THE PROBLEM OF PAIN
6th July, 1945
ON the long journey of life the soul experiences much that is disappointing and painful. It is difficult to see through the haze of deceit and horror to the still peace of the divine plan. Yet it is a truth that behind the maze of suffering and ugliness is the quiet glow of the beauty to be made manifest. Truth is beautiful—make no mistake about that. Truth is hidden behind ugliness and malformation.
Truth leads to happiness and to joy that is not understandable until it is experienced.
Many men teach and believe that sorrow and pain and misery are necessary parts of the evolutionary plan. That is not true. They are necessary only so long as man wills them to be so. You will reply that men learn by suffering, that in these last years the people who suffered became more kindly with one another, more thoughtful, more considerate, while those who were removed from the scenes of horror and destruction remain self-absorbed and wrapped up in their little world. No doubt this is a truth, for humanity is young and weak. But is this the only way to teach tolerance and pity and love. Must you have destruction of life and beauty of form, and horror indescribable, to learn to love your neighbour as yourself? Surely man is not so vile that there is no better way! The way of the divine plan does not include that kind of suffering. Man ordained that. So soon as man realises this truth so soon will he take up his responsibility and take the necessary steps to reduce this great sorrow of humanity.
Make no mistake—the ways of living for mankind are man’s responsibility.
War is not a necessary part of the discipline, neither is famine nor disease. These come about because of the abuse by man of the universal laws and because of man’s ignorance of the universal laws.
What are the causes of war? A few inflated egos, drunk with a vision of power, can cause war. A few self-seeking economists, by diverse means, can cause war. A few undisciplined, unscrupulous dreamers can cause war. A few! How is it that only a few can cause so much sorrow and pain? Because men still keep their heads bent and their eyes lowered as they did in the time long past when a two-dimensional world was all they knew.
Men still believe that to gain happiness and freedom from fear and pain all that is necessary is to have worldly success.
Then give a man all he needs of the world’s goods. Give to him a healthy body, warm and lovely clothing, a spacious and beautiful home, exercise to amuse him and appetising food to satisfy his hunger. What then? Is he happy? These things are the birthright of all men. There are enough fruits of the earth for all to enjoy. Man must learn how to garner them to the best advantage of all, not the few.
But if all men were freed from the grind of poverty, the threat of disease and hunger, would war cease? No, a thousand times no, for economic reasons alone do not cause war.
There is a further aspect of man besides the physical body. The body is the temple of the spirit, and as such it is the duty of every man to tend and care for it, to feed and cleanse it, to exercise and rest it, as he would a valuable animal.
But there is a greater need in man than the need of physical comfort and well-being. The mental capacity of man is expanding and growing, and he seeks ever-new fields of exploration and endeavour.
Many there are whose mental growth is negligible, and already the seeds show that this is recognised by man. In schemes for education the first fruits are showing. It is thought, and rightly, that all men are entitled to the growth which education brings. But education is a two-edged sword. It can throw open the doors to untold vistas of vision and understanding, or it can throw open the doors to the narrow antechamber of power and intellectual pride. Man must learn the balance between the two. Given these two gifts, physical and mental satisfaction, is he happy? Is there not some other tug at his heartstrings, some restless urge driving him—whither? Truly man cannot live by bread alone. Give him all the fruits of the earth, all the treasures of the intellect, and still he hungers.
Man is a threefold being and must be developed as a trinity.
Ignore the body and you have disease and pain.
Ignore the intellect and you have sorrow and blind lusts.
Ignore the Spirit and you die.
The third aspect which moulds and holds the other two must now come into its own. No longer can man scorn it, no longer ignore it as a poor relation is ignored.
The laws of the Universe are the laws of the Spirit.
These laws are known to the spirit incarnate in each individual. The unfolding of this knowledge is the task of all and, as it unfolds, the laws will operate in harmony, for harmony is the keynote of the Universe, and in harmony are beauty and love and joy. That is the heritage of man— his true birthright—not war and destruction and suffering.
The suffering of the mystic is not understandable by one who has not unfolded the depths within himself. It is the suffering of nature as she changes form; a sadness for what is past, but with hope for the future to balance it—the exquisite sadness sheer beauty brings—the sadness of joy which bursts the bonds of self and throws open the doorway of growth.
This is the suffering of which mystics speak, and which man in his misunderstanding has accepted as physical and mental suffering.
Throw off the bonds of sentimental thought, of craven fear, and stand upright! Demand your birthright for yourself and for your fellows. Set the spirit free in its earthly confine of material form. Accept its gift of joy and vision —laugh and sing, be happy, for the ultimate working out of the law is sure. Start its unfoldment on the way, begin now with yourself, and look outward and upward to see the design, and inward to realise its power and glory. For the heritage of man is unity with the divine, and divinity permeates all.
Eternal Spirit, open Thou the gateway of understanding, let Thy hand take Thy children through. Let Thy strength encourage them. Let Thy love enfold them,
that they may carry out Thy desire and fulfil Thy plan concerning them.
And unto Thee we bring our gifts of love, our adoration, and our
tasks well or ill done. Amen.
13th July, 1945
THE problem of world chaos is linked very closely with the chaos in the mind of humanity. Man insists on looking outward for causes instead of looking inward.
As with the individual, so with a nation. An individual who has an unquiet spirit will have an unquiet environment.
Take any day of your own personal life and look closely to see the truth of this. When peace reigned within, all disturbances from without were unable to disturb and gradually as the hours advanced the outward chaos disappeared. Similarly on a day when tumult and discord held the spirit, though the environment were peaceful, unless a determined effort were made, storms arose and strife and chaos reigned outwardly also, one discord attracting another until you are glad to retire to rest and refresh the spirit in the healing atmosphere of the wider world.
So it is with nations. A nation is made up of individuals. If the number of selfless, aspiring individuals outnumbers the selfish, egocentric individuals, then the life of the nation will flow in accord with the creative stream.
Where the larger number stand for progress and unity, and respect the individual life-spark and seek to have it develop, then the grit of the few will be swept onward also, with but an odd eruption which will not alter the main course of events.
Where the many are seeking only for self, where those who are privileged to use power and strength abuse that privilege; where those who, seeing this abuse, yet are not sufficiently stirred to clear the grit away or at least to make a stand against it, then disaster in one form or another inevitably follows. The grit accumulates, the stream flows and spreads until it bursts all bounds—then a nation suffers.
And, if it is to suffer until the last piece of grit is cleared away, then it is blessed.
Take the nation you have in mind, ∗ study its history, study it deeply—weigh the progress and advancement, weigh the spiritual life, weigh the sorrow and neglect of the many.
See which side the scales weigh heaviest; it will be more than surprising if you do not find the law working.
Outwardly it seems many innocent people suffer but the inner life is not revealed to you.
But let us consider only the outward semblance. Who is to blame for the innocent sufferer? You, my friend, you and all the others of your times who do not interest yourselves. How can you be blamed for things of which you were ignorant? Did you try to illumine your ignorance? Did you open your consciousness to the wider fields beyond your own hearth and your own circle of friends? Interference? No, you cannot interfere in the affairs of another, but it is possible to tackle gently an obvious evil.
That you realise the evil is there is a step in the right direction. Then hold in your mind the positive negation of that evil. Think of it as removed and replaced by good.
If the opportunity for action on the physical plane comes to you, as come it will if your aims are sincere, then, by the very act of will you have been practising, you will have at your command the forces of light.
Keep your mind wide open and perform diligently the tasks of every day. See to it that harmony reigns in your immediate surroundings—teach others to do the same. Let the gospel of harmony spread, and gradually that peace and felicity of which you dream will become a fact.
And now let us praise Him to whom we owe all that we have. Let us give thanks for all that we are and all that we shall become. Let us make ourselves worthy instruments in His service and rededicate ourselves to Him. Let His love surround us, His blessing rest upon us. Amen.
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published October 2015
Size: 229 x 152 mm