The Hill of Discernment

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The Hill of Discernment

By Alfred Trevor Barker

The Hill of Discernment

At this season of the year we begin to look forward to the vigorous new life that will come to birth within a few short weeks. Often Theosophical students experience many difficulties and find it hard to maintain their grip on the things of the spirit during the dark days of November, when the spiritual currents that flow from the Great Lodge are at their lowest ebb, this period being at the end of the six dark months of the Sun's southern journey, which is said to be under the dominion of Yama, the God of Death. The sternest battles with self often fall upon the soul at this time, and many feel themselves to be isolated, with their feet rooted in terror to the ground. The great ensnarer Doubt, causes them to wonder if they will ever hear again the beat of the wings of the Great Bird sounding anew the Aum through the cosmic spaces, calling their spirit to that new birth which those with any mystic perception almost invariably discover taking place within them round about the Sacred Festival of the Winter Solstice.

Men generally recognise quite easily the rhythmic sweep of the cosmic cycles: the moon with its periodic influence on all forms of life, the rise and fall of the seasons, the ebb and flow of the tides; but it comes as a new thought to many that this cyclic Law, which is universal in Nature, has its direct application in the life of the soul and its unfolding. No state of spiritual inspiration, nor indeed of consciousness, ever remains with us permanently, and the highest vision gives place inevitably to periods when it is not always easy to see the Pathway before our feet, and these are the testing times of faith. We can climb the pathway to the mountain tops and walk there, serene perhaps in the consciousness of work well done, but the road will inevitably descend again into the valley, and well for us that it is so. One of the most valuable lessons that comes to us as we travel onward, is the equanimity and detachment that come from the recognition that there would be no peaceful valleys if there were no hills on each side of them, and we thus learn to accept both the mountain of difficulty and the valley of fulfilment, and realize that even the pleasant vale can be shadowed and dark until the sun rises over the mountain tops to chase away the terrors of the night.

Shall we not have faith in the Law then — faith based upon knowledge and checked by experience, which gives us the certainty that periods of the greatest darkness are always followed by Light; and if we feel prone to forget this, is it not just then that we should reach out for the strong hands of those who are nearest us in spiritual fellowship, valuing most deeply the touch of those whose inner strength holds us firmly to our highest? Is not that the meaning of brotherhood? Again there must be "willingness to receive as well as to give advice and instruction," for it is impossible to share with others gifts which they are unwilling to receive. How rich life can be when the mind has learned to dwell in the way of truth, illumined by the Mystery Teachings of Antiquity! Therefore, Fideles sursum corda! and may the bright Chohans bring Peace to the hearts, and a new vision to the minds of all Theosophists wherever they may be this Christmas season, whose undaunted efforts show that they have earned the blessing.



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