The Universe, The Planet, The World, And Man
From The Sayings of the Ancient One
Articles By P.G.Bowen
Let every seeker after truth understand the simple fact that though no individual view of life can ever be wholly true, yet every view that can be taken as true in a relative sense, because it is an aspect of itself presented by truth to the seeker. One aspect may be less wide than another, but that does not mean that the other contains no truth at all, or contradicts the first. We seekers of knowledge are like travellers in an unknown country of plains and rivers and mountains, deserts and hills and forests. One stands on the plains and describes what he sees before him. Another climbs a tall forest tree and tells what he observes. A third ascends to a hilltop, and returns with his account. A fourth is not content until he views the landscape from the summit of the loftiest mountain peak. To each observer the country presents a different appearance; and even if two should view from the one point, the accounts of it which they give will differ. Yet such differences do not cause wise travellers to quarrel. On the contrary, they seek for more complete knowledge by weighing and comparing the varying accounts, and will reach a basis from which to make further explorations, not from what any one observer has seen, but from what they deduce from the united accounts.
Those who strive to explore the mysterious worlds of mind and spirit are seldom so wise, and they often quarrel with those bound on the same search who may not see quite as they see, instead of recognizing the most obvious fact in life, that as all men differ one from another, no two can have the same understanding of life. If I claim my own view as right, and those of all others who differ from me as wrong, then I am asserting one of two things; either that I know absolute truth, or else that I imagine that every man stands on the self-same level as every other. If I think either of those things. I am showing myself absurd and childish.
When I find that I differ from my brother I always ask myself this: "Does my brother appear to view life from a loftier or a lowlier standpoint than mine? If the first, may he not help me to rise to where he stands? If the second, perhaps I can help him to ascend." But to become certain either way we must patiently consult together, and measure and compare our views, and see wherein they differ, and in what respects they agree.
The universe is infinite and eternal, without limits, without beginning, and without end. To speculate upon its nature is not profitable, since human mind exists in time, and cannot conceive eternity; and human life is finite and cannot therefore establish any relationship with Infinity. The real universe is not the visible universe, nor any extension of it in space that consciousness can conceive. The universe is Life, and it manifests in and through an infinite host of beings.
Because it is infinite, the beings in and through which life manifests are infinite in variety as well as in numbers. Although they are imperfect in their varying degrees, since limitation means imperfection, yet they are perfect in essence, because that of which they are manifestations is limitless, and therefore perfect. In understanding this, the learner should also understand that in obeying the law of his being, which impels him ever to seek wider and wider knowledge of himself, of his world, and of Life, he is seeking to know that perfection which is the ultimate nature of all things. He is therefore reaching out towards conscious unity with all that is, since perfection cannot be other than One. To know this is to know the purpose of existence. Consciously or unconsciously, all beings reach out after extended experience: experience means knowledge, and the pursuit of knowledge is the pursuit of perfection.
Beings are distinguished by qualities, or attributes which are innumerable in variety; and these are all limitations, or modifications of Life, which the possessor uses, or should be striving to use, to aid him in attaining the object of his existence. Life has one attribute only: that which impels it to seek knowledge of its own perfection.
All beings are infinite and eternal in ultimate essence, and all are finite in manifestations. The course they pursue through manifestation is a constant reaching out towards knowledge of their essential perfection.
Every aspect of Life which is touched, or which it is possible to conceive may be touched by consciousness, is a being. The universe, as consciousness may conceive it, is a being. So also are the infinitesimal particles of energy, so- called, which, as is taught by men of science, build up every body throughout all space. Because the universe is infinite, for Infinity there can be no Being so vast that a greater cannot be conceived.
The learner should consider with care that which has been said, it may be difficult to grasp but when understood, in any degree, it will help much towards unveiling many of the mysteries of existence. It will lead to the knowledge that through study of the Larger Being within which he exists, man may begin to know himself; and conversely, that may begin to know himself; and conversely, that by search within himself he may learn to know that which appears to be without and beyond him.