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LETTER V - DANGERS TO BE AVOIDED IN MEDITATION - Part 1

LETTER V

DANGERS TO BE AVOIDED IN MEDITATION.

l—Dangers inherent in the Personality.

2—Dangers arising from Karma.

3—Dangers arising from subtle forces.

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LETTER V

July 22, 1920.

DANGERS TO BE AVOIDED IN MEDITATION.

The Withholding of Information.

We have reached a point now where the foundations of knowledge have been laid,—that knowledge which instills into the wise student the desire to submit to the necessary rules, to conform to the prescribed requirements, and to make the comprehended mental concepts practical experiences in daily life.  This desire is wise and right, and the object of all that has been imparted, but at this juncture it may be wise to sound a warning note, to point out certain dangerous possibilities, and to put the student on his guard against an enthusiasm that may lead him along paths that will hinder development, and that may build up vibrations that will ultimately have to be offset.  This entails delay and a recapitulation in work that (if realised in time) might be obviated.

Certain statements and instructions cannot be made or given in writing to students for three reasons:—

l—Some instructions are always given orally, as they appeal to the intuition and are not for the pondering and logical reasoning of lower mind; they also contain elements of danger if submitted to the unready.

2—Some instructions pertain to the secrets of the Path, and are mainly applicable to the groups to which the student is attached; they can only be given in joint instruction when out of the physical body.  They pertain to the group causal body, to certain ray secrets, and to the invoking of the assistance of the higher devas to bring [89] about desired results.  The dangers attached thereto are too great to permit of their being communicated in an exoteric publication.  The occult effects of the spoken word and of the written word are diverse and interesting.  Until such time as you have among you a wise Teacher in physical person, and until it is possible for Him to gather around Him His students, thus affording them the protection of His aura and its stimulating vibration, and until such time as world conditions permit of a certain period of relaxation from the present strain and suspense, it will not be possible to impart forms, invocations and mantrams of a specific character; it will not be possible to arouse the centres ahead of the necessary evolutionary rate, except in a few individual cases where certain pupils (perhaps unconsciously to themselves) are being subjected to definite processes, which result in a greatly increased rate of vibration.  This is only being done to a few in each country, and is directly under the eye of a Master, focusing through H.P.B.

3—Information as to the invoking of devas in meditation cannot yet be safely given to individuals, though a beginning is being made with groups such as in the rituals of the Masons and of the Church.  Formulas that put the lesser devas under the control of man will not yet he imparted.  Human beings are not yet to be trusted with that power, for the majority are but animated by selfish desire and would misuse it for their own ends.  It is deemed by the wise Teachers of the race,—as I think I have before said—that the dangers of too little knowledge are much less than the dangers of too much, and that the race can be more seriously hindered by the misapplication of powers gained by incipient occultists than it can by a lack of knowledge that engenders not karmic results.  The powers gained in meditation, the [90] capacities achieved by the adjustment of the bodies through meditation, the faculties developed in each vehicle by definite formulas in meditation, the manipulation of matter that is one of the functions of the occultist (the result of well-adjusted vehicles that respond perfectly to plane conditions) and the attainment of causal consciousness—a consciousness that carries with it the ability to include within itself all the lesser—are of too serious a character to be lightly disposed of, and in the training of man along these lines only those are encouraged by the teacher who can be trusted.  Trusted in what sense?  Trusted to think in group terms and not in terms of self, trusted to use the knowledge gained anent the bodies and the karma of environing associates solely for their wise assistance and not for selfish purposes, and trusted to use occult powers for the furtherance of evolution and for the development on all planes of the schemes of evolution as planned by the three Great Lords.

Let me illustrate:—

One of the things accomplished in meditation when pursued with regularity and under correct instruction is the transference of the consciousness of the lower self into the higher.  This carries with it the capacity to see on causal levels, intuitively to recognize facts in the lives of others, to foresee events and occurrences and to know the relative value of a personality.  This can only be permitted when the student can be silent, selfless and stable.  Who as yet answers to all these requirements?

I am endeavoring to give you a general idea of the dangers incident to the too early development of the powers achieved in meditation.  I seek to sound a note—not of discouragement—but of insistence upon physical purity, on emotional stability and on mental equilibrium before the student passes on to greater knowledge.  Only [91] as the channel opens to the intuition and closes to the animal nature can a man wisely proceed with his work.  Only as the heart enlarges its capacity to suffer with all that breathes, to love all that is contacted, and to understand and sympathise with the least desirable of God's creatures, can the work go forward as desired.  Only when the development is equable, only when the intellect runs not too far ahead of the heart, and the mental vibration shuts not out the higher one of the Spirit can the student be trusted to acquire powers that, wrongly used, may result in disaster to his environment as well as to himself.  Only as he formulates no thoughts save such as he purposes to make for the helping of the world can he be trusted wisely to manipulate thought matter.  Only as he has no desire save to find out the plans of the Master, and then to assist definitely in making those plans facts in manifestation, can he be trusted with the formulas that will bring the devas of lesser degree under his control.  The dangers are so great and the perils that beset the unwary student so many that before I proceed further I have sought to urge caution.

Let us now specify and enumerate certain dangers that must be guarded against by the man who progresses in meditation.  Some of them are due to one cause and some to another, and we shall have to specify with accuracy.

l—Dangers inherent in the Personality of the pupil.  They can, as you foresee, be grouped under the three heads:—physical dangers, emotional dangers, and mental dangers.

2—Dangers arising from the karma of the pupil, and from his environment.  These also may be enumerated under three divisions:

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a—The karma of his present life, his own individual "ring-pass-not," as represented by his present life.

b—His national heredity and instincts as, for instance, whether he possesses an occidental or an oriental type of body.

c—His group affiliations, whether exoteric or esoteric.

3—Dangers arising from the subtle forces that you ignorantly call evil; such dangers consist in attack on the pupil by extraneous entities on some one plane.  These entities may simply be discarnate human beings; they may be the denizens of the other planes who are nonhuman; later on, when the student is of sufficient importance to attract notice, the attack may come from those who deal purely with matter to the hindrance of spiritual growth,—the black magicians, the dark brothers, and other forces that appear destructive.  This appearance is only such when viewed from the angle of time and in our three worlds, and is but incidental to the fact that our Logos Himself is also evolving, and (from the standpoint of the infinitely greater Ones Who assist Him in His development) it is dependent upon His transitory imperfections.  The imperfections of nature—as we term them—are the imperfections of the Logos, and will eventually be transcended.

I have therefore outlined for you this morning the material I shall seek to impart during the coming days.

July 24, 1920.

The dangers that beset the student of meditation are dependent upon many factors, and it will not be possible to do more than briefly indicate certain menacing conditions, to warn against certain disastrous possibilities, and to caution the pupil against results that are to be [93] reached by undue strain, by over-excess of zeal, and by a one-pointedness that may lead to an unbalanced development.  One-pointedness is a virtue, but it should be the one-pointedness of purpose and of aim, and not that which develops one sole line of method to the exclusion of all others.

The dangers of meditation are largely the dangers of our virtues, and therein lies much of the difficulty.  They are largely the dangers of a fine mental concept that runs ahead of the capacity of the lower vehicles, especially of the dense physical.  Aspiration, concentration and determination are necessary virtues, but if used without discrimination and without a sense of time in evolution they may lead to a shattering of the physical vehicle that will delay all progress for some one particular life.  Have I made my point clear?  I seek but to bring out the absolute necessity for the occult student to have a virile common sense for one of his basic qualities, coupled with a happy sense of proportion that leads to due caution and an approximation of the necessary method to the immediate need.  To the man therefore who undertakes wholeheartedly the process of occult meditation I would say with all conciseness:—

a—Know thyself.

b—Proceed slowly and with caution.

c—Study effects.

d—Cultivate the realisation that eternity is long and that that which is slowly built up endures forever.

e—Aim at regularity.

f—Realise always that the true spiritual effects are to be seen in the exoteric life of service.

g—Remember likewise that psychic phenomena are no indication of a successful following of meditation.  The world will see the effects and be a better [94] judge than the student himself.  Above all, the Master will know, for the results on causal levels will be apparent to Him long before the man himself is conscious of any progress.

Let us now take up these points in detail.

Dangers inherent in the Personality.

Let us, therefore, consider first those dangers most closely connected with the man's own personal life, and which are dependent upon his three bodies, their separate condition and their interrelation.  This subject is so vast that it will not be possible to do more than indicate certain results due to certain conditions; each man presents a different problem, and each body causes a different reaction, and each totality in his threefold nature is affected by its alignment or by its lack of alignment.  Let us take each body separately at first and then in their threefold totality.  In this way some specific facts may be imparted.

I begin with the mental body as it is for the student of meditation the one that is the centre of his effort and the one that controls the two lower bodies.  The true student seeks to draw his consciousness away from his physical body, and away from the emotional body into the realms of thought, or into the lower mind body.  Having achieved that much, he seeks then to transcend that lower mind and to become polarised in the causal body, using the antahkarana, as the channel of communication between the higher and the lower, the physical brain being then but the quiescent receiver of that which is transmitted from the Ego or Higher Self and later from the threefold Spirit, the Triad.  The work to be done necessitates a working from the periphery inwards, and a consequent centralisation.  Having achieved that [95] centralisation and focussed in that stable centre—with the solar plexus and the heart quiet—a point within the head, one of the three major head centres, becomes the centre of consciousness, the ray of a man's ego deciding which that centre will be.  This is the method of the majority.  Then that point having been reached, a man will follow the meditation of his ray as indicated to you in general terms earlier in these letters.  In each case, the mental body becomes the centre of consciousness and then later—through practice—it becomes the point of departure for the transference of the polarisation into a higher body, first the causal and later into the Triad.

The dangers to the mental body are very real and must be guarded against.  They are paramountly two, and might be termed the dangers of inhibition and those due to the atrophying of the body.

a—Let us take first the dangers due to inhibition.  Some people, by their sheer strength of will, reach a point in meditation where they directly inhibit the processes of the lower mind.  If you picture the mental body as an ovoid, surrounding the physical body and extending much beyond it, and if you realise that through that ovoid are constantly circulating thoughtforms of various kinds (the content of the man's mind and the thoughts of his environing associates) so that the mental egg is coloured by predominant attractions and diversified by many geometrical forms, all in a state of flux or circulation, you may get some idea of what I mean.  When a man proceeds to quiet that mental body by inhibiting or suppressing all movement, he will arrest these thoughtforms within the mental ovoid, he will stop circulation and may bring about results of a serious nature.  This inhibition has a direct effect upon the physical brain, and is the cause of much of the fatigue complained of after a period [96] of meditation.  If persisted in, it may lead to disaster.  All beginners do it more or less, and until they learn to guard against it they will stultify their progress and retard development.  The results may indeed be more serious.

What are the right methods of thought elimination?  How can placidity of mind be achieved without the use of the will in inhibition?  The following suggestions may be found useful and helpful:—

The student having withdrawn his consciousness on to the mental plane at some point within the brain, let him sound forth the Sacred Word gently three times.  Let him picture the breath sent forth as a clarifying, expurgating force that in its progress onward sweeps away the thoughtforms circulating within the mental ovoid.  Let him then at the close realise that the mental body is free and clear of thoughtforms.

Let him then raise his vibration as high as may be, and aim next at lifting it clear of the mental body into the causal, and so bring in the direct action of the Ego upon the lower three vehicles.  As long as he can keep his consciousness high and as long as he holds a vibration that is that of the Ego on its own plane, the mental body will be held in a state of equilibrium.  It will hold no lower vibration analogous to the thoughtforms circulating in its environment.  The force of the Ego will circulate throughout the mental ovoid, permitting no extraneous geometrical units to find entrance, and the dangers of inhibition will be offset.  Even more will be done,—the mental matter will in process of time become so attuned to the higher vibration that in due course that vibration will become stable and will automatically throw off all that is lower and undesirable.

b—What do I mean by the dangers of atrophy? [97] Simply this:  Some natures become so polarised on the mental plane that they run the risk of breaking connection with the two lower vehicles.  These lower bodies exist for purposes of contact, for the apprehension of knowledge on the lower planes and for reasons of experience in order that the content of the causal body may be increased.  Therefore it will be apparent to you that if the indwelling consciousness comes no lower than the mental plane and neglects the body of emotions and the dense physical, two things will result.  The lower vehicles will be neglected and useless and fail in their purposes, atrophying and dying from the point of view of the Ego, whilst the causal body itself will not be built as desired and so time will be lost.  The mental body will be rendered useless likewise, and will become a thing of selfish content, of no use in the world and of littler value.  A dreamer whose dreams never materialise, a builder who stores up material which he never employs, a visionary whose visions are of no use to gods or men, is a clog upon the system universal.  He is in great danger of atrophying.

Meditation should have the effect of bringing all three bodies more completely under the control of the Ego, and lead to a co-ordination and an alignment, to a rounding-out and a symmetrical development that will make a man of real use to the Great Ones.  When a man realises that mayhap he is too much centralised on the mental plane he should definitely aim at making all his mental experiences, aspirations and endeavours matters of fact on the physical plane, bringing the two lower vehicles under control of the mental and making them the instruments of his mental creations and activities.

I have here indicated two of the dangers most frequently met with, and I advise all students of occultism [98] to remember that all the three bodies are of equal importance in carrying out the work to be done, both from the egoic standpoint and from the standpoint of service to the race.  Let them aim at a wise co-ordination in expression, that will enable the God within to manifest for the aiding of the world.

July 25, 1920.

The emotional body is at this time the most important body in the Personality for several reasons.  It is a complete unit, unlike the physical and mental bodies; it is the centre of polarisation for the majority of the human family; it is the most difficult body to control, and is practically the very last body to be completely subjugated.  The reason for this is that the vibration of desire has dominated, not only the human kingdom but also the animal and vegetable kingdoms in a lesser sense, so that the evolving inner man has to work against inclinations set up in these kingdoms.  Before the spirit can function through forms of the fifth or spiritual kingdom, this desire vibration has to he eliminated, and selfish inclination transmuted into spiritual aspiration.  The emotional body forms practically a unit with the physical body, for the average man functions almost entirely at the instigation of the emotional,—his lowest vehicle automatically obeying the behests of a higher.  It is also the body that connects most directly, as has been oft-times said, with the intuitional levels, and one path of attainment lies that way.  In meditation the emotional body should be controlled from the mental plane, and when the polarisation has been transferred into the mental body through forms of meditation and intensity of purpose and of will, then the emotional becomes quiescent and receptive.

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This negative attitude in itself, if carried too far, opens the door to serious dangers, which I will later enlarge upon when we take up the subject of obsessions, divine sometimes, but more oft the reverse.  A negative condition is not desired in either of the bodies, and it is just this very negativeness that beginners in meditation so oft achieve, and so run into danger.  The aim should be to make the emotional ovoid positive to all that is lower and to its environment and only receptive to the Spirit via the causal.  This can only be brought about by the development of the faculty of conscious control—that control which even in the moments of highest vibration and contact is alert to watch and guard the lower vehicles.  "Watch and pray," the Great Lord said when last on earth, and He spoke in occult terms, that have not as yet received due attention or interpretation.

What must therefore be watched?

l—The attitude of the emotional ovoid and its positive-negative control.

2—The stability of the emotional matter and its conscious receptivity.

3—Its alignment with the mental and with the causal bodies.  If this alignment is imperfect (as it so frequently is) it causes inaccuracy in reception from the higher planes, distortion of the truths sent down via the Ego, and a very dangerous transference of force to undesirable centres.  This lack of alignment is the cause of the frequent straying from sexual purity of many apparently spiritually inclined persons.  They can touch the intuitional levels somewhat, the Ego can partially transmit power from on high, but as the alignment is imperfect the force from those higher levels is deflected, the wrong centres are over-stimulated, and disaster results.

4—Another danger to be guarded against is that of [100] obsession, but in pure thoughts, spiritual aims, and unselfish brotherly conduct, lie the fundamentals of protection.  If to these essentials is added common sense in meditation and a wise application of occult rules, with due consideration of ray and karma, these dangers will disappear.

July 28, 1920.

Some thoughts on FIRE.

Just prior to beginning the consideration of the matter on hand, I would like to point out to you a certain rather interesting fact.  Most of the psychological phenomena of the earth are—as you will realise, if you think clearly,—under the control of the Deva Lord Agni, the great primary Lord of Fire, the Ruler of the mental plane.  Cosmic fire forms the background of our evolution; the fire of the mental plane, its inner control and dominance and its purifying asset coupled to its refining effects, is the aim of the evolution of our three-fold life.  When the inner fire of the mental plane and the fire latent in the lower vehicles merge with the sacred fire of the Triad the work is completed, and the man stands adept.  The at-one-ment has been made and the work of aeons is completed.  All this is brought about through the co-operation of the Lord Agni, and the high devas of the mental plane working with the Ruler of that plane, and with the Raja-Lord of the second plane.

Macrocosmic evolution proceeds in like manner to the microcosmic.  The internal fires of the terrestrial globe, deep in the heart of our earth sphere, will merge with the sacred fire of the sun at the end of the greater cycle, and the solar system will then have reached its apotheosis.  Little by little as the aeons slip away and the lesser cycles run their course, fire will permeate the ethers and will be daily more recognisable and controlled till eventually [101] cosmic and terrestrial fire will be at-one (the bodies of all material forms adapting themselves to the changing conditions) and the correspondence will be demonstrated.  When this is realised the phenomena of the earth—such as, for instance, seismic disturbance—can be studied with greater interest.  Later, when more is comprehended, the effects of such disturbances will be understood and likewise their reactions on the sons of men.  During the summer months—as that great cycle comes around in different quarters of the earth—the fire devas, the fire elementals and those obscure entities the "agnichaitans" of the internal furnaces, come into greater activity, relapsing as the sun moves further away, into a less active condition.  You have here a correspondence between the fiery aspects of the earth economy in their relationship to the sun similar to the watery aspects and their connection with the moon.  I give you quite an occult hint here.  I would like also to give you here a very brief though occult fragment that...may now he made public.  If pondered on, it carries the student to a high plane and stimulates vibration.

"The secret of the Fire lies hid in the second letter of the sacred Word.  The mystery of life is concealed within the heart.  When that lower point vibrates, when the Sacred Triangle glows, when the point, the middle centre, and the apex likewise burn, then the two triangles—the greater and the lesser—merge into one flame which burneth up the whole."

It is our task now to deal briefly with the dangers that attend the practice of meditation as they manifest in the physical body.  These dangers—like so much else in the Logoic scheme—assume a three-fold nature, attacking [102] three departments of the physical body.  They show themselves:

a—In the brain.

b—In the nervous system.

c—In the sex organs.

It is needless to point out now the reason why I dealt first with the dangers of the mental and emotional bodies.  It was necessary so to do, for many of the perils besetting the dense vehicle find their commencement on the subtler planes, and are only the outer manifestations of inner evils.

Each human being enters into life equipped with a physical and etheric body of certain constituents, those constituents being the product of a previous incarnation; they are virtually the body, reproduced exactly, that the man finally left behind him when death severed him from physical plane existence.  The task ahead of everybody is to take that body, realise its defects and requirements, and then deliberately set in and build a new body that may prove more adequate to the need of the inner spirit.  This is a task of large dimensions and involves time, stern discipline, self-denial and judgment.

The man who undertakes the practice of occult meditation literally "plays with fire."  I wish you to emphasise this statement for it embodies a truth little realised.  "Playing with fire" is an old truth that has lost its significance through flippant repetition, yet it is absolutely and entirely correct, and is not a symbolic teaching but a plain statement of fact.  Fire forms the basis of all—the Self is fire, the intellect is a phase of fire, and latent in the microcosmic physical vehicles lies hid a veritable fire that can either be a destructive force, burning the tissue of the body and stimulating centres of an undesirable character, or be a vivifying factor, acting as a [103] stimulating and awakening agent.  When directed along certain prepared channels, this fire may act as a purifier and the great connector between the lower and the Higher Self.

In meditation the student seeks to contact the divine flame that is his Higher Self, and to put himself likewise en rapport with the fire of the mental plane.  When meditation is forced, or is pursued too violently, before the alignment between the higher and lower bodies via the emotional is completed, this fire may act on the fire latent at the base of the spine (that fire called kundalini) and may cause it to circulate too early.  This will produce disruption and destruction instead of vivification and stimulation of the higher centres.  There is a proper geometrical spiralling which this fire should follow, dependent upon the ray of the student and the key of the vibration of his higher centres.  This fire should only be permitted to circulate under the direct instruction of the Master and consciously distributed by the student himself, following the specific oral instructions of the teacher.  Sometimes the fire may be aroused and spiral with correctness without the student knowing what is occurring on the physical plane; but on the inner planes he knows and has but failed to bring the knowledge through to the physical plane consciousness.

Let us take up for a moment the three dangers that principally beset the physical vehicles.  I would like to point out that I deal with the trouble in its extreme, and that there are many intermediate stages of risk and trouble that attack the unwary student.

Dangers to the physical brain.

The brain suffers principally in two ways:—

From congestion, causing a suffusion of the blood [104] vessels and a consequent strain upon the delicate brain tissue.  This may result in permanent injury, and may even cause imbecility.  It shows in the initial stages as numbness and fatigue, and if the student persists in meditation when these conditions are sensed the result will be serious.  At all times a student should guard against continuing his meditation when any fatigue is felt, and should stop at the first indications of trouble.  All these dangers can be guarded against by the use of common-sense, and by remembering that the body must ever be trained gradually and be built slowly.  In the scheme of the Great Ones, hurry has no place.

From insanity.  This evil has often been seen in earnest students who persist in unwise pressure or seek unguardedly to arouse the sacred fire through breathing exercises and similar practices; they pay the price of their rashness through the loss of their reason.  The fire does not proceed in due geometrical form, the necessary triangles are not made, and the electrical fluid rushes with ever increasing speed and heat upwards, and literally burns away all or part of the brain tissue, thus bringing about insanity and sometimes death.

When these things are more widely comprehended and openly acknowledged, doctors and brain specialists will study with greater care and accuracy the electrical condition of the spinal column, and correlate its condition with that of the brain.  Good results will thus be achieved.

Dangers to the nervous system.

The troubles connected with the nervous system are more frequent than those attacking the brain, such as insanity and disruption of the brain tissue.  Almost all who undertake meditation are conscious of an effect in [105] the nervous system; sometimes it takes the form of sleeplessness, of excitability, of a strained energy and restlessness that permit of no relaxation; of an irritability that has been foreign perhaps to the disposition until meditation was pursued; of a nervous reaction—such as a twitching of the limbs, the fingers or the eyes—of depression or a lowering of the vitality, and of many individual modes of showing tension and nervousness, differing according to nature and temperament.  This display of nervousness may be either severe or slight, but I seek earnestly to point out it is quite needless, provided the student adheres to the rules of common-sense, that he studies wisely his own temperament, and that he does not blindly proceed with forms and methods but insists on knowing the raison d'etre of instituted action.  If occult students disciplined the life more wisely, if they studied the food problem more carefully, if they took the needed hours of sleep with more determination, and if they worked with cautious slowness and not so much from impulse (no matter how high the aspiration) greater results would be seen and the Great Ones would have more efficient helpers in the work of serving the world.

It is not my purpose in these letters to take up specifically the diseases of the brain and of the nervous system.  I only desire to give general indications and warnings and (for your encouragement) to point out that later when the wise Teachers move among men and openly teach in specific schools, many forms of brain trouble and of nervous complaints will be cured through meditation wisely adjusted to the individual need.  Proper meditations will be set to stimulate quiescent centres, to turn the inner fire to proper channels, to distribute the divine heat in equable arrangement, to build in tissue [106] and to heal.  The time for this is not yet, though it lies not so far ahead as you might imagine.

Dangers to the sex organs.

The danger of the over-stimulation of these organs is well recognised theoretically, and I do not purpose to enlarge on it greatly today.  I but seek to point out that this danger is very real.  The reason is that in the overstimulation of these centres the inner fire is but following the line of least resistance, owing to the polarisation of the race as a whole.  The work, therefore, that the student has to do is twofold:—

a—He has to withdraw his consciousness from those centres; this is no easy task for it means working against the results of age-long development.

b—He has to direct the attention of the creative impulse to the mental plane.  In so doing, if successful, he will turn the activity of the divine fire to the throat centre and its corresponding head centre, instead of to the lower organs of generation.  Therefore, it will be apparent to you why—unless a man is very advanced—it is not wise to spend much time in meditation during the earlier years.  There was wisdom in the old Brahmanical rule that a man must give his early years to household endeavour, and only when he had fulfilled his function as a man could he go on to the life of the devotee.  This was the rule for the average.  With advanced egos, pupils and disciples, it is not so, and each must then work out his own individual problem.

July 29, 1920.

Dangers arising from the Karma of the student.

These as you know may he grouped under three heads, as follows:

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l—Those incidental to the karma of his present life.

2—Those based on his national heredity and his type of body.

3—Those attendant on his group affiliations, whether on the physical plane and so exoteric, or on the subtle planes and so esoteric.

Just what do you mean by the "karma of the student?"  We use words lightly, and I presume that the thoughtless reply would be that the student's karma is the inevitable happenings of the present or the future that he cannot evade.  This is somewhat right, but is only one aspect of the whole.  Let us look at the matter first in a large manner, for oft in the just apprehension of big outlines comes comprehension of the small.

When our Logos founded the solar system He drew within the circle of manifestation matter sufficient for His project, and material adequate for the object He had in view.  He had not all possible objects in view for this one solar system:  he had some specific aim that necessitated some specific vibration and required therefore certain differentiated material.  This circle that we term the systemic or solar "ring-pass-not" bounds all that transpires within our system, and contains within its bounds our dual manifestation.  All within that ring vibrates to a certain key-measure, and conforms to certain rules with the aim in view of the achievement of a particular goal, and the attainment of a certain end, known in its entirety only to the Logos Himself.  All within that circle is subject to specific rules and governed by a certain key measure, and might be regarded as being subject to the karma of that sevenfold periodic existence, and actuated by causes dating back prior to the ringing of that circle, thus linking our system to its forerunner and affiliating it with that which will come [108] after.  Not an isolated unit are we, but part of a greater whole, governed in our totality by cosmic law and working out (as a whole) certain definite aims.

Microcosmic purpose.

So it is with the Microcosm.  The Ego on his own plane and on a tiny scale, repeats the action of the Logos.  For certain ends he builds a certain form; he gathers certain material, and aims at a definite consummation that shall be the result of that gathered material vibrating to a certain measure, governed in one specific life by certain rules and aiming at some one particular object,—not all possible objects.

Each Personality is to the Ego what the solar system is to the Logos.  It is his field of manifestation and the method whereby he attains a demonstrable object.  That aim may be the acquirement of virtue by paying the price of vice; it may be the attainment of business acumen by the struggle to provide the necessities of life; it may be the development of sensitiveness by the revealing cruelties of nature; it may be the building in of unselfish devotion by the appeal of needy dependents; or it may be the transmutation of desire by the method of meditation on the path.  It is for each soul to find out.  What I want to impress upon you is the fact that there is a certain danger incident to this very factor.  If, for instance, in the acquirement of the mental capacity to meditate, the student misses the very thing he came into the physical body to acquire, the result is not so much a gain as an unequal development and a temporary loss of time.

Let us be specific and illustrate:—An Ego has formed his three-fold body of manifestation and set his ring-pass-not with the purpose in view of building into his [109] causal body the faculty of "mental apprehension of the basic facts of life."  The object of that one incarnation is to develop the mental capacity of the student; to teach him concrete facts and science and thus to enlarge the content of his mental body, with a view to future work.  He may be over-developed on the heart side, too much of the devotee; he may have spent many lives in dreaming dreams and in seeing visions and in mystic meditation.  To be practical, full of common sense, to know the curriculum of the Hall of Learning and to apply practically the knowledge learnt on the physical plane is his great need.  Yet, even though his ring-pass-not seems to proscribe and limit his inherent tendencies, and even though the stage is set so that it would seem he must learn the lessons of practical living in the world, he learns not, but follows what is to him the line of least resistance.  He dreams his dreams, and stays aloof from world affairs; he does not fulfil the desire of the Ego, but misses opportunity; he suffers much, and in the next life is necessitated a similar staging and a stronger urge, and a closer ring-pass-not until he complies with the will of his Ego.

For such an one, meditation helps not, but mainly hinders.  As before I have said, meditation (to be wisely undertaken) is for those who have reached a point in evolution where the rounding out of the causal body is somewhat matured and where the student is in one of the final grades in the Hall of Learning.  You need to remember that I refer not here to the mystic meditation but to the scientifically occult meditation.  The dangers are, therefore, practically those of wasted time, of an intensification of a vibration out of ill proportion to the key of the other vibrations, and of an unequal rounding out and a lop-sided building that will necessitate reconstructing in other lives.

[110]

July 30, 1920.

Dangers based on national heredity and type of body.

...As you may well imagine it is not my purpose to enlarge upon the dangers incidental to a defective body, save in general terms to lay down the ruling that where there is definite disease, congenital trouble or mental weakness of any kind, meditation is not the part of discretion, but may serve but to intensify the trouble.  I wish specifically to point out for the guidance of future students and as a prophetic statement, that in days to come when the science of meditation is more comprehended, two factors will be wisely weighed and considered before assigning a meditation.  These factors are:

a—The man's subrace characteristics.

b—His type of body, whether it is oriental or occidental.

In this way, certain disasters will be avoided and certain troubles obviated that are now found in a more or less degree in every occult group.

It is generally recognised that each race has for its predominant feature some one outstanding quality of the emotional body.  This is the general rule.  In contrasting the Italian and the Teutonic racial differences, those differences are summed up in our minds in terms of the emotional body.  We think of the Italian as fiery, romantic, unstable and brilliant; we think of the Teuton as phlegmatic, matter-of-fact, sentimental and stolidly, logically clever.  It will, therefore, be apparent to you that these different temperaments carry with them their own dangers, and that in the unwise pursuit of unsuitable meditations, virtues could be emphasised till they approximated vices, temperamental weaknesses could be intensified till they became menaces, and consequently [111] lack of balance would result instead of that attainment of equilibrium and that fine rounding out of the causal body which is one of the aims in view.  When, therefore, the wise Teacher moves among men and Himself apportions meditation, these racial differences will be weighed and their inherent defects will be offset and not intensified.  Over-development and disproportionate attainment will be obviated by the equalising effects of occult meditation.

Meditation as followed now and as followed in Atlantean days differs fundamentally.  In the fourth root race an effort was made to facilitate attainment via the atomic subplane, from the emotional plane to the intuitional, to the practical exclusion of the mental.  It followed the line of the emotions and had a definite effect on the emotional body.  It worked upwards from the emotional instead of, as now, working on mental levels and from those levels making the effort to control the two lower.  In the Aryan root-race, the attempt is being made to bridge the gap between the higher and the lower and, by centering the consciousness in the lower mind and later in the causal, to tap the higher until the downflow from that higher will be continuous.  With most of the advanced students at present all that is felt is occasional rushes of illumination, but later will be felt a steady irradiation.  Both methods carry their own dangers.  In Atlantean days, meditation tended to overstimulation of the emotions and although men touched great heights, yet they also touched great depths.  Sex magic was unbelievably rampant.  The solar plexus was apt to be over vivified, the triangles were not correctly followed, and the lower centres were caught in the reaction of the fire with dire results.

The dangers now are different.  The development of [112] mind carries with it the dangers of selfishness, of pride, of blind forgetfulness of the higher that it is the aim of the present method to offset.  If the adepts of the dark path attained great powers in Atlantean days they are still more dangerous now.  Their control is much more widespread.  Hence the emphasis laid on service, and on the steadying of the mind as an essential in the man who seeks to progress and to become a member of the Brotherhood of Light.

The matter I now seek to give some instruction upon is one of very real importance to all earnest students at this time.  The orient is to the evolving race of men what the heart is to the human body; it is the source of light, of life, of heat, and of vitality.  The occident is to the race what the brain or mental activity is to the body,—the directing organising factor, the instrument of the lower mind, the accumulator of facts.  The difference in the entire, "make-up" (as you term it) of the oriental and of the European or American is so great and so well recognised that it is mayhap needless for me to dwell upon it.

The oriental is philosophical, naturally dreamy, trained through centuries to think in abstract terms, fond of obstruse dialectics, temperamentally lethargic, and climatically slow.  Ages of metaphysical thinking, of vegetarian living, of climatic inertia and of a rigid adherence to forms and to the strictest rules of living have produced a product the exact opposite of his occidental brother.

The occidental is practical, businesslike, dynamic, quick in action, a slave to organization (which is after all but another form of ceremonial), actuated by a very concrete mind, acquisitive, critical, and at his best when affairs move quickly and rapid mental decision is required.  He detests abstract thought yet appreciates it when apprehended, and when he can make those thoughts [113] facts on the physical plane.  He uses his head more than his heart centre, and his throat centre is apt to be vitalised.  The oriental uses his heart centre more than the head and necessarily the corresponding head centres.  The centre at the top of the spine at the base of the skull functions more actively than the throat.

The oriental progresses by the withdrawing of the centre of consciousness to the head through strenuous meditation.  That is the centre that he needs to master, he learns by the wise use of mantrams, by retiring into seclusion, by isolation and by the careful following of specific forms for many hours each day for many days.

The occidental has in view the withdrawal of his consciousness to the heart at first, for already he works so much with the head centres.  He works more by the use of collective forms and not individual mantrams; he does not work so much in isolation as his oriental brother, but has to find his centre of consciousness even in the noise and whirl of business life and in the throngs of great cities.  He employs collective forms for the attainment of his ends, and the awakening of the heart centre shows itself in service.  Hence the emphasis laid in the Occident on the heart meditation and the subsequent life of service.

You will see, therefore, that when the real occult work is begun, the method may differ—and will necessarily differ—in the east and in the west, but the goal will be the same.  It must be borne in mind, for instance, that a meditation that would aid the development of an oriental, might bring danger and disaster to his western brother.  The reverse would also be the case.  But always the goal will be the same.  Forms may be individual or collective, mantrams may be chanted by units or by groups, different centres may be the object of specialised attention, yet [114] the results will be identical.  Danger arises when the occidental bases his endeavour on rules that suffice for the oriental, as has at times been so wisely pointed out.  In the wisdom of the Great Ones this danger is being offset.  Different methods for different races, diverse forms for those of various nationalities, but the same wise guides on the inner planes, the same great Hall of Wisdom, the same Gate of Initiation, admitting all into the inner sanctuary....

In concluding this subject, I seek to give a hint:—The seventh Ray of Ceremonial Law or Order (the ray now coming into power) provides for the occidental what has long been the privilege of the oriental.  Great is the day of opportunity, and in the sweeping onward of this seventh force comes the needed impetus that may—if rightly grasped—drive to the Feet of the Lord of the World the dweller in the occident.

August 2, 1920.

Dangers attendant on group affiliations.

Very briefly would I seek this morning to take up the question of the dangers involved in meditation that are incidental to a man's group affiliations, whether exoteric or esoteric.  There is not much that can be said on this particular matter, save broad indications.  Each of these various subjects that I have touched upon might warrant the writing of a weighty treatise, and I shall not, therefore, attempt to cover what might be said but only point out certain aspects of the matter that will (if pondered on with care) open up to the earnest seeker after truth many avenues of knowledge.  All occult training has this in view,—to give to the pupil some seed thought which (when brooded over in the silence of his own heart) [115] will produce much fruit of real value, and which the pupil can then conscientiously consider his own.  What we produce through wrestling and strenuous endeavour remains forever our own, and vanishes not into forgetfulness as do the thoughts that enter through the eye from the printed page, or through the ear from the lips of any teacher no matter how revered.

One thing that is oft overlooked by the pupil when he enters upon the path of probation and starts meditation is that the goal ahead for him is not primarily the completing of his own development, but his equipping for service to humanity.  His own growth and development are necessarily incidental but are not the goal.  His immediate environment and his close associates on the physical plane are his objectives in service, and if in the endeavour to attain certain qualifications and capacities he overlooks the groups to which he is affiliated and neglects to serve wisely and to spend himself loyally on their behalf he runs the danger of crystallisation, falls under the spell of sinful pride, and mayhap even takes the first step toward the left-hand path.  Unless inner growth finds expression in group service the man treads a dangerous road.

Three types of affiliated groups.

Perhaps I could here give some indications of the groups on the various planes to which a man is assigned.  These groups are many and diverse and at different periods of a man's life may change and differ, as he works out from under the obligating karma that governs the affiliations.  Let us remember too that as a man enlarges his capacity to serve he at the same time increases the size and number of the groups he contacts till he reaches a point in some later incarnation when the world [116] itself is his sphere of service and the multitude those whom he assists.  He has to serve in a threefold manner before he is permitted to change his line of action and pass on to other work,—planetary. systemic or cosmic.