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I. The Appropriation of the Bodies - Part 2

It is interesting to remember that the etheric body is uniquely constituted; it is the instrument of life, predominantly, more so than the instrument of quality.  It is the factor which produces and sustains the instrument of appearance, the physical body.  It will be recalled that in Volume One of this Treatise, the human being was differentiated into the [294] three divine aspects:  Life, Quality, and Appearance.  Through the seven centres in the etheric body, the seven ray energies make their appearance and produce their effects, but at the very heart of each chakra or lotus, there is a vortex of force to be found which is composed of pure manasic energy, and, therefore, is purely energy of the first three rays.  This energy is quiescent until an advanced stage of discipleship is reached.  It only sweeps into its divine rhythm and activity when the three tiers of petals, found in the egoic lotus (the higher correspondence), are beginning to unfold, and the centre of the egoic lotus is becoming vibrant.  Though the etheric body of man is an expression of the seven ray qualities in varying degrees of force, the etheric body of a Master is an expression of monadic energy, and comes into full activity after the third initiation.

It will be obvious, therefore, that when the psychologist takes into consideration the various types of energy which go to the constitution of a human being and can distinguish (from study and investigation, plus an understanding of the rays) what the energies are which are conditioning a patient, then great strides will be made in handling people.  The nature of the human equipment and its internal relationship, as well as the external effects, will be better comprehended.  Speaking technically, the extreme psychological position (as it is expressed in the Behaviouristic School, which is essentially sound where the dense material mechanism of man is concerned) will fall into its rightful place.  Materialistic psychologists have been dealing with the substance energies and with the instinctual life of the organism.  These constitute the sum total of the available energies, organised into the form of the automatic physical body, coloured as its atoms are by the tendencies and qualities developed in a previous solar system.  In our solar system, we are arriving at an understanding and a [295] development of the consciousness aspect of divinity, its quality and characteristic, just as instinctual intelligence or automatic activity was the contribution of the earlier manifestation of God, in which the third aspect was dominant.

The problem can be posited and its extent made clear by the following tabulation which gives the rays that may be supposed or imagined to govern or control a problematical or hypothetical man in a particular incarnation.

 

1. The Ray of the Monad (the life aspect)

Second Ray of Love-Wisdom.

2. The Ray of the Soul (the consciousness aspect)

First Ray of Will or Power.

3. The Ray of the Personality (the matter aspect)

Second Ray of Love-Wisdom.

 

a. Ray of the mental body

Fifth Ray of Concrete Science.

b. Ray of the astral body

Sixth Ray of Devotion.

c. Ray of the physical body

Second Ray of Love-Wisdom.

 

Certain ideas should here be considered.  They are here given in the form of statements, but we will not elaborate them, simply leaving them to the student for his pondering and careful thinking.

1. Only initiates are in a position to sense, determine, or discover the nature of their monadic ray or that of their disciples.  The monadic ray is that life element in man with which They have definitely to deal as They seek to prepare him for initiation.  It is the "unknown quantity" in a man's nature.  It does not, however, greatly complicate his problem in the three worlds of ordinary human endeavor, as it remains relatively quiescent until after the third initiation, though it basically conditions the etheric body itself.

2. The three rays (termed, in The Secret Doctrine, "the [296] three periodical vehicles") are therefore the rays of the monad, the ego and the personality, and are essentially three streams of energy, forming one great life stream.  These relate a human being to the three aspects or expressions of divinity in manifestation:

a. The monadic ray is the energy which, when consciously employed, relates the initiate to the Father or Spirit aspect and gives Him "the freedom of the solar system".

b. The egoic ray, when consciously utilised, relates the disciple to the second aspect of divinity and gives him the "freedom of the planetary sphere".

c. The personality ray, again when consciously governed and employed, relates a man to the matter or substance aspect of divinity and gives him the "freedom of the three worlds" and of the subhuman kingdoms in nature.

3. Taking the hypothetical chart given above, students should notice how the rays of the personality relate them, within the sphere or periphery of their own manifestation, to the major rays of the monad, ego or personality.  This is a correspondence (within the microcosmic manifestation) to the macrocosmic situation, touched upon in the previous paragraph.  In the case cited (which is one of quite usual occurrence) we find that

a. The fifth ray of the mental body relates the man to his egoic ray, thereby facilitating soul contact.  Had it related him to his monadic ray a very different situation would have eventuated.

The line of 1.3.5.7. must ever be remembered.

b. The sixth ray of the astral body relates the man to his [297] monadic ray, and it will finally constitute his astral-buddhic approach to life, and will be employed when he takes the fourth initiation.  This ray relates him also to his personality and intensifies his natural problem.

The line of 2.4.6. must also be carefully borne in mind.

c. The second ray quality of his physical body relates him both to the personality and finally to the monad.  It is, therefore, for him a great problem, a great opportunity, and a great "linking" energy.  It makes the life of the personality exceedingly dominant and attractive, and at the same time facilitates the future contact (whilst in a physical body) with the monad.  His problem of soul consciousness will not, however, be so easily solved.

You will note also that the monad (2nd ray), the astral body (6th ray) and the physical body (2nd ray) are all along the same line of activity, or of divine energy, creating a most interesting psychological problem.  The soul (1st ray) and the mental body (5th ray) are along another line entirely, and this combination presents great opportunity and much difficulty.

4. In the lower expression of the man whose psychological chart we are considering, the psychologist will find a person who is intensely sensitive, inclusive and self-willed.  Because of the fact that the second ray personality and the physical body are related by similarity of ray, there will also be a clearly pronounced tendency to lay the emphasis upon material inclusiveness and tangible acquisition, and there will, therefore, be found (in this person) an exceedingly selfish and self-centred man. [298] He will not be particularly intelligent, as only his fifth ray mental body relates him definitely and directly to the mind aspect of Deity, whilst his first ray egoic force enables him to use all means to plan for himself, and to use the will aspect to acquire and to attract the material good he desires or thinks he needs.  His predominant second ray equipment, however, will eventually bring the higher values into play.

In the higher expression of the same man and when the evolutionary cycle has done its work, we will have a sensitive, intuitive, inclusive disciple whose wisdom has flowered forth, and whose vehicles are outstandingly the channel for divine love.

Many such charts could be drawn up and studied, and many such hypothetical cases could present the basis for occult investigation, for diagram, and for the study of the Law of Correspondences.  Students would find it of interest to study themselves in this way, and, in the light of the information given in this Treatise on the Seven Rays, they could formulate their own charts, study what they think may be their own rays and the consequent ray effect in their lives, and thus draw up most interesting charts of their own nature, qualities and characteristics.

It might be of interest to mention the fact that the moment a man becomes an accepted disciple, some such chart is prepared and placed in the hands of his Master.  In fact, four such charts are available, for the rays of the personality vary from one cycle of expression to another and necessitate the keeping of the personality chart up to date.  The four basic charts are:

1. The chart of a man's expression at the time of his [299] individualisation.  This is of course a very ancient chart.  In it, the rays of the mental body and of the emotional body are most difficult to ascertain as there is so little mental expression or emotional experience.  Only the ray of the soul and of the physical body are clearly defined.  The other rays are regarded as only suggestive.

This is the chart of the man who is asleep.

2. The chart of a man's expression when the personality reaches its highest independent point of development;—that is, before the soul has taken over conscious control and is functioning at all dominantly.

This is the chart of the man who dreams.

3. The chart of a man's expression at that peculiar moment of determining crisis when the soul and personality are at war, when the battle for reorientation is at its highest and the aspirant knows it.  He knows that upon the issue of that battle much depends.  He is Arjuna upon the field of Kurukshetra.

This is the chart of the man awakening.

4. The chart of a man's expression during the life wherein the orientation has been altered, the emphasis of the life forces changed, and the man becomes an accepted disciple.

These four charts, depicted or drawn in colour according to ray, form the dossier of a disciple, for the Master only deals with general tendencies and never with detail.  General trends and predispositions and emphasised characteristics concern him, and the obvious life patterns.

I would call to your attention the increasing use by the psychologists and thinkers of the race of the word "pattern".  It is a word which has a deep occult significance.  One of the exercises given to the disciple upon the inner planes is connected [300] with these psychological charts or these life patterns.  He is asked to study them with care, all four of them, and then to draw up the pattern which embodies for him the goal as far as he, at his present point of development, can sense it.  When he takes the first initiation, then the Master adds another pattern or chart to the dossier of the disciple, and the latter can then study:

a. The chart of his condition at the time he became an accepted disciple.

b. The hypothetical chart which he himself drew up earlier in his training as an accepted disciple.

c. The chart of his general psychological condition at the time he took the first initiation.

By a careful analysis and comparison of the three charts, he can discover the accuracy or the inaccuracy of his own diagnosis, and thus develop a better sense of proportion as to his own mental perception of himself.

It would be interesting later, if students could be set some such task as drawing up an analysis of themselves which could be embodied in a chart, giving the rays that they believe govern their equipment, and stating the reasons for assigning these ray qualities.

When the psychologist of the future employs all the available sciences at his disposal and, at the same time, lays the emphasis upon those sciences which deal with the subjective man and not so predominantly with the objective man (though that should not be omitted) we shall then have a fundamental change in the handling of the human problem or equation.  This is today a problem which is seriously confronting and distressing the psychologist, the psychiatrist, the neurologist, the social worker and the humanitarian.

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The psychologist will then employ:

1. The modern exoteric science of psychology, with its emphasis upon equipment, upon the glands and their effects, upon dreams and their occasional effect, upon instinctual behaviour (which is largely a reaction of the physical body) and upon all the latest conclusions of the investigating material scientists the world over.

2. Esoteric psychology, such as is embodied in this Treatise on the Seven Rays.  This indicates the types of energy and the forces which govern, control and determine the varying aspects of the average man's equipment, and condition his consciousness.

3. Astrology, with its indications (little realised as yet) of a man's place "in the sun", and in the general scheme of things.  These relate him to the planetary whole and give much information anent the time factors which govern every individual, little as he may think it.

It will be recognised that the astrology with which we are here concerned and which I will later somewhat elaborate, does not deal with the expression of the personality.  It is the planetary and racial astrology which Those who work on the inner side, know to be of deep significance.  It is the astrology of discipleship and the relation of the stars to the activities of the soul which They regard of importance.  It is the astrology of initiation with which They are most profoundly concerned.  Though the time is not yet, we shall some day be able to cast the horoscope of the soul, and make more clear to the awakening human being the way that he should go.  Of this more anon.

It will also be apparent that, as the relationships of the different aspects of a man's manifested life appear, his seven centres are related to the seven aspects or qualities which [302] embody a man's essential divinity.  The following is therefore of interest:

 

1. The head centre

Monad.  Life.  First aspect.

2. The heart centre

Soul.  Consciousness.  Second aspect.

3. The ajna centre

Personality.  Substance.  Third aspect.

 

These are the three major centres for the advanced man.

 

4. The throat centre

Mind.  The mental aspect and energy.

5. The solar plexus centre

Emotion.  The astral aspect and energy centre.

6. The sacral centre

Physical.

7. The centre at base of the spine

Life itself.  Monadic centre.

 

The latter centre is only awakened in its true and final sense at the third initiation.  At that time the circle is completed.  As was earlier stated, the etheric body is related to the monad and is the exteriorisation of the life aspect.  It is the etheric body, with all its seven centres, which is swept into activity when the basic centre is awakened, and the kundalini fire is aroused.  It might be of value to students to point out that frequently when a student is under the impression or belief that the kundalini fire has been aroused in him, all that has really happened is that the energy of the sacral centre (i.e. the sex centre) is being transmuted and raised to the throat, or that the energy of the solar plexus centre is being raised to the heart.  Aspirants do, however, love to play with the idea that they have succeeded in arousing the kundalini fire.  Many advanced occultists have mistaken the raising of the sacral fire or of the solar plexus force to a position above the diaphragm for the "lifting of the kundalini" and have therefore regarded themselves or others as initiates.  Their sincerity has been very real and their mistake an easy one to make. [303] C. W. Leadbeater frequently made this mistake, yet of his sincerity and of his point of attainment there is no question.

The abstruseness and the difficulty of all of the above is very real and, living as the disciple does in the world of glamour and illusion, it is not easy for the average aspirant to sort out his ideas on these matters, or to see the extent of the subject with the perspective that is necessary.  He has to start, first of all, by accepting the premise of the rays, and this he cannot prove, though he may do two things:—

1. Correlate the idea of these ray energies with the modern teaching of exoteric science that there is nothing but energy as the underlying substance of all phenomenal appearance.

2. Regard the theory as one which, though as yet for him only an hypothesis, fits the facts as he knows them better than any other.  He will then, one can safely predict, eventually change his hypothesis into a living fact, if he studies himself with care.  One of the first things a disciple has to learn is that he is, indeed, the microcosm of the macrocosm, and that within himself has to be found the open door to the universe.

What is here presented is of sufficient difficulty and of adequate interest to merit careful consideration.

I wonder if the students have any idea how the ideals I seek to bring to their attention could illumine their lives if they took them into their "brooding consciousness" for the space even of a month.  This aspect of consciousness is the correspondence in the soul body to the mother aspect, as it broods over, guards and eventually brings to the birth the Christ aspect.  Lives are changed primarily by reflection; qualities are developed by directed conscious thought; characteristics [304] are unfolded by brooding consideration.  To all this I call your attention.

I diverged briefly for a moment and took up the subject of the rays of the three bodies of the personality before completing the detail of the outline previously given on the ray of personality.  This I did with deliberation, as I was anxious to have clearly established the difference which will be found existing between the rays governing the elementals of the three lower bodies and that of the personality.  The life of these three elementals is founded primarily in the three lowest centres in the etheric body:

 

1. The sacral centre

the mental elemental life  Transferred later to the throat centre.

2. The solar plexus centre

the astral elemental life.  Transferred later to the heart centre.

3. The centre at the base of the spine

the physical elemental life.  Transferred later to the head centre.

 

The life of the indwelling soul is focussed in the three higher centres.

 

1. The head centre

the mental consciousness.

2. The throat centre

the creative consciousness.

3. The heart centre

the feeling consciousness.

 

Two important stages in the life of the man take place during the evolutionary process:—

First:  The stage wherein there comes the first great fusion or "assertion of control" by the soul.  At this time the ajna centre comes alive.  This stage precedes a man's passing on to the Probationary Path and is the stage which distinguishes the average man and woman at this time in the world.

Second:  The stage wherein there comes a more definite [305] spiritual awakening.  At this time the centre at the base of the spine comes into rapport—through its circulating life—with all the centres in the etheric body.  This step precedes what is called initiation and signalises the arousing into activity of the central focus of power at the heart of each of the chakras or etheric lotuses.  In all the previous stages, it has been the petals of the various lotuses, chakras or vortices of force which have come into increased motion.  At this later stage, the "hub" of the wheel, the "point in the centre" or the "heart of the lotus" comes into dynamic action and the whole inner force-body becomes related in all its parts and begins to function harmoniously.

This is of value to remember and upon this the teaching of esoteric psychology is based.  We have therefore, three stages of activity spread over a long evolutionary cycle, and differing according to ray and to the karmic conditions engendered.

1. The stage of being alive.  This is the earliest and simplest stage wherein the man functions as an elementary human being.  During this period all the centres are necessarily active in a slow and rhythmic way.  All have a light in them, but it is dim and feeble; all have the three petals (not more) functioning and this the clairvoyant can see.  As time goes on all the petals in the centres below the diaphragm become active, but they are not dynamic in the essential sense, nor are they brilliant focal points of light.

2. The stage of the first fusion as related above.  Then all the centres have their petals vibrant.  They are, at the same time, conditioned by

a. The fact as to whether the drive of the life is above or below the diaphragm.

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b. The nature of the particular ray energy.

c. The stage already reached upon the evolutionary way.

d. The type of physical mechanism, which is itself conditioned by the karma of the person and the field of service chosen in any one life.

e. The quality of the aspiration and mane other factors.

3. The stage of the second fusion, in which the initiate expresses himself through all the centres and in which both the group of petals and the central point of energy are fully and dynamically alive.

Christ symbolically expressed these three stages for us at the Birth experience, the Transfiguration enlightenment, and the Ascension liberation.

In summarising, it might be said:

1. At the stage of individualisation

a. The centres throughout the body awaken and begin to function faintly.

b. The centres below the diaphragm receive the major impact and effect of the incoming life.

c. Three of the petals in all centres are "awake" and demonstrate activity, quality and light.

2. At the stage of intellection wherein a man is a self-conscious, self-directed being, and a definite personality,

a. All the petals in all the centres are awake, but the central focal point of each centre is quiescent.  It glows with a faint light, but there is no true activity.

b. The centres above the diaphragm, with the exception of the ajna and head centres, are receptive to impact and inflow of life.

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3. At the stage of discipleship, when the individuality and the personality are beginning to merge,

a. The two head centres are becoming increasingly active.

b. The petals are all vibrant, and the dynamic life of the soul is beginning to sweep the centre of the lotus into activity.

c. The light of the petals in the centres below the diaphragm is beginning to dim, but the centre of the lotus is becoming more and more brilliant and living.

All the above process takes much time, and it includes the Path of Probation or Purification and the Path of Discipleship.

4. At the stage of initiation when complete at-one-ment is established.

a. The four centres above the diaphragm become dominantly active.

b. The centre at the base of the spine comes into awakened activity and the three fires of the matter aspect, of the soul, and of the spirit (fire by friction, solar fire, and electric fire) merge and blend.

c. All the centres in the body of the initiate can be intensified electrically at will and used simultaneously, or one at a time, according to the demand and the need which must be met by the initiate.

All the above takes place progressively upon the Path of Initiation.  This same truth can also be expressed in terms of the rays:

At the stage of Individualisation, the rays governing the physical and emotional bodies are dominant.  The soul ray is scarcely felt and only flickers with a dim light at the heart of each lotus.

At the stage of Intellection, the ray of the mental body [308] comes into activity.  This second process is itself divided into two stages:

1. That in which the lower concrete mind is developing.

2. That in which the man becomes an integrated, coordinated person.

At each of these latter two stages, the rays of the lower nature become increasingly powerful.  Self-consciousness is developed, and then the personality becomes clearer and clearer, and the three elementals of the lower nature, the force of the so-called "three lunar Lords" (the triple energies of the integrated personality) come steadily under the control of the ray of the personality.  At this stage, therefore, four rays are active in the man, four streams of energy make him what he is and the ray of the soul is beginning, though very faintly, to make its presence felt, producing the conflict which all thinkers recognise.

At the stage of Discipleship, the soul ray comes into increased conflict with the personality ray and the great battle of the pairs of opposites begins.  The soul ray or energy slowly dominates the personality ray, as it in its turn has dominated the rays of the three lower bodies.

At the stage of Initiation, the domination continues and at the third initiation the highest kind of energy which a man can express in this solar system—that of the monad, begins to control.

At the stage of individualisation, a man comes into being; he begins to exist.  At the stage of intellection, the personality emerges with clarity and becomes naturally expressive.  At the stage of discipleship, he becomes magnetic.  At the stage of initiation, he becomes dynamic.

In reference to the pairs of opposites and their conflict, it might be of interest to note the following facts:

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Students would do well to bear in mind that there are several pairs of opposites with which they have sequentially to deal.  This is a point oft forgotten.  Emphasis is usually laid upon the pairs of opposites to be found upon the astral plane, whilst those to be found upon the physical plane and the mental levels are omitted from the recognition of the aspirant.  Yet it is essential that these other pairs of opposites receive due recognition.

Etheric energy, focussed in an individual etheric body, passes through two stages prior to the period of discipleship:

1.  The stage wherein it assimilates the force latent in the dense physical form—the energy of atomic substance, thus producing a definite fusing and blending.  This causes the animal nature to conform entirely to the inner impulses—emanating from the world of pranic influence, where the entirely undeveloped man is concerned, and from the lower astral world where the more developed or the average man is concerned.  It is this truth which lies behind the statement frequently made that the dense physical body is an automaton.

2. The moment, however, that an inner orientation towards the world of higher values takes place, then the etheric or vital force is brought into conflict with the lowest aspect of man, the dense physical body, and the battle of the lower pair of opposites takes place.

It is interesting to note that it is during this stage that the emphasis is laid upon physical disciplines, upon such controlling factors as total abstinence, celibacy and vegetarianism, and upon physical hygienes and exercises.  Through these, the control of the life by the form, the lowest expression of the third aspect of divinity, can be offset and the man set free for the true battle of the pairs of opposites.

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This second battle is the true kurukshetra and is fought out in the astral nature, between the pairs of opposites which are distinctive of our solar system, just as the physical pairs of opposites are distinctive of the past solar system.  From one interesting angle, the battle of the opposites upon the lower spiral (in which the physical body in its dual aspect is concerned) can be seen taking place in the animal kingdom.  In this process, human beings act as the agents of discipline (as the Hierarchy in its turn acts towards the human family) and the domestic animals, forced to conform to human control, are wrestling (even if unconsciously from our point of view) with the problem of the lower pairs of opposites.  Their battle is fought out through the medium of the dense physical body and the etheric forces, and in this way a higher aspiration is brought into being.  This produces in time the experience which we call individualisation, wherein the seed of personality is sown.  On the human battlefield, the kurukshetra, the higher aspect of the soul begins to operate and eventually to dominate, producing the process of divine-human integration which we call initiation.  Students might find it of use to ponder upon this thought.

When an aspirant reaches that point in his evolution wherein the control of the physical nature is an urgent necessity, he recapitulates in his own life this earlier battle with the lower pairs of opposites, and begins to discipline his dense physical nature.

Making a sweeping generalisation, it might be stated that, for the human family en masse, this dense-etheric conflict was fought out in the world war, which was the imposition of a tremendous test and discipline.  We should ever remember that our tests and disciplines are self-imposed and grow out of our limitations and opportunities.  The result of this test was the passing on to the Path of Probation of a very large [311] number of human beings, owing to the purging and the purification to which they had been subjected.  This purificatory process in some measure prepared them for the prolonged conflict upon the astral plane which lies ahead of all aspirants, prior to achieving the goal of initiation.  It is the "Arjuna" experience which lies definitely ahead of many today.  This is an interesting point upon which to think and reflect; it holds much of mystery and of difficulty in the sequence of human unfoldment.  The individual aspirant is prone to think only in terms of himself, and of his individual tests and trials.  He must learn to think in terms of the mass activity, and the preparatory effect where humanity, as a whole is concerned.  The world war was a climaxing point in the process of "devitalising" the world maya, as far as humanity is concerned.  Much force was released and exhausted, and much energy also was expended.  Much was consequently clarified.

Many people are occupied today, in their individual lives, with exactly the same process and conflict.  On a tiny scale, that which was worked out in the world war is being worked out in their lives.  They are busy with the problems of maya.  Hence today we find an increasing emphasis upon the physical cultures, disciplines, and upon the vogue for physical training, which finds its expression in the world of sport, in athletic exercises, military training and preparation for the Olympic Games.  These latter are in themselves an initiation.  In spite of all the wrong motives and the terrible and evil effects (speaking again with a wide generalisation), the training of the body and organised physical direction (which is taking place today in connection with the youth of all nations) is preparing the way for millions to pass upon the Path of Purification.  Is this a hard saying?  Humanity is under right direction, e'en if, during a brief interlude, they misunderstand the process and apply wrong motives to right activities.

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There is a higher duality to which it is necessary that we refer.  There is, for the disciples, the duality which becomes obvious when the Dweller on the Threshold and the Angel of the Presence face each other.  This constitutes the final pair of opposites.

The Dweller on the Threshold is oft regarded as a disaster, as a horror to be avoided, and as a final and culminating evil.  I would here remind you, nevertheless, that the Dweller is "one who stands before the gate of God", who dwells in the shadow of the portal of initiation, and who faces the Angel of the Presence open-eyed, as the ancient Scriptures call it.  The Dweller can be defined as the sum total of the forces of the lower nature as expressed in the personality, prior to illumination, to inspiration and to initiation.  The personality per se, is, at this stage, exceedingly potent, and the Dweller embodies all the psychic and mental forces which, down the ages, have been unfolded in a man and nurtured with care.  It can be looked upon as the potency of the threefold material form, prior to its conscious cooperation and dedication to the life of the soul and to the service of the Hierarchy, of God, and of humanity.

The Dweller on the Threshold is all that a man is, apart from the higher spiritual self; it is the third aspect of divinity as expressed in and through the human mechanism.  This third aspect must be eventually subordinated to the second aspect, the soul.

The two great contrasting forces, the Angel and the Dweller, are brought together—face to face—and the final conflict takes place.  Again, you will note, that it is a meeting and battle between another and a higher pair of opposites.  The aspirant, therefore, has three pairs of opposites with which to deal as he progresses towards light and liberation:

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THE PAIRS OF OPPOSITES

 

1. Upon the physical plane

The dense and etheric forces.  These are faced upon the Path of Purification.

2. Upon the astral plane

The well-known dualities.   These are faced upon the Path of Discipleship.

3. Upon the mental plane

The Angel of the Presence and the   Dweller on the Threshold.

These are faced upon the Path of Initiation.

b. DEVELOPMENT AND ALIGNMENT OF THE BODIES

After these preliminary remarks, we can come now to a study of the previous tabulation in connection with the method whereby the soul appropriates the various bodies, how they are developed and inter-related, and finally how coordination and alignment is brought about.  The last part of the tabulation was outlined in such a manner that many of the problems facing the psychologist at this time can be dealt with from an esoteric angle, and perhaps some light on these problems may then be forthcoming.

In the current occult literature, the careful student will come to the conclusion that the emphasis has been laid upon the process whereby the ego or soul draws to itself the form, utilising for that purpose a mental unit and two permanent atoms, thus anchoring itself in three worlds of human experience.  The matter, or rather the substance, aspect has been the subject of immediate importance.  Hence this subject was covered in my earlier books which are intended to aid in the bridging process between the older "techniques of understanding" and the esotericism which the new age will sponsor.  We should, however, bear in mind two things:

1. That such terms as "mental unit", "permanent atom", etc., [314] are simply symbolic ways of expressing a difficult truth.  The truth is that the soul is active on all the three lower planes, and that it is a type of energy, functioning in a field of force, thus producing an activity of some kind.

2. That the permanent atoms are not really atoms at all, but simply focal points of energy, which are of sufficient power to attract and hold coherently together the substance required by the soul with which to create a form of expression.

The soul itself is a major centre of experience in the life of the monad; the lower bodies are centres of expression in the life of the soul.  As the consciousness of the man shifts continuously into the higher bodies through which expression can become possible, the soul gradually becomes the paramount centre of experience in consciousness and the lesser centres of experience (the lower bodies) assume less and less importance.  The soul experiences less through them, but uses them increasingly in service.

This same thought must be carried into our concept of the soul as a centre of consciousness.  The soul uses the bodies in the earlier stages of evolution as centres of conscious experience, and upon them and upon the experience is the emphasis laid.  But as time progresses, the man becomes more soul-conscious and the consciousness which he experiences (as a soul in the three bodies) is of decreasing importance, until finally the bodies become simply instruments of contact through which the soul comes into understanding relationship with the world of the physical plane, of the feeling, sentient levels, and with the world of thought.

In considering, therefore, the section with which we are now concerned, it is essential for right understanding and eventual psychological usefulness, that we remember constantly [315] that we shall be talking always in terms of consciousness and of soul energy, and are only dealing with sentient substance from the point of view of its usefulness in terms of time and space, or of manifestation.  In thinking of the focal points of soul energy upon the mental, astral and physical planes, we will not think of the permanent atoms as material centres, or as germs of form, which is the prevailing idea.  We will think of them simply as an expression—attractive or magnetic in quality as the case may be—of soul energy, playing upon energies which have in them the quality of responsiveness to the positive aspects of energy with which they are brought in contact.  In elucidating this most difficult problem it might be said that the problems of psychology fall into two major groups:

1. A group of difficulties wherein the psychologist has to deal with those people whose vehicles of expression, as centres for the gaining of experience, are not adequately responsive to their environment for the creative, indwelling soul.  When this is the case, the centres in the etheric body are diversely but only partially awakened, and the glandular system, therefore, is correspondingly mediocre and irregular.

2. Another group of difficulties concerns those human beings whose vehicles of expression, as centres of experience, are over-developed and over-stimulated without adequate conscious control by the soul.  This development is, at this time, primarily focussed in the astral body, leading to over-sensitivity of the solar plexus centre or of the throat centre, and occasioning consequent difficulty.  Much of the thyroid instability of the present time is based upon this.

There is a third class of difficulties which concern those who [316] are on the Path of Discipleship, but these we will not consider here.  In these latter cases there is an abnormal over-sensitivity in the vehicles, the rush of force through from the soul, via the centres, presents real difficulty, and responsiveness to the environment is over-developed in many cases.

These conditions are governed, as will be recognised, by the point in evolution, the ray type, the quality of past karma, and the present family, national and racial inherited characteristics.  As we study, let us bear clearly in mind that it is the soul as a centre of consciousness and the vehicles as centres of experience with which we are concerning ourselves.  We should seek to eliminate from our minds the more material connotations which past teachings have emphasised.  Annie Besant in her Study of Consciousness sought to avoid the error of materialism and to voice a real vision of the truth, but words themselves are limiting things and oft veil and hide the truth.  Her book, therefore, is of definite value.  Remember also that a man's consciousness is first of all, and usually, centred sequentially in the three bodies, and the centres of experience for him are primarily the field of his consciousness.  He is identified for long with the field of experience and not with the real self.  He has not yet identified himself with the conscious subject, or with the One Who is aware, but as time goes on, his centre of identification shifts, and he becomes less interested in the field of experience and more aware of the soul as the conscious, thinking Individual.

The comprehension of each of us will depend upon where we each, as individuals, lay the emphasis, and where we are awake and alive, and of what we are conscious.  When we have achieved the experience of the third initiation and are no longer identified with the vehicles of expression, then—on a higher turn of the spiral—another shift in the life expression and experience will take place.  Then neither the centre [317] of experience, the soul, nor the vehicles of expression, the lower threefold man, will be considered from the angle of consciousness at all.  The Life aspect will supersede all others.  Of what use is it for us to discuss this stage when for many of us, as yet, the lower expressions of divine manifestations are dominant (or should one say "rampant"?) and even the soul fails to assume vital control?