Struggles of the Aspiring Soul

LETTER NO. 69 - AUGUST, 1916

From time to time letters of discouragement are received at Headquarters from people who are smitten by conscience because they are unable to live up to their high ideals, and they feel that it would be more honest to abandon the faith and live as others live who make no professions. They say that while they read and study or listen in church to passages which exhort them to love their enemies, to bless them that curse them, and to pray for those who despitefully use them, they are heart and soul in accord with these sentiments and would gladly follow these precepts; but when they meet such conditions in the world, they cannot comply with the Biblical command, and therefore feel that they are hypocrites.

If man were a homogeneous whole, if spirit, soul, and body were one and undivided, that these people are hypocrites would be true. But spirit, soul, and body are not one, as we realize to our sorrow from the very first day that we feel the desire to tread the path of the higher life. And in this fact lies the solution of the problem. There are two distance natures in each of us. In the days of our unaspiring life the higher spiritual nature is asleep, and the worldly personal self is undisputed lord of all our actions. Then there is peace and serenity. But the moment the spiritual nature wakens, the war begins. As we grow in spirituality, the struggle is intensified until some time in the future the personality will succumb, and we shall gain the peace that passeth all understanding.

In the meantime we have the condition whereof our students complain (with Paul, Faust, and every other aspiring soul), that to will is easy, but that the good that they would, they do not, and the evil that they would not, that they do. The writer has felt, and feels most keenly every day of his life this discrepancy between this teachings and his actions. One part of his being aspires with an ardor that is painful in its intensity to all the higher and nobler things, while on the other hand, a strong personality, exceedingly difficult to curb, is a source of continual grief. But he feels that so long as he does not "pose" as a saint, so long as he honestly admits his shortcomings and professes his sorrow for them, and so long as he uses the inclusive "WE" in all his exhortations, he deceives no one, and is not a hypocrite. Whatever he says he takes to himself first and foremost, and, however, unsuccessful, he strive to follow the Rosicrucian teachings. If everyone else among our students feels troubled on the same score as the correspondents who have inspired this letter, we hope that this may set them right.

Besides, what else can we do but go on? Having once awakened the higher nature, it cannot be permanently silenced, and there will be the misery of regret and remorse if we abandon effort. We have several times called attention to the way the mariner guides his vessel across the waste of waters by a star. He will never reach it, but nevertheless it brings him safely through the rock shoals to the desired haven. Similarly, if our ideals are so high that we realize we shall never reach them in this life, let us also keep in mind that we have endless time before us, and that what we cannot accomplish in this life-day will be achieved tomorrow or later. Let us follow the example of Paul and "by patient persistence in well-doing" continue to seek for spiritual glory, honor, and immortality.