(1) By illumination I do not mean the light in the head. That is incidental and phenomenal, and many truly intuitive people are entirely unaware of the light. The light to which I refer is that which irradiates the Way. It is "the light of the intellect", which really means that which illumines the mind, and which can reflect itself in that mental apparatus which is held "steady in the light". (10 - 3).
(2) Illumination reveals first of all the existence of glamour; it provides the distressing contrasts with which all true aspirants wrestle, and then gradually it floods the life to such an extent, that eventually glamour completely vanishes. Men see things then as they are - a facade hiding the good, the beautiful and the true. The opposites are then resolved and consciousness is superseded by a condition of realisation of Being, for which we have no adequate term. The technique of light becomes a permanent condition. (10 - 241).
(3) With most of the advanced students at present, all that is
felt is occasional flashes of illumination, but later will be felt a steady irradiation. (2 - 111).
(4) Through diligence, application, high endeavour, and the long and patient following of the rules laid down, there comes a time when the student is suddenly conscious - right within the physical brain - of certain unexpected events, an illumination or a seeing that has before been unknown. It is something that is so real, yet so momentarily surprising, that no amount of subsequent apparent disproving can take away from him the knowledge that he saw, he contacted, he felt. (2 - 288).
(5) The world of meaning and of causes becomes gradually the world in which he finds happiness, and his selection of his major interests, and the use to which he decides to put his time and powers, are finally conditioned by the truer spiritual values. He then is on the path of illumination. (14 - 340).
(6) The man's efforts in meditation have opened a door through which he can pass at will (and eventually with facility), into a new world of phenomena, of directed activity, and of different ideals. He has unlatched a window through which light can pour in, revealing that which is, and always has been, existent within the consciousness of man, and throwing illumination into the dark places of his life; into other lives; and into the environment in which he moves. He has released within himself a world of sound and of impressions, which are at first so new and so different, that he does not know what to make of them. His situation becomes one requiring much care and balanced adjustment.
It will be obvious to you that if there is a good mental equipment, and a sound educational training, that there will be a balancing sense of proportion, an interpretative capacity, patience to wait until right understanding can be developed, and a happy sense of humour. Where, however, these are not present, there will be (according to the type and the sense of vision) bewilderment, a failure to comprehend what is happening, undue emphasis upon personality reactions and phenomena, pride in achievement, a tremendous sense of inferiority, too much speech, a running hither and thither for explanation, comfort, assurance, and a sense of comradeship, or perhaps a complete breakdown of the mental forces, or the disruption of the brain cells, through the strain to which they have been subjected.
Exhilaration is also sometimes found as a result of the contact with a new world, and strong mental stimulation. Depression is as frequently a result, based upon a sensed incapacity to measure up to the realised opportunity. The man sees and knows too much. He can no longer be satisfied with the old measure of living, with the old satisfactions, and with the old idealisms. He has touched, and now longs for the larger measures, for the new and vibrant ideas, and for the broader vision. The way of the life of the soul has gripped and attracts him. But his nature, his environment, his equipment, and his opportunities, appear somehow to frustrate him consistently, and he feels he cannot march forward into this new and wonderful world. He feels the need to temporise, and to live in the same state of mind as heretofore, or so he thinks, and so he decides.
These expansions, which he has undergone as the result of successful [Page 187] meditation, need not be along the line of recognised religious effort, or produced by so-called occult revelation. They may come to him along the line of a man's chosen life activity, for there is no life activity, no vocational calling, no mental occupation, and no condition, which cannot provide the key to the unlocking of the door into the desired wider world, or serve to lead a man to the mountain top, from which the wider horizon can be seen, and the larger vision grasped. A man must learn to recognise that his chosen school of thought, his peculiar vocation, his particular calling in life, and his personal trend, are only part of a greater whole, and his problem is to integrate consciously his small life activity into the world activity.
It is this we call illumination, for lack of a better word. All knowledge is a form of light, for it throws light into areas of awareness, of which we have hitherto been unconscious. All wisdom is a form of light, for it reveals to us the world of meaning which lies behind the outer form. All understanding is an evocation of light, for it causes us to become aware of, or conscious of, the causes which are producing the outer forms which surround us (including our own), and which condition the world of meaning, of which they are the expression. But when this fact is first seen, grasped, and when the initial revelation has come, when the place of the part in relation to the whole is sensed, and when the world, which includes our little world, is first contacted, there is always a moment of crisis, and a period of danger. Then as familiarity grows, and our feet have wandered in and out of the door we have opened, and we have accustomed ourselves to the light which the unshuttered window has released into our little world of daily living, other psychological dangers eventuate. We are in danger of thinking that what we have seen is all there is to see, and thus - on a higher turn of the spiral, and in a larger sense - we repeat the dangers (earlier considered) of undue emphasis, of wrong focus, of narrow minded belief, and idée fixe. We become obsessed with the idea of the soul; we forget its need of a vehicle of expression; we begin to live in an abstracted detached world of being and of feeling, and we fail to keep in contact with the factual life of the physical plane expression. We thus repeat - again on the higher turn of the spiral - the condition we considered in which the soul or ego was not present, reversing the condition, so that there is no form life really present in the focussed consciousness of the man. There is only the world of souls, and a desire for creative activity. The handling of daily living on the physical plane, drops below the threshold of consciousness, and the man becomes a vague, impractical, visionary mystic. These [Page 188] states of mind are dangerous, if they are permitted to exist. (15 - 465/8). See also: "Light".
(1) The problem of Illusion lies in the fact that it is a soul activity, and the result of the mind aspect of all the souls in manifestation. It is the soul which is submerged in the illusion, and the soul that fails to see with clarity until such time as it has learnt to pour the light of the soul through into the mind and the brain. (10 - 21).
(2) It is in meditation and in the technique of mind control, that the thinkers of the world will begin to rid the world of illusion. Hence the increasing interest in meditation as the weight of the world glamour is increasingly realised, and hence the vital necessity for right understanding of the way of mind control. . . . Only the intuition can dispel illusion, and hence the need for training intuitives. Hence the service you can render to this general cause by offering yourselves for this training. (10 - 22/3).
(3) Illusion is primarily of a mental quality, and was characteristic of the attitude of mind of those people who are more intellectual than emotional. They have outgrown glamour as usually understood. It is the misunderstanding of ideas and thought-forms of which they are guilty, and of misinterpretations. (10 - 26).
(4) Today illusion is so potent, that few people whose minds are in any way developed, but are controlled by these vast illusory thought-forms, which have their roots and draw their life from the lower personality life and desire nature of the masses of men. (10 - 32).
(5) Glamour, as we have seen, is of more ancient standing and of earlier emergence than is illusion. It has little in it of the mental quality, and is the major factor controlling the majority. The objective of all training given on the Path of Discipleship, and up to the third initiation, is to induce that clear thinking which will render the disciple free from illusion, and give to him that emotional stability and poise which gives no room for the entrance of any of the world glamour. (10 - 33).
(6) The disciple is the victim and, let us hope, the dissipator of both glamour and illusion, and hence the complexity of his problem and the subtlety of his difficulties. He must bear in mind also (for his strengthening and cheer), that every bit of glamour dissipated, and every illusion recognised and overcome, "clears the way" for those who follow after, and makes easier the path of his fellow disciples. This is par excellence, the [Page 189] Great Service, and it is to this aspect of it that I call your attention. Hence my attempts in these instructions to clarify the issue.
One of the problems which confronts the aspirant, is the problem of duly recognising glamour when it arises, and of being aware of the glamours which beset his path and the illusions which build a wall between him and the light. It is much that you have recognised that glamour and illusion exist. The majority of people are unaware of their presence. Many good people today see this not; they deify their glamours, and regard their illusions as their prized and hard won possessions. (10 - 44/5).
(7) An aspirant succeeds in contacting his soul or ego through right effort. Through meditation, good intention, and correct technique, plus the desire to serve and to love, he achieves alignment. He becomes then aware of the results of his successful work. His mind is illumined. A sense of power flows through his vehicles. He is, temporarily at least, made aware of the Plan. The need of the world and the capacity of the soul to meet that need, flood his consciousness. His dedication, consecration and right purpose enhance the directed inflow of spiritual energy. He knows. He loves. He seeks to serve, and does all three more or less successfully. The result of all this is that he becomes more engrossed with the sense of power, and with the part he is to play in aiding humanity, than he is with the realisation of a due and proper sense of proportion and of spiritual values. He over-estimates his experience and himself. Instead of redoubling his efforts, and thus establishing a closer contact with the kingdom of souls, and loving all beings more deeply, he begins to call attention to himself, to the mission he is to develop, and to the confidence that the Master and even the planetary Logos apparently have in him. He talks about himself; he gestures and attracts notice, demanding recognition. As he does so, his alignment is steadily impaired; his contact lessens, and he joins the ranks of the many who have succumbed to the illusion of sensed power. This form of illusion is becoming increasingly prevalent among disciples, and those who have taken the first two initiations. There are today many people in the world who have taken the first initiation in a previous life. At some period in the present life cycle, recurring and recapitulating as it does the events of an earlier development, they again reach a point in their realisation, which they earlier reached. The significance of their attainment pours in upon them, and the sense of their responsibility and their knowledge. Again they over-estimate themselves, regarding their missions and themselves as unique among the sons of men, and their esoteric and subjective demand for recognition enters in and spoils what might otherwise have been a fruitful [Page 190] service. Any emphasis upon the personality can distort most easily the pure light of the soul, as it seeks to pour through the lower self. Any effort to call attention to the mission or task which the personality has undertaken, detracts from that mission, and handicaps the man in his task; it leads to the deferring of its fulfilment until such time when the disciple can be naught but a channel through which love can pour, and light can shine. This pouring through and shining forth has to be a spontaneous happening, and contain no self-reference. (10 - 52/3).
(8) Illusion is the mode whereby limited understanding and material knowledge interpret truth, veiling and hiding it behind a cloud of thought-forms. Those thought-forms become then more real than the truth they veil, and consequently control man's approach to Reality. (10 - 240).
(9) Illusion . . . The world of phenomena is not denied, but we regard the mind as misinterpreting it, and as refusing to see it as it is in reality. We consider this misinterpretation as constituting the Great Illusion. . . . The Problem of Illusion lies in the fact that it is a soul activity, and is the result of the mind aspect of all the souls in manifestation. It is the soul which is submerged in the illusion, and the soul that fails to see with clarity, until such time as it has learnt to pour the light of the soul through into the mind and the brain. . . . Illusion is primarily of a mental quality, and is characteristic of the attitude of mind of those people who are more intellectual than emotional. They have outgrown glamour as usually understood. It is the misunderstanding of ideas and thought-forms of which they are guilty, and of misinterpretations. (15 - 472).
(10) You are in process of incarnation; you are following your chosen way. Is the house you are building yet lit? Is it a lighted house? or is it a dark prison? If it is a lighted house, you will attract to its light and warmth all those around you, and the magnetic pull of your soul, whose nature is light and love, will save many. If you are still an isolated soul, you will have to pass through the horrors of a more complete isolation and loneliness, treading alone the dark way of the soul. Yet this isolation, this loneliness, and this separation in the dark night, are all part of the Great Illusion. It is, however, an illusion into which the whole of humanity is now precipitated in preparation for unity, freedom, and release. Some are lost in their illusion, and know not what is reality and truth. Others walk free in the world of illusion, for the purposes of saving and lifting their brothers, and if you cannot do this, you will have to learn so to walk. (16 - 343).
See also: "Glamour" and "Maya", "Ideas and Ideals".
(1) Doubt as to the fact of immortality, will be solved before long in the realm of science, as the result of scientific investigation. Certain scientists will accept the hypothesis of immortality as a working basis upon which to base their search, and they will enter upon that search with a willingness to learn, a readiness to accept, and a desire to formulate conclusions based upon reiterated evidence. These conclusions will, in their turn, form the basis for another hypothesis. Within the next few years, the fact of persistence, and of the eternity of existence, will have advanced out of the realm of questioning into the realm of certainty. The problem will have shifted further back. There will be no question in anyone's mind that the discarding of the physical body will leave a man still a conscious living entity. He will be known to be perpetuating his existence in a realm lying behind the physical. He will be known to be still alive, awake and aware. The fact will be demonstrated in several ways. The development of a power within the physical eye of a human being (a power which has always been there, but which has been very little used) will reveal the etheric body, the "double", as it is sometimes called; and men will be seen occupying that body in some definite spatial area, whilst their dead or disintegrating physical body, has been left behind. Then again, the growth in the number of those people who have the power to use the "single eye", sometimes called the "reawakened third eye", will also add to the demonstration of the truth of immortality, for they will with facility see the man who has discarded his etheric body, as well as his physical body. By the very weight of their numbers, and by the reputability of their position, they will carry their point. Through a discovery also in the field of photography, now being investigated, will the fact of survival be proven. Through the use of the radio, by those who have passed over, will communication be eventually set up, and reduced to a true science. (14 - 183/4), (17 - 412).
(2) The theory of conditional immortality. This theory is still held by certain fundamentalist and theologically narrow schools of thought, and also by a few of the intelligentsia, primarily those of egoistic tendency. It posits that only those who reach a particular stage of spiritual awareness, or who accept a peculiar set of theological pronouncements, can receive the gift of personal immortality. The highly intellectual also argue at times, that the crowning gift of humanity is a developed and cultured mind, and that those who possess this gift, are likewise endowed with eternal [Page 192] persistence. . . . The Christian interpretation, as given by the orthodox and the fundamentalist schools, proves untenable when submitted to clear reasoning; among the arguments which negate its accuracy, lies the fact that Christianity posits a long future, but no past; it is likewise a future entirely dependent upon the activities of this present life episode, and accounts in no way for the distinctions and differences which distinguish humanity. (17 - 401/2).
(3) The first step towards substantiating the fact of the soul is to establish the fact of survival, though this may not necessarily prove the fact of immortality. . . . That something survives the process of death, and that something persists after the disintegration of the physical body, is steadily being proved. If that is not so, then we are the victims of a collective hallucination, and the brains and minds of thousands of people are untrue and deceiving, are diseased and distorted. Such a gigantic collective insanity is more difficult to credit than the alternative of an expanded consciousness. (17 - 411), (14 - 98).
(4) The growth of etheric vision, and the largely increased numbers of clairaudient and clairvoyant people, is steadily revealing the existence of the astral plane and the etheric counterpart of the physical world. More and more people are becoming aware of this subjective realm: they see people walking around who are either the so-called "dead" or who, in sleep, have dropped the physical sheath. (14 - 98), (17 - 412).
(5) The next two hundred years will see the abolition of death, as we now understand that great transition, and the establishing of the soul's existence. The soul will be known as an entity, as the motivating impulse, and the spiritual centre back of all manifested forms. . . . Our essential immortality will be demonstrated and realised to be a fact in nature. (14 - 96), (17 - 412).
(6) With that inner conviction (of immortality), we face death, and we know that we shall live again, that we come and we go, and that we persist because we are divine and the controllers of our own destiny. We know that we have set ourselves a goal, and that the goal is "Life more abundantly" - somewhere, here, there, and eventually everywhere.
The spirit in man is undying; it forever endures, progressing from point to point, and stage to stage upon the Path of Evolution, unfolding steadily and sequentially the divine attributes and aspects. (8 - 146).
(7) The immortality of the human soul, and the innate ability of the spiritual, inner man to work out his own salvation under the Law of Rebirth, in response to the Law of Cause and Effect, are the underlying factors [Page 193] governing all human conduct and all human aspiration. They condition him at all times, until he has achieved the desired and the designed perfection, and can manifest on earth as a rightly functioning son of God. (8 - 147). See also: "The Soul" and "The Ego".
(1) Impersonality, particularly for high grade integrated people, is peculiarly difficult to achieve. There is a close relation between impersonality and detachment. Study this. Many cherished ideas, many hard won qualities, many carefully nurtured righteousnesses and many powerfully formulated beliefs, militate against impersonality. It is hard for the disciple - during the process of his early training - to hold earnestly to his own ideals and to pursue forcefully his own spiritual integration, and yet remain impersonally oriented towards other people. He seeks recognition of his struggle and achievement; he longs to have the light which he has kindled draw forth a reaction from others; he wants to be known as a disciple; he aches to show his power and his highly developed love nature, so that he may evoke admiration, or at least, challenge. But nothing happens. He is looked upon as no better than all the rest of his brothers. Life, therefore, proves dissatisfying.
These truths of self-analysis are seldom definitely faced or formulated by you and, therefore, (because I seek to help you) I formulate them for you and face you with them. It is hard for intelligent men and women to see others closely associated with them, dealing with life and problems from a totally different angle to their own - handling them in a weak or stupid way (from the angle of the disciple) and making apparently serious errors in judgment or technique. Yet, brother of old, why are you so sure that you are right and that your point of view is necessarily correct? It may be that your slant on life, and your interpretation of a situation needs readjustment, and that your motives and attitudes could be more elevated or purer. And even if they are - for you - the highest and the best that you can achieve at any given time, then pursue your way and leave your brother to pursue his . . .
This attitude of non-interference and the refusal to criticise, in no way prevents service to each other or constructive group relations. . . . Perhaps you can see clearly what is the group weakness, and who it is that is keeping [Page 194] the group back from finer activity. That is well and good, provided that you continue to love and serve and to refrain from criticism. It is a wrong attitude to seek assiduously to straighten out your brother, to chide him or seek to impose your will on him or your point of view, though it is always legitimate to express ideas and make suggestion. . . . Continue with your own soul discipline, and leave your brothers to continue theirs. (5 - 48/9).
(2) The door closes behind the initiate, who is now an accepted member of his group, and as the Old Commentary puts it "its sound in closing informs the watching world that the initiate has passed into a secret place, and that to reach him in the real sense they too must pass that door." This conveys the thought of individual self-initiation, to which all must be subjected, and indicates also the loneliness of the initiate as he moves forward. He does not yet understand all that his group as a whole grasps; he is himself not understood by those on the other side of the door. He has sensed for some time the group with which he is now affiliated, and is becoming increasingly aware of their spiritual impersonality, which seems to him to be almost a form of aloofness, and which in no way feeds in him those elements which are of a personality nature; he therefore suffers. Those left behind as a part of his old life, in no way comprehend his basic (even if undeveloped) impersonality. This attitude of theirs invokes in him, when sensed, a resentment and a criticism which he realises is not right, but which at this stage he seems unable to avoid, whilst those he criticizes endeavour to tear him down, or (at the least) to make him feel despised and uncomfortable.
In the early stages he takes refuge from those left behind, by withdrawing himself, and by much unnecessary and almost obtrusive silence. He learns to penetrate into the consciousness of his new group, by strenuously endeavouring to develop their capacity for spiritual impersonality. He knows it is something which he must achieve and - as he achieves it - he discovers that this impersonality is not based on indifference or upon preoccupation, as he had thought, but upon a deep understanding, upon a dynamic focus on world service, upon a sense of proportion, and upon a detachment which makes true help possible. Thus the door and the past are left behind. St. Paul attempted to express this idea when he said: "Forgetting the things which are behind, press forward towards the prize of your high calling in Christ". I would ask your attention to the word "calling". (18 - 72/3).
(3) You might here ask me if there is one single mode or means whereby a disciple can begin to approximate this seemingly impossible goal. I would [Page 195] reply: By the steady practice of impersonality, with its subsidiary attitude of indifference where personal desires, contacts and goals are concerned. Such an impersonality is little understood, and even when cultivated by well-intentioned aspirants, has a selfish basis. Ponder on this, and endeavour to achieve impersonality through self-forgetfulness and through the decentralisation of the focus of consciousness from the personality (where it is usually centred) into the living, loving soul. (5 - 82).
(4) The Master looks for an effort on the part of the disciple to be impersonal in his dealings, both with Him and with his co-disciples; impersonality is the first step upon the road to spiritual love and understanding. The effort of most sincere disciples is usually concentrated upon loving each other, and in this (to use an old simile) they put the "cart before the horse". Their effort should be to achieve, first of all, impersonality in their dealings, for, when that has been achieved, criticism dies out and love can pour in. (5 - 737).
See also: "Detachment", and "Indifference".
(1) The path of incarnation is not a quick one . . . the Ego descends very slowly and takes possession gradually of his vehicles; the less evolved the man, the slower is the process. We are dealing here with the period of time which transpires after the Ego has made the first move towards descent, and not with the time which elapses between two incarnations.
The Ego . . . at some period between the fourth and seventh year makes his contact with the physical brain of the child. (3 - 787).
(2) An incarnation is a definitely determined period (from the angle of the soul), wherein Experiment, Experience and Expression are the keynotes in each incarnation. Each successive incarnation continues the experiment, deepens the experience, and relates the expression more closely to the latent unfolding divinity. (18 - 337).
See also: "Reincarnation".
INCARNATION: INTERVALS BETWEEN
(1) Life interludes, or those periods wherein the spiritual man is out of incarnation, and has withdrawn into the egoic consciousness. These, for the little evolved, are practically non-existent; they cycle in and out of [Page 196] incarnation with amazing rapidity. ... As growth takes place, the periods of withdrawal from incarnation steadily lengthen, until the point is reached when the periods out of physical manifestation greatly exceed those spent in outer expression. (4 - 513).
(2) For ages men have misused and wrongly employed a God-given function; . . . they have also brought too rapidly into incarnation myriads of human beings, who are not yet ready for the experience of this incarnation, and who needed longer interludes between births, wherein to assimilate experience. Those souls who are unevolved, come into incarnation with rapidity; but older souls need longer periods wherein to garner the fruits of experience. They are, however, open to the magnetic attractive power of those who are alive on the physical plane, and it is these souls who can be brought prematurely into incarnation. The process is under law, but the unevolved progress under group law, as do the animals, whilst the more evolved are susceptible to the pull of human units, and the evolved come into incarnation under the Law of Service, and through the deliberate choice of their conscious souls. (14 - 272).
(3) An instance of this inaccurate and foolish attempt to throw light upon the theory of rebirth, can be seen in the time limits imposed upon departed human souls, between incarnation on the physical plane, and the return to physical rebirth - so many years of absence are proclaimed, dependent upon the age of the departed soul, and its place upon the ladder of evolution. If, we are told, the soul is very advanced, absence from the physical plane is prolonged, whereas the reverse is the case. Advanced souls, and those whose intellectual capacity is rapidly developing, come back with great rapidity, owing to their sensitive response to the pull and obligations, interests and responsibilities already established upon the physical plane. (17 - 403).
(4) Man reincarnates under no time urge. He incarnates under the demands of karmic liability, under the pull of that which he, as a soul, has initiated, and because of a sensed need to fulfil instituted obligations; he incarnates also from a sense of responsibility, and to meet requirements which an earlier breaking of the laws governing right human relations, have imposed upon him. (17 - 404).
(5) When the life of the personality has been full and rich, yet has not reached the stage wherein the personal self can consciously co-operate with the ego, periods of personality nirvana are undergone, their length depending upon the interest of the life, and the ability of the man to meditate upon experience. Later, when the Ego dominates the personality life, the interest [Page 197] of the man is raised to higher levels, and the nirvana of the soul becomes his goal. He has no interest in devachan. Therefore, those upon the Path (either the Probationary Path, or the Path of Initiation) do not, as a rule, go to devachan, but immediate incarnation becomes the rule in the turning of the wheel of life; this time it is brought about by the conscious co-operation of the personal Self with the divine Self or Ego. (3 - 737/8).