Joseph J. Weed
We live today in an age of specialization. The amount of information available in each field of knowledge is so vast that in order to understand and work with it, one must become a specialist. just look at the medical profession. A hundred years ago our doctors were each supposed to know all there was to know about the human body. Some did and some did not. But today this is impossible. No one person has the time to acquire all present day medical information or learn all the surgical skills that are now available. So we have medical doctors and surgeons and psychiatrists. But we also have eye specialists, ear specialists and nose and throat specialists. We have heart men and lung men and cancer men. We have internists and proctologists and bone specialists and host of others. Most of these men do a great deal of good. Nearly all provide skills not heretofore available and are therefore useful and needed citizens.
Among the students of natural history and biology, specialization has grown to an even greater degree. We now have ichthyologists, who study only the habits of fish, ornithologists who study only birds, and entomologists, who study insects, to name only a few. Even these specializations have been refined down to subspecialties. For example, there are ichthyologists who study only the lamprey eel and some who study only the arctic salmon, there are ornithologists who study only tropical birds, and others who are interested only in water fowl, there are entomologists who specialize in bees and those who devote all their time to the study of mosquitoes. As more and more material knowledge becomes available, the need grows for greater diversification of study and more specialists. This may seem like simplification, but it is not. It is the reverse. Our lives are daily becoming more complicated and will continue to do so unless we do something about it.
But what can we do? Is it not possible to simplify our lives? As the world advances and our field of knowledge grows, it is inevitable that our physical equipment be taxed more and more. Today we seek a solution in specialization, but the thinker realizes this is but a temporary make-shift. There must be a better way. But what?
The human brain is an extraordinary instrument. We are told that even the greatest thinkers use only a relatively small portion of the brain, but even our brain specialists have only a very general idea of how the brain works. They know that it is composed of millions, or even billions, of cells and that each one of these cells is capable of registering and retaining certain physical impressions. It is also capable of linking up with other cells in order to compare or relate the impressions it holds with those held by other cells. But even the greatest experts do not know just how this is done. They know it takes place, but the mechanics of it still eludes them.
For example, knowledge of the way in which the brain stores information recently took a great step forward when a well known linguist was injured in an automobile accident. This man had been able to speak seven languages fluently. But his brain was injured in the accident and afterwards, though well in every other way, he could only speak and understand three languages. These three he spoke perfectly with complete recollection, but of the other four he could remember nothing. Thus, it appears that as far as speech and the knowledge of a language is concerned, the brain apparently stores each language in a separate compartment and if that compartment is destroyed or damaged, the knowledge in it is lost.
We must remind ourselves that the brain is but a tool, an instrument. It is the mind that thinks. The mind is not physical but in our three dimensional world it uses a three dimensional instrument, the brain, in order to express itself. But it can, and does often, function apart from the brain. And when it does it reaches conclusions and solutions directly and more accurately than is possible through physical methods. Most of us have had this experience. At some time or another we have seen the mind function in a direct manner and have been astounded by the results. The solution presented is not always reasonable. It is not always the same solution that would be arrived at through the reasoning of the brain. But it is better. It is the true --- or more nearly true solution. For the mind is capable of reaching out and getting information not available in the material storehouse of the brain. It is capable of looking into the future and weighing the possibilities that exist there. Left to itself, which is to say if it is not disturbed by extraneous influences, the mind can solve most of our problems. We just have to learn how to withdraw our prejudices, our preconceived ideas and our emotional tendencies, and then step aside and let the mind work. It sounds simple, doesn't it? It isn't.
The Rosicrucian monographs give many instructions and many techniques for releasing the mind to work on its own level. For example, in the exercise for creative visualization, we are told to "release the visualization and make the mind's eye a blank, like looking at a completely plain white wall." This actually is intended to clear the visualization from the physical brain and to free the mind from any clinging emotional strings in order that it may function unhindered. The practice of turning problems over to the mind (the higher mind that is --- not the brain) or to the Soul, or to the Cosmic, for solution is a return to simplicity. Lest the lazy one thinks this is a way to avoid hard work, let him be warned. It is not easy. It requires understanding, skill and most of all control. No one has this control or skill when he first attempts to turn his problems over to the Cosmic, or the higher mind. There always seems to be a string, or a connection, or a distraction, that inhibits the proper and successful action. So this, like other skills, is one which must be learned and acquired gradually by practice.
The best way to start is to simplify one's entire life structure. This sounds like a big order --- and it is. But the very attempt to do this, and the knowledge and skills acquired in the doing, will go far towards training the aspiring student and teaching him the necessary controls. One should start with an appraisal of one's present existence. Ask yourself, "What do I need for a normal happy life?" Not what you want, but what you need. There is a vast difference. Most of our lives are cluttered up and complicated by a great many things that we don't need and never did. And as a rule, the things we desire most are found to he valueless and of little importance after they have been obtained.
A true analysis will require some vigorous soul-searching. Meditate upon it, think about it and the picture will become clearer to you. Then take time to visualize yourself in terms of the ideal and live with your best self until your best self becomes your real self. In our meditation and examination of self, we should ask ourselves many questions. And we must try hard to give honest answers. For example: we might ask, "Is it really necessary for me to buy this new car? Can the old one be repaired? Am I buying this car not so much for transportation as to maintain a certain standard among my fellows? Or worse, am I buying it because the new car looks so beautiful in the advertisements that I just can't resist it?"
Or carrying the theme into the realm of clothing, we might ask ourselves, "Do I need this new suit? Or do I just want a change?" Here again, the guide should be --- "Buy what you need rather than what you want." But do not fall into the error of over-simplification. This is just as wrong as no simplicity at all. Be careful not to fall into a slothful pattern under the illusion you are simplifying your existence. Human beings have a tendency to follow the line of least resistance, and sometimes when a certain line of conduct is adopted, it is found easier to continue it to an illogical extreme rather than change it. Thus, it would be unwise to hold off buying a new suit until your old one was actually shabby. One should always strive to appear to good advantage before others. One should always be clean, well-groomed and properly dressed, and a torn, worn or dirty suit should have no place in your wardrobe.
Let us consider our eating habits. These certainly can be simplified. Nearly all of us here in America eat too much and we frequently eat things that have no food value merely because we like the way they taste. We are creatures of habit and we show ourselves quite willing to adopt patterns of conduct set for us by others. Most of us going into a restaurant will eat an entire six-course dinner merely because the menu offers it. How much more sensible we would be (and how much healthier too) if we would limit ourselves to one main course at a meal. It would take effort to break with habit and precedent, but it would be worth it.
We are all much stronger than we think we are. We have untapped resources and abilities that we hardly suspect. If we should decide to simplify our existence, we should start with the physical life as described. This change in our living habits to a more simple program is well within the capacity of each of us. The next step then should be a refinement and simplification of our emotional lives.
This is more important but more difficult to achieve. Also, instruction is more difficult because each of us lives and moves In an emotional stream, as a fish in river, and because of this we see everything, including our own actions, through this rapidly shifting fluid. It is almost impossible to register and delineate our emotions in a clear and concise manner and for this reason it is extremely difficult to free ourselves from the thralldom in which our emotions hold us.
As we progress in our Rosicrucian work we become more sensitive. Gradually we become aware of the causes of various actions and events. Invariably we notice and identify these causes at first with the actions of others and we become critical of them. We can see quite clearly just why he (or she) has taken the attitude or course of conduct he has adopted and we have a tendency to tell him why he is doing what he is doing. Naturally, he doesn't accept this as a constructive suggestion, but as severe criticism, and resentment results. This is the cause of much dissension in lodges and chapters. Actually, this sensitivity and growing awareness is designed for our use upon and with our own actions. It is to help us free ourselves from an emotionally controlled existence, but it will do us no good until we turn the light upon ourselves and the best light is found in the glow from the heart.
To achieve simplicity of the emotional nature, turn over all emotional problems to the heart. This is the best way to cut away unessentials and get quickly to the core of the matter. Try to remember to do this with each problem as it faces you and gradually a habit pattern will be created. When called upon, the heart will always provide the best solution and as one gradually comes to recognize and accept this, confidence will grow and success will come. Every attempt to simplify the emotional nature will have a refining influence resulting in the raising of the vibratory rate of the emotions. The emotions will become cleaner and finer and this, as you know is the best pathway to contact with the Cosmic.
An aspirant, such as one of us, once asked a Great Teacher, "How can I conduct myself to qualify as a disciple?" And the Teacher advised him, "To begin with, become kinder. Then, do not consider good as a supernatural gift but let it be the very foundation of your hearth; upon it build your fire, and on such a ground the flame will not scorch." Thus, was he told to simplify his existence, to let his physical life be founded on good, and his emotional life in kindness.
If we would grow in Spiritual Light, if we would make contact with the Cosmic, we must seek out simplicity. The farther we advance, the more simple must our lives become. For as the Teacher has stated, "only at the foot of the mountain is there room for worldly things. The summit is sharp-pointed and too small for human possessions."
In closing, let me tell you a story. This story, like all good stories, contains a lesson. There was once a student, and he had the great good fortune to live in the same dwelling with his Spiritual Father and to be taught by Him. The house was simple, four walls, a roof and only a few plain articles of furniture, just the necessary things. One day the student said, "I remember now, I am very rich. I will go and get this treasure and bring it to you, my Father." His Spiritual Father said: "That is not necessary, but if you feel you must go, then go."
The student left and was gone a long time. Only with the greatest of difficulty did he at last find his way back. When he finally approached his Father's house, he was tired and sore and emotionally spent. Upon seeing the house at last lie cried real tears, so great was his joy and relief at being home once again. His Father came out to meet him and made him welcome. He helped the student up onto the small porch and the two sat there in silence looking out over the valley and the lowlands spread out before them. The student's heart ached with happiness and he thought to himself, "How could I ever have left this home, this simple, peaceful home so full of love. How grateful and happy I am to be back!"
As if reading his thoughts, the Older Man said, "And what of the treasure you brought?"
So the student opened the bag at his feet and took from it three articles --- a ragged and dirty shirt, a torn and tattered book and a cracked porcelain cup. In amazement he asked, "Is this the treasure I took so many years out of my life to obtain? Is this the treasure I sacrificed so much to get?" His Spiritual Father looked at him with pity and said, "Now, my Son, your eyes are open. Now you see the treasures of the world for what they really are and at their true worth. Throw them away and come into the house." And with one last twinge the student took the bag and its contents and threw them over the cliff. Then with shining eyes and full heart he turned and followed his Teacher into the Ashram.
Joseph J. Weed
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A Rosicrucian Speaks
Joseph J. Weed
Copyright: The Chatsworth Press
Last Modified on: January 19, 2014