For us, creating this Review is really an act of listening. As we search through hundreds of books looking for just the right ones to offer you, we try to listen to the Voice behind them all. What does it want to say to you this month? What do we need to know at the moment? What have your many letters said to us? Sometimes we hear more clearly, and sometimes less, but this time, the Voice was very clear, as you’ll see as you read through these pages which include so many books which deal, in various ways, with the healing power of crisis, and with accepting and transforming the negative in our lives. Indeed, so strongly were we affected this time that we found we were burgeoning with something quite big to say to ourselves, which is why we’ve squashed our photographs up a bit – to make room! So, if you’ll allow us ‘permission to speak freely, sir?’….
The Gate of Saturn
As the great 20th century mystic and philosopher, P D Mehta, once pointed out, to carry what some people understand by the law of karma (or the law of ‘cause and effect’) to its logical conclusion would be to believe, for instance, that all the Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust somehow ‘deserved’ to die because of something they’d done in a past life. Well if, like us, you’d rather die than believe such an obvious piece of nonsense, you’re compelled to view the process of cause and effect in a far less simplistic light. You realise that there must be an element of choice involved, that perhaps sometimes we choose difficult experiences because we want to develop particular qualities or be of help to others in some way. But you’re also compelled to accept that sometimes, the dreadful things which happen to us arise, not from personal causes, but from group, national, global or even universal ones. We collide with eddies and currents of chaos or evil whose origin lies far outside and beyond ourselves, and whose causes are far too vast and complex for our tiny minds to contemplate.
However, this brings us to a paradox, another one of those coins with two sides, like the ones we were talking about in our last letter. For, when we turn this coin over, what do we see? That whatever the cause of our misfortune, be it karma, choice, chaos, or evil, there is no need for us to waste any time at all looking around for someone or something to blame. For difficult experiences bring us a marvellous opportunity to invoke an enormous, God-given power, given as a gift to all of us. This is the power to overwrite the law of ‘an eye for an eye’ and cancel out the powers of chaos and evil with one simple, higher law – the Law of Grace.
We do this by accepting – even welcoming – suffering and by sharpening our ears, at such difficult times, to the ‘still small Voice within’ and trying our best (and don’t worry, our best will always be good enough, even though it may not seem like that at the time) to do what it says. For this ‘still small Voice’ will infallibly show us how we can use the opportunity of suffering to transform ourselves and those connected with us in the most positive way.
And when we’ve done this, let’s recognize what we’ve done, because it’s actually no small thing. For, when we go out to meet all the experiences in our lives, not with our own will, or anybody else’s will, but in obedience to the ‘still small Voice within’, we give this Voice of Good the opportunity to build, in us, a consciousness and a vehicle capable of lasting, because they’re aligned with Truth. And because they’re lasting, they will be capable of passing through the gates of Eternity, a realm where neither karma, nor evil hold any power.
This is how the All-Good actually swallows up all our lesser good and evil, and how we can co-operate in that work of sanctification. It is how the saying ‘death is swallowed up in victory’ can come true.
And isn’t that what we’ve all been doing, or trying to do, or wishing we could do if only we knew how? So let’s give each other a big hug. We’re on the right track. Let’s keep going.
Ann Napier © 2000