The Pathway of Roses/The Supreme Purpose of Life
THE SUPREME PURPOSE OF LIFE
The beliefs of the past have told us that we are now living in time, and that later on we shall enter eternity; but we are rapidly discarding this idea; first, because it is not true, and second, because we have discovered this idea to be one of the chief causes of age and premature death. By premature death we mean the passing away from this sphere before we have fulfilled the purpose for which we came, and since we are here for some special purpose, we must permit nothing that will take us away before our work is finished.
That we are living here for some great purpose we must all admit; that we have something very important to accomplish in this world we are all beginning to learn; and that we must necessarily remain here for a long time to rightly promote the divine plan is becoming more and more evident. When we think of this great theme from every viewpoint of consciousness we invariably come to the conclusion that man should remain here until he reaches such a high spiritual state that nothing in the world of things can serve him any more; and we shall find that when we begin to live for the attainment of this sublime state, every moment of existence will be perfect bliss. It is truly sweet to live when we live to promote the great divine plan.
We find, however, that but very few live a good life, and that only a limited number reach a high spiritual state before taking their departure. But what might the reason be? We all realize that old age is unnatural; and none of us require logic to demonstrate the great advantage of a life where eternal youth and eternal ascension in life are blended into one. Therefore we wish to find the fundamental cause of those conditions that produce age, that produce sickness, and that take us away from this sphere before our work is done. And this cause we find in the fact that man thinks he is living in time; when he should know that he is living in eternity.
When man fully realizes that he is living now in the great eternal now, and that he is already in eternity, he shall know age no more. Man grows old because he believes in the passing of time. He believes that he is living in a world where time is ever going, and that he is going with it—to the grave. He is conscious of the passing of years, and believes that the further he goes with the years the more years will be added to the burden of his life. He therefore thinks of himself as so many years old; but here he is mistaken. Time is not passing; time is; and the time that is, is eternity.
What we call time is only that period in eternity that we are conscious of now, and in truth we cannot call it a period of any definite length. To some it is long, to others it is short, to some it passes quickly, to others it drags, and it is variously interpreted by various minds; but the time itself continues to be the same—the eternity that we are conscious of now. It may be stated, however, that time must be passing because something certainly does appear to come and go. But this is only the changing attitude of consciousness as man ascends in the scale. We look at the sun; it appears to move, but we know that the sun is not moving from the earth's point of view; it is the earth that is moving. In like manner we have looked upon time as passing, but now we know that time is standing still; we are moving upward and onward forever.
When man becomes conscious of the fact that time is standing still, that he is moving, and that the further on he moves the larger his life becomes, he will have attained the secret of that life that is ever young. It may be stated, however, that if man believes he is moving, that belief will cause him to think of advancing age; but the truth is that when man realizes that he is ever moving onward he will know that he is growing into life; and he will never pass into age so long as he is growing into life.
The many believe that time is passing—coming to man and going away from man, and that man himself is passing, not into life but out of life; in consequence, the life more abundant is not realized. What the race does realize in growth, advancement and higher attainment is produced partly by the natural power of life to ascend in the scale and partly by the efforts of great souls. The race belief, however, concerning time and man's relation to time, is a constant obstacle, both to emancipation from the imperfections of the lesser life, and the ascension into greater life. To secure emancipation now, to realize that youthful life now that is a necessary part of the spiritual life, and to rise daily into the greater spiritual life, the usual conception of time must be reversed. But we cannot accomplish this by trying to change our relations to those external devices that measure the movements of nature; nor will a denial of nature avail in the least. The change that is required must take place in our own consciousness.
Realize that time is, that the time that is is eternity, and that eternity is still, always here, forever giving forth her riches to man. Realize that there is no time except the eternal, therefore time does not pass because there is neither time to pass nor passing time. Realize this great truth in the depths of consciousness, and years will only add to your power, your youth, your life and your spiritual attainments. Then you shall remain upon earth until your work is finished—until you have reached the Christ state.
When this truth is realized, you will consciously feel the stillness and the calm of the eternity that forever is. You will no longer feel that you are passing on and on to some undesired end where adverse forces will rob you of the life you are here to live; you will no longer think of death or those periods of inability that have formerly preceded death; these mean nothing to you; they do not belong to your life; you are living in eternity; time is not adding years to your life; your life is eternal, and that which is eternal cannot be measured by years. The movements of nature in their circles and spirals may be measured; but that has nothing to do with life or time. Nature is forever moving around the great eternal now, and the eternal now is living in the deep silence of the life that forever is now. The life that you live—the real life, the eternal life, is the same life that is now; and in that life there is no time, no years, no age—only eternity.
Ascension in life means the appropriation of more and more of real life; it does not mean the changing of life from one state to another, nor the passing through periods of time. Growth does not come from the passing of time; growth comes from appropriation; besides, there is no passing of time. When we think of growth we usually think of so much gain in so much time, but that is a mistake. The soul that truly lives, appropriates all that it needs each moment; no more, no less; it does not deal with time; it deals only with that which has real, eternal existence; it never thinks of tomorrow because in eternity there is no tomorrow; it lives now, and it knows that the life that is now will never pass away.
When we become conscious of eternal life we no longer question the immortal existence of the soul. To feel eternal life is to know that life is eternal, and that every soul that lives lives the life eternal now. We cannot separate the life of the soul from the life that is eternal, and the moment that we discover that the two are one we know that we shall live forever. We need no external demonstration to prove to us that those that have gone before are still alive; we now know that no soul can possibly cease to exist, and we spiritually discern the immortal existence of all the souls in the world. We seek no visible sign because we are in the presence of that something from which every sign must proceed. We no longer ponder over the life after death; we know there is no death. That which is eternal life can never die, and to become conscious of the soul is to discover that the soul is eternal life. The soul is coexistent with God; what God is the soul is; the soul is the real man, the man that is forever in the image and likeness of God.
When we ask "If a man die, shall he live again?" we prove to those who understand that we are still living in the person, and that we still think of ourselves as being persons. The person passes away, and therefore so long as we think that we are persons we think that we shall also pass away; but we are not certain whether we shall pass into nothingness or into another life; we do not know because we are not awakened into that consciousness of eternal life that does know. We doubt no more, however, when we discover the real life of the soul, and find that we are not persons but spiritual entities, sons of the Most High. If you wish to convince yourself that you are to live after you have removed the physical body, do not seek after mysterious signs in the without; seek rather the real life in the within. The more deeply you enter into real life the more fully you realize that there is no end to your own life. The outer consciousness informs you that you have life; the inner consciousness informs you that there is no end to your life, and the one is as convincing to the mind as the other.
You know that you are living because you are conscious of life. Enter more deeply into the reality of your being and you become conscious of eternal life. Then you will not only know that you are living, but you will know that there can be no end to your living. To be conscious of life is to know that you are living now; to be conscious of eternal life is to know that you are living in eternity now, and that to live in eternity is to be eternal. To develop the consciousness of eternal life it is only necessary to grow daily in the spiritual life. Seek to understand the reality of your own divine being, and you will not only develop that spiritual discernment that knows the immortal existence of your own soul, but you will also develop that discernment that knows the present continued existence of all souls. You will know that you are destined to live eternally, and you will know that all souls, from ages past, are now living eternally. You know this, not through signs from without, or evidences that may appeal to physical senses or psychical senses, but through that spiritual understanding that is in conscious touch with every soul in God's unbounded cosmos. Neither the physical senses nor the psychical senses can know the soul; it is therefore impossible to demonstrate to any of those senses that the soul is immortal. Spiritual consciousness alone can know this great truth and to be spiritually conscious is to live in that sacred, interior realm where we know that man is perfect and divine, as God is perfect and divine. We know this when we are in the spirit, for nothing can be hidden in the light of the spirit. In that light we see all things as they are; therefore we know, and we speak with authority, not from ourselves but from God. In the spirit we are with God, and His thought becomes our thought, His word our word, His life our life.
When you see some one leaving the body you do not weep if you are spiritually awakened; you know that the leave-taking is but seeming; there is neither going nor coming in the spirit; there is no separation in spirit; in the spirit all are one in His love. Though the soul that seems to depart becomes invisible to physical sight, still that soul is ever visible to spiritual sight. To be consciously in the spirit is to see all those who live in the spirit whatever the form may be. In the consciousness of the spirit the manifestation of the form is secondary; whether the form be physical or ethereal is not of first importance; but to know the spirit, to be conscious of the spirit, and to know that all souls are eternally in the spirit—that is the first importance. That soul that seems to have gone, has not gone; you who are in the spirit, can feel her life, her presence and her love just the same; and you are wide awake to the fact that she still lives. Her existence is just as real to you as it was before, because in the spirit all is real. To you, who are in the spirit, all souls are real whether they manifest in this world or in some other world. They are all in God's sublime world, and when you are spiritually conscious your eyes are opened to the splendor and glory of that world.