Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
That question I have been expecting for a very long time! And what you expect is to see my middle stump break the wicket-keeper's nose, with the balls smartly fielded by Third Man and Short Leg!
I admit that it looks like a strong case. Here (you put it in your more elegant prose) we have a Yogi, nay more, a Paramahamsa, a Bodhisattva of the best: yea, further, we have a Master of the Temple—and is not his Motto "Vi veri vniversom vivus vici?" and yet we find him fussing like an old hen over the most trivial of troubles; we find him wrapped in the lacustrine vapours of Avernus, fretting himself into a fever about imaginary misfortunes at which no normal person would do more than cast a contemptuous glance, and get on with the job.
Yes, although you can scarcely evade indictment for unnecessarily employing the language of hyperbole, I see what you mean. Yet the answer is adequate; the very terms of his Bargain with Destiny not only allow for, but imply, some such reaction on the part of the Master to the Bludgeonings of Fate. (W. E. Henley*)
There are two ways of looking at the problem. One is what I may call the mathematical. If I have ten and sixpence in the world and but a half-guinea cigar, I have no money left to buy a box of matches. To "snap out of it" and recover my normal serenity requires only a minute effort, and the whole of my magical energy is earmarked for the Great Work. I have none left to make that effort. Of course, if the worry is enough to interfere with that Work, I must detail a corporal's file to abate the nuisance.
The other way may be called the Taoist aspect. First, however, let me explain the point of view of the Master of the Temple, as it is so similar. You should remember from your reading what happens in this Grade. The new Master is "cast out" into the sphere appropriate to the nature of his own particular Great Work. And it is proper for him to act in true accordance with the nature of the man as he was when he passed through that Sphere (or Grade) on his upward journey. Thus, if he be cast out into 3° = 8°, it is no part of his work to aim at the virtues of a 4° = 7°; all that has been done long before. It is no business of his to be bothering his head about anything at all but his Work; so he must react to events as they occur in the way natural to him without trying to "improve himself." (This, of course, applies not only to worry, but to all his funny little ways.)
The Taoist position differs little, but it is independent of all considerations of the man's attainment; it is an universal rule based on a particular theory of things in general. Thus, "benevolence and righteousness" are not "virtues;" they are only symptoms of the world-disease, in that they should be needed. The same applies to all conditions, and to all modes of seeking to modify them. There is only one proper reaction to event; that is, to adjust oneself with perfect elasticity to whatever happens.
That tiger across the paddy-field looks hungry. There are several ways of dealing with the situation. One can run away, or climb a tree, or shoot him, or (in your case) cow him by the Power of the Human Eye; but the way of the Tao is to take no particular notice. (This, incidentally, is not such bad Magick; the diversion of your attention might very well result in your becoming invisible, as I have explained in a previous letter.) The theory appears to be that, although your effort to save yourself is successful, it is bound to create a disturbance of equilibrium elsewhere, with results equally disastrous. Even more so; it might be that to be eaten by a tiger is just what you needed in your career through the incarnations; at that moment there might well be a vacancy somewhere exactly where it will do most good to your Great Work. When you press on one spot, you make a corresponding bulge in another, as we often see a beautiful lady, unhappy about her waist-line, adopt drastic measures, and transform herself into the semblance of a Pouter Puffin!
In theory, I am particularly pleased about this Method, because it goes for everybody, requires no knowledge, no technical training, "no nuffin." All the same, it won't do for me, except in a much modified form, and in very special cases; because no course of action (or inaction) is conceivable that would do great violence to my nature.
So let me worry along, please, with the accent on the "along;" I will grin and bear it, or, if it gets so bad that I can't do my Work, I will make the necessary effort to abate the nuisance, always most careful to do as little damage as possible to the main current of my total Energy.
Love is the law, love under will.
* An English poet.
© Ordo Templi Orientis. Original key entry by W.E. Heidrick for O.T.O. HTML coding by Frater T.S. for Nu Isis Working Group.