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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

Man's Three Aspects

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In the study of the ideas outlined in this book and their careful consideration certain basic concepts are borne in mind:

First, that the matter of prime importance to each student is not the fact of a particular teacher's personality but the measure of truth for which he stands, and the student's power to discriminate between truth, partial truth, and falsity.

Second, that with increased esoteric teaching comes increased exoteric responsibility.  Let each student with clarity therefore take stock of himself, remembering that understanding comes through application of the measure of truth grasped to the immediate problem and environment, and that the consciousness expands through use of the truth imparted.

Third, that a dynamic adherence to the chosen path and a steady perseverance that overcomes and remains unmoved by aught that may eventuate, is a prime requisite and leads to the portal admitting to a kingdom, a dimension and a state of being which is inwardly or subjectively known.  It is this state of realisation which produces changes in form and environment commensurate with its power.

These three suggestions will merit a close consideration by all, and their significance must be somewhat grasped before further real progress is possible.  It is not my function to make individual and personal application of the teaching given.  That must be done by each student for himself.

You have wisely guarded the teaching from the taint of superimposed authority, and there lies back of your [4] books no esoteric principle of hierarchical authority or support, such as has produced the narrow limits of certain ecclesiastical bodies and groups, differing as widely as the Catholic Church, Christian Science, those who believe in the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, and numerous (so-called) esoteric organisations.  The curse of many groups has been the whispered word that "Those who know wish...." "The Master says...." "The Great Ones command..." and the group of silly sheep feebly and blindly tumble over themselves to obey.  They think thereby, through their misplaced devotion, to contact certain authoritative personages, and to get into heaven by some short cut.

You have wisely guarded your books from the reaction accorded to those who claim to be masters, adepts and initiates.  My anonymity and status must be preserved, and my rank be regarded as only that of a senior student and of an aspirant to that expansion of consciousness which is for me the next step forward.  What I say of truth alone is of moment; the inspiration and help I can accord to any pilgrim on the path is alone vital; that which I have learned through experience is at the disposal of the earnest aspirant; and the wideness of the vision which I can impart (owing to my having climbed higher up the mountain than some) is my main contribution.  Upon these points the students are at liberty to ponder, omitting idle speculation as to the exact details of unimportant personalities, and environing conditions.

Our theme is to be that of the Magic of the Soul, and the key thought, underlying all that may appear in this book, is to be found in the words of the Bhagavad Gita which runs as follows:

"Though I am Unborn, the Soul that passes not away, though I am the Lord of Beings, yet as Lord over My nature I become manifest, through the magical power of the Soul."  Gita IV.6.

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The statistical and the academic is a necessary basis and a preliminary step for most scientific study, but in this book we will centre our attention on the life aspect, and the practical application of truth to the daily life of the aspirant.  Let us study how we can become practical magicians, and in what way we can best live the life of a spiritual man, and of an aspirant to accepted discipleship in our own peculiar times, state and environment.

To do this we will take the Fifteen Rules for Magic to be found in my earlier book, entitled A Treatise on Cosmic Fire.  I will comment on them, dealing not with their cosmic significance or with solar and other correspondences and analogies, but applying them to the work of the aspirant, and giving practical suggestions for the better development of soul contact and soul manifestation.  I shall take for granted certain knowledges and assume the students can follow and comprehend certain technical terms that I may be led to use.  I am not dealing with babes but with matured men and women who have chosen a certain way and who are pledged to "walk in the light."

I seek in this book to do four things, and to make appeal to three types of people.  It is based, as regards its teaching, upon four fundamental postulates.  These are intended to:

1. Teach the laws of spiritual psychology as distinguished from mental and emotional psychology.

2. Make clear the nature of the soul of man and its systemic and cosmic relationships.  This will include its group relationship as a preliminary step.

3. Demonstrate the relations between the self and the sheaths which that self may use, and thus clarify public thought as to the constitution of man.

4. Elucidate the problem of the supernormal powers, [6] and give the rules for their safe and useful development.

We stand now towards the close of a great transition period and the subtler realms of life are closer than ever before; unusual phenomena and inexplicable happenings are commoner than at any time heretofore, whilst matters telepathic, psychic, and peculiar occupy the attention even of sceptics, scientists, and religionists.  Reasons for the appearance of phenomena are being everywhere sought, and societies are formed for their investigation and demonstration.  Many are likewise going astray in the effort to induce in themselves psychic conditions and the energy-producing factors which give rise to the manifestation of peculiar powers.  This book will endeavor to fit the information given into the scheme of life as we today recognize it and will show how basically natural and true is all that is termed mysterious.  All is under law, and the laws need elucidation now that man's development has reached the stage of a juster appreciation of their beauty and reality.

Three types of people will respond to this book.  They are:

1. Those open minded investigators who are willing to accept its fundamentals as a working hypothesis until these are demonstrated to be erroneous.  They will be frankly agnostic, but willing temporarily, in their search for truth, to try out the methods and follow the suggestions laid down for their consideration.

2. Aspirants and disciples.  They will study this treatise in order to understand themselves better and because they seek to help their brother man.  They will not accept its dicta blindly but will experiment, check and corroborate with care the stages [7] and steps laid down for them in this section of the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom.

3. Initiates.  These persons will arrive at a meaning which will not be apparent to those in the first group and which will only be suspected by the more advanced members of the second.  Within themselves they know the truth of many of its statements and will realise the subjective working out of many of the laws.  These laws of nature have effects in three distinct realms:

a. Physically, where they demonstrate as effects in the dense form.

b. Etherically, where they demonstrate as the energy lying back of those effects.

c. Mentally, where they concern the impulses which produce the other two.

The Treatise on Cosmic Fire dealt primarily with the solar system and only touched upon human aspects and correspondences insofar as they demonstrated the relation of the part to the whole, and of the unit to the totality.

The present book will deal more specifically with human development and unfoldment, elucidating the causes which are responsible for the present effects, and pointing to the future and its possibilities, and to the nature of the unfolding potentialities.

This book will be based also upon four fundamental postulates which must be admitted by the student of the succeeding pages as providing an hypothesis worthy of his consideration and trial.  No true investigator of the Ageless Wisdom is asked to give blind adherence to any presentation of truth; he is asked, however, to have an open mind and seriously to weigh and consider the theories and ideals, the laws and the truths which have guided so many out of darkness into the light of knowledge [8] and experience.  The postulates might be enumerated as follows and are given in the order of their importance.

I. First, that there exists in our manifested universe the expression of an Energy or Life which is the responsible cause of the diverse forms and the vast hierarchy of sentient beings who compose the sum total of all that is.  This is the so-called hylozoistic theory, though the term but serves to confuse.  This great Life is the basis of Monism, and all enlightened men are Monists.  "God is One" is the utterance of truth.  One life pervades all forms and those forms are the expressions, in time and space, of the central universal energy.  Life in manifestation produces existence and being.  It is the root cause, therefore, of duality.  This duality which is seen when objectivity is present and which disappears when the form aspect vanishes is covered by many terms, of which for the sake of clarity, the most usual might be here listed:

 

Spirit

Matter

Life

Form

Father

Mother

Positive

Negative

Darkness

Light

 

Students must clearly have this essential unity in mind e'en when they talk (as they needs must) in finite terms of that duality which is everywhere, cyclically, apparent.

II. The second postulate grows out of the first and states that the one Life, manifesting through matter, produces a third factor which is consciousness.  This consciousness, which is the result of the union of the two poles of spirit and matter is the soul of all things; it permeates all substance or objective energy; it underlies all forms, whether it be the form of that unit of energy which we call an atom, or the form of man, a planet, or a solar system.  This is the Theory of Self-determination [9] or the teaching that all the lives of which the one life is formed, in their sphere and in their state of being, become, so to speak, grounded in matter and assume forms whereby their peculiar specific state of consciousness may be realised and their vibration stabilised; thus they may know themselves as existences.  Thus again the one life becomes a stabilised and conscious entity through the medium of the solar system, and is essentially, therefore the sum total of energies, of all states of consciousness, and of all forms in existence.  The homogeneous becomes the heterogeneous, and yet remains a unity; the one manifests in diversity and yet is unchanged; the central unity is known in time and space as composite and differentiated and yet, when time and space are not (being but states of consciousness), only the unity will remain, and only spirit will persist, plus an increased vibratory action, plus capacity for an intensification of the light when again the cycle of manifestation returns.

Within the vibratory pulsation of the one manifesting Life all the lesser lives repeat the process of being,—Gods, angels, men, and the myriad lives which express themselves through the forms of the kingdoms of nature and the activities of the evolutionary process.  All become self-centered and self-determined.

III. The third basic postulate is that the object for which life takes form and the purpose of manifested being is the unfoldment of consciousness, or the revelation of the soul.  This might be called the Theory of the Evolution of Light.  When it is realised that even the modern scientist is saying that light and matter are synonymous terms, thus echoing the teaching of the East, it becomes apparent that through the interplay of the poles, and through the friction of the pairs of opposites light flashes forth.  The goal of evolution is found to be a gradual series of light demonstrations.  Veiled and [10] hidden by every form lies light.  As evolution proceeds, matter becomes increasingly a better conductor of the light, thus demonstrating the accuracy of the statement of the Christ "I am the Light of the World".

IV. The fourth postulate consists of the statement that all lives manifest cyclically.  This is the Theory of Rebirth or of re-incarnation, the demonstration of the law of periodicity.

Such are the great underlying truths which form the foundation of the Ageless Wisdom—the existence of life, and the development of consciousness through the cyclic taking of form.

In this book, however, the emphasis will be laid upon the little life; upon man "made in the image of God", who through the method of re-incarnation unfolds his consciousness until it flowers forth as the perfected soul, whose nature is light and whose realisation is that of a self-conscious identity.  This developed unit has eventually to be merged, with full intelligent participation, in the greater consciousness of which it is a part.

Before we take up our subject it might be of value if we defined certain words which will be in constant use, so that we will know what we are talking about, and the significance of the terms we use.

1. Occult.  This term concerns the hidden forces of being and those springs of conduct which produce the objective manifestation.  The word "conduct" is used here deliberately, for all manifestation, in all the kingdoms of nature, is the expression of the life, purpose and type of activity of some being or existence, and thus is literally the conduct (or outer nature or quality) of a life.  These springs of action lie hid in the purpose of any life, whether it be a solar life, a planetary entity, a man, or that Being who is the sum total of the states of consciousness and of the forms of any kingdom in nature.

2. Laws.  A law presupposes a superior being who, [11] gifted with purpose, and aided by intelligence, is so coordinating his forces that a plan is being sequentially and steadily matured.  Through a clear knowledge of the goal, that entity sets in activity those steps and stages which when carried forward in order will bring the plan to perfection.  The word "law", as usually understood, conveys the idea of subjection to an activity which is recognised as inexorable and undeviating, but which is not understood by the one who is subjected to it; it involves, from one standpoint, the attitude of the submersed unit in the group impulse and the inability of that unit to change the impulse or evade the issue; it inevitably brings about in the consciousness of the man who is considering these laws, a feeling of being a victim—of being driven forward like a leaf before the breeze towards an end about which speculation only is possible, and of being governed by a force which acts apparently with an unavoidable pressure and thus produces group results, at the expense of the unit.  This attitude of mind is inevitable until the consciousness of man can be so expanded that he becomes aware of the greater issues.  When, through contact with his own higher self, he participates in the knowledge of the objective, and when through climbing the mountain of vision his perspective changes and his horizon enlarges, he comes to the realisation that a law is but the spiritual impulse, incentive and life manifestation of that Being in which he lives and moves.  He learns that that impulse demonstrates an intelligent purpose, wisely directed, and based on love.  He then himself begins to wield the law or to pass wisely, lovingly and intelligently through himself as much of that spiritual life impulse which his particular organism can respond to, transmit and utilise.  He ceases to obstruct and begins to transfer.  He brings to an end the cycle of the closed self-centered life, and opens the doors wide to spiritual energy.  In so doing he finds that the law [12] which he has hated and mistrusted is the vitalising, purifying agency which is sweeping him and all God's creatures on to a glorious consummation.

3. Psychic.  There are two types of the above force in manifestation as far as the human kingdom is concerned, and these must be clearly grasped.  There is the force which animates the subhuman kingdoms in nature,—the ensouling energy which, brought into conjunction with the energy of matter and self, produces all forms.  The effect of this junction is to add to the embryo intelligence of substance itself a latent sentiency and responsiveness that produces that subjective something we call the animal soul.  This exists in four degrees or states of sentient awareness:

a. The consciousness of the mineral kingdom.

b. The consciousness of the vegetable kingdom.

c. The consciousness of the animal kingdom.

d. The consciousness of the animal form through which the spiritual man functions, which after all is but a department of the former group in its highest presentation.

Secondly, there is that psychic force which is the result of the union of the spirit with sentient matter in the human kingdom and which produces a psychic centre which we call the soul of man.  This psychic centre is a force centre, and the force of which it is the custodian or which it demonstrates, brings into play a responsiveness and an awareness which is that of the soul of the planetary life, a group consciousness which brings with it faculties and knowledge of a different order than that in the animal soul.  These supersede eventually the powers of the animal soul which limit, distort, and imprison, and give man a range of contacts and a knowledge which is infallible, free from error, and which admits him to "the freedom of the heavens".  The effect of the free [13] play of the soul of man serves to demonstrate the fallibility and relative uselessness of the powers of the animal soul.  All I desire to do here is to show the two senses in which the word "psychic" is used.  Later we will deal with the growth and development of the lower psychic nature or the soul of the vehicles in which man functions in the three worlds, and then will seek to elucidate the true nature of the soul of man and of the powers which can be brought into play once a man can contact his own spiritual centre, the soul, and live in that soul consciousness.

4. Unfoldment.  The life at the heart of the solar system is producing an evolutionary unfoldment of the energies of that universe which it is not possible for finite man as yet to vision.  Similarly the centre of energy which we call the spiritual aspect in man is (through the utilisation of matter or substance) producing an evolutionary development of that which we call the soul, and which is the highest of the form manifestations—the human kingdom.  Man is the highest product of existence in the three worlds.  By man, I mean the spiritual man, a son of God in incarnation.  The forms of all the kingdoms of nature—human, animal, vegetable and mineral—contribute to that manifestation.  The energy of the third aspect of divinity tends to the revelation of the soul or the second aspect which in turn reveals the highest aspect.  It must ever be remembered that The Secret Doctrine of H. P. Blavatsky expresses this with accuracy in the words "Life we look upon as the one form of existence, manifesting in what is called Matter; or what, incorrectly separating them, we name spirit, soul and matter in man.  Matter is the vehicle for the manifestation of soul on this plane of existence, and soul is the vehicle on a higher plane for the manifestation of spirit, and these three are a trinity synthesized by life, [14] which pervades them all." (The Secret Doctrine. Vol: I. p. 79. 80.)

Through the use of matter the soul unfolds and finds its climax in the soul of man, and this treatise will concern itself with the unfoldment of that soul and its discovery by man.

5. Knowledge might be divided into three categories:—First, there is theoretical knowledge.  This includes all knowledge of which man is aware but which is accepted by him on the statements of other people, and by the specialists in the various branches of knowledge.  It is founded on authoritative statements and has in it the element of trust in the writers and speakers, and in the trained intelligences of the workers in any of the many and varied fields of thought.  The truths accepted as such have not been formulated or verified by the one who accepts them, lacking as he does the necessary training and equipment.  The dicta of science, the theologies of religion, and the findings of the philosophers and thinkers everywhere colour the point of view and meet with a ready acquiescence from the untrained mind, and that is the average mind.

Then, secondly, we have discriminative knowledge, which has in it a selective quality and which posits the intelligent appreciation and practical application of the more specifically scientific method, and the utilisation of test, the elimination of that which cannot be proved, and the isolation of those factors which will bear investigation and are in conformity with what is understood as law.  The rational, argumentative, scholastic, and concretising mind is brought into play with the result that much that is childish, impossible and unverifiable is rejected and a consequent clarifying of the fields of thought results.  This discriminating and scientific process has enabled man to arrive at much truth in relation to the three worlds.  The scientific method is, in relation to the [15] mind of humanity, playing the same function as the occult method of meditation (in its first two stages of concentration and prolonged concentration or meditation) plays in relation to the individual.  Through it right processes of thought are engendered, non-essentials and incorrect formulations of truth are ultimately eliminated or corrected, and the steady focussing of the attention either upon a seed thought, a scientific problem, a philosophy or a world situation results in an ultimate clarifying and the steady seeping in of right ideas and sound conclusions.  The foremost thinkers in any of the great schools of thought are simply exponents of occult meditation and the brilliant discoveries of science, the correct interpretations of nature's laws, and the formulations of correct conclusions whether in the fields of science, of economics, of philosophy, psychology or elsewhere is but the registering by the mind (and subsequently by the brain) of the eternal verities, and the indication that the race is beginning also to bridge the gap between the objective and the subjective, between the world of form and the world of ideas.

This leads inevitably to the emergence of the third branch of knowledge, the intuitive.  The intuition is in reality only the appreciation by the mind of some factor in creation, some law of manifestation and some aspect of truth, known by the soul, emanating from the world of ideas, and being of the nature of those energies which produce all that is known and seen.  These truths are always present, and these laws are ever active, but only as the mind is trained and developed, focussed, and open-minded can they be recognized, later understood, and finally adjusted to the needs and demands of the cycle and time.  Those who have thus trained the mind in the art of clear thinking, the focussing of the attention, and consequent receptivity to truth have always been with us, but hitherto have been few and far between.  They [16] are the outstanding minds of the ages.  But now they are many and increasingly found.  The minds of the race are in process of training and many are hovering on the borders of a new knowledge.  The intuition which guides all advanced thinkers into the newer fields of learning is but the forerunner of that omniscience which characterises the soul.  The truth about all things exists, and we call it omniscience, infallibility, the "correct knowledge" of the Hindu philosophy.  When man grasps a fragment of it and absorbs it into the racial consciousness we call it the formulation of a law, a discovery of one or other of nature's processes.  Hitherto this has been a slow and piecemeal undertaking.  Later, and before so very long, light will pour in, truth will be revealed and the race will enter upon its heritage—the heritage of the soul.

In some of our considerations, speculation must perforce enter in.  Those who see a vision that is withheld from those lacking the necessary equipment for its apprehension are regarded as fanciful, and unreliable.  When many see the vision, its possibility is admitted, but when humanity itself has the awakened and open eye, the vision is no longer emphasised but a fact is stated and a law enunciated.  Such has been the history of the past and such will be the process in the future.

The past is purely speculative from the standpoint of the average man and the future is equally so, but he himself is the result of that past and the future will work out of the sum total of his present characteristics and qualities.  If this is true of the individual it is then also equally true of mankind as a whole.  That unit in nature, which we call the fourth or human kingdom, represents that which is the product of its physical heritage; its characteristics are the sum of its emotional and mental unfoldments and its assets are those which it has succeeded in accumulating during the cycles wherein it has [17] been wrestling with its environment—the sum total of the other kingdoms in nature.  Within the human kingdom lie potentialities and latencies, characteristics and assets which the future will reveal and which in their turn determine that future.

I have purposely chosen to begin with the undefinable and the unrecognised.  The soul is as yet an unknown quantity.  It has no real place in the theories of the academic and scientific investigators.  It is unproven and regarded by even the more open-minded of the academicians as a possible hypothesis, but lacking demonstration.  It is not accepted as a fact in the consciousness of the race.  Only two groups of people accept it as a fact; one is the gullible, undeveloped, childlike person who, brought up on a scripture of the world, and being religiously inclined, accepts the postulates of religion—such as the soul, God and immortality—without questioning.  The other is that small but steadily growing band of Knowers of God, and of reality, who know the soul to be a fact in their own experience but are unable to prove its existence satisfactorily to the man who admits only that which the concrete mind can grasp, analyse, criticise and test.

The ignorant and the wise meet on common ground as extremes always do.  In between are those who are neither totally ignorant nor intuitively wise.  They are the mass of the educated people who have knowledge but not understanding, and who have yet to learn the distinction between that which can be grasped by the rational mind, that which can be seen by the mind's eye, and that which only the higher or abstract mind can formulate and know.  This ultimately merges in the intuition, which is the "knowing faculty" of the intelligent and practical mystic who—relegating the emotional and feeling nature to its own place—uses the mind as a focussing [18] point and looks out through that lens upon the world of the soul.