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From The Theosophical Movement
Vol 73 No. 11 - September, 2003
As a lost mountain climber could find his way again, sooner or later, by consulting his compass, so also it helps to consult the hidden compass within us, as we walk the Spiritual Path. Patrick Drysdale writes in "Are You on a Spiritual Path?" (The Times of India, July 6):

Finding a little bit of truth within is like discovering a hidden compass in your own pocket. Some find it sooner than others but when you discover it, you no longer need to go around asking other people to give you direction. How do you make contact with this inner guide? You have to do some digging in order to find it, like searching for a treasure buried in your own backyard. The treasure exists, but you need to know some sensitive secrets about locating it....

Not wanting to change is one obstacle. An unwillingness to forgive others and yourself, is a second. And believing that you already have this treasure and there's nothing more to experience, is the third....Changing your reactions to external events will set new causes in motion and these new causes will inevitably produce new results. When things change on the inside, they produce a corresponding change on the outside....The more you change, the more your world changes.

Release just one unproductive habit for a week and see what happens. Let's take grumbling, as an example. Don't grumble when something goes wrong. This will feel strange at first, but do it anyway. The issue here is to challenge your everyday habits. When you don't go along with your customary reactions, you're setting into motion powerful forces that will change you internally. This same energy will also attract new conditions and new people into your life who, likewise, will be less complaining.

Give yourself permission to experiment with different ways of reacting. Don't shortchange yourself by using the same emotional response over and over again in every situation. Try something new.

It's never too late to start. Once you start, you'll feel a refreshing, new sense of self starting to emerge and it won't be just another rearrangement of your old mental furniture. Discover your inner compass and go all the way. What you've always wanted is already there, waiting for you.

"As to the rationale of spiritual development," says Mr. Judge, "Theosophy asserts that the process takes place entirely within the individual himself...however personal and interior, this process is not unaided, being possible, in fact, only through close communion with the supreme source of all strength." (An Epitome of Theosophy, p. 28)

What is the cause of diseases? It is being increasingly accepted that there is a close relationship between our mind and our well-being. Anjali Mukerjee has this to say:

Most of us find answers in a physical cause as in a bacterial infection or wrong food, late nights, lack of exercise, genetics, etc. But these explanations seem inadequate when we see people, who follow every rule in the book and yet fall prey to diseases. Numerous studies indicate that at least 25% of the people who "can't cope" with the stressors in their lives tend to develop disease more than others.

Researchers estimate that about 80% of all major illnesses including cancer, skin disorders, cardiovascular disease and even backache are related to mind and behaviour. Stress is perceived as a psychological problem but it has very real physical effects....

The stress hormones (cortisone and cortisol) suppress the immune system, making the body an easy prey to cold, cough, fever, respiratory infections etc. It accelerates the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, causing the body to excrete amino acids, potassium, magnesium, leading to leg cramps and muscle fatigue. Furthermore in a disturbed state of mind, your body cannot absorb nutrients from the food that you eat. Eventually you become overfed and undernourished....

Stress is an unavoidable part of life. It is how we react to it that makes a difference to our state of health. Some people handle stress well. These remain calm and collected in most situations and it has little impact on their physical or emotional health. (Bombay Times, July 8)

A diseased body means that we have ignored our inner nature and acted as though we were bodies. Writes Mr. Judge in Letters That Have Helped Me: "...a correct mental and moral position will at last bring a sound body, but the process may, and often does, involve sickness." According to him, sickness may be looked upon as manifestation on the physical plane of an inner sickness of the inner being.

World reform begins with self-reform. B.K. Jayanti writing from London speaks of fighting the devils within (Purity, July 2003):

Change in the world begins when we first change ourselves. It may seem a simplistic approach to the problems of the world, but the simplest answers sometimes make the most sense....

The cause of many of the world's problems today has nothing to do with external causes but can all be linked to man's ego, his inability to control his anger and even his greed....

When we have clean hearts and clear minds and lead by example, these will be manifested to others in the form of "vibrations" that we send out and these in turn will inspire others to emulate the positive direction that we have chosen, resulting in a wider net of people looking inward to initiate change.

Let's say that I have love for honesty, it's going to be that quality that others around me will appreciate and they will be drawn to me because of this quality. Although in the physical dimension it's always opposites that attract, in the spiritual dimension like attracts like.

The Law of consubstantiality is an occult law which advises us to be watchful of our thoughts. Writes Mr. Judge, in Letters That Have Helped Me:

Thoughts are dynamic. Each one as it leaves the mind has a vis viva of its own, proportionate to the intensity with which it was propelled.... A thought, on its departure from the mind, is said to associate itself with an elemental; it is attracted wherever there is a similar vibration, or, let us say, a suitable soil, just as the winged thistle-seed floats off and sows the soil of its natural selection. Thus the man of virtue, by admitting a material or sensual thought into his mind—even though he expel it—sends it forth to swell the evil impulses of the man of vice, from whom he imagines himself separated by a wide gulf, yet to whom he may have just given a fresh impulse to sin.

The tree is a graphic symbol with many meanings. It is more than a beautiful expression of Mother Nature's creativity. "It has Shakti," writes Aruna Jethwani (The Times of India, June 21):

It restores balance in the environment by its positive force. A tree doesn't have a mind of its own, only the cosmic heart of the universe. It responds to human sentiments.

The pipal tree is sacred to Hindus and Buddhists—the Buddha attained nirvana under this tree. In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna said: "I am as strong as the pipal is among trees."....

Trees have soothing qualities and medicinal properties. Like some animals, they have a sense of empathy, too....

T. L. Vaswani said: "A tree is a lesson in life. A tree has patience. It stands facing the sun, rain and storm, uncomplaining. A tree is symbolic of growth. It inspires me to spread out."

The Puranas exalt the tree, in economic terms as wealth, as a great asset to mankind. A tree is perhaps nature's best gift to mankind. It balances our existence on earth; it provides shade in summer and fuel in winter; it is economic wealth....

Tree worship links us with the Nature spirits. Nature in all its moods and manifestations represents harmony and joy. We should partake of it.

The tree is an important symbol, which affords us an opportunity to study the Law of Correspondence and Analogy.

From the highest antiquity trees were connected with the gods and mystical forces in nature. Every nation had its sacred tree, with its peculiar characteristics and attributes based on natural, and also occasionally on occult properties, as expounded in the esoteric teachings. (The Theosophical Glossary, p. 337)

The Symbol for Sacred and Secret Knowledge was universally in antiquity, a Tree, by which a Scripture or a Record was also meant. (S.D., I, 128 fn.)

...the Asvattha, tree of Life and Being, whose destruction alone leads to immortality, is said in the Bhagavad-Gita to grow with its roots above and its branches below (Ch. XV). The roots represent the Supreme Being, or First Cause, the Logos; but one has to go beyond those roots to unite oneself with Krishna, who, says Arjuna (Ch. XI), is "greater than Brahman, and First Cause...the indestructible, that which is, that which is not, and what is beyond them." Its boughs are Hiranyagarbha, the highest Dhyan Chohans or Devas. The Vedas are its leaves. He only who goes beyond the roots shall never return, i.e., shall reincarnate no more during this age of Brahma. (S.D., I, 406)

All spiritual teachers, without exception, have emphasized "Forgiveness." Many psychologists are of the opinion that "Forgiveness" does more good to the person who forgives than the one forgiven. "Let go of grudges to calm your soul and lengthen your life," writes Line Abrahamian in Reader's Digest (April 2003, Indian ed.). Many psychologists share this view:

"When you're treated unjustly by another, anger is a natural response," says Robert Enright, a professor of educational psychology.... But if these resentful feelings are not resolved, a grudge will form. Victims may want to hold a grudge because it gives them a regained sense of control and superiority. However, when nursing a grudge, you're essentially stuck in the victim role and inviting anger to become a companion in your everyday life—and a toxin to your body....

"Forgiveness," says Carl Thoresen, principal investigator of the Stanford Forgiveness Project in California, "is to experience more moments of peace and to reframe how one feels about the offence and those seen as responsible. It is moving from continually replaying your personal grievance story to revising it so that you are no longer a victim of your past."...

Remember how grateful you were when someone forgave you? Once you can empathize with your offender, forgiveness becomes an act of grace.

Even if the person to whom you're offering forgiveness doesn't seem to care or doesn't admit to being wrong, you will feel healthier and happier. "Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves," says Robin Casarjian, director of a foundation in Boston that teaches forgiveness in prisons.

"If we hold everyone up to our rigid expectations, we're setting ourselves up for disappointment," says Kathleen Lawler, professor of psychology....

Start small by learning how to forgive minor slights. And over time, you'll be able to forgive tougher injuries....

"One forgiving act is the beginning," adds Enright. "As you continue offering forgiveness, your identity will no longer be that of a victim but of one who's powerful in the face of adversity."

Buddha, the greatest psychologist of all time, describes the inner state of the unforgiving man thus:

"He reviled me, he beat me and conquered and then plundered me," who express such thoughts tie their mind with the intention of retaliation. In them hatred will not cease. (The Dhammapada, Verse 3)

Madame Blavatsky gives the rationale for practising "forgiveness" thus:

...we cannot recommend too strongly mercy, charity, and forgiveness of mutual offences. Resist not evil, and render good for evil, are Buddhist precepts, and were first preached in view of the implacability of Karmic law. For man to take law into his own hands is anyhow a sacrilegious presumption....a man who, believing in Karma, still revenges himself and refuses to forgive every injury, thereby rendering good for evil, is a criminal and only hurts himself. As Karma is sure to punish the man who wronged him, by seeking to inflict an additional punishment on his enemy, he, who instead of leaving that punishment to the great Law adds to it his own mite, only begets thereby a cause for the future reward of his own enemy and a future punishment for himself. (The Key to Theosophy, p. 198)

Men have always found that some events were so inevitable that, for want of knowledge of the law of Karma, they have said, "These things were destined." But when we grasp the meaning of Karma, we see that destiny is only the working out in action of causes so powerful that no act of ours and no other sort of Karma could by any possibility either avert or modify the result. This view does not conflict with what some call the "immutable decrees of Karma," because those decrees are the resultant of numerous Karmic factors, the absence, nullification, or postponement of any one of which would change the supposable result. If, however, we imagine that our life today is only that due to post Karma from a previous incarnation, we make the error leading to a belief in destiny or fate. But as we are experiencing the effects of Karma from this life as well as from many previous ones, it follows that the events in a man's life are due to the balancing of Karmic causes.

—W. Q. Judge

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