Impetus to Evolution part 1 The Approach

by Michael Colantoni

As a man’s intellectual, moral, and spiritual nature develops, he becomes more and more conscious of the purpose of human life, and more and more eager to accomplish that purpose in his own person. Repeated longings for earthly joys, followed by full possession and by subsequent weariness, have gradually taught him the transient and unsatisfactory nature of earth’s best gifts ; so often has he striven for, gained, enjoyed, been satiated, and finally nauseated, that he turns away discontented from all that earth can offer. ” What doth it profit?” sighs the wearied soul. ” All is vanity and vexation. Hundreds, yea, thousands of times have I possessed, and finally have found disappointment even in possession. These joys are illusions, as bubbles on the stream, fairy-colored, rainbow-hued, but bursting at a touch. I am athirst for realities ; I have had enough of shadows ; I pant for the eternal and the true, for freedom from the limitations that hem me in, that keep me a prisoner amid these changing shows.”

This first cry of the soul for liberation is the result of the realization that, were this earth all that poets have dreamed it, were every evil swept away, every sorrow put an end to, every joy intensified, every beauty enhanced, were everything raised to its point of perfection, he would still be aweary of it, would turn from it void of desire. It has become to him a prison, and, let it be decorated as it may, he pants for the free and limitless air beyond its inclosing walls. Nor is heaven more attractive to him than earth ; of that too he is aweary ; its joys have lost their attractiveness, even its intellectual and emotional delights no longer satisfy. They also “come and go, impermanent,” like the contacts of the senses; they are limited, transient, unsatisfying. He is tired of the changing; from very weariness he cries out for liberty.

Sometimes this realization of the worthlessness of earth and heaven is at first but as a flash in consciousness, and the external worlds reassert their empire and the glamour of their illusive joys again laps the soul into content. Some lives even may pass, full of noble work and unselfish achievement, of pure thoughts and lofty deeds, ere this realization of the emptiness of all that is phenomenal becomes the permanent attitude of the soul. But sooner or later the soul once and for ever breaks with earth and heaven as incompetent to satisfy his needs, and this definite turning away from the transitory, this definite will to reach the eternal, is the gateway to the probationary Path. The soul steps off the highway of evolution to breast the steeper climb up the mountain side, resolute to escape from the bondage of earthly and heavenly lives, and to reach the freedom of the upper air.

Annie Besant – The Ancient Wisdom 1897

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