SECTION FOUR - PERSONAL INSTRUCTIONS TO DISCIPLES - Part 5
In view of all the above remarks, I am going to ask you to write—during the coming year—three short papers. In the first will you give seven concise definitions of love—not of emotion or sentiment or feeling, but of soul or heart love.  Make three of these definitions practical and four of them abstract and esoteric. This will not be easy, and this distinction itself will increase your difficulty. Then write a short paper on love as it expresses itself through emotion. I mean the love of the soul as it defines itself astrally and uses the astral body as a medium of expression. Finally, write another paper on the mental expression of love. For this assignment of work much occult and psychological knowledge will be needed; you are however adequate to the task, and these distinctions and interpretations are badly needed by aspirants today and by disciples everywhere, struggling with the practical application of occult truths; you can help much by clear thinking upon this theme and consequent clear exposition. Ideas become individual possessions as you think them and write them down, and this is the way, par excellence, for you to learn, to absorb and to demonstrate.
Guard your physical health, my brother. Be not unduly concerned and cautious, but be reasonable whilst unafraid. There is work for you to do and your next unfoldment of work will come to you through the means of a breaking down of a wall of pride, and a conversation—and in that order.
The thread of gold which "passes from your heart to mine" is now an unshatterable chain of golden links, and there is work for you in my Ashram.
In my last instruction to you there occurs one sentence which could convey to you the key whereby you can unlock the door of the future. It is a sentence which has probably escaped your notice; I doubt if it ever registered itself adequately in your mind. I now recall it to you. I said: "If your decisions are made esoterically within my Ashram, all will be well."
Life, as you know theoretically, is one long series of presented opportunities—opportunities to make decisions. As a disciple is drawn closer into the focal point of his Master's  sphere of influence, the Ashram, and as experience proceeds, these decisions become increasingly drastic, constantly more frequent and more crucial in their general trend; they lead, when made, to more eventful results. With a disciple at your stage of development, the lines of choice become clearer and better defined. The questions with which you are faced are simpler and yet more important: Is this presented activity the way my soul would have me go? Will such or such a decision lead to the fulfilment of my personality trends and bias? Herein lies much clarification plus increasing difficulty, because the decisions made are apt to affect many others besides yourself. Watch for the proof of the correctness of this last statement of mine. In all times of decision enumerate to yourself the number of lives apt to be affected by what you do, and remember that (as you travel the Way of the Disciple) your sphere of influence and the number of those affected by you steadily increases. With the average person who is kind, well-meaning and endowed with a normal sense of responsibility, decisions are made upon the basis of the effects which are liable to work out in the family, in the business or office or within the radius of a relatively small circle of friends. In the case of a probationary disciple, decisions have oft a somewhat larger result. Where an accepted disciple is concerned, such choices affect many, for those related by united service are included with the other groups, and these can oft be unknown or include people who react to the aura of a disciple, plus his group of co-workers.
This whole question of spheres of influence is one upon which you need to ponder. It is closely related to the problem of the aura and its esoteric circumference; it concerns the "sound" of a disciple's life and the nature and quality of the radiations which emanate from the "place where he stands." It is tied to the whole theme of orientation and of spiritual location and to the magnetic effects of the at-one-ing of soul and personality. The problem of radiation and of magnetic influence is apt to be viewed from the one-sided point of view of the disciple who considers the results of his radiation and of his magnetism upon those he contacts. There is however another point of view; these qualities—inevitable  and inescapable—lie behind the entire theme of karma. They draw to the disciple that which can hinder him as well as aid him; his aura—which is a combination of radiations, energies and arranged forces—can repel the good or attract the bad, and vice versa; it can determine—through the contacts made and the relationships set up—the trend of the disciple's life. It is one of the main factors in the presentation of choices, and I would have you think on this.
As I write this instruction I would call your attention to the subject of karma. There comes ever in the life of a disciple and in the soul's experience some one particular life wherein the Law of Cause and Effect assumes importance in the consciousness. From that life and that moment, the disciple begins to deal with karma, consciously and definitely. He learns to recognise it when events and happenings come which require understanding and which evoke questioning; he begins to study the quality of his radiation as a karmic agent, and therefore he becomes the maker and constructor, in a new and important sense, of his own destiny and future. His reactions to life and circumstances cease to be simply emotional in nature and become deliberately dictated by conscious observation; they then have in them a significant quality of preparation which is absent from the life of the average man. For the remainder of this life, therefore, I would ask you to carry the theme of karmic decision and of preparation for the future ever in your consciousness; I would ask you always to take action with as full an understanding of the probable following effects as you can manage to achieve, and to make a real effort to study the Law of Consequence and Compensation.
You are perhaps wondering at this time why I am thus emphasising a somewhat cold and difficult consideration. My reason is as follows: During your past life you have five times made certain definite decisions. By means of these decisions you have directed your energies in some one specific direction. You have thereby short-circuited these energies in another direction and you have brought by your action other lives than your own within your range of influence. I am going to suggest that you take each of these five points of crisis, if I  may call them so, and (for your own aiding and help) analyse them, define accurately to yourself the conditioning motives which impelled you to action, measure the nature of the consequent results as they worked out in your life, and gauge these results in such a manner that you come to a realisation as to whether they were good enough to warrant the choice you made. I would ask you to see where causes for encouragement or regret may lie and thus, my brother, arrive at a clear comprehension of yourself as a directing agent.
I believe that it is essentially necessary that you discover—alone and by yourself—whether these five choices were made as a conscious result of soul or personality decision, and that you should understand the reasons why you think so. You have reached a point in your present incarnation where it is also essential that you undertake the summing up of the various conditioning factors in your life. If you can do this, you will be enabled to bring this particular incarnation to a finish on a high note of intelligent and useful living. When the time comes, therefore, for you to pass over to the other side, you will find that you can do so with a full realisation of what should be the theme of your next earthly experience. I would have you realise that this is no morbid or unwholesome line of thought. I would like to indicate to you the fact that in your next incarnation you will find that the theme of "conditioning motives and assumed responsibility" will be incessantly present with you from the moment of your birth.
In this life, your theme has been largely that of expediency and of expression to meet the expediency; these motives are in no sense basically wrong; they have enabled you to be soundly motivated; carefully implemented, these themes should carry you far. You have, however, definitely over-emphasised creativity; you have made it a motive for your life, but you have forgotten that the expression of the creative faculty is radiation and magnetism. These bring to its possessor the material for creation and a magnetic capacity which arranges in due form and beauty that which radiation has evoked. Creativity is a consequence of a particular state of mind and a specific state of being; it signifies a point in  evolution wherein the disciple is definitely radioactive. He can no more help creating in some form or another than he can help living. After all, my brother—returning to the original comments in this instruction—karma is ever the source of physical plane creation, happenings and events; it is the instrument of the soul in producing a personality.
We come now to the recognition that (where you are concerned) three words are of major importance, if you are to take what is for you your next spiritual step forward, karmically considered. These three words are: Karma, Radiation, Creation. For the remainder of this life you must earnestly aim at a closer relation to me and to my Ashram, for that is your karma. Fundamentally, nothing can interfere with this karma except the time equation, and you can therefore make this closer contact either with rapidity or slowness. It is the time factor which lies within the scope of your decision and it is in relation to time that you must do some careful thinking. That which will impel you to make a closer contact with your ashramic group will be an intensification of your radiation. A disciple is not drawn into a close rapport with the Ashram by the magnetic, radiatory power of the Ashram alone. Disciples need to grasp the fact that they, themselves, have to draw the Ashram to them, symbolically speaking, by the potency of their own magnetic radiation. It is necessary, therefore, that you intensify your radiation and that you carefully bear in mind that, as your karma carries you towards hierarchical contact, and as your radiation produces its individual effect upon the ashramic group, the consequent display of creativity must and will lie along the line of personality fulfilment and the meeting of deep-seated desire. Therefore, search your motives and the nature of your desires.
For years, my brother, I have sought to help you. You are in my Ashram, though you are not as yet in the inner circle; you belong to a group of brothers who—along with you—are struggling earnestly for spiritual fulfilment and who have been clearly told that their karma has brought them into the ranks of accepted discipleship and who are preparing for the next step ahead of them—the taking of an initiation. Each  of you, in his own place, is facing this initiatory process. I might add that every member of the Hierarchy, from Christ down to the disciple who is preparing for the second initiation, is standing in the knowledge that initiation in some degree must be taken and may not be ignored or denied. Will you understand me, my brother, if I say to you: Take this consciousness into your thinking and let this idea or knowledge condition all your activities. Say to yourself each morning before you go forth to the duties of the day: "I am preparing to move forward upon the Path of Initiation." Let this affirmed realisation show itself forth in the quality of your daily activities.
Love more, my brother. You only deeply love two or three people; let that limited love be the seed which will produce the flowering forth of a loving spirit. Disciples need to remember that love brings all earthly karma to an end. Love induces that radiation which invokes and evokes not only the heart of God but the heart of humanity also. Love is the cause of all creation and the sustaining factor in all living.
Make your remaining years expressive of radiating love, which is not at all easy for you. Remember ever that my Ashram enfolds you, without cessation, in its radiation. Work steadily in cooperation with your group brothers. Even though the personality instructions come to an end, the group instructions will give you all the help you will need. But you must act upon these instructions and hold with steadfastness your relation to the life of the group. This is all I have to say to you, but if you measure up to these instructions, you will go far. My constant blessing rests upon you.
MY BROTHER OF THE STEADFAST HEART:
I do not find as I approach you today that there is a great deal that I have to say to you. You are now accurately self-directing (like you not that phrase?) and your direction is right. The various suggestions which I have made to you, and which were of major importance, you have carefully followed,  and I believe would testify to the good results attained. That occult obedience which signifies freedom, spiritual freedom, within a world of natural law, has garnered for you sound results. You have moved forward from the periphery of the Ashram to a position nearer the centre. See that you hold that position; it will give you a wider field of service, a greater spiritual influence and an understanding which grasps essentials and sees life in a truer perspective.
The disbanding of the outer Ashram need in no way disturb the rhythm you are achieving and many of your group brothers and fellow students will look to you for aid and comprehension. Say not always the nice or loving thing, but learn to say the hard things with unalterable love. This is not easy for you.
Being now the sannyasin and free, I would ask of you something practical and needed. The Arcane School stands at a point of real expansion; it is adequately staffed at its key points. I would ask you undeviatingly to stand by A.A.B. (as you do), and also by F.B., when need arises. The work in the world will grow in every land, and behind all the various activities stands the Arcane School. The Triangles and the Goodwill work will spread. But the Arcane School must continue as the heart of all the other activities. The staff is sound and can do much, but all of us need the cooperation, the co-inspiration and the use of a sustaining mind other than our own. Will you act in that capacity with them?
This will require on your part extended vision, for that has been somewhat lacking in your general attitude, as I think you would be the first to admit; you have prided yourself (and rightly) on being realistic and factual, but your realism must extend also to the inner realities and to the subjective, which are more important than the objective. You need to live more subjectively. It is this blended realism which I would ask you to cultivate, for it creates—when achieved—the understanding work with vision, a capacity for long-range planning, and yet withal the feet are truly planted on the earth.
I would suggest to you, my brother, a less intense consideration  of the way you go and of the "demonstration" you make. That way is now established; you will not be deflected and you have wrought into the garment of your nature many new qualities and have rid yourself of many handicaps. Let that suffice, and for your remaining years be the worker, the guide, the serene watcher, and a strength to your co-workers—without fear, with confidence in the law, but—above all—with a much more inclusive vision than heretofore. Learn to think in wide terms and world planning, aiding F.B., when due time comes, in formulating the policies and the blueprints for the expansion of the work.
Make yourself accessible, my brother, and more and more people will seek you out. Your work in the future, as you well realise, lies with the Arcane School, and your field of service is unlimited.
As regards your meditation work, I would like it to centre more definitely on the Ashram and be less occupied with yourself and the formation of your own character or with your own development. As I said above, that is now stabilised.
Meditation on the Ashram—having dealt with the suggested theme as the soul, functioning through the mind—will deal practically with the effects of ashramic contact on the emotional nature and on the daily life on the physical plane. I give you the following themes, covering a year's work which, if diligently considered for several years, will produce a factual life of real value.
Themes for Meditation.
1. The fact of the Ashram. You like facts, brother of mine, so apply this factual consciousness of yours to this subject.
2. The Ashram as a centre of life. This will involve the use of the antahkarana.
3. The Ashram as a centre of love, wisely expressed.
4. The Ashram as a centre of perfected intelligence.
5. The Master of the Ashram.
6. The Ashram as a centre of living energy.
7. The relationship of the Ashram to world affairs.
8. The responsibilities shouldered by members of the Ashram.
9. The eventual externalisation of the Ashram and how it is achieved.
10. The qualities fostered by ashramic life.
11. The service rendered by the Ashram.
12. The Ashram and the Arcane School.
I am pleased with the progress you have made during the past few years. Failure has not deterred you and appreciation will not hurt you. My strength and understanding are ever at your service on just demand.
To I. B. S.
There is a question concerning the future and your responsibility which is at this time much disturbing your mind. It intrudes powerfully at times into your consciousness. Up till now—after a period of inner wrestling and consequent decision—you have evaded the full facing of the implications and the effect which action may have upon the future. The service of a disciple is frequently affected by his inner worries and defensive suppressions. The free flow of inspiration is halted in the astral body and there stagnates (if I may use so inappropriate a word). He is conscious of the inspiration but is puzzled at the small effect it appears to have upon other people. He wonders constantly where the difficulty lies. Often it lies in an unsolved problem which serves to bewilder the subconscious nature, as the psychologists call it; it may lie in a half-realised inability to work out right relations with people, fretting and gnawing at the lower layers of unformulated thought; it may be found in a state of inner rebellion against life, against people, against the disciple's own decisions, leading thus to a most definite orientation or focus of the entire personality.
When the personality ray is the same as the ray of the astral body (as in your case) a most difficult situation is apt to arise, handicapping the service until such time as right inner adjustments are made. In a curious way, you are isolated from many people by the power and focus of your third ray physical body—a thing which you are the last to desire but which is due to the dominance of the first ray element in your nature, for it conditions your soul quality and that expresses itself through the third ray physical nature. Intense focus is, therefore, the continuous theme of your life expression for—as you know—you have the first ray and the sixth ray continuously interrelated in your nature.
The offsetting factor is your mind which is governed by the fourth ray. This influence too is frequently found in this seed group, for ten of the group members have the mind as the battle ground of conflict—a conflict which is thus planned in order to produce an eventual harmony. Disciples such as yourselves, therefore, will not find release from conflict through the control of desire, or through evasion or through inhibition. They will find it through the right use of the thought processes and through the mind itself, for it can throw upon the problem the light which shines through it. This will bring right solution and correct understanding. You do wrestle with your problem, my brother, for your sincere desire is to follow the path of spiritual development but you make the astral body your battle ground whereas the whole problem should be elevated to mental levels. Think this out and then carry forward right action in two directions: on the mental plane for guidance and down to the physical plane for demonstration.
You will know to what problem or problems I refer. None of your group brothers will understand to what particular condition I now make allusion. It is a problem which you must handle in isolation and when handled, it will open for you a perfect floodgate of relationships and opportunities. Your aim should therefore be the intensification of the illumination of the mind so that the searchlight of the mind can be turned upon the fogs and difficulties of the astral body.
Of one thing we who are watching the disciples of the  world today are convinced, and that is that you are a sincere and intelligent devotee; intelligence and devotion go hand in hand in the accepted disciple, balancing each other and then producing a definite focus of power. For all of you this is an incarnation wherein the life focus becomes either irrevocably oriented toward the soul, as must be the case with newly accepted disciples, or powerfully expanded and inclusive as in the case of older disciples. In your case, the achievement of a definite focus is now essential. In the manifestation of souls in time and space, there come lives wherein—at times—a soul problem (as the personality embraces it) becomes a dominant theme and the whole incarnation (with definite points of intensive crisis) is given to the understanding of the problem and its solution. In the orientation of your life towards the soul, the keynote of renunciation is wisely clear but you need to see to it that even renunciation is not over-emphasised and that its conditioning power is not applied to that for which there is no call, because such renunciation would constitute an error.
I am giving you, therefore, a personal meditation. I too must have this in mind, reminding you that renunciation itself can be a glamour and a sixth ray idealist is prone to over-express. I shall not give you what you would call a real meditation. That which will aid you the most at this time is a visualisation exercise on Light.
1. Sit quietly and relax. Deal not with problems but during the period of this exercise endeavour simply to be a point of focussed vision, with the eye of the mind directed towards the soul.
2. When your focus seems adequate then see (by the power of the creative imagination) a distant peak or pyramid and on its summit there shines a clear pure light of great intensity.
3. With that light you seek to identify yourself, to merge within and thus to avail yourself of its illumination in order that in it the lesser light may shine. You say, after some minutes of careful identification:
"Dim light am I and yet the pure light shines. Not distant is that light but daily, hourly drawing nearer.
The light that is my little self must disappear within the greater Light.
So with that Light, that all-pervading, all-consuming Light, I blend and merge.
I can no longer see the two—the greater Self, the little self, the pilgrim and the way, for only one is seen—the greater lighted Whole."
4. Picture the fusion of the light of the personality and the light of the Soul and see that light focussed in the personality upon the astral plane.
5. Then produce stabilisation of the light appropriated by the sounding of the OM.
Seek not to use the light directly for the clarification of problems, teaching or ideas. That will take place automatically once the light is focussed; it must inevitably bring release and knowledge. Seek simply to visualise the process, knowing that "as a man thinketh so is he." Then forget about the acquiring of the light and endeavour to manifest that which exists as the result of your own effort. Light is within you. Seek not for immediate instantaneous solution of your problems. Look not, my brother, for results. Remember ever that as you continue faithfully with the indicated exercise, the results are sure or I would not waste your time or mine in giving you this work to do. Regularly and without anxiety do as you are told. The results will in due time manifest.
1. As the hours of service pass around the clock of time look for the sounding of the hour. What hour is that?
2. As the minutes tick away the passing hour, watch for the minute when My voice is heard. When will that be?
3. As the seconds note the passing of the minute hand upon the clock of time, expect the second when My face appears. Why has it not appeared?
4. When you think freedom lies within your grasp and when you think that you have done the utmost that you can, Beware! Obedience lies ahead, with freedom in its hand.
5. Within the Ashram you must work. Cycles of speech transmute themselves into periods of silence. Yet both must play their part.
6. You are passing on the Lighted Way, my brother. You have placed your hand in mine. I hold it firm.
You may have noted that there is a slight difference in the type of instructions which I am now giving to this group of disciples in my Ashram, of whom you are one. It is not that each of them is not definitely personal in their application or that they do not carry a meaning of very real import to the disciple for whom they are intended; this they do and should. It is now, however, my intention to convey certain principles and certain aspects of truth which have more of a group implication than a personal one. The previous two cycles of teaching to which you have all submitted yourselves were primarily concerned with the training of the threefold personality and with an effort to bring it into a closer relation with the soul, and therefore with the Ashram. This was peculiarly so in the work of the Groups of Nine, and in the first cycle of the New Seed Group work this was continued, though in a lessened degree and with a specific emphasis laid upon the required training for initiation. It was not so much the training of the personality which was under consideration. All this is a part of a definite plan, and the teaching which I intend now to give will have a clear group import, even though adapted to the disciple's personality and to the particular individual to whom the instruction is given. In spite of the individual usefulness, it will profit each member of the group also to read and study and apply the teaching from the group angle.
There are, of course, three basic principles governing all work in an Ashram. I refer not here to occult principles of  life, but to governing principles in training. These three are: Occult Obedience. Group Integration. Right of Access. Let us consider each of them for a minute with a view to group instruction, but with an individual application which will be purely your own.
Occult Obedience. In the six statements given to you in the preceding instruction I used the words, "Obedience lies ahead with freedom in its hand." Upon these words I presume that you have pondered. The disciple so often gives obedience within limits. His personal sense of liberty (due largely to a rapidly developing mental grasp of life and living) prompts him to concede certain forms of obedience to the Master Who has him in training, but to refrain from a complete surrender through fear of losing his sense of free action, free thought and free choice of relationships. The older the disciple, the less is this the case, for the life of the Ashram and an increasing steady contact with the Master demonstrate to him the complete and utter freedom which governs the entire circle of ashramic life—both within the Ashram and within the field of its interior and exterior service. But the development of this discreet appreciation takes time, and the neophyte is always on guard against any intrusion into his organised field of determined self-government. Let me illustrate in a manner which I believe will convey to you a much needed suggestion.
The beginner and newcomer in the Ashram, new in his service (from the angle of his present life experience if not from the angle of the soul), new in his registering of a sense of power which relation to the Ashram always conveys, and new in his joyous reaction to the recognition given him by those to whom he seeks to give help, speaks increasingly of "my work, my group, my teaching, my people, my plans," and in so doing stabilises himself in his chosen field of service. This is a temporary phase, oft unrecognised by the disciple, though annoying to those who hear. As he proceeds in the spiritual life and intensifies his understanding of the Master, as he enters more deeply into the life of the Ashram and into the aura of his Master, and as his vision grows—revealing possibilities of service and the limitations of his equipment, plus a  divine indifference—he drops the possessiveness of his approach to service and regards all that he does as his response to the life of the Ashram, as his contribution to the work of the Ashram, and thus eventually comes to the point where he himself fades out of his own picture and from the centre of his work, and only the need to be met and the power of the Ashram to meet that need remain.
This marks a definite step forward, and it is this attitude of selflessness and this capacity to be a channel for the power, the love, the knowledge and the life of the Ashram which constitute in the last analysis what is meant by occult obedience.
You, my brother, are now at a point where you need to fade more definitely out of your own picture of yourself as a worker. The first indication of this deepened approach to service will appear in your speech when in company of your group brothers and of other workers in the field of general human service. I stated in the last instruction to you that "cycles of speech transmute themselves into periods of silence." What does this mean? Something very simple, my beloved chela. Your service in the world and in your chosen and useful field could at present be characterised by the term "cycles of speech," could it not? Yet within the Ashram, if those cycles of speech are to be eloquent of truth, the quality which will distinguish you will be the balancing "periods of silence"; in order to acquire this quality of silence (ashramic silence) you will have to learn to practice silence within the ranks of your brothers and co-workers.
Speaking symbolically, and without enlarging upon the significances, it might be stated that an Ashram has three circles (I refer not here to grades or ranks):
a. The circle of those who talk and who stand close to the outer door. Their voices may not penetrate too far and thus disturb the Ashram.
b. The circle of those who know the law of silence, but find it hard. They stand within the central part and utter not a word. They know not yet the silence of the Ashram.
c. The circle of those who live within the secret quiet place. They use not words and yet their sound goes forth and when they speak—and speak they do—men listen.
This triple presentation of the balancing potencies of speech and of silence are the comprehended effects of occult obedience—in itself a voluntary response to the power of the life of the Ashram, and to the mind and the love of the Master of the Ashram. It is upon these potencies I would have you reflect during the coming interlude between this instruction and the next. Make the results of your reflection practical, and thus learn to know when to speak and when to be silent, remembering that the elimination of possessiveness and of self-reference will reduce speech to its spiritual essentials.
Your next incarnation holds for you a peculiar form of service, for which this life has been preparatory. It is related to speech, to words, to the voice, and to the creative power of sound; for the remainder of this life, the theme of much of your thinking should be concerned with the occult meaning of silence, of voiceless interludes and of the "spiritual retention of sound." This may, and probably will, manifest itself in an increase of voiced teaching of those you seek to help, but its quality will be different.
The teaching of the ones you seek to help will blot out the picture of yourself, the teacher, and obliterate it from your mind. This will happen automatically and not by planned intent. Some years ago I could not have told you this; you would not have accepted it. Today you will and will profit thereby. Some years ago you would have wasted time and strength in inner worry, in self-condemnation or in refutation. Today you know better the meaning of occult obedience and the acceptance of the statement and expressed wish of your Master—and this because you know me better and trust me more.
Let me give you a visualisation exercise to be followed by you each Sunday morning, every Friday morning, and for the five days which come at the time of the Full Moon each month. In company of your group brothers, you have for  years visualised me standing by an open window, and you have thus sought contact with me. This trained facility forms the basis of the following suggested exercise, the procedure of which is as follows:
1. Picture to yourself a wood of pine trees, a purling brook, a winding, mounting path, and at the end a low built bungalow of undressed wood, in which I live. With you are walking your group brothers, and all of you are talking on the way.
2. You stand before the door, the outer door, and pass inside and hear a voice which says, "You stand within the circle of those who talk and, talking, cannot hear the Master's voice." Stand there. Listen. Reflect and cease from speech.
3. Picture a curtain, hanging across the space near to the place where you stand. Imagine yourself achieving, with effort, that complete silence which will enable you to hear a voice which says, "Move forward into the circle of those who know the Law of Silence. You now can hear my voice." Then imagine yourself obeying the summons and passing beyond the partitioning curtain into the central room within my place of retreat. There sit in quietude and contemplative reflection, and listen.
4. Then across the silence and breaking into the current of your quiet thought will come a voice, inviting you to enter the circle of those who live within the secret quiet place.
You will note, my brother, how I emphasise for you the need to listen. That must be the keynote of your inner life for the remainder of this incarnation. When you can thus listen, the two other principles to which I earlier referred as governing the life of the Ashram—Group Integration and Right of Access—will take on new and vital meanings to you. Within the circle of those who talk there is no group integration. Right of access comes to those who know the Law of Silence.
This exercise will deepen your life, increase your capacity to serve, make pregnant every word you speak to those you teach, and bring you to a point of group usefulness next life. Then you will carry out certain work that you and I together have already planned.
If you will reread the instructions which I gave you last year, I think you will realise that there is little that I need add to them. I gave you an instruction which through its directive injunction covered the remainder of your life events—as I foresaw them.
You have lived for years at the high point of tension. Fire has been the quality of your life. This fire was at first destructive, but in later years it has been warming and nurturing. I think you know that sound and fire are closely allied. I think you know also that disciples are gathered by the Masters into Their Ashrams when their sound has gone forth and when the fire that is in them has successfully burned away the intervening barriers between the soul and the personality. Then their sound can safely be added to the sound of the Ashram, enriching its volume, adding quality to its tone, and conveying the needed creative qualities.
The next few years will not be easy ones for you, my brother. Be not over-anxious over anything that may eventuate. Speaking symbolically, I might express your future thus: The nature of fire will be brought more clearly and essentially to your attention; fire will be the subject of your thinking. Do not infer from this that I am indicating to you the way of fire, of pain or of sorrow. Such is not my intention. I do not mean that the future holds for you any passing through the fires of purification. You have moved across the burning-ground—as have all your group brothers. The whole of mankind is passing en masse through the fires which precede the first initiation. Every disciple creates his own burning-ground; he then takes his stand within it, and eventually  passes out of it to stand before the Angel of the Presence, at the very door of initiation. These are to you the platitudes of the Path and require from me no explanation.
There is one fire, however, with which you should now concern yourself. I would call it "the fire of comprehension." It is closely related to the blinding light of realisation, but ever precedes it because it destroys all the glamours which may hide or veil the immediate point of illumination for the disciple. You have approached this fire from the standpoint of the emotional nature and it has been associated in your mind with the waters of the astral plane, thus producing the symbols of mist and fog which are ever caused by the bringing together of fire and water. This concept has conditioned your thinking. I would have you now consider glamour in the light of the fires of comprehension. There comes a time in the disciple's life when he must assume that he knows; he must take the position that he comprehends, and must proceed to act upon the comprehended knowledge. That is definitely the point that you have now reached.
The results of this definite assumption, and of the activities which it initiates, are oft surprising and apt to be painful; that is why the symbol of fire is again appropriate at this point.
Act in the future "as if" there are for you no more glamours, and see, my brother, what will eventuate. Endeavour always to live within the Ashram, which is insulated from glamour, and act "as if" the consciousness of the Ashram was intrinsically your consciousness. Go forth to the service which you are rendering "as if" you remained immovable in the Ashram; live always "as if" the eyes of the entire Ashram were upon you. For the remainder of your life let the esoteric philosophical concept "as if" actuate all you do. It is this constant awareness which the two words "as if" embody that will produce in you a fresh use of the creative imagination.
Some time ago I told the group that initiation was simplification. Therefore, simplify your remaining years by ever acting "as if." Through this living process you will let loose the fires of comprehension. I wonder if I am making some idea of value clear to you? Govern yourself always "as if"  your divine comprehension was perfected and the result in your daily life will be "as if" all concealed glamours and all hiding deceptive veils were non-existent. The disciple acts "as if" he were initiate and then discovers that "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he," because the heart is the custodian of the power of the imagination. The imagination is released into creative activity when the disciple acts "as if" he were the soul in full expression, "as if" the Master were ever aware of the doings of His disciple, "as if" he walked in full liberation consciously. For you, these two words will bring release and happiness.
The trends of your life and service are established. Seek not to change them. The fund of knowledge which you have accumulated in this life is very real. Draw, however, what you need for your teaching work from the ancient reservoir of wisdom, and not so much from the pool of knowledge. Deepen your meditation and intensify the inner silence within which it is desirable that you should live. Think humbly, speak wisely and work ceaselessly. The opportunity today is great for all disciples everywhere, and the potencies at their disposal are more vital than ever before. Link up with me each day and count on my sustaining love.
MY FRIEND OF MANY YEARS:
I know how greatly distressed you will be at the termination of our outer (not the inner) fellowship; forget not that the outer fellowship was only the sign of a strong, vital and unshatterable inner fellowship. The inner relation of the group to me and to the Ashram and towards each other is as strong as it has ever been; it is in no wise altered. Because of the very real progress you have made in freeing yourself from glamour, that fellowship can now become even more intimate. I can reach you more easily than in the past. I am telling you this because I know it will reassure you and because I know you will not take advantage of it. The further a disciple penetrates into the Ashram, the less need he finds for contact with the Master; he comes to realise the extent of  the Master's responsibilities and arrives at a juster value of his own relative unimportance. He then submits himself to "the sustaining aura of the Ashram."
In my last two communications to you I left you with the impression that I had already given you as much teaching as would serve to carry you through this life. I urged on you a steadfast adherence to established spiritual habits. Enough emphasis is seldom put on the necessity for such a stabilisation of spiritual rhythm, and too much emphasis is frequently laid upon that which is new and on progress. Yet disciples have to learn to turn their spiritual habits into instinctual spiritual responsiveness; this is the higher correspondence to the instinctual animal reactions with which we are all familiar. When this has been achieved, the disciple can then depend upon himself automatically to do or say the right thing; more important still, the Master can count upon him, knowing that he can be depended upon. He is then "permitted to move throughout the Ashram without impediment, and all the Plan is safe with him." This is what I want you to aim at in your remaining years, so that you will (in your next life) from childhood, express the way of the disciple.
In my last instruction to you I gave you the injunction to act as if the ideal which you have set before yourself was an accomplished fact. This as if behaviour is one of the most occult of practices. It in reality presupposes the imposition of the highest grasped aspiration upon the normal personality in the form of changed behaviour. This injunction is not the same in meaning as the injunction "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." That injunction, if rightly followed, brings about the imposition of mental control upon the personality; it affects the brain, and therefore the two lower vehicles. The as if type of behaviour (for the disciple) brings in a still higher factor than that of thought; it involves the constant attempt to live as if the soul (not the mind but through the mind) is in constant control and the dominating aspect of expression.
This may involve close thinking about the soul and its relation to the personality, but it is a great deal more than  just that. It necessitates, when correctly applied, the growing automatic control of the entire lower threefold man by the soul. I am going to give you six themes for meditation built around the as if idea. These will cover one year's work. I would like to see you take these themes and give them full consideration for three years. At the end of that time you will probably wish to go over all the work again, on a higher level and with a deeper intent.
1. Sound the OM inaudibly three times, as a physical person, as an emotional person, and as a mind.
Then sound the OM as the soul.
2. Themes for meditative reflection:
a. What, in your life, would happen if you really acted as if the soul were sounding the OM?
b. If you are truly thinking as if the mind were the instrument of the soul, what lines of thought will you have to eliminate, cultivate or express?
c. If you are realistically living as if the soul were visible in your daily life, what will happen to the astral body?
d. Provided the as if theory were controlling your physical brain and consequently your daily activities, in what way would it alter your mode of living? (This is not the same as question a.)
e. Do you understand clearly the difference between the "as a man thinketh...," and the as if modes of procedure? How do they differ in application?
f. What qualities would your particular mechanism or personality demonstrate if you acted as if you were anchored in the Ashram and not just on the periphery? Do not be vague in this reply, but be extremely personal in your analysis of the situation.
3. Then, as if you were consciously standing before your Master and definitely aware of my presence, dedicate yourself to the service of the Ashram for this life and the next.
4. Say the new Invocation, sounding the OM after each stanza.
5. Sound the OM at as high a point in consciousness as possible.
Then, my brother, go your way in peace, knowing the ferment of living energies within you will enable you to act as if you were the soul. This will be a growing, conscious experience. Know too that I, your Master and your friend, will also be aware of it. My love surrounds you and the link remains unbroken.
To R. V. B.
It is, my brother, a source of satisfaction to me to have you functioning again as a recognised member of my group of chelas. You and I knew always that the link was indissoluble and that the interlude of interior work and the period wherein you worked out karma (engendered many years ago) was both needed and fruitful. It is of great value to the soul when the personality consciously recognises the activity of karma and adheres to the complete working out of the effects of earlier relationships so that to that relation the word "finis" can be written. Disciples should remember that when a karmic relation has been recognised upon the physical plane and the needed action has been taken, two possibilities are presented, according to whether the karma entailed was temporary or the relation enduring. One possibility is that spiritual identification takes place and the relation can then never be broken, or the transaction ends in an entirely correct manner by the cessation for all time of the relationship. These periods of decision and adjustment are most difficult, but curiously enough, when the disciple interiorly holds the right attitude (even if bewildered) the decision is seldom his. Life, circumstance, events or people take care of the situation and—holding on to his soul—the disciple stands steady until the problem or relationship disappears.
You stand now within my Ashram with clearer knowledge  and a more assured faith. Fuller service opens up before you—service which you can render in the place where you are and in spite of a physical vehicle which at times gives you much trouble and difficulty. Let not the physical limitation unduly control you, but pass courageously along the Lighted Way in spite of, as well as because of, the problems and difficulties. Forgive my twisting the old phraseology in this manner.