Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

10 Basic Rules for Better Living

Ten Basic Rules For Better Living

Article By Manly P. Hall

(Excerpt from a book with the same title)

1. Stop worrying

The popular idea that a worrier is a thoughtful and conscientious citizen is false. The Egyptians realized this when they included worry among the cardinal sins. Do not confuse thoughtfulness and worry. The thoughtful person plans solutions, but the worrier merely dissolves in his own doubt. If you think straight, you will have less cause for worrying. The worrier not only suffers the same disaster many times, but undermines his health and annoys all others with whom he comes into contact. There are many things in this world that require thoughtful consideration, but there is really nothing to fear but fear.

2. Stop trying to dominate and posses your friends and relatives

Each of us likes to feel that he is running his own life. The moment we recognize the rights of others to seek life, liberty, and happiness according to their own dreams, hopes, and aspirations, we begin to conserve our own resources. It is very debilitating to give advice which is ignored or rejected, and equally disappointing to attempt to posses and dominate persons who immediately resent and combat our dictatorial tendencies. We are hurt when they do not see things our way. If we save advice for ourselves and those who seek it from us, and who are therefore grateful, all concerned will be the better.

3. Moderate ambition

There is a tendency to overlook natural and simple blessings while we plunge on toward distant goals. Each individual has certain capacities. If he can recognize his own abilities and work with them, he can attain personal security. If, however, he is constantly seeking that which is not reasonably attainable, he can never know happiness or contentment. The wise man observes the disastrous results of uncontrollable ambitions, and chooses moderation. It is not necessary to be famous in order to be happy, nor must one be the leading citizen in the community in order to gratify ones social instinct. The ambitious usually pay too much for what they get, and are the more miserable after they get it.

4. Do not accumulate more than you need

There is no real distinction in being the richest man in the graveyard. Many earnest citizens act as though there were pockets in shrouds. We are supposed to have outgrown the primitive belief that we should bury a mans goods with him so that his spirit might enjoy them in the afterworld. Here, again, the middle course is the wisest. Let us reserve some of our energy for enjoyment, and not give all of ourselves to the task of accumulation. Many a man who has made a million has not lived to spend it. A rich life can be more practical than a monumental bank account.

5. Learn to relax

Great tension is an abomination. The more tense we become, the more stupidly we are likely to act, and, according to the old Buddhists, stupidity is a cardinal sin. Today, many so-called efficient people are perpetually on the verge of a nervous breakdown. This is not so likely to be due to overwork as to unreasonable driving impulses from within themselves. Some say that they are overtaxing their resources to keep their jobs or to maintain extravagant families. Whether you believe it or not, you are a better producer and a better provider if you do not collapse from psychic exhaustion at some critical moment when you are most in need of good health. If your associates do not realize this, they may be in need of practical counsel.

6. Cultivate a sense of humor

As never before, we must brighten and lighten the corners where we are. The more seriously we take ourselves and our responsibilities, the duller we become. It is a saving grace to realize that, although living is a serious matter, we can take it too seriously. Also bear in mind that genuine humor is not bitter, cynical, or critical. It is the ability to laugh with the world and not at the world. If we must laugh at someone, let it be ourselves. Humor is a spice to living. It adds flavor to work, zest to play, charm to self-improvement, and proves to others that we have a security within ourselves. A sincere, happy laugh, like the joyous rippling of childrens laughter, relieves tension and restores good nature. Incidentally, it makes friends and inspires confidence.

7. Find a reason for your own existence

Unless you believe in something bigger than yourself, have some purpose more vital than accumulation or advancement in business or society, you are only existing, not living. A simple pattern is to realize that the laws of Nature that put you here seem to be primarily concerned with growth. You are a success to the degree that you grow, and you grow to the degree that you become a wiser, more useful, and more secure person. In other words, we live to learn, and by this very process, we learn to live. Broaden your horizon, develop an interest in all that is fine, beautiful, and purposeful. Great internal good comes from the love for music, art, great literature, broad philosophy, and simple faith. Strengthen the inside of your nature, and the outside will be better.

8. Never intentionally harm another person

Never by word or deed return evil for good, or evil for evil. Weed negative and destructive thoughts and emotions out of your personality, or they will ultimately contribute to your misery. As we look around us, we see the tragic results of individuals and nations that harbor grudges or nurse the instincts for revenge. The harmless life saves those who live it from many of the mortal shocks that flesh is heir to. Our critical attitudes and our long memories of evils that others have caused only reduce our present efficiency and endanger health and vitality. Even the selfish man realizes that he cannot afford to keep a grudge, and the unselfish simply will not permit grudges to accumulate because they know better and they believe better.

9. Beware of anger

When ill-temper controls us, we are no longer able to control ourselves. In a moment of anger, we may create a situation which will require years to remedy. Why should we spend our time trying to recover from our own mistakes? If we disapprove, let us state our case simply and quietly, and remember that we should never try to correct another when we have already committed a fault as great as his. A quick temper is a serious handicap in business or in the home. It is useless to say that we cannot control anger. This is as much as to admit that we have lost the power to control ourselves. If we resent the unkindness of others and the collective irritability of this generation, let us make sure that we are not one of the irritating factors.

10. Never blame others for our own mistakes

It is hardly necessary. Each of us seems to have an incredible capacity to do things badly and select unwisely. Actually, we are in trouble because we have not made constructive use of the power and abilities which we received as a birthright. Others can hurt us only while our inner life is too weak to sustain in the presence of trial or test. Instead of resenting misfortunes, and seeking to excuse our own limitations, we must face the facts. Either we are stronger than the problem and can solve it intelligently, or the problem is stronger than we are, and the only solution is to increase our own strength. Others are not to blame for our unhappiness. Each man must seek his own peace of mind, and, as the Arabian Nights so well expressed it, happiness must be earned.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Defense of Practical Idealism

I just stumbled across this defense of the integrity of the occult philosopher Manly P. Hall that I wrote over a decade ago. I still find Hall's work as charming now as I did back then.

--- In, curt wrote:
> I apologize for being such a complete snob - but seriously, Manly P.
> Hall was a fool. There is absolutely no reason to slog through his
> drivel unless you are doing research on what I call the "Esoteric Brain
> Drain". This is process by which Western Esotericism went from geniuses
> like Ficino and Agrippa to fools like Hall.

It would be unwise of me say that I agree wholeheartedly with everything that Manly P. Hall had to say on every subject, but I believe that this applies to any author and not just the ones that we are fond of. It seems to me that to call him a fool and his work drivel simply indicates that you have not studied much of him or his work and are perhaps judging him by his lowest qualities rather than his highest. He had an active public teaching career spanning nearly 70 years and throughout this time he was constantly learning and allowing others to share in this process. Among his many works throughout this great span of years you will find a mildly disparate range of quality. Nevertheless, when reflecting on his accomplishments after 20 years of public work he was able to state the following:

"The last twenty years of my life have been devoted to an examination and classification of essential learning. During this time my research has covered over forty great systems of religion and philosophy. It has been my purpose to focus the light of an ageless wisdom upon the problems of today; to discover if possible, from those who have lived well, the secret of right living, from those who have thought well, the secret of noble action. I believe that to some measure at least I have succeeded in this effort and have recovered from the obscurity of centuries the essential elements of that enlightened mode of existence which Pythogoras called the 'philosophic life'."

You say that in your "snobishness" you would prefer the genius of Agrippa to that of Hall. I also appreciate Agrippa and the manner in which he organized a diverse collection of obscure ancient teachings in his "Three Books of Occult Philosophy" which are not unlike Manly Hall's "Secret Teachings of All Ages" in this respect but certainly if we are to be honest in our appraisal we would also have to take into consideration Agrippa's own assessment of his life's work.

"But of Magic," he states, "I wrote whilst I was very young three large books, which I called Of Occult Philosophy, in which what was then through the curiosity of my youth erroneous, I now being more advised, am willing to have retracted, by this recantation; I formerly spent much time and costs in these vanities. At last I grew so wise as to be able to dissuade others from this destruction. For whosoever do not in the truth, nor in the power of God, but in the deceits of devils, according to the operation of wicked spirits presume to divine and prophesy, and practising through magical vanities, exorcisms, incantations and other demoniacal works and deciets of idolotry, boasting of delusions, and phantasms, presently ceasing, brag that they can do miracles, I say all these shall with Jannes, Jambres, and Simon Magus, be destined to the torments of eternal fire."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Wisdom of the Chariot

"Know the Self to be the Master sitting in the chariot, and the body the chariot. Consider the intellect as the charioteer, and the mind as the reins. The senses are the horses and the sense-objects, the road. He who is always of restrained mind and possesses right understanding has his senses controlled like the good horses of a cha­rioteer. He, who has wisdom for his cha­rioteer and the mind as the well-controlled reins, reaches the end of the spiritual journey- the realisation of the Supreme, all-pervading Spirit."

 ~ Katha Upanishad. III : 3, 4, 6, 9.

 "As to soul’s immortality then we have said enough, but as to its nature there is this that must be said. What manner of thing it is would be a long tale to tell, and most assuredly a god alone could tell it but what it resembles, that a man might tell in briefer compass. Let this therefore be our manner of discourse. Let it be likened to the union of powers in a team of winged steeds and their winged charioteer. Now all the gods’ steeds and all their charioteers are good, and of good stock, but with other beings it is not wholly so. With us men, in the first place, it is a pair of steeds that the charioteer controls; moreover one of them is noble and good, and of good stock, while the other has the opposite character, and his stock is opposite. Hence the task of our charioteer is difficult and troublesome."

 ~ Plato, Phaedrus