Filename: RC1023.TXT Source: +quot;Max Heindel's Letters to Students+quot; [PAGE 769] LETT

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Filename: RC1023.TXT Source: "Max Heindel's Letters to Students" [PAGE 769] LETTER NO. 47: OCTOBER, 1914 THE INVISIBLE HELPERS AND THEIR WORK ON THE BATTLE FIELD: Another month has gone by and still the European war is raging in all its intensity. Thousands and thousands have passed over the border into the in- visible realm, and the distress there as well as here is unprecedented in the history of the world. As you have learned from our literature, the de- sire world is the world of illusion and delusion; and those poor people who have so suddenly been transferred to that realm with frightful wounds upon their physical bodies also imagine (as very frequently in the case with per- sons who have met accidents) that the lesions of the physical body are still with them, and they suffer acutely there from these fancied injuries as they would here. That is of course entirely needless. many of them are going about there with dreadful wounds upon their bodies, particularly those who have wounds caused by bursting shells and by bayonets. It is of course an easy matter for the Invisible Helpers to show any one of these people that his or her injuries are only fancied, yet when there are so many thousands the task is gigantic, and our Invisible Helpers are having a time of unprec- edented activity against overwhelming odds. It is not so much however the anguish that results from such fancied [PAGE 770] bodily lesions which makes the work. The mental anguish--the concern for those who have been left behind, the fear of fathers concerning their little ones, and the sorrow of the mothers who have been left behind to bring up a family of young children--is the most fearful handicap to a settlement of this dreadful state of affairs that the Invisible Helpers have to meet, and this is the point on which I would like to ask your earnest co-operation. President Wilson of the United States has appointed October 4th as a day of prayer for peace. It is well always to unite with such movements because our trained thoughts will have a considerable effect and strengthen wonder- fully the general appeal. This day should be spent by every earnest student in prayer for the deliverance of the world from this awful slaughter. Their thoughts should be particularly directed towards soothing those who are in this world, and in the invisible world also who are distressed at the sever- ance of family ties. Each one should hold the thought that although the present war seems grievous, nevertheless this is only an incident in a long stretch of time which has neither beginning nor end. As spirits we are im- mortal, and these things which now seem to us of so great importance, when viewed from the spiritual standpoint and when considering the fact that we are really immortal, are of less moment than now seems the case to us. Whatever befalls, it will be incorporated into the spiritual nature as a lesson to give us a sense of the horror of this carnage which is now devas- tating the world. This war, let us fervently hope, will be the last war that will ever mar [PAGE 771] the peace of the earth; that having learned this costly lesson, mankind will once and for all destroy the implements of war, and beat their swords into plowshares. Let this idea be in the mind of every student on the 4th of Oc- tober, but as this date is so near at hand that probably this letter will not reach all in time, let every one in the Rosicrucian Fellowship devote Sunday, the 18th, to a prayer for peace. By that time all our students will have received this message, and we shall again be united from morning until evening in this effort to help restore peace to the world. May the kingdom of Christ soon superseded the kingdom of men, for they have certainly shown themselves inefficient rulers. LETTER NO. 48: NOVEMBER, 1914 THE WORLD WAR AND UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD: In almost every mail we receive letters commenting upon the war, but with very few exceptions there has been no expression of partisanship, showing that the writers take a loftier viewpoint than inculcated by the various Race Spirits and commonly given the name of patriotism. This attitude is the only one consistent with the principles of the Rosicrucian Fellowship. We are all joined in an international association, we are all looking for the Kingdom which is to supersede all nations, and the fact that we were born on different parts of the globe and express ourselves in different [PAGE 772] tongues does not abrogate the command of Christ: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," nor excuse us for playing the part of the "robber" rather than that of the "Samaritan." It behooves us in the Rosicrucian Fel- lowship to rise above the barriers of nationality and learn to say as did that much maligned man, Thomas Paine: "The world is my country, and to do good is my religion." We must cease to be merely national and strive to be- come universal in our sympathies. But there is a war that is well worth fighting, a war upon which we may legitimately expend all our energy, a war that we shall do well to pursue with unrelenting zeal, and one of the students puts it so well that we can- not do better than give his letter. "In reflecting upon the war this thought comes: When men grow weary of the appalling internecine struggle and lay down their arms, and peace holds sway, from this continent, burdened with the dust of friend and foe alike, its rivers running crimson with the best blood of empires, a new Europe will arise, and a higher civilization succeed the one destroyed. "And the vast host of nameless dead, dying, will prove a mightier power for world peace than had they lived. Thus it is that from the unrestrained passions of men, Deity, just and loving, brings ultimate good. "If men, and women too, were only one-tenth part as eager to wage war against their real enemy within the human breast as they are to take up arms against a supposed enemy just across a non-existing imaginary boundary line [PAGE 773] on the face of God's good world, then the Prince of Peace could come into His own. All deadly weapons would be consigned to limbo, and the glorious promise would be fulfilled: `On earth peace and good will towards men.' "And so for myself, I resolve that i will not cease my efforts till the last vestige of evil, error, and hate be eliminated, and the lofty trinity of`Goodness, Truth, and Love reign unchallenged within.' "In this real struggle I find myself a poor soldier, and the tide of battle often sets in the wrong direction, yet no matter if I fail ten thou- sand times, the lesson must be learned and shall be learned. Some day, with a stout heart, an indomitable will, and unflagging persistence, the victory will be won and peace will reign--the peace that passeth all understanding." let us all join our brother in that noble fight, remembering the words of Goethe: "From every power that holds the world in chains Man frees himself when self-control he gains." [PAGE 774] LETTER NO. 49: DECEMBER, 1914 DESIRE--A TWO-EDGED SWORD: This is the time when good wishes are in order. "A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year" are greetings soon to be heard everywhere, and in conformity with this ancient usage the workers on Mt. Ecclesia also extend to members all over the world the usual seasonal greetings. But while we thus cordially wish one another Godspeed and good cheer in the coming year, after all, though the wishes of others may be encouraging and gratifying, they are really of minor consequence. But what we wish our- selves individually is of prime importance. If the whole world conspired against and antagonized us in this wish, we should nevertheless succeed, provided always we were able to put sufficient intensity and insistence into the wish. Do we desire riches? They may be ours by the exercise of will. If we want power and popularity, they also are at our beck and call, pro- vided we clothe our wish with an all-compelling ardor. Are we sick, feeble, or in other ways disabled? We may rid ourselves of these bodily ailments also by an intense desire for health. Social restrictions or hampering fam- ily conditions will disappear before the earnest desire of the one who wishes. [PAGE 775] But there is another side. Desire is a two-edged sword, and what ap- peared the greatest good while in contemplation may prove to be a curse when we have achieved actual possession. The greatest fortune may crumble in a few hours by earthquake or a turn of the market, and the rich man always fears he may lose his possessions. To be popular we must be at everybody's beck and call; we have neither rest nor time to follow our own bent. Bodily ailments which seem thorns in the flesh, which seem to rob life of all its joys, and of which we would fain be rid, may be the greater blessing in dis- guise. paul had such an ailment and he besought the Lord, who said to him: "My grace is sufficient for thee." So also with inharmonious family condi- tions, etc. There are in all human relationships certain lessons to be learned for our good, and therefore we should be very careful not to wish them away without always adding the words which were used by Christ during the passion of the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane. Though in the body He shrank from the torture that awaited Him, He said: "Not my will but Thine.' We should always remember that there is only one thing we may pray for with unrestricted fervor and full intensity, and that is that we may be pleasing to God. An now, dear friends, the Rosicrucian Fellowship is an association com- posed of many individual members. You are one, and will you join as a mem- ber in wishing ourselves, the Fellowship, a grater baptism of God's grace during the year 1915, so that we may more efficiently do our part of the work of God upon the earth and hasten the day of Christ? And will you wish [PAGE 776] it with such intensity that you will WORK for that end all through the year with zeal and fervor? May God bless the Rosicrucian Fellowship and make it a more efficient factor in His work in the world. LETTER NO. 50: JANUARY, 1915 SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY FOR THE NEW YEAR: The customary greeting at this time is: "May you have a happy and a prosperous New Year." With this the writer is in hearty accord and extends it to you, but his meaning may differ somewhat from that which is ordinarily given, for usually it is material prosperity that is the main thought; whereas the writer wishes you that gold which is wrought by the alchemy of the soul, so that the base metal of the coming year's experience may thus be transformed into the Philosopher's Stone, the greatest good this world can ever give. Worldly riches are always a source of care to their possessor, but this, the jewel of jewels, rings with it? the peace that passeth all understanding. Moreover, if we work solely for material things, our labor is always found to be hard drudgery no matter how we may seek to break the monotony by indulging in so-called pleasures. There comes ever and anon the thought: "What is the use?" But when we labor in the vineyard of Christ, when we do everything in our business and out of it as "unto the Lord," then the aspect is entirely different. Christ said: "My yoke is easy, and my burden is [PAGE 777] light," and that is an actual truth, though perhaps not in the ordinary sense. The writer and others who have been with him during many years can testify from personal experience that though there has been the most arduous labor, both mental and physical, and though the body has been sometimes so tired that it has been almost impossible to bring it together in the morn- ing, nevertheless there has been a satisfaction, joy, and pleasure that the world knows not, neither can understand. The years that have gone by, spent in this work, have been so satisfactory that nothing in the world could com- pensate the writer and his companion for them should they be lost. Year by year he estimates it a greater privilege to thus labor, and others who are with him have exactly the same feeling. How about you, dear friend? We are at the beginning of a new year, a new start. The Rosicrucian Fellowship as an organization depends on the units, and if we are to make spiritual progress, then the burden must be taken up by every one among us. We must become more faithful, more earnest, more de- voted to the ideals that have been given by the Elder Brothers. We know that there are faithful workers in the Fellowship, but are you? It is not enough to simply study the teachings and meditate upon them; we must actu- ally carry them into our lives and because shining lights in our community. We must live the life not only in the outside world but right in the home, so that other members of the family may see the light and be brought in. We know that many do this, but there are others who are lukewarm, who still stand on the threshold and do not want to take the yoke. Now the yoke must [PAGE 778] be borne, no matter if the neck becomes calloused in the effort; in fact, every callous is an additional factor in building, the soul body, the glori- ous wedding garment in which alone we can meet the Lord when he appears. It is the earnest, the very earnest hope of the writer that every student of the Rosicrucian Fellowship will take up his yoke with more ardor than ever before, so that both individually and collectively we may lay up trea- sure in heaven that is sure to be ours at the end of the year-day, when we have borne the burden and the heat. LETTER NO. 51: FEBRUARY, 1915 LOVE, WISDOM, AND KNOWLEDGE: This month we are starting a new series of lesson on "The Web of Destiny--How Made and Unmade," and we trust that this series will prove very profitable to you in your study and in your life. While the lesson are analytical and technical in some respects, the subject should be approached in a spirit of the deepest devotion by keeping the main purpose of life in view. As you are probably aware, the word "philosophy" is composed of two words meaning love of wisdom. Most people have the idea that "love of wisdom" in this connection is synonymous with desire for knowledge, but as we have seen [PAGE 779] from a recent lesson, there is a vast difference between knowledge and wis- dom. Wisdom implies love, first, last, and all the time, while knowledge may be used for the most evil purposes imaginable. In fact the true esotericist who is inspired by a fervent devotion in his study and his work in life is too modest to accept the title of philosopher, for to him it means even more as he turns it around and calls it "The Wisdom of Love" in- stead of love of wisdom. A little thought will very soon make the point clear. The subject we have chosen for the coming series of lessons is one of the most intimate and holy which one can take up, therefore you will readily realize that it must be approached in this "wisdom of love" spirit, in love that is embodied in the full realization of what true philosophy is and means. Robert Burns once said: "O wad some pow'r the giftie gie us To see ourselves as ithers see us!" But I am afraid that power would indeed be a sad possession though it may seem upon superficial thought to be desirable. Each of us is full of short- comings. At times we make but a sorry figure on the stage of the world. Sometimes we seem to be thrown aimlessly hither and thither by the shuttle- cock of destiny, while others who are unable to see the beam in their own eye are criticizing us and making us appear ridiculous. If we saw ourselves with their eyes, we should lose that most essential attribute--our self-respect; we should shrink from facing our fellow men. [PAGE 780] When we realize that this is so (and thought upon the matter surely can not fail to convince us), then we might also with profit put the shoe on the other foot and realize that we ourselves, by sharp criticism of the trivial shortcomings of others, are taking a very unbrotherly, unphilosophical, un-wisdom-of-love-like attitude. It is the purpose of the coming lessons to give us an idea of what has caused in the past some of the things that we most criticize in others, so that we may be able personally to avoid similar mistakes; also that we may have that real, true, Christian charity which VAUNTETH NOT ITSELF, IS NOT PUFFED UP, SEEKETH NOT HER OWN, REJOICETH NOT IN EVIL BUT IN THE TRUTH, as paul describes it in that beautiful thirteen chap- ter of 1st Corinthians. I trust that you will approach the lessons in that spirit and that they may be of lasting benefit to us all. LETTER NO. 52: MARCH, 1915 CONCENTRATION IN THE ROSICRUCIAN WORK: While meditating upon the good of the Rosicrucian Fellowship the question came up before the writer's mind: "What is the greatest general hindrance to our progress in the spiritual work?" And the answer was: "Lack of con- centration." We all have our families who crave and must have a certain share of our attention. Our work in the world must not be neglected on any account. We are here to accomplish certain things, and to learn by them. After these [PAGE 781] duties have been attended to there still remains for each of us a little time which we may justly and properly use for our own development, and it is as important that we properly use this extra time as it is that we attend to our worldly duties, our family, and our social obligations. Consider now that in ordinary life we do not try to become a doctor and practice medicine today, work in a machine shop tomorrow, and every other day go at some other business. We know that such a course would not take us anywhere in life. neither do we live in one family as husband or wife today and assume similar relations in another family tomorrow; nor do we change our social circle as often as we change our coats or shoes. Such industrial and social conditions would be absolutely impossible. On the contrary, we pursue one line of work in the world; we look after one family; we concen- trate our efforts in these departments of our life to the exclusion of all others. Why not apply the same common sense to our spiritual endeavors? We study our business; we plan ahead; we work with all our might in order to make it a success. We also study the needs of our family and we plan for them. We know that success, both social and industrial, depends upon the amount of concentration and the amount of planning we do. If, then, we are so wise concerning worldly things, which last only for the few years of our earth life, can we not bring ourselves to use the same common sense to apply our- selves equally with all our mind and with our heart to the spiritual things [PAGE 782] that are everlasting? In the Atlantean Epoch when the Original Semites were called out from among their brothers, many of them accounted it a great hardship. They, "the Sons of God," married "the daughters of men," with the result which we know from our study of the COSMO. We are today at another great parting of the ways. An "Ecclesia," or company of men, is being "called out" as pioneers of the next great race. Many roads lead to Rome and to the Kingdom of Christ, but if we fritter our time away walking on one today and tomorrow choosing another path, we are certain to fail; and I therefore urge all the students who are in sympathy with the ideas of the Rosicrucian Fellowship to give up all other religious societies and devote their whole heart, mind, and spirit to living and spreading our teachings. Trained, skilled, and devoted workers are sought in our earthly enter- prises. In the heavenly Kingdom loyalty and devotion also are prime fac- tors. Let us memorize and concentrate on the first three verses of the first Psalm, for surely we want to reap the greatest harvest that we possible can from our spiritual as well as from our material efforts. [PAGE 783] LETTER NO. 53: APRIL, 1915 THE COSMIC MEANING OF EASTER: As this lesson will reach you about Easter time, I thought it might be well to devote the letter to that recurring event. You know the analogy between man, who enters his vehicles in the daytime, lives in them and works through them, and at night is a free spirit, free from the fetters of the dense body--and the Christ Spirit dwelling in our earth a part of the year. We all know what a fetter and what a prison this body is, how we are hampered by disease and suffering, for there is not one of us who is always in perfect health so that he or she never feels a pang of pain, at least no one on the higher path. It is similar with the Cosmic Christ, who turns His attention toward our little earth, focusing His consciousness in this planet in order that we may have life. He has to enliven this dead mass (which we have crystallized out of the sun) annually; and it is a fetter, a clog, and a prison to Him. Therefore it is right and proper that we should rejoice when He comes at Christmas time each year and is born anew into our world to help us leaven this dead lump wherewith we have encumbered ourselves. Our hearts at that [PAGE 784] time should turn to Him in gratitude for the sacrifice He makes for our sakes during the winter months, permeating this planet with His life to awaken it from its wintry sleep, in which it must remain were He not thus born into it to enliven it. During the winter months He suffers agonies of torture, "groaning, travailing, and waiting for the day of liberation," which comes at the time that we speak of in the orthodox churches as the passion week. But we real- ize according to the mystic teachings that this week is just the culmination or crest wave of His suffering and that He is then rising out of His prison; that when the sun crosses the equator, He hangs upon the cross, and cries, "CONSUMMATION EST!"--"It has been accomplished!" That is to say, His work for that year has been accomplished. It is not a cry of agony but it is a cry of triumph, a shout of joy that the our of liberation has come, and that once more He can soar away a little while, free from the fettering clod of our planet. Now, dear friend, the point to which I would like to call your attention is that we should rejoice with Him in that great, glorious, triumphal hour, the hour of liberation when He exclaims, "It has been accomplished!" Let us attune our hearts to this great cosmic event; let us rejoice with the Christ, our Savior, that the term of His annual sacrifice has once more been completed; and let us feel thankful from the very bottom of our hearts that He is now about to be freed from the earth's fetters; that the life where- [PAGE 785] with He has now endued our planet is sufficient to carry us through the time till next Christmas. I hope that this may furnish you with a point of view for prayerful Eas- ter meditation which will result in abundant soul growth. LETTER NO. 54: MAY, 1915 WASTE THROUGH SCATTERING ONE'S FORCES: In the March letter I suggested, as you will remember, the concentration of energy in one direction, advising, as I have done before, that students devote all their spare time to work in and for one religious society, rather than scattering and dissipating their energies by membership in a number of such societies, for it is an impossibility to do effective work in that man- ner. Since that time a few resignations have come in, which were not unex- pected. Among a large membership like that of the Rosicrucian Fellowship some of those who hold membership in other bodies would naturally have their greatest sympathy somewhere else, and they would follow that bent in accor- dance with my advice. Indeed the surprise is that there have been only a few resignations, but this is no doubt due to the fact that Headquarters pe- riodically weeds out those who show little interest, and thus keeps only the most live members on the list. [PAGE 786] But the tone of these resignations does hurt. One writes: "I am a mem- ber of the Episcopalian Church; my pew rent is paid there, etc., etc." It seems strange that some will not understand that the Rosicrucian Fellowship is antagonistic to no church or society, particularly not to the Christian churches. It has been stated repeatedly that we favor membership in any Christian church. What the letter said was not CHURCHES, but "religious so- cieties"; and, as said, it was not because we had anything against societies which work along Christian lines. There is, for instance the Unity Society of Kansas City, a clean, moral organization under a noble leadership, so far as we can learn from all reports. But to do one's best work in that or any other religious society one's entire energy in spare time should be given to that society alone; and if any member of the Rosicrucian Fellowship who is also a member of such an organization decides to cast his lot with them alone he is doing far better by them, far better by the Rosicrucian Fellow- ship also, than if he retains his membership in both. On the other hand, if the weight of his sympathies lies with the Rosicrucian Fellowship, then it is better for him, better for the Unity Society, better for the Rosicrucian Fellowship, that he cast his lot entirely with our association. As we have often said, many roads lead to Rome, but you can not walk two roads at once. You must walk one in order to get there. Zigzagging from one to another is a waste of effort. If we do our work in the world we have but very little time left in which we may legitimately work for our own ad- vantage along spiritual lines. Therefore we should endeavor to concentrate [PAGE 787] our efforts where they will do the greatest good instead of scattering our energies and attaining very little soul growth in that manner. Moreover it should be understood that if at any time the policies of the Rosicrucian Fellowship do not meet with the approval of any one, he is not serving the cause by simply deserting the flag and railing against us from the outside. If he remains within we listen to him as one brother listens to another, and we see his arguments from a very different point of view than if he shows hostility, leaves, and becomes in that way an opponent. Then the same arguments would lose a good deal of their weight. We are all agreed about the great and cardinal points of our teachings. Every one of us surely appreciates the benefit that we have reaped from this philosophy which we are engaged in promulgating. Is it not meet then that we should be tolerant in matters of policy, that we may devote all our attention to the ideals? LETTER NO. 55: JUNE, 1915 EPIGENESIS AND FUTURE DESTINY: While we are studying the "Web of Destiny--How Made and Unmade," it is expedient, in fact absolutely necessary, that we should keep before the eye of our mind the fact that life is not alone an unfoldment of causes set go- ing in previous existences. The spirit, when it comes back to rebirth, has [PAGE 788] a varying amount of free will--according to the life previously led--to fill in details. Also, instead of only unfolding past causes into effects, there are also new causes generated at every turn by the spirit, which then act as seeds of experience in future lives. This is a very important point. It is a self-evident truth, for unless it were so, the causes that have already been set going must at some time come to an end, and that would mean cessa- tion of existence. Thus we are not absolutely forced to act in a certain way because we are in a certain environment and because our whole past experience has given us a trend toward a certain end. With the divine prerogative of free will, man has the power of Epigenesis or initiative, so that he may enter upon a new line at any time he wishes. He cannot at once steer himself out of the old life--this may require a long time, perhaps several lives--but gradually he works up to the ideal which he has once sown. Therefore life advances not only by involution and evolution, but espe- cially by Epigenesis. This sublime teaching of the Western Wisdom Religion of the Rosicrucians explains many mysteries not otherwise capable of a logical solution, among them one which has occasioned many letters to Head- quarters. This subject is taken up with some reluctance as the writer dis- likes speaking about the war. The question concerns the connection between a soldier, a woman of the enemy ravished by him, and the ego born of a mother who hates it because of the undesired motherhood. Investigation of a number of cases has shown that this is a new venture [PAGE 789] on the part of the spirits coming to rebirth. All have been incorrigible in their previous environments and it seemed that no good could come by keeping them there to he sorrow of those with whom they were connected. The present war conditions, though not made for the purpose, afford an opportunity to transfer them to another field of action, where the new mother reaps, through this agency, the fruits of wrongs sown by herself in the past. Nor is this condition at all peculiar to war. Very often similar means are used at other times so that we may reap what we have sown, through an- other soul who enters into our lives to suffer and to bring suffering to us. I have in mind a mother who told me a number of years ago how she rebelled against motherhood; how, after she had gone through the period of pregnancy with hate and anger in her heart, the little child was born and she refused even to look at it; but finally she was melted by pity for its condition of helplessness, and pity later turned to love. The child had all the advan- tages that money could give him, but these advantages could not save his mental balance, and today he sits in a murderer's cell in an asylum for the criminal insane, while the mother is left to sorrow and to ponder upon what she did or did not do during the time when that infant was coming to her. Conversely, there are also occasions when a spirit, being through with an old environment, comes into a new sphere of action as a ray of sunshine and comfort to those who are fitted to receive that blessing by their previous actions. Let us, therefore, remember that no matter how degraded a being [PAGE 790] may be he has always the power to sow the seed of good, but must wait until that seed can flower in a right environment. Each of us, though bound by his yesterdays, is therefore thus far free respecting his tomorrows. LETTER NO. 56: JULY, 1915 THE NEED OF SPREADING THE TEACHINGS: Upon re-reading the monthly lesson which accompanies this letter, em- bodying the result of investigations made some time ago, I was struck anew and with added force by the fact of the existence of such fearsome condi- tions about us. At the present time when the horrors of the great war are adding unprecedented numbers to those who pass from the present world to the invisible realms under harrowing conditions, it seems that an extra effort ought to be made to offset and to minimize the evil. The Rosicrucian Fel- lowship is as yet but a drop in the ocean of humanity, but if we do our share we shall earn a greater opportunity for service. There is no remedy for the present conditions equal to a knowledge of the continuity of life and of the fact that we are reborn from time to time un- der the immutable Law of Consequence. If these great facts with all that they imply could be brought home to a large number of people, this leaven must ultimately work in such a manner as to change conditions all over the [PAGE 791] world. One man, Galileo, changed the viewpoint of the world concerning the solar system; and though we are only a few thousand, it is not possible for us to exert an influence upon the opinion of the world when we know that this is true? It is often said that people are not interested in spiritual matters; that you cannot get their ear; but, really, it is not so. Granting that of the hundred of thousands who went to hear Billy Sunday, the noted evange- list, a great many were actuated by curiosity or went to? jeer and sneer, there were also many thousand in whom was a strong desire for something which they themselves perhaps could not define, and which was the actuating motive. Recently there was a debate between a New York evangelist and a lawyer on the subject, "Where Are the Dead?" This debate was held in a large auditorium accommodating many thousands, and it lasted for three days. Every seat in the auditorium was taken and, if I remember right, there were many who could not even find standing room within. No, the world is seeking something; seeking it with a hungry heart, and it only depends upon us whether we are going to do our share by putting before the world the ratio- nal explanation of life which has come to us through the Elder Brothers. It is a great privilege and we should certainly take advantage of it. But the question is, How? Let me ask you, would not YOUR newspaper take an occasional article on this subject? There are certainly a number of people within the Fellowship capable of writing such articles. A committee could be formed to receive the articles and furnish them to the members who [PAGE 792] ask for them and who would agree to take them to the editors of the newspa- pers in their respective towns and endeavor to get a hearing for the Rosicrucian Fellowship teachings through that medium. If an article is well written it is seldom refused when there is space available, for editors are only too glad to get something that they think may interest the reading pub- lic, even though they may not be in sympathy with it themselves. Will some of the students who can write pleas submit short articles on "The Continuity of Life," and will those who are willing to undertake to get such articles into their home papers write and register their names to that we may get action? Address your communications in this matter to "The Pub- licity Department," Mt. Ecclesia. I hope that this appeal will meet with a hearty response. LETTER NO. 57: AUGUST, 1915 ASTROLOGY AS AN AID IN HEALING THE SICK: Did you ever realize the reason why Christ commanded that we should heal the sick? One of the reasons certainly was that when you have demonstrated that you can heal the body, those who have been helped will have more faith in your ability also to help the soul. When we have advanced to the high [PAGE 793] stature of Christ so that we can at once see the past and the present; when we are able thus to determine at a glance the causes, crises, and present stage of a disease, we shall need no other aid in diagnosis and advice. But until that time we must use such crutches as we have, and foremost among them is astrology. Many people who have been unwilling to WORK for results have come to Headquarters expecting to gain spiritual illumination, to sprout wings, and to return to the world as wonder workers after a few days' stay. And naturally, they have been disappointed. But whenever anyone has honestly and earnestly applied himself to real work, not classes, for a reasonable time, results have always been attained. We have here a letter from a friend who stayed at Mt. Ecclesia and applied himself earnestly and honestly to his studies. We give his experience as encouragement to others to do likewise: "Dear Friends: The proposition which I expected to take up after my stay on Mt. Ecclesia turned out to be a graft on people and not consistent with our ideals at all, and I therefore sent in my resignation. No sooner, though, did I give up that scheme than I had an invitation from a prominent physician in Kansas City to do work with him. He appealed to me as being all right. We were literally stormed with patients. Mrs. Heindel, it is wonderful how people hunger for something of this nature; they look for someone to open their lives, and they try to get encouragement from sources that are more potent and reliable than the hard and dry life-destroying ma- terialism. "Astrology came as a wonderful help to me to gain their confidence; and [PAGE 794] by the aid of God, who sent me here, I was able to send them away, their ailments correctly diagnosed. And the strangest part of it is that none of them gave me any symptoms. I located both disease and symptom, and nearly everyone agree that I was right and resolved to live up to the high prin- ciples of manhood and womanhood which I enunciated to them. "I expect to be very busy here and wish to thank you for the help I have received along this line during the last year at Mt. Ecclesia. I certainly enjoyed my stay with you immensely and am looking forward to a great deal of good from my work there; am only sorry I was unable to stay longer." What man has done, man can do. Mrs. Heindel and myself did not get our knowledge along this line without effort. We had to work hard for it; and others who have worked as hard with the same spiritual ideals in view, namely, the helping and uplifting of humanity, also find an illumination that is not given to those who are looking for the material rewards of life and their own aggrandizement. It seems to me that it is time the Rosicrucian Fellowship should wake up and take this study earnestly in hand so that healing centers may be established in every city in the world. We have started a department in the magazine where we delineate the horo- scope of children to help parents to know their latent characteristics. There is also a correspondence course for beginners, besides the course in Astro-Diagnosis and Astro-Therapy for probationers, and we would advise all who have not yet started to take up the study. [PAGE 795] LETTER NO. 58: SEPTEMBER, 1915 UNNATURAL MEANS OF ATTAINMENT: When one investigates a certain subject in the invisible world, many fas- cinating byways open up. he is constantly lured away from the main line of research by this, that, or the other theme which attracts his attention, and there is great danger of losing sight of the goal and of wandering off in a maze of incoherency. Sometimes the temptation to follow a bypath is stron- ger than my power of resistance; and recently, while working on the "Web of Destiny," the figure of a hermit who had starved his body to the semblance of a skeleton--who had whipped himself till the blood flowed from sores that were never allowed to heal, and thought he was serving God by these austerities--led me to search for the origin of this hideous practice. I have written a lengthy article on the subject for our magazine; but as the matter is important, and many of the students are not subscribers to the magazine, I have deemed it best to give you the main facts. In the ancient Mystery Temples the main truths now taught by the Rosicrucian Fellowship concerning the vital body were given to the aspirant to Initiation. He learned that this vehicle was composed of the four ethers: the Chemical Ether, which is necessary to assimilation; the Life [PAGE 796] Ether, which furthers growth and propagation; the Light Ether, which is the vehicle of sense perception; and the Reflecting Ether, which is the recep- tacle of memory. The aspirant was thoroughly instructed in the functions of the two lower ethers as compared with the two higher. He knew that all the purely animal functions of the body depended upon the density of the two lower ethers and that the two upper ethers composed the soul body--the vehicle of service in the invisible world. He aspired to cultivate this glorious garment by self-abnegation, curbing the propensities of the lower nature by will power, just as we do today. But some, who were overzealous to attain, no matter how, forgot that it is only by service and unselfishness that the golden wedding garment, com- posed of the two higher ethers, is grown. They thought the occult maxim, "Gold in the crucible, dross in the fire; light as the winds, higher and higher," meant only that so long as the dross of the lower nature was ex- pelled, it did not matter how it was done. And they reasoned that as the Chemical Ether is the agent of assimilation, it could be eliminated from the vital body by starving the physical body. They also thought that as the Life Ether is the avenue of propagation, they could by living celibate lives starve it out. They would then only have the two higher ethers, or at least these would be much larger in volume than the two lower. To that end they practiced all the austerities they could think of, fast- ing among others. By this unnatural process the body lost its health and became emaciated. The passional nature, which sought gratification by [PAGE 797] exercise of the propagative function, was stilled by castigation. It is true that in this horrible manner the lower nature seemed to be subjected; and it is also true that when the bodily functions were thus brought to a very low ebb, visions, or rather hallucinations, were the reward of these people; but true spirituality has never been attained by defiling or de- stroying "the temple of God," the body, and fasting may be as immoral as gluttony. Let us endeavor to use moderation in all things, that we may be worthy examples to others and earn admission to the Temple by virtue of right liv- ing. LETTER NO. 59: OCTOBER, 1915 THE RACE SPIRITS AND THE NEW RACE: As there are a great number of students who have not subscribed for the magazine, and as there is a very important article running now, dealing with the occult side of the war, i feel that it may be best to devote the monthly letter to a resume of the facts, and trust that this will also benefit those who take the magazine; for as I do not intend to copy, but will take up the subject offhand, new points are sure to be brought out. You remember how every one of the countries concerned in this sad affair has endeavored to disclaim responsibility from the beginning. In a sense [PAGE 798] they are right, for though all have been guilty of pride of heart and, like David when he numbered Israel, have put their trust in the multitude of their men, ships, and armament, no war can ever take place that is not per- mitted by the Race Spirits. The Race Spirit guides its charges upon the path of evolution, and, like Jehovah, fights for them, or allows other na- tions to conquer them, as required to teach them the lesson needful for their advancement. When seen by the spiritual vision the Race Spirit appears like a cloud brooding over a country, and it is breathed into the lungs of the people with every breath they take. In it they live, move, and have their being, as a matter of actual fact. Through this process they become imbued with that national fellow-feeling which we call "patriotism," which is so power- fully stirring in time of war that all feel wrought up about a certain mat- ter and are ready to sacrifice all for their country. America has no Race Spirit as yet. It is the melting pot wherein the various nations are being amalgamated to extract the seed for a new race; therefore it is impossible to arouse a universal sentiment which will make all move as one in any matter. This new race is beginning to appear, how- ever. You may know them by their long arms and limbs, their lithe body, their long and somewhat narrow head, high crown, and almost rectangular forehead. In a few generations I expect they will be taken in charge by an Archangel, who will then begin to unite them. This itself will take gen- erations, for though the pictures originally stamped in the old race bodies [PAGE 799] have faded from sight with the advent of the international marriages, they are still effective, and the family connections of America with Europe may be traced in the Memory of Nature found in the Reflecting Ether. Until this record has been wiped clean, the tie with the ancestral country is not en- tirely broken, and the colonies of Italians, Scots, Germans, English, etc., remaining in various part of this country retard the evolution of the new race. Probably the Aquarian Age will be here before this condition has been entirely overcome and the American race fully established. If you look back at the developments during the past 60 or 70 years, it must be evident that it has been an age of skepticism, doubt, and criticism of religious subjects. The churches have become increasingly empty, and people have turned to the pursuit of pleasure, from the worship of God. This tendency was on the increas in Europe until the advent of this war, and it is still a disgrace to certain cities and centers of scientific thought in America. As a result of this worldwide attitude of mind, fostered by the Brothers of the Shadow with the permission of the Race Spirits, as Job was tempted by Satan in the legend, a spiritual cataract has covered the eyes of the Western world and must be removed before evolution can proceed. How that is being done will be the subject of the next letter. [PAGE 800] LETTER NO. 60: NOVEMBER, 1915 THE WAR AN OPERATION FOR SPIRITUAL CATARACT: You are aware from the teachings of the COSMO that there was one race at the end of the Lemurian Epoch, there were seven in the Atlantean Epoch, seven in the Aryan, and there will be one in the coming Galilean Epoch, mak- ing in all sixteen races. You also remember that these sixteen races are called by the Elder Brothers "the sixteen paths to destruction" because en- meshed in the bodies of any race to such an extent that it will be unable to follow the others along the path of evolution. During the Periods and Ep- ochs there is always plenty of time so that the Leaders of humanity can mar- shal their flocks into line. This was the tendency among the nations of Europe up to the present war. Patriotism, and the racial ideal fostered thereby, were leading them away from God. An age of doubt and skepticism had been ushered in by the many scientific discoveries, and the pioneer races in the Western world were [PAGE 801] stearing very close to the brink of destruction. Therefore it became neces- sary for the Elder Brothers to devise measures whereby mankind might be brought from the path of pleasure to the path of devotion, and this could only be done by removing the spiritual cataract from a sufficiently large number of people so that they would then override the doubt and skepticism of the rest. When we dwelt under the water in the early Atlantean Epoch, we were, as you know, unable to see the body or even to feel it, because our conscious- ness was focused in the spiritual realm. We saw one another, soul to soul. We were unaware of either birth or death, and we felt no separation from those we loved. But when we gradually became aware of our bodies, and our consciousness was focused in the physical world from birth to death, and in the spiritual world from death to birth, there was a separation, and conse- quent sorrow on account of the advent of death. In bygone ages however, there were still many who were able to see both worlds; they formed quite a considerable number of the populace. Their testimonies to the continuity of life were a great comfort to those who had been bereaved, for they believed thoroughly that those whom they had lost were still alive and happy, though unable to make themselves known. But gradually the world became more and more materialistic; faith in the reality of the hereafter faded, and sorrow at the loss of the loved ones grew more and more intense, until today many believe the separation is final. To them the word "rebirth" is an empty sound, and therefore grief is overwhelming. [PAGE 802] But this very grief is nature's remedy for the spiritual cataract. As surely as the desire for growth built the complicated alimentary canal from the simplest beginning so that the craving for growth might be satisfied; as surely as the desire for motion evolved the wonderful joints, sinews, and ligaments wherewith this is accomplished; just as surely will the intense yearning to continue the relationships severed by death build the organ for its gratification--the spirit eye. Therefore this wholesale slaughter of millions of men has helped and is helping more to bridge the gulf between the invisible and the visible world than a thousand years of preaching could do. All through the history of the world it has been recorded that warriors have seen so-called supernatural manifestations, and there is plenty of testimony that those visions have also been seen in the present war. The shock of the wound, the suffering in the hospital, and tears of the widows and orphans, all are opening the spiritual eyes of Europe, and the age of doubt and skepticism will pass away. Instead of being ashamed of having faith in God, the world will honor a man for his piety rather than for his prowess in a not very distant future. And let us all pray for that day. [PAGE 803] LETTER NO. 61: DECEMBER, 1915 CYCLIC MOVEMENTS OF THE SUN: The news printed today in big type on the front pages of newspapers, news which seems of such vital and absorbing interest to everybody, is usually forgotten tomorrow, and the papers that contained the records are thrown into the fire. Likewise the song that is upon the lips of everybody is usu- ally after awhile relegated to he archives of oblivion. Even the men who are launched like meteors into the limelight of publicity are usually soon forgotten, together with the deeds that caused their brief popularity--for, it? quote Solomon, "All is vanity." But among the kaleidoscopic changes that are constantly altering the stage of the world, morally, mentally, and physically, there are certain cy- clic events which, though they are recurrent in their nature, have a perma- nency and stability about them which differentiates the macrocosmic from the microcosmic method of conducting affairs. In the spring time, at Easter, when the sun crosses the eastern or vernal equinox, the earth emerges from its wintry sleep and shakes off the snowy blanket which has covered it with a vesture of immaculate purity. The voice of nature is heard when the little babbling brooks begin to trickle down the hillside on their way to the great ocean. It is heard when the wind [PAGE 804] whispers in the newly sprouted forest leaves the song of love that calls forth the bud and the flower which finally bears the pollen that is carried upon invisible wings to the waiting mate. It is heard in the love song of the mating birds and the call of beast unto beast. It continues in every department of nature until the increase of new life has compensated for the destruction by death. Through the summer, Love and Life toil exceedingly with joyful heart, for they are Masters in the struggle for existence while the sun is exalted in the northern heavens, at the maximum of his power at the summer solstice. Time goes by, and there comes another turning point at the fall equinox. The song of the woodland choir is now hushed; the love call of beast and bird ceases and nature becomes mute again. The light wanes, and the shadows of night grow longer, until at winter solstice, where we are now, the earth again prepares for the deepest sleep, for she need the night of rest after the strenuous activities of the preceding day. But as the spiritual activities of man are greatest while his body is asleep, so also, by the law of analogy, we may understand that the spiritual fires in the earth are brightest at this time of the year; that now is the best opportunity for soul growth, for investigation and study of the deeper mysteries of life. And therefore it behooves us to catch opportunity on the wing so that we may use this present time to the very best advantage; yet without hurry, without worry, but patiently and prayerfully, knowing that among all other things in the world which change, this great wave of [PAGE 805] spiritual light will be with us in the winter season for ages to come. It will grow more and more brilliant as the earth and ourselves evolve to higher degrees of spirituality. We are now doing the pioneer work of spreading the Rosicrucian teachings which will help to illuminate the world during the centuries immediately following our present time. There is a law that "you can get only as you give." Now--this season of the year--is the most propitious time to give and receive, so let us be sure to let our light shine on the great cosmic Christmas tree, that it may be seen of men, and that they may be attracted to the truths which we know to be of such vital importance in the development of our fellow men. In concluding this letter I desire to thank every one of the students for their co-operation in the work during the past year. Any may we do better work together in the coming year. LETTER NO. 62: JANUARY, 1916 THE TEACHER'S DEBT OF GRATITUDE: We are now at the close of another year of our lives and at the beginning of a new, and certain thoughts have come to me in connection with these di- visions of our earthly lives. When Christ was at the end of His ministry, eating the last supper with His disciples, he washed their feet, despite protests from some who thought [PAGE 806] that this was a humiliation for the teacher. But as a matter of fact it was the symbol of an attitude of mind which is of great significance as a factor in soul growth. Were it not for the mineral soil, the higher plant kingdom would be an impossibility; and the animal kingdom could not exist if the plants did not give it the needed substance. Thus we see that in nature the higher feeds upon and is dependent on the lower for its growth and further evolution. Although it is a fact that the disciples were instructed and helped by Christ, it is also a fact that they were stepping-stones in His development; and it was in recognition of this fact that He humbled Himself, acknowledging His debt to them in the performance of the most menial service imaginable. It has been the great privilege of the writer to transmit the esoteric instructions of the Elder Brothers to you and thousands of others during the past year, and in this he has been aided by all the workers on Mt. Ecclesia, directly or indirectly. Those who have helped in the print shop, office, or whatever necessary department have all had their share in this privilege, and we all thank you for these opportunities for soul growth which have come to us in satisfying your need. We trust that we have been of some service in that respect, and ask your prayers that we may become more efficient servants in the coming year. And how about you, dear friend? During the past year you also have had opportunities to serve others in a similar manner. Have you used your tal- ents of knowledge transmitted to you to enlighten those with whom you have [PAGE 807] come in contact? It is not necessary to stand in a pulpit, literally or metaphorically, at any time in order to speak to the heart of others. It is often most effectively accomplished in the little quiet ways, such that people do not know we are trying to show them something. We trust you have improved your opportunities to the best of your ability during the past year, and pray that you may enter the new year with a still more earnest spirit of service, and that is may prove to be much more fruitful of soul growth than the past has been. LETTER NO. 63: FEBRUARY, 1916 SPIRITUAL TEACHERS--TRUE AND FALSE: One of the most difficult problems which confront the leader of a spiritual movement is the impatience of students who want to reap where they have not sown. They are not patient enough to wait for the harvest but want results immediately, and if they do not sprout wings within a specified time set by themselves they are ready to cry "fraud" and seek and "individual teacher," visible or invisible. So long as he will "guarantee" results, they are prepared to throw common sense to the winds and follow him blindly, though he may lead them to the insane asylum or to a consumptives's grave, or in the cases of those who get off the easiest, simply separate them from [PAGE 808] some of their cash. This condition has been dealt with before in letters to students, but there are always some who forget and new students are constantly being added to the class; therefore it is necessary to reiterate important points from time to time. Hearing recently of one who left a certain center for an "in- dividual teacher," and who seems on that account to be envied in a measure by others of the group who have not been so fortunate (?), it seems expedi- ent to go into the matter again. Have you ever seen any institution, from kindergarten to college, where they keep a teacher for every pupil? We have not. No board of education would sanction such a waste of energy, nor would they appoint an individual teacher for any one simply because that pupil was impatient and wanted to get through school "quick." And finally, even if a board could be found willing to appoint a teacher in a special case who would "cram" knowledge into the pupils brain, there would be a great danger of brain fever, insan- ity, and maybe death in that method. If this is true in schools of physical science, how can anyone believe that it can be different with regard to spiritual science? Christ said to His disciples: "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" No "individual teacher," if such there were, can initiate anyone into the mysteries of the soul until the pupil is prepared by his or her own work. Whoever professes to do so brands himself as an impostor of a low order. And whoever allows [PAGE 809] himself to be so duped shows very little common sense; otherwise he would realize that no truly highly evolved teacher could afford to give his time and energy to the instruction of a single pupil, when he might just as eas- ily teach a large number. Imagine, if you can, the twelve great Brothers of the Rose Cross, each tagging around after on puny pupil! The thought is a sacrilege. Such truly great and highly evolved men have other and more important things to attend to, and even the lay brothers who have been initiated by them are not al- lowed to bother them for small and unimportant matters. It may therefore be stated emphatically that the Elder Brothers do not habitually visit any one in the Rosicrucian Fellowship, or out of it, as an "individual teacher," and whoever thinks so is being deceived. They have given certain teachings which form the basis of instruction in this school, and by learning how to live this silence of the soul we may in time fit our- selves to meet them face to face in the school of Invisible Helpers. There is no other way. I trust that this may fix the idea more firmly in your own mind than it has been before, and give you a basis for setting others right who are in danger of being side-tracked. [PAGE 810] LETTER NO. 64: MARCH, 1916 THE BATTLE THAT RAGES WITHIN: From time to time we are grieved to receive letters from students in the warring countries chiding us for not taking up the cudgel in favor of their side. There has not been a day since this sad conflict began that we have not mourned the dreadful slaughter, though comforted by the knowledge that it is helping as nothing else could to break down the barrier between the living and the dead. Thus the war will go far towards abolishing the sorrow now experienced by the masses when parting from loved ones; also the present sorrow is turning the Western people from the pleasures of the world to the worship of God. There has not been a night that we have not worked diligently with the dead and wounded to allay their mental anguish or physical pain. Patriotism was very good at one time, but Christ said, "Before Abraham was, I am." (EGO SUM). Races and nations, comprehended in the term "Abraham," are evanescent, but "the Ego," which existed before Abraham, the race father, will also persist when nations are a thing of the past. There- fore the Fellowship disregards national and racial differences, endeavoring to join all together in a bond of love to fight a Great War--the only war in [PAGE 811] which a true Christian should fight, and one which a true Christian ought to wage unflinchingly and without quarter--the war against his lower nature. Paul says: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing. For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Does not Paul describe here most accurately the state of every aspiring soul? Are we not all suffering spiritually because of the conflict within ourselves? I hope there is but one answer, namely, that this inner war is being waged fiercely and unremittingly by every Fellowship student; for where there is no struggle, there is a sure indication of spiritual coma. The "body of sin" has then the upper hand. But the fiercer the fight, the more hopeful our spiritual state. In America we hear a great deal of talk of "neutrality" and "prepared- ness" for "defensive" purposes. In the nobler war which we must wage, there can be no "neutrality." Either there is peace, and "the flesh" rules us and holds us in abject subjections, or there is war aggresively waged by both flesh and spirit. And so long as we continue to live in this "body of death" this warfare will continue, for even Christ was tempted, and we can- not expect to fare better than He. [PAGE 812] "Preparedness" is good. It is more necessary every day, for just as a physical enemy seeks to trap and ambush a strong adversary rather than risk open battle, so also the temptations which beset us on "the path" become more subtle with each succeeding year. Writer like Thomas a Kempis were wont to speak of themselves as "vile worms," and to use kindred terms of "self-abasement," because they knew the great and subtle danger of "self-approbation." But even that may be carried too far, and we may feel that we are "very, very good" and "holier" than others because we abuse ourselves; and we may do it for the pleasure we get from hearing other people contradict us. Truly, the snares of the desire body are past finding out. There is a way to be prepared, and it is sure: "Look to Christ," and keep your mind busy every waking moment when not engaged in your daily work, studying how you may serve Him. Endeavor by every available means to carry out in a practical manner the ideas thus conceived. The more closely we imitate Christ, the more loyally we follow the dictates of the Higher Self, the more certainly shall we vanquish the lower nature and win the only war worth while winning. [PAGE 813] LETTER NO. 65: APRIL, 1916 EASTER, A PROMISE OF NEWNESS OF LIFE: This is the Easter lesson, though it does not say one word connected with the cosmic event of the present season. But it emphasizes anew the great vital fact that birth and death are only incidents in the life of the spirit, which is without beginning or end. Old age, sickness, war, or accident may destroy this earthly habitation, but we have "a house from heaven" that no power can move. And so, no matter how closely death may come to us or to our loved ones, we know that as Good Friday is followed by the glorious Easter, so also the door of death is but the gate to a longer life where the sickness and paid which lays our physical body low have no more dominion. Just think what that means to our poor brothers who are torn and mangled by the awful inhumanity of man to man, and let us give thanks that they have escaped from the suffering which they must have endured if there had been no death to liberate them. The great majority look upon death as "the king of terrors," but when we are instructed, we realize that under our present conditions death is a friend indeed. None of us has a perfect body, and as it deteriorates in an alarming degree during the few years that we use it, think how it would feel a million years hence--and a million years are less than a fleeting moment [PAGE 814] compared to infinite duration. None but spirit can endure infinity, and therefore Easter is the earnest of our hope of immortality, and Christ the first fruits of immortality and many brethren with Him. Let us then, dear friend, approach the coming Easter in an attitude of spiritual aspiration to imitate our great Leader, the Christ, by crucifying our lower nature. May every day of the coming year be a Good Friday, may every night be spent in the purgatorial prison ministering to the spirits there confined, as Christ also did, and may every morn be a glorious Easter on which we rise in the newness of life to greater and better deeds. "Take care of the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves" says a worldly wise proverb. We may paraphrase and adapt it to the spiritual life by saying, "Take heed that every day is well spent, and the years will yield much treasure." [PAGE 815] LETTER NO. 66: MAY, 1916 DAILY EXERCISE IN SOUL CULTURE: When Christ visited Martha and Mary the former was much more concerned with preparation for his material comfort than in attending to the spiritual matters which he taught; hence the rebuke that she was concerned with many things of lesser moment than "the one thing needful." There is no doubt that it is positively wicked to neglect fulfilling one's duties and meeting every obligation honestly incurred in our ordinary everyday life. But un- fortunately most of us make the great mistake of looking upon our work and duties in the material world as paramount, thinking that the spiritual side of our development can wait until a convenient time when we have nothing else to do. An increasing number of people admit that they ought to give more attention to spiritual matters, but they always have an excuse for not attending to them just now. "My business requires my entire attention," one will say. "Times are so strenuous, and in order to keep my head above water I must work from early morning till late at night. But as soon as times are a little better I am going to look into these matters and give more time to them." Another claims that certain relatives are dependent on him and that when he has fulfilled his obligations to these dependents he will be able to [PAGE 816] devote his time to soul growth. There is no doubt that in many cases these excuses are legitimate, to a certain extent, and that the one who makes them is really and truly sacri- ficing himself or herself for some one else. I remember the case of a pro- bationer who once wrote in distress that her two little children were always in need of attention at the times when she ought to perform her morning and evening exercises. She ardently desired to progress along the path of the higher life but the care of the children seemed a hindrance, and she asked what she should do. Attend to her children, of course, as I wrote to her. The sacrifice involved in giving up her own progress for the sake of her children's comfort naturally won a rebound to a thousand times more soul growth than if she had neglected her children for her own selfish interests. But on the other hand there are many who simply lack the mental stamina to make the sustained effort. No matter how strenuous busines conditions are, it is possible to devote a little time each day, morning and evening, to the attainment of spirituality. It is an exceedingly good practice to concentrate the mind upon an ideal during the time spent in street cars go- ing from home to the place of business. The very fact that there is so much noise and confusion, which makes the effort more difficult, is in itself a help; for he who learns to direct his thought one-pointedly under such con- ditions will have no difficulty in obtaining the same results, or even bet- ter, under more favorable circumstances. The time thus spent will prove far [PAGE 817] more profitable than if used for reading a newspaper or a magazine which will call attention to conditions that are far from elevating. The mind of most people is like a sieve. As water runs through the sieve so also thoughts flit through their brain. These thoughts are good, bad, and indifferent--mostly the latter. The mind does not hold on to any of them sufficiently long to learn its nature, and yet we are apt to entertain the idea that we cannot help our thoughts being what they are. On that ac- count the great majority have formed the habit of listless thinking which makes them incapable of holding on to any subject until it is thoroughly mastered. It may be difficult to do, but certainly when the power of thought-control has been gained, the possessor holds within his hand the key to success in whatever line he may be engaged. Therefore I would urge you in connection with this series of lessons,"The Occult Effect of the Emotions," which you are receiving that you take the above personally to heart and set aside a portion of each day for the pur- pose of gaining thought-control. There are a number of helpful hints given by various authors, but i will think the matter over and try to give some general hints. This is very difficult because so much depends upon the tem- perament of the student. The instruction should really be individual, rather than collective, to bring the best results. [PAGE 818] LETTER NO. 67: JUNE, 1916 THE REAL HEROES OF THE WORLD: Though my letter is dated the first of the month it was written earlier of course--in fact, the evening before "Decoration Day," the day when all patriotic Americans are supposed to honor the dead heroes who fought for the integrity of the Union. As I thought over the matter it occurred to me that it seems always to require a calamity or a catastrophe to make me forget self and rise to the call of a cause or to the need of the occasion regardless of consequences. They always respond in war, earthquake, fire, or shipwreck. But why should it require such cataclysmic events to bring out the virtue of self-sacrificing service when they are needed every day and hour in every home, hamlet, and city? The world would be so much better off if we did our noble deeds daily instead of only on occasion of exceptional stress. It may be noble to die for a great cause, but it is surely nobler to live a life of self-sacrifice, covering many years, cherishing others and helping them to be better and nobler, than to die in the attempt to kill a fellow being. There is many a father who struggles years and years to give his children what he terms "a chance in life." There are thousands of mothers who toil a lifetime at "hard labor" to aid in this work for the young. There are [PAGE 819] millions of such heroes who are never heard of because they helped their fellows to live instead of causing them to die. Is this not an anomaly--that we honor an army of men for more than half a century because they killed, killed, killed, while that greater army which fostered all that is best on earth lie forgotten in their graves? As followers of Christ, let us pay tribute to the heroes and heroines who through years of suffering fought for others by rendering tender care in childhood's helpless days, by unflagging service in times of sickness, by patient participation in poverty and in any and every trouble that might be- fall. Nor let us wait till they have passed to the beyond, but let us honor them here and now. Neither should we set one day in the year apart for the payment of such tribute, but we should honor them every day of our lives, and we should seek to lighten their burdens by emulating their noble deeds. How shall we find them? They wear no uniform, neither do they wear their hearts upon their sleeves. They are everywhere, and if we seek we shall find them. The quicker we join their ranks, the sooner we shall honor our- selves by lightening their burdens as it becomes all true servants of the Master. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." 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