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The Art of Living:
Living within the Laws of Life

From the preface

The Art of LivingIn common with the two previous books, The Great Approach and The Art of Co-operation, The Art of Living is conceived as three separate but interconnected parts. Each part concludes with a range of questions and answers arising from the theme of the talk.

In Part One, 'The Art of Living', a commentary on an article by my Master and published in Share International magazine, Volume 25, No 1, 2006, the idea is presented that living is an art, as is painting or music. Like painting and music or any other art, therefore, living requires the understanding of and adherence to the laws and rules under which the art can flourish. This essentially new concept of living relates it to the great Law of Cause and Effect (the Law of Karma in the East) and the connected Law of Rebirth, the basic laws of our planetary existence. The correct understanding and following of these two laws are prerequisites for the creation of harmlessness in every sphere of our lives and thus also for the creation of right human relations, itself the prerequisite for human happiness. It is by the outer expression of the indwelling human soul through the intuition that this is finally achieved. We are entering an era in which great new energies will become available to us for such a flowering of the arts of all kinds, above all the art of living.

Part Two, 'The Pairs of Opposites', is a commentary on an article given by my Master and published in Share International magazine, Volume 22, No.1, 2003.
Historically, the evolution of humanity would seem to be one of almost constant warfare, aggression and hatred. With the discovery of the atomic bomb we have perfected our ability to destroy each other in large numbers and at great distances. Is this destructiveness, then, the true, essential nature of man? And if not, why has he behaved so consistently as if it were?

The answer lies in man's unique position in the evolution of the kingdoms on Earth, the meeting point of spirit and matter. Man, in essence, is an immortal soul, divinely perfect, immersed in matter. For long ages in the incarnational process, the inertia of the matter aspect precludes any significant expression of the soul's perfection. Eventually, the innate aspiration of man draws him upwards and onwards until the two poles of his nature gradually come together and are resolved in total union.

Then the perfected man realizes that the dichotomy between spirit and matter – their apparent opposition – is only seeming, in fact, illusion. He sees that they are different aspects of one perfect, divine Whole.

The long struggle to reach this revelation generates the friction and fire necessary for the journey, his aspiration lights for him the way. Thus does man fulfil his destined role on planet Earth: the spiritualization of matter.

Unlike Parts One and Two, which are commentaries on articles given by my Master for the magazine Share International, Part Three is inspired by some lines on illusion, given through Alice A. Bailey by the Master Djwhal Khul (DK), and quoted by Aart Jurriaanse in his compilation, Ponder on This (Lucis Press, 1971).

The talk reveals the unexpected fact that illusion is a soul activity, where the soul itself is blinded by the misinterpretations of ideas presented to it by the mental bodies of humanity. As glamour is illusion on the astral-emotional level, illusion per se is a condition of those who are more intellectually oriented. They flood the mental body with ideas and multitudes of thoughtforms that prevent the soul from experiencing reality.

Part Three covers the illusions of individuals, nations, governments and groups of all kinds. Wherever and whenever people misinterpret reality, through ignorance and spiritual short-sightedness, they create a block to the soul's vision, and live in illusion. The use of the intuition, a faculty of the soul, is seen as the only instrument that can clear the mental body of illusion. This requires a deepening of soul contact which is developed by correct meditation, mind control and a more intelligent understanding and practice of the laws of life. These are now being engaged in by growing numbers of people, and will lead eventually, under the stimulus of the Masters, to the freeing of humanity from the fogs of illusion.

Table of contents:

Part one: The Art of Living

The Art of Living (Talk by Benjamin Creme)
Moving into Divinity (Article by the Master —)
The Art of Living (Article by the Master —)
Reincarnation and Karma
The Laws and Rules of Life (Article by the Master —)
Maitreya's Teachings on Awareness

The Law of Karma, the Law of Harmlessness
Conflict Resolution
Harmlessness and Harmfulness
The Law of Sacrifice
Leisure, Simplicity and the Art of Living
Nature of Intuition
Creativity and Art
The Reappearance Work and Transmission Meditation

Part two: The pairs of opposites

The Pairs of Opposites (Article by the Master —)
Commentary on the Pairs of Opposites (Talk by Benjamin Creme)
Meeting of Spirit and Matter
4th Ray of Harmony

Service and Co-operation
Law of Cause and Effect
Spiritualizing Matter
The Dweller on the Threshold
The 4th Ray

Part three: Illusion

Illusion (Talk by Benjamin Creme)
Recognizing Glamour and Illusion
Clear Thinking
How to Get Rid of Glamour

Soul, Personality, Intuition
Initiates and Illusion
Illusion in Relation to the Reappearance Groups' Work
Spiritual Tension

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First published April 1999,