“Whatsoever a Man Soweth”
IT IS the soul, then, which as the true ego continuously acquires, animates and discards
each of the countless forms of organic life – plant, animal, and human – necessary for its growth in experience and perfecting through suffering, until, as the Soul of Man Regenerate, it has no more need of material bodies in this or any other world, having attained salvation. For the soul, to triumph over and re-create matter, must have full knowledge of matter, to transcend and transmute form it must have complete experience of form. Descending as the ego into generation it must re-ascend by emancipating itself from the power of the body.
Once the soul has polarised and issued into life within an organism it comes under the operation of the law of Consequence, or Karma, and from thenceforth creates for itself bodies or forms which are in their nature and liabilities the exact issue of its antecedent conduct. The capabilities for good or evil of every successive physical embodiment of the ego of man are dependent upon the tendencies for good or evil encouraged by him as the ego in previous incarnations, and so also is apportioned the relative happiness or misery of the ego in the periods between each incarnation. Man’s behaviour now is determining his own future environment and characteristics, and the instrument wherewith his fate is carved he himself forges from the ore of his thoughts and deeds in the crucible of character. Man is the result of his thought – Character is Destiny. It is a law of equity; neither kind nor cruel, only eternally just. To ignore or deny its sway brings unhappiness and perplexity, to understand and use it brings peace and certitude. It is the law of spiritual heredity for the true self.
“Made Perfect Through Suffering”
Thus the cardinal doctrine of evolution is the ancient law of the progression of the soul through transmigration, with Karma as the means both of imprisonment and liberation. It is for the
most part – until the soul learns to distinguish between the permanent and the transient – a way of suffering, yet all suffering comes from within and is therefore merited suffering. And while sorrow, in the sense of impermanence, is inherent in the nature of existence, since existence is a partial limitation or deprivation of Being or God, yet it is the channel unto expansion of consciousness, the way of initiation for the soul. The suffering of the ego in man is an undertone from the octave of the suffering of God in creation. Individual suffering, individual liabilities, can never be understood by the rushlight of one single physical earth-life, but only by the torch of Reincarnation held in the hand of Karma. Therefore although it is difficult to conceive of the passage of the soul through the veil of matter except by the way of suffering and experience, it is possible for the individual so to order his embodied life that all suffering shall be to him as the wings of his ascent towards the Highest.
The cause of suffering and the root of sin are with the soul and not in the exterior personality. It is, in one word, lust. It originates in the negating by the soul of her spiritual nature, the forsaking of her divine centre for the things of sense, desire for the not-God. Renouncing her true identity as spiritual substance she thereby identifies herself with the bodily nature and, falling under the dominion of matter, becomes estranged from her former pure estate. As the sense of right and wrong inheres in the soul she has the will to choose between the inner and the outer, and is free so to choose. But on her lasting choice depends either her final perpetuation as a portion of God’s Self or Spirit, or the ultimate withdrawal of her animating spirit and consequent dispersion or extinction as an individuality. Man is indeed free to accept or deny God –
he is no puppet of the Almighty’s – but his choice is, eventually one between Being and annihilation. The actual occurrence of the latter event may be rare in the extreme, but its possibility cannot be overlooked in a conception of existence that is neither arbitrary nor mechanical.