The Inner Life, v. I/Third Section/XVII
A DAY OF LIFE
It is not wise to specialize beyond a certain point, because one can never really get to the end of any subject, and it tends more and more to narrow the mind and the outlook, to produce a one-sided and distorted development, and to cause one to view everything out of its due proportion. We are in the habit of thinking of a life-time as a long period, but really it is only a day in greater life. You cannot finish a really great piece of work in one day; it may need many days, and the work of one particular day may at the time show no appreciable result; but nevertheless every day's work is necessary to the completion of the great task, and if a man should idle day after day because the completion of the work seems so far off he would certainly not succeed in getting it done.
There are many to whom Theosophy comes late in life, who feel themselves somewhat discouraged by the outlook, thinking they are too old now to take themselves in hand seriously or to do any valuable work, that the best that they can do now is to go quietly on to the end of this incarnation in the hope that they may have a better opportunity in the next.
This is a sad mistake, and that for various reasons. You do not know what kind of incarnation karma is preparing for you next time you return to earth. You do not know whether by any previous action you have deserved the opportunity of being born into Theosophical surroundings. In any case the most likely way to secure such a birth is to make use of the opportunity which has come to you now, for, of all that we have learned about the working of this great law of cause and effect, this one fact stands out most clearly — that the result of taking an opportunity is invariably that another and wider opportunity is given. If therefore you neglect the opportunity put before you by your encounter with Theosophy now, it is possible that in the next incarnation the chance may not come to you again.
If a man sets to work earnestly and permeates his spirit as thoroughly as possible with Theosophical ideas, that will build them well into the ego, and will give him so great an attraction towards them that he is certain, even though he may not remember them in detail, to seek for them instinctively, and to recognize them, in his next birth. Every man therefore should begin Theosophical work just as soon as he hears of it, because whatever of it he contrives to achieve, however little it may be, will be just so much to the good, and he will begin to-morrow where he has left off this time. Also by trying to do what he can with such vehicles as he has, obstinate and unresponsive though they may prove through lack of pliability, he will assuredly do much to earn for himself more pliable vehicles for next time. So no effort is lost, and it is never too late in any given life to enter upon the long, long upward path, and to make a commencement in the glorious work of helping others.
With an eternal life before us it would be a mistake to worry because the present day is drawing near its evening, or in despair to neglect the preparations for the coming day. Light on the Path says: “Kill out desire of life.” This is often misunderstood, but its meaning should be plain. You cannot lose your life; why then should you desire it? It cannot possibly be taken from you. At the same time the quotation means that you should kill out desire for particular bodily conditions.