Given in the Temple by Eleanor L. Shumway, Guardian in Chief, Sunday November 11, 2012
The Temple will be 114 years old on Thursday. But what EXACTLY do these numbers really mean? If we are not alert, we can fall into self-satisfied complacency over how long the organization has been in manifestation, and therefore we can float along forever. We must remember that as day follows day we must be constantly renewing, constantly building on the efforts of those who have gone before us, as those who follow us will build on our efforts. We must study what has gone before in order to see and appreciate the foundation which has been laid, but we are responsible to the present moment, responsible for our place in the Golden Chain of The Temple of The People.
At the Temple’s Centennial Celebration Master Hilarion told us:
My Dear Children: I have ever been beside you as you have labored to bring into manifestation a new step in the work of the Great White Lodge. Through this Lodge Center I have poured forth the message of the coming of a Great Spiritual Light to help all of humanity raise itself out of the darkness of the material self. As you look over the past years, you can see this Light impressing itself more and more upon every plane of being. Dark corners everywhere are being cleansed and the refuse of centuries is being brought into brightness. Now more than ever, everyone is being asked to help transmute this darkness of ignorance and despair into the realms of greater light, intelligence, power, and wisdom. My children, you are asked to hold firmly to your faith in Our message of the Light of Truth even when you cannot see the myriad ways in which your faith furthers our work.
As the Guardian in Chief my question to you is “How is this working for you?” Not for someone else, not for some more convenient time, but for you right this minute. I know that most of us are going through a period of intense self-examination, sometimes accompanied by fractured communication with each other, as we try to find deeper, more soulful ways of living the things we say we believe in. In volume two of the Teachings we read, “you have caught a glimpse of the towering pinnacles of the Temple of Life and its mysteries and the end of the path, and of the tender face of the Great Mother bending over its battlements. That one glimpse is enough. From that moment your viewpoint of life has changed.”
Life has changed — dramatically and yet it hasn’t changed much at all. The sun still makes its comforting journey, the alarm still rings, work still must be done, the laundry piles up, the weeds must be pulled, the zucchini harvested, diapers changed, meals prepared, cars fixed, walls painted, toilets unplugged, — the list is endless. As the myriad details of daily life claim our attention I would propose that this is the most dangerous and difficult period. We have renewed our offers to the Lodge of the highest we are capable of reaching, all we have, all we are, all we expect to be. That offer was accepted and cannot be withdrawn. Now we have to live it, and that means EVERY minute. Now we are tested on our resolve to put it into action. We are told that as we bear the trials and tests of daily living, so comes our strength. (Believe it or not!) We CAN make each of those details of daily life a spiritual detail by imbuing it with love, or as an act of service in harmony with Spirit.
It would be foolish to imagine that we can always maintain the change in our lives that comes after the glimpse of the Great Mother referred to in the lesson. However, it is the part of wisdom to take the responsibility of being proactive, to plan one degree of change at a time, to build it consciously into our very being, to live it, and then to gain the strength to reach for the next degree. In this process we need to be sharing, talking, doing together, reaching out, risking pain, misunderstanding, disappointment. . . .and yet. . . . knowing there is joy, understanding and reward in equal measure. We need to stay focused in all the processes of becoming.
I truly believe that from the beginning this group of Templars has shown extraordinary spiritual strength in their ability to stay here, to believe in the principles set forth in these Teachings, to hold on in the face of tremendous odds over 114 years of effort. Paradoxically we can only implement this one small step at a time — each one of us, each day. We are not asked for a string of brilliant successes. We are only asked to try and try again. We are cautioned that our impatience is one of our greatest hindrances. When we reach the point where we are perfectly willing to grow one leaf at a time we have made a huge advance. Intense hunger for growth has blasted more human vines than any one act of perverted Law.
I cannot tell or command you on what to do next. “Walk the talk” is my mandate. I can only do for myself, I can only share with you my feelings when I succeed or stumble, share with you the things that have and are giving my life meaning, and listen carefully to you as you share your feelings of the meaningful qualities of your life as well as your perceived faults, failures or times of anguish. As we build these bridges of communication between us, we will all arrive gradually at places where we can effect significant changes in ourselves. Of course we will fail at times, quarrel, take our toys and go home, creep out to try again, change techniques, and agree to disagree if necessary. The workplace for all of this is with each other, here and now, not withdrawing in anger or arrogance, but living the process of becoming the thing we believe in, minute by minute. Remember: THERE ARE NO LITTLE THINGS!
The Temple building itself is symbolic of our highest spiritual aspirations, as well as of men and women everywhere who are feeling the subtle yet powerful forces of Love, Aspiration, sacrifice and dedication to Principle. We know we are not yet masters, perhaps we feel we will never achieve that kind of unfoldment, and yet we are constantly bathed in Love, Compassion, Discipline, Instruction and Faith sent our way by our Elder Brothers, by the Holy Spirit Itself, encouraging us onward and upward, believing in us and our ability to grow. Our special charge, our responsibility, is to consciously work at serving humanity. Not humanity in the abstract, but the humanity represented by our self, by our neighbor, by our friends, by our enemies, and by the many people we see and interact with every single day. We MUST stop imputing motives of insult, or of back stabbing, or of need to control our neighbors and, instead, use the simple tools of a kind word, a loving glance, an understanding attitude, a hug, a handshake, and a listening heart.
All of us, together with all of the manifested Universe on every level, are that vehicle, that method, that abiding place of the Abstract Infinite, or God. “I am in my Father and my Father is in me” becomes a reality. We have the awesome responsibility to make this reality happen, one simple moment at a time. However, as much as we often feel we carry the whole weight alone, we are not alone, there is always help. We may call that help angels, archangels, Guides, Spirit, Master, Energies, Higher Self, or God; but whatever the name, that Infinite Love is there to enfold us, to encourage us, to help us when we stumble or fall. It knows that the God within each of us will triumph, that humanity is still worth loving, worth serving. However, knowing the help is there and knowing we do not have to do everything all at once still does not absolve us from the responsibility of getting on with it! Even as we sit here, right this minute.
The spiritual forces now working with humanity are increasingly insistent that all units acknowledge the connection between each person on this earth, as well as with all the kingdoms of Nature and the very Earth itself. Along with this must come the growing awareness that each of us is responsible for our own unfoldment. This cannot be left in the hands of anyone else, be it loved one, priest, teacher, leader, president, king, brother or sister. My unfoldment, my spiritual life journey is my own responsibility, as yours belongs to you. Yet you and I must always keep in mind as clearly as possible the impact of our journey on each other, on everyone with whom we come into contact in our day-to-day living. Our impact on each other influences and shapes our unfoldment. The grand paradox is that alone, yet together, we travel as a unit on our journey on the Path of Spiritual Unfoldment, gaining in understanding and consciousness only as we interact with each other. We, the human race, must stand or fall together, for in reality, WE ARE ONE. And yet, I cannot tell you what to do; I cannot put down rigid rules, time schedules or study guides and then stand as judge and jury to decide if you are measuring up to my standards. Nor can you do this for me. We can share with each other the experiences we have, the things that inspire us, and then trust each other to make the best use of these offerings within the context of our own individual journeys.
It is much easier to turn over this responsibility for spiritual unfoldment to someone else; then, when anything is awry in our life, it is that someone’s fault. Even the Masters tell us that we must not follow their teachings with blind faith — that we must test each step up against the White Light of our own intuition, our own Higher Self. If something they tell us does not ring true for us, then we must set it aside for the time being, holding to the path we see before us. We are, as a race, coming into our unfolding spiritual maturity and are being held responsible for functioning that maturity, not just talking about it. I like to think that the Masters, as they lovingly watch us, think of Eliza Dolittle in “My Fair Lady,” when she sings, . . .”words, words, words, all day long, first from him then from you”. . . . .stop the words and SHOW ME!
Ernest Harrison, Temple Scribe in the early years of the Temple work, said, “The real Temple is something which Humanity has been building throughout the ages, and is made of such fine material and of such high Spiritual Essences that it is vain indeed to expect or endeavor to put into words more than the very barest limits of its true significance.
“The Real Temple is Humanity, and to the extent that one is interested in and identifies with the welfare of Humanity as a whole; and to that extent only, will he or she be recognized by the Masters as a builder of the Temple and a worker in the Great Work.
“Let us throw in the discard now and forever, any conception that the Temple is an organization of chosen people (the Lord’s anointed) who are selected to do a certain work and afterwards to reap a great reward, and that all the rest of the unfortunate Human Race is on the other side of the fence, and does not belong in our set.
“If the Temple, as an organization, is to accomplish anything it must always be as broad as Humanity and as wide as the world is wide; absolutely without creed or dogma, and based on a religious philosophy which will at any time bear the scrutiny of Science and be open at all times to stand unshielded before the searchlight of Truth. It must always be ready to relinquish any teaching which may be proved to be erroneous; and to hold fast only to that which is TRUE and therefore capable of bearing the scrutiny of all or any test that may be put upon it.
“Let us realize here, that each member of the Human Race is a member of the Great Temple; that each must in turn pass through the Great Temple Gates; undergo all the tests, joys and sorrows of the Neophyte; and in time be initiated into the Inner Degrees as his or her Soul Development may demand, until he or she at last becomes a ‘Master Mason.’ The impulses to action come to us constantly through the day. There is usually a choice of Motive. Shall I do this? Or that? Sometimes we are impelled to do a little kindness, sometimes to do or say an unkind act or word. As we select either the good or bad, we build into our Soul Substance a Stone which will either help us to climb upwards or draw us down into Matter.
So each of us is a Temple Builder, whether we will it or no, and each is an integral part of the Great Temple of Humanity, which is in the process of constantly becoming and in which each man and woman in turn must become a conscious builder some day.”
This process is the Real Temple that we are building, the stones composed of the small acts of kindness, comfort, prayer, aspiration and recognition of the Unity of All Life. Several times a month, here at this altar in this memorial temple, symbol of the Altar in the Great Temple, we sing, “All we are or hope to be, Here and now we offer Thee.” This offer is accepted and cannot be withdrawn.
Given the state of the world today, and given humanity’s usual ability to read all kinds of portends, omens and symbols into events we choose to view as life-changing, we may very well, if we do not remain balanced and quiet, tune into the prevailing moods of fear, panic, despair, and irrational actions. What will change? Even if the world blows apart, what will change? We are still charged with the evolution of consciousness, no matter where we find our real selves residing. Remember, the Master told us that dark corners everywhere are being cleansed and the refuse of centuries is being brought into brightness. He is speaking to the dark corners of our souls, asking each of us to move into the realms of greater light, intelligence, power, and wisdom. We are not charged to clean dark corners in the other person’s soul. As we work on our own, we will find to our great surprise, the other person is doing the same work inside themselves.
One-pointedness is the Key to all interior and exterior success, and the one point that should be in the forefront of our consciousness is true indifference, or non-attachment to results. We will never attain to spiritual power until we “let go” of possible results. We must fix that one point in our minds. We create an ideal, the higher the better. Then we must concentrate our energies upon the working out of that ideal; working as though every hour held all our hope, our only opportunity. When that hour has passed, we must not revert to it again. Never look back, only build on the very best of that which has gone before.
In these special times we must make the words LET GO our beacon light; throw out broadcast the energy of the idea embodied in those two little words. We must engrave them in our hearts, minds, and souls, and live them with open hands and hearts. As we release our expectations of how things or people ought to be, we find that the joy of how things truly are comes rushing into our lives with treasures past telling. This is true acceptance in the spiritual sense.
It is through these processes of staying focused with faith, of truly letting go of our constriction, of quiet listening within, we will find ourselves in absolute harmony with the pledge many made fourteen years ago at the Centennial celebration of The Temple:
“The Master has asked us to enter The Temple of our own Inner Beings; to listen carefully; to realize our oneness with all life; and to express our faith in His work in our daily lives. We hereby pledge ourselves to continue the work we have been called to do: the simple task of preparing a place inside of ourselves for the manifestation of the Avataric Force. As we stand here now, looking forward to the years ahead, we offer our dedication and consecration of the Center of Light which are always being expressed through our idealism, our aspirations, our obedience and our love.”
I would ask you to think about how many ways can we speak of Brother/Sisterhood? Words, words, words. . . . .show me!
Eleanor L. Shumway