This question is always one of the first, because the vast majority of people would be only too glad to throw off all responsibility, and cast it on anything rather than themselves. That this is in fact self-humiliation causes them no concern here. In this respect they are really remarkably humble and modest, but only so that they can go on living all the more merrily and unscrupulously.
It would indeed be so wonderful to be permitted to gratify all one’s wishes and calmly to let all one's desires run riot, even at other people’s expense, without having to atone for it. If necessary, the earthly laws can easily be evaded and conflicts avoided. Under their cover the more adept can even rake in quite a successful haul, and do many a thing that would not stand up to any closer examination. In addition they often even enjoy the reputation of being especially capable people. Thus with a little shrewdness one could really live very comfortably according to one’s own ideas, if... there were not something somewhere that awakened an uneasy feeling, if from time to time there did not appear a rising disquiet that after all many a thing might be somewhat different from how one's own wishes shape it.
And indeed it is so! The reality is serious and inexorable. The wishes of men can bring about no deviation whatsoever in this respect. Adamantine stands the Law: “What a man sows he will reap many times over!”
These few words hold and convey much more than many a person thinks. They correspond minutely and exactly to the actual process of the reciprocal action resting in Creation. No more appropriate expression could be found for it. Just as the harvest yields a multiple of the seed, so man always receives back greatly multiplied what, in his own intuitive perceptions he awakens and sends out, according to the nature of his thoughts.
Thus man bears spiritually the responsibility for everything he does. This responsibility begins already with the making of the resolution, not just with the accomplished deed, which is simply a consequence of the resolution. And the resolution is the awakening of an earnest volition!
There is no division between this world and the so-called beyond, but all is only one single immense existence. The whole mighty Creation, visible and invisible to man, gears together like an amazingly ingenious, never-failing mechanism; it does not function separately. Uniform Laws support the whole, penetrating everything like nerve-strands, holding it together and affecting each other in constant action and reaction!
When schools and churches speak of Heaven and hell, of God and the devil, this is right. It is wrong, however, to explain it as good and evil powers. That must at once plunge every serious seeker into error and doubt; for where there are two powers there must also logically be two rulers, hence in this case two gods, a good one and an evil one.
And this is not the case!
There is only one Creator, one God, and hence only one Power which streams through all that exists, animating and furthering it!
This pure, creative Power of God flows continually through the whole Creation, lies in it and is inseparable from it. It is to be found everywhere: in the air, in every drop of water, in the growing rock, the struggling plant, the animal, and naturally also in man. There is nothing where it would not be.
And just as it flows through everything, so it also streams unceasingly through man. Now the latter is so constituted that he resembles a lens. Just as a lens collects the sun’s rays streaming through it, and passes them on in concentrated form, so that the heat-giving rays, united on one spot, singe and set on fire, so man by virtue of his specific nature collects through his intuitive perception the Power of Creation streaming through him, and passes it on in concentrated form through his thoughts.
According to the nature of this intuitive perceiving and the thoughts connected with it, he thus guides the self-acting creative Power of God to good or evil effect!
And that is the responsibility which man must bear!
You who often seek so strenuously to find the right way, why do you make it so hard for yourselves? In all simplicity picture to yourselves how the pure Power of the Creator flows through you, and how you guide it with your thoughts in a good or in an evil direction. There you have it all, without trouble and without racking your brain! Consider that it lies with your simple intuitive perceiving and thinking whether this mighty Power will evoke good or evil. What a furthering or destructive power is thus given to you!
You need not exert yourselves till you perspire, you need not convulsively cling to some so-called occult practice in order to reach, through every conceivable and inconceivable physical and spiritual contortion, some stage that is completely worthless for your true spiritual upward-swinging!
Cease this time-wasting trifling, which has so often become painful torment, signifying nothing else than the former "self-scourgings" and mortifications practiced in the monasteries. It is only another form of the same thing, which can bring you as little gain.
The so-called occult masters and pupils are modern Pharisees! in the truest sense of the word. They are the true reflection of the Pharisees at the time of Jesus of Nazareth.
Realize in pure joy that through your simple, good-willing intuitive perceiving and thinking you are able without effort to guide the one and mighty Power of Creation. The Power will then take effect exactly according to the nature of your intuitive perceiving and your thoughts. It works by itself; you need only guide it. And this takes place in all simplicity and unassumingly! No erudition is required for this, not even reading and writing. It is given to each of you in the same degree! In this no difference exists.
Just as a child playing with a switch can turn on an electric current that produces tremendous effects, so is it given to you, through your simple thoughts, to guide Divine Power. You may rejoice over this, may be proud of it, when you use it for the good! But tremble if you fritter it uselessly away, or even employ it for impure purposes! For you cannot escape the Laws of Reciprocal Action that rest in Creation. And if you had the wings of the morning, the Hand of the Lord Whose Power you thus misuse would strike you through this automatic reciprocal action, wherever you wished to hide.
Evil is brought about with the same pure Divine Power as good!
And it is the kind of use made of this uniform Power of God, left to the free choice of each one, that bears within it the responsibility which no one can escape. Therefore I call out to every seeker: “Keep the hearth of your thoughts pure, by so doing you will bring peace and be happy!”
Rejoice, you ignorant and weak ones; for to you is given the same power as to the strong! Therefore do not make it too hard for yourselves! Do not forget that the pure, self-creating Power of God also streams through you, and that you too, as human beings, are enabled to give a definite direction to this Power through the nature of your inner intuitive perceptions, that is of your volition, for good as well as for evil, destructively or constructively, bringing joy or sorrow!
Since there is only this one Power of God, the mystery of why in every serious final struggle the Darkness must retreat before the Light, evil before good, is also cleared up. If you guide the Power of God to the good, it remains undimmed in its original purity and thereby develops a much greater force, whereas with the dimming into the impure a weakening takes place at the same time. Thus it is the purity of the Power which in any final struggle will always work effectively and be decisive.
Everyone feels to the very finger-tips what is good and what is evil, without a word said. To brood over it would only cause confusion. Dull brooding is a waste of power, it is like a swamp, a clammy mire which paralyzingly clutches and suffocates all within its reach. But a brisk cheerfulness tears apart the spell of brooding. You need not be sad and depressed! At any moment you can set out on your way to the Height and make good the past, whatever it may be! Do nothing more than think of the process of the pure Power of God always streaming through you, then you yourselves will shrink from guiding this purity into the unclean channels of evil thoughts, because without any effort you can equally attain to what is highest and noblest. You only need to guide it, the Power then works on by itself in the direction you desire.
Thus you have happiness or unhappiness in your own hand. Therefore raise your head proudly, and face everything freely and courageously. Evil cannot approach unless you call it! As you wish it, so will it happen to you!