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Chapter 1
Finding One's Cosmic Work
CCULTISM, to the majority who come in contact with it, is considered in
the light of a pastime rather than as something of the utmost everyday
practical value. But whether we will or not, occult forces enter into the
details of our lives each day and exercise an influence over all our actions.
They are energies that direct our efforts and determine the results of our labors to the
extent that we fail to recognize their existence and neglect to utilize them. Yet if we
recognize their presence, and understand their operation, instead of being directed by
them we are enabled to enlist them as potencies by which the various aims of life may
more readily be attained. And it is the purpose of this course so to familiarize the
reader with this practical aspect of occultism that he will experience no difficulty in
applying occult knowledge advantageously to every problem he meets in his daily
life.
Since the Society for Psychical Research was founded in 1882, a vast amount of
evidence has been acquired by men of outstanding scientific attainment, all
indicating there is an inner world, not apprehended directly by the physical senses,
that under certain conditions enables physical phenomena to take place that are quite
inexplicable by the laws of the physical world. This evidence was well summed up in
the book published in 1940, EXTRA-SENSORY PERCEPTION AFTER SIXTY
YEARS, by five members of the faculty of Duke University.
The existence of extra-sensory perception has been demonstrated not only by the
experiments of four of these and the Duke mathematician who established the
statistical and probability values, but by experiments carried out in a dozen other
universities. And since the mentioned book appeared, experiments with
precognition have shown that extra-sensory perception applies to future events, such
as being able to call the order in which cards will be found when mechanically
shuffled ten days later, and to call the order in which dice will turn face up before the
throws begin.
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This careful research is in course of progress, the latest report at the time of this
writing being, AN EXPERIMENT IN PRECOGNITION USING DICE, by J. L.
Woodruff and J. B. Rhine, appearing in the December, 1942, issue of The Journal of
Parapsychology. In these reported experiments, the predictions of the face to come
up when the dice was cast was made before each throw in one series, and in another
series predictions for 24 throws were made before the throwing began. In both the
results obtained were well above chance.
Chance average is 4 hits per run of 24 trials. One subject's average score was above 5
hits per run. And when the probability was worked out for the combined result of this
whole dice throwing precognition research it was found that the odds were about
10,000 to 1 that such a result would not occur by chance alone.
But in addition to faculties of the human soul which are not limited by the restrictions
imposed by the outer plane when the soul becomes active in acquiring information
on the inner plane and then delivering it, even imperfectly, to objective
consciousness, there is another set of phenomena that quite as positively call for an
inner-plane penetrating the physical to explain them. These phenomena have not as
yet received the critical study of academic individuals. But they have been studied
even more closely, and on a vastly larger scale, by many who have little academic
standing, and have been studied some by a few outstanding scientists of the past.
The influence of astrological energies is here referred to. These await the kind of
critical investigation Professor J. B. Rhine brought to extra-sensory perception. But
the existence and potency of these astrological energies have been demonstrated by
thousands of independent investigators. And more thousands each year are proving
their existence through the simple expedient of learning how to erect their own birth
chart and calculate its progressed aspects, and then going back over their lives to find
whether or not each important event actually coincided at the time it happened with
the particular progressed aspect that, according to astrology, must release energies
during any period in which such an event takes place.
That there is an inner world where the soul resides, both before and after the
dissolution of the physical body, as well as an outer world, and that there are energy
exchanges between these two worlds through boundary-line electromagnetic
energies, are the fundamental facts on which occultism rests. The Special Theory of
Relativity which lies at the foundation of modern physics as now taught in most
universities, holds that anything moving with the velocity of light no longer
possesses length, has infinite mass and so is impervious to the pull of gravitation, and
that for it time has come to a standstill. The inner world, or astral plane, has even
higher velocities. Existence there has properties that contradict our experience with
physical things. However, it can only affect, or be affected by, the physical world
through the intermediary of electromagnetic boundary-line energies having
approximately the velocity of light.
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The Universe Is An Organic
Whole Depending For Its
Progress Upon the
Cooperation Of Its
Intelligent Parts
--When consciousness in some degree frees itself from the physical world, it is able
to use the soul senses and gain information through what science now calls
extra-sensory perception. And, at least in rare flashes, a person who has, or develops,
his extra-sensory perception can extend his consciousness on the inner plane to
acquire a convincing realization that the universe is not a machine, but a living
organic whole guided by a Supreme Intelligence. When he has thus had even one
convincing experience with Cosmic Consciousness he no longer considers entities as
existing independent of other entities; for he senses that all in some manner are
interdependent. The universe then presents the aspect of a single organism moving
persistently toward the development of a structure of greater complexity and
perfection. All entities enter into this structure, and play a part in its welfare, even as
each cell and organ of the human body contribute to or detract from, the health and
ability of man.
In the human body there may be cells, or diseased regions, which work contrary to
the interest of other cells and the welfare of the body as a whole. In a nation there are
antisocial individuals, and there may be groups that consider their personal gain of
more importance than the welfare of the country. But when these become too
numerous they defeat their own ends; for the body dies or the nation is destroyed, and
thus terminates also the careers of the dissenting individuals. And even when these
destructive elements fail to be thus widely disruptive, as a rule they fare badly; for the
criminal has neither peace nor security, and the diseased cell knows no comfort.
In any organism or organization--and organization has become the fetish of
American business life-- the welfare of the individual is dependent upon the welfare
of the organism or organization of which it forms a part. Laboring men, for instance,
are learning that unless the corporation for which they work prospers, high wages
cannot be had, and that the ability of the corporation to pay higher wages depends
upon the collective efficiency of those employed by it. And business executives have
long since learned that the success of an organization depends upon the
specialization of the individual for the work he is to perform, and the cooperation of
the various individuals comprising the organization in carrying out wise policies. In a
somewhat similar manner a nation, a solar system, or the universe, is dependent for
its welfare upon the parts composing it, and these parts are dependent for their
welfare upon the welfare of the organization as a whole.
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Thus it is that the occultist looks upon the universe. It is a vast organism composed of
an infinite number of entities. The welfare of these entities depend upon the welfare
of the cosmos, and the welfare of the cosmos depends upon the collective welfare of
these entities of which it is composed.
Now in our large industrial corporations the workmen usually know by name the
head of the corporation for which they work. Few, however, are acquainted with him
personally, and few know the details of other departments than their own. The broad
policies of the organization are known to all, but the rank and file of workmen know
little and care less about the board of directors and the elaborate studies that lead to
the adoption of policies. Just so, we speak of the guiding intelligence of the universe
as God, and some there are who have developed a state of consciousness by which
they contact Him directly. We also know something of the particular department of
the universe, a minute department to be sure this earth--in which we labor. We have
not concerned ourselves for the most part with spiritual and celestial realms; for we
have been too busy learning the little we know about the earth on which we live. But
we are not so dense, if we will but look up from our immediate tasks, that we are
unable to discern the broad policies upon which the universe is run. Every crystal,
every plant, every man, bears within the stamp of the policy of progress and
evolution.
This policy is carried out along those lines that industrial captains have found alone
capable of lending greater efficiency to organization. That is, a large merchandising
firm, a bank with modern facilities, or a complex manufacturing plant, follows the
same plan to get high efficiency that Nature uses wherever complex forms of life may
be found. This plan undoubtedly is the best so far devised; for in each of the instances
cited it has been tested in active competition against other plans and proved
successful. It is the only plan that has stood the test of time.
It is based upon division of labor. When a colony of plant cells for the first time
thicken the walls of the cells on the outside of the colony to resist destruction by the
elements, and when a colony of animal cells for the first time set aside a group of cells
to perform the work of digestion, they are examples of early division of labor.
Division of labor, however, also implies specialization of parts. The plant cells with
thickened walls specialized in resisting wind and wave, and being thus specialized
were less capable of other plant functions. The animal cells specializing in digestive
work performed it with greater efficiency than cells not so specialized, but lost the
adaptability of cells not so specialized to perform a wide variety of other work.
Specialization is procured at the expense of adaptability.
When Henry Ford first inaugurated his moving assembly line it was an innovation
based on the highest degree of specialization; and it has since revolutionized
manufacturing methods. The man who all day long did nothing but tighten up a
particular nut, learned to tighten this nut with unusual speed, but while doing this he
learned nothing else. He was a nut-tightener, and knew no more about the engine of
an automobile than if he had never entered a factory. His work detracted from his
ability as a general mechanic. And something similar is ever the price of
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specialization. But it gave him higher wages than he had ever known before, and
instead of a seven-day week, or a six-day week, it gave him something not before
known in industry, a five-day week.
If, from a social standpoint, Henry Ford's methods were a success, the higher wages,
and the opportunities for self-development and self-expression made possible by a
five-day week more than compensated for the lack of adaptability caused by
concentrating the efforts during working hours on some mere detail. In the world of
plants and animals, division of labor accompanied by the specialization of parts, each
to perform a given function and thus losing ability to perform other functions, is
always compensated for by greater ability to live. When this is not the case the plant
or animal dies, the species becomes extinct. Every plant and animal in the world
today higher than those simple colonial forms in which there is no division of labor, is
a living witness to the soundness of Nature's universal plan--the plan that progress
is to be accomplished by specialization of parts and cooperation, through division of
labor, between parts.
Now all this may appear to have little bearing on the daily life of the ordinary
individual who desires to make the most of existence through the utilization of occult
powers and knowledge. But in reality it is of the utmost importance; for man can
neither know what he wants to do nor what is expected of him unless he has some idea
of his relation to the rest of life. He cannot hope to succeed by opposing his will and
endeavor to the will and endeavors of all other forms of life. And to use occult forces
without destroying himself he should know something about how the universe is run.
He should know as much in a general way of the policies and methods of the universe
in which he labors as he should know about the methods of any large organization for
which he goes to work. These he may learn through observation.
Each Soul Has Its Own
Important Work in God's
Great Evolutionary Plan
--As previously stated, the major policy of universal activity is progress. This is
attained by specialization of parts, division of labor, and cooperation between
functions. Each individual is a workman in the cosmic organization, and either helps
or hinders the attainment of the universal plan. As in a well managed industrial plant
new men are not employed unless some work awaits them, so in the cosmic scheme
of things there is some particular work mapped out for each individual to do. The
kind of work, in each instance, depends upon the ability of the workman.
Furthermore, one of the important efforts of all well managed organizations is to
educate individuals, each according to his own qualifications, to hold a more
responsible position. That is, the individual is trained, both by Nature and by the
industrial or commercial concern, to fill some one position for which he is by
temperament best fitted, and as high a position as his qualifications at the time will
permit.
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Obviously, it is not to the advantage of the organization, nor is it to the advantage of
the individual, for him to attempt work for which he is temperamentally unfitted.
Some of our largest merchandising firms make it a point, when an employee makes a
poor showing in the department where first placed, to move him about for awhile
from one department to another until it is determined just where he is able to give
maximum service. A person who is a rank failure in the selling department is thus
often discovered to be a valuable find in the accounting department, and a mediocre
floor walker may at times be transformed into an excellent buyer. One who may be
able to sell dry goods with utmost difficulty may, through a natural aptitude, become
an excellent salesman of mechanical contrivances. It is to the advantage of the
organization for the individual to be in the place he is best fitted to fill; for this leads to
maximum efficiency. And it is to the advantage of the individual to find the work in
the organization for which he is best fitted, because in it, in addition to being happier
than elsewhere, he gets the most remuneration and makes the greatest progress.
The practical occultist, therefore, very early in his application of occult laws, makes a
study of his own temperament and abilities, with a view to determining just what
work he is best fitted to do in the cosmic organization.
In arriving at this decision he proceeds very much as if he were selecting merely his
vocation as a citizen of the country to which he belongs. Such vocation, to be sure, is
of importance in his cosmic work; for if he follows a vocation for which ill-fitted he
lowers his efficiency in the greater work of life, of which his vocation, though
important, is but a part. In selecting the cosmic work, however, other factors that
influence vocational selection may be neglected and the attention concentrated on
developing the natural aptitudes in the direction of maximum efficiency in aiding
universal progress.
That is, the selection of a proper vocation is very essential; for through his vocation
man should contribute constructively to society. But for reasons to be mentioned
shortly it is often impossible for man through his vocation to do his highest
constructive work. This work, however, is facilitated by selecting the proper
vocation. Such a vocation enables him to contribute through it directly to human
welfare, and through yielding him an income sufficient to afford him opportunity for
other work, as well as providing him with the necessities and facilities of life, enables
him also to contribute to human welfare in other ways than those directly involved in
his vocation.
Thus it is that most of the important steps in human progress have been taken by men
utilizing time outside of vocational hours. These men, for the most part, have made
their living at something else, and have made their great contribution to society by
utilizing such leisure and opportunity as the remuneration from their vocations
permitted. Only recently, for instance, and these few in number in the research
departments of our great industrial and commercial concerns, have men been able to
make a living by being scientists. For the most part, outside the occult field, those
who have contributed to scientific knowledge have been professors in colleges and
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technical experts in the employ of industry. Their contributions to science have been
made possible because teaching or technical work has provided them with a living;
and they could utilize time outside of working hours to devote to their favorite
pursuit.
The great philosophies of the world have not been expounded as a means of making a
living. Their authors may, or may not, have obtained some material recompense if
their works were published, but they were mostly the work of time not employed in
making a living. Sometimes inventors make money from their inventions,
sometimes not; but in proportion to the number of inventions in the world there are
very few professional inventors. Most inventions are the result of spare time work of
people otherwise gainfully employed. Even in the arts and in literature, where
definite professions exist, it is not infrequent to find contributions of great merit
made by those who regularly follow other vocations. Thus it is that while the
vocation should be an important accessory to the life-work, it need not be identical
with it.
Furthermore, in a life economically well adjusted, there should be some leisure and
energy available beyond that used in making a living. Even the animals below man
make a living. If man does no more than this his life is a failure. Beyond making a
living he should contribute, at least in some small way, to the welfare of the human
race and the development of the cosmos.
This contribution to racial advancement need be no great undertaking. A smile and a
cheerful word are truly constructive factors in the scheme of things. Effort toward the
development of character is an endowment in favor of mankind. The helping hand is
a boon extended far beyond the one in immediate need of succor. Opposing bigotry
and intolerance by word and by influence has its value as a universal factor. None
there is, if the desire be strong, but who can help make this world a better place in
which to live.
But first of all, before surplus energies can be devoted to the welfare of others, a
living must be procured. Nor must we overlook the fact that the work of making a
livelihood may be a constructive element in human progress. In order that they may
live and thus have opportunity to develop spiritually and intellectually people must
have food, shelter and raiment. Providing these, therefore, is constructive work,
cosmically considered. Education is an essential to human progress, and is afforded
not alone by schools and the printing press, but also by travel and motion pictures.
Recreation makes more efficient work possible, art elevates the soul, mechanical
devices free man from drudgery to devote his energy to better advantage, and the
myriad of articles that contribute to man's comfort mostly assist him to emotional
refinement and intellectual activity through making it unnecessary to direct the
energies against the harshness of life. The occupations concerned with supplying
these wants, which give man greater leisure and energy for self improvement, are
decidedly constructive.
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Some occupations there are that supply things men should be better off without.
Cosmically viewed they are destructive occupations. But most of the vocations of
men have a very real value in contributing something that is beneficial to human
welfare. They should be looked upon, therefore, not merely as means of gaining a
livelihood, but as an essential part of the work of cooperating consciously in the
advancement of the cosmic plan.
The first thing, but not the only thing, in selecting a vocation, is to select an outlet for
the energies in which the natural aptitudes have full play. Temperamentally,
physically, and mentally, a person is fitted for one vocation and unsuited for another.
The impulsive man has no call for an occupation where patience is the prime
requisite, and the meek person is miserable in a position that calls for strife and
initiative. Some people take readily to speaking and writing, others to mechanics,
and others to business or the professions. Each person has some natural qualification
which should be utilized through his vocation. There are various ways, such as
intelligence and aptitude tests, by which a person's abilities may be gauged; but I
know no other half so accurate as natal astrology. The birth chart shows at a glance,
and without fail, in just what things there is a natural aptitude, and in which with
proper effort, one can excel.
But ability does not necessarily make for success. In exercising the natural talent the
environment may be such as to bring death or disaster. Many who have had
pronounced ability as aviators have met untimely deaths. The finest mechanics often
lose life or limb. Excellent merchants lose all through fire or flood. Important
statesmen at times are shot down by political enemies. Writers are made subjects of
libel suits. Fine doctors early contract disease from patients. And whatever the
occupation may be, it has the possibility in spite of ability and every care, of
attracting misfortune. That is, the exercise of the natural talents may, and often does,
lead to an environment that brings ruin.
But natural talents are not so restricted that they must find their maximum expression
through one particular avenue. The aviator might have exercised his mechanical
talent without taking to the air, and thus prolonged both his life and his usefulness.
The mechanic might have worked at the building trades rather than in a machine
shop, and avoided serious accident. The merchant might have been a successful
banker and have had no loss. The statesman might have exercised his talent as a
successful lawyer and still be alive. The writer might have written fiction instead of
biography and have avoided trouble. The doctor might have been a druggist and lived
long and successfully. Had they but known it, each could have found ample
expression for his talent, been of greater use to society, and have avoided
overwhelming misfortune.
Such misfortunes are due to the environment with which occupations surround those
who follow them. Others, however, follow these vocations and escape difficulty.
That is, the influence of a particular environment, or association, on one person may
be entirely different than upon another person, irrespective of ability. The soldier
who gets no injury in battle is no more skilled than the soldier who is killed; but he has
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within his astral body thought-cells possessing different desires, desires that exercise
extra-physical power to attract opposite events in battle. So it is with other
environments. Irrespective of ability, a particular environment, or association with a
particular thing, attracts to a person events that correspond to the way the
thought-cells feel relative to it.
Nothing in the realm of practical occultism, it seems to me, is more important than
determining the effect various environmental associations will have on the life of the
individual. Because thought-cells of a certain type are harmoniously organized in
one individual and are inharmoniously organized in another individual, the same
environment will attract untoward good fortune to one and excessive misfortune to
the other. But place the same two persons where the associations are markedly
different and the roles are changed, fortune visiting the previously unfortunate, and
misfortune dogging the steps of the one previously favored. The effect of
environmental influences to attract harmony or discord is exceedingly diverse in its
application, and I shall speak more fully of it in connection with a wide variety of
things in another place; but here it should be stressed as of equal importance with
ability, in the selection of a vocation.
Not only should the vocation be one that will permit the full expression of the
temperament and natural abilities, but it should be one in which the environmental
associations will tend to attract so-called good luck.
Good luck is as essential as ability in making a success of the vocation, and by no
means should be neglected. It is necessary, therefore, to determine in association
with what things the most good fortune will be attracted. Various avenues of
divination, or the exercise of the extra-sensory perception, may be employed in this
determination; but by far the most reliable means, and that giving the fullest
information, is natal astrology. The birth chart maps each important group of
thought-cells within the astral body, indicates whether it is organized harmoniously
or discordantly, and indicates just what things tend to stimulate it into harmonious
activity or into discordant activity. From a scrutiny of such a chart, therefore, can be
determined whether a person will be lucky or unlucky due to the environmental
associations of any particular occupation. In fact, it is better to select the
environmental associations that will prove most fortunate, and then determine in
what ways the natural abilities and the temperament can be used in such an
environment to the best advantage. Such a combination, selected by the use of
common sense, gives the vocation in life in which the individual can be both the
greatest personal success and of greatest value to his fellow man.
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The Vocation May, Or May
Not, Be Similar to the
Cosmic Work
--This occupation may, or may not, coincide with the individual's highest
constructive work in the cosmic plan. That is, while it is a vital and essential phase of
his activities, the work in the cosmic scheme of things which constitutes his
particular function may be of somewhat different character. As previously indicated,
each individual is a workman in the cosmic organization, and has mapped out for him
some particular work to do. This work is progressive, and may change somewhat
from time to time, as in a bank, for instance, one who starts as office boy, may
become a filing clerk, later a teller, and finally, through other positions, arrive at the
station of president of the bank. The ability at the time, together with the work
necessary to be done at that time, determines whether he serves as office boy, teller or
president. Just so, in the cosmic organization, the service that at a given period is
most needful, together with the natural abilities of the individual as indicated by a
chart of birth, determine his proper work at that time.
In selecting the cosmic work, more attention should be given to natural ability and
aptitudes and less to the harmonious and discordant factors that determine good luck
and bad luck in selecting a vocation. Very frequently the kind of work that most
needs doing at a given time is sure to attract opposition and some misfortune to him
who does it. Pioneering, overturning outgrown ideas, advancing new and better ways
of living and doing things, campaigning against bigotry and intolerance, warring
against injustice and tyranny, and numerous other things that are necessary for
progress, usually bring much unpleasantness and misfortune to those who do them.
Reference to the birth chart indicates that in the environment of such effort
inharmony will be engendered leading to trouble. The birth chart also indicates
through what channels the desired end may be accomplished with the least difficulty
and misfortune. But in the case of cosmic work, in the case of work that is vitally
necessary to human progress, it is well worth doing at the cost of discomfort and
individual misfortune. As a matter of record, the most important work in the world is
done by those who have the ability to do it, but who have no regard for recompense,
and no thought of the consequences to themselves.
Viewed from the standpoint of practical occultism each person should take up some
endeavor, either in connection with the vocation or aside from it, for which he has
natural aptitude, that he feels is useful in the advancement of the cosmic plan. In the
exercise of one's talents there is a certain deep satisfaction. In the conscious
cooperation with the Divine Plan comes a peace and happiness not otherwise
attained. Life is lived thus at its maximum. And as a workman constructively
employed in the universal organization, contacts will be made, invisible forces
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placed at his command, and he will receive help and cooperation from others on the
inner plane as well as the outer plane, that otherwise would have remained foreign to
him. To work consistently for the welfare of the whole brings rewards far beyond the
grasp of those not so employed.
The earlier in life the vocation and the cosmic work are selected the better; for an
early selection permits the energies, instead of being directed into channels
unproductive of the end in view, to be directed toward gaining proficiency in the
selected line. The education of children, instead of being standardized, should be
conducted with the view of fitting each for the vocation and the cosmic work for
which the birth chart shows best adaptation. This eliminates the waste of much
unproductive effort, and permits the acquirement of maximum efficiency in the
chosen field. Musicians do not require the same education as do mathematicians, nor
do dentists require the same education as do lawyers. High attainment is the result of
specialization. And while it is well at any time of life to discover the proper vocation
and the proper cosmic work, if, through a careful scrutiny of the birth chart by the
parents, these are ascertained early in childhood, greater success may be attained.
Turning now from the problem of vocation and the problem of the specific cosmic
work to be done by each individual, both best ascertained from an analysis of the
birth chart, the next most important consideration is that of living the Completely
Constructive Life.
Living the Completely
Constructive Life
-- Throughout nature we find the One Principle manifesting itself under two modes
of motion: Construction and Destruction. Practically every emotional state, every
thought, and every action lend their energies as adding to or detracting from our
success in life. After all, life is not just a few important decisions and actions; it is the
sum of countless moods, perceptions, conceptions and movements, only a few of
which are noteworthy, but all of which contribute their little or their much to the sum
total of attainment. Every minute of our lives we are contributing to or detracting
from ultimate success. A neutral ground is difficult to discover. At all times, to a
greater or less degree, our energies are flowing in channels that are destructive or in
channels that are constructive. Only when the sum total of constructive energies is far
in excess of the sum total of destructive energies is there satisfactory
accomplishment.
One, therefore, who expects to make the most of life through the application of occult
knowledge should early resolve to live in such a manner that all the energies, instead
of only a portion of them, are directed constructively. This resolve should apply, not
merely to more important matters, but to every detail of thought, speech, feeling and
action.
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Such a course, at its commencement, requires the analysis of all details of the life, and
gradual adjustments in the ways of doing things.
Each thought, each emotion, and the customary actions should come under careful
scrutiny-with the end in view of discerning in them destructive elements. When such
tendencies are discovered a plan should be formulated and followed by which these
destructive energies, instead of being repressed, may be diverted into constructive
channels. They should be taken under consideration, one by one, and the effort made
to trace their true origin and meaning. Not too many at one time should be given
whatever attention and effort is necessary to transmute them into constructive
potencies; for if too much is attempted at one time the task is apt to prove beyond
accomplishment. In attempting only one thing at a time the objective can be kept
rather constantly before the attention, and there will be less likelihood of it being
neglected through oversight. Thus the energies should be concentrated upon some
particular condition to be attained over a long enough period of time that the desired
manner of thinking, feeling or doing displaces the old manner, and becomes habitual.
So numerous are the phases of life, each of which may be approached from the
destructive attitude or the constructive attitude, that the discussion of them in detail
will occupy much of this course. But in general a thought, feeling, or action may be
tested as to its constructive or destructive quality by referring to its harmony or
discord. Harmony tends to construction through its attractive power, but discord,
because it is repellent, tends to destruction.
It is true, of course, that discord has its proper function in life. But enough discord is
attracted into the lives of most of us, even when we live to the best of our ability the
completely constructive life, that we need not seek misfortune in the belief more is
needful. It is true, also, that destructive forces have their part to play in the larger
scheme of things. Even as when a malignant growth forms in human tissue it must be
removed, so must be extirpated malignant ideas that thrive on the healthy tissue of
our social organization. This is the function of the iconoclast.
Nor does the completely constructive life compromise with evil. If bitter medicine is
needed for the recovery of the patient, there is no shirking in its administration. But
such medicine is exceptional treatment and should be administered only after careful
analysis and deliberation have convinced that it is required by cosmic welfare.
To get the most out of life, then, we must live the completely constructive life, and
this implies that we live as much as practical in a condition of harmony. This applies
to our inner life, our private life, and our public life; but inasmuch as we attract from
our environment conditions that correspond in nature and in harmony or discord with
the thought-cells within ourselves, the first consideration should be in reference to
the inner life. Steps should be taken to make the inner life harmonious, not merely at
times, but twenty-four hours a day.
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To begin with, our inner life is not harmonious if in any measure we are dissatisfied
with ourselves. There have been, no doubt, errors both of omission and commission
in the past. As we view life in retrospect, many things there are that we might wish
changed. But this is a common factor of every life. The child in school misspells
many words, gets the wrong answers to many problems, incorrectly pronounces
many words. If he needed no practice in reading, spelling and mathematics he would
not be sent to school. And if we could solve correctly all the problems of life and
make no mistakes in our actions there would be no need for us of earthly experience,
and it is extremely doubtful if we would be here.
As does the child in school, we advance in knowledge through discovering where in
the past we have made mistakes. These mistakes, these errors of judgment, of
sentiment, of passion, may have been painful to ourselves or may have been painful
to others. They may be mistakes that in this life we can never rectify with those
wronged. Nor should we be callous about it. But we may take the view, and rightly,
that society is a vast clearing house. We may not be able to pay the debt directly to the
one to whom due, but we can pay the debt to society, pay it by constructive work and
the assistance of others, and confidently expect, in the long reach of time, and in some
manner, our creditor to receive his just due. We should resolve, by constructive effort
for the benefit of society, to recompense such, if any, that we have gravely wronged;
but for the past we should care only for its lessons. The past is gone, nor can we recall
it, and the energy spent mourning over its failures or lost opportunities is energy that
could better be used to provide for a satisfactory future. Dissatisfaction, as well as
sadness, grief and despondency, is a destructive mood. It is discordant, and as such
contributes energy and discordant desires to certain thought-cells within the astral
body. The activity given these thought-cells completes the vicious circle and attracts
unfortunate events which make the efforts seem even more futile We cannot afford to
harbor thoughts of dissatisfaction.
It is most difficult to form a just estimate of one's own true worth. It is easy to believe
that one should accomplish that which at the time is impossible, and it is easy to
believe that something which could readily be accomplished is quite beyond reach.
The temperament, as indicated by the birth chart and as contributed to by childhood
impressions, may be such that one believes he should be capable of great deeds, or it
may be such that one expects almost nothing of himself. In the one case, no matter
how much progress is made there is apt to be self-dissatisfaction; while in the other
case there is satisfaction even if nothing has been accomplished. Who shall say, with
certainty whether, all things considered, we should have done better?
At least, because it is gone, it is wasteful to spend time or energy in regrets. The
present we have with us, and we will never know how far we can yet progress unless
we try. And the first step in trying is to become satisfied with oneself. Such
self-satisfaction comes to one who each day does the very best he knows how.
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Each day is a cycle in itself. It is a complete phase of existence. Yesterday may have
been a good day, or it may have been a bad day, but irrespective of it, today may be
made successful. Great wars are not won without losing some battles, nor are new
habits of life formed without there being days in which they suffer defeat. Each day,
also, has its own victories and defeats. We do not accomplish at once the difficult
things we set out to do. We accomplish them only by persistent and ardent practice.
One does not learn to speak a foreign language in an hour, nor does one become
expert at golf in a day. But by our repeated mistakes, by our recurrent failures, we
gradually learn. So in learning to live the completely constructive life there will be
many failures. Some days will be dark. But if each day is considered a new
opportunity to test one's skill, if it is looked upon as a trial anew of one's ability, and
this great game of life is played with zest and enthusiasm, the progress that after a
time will be apparent will be more than gratifying.
In changing the life to conform to completely constructive habits, and thus enter into
the consciousness that one is cooperating intelligently with the Divine Plan, one of
the greatest obstacles is the tendency to forget, in the absorption of the affairs at hand,
the details of what one is trying to do. If one but remembers that anger is to be
converted into constructive activity, that irritation is childish, that discouragement is
devitalizing, at the moment when these emotions are stimulated, it is not so difficult
to transmute their energy into more harmonious channels.' But because the event at
hand and the stimulus occupy the attention so completely at the time, the emotional
reaction is apt to take place before there is serious thought as to its propriety.
Consequently, one of the first things to learn is an attitude of constant vigilance
toward the character of all thoughts, feelings and actions.
As a help in this direction, which has been followed by many sages in the past, it is
well on waking in the morning to formulate as clearly as possible the activities for the
day. In this plan of the day's efforts due importance should be placed on thoughts and
emotions as well as on actions. Then at night, just before going to sleep, it is well to
review the accomplishments of the day with the purpose of discerning to what extent
the morning plans have been carried out, and what factors hindered the carrying out
of these plans, and how such factors in future may be eliminated or overcome.
In the ordinary run of life as it is presented to the housewife, the business man, the
artisan and the laborer, circumstances repeatedly arise in the course of the day's
activities that bring more or less feelings of irritation. Some people are so situated
and so temperamentally inclined that they express this irritation audibly or in other
ways. Others, through consideration of the feelings of others, or through desire to
hold their position, give little outward sign of irritation, but nevertheless feel it
keenly.
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All such feeling of annoyance, whether expressed d, outwardly or not, is discordant
and acts as a destructive force. The jangle of the nervous system, through its
electrical energies, sets up a jangle of vibrations in the astral body. Through
repetition these build up discordant thought-cells in the astral form. These
thought-cells then work from the inner plane to attract inharmonious environmental
conditions. They bring into the life events that make success in any line more
difficult.
Such feelings of irritation go a long way back in the person's mental history. In fact,
they go back to the time of birth as one of the three unconditioned responses of the
new-born child--fear, rage, love-- that may be aroused by unconditioned stimuli.
Hampering the movements of a new-born child causes it to express rage. As the child
grows older it finds that the expression of rage or irritation or discomfort enables it at
times to have its own way with parents or playmates. If crying brings it the things it
wants, the crying habit is formed. If violent rages cause it to be noticed--for all
children desire notice--the habit of violent rages is apt to be formed. If the child can
get what it wants by making a scene, we have the infantile background for the
hysterical adult. But after all, these are childish expressions. They should have no
part in adult life because they detract from efficiency and success. They are one and
all destructive.
They are on a par with the person who kicks a stone because he stumbles over it, or
smashes a table because he runs against it in the dark. In the one case he hurts his own
toe, and in the other must supply a new table or repair the old one. The child, and the
primitive man, have a feeling that inanimate objects are activated by feelings of
hostility or kindness. They abuse a stone that has hurt them because they have the
feeling that the stone is responsible.
The feelings of irritation at the circumstances of daily life are but infantile hangovers.
They are childish emotions that should have been outgrown. By attracting other
events that give rise to further irritation they complete a vicious circle. They thus
always defeat their own ends. Consequently, they must be transformed into
constructive energies by those who would live the completely constructive life.