Rosicrucian Writings Online


SANCTUM MUSINGS

HAPPINESS

(A special contribution by Frater James D. Fulio, Master of the Benjamin Franklin Chapter.)
 
[From The Rosicrucian Digest October 1936]
  
 
MANY human beings have falsely pursued happiness only to cease because they considered it as a will-o-wisp, a figment of the philosopher's mad imagination. Concluding that it must be a special gift of the gods because of its inaccessibility, they easily resign themselves to the belief that it was originally handed out in neatly wrapped packages and given to a select minority. To most people this minority is regarded as the prosperous and consequently more fortunate among them. Still with great eagerness and in a multitude of ways they stage many brief but ineffective attacks, only to be again deceived and deluded. Yet the very reason for the failure to discover happiness is not lack of energy but rather the illusive nature that man has attributed to it. Happiness to most people is unfortunately synonymous with possessions of great wealth, of great power, of great splendor, or unbounded indulgence of any one appetite or desire. Yet happiness is none of these, nor is its true nature readily observed because of its intangible, retired nature. For happiness lies in the mind and inner part of man, hidden from the prying spectacle seeker. And since the approach to happiness is lacking in glitter and sensation, many fail to recognize its true nature. Hastening away they are attracted to the brilliant, dangerous illusions that life offers.
 
Therefore, because happiness is of an immaterial nature or condition existing in the mind of man, anyone, providing he is in moderate circumstances, is capable of attaining happiness that is truly surprising. If, then, we accept the premise that true religion is a process of conversion or development of the inner part of man, which eventuates in a reflection in his intellect and body and his happiness, expansion of the inner being to the level of spiritual truths and the expression of these truths in his everyday life in the form of positive virtues and the development of a noble character, he will from the very expansion of mind, body and Soul realize a condition of happiness. To be happy, then, we must ever continue to unroll ourself on the background called life. Since every human being is different and on different levels of circumstances and environment, and is affected in body, mind, or Soul from different experiences, happiness must then be of varying degrees in the entire lot of individuals and also must, because of the fluctuating of the interactivity of the three phases of his being, be a variable condition in his own life, depending on the balance and harmony that exists within him. If, then, one part of his nature is affected, his other parts will eventually be involved and until a readjustment is gained some degree of inharmony will exist, thus marring his happiness and well-being. There is, then, because happiness is dependent on this very condition, but one vitally important thing that is necessary, and that is to seek through experience, knowledge, or the evolution of consciousness, to enable promotion of a finer and more complex integration and balance. The source of this knowledge is only real experience in any form. With every human that knowledge is real which he himself has experienced and knows is the truth because he has reasoned upon it and observed the effects on his growth. Hence, knowledge that is accepted and not proven to us in our individual experience is useless for the furtherance of our inner growth.
 
Since experience is of vast importance, it is well to further investigate it. The meaning of the term experience is according to its original derivation from the Latin "experior," the bringing forth to light. Experience, then, is the provider of material for thought which should be an unerring guide to the present, and through our imagination into the future, so that we by slow degrees pass from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. No experience, then, can be treated as unimportant or trivial, if we are truly desirous of traversing from the darkness of error and its boon companions, ignorance and unhappiness. Slowly, then, it is only from the lessons gained from experience that we proceed in life and reach deeper and deeper levels of truth, light, and self-knowledge. This it is that enables us to rectify our lives in the course of everyday living. Surely, then, it is this that enables us to evolve to a higher form of life. For unless we evolve toward truth and continue to grow we have not realized one whit from the glorious life with which we are infused. To be allowed to live and seek to understand the marvelous creation that we witness should, if we are healthy minded and our instinct of wonder has not been buried, make life intensely interesting.
 
Therefore, if we must discover truth, it is the inalienable right of every person to seek experience and the refining influence of education to aid in the wise interpretation of all experience, so that a comprehensive picture is gained of the true picture of life. Because the Divine in His infinite wisdom recognizes the need of individual experience, He does not withhold us from it. On the contrary, we are placed in a condition of life according to the specific lessons we are to learn, so that we can benefit and grow through the gradual overcoming of that which retards us from going into a higher grade of consciousness. Each human being is a unique differentiation, possessing characteristics of varying degrees and different levels of consciousness and inner evolvement which he must improve and refine. Thus where the Divine allows us to work out our own furtherance by giving to us the power of choice and selection toward the ultimate end without interference or protectiveness, man, through his blundering and ignorance, attempts to restrict, possess, and restrain other humans from reaching for that which coincides with their inherent desire and ideals to experience life after its own particular needs and past levels of truth gained and molds them into a pattern based not on inner requirements but false standards erroneously conceived. But the human spirit will not be quelled. Try to crush it, impose restrictions on it, and still it will continue to resurge; despite certain modifications and limitations placed on it as a result, it nevertheless fights against total crystallization, or slavery to the outer self, and seeks to release itself to the day it dies. The degree to which man is crystallized, of course, depends on effect of his reactions to everything in his particular environment and the particular habits developed.
 
In the consideration of the causes that injure and incalculably harm an individual, the question of environment is important. In the world of nature, if the environment is favorable to the particular needs according to the inherent design of a particular species, it flourishes and grows, fulfilling its destiny. Man, on the other hand, due to his associates with others and the complexity and divergence of his mode of living from natural principles and laws, is seldom born in a condition where he can find the proper relationship of proper guidance and type of experience that he needs for his plane of sensitivity and inner needs. If from birth he were properly studied and guided in the unfolding of his self, he would with ease modify his environment and create for himself one which would mean expansion and growth of mind. He would then have revealed and shown to him his present level of development upon which he must focus his attention and effort. Instead, the average person's most impressionable years are spent in the reception of negative images, the interpretation of which assumes strange complexes of ideas which burn into his inner depths, pervert his imagination which is necessary to conversion, and cause confusion and disorder in his thinking.
 
This negative imagery, or the improper ideals and misconceptions that arise in the mind, is very significant. Every event, whether it be happy or unhappy, creates in the mind mental images that compose our thinking, which become centers of action and succession, progress or regression, in our relation to life. All abnormal states of mind or destructive complexes are only a group of interactive negative images. These complexes burn into our subconscious depths and through habit formations they inhibit normal, healthy processes of thought and thus breed fear and negative virtues. The sum total of these complexes is what constitutes our realization of life, our mental attitude, personality and character. Thus we all have a particular point of view, an intermingled group of positive and negative complexes which is the screen through which all experiences are filtered and sifted. And life, according to the extent that this screen contains misconceptions and divergence from truth, is met with by a series of abnormal mechanisms and impossible fears which limit our reasoning processes. Thus do we humans become psychically blind, prejudiced, biased and egocentric. Inharmony must eventuate, as it unfailingly will, due to the confusion, confliction, and disorder of the intellect of the outer being and the emotional depth of the inner being when we fail to build our complexes of ideas on truth. To realize harmony man's two natures must concur.
 
Instead, then, of man's outer nature becoming synchronous with his inner nature and being merely a vehicle through which his real self, the inner being, expresses itself, man, due to his wrong and faulty interpretation of the meaning of his experience and the obliteration of reality, becomes a slave to the improper habit formations and appetites of his outer self and its limitations of the intellect. It is the confliction between his two selves and the confusion that this causes with other human beings that cause man to feel that life is nothing more than a hard struggle from which he experiences terrific reactions from a world of apparently never-ending battle. For how can a man be harmonious or at peace with others if he is discordant and turbulent within? Peace or joy he knows not, for early in life he has received shocks and wounds. Despair and morbidity grew in his heart and confliction tears him asunder. He does not possess balance and the integration of a happy person. Rather, he becomes tragically unhappy, seeking some measure of joy and aid that will bring him the understanding that will reduce this conflict and bring him a measure of peace. The psychic loneliness and solitude he must endure cause him pangs of anguish and torture. Still, because he is human, he fights and seeks light. And if he seeks long and hard he will from it all have grown toward light, whether it is consciously realized or not. He then merely needs the spark that will kindle his Soul, set it aflame and activate him toward further heights. Consequently, in an endeavor to grasp and understand life, the environmental influence creating distorted and negative images deny him full experience, and instead of normal expressions based on reality with constructive tendencies of thought and feeling causing him to master his environment and change it to his special needs as he progresses to the fulfillment of his destiny, he sinks into a condition of negative impulses and neurotic thinking where the habit structure of his outer nature is an imprisonment of his Soul. Ill-health and inharmony and wrong thinking are the cause of his suffering.
 
Yet it is this very suffering that is to redeem him, if he but heeds its message; for suffering is the crying out of the Soul against the desecration it has undergone. Pain and suffering, if regarded in an impersonal light, is not destructive; rather, it is constructive. It is nature's warning that man is transgressing the laws of the universe to which he is subject, either in the emotional, the mental, or physical realm. Nature, if superficially considered, may appear hard and unjust, but if we stop and think, she has our welfare at heart. Pain, then, has a constructive significance in our life. For if we really think, we learn to surrender to the natural laws governing the natural order of which we are a part and gain self-expansion in that obedience. Therefore, the technique of meditation and concentration is the mental condition we seek to maintain in our approach to life and its experiences, and through the understanding of law that this brings to us, we learn how to obey. For obey we must if we would free ourself from pain and suffering.
 
Before we can accept this view of suffering as evidence of wrong thinking and acting in life, we must realize a definite point of view. We live in a natural world in which we, as human beings, are but a part of the wonderful phenomena that exists, and life, if it is evolutionary, of which there is small doubt, is the result of natural order and intelligence. We, to evolve with it, must conform to the rules and regulations that govern it, by working in harmony with its constructive processes. This requires orderly thinking and orderly living. Pain, then, is the consequence of wrong thinking, wrong action, harmful attitudes, misunderstandings or ignorance. It is a delimitation of the power that inheres within us and is a mere fragmentary point of view, or some personalized attitude toward the drama of experience--in short, it is a failure to think. This entire attitude of pain is hard but logical, if we are to understand the vicissitudes of man. From it surely we must gain a new idea, a fuller view of the impersonality of God and his marvelous creation of life.
 
This broader vision brings faith in the justice of creation and endows us with trust and hope, and keeps us growing to higher and higher levels of spirituality. Thus we cannot shield a human from suffering, because we keep him from the reality which is so necessary to interpret life on a higher spiritual plane. Because the condition of life that man finds himself in is to him being governed by ignorance of law, we must ever try through study to understand the relation of a human being to the unchanging laws and principles of nature and God as they are gradually revealed to us, and from the understanding gained lift our vision for the future of our life to loftier and nobler realms.
 
What is this lofty realm that we should aspire to? Is it not to possess a mind that is capable of evaluating self and others in the light of truth; to possess such sensitive development of the inner self that it would enable us to have an insight into the inner life of our fellow man so that we could always offer sympathetic understanding and aid in his needs; and to grow to such a god-like person that our personality is vitally alive and independent. Thus, due to a transcendent view-point, we could look out into the world and determine the truth and worth of all that transpires therein. The deep penetration into the Soul of man would then allow us to see clearly the masquerades, delusions, and misconception of man with their little measures and petty selfish aims, differences, desires, and false ideas of happiness. Yet we would not want this to blur the vision of the eternal verities that we seek to fathom. Neither do we want to bow our head in misery over the affairs of lesser men. True, we may silently weep and compassionately offer solace and comfort to the suffering world and probably sorrow for mankind and even deliver ourself for love of them, but this would be facing the stern reality of life. The tarnish and clutter that worry most human beings in their everyday life and obscures their vision and perspective we would not want to stir us. Rather would we want to meet all conditions of our life with understanding and mastery. With clearness and cleanness we could then live with success in a world of turmoil, strife, and tragedy. Surely would we want to be impersonal and remain true to a spiritual integrity which alone gives peace of mind and happiness. Maybe we could not attain to such largeness of character and Soul, but we can and should attempt to reach that sense of timelessness and impersonality in an impersonal universe. To reach this high level we must never lose our focus.
 
To keep our eyes focused on the highest good we can perform in our present level of experience and development, the greatest service we can perform and the fullest, deepest meaning of truth we can understand and follow so that we can reach a noble life in the intricacies of life, where it is sometimes difficult to know the true course of righteousness, is our true focus. When and only when we learn to think impersonally with concentrated poise and seek a relation between cause and effect in life and our experiences, egotism in all its forms will not possess our thought, nor will we seek to justify and excuse ourself for our mistakes and difficulties in life. Instead, then, of thinking backwards from effects to wrong cause, choosing a superficial element and trying to prove that something other than ourself has created our troublesome experiences, rather let us seek the reality of truth, of goodness and beauty of life. They are in life if we but seek them.
 
For without reality life is a mere delusion, a masquerade in which we seek idle, sensuous pleasures and destructive pastimes to fill the void of living and stunted growth that we ourselves have created. Only through contact with reality can we experience a sense of joy or expression, or gain a sense of achievement so necessary to happiness. But let us not err in thinking that mere intellectuality will bring about our conversion and set us free. It must extend beyond this limited faculty of our being. It is this performance that cures us of negative imagery and helps us to establish convictions based on positive images created from real facts of life formed in the mind by concentration and meditation and the balance between our mind, our Soul, and our body which alone insures growth and happiness. Important is this because images are the masters of our volition. Will power obeys our mental imagery and the reasoning that it engenders. If we can discard the old images for the new, we can and will achieve a new form of expression, and because of this become creative human beings as we were intended, if we wish to enrich our lives and find greater happiness.
 
Our purpose, then, is to discover our self, uncover our abnormal tendencies and attitudes created when we did not know better, tear down negative habit by slowly changing the course of our formations, and thus free our inner self life into constructive channels based on laws of life and truth, beauty and goodness. We must learn to think and use our reasoning to determine what and how to create normal health tendencies.
 
To know the true relation of self with the true facts of life and the drama of life as we interpret it, will result in constructive processes of thought and will produce a momentum of positive imagery, rhythm, and balance on all planes of our being. Then will we be truly happy and sane in our attitude toward life.
 
In conclusion, then, let me quote that "the person that has a sane view of life considers it neither wholly repugnant nor wholly sweet. To him life is, tritely but none the less truthfully speaking, an adventure or series of adventures in which the proper blending of the joys and sorrows, aches and pains make it invariably interesting and almost always reasonably exciting. Such a person . . . . has learned to regard every little incident no matter how pleasant or unpleasant as an offering from which to draw threads of humor, pathos and drama to weave on the loom of the mind, another episode on the tapestry that is human life."
 
Happiness, then, comes to us according to the tapestry that we have woven through our minds. If, then, we have woven or created a distorted, disorganized, inartistic picture, it will be reflected in our lives, for we see in life no more than we have created. Environment is the mirror of our inner life and thoughts. No man can see in life what is not within himself. If, then, he has created a pattern and woven a beautiful design from the string of laws and principles of truth, he will realize beauty. If, on the other hand, he has woven a hideous ogre, it will haunt and torment him. Images are the threads you use. They can either be positive or negative. The type of threads and the particular design you create depends first, last, and always upon you.
   

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