Rosicrucian Writings Online
Idealism in PracticeBy Raymund Andrea, Grand Master, AMORC of
[From The Rosicrucian Digest July 1952]
I KNOW that readers will agree that one of the most important features of the Rosicrucian Digest is the reprinting of Dr. Lewis' articles. That they are as living, instructive, and uplifting as at their first appearance is to be expected, because transcripts of truth, penned under Cosmic direction or inspiration, never lose their original force or value. As surely as they had inspirational value for those who read them years ago, so will they have a like effect upon others who read them today.
There is an innate quality in all writings which come forth under, what I would call, the pressure of the burden of Cosmic emotion laid upon the writer who is chosen as a messenger of the truth of the inner life. They differ fundamentally from discourses of a general scientific and philosophical character. These have an academic and informative content of a factual nature; whereas, the former have a moving, inspiriting, and enduring quality which leaves the reader with a permanent impression for good. Moreover, those who have read such writings in the past will find upon reading them again, after a considerable lapse of time, a wealth of meaning which was not apprehended on the first perusal. They perceive possible applications of the truths enunciated which were not before obvious to them and therefore did not make their full impression.
The kind of writings I refer to have a peculiar occult quality: they do not give up their content of wisdom and significance fully on first reading. The mind may understand and acquiesce and pass on, but such writings are not merely a superficial diet for the rational mind. They have a far deeper objective--the awakening of psychic and spiritual faculties. This requires time, often a long time. However, the awakening goes on silently beyond the frontiers of our mundane life, and the strongest proof we have of this is in the new light and in the quick sympathetic response we experience on rereading the teachings of those who have gone before us on their way in evolution.
Recently, I had occasion to refer to comments by Dr. Lewis so far back as 1920 on the work of the higher degrees of the Rosicrucian Order, and the reading of them prompted the above reflections. He directed the mind to a consideration of the value and possible potency of new members entering a lodge of the Order, and offered three points for the serious thought of those who hold responsible offices in lodges. Dr. Lewis was not only a thorough master of detail of any subject in hand, he handled his detail prophetically. It is not an unusual thing for a scholar to be a master of detail, but the marshalling of it in unexpected ways and its application to ends which prompt the reader to new thought and action are marks of an original mind. So, when I read these three points regarding new members, written more than 30 years ago, the full significance of them came back to me with singular force.
The first point stressed was this: "We have noted, often, that unexpected help of the greatest value has come from new members, often unsolicited or without suggestion. On more than one occasion a service or help that has turned the tide in some grave affair of a lodge or of the whole Order, has come from a new member when not hope but expectation was almost gone."
That is a confession indeed, made in deep seriousness, and with a feeling of profound gratitude; for the Imperator at that time was not very far away from the year of the inauguration of the work of the Order in
But it was a Karmic decree that when the work became launched, there would come, from near and far, those linked with the Order from past ages, and with the Imperator himself, who would rededicate themselves intuitively through this past association and offer their personality, prestige and knowledge, their appreciation, love and influence, as a manifold gift upon the altar of service to humanity, which the Imperator had proclaimed with all the fervour of a messenger of the hierarchy.
We should not overlook the poignant words, "when not hope but expectation was almost gone." They betray the secret anxiety of the master mind who, for all his confidence in himself and the authority behind him, yet stood back from the work of his hands, and looked up and wondered from whence would come just the needed help, although promised--when it seemed that, if that help did not materialize, so much would remain unfulfilled and the great ideal cherished so devotedly would fade. But the promise was fulfilled; and it has been fulfilled many times during the years since then. But the future is always uncertain, and no matter how luminous and impressive the ideal and the work for it has grown, keen eyes, strong hands, and prophetic minds must ever be watchful, ready to do, and to envisage the morrow, so that nothing shall detract from but more be added to the temple, with all its international ramifications and potencies, which we have cherished, fought for and preserved, through such perilous times.
Dr. Lewis' second point is this: "Do we fully realize the potent power lying dormant in a new member? This should not be mistaken to refer to any financial power of such possible potency." It is just here that some of the older members have sometimes fallen heavily. The new member, presenting the necessary qualifications, has no doubt been welcomed gladly and courteously, and then been left to himself to find his place and adjust himself in his own way as best he can. Up to a point this is well, but it is not enough.
The long standing member, who may be an officer in his lodge, is far from being in the category of a foreman in a factory who greets the newcomer, indicates his job, and leaves him to it. The new member represents a soul of potential worth, and the prophetic sense of the officer will show its chief act of service in understanding and assessing the evolutionary value of the member on all the planes of his manifesting life. I have seen many new members enter the Order anxiously, yet so diffidently at the first step as to hide the likelihood of any exceptional advancement in them or outstanding service from them, when judged by ordinary standards; but within a short time the spirit of Christ so permeated all they did, that I have had cause to thank the Cosmic for the gift to us. Some of these have finished their journey and gone to their reward, but the memory of them remains: the Order is richer for their service; and their spirit lives with us as a present inspiration and assurance that others will come with secret graces in their hearts and strength in their hands to add new stones to the temple we have been at pains to build and guard through the years.
Dr. Lewis was a seer of souls. That is why he could not regard a new member simply as a unit with a number. He made it his business to know the member, as far as was possible from a distance; and when he contacted the member he soon knew the limitations and the possibilities which would sooner or later show themselves. He treated the limitations with kindness and humanity, for he foresaw the struggle of mind and heart which would be needed to overcome them, and the possibilities ripened under his wise guidance and encouragement.
Do you realize, my brothers, how comparatively few there are, even in the realm of studies to which we are dedicated, who possess this rare qualification of the seership of souls? They are few indeed. If it were otherwise we should not witness the whole train of schools, societies and cults of many names, of East and West, exercising so poor an influence in the world today as to be relatively unrecognized and unknown. And recalling what Dr. Lewis brought to his contact with members, and what we should endeavour to bring to them today, I cannot do better than quote the famous words of Saint-Martin in one of his letters, as indicating how to equip ourseIves with the eminent grace of seership needed to comply with our second point. For, in putting this question to us as to our attitude to the new members, Dr. Lewis concealed in it a direct challenge in its simplest form to ourselves. That challenge is, "what capabilities have we evolved in order to deal with the members in the highest sense of proficiency in service?" The response to us by members possessing strong latent possibilities will depend upon the proficiency of our contact to act as a stimulant to their possibilities. What they need from us is the light of initiation, the revealing word, and the healing hand, and all these are pre-supposed and comprised in the citation from Saint-Martin.
Here it is: "The only initiation which I preach and seek with all the ardour of my soul is that by which we may enter into the heart of God and make God's heart enter into us, there to form an indissoluble marriage, which will make us the friend, brother, and spouse of our Divine Redeemer. There is no other mystery to arrive at this holy initiation than to go more and more down into the depths of our being, and not let go until we can bring forth the living, vivifying root, because then all the fruit which we ought to bear, according to our kind, will be produced within us and without us naturally."
The third point suggests how the new members can serve; it briefly notes that for several reasons they are better able to serve with their possibilities than were the new members of the previous years. First, there are more ways, means, and systematized utilities for new members to apply efficiently their possible services. Second, there are more definite, concrete and self-evident needs and channels for such services. Third, there are many advanced members in each lodge and in so many more localities now to guide, suggest to, or assist the new members, or any others, who desire secretly, anonymously, and adequately to render such service to the Order, to a lodge, or to strangers as is easily within their means and consciousness.
Undoubtedly, the possibilities of applied service by the new members have vastly increased since these points were first written. No live member needs now to be reminded of the "definite, concrete and self-evident needs and channels of such service." They petition him on every hand. But it is the third suggestion which immediately interests me: that there are many advanced members now "to guide, suggest to, or assist the new member, or any others, who desire secretly, anonymously, and adequately to render such service to the Order, to a lodge, or to strangers, as is easily within their means and consciousness."
I am also particularly interested in one feature of this statement: it does not demand or request: it suggests what can be done. I remember the late Imperator very well, for I was in constant contact with him from those earliest years until he passed to higher work, and one of his strongest traits was, in wise suggestion to a possible or necessary objective. He did not impose his will or exert undue authority even where he might, for that would have defeated the chief end of development in others. He indicated a way and left it to the initiative, the readiness, of the member or officer to take it. So it is here: "There are many to guide, suggest to, or assist." If that were so then, how much more is this possible today?
When I look back over 30 years and review the catastrophic events of that period and what they have done to our generation, the cruel burdens they have thrust upon it almost beyond what human beings ever thought they would be able to bear, it requires little imagination to realize what those conditions have done to the mind and heart of humanity. They have crucified both, as surely as Christ was crucified in his day. And anyone who can look into the mind and heart of humanity today and not have pity and compassion for what the world Karma has written there, is but crucifying Christ afresh within his own heart. This must not happen with us. We are called to pity and compassion.
Initiation is Dual
Under hierarchical guidance we have found ourselves elected and made responsible in the eyes of the invisible Masters for the trust they have placed in us. That fact alone should sharpen our vision, because "initiation into the heart of God," as Saint-Martin so esoterically puts it, has really a dual process. No man can enter into the heart of God without entering more and more deeply into his own heart; and no man can so rightly enter into his own without sympathetically entering into the secret precincts of the "heart" of his fellow men. Nor can "God's heart," the spirit of Christ, abide in the heart of a man until he so awakens to the consciousness of the possibilities of that awakening in the hearts of his brethren.
Now we see the full import of "to guide, suggest to, or assist the new members, or any others." Indeed, the more these words are considered, the more widely applicable they become, the more inclusive and esoteric their meaning, until we are carried back intuitively into their deepest significance in the mind and heart of the writer of them. We are too prone to read esoteric truths with the eye and the intellect, instead of inwardly sensing the psychic, auric content whence they emerge, the object of which is our guidance and illumination. We are surrounded by people who love to guide and suggest; they are never happy unless they are exercising a meddlesome and officious brief and superficial authority in the lives of others. The new member can get this outside the Order without asking for it; but when he comes in, he should feel the surprise of entering within a new atmosphere, an atmosphere of peace, of restraint in speech, and of harmonious cooperativeness, unconsciously awakening new thought and feeling, and a desire to express the best within him.
I do not intimate that this has not been done, and done abundantly by the older members and officers. I am only restating what Dr. Lewis had in mind when he wrote his comments in 1920. I am looking back and reviewing them from the standpoint from which he wrote. Obviously, his word has not been in vain. I have known countless instances through the years when the frankest confession of new members has acknowledged this kind of esoteric service from those among us who have taken unsparing pains to carry out this ideal. It is a beautiful thing and I know nothing comparable with it.
My object here is but to re-emphasize this ideal, because the immediate future will demand it of us. Into our ranks will come those, some young in years, others far along the path of life, who will confess that everything has failed them. They are coming, and will come, from societies and cults which have given them their best yet left them without encouragement and with little hope. They must be made to feel that they have entered into a fellowship of compassionate soul-personalities who know the pitfalls of the way, who have tasted the cruel sufferings of a tortured world, who know at a glance the countenance of pain, unrest, disappointment, and loss, and yet have an inward assurance which cannot be shaken by aught the world can say or do. There is a consciousness of the presence of Christ which is a perennial source of blessing to others.
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