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A Treatise on White Magic - Rule One - The Way of the Disciple
It is of course of vital interest to appreciate the significance of the words "scatters not his force." There are so many lines of activity into which the soul-inspired disciple may throw himself. Assurance as to varying lines of activity is not easy to reach and every aspirant knows perplexity. Let us put the problem in the form of a question, relegating it to the plane of everyday endeavor, as we are not yet in a position to comprehend in what way a soul can "scatter its forces" on the higher planes.

What is the criterion whereby a man may know which out of several lines of activity is the right line to take? Is there, in other words, a revealing something which will enable a man unerringly to choose the right action and go the right way? The question has no reference to a choice existing between the path of spiritual endeavor and the way of the man of the world. It refers to right action when faced with a choice.

There is no question but that a man is faced, in his progress, with increasingly subtle distinctions. The crude discrimination between right and wrong which occupies the child soul is succeeded by the finer distinctions of right, or of more right, of high, or higher, and the [68] moral or spiritual values have to be faced with the most meticulous spiritual perception. In the stress and toil of life and in the constant pressure on each one from those who constitute their group, the complexity of the problem is very great.

In solving such problems, certain broad discriminations can precede the more subtle and when these decisions have been made the more subtle can then take their place. The choice between selfish and unselfish action is the most obvious one to follow upon the choice between right and wrong, and is easily settled by the honest soul. A choice which involves discrimination between individual benefit and group responsibility rapidly eliminates other factors, and is easy to the man who shoulders his just responsibility. Note the use of the words "just responsibility." We are considering the normal, sane man and not the over-conscientious morbid fanatic. There follows next the distinction between the expedient, involving factors of physical plane relations of business and of finance, leading up to a consideration of the highest good for all parties concerned. But having through this triple eliminative process arrived at a certain position cases arise where choice still remains in which neither common sense nor logical, discerning reason seem to help. The desire is only to do the right thing; the intent is to act in the highest possible way and to take that line of action which will produce the best good of the group apart from personal considerations altogether. Yet light upon the path, which must be trodden, is not seen; the door which should be entered is unrecognized and the man remains in the state of constant indecision. What then, must be done? One of two things:

First the aspirant can follow his inclination and choose that line of action out of the residue of possible lines which seems to him the wisest and the best. This involves belief in the working of the law of Karma and also [69] a demonstration of that firm decisiveness which is the best way in which his personality can learn to abide by the decisions of his own soul. It involves also the ability to go forward upon the grounds of the decision made, and so to abide by the results without foreboding or regrets.

Secondly, he can wait, resting back upon an inner sense of direction, knowing that in due time he will ascertain, through the closing of all doors but one, which is the way he should go. For there is only one open door through which such a man can go. Intuition is needed for its recognition. In the first case mistakes may be made, and the man thereby learns and is enriched; in the second case, mistakes are impossible and only right action can be taken.

It is obvious, therefore, that all resolves itself into an understanding of one's place upon the ladder of evolution. Only the highly advanced man can know the times and seasons and can adequately discern the subtle distinction between a psychic inclination and the intuition.

In considering these two ways of ultimate decision let not the man who should use his common sense and take a line of action based upon the use of the concrete mind, practice the higher method of waiting for a door to open. He is expecting too much in the place where he is. He has to learn through right decision and right use of the mind to solve his problems. Through this method he will grow, for the roots of intuitive knowledge are laid deep within the soul and the soul, therefore, must be contacted before the intuition can work. One hint only can here be given: - the intuition ever concerns itself with group activity and not with petty personal affairs. If you are still a man centered in the personality, recognize it, and with the equipment available, govern your actions. If you know yourself to be functioning as a soul and are lost in the interest of others, untrammeled by selfish desire, then [70] your just obligation will be met, your responsibilities shouldered, your group work carried forward, and the way will unfold before you, whilst you do the next thing and fulfil the next duty. Out of duty, perfectly performed, will emerge those larger duties which we call world work; out of the carrying of family responsibilities will come that strengthening of our shoulders which will enable us to carry those of the larger group. What, then, is the criterion?

For the high grade aspirant, let me repeat, the choice of action depends upon a sound use of the lower mind, the employment of a sane common sense and the forgetfulness of selfish comfort and personal ambition. This leads to the fulfilment of duty. For the disciple there will be the automatic and necessary carrying forward of all the above, plus the use of the intuition which will reveal the moment when wider group responsibilities can be justly shouldered and carried simultaneously with those of the smaller group. Ponder on this. The intuition reveals not the way ambition can be fed, nor the manner in which desire for selfish advancement can be gratified. [71]

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