Rosicrucian Writings Online
"In Thy Right Hand"By Royle Thurston
[From The Mystic Triangle December 1927]
Is Worldly Success
Contrary to Spiritual Attainment?
HOW far worldly success and wealth have interfered with the spiritual development of men and women is a much mooted question. There are sound arguments, or shall we say, examples, presented to us from both sides. At times it would seem that the sudden attainment of wealth by those who have been spiritually inclined has tended to check the further development of this attribute; on the other hand there are notable cases where even enormous wealth has enabled some to pursue their course of attunement with things spiritual with more concentrated satisfaction.
We believe the point most important is overlooked in most of the arguments touching upon this question--and it is a very important question with those who are starting upon the Path of Mysticism or spiritual development. They continually hear the old argument that one must be humble, poor in spirit and of lowly station in life to reach any high degree of spirituality. The fact that the argument, as retold, is old and generally accepted, does not make it true; and in fact it is not retold in its original form nor with its original meaning.
It is true that the ancients contended that great wealth and great political power seemed to prevent an interest in things spiritual. That such an idea was based upon common sense is discovered when one looks into the lives of the wealthy and politically powerful of the ancient times. But these eminent persons under whose despotic rule and inconsiderate hand others lived, were born without interest in things spiritual and from the first days of consciousness were inhibited with the idea that political power and the power of material wealth were the only powers to depend upon--and fear.
If we scan the pages of history, however, we will find that many eminent men and women, born with a desire to know of the spiritual side of life, or having acquired such a desire, did not lose it, nor set it aside, as material prosperity came into their lives. There are many notable examples of religious leaders, devout mystics and truly sincere religious thinkers, who attained wealth and worldly success along with eminent success in their spiritual campaigns. In many cases these persons found that their material wealth and worldly power could serve them well in furthering their religious ambitions.
There is a vast difference between a man who has never contacted the spiritual world and is quite satisfied, either in ignorance or through preference, with the pleasures of life as he can buy them or command them, and the man who, having contacted the higher things of life in hours when they, alone, brought joy to him, now in prosperity still clings to the sublimer things of life. In the one case we have those who are often used as examples of how wealth is incompatible with spiritual development; in the other case we have examples of those who refute the misunderstood injunctions of the ancients.
The world of nature is bountiful, giving freely of every form of material wealth as well as spiritual wealth. All is intended for man to use. To say that man should plant seeds in the earth to reap crops of grain for his physical nourishment, but must not delve into the bowels of the earth or into the mountain sides to secure the minerals--gold, silver, copper, iron and platinum--is to present an unsound argument. Or that man should labor diligently to earn just enough to maintain his physical being without devising ways and means of securing enough from physical and mental exertion to obtain a surplus to put aside against emergencies or the proverbial rainy day.
The goal of our existence here on earth should not be great material wealth and worldly power; it should be health, Cosmic Consciousness and mental alertness leading to attunement with God and Peace. But, can man be truly healthy, alert, and peaceful without the necessities of life? And can one safely draw a line between the actual necessities and those which border upon luxuries or special indulgences?
What constitutes great wealth in the life of one person may be but normal possessions in the life of another, all depending upon how that person is living and using his possessions. The miser living upon five cents a day would be considered as having suddenly attained great wealth if he should secure a thousand dollars in gold. That same amount to a man or woman using a hundred dollars a month for humanitarian purposes and living in conditions where influence and social standing enable them to carry on properly, would be too small an amount to call wealth.
Missionary work must be carried on in high places as well as in the lowly. A man with but a small salary and living in very humble circumstances may be able to preach great sermons to the poor and the lowly as well as live a life leading to great spiritual awakening. But the rich, the wealthy, the worldly powerful, must be reached also. To contact them, win their confidence and secure even occasional audience with them, one must be able to approach their standard of living. This requires affluence and material means; it necessitates living successfully and prosperously as well as spiritually minded. Take the example of Claude St. Martin, the famous Rosicrucian of France. After he was initiated he believed that he should give up his titles in nobility, his great palaces and wealth. Then he found that among the high social sets of Europe, wherein he had been an idol, there were as many needing salvation as among the poor. He resumed his worldly titles, his palatial homes, servants and rich environments. He entered into the gayeties and frivolities of the social circles of England, France, Russia and Germany. He even exaggerated his interest in everything that interested the shallow minded members of Royalty. And, as he contacted persons who were bored with life or were seeking a new thrill or interest, he dropped a few words, planted a few thoughts and set an example of action at times. For years he carried on in this way, when suddenly he disappeared and they found that St. Martin had passed to the beyond. It was then that they discovered the good he had done, the help he had been and the fruit of his quiet and disguised efforts. All of Europe paid homage to him then, and to this day his memory is honored in Europe not only as a Rosicrucian mystic, but as a missionary of better living and thinking.
The mystic has every right--as has the student on the Path--to give thought to his or her daily needs and material requirements. To seek material comforts, some luxuries, or even all of them, and sufficient financial means to assure health, happiness and Peace in material things, as well as in spiritual things, is not inconsistent with the high ideals of the real mystics of all ages.
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