In the course of a man's effort towards Spiritual development, he is continually confronted with what, to him, seems difficult to understand, and from this difficulty of comprehension arises, perforce, an obstacle to the progress he so wishes to make. The Law, as given out, is, that man can only profit himself, Spiritually, through his efforts for others, and until this idea comes to be understood, to a certain extent, through his intuitive powers, he finds himself working on a more or less seeming intangible basis. Still, Altruism is the Law, and strict obedience to it is insisted upon in all theistic beliefs. In order to remove this difficulty of understanding, if only to a little extent, these present words are set forth, in the hope that the little light they contain may illumine the darkness of some few struggling souls, rendering their pathway less tortuous, and their footsteps toward the Spiritual Goal less faltering and wayward.
One of the first thoughts that the endeavourer must assimilate is, that the progress he wishes to make and the knowledge he hopes to attain, are not concerned with him so much as a personality as a necessary Spiritual unit in a great community. He must lead his thoughts to the understanding of the universality of the Spirit in all, of the Real Relationship of himself to Mankind.
That this relationship does exist cannot be too strongly insisted upon; leaving out the suppositious primal earthly progenitor, mankind emanates from, exists in, and strives to, attain to its One Source, The Father. In Him all men have their impulse towards Spiritual progression, and through His Omnipresence are we in the truest sense inwardly related. Bearing this in mind then, if men put forth their best endeavors towards the Spiritual uplifting of their brethren, they must, if only in an infinitesimal degree, be pushing forward the Spiritual evolution of mankind as a whole, and, as a necessary and interdependent part of this great whole, their own upward progress is, in a similar measure, carried onward.
To put this simply, showing out the central idea: all men are brothers, Sons of the Father, united in the True Spiritual relationship; effort towards the betterment of others is of more avail than the selfish endeavors towards individual advancement, in that the progress of each is involved in and dependent upon that of the whole.
Other views than this, however, commend themselves to us at this stage; these Altruistic efforts, acting as above, have also what may be termed a reflex action, a giving, so to speak, of recompense equal in degree and quality to the effort expended. This reciprocal law, working unfailingly, as it does, adds in a direct manner to the man's advancement, who looks more to the uplifting of others than of himself. "But where is the evidence of this?" asks the inquirer. There is a plentitude of evidence for the seeking. Let a man speak encouraging and hopeful words, and he finds in himself a reflection of the Spiritual incentive he gives to others; let his deeds be those of charity and kindness, and he feels in his heart some of the joy he bestows. Let his thoughts in incline to the Brotherhood of Mankind, and he invests himself in a citadel of Love, on whose walls the claws of hate and strife can find no hold.
The real inner explanation of this Law of selflessness may be clearly given in very few words, the only difficulty which presents itself being the inadequacy of our language to express a clear meaning of the comparatively abstract qualities concerned. However, man's inner constitution may be said, for the purposes of this brief explanation, to be divided into two component parts: the one—impermanent, ever-changing—the personality, and the other—Eternal, unvarying—man's Spiritual nature. This latter must ever be hidden, so to speak, whilst the former is permitted to hold sway, and no progress is possible for the man in his Spiritual nature whilst his attention is devoted to the gratification of his outer self. Thus, subtle though the statement may seem, he may aid his own Spiritual advancement far more by attention to that of others, than he can by direct effort on his own behalf. In the one he, to some extent, sinks his personality, thus allowing his Spiritual component to evidence Itself, and in the other, though some small measure of progress may be made, it is chiefly concerned with his impermanent rather than with his lasting Self.
Then, still another upward channel is opened out to the man whose thoughts consist in Altruistic tendings; in establishing this unselfishness in thought, he allies himself to the great body of thought working in a similar direction. His mentality, being in some degree attuned to these higher vibrations, becomes more and more receptive of the Good, ever receiving Spiritual impressions, impossible before, and rejecting that class of thought which, narrowly bounded within the confines of selfish inclination, retards his onward progress.
This is indeed Mastery: the conquest of self, so essential to a man's uplifting, is thus attained; new and better ideas appear before his mental view; Peace surrounds him, and his life, spent for others, is rendered unto him one of joy and felicity. His bread, "cast upon the waters," is returned to him, after many days, a hundredfold, and every high ideal he may have is consummated within himself. No blessing is withheld from him; love rules his heart, and hope, no longer deferred, sweetens his draught of existence. Faith and trust in the never-ceasing love of the Father in Heaven, bearing him gently over the crags and pinnacles of earthly care, carry him onwards through life, bringing him to the loving arms in which he finds True Rest, the reward of a life well spent.