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Chapter 7
The Wholesome Pathway
I
t should be plain to any individual that an energy is capable of being diverted to a
wide variety of uses, and that some of these possible applications are destructive in
character and that other possible applications are constructive in their work. Even
dynamite must be used to blast the building occupied by public officials, and thus
destroy their lives; in addition to being used to secure the gold which is locked in
dense rock in the course of mining operations. And thus it is with imponderable
forces. They may be used to add life or to bring death; and it is the object of this lesson
to indicate how they may be applied for constructive purposes.
But before we begin to indicate their constructive operation, as distinct from that
destructive, we must form some conclusion as to the things in man's life which are
truly desirable. We must know what it is that is worth while building before we enlist
any energy in constructive work, so that what is built will be of real value and not a
liability.
The Three Highly Desirable Things of Life
--From the Hermetic viewpoint we can state the matter quite concisely; that there are
three mutually dependent and highly desirable things in life which are worth
supreme effort to obtain. These three are usefulness, happiness and spirituality.
Usefulness implies that one is doing something which helps along the tide of cosmic
progression, and adds something of value to society. Man has no excuse for existence
unless ultimately he can be of some use to other entities. Otherwise he is constantly a
recipient of help without being able to render compensation in return. He is indigent
and a burden upon others.
But man can not arrive at his highest efficiency in any line if he is unhappy.
Unhappiness contracts the muscles and the thoughts and hampers movement. Pain is
restrictive. Nor can man be of highest use unless he is also spiritual; for only when
spiritual can he perceive what he should do to be of real service. And only when
spiritual does he operate from a plane of frequency high enough to do the best class of
work.
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Yet an individual who is idle, or an individual who is destructive, or an individual
who is a burden upon others can not have any high degree of happiness; for any high
degree of happiness implies a consciousness of self-esteem and a feeling of kindly
helpfulness toward others. Nor can an individual have a high degree of happiness
unless he is also spiritual. For unspirituality coincides with grossness, and grossness
is incapable of experiencing the fine feelings and intense consciousness that alone
yield great happiness.
Furthermore, because spirituality rests upon tuning up the dominant vibratory rates
of the individual to permanent high-frequency through cultivating certain thoughts
and emotional states, there can be no spirituality not based upon constructive work
and happiness. That is, the unselfish desire to be helpful to others which inspires and
accompanies the better class of constructive work, builds up the spiritual vibratory
rates. And real happiness, also, through intensifying the vibratory rates, conduces in
a similar way to building up the spiritual body. Happiness and effort to benefit others
both yield spiritual vibrations.
Control Must Be Commensurate With Energy Volume
--Not only should it be apparent that an energy is capable of being diverted into
either destructive or constructive channels, but it should be equally apparent that
when an energy is tapped in too great volume, irrespective of desire to use it
constructively, it breaks away from control and usually brings disaster.
Driving a car around a curve in the highway, if the speed is too great, in spite of the
good intentions of the driver, it escapes from the road and piles up in the ditch. Even
on a straight course under the most favorable conditions, as exemplified by the
attempts to break auto speed records at Miami Beach, if too great speed is attained it
results in ruin.
It used to be said of the White Steamer Auto that it could go much faster than anyone
could hold it to the road. That is, there was more energy than the driver could
properly control. And I might go on to show that too heavy an electric current burns
out a lighting system, that too much water in a canyon tears out or overflows the dam
built to gather its power, that too much wind destroys the windmill, and that too much
of any kind of energy becomes destructive because it cannot adequately be
controlled.
And having said this, I may take another step and say, as the result of observing
people for more than half a century, and of contact with occult aspirants for over forty
years, that most people generate normally about all the mental and psychical energy
they can properly handle. When an individual is well poised enough so that he never
loses his temper, never becomes irritated, never permits himself to feel fear, anxiety,
or any other disagreeable emotion, he proves that he has the energy at his command
well under control.
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But the most touchy people I have ever contacted, those irritated at the least, and who
fly into a tantrum when things do not go just right, have been some who live what
they believe to be unusually spiritual lives. One man, living near Los Angeles--just
to give a concrete illustration--who is so holy that he never wears shoes, does not cut
his hair, never wears a hat, and is looked upon by many as a saint, flies into a rage at
the smallest provocation and curses his burros and beats them unmercifully. Another
similar saint whose hobby is breathing, diet and few clothes, when others do not
agree with his beliefs, gets red in the face and shouts and storms around asserting that
the others have no sense.
If you are desirous of meeting people who are easily upset emotionally, quickly
thrown off balance by unexpected events, and who become unduly excited when
slightly opposed in anything, just visit almost any occult colony. Not that colonial
life is to blame; but commonly those who reside in such colonies have gone there to
develop their spiritual qualities, and are undergoing some sort of training.
I am not condemning colonies. I am merely stating that I know many people who
belong to these colonies, and have acquaintances who have lived in practically all of
them. And I find that the average man of the street is much better poised than the
average individual who lives in an occult colony. For the person who lives in such a
colony usually strives either to develop new energy-sources, or places himself under
some kind of nervous strain.
Again I must say that I have no fault to find with colonies. I only draw attention to
their membership because there you can more readily find, and study the conduct of,
numerous individuals who are living unnatural lives.
Because, as I have already pointed out, so few people have trained themselves to
control and direct the thoughts and nerve currents they normally have, when these
individuals begin to turn on new and unaccustomed energies through arousing the
kundalini, through stimulating the chakras, through rhythmic breathing, or through
any one of the dozen methods commonly advocated by those following Oriental
procedure, they quickly get into a lot of trouble.
I do not say that these methods as used in the Orient get those there into such
difficulties; for there the teacher may train his disciple for years in the art of thought
control before permitting him to start playing with new energies. And here in the
West, when we are thoroughly established in the habit-system of at all times
directing our thoughts and controlling our emotions, no harm can come from taking
on, through breathing, for instance, an additional energy supply. But the energy
supply should never be developed, as it so often is among those mentioned, to a
volume too great for continuous and perfect control.
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A man or woman who flies into a temper, who worries, who becomes sad, who
experiences fear, who is irritated by what husband or wife does or says, who cries,
who becomes despondent, or who permits himself or herself to have any
disagreeable emotion under even the most trying circumstances, has all the energy
already present that can be handled with safety. And the individual who cannot keep
his thoughts from wandering to some particular object or particular subject, should
better avoid psychic experiences until he can learn to focus his thoughts, like the
beam from a spot light, on the region he chooses, to the exclusion of everything else.
This is not merely the opinion of the Western School of occultism, but also that of the
Oriental School; for the Yoga System emphasizes the same thing over and over
again. But Western students, in a hurry, and hoping to find a short cut and avoid
arduous work, too often ignore it.
Furthermore, these bodies we possess are inherited from ten thousand generations of
ancestors; in fact, they are inherited from a time when the only life on earth was
single-celled in form. A minute portion of that single cell has come down to us
without suffering extinction on the way, and as it came it subdivided, developing
organs that through division of labor have constructed a very complex organism.
And this complex physical organism we now have has very gradually developed
many distinctive traits.
Not all of these traits, these ways it has of doing things, or the things it does, are the
best that can be thought of; but they are the ones that, through countless repetition,
have become firmly fixed in our inheritance.
Now there can be no question but that certain improvements in the way this physical
body performs are desirable. It is desirable that it shall live on certain foods instead of
those on which its ancestors mostly lived. It is desirable that certain fundamental
urges be diverted into channels that are more acceptable to the present status of
society. It is highly desirable that this organism become sensitive enough that it can
be tuned in on messages and programs from the inner planes. It is desirable that
psychic (astral) energies be developed in volume, so that they may perform work at a
distance, and that nerve currents become more intense, to the end of using
electromagnetic energy to produce wonderful phenomena. These, and many more
that might be mentioned, are all within the possibilities of what can be done with the
human body under control of a highly developed mind.
But this body has not been accustomed to these things, and its ancestors have not
been accustomed to them. Therefore, if the desired condition is forced, if a very
delicate process of development is not observed, the balance of the whole organism
is disturbed. It is possible to cure virulent germ diseases by saturating the body with
mercury. If enough mercury is given the patient it kills the disease, certainly. But it
may also kill the patient. And even when it permits the patient to live, it is a long, and
often impossible process to get the mercury out of his system.
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By far, too many occult schools adopt a policy toward their neophytes which is
comparable to saturating the body with mercury to cure its ailments. With a
completely distorted view of what is meant by spirituality, they have decided that the
animal propensities in man are all different, but malignant, types of spiritual
diseases. And they set about the task, with great vigor, of killing them out, regardless
of how the patient is weakened, or even destroyed, in the process.
Animal Propensities
--Yet, in truth, these animal propensities, which nature has been ten thousand
generations building, are the only source of energy which can be utilized for spiritual
purposes. If one has never acquired the desire for self-preservation, how is he to
acquire the more complex desire for race preservation? If one has never developed
the ability to benefit himself, how shall he learn the technique, which is still more
difficult, of effectively helping many others? If he has had no experience with loving
one individual, how shall he learn to love all mankind? If a man has no capacity for
being happy, how does he know what will most conduce to the happiness of others?
The fundamental desires of the animal are transmitted by inheritance to man. And
should he succeed, through some artificial method, in destroying them, he would
have nothing of any worth left. He would be a negative, listless individual, who
would have that greatly heralded quality of "detachment." He would be so
"detached" that nothing would matter to him, and he would do nothing, and his
spirituality would be about on the level with that of a piece of driftwood floating
down the river.
"Detachment" is the opposite of love. We attract things or conditions when we think
about them, or when there are thought-cells within ourselves that have been
organized by consciousness, of a similar vibratory rate. To visualize a thing, and then
to feel intently about it, tends to attract it. But when we feel intently about something
we certainly are not "detached" from it; we are, on the contrary, attached to it. But
unless we are, either consciously or unconsciously, able to feel about a thing, we are
unable to affect it in any significant way.
It is certainly not through becoming "detached" that we become spiritual, but
through becoming attached, just as strongly as possible, to those things which are
spiritual in quality. The more intense the desire for a quality, the quicker that quality
is developed.
Energy, under the direction of the soul, is directed by feeling. A "detached"
individual implies lack of feeling about things. But the stronger the feeling is to
perform spiritual acts, and the stronger the feeling is to refine the thoughts and
inclinations, the more will spiritual acts be performed, and the more will the thoughts
and inclinations be refined toward truly spiritual vibrations. Which all means that if
we are to become spiritual we must determine what things and qualities are spiritual,
and then cultivate as great a joy in these things, as great an attachment to them, as it is
possible for us to form.
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In truth, however--although many occult schools have so failed to keep abreast of
modern experimental psychology that they are unaware of it--those who attempt to
deprive their fundamental animal propensities and think they have risen above them,
merely suffer an illusion; for the propensities manage to find a substitute outlet
elsewhere. It may be set forth as a general rule that the suppression of any
fundamental urge or function merely drives the energy of that urge or function into
some less obvious, and less beneficial, channel of expression. Those who attempt
such suppression unbalance their nervous systems, or otherwise disorganize their
faculties; which explains why those who follow prevalent methods of occult training
so often are flighty, unreliable, and easily aroused to uncontrolled emotions.
Yet it is true that so long as the animal propensities express in animal-like channels
there is always an absence of spirituality.
What must be done by the neophyte seeking the healthful and normal highway to
spiritual attainment, is gradually to lead all his fundamental animal desires and
propensities, as well as those not so fundamental, into methods of expression which
will give them full satisfaction and at the same time build spirituality.
There is not one of the fundamental urges--love of the opposite sex, desire to live,
desire for self-esteem, desire for self-expression, etc.--which cannot find
satisfaction in a manner which will conduce to all the three most highly desirable
things in life: service to society, happiness, and spirituality. That is, each can express
in a manner which refines the emotions, gives pleasure, and aids in some manner to
give the ability for useful work.
How these desires may thus be led to find satisfaction and enjoyment in the channels
of expression which have been selected as more befitting the spiritual man has
already been set forth in Course XIV, Chapters 5-6 in connection with the
formation of new habit-systems. Through the gradual formation of new
habit-systems the animal is not killed, but is deliberately transformed into the
spiritual man.
Psychic Development
--Such character development may be accompanied by practices which tend to
make more active the psychic senses. These psychic senses are the organs by which
we are made aware of what is taking place through inner-plane perception.
There is nothing unnatural about using the faculty of clairvoyance, the faculty of
psychometry, the faculty of clairaudience, the faculty of though-transference, or any
other psychic faculty. They are the use of the sense organs which, in less than one
hundred years when we no longer have a physical body, we will commonly use. Nor
does their use necessitate negativeness.
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Feeling Extra-Sensory Perception is present when the nervous system becomes
sensitive enough that the electromagnetic currents flowing over it are able to pick up,
and the nerves interpret, the inner-plane radiations of objects and events. Yet what is
said about the danger of developing new sources of energy faster than they can be
controlled likewise is applicable to the development of such sensitivity.
Sensitiveness should never be developed faster than the ability to determine what
vibrations will be received is developed. This insures that one is not subject to the call
on the phone connecting with the invisible world except when one wants to listen,
and that one does not have to listen to someone whom one does not care to hear.
The most valuable faculty anyone can possess who becomes somewhat sensitive to
imponderable forces, is the ability to hang up the receiver and cut the connection
whenever it is desired.
I have already, at some length, explained how this may be accomplished, and that
when the connection is thus cut no invisible entity can have any influence on the
individual. Yet merely turning the objective thoughts in a concentrated manner to
some other subject often is not sufficient, unless the habit-system has become well
established also to direct the full attention of the unconscious mind into the same
channel. This is because feeling may be able to keep a part of the attention on the
sensation felt, and this keeps the unconscious mind tuned in on the source of the
feeling.
Under such circumstances, something must arouse some other feeling to an intensity
greater than that induced by the invisible energy in order to turn the unconscious
attention, as well as the conscious attention, from the invisible connection. In cases,
therefore, when such an invisible influence once contacted tends to become
obsessive in character, it may be necessary to have some quite exciting event happen,
something that gives the person so afflicted an emotional shock, to break such an
undesirable connection with an entity or thought-form. This is applying Induced
Emotion.
Many people have nervous systems so sensitive that they exercise Feeling ESP
without training or effort. But so far as training for psychic development is
concerned, it is much better to direct the efforts toward developing Intellectual
Extra-Sensory Perception. This depends not on picking up innerplane vibrations
with the nervous system, but on extending the consciousness to the inner-plane
information to be apprehended. While either intuition or inspiration may be
experienced through Feeling ESP, more commonly it is the exercise of Intellectual
ESP. When without any pronounced feeling, one has the conviction, apart from
reason and the reports of the physical senses, that something is true or that some event
will take place, such intuition is derived from Intellectual ESP. And when, without
any pronounced feeling, ideas beyond the normal capacity seep into objective
consciousness, such inspiration also is derived from Intellectual ESP.
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Intellectual ESP derives from. the Intellectual activity of the soul on the inner plane.
The soul on the inner plane can either feel the radiations of objects and events and
interpret these feelings, or it can apprehend them intellectually. Thus also, on the
physical plane, one may feel the distress of some person in ill health, or one may
investigate the symptoms intellectually without feeling any of the distress. And those
who learn how not to feel the suffering of their patients make the most successful
healers. Likewise, those who learn how to acquire inner-plane information through
Intellectual ESP in which feeling is not a prominent factor, can use this ability
without the annoyance of feeling disagreeable or perhaps even dangerous influences.
Consciousness can move out or it can move in. The necessity of keeping aware of
outer-plane conditions, and reasoning about them correctly, in order to survive in the
physical world has developed the habit of keeping the consciousness out. This is
termed objective consciousness. But if cerebral thinking cease, except to retain
sufficient awareness to keep from going to sleep, the consciousness can be thrust
down and back to function on the innerplane and become aware of the objects and
thought-forms of this high-velocity region.
Of course, merely ceasing cerebral thinking does not insure that the soul becomes
active gaining information on the inner plane, no more than the fact that an individual
is objectively conscious implies that because of being thus conscious he is gathering
and reasoning about outer-plane information. Inhibiting cerebral activity merely
withdraws the attention from outer-plane activities and gives it the opportunity to
focus on inner-plane conditions. Whether or not it takes advantage of this
opportunity depends on the electromagnetic energy with which it is directed. What is
it on the outer-plane that permits one person to gain and remember information of
value while another person in the same environment learns almost nothing? It is
chiefly the difference in habit-systems. One has developed not merely the desire for
information, but the habit-system of becoming cerebrally active in the determined
effort to realize this desire. The other perhaps has just as good brain-cells, but either
has a less strong desire for information, or has not developed the habit-system of
becoming resolutely active in realizing his desires. He does not mobilize
electromagnetic energy to produce the required kind and intensity of cerebral
activity.
With training, an individual can learn how to inhibit cerebral activity and shove his
consciousness out on the inner plane to acquire knowledge not possible to acquire
through reason and the physical senses. But information thus contacted does not
necessarily reach his objective awareness. To impress his brain and thus become
perceived by objective consciousness, the information sought and gained by the soul
on the inner plane must be able to mobilize and use enough electromagnetic energy
successfully to compete with the electromagnetic energy mobilized and used by
other thoughts and impressions derived from either the physical plane or the inner
plane. Whatever is perceived on the inner plane resides within the soul, or
unconscious mind, even as a physical experience which has been forgotten resides
thus also within the unconscious mind.
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In either case, to affect objective awareness this memory must be able successfully to
compete for attention with other thoughts and impressions. Therefore if there are
imperative unconscious desires struggling for attention, these may either prevent
what was perceived on the inner plane by the soul from getting recognition, or they
may warp and distort it as it impresses objective consciousness. And if cerebral
activity of any kind, such as common objective thinking, is taking place it may be,
and usually is, impossible for the ESP information to mobilize enough
electromagnetic energy to compete for attention with these images and thoughts. In
this case, even when the soul on the inner plane has sifted the desired information
from other innerplane images it has contacted--and such discrimination requires
practice to exercise at will--the information continues to reside within the
unconscious mind as a memory of which the individual perhaps never becomes
objectively aware.
Even as accomplishing work on the outer plane and acquiring information on the
outer plane become possible through training, so doing work on the inner plane and
gaining knowledge on the inner plane also become possible through proper and
persistent training.
Psychic Instability
--As the subject of innerplane work has been brought up, it may be well here to
mention certain organizations which are always accusing other organizations and
people of different belief of using black magic.
As a matter of fact, there are very few organizations in existence on the physical
plane which do very much in the way of black magic. Nearly all the various occult
schools, and the colonies which I mentioned earlier, are composed of earnest,
well-meaning people who have no real desire to injure others, and who really aspire
so make the world better, and themselves to become more perfect.
Some of the members of such organizations, however, become unduly sensitive.
Also they are violently intolerant of any belief other than that which at the time they
entertain. Thus they connect up with those on the inner plane of similar intolerance of
belief, and become accustomed very thoroughly to the vibratory rates and
thought-form vibrations of the particular school or organization to which they
belong.
While they are in a region permeated with these thought-vibrations to which they
have become accustomed, and in contact only with people of belief similar to their
own, they feel quite at peace with the world. But, because they are so sensitive, when
they come in contact with some individual who has positive beliefs which are quite at
variance with theirs, they at once intensely feel the clash of incompatible thoughts.
When they come into contact with some organization which holds to ideas
displeasing to them they are quite upset by the clash of vibrations. And because they
feel this discord, which really arises from psychic instability, they think, and say, that
others are black magicians.
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What I mean by psychic instability is the condition that arises when people have
undergone training which so places their feelings on edge that any slight inharmony
is exaggerated by them to feel like an overwhelming force. In the world of affairs a
certain amount of give and take is essential to getting along with others. It is not to be
expected that all people shall agree in detail. Two people should not, and under
normal circumstances do not, feel distress because they do not completely agree. But
under forced development of psychic sensitivity, even a slight jarring of thoughts
that are not compatible is sufficient to give the individual so afflicted the "jitters" and
cause him to think he is being attacked by "black magic."
Discerning the cause of such reactions to be the unbalanced psychism of the
individual, I always look askance at the methods of those groups which make much
of black magic persecution, or which seem to think that every group which does not
agree with them must be black magicians. There must be something wrong with the
method of training they use or their students would not get into such an abnormal
condition.
Invisible Brotherhoods
--All mental practices which are grounded in the desire to injure others or to gain a
selfish advantage over others are virulent diseases of the soul. But it is never wise for
a doctor to think too protractedly about any disease; for in so doing he is apt to
develop the disease in himself. Cancer specialists, for instance, with unusual
frequency die of cancer. And it is even more dangerous, because more contagious, to
let the mind dwell too much on the "brethren of the shadow" (really invisible
racketeers and gangsters), or on inversive forces.
I believe every occult student should be informed in detail just how these malicious
and destructive intelligences and forces operate, so that he can distinguish their
activities when present, and so that he knows just how to avoid contact with them and
how to protect himself and others from their cunning. But as soon as he has
accomplished this, the less thought he gives to such matters the better; for thinking
about them much tends to ring them up on the invisible telephone.
With such a comprehension of processes, he will certainly not use magical symbols
with whose import he is unfamiliar in the effort to arouse energy, accomplish work
through invisible forces, or in attracting Invisible assistance. In fact, unless he has
completely lost his common sense, he will avoid both black magic and ceremonial
gray magic completely, and will no more think of trying to use elementals to get
something done than he would of taking a trip to the arctic with the purpose of
trapping a pack of wolves to make them serve him.
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It is permissible to use rituals of a spiritual character such as are used in many
religions. And it is permissible to use the rituals of lodges and organizations which
are known to work consistently for human betterment. The Masonic ritual, for
instance, when understood, may not only intensify the emotions, but tends to connect
the individuals with those of the lodge on the inner plane. And if one is a member of
some organization which works energetically to help and enlighten people, there can
be no objection to asking the invisible brethren of that organization for assistance.
And in making the contact, the ritual, or the symbols, of the organization may be
employed ceremonially.
But in asking help from the invisible brethren of such an organization, or in taking
part in the ritual and worship of any group with which you have sympathy, it should
be remembered that the general attitude of the invisible members tends to be
shadowed in the attitude of the membership on the physical plane. If the physical
membership seem unbalanced, morbid, nervously irritable, and not useful citizens,
you may be sure that the membership on the inner plane have similar characteristics;
for those on the inner plane who yet belong to it have not changed greatly since
passing over.
If you find the membership of an organization on this plane to be narrow in their
views, intolerant of any ideas but their own, with a tendency to keep others from
thinking, reading about, or getting acquainted with, anything that does not confirm
the beliefs they hold, you may be sure that the invisible membership also, in so far as
they are contacted, and in so far as they can make their influence felt during the
ceremonial gatherings of those on earth, will make strenuous efforts to blind anyone
taking part in the ritual, or who is present, to everything but the creed which they
advocate. Therefore, in taking part in such ceremonials, even when the general trend
of aspirations of those present is high and helpful, bear in mind that those who are
ignorant, but well-intentioned, often are violently opposed to truth and progress; and
that under such circumstances there is often present a strong psychic influence that
discourages the acquisition of information and strives to dominate the beliefs. Other
than this influence of religious and other organizations to bind the individual to their
views, which may be determined from a knowledge of the membership, the spiritual
benefit, or otherwise, to be derived from attending such a gathering can be
determined quite accurately from the feelings. If, upon leaving such a gathering,
ceremony, or place of worship, there develops a feeling of dejection, of
discouragement, or worry and discord, or other low-vibration feeling, you may be
sure that the imponderable forces thus contacted are detrimental. But if the feelings
that follow, and which are sustained, are those that give buoyancy, which encourage
the desire to perform some good deed, which engender tenderness and unselfishness
and a high aspiration for a noble life, you may be sure that the imponderable forces
contacted have been constructive and--other than possibly limiting intelligence
quite--spiritual.
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The same criterion may be applied to almost all the circumstances of life in
determining whether they are beneficial from a spiritual standpoint or not. It is
applicable as a test of the spiritual value of music, of other entertainment, or of social
relations.
Sex Magic
--Because passion associated with any selfish objective is a coarse and base
emotion, it should be apparent that sex-magic is a delusion and a snare. That is, while
it is true that the emotions can be aroused to a height of magical possibilities through
sex, where love is not the dominant motive for sexual expression the element of
selfishness is so strongly present that only energies of the lower astral region can thus
be contacted. Those, therefore, who try to use sex magically to attain worldly
prosperity, to injure others, or to gain some unfair advantage, connect up only with
the scum of the invisible region. And such use of sex for magical purposes is
destructive to the soul and detrimental to spirituality.
On the other hand, sex is the fountain from which springs true, unselfish love.
Unselfish love is not concerned with benefiting self; it is concerned with tenderness,
helpfulness and the welfare of another. And this unselfish attitude engenders an
intense longing to be noble, to be of some vast service to the world, to be better in
every way, and to help others to be better. And, in so far as the kind of imponderable
forces contacted is concerned, and in so far as the spiritual effect is concerned, it is
the type of emotions, and their intensity that count.
We can state it as a general rule, therefore, that whenever domestic or social
relations--irrespective of what they may be--engender tenderness, loving
solicitude, unselfish desire for greater service, a lifting of the mind to higher and
nobler things; these things raise the dominant vibratory rate, and are spiritually
beneficial.
Fear, on the other hand, is a destructive and unspiritual emotion. It tends to tune the
individual in on the very thing feared. And the most potent avenue of any malignant
invisible force is through the fear it engenders. But, as I trust I have shown in this
course in detail, there is really nothing to fear from "black forces." Astral gangsters
do exist, and physical persons who try to gain an unfair advantage through psychic
channels have not become extinct; but the individual who knows that they can only
reach him when he tunes in on them through thinking intently about them, or through
fear of them (which is one way of thinking intently about them), is quite fully
protected by the application of this knowledge.
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After all, destructive imponderable forces are merely the carrying to the astral plane
of propensities that nature has been at extreme pains to develop on earth. They are
merely a continuation of the animal nature. But none of this animal nature can exist
above the astral. Even animals and plants continue to live in the astral; but their
vibratory rates are not high enough, nor are the vibratory rates of the animal soul of
man high enough, to in any way affect spiritual substance. Therefore, while the
destructive intelligences and thought-forms we have been considering persist for a
time on the astral plane, they never reach nor influence the true spiritual world. They
have, thus, no immortality.
To build up positiveness and initiative, which in spiritual realms will be used
exclusively for constructive purposes, Nature sent the soul through the lower
kingdoms of life. Life on earth is a constant struggle for survival. One form of life
exists only at the expense of another form. Big fish eat little fish, and these eat those
smaller, while the smallest fish feed on diatoms, which are single-celled plants; and
even vegetarian man lives at the expense of the vegetable kingdom.
In addition to other enemies, nearly all types of life suffer also from some kind of
parasitism. The chief diseases to which man is subject, for instance, are due to minute
organisms endeavoring to live within his body at man's expense. Everywhere--from
mineral up to the Wall Street banker who floats an international loan by which he
takes advantage of the trust placed in him by the public to sell them foreign bonds that
later turn out to be worthless, in the process of gaining a fat commission for
himself--everywhere in the animal domain we find organisms trying to gain an
unfair advantage over others. It is the law of the survival of the cunning and the
strong. The racketeers, high-jackers, and criminal gangs of our cities, and the
so-called inversive brethren of the inner plane, are merely yet living under this law of
animal life.
But when evolution reaches the state of man, if it is to continue, the law of survival is
broadened to embrace a universal scope. It cannot develop above the astral while
dominated by so narrow a view as that the individual, or group, is the important
survival unit. Evolution, to continue according to the Divine Plan, must be broadened
to the conception that the Cosmic Whole is the thing which must survive at all costs.
Spiritual life is dependent upon the correlation of the individual to cosmic
advancement. To survive in spiritual spheres he no longer must think first of himself,
but he must think first of the welfare of universal society. In the animal kingdom he
has developed his constructive powers; but to survive on any plane above the astral
he must use these powers for universal service. This is the law of spiritual life and of
Immortality.
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But still existing in the lower astral regions, and still existing on earth, are many
individuals who have developed a cunning intelligence, but who as yet have not
attained to this cosmic viewpoint. They will have opportunity in the astral of the next
life to develop it, but as yet they are essentially still animals; for the human form does
not of necessity confer spirituality. And as I say, there are many human animals on
both planes who have as yet developed no more spirituality than a tiger, or than the
protozoa which, in the blood stream cause malaria and its chills and fever.
We who have acquired at least the rudiments of spirituality must continue for a time
to live in a world which contains among its membership those who have spirituality
in various degrees, and others who have cunning intelligence but who still live in that
stage of evolution that ruthlessly destroys everything that stands in the way of its own
selfish advantage. Thus living, we are privileged to lead such lives, at least to an
extent, as those live who occupy the real spiritual world. For we can so order our lives
as to make all our efforts constructive; and we have unusual opportunities for
spiritual work in leading others into spiritual enlightenment.
But in addition to this more direct spiritual work, we cannot afford to forget that we
still live on a plane, visible and invisible, that is largely dominated by the
might-is-right, take-what-you-want-if-you-are-smart-enough motive of the animal
kingdom. In order to preserve ourselves, and to secure opportunity by which others
can have access to truth and spiritual knowledge, by which others shall live under
such economic and educational conditions as will not stifle their spiritual aspirations
and noble efforts, we must be constantly vigilant to prevent the unspiritual from
dominating the situation.
And because the unspiritual of both worlds commonly resort to certain types of
endeavor in order to accomplish their selfish ambitions, we should understand their
methods thoroughly, and exercise a constant guard against them.
Let us remember, therefore, that the easiest way by which another can get what he
wants at our expense is commonly through influencing our desires and opinions. If
he can cause us to want something, no matter how untrue, how devoid of reason the
method he employs, he has taken the longest step toward selling it to us.
Even if it is a lie, if he keeps shouting at us from bill-boards, from newspaper
advertisements, from the radio, that something is a fact, unless we stop and analyze it,
we become in our unconscious minds convinced that it is true. Not only so, but if it
implies something else which is not really stated, we will tend to become convinced
that the implication is true, and may act upon it. The habit of careful analysis of facts
is the only safeguard against such methods.
Politicians, when they wish to put something over which is unscrupulous, often
resort to the expedient of kicking up a big furor over something else which is of no
real importance. While the public is heatedly debating this unimportant matter, the
politician unnoticed slips in and gets what he wants, and goes his way. And this same
method of creating confusion is employed by invisible gangsters also, to get ideas
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about the occult and about psychic matters accepted that will make such dupes on
earth readily susceptible to their control. Amid a jumbled medley of notions, some of
which are true, and others of which are heatedly debated, they slyly inject some
pernicious doctrine which escapes analysis in the subsequent discussion, but which
enables them to get certain less keen individuals within their power.
But whether such propaganda comes from those on the physical plane, or from
"big-shots" in the astral slums who have lieutenants on the physical plane, it can be
detected by those who take the trouble thoroughly to test it out. This method of
testing is first to secure all the facts possible about the matter. Consult those who
oppose as well as those who advocate. Then consider what the individual or group is
trying to sell, why he is trying to sell, and what methods are open to him to create a
favorable sentiment. And finally give facts and motives a very careful analysis.
Under such a rigid scrutiny your favorite breakfast food may not appear quite so
attractive, you may not be so keen to walk a mile for a smoke, you may not be
convinced your political party will be able to save the nation at once, and you may
even find yourself relinquishing some religious belief or some pet doctrine. But for
these various apparent losses you will be more than amply compensated by the
satisfaction you will derive from the assurance that you are now, and without
confusing detour, traveling in the proper direction, along the wholesome pathway.