Rosicrucian Writings Online
By Raymund Andrea
Grand Master, AMORC,
[From The Mystic Triangle June 1929]
"Chelas, from a mistaken idea of our system, too often watch and wait for orders, wasting precious time which should be taken up with personal effort. Our cause needs teachers, devotees, agents, even martyrs, perhaps."
These are the words of the Master K. H., and they should be taken to heart by every aspirant in our Order. It is the weighty admonition of one, who, glancing through the rank and file of aspiring souls, discerned unerringly an outstanding failing which was clearly holding them back from a closer contact with his own divine sphere of influence. As is ever the case, and as we have before said, the word of the Master stands for all time and has perhaps more significance today than when first written, if only for the reason that the ranks of the occult have grown tremendously during the recent years; and we cannot afford to lose any hint of adept instruction. This admonition, grave, temperate, and appealing, indicates the need in the aspirant of an indispensable and basic quality--initiative.
We hear a good deal about initiative in these days: it is demanded in every field of world work. Initiative is initiative wherever met with, but in the aspirant it should manifest as a very special, distinctive, and forceful quality. Those who have much to do with the work of members in the Order cannot help noting very quickly those who have this quality and those who have it not. It is often singularly lacking in some of the new members during the early grades of the work; while those who have progressed to the higher grades have almost unconsciously acquired it. A young member is prone to bombard his secretary with questions, relevant and irrelevant, as rapidly as they arise in his mind; he has little reliance upon himself, and desires to be led at every step. To interrogate is good, but he has not the confidence to interrogate himself. If he cannot see the whole path at once he thinks he is entitled to demand that it should be immediately revealed; he should not be left in doubt; all should be clear and understandable, now.
I write chiefly for the young aspirant. Let us think about his problem and try to view it in the light of the words of the Master who does know the path as a whole. The grievance of the aspirant--if it deserves that appellation, and it sometimes does--is, that he cannot grasp and assimilate occult truth as he would the most ordinary knowledge of everyday life, and induce at will that spiritual exaltation which gives peace and attunement. He has read or heard of the Masters and of the great prerogatives they exercise, of their pupils who appear to possess extraordinary privileges of interior wisdom and of utilizing force, and his imagination paints a picture true in outline, but entirely lacking in any reasonable conception of the composition of it. Now, in that simple sentence we have the whole matter in a nutshell. The task before him is to obtain a true and comprehensive conception of the complicated life activities which go to make the mature occult student what he is. A true conception of the Master mind and its super-human activities is a far vaster thing and must come later. He has quite enough to think about and do in getting a just idea of the outlook and the difficulties of those who seek to help him to that point of vantage on the path to which they have strenuously fought their way. There is no wish, nor is it right, to destroy the glowing picture which his imagination so readily conjures of a Zanoni in all his brilliant capabilities and exploits. He needs all the encouragement that imagination can give him; but it is necessary that he place his picture in a far perspective and then set to work and closely consider the details of the process of composition, if he ever hopes to give it actual existence--in himself. There is nothing more grand or more helpful to the aspirant than a glowing ideal set up in the heart and contemplated daily; but it is imperative that he should study himself conscientiously from every possible point of view, as an individual soul in process of evolution and also his status as a mental being in relationship with other mentalities around him in their various grades of development.
It is the want of a true perspective that lies at the root of most of the doubts and perplexities of the beginner in our science. And there is only one way in which it can be gained: by reading and thinking around his subject. It has been enjoined upon him that in taking up the extensive work of the Order, he should lay aside for the time his previous studies of philosophies and systems and allow the work a fair and unbiased entrance to the mind; but this injunction obviously applies to those who are acquainted with philosophies and systems, not to the beginner who is newly entered upon the field of occultism. I have heard it suggested that those will make greater progress with our teachings who have not previously taken knowledge, for instance, of theosophy; but I can scarcely agree with this view. Much depends upon the particular mind and temperament of the theosophical student who later turns to Rosicrucianism. If he is resolved to fight and argue tenaciously for every theosophical idea and refuses to lose sight of it because the truth of our science seemingly or in fact militates against it, then the above suggestion must hold good. But my experience with students of theosophy is that, having long accustomed themselves to occult study and meditation, they are often able to grasp and apply the work of our grades far more readily and understandingly than those who have no previous knowledge. There are exceptions, of course, but in the main I think this is the case. To some extent the words of Bacon apply here: "Those things which are in themselves new can indeed be only understood from some knowledge of what is old;" but with the qualification: that our science is not new, but of great antiquity. But this axiom of Bacon clearly shows that previous knowledge in this field is good, and it is admitted that those who have it will more quickly advance in the science by virtue of the possession of this knowledge as a point of departure. That is of importance for the beginner to note; for he cannot apply the law of analogy to that which he does not possess. On the other hand, we have this further axiom of Bacon, which applies to those who have previous knowledge, that "we must bring men to particulars and their regular series and order, and they must for a while renounce their notions, and begin to form an acquaintance with things." The truth of these two aspects of the matter could not be more distinctly put than in the words of the famous Rosicrucian. The truth of his axioms is so finely balanced, his perspective so clear and just, so sane in its disposition and inclusive in its detail, that the mere acquisition of them is sufficient to dissipate any perplexity on this question.
This perspective, then, in the beginner is of primary importance and must be gained now, at the threshold, by well considered study of the teachers of occultism. It is not necessary to specify here what he shall study. He should be so much alive to his own needs and enlightenment in this matter through his contact with the Order, as to furnish his mind with the basic facts of occultism and enable him to apply, suitably, the work of the grades to his own capacity and temperament. Presumably, he may have read much in the literature of the day on Cosmic illumination and of those of the past and present who have experienced it; in the grades, therefore, he will find the regular series and order of steps of progress to be pursued which will lead him gradually onward to a profound understanding of himself and a maturing of his faculties preparatory to attaining higher cognition. He must get out of his mind the prevalent idea of the short cut to understanding and accomplishment, which precludes patience and perseverance. Neither in nature nor in the life of the soul will he find any sympathetic response to the feverish effort of the short cut. For what is the short cut but a form of insincerity? It is the path of superficial achievement, a process of forced development without the stability of fundamental experience. Nothing great or durable can be built upon it. The pleasure derived from the illusion of things done in a hurry on the path is but short-lived; it passes as quickly as it came, leaving a painful consciousness of insufficiency and hesitancy and of insecure foothold. It is admitted that there are shortcuts, made possible through the long endeavors of painstaking investigators, in many fields of culture; but those who discovered these are the most indefatigable students and workers, and their discoveries are the mature results of long and self-denying toil. The soul knows no haste; it unfolds after its own laws. Its infinite life will only yield up its vast knowledge through years of study and meditation devoted to this end. We have to build stone by stone the mystic bridge of reciprocal response with the Cosmic. And the young aspirant must accept this fully verified truth and be willing to pay the price of soul culture; since there is nothing in the realms of man's achievement to be compared with the study of human personality and the gradual approach to a knowledge of the master within us.
Now we see more clearly the significance of the admonition of the Master, that, from a mistaken idea of the work to be done, the pupil often watches and waits for orders, thus wasting time which should be given to personal effort. If he ever hopes to become a devotee of the path, an agent of the Brotherhood, a teacher of its sacred truth, he must resolve here and now upon initiative and do things for himself. He will call in vain upon Masters, and it will not be of much use for him to call upon men, unless he demonstrates a strong mental willingness to fight for himself. This is not harsh doctrine; it is simply the working of the law of attraction. It is the law of the occult path that the aspirant must compel results for himself, not run to and fro asking for that which only his own soul can give him. One can only write from one's own experience. How often in times of acute mental suffering have I questioned the apparent aloofness of the Masters, their deafness to appeal, their refusal to favor me when I have tried to serve them most! Alas, it is wasted energy. When the hour has passed, the answer comes in peace through difficulties overcome in our own way under the guidance of the divine within us. That is my word to you, my brother. Do not eternally ask for that which you have; call upon the soul and live through the silence with the difficulty which is the answer. Nothing will so surely yield the insight and strength to cope with the trials of the path as the daily retreat into the silence within. No study will adequately take the place of it.
The aspirant's personal effort on the path must be founded upon this periodical withdrawal. These are the two aspects of his progress: active participation in the vibration of life to the limit of his capacity, and the daily carrying inward to the chamber of meditation the results of world contact and receiving the impressions of the soul through assimilation and quietude. This will enable him to apply his studies correctly and make a constructive and advancing personal effort. He will gain the ability to deal with his own problems with confidence. It is the way of the Masters themselves and they demand this same initiative in the aspirant. They cannot use that man for responsible world work who lacks self-reliance and individuality and perpetually runs hither and thither seeking soul growth from others.
The fundamental fact for the aspirant is, that he is to become a center of spiritual force for the purpose of inspiring, awakening, and uplifting others, in that particular way which his Karma indicates, to set their feet upon the path; and his own soul is the only true guide in this matter. He must study the work passed into his hands, brood over it in his moments of retreat until his inner life is fructified and strengthened with the new ideas and reflects them into the objective self as assimilated truth for use in daily world contact. All that can be safely and wisely imparted to him is given simply and faithfully by those masters in the Order who have his interest at heart; but what he will build upon it must come entirely from himself. If he will learn this vastly important truth now, at the threshold, he will quickly develop that initiative and confidence in the leading of the soul which the Master stresses in his admonition; he will not watch and wait for that which cannot under the law be thrust upon him but which must be grown into and grasped by an intensely aspiring will. I believe the Masters are aware of and love to see that strong personal effort in the aspirant and that he never strives in vain. It is the soundless voice which vibrates audibly in their realm and is sure of a response.
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