Rosicrucian Writings Online
THOUGHT OF THE MONTH
SUCCESS AND THE "KEY"
By THE IMPERATOR
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Rosicrucian Digest April 1933]
(NOTE: The following material was taken down verbatim by one of the Secretaries of the Forum held at headquarters and was intended for publication in the Forum Magazine. It is typical of the discussions and discourses which take place in the Forum from day to day and typical of the type of interesting matter that appears in the Forum Magazine issued exclusively to members. If you have never read the Forum Magazine and you are a member of the Order, you should secure a copy of this publication and benefit by the vitally interesting and instructive discussions that appear in its pages.--Editor.)
THE same rules that apply to success in business or apply to life generally also apply in the case of members who are trying to make a success of the Rosicrucian studies and attain a happier and more contented position in life.
It is not what you take out of life that determines your success but rather what you put into it. Of course, everyone has a good reason to argue that success in life is measured by what we get out of it, but in determining what constitutes the real factor of success we must keep in mind that before we dare measure what we take out of life we must measure what we put into it. It is very true that a man may judge his success later in life by pointing to the fact that even though he has retired from business he can now go to the bank and draw a certain income each month with which to live comfortably. That would be called a successful and contented position in life but the real factor of his success is not what he is drawing out of the bank each month but what it was he put into that bank in the days gone by in order that he might have it to draw upon. Such a man measures his future success during the days when he is building it and creating it. The same is true regarding our members. The success of our lives so far as self-mastership and real advancement in creating a new life and new career for themselves is determined by what they put into their studies and what they put into life and into their code of living.
Before I tell you an interesting story in this regard, I want to emphasize again the fact that just being a member of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, or merely studying its lectures diligently and carefully and promptly paying dues and meeting any and all of the membership obligations, does not constitute a guarantee of success. After all is said and done, such routine actions and such formal reactions to membership constitute merely what is obligatory and necessary. Now if you are going to be satisfied that life is going to give what is obligatory and necessary, then you are giving life what you expect in return, but if you expect from the Cosmic or God or the universe the abundance of life and the fullness of life you must expect to give first in the same measure as you expect to receive. If you hope that life holds for you a little bounty beyond the necessities, you must create that bounty by giving something more than what you are absolutely obliged to give. If you expect the cup of life to flow instead of just being filled to the brim you must be sure that in every moment of your thinking and doing you are giving not only full measure but a little more. Perhaps the very success that you want in life calls for not the necessities of life but just a little more than the necessities, or perhaps a large measure of abundance. Whatever it may be you have in mind, the determining factor of that success lies in your hands and not in the future.
We have thousands of members who are meeting their obligations in a strictly formal way and feel that they are doing all that they can be called upon to do. This is why, for instance, we seldom ask our members to do anything more than what membership in any organization would call for, such as loyalty, devotion to the principles, a study of its work, an application of its ideals and practices and a little service in propagating the organization, because through the enlargement of the activities and membership of the organization each member is enabled to bring the ideals of the organization into wider adoption and this truly assists each member in becoming happier and more successful in life.
If more than fifty per cent of the population of each country understood and practiced some of our principles it would affect each and every member in carrying out the ideals and principles in his own life and make it easier for each to attain success and happiness. Therefore, there is purely a selfish and personal reason for each member in assisting the organization to grow and expand. Even members of a social club, or any other kind of club realize that by the expanding of membership and the widening of the principles of the club each member is benefitted in a personal way. But aside from these obligations we seldom ask our members to do anything that is out of the routine or out of the classification of ordinary membership obligations. Unless these additional things are done wholly voluntarily and from a response to an inner urge in the individual they do not benefit either us or the individual.
Those members who give in addition to their obligations some additional time or service, or some form of help of a material or physical nature, are the ones who are causing the cup of cooperation to overflow with abundance. They are the ones who are putting something into the organization and therefore can expect to derive the utmost from it. They constitute those who are giving to life and may some day expect life to give back to them. It is not giving with a selfish purpose in mind that counts but giving because it seems the right thing to do, the fair thing to do, the just thing to do, that brings the rich rewards.
Our organization and probably most other organizations throughout the world that have continued for more than one generation can trace their success and development to the voluntary support given by members who have freely given beyond the moral obligations of membership. Every religion in the world has been supported not by the cut-and-dried obligations of membership but by the voluntary additions that enthusiastic, devoted members have given to it. Art and music have been supported by those patrons who had no financial gain from them but whose gain was solely cultural and of the soul. Those who expected and wanted the utmost out of music and art and who enjoyed them the greatest were those who gave to them the utmost. Music and art were never supported and would never have developed to the extent in which they are today if the support had come solely and exclusively from those who bought pictures or paid for sheets of music and simply gave in exchange for value received without any additional voluntary support of a material or physical nature.
Our correspondence clearly shows from day to day, week to week, and month to month, that the members who are deriving the greatest amount of good from the teachings and principles and whose lives have greatly changed and improved and become happy and successful, are those who have given in some form or other either in service or occasional donations of material things by gifts to the Order or to humanity and thereby created the abundance of life which they expect or hope to share themselves. Those members who write to us and say after a year's study that they have not noticed any great change or improvement in their lives are of two classes: First, those who have not had the time or opportunity during the first year to thoroughly study and practice all of the principles and are still unacquainted with ways and means of going beyond mere formal interest in the work or, secondly, those who feel that giving a few hours each week to the study of a lecture, promptly meeting the payment of dues each month, and the making of a monthly report constitute all that is necessary for them to give to the organization or to the world-wide interest in self-improvement. On the other hand, we notice that those who say they are deriving the utmost and have derived the utmost benefit even to a marvelous and miraculous degree are those who have given freely to the organization or its work, or to humanity. They put the most into life and are happy to find that there is a Cosmic responsiveness that overwhelms them at times.
Now this is not a talk on the solicitation of donations in the form of money or anything of that kind. We still feel and believe that it is not necessary for us to make such requests or suggestions. But we do notice that whenever an announcement is made in the Forum Magazine or the Digest regarding some special activity desired by the Supreme Staff, or whenever we make the suggestion that there is some device or instrument or unusual article desired by us in our Art Department or laboratory or Museum, that those who make a response to such requests and suggestions in a whole-hearted manner, even occasionally with some personal sacrifice, are those who are always reporting that they are getting the utmost out of their work and out of life generally. There are those who feel that since they are paying their dues promptly they are meeting all the necessary material obligations of membership and that anything additional should come from others who have more or who are especially blessed. It never dawns upon some of these persons that by some extraordinary effort, by some personal sacrifice, by some additional hours of service and labor and the going out of their way to secure something or get something that the organization may need, or to accomplish something that the organization wishes to have done, they will not only help the organization but will be adding to that future storehouse of Cosmic benefit which they expect to contact some day and draw from it the abundance of life.
When we announced, for instance, some months ago, that there were two or three things that we would like to have in our laboratory and which we thought some members might have in their homes or attics or places of business and which might not be in use and could easily be spared, we received a number of letters from persons offering us various articles that were very helpful. Among those who wrote us was a physician living in Connecticut who not only sent us some devices but who must have said to himself, "Now if they have a laboratory there in which special and unusual articles can be used, I think I will use some of my spare time and interest in the hobby of making mechanical things to make them a few unusual devices and if there is something that I cannot make but can buy cheaply, I will buy it and send it on to them because if they need these things and I can provide some of them I feel it is my duty or at least a pleasure to do so."
At any rate this good Brother has been sending us electrical and other devices which he has made and some he has purchased and practically every month adds something to our laboratory. Some of these things we have not needed because we did not think of them and did not realize their importance until they arrived and we tested them and used them and found they were interesting. This Brother has become one of our big helpers and the great inspiration in our laboratory work. Now it happens that this Brother had also contributed to the Welfare and other special funds in the past and had done more than his share in a financial way and we could not have expected him to contribute to the laboratory as well. But it also so happens that this Brother claims in his weekly and monthly reports that he is deriving the utmost of personal benefit out of every lesson and every phase of the work and that it has brought him more happiness, health, success, and contentment than anything he has ever been united with and yet this Brother is an excellent artist, a physician, a scientist, and a man of wide experience in every other way, capable of calling himself a success in life. But he frankly says that the Rosicrucian work has given him the greatest pleasure of anything he has ever been connected with. His case is just typical of a number and it illustrates the principle I am talking about at the present moment. There are others who have rushed to our aid voluntarily and unexpectedly in the same manner. When some read in our magazine about the enlargement of a laboratory and the addition of new features to it they immediately came from a nearby city on a holiday and said that they were expert electricians and wanted to give us their Saturday afternoons and Sundays as real workers in overalls to do whatever constructive work there was to be done in the electrical field. They meant precisely what they said for they wanted to give real service because they had been receiving so much good out of the organization.
There are others who have made it their business to see that plants of various kinds are constantly sent to the gardens and lawns of Rosicrucian Park. There are others who have delighted in sending paintings that they have made, from others have come unusual articles for the Museum, even to rare things that they highly prize and which they could have sold but which they felt will be preserved for the future and appreciated by more persons through being permanently located in the Rosicrucian Museum.
Now in this connection I want to read you a letter from a physician living in Los Angeles. You know we have a large Sunshine Circle down there composed of over 150 Brothers and Sisters who are experts in various professions and who have voluntarily united with the circle to help those who are in need. Our Sunshine Circles in every city are serving persons outside of the organization as well as those inside of it and these circles give health treatments, food, clothing, labor, and other forms of material help to those who write to them and ask for such things, or to persons whose needs are called to their attention. The whole work of these Sunshine Circles is supported by the voluntary services of those who voluntarily unite with the Circle for there is nothing compulsory about it and we do not demand that a single member give to this Circle or to this work any more than we demand that he gives anything to headquarters in addition to his regular obligations. The various physicians, including medical men, osteopaths, chiropractors, and the nurses, lawyers, field workers, social workers, and others connected with these Sunshine Circles give everything they can to help carry on the principle of human brotherhood. Now let me read this letter which is dated January 19. It says:
"My dear Imperator: I am inclosing a letter from Brother ------ of San Pedro to whom I was directed by Brother Baldwin, Chairman of the Sunshine Circle of this district. I am glad to report his joy in being cured of his illness. The poor fellow suffered a great deal for a long time and his case was evidently misunderstood by the various physicians. He suffered more than anyone I have treated in a long time. I treated him for some weeks and it has all ended very satisfactorily.
"I have waited a long time in making my new report on the lectures and lessons, exercises and practices of my grade of Rosicrucian study. They are by far the most helpful and interesting lessons of the whole list of grades and I am glad that I have continued through the early grades and reached the middle of the work for without the lower grades it would have been difficult to understand and master the marvelous things of my present grade. Being a very slow worker I like to take my time and find out from time to time whether I am deceiving myself in regard to my advancement and mastership or whether definite, tangible results will prove and demonstrate the laws that I am learning and practicing. Indeed I have discovered for myself that the greater light added to the lesser light always brings the same result, the intensity depending upon the energy involved in the process. For instance, two years ago I moved to a beautiful office on ------ Boulevard. I invested all of my money in new equipment and up-to-date devices such as delight the heart of any physician. I wanted to do better work and render greater service to my patients but I did not foresee the depression. More than half of my patients lost money through investments, bank failures, and other features of the depression and were not able to pay their fees even though I continued to give them service. I soon found myself with a tremendous overhead in the form of rent and other additional expenses and no money to meet my obligations, especially for the new equipment I had purchased. I could plainly foresee bankruptcy if this state of conditions continued. Then I ceased to worry and began to apply the R. C. formula and principles in a practical way instead of merely theoretically as a student would do. I knew that the principles were intended to be used in connection with real problems instead of imaginary ones and here was an opportunity for me to test my own development as well as test the laws. All this time I continued to give treatments to whomsoever came to me regardless of whether they had the fee or not and I had offered my services to the Sunshine Circle and was quite busy aiding the needy who applied to them for help. It seemed to me that it would be contrary to all the laws of the Cosmic for me to fail and my business to close when there was so much I could do for humanity and if only I would throw myself into the service of the Cosmic and use the Rosicrucian principles for attuning myself with the Cosmic and making myself a channel for the Masters. Therefore, I offered my entire services and my whole being to the Cosmic regardless of my financial and business conditions.
"To my great surprise the very day I made this decision I noticed a difference in the activities in my office. More patients came and those who did come were able to pay their fees. Many who owed me money came and paid their debts and soon I was so busy that the day before my various notes and financial obligations fell due I had acquired sufficient funds to meet every one of the obligations and now for many months this condition has continued. I had been afraid! I had feared that I had built up my business to too large an extent by going into larger offices with bigger equipment. I was measuring my success by thinking that I had enlarged and improved my facilities solely for the sake of patients who would pay money and they were not paying money. The moment I turned the tables around however and decided that I had enlarged my facilities and built up my equipment to serve the Cosmic and to help humanity and began to apply the Rosicrucian principles as outlined in our lessons, I became a part of the Cosmic and the Cosmic has been taking care of me. My wife and friends inquire as to how it is that my business took such a sudden turn for the good and it seems almost miraculous to the lay mind. But I understand it all and my faith in the Rosicrucian work and principles has grown stronger through these demonstrations. I have seen many of my friends and practitioners going out of business one after another. All of them, or most of them, were better off financially than I was and, in fact, I was always considered a poor man compared with them. But I had been building up a certain treasure in the form of our lessons and principles which they did not possess. I am having remarkable results in treating patients including those who come to the Sunshine Circle for free services. I seldom fail in attaining what I set out to do and I am not bragging of my own ability for the Cosmic is helping me and I attribute so much also to the great principles contained in our graded lessons. It gives me a feeling of happiness and trust and a feeling of an infinite something that I cannot describe. The whole world has become a great place to live and in which to serve and I am filled with a great desire to help all mankind. I wish I could give to everyone that same feeling that I have. My office is a true Rosicrucian laboratory, in which like the alchemists, I am working out all of the problems of life and solving many of them for the individuals who come to me. Each patient receives not only the physical, material treatment he needs but instruction in the proper way to live, based upon our Rosicrucian teachings and all go away radiantly happy as well as cured.
"Please forgive me, my dear Imperator, for this long epistle but it is good once in a while to burst open and let the heart's fullness out into some formal expression. You at headquarters and the entire staff are responsible for my progress and my development along the Path and I would like each one of you to know that your efforts have not been in vain. Some day when you are in this city I hope to have a personal tete-a-tete with you."
This is typical of the kind of report to which I referred above. Reports of this kind coming from members who are successful and happy in life reveal the real Key to the situation.
The Key to Success
Thousands of persons are seeking the key to success, the key to life, and the key to the mysteries of this earthly existence. They want to know whither to find the key to wealth, happiness, the key to prosperity and the key to everything else. The letter I have just quoted from the Brother in Los Angeles contains the key and I hope that if this is published in the Forum Magazine everyone will go back and read what I have said under the subject of Success and the "Key". That man's letter plainly gives the form, shape, and color and nature of that mysterious Key. He turned his life over to the Cosmic, to God, to the Universal Mind, to the Universal Consciousness, to the Masters, to whatsoever you may call the Divine principles or the Great Providence. He made himself a channel for God to work through. He took his lessons and studies seriously and applied them. He made sacrifices and offered them on the altar of love and devotion to the ideals of our organization and the response was instantaneous. He offered and gave more than he had and the where-withal was provided that he might fulfill it. He did not stop and ask where he would find that which he wanted to give in the hour of need but it was provided. His sole thought was to give, to serve, to put into life what he hoped life would some day contain not only for him but for others and instantly he unlocked the treasure house of the Cosmic with the golden key that the Cosmic placed in his hands. This is how to be successful in life and it is the only way and I hope that all of our members will keep this lesson in mind.
The Cosmic Alcove
Since the ancients considered every month of the year an alcove in the temple of the journey of life they also assigned certain material aspects of life to each alcove. In connection with these aspects they selected certain persons who typified the activities of life related to each alcove. These persons were not born in such months as were represented by the alcoves but their life works were typical of these persons. By noting the characters of the month and the type of persons associated with that work one is able to understand what may be accomplished in life during each of the months because of the favorable Cosmic conditions. The month of April was called the month of writers and dramatists and such persons as Cicero, Senica, and Demosthenes were associated with the month of the ancients, and later on the mystics added the names of Ruskin, Emerson, Cervantes, Balzac, Francis Bacon, or the author of the Shakespeare plays, Ibsen, Goethe, Harriet Stowe, Moliere, and Dante.
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