly unimportant affairs of life, there often lie the most dangerous of the temptations.
Labor, at best, is frequently disagreeable owing either to mental or physical repugnance. When he who seeks the upward path, begins to find it, labor grows more burdensome, while at the time, he is, owing to his physical condition, not so well fitted to struggle with it. This is all true, but there must be no giving in to it. It must be forgotten. He must work, and if he cannot have the sort he desires or deems best suited to him, then must he take and perform that which presents itself. It is that which he must needs. It is not intended either, that he do it to have it done. It is intended that he work as if it was the object of his life, as if his whole heart was in it. Perhaps he may be wise enough to know that there is something else, or that the future holds better gifts for him, still this also must to all intents be forgotten, while he takes up his labor, as if there were no to-morrow.
Remember that life is the outcome of the Ever-Living. If you have come to comprehend a little of the mystery of life, and can value its attractions according to their worth; these are no reasons why you should walk forth with solemn countenance to blight the enjoyments of other men. Life to them is as real, as the mystery is to you. Their time will come as yours has, so hasten it for them, if you can by making life brighter, more joyous, better.
If it be your time to fast, put on the best raiment you have, and go forth, not as one who fasts, but as one who lives for life.
Do your sighing and crying within you. If you cannot receive the small events of life and their meanings without crying them out to all the world, think you that you are fitted to be trusted with the mysteries?
The doing away with one or certain articles of diet, in itself, will not open the sealed portals. If this contained the key, what wise beings must the beasts of the field be, and what a profound Mystic must Nebuchadnezar have been, after he was "turned out to grass!"
There are some adherents of a faith, which has arisen in the land, who deem it wise to cast away all things that are distasteful to them; to cut asunder the ties of marriage because they deem it will interfere with their spiritual development, or because the other pilgrim is not progressed enough. Brothers, there lives not the man who is wise enough to sit as a judge upon the spiritual development of any living being. He is not only unwise but blasphemous who says to another: "Depart! You impede my exalted spiritual development."
The greatest of all truths lies frequently in plain sight, or veiled in contraries. The impression has gone abroad that the Adept or the Mystic of high degree, has only attained his station by forsaking the association of his fellow creatures or refusing the marriage tie. It is the belief of very wise Teachers that all men who had risen to the highest degrees of Initiation, have at some time passed through the married state. Many men, failing in the trials, have ascribed their failure to being wedded, precisely as that other coward, Adam, after being the first transgressor cried out "It was Eve."
One of the most exalted of the Divine Mysteries lies hidden here — therefore, Oh Man, it is wise to cherish that which holds so much of God and seek to know its meaning; not by dissolution and cutting asunder, but by binding and strengthening the ties. Our most Ancient Masters knew of this and Paul also speaks of it. (Ephesians v. 32.)
Be patient, kindly and wise, for perhaps in the next moment of life, the light will shine out upon thy companion, and you discover that you are but a blind man, claiming to see. Remember this, that you own not one thing in this world. Your wife is but a gift, your children are but loaned to you. All else you possess is given to you only while you use it wisely. Your body is not yours, for Nature claims it as her property. Do you not think, Oh Man, that it is the height of arrogance for you to sit in judgment upon any other created thing, while you, a beggar, are going about in a borrowed robe?
If misery, want and sorrow are thy portion for a time, be happy that it is not death. If it is death be happy there is no more of life.
You would have wealth, and tell of the good you would do with it. Truly will you lose your way under these conditions. It is quite probable, that you are as rich as you ever will be, therefore, desire to do good with what you have — and do it. If you have nothing, know that it is best and wisest for you. Just so surely as you murmur and complain just so surely will you find that "from him that hath not, shall be taken even that which he hath." This sounds contradictory, but in reality is in most harmonious agreement. Work in life and the Occult are similar; all is the result of your own effort and will. You are not rash enough to believe that you will be lifted up into Heaven like the Prophet of old — but you really hope some one will come along and give you a good shove toward it.
Know then, Disciples, that you only can lift yourselves by your own efforts. When this is done, you may have the knowledge that you will find many to accompany you on your heretofore lonely journey; but neither they or your Teacher will be permitted to push or pull you one step onward.
This is all a very essential part of your preparation and trial for Initiation.
You look and wait for some great and astounding occurrence, to show you that you are going to be permitted to enter behind the veil; that you are to be Initiated. It will never come. He only who studies all things and learns from them, as he finds them, will be permitted to enter, and for him there are no flashing lightnings or rolling thunder. He who enters the door, does so as gently and imperceptibly, as the tide rises in the nighttime.
Live well your life. Seek to realize the meaning of every event. Strive to find the Ever Living and wait for more light. The True Initiate does not fully realize what he is passing through, until his degree is received. If you are striving for light and Initiation, remember this, that your cares will increase, your trials thicken, your family make new demands upon you. He who can understand and pass through these patiently, wisely, placidly — may hope.
American Mystic - The Path – October 1886