THEOSOPHY, Vol. 54, No. 3, January, 1966
(Pages 87-88; Size: 7K)


It is a contest of smiles, if we really know our business. 


If everything goes smash, we shall be there to view the remains. Nothing is as bad as we think it is, or ever will be. 

THE absurdity of a spiritual being permitting himself to become downcast under stress of difficult personal circumstances is philosophically apparent to every thinker. Never does the absurdity become so evident as when circumstances, already as bad as they can be seemingly, take a turn for the worse! The situation, in its utterly impossible developments, actually borders upon the ridiculous, and the sufferer is forced to laugh, despite the prospect. Thereupon the sting is extracted -- from disappointment, sickness, pain, disgrace, ruin, starvation, death, what not! They just cannot dominate or defeat the Purusha, the spiritual person, when they crowd too hard and too fast; by their power to stun the personality, they afford the Ego a clear-seeing moment.

In every human being there is a pure foundation, an immovable rock, an unshakable permanency, a calm, unbreakable, imperturbable, inmost finality. It is Himself. Storms of inconceivable fury may rage around it, sweeping to destruction all environments inner and outer, destroying all depending functions in the nature, annihilating everything that to the person appears to make life worth while. None can shake down this citadel. It is the Man, viewing all this outer sound and fury -- always with concern for others who may be involved, but so far as his own works are affected, witnessing their tornadic departure with calm and whimsical eye. The bitterest storm loses its compelling quality when it bestirs a sense of humour.

All beings who have gone through Hell and emerged Theosophists, know this by experience. Many others sense its verity by observation. Their turn for the actual transit will inevitably arrive. Meantime they can get into training, as an athlete conditions himself against a contest that lies ahead. He does not fear the race, but he gets ready for it. Practice starts are made; preliminary tests, trials and work-outs devotedly carried through. He is in training all the time, gains daily in strength, stamina and heart, until upon the arrival of the event he is primed and ready. So too can the student-theosophist prepare himself steadily, sturdily, and fearlessly against the time when power will be needed, and pretence will go for nothing.

His practice-starts, work-outs, preliminary tests and trials, will discover no necessity for halls of initiation, caves, ceremonials, nor any of the paraphernalia, regalia or other camouflage of the pseudo-occultist. (They may be found aplenty in the everyday course of life.) Can he take the ups and downs with equanimity? Can he smile over them -- not artificially, but with a genuine appreciation of the malicious ingenuity of inanimate objects, and animate ones too, to set his plans and intentions awry, and turn him from his wonted purposes? Working life, student life, family life -- especially family life -- supply a thousand and one hurdles for our "athlete" to clear with smiling leap, with exulting gratitude for the temporary obstacle and his strength to overcome it. Body itself provides a wonderful training-field with its disabilities, aches, needs, demands, and its disconcerting surprises. A wracked body is sometimes even amusing, in that its bewhelmed owner may whimsically enquire what it is going to "have" next!

One can learn the presence of the citadel within himself. One can gradually transfer his residence thither as abiding-place, adjourning as needs arise to body and other departments of the personal nature, but knowing them for what they are: no more than casual tenements in and through which experience may be had. All of them are inhabited by circumstances, to deal with which, as a spiritual being, is the interesting and often exciting task in hand.

Living in the citadel -- its own spot -- the Soul goes forth, does its work, and returns. So cycling, the unwavering quality and undreamt potentialities of the Soul flow in some measure to all efforts, clarifying the personal perception, stabilizing the mind and will, accustoming the tools of the human instrument to the play of higher forces than those that ordinarily play therein, and producing effects upon the work in hand.

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(1) NOTE.--This article has been adapted and submitted from material which appeared in THEOSOPHY for February, 1929.
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