THEOSOPHY, Vol. 16, No. 2, December, 1927
(Pages 54-55; Size: 6K)


[Part 2 of a 12-part series]

DESPAIR and despondency come from not following what we know, but did not apply. If we make effort to apply what we know, with an end in view, failure to achieve does not disconcert us, because we still have the active knowledge and the end is still in view. It just means a continuation of effort. "It is only in the present that we can gain wisdom."

There is so much pettiness in the attitude toward small things, an attitude which accentuates the personality instead of subjugating it. The fight must begin there, for all these small irritations are based upon self-assertion.

The "Arjunas" postpone the engagement, awaiting some big thing to overcome, but they have not the stamina should they be so confronted. They fall or flee, blaming everyone but themselves -- self-assertion to the last, and another failure is recorded where success might have been.

All down the ages men have been endeavoring to correct existing conditions, by simply re-arranging them. A re-arrangement of errors does not make for knowledge; the errors arise because of ignorance; knowledge must be sought as to the causes that produce existing conditions.

We should be glad to be able -- and be able -- to correct our erroneous views and applications; it is our strength; our personal weaknesses and troubles are but bubbles on the stream of time, which our "strength" will safely carry us through and over. This thought -- which comes from inner knowledge -- should make us stronger, better able, surer of victory.

I think that the way is to begin with the small things. Do not permit yourself to be annoyed by them. To help us, perhaps, there is a multitude of small annoyances to one great trouble. Adopting the right attitude in the small, the same is maintained in the great and much more easily.

Another help is to take everything that comes as a matter of course -- as it really is Law. No use expending energy on what might have been, nor throwing the onus of conditions on any one else. When the condition is taken care of calmly and dispassionately, the causes that led up to it may be judicially considered and stored away for future use. In this way power grows, is "stored." The other way fritters away energy and causes its dispersion in others.

Don't you think that much of our feeling of "strenuosity" comes from wanting what we want and not wanting what we don't want? Like and dislike. To be neither elated by success nor downcast by failure is the even way. One's personal experience is one facet through which experience may be gained; to be of real value, it has to be related to and made a part of all experiences.

Look on, to watch the play of forces. We cannot do that if we make ourselves the fighter. "Be not thou the warrior, let him battle for thee," bespeaks renunciation of self-interest in the result of one's actions.

COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:


Question-- In killing out desire, do you not also kill out worldly ambition? When a man has done this, is he fit to fight the battle of life, or to be the head of a family?

Answer-- In killing out desire we do not kill out right action, though we may kill ambition. It is likely you have a wrong meaning for the word "ambition," as it is wrongly used by many. It is used out of its way to mean energy and action, whereas it does not mean that. It means the desire to get gain and power and glory and wealth for oneself, and that is selfishness of the worst, and hence ambition may be rightly killed and no true progress is made till it is put under. But by following the rules given, that is, to do your duty, you cannot neglect your great and small duties, hence you will care for your family. But if you give the word "ambition" the meaning of the opposite of "apathy" and say that he who kills ambition becomes apathetic, then all would be folly. Fitness to fight the battle of life is not from worldly ambition at all, but from a right and strong sense of duty, from a determination to do it, and from a true sense of your duty to your neighbor.--William Q. Judge

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(1) From the sayings of Robert Crosbie.
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(2) The Theosophical Forum, April, 1894.
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