From the Writings of a Theosophist
Taking Things as They Come, And
Dealing With Them Singly Day to Day
Robert Crosbie (1849-1919)
The following fragments were selected from
“The Friendly Philosopher”, by Robert Crosbie,
Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 2008, 415 pages. The
numbers of pages are indicated at the end of them
in parenthesis. The text was first published at “The
Aquarian Theosophist”, June 2019, pages 16-18.
Original title: “Fragments from a Theosophist’s Writings”.
1. The Wise Man and the World
The wise man does not try to regenerate the world by any one course, but having obtained knowledge, lives according to it as best he can under any conditions, using his energy and knowledge in the world and for the world, by presenting what he sees to be truth. (p. 59)
2. A Theosophical View of Mistakes
We should be glad to be able – and be able – to correct erroneous views and applications. In that is our strength; our personal weaknesses and troubles are but bubbles on the stream of time, which our “strength” will safely carry us through and over. This thought, which comes from inner knowledge, should make us stronger, better able, surer of victory. (p. 60)
3. The Message Written in a Stone
I had a little stone once, upon which was engraved, “Even this will pass away.” It served many a time to remind me of the transitory nature of all trials and troubles. The motto is a good one and may serve many others, if used when need arises. (p. 84)
4. The True Goal is Self-knowledge
Intellectual acquaintance is well enough for those who are entertained by that sort of thing, but those who seek self-knowledge, who will not be satisfied with anything else, go not by that road. Self-knowledge is the first desideratum; the other is incidental, and useless without the first. The first requires whole-heartedness, self-discipline, constant service, unflagging determination. It is undertaken only by determined souls and continued by increased heroism – of such are the immortal heroes of the ages. The second can be followed by any schoolboy, and is necessary to some extent, as an equipment for the sake of others, but unless subservient to the first, it is useless as a means of growth. The general tendency is toward “intellectualism,” and it is easy to follow that line of acquisition. The effort should therefore be to present and practice the study that leads to growth, using the “process” only to assist the understanding. The opposite is too generally the practice. There are Theosophists in name and Theosophists by nature; they are different. (p. 162)
5. When Full Confidence Abounded
I have found it helpful to go back to the time when full confidence abounded, if obstacles pressed hard and insistently. It often appears to us that obstacles that meet us need not be; that they have no relation to the great task we have set before ourselves; yet due consideration of what we have learned must show that nothing can possibly occur which is out of that relation. We often say to ourselves, “If this thing were only different, or proceeded or occurred in this other way, it would be better,” failing to perceive that if it were different, it would be different. The key to conduct, then, seems to be – taking things as they come, and dealing with them singly day to day. We find this hard, yet the “hardness” will continue in degree as we become “confirmed,” until all is easy. The harder the effort, the greater the strength acquired. I used to look calmly and dispassionately at the very worst picture I could conjure up as happening to myself, and found it helpful in getting rid of “fear of consequences.” I mentally took account of the very worst, saw myself in it with all that it entailed, went through it in all its parts leaving myself alone, dishonored, stripped of everything. Those very things have happened to me, but I knew them, had outlived them, and went on undismayed. Had I not done it, I would not be where I am to-day. (p. 85)
6. The Independence of Theosophists
The Messengers have left all that is necessary – for us and for others – in the way of direction; it is for us and for them to apply the right things at the right times and in the right way. Some may think this discouraging; so, many are looking for “orders and instructions” from Masters in ways and means. This would not do any good, even if it were possible, for if directed in everything, how could we grow in discrimination, judgment and power? We would be but automata, and would never fill the necessary place. No doubt They help all sincere men by adjustment rather than direction; so we should not look for the latter, but using our own best Theosophical judgment move forward, feeling sure that if our understanding of the nature of the task is good, and our motive pure, the right way will appear to us. This will be guidance of the right sort – one that leads to growth. In the meantime we live and learn, and should not forget that They and we are working in the present for the future, and for the same great end. (pp. 381-382)
7. Masters Do Not Direct; They Adjust
Masters do not direct; They adjust. There have been and there are those who think and say, in effect: “the Master will do everything.” All such are bound to go wrong, by not considering what is the right thing and the right way, by not using all the powers they have to determine the right procedure and conduct. We trust to the great Lodge and to the Law, but use the powers we have to the best of our ability: what we cannot do, we know They will do when necessary. We have to present this idea for the better guidance of all. (p. 382)
The above article was published as an independent item in the associated websites on 7 December 2020.
Does ancient philosophy help modern theosophy? See the article “Helena Blavatsky’s Self-Criticism”.
For those who feel that much unnecessary suffering results from materialistic delusion, we recommend “Why One Should Disdain Hardships” and “Musonius: No Need of Much Evidence”, both by the same ancient philosopher.
Helena Blavatsky (photo) wrote these words: “Deserve, then desire”.