Rosicrucian Writings Online
THOUGHT OF THE MONTH
THE TENDENCY OF LIFE
By THE IMPERATOR
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Rosicrucian Digest May 1935]
THE MOST difficult task, perhaps, that lies before any of us in attempting to guide and direct the unfoldment and evolution of the human personality, is to change the view-point of life in each individual.
As human beings busy each hour of the day with the purely incidental things of life, we are prone to become too greatly interested in the episodes of life and overlook the perspective of the tendency of life. From the moment we arise in the morning until we close our eyes at night, each minute and each hour is filled with mental or physical episodes that require some attention on our part but to which we give an exaggerated importance. We do not look upon the great events of life as epics, but rather analyze our progress and course by the individual episodes as they occur.
It is as though we looked at each hour of our lives through a microscope in which the entire picture of the thing being studied is not seen while one small element, one very small portion, is highly magnified and so elaborated that it appears to be the whole of the picture. The passing episodes of our daily lives are, after all, mere incidents in life itself. It is as though we were walking through the course of life upon a long road paved with small bricks and stopping while we stepped upon each brick to study it as though it, and not its companions, were the sole support of our progress along the way.
In so elaborating upon the nature and importance of the episodes of our daily lives, we build a very false and artificial value around each incident and attribute to it an importance which it does not have. There are incidents and episodes in our daily lives which, at the time of their occurrence seem significant, or sometimes dramatic or tragic, humorous or inconsequential. Very often the ones that we think are inconsequential are, after all, more important in their contribution to the scheme of life than we realize; and very often the things we think most important are, in the light of afterthought, unworthy of having registered themselves in our consciousness.
We even anticipate and worry about events that cast their shadows before us as though they were episodes of extreme importance. It has been said by a wise philosopher of modern times that most of the things we worry about never happen. It is because the unexpected has a fascination for us and the things we anticipate are always highly colored with the pigments of our imagination, and we magnify out of all proportion the importance of a thing that is apt to happen or which is threatened instead of looking upon it as one of the episodes of life, one of the stepping stones, one of the trials in a long paved highway over which all must tread.
It is not the group of episodes in each day of life, nor even the outstanding episodes of the past year that measure our progress and measure the value of life to us. It is our tendency and the trend of our unfoldment and progress that is important. Each episode can be turned in a moment into an urge or an inspiration to carry on and to follow out the convictions we have adopted and the code of life we have accepted. Even the most disturbing episodes, if looked upon as momentary and passing, as a mere tribulation of the hour, can be transmuted into a stepping stone to lift us higher in our accomplishment and attainment of life's desires. What does it matter that today was fraught with bitter disappointments over the little things that constitute the grains of sand in one stone upon which we stand for a brief period? Tomorrow those episodes will be relegated to insignificance in the light of other episodes that are occupying our attention, or those which are about to manifest themselves. Measuring life by its episodes is causing us to move through a panorama of constantly changing scenes each of which ensnares and inhibits our broader vision and keeps us from seeing our true relationship with the wider, higher, and more important things of life.
When we, who are attempting to guide and direct others, come to analyze the progress, the development, the situation or condition of any one of our members, we do not allow ourselves to be influenced by the reported episodes that are given to us in letters and paragraphs of comments. We pay little or no attention to the fortunate or unfortunate, happy or unhappy incidents of the day, week or month which seem to hold the attention of the members in their daily struggle to improve themselves. We try to see beyond these episodes the trend and tendency of the life of the individual.
One question we always ask ourselves in analyzing the career of any individual: "What will these episodes do in strengthening or weakening the tendency of this individual's course of life?" If we can see that through the daily episodes, the real incidents of life, the weekly or monthly trials and tribulations that seem to be so important, the individual is learning how to overcome obstacles, how to lay aside fear of the future, how to develop strength of character, how to add mental and spiritual fortitude to his assets, how to broaden his vision of life, how to look to the future for the fulfillment of his ambitions, we know these episodes will become not deterrent factors, not obstacles, not unpleasant things for which a dear price must be paid reluctantly, but grains of sand in the buffing wheel of life that polish and smooth the coarse and give beauty and elegance to the character.
In all of our teachings and in all of the Rosicrucian activities the directors of this great work are concerned with the tendencies in the lives of the members. We try to cultivate tendencies that will not be affected by the episodes of life. We are trying to establish in the consciousness and mentality of each individual certain principles that will be dominating trends of thought, dominating trends of action, and dominating factors in the conscious and unconscious efforts of the individual to achieve his goal.
We human beings little suspect how the things that we hold most dear as the elements in a code of life or the principles which we adopt as our standards of living, tend to guide and direct our course of action. We may think that these beliefs and these convictions, these ideals and these principles, are secondary and are subjective affecting us only in our moments of peace and tranquillity and when we are not disturbed by the unpleasant or all-absorbing episodes of the hour and the day. But we are wrong in taking this view-point. What we accept as wisdom and knowledge and take unto ourselves as truths and transmute into principles of proper living, have a very great power to affect the tendency of our course of life. Higher principles based upon universal truths and the development of a broader vision and a more humanitarian and Godly concept of life itself will create a tendency to live a life in harmony with such thoughts. Then the episodes of life that mark our path and enable us to measure life by the lesser things will become less enslaving and we will find peace and happiness even in the midst of momentary sorrow, grief, and tribulation.
I am happy to be able to say that in the past twenty-five years while occupying the position of chief executive of the Order in North America, I have seen the tendencies in the lives of thousands of individuals gradually modified, gradually improved, and so elevated that despite the economic conditions, the political disturbances, the material depressions and disappointments of life, and all of the interwoven episodes that make for a continually fantastic chain of inharmonious links, there has been a very definite advancement upwardly and masterfully on the part of these members.
Just as an efficient business organization or institution measures its success, growth, or development by the general trend of its affairs and not by the incidents or episodes of any one day, so each individual should measure the progress and development of his life by the trend and tendencies of his worldly existence and not by the events that distinguish one hour or one day from another.
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