28 July 1870
"Here you have four words from human life as well as words pertaining to the life of the earth and the life of creation. All these words are divided into phases. The first signify the four phases of man or the periods of his life in relation to his physical and spiritual development.
What will be said here about man, in its own way has also validity for the nations who in their spiritual education have to pass through these four periods, as well as for the great epochs in the education of mankind as a whole.
In order to begin systematically with these many meanings and explanations, rationally ending with the one before turning to the other to explain it and show its spiritual connection with the former, we will in due course pass to the third. Then, admitting you to My workshop and finally elucidating another four spiritually great words in their highest meaning so that you can see the whole in a harmonious summary, we will divide this great word I am giving you into several sections, beginning with the natural explanation of the first four words. And so, My dear children, wait for the fine thing the Father will again develop for you!
There you see before you the stages of a human being’s development up and down, during his life on this earth. In a physical sense it is an up and down on this gamut; spiritually it should only be an upward move.
The boy or the child, born helpless, his soul engrossed in a dream life, knows and recognizes nothing, and must learn everything, even how to clothe his thoughts, which increase with the development of his personality, in a language, which is at first faulty, then becomes progressively clearer and more accurate the more the body and the mental capacity develop.
The spirit, as a spark out of Me, behaves quietly, encased in the innermost of the heart; here and there it merely urges the soul to develop its body according to certain laws so that it can use it as a good tool and take the soul-body, developing out of the orderly constructed body, along to the beyond for a different life once the earthly body and envelopment of the soul are no longer useful for the soul and it requires a different one.
In the boy or child all the passions are still dormant and it is at most obstinacy and anger which manifest. These are the first parasitic plants sending forth their tendrils around the youthful tree of life and hanging on to it. If early help is not given at the right time the whole tree is deprived of its strength and its saps and vigor change into those of the two weeds, completely spoiling the man who grows up with these qualities. For he, being a slave to these passions has to forgo almost every spiritual progress, thereby causing great trouble to himself and others who come into contact with him.
Obstinacy and anger are some of the mightiest attributes of the satanic nature. Because of the former, Satan refuses to take the road to Me and, because of the second attribute, he cannot allow the slightest trace of love to enter his heart, which would render him softer, instead of more unruly.
This is the case with the boy since often foolish parents, instead of fighting these two qualities more forcefully, even support them in the belief that, failing to give the child what he wants, one harms his health; or they are ready with the frivolous excuse: The child does not know what he wants; once he is bigger, things will be different.’
Foolish parents! Yes, it will become different. What he now, as a child, expressed with tears and inarticulate sounds, later on will change into unkind and hurtful words against you, then, with the child’s growing up and your decline it will perhaps end in physical acts where you will harvest what you have so nicely sown, just as you have deserved.
The child, developing gradually like a plant, and more and more trying to stretch out its arms from the mother’s breast towards the wide world in order to grasp especially what is most distant, grows with its cognition, and with the cognition grow the passions, and with the passions grows the inordinate longing to gratify them.
Thus having reached an age when this stream of spiritual, mental and physical urges, which are still as if mixed together, must be purified, the need for learning and schooling arises and the child must acquire an understanding about what is good and what bad, what is allowed and what forbidden, what is virtue and what is sin.
During this phase of purification of all youthful inordinate longings and desires, parents and educators must do everything to check the stream of all desires, passions and inordinate longings, which is almost overflowing with youthful high spirits, damming it up so that it cannot rise beyond its limiting banks.’
Here the soul begins to learn the first earnest word of the spiritual man. It is the curbing of his passions, the strength to counter his desires with a purpose and his inspirations and insinuations with a straight yes or no.
At first guided by the school and the example of the parents, the boy’s little vessel of life, entering a wider sphere, glides along between play and study, instruction and punishment into the age of youth, already more alert in spirit and soul. Coming into contact with his peers as well as with those above him or with older persons, the youthful soul feels the urge to question things that as a child he had accepted involuntarily, without making them out of conviction his own for the spiritualization of his own Self.
With the entering into a higher life-sphere which, to be sure, is also full of erroneous ideas, the questions begin: “But why this, why that?’
In accordance with the enlightenment received, the spiritual man within is then developing; finally, in the youth also the sexual drive awakens, he is attracted to the female sex which in his school years used to be a matter of indifference and often even scorn to him.
This urge, so dangerous for the uncontrolled nature, is nevertheless one of the most salutary, for it often curbs the coarsest passions of a spoilt child and what the mother, father and teacher could not achieve, an unconscious look from a girl’s eye full of love and inner happiness does. With this spiritual magnetizing she accomplishes something that will only be understood and once fully explained in the heavens, but which here on this earth leaves only a faint, unfortunately transient echo.
With the appearance of this turning point in the life of the youth the first step is made towards manhood; love wreathes the youth with roses, opening up for him a heaven he cannot as yet understand and grasp. This love, at first turned only towards the object of his affection, then guides him to the awareness of a man and his more serious duties.
Thus the impetuous youth makes the transition to the more prudent manhood where life becomes more serious and the man, no longer living alone but looking for a life’s companion, steps from a single life into that of a family. There, he has to curb his passions more, and a more serious look at his own life in an attempt to support both himself and his loved ones imposes duties on him of which as a boy he had no inkling, as a youth no idea, and the full significance of which he can only now, as a man, grasp.
Like a merry, fresh mountain torrent the boy sprang up hill and down dale. Arrived on the plain, still retaining some of his downward speed in the mountains, be rushes on merrily between banks covered with flowers, however, losing more and more of his speed and more and more spreading out on the plain, he makes the transition to manhood.
As man with his new demands of life, new problems and new obligations towards his family, he enters already into a phase where the spiritual-mental man in him, more and more formed according to a certain law, has either taken the direction towards what is good, namely, the road to Me, or the opposite one, away from Me.
Thus the stream of his life flows on, seeking, doubting, building his own Self from what he has found, perhaps calming down more and more, emerging gloriously from all conflicts and doubts and finally, as a quiet river, creeping towards old age. There movement almost ceases and one must really, like a hamster, live off the capital accumulated during a lifetime. For hardly anything can be added to it and the entire course of human life has been lived through with its deceptions, its joys, and at long last the harvest of accomplished deeds is to be reaped.
Thus the old man stands at the end of his visible physical life, behind him a past which never returns, ahead of him an obscure future, between two worlds, a visible and an invisible one, waiting for the moment when his life’s clock stops and the busy pendulum of his body, the heart, stands still.
Happy the old man who, finally, after great conflicts and manifold disturbances, has at least secured for himself so much that the garment of his soul has approached the archetype of My image, even though not completely. Happy he if he, albeit late, has properly recognized his mission on this earth, his God and Lord and the other world. He will calmly await the moment of departure when the garments will be changed; he will leave the world without fear and regret, for, although late, he has found his Creator, his Father, who will Up There in keeping with his still youthful heart surely invest him with a new, youthful garment. Then, constantly becoming more handsome and more spiritualized, he can, on the level of perfection, keep drawing closer to Me in order to become quite worthy of the name: “of God”.
Here you have the road of the child, the youth, the man and the old man, in few outlines before you.
Now we will see the analogy of these life’s phases with the seasons of your earth, and how far winter, spring, summer and autumn express spiritually in a similar way the same thing, which in the following chapter you shall learn in a still higher sense. (Secrets of life, chap. 6)
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