Traces of Spiritual Power

By Elisabeth Prent
The student of theosophy cannot show you a Mystery school, yet he knows it exists as the heart or atomic center of the spiritual and intellectual life of the planet. Who then would dare assert the nonexistence of the Mysteries, of this potent atom of esotericism, when luminous traces of spiritual power are seen scattered all over the world? -- Grace F. Knoche, The Mystery Schools, p. ix

Sometimes it seems increasingly difficult to find traces of spiritual reality in our lives, which are outwardly shaped by haste, pleasure, noise, and consumption. Where might we begin our search for a teaching that shows humanity a path to a better future and that would help us reshape our values? For it is precisely our values which influence our approach to the many turmoils that confront human beings today. Again and again the esoteric tradition points out that changes take place in silence without being noticed at first. Could it be that we won't recognize luminous spiritual traces as such right away because they occur in places and forms we don't expect? The garments may be different, yet the message remains the same. It is only over time and by close observation that we recognize the evidence of this spiritual light. Perhaps we must learn to attune our senses anew to the frequencies of these new/old traces.

These thoughts came to mind when I found the story Milo and the Magical Stones at my grandchildren's house. [Mats und die Wundersteine (in German) by Marcus Pfister, ISBN 3314007809; English translation by Marianne Martens, North-South Books, 1997, ISBN 1558586822.] It is a story with two endings -- a happy and a sad one. Milo, a rock-mouse, lives with many other mice on a small, rocky island. During the summer all the mice play outside, searching for food and basking in the sunshine. But when winter approaches, a period of scarcity begins for the mice in their small, dark, cold caves amid the rocks. One day, after a horrible storm, Milo finds a shining stone in a crevice and carries it to his cave. Soon he discovers that the stone not only shines but also bestows warmth. Immediately all the other mice want such stones for themselves. But the warning voice of old Balthasar declares that these stones belong to the island; whenever the mice take something away from the island, they should give something in return.

In the sad ending, the mice begin collecting as many stones as possible. Each wants the most beautiful, the largest, and above all the greatest number for itself alone. Though Milo doesn't like this at all, the mice in their rapacity will not listen. So the walls of the mountain become thinner and thinner until one day they collapse and bury everything beneath them.

In the happy ending, Milo and his friends agree with Balthasar. They decide to give the island something as beautiful as they have received. They search for pebbles and decorate them skillfully with flowers, leaves, suns, and plants. Every time they take a wonderstone from the island, they close the hole with a decorated stone. In their caves, now shining and warm, they spend winter evenings telling stories; thus their winter days become as pleasant as the summertime. Each winter they celebrate a great feast in Balthasar's cave, where they dance and sing, and then have a procession around the island-mountain with their luminous wonderstones.

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This story can certainly be viewed from many angles, but couldn't it unveil a trace of spiritual wisdom? The mice and the island-mountain form a union, their lives are interwoven. Whatever one does affects all the others. The mountain helps the mice during a cold, dark winter, but the hearts as well as the bodies of the mice should be warmed by the light its stones provide, because inside and outside cannot be separated. This also applies to the mountain: it gives something of itself, but it cannot exist without assistance. Wherever something is taken away or a hole is made, a repair must be undertaken. We are used to relying on technology and mechanical remedies, but these are reactions to causes which we often do not consider. The causes for the "holes" -- noticeable, among other things, as physical or psychological pain, discord, or war -- are not taken into account. Yet their causes lie in our thinking and acting, in our conception of values. These holes may be closed by temporary measures, but we risk losing our balance when they become too large.

Buddhist teachings enumerate three poisons of the mind: hate, greed, and ignorance. Can't we recognize these poisons at the root of so many calamities? As antidotes we might specify discernment, generosity, and love: discernment for distinguishing good and evil; generosity for the application of compassion in daily life; and love as the basic prerequisite for the preservation of harmony in our lives and thus also on our planet and in the whole universe.

(From Sunrise magazine, June/July 2005; copyright © 2005 Theosophical University Press)

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We all flow from one fountain -- Soul. All are expressions of one Love. God does not appear, and flow out, only from narrow chinks and round bored wells here and there in favored races and places, but He flows in grand undivided currents, shoreless and boundless over creeds and forms and all kinds of civilizations and peoples and beasts, saturating all and fountainizing all. -- John Muir