The Moslem Dervishes place themselves under a Spiritual Guide, and those are most successful in their mystical journey, whose minds have been wholly captivated by the personality of the Guide. The hope of attainment to ultimate union with God depends entirely upon their absorption into the Being of the Guide.
Every man and woman born into this world, in order to learn the meaning and value of Life, must be subject to a teacher. It should be the first aim and object of all, to seek for that Teacher. Those who are endowed with the gift of acquiring knowledge directly from Nature are seldom—if ever—found. Before we can learn Nature’s secrets we must have cultivated the Spirit of discernment—the faculty of observation—those powers of mind which all humans possess, which enable them to recognize their relationship to everything that is. And that cultivation needs to be wooed by one who has graduated in the school of Life—a Teacher of Humanity qualified by his or her divinity.
Life, to be fully enjoyed, involves struggle—indeed it is in itself a struggle—a consciousness of limitation, a longing to Know. The majority of people, deceived by yielding to unquestioned impulse, and unrestrained inclination, have given up the struggle—and live like a piece of decaying weed-covered driftwood in the ocean—driven ceaselessly hither and thither by wind and wave until it disintegrates, or is dashed violently to pieces against the rocks. Some people we meet remind us of the apparently inanimate protoplasm from which they sprang—they are lifeless, dreary bodies, like hollow caskets, which seem to exist only for the sake of the casket and not for the tenant dying within.
Such folk have attained their unmeaningless condition of existence simply because they would not subject themselves to a Teacher who would have taught them to open their eyes to the glorious beauty of their surroundings—and would have led them onward until they came to a point in life’s journey when they could look backward with gratitude, and forward with hope, knowing that the Life they had lived was becoming more beautiful as they went on.
It seems to me, that our immediate aim and object in life is to concentrate upon present duty and endeavor to find something in it which has eternal value. lf our task be of such a nature that we can find no spiritual meaning, after a sincere search, we should at once set about another task which will when honestly performed, bring us to a better realization of our relationship to Nature and to God.
"The Mystic Way," is simply a phrase intended to describe the journey of life which all humans are intended to make. It is the way of peace and happiness because it means that they who traverse it are conscious of the real meaning of life: each day of the journey revealing new glories and further possibilities. It is the consciousness, moment by moment, of the Presence of God, and the assurance that the end of the way is perfect,—ineffable,—and conscious union with Him who is the Source of All joy—the Fount of All Blessing, because He is the force of All.
To enter this way we must have a Guide—One who has trodden the way and who has completed many stages in the journey. One who has risen from the place of Disciple to the seat of the Master. There are many teachers—and the seeking Disciple must seek for one whose temperament will harmonize with his. This is essential if success is to be achieved. No seeker can subordinate him or herself to one with whom they are not in harmony. None who seek diligently and sincerely will be disappointed. There is a Guide appointed for each. The search may be long—that will test the worth of the Seeker—but patient endurance, and undaunted persistence will win: And the joy of the finder will be enhanced by the glory of the Found. There will be recognition—and a bond which will not be broken even by the death of one or the other.
Some people are led into the Mystic Way thro' the influence of a Personality in the Pulpit, or through the Press—few—very few are led by nature herself but there is a time in the progress of all when they realize the power and strength of an invisible Personality which, as a result of their quest, has come into their lives to assist them on the upward way. This is when they have advanced to a certain stage.
It is well nigh inevitable that a traveler in the way, seeking for a Guide, will grow almost unconsciously like the one who is sought: For the mind of man is so constituted that he can postulate—imagine if you like—an ideal. He can think of something better than he is—or rather of someone better, and naturally tends to become like that one, so that when the Teacher is found there is a certain likeness which attracts and leads to recognition. This may mean of course that the seeker has attained to an advanced stage even before the Teacher has been actually found: and therefore, that his progress will seem to be rapid, although it must ever be laboriously slow.
The Mystic Way is open to all who choose to walk therein—some there are who will ever be disciples of a Teacher, others there must be who are Teachers. The latter are they who have attained full mastery of themselves, and have, through the attainment, become masters of others; There are few who remain in the body, after they have entered into full consciousness of union with God; but it is possible to all to enjoy the privilege of communion which they needs must do when they have realized themselves. The goal to which every true man and woman is travelling is absolute Self-Realization—which means a consciousness of Oneness with God in His Infinitude. This is experienced in ecstasy exquisite and inexpressible. Many who have attained have endeavourer to express all that it meant and have found that language cannot convey the mystery revealed—hence the strange and often grotesque symbolism we find in mystical writings, some souls have risen to wonderful heights of sublime expressions, which uplift and enable those who read, but which, even in spite of their beauty cannot reveal the ineffable bliss which has been enjoyed. These aspects of life can be viewed and enjoyed only by those who will make time for contemplation.
There are degrees of attainment however which every wayfarer in the pathway of life may enjoy. For it is possible to clothe the common round and trivial task with a glory more radiant than that which is found in the way of meditation. There are tasks which ennoble those who do them although they may require but a little intelligence and a great deal of physical energy. The secret of joy lives in so performing, that energy is not wasted. And I cannot but believe that no man should engage in a task which enables another to be idle. There are harpies in this world that prey upon men—l refer to men and women who live by another’s labor. No man or woman should work to earn more than they need for their own individual support—and of course for the support of children they may have brought into the world. If there is an idle person in the world—the worker is as much at fault as the idler, for the latter could not exist except by the favor—or slavish fear of the former. And any task in which a person engages, which produces enough profit—I cannot call it wealth—to keep another in idleness is wrong, and he or she who performs it must be debarred from the joy that life was intended to be.
The reason so many people in the West are unable to appreciate the beauty of the Mystic Way is largely because they have to struggle too hardly to exist—and this because there are so many materialistic financiers who have enslaved them. The proper measure of leisure is denied to them, hence they are debarred from the deep joy which is very often the heritage of the most ignorant Eastern peasant—(I use the word "ignorant" so far as our Western conceptions of education go).
The struggle of the multitude today is for the "meat that perisheth,"—the energy which ought to be used in the achievement of Happiness has to be wasted in effort to support merely the physical. The War, at present, seems to have aggravated the strain—and has made the inspiring Vision more impossible, except to those who have fallen—and the select few, who thro’ the loss of loved ones, have acquiesced knowing that their loss means gain for those who have gone.
As I write these random thoughts down—I wonder if ever they will be read by others. If they are, I would urge you reader, whosoever you be, to spend your energy and time, in striving for the glory of the Mystic Way, and by you striving to inspire others to strive. Have you found your Teacher? Are you a Teacher?
There are many teachers; but the greatest of all is Christ—Christ in you the Hope of Glory, The Unseen Guide, The Counselor, The Friend. The Way, The Truth and The Life. The Soul and Sun of all Mysticism. Because He achieved the fruit of Perfect Manhood and has told us that as He was so we shall be.