There is a cup held to the lips of those who drink, by four great Lords of Karma. The draught within that cup must all be drained, down to the nethermost drop, e’er it is possible to fill the cup with a purer, sweeter one. The seven Lords of cosmic Love await the hour of filling.
The cup is naught. The draught within distils forth drop by drop. It will not all be drained until the final hour wherein the Pilgrim takes the cup. He lifts it from the hand of those Who, bending, hold it to his lips. Until that day the cup is held, and in inner blind dismay the Pilgrim drinks. After that hour he lifts his head; he sees the light beyond; he takes the cup and, with a radiant joy, drains to the very dregs.
The contents of the cup are changed; the bitter now becomes the sweet; the fiery essence then is lost in cool, life-giving streams. The fire absorbed within has burned and scarred and seared. The draught now taken soothes the burns; it heals the scars and permeates the whole.
The Four bend down and see the work. They release the cup of Karma. The tender Lords of Cosmic Love then mix another draught, and – when the cup is empty seen (emptied by conscious will) – they pour within that which is needed now for broader, larger living. Until the cup has once been used, filled, drained, and seen as naught, it cannot safely hold within that which is later given.
But when to utter emptiness the Pilgrim drains the cup then to the world in torment now he turns. With cup in hand (drained once, filled again, and refused to selfish need) he tends the need of struggling men who tread the way with him. The draught of love, of sacred fire, of cool, health-giving streams he lifts not towards himself but holds it forth to others. Upon the road of weary man he becomes a Lord of Power – power gained through work accomplished, power reached through conscious will. Through the cup of Karma drained he gains the right to serve.
Look on, O Pilgrim, to the goal. See shining far ahead the glory that envelops and the light that naught can dim. Seize on the cup and swiftly drain, delay not for the pain. The empty cup, the steady hand, the firm and strong endeavour, lead to a moment’s agony and thence to radiant life.
Alice Bailey; “The Rays and The Initiations”
Page 762, Lucis Publishing Company, New York. ISBN 0-85330-122-0
I first found this text about 16 years ago and was struck by it then. It was the first text that put emphasis on the active participation in karma from a conscious perspective, namely that it was a piece of work to be done as opposed to avoided. It suggests a willing participation rather than a bemoaning. These few words above have had the most profound influence on my life since then.