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CHAPTER SEVEN - INTUITION AND ILLUMINATION

CHAPTER SEVEN

INTUITION AND ILLUMINATION

"And God said:
Let there be light!
And there was light."

BIBLE

[147]

We have laid down the general premise that modern educational methods in the West have familiarized man with the idea that he possesses a mind; they have brought him to an appreciation of the intellect, so much so, that to many the achievement of intellectual ability is the consummation of the work of evolution. We have suggested further that when the eastern technique of meditation (with its stages of concentration, meditation and contemplation) has been applied by the western intellectual, the mind processes can be trained to reach their highest point of development and can then be superseded by a still higher faculty, that of the intuition. We have, in the West, noted also that the finest minds we have, through an intense interest and application, reach the same standard of achievement to which meditation brings the eastern aspirant to knowledge. But at this point the parallel breaks down. Education in the Occident fails to carry its exponents on into the realm of the intuition, or of illumination. In fact, we rather smile at the idea of an illumined consciousness and ascribe much of the testimony available to the hallucinations of the over-stimulated mystic or to [148] the psychopathic cases with which our psychologists are constantly dealing.

But it can be proved, I believe, that the developed spiritual perception and an illumined intellect can be part of the equipment of the sane and balanced business man or scientist, and need not necessarily indicate a lack of psychic balance, or emotional instability. The light of illumination and of inspiration is quite compatible with the pursuit of one's daily occupations, and this has been told us for centuries in an ancient Chinese teaching, dating back to the eighth century:

"Master Lü Tzu said: When there is gradual success in producing the circulation of the Light, a man must not give up his ordinary occupation in doing it. The ancients said: When occupations come to us, we must accept them; when things come to us, we must understand them from the ground up. If the occupations are regulated by correct thoughts, the Light is not scattered by outside things, but circulates according to its own law." [lxxxviii] 1

These characteristics of illumination and its results are to be found working out in the consciousness of the man who has progressed through the stages we have earlier outlined, and form the theme of this chapter. Illumination is a stage in the meditation process, for it entails careful control of the mind and a scientific approach to the subject; it is a result of the true contemplative state and of soul contact, and indicates, with its sequential effects, the [149] institution of the second activity of the mind, considered a few pages earlier.

According to the pioneers into the realm of the soul, the condition of illumination supervenes directly upon the stage of contemplation, and might be described, in its turn, as producing three effects: That of an illumined intellect, of intuitive perception, and an inspired life upon the physical plane of existence. This condition is recognized by all mystics, and by all writers upon the subject of the mystic revelation. The thought of a Light which enters in and which shines upon our way, the symbolism of an intense irradiation or blinding radiance which accompanies the phase of divine contact, are so general in their use that we have come to look upon them simply as something couched in mystical phraseology, which means relatively little more than an attempt of the visionary aspirant to express in words the wonders that he has sensed.

It seems, however, on investigation, that there is a good deal of meaning in this special terminology and these symbolic phrases. The uniformity of the language, the testimony of the many thousands of reputable witnesses and the similarity of the related occurrences seem to indicate something in the nature of a genuine phenomenal happening. Dr. Overstreet, in The Enduring Quest, mentions a large number of those great individuals for whom it is claimed that they were illumined, and points out that "these men do not reason their way to conclusions, although reason — the search for truth — apparently played a [150] part in preparation for their final insight. In every case," he adds, "they experienced what, for want of a better term, we may call 'illumination'." He goes on to warn us also that "we may, to be sure, brush these experiences aside as aberrations...." But he says "these men do not act after the manner of men suffering from an aberration. Out of them has come a great portion of the spiritual wisdom of the race. They are, as it where, among the illuminati of mankind. If 'by their fruits ye shall know them,' these men have shown fruits so far above the average as to make them spiritual leaders of mankind." [lxxxix]2

The trouble has been that with the average mystic, though not with the outstanding figures to whom Dr. Overstreet refers, there has usually been an inability to define or express clearly this state of illumination. "The mystic," we are told in the Bampton Lectures for 1930, "cannot explain, but he knows that he has known and not merely felt, and often that knowledge remains an abiding possession which no criticism can touch...though the mystics seem to be unable to convey to others any body of truth which cannot be reached by more ordinary channels of experience and reasoning, it is nevertheless possible that the intensity of their special apprehension of reality may serve, as extreme cases serve to test the truth of some general geometrical theorem, to set our fundamental problem in a clearer light." [xc]3

[151]

It is here that the East steps in and shows the system whereby illumination can be gained, and produces for our consideration an ordered process and method which carries man to the state of identification with the soul. It posits — as a result of that identification and its subsequent effects — an illuminated perception and an intuitive apprehension of truth. It is, we are told in the eastern Scriptures, the mind that reflects the light and knowledge of the omniscient soul, and the brain that, in its turn, is illuminated. This is only possible when the interplay between the three factors of soul, mind and brain is complete. Patanjali tells us in his Yoga Sutras,

"The Lord of the mind, the perceiver. is ever aware of the constantly active mind stuff.

"Because it can be seen or cognized it is apparent that the mind is not the source of illumination.

"When the spiritual intelligence which stands alone and freed from objects, reflects itself in the mind stuff, then comes awareness of the Self.

"Then the mind stuff, reflecting both the knower and the knowable, becomes omniscient.

"The mind then tends towards discrimination and increasing illumination.

"When the means to union have been steadily practised, and when impurity has been overcome, enlightenment takes place, leading up to full illumination.

"The knowledge (or illumination) achieved is seven-fold and is attained progressively." [xci]4

Patanjali goes on later to point out that, after proper concentration, meditation and contemplation, [152] that which obscures the light is gradually removed, and he adds:

"When that which veils the light is done away with, then comes the state of being called discarnate (or disembodied) freed from the modification of the thinking principle. This is the state of illumination." [xcii]5

It is perhaps possible, therefore, that when Christ enjoined upon His disciples that they should "let their light shine," He was not speaking symbolically at all, but was urging upon them the necessity of arriving at a state of freedom from the body consciousness in order that the light of the soul could pour through the mind into the brain and produce that illumination which enables a man to say: "In that Light shall we see light."

The way to that freedom has always been understood by the Christian Church and is called the "Way of Purification." It entails the purifying or rarefaction of the lower body nature, and the wearing away of the veil of matter, which hides the light within each human being. The veil must be pierced and there are many ways of doing it. Dr. Winslow Hall in Illuminanda [xciii]6 tells us of three ways, — the way of Beauty the way of the Intellect, and the way of the Soul. Through beauty and the search for the reality which has produced it, the mystic forces himself behind the outer form and finds the good and the wonderful. Dr. Otto [xciv]7 deals with this in his [153] exegesis of the faculty of "divination," that capacity to recognize with awe and wonder the essential holy and beautiful behind all forms. His chapter is well worth careful consideration. Thus the mystic "divines" (through the divine within himself) the reality which the veil of matter hides. This is the way of the senses. Then there is the way of the intellect, of the intense focussing of the mind upon a problem and upon the form aspect in order to arrive at the cause of its being. In this way, the scientists have made so much progress and have penetrated so far within the veil that they have arrived at a something which they call "energy". Dr. W. Winslow Hall defines the third way, as follows:

"The way of the soul is at once the oldest and the widest of the three ways...for the soul does more than pierce the veil of matter; it identifies itself both with the veil and with the Reality behind the veil. Thereby soul and veil and Reality are felt to be one." [xcv]8

We are thus brought back to the idea of Wholeness and of Oneness with the Universe, which we touched upon earlier, and Dr. Hall adds that "I would define illumination as an overwhelming sense of oneness with The Whole." [xcvi]9

Let us attempt at this point to express as simply as possible where our conclusions have led us, and see what has happened to the man who has carried forward his education from the stage of memory training and the grasping of information to that of [154] a conscious use of the intellect and from then on into the realm of the conscious knower.

Through concentration and meditation he has achieved a large measure of mind control and learned how "to hold the mind steady in the light." The consciousness then slips out of the lower self (out of the realm of awareness of the brain and the mind) and the mystic passes into the contemplative state, wherein he functions as the soul, and realizes himself as a Knower. The nature of the soul is knowledge and light, and its realm of existence is the kingdom of God. All the time that this identification with the soul continues, the mind is held steady and refuses all response to contacts emanating from other states of awareness, such as those coming from the emotional and physical worlds. Absorbed in union with God, transported into the "Third Heaven" (like St. Paul) and contemplating the beatific vision of Reality, he knows nothing, sees nothing, hears nothing except the phenomena which are appropriate to the world in which he is living. But in that world, he hears, and sees, and knows; he becomes aware of Truth, unveiled and freed from the glamour which the veil of matter casts upon it; he listens to the Wisdom which is stored up in his own unfathomable soul, and is that Wisdom itself, for subject and object no longer exist for him: he is both and knows it. He enters into the Mind of God — that universal storehouse of knowledge whose door stands ever open to those individual minds which can be sufficiently quieted and controlled to permit [155] of their visioning the door and passing through it. And still, throughout all this transcendental process, the mind has been held steady in the Light.

Presently, however, the contemplative state comes to an end, and the mind is swept into a renewed activity, an activity based on its reaction to the light, and on its power to register and record the information with which the soul seeks to dower it. The energies of the soul have been outward-going into the world of divine realities. Now the focus of attention changes, and Deity turns its eyes upon the waiting instrument, and seeks to impress upon it as much of its Wisdom and Knowledge as it is capable of receiving and reflecting.

There is an aptitude among those writers on mysticism who are concerned with the purely mystic way, and have not studied adequately the technique of the East, to confound illumination with feeling. Evelyn Underhill, for instance, says "...The illuminated state entails a vision of the Absolute: a sense of the Divine Presence: but not true union with it." "It is," she says, "a state of happiness." [xcvii]10 The illumination of the mind with knowledge and with a realization of union with Deity and its apprehension of the laws which govern the spiritual realm may, ultimately, produce happiness, but that happiness is an after effect and not a part of the illumined state. True illumination is related to the intellect, and should be — in its purest aspect — divorced from feeling altogether. It is a condition [156] of knowledge, it is a state wherein the mind is brought into relation with God, and the longer that condition can be held free from emotional reactions, the more direct will be the communication between the soul and its instrument, and the freer from deterioration will be the imparted truths.

A comparison of the way of the Knower and the way of the mystic might be of value here. The mystic, especially in the West, gains his flash of insight; he sees the Beloved; he touches heights of awareness, but his approach, in the majority of cases, has been the heart approach, and has involved feeling, sensory perception, and emotion. The result has been ecstasy. His technique has been that of devotion, discipline, an emotional striving forward, the "lifting up of the heart unto the Lord," the "vision of the Beloved," and "the marriage in the Heavens," the pouring out of the love nature at the feet of the Beloved, and consequent ecstasy. Afterwards, if we are to believe the writings of the mystics themselves, there has followed a period of readjustment to the life of every day, and, frequently, a sense of depression and disappointment that the high moment has passed, coupled with an inability to speak with clarity of that which has been experienced. Then a fresh cycle of devotion and discipline is initiated, until again the vision is seen and the Beloved contacted anew. From certain angles the self-centeredness of the Western mystic is notable, and his failure to use the intellect most remarkable. We must except, however, such mystics [157] as Boehme, Ruysbroeck, or Meister Eckhart, in whose writings the element of the intellect is strongly stressed, and the quality of knowledge most apparent. Note what Meister Eckhart himself says:

"There is one power in the soul: intellect, of prime importance to the soul for making her aware of, for detecting, God....The soundest arguments expressly state (what is the truth) that the kernel of eternal life lies rather in knowledge than in love....The soul is not dependent upon temporal things but in the exaltation of her mind is in communication with the things of God" [xcviii]11

The Knower has a different method from that of the mystic. His is the directing of the intellect to the object of its search; his is the way of the mind, and its discipline and control. He steadies the mind; he stops its versatility and focusses it; he seeks out after God; he divorces himself from feeling and is not interested in his own personal satisfaction, for the mind is the "common-sense," and in its highest use is dowered with the faculty of synthesis, of Wholeness. He will, as Dr. Müller-Freienfels puts it, "no longer speak of 'his' soul, but of the universal soul which manifests itself in him, and unfolds itself in him as in all other creatures, and will endure even though this illusion of individuality perishes....He will live his life as 'life', that is, as self-realization and self-completion, with the consciousness that it is not merely his own self that is [158] being realized and perfected, but the universe, the deity, of whom this apparent self is a part." [xcix] 12

Personal feeling is ruled out. The aspirant masters the mind, holds it steady in the light and then sees and knows. Then the stage of ILLUMINATION follows. Meister Eckhart sums up the difference between the two ways as follows:

"Knowledge raises the soul to the rank of God; love unites the soul with God; use perfects the soul to God. These three transport the soul right out of time into eternity." [c]13

These distinctions should be carefully noted. For many at this time, the achievement of knowledge of God is of greater importance than love of God. That they already possess; it is the background of their effort, but not of their present objective and discipline. For the vast and unthinking majority, it is perhaps true that the mystic way of love and devotion should be the goal, but for the thinkers of the world the attainment of illumination should be the goal of their endeavor.

In the truly illuminated man, we have that rare combination of the mystic and the knower; we have the product of the mystical methods of the East and of the West; we have the union of head and heart; of love and the intellect. This produces what, in the Orient, is called the Yogi (the knower of union) and, in the Occident, is termed the practical mystic — which is our rather unsatisfactory way of designating [159] that mystic who has combined the intellect with the feeling nature, and is, therefore, a co-ordinated human being — with brain, mind and soul functioning with the most perfect unity and synthesis.

The illumination of the mind by the soul, and the throwing down into the waiting and attentive "mind-stuff" of that knowledge and wisdom which is the prerogative of the soul, produce, in the truly unified and co-ordinated man, results which differ according to the part of his instrument with which contact is effected. Leaving the subject of Union and the growth of transcendental powers for later consideration, we will confine ourselves to the direct effects of illumination. We might, for the sake of clarity, sum up these results as follows:

The effect on the mind is direct apprehension of truth and direct understanding of a knowledge which is so wide and synthetic in its grasps that we cover it by the nebulous term, the Universal Mind. This type of knowledge is sometimes called the Intuition, and is one of the main characteristics of illumination. A second effect on the mind is responsiveness to telepathic communication and a sensitiveness to other minds which have achieved an ability to function on soul levels. I do not here refer to so-called telepathic communication on psychic levels, or to that between brain and brain in the ordinary intercourse of daily life, with which we are all familiar. I refer to the interplay that can be set up between souls, divinely attuned, and which has resulted in [160] the past in the transmission of the inspired utterances of the world, in the world Scriptures, and in those divine pronouncements which have emanated from certain great Sons of God, such as the Christ and the Buddha. Intuition and telepathy in its purest form are, therefore, two results of illumination upon the mind.

On the emotional nature, or, in the language of the esotericist, in the desire or feeling body, we have the registering of joy, of happiness, and the experience of ecstasy. There is a sense of completion, of satisfaction and a joyous expectancy, so that the world is seen in a new light and circumstances take on a happier coloring.

"Heaven above is brighter blue,

Earth beneath is sweeter green,

Something lives in every hue

Christless eyes have never seen."

In the physical body there are certain most interesting reactions. These fall into two main groups: First, a stimulation to an intense activity, which has a definite effect upon the nervous system, and secondly, there is frequently the appearance of a light within the head, which can be seen even when the eyes are closed, or in the dark.

Dr. W. Winslow Hall, in his book on illumination, deals with this aspect of the light, and says in one place that he wishes to prove that "Illumination is — not only a psychological, but also — a physiological fact." [ci]14

[161]

These results on the triple instrument — mental, sensory and physical — which we designate as a human being, are only manifestations of the same basic energy as it is transferred from one vehicle to another. It is the same divine consciousness making its presence felt in different spheres of human awareness and behavior.

Let us deal first with the mental reaction. What is this mysterious thing we call the intuition? It is interesting to note that the word is totally ignored in some books on psychology, and those often by the biggest men in the field. The intuition is not recognized. We might define it as direct apprehension of truth, apart from the reasoning faculty or from any process of intellection. It is the emergence into the consciousness of some truth or beauty never before sensed. It does not emerge from the subconscious, or from the stored up memory, racial or individual, but drops into the mind directly from the superconscious, or from the omniscient soul. It is immediately recognized as infallibly true and arouses no questioning. All sudden solutions of apparently insoluble or abstruse problems, and numbers of the great revolutionizing inventions, come under this category. Evelyn Underhill speaks of this in the following terms:

"...this illuminated apprehension of things, this cleansing of the doors of perception, is surely what we might expect to occur as man moves towards higher centres of consciousness. His surface intelligence, purified from the domination of the senses, is invaded more and more by [162] the transcendent personality, the 'New Man' who is by nature a denizen of the independent spiritual world, and whose destiny, in mystical language, is a 'return to his Origin'. Hence an inflow of new vitality, extended powers of vision, an enormous exaltation of his intuitive powers." [cii]15

This immediate access to Truth is the ultimate destiny of all human beings, and it seems probable that some day the mind itself will lie as much below the threshold of consciousness as the instincts now do. We shall then function in the realm of the intuition and shall talk in terms of the intuition with as much facility as we now talk in terms of the mind, and endeavor to function as mental beings.

Father Maréchal, in Studies in the Psychology of the Mystics, defines the intuitive perception in these terms:

"Intuition — defined in a quite general manner — is the direct assimilation of a knowing faculty with its object. All knowledge is in some sort an assimilation; intuition is an immediate 'information,' without an objectively interposed intermediary; it is the only act by which the knowing faculty models itself, not on an abstract likeness of the object, but on the object itself; it is, if you will, the strict coincidence, the common line of contact of the knowing subject and the object." [ciii]16

One of the most notable and suggestive books on the subject of the intuition, and one which gears in amazingly with both the eastern and western positions, is entitled Instinct and Intuition, by Dr. Dibblee [163] of Oriel College, Oxford. In it, he gives us several interesting definitions of the intuition. He remarks that "as sensation is to feeling, so intuition acts to thought, in presenting it with material," [civ]17 and he quotes Dr. Jung as saying that it is an extraconscious mental process of which we are from time to time dimly aware. He also gives us Professor H. Wildon Carr's definition: "Intuition is the apprehension by the mind of reality directly as it is and not under the form of a perception or conception, (nor as an idea or object of the reason), all of which by contrast are intellectual apprehension." [cv]18 The intuition, he tells us "is interested in purely intangible results and, if it disregards time, it is also independent of feeling." [cvi]19 In a particularly clear passage, he defines (perhaps unintentionally, for his theme is with other matters) the co-ordinated practical mystic or knower.

"...intuitive inspiration and instinctive energy are finally tamed and unified in the complete self, which ultimately forms one single personality." [cvii]20

Here we have the mechanism guided and directed in its physical relations and reactions by the apparatus of the instincts, working through the senses, and the brain, and the soul in its turn, guiding and directing the mind through the intuition, and having its physical point of contact in the higher brain. [164] This idea Dr. Dibblee sums up in the words: "The point at which I have arrived is the definite acceptance of two distinct organs of intelligence in human beings, the thalamus, which is the seat of instinct, and the cerebral cortex, which is the seat of the allied faculties of intellect and intuition." [cviii]21 This position is closely paralleled with that of the Oriental teaching, which posits the functioning co-ordinating centre of the entire lower nature to be in the region of the pituitary body, and the point of contact of the higher Self and the intuition to be in the region of the pineal gland.

The situation is, therefore, as follows: The mind receives illumination from the soul, in the form of ideas thrown into it, or of intuitions which convey exact and direct knowledge, for the intuition is ever infallible. This process is in turn repeated by the active mind, which throws down into the receptive brain the intuitions and knowledge which the soul has transmitted. When this is carried forward automatically and accurately, we have the illumined man, the sage.

The second activity to which the mind responds as the result of illumination is telepathy. It has been said that "illumination itself may be regarded as the highest known example of telepathy; for throughout the blazing forth of that supreme enlightenment, the human soul is a percipient and the Father of Lights, the agent." The agent may work through the medium of many minds, for the world [165] of the soul is the world of group awareness, and that opens up a field of contacts which is wide indeed. Not only is the soul of man en rapport with the Universal Mind, but also with all minds through which that Divine Purpose we call God may be working. In this way we can account for the coming forth of the steady stream of illuminated writings and of the world messages down the ages, which have guided the thoughts and destiny of men and brought them forward along the path of realization from the stage of animism and fetishism to that of our present concept of an immanent Deity. From the point of view of man and nature we have progressed to that of a divine Whole in which we live and move and have our being, and with which are identified in consciousness. We know ourselves to be divine. One after another the Sons of God have entered into their heritage and found themselves sensitive to the world plan. They have, though steadfastness in contemplation, equipped themselves to act as interpreters of the Universal Mind and as intermediaries between the non-telepathic multitude and the eternal fountain of wisdom. To the illuminates of the world, to the intuitive thinkers in all fields of knowledge, and to the telepathic and inspired communicators can be traced the best that man now knows, the origin of the great world religions, and the triumphs of science.

This telepathic communication must not be confused with mediumship, or with the mass of so-called inspirational writings, which are flooding our [166] markets at this time. Most of these communications are mediocre in character, and carry nothing new, or any message which will lead man on another step into the New Age, or guide his feet, as he mounts the stair towards the Heavenly Places. The tapping of the sub-conscious, the enunciations of a worthy and high-grade mentality, will account for ninety-eight percent of the material now appearing. They indicate that man has achieved much, and that he is becoming co-ordinated. They do not indicate the functioning of the intuition, nor the activity of the faculty of spiritual telepathy. People need most carefully to distinguish between the intuition and instinct; between the intellect in its lower aspects and the higher or abstract mind. The line of demarcation must be preserved between the inspired utterances of a soul in touch with Reality, and with other souls, and the platitudes of a nice and cultured mentality.

The effect of the illuminative process on the emotional nature takes two forms — and, paradoxical as it may seem — two exactly opposite forms. It will produce in some types the quieting of the nature, so that all anxieties and mundane worries cease and the mystic enters into the peace that passeth understanding. He can then say:

"There is a flame within me that has stood

Unmoved, untroubled through a mist of years,

Knowing nor love nor laughter, hope nor fears,

Nor foolish throb of ill, nor wine of good.

[167]

I feel no shadow of the winds that brood,

I hear no whisper of a tide that veers,

I weave no thought of passion, nor of tears,

Unfettered I of time, of habitude.

I know no birth, I know no death that chills;

I fear no fate, nor fashion, cause nor creed,

I shall outdream the slumber of the hills,

I am the bud, the flower, I the seed;

For I do know that in whate'er I see

I am the part, and it the soul of me." [cix] 22

Contrariwise, it may produce the mystical ecstasy — that uplifting and outpouring of the heart towards Divinity, to which our mystical literature bears constant witness. It is a condition of exaltation and of joyous certainty as to felt realities. It carries its possessor forward on the wings of bliss, so that temporarily, at any rate, nothing can touch or hurt. Figuratively, the feet are fleet to speed to the Beloved, and the interplay between the Lover and the Loved One is great, but always there is the sense of duality, of something other or beyond that which has been reached. This must be held in consciousness as long as possible or else the ecstatic vision will disappear, the clouds will veil the sun, and the world, with all its cares, will obscure the heavens. We are told in Mysticism that ecstasy, physically considered, is trance. It is a state of rapture, and can be either good or bad. Evelyn Underhill quotes Father Malaval as follows:

[168]

"The great doctors of the mystic life teach that there are two sorts of rapture which must be carefully distinguished. The first are produced in persons but little advanced in the Way, and still full of selfhood; either by the force of a heated imagination which vividly apprehends a sensible object, or by the artifice of the Devil....The other sort of Rapture is, on the contrary, the effect of pure intellectual vision in those who have a great and generous love for God. To generous souls who have utterly renounced themselves, God never fails in these raptures to communicate high things." [cx]23

The same writer goes on to tell us what, psychologically, is ecstasy. "The absorption of the self in the one idea, the one desire, is so profound — and in the case of the great mystics — so impassioned that everything else is blotted out." [cxi]24 It will be noted how the idea of desire, of feeling and of duality characterizes the ecstatic condition. Passion, devotion and a rapturous going-out to the source of the realization are ever present, and a careful distinction has to be made by the experiencer or they will degenerate into morbidity. With this condition of sensory awareness, we have basically nothing to do. Our goal is the high one of constant intellection and steady mental control, and it is only in the early stages of illumination that this condition will be found. Later it will be seen that true illumination automatically rules out all such reactions. The soul knows itself to be free from the pairs of opposites — pleasure as well as pain — and stands steadily in [169] spiritual being. The line or channel of communication eventually is direct and eliminative from the soul to the mind, and from the mind to the brain.

When we arrive at the physical level of consciousness and of the reaction to the illumination which is streaming down into the brain, we have two predominant effects, usually. There is a sense or an awareness of a light in the head, and frequently also a stimulation to an activity which is abnormal. The man seems driven by the energy pouring through him, and the days are all too short for what he seeks to accomplish. He finds himself so anxious to co-operate with the Plan which he has contacted that his judgment is temporarily impaired and he works, and talks, and reads and writes with a tireless vigor which does, nevertheless, wear out the nervous system, and affect his vitality. All who have worked in the field of meditation, and who have sought to teach people along these lines are well aware of this condition. The aspirant does enter the realm of divine energy, and finds himself intensely responsive to it; he senses his group relations and responsibilities and feels as if he must do his uttermost to live up to them. This registering of a constant pouring in of vital force is eminently characteristic, for the co-ordination between the soul and its instrument, and the subsequent reaction of the nervous system to the energy of the soul is so close and exact that it takes the man quite a little time to learn the necessary adjustments.

A second effect, as we have seen, is the recognition [170] of the light in the head. This fact is so well substantiated that it needs little reinforcing. Dr. Jung refers to it in the following manner:

"...the light-vision, is an experience common to many mystics, and one that is undoubtedly of the greatest significance, because in all times and places it appears as the unconditional thing, which unites in itself the greatest power and the profoundest meaning. Hildegarde von Bingen, a significant personality quite apart from her mysticism, expresses herself about her central vision in a quite similar way. 'Since my childhood,' she says, 'I always see a light in my soul, but not with the outer eyes, nor through the thoughts of my heart; neither do the five outer senses take part in this vision....The light I perceive is not of a local kind, but is much brighter than the cloud which bears the sun. I cannot distinguish in it height, breadth, or length....What I see or learn in such a vision stays long in my memory. I see, hear, and know at the same time, and learn what I know in the same moment....I cannot recognize any sort of form in this light, although I sometimes see in it another light that is known to me as the living light....While I am enjoying the spectacle of this light, all sadness and sorrow disappear from my memory....'

"I know a few individuals who are familiar with this phenomenon from personal experience. As far as I have ever been able to understand it, the phenomenon seems to have to do with an acute condition of consciousness as intensive as it is abstract, a 'detached' consciousness...,which, as Hildegarde pertinently remarks, brings up to consciousness regions of psychic events ordinarily covered with darkness. The fact that, in connection with this, the general bodily sensations disappear, shows that their specific energy has been withdrawn from them, and has apparently gone toward heightening the clearness of consciousness. As a rule, [171] the phenomenon is spontaneous, coming and going on its own initiative. Its effect is astonishing in that it almost always brings about a solution of psychic complications, and thereby frees the inner personality from emotional and imaginary entanglements, creating thus a unity of being, which is universally felt as a 'release.'" [cxii]25

These words any experienced teacher of meditation can unequivocally endorse. The phenomenon is most familiar and goes to prove surely that there is a close physical correspondence to mental illumination. Hundreds of cases could be proved, were people willing to relate their experiences, but too many refrain from so doing because of the mockery and scepticism of the man who knows little. This light in the head takes various forms, and is often sequential in its development. A diffused light is first seen, sometimes outside the head and, later, within the brain, when in deep thought or meditation; then it becomes more focussed and looks, as some express it, like a radiant and very brilliant sun. Later, at the centre of the radiance, a point of vivid electric blue appears (perhaps the "living light" referred to above) and from this a golden pathway of light leads out. This has sometimes been called "the Path," and there is a possibility that the prophet was not speaking merely symbolically when he said that "the path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more until the day be with us."

In this light in the head, which seems a universal accompaniment of the illuminative state, we have [172] probably also the origin of the halo depicted around the heads of the illuminati of the world.

Much investigation remains to be done along this line, and much reticence and prejudice has to be overcome. But many are beginning to record their experiences and they are not the psychopathics of the race, but reputable and substantial workers in the varying fields of human endeavor. The time may shortly be with us when the fact of illumination may be recognized as a natural process, and the light in the head be regarded as indicating a certain definite stage of co-ordination and of interplay between the soul, the spiritual man, and the man on the physical plane. When this is the case, we shall have brought our human evolution to such a point that instinct, intellect and intuition can be used at will by the trained and fully educated man, and the "light of the soul" can be turned upon any problem. Thus the omniscience of the soul will be manifested on earth.

Let me close this chapter with some words written by a Hindu mystic and some by a modern Christian mystic, typical examples of the two points of view of the mystic and the knower. The Hindu says:

"They are called Brahmins only that have an inner light working in them...the human soul is a lamp not covered over with a bushel. The lamp emits not the rays of the flesh but the rays of mental light to illuminate all humanity and is therefore the channel for the world soul. The rays of mental light assist all humanity in its mental growth and expansion, and the lamp is therefore one of the Eternal [173] World Brahmins. It gives light unto the world but takes nothing that the world can give."

The Christian writes:

"I saw a life ablaze with God!
    My Father, give to me
The blessing of a life consumed by God
   That I may live for Thee.
A life of fire! a life ablaze with God.
Lighted by fires of pentecostal love!
  
A life on fire! on fire with love for men
  
Lit by divine compassion from above.
A burning life, which God can take and drop
In house, or street, or whereso'er He will,
To set some other life alight for Him
And thus to spread the fire on further still."

Then we shall have evidenced the final stage of the meditation process which we call Inspiration. To the possibility of such a life the Great Ones of the ages testify. They knew themselves to be Sons of God and they carried that knowledge down into full realization in physical incarnation. They are inspired Declarers of the reality of truth, of the immortality of the soul, and of the fact of the kingdom of God. They are lights set in a dark place to light the way back to the Father's Home.