Compass Newsletter Spring 2014 No.24


Letters That Have Helped Me

William Quan Judge


The book comprises letters of William Quan Judge to a correspondent over a period of years. The benefit of the book is to be found in the title. The Letters contain much that Helps, and such practical help that it is a timeless companion, as relevant now as when first compiled. It carries the help into the future. But, as we understand Mr. Judge would have intended, it is to our daily life and it’s events that the essence of these Letters have their most benefit.

We share some extracts from this book. Letters in the book are sometimes followed by commentary from the correspondent, Jasper (Niemand).

From the testimony of a colleague we see this ability of Mr. Judge to bring lofty teachings to the level of ordinary application and understanding, which he applied to all things, resided deep within him…’ From him I learned to disentangle principle from condition. He viewed all questions from the standpoint of the principle or essence that each contained in itself, without reference to personality, and his quick perception of every situation, together with the application of his ideal principles, enabled him to judge correctly at all times.’ – E.A. Neresheimer


Preface to Volume 1

“Seeking for freedom I go to that God who is the light of his own thoughts. A man who knows him truly passes over death; there is no other path to go.” — Upanishads

In the Path for May, 1886, we find these words; “We need a literature, not solely for high
intellectual persons, but of a more simple character, which attempts to appeal to ordinary common-sense minds who are really fainting for such moral and mental assistance as is not reached by more pretentious works.”

Letter 8

Dear Jasper
I seize a few moments to acknowledge your letter. This is a period of waiting, of silence. Nothing seems alive. All oracles are silent. But the great clock of the Universe still goes on, unheeding. On Sunday I engaged in Meditation and received some benefit. I wished I could see you to speak of it.

Yet these things are too high for words, and when we approach the subjects we are not able to give expression to our thoughts. We do not live up to our highest soul possibilities. All that prevents our reaching up to the high thoughts of the far past is our own weakness, and not the work of any other.

How petty seem the cares of this earth when we indulge in deep reflection; they are then seen for what they are, and later on they are obliterated. It is true that the road to the gods is dark and difficult, and, as you say, we get nothing from them at first call: we have to call often. But we can on the way stop to look ahead, for no matter how sombre or howsoever weak ourselves, the Spectator sees it all and beckons to us, and whispers, “Be of good courage, for I have prepared a place for you where you will be with me forever.” He is the Great Self; He is ourselves.

The Leaders of the world are always trying to aid us. May we pass the clouds and see them ever. All our obstructions are of our own making. All our power is the storage of the past. That store we all must have; who in this life feels it near is he who has in this life directed his thoughts to the proper channel. That others do not feel it is because they have lived but blindly. That you do not feel it and see it more is because you have not yet directed all your mental energies to it. This great root of Karmic energy can be drawn upon by directing the fire of our minds in that direction. Towards Love of course is the right way; the Love of the Divine and of all beings. If we feel that after all we are not yet “Great Souls” who participate in the totality of those “Souls who wait upon the gods,” it need not cast us down: we arc waiting our hour in hope. Let us wait patiently, in the silence which
follows all effort, knowing that thus Nature works, for in her periods of obscuration she does naught where that obscuration lies, while doubtless she and we too are then at work on other spheres.

That described by you is not the soul; it is only a partial experience. Did you know the Soul, then could you yourself reply to all those questions, for all knowledge is there. In the soul is every creature and every thought alike. That sinking down of your thoughts to the center is practice. It can be done and we cannot explain it; we can only say “do it.” Still do not hunger to do these things.

The first step in becoming is resignation. Resignation is the sure, true, and royal road. Our subtle motives, ever changing, elude us when we seek it. You are near to it; it needs a great care. But while the body may be requiring time to feel its full results, we can instantly change the attitude of the mind. After Resignation, follow (in their own order) Satisfaction, Contentment, Knowledge. Anxiety to do these things is an obscurant and deterrent. So try to acquire patient Resignation. The lesson intended by the Karma of your present life is the higher patience. I can tell you nothing on this head; it is a matter for self and practice. Throw away every wish to get the power, and seek only for understanding of thyself. Insist on carelessness. Assert to yourself that it is not of the slightest consequence what you were yesterday, but in every moment strive for that moment; the results will follow of themselves.

The Past! What is it? Nothing. Gone! Dismiss it. You are the past of yourself. Therefore it concerns you not as such. It only concerns you as you now are. In you, as now you exist, lies all the past. So follow the Hindu maxim: “Regret nothing; never be sorry; and cut all doubts with the sword of spiritual knowledge.” Regret is productive only of error. I care not what I was, or what any one was. I only look for what I am each moment. For as each moment is and at once is not, it must follow that if we think of the past we forget the present, and while we forget, the moments fly by us, making more past. Then regret nothing, not even the greatest follies of your life, for they are gone, and you are to work in the present which is both past and future at once. So then, with that absolute knowledge that all your limitations are due to Karma, past or in this life, and with a firm reliance
ever now upon Karma as the only judge, who will be good or bad as you make it yourself, you can stand anything that may happen and feel serene despite the occasional despondencies which all feel, but which the light of Truth always dispels. This verse always settles everything: —

“In him who knows that all spiritual beings are the same in kind with the Supreme Being, what room can there be for delusion and what room for sorrow when he reflects upon the unity of spirit?” In all these inner experiences there are tides as well as in the ocean. We rise and fall. Anon the gods descend, and then they return to heaven. Do not think of getting them to descend, but strive to raise yourself higher on the road down which they periodically return, and thus get nearer to them, so that you shall in fact receive their influences sooner than before.

Adios. May you ever feel the surge of the vast deeps that lie beyond the heart’s small ebb. Perhaps our comrades are coming nearer. Who knows? But even if not, then we will wait; the sun must burst some day from the clouds. This will keep us strong while, in the company of the Dweller of the Threshold, we have perforce to stare and and sham awhile. -Z

(And Jasper comments)…

The “higher patience” alluded to also requires a care. It is the fine line between pride and humility. Both are extremes and mistakes; oscillations from one to the other are only a trifle better. How shall we be proud when we are so small? How dare we be humble when we are so great? In both we blaspheme. But there is that firm spot between the two which is the place “neither too high nor too low” on which Krishna told Arjuna to sit; a spot of his own. It is the firm place which our faith has won from the world. On it we are always to stand calmly, not overshadowed by any man however great, because each of us contains the potentialities of every other. “Not overshadowed” does not mean that we are not to show reverence to those through whom the soul speaks. It is the great soul we reverence, and not the mortal clay. We are to examine thoughtfully all that comes to us from such persons, and all that comes to us from any source wearing the aspect of truth, and try faithfully to see wherein it may be true, laying it aside, if we fall, as fruit not ripe for us yet. We are not to yield up our intuitions to any being, while we may largely doubt our judgment at all times. We are not to act without the inner asseveration, but we must not remain ignorant of the serious difficulty of separating this intuitive voice from the babble and prattle of fancy, desire, or pride. If we are just to ourselves we shall hold the balance evenly. How can we be just to any other who are not just to ourselves? In the Law a man suffers as much from injustice to himself as to another; it matters not in whose interests he has opposed the universal currents — the Law only knows that he has tried to deflect them by an injustice. It takes no account of persons nor even of ignorance of the Law. It is
an impartial, impersonal force, only to be understood by the aid of the higher patience, which at once dares all and endures all.

“Never regret anything.” Regret is a thought, hence an energy. If we turn its tide upon the past, it plays upon the seeds of that past and vivifies them; it causes them to sprout and grow in the ground of the mind: from thence to expression in action is but a step. A child once said to me when I used the word “Ghosts,” “Hush! Don’t think of them. What we think of always happens.” There are no impartial observers like children when they think away from themselves. – J. N.


…“I would never let the least fear or despair come before me, but if I cannot see the road, nor the goal for the fog, I would simply sit down and wait; I would not allow the fog to make me think no road was there, and that I was not to pass it. The fogs must lift.

“What then is the panacea finally, the royal talisman? It is DUTY, Selflessness. Duty persistently followed is the highest yoga, and is better than mantrams or any posture, or any other thing. If you can do no more than duty it will bring you to the goal.” … – Book 2, Letter 1

We all differ and must agree to disagree, for it is only by balancing contrary things that equilibrium (harmony) is obtained. Harmony does not come through likeness. If people will only let each other alone and go about their own business quietly all will be well. . . . It is one’s duty to try and find one’s own duty and not to get into the duty of another. And in this it is of the highest importance that we should detach our minds(as well as our tongues) from the duties and acts of others whenever those are outside of our own. If you can find this fine line of action and inaction you will have made great progress. — Section, Extracts ‘On Occult Philosophy’


We are not brought into existence by chance nor thrown up into earth-life like wreckage cast along the shore, but are here for infinitely noble purposes.— Katherine Tingley