My Personal Recollections
of Thomas Troward
THE TEACHER AND THE MAN
by Harry Gaze
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This is the only portrait of Troward ever penned. Its author knew him and was influencial in his development as a metaphysician. The memoir is warm and personal. We learn how Troward met New Thought and formulated his Mental Science.
IT IS INDEED a joy to present a biography of Thomas Troward, whose teachings have awakened, inspired, and often healed people the world over. It is through his wise lectures and writings that many famous teachers of metaphysical truths have obtained a deep insight into the science and the heart of spiritual life and experience. The beauty and wisdom of his teachings consist in his solid and consistent instruction of life in fullness and completeness. The thought he gives us is divine thought, because he teaches the wonder of Creation through the Self-Contemplation of the Originating and Affirmative Spirit. This is in order that the Supreme Spirit may find expression in Intelligence, Joy, Love, Beauty, and Perfection. The supremely important fact that Thomas Troward brings to us in logical clearness and vision is that the individual may also awaken to real intelligence and livingness, and, through the true contemplation of divine inheritance, nature, and environment, bring his latent God-like powers into expression.
It gives me great happiness to tell the story of Thomas Troward, not as a man I have merely heard or read about, but because I knew him well, and worked with him, before his first public lectures were given and his first book was published. In the text of the biography I have given credit to a number of people to whom I am indebted for rich supplementary material, and who, like myself, have found such real joy and satisfaction in helping his dedicated students and general readers to know him better. Thousands of people have had a deep desire to know him as a man and how he commenced his studies in the New and Higher Thought.
Among those who have assisted, Ruth and Rupert Troward stand out with more intimate family stories of his heart and character. Miss Ruth Bradshaw has searched devotedly for information concerning his life and personality, and her friend Miss Geere has given me an insight from the standpoint of a pupil in his early-century classes. Had this biography been written a number of years ago, there were many of my and Troward’s personal friends who would have added their recollections.
I do feel, however, that the readers of Thomas Troward’s remarkable books, after studying this book, will read and reread Troward not as a distant philosopher but, I trust, as a warm-hearted, loving friend.
MISS CALLOW DISCOVERS THOMAS TROWARD AND
IT WAS IN London, on an afternoon around four o’clock, in 1902. In one of Lyon’s smaller tearooms quite a group of people had gathered for the usual pot of tea and toasted muffins, or thin bread and butter and cake. There were no individual tables. One usually sat at a table with other guests, men or women, young or old, and this was considered quite the right thing to do.
In a corner sat a little gentleman, rather bald, and perhaps you would say somewhat homely. In England this word means natural-looking, comely, unsophisticated, literally home-like, as in the pleasantries of home life. One could see there was the mark of intellectuality, earnestness, courtesy, and thoughtfulness on close inspection. He was evidently studious, for he was utilizing even this rest period by making notes on a manuscript he was editing. People around him finished their tea; others came and went, but the busy philosopher wrote on.
A lady, approaching that period designated by race habit “middle-age,” entered the tearoom. She had a remarkably fresh complexion, the milk-and-roses type, and looked as though she had just stepped out of an English rose garden or orchard. Addressing the absorbed writer, she said, apologetically, “You don’t mind, sir, I trust?” and accepted his studious silence as consent to her taking her place at his table. She gave her order to the waitress. Too busy to notice her appearance on the scene, the gentleman worked away at his manuscript, writing in very large script, perhaps to help his vision in the somewhat dim light.
He was aroused from his preoccupation by an exclamation of surprise from the newcomer at the table, “Why, sir, you really must pardon me for my apparent rudeness, but you wrote so large and so close to me I could not help seeing your words. What you are writing is Higher Thought or Divine Science, isn’t it?”
The writer seemed in no way disturbed but, on the other hand, quite amused and interested. “Why, madam,” he declared, “I trust it really is higher thought, and certainly not lower thought. But what do you mean by Higher Thought?”
“Well,” she said, “I must explain my thoughtless interruption of your work. I am the secretary of a new organization at Kensington, called the Higher Thought Centre, where we study and listen to lectures on metaphysical Truth applied to health, spiritual unfoldment, and successful living.” The philosopher was duly impressed.
The result of this informal conversation was the giving and acceptance of an invitation to see the Higher Thought Centre and to attend some of its meetings. There was much mutual pleasure in the result. The man found congenial friends and listened to novel but inspiring lectures, some given by New Thought lecturers from America. The Centre, in turn, found a congenial, wise, though humble, helper who aided them in any way possible, gradually becoming a sort of host to the Centre, whenever he could visit London.
This gentleman and scholar was Thomas Troward from India, and the lady Miss Alice Callow, the honorary secretary, whose loving efforts were faithfully and fervently devoted to the good of the Centre, in the formal-looking Kensington house in London. Here there were connecting drawing rooms adapted with folding chairs and platform for lectures and classes, a library of metaphysical books, and a reading room.
On the library table were a number of magazines and journals among which was an English magazine entitled, Expression, and others from the United States, including copies of Mind, The Arena, Boston Ideas, Positive Thought, Unity, Universal Truth, Nautilus, and the Exodus. These titles tell the story. It was for the most part a spiritual invasion from America. On the shelves were books by pioneer teachers of New Thought and Divine Science. These included books by Henry Wood, Charles Brodie Patterson, Elizabeth Towne, Julius Dresser, Emma Curtis Hopkins, Malinda Cramer, Warren Felt Evans, Ralph Waldo Trine, and Emilie Cady. My own writings found a place among them.
Thomas Troward found a literal mine of mental and spiritual treasure in these books and in exchange of ideas in the company of friends from across the sea. He also had rich resources from which to draw and give to all for the additional light on life and mind that he received. His was the gift of a fine philosophy and a deep and provocative interpretation of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. The contributions he received from Dr. James and Mrs. Anne Mills and later Mrs. Annie Rix Militz were of more actively applied metaphysics, less abstract than the older type of metaphysics to which he had become accustomed. He admired the more spontaneous faith and ready intuitional acceptance of deep truths these teachers manifested in contrast with his own method of plodding, carefully calculated reasoning.
Thomas Troward found in the English magazine Expression a digest of the American Truth teachings. While he gained much from the more popular form of New Thought, in its transition from the more abstract metaphysics, he expressed regret that some of its pure beauty was lost in this development. He was concerned that it might become too commercialized in the process. It is true that the public is unwilling to buy Truth for its own sake, but desires to know how to get the results needed. It is, of course, all a matter of order and emphasis. The master teacher’s words still hold good: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and its righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Many of the daytime gatherings of the Higher Thought Centre were made social ones in addition to the lecture event of the day. There were the inevitable occasions for cups of tea, the favorite beverage. A lecturer at the Centre would be the target for a multitude of questions on personal application of the Truth, and each questioner would feel at home only if the lecturer accepted a cup of tea. One lecturer remonstrated that he had already had two cups of tea, and the surprised lady exclaimed, “Two cups of tea, only two cups of tea; why, I have had ten cups of tea today!”
Dr. Cornwall Round, a physician who studied the subject of suitable food and drink as well as Higher Thought, always insisted, when he was an occasional visitor, that his questioner brought him a glass of milk.
Each one had a special need that they hoped would be met by Higher Thought. To some it was a health problem, and many had eloquent testimonies to the demonstrations they had made of healing through the new understanding. Others had problems of finance they brought to the Centre, and found through study a harmony with the Law of Attraction, which brought due reward. The greatest demonstrations of all were those of new spiritual understanding and unfoldment. In such unfoldment, whenever he could visit the Centre, Thomas Troward was always a willing and unselfish helper to the new arrival.
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