The server at the Secret Altar
" Who shall say:
The aspiration of every true seeker of God, is service at the Secret Altar, to tend the sanctuary light, but before such service is possible, he must from himself provide the lamp, and the oil for its burning.
A kindled heart is the only lamp which can illumine this Altar, and burn perpetually before its shrine, The Holy of Holies, where abides the Presence of The Living God.
But-the cost ? “All that as man the human soul hopes and feels, and knows.» And the gain ? «A joy which cannot be spoken, and the exchange of illusion for reality, of the transient for the everlasting, of uncertainty, for realization of the unchanging.» « Too high a teaching for men living the ordinary daily life of men? » « Not if rightly understood ; for it does not imply leaving life's duties, its pleasures, or its pains, for they are the life of man in the physical world, and without these, the soul could not live as man; but, to rise above them, not to be held by them, and to realize that 'man' does not constitute the entire life of the soul.
When the désire for God-realization is entirely sincere, the intensity of desire will arouse the soul which is dreaming in man to behold the vision of imperishable things ; and it is this awakening of the soul which lifts man above life's difficulties, not out of them, and gives strength to endure, not to evade them, but rather the courage to overcome, which is the greatest achievement possible to man.
« He that
overcometh shall inherit all things ; and I will be his God and he shall be My
The way of the Yogi is that of asceticism and complete renunciation of earthly life, which is a different path to that of the mystic, for there are many paths leading to the goal ; but in these teachings we are considering the possibility of a human soul, knowing an inner life of the spirit while living the ordinary life in the world.
The realization that all material things however difficult, and however important they may be for the moment, are in reality but illusions, since they are transitory, gives man the power to endure for a season ; and also the understanding that beyond all illusion is the Eternal Reality, without which there could be no illusion, as there can be no shadow without its substance. IF therefore thy desire is sincere, and thy soul athirst for the living God, and yet there is no consciousness of progress upon The Path, be not dismayed ; for « If with all your hearts ye truly seek Me, ye shall ever surely find Me.”
The server at the Secret Altar is never conscious of his service, only of his desire for service; for while he can see himself standing there in worship, however devout the worshipper, he is gazing at an illusion. But when he can see the faces of other servers, and utter thanks to God that they have reached the place where he fain would stand, in that moment (although but a moment of earth's counting) of entire self-forgetfulness, he will receive divine illumination, and realize by the light of his own burning heart, that in very truth he is one with all men, and therefore all faces he sees are his face, and all achievement his achievement, and his thanksgiving, for verily they all are one with his own innermost self. « Losing himself outright, man finds himself in The Eternal Light.»