Many Good Soldiers, Few Saints

The saint is one who knows that every moment of our human life is a moment of crisis;  for at every moment we are called upon to make an all-important decisions – to choose between the way that leads to death and spiritual darkness and the way that leads towards light and life;  between interests exclusively temporal and the eternal order; between our personal will, or the will of some projection of our personality, and the will of God.   In order to fit himself to deal with the emergencies of his way of life, the saint undertakes appropriate training of mind and body, just as the soldier does.  But whereas the objectives of military training are limited and very simple, namely, to make men courageous, cool-headed and co-operatively efficient in the business of killing other men, with whom, personally, they have no quarrel, the objectives of spiritual training are much less narrowly specialized.  Here the aim is primarily to bring human beings to a state in which, because there are no longer any God-eclipsing obstacles between themselves and Reality, they are able to be aware continuously of the divine Ground of their own and all other beings; secondarily, as a means to this end, to meet all, even the most trivial circumstances of daily living without malice, greed, self-assertion or voluntary ignorance, but consistently with love and understanding.  Because its objectives are not limited, because, for the lover of God, every moment is a moment of crisis, spiritual training is incomparably more difficult and searching than military training.  There are many good soldiers, few saints.

  ~ Perennial Philosophy: An Interpretation of the Great Mystics, East and West by Aldous Huxley

 

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