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4. Diseases and Problems of Disciples and Mystics - Part 4

1. Those arising from the premature awakening of the centres.  In these cases, the psychic has no control whatsoever over his powers.  He simply knows that he sees and hears that which cannot be seen and heard by the average man.  His problem is to live consciously and simultaneously upon the physical and astral planes.  He cannot stop himself seeing and hearing and his life becomes most complex and complicated.  Where there is this premature awakening in the case of the intellectual man, it frequently produces great difficulty, nervous tension, brain disturbance and always misunderstanding from those around.  There is many times a definite drift into insanity.  In the case of the average unintelligent person, there is usually a shift of the life—emphasis on to the astral plane and away from the physical plane where it is intended that men should express all that is in them.  The psychic then lives altogether in the world of glamour and of lower psychic phenomena.  What he sees and relates is truly and sincerely what he has noted but there is no interpretative ability.  It is seldom of a high order because the psychic is not of a high order of mentality or influence himself.

2. Those arising out of a loose connection existing between the physical body and the etheric body.  This produces the various stages of mediumship, of control by entities of some kind or another, of trance conditions and of many kinds of obsession, temporary or permanent.

I do not include in this list the work of the materialising mediums, for their work is of a totally different kind and though not so dangerous to the personality of the medium is perhaps still more undesirable.  So completely is the medium divorced (as an astral-mental-soul individual) from his physical body that it becomes dominant [584] in its own field (the material) and can absorb—through the many etheric orifices—the stuff of which certain of the lower forms are constituted;  it can attract the primitive substance of a low grade which can be built into shape (and often is) by the thought, either of a sitter or of a group of sitters in a so-called "materialising seance".  With these the medium is en rapport subconsciously.  This is not a telepathic rapport but a solar plexus, a psychic rapport.  The subject is too abstruse for elaboration here and this form of mediumship must inevitably be discarded as the evolution of the race proceeds.

3. Those which are indicative of an exceeding sensitivity to impressions, to conditions and to atmospheres, surrounding the psychic.  This sensitivity is of a somewhat inchoate nature and is difficult to define, but it is analogous to the general sense of Touch.  There is no part of the human frame which, if it is touched in a certain manner, will not react.  So the sensitive will register psychic awareness of a more general nature than that of the defined powers.  We have consequently:

Physical       Psychic          Higher Correspondence

a. Hearing...Clairaudience...This leads eventually to mental telepathy and finally to spiritual knowledge.

b. Sight...Clairvoyance...This leads eventually to spiritual vision and finally to spiritual identification.

c. Touch...Sensitivity...This leads eventually to spiritual aspiration and finally to spiritual impressibility.

It might here be pointed out that mystical development and aspiration are the way of escape from the highest aspect of the Atlantean consciousness.  This is itself astral in nature.  [585] Occultism and science are the way of escape from the highest expression of the concrete mind, and from the Aryan consciousness, which is mental in nature.  Sensitivity or the psychic sense of touch is etheric in nature, is general in expression and must eventually give place to that spiritual impressibility which enables a man, like the Christ, simply to "know" what is in his fellow man and to be aware of his condition and of the condition of life in all forms.  It is the first step towards that universal spiritual key of which psychometry is the lowest expression.

In the above paragraph and differentiations I have given you much food for thought and indicated a sequence of unfoldment which is individual, racial and universal.

If we extend these ideas into their planetary connotations (which is interesting but probably quite useless to you) I would add that:

1. Touch.....is the keynote of the evolution proceeding at this time on Venus.  It is sensitivity to spiritual impression.

2. Hearing....is the keynote of the evolution proceeding at this time on Mars.  It is spiritual telepathy and knowledge.

3. Sight......is the keynote of the evolution proceeding at this time on the Earth.  It is spiritual vision leading to identification.

Let us now consider how the abuse of the lower psychic powers may be arrested temporarily until such time as the initiate may seek to use them, in full consciousness and with full control.

The prime difficulty of the natural psychic and of the man who is born as a medium is his inability intelligently to control the phenomena evidenced.  Lack of control of the physical powers is deemed highly undesirable.  Lack of psychic control should also be relegated to the same category.  The [586] medium is either in trance or his psychic powers are brought into expression through the stimulation which comes from his contact with the group of sitters in the seance room or from a large audience.  In other cases, he is all the time living on the borderland of consciousness between the physical and the psychic or astral planes.  How can this be changed, provided the medium wishes for such a change, which is rare indeed.  In three ways only:

1. By ceasing to be interested in the display of these powers, by refusing to use them any more and by this means causing them gradually to die out.  This leads to the closing of the solar plexus centre (and consequently of the open door to the lower levels of the astral plane) and the atrophying of that part of the inner mechanism which has made these powers available.

2. By the transference of the attention to the mystical life and to the expression of an intense aspiration towards the spiritual realities.  This provides the new interest which eventually becomes dynamically expulsive of the old interests and thus tends to shift the life-emphasis away from the lower levels of the astral plane to the higher levels.  This also presupposes a tendency to spiritual orientation on the part of the psychic.

3. By a course of intellectual training and of mental development which would, if persisted in for a sufficient length of time, automatically make the use of the lower powers impossible because the shift of the flow of energy will be into the centres above the diaphragm.  It is well known in psychic circles that mental training does bring to a close the psychic cycle.

There are three ancient rules which—in the last period of the Atlantean cycle—were given by the Adepts of the time [587] to Their disciples.  You must bear in mind that the problem before the Hierarchy at that time was to bring to an end temporarily the then normal psychic emphasis and start the flow of the forces to the upper part of the body.  These three rules can be connected in your minds with the three methods touched upon above.

I. Shun the pits of hell, Oh, Chela.  Let your feet go hurrying from the lower way and seek the upper reaches of the plane of glamour.  Ascend.  Choose for your good companions those who live a life of arduous labour upon the plains of earth.  Depart.  Descend and live the normal life of Earth.  Depart.

II. Lift up thine eyes, Oh, Chela, and cleanse thine heart and see the vision of thy soul.  Look up, not down; within, not out.  Live free and hasten towards the higher goal.  Depart and seek the distant secret place where dwells thy soul.

III. Energy  follows thought, the ancient rule proclaims.  Think, Chela, think and leave behind the realms where thought rules not and where no light revealing can be seen but only self-engendered light and thus deluding.  So, therefore, think.

These rules sound simple and familiar but are of profound difficulty to follow, particularly in the ease of the average psychic, and this for two reasons; first, he does not truly desire the loss of the power which the use of the powers confers, and secondly, his mental perception is as a rule so undeveloped that the effort to transfer his consciousness into the higher levels of expression proves too arduous a task.  But, where the will is active and the peril entailed by continuing to work on the lowest astral levels is adequately perceived, then in due time the needed effort will be made.

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The above rules apply to the psychic who is willing enough and intelligent enough to change his orientation and type of work.  But what of the man who has drifted into the dangerous ways of the lower psychism when he is an Aryan in consciousness and not an Atlantean?  What can he do if the solar plexus centre is over-active and the door to the astral plane stands wide open?  He seeks to shut it and to function normally; he distrusts and fears his psychic powers of sight and hearing.  There is no one specific or one rule of conduct for much is dependent upon the originating cause, but I will here suggest various rules and remedial lines of behaviour.

1. If the door to the astral plane has been opened by following certain breathing exercises, plus certain postures, and other methods taught by ignorant teachers at this time, I would suggest certain preliminary and necessary steps, as follows:

a. Let the man drop all such exercises and postures and avoid all contact with the teacher.  This is a first and necessary step.

b. Let him live a full life of physical activity, permitting himself no time for the introspective life.  If he is materially minded, let him fulfill his commercial, business or social obligations, by physical plane interests and his due responsibilities with every power he has, permitting himself no backward thought.

c. Let him focus his attention upon the things of physical living until such time as evolution carries him to the stage of mental focussing and spiritual orientation.  Before this can be done, the lower door must be closed.  Let him, therefore, control emotion, for emotion serves to keep the door ajar and facilitates astral experience.

[589]

d. Let him "learn to work and think with the spine and head and not with the forefront of the body", as the ancient rule can be translated.  The idea is that the average psychic regards the solar plexus and throat centres (the only two about which they seem to know anything) as existing in the front and centre of the torso or the front of the throat.  This carries the energy downwards by the involutionary route and not upwards by the evolutionary route of the spinal column.  This is of moment.

2. If the door to the astral plane is open because of natural birthright, the activity of previous lives and because the flow of the forces normally focusses in the solar plexus, the problem is much more difficult.  It will be necessary to gain:

a. Some understanding of the etheric constitution of man and teaching must be given as to the nature of the centres of force so that the Aryan psychic has some intelligent background upon which to work.  The effort must be made to build a healthy body.

b. Higher goals must be emphasised and the necessity for the life of service must be stressed.  I would remind you that service is a scientific method whereby the forces which awaken stimulate and control the solar plexus are directed to the heart centre, thus causing the closing of the astral door and a decentralisation of the interests of the psychic.  This decentralisation is technically fulfilled when the central plexus is no longer the dominant factor and the thought interests of the man are of a different nature.

c. One other practical hint may be useful here.  When the psychic is at the Aryan stage of unfoldment and is not simply at the Atlantean then much good can [590] come from the frequent use of the colour yellow.  He should surround himself with that colour, for it serves to keep the inflowing energies in the head or to prevent their descent no lower than the diaphragm.  This deprives the solar plexus of a constant inflow of energy and greatly aids in freeing of the psychic from the astral plane.  I would point out here that the psychic with the Atlantean consciousness (and they constitute the great majority) is functioning normally when displaying the psychic faculties, though along an arc of retrogression, but the man with the Aryan consciousness who displays these powers is an abnormality.

3. Where the danger is of a serious nature, producing great nervous tension or excessive debility, extreme care must be used.  Where there is a violent fight against the psychic activity going on, or where there is a nervous breakdown and loss of mental grip and control, then it is essential that at times the psychic should be forced to take a long rest in bed, with light diet and complete freedom from all contacts.  It may be necessary at times to put him under restraint.  Today, many such cases fighting hard for mental equilibrium and seeking to close the astral door—are deemed insane or on the border line of insanity.  Their plight is greatly enhanced by the lack of understanding of their friends, and of the consulting physicians and psychologists.  Their trouble is not mental but is entirely related to the solar plexus.  Only when this is recognised will we begin to have a right handling of these problem cases.  It is rare indeed to find a psychologist who would be willing to admit the possibility of these premises.

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When psychic difficulties arise in the case of the advanced mystic, the disciple or the occult student, the mode of approach has to be more definitely scientific, for the trouble is more deep-seated owing to the fact that the mind is more involved.  Definite work with the centres up the spine and in the head is in order but must be carried forward under careful supervision.  I cannot here give the exercises which lead to—

1. The closing of the different centres,

2. The opening of the higher centres.

3. The transference of force from one centre to another.

This treatise is intended primarily for the general public and will be widely read during the next generation.  Should I give them here, my readers might experiment with them and only succeed in doing real harm to themselves.

The Science of the Breath, which is the science of laya yoga or the science of the centres, is one of profound importance and one of real danger as well.  It is, in the last analysis, the Science of Energy and teaches the method whereby energy can be controlled, directed and utilised for the expanding of the consciousness, for the establishing of right relations between the man and his environment and, above all (in the case of those affiliated with the Great White Lodge), for the production of white magic.  This pranic energy works through the vital body and courses through the many "nadis" found therein.  These "nadis" exist in their millions and are minute channels of force which underlie the entire nervous system of man.  Of this they are the counterpart and the animating factor, making sensitivity possible and producing that action and reaction which converts the mechanism of man into an intricate "receiver" of energy and "director" of force.  Each [592] of these tiny lines of energy are fivefold in nature and resemble five strands or fibers of force, closely knit together within a covering sheath of a different force.  These forces are bound together in a cross-sectional relation.

It is to be noted, also, that these five types of energy form one closely knit unit, and these units form, in their entirety, the etheric sheath itself.  Through these five channels flow the fire major pranas—energising, galvanising and controlling the entire human organism.  There is no part of the physical body which this network of energies does not underlie or "sub-stand".  This is the true form or substance.

Where the lines of force cross and recross, as they repeat in the microcosm the involutionary and evolutionary arcs of the macrocosm, there are formed five areas up the spinal column and two in the head where the energies are more potent than elsewhere, because more concentrated.  Thus you have the appearance of the major centres.  Throughout the entire body, these crossings and recrossings occur and so the equipment of energy centres is brought into being:

1. Where the lines of force cross 21 times, a major centre is found.  Of these there are seven.

2. Where they cross 14 times, you have the appearance of the minor centres, to which I earlier referred.

3. Where they cross 7 times, you have tiny centres and of these minute centres there are many hundreds.

Some day the entire etheric body will be charted and the general direction of the lines of force will then be seen.  The great sweep of the energies will be apparent, the point in evolution more easily established and the psychic situation infallibly indicated.  The intricacy of the subject is, however, very great, owing to just this difference in the evolutionary development of the vehicles, the stage of the expanding consciousness [593] and the receptivity to stimulation of the human being.  The Science of Meditation will eventually absorb the science of laya-yoga but only in the highest form of the latter.  The goal of meditation is to bring about the free play of all the incoming forces so that there is no impediment offered at any point to the incoming energy of the soul; so that no obstruction and congestion is permitted and no lack of power—physical, psychic, mental and spiritual—is to be found in any part of the body.  This will mean not only good health and the full and free use of all the faculties (higher and lower) but direct contact with the soul.  It will produce that constant renewing of the body which is characteristic of the life expression of the initiate and the Master, as well as of the disciple, only in a lesser degree.  It will produce rhythmic expression of the divine life in form.  To the clairvoyant view of the adept as He looks at the aspirant or disciple, it causes:

1. The rhythm of manifestation.  This is the cause of the appearance and the disappearance of the form.  The adept, by looking at the body, can tell just how long it has been in incarnation and how long it will still continue to "appear".  The state of the pranic channels reveals this accurately, particularly those found below the diaphragm.  The centre at the base of the spine, where is found the seat of the will-to-live (governing the seed of the life principle in the heart) reveals this.

2. The rhythm of psychic life.  This is, in reality, the revelation of where the man stands in relation to consciousness and its contacts.  The adept, when seeking information upon this point, looks first of all at the solar plexus centre and then at the heart and head, for in these three centres and in their relative "light and radiant brightness", the whole story of the individual stands revealed.  [594] The head centre, looked at for the average or below average man, is the centre between the eyebrows.  In the case of the aspirant, mystic and disciple, it is the highest head centre.

As evolution proceeds and the life forces flow ever more freely along the "nadis" and through the centres—major, minor, and minute—the rapidity of the distribution and of the flow, and the consequent radiance of the body steadily increases.  The separating walls within the enclosing sheath of the tiny channels of force eventually dissolve (under the impact of soul force) and so disappear and thus the "nadis" of the advanced disciple take a new form indicating that he is now essentially and consequently dual and is therefore an integrated personality.  He is soul and personality.  Soul force can now flow unimpeded through the central channel of the "nadi" and all the other forces can flow unimpeded around it.  It is whilst this process is going on and the forces within the "nadis" are being blended and thus forming one energy that most of the diseases of the mystics make their appearance, particularly those connected with the heart.

Simultaneously with this appearance of duality in the "nadis", the disciple finds himself able to use the two channels—ida and pingala—which are found up the spinal column, one on each side of the central channel.  There can now be the free flow of force up and down these two "pathways of the forces" and thus out into the "nadis", utilising the area around any of the major centres as distributing areas and thus galvanising, at will, any part of the mechanism into activity, or the whole mechanism into coordinated action.  The disciple has now reached the point in his development where the etheric web, which separates all the centres up the spine from each other, has been burned away by the fires of life.  The [595] "sushumna" or central channel can be slowly utilised.  This parallels the period wherein there is the free flow of soul force through the central channel in the "nadis".  Eventually this central channel comes into full activity.  All this can be seen by the clairvoyant eye of the Master.

I have dealt with this in detail as the practice of breathing exercises definitely moves the forces flowing through the "nadis" and reorganises them—usually prematurely.  It hastens the process of breaking down the walls separating four forces from the fifth energy, and hastens the burning of the protecting etheric webs up the spinal column.  If this is done whilst the emphasis of the life is below the diaphragm and the man is not even an aspirant or intelligent, then it will cause the over-stimulation of the sex life, and also the opening up of the astral plane and hence much physical difficulty and disease.  It occultly "releases the lower fires and the man will be destroyed by fire"; he will not be then (as is intended) the "burning bush which burns forever and cannot be destroyed".  If this burning takes place by a forced process and is not under right direction, there must inevitably be difficulty.  When the man is on the Path of Purification or Probation or is in the early stages of discipleship, with the emphasis of his intention above the diaphragm, then there is much danger of over-development of the sense of egotism, over-stimulation of the heart centre (with the consequent appearance of various forms of heart disease and of emotionalism, evoked over group conditions) and of troubles related to the thyroid gland and the brain, as well as difficulties connected principally with the pituitary body.

I could give you here certain forms of breathing exercises which might prove helpful to some people in the work of re-organising the vital body and consequently the etheric body, but the dangers involved in the case of the majority of [596] my readers negate any such action.  The old rule that aspirants must find their way into an esoteric or mystery school still holds good.  All I can do—as I have done—is to give certain directions and teach certain safe and generally well-known rules which will lay the foundation for the more advanced work which must be carried forward under careful personal supervision.  For this reason, once this present world crisis is duly ended, there must be laid a foundation of true esoteric schools.  Such do Not as yet exist.  Today, aspirants and disciples are working in the modern esoteric schools (such as the Arcane School and the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society—to mention two of the most important) and there they learn some of the foundational truths of esotericism; they begin to gain control of the emotional nature and the mind; they learn to purify the body and to apprehend the basic postulates of the Ageless Wisdom.  They are then under the direction subjectively of some senior disciple who knows the needed next truth and has unfolded in himself the "sense of contact" and the power of intuitive perception.  A few persons, here and there, are definitely working under the direction of one of the Masters.  Only where there is direction, a knowledge of a man's governing rays and a grasp of the astrological indications as to a man's "path of life" can the true, but dangerous, rules be given, which will lead to:

1. A right distribution of energy.

2. The focussing of the forces in the centres.

3. The burning of the separating walls and of the dividing etheric webs.

4. The lifting of the energies ever higher in the body by the power of the directed will.

Many of the difficulties of mystics and occultists today are due to the fact that they are literally "playing with fire" and are [597] not aware of it; that they are not preserving the right or ordered sequence of development, as outlined above; that they are following practices for which they are not ready, which have not been modified to suit the occidental type of body, and which they blindly follow without any understanding of the process or results.  Unless the basic rule is grasped that "energy follows thought", it is inevitable that dire results must eventuate.  The mystic, for instance whose thought is focussed on the Christ, regarding Him as somewhere in Heaven, but as outside himself, and whose aspiration makes Him the objective of all his desire, is frequently debilitated and physically ill.  Why is this the case?  Because the energy which is seeking to enter him and permeate his whole organism only reaches as far as the heart centre and is from there constantly turned back and driven out of the physical body by the directing power of the mystic's thought.  Christ, for him, is elsewhere.  Outside himself lies his thought and the energy consequently streams out of his body.  It is a much discussed problem among initiates today as to whether the generally debilitated condition of the human race is not due in part to the fact that the aspiration and thought of mankind, having been constantly directed to some outside goal and not (as should have been the case) to the centre of life and love within each human being, has drained man of much needed energy.  In spite of the fact that he has been taught for centuries that the kingdom of God is within, the peoples in the occident have not accepted the statement or worked on the premise presented, but have sought for reality without and have turned their attention to the Personality of the One who taught them a major truth.  At no time did He desire or seek their devotion.  The price of this distortion of the truth has been paid again and again by a devitalised body and by the [598] inability of the average mystic to live a concrete, and yet divine, life upon earth.

There is little more that I can say here in connection with the problems and the difficulties of the psychic powers as they unfold in humanity and on a higher turn of the spiral than in the past.  As evolution proceeds, the human and animal psychic faculties become available to the disciple.  Humanity has chosen to proceed by means of the "trial and error" method and it is in many ways a sound choice, but it is slow and leads to points of crisis and moments of almost intolerable difficulty in the history of the race.  In the case of the mystic and the disciple who is endeavouring to gain control of these inherent instincts, the problem is today enhanced by the fact that the physical vitality of the race is so lowered and also so little understood and the proper care of the body is consequently so poorly rendered that the unhealthy condition of that body releases the lower powers more easily than would otherwise be the case.  They therefore unfold prematurely and before their nature and function is understood or the laws of their control grasped.  The acceptance of this statement would be found enlightening and much progress would be made if the various premises I have made were accepted as valid hypotheses and acted upon.  The result would open the door to a new understanding of the psychic faculties.  Psychology and medicine would be thereby enriched.

We come now to two more problems which are related to the higher psychic powers but are of a more advanced kind and dependent upon the development of the mind nature more than upon the solar plexus consciousness.

Problem of the Development of the Mystical Vision

This process of sensing the goal, of contacting the ideal and of visioning the many symbols that veil the soul, which [599] portray pictorially the ultimate destination and the final purpose, are the recognised prerogative of the mystical aspirant.  The mystical literature of all the world religions is, as you know, full of these visions, ranging all the way from the more sexual approach of the Song of Solomon or the writings of many of the feminine mystics of the Church to the amazing revelations given in the ancient Puranas or in the Apocalypse.  These cover all the ground from the formulation of the highgrade "wish-life" of the mystics to the true prevision as to the future of the race as found in the writings of the prophetical Scriptures.  With the detail I do not intend to deal.  It has been considered by the modern psychologist and the religious instructor and Church writers and dealt with by them at great length.  I want only to touch upon the effects that these experiences have upon the mystic himself.  I would ask you also to remember that I am generalising and not being specific.

The difficulties to which such mystics are prone are four:

1. Devitalisation.  The mystic is drawn so constantly "upwards" (as he regards and terms it) to the land of his dreams, to the person of his idealism or to the spiritual ideal (personified or non-personified) of his aspiration that he reverses the normal and wholesome process of "the Way of the constant materialising of the Real".  He lives entirely in the world of his aspiration and thus neglects life on the physical plane, becoming not only impractical but negative to the physical plane.  He draws all his life forces upward so that the physical body and life on the physical plane suffers.  Technically, the forces of the solar plexus are not drawn upward into the heart centre, as they should be, nor is the energy of the heart poured out in selfless love of humanity; they are all focussed, and distributed in the highest level of the astral consciousness and sent to feed the forces of the astral body.  They reverse, [600] therefore, the normal process and the physical body suffers grievously through this.

A study of the lives of the saints and mystics will reveal much of this difficulty, and even in the relatively rare cases where there has been some definite service to humanity, the motives were frequently (I might say, usually) the meeting of a sensed requirement or obligation which would serve the mystic, bringing him emotional satisfaction and reward.  This devitalisation was often so excessive that it led not only to nervous debility, trance conditions and other pathological developments, but sometimes to death itself.

2. Delusion.  The drama life of the mystic and the constant cultivation of the vision (whatever that might be) led also in many cases to serious if unrecognised psychological trouble.  The vision absorbed the mystic's whole attention and instead of indicating to him a goal to which he might some day attain, or existing in his consciousness as the symbol of an inner reality which he would some day know, as it in truth was, he lived always within his own thoughtform of this goal.  This powerful dream, this defined thoughtform (built year by year through aspiration, worship and longing) ended by obsessing him to such an extent that he finally ended by mistaking the symbol for the reality.  Sometimes he died of the ecstasy induced by his identification with his vision.  Nevertheless, I would point out here that the true attainment of the mystical goal, so that it is no longer seen but is realised as fact, has never yet killed anyone.  It is delusion which kills.  It is only when the focus of the life is in the astral body, when the downflow of soul force is there also and when the heart centre is over-energised that the mystic dies as a result of his aspiration.  Where death does not take place (and this is somewhat unusual) serious psychological difficulties are apt to be found.  These have brought much concern to Churchmen at [601] all times and to the modern psychologist and have brought the whole subject of the mystical unfoldment into disrepute, particularly in this modern scientific age.

It is the materialising of the vision in astral matter, its development through the power of emotion (masquerading as devotion) and the failure of the mystic either to enter into the realm of mental perception or to bring his idealistic dream down into physical expression which lies at the root of the trouble.  The man becomes deluded by the best that is in him; he is the victim of an hallucination which embodies the highest he knows; he is overcome by the glamour of the spiritual life; he fails to distinguish between the vision and the Plan, between the manufactured unreal of the ages of mystical activity and the Real which stands ever in the background of the life of the integrated human being.

Forget not that the vision (of Heaven, of God, of Christ, of any spiritual leader or of any millennium) is based in the majority of cases upon the dreams and aspirations of the mystics down the ages who have blazed the mystical trail, who have used the same terminology and employed the same symbols to express that which they sense, and to which they aspire and for which they long so yearningly.  They all sense the same Reality, lying behind the glamour of the world aspiration; they all couch their desire and longing in the same symbolic forms—marriage with the Beloved, life in the Holy City, participation in some ecstatic vision of God, adoration of some deified and loved Individuality, such as the Christ, the Buddha, or Shri Krishna, walking with God in the garden of life, the garden of the Lord, the attainment of the mountain top where God is to be found, and all stands revealed.  Such are a few of the forms in which their aspiration clothes itself and their sense of duality finds satisfaction.  These ideas exist as powerful thought forms on the astral plane and they [602] attract—like magnets—the aspiration of the devotee which follows century after century the same path of yearning search, imaginative expression of a deep-seated spiritual "wishlife" and an emotional surging outward towards divinity, described sometimes as "the lifting of the heart to God."

Devitalisation and delusion are the frequent case history of the purely emotional mystic.  When this astral cycle is over and he later (and probably in another life) swings into a frankly agnostic state of mind, there comes a restoration of balance and a more wholesome unfoldment becomes possible.  The true and valuable fruits of the mystical experience of the past are never lost.  The inner spiritual realisation remains latent in the content of the life, later to be resurrected to its true expression but the vagueness and the sense of duality must eventually be transformed into a realised mental clarity; dualism must give place to the experience of the at-one-ment and the mists must roll away.  The mystic sees through a glass darkly but some day must Know, even as he is known.

When, in these modern times, the mystically oriented person comes under the care of a wise psychologist, the latter would be well advised gently and gradually to develop in him a cycle of doubt, leading even to a temporary agnosticism.  The result would be a rapid establishing of the desired equilibrium.  I would call your attention to the words "gently and gradually".  The encouraging of a normal physical life, with its ordinary interests, the fulfilling of its obligations and responsibilities and the usual physical functioning of the nature should bring about much wholesome and needed orientation.

3. Delirium.  I use this powerful word with deliberation when dealing with the dangerous and difficult stages of the mystical life.  When the delusions of the mystic and his devitalisation have gone beyond a certain point, he arrives at a stage where he has no real inner control, he develops the [603] mystical sense to the point where he has no sense of proportion, where the conventions (right or wrong), social training, economic responsibility, human obligations and all the aspects of daily life which integrate the human part into the whole of humanity fail to police the lower nature.  His outer expression becomes abnormal and he (from the highest and best sense of values) anti-social.  Such an anti-social attitude will range all the way from a relatively usual fanaticism which forces its possessor to see only one point of view out of the many possible, to certain pronounced and recognisable forms of insanity.  The mystic is then obsessed by his own peculiar thoughtform of truth and of reality.  He has only one idea in his head.  His mind is not active, for his brain has become the instrument of his astral nature and registers only his fanatical devotion and his emotional obsession.  The ajna centre swings into activity before there is any true integration of the whole man, and any true useful purpose to its activity.

A period ensues wherein the man expresses himself in many undesirable ways which include a too strenuous one-pointedness, real fanaticism, sadistic effort with a supposed spiritual motive, (such as was seen in the Inquisition) and certain forms of mental breakdown.  Occultly speaking, "the fiery vision proceeds to burn its victim and thus destroys the thread which holds his mind and brain in friendship close".  This burning astral fever necessarily produces an effect upon the physical body as well as on the personality expression, and the trouble can then be recognised by others as real and serious in consequences and effects.  Frequently, there is little that can be done; sometimes no attempts to help prove availing.  The mystic has, for this one life, done himself irreparable damage.  The healing influence of death, and the interlude of the life beyond the physical plane must do their beneficent work before the man can again achieve normality and begin [604] to transmute his Vision of the Good, the Beautiful and the True into working expression upon the plane of daily living; he will then bring his mind to bear upon the problem; he will then discover that the vision is but the reflection of the Plan of God.  He will know that the power to personalise aspiration must be transformed into the power to depersonalise oneself, prior to world service and cooperation with the Hierarchy.

4. Detachment.  This is one of the major psychological difficulties which leads to the common phenomenon of cleavage.  It is one of the hardest to handle.  The mystic who can see naught but his vision, who registers that vision in terms only of symbolic forms, of sexual longing, of agonising aspirations and an intense "wish-life" of dream and desire may eventually succeed in severing all right relations both within himself (with his physical body in one place, his emotional life directed to another and his mind preoccupied elsewhere) and with his surroundings and environing responsibilities, so that he lives entirely in a world of his own manufacturing—detached, unmoved, and untouched by normal affairs or human calls.  This is sometimes also brought about by an unrecognised desire to escape from responsibility, from the pain and irksomeness of daily living or from the clinging hands of those who love him; it can be brought over from another life of mystical experience which should, in this life, be permanently transcended and outgrown, having served its useful purpose and done a needed work.  This is a detachment of the wrong kind.

I realise as I give you this teaching upon the difficulties of the mystical life—devitalisation, delusion, delirium and detachment—that those who have gained much from the mystics or those who are at this time mystically inclined will violently disagree.  I would seek to make myself clear on these [605] points.  The mystical way is the right way for people at a certain stage of evolution, the Atlantean stage, provided it is not carried to the point of insanity, hallucination, furious fanaticism and psychopathic complications.  It is, rightly expressed, a useful and needed process whereby the astral body is re-oriented and spiritual aspiration begins to take the place of desire.  It is necessary to have vision for "where there is no vision, the people perish".  True vision is, in reality, the astral reflection of the divine Plan, reflected into the higher levels of the astral consciousness of the planet and there contacted and sensed by those human beings whose focus in life is of a very high grade nature whose "intention is towards God and righteousness" but who are introverted at this time, who lack much technical knowledge either of divine law or of the constitution of man or of the planetary life, and whose minds are quiescent and non-questioning except in an emotional sense and for the relief of the mystic's own spiritual distress and desire for peace and satisfaction.  There is, for instance, little in the writings of the mystics of the middle ages, (either in the East or in the West) which gives any indication of a sense of world need or of humanity's demand for enlightenment.

The astral reflection of the Plan—such is the vision.  There the life forces of the mystical physical nature, of his astral body and of his soul (two forces and one energy) unite and there they produce a powerful expression of focussed desire, deep inchoate longing, vivid imagination and the construction of a thought form, expressing all that the mystic desires to contact or to see expressed.

There will be, as time goes on, less and less of this mystical approach.  The work of realising beauty and the instinct to reach out towards divinity are now so deeply rooted in the racial consciousness that the balancing work of the mind and the presentation of the Plan in the place of the Vision can [606] safely proceed.  The children of the race who are still Atlantean in consciousness will continue with the mystical approach and the beauty of that contribution will still be the heritage of the race.  But the cycle of the mystical effort and experience will be considerably shortened and scientifically controlled because its purpose, its place in racial unfoldment and its contribution to the "doctrine of Reality" will be better understood.

This mystical cycle is the correspondence to the "adolescent" cycle in the life of the young, valuable, visionary and life-giving, spurring on to right orientation and stabilising certain standards and values.  Such a cycle will, however, be recognised as undesirable when the time has come that a new and higher set of values and a more spiritual and controlled technique should take its place.  A life purpose, a recognised plan and a correctly directed activity must eventually supersede all adolescent yearnings, dreams, imaginative longings and aspiration in the life of the individual and of the race.

Mistake Me Not.  The vision is a vision of reality.  The eternal Dreamer dreams and the greatest of all Mystics is the divine Logos Himself.  But His dream must be registered in our consciousness as God's Plan and the mystical vision is the necessary though passing development in the human being of the "dreaming" aspect of God's Nature.  Ponder on this, for it holds revelation to those who ponder rightly.

Revelation of Light and Power and Attendant Difficulties

The problems with which we must now deal belong in a totally different category.  They have no relation at all to emotion or to the astral plane but constitute the specific difficulty of the aspirant or the advanced man or disciple who has learnt to focus himself in the mental nature.  They are problems connected with achieved contact with the soul, [607] which results in the illumination of the mind and a definite influx of power.

These difficulties only come to the man in whom the throat centre and the ajna centre are awakening.  The moment that any difficulty is sensed in relation to the phenomena of light, the psychologist or the physician can know that the pituitary body is involved and that consequently the centre between the eyebrows is beginning to be active and awake.

The problem of power, sensed by the aspirant and seeking expression in his life, falls into two categories:—

1. The sense of power which comes through the effort to do definite creative work.  This necessarily involves the activity of the throat centre.  Where there is this inflow of creative force and where there is no real use made of the inflowing energy in the production of creative work, then there is very apt to be difficulty with the thyroid gland.

2. The sense of power which takes the form of ambition, and of an integration which is brought about by the force of that ambition.  This frequently succeeds in subordinating the various aspects of the lower nature to that ambition.  When this takes place the ajna centre is active and is synchronising its vibration with that of the throat centre.  This leads to real difficulty and is one of the commonest forms of ambition to which the aspirant and the disciple succumb.

One can also divide the problem of light into two groups of difficulties if one so desires—one related to the physical registering of the light in the head and the other to the acquiring of knowledge.

This registering of light within the periphery of the skull is connected with the relation to be found between the head [608] centre and the centre between the eyebrows; that is, between the area (localised around the pituitary body) and that localised around the pineal gland.  The vibratory effect, you know, of those two centres can become so strong that the two vibrations or their "pulsating rhythmic activity" can swing into each other's field of action and a unified magnetic field can be set up which can become so powerful, so brilliant and so pronounced that the disciple—when closing his eyes—can see it plainly.  It can be visually sensed and known.  Eventually, and in some cases, it can definitely affect the optic nerve, not to its detriment but to the extent of evoking the subtler side of the sense of sight.  A man can then see etherically and can see the etheric counterpart of all tangible forms.  This is physiological and not a psychic power and is quite different to clairvoyance.  There can be no etheric vision apart from the usual organ of vision, the eye.  The sensing and the registering of this light in the head can lead to its own peculiar problems when the process is not correctly understood or controlled, just as the registering of the energy of power (coming from the mind in its will aspect or from the soul through the will petals) can prove definitely detrimental to the personality, when not consecrated or refined.

Again, this registering of the light falls into certain definite stages and takes place at certain definite points in the unfoldment of the human being, but is more likely to occur in the earlier stages than the later.  These are:—

1. The sensing of a diffused light outside the head, either before the eyes or over the right shoulder.

2. The sensing of this diffused misty light within the head, permeating, apparently, the entire head.

3. The concentrating of this diffused light until it has the appearance of a radiant sun.

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4. The intensifying of the light of this inner sun.  This is in reality the recognition of the radiance of the magnetic field, established between the pituitary body and the pineal gland (as expressions of the head and the ajna centres).  This radiance can at times seem almost too bright to be borne.

5. The extension of the rays of this inner sun first to the eyes, and then finally beyond the radius of the head so that (to the vision of the clairvoyant seer) the halo makes its appearance around the head of the disciple or aspirant.

6. The discovery that there is, at the very heart of this, a point of dark blue electric light, which gradually grows into a circle of some size.  This occurs when the light in the head irradiates the central opening at the top of the head.  Through this opening the various energies of the soul and the forces of the personality can be synthesised and thus flow into the physical body, via the major centres.  It is also the esoteric "door of departure" through which the soul withdraws the consciousness aspect in the hours of sleep and the consciousness aspect plus the life thread at the moment of death.

The registering of this inner light often causes serious concern and difficulty to the inexperienced person and the intensity of their concern and fear leads them to think so much of the problem that they become what we occultly call "obsessed with the light and so fail to see the Lord of Light and that which the Light reveals".  I would point out here that all aspirants and occult students do not see this light.  Seeing it is dependent upon several factors—temperament, the quality of the physical cells of the brain, the nature of the work which has been done or of the particular task, and the extent of the magnetic field.  There never need be any difficulty if the [610] aspirant will use the light which is in him for the helping of his fellowmen.  It is the self-centred mystic who gets into difficulty, as does the occultist who uses the light which he discovers within himself for selfish purposes, and personal ends.