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March 2017 – The Spiritual Crisis of Man

Eteaching #48 discussed”The War and the World” (chapter 10, The Wisdom of the Overself) and noted the relevancy of the topic to the current world situation. More thoughts about this appear in The Spiritual Crisis of Man. About this book, PB wrote:

“I have waited many years to write this book. I have been silent for several years, not because I was indifferent to the mental difficulties of others nor because I was unable to help them, but because the proper time had not yet come to do so. I waited in inwardly commanded patience, but it is with some relief that I now find I need not wait any longer. Those years since December 1942, when I wrote the last paragraph of The Wisdom of the Overself, may seem to have been totally unproductive. But in reality they were years of hidden gestation. I remained silent in obedience to this command, but not idle.” Notebooks Category 12: Reflections Chapter 5: The Literary Work # 345 (#15142)

In Chapter VII of The Spiritual Crisis of Man, “Man’s Will and God’s Will,” PB addresses suffering and gives sage advice:

“The dark sorrows which life may present us can and should be met with a quiet confidence in the power of the soul to conquer them either psychologically or practically or both. But this power must be felt for, found, trusted and obeyed. If we keep our thought wise and good and brave, it will shield us, always inwardly and mayhap outwardly, from life’s sharpest arrows. And this is true whether they are shot at us by harsh fate or by human malice. Even in the darkest situations we often hope for the best. This is really our faintly echoing comprehension of the higher self’s message, that its bliss, and therefore our best, forever awaits us. There is a paradox here.” ( p.136)

He writes on p. 131,”The extremist advocates of nonresistance ignore the evolutionary need of cultivating both intelligence and will. The way in which we meet external situations and worldly events depends on these two factors as well as on our moral status. A total acceptance of, and passive resignation to, each situation or event because we believe that God’s decree is expressed by it, deprives us of the chance to develop intelligence and exercise will. But such an activity is part of the divine evolutionary Idea for humanity. Blind acceptance of every event, apathetic submission in the face of every situation, and pious yielding to remediable evil really means failure to co-operate with this Idea–which is the very opposite of what their advocates intended!”

Some instruction in the complexity of metaphysics aids our understanding. In the chapter”God is,” PB points out the twofold nature of mind:

“We call the ultimate principle of all being MIND. We call the ultimate principle of this manifested world of things and creatures, the World-Mind. But whereas the first is beyond intellectual expression of reach, unique, unlimited, absolute, ever still, the second exists in relations with the universe and with man. It is qualitatively describable, individual, and ever active. The word God to the philosopher means the first, to the theologian and mystic it means the second. MIND stands alone in its uniqueness, whereas the World-Mind is forever in relation with the world which is its product. The second is an aspect of the first, a timeless God in time and for a time, but MIND is a God forever out of time and space. Yet, except for human thinking about them, the two are not totally distinct entities.” (p. 184)

The next eteaching will continue with material from The Spiritual Crisis of Man.