The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
April 2001 Vol. 4 Issue 2
Words of wisdom are meaningless to us unless the truth they are meant to convey becomes a living experience. This came to mind one dark night when I found myself alone in a strange city. I had walked along, and coming to a quiet street, had slowed my steps, lost in thought, until I stood motionless reflecting on my situation.
Round about me were the lighted windows of homes where people lived and worked together. I was a stranger; no one knew me or knew I was there. Only recently I had been shorn of everything that made up my daily life: home, possessions, responsibilities, contact with family and friends, even hobbies and pets. In one fell swoop the ground had been swept from under me, for these are the things that give us identity and position in the eyes of the world. With the loss of them went all the proud assertions, the cocksure opinions, the courageous plans. They were all behind me now, and I was glad to be rid of them.
Where was a foothold now? What was left? A great loneliness surrounded me, yet curiously there was no trace of sadness. Instead, a sense of freedom enveloped me, a freedom so complete that it was almost frightening.
For a moment the world stood still. A moment only, but long enough for the remembrance of these words to come alive: "Before the soul can stand in the presence of the Master, its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart." In the past I had puzzled over this ancient admonition, but now, in my present plight, the meaning was made clearer. The personality, and all it stands for, must be shed, must be "laid on the altar and bled." Only then can the soul find balance and, purified, follow its true course.
This potent moment passed and I thought, though a truth has been thus glimpsed, it still must be experienced and renewed from one day to the next, unendingly, if it is to be fully realized. – Ilse Read
Our greatest hope lies in the fact that Truth does exist. Through the millennia it has come down to us like a river whose source is in the Unknown. At times its current flows strong and clear over the surface of the earth, enriching human hearts. At other times, not finding a channel of receptive minds, it disappears and moves quietly underground, and the soil it once made fertile lies fallow. But always the river flows.
How has this "wisdom of the ages" been passed down to us? Has it not been through the lives and works of the great teachers of the past – the Master Jesus, Gautama Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, Confucius, Lao-tsu, Plato and others? Each of them labored with one end in view: to revive in the consciousness of man a recognition of his divine potential and to restate the spiritual values embedded in the sacred traditions of antiquity. – James Long
I have looked over the blue waters of the Pacific; and watched the sun rise above the mountains and listened to mockingbirds singing; and the beauty of the awakening world grew marvelous for me with suggestions of the hidden harmonies of life. Then I thought of humanity, and wondered what would happen could the veil of external things fall from before our eyes and reveal the glory of the law . . . We should stand in silence motionless, thrilled through with the grace and plenitude of its compassion.
There is no limit to the possible expansion of human life and the growth of the soul – here on this hearth. Nature is entirely beneficent; the universal laws that have us in their keeping are forever dependable; the God in us is always striving to bring us to that higher life which is lived solely to benefit mankind; the souls of men are calling always to the minds of men to listen, obey and be free. – Katherine Tingley
This month "How Do We Find Truth?" is our subject. We will be discussing such questions as: Are truth and reality the same? How does truth relate to science, religion, and philosophy? Can human beings discover truth, or is it beyond our capacities? Is it more useful to look within or outside of ourselves? What about relative and absolute truth? How have different individuals and groups gone about the search for truth, and what have they found? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.
The topics for the monthly discussion group for the next few months are:
Truth is the Voice of Nature and of Time –
In every age there have been sages who had mastered the absolute and yet could teach but relative truths. For none yet, born of mortal woman in our race, has, or could have given out, the whole and the final truth to another man, for every one of us has to find that (to him) final knowledge in himself. As no two minds can be absolutely alike, each has to receive the supreme illumination through itself, according to its capacity, and from no human light. The greatest adept living can reveal of the Universal Truth only so much as the mind he is impressing it upon can assimilate, and no more. In proportion as our consciousness is elevated towards absolute truth, so do we assimilate it more or less absolutely.
Still each of us can relatively reach the Sun of Truth even on this earth, and assimilate its warmest and most direct rays, however differentiated they may become after their long journey through the physical particles in space. To achieve this, there are two methods. On the physical plane we may use our mental polariscope; and, analyzing the properties of each ray, choose the purest. On the plane of spirituality, to reach the Sun of Truth we must work in dead earnest for the development of our higher nature. We know that by paralyzing gradually within ourselves the appetites of the lower personality, and thereby deadening the voice of the purely physiological mind – that mind which depends upon, and is inseparable from, its medium or vehicle, the organic brain – the animal man in us may make room for the spiritual; and once aroused from its latent state, the highest spiritual senses and perceptions grow in us in proportion, and develop pari passu with the "divine man." This is what the great adepts, the Yogis in the East and the Mystics in the West, have always done and are still doing.
It thus follows that, though "general abstract truth is the most precious of all blessings" for many of us, as it was for Rousseau, we have, meanwhile, to be satisfied with relative truths. As for an absolute truth, most of us are as incapable of seeing it as of reaching the moon on a bicycle. Firstly, because absolute truth is as immovable as the mountain of Mahomet, which refused to disturb itself for the prophet, so that he had to go to it himself. And we have to follow his example if we would approach it even at a distance. Secondly, because the kingdom of absolute truth is not of this world, while we are too much of it. And thirdly, because notwithstanding that in the poet's fancy man is
. . . . . . . the abstract
Of all perfection, which the workmanship
Of heaven hath modeled. . . . . . .
in reality he is a sorry bundle of anomalies and paradoxes, an empty wind bag inflated with his own importance, with contradictory and easily influenced opinions. He is at once an arrogant and a weak creature, which, though in constant dread of some authority, terrestrial or celestial, will yet –
. . . . . . . like an angry ape,
Play such fantastic tricks before high Heaven
As make the angels weep.
As physical man, limited and trammeled from every side by illusions, cannot reach truth by the light of his terrestrial perceptions, we say – develop in you the inner knowledge. From the time when the Delphic oracle said to the inquirer "Man, know thyself," no greater or more important truth was ever taught. Without such perception, man will remain ever blind to even many a relative, let alone absolute, truth. Man has to know himself, i.e., acquire the inner perceptions which never deceive, before he can master any absolute truth. Absolute truth is the symbol of Eternity, and no finite mind can ever grasp the eternal, hence, no truth in its fullness can ever dawn upon it. To reach the state during which man sees and senses it, we have to paralyze the senses of the external man of clay. But to approach even terrestrial truths requires, first of all, love of truth for its own sake, for otherwise no recognition of it will follow.