Epigenesis and the Law of Causation

LETTER NO. 84 - November, 1917

Some errors are so frequently expressed by students that they call for correction from time to time. The most general of these is the mistaken idea that everything which happens to us is the outcome or effect of some cause or action of our own in times past, generally in a past existence. Theoretically, students know that this attitude is wrong. They are aware that besides the destiny brought over with us from previous existences for liquidation in this life, we are every day exerting a causative influence by our acts. A considerable part of the deeds done in this body will work uot into effects before death terminates our stay in our present environment, while those deeds which are not thus liquidated will be held over and will form the foundation of the destiny of a future existence, where we may reap what we have sown. This destiny carried over from life to life is shown by our horoscope, and gives us certain characteristics and tendencies or lines of least resistence. It cannot be overlooked though that this destiny from the past gives us a certain bias or trend towards a particular line of action. But, nevertheless, there is comparative free will in a large percentage of our actions, leaving scope for the exercise of Epigenesis, the divine creative activity which is the basis of evolution.

As said, students all know this perfectly well, theoretically. But in dealing with problems of practical every-day life they seem to persistently take the attitude that all that that is, is an unfoldment of something that has already been. This is particularly true of students who have been studying the Eastern religions before taking up the Western Wisdom Teachings. By this mental attitude of ignoring Epigenesis they are retarding their soul growth to a greater extent than they are aware of. In fact something is happening to them similar to that which befalls the materialist during his post-mortem existence at the time when he lives on the Borderland between Purgatory and the First Heaven in a monotony most dreadful to contemplate. The Borderland is, so to speak, an eddy outside the stream of life where progress is at a standstill. The materialist is there because of his denial of post-mortem existence, which has put him out of touch with the spiritual currents that generate motion and action during that existence.

Similarly, when we constantly emphasize the Law of Causation and consistently and persistently ignore the Law of Epigenesis, we are placing ourselves outside the latter's line of action, and our opportunities for exercising its initiative are missed more often than not, with the result that we become more and more barren as the years go by. Whereas if we endeavor intelligently when considering the problems of life, exemplified in the actions of those about us as well as our own actions, to seek out the principle of Epigenesis and watch its operation, we shall find opportunities for initiative action opening up before us to an extent we have never before believed possible. By watching the way in which Epigenesis applies in other lives we shall learn how to apply it in our own.

I hope that you will keep this thought close to you and tha you may reap much benefit from a persistent practice of this principle.