Chapter VII – The Law of Thelema
To some, this book will come in the nature of a challenge, to others as the fulfillment of the Covenant symbolized by the Rainbow of Hope. Some will understand readily, some will desire to understand and seek further enlightenment, others will partly understand and try to forget what they have read, some may definitely disagree. But one thing is certain “The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and willfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.”
I have tried to avoid the unpardonable sin by keeping an open mind for all that seemed to express an aspect of truth, even where I failed to understand the full significance of the teaching.
Take, for instance, the statement of the Master Therion “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” which has been much misunderstood by some people.
When I first heard this statement, many years ago, it shocked and surprised me; it did not seem possible that such a doctrine could be of universal application. But I did not reject it on that account.
When I read the “Message of the Master Therion,” I found it clearly stated and explained that “Do what thou wilt” does not mean “Do what you like.” What then does it mean? That I have tried to discover, by means of experiment, and I have found, as stated by Therion, that far from leading to “license” it becomes the “strictest possible bond.”
One can hardly fail to realize that we have been living in an age of “restriction” which has led to most direful results. But the solution of the difficulty is evidently not to be found in a mad breaking away from all authority and order, a running wild with cries of “freedom” and “liberty” only to find ourselves more enslaved than before. What then is the solution of the difficulty? I will endeavor to tell you how this teaching has worked out in practice in my life and consciousness.
I considered the matter seriously and said “If do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” it evidently applies to all mankind. In that case my own personal will is but a little part of the will of Humanity, and in doing it I must learn first of all to consider other people’s wills more than anything else. If all the people come to do their wills, what is left to be done must be my will, and my course become clear. Therefore let me learn to mind my own business, cease to make any attempt to interfere with the will of another, and see what results.
I found, as soon as I was less anxious to tell everyone else just what, in my opinion, they should do, I gained many true and devoted friends, who have never since deserted me, except through the change called death. People seemed to feel that I had no personal axe to grind, and gave me their brotherly and sisterly confidence. I, at the same time, found there was a great deal it was my will to do, which no one else seemed interest in undertaking, so that I continued very happily doing what I felt to be right, without coming into serious conflict with anyone. I did not feel that my will was in opposition to the laws of the Country, or the City, and so these in no way restricted me in a personal sense. I began to feel this was one of the chief rules of life, a good common-sense business proposition. It seemed so plain that I almost wondered why people had not adopted it before. Then I began to notice its effects on others who were also endeavoring to live it. In some cases their interpretation at first seemed to be “Do your will regardless of the other fellow,” but they very soon found this did not work at all in their dealings with me, at any rate. If such came along and made a rough demand, or a stupid statement of what he would, or would not do to me, I simply said “Go ahead and do it but don’t expect me to help you.” The result was in every instance, since there was no opposition and I didn’t really care one bit, that his ardor cooled and he changed his mind; some better way having occurred to him at once. Opposition and resistance in such cases would have been just the same as helping the other person to fulfill what was quite evidently a hasty choice of action, and had I followed that course, I should not alone have done something I did not feel to be right, but have aided him to do something he would afterwards have found to be wrong, and we might both have bitterly regretted the transaction.
I began to realize that the True Will of Humanity as a Whole was the same as the Will of God for Humanity at this particular stage of their development. Therefore by trying to help Humanity as a Whole, without distinction, as far as in me lay, I could learn to do the Will of God, or the True Will. I found this entirely satisfied my “personal will” for I realized that I was living for a greater purpose than I could personally formulate as a plan of action by means of the little “will.” Herein then lay the secret of “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” it was a divinely sent promise to encourage Humanity in its Hour of Darkness.
The more I endeavored to live up to this Law, the easier I found it became. It is very nearly the same as the Law of least resistance, for one takes advantage of the Inertia of the Universe.
There could be no turning aside, it became a Conscious and Free fulfillment of Destiny, a co-operation in the plan of the Great Architect. This Plan became clearer and clearer. Problems that had perplexed me for years, gradually solved themselves, without effort on my part. Things I had tried hard to do, by means of the personal will alone, became easy. I obtained all the personal pleasure of the fulfillment, without the effort to attain them. I learned to tackle each problem at the time it arose, and to clear it up while it was small. My “duty” became plain, and it was my Will to do it while I had the opportunity. I found I had just enough work to do properly, without time to spare to do anything for others they could better do for themselves; but there was always enough time to help another on a point I could obviously clear up, and on which he really needed my help.
I began to notice calls on my attention from “outside” and to give them prior consideration. That is to say, if something “came to me to do” I tried to do it with my might; but I curbed, as far as possible the tendency to “look for trouble” that would not otherwise come my way. Thus I am finding “Do what thou wilt” is helping me to find my particular place in the scheme of things. I am beginning to like all I do, which is much more satisfactory that trying to “do what I like.”
This book is one of the results of my course of action. I spent many years as an Accountant, which work I did without it being particularly congenial to me. I found it became possible for me to make a living in more congenial ways, so that I became happier, if not so well off financially, than I had been. At the same time I feel that the result of my researches, which have given me great pleasure and keen enjoyment, may be of real service to those whose work does not permit them to apply the same amount of time to preparation and study that I have been able to devote to it. More of my brothers and sisters may therefore profit by my work, than would have been the case had I continued with my profession as an accountant.
In the light of this book, in which, I hope, shines a glimmering of the Universal Tradition, the statement “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” will be even plainer to humanity. It is literally the TOUCHSTONE of our lives. This one thing which makes Man more than animal is the power of will or choices of action; the power of Intelligent Purpose. The Black Tradition interpreted this power wrongly, and thought by “personal will” to usurp the Power of God. God was Invisible to them, they could see no reason why they should not do anything they liked, regardless of the other fellow, so long as they had the power or the money to carry out their ambition. The White Brotherhood, while receiving the Will of God, allowed their Interpretation of that Will to become so narrow, that they felt themselves alone to be Right and all others Wrong. Such are the reformers, however well-meaning. But the Universe is the Perfect Work of a Perfect Being. If we see wrong in it, it is owning to our own limited outlook.
THELEMA, or “Do what thou wilt,” is a TOUCHSTONE in this respect. If we accept it and interpret it to mean the doing of the “personal will” only, we find Destiny steps in and stops us. If we still persist, willfully going against the Divine Will, against what is for the Good of Humanity as a Whole, against the Natural Urge of Evolution; trying to interfere with the will of others, and to usurp the Divine Right of every man and every woman to be THEMSELVES; we meet Horus the Avenger, and are deservedly smashed out of all recognition, ready to be made over again some other time when Nature has nothing better to do.
If we grudgingly submit to Fate and allow ourselves to be slowly pushed along by the Evolutionary process, we cannot expect much comfort or success. We are practically slaves, little better than animals.
If, on the other hand, we accept Divine Law, search our Hearts in the effort at all times to discover the Will of God within us, and to put our personal will in line with the Divine; we shall become Men and Women with a True Purpose. We shall step on the Road of Destiny, which is one with Free-will so long as it be God’s Will, with a certainty and Courage which will be a living example and help to all around us. We cannot teach better than by example. Let us then seek constantly to do the Will of God which is our own True will, and we shall soon realize “There is no law beyond: Do what thou wilt!”