In life, a Soul must choose a disguise: city dweller, farmer, soldier, artist, and so on. The costumes we wear have been lived and exchanged over the course of millennia and are so ingrained that a fleeting identity is usually mistaken for the soul that personifies it. Indeed, thought has power and can create a sense of permanence where only flux exists, and yet this is the way we learn and thereby choose who we are and what we wish to become. Over time, each point of light may discover how to release itself from pain and enter into love, and then, leaving behind the weight of injustice and self-pity, venture into fresher fields and finer awareness.
This thing that we seek to master and mature in ourselves—the clay of conscience—is it not character? And what is the great possibility held in deciding the color and contour of that character? Is it not to develop and refine what we are through the disciplines of sincere living? How many of us recognize that by evolving the personality we begin to control the levels of ourselves, the energies of what we are, and therein is the reason for choosing carefully. Each life may choose to become one with the crowd, with the forest, with our memories, or even with kindness itself. At any time, you and I can withdraw and exist elsewhere, just as an actor might decide to enter or exit a scene.
Just think, when we do something as simple as opening a door for a stranger or offering a gentle word to a friend, we express within that politeness a kindness in body, emotion and thought that lifts the elements of both Souls. By developing our character, we align ourselves with the idea we have adopted as truth, evolving it until we open to the greater Truth. Perhaps then, having come to the end of all philosophy, we will stop measuring life, and in that moment, finally understand.
Let us then grasp the longer view, that we are the eternal artists of ourselves, displaying in the mirror of the world what wisdom we have gathered through the tone and beauty of our actions. Truly, the greatest work of art in this world is that of an unfolding human character: a sculpture of intent and imagination held in an ever-increasing love. This great work of art is perfected in the kiln of worldly experience, in the heartache and joy of life’s expression. This being so, surely all life will eventually choose to live as an expression of what is constant, of what rings true, and use its wisdom as a key to the door of perennial love. Perhaps that is why the masters explain that the password to eternal life is spoken with tenderness.