On the Way to Learn the Secret of the Sages
John Garrigues
It is so strange that men perpetually seek happiness when that which they eternally ARE, That which forever stands, That which forever knows, partakes eternally of Bliss, the essence of happiness. 
They do but seek in happiness their own nature; but alas, they are not aware that it is only in their own nature happiness may be found. They seek ever in outward paths of power and precedence; they seek in noble arts; they seek in supreme ardors of personal loves. And ever the power and precedence wanes; the noble arts decay under their touch; the loves falter, change, or disappear from mortal sight to leave a desolation deeper even than a great happiness measured.
Can that be true happiness which is assailable by change, decay, or death? Can that be true happiness which is exalted today and a myth tomorrow? Can that be true happiness which depends on outward things, or seasons, or persons? No; but there is a happiness declared by the Sages – known by the Sages of all times and now – which may be won back by each man from an unremembered past; a happiness unremitting, ceaseless and eternal, a happiness which is and which on nothing dependeth.
Even in mortal joys, there is no joy like that lost that is regained. What, then, if the whole Kingdom of Conscious Bliss is gained again? We all have possessed that kingdom. Consider, how at the end of this earth’s great Day, the minds of men will have become “pellucid as crystal”; how in the seventh race of the seventh round [1] a perfected humanity – and we among it – will have found its flower. Then what? In the next Day of evolution, surely we shall again start upon the long journey immaculate; we shall take up the cross of matter once again, not for our own sakes; once more we shall sacrifice ourselves to ourselves in identifying ourselves with a new humanity that we may help it on its “weary uphill path of self-conscious existence”.
It is a part of the sacrifice that we forget in the nature assumed the nature we have once attained, the nature of conscious godhood; and now it must again be reached through struggle in new envelopments of matter. But there are Elder Brothers always to elevate the signal whereby we may find again the sure path and true; Their clarion note is ever sounding in the world. Some hear it soon; some, late. Whoever hears it, and whenever, knows he must forsake the path he has been treading; the path of dalliance with desires, of sweet habitude of the senses. But dimly seeing ahead of him, there stretches a path of woe; on either side old joys renounced, new pain engendered. While he surrenders mortal joys, while he is feeling mortal pains, while he is being ground in the ceaseless friction of mortal strife, the fact that the vast root of his being stands waiting in unshaken happiness seems to him only an idle abstraction.  Now, as a timid would-be swimmer will loosen the hold of but one foot on the sandy bottom, he dare not utterly let go his hold on mortal things; so, he cannot presently reach the inner depths of calm and peace. Strange paradox! For most of us, the struggle is in letting go.
Bravely one day we dash a cup of nectar from our lips – and we were proud we could do it, or we rebelled that it was necessary, or we pitied ourselves that this was asked of us alone. We did not “let go”. Still our thought and feeling dwelt on that cup. Again the cup comes to our lips; this time, the nectar is for healing; it is to clear the brain for better work; it is to meet the insistency of family or friend. Only at the last moment do we glimpse the demon of self-indulgence riding on the rim. The trial goes on, farther and deeper into our natures, ever subtler. Whatever we give up, there is still something held, until finally we reach the place where there is no thing more to be given up, yet we are held by abject loneliness and despair and longing for all that has been surrendered.
Only then, against the great blackness, do we see there is a far calm light of happiness where surrender is complete. We remember that someone has passed our way whose trials have been so infinitely worse than ours that ours are as nothing in comparison. Yet, instead of dejection, despondency, and despair, they have shown unceasingly a radiating happiness; a never wavering enthusiasm, an ardency more than that of youth, because of youth regained and wisdom fulfilled. Then, we suspect that what we withheld from our surrender was ourselves. We suspect the fault is ours, and ours alone, that happiness is not our habitude.
At last, we are ready to seek the habitude of happiness. We find how all along we have lost it in trying to constrain others rather than control ourselves; in failing to trust others as well as ourselves; in doing our own will rather than the will of the Good Law. We begin to learn the secret of the Sages; that no thing matters; yet all may serve, if not one way, then another. And slowly, but surely and steadily, the habitude of happiness grows.
What was once as poison to us has now become the sweet waters of Life. What was once desire and passion has become compassion for those still “dead units” in the human race, beaten with life, disappointed of nature, unknowing that there is the bread that feeds the whole man, and that true happiness has its still abode in them. Safe guidance for them can only come from a place of peace; sure help from a place where trials have ceased to rend, and where the only trials are others’ woes.
[1] “Seventh race of the seventh round”; our humanity in a distant future, according to the long term evolution of Life described in “The Secret Doctrine”, by Helena P. Blavatsky.  (CCA)
The above article was first published at the March 1922 edition of “Theosophy” magazine, Los Angeles, pp. 156-157. It had no indication as to the name of the author. An analysis of its contents, style and historical context shows the author is John Garrigues. The text was also published at “The Aquarian Theosophist”, April 2016, pp. 01-03.
See in our websites the article “Life and Writings of John Garrigues”.