Change is a universal law. It is a function of the cosmic forces that make the universe. Therefore, if man is to live in accord with a universal purpose and try to fit into this great scheme of which he is a part, he must also become a participant in the universal change and the growth that apparently accompanies it.
Man should devote himself to understanding something about the change that take place about him, so that he in turn can be more closely related to the universal forces which are causing the changes and the manifestations of which he is a part, and with which he is to grow in understanding.
An individual who wishes to understand change wishes also to grow. A desire to understand is an indication of the individual’s desire to seek, and as a result of his seeking to find. Those who are really driven by a desire to find will try every possibility that opens before them. Even if their searches lead them up blind alleys, or cause them to inquire into cults that may not have particular principles or ideals to recommend them, at least these individuals may come closer to attaining something than those who do nothing or stubbornly follow a conventional set of regulations, laws, or dogmas that have become a part of the inheritance of man.
The individual who does nothing but comply with the principles and ideas that have been established in the past without questioning them, without investigating as to whether they fit the situation of the current age, is doing little to direct himself toward the understanding of the principles of change that take place about him.
Process of Change
Evolution and progress are taking place. In the general sense, we can assume that progress is the principle of universal forces tending toward a return or consolidation with the original cosmic forces that cause the universe to be and to function.
Evolution, on the other hand, is the trend of all forms of life to move toward betterment, in the sense that betterment is defined as adjusting more closely to the laws of the universe and therefore reaching a point where life would be in harmony with these laws.
Man is to evolve – evolve in understanding, in wisdom, and in his relationship with the divine or psychic force that transcends the immediate physical universe. This type of evolution challenges the attributes with which man is born and constantly directs him to inquire into his own nature and into the nature of the universal scheme of which he is a part.
To be able to give a real meaning to life, evolution and progress must be viewed from a cosmic rather than an earthly point of view. The cosmic scheme is a vast scheme encompassing the entire universe and all life that was ever manifest in it and ever will be. The earthly, individual point of view is the conclusion reached by our day-to-day analysis. It is very true that our concept of change as being progressive might be difficult to completely grasp if our standard of measure is in terms of our objective understanding of day-to-day situations.
Change is taking place through reincarnation – life manifest in a body for a time and then after a period manifest again in another body. Evolution and progress are taking place over the whole vast scope of reincarnation. It is difficult for us to pinpoint and analyze any manifestation or even gain objective awareness of the meaning of change as it affects our life at this particular moment.
To refuse to acknowledge advancement for the universal scheme and for the human race is to hide from the facts, or from the intent of the creator. It is like the larva which tries to remain in its cocoon instead of being released to grow into its next stage. If the moth or butterfly in its life development spent its entire span of life as a larva in a cocoon, it would be nothing. It can become a thing of beauty, as a butterfly or a moth, if and when the proper changes take place. If we can assign to the cocoon-like state of such an insect a human intelligence, we can imagine that during the period it is confined to the cocoon it must believe that there is neither purpose in the universe nor a future form of life. There is only darkness, rest, and nothingness for all time.
The experience of living is needed if we are to absorb the nature of our being. This inner nature is the manifestation of the inner self, which is the vehicle for the consciousness of the soul. Each incarnation contributes to the evolvement of the personality of the soul, that is to the awareness of the nature of the soul. To the point where personality as a function of the soul, just as consciousness is a function of the body, can become a part of the total awareness of the individual, the individual becomes conscious of his place in this vast universal system of change.
Each incarnation is a link in a chain that contributes to the evolvement of the personality of the soul until ultimately it becomes one with Divine Consciousness. But during the process, during the period of evolution, if we can use that term rather loosely to apply to man’s psychic, mental, and physical growth, all that man experiences of universal change are then experiences that he himself must face and with which he must cope and eventually understand if he is to reach a level that will bring him closer to divine comprehension.
Going It Alone
Birth, illumination, and transition, three of the most important events of all man’s experience, are purely personal experiences. We each must face them and experience them alone. We cannot share with another entity or another personality the experience of birth, illumination, or transition. This is a manifestation of the phase of man’s association with the changing universe. He has to go through these processes alone, and it is only while he is in other steps of evolvement that he may study and prepare himself so that these profound experiences of his being will be meaningful.
If our understanding at the moments of birth, illumination, and transition are not meaningful or are incomplete, it is clear evidence of the fact that our evolvement has not reached the point where we grasp the potentialities and meaning of those great events. Our challenge today is to prepare ourselves so that when we next experience one of these events we will comprehend it, and the meaning will be significant, so that it will impress upon the soul as a permanent memory or permanent effect, but rather as a conscious interlude within our own being, upon which we can draw in future lives and in future incarnations.
Life’s process is such that in order to gain the ability to understand the vast scope of man’s growth and evolvement, we must assimilate knowledge and experience, and in the assimilation of these important steps, we gain, so that when the next major experience of life takes place, it will have significance in terms of our background of understanding.
Man faces with trepidation the great significant points of his life – birth, illumination, and transition – because he has not been consciously aware of the experiences, as they have take place in the past.
If man is to learn to grasp the significance of such experiences, he must live so as to prepare his mind to be aware of all conditions that exist in and about him, to expand both his objective understanding and his psychic ability. In a sense, this is the purpose of life. It is a purpose to which man dedicates himself when he tries to learn. Many of us probably held back our own advancement by simply not being aware of the importance of experiences that were taking place.
In living, man must associate himself with other forms of life and with the media in which he lives. He must not only learn to be aware of his inner self and the importance of psychic growth and the awareness of his soul, but he must also learn to live in a physical universe and give proper importance and significance to physical phenomena. And he must also learn that the important fact of experience in living is to always maintain balance and harmony between the extremes. This causes man to be constantly in a state of adjustment; that is, he should be adjusting to the change that is the continuity of life. In this adjustment, and in the process of the assimilation of knowledge and experience, man will need to make decisions. As a result, each individual constantly makes judgments of what takes place, judgments as to the significance of the situations that are a part of his experience and environment.
These judgments help formulate character, which is the true picture of each of us. As we reach conclusions based upon the knowledge and experience that is ours, the judgments, like building blocks, tend to create a total character, which in turn will reflect within our inner experiences. We must beware of judgments that are without foundation and remember that opinions differ from judgments. An opinion is just a passing fancy, sometimes based upon lack of realization and understanding. Human judgment, bases upon opinions, has the power of good or evil, because the imagination behind the judgment can result in the behaviour that follows after the judgment is reached. Human judgment give rise only to human law, to finite conclusions, and to error, which judgments that are base upon the total faculties of man, both physical and psychic, can give rise to an apprehension of cosmic law, in contrast to finite law. Such judgment will lead us toward the infinite and toward perfection.
Harmony and balance are attained through the ability of the individual to realize that change exists, and that it manifests in many ways. The universe is a process of continuous change, and we must gain by reconciling the invisible with the visible and the psychic with the physical. We must never lose sight of the fact that both exist and that each human being has an interest in both areas of existence.
Our challenge for eventual growth and understanding of universal change is to develop our attributes, both physical and psychic, to the point where we can benefit and understand to a degree every experience and be prepared for the great individual ones that will lead us toward greater cosmic understanding.
- Extracted from the article Phases of Growth by Cecil A. Poole