Given In The Temple, by Eleanor L. Shumway, Guardian in Chief, April 14, 2013
About one hundred fifteen years ago the founding of The Temple took place 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 residents could develop a model of harmonious living that integrates the Golden Rule and the Unity of all life into daily, hourly practice. For one hundred ten years members and friends continue to strive toward that goal.
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 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, inexorably drawn 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. Let us review them and what they mean on a daily basis:
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.
To put it simply, we accept the truth that religion, aka 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. This Light pours through us to all around us.
Second: To set forth a philosophy of life that is in accord with natural and divine law.
Simply, we promise to live the things we believe in at the deepest level of our understanding and to bring harmlessness to every part of the manifested universe.
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, we pledge that we will continue to study and evolve. As we do this, we will realize a growing experience of the Divine in our lives and will therefore be increasingly able to 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 be able to 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 accept that we can become a part of all life only by interacting with Life, understanding that everything and everyone is a part of God, no matter what we personally 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. No person, place or thing is outside of God.
When we begin to realize what we have pledged to do, it is only a short step to the deeper understanding that all this demands self-responsibility. True self-responsibility is not self-centered, but helps us move from the place of balance within ourselves to behaving in balance within the groups in which we find ourselves, not just our Temple groups, but all groups.
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 that we add another dimension to our cultural norms. The Temple asks us to live from a spiritual base seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, and to understand that when we attend 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 these times one of group enrichment and growth. Perhaps, before such a service, class, event or workday one might postulate that, “I cannot bring anything to this gathering, as I am too tired, cross, dirty, or busy so I won’t go and thereby spare others (and myself!).” It is hard to realize that sometimes all that is needed in the group is our physical presence, that we serve as a point through which needed force can flow AND into whom the healing forces may flow for our own benefit as well as for the group. Perhaps the postulation might be changed to, “As tired, cross, dirty, or busy as I am, I will go and offer myself on the altar of our common brother/sisterhood asking to be used for the needs of the group.” Remember, the “needs of the group” include our own needs!
We are a cell of that group; we 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 to go, I can’t stand that other person, so it is better if I stay away, I have to go to_______, or I have to do_______, or. . (you can fill in the blanks) are the physical plane 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 Agent, I ask you to remember each choice that works for or against yourself is a choice made for or against The Temple and all humanity. There is no way to get around the fact that we are all a part of the whole, no matter what we may say, think or do.
The Lords of Karma track our choices and always, always, 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?” The question is NOT what is the lesson for the other person. Our human tendency is to personalize the situation and think we are 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 the point at which we find ourselves right now. We are being presented with the opportunity to learn a valuable lesson. The energy saved by this acknowledgment of our own responsibility in any situation is enormous, nurturing, and empowering.
The Temple brings to us extraordinary comfort, unconditional love, understanding and insight that nurtures our entire being. As the 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 stated offering of love and service. That goes without saying. But how we translate this offering into everyday action is exactly where self responsibility comes into play. The choice we make as we work between lofty ideals and everyday actions is the proving ground where we make evident our commitment to All That Is.
These everyday actions must include thinking before we speak. Are we kind to everyone we meet, not just those we like, including (and especially) our own Temple family? How about attending services and classes and bringing our best to them? How about participating in cleanups? I have actually heard people say, “Oh, let the new people do that! I have done my duty!” And how about paying your yearly cash dues, or making 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 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/He should . . .!” or “He/she thinks he/she knows it all.”
We must remember and practice the profound fifth rule of Discipleship which says, “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 called in upon ourselves. The reverse is true. When good things happen, we have earned it by right thinking and right action.
When we pick up in thought, word, or deed, the very real and powerful weapons of jealousy, hatred, and anger and strike out 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?
As we contemplate these daily, hourly choices, 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.
So how, what and when will you choose?
Eleanor L. Shumway