Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Through the Gates of Gold - Chapter 3 – The Initial Effort - Part 3

Here the author delves into the process of growth on the subtle planes:
And now let us consider how the initial difficulty of fastening the interest on that which is unseen is to be overcome. Our gross senses refer only to that which is objective in the ordinary sense of the word; but just beyond this field of life there are finer sensations which appeal to finer senses.


An interesting description  in terms of radiation is given:
Here we find the first clew to the stepping-stones we need. Man looks from this point of view like a point where many rays or lines center; and if he has the courage or the interest to detach himself from the simplest form of life, the point, and explore but a little way along these lines or rays, his whole being at once inevitably widens and expands, the man begins to grow in greatness.


An important point is raised concerning balanced growth, one needs to work on all aspects of one’s being, and not favour one aspect over another,  the image of a tree that grows unimpeded is used:
But it is evident, if we accept this illustration as a fairly true one, that the chief point of importance is to explore no more persistently on one line than another; else the result must be a deformity. We all know how powerful is the majesty and personal dignity of a forest tree which has had air enough to breathe, and room for its widening roots, and inner vitality with which to accomplish its unceasing task. It obeys the perfect natural law of growth, and the peculiar awe it inspires arises from this fact.


And then the question is asked:
How is it possible to obtain recognition of the inner man, to observe its growth and foster it?
Let us try to follow a little way the clew we have obtained, though words will probably soon be useless.


It is specified that it must be done alone and the image of climbing a mountain is used:
We must each travel alone and without aids, as the traveller has to climb alone when he nears the summit of the mountain. No beast of burden can help him there; neither can the gross senses or anything that touches the gross senses help him here. But for a little distance words may go with us.


Next is described a kind of essentialist dialectical ascension similar to the one described in Plato’s Symposium, climbing the ladder of divine love to arrive at the contemplation of universal beauty:
The tongue recognizes the value of sweetness or piquancy in food. To the man whose senses are of the simplest order there is no other idea of sweetness than this. But a finer essence, a more highly placed sensation of the same order, is reached by another perception. The sweetness on the face of a lovely woman, or in the smile of a friend, is recognized by the man whose inner senses have even a little — a mere stirring of — vitality. To the one who has lifted the golden latch the spring of sweet waters, the fountain itself whence all softness arises, is opened and becomes part of his heritage.


Contemplation of an essential idea is described as a fountain of waters of life and this process is what lift the iron bar on the heart previously mentioned:
But before this fountain can be tasted, or any other spring reached, any source found, a heavy weight has to be lifted from the heart, an iron bar which holds it down and prevents it from arising in its strength. The man who recognizes the flow of sweetness from its source through Nature, through all forms of life, he has lifted this, he has raised himself into that state in which there is no bondage.


This accomplishment makes one realise that we are a part of the great whole, that we are in touch with all life, that the whole is contained within ourselves.
He knows that he is a part of the great whole, and it is this knowledge which is his heritage. It is through the breaking asunder of the arbitrary bond which holds him to his personal center that he comes of age and becomes ruler of his kingdom. As he widens out, reaching by manifold experience along those lines which center at the point where he stands embodied, he discovers that he has touch with all life, that he contains within himself the whole.


And this realization carries us to the great waters of life, which are eternal and infinite:
And then he has but to yield himself to the great force which we call good, to clasp it tightly with the grasp of his soul, and he is carried swiftly on to the great, wide waters of real living. What are those waters? In our present life we have but the shadow of the substance. No man loves without satiety, no man drinks wine without return of thirst. Hunger and longing darken the sky and make the earth unfriendly. What we need is an earth that will bear living fruit, a sky that will be always full of light. Needing this positively, we shall surely find it.