THEOSOPHY, Vol. 54, No. 8, June, 1966
(Pages 242-243; Size: 8K)

LETTERS-QUESTIONS-COMMENT

[Article number (27) in this Department]

The statement is often made that the Self shines in all, but in all it does not shine forth. If this Self is as great as is indicated in the philosophy, it is hard to see what could prevent its "shining forth." How should this statement be understood?

Paradoxically, the simple is often profound. This question, with its implications, is an example of the way in which a philosophical truth, phrased in few words, is capable of elaboration by the student.

The maxim must first be seen as the distillation of a concept and one which can be used as a focus for study and meditation. While in one sense it is specific and direct, from another point of view it is capable of continued expansion. Or, to put it in another way, it shares the characteristic of various art forms of suggesting an idea or a truth, while leaving to the individual the function of applying his own experience and understanding to that truth.

There is, first of all, the concept of Self. Every thinking man has some idea of what is meant by this term, even though he may not be versed in philosophy. If he considers the idea of myself he doubtless thinks of himself as an individual, perhaps of the very core or center of his being, even as self the perceiver. Looking out from that center he sees other selves -- himself, herself, themselves. Knowing that in some ways all men are alike, he may admit that all these selves look out at life, each one from its own center, just as he does. At first this may seem to suggest a fragmented idea of Self -- each one different and unpredictable in action and reaction. This seems to be the assumption of all those who act on a separative basis, or in a fashion contrary to what Theosophists term the "laws of brotherhood." It is certainly the basis of any group which sets itself against or above some other group of beings.

However, extending the concept of Self, it is but a step to the idea that while there may be innumerable applications of a power, there is still but one Power -- many expressions of one idea, many personifications of one Principle. This is, of course, the binding together of all in one whole, which should be the basis of true religion. In this connection Robert Crosbie states:

Religion is a bond uniting men together -- not a particular set of dogmas or beliefs -- binding not only all Men, but also all Beings and all things in the entire Universe, into one grand whole.
Having come this far in his consideration, the student may grant that ideally the "Self of one is the Self of all," but realistically appraising the world about him, he sees that this Self is not shining forth, and he asks why: what could possibly obscure such a brilliant and all-pervasive light? The analogy often used is that of electricity, a power with which we are all familiar. This one motive force acts in many ways, depending on the vehicle through which it passes or which it propels. Another aspect of this analogy not always noted is that this power is only occasionally transformed into light, and that light seems to be a better expression of its own inherent nature than the other more mechanical uses to which it is put. A flash of lightning seems to be electricity in its natural state; the glow of an electric bulb a small representation of electricity, and any of the many electric motors a further stepping down or embedding in gross matter of that same vital impulse.

Now let us consider man in relation to Self. Every aspect of his nature is powered by or centered in the Self. But all of his vehicles do not reflect the luminosity of the Self -- the power is being used in a different way. There is something about the concept of the Self shining forth which seems to generate the idea of communication -- a light not hidden, not operating unseen, but out-going, to be perceived and received by another being. The student may think of this as the light of mind passing from one to another, an understanding of like by like. But the Self, while present in the principle of Mind, is still more inclusive, for it is the one fundamental unity, pervading and sustaining all. It would seem that those qualities in a man's nature which we ascribe to the spiritual represent the luminous nature of Self and are the ones wherein the Self shines forth, while other actions, still drawing upon the same power, have less of the light-giving force. The Self is not absent from any point in space or consciousness. It is, but its "light" grows with our growing realization of the unity of life, and that light then shines out upon all.


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LETTERS-QUESTIONS-COMMENT
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[Article number (28) in this Q&A Department]

(Compiler's note: Because I won't be back here for a while, here's the link to the location on the "Additional" articles Index page where you can see the "Nine Groupings of Articles" that I'm currently working on, little by little, which this 8th grouping is in. You will see a link to each grouping's index page, a notation of how many articles are currently finished in each one, as well as a notation showing you the particular grouping that I'm presently working on. Once you see that I'm working back here again, and that the next article has already been done, number 28, but you don't see it when you come here, all you have to do is click on your system's Reload or Refresh button in order to bring this page up to date. Click on the link just below this paragraph to see the full listing of all the articles in this department.)

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