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4. Diseases and Problems of Disciples and Mystics - Part 5

An incidental difficulty is sometimes found when the "doorway out into the other worlds" is discovered and becomes, not a door for rightful and proper use, but a way of escape from the difficulties of life and a short cut out of conscious physical experience.  The connection then between the mystic and his physical vehicle becomes less and less firmly established and the link gets looser and looser until the man spends most of his time out of his body in a condition of semi-trance or a deep sleep condition.

Students should make no effort to see the light in the head, but when it is sensed and seen—then there should be a careful regulation and registration of it.  Second ray types will respond to this phenomenon more easily and more frequently than first or third ray types.  First ray people will register the inflow of force and power with facility and will discover that their problem lies in the control and the right direction of such energies.

Much of the present impasse to be found in the personalities of the aspirants of the world is due to the fact that the light that is in them remains undirected and the power that is flowing through them remains unused or misapplied.  Much of the physical blindness and the poor sight to be found in the world today (unless the result of accident) is due to the presence of the light of the head—unrecognised and unused—and thus producing or exciting a definite effect upon the eyes and upon the optic nerve.  Technically speaking, the light of the soul—localised in the region of the pineal gland—works through and would be directed through the right eye which is (as you have been told) the organ of the buddhi, [611] whilst the light of the personality—localised in the region of the pituitary body—functions through the left eye.  The time has not yet come when this statement means much except to very advanced students, but it should be on record for the future use of disciples and aspirants.

I would also like to point out that one of the difficulties today is that the light of the personality is more active within the head than is the light of the soul and that it has far more of the quality of burning than has soul light.  The effect of the soul light is stimulating and occultly cool.  It brings the brain cells into functioning activity, evoking response from cells at present quiescent and unawakened.  It is as these cells are brought into activity by the inflow of the light of the soul that genius appears, accompanied often by some lack of balance or control in certain directions.

This whole subject of light and power is of so vast a nature and is relatively so little understood in its true significance as an expression (in dual form) of energy which flows upward from the personality and downward from the soul that it is only as more and more people tread the Path that the problem will emerge in its true light and thus eventually be handled rightly.  I will refer here briefly to some of the problems so as to provide the germ or seed of thought from which future study can grow and the future investigation arise.  They might be summarised as follows:—

1. The theme of light and energy is closely connected with the problem (for such it is at this time) of the entire glandular system; it is, therefore, of basic importance that there should be understanding of this relation for it is one of the fundamental things upon which the health of the entire body and its right functioning rests.

2. When there is a correct grasp of this subject, it will be [612] found that the brain and the two head centres (actuating the pituitary body and the pineal gland) are the directing agents for all the activities of the man upon the physical plane.  Today, he is largely directed by his animal instincts, by his sexual life and by his emotional reactions or else by his creative activities as they express themselves through the throat centre.  A few—very few—of his activities are directed from the heart, but eventually men must control their life expression from the head via the dual organs of the soul and the personality—the ajna centre, working through the pituitary body and expressing the personality life at its highest, and the head centre, working through the pineal gland, responsive to soul impulse.  There will then be balance and right direction of all the life forces and a right development (following ray indications) of all the centres in the body.

3. Through this right re-arrangement of the life forces in the body and their consequent "enlightenment and energising", men will be enabled to do two things, speaking symbolically:—

a. They will "see God" and be in touch with the soul. 
b. They will "know what is in man" and can then act wisely and work constructively. 

4. They will be able to "pierce the glamour of the astral plane" and proceed to function without error and can thus bring about the unimpeded illumination of the brain and the dissemination of knowledge in the brain.

You will note from the above how many of the hallucinations, the glamours, the ambitions and the errors of the modern mystic can all be traced to the early stages and the embryonic beginnings of these developments.  They are indicative [613] therefore, of unfoldment.  But unfortunately they are not understood for what they are and the available light and energy are misapplied or turned to selfish and personal ends.  This cannot as yet be avoided by any but the more advanced and experienced disciples and occultists; and many aspirants must continue for some time destroying themselves (from the personality angle and in this life) in what has been called the "fiery light of their misunderstanding and the burning fire of their personality ambition" until they learn that humility and scientific technique which will make them wise directors of the light and the power which is pouring into and through them all the time.

A study, therefore, of the three types of difficulties, emerging out of the development and the unfoldment of the psychic powers brings me to a wide generalisation, to which you must remember there will be many exceptions:—

1. The appearance of the lower psychic powers usually indicates that the man who is their victim (for we are here only dealing with the abnormalities of the psychic science) is on the third ray or that the third ray is dominant in his personality or a controlling factor in his personality equipment.  Frequently an astral body, controlled by the third ray, will be found.

2. The registering of the mystical vision with its attendant difficulties is facilitated when the second ray is controlling and powerful, because the second ray is connected peculiarly with vision and with light.

3. It will be apparent to you that the revelation of power is obviously part of the expression of the first ray type.

In this way, though all experiences come eventually to the disciple, the three major difficulties with which we have been dealing,—the psychic powers, the problems incident to the [614] mystical vision and the revelation of light and power—have a relation to and a connection with the ray expression.  This should be borne in mind by the psychologist, the investigator and the physician.  Psychic sensitivity, mystical duality, and dominating power—these are the three major problems of the aspirant and should be studied and understood.  They affect the three major centres—the head, the heart and the centre between the eyebrows—in the disciple, for psychic sensitivity is related to the heart, mystical duality to the ajna centre and the problem of power to the highest head centre.

In the aspirant or advanced human being, they affect the throat, the solar plexus and the sacral centre, but as they are definitely due to an expansion of consciousness, they have little registered or noticeable effect upon the unevolved man or upon the average man who is preoccupied with physical plane life and emotional reactions.  He is not passing through the stimulating but disrupting processes of re-orientation, of recognising duality and of fusion of the personality.  As we have earlier seen, the processes of integration bring their own problems.

As time goes on, the stages of difficulty will be more carefully investigated from the angle of the occult hypotheses and then much progress will take place.  This will be peculiarly so, if the problems of adolescence are studied, for they are the problems of the Atlantean consciousness and of the mystical unfoldment.

I would like here to point out that just as the embryo in the womb recapitulates the various stages of animal unfoldment, so the human being, during the years of infancy, adolescence and youth up to the age of 35, recapitulates the various racial stages of consciousness.  At 35 years old he should then affirm in himself the stage of the intelligent disciple.  Much will be gained by a recognition of this recapitulatory process which [615] —in the New Age which is upon us—will do much to control and to determine the processes of unfoldment to which the child and youth will be subjected by the wise educator.


We can only briefly touch upon this theme, owing to the fact that group work (esoterically understood) is relatively new, and because the individual, working at this time in a group, is scarcely affected at all by these factors, owing to his relatively partial integration.  I refer here to his integration in the group.  People are still so insulated in their personalities that they are shut off, in many cases, from group stimulation, group effects and group impulses.  It is only as they become decentralised and, therefore, more easily responsive to the group ideas, the group idealism, and to the group aura (with its outbreathing and its inbreathing and its group livingness) that they can and do succumb to those difficulties which group life imposes.  Today it is the central figure in the group life, the dominant personality or soul, who is the one to whom the group life and the group thought turns, with all the consequences of such turning.  It is this person, upon whom the group life pivots (if I may use such a term), who is the group victim and it is he who pays the price of any group weakness.  The expression of the group attitude finds its outlet in him and he is, at times, practically "killed" by the group.  No group today is a perfect group.  They are in the experimental stage and are largely composed of a few Aquarians, many Pisceans and a number of people who are in a transition stage between these two.  The leader or leaders of the new groups are usually of as pure a type of the new age or Aquarian character as is possible or available at this time.  This accounts for the failure of the group, as a rule, either to understand the [616] leader or to cooperate with the new ideals as is desired.  The leader is a pioneer in a new field of thought and of intention and, therefore, suffers the penalties of his daring and of his spirit of enterprise.

It is not my intention to deal here with group difficulties, for that is not my theme.  I am considering the difficulties (amounting often to physical disease) and the problems of the individual who is sensitive to group pressures and group life—a very different thing to the usual problems of the mystics of the past.  These can only be studied and investigated today by a consideration of the lives, physical condition, problems, difficulties and deaths of group leaders.  I would call this definitely to your attention.  The group members—little as they may like to recognise this fact—are not as yet prone to suffer much from the group life, the group emanation and the group energy for they are not yet sufficiently integrated into the group.

The problem we are considering falls into two major categories and as I seek to deal with them I realise that there is relatively little that I can say.  The next century will see the problems more defined and the difficulties more clearly delineated.  They are:

a. Those arising as a result of the directed thought of the group.  On this I can say something.

b. Diseases, connected with the respiratory tract.  On these I can say but little.

Let us, therefore, look at these problems.  We shall have to study the first from the angle of the one most affected by them—the leader or focal point of the group.  These same problems may also affect the three or four people who, with the group leader and in collaboration with him, direct the group policies.


Diseases and Problems Evoked by Directed Group Thought

It will be obvious to you that the first and most important of these difficulties will be those arising from group criticism, either voiced or strongly felt.  This criticism can be based on many things, but is usually rooted in jealousy, thwarted ambition, or pride of individual intellect.  Each member of any group, particularly those in the immediate circle of the leader or leaders, is prone to sit in judgment.  The responsibility is not theirs; they know not the problems as they truly exist and criticism is, therefore, easy.  It should here be remembered that criticism is a virulent poison.  It damages in every case eventually the one who criticises—owing to the fact of voiced direction—it hurts still more the one who is criticised.  Where there is purity of motive, true love and a large measure of detachment, the subtler bodies of the one who is under attack may remain immune but the physical effects will be definite and where there is any physical weakness or limitation there will be found the localisation of the projected poison


Unvoiced criticism is very dangerous for it is powerfully focussed and strongly, though not individually directed; it issues continuously and as a steady stream, sent forth on the wings of jealousy, ambition, pride in a personal grasp of a supposed situation and a belief that the one who criticises is in a position to understand correctly and could—given right opportunity—take right action.  Where the criticism is voiced and expressed in words, it is consequently strengthened by the cooperation of those influenced by the criticism and the consequences of this group-directed thought may result in the physical undoing, and disruption of the physical body of the leader or leaders.  This may be a new thought to some and should cause many in the New Age groups to arrest their [618] thoughts and so release their leaders from the disastrous impact of their criticism.

I refer not here to hate, though that is often present, either consciously or unconsciously, but simply to the "sitting in judgment" and to the idle critical gossip which seems necessary to the average group member.  It is like the very breath of death and it can not only kill the leader through accumulated poison and distress but it can also kill the group life and render abortive the efforts which could, if given cooperation and time to develop, prove constructive agencies through which the Hierarchy might work.

From every side and in every group there streams in on the group leader directed criticism, poisonous thoughts, untrue formulated ideas, idle gossip of a destructive kind, the imputation of motives, the unspoken jealousies and hates, the frustrated ambitions of group members, their resentments and their unsatisfied desires for prominence or for recognition by the leader or leaders, their desires to see the leader superseded by themselves or by someone else and many other forms of selfishness and mental pride.  These produce results in the physical bodies of the leader or leaders and often in the emotional bodies.  The responsibility of the group member is, therefore, great and it is one which they seldom recognise or shoulder.  It is hard for them to appreciate the dire effects when one person is the target for group criticism and when the directed thought of a number of persons is focussed on one or two individuals.

The more highly evolved the group leader, the greater the pain and suffering.  First ray people who have naturally a "technique of isolation" suffer less than many for they know how to shut off these directed streams of force and how to deflect them and—when they are not deeply spiritual people—they can return them to their originators and thus wreak [619] havoc in their lives.  Second ray persons do not and cannot work this way.  They are naturally absorbers and magnetically attract all that is in their environment which is directed towards them.  That is why Christ paid the penalty of death.  He was killed, not only by His enemies, but also by His so-called friends.

You might here ask:  What can a leader or a group of leaders do in these unfortunately normal and usual circumstances?  Nothing, but continue in the work; retreat within themselves; speak the truth with love when occasion occurs; refuse to become bitter over the pain which the group occasions and wait until the group members learn the lessons of cooperation, of silence, of loving appreciation and a wise realisation and understanding of the problems with which all group leaders are faced in these difficult and individualistic days.  That time will come.

Then there is the reverse of this problem and one that must be faced by many group leaders.  In this reverse situation, the leader is overcome and (if I might use such a phrase) is "smothered" by the devotion of certain of the group members.  Group leaders can be almost annihilated by the personality love of people.  But this is not of such a poisonous nature as the difficulties above referred to, for—though it is handicapping and leads to many forms of difficulty, misunderstanding and group reaction—it is along the line of love and not of separation and hate.  It produces what is esoterically called "the crippling of the one who seeks to serve and the binding of his hands and feet."

One other difficulty I will touch upon for it is important in so far that it is a group activity, carried forward as a whole and is not the act of one individual or a small handful of individuals within the group.  I refer to the way in which at this time a group drains the life of its leader or leaders.  The [620] umbilical cord (speaking symbolically) is seldom cut between the leader and the group.  That was the major mistake of the groups in the Piscean age.  Always they remained attached to the leader or—when aroused to hate or dislike—they violently disrupted the tie and severed the relationship, causing much distress and unnecessary suffering to the group as well as to the leader.  In the New Age the cord will be cut early in the life of the group but the leader or group of leaders will remain for a long time (as does the mother of a child) the guiding inspiration, the loving protecting force and the source of instruction and of teaching.  When this is the case, the group can proceed upon its way and live its life as a self-directing agent even when the leader passes over to the other side or there is a change in leadership for some good reason or other.

According to the general flow of group life and activity so will be the effect—emotional and physical—upon any sensitive group member; the more frequent the physical contact between the group members the more definite will be the group problems and difficulties, however.  Groups in the New Age will be held together by a subjective link and not so much by the emotional reaction induced by outer contact.  I would ask you to ponder carefully upon this last paragraph for it holds the clue to the successful working of the new groups.  It is from group life and group atmosphere that much infection arises, leading to difficulties of a physical nature.  Disease is largely of group origin and the mystics and sensitives of the world most easily succumb.  In these early stages of true group work, the difficulties which arise from group contacts are frequently of a purely physiological nature and are not so deep seated as those with which we have earlier been dealing.  This is a point to be remembered.  Physical trouble and disease is not of so serious a nature as psychological.


Respirational Diseases of Mystics

There is little to say about this.  It will constitute a major difficulty as the groups grow in strength and power.  Just in so far as they are objective and not subjective so will this trouble increase.  I refer to those diseases affecting the breathing apparatus which arise from group contact; I do not refer to the same difficulties which are brought by the individual to the group.  Esoterically the reason for this should be obvious.  Mistakes in speech, idle talk and gossip, the effects of the leaders' words—all these will have a subjective result little grasped or realised by the average student and all these work out as physical effects—either good or bad.  Owing to the newness of this theme and the lack of evidence to substantiate my statements, I can only call your attention to the latent possibilities and leave time to demonstrate the accuracy of my position.  Curiously enough this whole subject of breathing—individual and group breathing—is evoking its own paralleling solution in the emphasis that is being laid in many esoteric groups upon breathing exercises, upon the sounding of the Aum (which is the breath of the soul when correctly sounded) and on the practice (under different formulas) of rhythm.  These are all the unrecognised effort on the part of the group—instinctual in nature more than intelligently planned—to offset certain definitely sensed group dangers.

These practices can be beneficial if carefully carried out, but often induce their own peculiar problems.  The sounding of the Aum, for instance, by the unprepared or by groups who are intrigued by the activity but who have no faintest idea of what they are doing, carries with it definite difficulties.  However, the special difficulties of group work in the New Age can be offset by certain esoteric exercises and practices connected with the respiratory tract.  More than this I [622] can not say for the new groups are in their infancy and group difficulties have not yet developed on a large scale nor are the future problems (incident to the occult and pronounced mystical nature of these groups) of so defined a nature that they can evoke understanding formulation.


Today we are watching the passing out of the sixth ray energy and the growing power and activity of the seventh ray.  The energy which is withdrawing itself from our planet in one of the cyclic crises has for centuries expressed itself through the planetary solar plexus and also, as might be inferred, through the solar plexus centre of the average aspirant.  This has led to much of the digestive difficulties, plus the emotional problems (and are they not closely related) from which the majority of people have suffered in this age and generation.  The intense one-pointed attitude, the fanatical state of mind, the sacrifice of the personal life to the sensed ideal have all brought about a dangerous condition in those organs of the body which lie below the diaphragm.  This should be remembered.

The seventh ray, working as it does through the centre at the base of the spine, will in time have a peculiar effect upon the entire circulatory system, for this basic centre is connected with the life-force and, as you know, the "blood is the life".  It works with the highest centre in the body and is therefore related to the entire problem of the polarities.  It is consequently one of the factors which will increase the difficulties connected with the various psychological "cleavages" with which we have earlier dealt.  It concerns the human triplicity of spirit-soul-body, the duality of soul and personality and [623] the major aspects of Deity, spirit and matter, as well as the many groupings of the pairs of opposites with which the mystic is so constantly concerned and which he has eventually to resolve into a unity.  The recognition of this will make clear how complex are the problems and the possibilities arising out of the stimulation which will be felt as the "will to circulate, the will to relate and the will to express" makes its presence felt with the manifestation of the seventh ray.  This force, as far as the individual is concerned, will play upon the centre at the base of the spine, arousing it into a hitherto unknown activity.  These aspects of the will life are fortunately for humanity far from full development, but much of the present world confusion and the swing between the expressed extremes, are to be attributed to the play of these new forces.  Much of the untimely and over-emphasised expression of the Will aspect of certain nations and individuals is connected with the coming into manifestation of this seventh ray and the passing out of the old.  The problem is greatly increased by the fact that there is apparently a pronounced affinity between the fanatical idealistic will of the sixth ray—which is crystallised, directed, unwavering.  emotional emphasis—and the will force of the untrained magical worker who is influenced by seventh ray energy, working through the centre at the base of the spine.

The distinction between these two forces and their expression at this time is subtle in the extreme and most difficult for the neophyte to distinguish.  Each one leads to its own difficulties.  I only mention them here as they constitute a problem of a mystical nature with which the Hierarchy has to deal but with which the average aspirant need not attempt to cope as yet.

As I conclude this discussion of the problems and diseases of the mystics, I realise far more than you can that I have been [624] able to say little about the last few points, particularly about those connected with group or ray problems.  This was unavoidable and inevitable.  The new age groups are, as yet, seldom found, though many new age people are coming into manifestation.  Only in the middle of the next century will the really new type of group emerge.  Tentative beginnings of such groups are to be found today but their success or their failure is an unstable matter and both so ephemeral that it is not easy yet to bring them under law.  One ambitious, disloyal person, for instance, can wreck a group; one selfless, noncritical, consecrated person can swing the group into successful work.  This will indicate to you the potency of the individual and the fact that he can temporarily and at any given moment prove stronger than the group because the group has yet no true understanding of group activity, group coherency and group vitality.  The mystic therefore suffers as a result of this condition, producing diseases and psychological difficulties which are not only personal but are often the result of the fluidity of the conditions in which he has to live.

One of the reasons guaranteeing the power of the Hierarchy and its freedom from any psychological problems inherent in group work and from any mystical or occult disturbances is its stability, its coherency and the surety of its touch on life.  The mystic and the occultist are frequently passing through a cycle of insecurity and of transition from doubt as to the future's possible revelations, into a faith that the testimony of the ages is based on incontrovertible fact.  The average mystic and occult student therefore lacks stability in his environing conditions and faith in his group affiliations.  The greatest contribution to world thought at this time is the emerging recognition everywhere to be found of [625] the finiteness of man's knowledge, of the insufficiency of his accumulated wisdom to cope with the world situation, and of his inability as yet to produce that workable plan which will lead the race out of its present difficulties and impasse.  Human beings are neither sure of themselves nor of each other, and the greater their sensitivity the more complex their reaction and the more complicated and disastrous the physiological and psychological effects.  Humanity as a whole is becoming mystical in its orientation and consciousness.  The intelligentsia of the race are adding to that mystical awareness (which is always there, even if unrecognised or repudiated) a rapidly developing sense of occult understanding.

The Atlantean consciousness of adolescent humanity is giving way to the more developed consciousness of the mature human being.  The problems, difficulties, diseases and disturbances of the man who is mystically oriented, introspective and enquiring, will, during the next few centuries, give place to the problems and complexities of the man who is becoming group conscious and who is working with an extraverted awareness in a group of some kind or another.  I would remind you here that—as a result of the Piscean influence during the past two thousand years—such groups are predominantly idealistic.

This brings us to one of the most interesting parts of our treatise, which is the influence of the rays today and in the Aquarian age which is now upon us.  This should prove of practical value.  Let us bring to the work of the new cycle which is opening before us a renewed aspiration, a deepened love and a livelier faith, remembering, as we study the future, that Faith is one of our major needs, being "the Substance of things hoped for, the Evidence of things not seen".