Seek out the way. Seek the way by retreating within. Seek the way by advancing boldly without
Look for the flower to bloom in the silence that follows the storm, not till then. —Light on the Path
e are all seeking “the way.” There are so very many roads that lead to this one way through which we all must pass. The “way” is the unfolding of the spiritual in man, and we seek it or gain it by our experiences in life. Each must be free to seek in his own way. We do not need the same lessons, although I believe that at some time we pass through all experiences; for we learn only by personal experience. So, if we do not need certain lessons now, we either have had or will have them. We cannot learn all in the objective in one incarnation. Our first quotation says, “Seek the way by retreating within.” This implies that we are to realize something within ourselves; that we are to give up the externals, for the present at least. We are to gain a control of self. We are to understand the powers we possess. We are to gain a knowledge of ourselves, — of soul. We do this by shutting out the external, by turning our attention wholly to the spiritual side, giving up the constant doing, and learning how to be. All doing without “being” amounts to very little, — all this bustle and feeling that there is so much of importance to be done. If each one did daily the things of real importance, we should have some spare time that we do not have now. Some things that seem to be trifles are important, and some things that seem important are trifles. Please make the distinction carefully when giving up the doing, for the things you prefer doing may not be the important ones. “Retreating within” does not mean to lose all interest in humanity or daily living. It simply means to study our higher nature, to make this study in good faith, realizing that it is the most important thing in our life. The more we understand ourselves, the more do we understand our fellow-men.
“Be still,” — say this over and over, — and quiet the rational, or intellectual, mind. “Be still, and know.” Also the verse, “Your strength is to sit still,” and “In quietness and confidence shall be thy strength.” The first thing necessary is to still this consciousness. We can never hear the voice of intuition until we have accomplished this. Don't run around to listen to so many unnecessary lectures. Do a little quiet staying at home. This hearing so much with only the external ear is like eating because it is a free lunch, and not because you need the food.
Truth is very simple. It is the very simplicity of it that makes you fail to realize it. After we have gained our spiritual center, then we can “advance boldly without,” which is a fearless attitude of mind; but, if we try this boldness when self-centered, without spiritual poise, we are playing with dangerous tools, and will suffer in consequence.
Our conflict begins when we become conscious of our spiritual self. Then we are obliged to make our world entirely over. We see everything from a new standpoint. Where we have formerly lived in the valley, shut in by the mountains of selfishness, fear, and doubts of various kinds, we now find ourselves ascending these very mountains which have hemmed us in in the past; and, as we rise nearer and nearer the summit, we have an entirely different view. We could not have believed that, by putting these very mountains which shut out our view under our feet, we have gained what seemed impossible. When we have become indifferent to the turmoil in the external, — in other words, when we have risen above the storm-line, — then in the “silence that follows“ we shall find the flowers that have bloomed, — the flowers of the soul, the flowers that were budding in our consciousness as we toiled up and up, wondering at times if we ever would reach the top; the flowers born from the “retreating within,” from the “advancing boldly without,” and from the “silence that follows the storm.”