Rosicrucian Writings Online
THOUGHT OF THE MONTH
WITNESSES OF THE SOUL
By THE IMPERATOR
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Rosicrucian Digest August 1934]
IN THE LIVES of men and women, the outer selves, in their moments of inspired thought and action, are witnesses of the soul. The eyes may be windows through which we may glimpse, at times, a picture of the self within, and the lips may be ambassadors of the subconscious self speaking golden words of wisdom when the impulse is stronger than the flesh; but in the thoughts and actions of the outer self, the individual may discover the truest witnesses bearing the most dependable testimony regarding the soul and its evolution.
Man is prone to look backward and in retrospection discover halos and glories, victories and palms that strengthen his vanity. In turning our vision forward, however, in contemplation of the vast future that lies before us, and scanning the distant horizon for some sign to indicate what may be the ultimate in the evolution of man, each of us finds little, indeed, to support our vanities or our glorified positions.
One of our writers in The Rosicrucian Digest, who contributes monthly to the department entitled, Sanctum Musings, and who prefers to remain unknown to the general public, has beautifully expressed the true position of man in his relationship to the things of the world. He has called man, glorified dust. In the ultimate analysis, all there is of the worldly man is that which has ascended from the earthly elements, while within this body of dust there is that which has descended from the sublime heights of God's kingdom. When the physical self attempts, in its vanity, to glorify its existence, it can rise no higher than the ascendency of its own elements and is never more than glorified dust. It is only when this outer self bears witness to the goodness and the greatness of the inner self that the real self is given any reason or opportunity to be glorified justly and truly.
In the beginning man was made of the dust of the earth and all of the centuries and cycles of time have not modified the very earthly nature of man's physical existence. Time has afforded opportunity for personal effort to square the corners and round off the rough edges of man's physical body and worldly nature, but the changes thus made are so slight and so difficult to discern in the great scheme of evolution that man may still look upon himself as being in the early stages of the most elementary form of evolution. Whatever mastership he attains is but a fraction of a degree of the mastership that is possible eventually. Whatever perfection he may demonstrate now in his worldly nature is but a very mild modification of his primitive qualities. Man does not know yet what he is to be and cannot conceive of the greater possibilities that lie before him.
Lord Bulwer Lytton, the eminent Rosicrucian, once wrote, "The easiest person to deceive is one's own self." Man has deceived himself into believing that he is a god in the universe and most certainly a god of the earth. In a review of his past evolution he finds glory in the thought that he has reached a high degree of perfection and almost the ultimate in the scheme of evolution. He looks with pride and self satisfaction upon his attainments, his achievements and accomplishments. He is quite satisfied with his abilities and with the great power of his mind. He will frankly admit only a few weaknesses and occasional errors. He looks across the seas at those who are in truth but a slight degree beneath him in evolution and imagines that there are vast and extensive canyons and a great abyss lying between them and himself. He visualizes his children as requiring only the development of a few points of perfection to make them just a little greater than himself, and, therefore, the ultimate representation of God's living image. In such view-points man reveals the inner self as still greatly unevolved and thus bears witness to his soul's sad plight.
We are reminded also of the truth expressed by Lowell in the words, "What man calls treasure and the gods call dross." Man is far more dross than refined. He is more dominated by the primitive, uncultured animal instincts than by the higher and sublime inspirations that crave for expression in his soul. The inner self as a representative of God and the living image of his Creator is ever seeking to carry the outer self onward to greater heights and there is ever the struggle within and without. Walt Whitman expressed this idea in his Song of the Universal wherein he says:
"In this broad earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Inclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed perfection."
In the soul of man there is all that man requires to become the living image of God and the perfect being which God intended man to be. But no prisoner was ever inclosed in any of the dungeons of the days of the Inquisition nor secluded in any White Tower equal to the imprisonment that is forced upon the soul of man through the ignorance and vanity of the outer self. Intuition and inspiration, the subtle urges and voice of the inner self, are suppressed, denied, and silenced. The falsely educated and unreal reasoning of the outer self is given a position of prowess and power that is unwarranted and undeserved. Only when the outer self is made the servant, or the pupil of the teacher and master within can evolution really begin and progress on the Path actually be made. It is only through training the outer self to realize and comprehend its true position in the universe and its true relationship to the soul within that it can present itself as a truthful witness. It is for this reason that those who comprehend and understand rightly seek greater illumination and guidance in the unfoldment of the inner self and the training of the outer self. In this wise man becomes a living soul and advanced on the Path toward perfection.
In this great work many are united and they constitute a universal brotherhood, unlimited by the physical and material restrictions of life and united by the divine essence in the fatherhood of God that makes all beings equal except for their weaknesses and their undeveloped and unevolved qualities. Men can, therefore, more easily distinguish themselves by their weaknesses than by their greatness. And in this they should find no cause for vanity and no worldly glory. It is only as we approach the heights of the mountain top that we realize our smallness in the universe and with this realization comes the nearest approach to greatness that man will ever find, for to the same degree as his physical existence becomes dethroned in its false position of aggrandizement, the inner self expands and becomes truly attuned with the real oversoul which is as great and as extensive as the universe itself.
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