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Thoughts Along the Road - 21

 

Ethics Makes the Connection Between
Divine Consciousness and Daily Existence
 
 
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
 
 
 
 
 
* The dynamics of symmetry expresses the law of karma. It is due to its unfailing action that any step ahead in inner learning can only be taken when one has a willingness to accept the corresponding degree of renunciation.
 
* Although sacrifices are often painful, they are but the unpleasant aspects of detachment, which in itself is a source of contentment and freedom from suffering. Less is more: voluntary simplicity paves the way to wisdom and bliss.
 
* Each new day comes to us with its own sort of tidal energy. One must learn to adapt to it, in order to give it a desirable form. The will to shape one’s life in the way one considers correct must be combined with an ability to be flexible regarding circumstances. Detachment and renunciation are inseparable from having a clear goal and an adamantine will.
 
* The constant change of tides of various levels in the ocean of life must be taken into consideration in theosophy. Self-discipline should be therefore mainly internal and independent from the changing outward circumstances, so that it keeps transcendent and cannot be easily broken.
 
* No two mornings are the same. Each springtime is different from the others. Everyone familiar with any particular river knows that it changes from day to day in the turbidity of the water, the quality of the wind, the behaviour of birds and other animals. Therefore one should pay a limitless attention to life and take nothing for granted. The whole universe is moving, and it enlightens every blade of grass.
 
* The true knowledge of life is inseparable from an impulse to improve it. Actual philosophy is a friendly way of looking at the world and must include a constant attempt to be of help. In other words, real knowledge is that knowledge that includes selfless good will. All great thinkers have been philanthropists and friends of mankind who often make strenuous efforts to help altruistic projects.
 
* Ill-informed individuals rejoice in wrong actions as long as karma has not ripened yet, only to live a lasting unhappiness after that. Those who have proper information about life dedicate themselves to act in a way that eliminates ignorance and blindness.
 
* Every student of esoteric traditions can daily sow the seeds of contentment, within the limits of his creative free will.
 
* In order to improve life, the effort must be made starting from within. As long as we put in movement the Causes of self-improvement and keep them going in an effective way, time and Karma are our friends. Vigilance will help avoid getting trapped in small things and short term time. There is nothing wrong about short term events in themselves: one must be aware of the different scales of time and not get attached to anyone of them, but live mainly in the larger ones.
 
* Joy and sadness are two poles of emotional life, and they alternate in one’s efforts just as victory and defeat. Contentment transcends the lower polarity of emotional life because it does not depend on external events: its roots are in one’s conscience, and in the perception that we have done, in the right direction, that which was within our reach to do. Devachan and Nirvana do not result from obtaining great personal victories. The way to them is paved by doing one’s best and resting content with it.
 
* There is no reason to think that a child cannot learn the basic concepts of theosophy. The law of Karma and the idea of reincarnation, for instance, can be grasped by people of every age. The same occurs with the universal principle of having respect for all beings. And however old one may be, he should be as willing to learn as a child - if not more.
 
* In materialistic societies, to choose to have wise friends is sometimes tantamount to choosing solitude, in the short term: by the power to stand alone, one can follow his conscience. In due time, the law of affinity will bring about the end of the apparent solitude. Brotherhood and brotherliness are the law of life. And they are omnipresent for those who transcend the territory of attachment and rejection.
 
* The degree of ethics among professional politicians and spiritual leaders is directly linked to the average presence of ethics in the general population. The two factors feed each other. In any human activity, people must strive to take dishonest and insincere individuals out of leadership positions. It is equally necessary for people to look at themselves and accept a basic fact: that each citizen has the duty to act so that, if everyone else would follow his example, the world community would be ethical and fair enough.
 
* The hallmark of a superficial mind is the want of novelties. An individual who loves superficial events will see as tiresome any form of persistence. For a deeper mind, though, the boredom of the search for novelties is unsurmountable.
 
* In the alchemy of self-improvement, the various positive qualities work as a team. To him who looks for something of real importance, perseverance becomes natural. However, a strong determination may develop into mere stubbornness, unless it is protected by the right degree of detachment; and detachment makes discernment possible.  One’s actions should be open to examination. An intense effort whose long-enduring motive is right and noble will help expand our ability to see right and wrong.  
 
* One must try his best at every moment, and at the same time observe it as if from above, in a much broader context. An awareness of boundless time and infinite space will grant us both detachment and good will.
 
* Many an individual gets attached to the appearance of spirituality and imitates it in his daily practices. His vain hope is that spirituality will migrate from the superficial levels of consciousness to the deeper ones. The results obtained by such individuals are as superficial as their efforts.
 
* Instead of concentrating in the short term and visible aspects of reality, the correct attitude focuses on insights. Our innermost views of Life should be rationally expanded and get as deep as we possibly can. The combination of active study with the search for silent insights has to unfold together with altruistic action. Now, altruistic action is not limited to smiling at people in the streets. It is probationary. It includes abandoning and exposing organized ignorance.
 
* Creative thinking is the result of individual responsibility.
 
* If you want to attain a goal on your own merit, you must use your brains in new ways to see the best method to get there. Your intelligence expands. On the other hand, if someone adheres to a system of thought in the hope of being benefited by it, out of mere adherence and belief, there is no sense of responsibility. The consequences are that creative thought is not a practical need, and intelligence will not expand. The “believer” does not like to think: mental laziness is his religion.
 
* Because of the “spiritual” rejection of self-responsibility and creative thought, many good-willing mystical associations make their followers become less self-responsible and less intelligent, as time passes. Not to mention “progressive” political parties. Such structures have imploded from an ethical point of view. They are innerly dead, even if they may seem alive on the realm of pure appearance.
 
* One of the main challenges for anyone studying theosophy is to act in accordance with the adopted ideal. We need renunciation and detachment in order to be able to correct our mistakes. Even before that, discernment is needed to see the difference between right and wrong. Yet discernment is rarely the first thing we acquire.
 
* Once we obtained a right view of things, the muscle of our moral will needs to be strongly exercised against “consensus”, “public opinion”, “collective comfort” and subtle emotional blackmailing. The student’s discernment and wisdom will fail in many a specific situation, and yet he must follow them anyway, for this is the only path to learning. Of course, in various occasions his good discernment will tell him that the best thing to do is to follow some advice.
 
* An effective way to reduce the distance between ideal and practice consists in allowing oneself enough moments of silence along the day. The atmosphere of inner noiselessness is special and slowly brings more closely together our thoughts, feelings, words, insights and actions.
 
* Matthew, 7:7, says: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Yes, but first examine whatever it is that you will ask or seek, and what door you are going to knock at. The goal must be noble, for the result to be worthwhile.
 
* The excess of words should be avoided, if we are to understand their meaning. This can be done through the practice of silence. Keeping in contact with Silence is not something different or separate from using words. The absence of sounds dwells in between sentences. It contains them, it inspires them, and we need it to be able to understand whatever is said. The excess of words is a grave obstacle to dialogue. True communication results from a correct combination of sound and silence.
 
* Horace’s classical axiom “Carpe Diem”, usually translated as “Seize the Day”, seems to be more widely known than really understood. Many are those who avoid examining what one is supposed to do, after all, in order to “take the opportunity” and seize the day. There are opportunities for all kinds of things in life. Ignorant people who consider themselves clever don’t hesitate to “seize the opportunity” to steal; to lie; to commit embezzlement while in public office; to deceive others and so on. Honesty, on the other hand, is a form of wisdom. Sincere people will “seize the day” to resist the temptation of making or repeating mistakes they have already identified as such. They will “take the opportunity” to benefit different forms of life; to learn about the roots of unnecessary suffering; and expand their contact with their spiritual souls. Horace’s classical sentence therefore would have a definite meaning if it said: “Examine the goal of your present lifetime. Check and see whether it is truly worthwhile. Having confirmed that - seize the day.”
 
* A direct relation interconnects the state of the planet, the state of human mind, and the state of institutions. The idea is well-documented in the Jewish Bible, the Christian Bible, the Taoist Wen-tzu and the classical teachings of theosophy.
 
* In the first decades of 21st century, the factors of social decline are many and contrasting. Among them it is easy to find fake spiritual leaders; pious “theosophical” frauds; a lack of ethics in politics; spreading terrorism; bankers that act like thieves; commercial media that love money, not truth; and acute environmental destruction. At the same time most individuals ignore their true self.  All these aspects of human karma are internally interconnected, and regeneration must come from within. The purpose of every outward crisis is to provoke the rebirth of the inner connections between divine consciousness and daily existence, through ethics.
 
* Paradox and oxymoron are present in every aspect of life and partake of the teachings of theosophy. Contrast is as necessary to outer existence as unity and transcendence are central to the higher dimensions of the world.
 
* Absurd contradictions invite us to look better and investigate facts. A paradox expands our consciousness, because it eliminates the illusion of continuous thought. It forces the observer to use higher forms of perception.
 
* The right way to deal with puzzling dualities is not through ambiguity. Hypocrisy is also useless, and so is indecisiveness. These three factors prevent transcendence, which is necessary to see unity within diversity. Once one has a correct way to look at life, it is possible to be frank and sincere and still acknowledge and express the full complexity of the world.
 
* While seeing the various contradictory layers of meaning in life and the potentialities of every kind that surround us, we can be able to make clear-cut decisions and persevere in them based on our best discernment.
 
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The above article was published as an independent text on 12 October 2018. An initial version of it, with no indication as to the name of the author, is included in the April 2016 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”.
 
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Thoughts Along the Road - 21
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