A Talk Given in The Temple by,
Eleanor L. Shumway, Guardian in Chief
As a preamble to Convention 2016, I want to read portions of the Convention message of 1930, and follow that by a letter, written in September, 1930, by Dr. Little to Dr. Dower, then Guardian in Chief. (Dr. Little was a long time Temple member and priest, composer, singer, poet and dentist who always came to convention from the active Palo Alto Temple square.) The Master’s message had struck a deep note for Dr. Little and he is sharing how it affected his life and consciousness.
Notice that the Master’s Message contains thoughts and phrases that He has used again and again. He doesn’t waste energy in finding new words to express basic concepts and principles. Like a patient parent, He repeats and repeats, hoping, and knowing, that sooner or later, we will finally catch on. He is very adamant about finding our own inner centers, about the common courtesies we practice toward each other, and about working together. Do you suppose that He thinks these things are important?
In the last 86 years since this message was given, things have not changed at all from one viewpoint. We are still here, the names have changed, but our human reactions are much the same. We might be tempted to drop this message from 1930 into our inner history file and think complacently that things have moved forward to a much better place. But now, June 2016, is time to be very honest with ourselves about how we measure up to the wonderous pattern the Master holds out to us. As he says, we have no right to measure the other person, only ourselves. Remember that He always counsels us to be honest with ourselves and to acknowledge our strengths as well as our weaknesses. We are working on achieving a balance point from which we become highly effective.
Master Hilarion’s message begins: To My Own, My Beloved:
You look to me for word and message. I give it to you. It is myself.
All I say to you. . .I say with myself unto and within Your Own Very Selves. No outer word, no phrase of tongue or lip could utter that which I would convey to you. If you would receive that which I have for you in its purity, the fullness of its love and truth, you must receive it from within. Through what center of your being it shall reach you, how deep the channel, how strong the current which shall flow from me to you depends entirely upon yourselves, remains with you alone. That which you call for you shall receive.
Before proceeding I ask you each and all to endeavor to close the outer eye and ear, to still the body, calm the mind as best you can, to quiet any ripple of disturbance, however slight, that may arise from within your own auras or from passing currents without that would mar in any degree the Impress of the Holy Image, the Sacred Love that would imprint Itself upon you at this particular moment, that would sound the Word, the Long Lost Syllable once more within your hearts and through you to the world, to sing once again within humanity’s breast. May you still the self of sentient life long enough to participate in the spiritual wealth of this hour, to partake of it for your own and other’s good on all planes of activity. May you indraw the Holy Breath, Become One With the Rhythmic Consciousness, the Living Fact of Your Eternal Existence within and through It.
Could you but know the degree to which our lives have been given to you, the energy expended for you by the Lodge, the intensity of concentration with which you have been watched over, strengthened, guarded, nourished, protected during the past year to bring you safely to this appointed hour, you might readily stand in awe of the importance of the mission and purpose we have for you to fulfill. If you can but cast the sheathe of anxiety, fear, desolation, and doubt from yourselves long enough to catch one glimpse, one instantaneous flash of that Light that has been given you to use in all constructive work, you will be caught up indeed into the consciousness of your power, and possibilities. For that Ray upon which you would gaze is a Ray so clear, so wondrous, pure, and powerful that if you could but lose yourselves in it for one single instant, all there is of disharmony, difference, strife, doubt and dismay would fall from you, be dissipated as mists of morning. For it is indeed a Light Ray not yet knowingly discovered or analyzed by man, blood-red, glowing, streaming, throbbing, pulsing through The Heart of Being of the Great Ones of the Inner Spheres, of a character so powerful it would strike the physical world with fire if suffered to be loosed or permitted to be bent from its rightful course and uncontrolled, undirected turned from its spiritual line and purpose.
From your own observation, superficial or interior, you have witnessed its affect upon those who would tamper with it if they could for their own personal aggrandizement. Little do they realize that they move to their own effacement each time they thrust a hand into its glow, for it burns first from within and gradually eats its way to the surface. Well have they been warned, instructed, guided by us in the years past when they so continuously called upon us for aid, and can censure none but themselves for the pitiable plight in which they now are and will continue to find themselves, while we can do no more but pour out streams of compassion upon them until they call again for help in sincerity, truth, and submission made perfect through suffering.
A Ray of Holy Light it is, the Quest, the Grail You Seek, The Illumined One Himself, radiant, powerful, consuming all the dross that lies within Its path, marking the way from heaven to earth with the glowing vapors caused by Its emanations, and pointing the climb back to the heavens again by the one and only means, absolute attunement to the still center within the whirling, spinning power that sent It forth on It’s way to catch up and indraw all those aspiring sons of light who would become one with the Fiery Light and scale the ladder to higher planes of life and living-One with Us on the Great Day, One With Us on that Great Day Be With Us––Brothers in the Fiery Effort to Redeem the Consciousness to Realization of Its True Self.
This is the point at which you stand, the plane which is opened to you at your bidding, the substance-force which would exalt you or dethrone you as you use or abuse it.
I would therefore counsel you, you who are sincerely, earnestly, devotedly striving to subjugate yourselves to the Supreme within your souls that you may successfully attain the starry positions of your spiritual natures, that you definitely seek surcease at intervals from the fiery heat and glare, that you may not be overcome by it in ways overlooked by you through some weaker aspect of your auras not yet balanced, not fully fortified to withstand the steady strain required of you when in direct contact with this inner blazing Hierarchical Line of the Ruling Ruby Ray of the Lodge. Find the rivers, lakes, oceans, cooling streams and springs at times, that the inner heat concentrated upon and within your physical mental centers may be neutralized. Let the living waters pour upon you. Immerse yourselves within them at intervals. Keep within their fountain spray repeatedly and regularly. Bathe and be cleansed in their waters of regeneration and refreshment.
It is the importance of this point that causes me to dwell upon, to emphasize it. You are approaching the apex of a fiery cycle. You must eventually become One With the Fire from every standpoint, control it, become Fire Itself, and therefore have no need of outer protection. You will then have become complete master over your own material selves. Until that time, however, you must avail yourselves of protective properties of your environment while dealing with it to cool your minds and nerves through the nature principles and resources at your command, for the action, interaction and reaction between and upon the planes is tremendous, both constructively and destructively.
This fiery cycle creates and offers endless opportunities for new activities, new life, wide-spreading growth and development, important undertakings in a multitude of ways. Let them not pass from you carelessly. Lay your lines clearly, prepare the ground, till and nourish the soil, and plant the seeds of constructive growth and breadth promptly. Do not lose time in searching for select or choicest fields. Start with those closest at hand, nearest the heart, for the betterment of your fellow men, for the work, fir those most dependent upon you for care and helpful service. Do it before the moment gets away from your hand while you squander precious passing hours or spend your time in sleeping, while weeds of your own indulgences close you in and destroy the beauty and value of your gardens.
In the work of the Temple organization be vigilant; hold guard. Be steadily watchful, constant. You are not fully over the perils pending from past situations. Have no alarm. If you follow the counsel we have given there will be no cause for alarm. It must, however, be heeded, or you will reap the results of carelessness and disobedience. Keep active, alert, busied with constructive efforts. Engage yourselves in pruning, planting, watering in the fields of Impersonal Service, and the Lord of the Harvest shall gather grain and fruit in abundance for the nourishment of mankind, yourselves and your brothers.
If I would give you the advice you most should heed in form most concentrated for steady, instant use at any moment foreseen or unforeseen, I would embody it in the one word “Hold”. Hold that which you have gained. Hold your defenses strong, secure on every hand. Hold your arms in readiness for surprise attack at any time. Hold your passions, emotions, reserve force. Hold your consciousness, your spirit high and glad, attuned to the highest principles you can conceive. Hold to the beauty and truth of life in every capacity and concern.
Much depends upon the direction your forces take as to the outcome, the final clearance of difficulties. The currents of activity you put forth, negative or constructive, determine largely in [either] preventing the possibility of our help, or the creation of opportunities for us to throw ourselves into the streams of your own efforts with ever increasing power, reinforcement, overlapping tides that shall overwhelm and obliterate the animosity or success of the enemy on all planes.
This is a major cycle for washing out, cleaning up of mistakes of the past, clearing of old debts among yourselves, to your own Higher Selves, to the enemy in other lives and bodies arrayed against you, in the present or more violently and intimately still in the far past. A large proportion of the opposition with which you have been annoyed has arisen in the first place in days and lives now long lost from your outer memory, thus making it the more subtle to meet and the more advisable to transmute in the fullest capacity, that you may not have to encounter it again with even more difficulty and expenditure of spiritual energy, for some time it must be done, and the earlier it can be accomplished the sooner will you find relief and realization.
I have mentioned the watchful eye, the constant protection held for you all during the past year and how nearly impossible it is for you to realize it. I will say to you that you can come closest to that realization by casting your consciousness backward for the past months and reviewing, as it were, the non-relenting vigilance and care held by him you know as Chief Guardian. I would call to your attention the marks of fidelity, anxiety and suffering, and if there be any debt that could be placed against him, I would ask you to check, if you will, the sacrifice and endurance given for yourselves, for the Cause that we have so wisely given into his hands for safe keeping, and ask yourselves if such devotion, such faithfulness does not indicate to you that he has looked upon the Transfigured Countenance and the Hand of Blessing been placed upon his brow. I bring this home to you for deep consideration and trust you may find food for your souls within it.
There are many, practically all of you, who have discovered what I have said in some degree. There have been too frequent times, however, when indignation, criticism, or discontent have been carelessly uttered that have added much to the weight of the load that has been given him to carry. You cannot be too prompt to sense and carry out directions given by him, to regard his wishes with unquestioning minds and hearts. I am sounding no alarm of any nature whatsoever, but I am making a bold and truthful statement when I say there exists no man, however strong and powerful, but that the weight can be made too heavy. I put the question before you, do you know of any individual more able to perform the task allotted to him than the one chosen by us? Can you provide a better servitor for our use?
The crucial point to bear in mind at present and for the months ahead is your relation and attitude among and between your inner selves, in your own homes, between one another, in your daily transactions. It is from within far more than from without that you can be endangered. You have forged bonds between you of remarkable character and strength. Do not allow these, however, to cause you, through over-regard of them or taking them for granted, to fall into the trap of disregard for the qualities required for their maintenance and continued strengthening. The tests you will have to meet and which have already begun to precipitate upon you are in accord with the fiery nature of the present cycle upon which I elaborated to some extent in the beginning, and are therefore crucial. They involve the finer courtesies of life, the gentle services for youth and age, the deep encouragement to continue the march, to assume responsibility, to withhold rather than give ridicule, to bear with and not provoke, to entertain the Christ within your hearts in such manner that chivalry and devotion will be no effort to you. These will be the tests of most import for those of more outer nature, and the outcome of the same will depend upon the degree to which you can inculcate and manifest the more spiritual ones among yourselves. You do not have, some of you, the physical resistance of other years, but you can offset that by the ever-increasing development of those attributes which are greater than the powers and principalities of the world of outer things and might.
An image, however beautiful, can be broken by a rough hand, the more easily the more delicate and exquisite it may be. The image of your imagination and those created by others in regard to you can be destroyed by one blow, never to be made the same in a lifetime. They can be placed together again occasionally by a rare and sensitive artist’s hand, but they must always bear the mark of the joining, however slight, and can never take their rightful place or again fulfill their perfect purpose, lest they separate once more into unsightly fragments. It pays, therefore, to care for, protect, and bestow fond touch upon those creations of soul which have been obtained by sore travail of body and spirit or which have been obtained for us by sacrifice of those nobler and greater than ourselves.
Joyous living should be your slogan. Happiness is an attribute of the spirit and where it exists in its purest sense there can be no wrong or sin. It is a direct evidence of a life of selfless devotion.
You will have occasion more than once during the time you are here convened to prove your strength to meet and win in such tests of spiritual character as I have portrayed. You will have more after you disband from outer convention. Though they come upon you unawares, though they be fiery and inevitable, you can walk without fear if you bear in mind the counsel I have given you. Go serenely where duty directs; enjoy life in its infinite presentations; be perfected in love, love for one another, for me as you put your trust in me, and for Him Who Is Love Itself and than Whom there is no [one] higher.
As we part for the night, for rest and surcease of labor in mind and body, I say not “good-bye” but “good-night.” I shall stay with you closely throughout the week. Through the year I shall be near you. I am with you ever.
May you pass through the fires and not be burned. May you enter fulfillment beyond your own and our highest expectations and hopes, is the wish and prayer of
Your Father and Brother, Hilarion.
Later that fall Dr. Little wrote to Dr. Dower detailing how the Master’s words had resonated in his life.
I have been re-reading the Convention Message, and the points it makes in regard to you [as agent] impress me again as they have every time I have read or listened to a reading of this Message. I am impressed too by how impossible it is for us to really and truly stand by you unless other things pointed out pungently in this same Message are laid hold of.
Early in the Message it says, “If you can but . . . catch one glimpse, one instantaneous flash of that Light that has been given you to use in all constructive work, you will be caught up indeed into the consciousness of your power and possibilities.” It goes on to tell of what would be accomplished within us if this “Light” entered and did its highest work within us, but it warns that “It is indeed a Light Ray . . . of a character so powerful it would strike the physical world with fire if suffered to be loosed, bent, or turned from its spiritual line and purpose.” It points to results we have seen within our own ranks where this Light, this Fire, hitched up unworthily or perversely, has wrought wreckage and disaster. It points out how great, how holy, how imperative it is to the “Great Day Be With Us.” Then it advises those who are earnestly striving to render themselves at-one with the Supreme to use their God-given common sense and not over-charge their batteries but to take advantage of the wholesome outer means provided for equalizing pressures and tensions, because the apex of the fiery cycle is approaching when we must become one with the Fire, “Control it, become Fire Itself.”
The Temple opportunities and difficulties are pointed out and the watchword, “HOLD”, is given as a sort of key-note. After speaking of the necessity of liquidating our old debts in the Bank of the Universe and so getting ready to get on a “going” footing, and speaking of what we owe the Christ, the Lodge, and you the Agent and each other, it says, “The crucial point to bear in mind at present and for the months ahead is your relation and attitude among and between your inner selves, in your own home, between one another, in your daily transactions. It is from within far more than from without that you can be endangered.” . . . “They involve the finer courtesies of life, the gentle services for youth and old age, the deep encouragement to continue the march, to assume responsibilities, to withhold rather than give ridicule, to bear with not to provoke, to entertain the Christ within your own hearts in such manner that chivalry and devotion will be no effort to you.”
All this preamble to say it makes me the more uncomfortably conscious of a growing tendency to irritation and resentment in my own heart. I had been writing to Otto [Westfelt] about it, and he suggests this may be in part an evidence of the “Fire” the Master has been both commending and committing to us, and at the same time warning and cautioning in regard to. I see how this may be and how the Fire may thus be wasted or “bent” or “turned”, as the Master puts it. I am sadly afraid that I have not “entertained the Christ” as the Master points out, or I would be expressing patience and forbearance and understanding instead of irritation and resentment. I find the greatest difficulty in this respect in regard to my relations with those who are closest and dearest to me, as my family and my Temple comrades.
And I see the Fire wasted all about me in movie emotions, and jazz, and restless running to and fro, and over-eating, and drinking, and talking. I see even in our Temple meetings a tendency to use the Fire to get drunk on emotionally rather than to hitch it up to the “finer courtesies of life”, as the Master puts it. I have found it so in myself since my very first Temple convention and have had to warn myself, saying “Georgie, look out. The devil would just as soon divert you by exaltation as by abasement. It is all right to be having a good time but that is not what you are here for. What you are here for is to make closer contact and at-one-ment with the Lodge and the forces of construction, to the end ‘greater manhood, not fireworks.’” If my observation is correct I judge I am by no means alone in this besettment. It is part of “the star dust” obscuring often times the dangerous “open mouthed cavern” and distracting attention from the “Citadel” as pointed out a couple of years ago by various Messages.
I was asked once by a brother Templar who had a pretty big bump on his head where another Templar had heaved a rock of irritation and wrath at him, “Doctor am I mistaken or was a rock thrown at me?”
I said, “Yes a rock was thrown at you.”
Then he asked,” Well what is a fellow going to do in a case like that?”
I replied, “Let’s change the figure. If in the midst of dangerously inflammable material some one put a lighted torch in your hands what would be best, to put it out or to pass it on?”
I am afraid, ashamed and afraid, that I myself have all too often passed on the torch of irritation and resentment rather than acted upon my own advice and put it out. But I do feel in my heart like a hot, tearful little girl by the name of Jean Little who once years ago had fallen afoul of her father’s efforts at discipline and who sobbed out, “Daddy I want to be a dood dirl”.
It has often brought tears to my own eyes remembering and I too have wanted to be “a dood dirl”, if so be that is possible in a rather stiffnecked old maverick. And I would not be honest or true if I did not say I have seen the same spirit on the part of Temple brothers and sisters, and sometimes too under the very aggravating and even painful circumstances. Other wise, there would have been no Temple long ago, as Henry [Cowell] suggested in his few words before playing his March of Invincibility during the Convention. The very traits which in some measure make us available as Temple Stones are also our dangers and stumbling blocks and our constant means of offense.
You who have been able to stand in the midst of us and hold your point all these years don’t need to be told anything at all along these lines. You bear their scars on your very body, along with Paul and some other old warhorses.
I have been trying to use the advice given in “Agni Yoga” to combat irritation with gratitude, and I find it works fine when I am not in the least irritated. Too often I find myself in the state of mind of the Irishman whose dog, nosing about a fish stall, got nipped by a big lobster and ran yelping down the street with the lobster in tow. The fishman screamed out, “Call off yer dowg!”, but the Irishman in high dudgeon screamed back, “Call off yer dammed bug!”.
When irritation or resentment has my temper by the tail I find it hard to exercise the grace of gratitude to a degree visible to the naked eye. However, I am making a try at it. Perhaps after an incarnation or two more I may be able to report more hopeful and promising results.
So, Father Confessor, I do be a-confessing o’me sins and a-beseechin’ th’ Grace 0’ Heav’n on me soul, an’ despite me sins and wayward ways I do be for ye and wid ye.
Palo Alto, Calif. September 16, 1930
After reading the Master’s message and Dr. Little’s subsequent letter, I find comfort in the state of being human. I find comfort in the idea of self-responsibility. I find comfort in being forewarned, and forearmed. I find comfort in such an expression of unswerving love from the Master and the sense of purpose that propels me to battle with the forces sent to test my resolve. What do you find?