The First Fruits of Peace
Theosophical Forum, December, 1898
“With soul in perfect peace and rid of fear, standing firm on the path of the Eternal; with steadfast heart and imagination full of the Soul, let the seeker of union rest intent upon the Soul. Thus joined ever with the Soul, the seeker of union, steadfast in thought, wins the peace of the highest beatitude, the presence of the Soul.
“Union is not his who seeks too eagerly the food of life, nor his who fears to taste of life; nor is it his who dreams too much, nor his who flees from dreams. Who brings the Soul with him while he tastes of life, while he walks abroad, in every effort of his works; who brings the Soul with him in his dreams and in his waking, his is the union that makes sorrow cease.
“When all imaginings are set steadfast on the Soul, when there is no allurement in all desires, such a one is a seeker of union. As a flame well sheltered trembles not this is the likeness of the seeker for union, who draws near the Soul with wandering imaginings stilled.
“When imaginings cease in the peace of the path of the Soul, when through the soul, he beholds the Soul, and rejoices in the Soul; when he wins that joy unsurpassed which the Soul knows, but the senses know not; when he stands firm and unwavering in the real;
“When he wins the Soul, and knows nothing more remains to win; when he stands so firm therein that grievous sorrow leads him not to waver; let him know that this is freedom from the bridal of sorrow; this they name the union with the Soul. And this union Shall be sought with valiant and pure heart.
“Perfectly yielding up all desires born of lustful will, steadfastly ruling the senses and powers through the heart; slowly, softly, let him enter rest, valiantly holding to inspiration; letting his heart rest within the Soul, and ceasing from all wayward imaginings.
“Wherever the heart would wander, wavering and infirm, holding it steadfastly let him draw it under the Soul’s dominion; then joy most excellent draws near to him who seeks the Soul, whose heart has found great peace; joy where the heart’s pain is stilled, in the life of the Eternal, where no darkness is at all.
“Thus ever standing in union with the Soul, the seeker of union, cleansed of darkness, joyfully reaches that highest joy of perfect oneness with the Eternal. There he views the Soul dwelling within all beings, and all beings dwelling in the Soul; bound to the Soul in union; seeing everywhere the Soul.
“He who beholds the Soul in all things, and all things in the Soul, him the Soul loses not, nor does he lose the Soul; he who loves the Life dwelling in all beings, standing in oneness of life, even though he be the chief of sinners, that seeker of union finds the Soul. He who measures all things, whether joy or sorrow, with the measure of the Soul, is esteemed the perfect seeker of union.”—The Songs of the Master.
We are heirs of power, but we are fascinated, and held in thrall by fear: fear of loss, of pain, of the poignant sorrow of parting; fear of the blackness of darkness, fear of death and the beyond. There is no pain that wrings the heart like fear, haunting and chilling the warmth of our lives. And fear is a power in itself, dread and menacing, without regard to what is feared. Of all the maladies of the Soul, none paralyses like fear.
Yet we are born to power, and not to fear. The Genius in us is undying, immortal, easily victor over life. More than this, the Genius has amply provided for the visible life of each of us, ordaining wisely from endless ages. The Genius has gifts and benefactions ready for us, mastery over nature, and all the fields and harvests of the world. Some excellent task is set for every soul, something primeval, undreamed of, the like of which has never been, nor shall be ever: something no power but ourselves can conceive or accomplish, even though the gods were to bend down to the earth, trying to steal our destiny from us for themselves. The Genius has ordained this excellent work, which shall be a new revelation, a long-hidden, pristine power of the soul, stored by, and waiting for us from the beginning.
The Genius has set apart for us friends and lovers and companions, dear as our own souls, who shall fulfill every want of our hearts, and double all our powers. Nothing can rob us of them, nothing can bring the bitterness of separation, nothing can cause the cutting keenness of parting, but the darkness in our souls which is born of fear. As we only vaguely suspect the riches of our own lives, and look with faint, tremulous hope, towards the powers we should possess, so we hardly dream of the gifts that are held for us by others, ready to be offered with that lavish beneficence that is over all the works of the soul.
When the first great battle is won, the battle of liberty from fear, the dawning sense of power is our reward. For this is the first great battle, and the baser self in us is fear, and fear alone. Fear of loss brings lust; fear of the lonely darkness brings the longing for sensation; fear of other selves, and fear that they shall rob us in our lives, brings cruelty and tyranny, and the fierce struggle of soul with soul. For nothing is so remorseless as fear.
Weary of this haunting dread, and the craven cruelty it brings, we stand upright at last, and conquer fear. Better be free, even for a moment, and then death, and the nethermost hell, than serve this creeping dread any longer. That moment of battle brings not death and the dark, but light and power: the descending benediction of our Genius, and whispers of courage and immortal hope. As the snake puts off its slough, we cast off fear, and look for the first time rightly on the face of the natural world. We were prone and downcast. Now at last we stand upright. The Genius whispers to us how we may master the natural world, and begin that inimitable work set apart for us alone from the ages. It is the realization of our vision of the Soul.
The overshadowing Genius brings a sense of power, of valor, of the vigor of immortal youth; it is the path of the Eternal. Find the old light in the heart, and it shall light you over immortal pathways. There are secrets there to be learned that the gods shall envy. There is the power that stills all fear. There is a sense of immortal possessions, that brings peace. The future, that loomed so dark, is lit up to the horizon, and we catch glimpses of strange and beautiful things that set our hearts beating with high hope and immortal desire.
The descending Genius, that raises our weary hearts, and stills their sorrow with its great power and peace, brings with it one revelation, before which all others pale. Only after that redemption can we for the first time see the lives of other souls; can we feel the life in them throbbing close to us, with no barriers between. For it is strictly true, and strange as true, that until there is something of the immortal in us, we cannot gain the faintest clear vision of the life of any other soul. We see images and forms which we take to be other lives, but they are hid and masked from us by the colored clouds of our desires and fears.
This keen realization of the lives of other souls, though we be alone and in the darkness, though waste leagues of space separate us; the sense of the welling and throbbing life outside the open doorways of our hearts; the keen and vivid vision of the power that thrills through others,—this is the finest revelation of the dawning soul. This is to see the Soul in all beings; and till our Genius has brought this, all other gifts are in vain, seed-corn thrown on the rocks, that may never move with fresh stirring life.
Even wild passionate longing knows something of this victory over space. Many a heart is stilled into peace by some touch of a distant soul, though it knows it not. The great and valiant souls of the earth answer many calls for help, though no word is spoken, no voice is heard. The burning passion and pain whose very bitterness lifts us above ourselves, brings this assuagement, that it sets free our souls, and they touch other souls, and find consolation. Therefore it is that the passionate heart of the chief of sinners is far further on the royal road than the cold saint, who feels no thrill of life beyond his own.
But only with the presence of the Soul, do we realize the meaning of this power, this well kept secret. The seeming impassible barriers that keep all souls apart, and torment them with loneliness and isolation, are but the fever-mists of fear, that chill the heart to insensibility. There are no barriers or distances for the soul. And those are closest to our open doors, who are the born companions and lovers of our hearts, guided to us by the Genius who overshadows all our lives. At those open doors are greetings and recognitions; benefits are exchanged, and free gifts are given, with a courtly grace that courts might envy.
There is little question of duty, of service, of certain claims to be painfully fulfilled. Realization of that throbbing life is the highest duty, and from that plant all other duties come as inevitable flowers. To realize the life of another is to deal justly, to use the utmost generosity and gentlest care; for such is the inherent law and nobility of our souls. There is no calculating as to what duties may be offered, what debts paid; we are better and richer than that.
This power to feel the throbbing life of souls is the first-fruit of the great awakening; the first-fruit of peace. And if a man be endowed richly as an angel with every gift and grace of mortal or immortal life, but fail in this, then all his powers are bitter as ashes. And if a man be the chief of sinners, enveloped in all uncleanness, a castaway, foul and impure, and if yet there be in his heart a glowing spot where the hearts of others waken an answering glow, he is firmly set on the path of the Eternal. His foulness and imperfections will fall away, and leave no trace; while the gifts and virtues of the other will become burdens to drag him down. With this realization of the Life in other lives, this touch of the Soul in other souls, this sense of the throbbing Heart in other hearts, comes the first hour of our immortality.