In six days we will celebrate the anniversary of the founding of The Temple in Syracuse, New York. The Master tells us it took many incarnations to gather together in one place the particular souls necessary to commence the work, which was, and still is, the 24/7 living of the Golden Rule. In 1903, He directed Dr. Dower and Francia LaDue to move the headquarters to a selected spot on the West Coast, Halcyon, where the community could develop into a model of community living. Temple members have been striving toward that goal ever since.
In 1899, after one short year of Temple life, the Master had this to say:
You are bound together by ties that cannot be broken. You are in the position of five fingers to the hand. The hand cannot do its complete work without the aid of the fingers. If you will remember that simile it will save you much trouble in the future.
Unified action is absolutely necessary; it is for that purpose that you have been called into this Degree, and as far as your connection with the outer work is concerned it is that you may be able to work in harmony. That is one of the greatest tests we could have given you for until you can work together in complete and perfect harmony wherever any question of the work is concerned, it will simply be impossible for you to gain another step in evolution.
If you who have been brought into the most sacred relations that have ever existed upon the earth in over two thousand years cannot work together in sympathy, and give to each other that which you desire for yourselves – the love, the appreciation, the carefulness, the thought – how can you give to the Absolute and to the Masters the same obedience and faith? Until these can be given your development is simply stopped.
You stand on one step, or else you go back, you cannot advance. As I have before said there is where your great test lies. You must be able to put away from you all that concerns the personality of each other and unite on the principle of love; not love for any one thing, not love for any one individual, but love for the radiance of God.
When you can remember and and hold fast to the one principle of cohesion I have laid down for you, you will find all these minor points of difference pass like the chaff before the wind for that is all they are. You must, as I say, work as one person. I have repeatedly tried to show you how dear you all are to me individually and collectively, and if it is possible for you to realize what the love of one who has passed into the silence may be, you will know that every disagreement between you of such a nature is a disappointment to me, because, by those very actions you prove yourselves incapable of taking the higher steps that will lead you inward and upward.
You must remember that you who have been called into these Inner Degrees are in altogether a different position from those who are working on the outside. I cannot do your work any more than I can do your eating or sleeping. The work that is necessary for your development, intellectually, morally, and physically must be done by yourselves. Therefore it is necessary for you to take action on all these minor points.
We can listen to these words, smile complacently, and say to ourselves, “That was then, this is now, and things are different.” But are things different now? I believe not. Those people were us, members of The Temple, and only the clothes, and physical accouterments are different. We are ever charged to take action.
We have all come to this Center, drawn inexorably by Master Hilarion and our own higher selves. No one urged us to join The Temple. This is a step that must be decided by each one approaching The Temple doorway. On the most basic level, it means that we have read and are in agreement with the basic objects of The Temple, and willing to live our lives by these principles:
First: To formulate the truths of religion as the fundamental factor in the evolution of the human race. This does not mean the formulation of a creed.
Simply, we accepted the truth that religion, the spiritual, is a constant in our lives, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not as a creed that we preach to others, but as a nurturing, sustaining Light in our lives.
Second: To set forth a philosophy of life that is in accord with natural and divine law.
Simply, we promised to live the things we believe in at the deepest level of our understanding.
Third: To promote the study of the sciences and the fundamental facts and laws upon which the sciences are based, which will permit us to extend our belief and knowledge from what is known to the unknown.
Simply, to continue to study and evolve. As we do this, we will have a growing experience of the Divine in our lives and see the Divine in others.
Fourth: To promote the study and practice of the arts on fundamental lines, showing that the arts are, in reality the application of knowledge to human good and welfare, and that the Christos can speak to humanity through the arts as well as through any other fundamental line of manifestation.
Simply, that we believe that the creative arts are God in action and we will see that creativity everywhere.
Fifth: The promotion of a knowledge of true social science based on immutable law, showing the relationship between one human being and another, and between human beings, God, and nature. When these relationships are understood we will instinctively formulate and follow the law of true Brother/Sisterhood: the unity of ALL life.
Simply, we accepted that we must become a part of all life by interacting with Life, understanding that everything and everyone is a part of God, no matter what we think. We often have no trouble accepting that which is whole, beautiful and Light as a part of ourselves, however, we must accept ALL as a part of ourselves, even that which is seemingly damaged, broken, or dark.
When we begin to realize what we have pledged to do, it is not a great step to the deeper understanding that all this demands self-responsibility. Self-responsibility is not self-centered, but moves from the place of balance within ourselves to behaving in balance with the group in which we find ourselves.
We are, after all, products of the society in which we grew up. Some of the norms of that society tell us that church is for Sunday, where we think good thoughts and are nourished spiritually so we can go through another week. The Temple, on the other hand, asks us to live spiritually seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, and to understand that by attending Temple services, or classes, or Lodge events, or cleanup times, it isn’t only what we get out of such experiences, it is what we bring to them in order to make them times of group enrichment and growth. Each one of us is a cell of that group; each one will grow as the group grows. If we understand and accept our share of responsibility for the well-being of the group, all things in our lives begin to stream together in a positive manner. The excuses, “I’m too tired. . ., I can’t stand so and so. . ,I have to go to____, or do_____, or. . (you fill in the blank).,” are the testing forces in action to give us strength or rob us of energy in accordance with our choices.
The nurturing beauty of The Temple life is that it emphasizes our power of choice. Master Hilarion said, “The work that is necessary for your development, intellectually, morally, and physically must be done by yourselves.” Remember the number of times the Master says, “There are no little things?” As the Guardian in Chief and the Agent, I ask that you remember each choice made for yourself is a choice made for The Temple, plus or minus.
The Lords of Karma track our choices and always give us an opportunity to learn from such choices. Every time a situation presents itself to us, we must ask ourselves, “What is the lesson in this for me?”(not what the lesson is for the other person.) Our human tendency is to personalize the situation and think we are being singled out for something unpleasant by a malevolent force out to get us. It is difficult to acknowledge, but nevertheless true, that we have chosen to stand at precisely such a point. The energy saved by this acknowledgment of our own responsibility, in any situation, is enormous and empowering.
The Temple brings to us extraordinary comfort, unconditional love, understanding and insight that nurtures our entire being. As Agent of the Great White Lodge, my challenge to you is to ask yourselves what do you bring to The Temple. There is no question of your offering of love and service. How we translate this into everyday action is exactly where self-responsibility comes into play: Lofty ideals vs everyday actions.
These everyday actions must include thinking before we speak. Are we kind to everyone we meet, not just those we like, including our own Temple family? Are we kind to ourselves? How about attending services and classes? How about participating in cleanups? I have actually heard people say, “Oh, let the new people do that! I have paid my dues!” And how about paying your yearly cash dues, or donations for chipping and other services you take for granted? What about listening with an open mind, not clouded by your opinion of the speaker? What about voicing your gratitude every day to God for the privilege of living in a small piece of paradise? What about refraining from thinking or voicing the often heard, “The Temple should …..” “She or He should . . .!”or “He thinks he knows it all.” How about remembering the profound fifth rule of Discipleship? Thou shalt not speak falsely, unnecessarily or critically against thy neighbor, and so put in action the converse force of creative sound and word; for the Higher Law will reverse the action of the force thus directed and bring back upon thee, with intensified strength, the results of the broken law. Next time something seemingly “happens” to you, you might give this statement of irrevocable law more than a passing thought! There are no accidents. Anything that happens to us we have called in upon ourselves. The reverse is true. When good things happen, we have earned it by right thinking and right action.
When we take up in thought, word, or deed, the very real and powerful weapons of jealousy, hatred, and anger and strike at anyone, anywhere, it is a blow to the very fabric of The Temple itself, and presents the real danger of taking The Temple out of incarnation for the present time. What will we choose?
Let us remember that The True Purpose of The Temple is:
You must never lose sight of one fact. The higher purpose, the aim of all those who are true Templars, was and still is the preparation of a place where it might become possible for the overshadowing Christ to enter and send forth the message which the world has waited for so long.
It would be truly impossible for such an overshadowing of the spiritual forces to enter and dwell with a number of disaffected, treacherous, inhuman elements. It could not do the work for which it came, even if it were possible to come.
Such a place requires quiet, concentration, aspiration, unified endeavor, and faith in each other and in the common purpose.
These are essentials; all else is non essential.
My challenge to you is to ask yourself, honestly, “Why am I here? I earned the privilege of coming here, so now what am I doing to earn, every day, the privilege of staying here? Do I really see the truth that I am a co-creator with God? How do I express this every day, in every way possible?” A big challenge, but not one of us would be here if we did not really possess the strength to meet this challenge!