The Next Plateau

IT IS AS IF you climbed with difficulty and reached a plateau where you could rest and consolidate your gains for awhile and gather strength through an inner, eternal voice.

You go on and up with so much less dross until you reach another plateau;  you arrive a little weary, but with the most wondrous sense that you are stronger;  so you go, ever climbing and getting freer from delaying emotions and habits.

It is the same in this workaday, violent life;  march upward out of the teeming plains, through the dark forest, up on the cliffs where the way is more open.  Climb the heights and soon you will find you have escaped and are alone in the clean air, air that is revivifying, restoring.

Be a good athlete, self-disciplined, tried and free.  It may seem strange to give you a picture where there is so much effort and struggle, for it is not so— the yoke is easy, the burden is light— compared to the way of the flesh.  There is no effort spiritually, though you find you have to do things that tire the body, for you carry with you your knowledge of high peace like a lofty mountain peak high in the silence, nearer the stars.

As one has said, “what I say is commonplace, but if it became a conviction it would change the face of the world.”

Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
Can be retentive to the strength of spirit…
—Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Restated from Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood, 1948

• • •

The hope of a better nation— a better world—
is bound up in the progress and enlightenment of the individual.

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