Self-Reliance
George William Russell - A.E.

Perhaps it is now while we are in a state of transition, when old leaders have gone out of sight and the new ones have not yet taken their place in the van, that we ought to consider what we are in ourselves. Some questions we ought to ask ourselves about this movement: where its foundations were laid? what the links are? where is the fountain of force? what are the doors? You answer the first and you say "America," or you say "India." But if that old doctrine of emanations be true it was not on earth but in the heavenworld where our minds immortal are linked together. There it was born and well born, and grew downwards into earth, and all our hopes and efforts and achievements here but vaguely reflect what was true and perfect in intent above, a compact of many hearts to save the generations wandering to their doom. Wiser, stronger, mightier than we were those who shielded us in the first years; who went about among us renewing memory, whispering in our hearts the message of the meaning of life, recalling the immemorial endeavor of the spirit for freedom, knowledge, mastery. But it is our movement and not the movement of the Masters only. It is our own work we are carrying on; our own primal will we are trying to give effect to. Well may the kingly sages depart from bodies which were torment and pain to them. They took them on for our sakes, and we may wave them a grateful farewell below and think of the spheres invisible as so much richer by their presence, more to be longed for, more to be attained. I think indeed they are nearer heart and mind there than here. What is real in us can lose no brotherhood with such as they through death. Still flash the lights from soul to soul in ceaseless radiance, in endless begetting of energy, thought and will, in endless return of joy and love and hope. I would rather hear one word of theirs in my heart than a thousand in my ears. I would rather think of my guide and captain as embodied in the flame than in the clay. Although we may gaze on the grave, kindly face living no more, there can be no cessation of the magic influence, the breath of fire, which flowed aforetime from the soul to us. We feel in our profoundest hearts that he whom they call dead is living, is alive for evermore.

He has earned his rest, a deep rest, if indeed such as he cease from labor. As for us, we may go our ways assured that the links are unbroken. What did you think the links were? That you knew some one who knew the Masters? Such a presence and such a Companion would indeed be an aid, a link. But I think where ever there is belief in our transcendent being, in justice, our spiritual unity and destiny, wherever there is brotherhood, there are unseen ties, links, shining cords, influx from and unbroken communication with the divine. So much we have in our own natures, not enough to perfect us in the mysteries, but always enough to light our path, to show us our next step, to give us strength for duty. We should not always look outside for aid, remembering that some time we must be able to stand alone. Let us not deny our own deeper being, our obscured glory. That we accepted these truths, even as intuitions which we were unable intellectually to justify, is proof that there is that within us which has been initiate in the past, which lives in and knows well what in the shadowy world is but a hope. There is part of ourselves whose progress we do not comprehend. There are deeds done in unremembered dream, and a deeper meditation in the further unrecorded silences of slumber. Downward from sphere to sphere the Immortal works its way into the flesh, and the soul has adventures in dream whose resultant wisdom is not lost because memory is lacking here. Yet enough has been said to give us the hint, the clue to trace backwards the streams of force to their fount. We wake in some dawn and there is morning also in our hearts, a love, a fiery vigor, a magnetic sweetness in the blood. Could we track to its source this invigorating power, we might perhaps find that as we fell asleep some olden memory had awakened in the soul, or the Master had called it forth, or it was transformed by the wizard power of Self and went forth to seek the Holy Place. Whether we have here a guide, or whether we have not, one thing is certain, that behind and within the "Father worketh hitherto." A warrior fights for us. Our thoughts tip the arrows of his quiver. He wings them with flame and impels them with the Holy Breath. They will not fail if we think clear. What matters it if in the mist we do not see where they strike. Still they are of avail. After a time the mists will arise and show a clear field; the shining powers will salute us as victors.

I have no doubt about our future; no doubt but that we will have a guide and an unbroken succession of guides. But I think their task would be easier, our way be less clouded with dejection and doubt, if we placed our trust in no hierarchy of beings, however august, but in the Law of which they are ministers. Their power, though mighty, ebbs and flows with contracting and expanding nature. They, like us, are but children in the dense infinitudes.  Something like this, I think, the Wise Ones would wish each one of us to speak: "O Brotherhood of Light, though I long to be with you, though it sustains me to think you are behind me, though your aid made sure my path, still, if the Law does not permit you to act for me today, I trust in the One whose love a fiery breath never ceases; I fall back on it with exultation: I rely upon it joyfully." Was it not to point to that greater life that the elder brothers sent forth their messengers, to tell us that it is on this we ought to rely, to point us to grander thrones than they are seated on? It is well to be prepared to face any chance with equal mind; to meet the darkness with gay and defiant thought as to salute the Light with reverence and love and joy. But I have it in my heart that we are not deserted. As the cycles went their upward way the heroic figures of the dawn reappear. Some have passed before us; others in the same spirit and power will follow: for the new day a rearisen sun and morning stars to herald it. When it comes let it find us, not drowsy after our night in time, but awake, prepared and ready to go forth from the house of sleep, to stretch hands to the light, to live and labor in joy, having the Gods for our guides and friends.

Irish Theosophist, May 15, 1896

Present article was scanned and proofread and made available for publication by Mr. Jake Jaqua.

Last update: januar 2009
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