All forms of existence are united by a common bond, all are brothers in one great family. The spiritual life manifests to a greater or less degree in all, and insofar as the inner light is dimmed or obscured either in the individual or in the nation, insofar all must suffer. Our mission is to forge ahead along the path of brotherly service, bridging the abyss of separateness, surmounting self-interest, and marching steadily toward the goal of self-conquest where alone true happiness may be found.
Each person is the ultimate creator of his own destiny, individually responsible for his thoughts and acts, an intelligent agent possessing the freedom of choice. All reformation and redemption must come from within. There is no outward power which can be held accountable for the individual's actions, no outward power by which the consequences of those actions can be annulled. As the tree in its growth adds fresh rings beyond the old, so the soul -- the real man -- by its numberless experiences can keep adding fresh stores of knowledge to the old. The goal of the ideal, like the horizon, must ever recede before the vision of the eternal pilgrim-soul, for the possibilities of growth are limitless. Man, as an immortal being, possesses ever at hand greater and grander possibilities for growth because the path of progress knows no end and one vantage point gained reveals others beyond. The soul, as the child of the infinite, must in itself be infinite, living and acting throughout eternity until, by being reborn time and time again, it may be fitted to enter upon its divine heritage.
Our mission in the school of life, therefore, is to study our own dual nature, and thus learn how to control and guide the outer animal by the help of the god within. By self-analysis and self-conquest we render ourselves ever more truly helpers in humanity's cause, for we are eternal pilgrims, individually responsible, subject to the laws of life, death, and rebirth, with infinite opportunities for growth and progress.
(From Sunrise magazine, October/November 2000; copyright © 2000 Theosophical University Press)