SELF DEVELOPMENT AND THE WAY TO POWER
It is the natural right of every human being to be
happy--to escape all the miseries of life. Happiness is the
normal condition, as natural as the landscapes and the seasons. It is
unnatural to suffer and it is only because of our ignorance that we do
Happiness is the product of wisdom. To attain perfect
wisdom, to comprehend
fully the purpose of life, to realize completely the relationship of
human beings to each other, is to put an end to all suffering, to
escape every ill and evil that afflicts us. Perfect wisdom is
Why do we suffer in life? Because in the scheme of nature we are
being forced forward in evolution and we lack the spiritual
illumination that alone can light the way and enable us to move safely
among the obstacles that lie before us.
Usually we do not even see or suspect the presence of
trouble until it suddenly leaps upon us like a concealed tiger.
One day our family circle is complete and happy. A week later death has
come and gone and joy is replaced with agony.
Today we have a friend. Tomorrow he will be an enemy
and we do not know why. A little while ago we had wealth and all
material luxuries. There was a sudden change and now we have only
poverty and misery and yet we seek in vain for a reason why this should
There was a time when we had health and strength;
but they have both departed and no trace of a reason appears.
Aside from these greater tragedies of life innumerable things of lesser
consequence continually bring to us
little miseries and minor heartaches.
We most earnestly desire to avoid them but we never see
them until they strike us, until in the darkness of our ignorance we
blunder upon them. The thing we lack is the spiritual illumination
that will enable us to look far and wide, finding the hidden causes of
human suffering and revealing the method by which they may be avoided;
and if we can but reach illumination the evolutionary journey can be
made both comfortably and swiftly.
It is as though we must pass through a long, dark room
filled with furniture
promiscuously scattered about. In the darkness our progress would be
slow and painful and our bruises many. But if we could press a
button that would turn on the electric light we could then make the
same journey quickly and with perfect safety and comfort.
The old method of education was to store the mind with as many facts,
or supposed facts, as could be accumulated and to give a certain
exterior polish to the personality. The theory was that when a man was
born he was a completed human being and that all that could be done for
him was to load him up with information that would be used with more or
less skill, according to the native ability he happened to be born
The theosophical idea is that the physical man, and all
that constitutes his life in the physical world, is but a very partial
expression of the self; that in the ego of each there is
practically unlimited power and wisdom; that these may be brought
through into expression in the physical world as the physical body and
its invisible counterparts, which together constitute the complex
of the ego's manifestation, are evolved and adapted to the purpose; and
that in exact proportion that conscious effort is given to such
self-development will spiritual illumination be achieved and wisdom
Thus the light that leads to happiness is kindled from
within and the evolutionary journey that all are making may be robbed
of its suffering.
Why does death bring misery? Chiefly because it separates us from those
we love. But when we have evolved the faculty of clairvoyance, in our
work of self-development, the separation vanishes and our "dead"
friends are as much with us as the living.
The only other reason why death brings grief or fear is
because we do not understand it and comprehend the part it plays in
human evolution. But the moment our ignorance gives way to
comprehension such fear vanishes and a serene happiness takes its place.
Why do we have enemies from whose words or acts we suffer? Because in
our limited physical consciousness we do not perceive the unity of all
life and realize that our wrong thinking and doing must react upon us
through other people--a situation from which there is no possible
escape except through ceasing to think evil and then patiently awaiting
the time when the causes we have already generated are fully exhausted.
When spiritual illumination comes, and we no longer
stumble in the night of ignorance, the last enemy will disappear and we
shall make no more forever.
Why do people suffer from poverty and disease? Only because of our
blundering ignorance that makes their existence possible for us, and
because we do not comprehend their meaning and their lessons, nor know
the attitude to assume toward them.
Had we but the wisdom to understand why they come to
people, why they are necessary factors in their evolution, they
would trouble us no longer. When nature's lesson is fully learned these
mute teachers will vanish.
And so it is with all forms of suffering we experience. They are at
once reactions from our ignorant blunderings and instructors that point
out the better way. When we have comprehended the lessons they
teach they are no longer necessary and disappear.
Thus our evolution is going forward and has gone forward in the past. We
know that the human race has passed through a long evolution during
which it has acquired five senses by which knowledge is gained. Nobody
who has given thought to the subject will make the mistake of supposing
that this evolution is completed and that the five senses are all we
shall ever possess.
In this long evolutionary journey the next thing we shall do is to develop
the sixth sense. Some people have already done so and all are
approaching it. This dawning sense is called clairvoyance. Fair
investigation will show that the clairvoyant possesses certain powers
not common to the majority of people.
This is merely the beginning of the development of
the sixth sense, and probably with the majority of clairvoyants it goes
no further than etheric and lower astral sight. In other words, they
are able to raise the consciousness only to a grade of matter a little
beyond the grasp of ordinary vision, while the properly developed,
trained clairvoyant raises his consciousness
two full planes beyond.