A CANDLE IN HELL
A CANDLE IN HELL
1. 1 Justification is the light in the darkness; the right, or the image of right, that takes away the totality of wrong; the good, or the image of good, that takes away the totality of evil; the white, or the image of white that takes away the totality of black.
2 When as humans we justify in human terms, we run from the total darkness of the GODless world of men. We create for our own peace of mind, an artificial man-made light; an image of right- ness to counteract the knowledge of total wrongness in a world that has rejected its Creator. We manufacture an illusion of good, so that all is not seen to be evil. We paint white, that which is in essence black because it has removed itself from the source of all life and knowledge. We give the semblance of truth to that which we know to be a lie.
3 That is the human game. When a man does wrong and knows he has done wrong, he tries to make it not so wrong by justifying it. He harms another man, feels the guilt, and then tries to reduce the burden of sin against himself; by blaming another, by redu- cing his awareness of the extent of the harm he has done, by pleading ignorance, by insisting that he only intended good, anything to create some rightness, or illusion of rightness, to relieve the sense of total wrongness.
4 That is the justification of men, the justification of self by self; a man-made light flickering feebly but just perceptibly in the great void of GODless darkness.
5 And by agreement, in the world of men, we justify each other - except when we MUST blame each other in order to justify our- selves. And we alternate between combining forces in fear against the common enemy of total darkness, and fighting one another for the meager and inadequate substitutes of artificial light. A man must feel justified, even if it means the whole- hearted condemnation of another man. If for him to maintain his illusion of being right, another must be shown to be wrong, then that is the goal he pursues.
6 The world of men is the absence of GOD, and therefore the antipo- des of Heaven, which is Hell. And man carries a candle in Hell, so that he can pretend he is in Heaven.
7 And whenever a man feels wrong in the eyes of GOD, he tries to make himself right in the eyes of men. When he feels the darkness of his estrangement from GOD closing in upon him, he lights a candle of man-made rightness, and fights off the suffocating gloom. He justifies.
8 Every time he makes an excuse for his actions; every time he pretends to himself that what he has done is not as bad as it really feels to him; every time he blames his shortcomings on his background, or his upbringing, or his environment; every time he blames his circumstances on his neighbors, or his employers, or the government, or the fascists, or the communists, or the weather; every time he blames his failures or mistakes on his friends, or his enemies, or his colleagues, or his education, or his lack of education; every time he protests his good and altru- istic intentions against the knowledge of his selfishness; every time he blinds himself to the destructive consequences of his actions; every time he makes a show of good will which belies his inner feelings of distaste; every time he makes himself feel pity or remorse, to convince himself of his virtue; every time he shifts responsibility for all the ugliness and wrong around him; he justifies. He carries a candle of illusion into the darkness of reality.
9 For if a man can justify his state of being, if he can find just a chink of light in his world, or if not find it, then create it, then he can continue in that state of being OF that world.
10 That is what it is to justify. If we are wrong and we know without a shadow of doubt that we are wrong, then we MUST cease to be what we are. If what we do is evil, and we cannot escape the knowledge that it is evil, then we MUST stop doing it. No one can do or be that which no part of him tells him to do or be, and if no part of him can find even a pretence or an illusion of rightness or good in an action or state, then no part of him drives him towards it. He has no justification.
11 But if we can find a grain of what seems to be rightness in what we are, or create an image of rightness, even if it only lurks in the back of the mind, then we can go on being what we are. That grain, that image, drives us to continue. And if we can create the illusion of just one shadow of goodness in our actions, or at least a suggestion of inevitability which counteracts the concept of deliberate evil, then we can go on acting as we do. These tiny images of rightness and goodness and choice1essness, are enough to give us what we need to continue as we are. They are our justifications.
12 If a man can say: I am doing my best. and even fractionally believe it; if he can say: my intentions are good, and even fractionally believe it; if he can say: I'm better than someone else and that vindicates me, and even fractionally believe it; if he can say: I’m not ALWAYS wrong and that vindicates me, and even fractionally believe it; if he can say: it's not my fault and that vindicates me, and even fractionally believe it; if he can say: I didn’t mean it, and even fractionally believe it; if he can say: I WILL do better in future and that vindicates me, and even fractionally believe it; or if he can say: they don’t understand and that vindicates me, and even fractionally believe it; then he is justified in human terms, and he continues, being as he is and doing as he does. He does not HAVE to change.
13 As long as we have a flicker of light by which to see, we can go on. But if there is no light, if suddenly we cannot create light, if there is only impenetrable darkness, then we MUST stop.
14 As long as we can justify, as long as we can create the illusion of rightness, we have light and we can go on. When we can no longer justify, when our images no longer deceive us to any extent whatever, we have no light and we must stop. OUR world, the world we have created for ourselves to the exclusion of GOD, is at an end. We can no longer find nor create the image of rightness in our state of being, we can no longer find nor create the illu- sion of goodness in our actions, we can no longer find nor create any kind of light to match the total darkness of existence without GOD.
15 That is the point of ultimate failure in human terms; when we discover that of our own we have no light that is real and mean- ingful, of our own we have no vision, of our own we have no know- ledge, of our own we have no strength, of our own we have no power.
16 On our own, we are nothing. Without GOD, we cannot truly justify our existence. Without GOD we have no right within us, only hollow images of right; no good within us, only shallow facades of good; no light within us, only a pretence of light. None of these do we have, except as self-created transitory illusions; dreams, that have no more substance or reality than a mirage. And when we discover that we have lived by the artificial light of a dream, a figment of our own imagination; that our state of being has been justified for us by an illusion; and now that illusion has vanished in the face of reality, and reality is nothing; darkness, impotence, and blind ignorance; we cannot move, because we can find no justification for movement.
17 That is the first moment of Truth.
2. 1 But in the world of men, countless bright and shiny images. dreams and illusions, burn to keep humanity justified in its estrangement from its Source of Life. Man has, in his terms, justified him- self and his GODless state of being, justified bis actions, justi- fied his way of life, with everything the world has offered him.
2 Man’s light is hope for a magnificent future; the small amount of beauty still remaining in his desecrated worid; the material comforts that he becomes more and more adept at creating for himself; his human ideals; his worldly ambitions; promises of pleasure, of success, of enjoyment, of happiness, and of human power; the smiles on the outside faces of his fellow men; the fast-unfolding world of scientific discovery; the vast territories of outer space. Man has filled the darkness of his world-without- GOD with countless self-created lights to justify his going on.
3 He cannot see the ultimate worthlessness of himself and all his pursuits. He has convinced himself that he is building, even though he is destroying. He has convinced himself that he is coming closer to the truth, when in fact he is going farther and farther away from it. He has convinced himself that he is expand- ing, when in fact he is contracting. He has convinced himself that he is increasing the scope of his vision, when in fact it is becoming narrower and narrower.
4 Man has justified his descent into Hell, by making it seem to him like an ascent into Heaven.
5 He has made the darkness seem to him like light, so that he can wander deeper and deeper into it. And when his self-made light goes out; when hope is gone, and gives place to the true know- ledge of hopelessness; when the dream of the future vanishes, leaving only emptiness and disillusionment; when the brittle sense of personal achievement, personal validity, personal pride, personal worthwhileness and personal self-esteem, when these are shattered, seen for the meaningless pretences that they are in the face of estrangement from GOD, which is the ultimate lifeless futility, and blown away like husks before the wind; then will man as a race be finally lost forevever; too far descended from the sight of GOD to be recalled.
3. 1 Man had a choice; whether to venture into the darkness, guided by his own self-created light, or to remain within the aura of the Divine Light, which was his Source of Life. He chose the dark- ness, and set about creating human hope, by which to light his path and thereby justify his choice.
2 And even when his light flickers and wanes and grows dim and threatens to go out altogether, when hope and optimism and pride and self-esteem are at their lowest ebb, man has his answer. "My light is good," he cries. The darkness is over there, and is so deep that it threatens to engulf me. But my light is good." And he guards it closer, nurturing its flame, trimming it. He rebuilds his failing ego, which gives him strength to go on. He justifies himself by pointing the finger of blame elsewhere. And his 'good intentioned' fellow men, his friends, his family, his psycho-analyst, even his representative of God on earth, his priest, all are there to help with more of the same remedy, to help him find again worthwhileness in himself - alone, to help him justify his own existence, to give him back his fast-dying belief in his own human magnificence.
3 When a man suffers because he lacks confidence in himself, his 'friends' try to give him the confidence he lacks. If they suc- ceed, they have brought him down to their level of self-delusion. They are satisfied. Now he, like them, has an illusion of his own worthwhileness, his own importance, his own significance; he has something he had not hitherto managed to create in the face of truth; a sense of personal pride in his own individual existence.
4 But in fact a man who lacks confidence in himself is on the road to realization of what is - hence he MUST be brought back into line by those still deluding themselves with the light of their own self-satisfaction. He is beginning to see the darkness in which he exists. He is beginning to see his own individual worthlessness. He is beginning to feel that he is nothing.
5 A real friend, far from encouraging him to believe that in fact he IS something, would help him to see and know the full extent of his nothingness, his insignificance, his worthlessness. Because it is TRUE; we ARE nothing; we ARE insignificant; we ARE worth- less. Only GOD, the Divine Light, the Source of Life, the Root of all existence, however that concept may be described, only THAT has meaning and significance and importance. Only THAT is some- thing. Therefore WE are something only inasmuch as we are PART of that.
6 And man the race, like man the individual; as he sees greater and greater evidence of his own futility; as he watches his world crumble about him, because of his own works within it; as he watches the destruction, which he himself has set in motion, take its toll; as he watches the prophesied signs of the End appearing one by one, and the light of his hope in a magnificent human man- made destiny wanes, and the light of self-justification dims; cries even louder: "We are not sick. We are not lost. We are not doomed. Look! We can reach the moon. We can circle the earth. We can cure hitherto incurable diseases. We can move faster than sound. We can bounce radio dignals off the sky. We can create artificial brains. We can perform hitherto impossible surgical conjuring trlcks. Are we not magnificent! "
7 And the relentless hand of devastation continues to wreak its havoc in the face of all this protested magnificence.
8 And man grows desperate in the Latter Days; unable to understand how with all his brilliance and technical skill he seems powerless to stop the march of doom. For being ignorant of GOD, he cannot, and will not, until too late, see the Hand of GOD against him. And blind to the Power that brings his doom upon him, he franti- cally and uselessly attempts to feed those whom GOD has decided shall-starve; he helplessly tries to halt wars and struggles that GOD has decided shall continue; he makes pathetic and ineffectual efforts to compensate for natural disasters that GOD has decided shall be part of his destruction; he hysterically pursues the deceptive promises of 'wonder' drugs and acrobatic surgery in a vain attempt to stem the tide of sickness, disease and death, that GOD has decided shall sweep the earth in the Latter Days; and all this to keep the miserable light of his belief in himself-without- GOD alive, to maintain his justification of a GODless existence; and all accompanied by intensive and highly effective efforts to pollute and poison the air he breathes, the water he drinks and the food he eats, and to create more and more powerful instruments of war for helping to bring about his own destruction.
4. 1 But a few, a precious few, have stopped before it was too late.
2 They have remembered the Light of Life. They have recalled its brilliance and its purity, and they have remembered that it was not made by man, but stems from GOD.
3 They have seen only inky blackness, even in the pathetic twilight of man's self-justification. They have known the hollowness of man's endeavors on his own account. They have seen the utter futility of his attempts to go against the Will of GOD. They have seen the total helplessness of man, the total worthlessness of all his self-created human values. They have watched him justify himself, and remained unconvinced. They have looked at what he calls his mighty works, and seen them as no more than hollow shells. They have witnessed what he calls his altruism, and seen it as no more than masked egotism. They have looked behind the protested apparencies of good intention, and seen the self-interested and destructive motives which they hide. They have looked at man, the mighty lord of all creation in his own deluded eyes, and seen an empty husk, chasing, in ever-decreasing circles after an empty dream.
4 They have seen the lights of men. They have compared; so that even the candles which they themselves have carried, are no light whatever to their eyes.
5 They have found themselves no longer able to justify the human way. They have found no chink of true light in the gloom of GODlessness. They have looked at the flickering flames by which men set great store, and said: "That is no light; merely a protest against the knowledge of darkness."
6 Man's pursuits; his pleasures, his aims, his ambitions and his values; his criteria of success, of riqht, of contribution, of fulfillment; his codes, his achievemenis, his standards and his priorities; all these have those few looked upon, and within, and beneath, and behind; and they have known the truth of their shal- low, transitory and meaningless insignificance. And they them- selves have turned back and sought the True Light once again.
7 For there are the justifications of men, the man-made lights of human rightness. And there is the True Justification which is the Justification of GOD; not a man-created fantasy of good, but a knowledge of GOD that Justifies awareness, that Justifies being, that Justifies action.
8 To live in the Light of Truth is to be truly Justified.
9 And when a man discards his self-made lights of justification, and becomes enveloped in the cold darkness of the reality of his world- without-GOD; when he sees the utter futility of his human pursuits; when he knows the worthlessness of his human demands; when he feels the emptiness of his human scale of values, priorities and importances; when he bursts the bubble of his human dreams and fantasies, and discovers their total lack of substance; when for him the lights of men are no longer lights, but momentary refuges from darkness; then and only then, if there is still a chance for him, can a man begin to find the direction of the True Light.
10 When the sun shines we cannot see the stars, even though the sum total of their brilliance is countless millions of times greater than the sun. So, when a man is surrounded by the artificial lights of his own self-importance, he cannot see the distant Light of Truth - bright though it is beyond all things - which he has left so far behind. But when he has cast aside his illusions and images, and stands for a moment blind in the darkness that remains, then - unless it is too late, and he has wandered by the light of his self-made lies beyond the point of choice - after a while the faintest glimmer reaches him, and he knows the direction in which he must go.
11 Having ceased to create his own justifications for his own exis- tence, and given himself up to the darkness of his own individual worthlessness and insignificance, a man can then begin to recog- nize, even at a great distance, the True Justification of ALL existence, of which he is only a tiny part, and he can begin to find it.
5. 1 But all who seek or create a light of justification within the world, and within a scale of human values; all who follow narrow paths of human success; all who strive to make for themselves an easy life in human terms, a life of comfort and harmony, a life of peace and good will amongst men, a life of pleasure, a life of calm unruffled ease and soft tranquility; they justify themselves. They keep the lights of their self-made human rightness and human good, burning; and thereby continue to be what they are and to do what they do; dedicated humans, following paths of purely human values.
2 They remain without GOD. They create an image of God; a being with values and intentions to suit their own; a human God, in- terested only in the interests of humanity, and following the human party line; a God who wants what man wants for himself; a God who is all good - in human terms; a God who is all love - for humanity. But their human image of a human God is just another flickering candle to lighten the darkness of their GODlessness. And they remain - without GOD.
3 As long as they can delude themselves that it is right and good to be the way they are, they continue - without GOD.
4 For such, the Day of Reckoning comes, when all the lights of human justification are extinguished. But by then it is too late; by then they are weakened beyond recall. The darkness envelopes them, as ail their lights go out, one by useless one, and because they have depended upon those lights for strength and sustenance, without them they crumble and are helpless; doomed to an impene- trable darkness.
5 To live by the light of human success, is to become weaker and weaker for the day when that light is extinguished, and success in human terms has lost its meaning.
6 To thrive on the strength of human self-esteem, is to become weaker and weaker for the day when self is revealed as worthless without GOD. To rest the mind and the soul in the arms of an illusion of human harmony, is to become weaker and weaker for the day when the illusion breaks and a being is alone, without the comfort of friends to help him justify himself.
7 To rest the body and pander to its needs and cravings, forgetting the mind and the soul in concerns of material indulgence and satis- faction, is to become weaker and weaker for the day when there is no body, only mind and soul, which cannot then be forgotten.
8 To belong to humanity, to depend upon humanity, to justify being part of humanity, to create the illusion of the ultimate rightness of human; ty, is to become weaker and weaker for the day when there is no longer humanity.
9 To live always under the light of human values, is to become weaker and weaker for the day when human values have no longer even the pretense of significance.
6. 1 If we must live in the world, if we must roam in the darkness of GODlessness, if we must take on human form and become some part of the human game, then the only way to be strong is to know the emptiness of human existence, to feel the pain of estrangement from GOD, to accept the suffering that must be, with alienation from the True Light of the True Justification.
2 To be strong - truly strong, not strong by human standards - we must always know the darkness, as it is. We must know the shal- low emptiness of worldly pursuits. We must see the ultimate futility of all human endeavor.
3 If we create lights to disperse the darkness, we begin to delude ourselves. By the light of our illusions, we begin to act and to be, according to an alien pattern. And as long as the light remains, we continue to act and to be according to that pattern. As long as we feel justified, we go on. But as with GOD there is the Light of Truth. so without GOD there is the Darkness of Truth. Light without GOD is a iie. Heaven is Light; Hell is Darkness. That is - as it is. If we try to make Hell light, we justify Hell, we give it the semblance of rightness, we delude ourselves into finding it 'good', and we become a part of its self-glorifi- cation.
4 Only by knowing the Darkness of Truth, which is Hell, for what it is, can we maintain or regain our strength. If we have lived by the self-made lights of the world, we have become OF the world. We have agreed with the world and its values. We have taken strength from those vaiues, allowing the world to justify us and build our egos, and thereby feeding the justifications of the world. And we have become weak in truth and reality, through giving all our strength to the maintenance of a lie.
5 And only by throwing aside all those worldly justifications; all the values of the world, the pleasures of the world, the satisfac- tions of the world, the ideals of the world, the successes of the world, the principles of the world and the promises of the world; and by seeing their worthlessness; only by embracing pain in worldly terms; by swimming against the human stream, instead of sliding gently with it; by opposing the human standard, instead of fitting comfortably into it; by suffering the persecution of the outsider, the rejection, the failure in human terms, the hatred, the scorn, the ridicule; only by knowing agony, loss, disaster and all manner of wrongness by the human standard; can we regain our strength to find the True Light, the True justifi- cation, from the Darkness of the human game.
6 And if we do this, then pleasure is there, comfort is there, ease is there, success is there, love and acceptance are there; not in a steady stream of hollow human blessings, which are no blessings, but by way of rewards, milestones in the journey through human darkness. And they come not from the lights of men, but from the distant glimmers of the True Light. So that when satisfaction comes, when love manifests, when ease and comfort are there for us, we do not instinctiveiy validate MAN and his values, or the world of men and what it offers, or humanity and what it stands for, but GOD and GOD's Love for those who belong to GOD.
7 And further, when we have carried the pain of human darkess; when we have done what all men are afraid to do; when we have been what all men are afraid to be; when we have felt what all men are afraid to feel; when we have taken the path that all men are afraid to take; when we have borne the unbearable in human terms, seen it as it is and known the consequences; and thereby regained our strength, rebuilt ourselves as GOD created us, not as man wants us to be to fit within his world; then the darkness ceases to be pain, and the terror ceases to terrify.
8 The human agreements of what is right and what is wrong, what feels good and what feels bad, what gives pleasure and what gives pain, slide away from us. Having denied ourselves the lights of man for comfort and satisfaction, we find a more lasting comfort and a deeper satisfaction in the Light of GOD; a Light that far transcends the miniscule requirements of the human game.
9 Then, only when we need more strength for another stage, to climb another level, surmount another barrier, or move into a new phase, do we need to give ourselves the pain of loss, the stress of op- pression, the agony of mystery, or the disappointment of failure. And unless we run in fear and switch on the comforting human lights, and thereby destroy ourselves, we can meet the suffering, feel it and know it, and be strengthened by it.
10 For only the pain of opposition to our needs and our demands can make us stronger - if it does not 'kill' us.
11 A body always at rest and a mind always at ease - by the powers of illusion - makes for a weaker soul. But with a body in pain and a mind in conflict, the soul either hides to soothe away the suf- fering, and dies, or feels it, knows it, passes through it, and emerges stronger. So if when pain threatens we run and hide, ward off the pain or cocoon ourselves beyond its reach, we die; but if we stay and fight and look and see and feel and know - and emerge, then we are stronger. We have blown out another man-made candle of so-called rightness and desirability, and discovered a little more of the Darkness of Truth, which is the world of men.
12 For the world of men is Hell, and to reach Heaven we must first know Hell; not slide as gently and comfortably through it as our fantasies and our illusions can take us, but know it, starkly, as it is.
13 To know the Light of GOD, VIe must first know the Darkness of alienation from GOD. We must feel the full intensity of it; not lessen it with manufactured human lights.
14 And humanity is the Devil. And to be with GOD, we must first know the Devil; know him as he is; not just the false images of his myriad disguises; his smiies, his charm, his pretence of good intentions, his facade of innocence, his game of being alternately friendly benefactor and helpless victim; not just his most en- dearing and justifiable identities, but his true nature; the totality of his self-interest, and his hatred of all that is not beneath him, dependent on him, obedient to him, giving to him, satisfying his needs and his demands, and subject to his will. Humanity is the Devil. and we must feel these basic qualities in humanity; know them as they are, see them manifested both in ourselves and in those around us, and experience their effects; before we can know GOD.
7. 1 The greatest strengthener is that which comes closest to 'killing' us. The greatest 'killer' is failure. So the greatest streng- thener is ultimate failure.
2 This is the root purpose of failure.
3 A being who faces the ultimate failure, and 'lives' in spite of it, is the strongest of all beings. And humanity is the ultimate failure; and to be amongst, and to be part of, and to KNOW humanity, is to face the ultimate failure. And he who does so is the strongest of all beings. He is ready to perform the most demanding task, fulfill the most demanding function.
4 If we can look at total failure in ourselves without the glimmer of success; if we can meet the fact of utter hopelessness, utter uselessness, utter worthlessness, meet it face to face in our- selves and feel every part of it all around us; then we are truly strong. For our strength and our will to live are not founded on the self-created lights of mere success or promise of success, nor on things we feel we have achieved or can achieve, nor on qualities or capabilities which we attribute to ourselves; they are founded upon the nature of the very core of our being, which is our basic knowledge of the Light of GOD.
5 Life that hangs upon the validation of a particular identity, is not life. Strength that stems from pride in a particular attain- ment, is not strength. A sense of rightness that feeds on a series of human qualities that are worn like clothing to adorn a barren soul, is not a sense of rightness.
6 These things are shallow, like houses built upon the drifting sands; and when the sands are blown away by the Wind of Time, then there is no life, no strength, no sense of rightness. But when life springs straight from the soul, strength flows straight from the Knowledge of GOO; then the light is the True Light, life is Eternal Life, strength is the indestructable Power of Truth, and the sense of rightness is the Divine Justification.
7 He who lives by the strength of his arm, or the strength of his wit or the strength of his impact upon the world of men, lives in fear. For the strongest arm must wilt, the most brilliant wit must grow dull, and the world of men shall one day turn upon its back and die. But he who lives by the strength and knowledge of GOD, lives without fear. For GOD is always.
August 1968 Robert de Grimston
THIS MATERIAL IS THE PROPERTY OF THE PROCESS
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