It is the veriest folly to try to think of the One as It is “in Itself”–for we have nothing but human attributes with which to measure it, and It so far transcends such measurements that the mental yard-sticks run out into infinity and are lost sight of. The highest minds of the race inform us that the most exalted efforts of their reason compels them to report that the One–in Itself–cannot be spoken of as possessing attributes or qualities capable of being expressed in human words employed to describe the Things of the relative world–and all of our words are such. All of our words originate from such ideas, and all of our ideas arise from our experience, directly or indirectly. So we are not equipped with words with which to think of or speak of that which transcends experience, although our Intellect informs us that Reality lies back of our experience.
Philosophy finds itself unable to do anything better than to bring us face to face with high paradoxes. Science in its pursuit of Truth finds it cunningly avoiding it, and ever escaping its net. And we believe that the Absolute purposely causes this to be, that in the end Man may be compelled to look for the Spirit within himself–the only place where he can come in touch with it. This, we think, is the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx–“Look Within for that which Thou needest.”
But while the Spirit may be discerned only by looking within ourselves, we find that once the mind realizes that the Absolute Is, it will be able to see countless evidences of its action and presence by observing manifested Life without. All Life is filled with the Life Power and Will of the Absolute.
To us Life is but One–the Universe is a living Unity, throbbing, thrilling and pulsating with the Will-to-Live of the Absolute. Back of all apparent shapes, forms, names, forces, elements, principles and substances, there is but One–One Life, present everywhere, and manifesting in an infinitude of shapes, forms, and forces All individual lives are but centers of consciousness in the One Life underlying, depending upon it for degree of unfoldment, expression and manifestation.
This may sound like Pantheism to some, but it is very different from the Pantheism of the schools and cults. Pantheism is defined as “the doctrine that God consists in the combined forces and laws manifested in the existing Universe,” or that “the Universe taken or conceived as a whole is God.” These definitions do not fit the conception of the Absolute, of the Yogi Philosophy–they seem to breathe but a refined materialism. The Absolute is not “the combined forces and laws manifested in the universe,” nor “the universe conceived as a whole.” Instead, the Universe, its forces and laws, even conceived as a whole, have no existence in themselves, but are mere manifestations of the Absolute. Surely this is different from Pantheism.
We teach that the Absolute is immanent in, and abiding in all forms of Life in the Universe, as well as in its forces and laws–all being but manifestations of the Will of the One. And we teach that this One is superior to all forms of manifestations, and that Its existence and being does not depend upon the manifestations, which are but effects of the Cause.
The Pantheistic Universe–God is but a thing of phenomenal appearance, but the Absolute is the very Spirit of Life–a Living, Existing Reality, and would be so even if every manifestation were withdrawn from appearance and expression–drawn back into the source from which it emanated. The Absolute is more than Mountain or Ocean–Electricity or Gravitation–Monad or Man–It is SPIRIT–LIFE–BEING–REALITY–the ONE THAT IS. Omnipotent, Omnipresent; Omniscient; Eternal; Infinite; Absolute; these are Man’s greatest words, and yet they but feebly portray a shadow thrown by the One Itself.
The Absolute is not a far-away Being directing our affairs at long range–not an absentee Deity–but an Immanent Life in and about us all–manifesting in us and creating us into individual centers of consciousness, in pursuance with some great law of being.
And, more than this, the Absolute instead of being an indifferent and unmoved spectator to its own creation, is a thriving, longing, active, suffering, rejoicing, feeling Spirit, partaking of the feelings of its manifestations, rather than callously witnessing them. It lives in us–with us–through us. Back of all the pain in the world may be found a great feeling and suffering love. The pain of the world is not punishment or evidence of divine wrath, but the incidents of the working out of some cosmic plan, in which the Absolute is the Actor, through the forms of Its manifestations.
The message of the Absolute to some of the Illumined has been, “All is being done in the best and only possible way–I am doing the best I can–all is well–and in the end will so appear.”
The Absolute is no personal Deity–yet in itself it contains all that goes to make up all personality and all human relations. Father, Mother, Child, Friend, is in It. All forms of human love and craving for sympathy, understanding and companionship may find refuge in loving the Absolute.
The Absolute is constantly in evidence in our lives, and yet we have been seeking it here and there in the outer world, asking it to show itself and prove Its existence. Well may it say to us: “Hast thou been so long time with me, and hast thou not known me?” This is the great tragedy of Life, that the Spirit comes to us–Its own–and we know It not. We fail to hear Its words: “Oh, ye who mourn, I suffer with you and through you. Yea, it is I who grieve in you. Your pain is mine–to the last pang. I suffer all pain through you–and yet I rejoice beyond you, for I know that through you, and with you, I shall conquer.”
And this is a faint idea of what we believe the Absolute to be. In the following lessons we shall see it in operation in all forms of life, and in ourselves. We shall get close to the workings of Its mighty Will–close to Its Heart of Love.
Carry with you the Central Thought of the Lesson:
There is but One Life in the Universe. And underlying that One Life–Its Real Self–Its Essence–Its Spirit–is The Absolute, living, feeling, suffering, rejoicing, longing, striving, in and through us. The Absolute is all that really Is, and all the visible Universe and forms of Life is Its expression, through Its Will. We lack words adequate to describe the nature of the Absolute, but we will use two words describing its inmost nature as best we see it. These two words are LIFE and LOVE, the one describing the outer, the other the inner nature. Let us manifest both Life and Love as a token of our origin and inner nature.
Peace be with you.