background image
Chapter 3
Avenues to Illumination
OCCULT and mystical literature of all ages abounds with references to a state of
inner knowledge, often mentioned as a state of absolute knowledge, in which the soul
seems to identify itself with the object on which the mind dwells, or with the
information sought, and from this mystical blend an undeniable conviction floods
the consciousness as to facts, conditions and relations. As actually experienced it
varies in degree of intensity. But in true illumination there is a flooding of the
consciousness with new information which the individual, without analyzing it or
reasoning about it, is unalterably convinced is the truth.
Long ago I was struck by two things relative to the literature about this interior
knowledge. I was struck by the almost unbelievable number of books that have been
written about it, and equally struck by the poverty of concrete information contained
in the whole of them. This is not said in criticism of the authors of these books;
Christian mystics, writers on ancient alchemy, yogis and modern orientalists. The
vast literature they have issued has been prompted by personal experience with a
certain form of knowledge. And they have felt that such experiences were so vital in
their lives, and if experienced by others might be so helpful that, often at great
sacrifice to themselves, they have written-down, and tried to explain the reason of
their experiences in the hope that others might through following their admonitions
have and benefit by similar experiences.
Not only the mystical books of medieval times, and those early in the present century,
have presented an account of this interior knowledge, but the latest and apparently
most popular books among mystical students, as this is being written, are devoted to
accounts of such higher states of consciousness and how they may be attained. And
as is usual, while certain practices are advocated, and exaggerated claims are made as
to the infallibility of the knowledge apprehended in this absolute identification with
the essence of knowledge, these books are mostly words without much which is
concrete and tangible for the student to grasp.
Nor should this be a source of wonder. All knowledge not gained through the
physical senses or reason is now classified as extrasensory perception. And no one,
thus far, has been able to employ extrasensory perception at will on all occasions
when he desired to use it. It occurs spontaneously rather frequently. And there are
methods of training which enable the individual to bring it into effective use much
background image
more frequently than had he not undergone such training. The Church of Light ESP
Research Department since it was established in 1937 (chart in Course IV, Chapter 13), has
learned considerable about how it operates, and is vigorously trying to find a way by
which people can use it effectively on all desired occasions. But it is still quite
elusive.
Extrasensory perception, as set forth in Course IV, Chapter 13, operates in three
distinct ways. One is through mediumship, in which there is partial or complete control
of the medium by some intelligence other than his own. The Church of Light does not
advocate that anyone shall become a medium. One is through feeling ESP in which
there is hypersensitivity of the nervous system which enables the individual to tune
in on the astral counterpart of the object, person or thought about which information
is desired. The nervous system, or some part of it, becomes a receiving set through
which the electrical energies and astral energies associated with it pick up, radio
fashion, the astral vibrations radiated by whatever is tuned in on. The individual then
feels the condition of that which is contacted.
While the use of feeling extrasensory perception has its dangers and should be
approached with caution, it has frequently been used by mystics in various lands.
There is no objective reasoning or thought about the thing. In fact, if reason intrudes
its processes it effectively prevents the interior knowledge from being experienced.
The recognition of any particular process is a distraction and hindrance to it; for it is a
feeling. The individual FEELS that he has identified himself with the knowledge. He
feels it within himself. When one's body comes in contact with a rough surface, one
is not conscious of reasoning about it. One feels that the surface is rough. And in a
similar way one feels, without reason, but with absolute conviction, that one has
contacted a certain truth or fact.
Through this process of interior feeling the mystics of various lands and ages have
claimed to contact God. Meditation, prayer, fasting, and discipline were the means
employed by many to aid them to develop this interior feeling. The yogis advocate
postures, meditation, concentration on the nerve centers, rhythmic breathing, saying
mantrams and an ascetic life in the effort to evoke the same union with God. And in
this effort, both West and East, on occasions the consciousness is flooded, as by a
light, with the conviction of some truth.
The third way in which extrasensory perception operates is through extension of
consciousness. On the inner plane distance, time and gravitation are of a very
different order than they are on the outer plane. The unconscious mind, or soul, is not
limited in the same way the physical body is limited. It can acquire knowledge in the
way such things are accomplished on the inner plane about anything it contacts.
Examine is not the right word for this process, for what really happens is that as soon
as the soul contacts anything on the inner plane it knows all about it. By identifying
itself with the object or condition, as mystics of old phrased it, all significant facts
about it are immediately recognized.
background image
I could here relate a dozen different explanations given for their extrasensory
experiences by as many different sects, mystic orders, yogi teachers, and advocates
of certain religions. Some say that they have communicated directly with God. Some
claim that the voice of the soul has spoken. Others that truth in the abstract has been
contacted. But in reality all have employed one or more of the three mentioned
methods of extrasensory perception, and except in degree all illumination is the same
in that there is the flooding of consciousness with the conviction that something is
irrefutably true.
Truth
--Yet truth is not an object floating about in space waiting to be grasped. Truth is
merely some phase of the cosmos which in the past, present or future performs in a
given way. Truth is a relation between some mind and something in nature. If the
mind conceives some section of nature correctly, we say that is truth. If the mind
conceives some section of nature incorrectly, that is error. Truth is a correct mental
relation to some energy, law, or condition. It is the conformity of cognition to reality.
It is, therefore, impossible to tune in on truth in the abstract; for truth is a correct
perception of the relations existing between certain factors in nature. It is a relation
also between the mind and these factors in nature. But it is entirely possible to tune in
on these factors in nature. And if this tuning in reveals correct information to the
mind, that is truth.
When through any mystical or occult process an individual becomes convinced he
has tuned in on truth, or has identified himself with it, as the condition usually is
expressed, what he has done is to tune in on some relation existing in nature in such a
way that he correctly perceives the relevant facts about it. Because, interiorly, he has
thus grasped the knowledge he is apt to feel he has grasped truth. And as a matter of
fact, because he does correctly realize certain relations that exist, he has a right to feel
that, in so much, he possesses the truth. The only truth, however, which he can
possess, is a correct conception of something, or some relation, in nature.
I think it is important to know this, because there are so many nonsensical ideas afloat
about the matter. And if the neophyte fails to realize it, and persists in his effort to
tune in on abstractions and misconceptions, he may become negative through the
confusion set up by such fruitless endeavor. A clearly defined conception about
something has a positive force to repel unwanted invasion. But a confused medley of
notions, or a train of fleeting abstractions that have no definite significance, leaves
the mind in a condition where it is unusually susceptible to having pernicious
misconceptions injected into it by those of one plane or the other who hope to profit
in some way by broadcasting such errors.
background image
Tuning In
--When we analyze the matter we perceive that all physical objects are merely
energies which have been organized in definite relations. And it is recognized that
thought is energy. Thus a given thought, or conception, is also energies which have
been organized in definite relations. Thoughts, simple and complex, and objects on
the inner plane, are energies which have been given definite organizations. But these
energies are of the high-velocity which gives them inner-plane characteristics.
One of the outstanding inner-plane characteristics is that distance is measured not in
terms of three-dimensional space, but in difference of vibratory frequency. Things
quite different in vibratory frequency are far apart. Things of similar vibratory
frequency are close together. And things having the same vibratory frequency are in
actual contact with each other. This applies not only to inner-plane objects, but also
to thoughts and factors of the unconscious mind.
On the physical plane one does not have to contact all of a house to be in contact with
the house. One may lean against a door and be in contact with the house, although the
amount of information gained from such a position may not be as great as if one
walked into different rooms and thus contacted the house in various areas. And one
may contact a person, or an object or a thought on the inner plane through a vibratory
rate that is identical with some part of the person, or object or thought. But if the
vibratory synchronization is more completely that of the person, object or thought,
the contact will be more complete and it will be easier to learn more about the person,
object or thought.
While there are other senses, such as those of taste, smell and hearing with which it is
possible to learn something about physical objects, the two senses most used in such
investigations are sight and feeling. Of course, sight, as are all the other physical
senses, is also a type of feeling, but it does not require that the object examined must
give a physical impact to the person examining it. To examine an object by the sense
of sight a particular kind of contact must be made with it, a contact effected by light.
But to examine an object by the sense of feeling, physical contact must be
established.
There are also two common ways of learning about a person, an object or a thought
on the inner plane. In either one contact must first be established through a vibratory
rate similar to that, or similar to some section, of the person, object or thought to be
examined. But in making the examination by Feeling ESP the nervous system is
tuned to the vibratory rate of that which is examined, and picks up the inner-plane
vibrations of that which is tuned in on. The individual thus FEELS that which he
contacts, and often feels its vibrations so completely that he identifies himself with it
temporarily.
background image
By the other method he merely focuses his unconscious mind on the person, object or
thought to be contacted until the observing section of his unconscious mind tunes in
on the proper vibration to enable it to make contact. To contact the person, object or
thought, the unconscious mind, or some section of it, must synchronize its vibrations
to that which is to be examined. But when the contact is made it does not examine
through feeling. Instead it examines it through a process analogous to sight. Not that
it employs rays of light to gain the information, for velocities on the inner plane are
greater than that of the light with which we are familiar on the outer plane. But the
mind can examine and as thoroughly identify itself temporarily with that which is
thus contacted as if feeling were used, and because free from strong feeling it often
can gain more information, even as by looking at an object on the physical plane we
often can learn more about it than merely by feeling it.
In this Intellectual ESP the individual gains information about a person, object or
thought by contacting it mentally on the inner plane. He extends-- adjusts the
vibratory rate of--his consciousness to that about which information is sought. But
he has no more feeling relative to that which is contacted, nor is his nervous system
more influenced by it, than it is when by the sense of sight he examines something on
the physical plane. or reads about it in a book.
Objects and thoughts can easily be distinguished from each other on the inner plane.
But their difference is far less than on the physical plane. People and other entities
having intelligence, objects and thought-forms, on the inner plane are not as
unrelated to each other as they appear to be on the physical plane. Instead, they are
related to each other very much as are the various factors in an individual's mind. In
our mind the thoughts we have had persist and enter into combination with other
thoughts with which they have been associated. Some of these thoughts that have
been organized into the unconscious mind seem to have almost no relation with other
thoughts there residing. And it may be almost impossible to bring them again into
objective consciousness. But by proper application of the LAW OF ASSOCIATION
they can once more be brought into objective consciousness.
One of the most powerful associations by Resemblance is that of identical or similar
resonance. Thus as already pointed out, thoughts and things having the same
vibrations are together on the inner plane, and when the mind has the same vibration
as a thought or thing, it is in contact with that thought or thing. Furthermore, if it is
free from other matters which distract its attention, it is then in a condition where it
can gain knowledge about that which is thus contacted through Intellectual ESP.
This means that any intelligence or any object, past, present or future, or any
conception that has ever been thought in the past or will even be thought in the future,
and thus any possible information, can be contacted through Intellectual ESP if the
mind can sufficiently synchronize its vibrations with it to make the contact.
background image
In thus using extrasensory perception, whether of the feeling or the intellectual type,
there are three difficulties to be overcome. The first is that of making contact with the
desired target. There are so many more intelligences and objects on the inner plane
that can be contacted, because distance is no barrier, and in addition there are
thoughts also. Furthermore, any of these may be contacted not only in the present, but
also at any date in past or future. Therefore, unless that about which information is
desired has points of familiarity, it may be difficult to tune in on it. In endeavoring to
do so one may tune in on something else.
Only occasionally does the soul, or unconscious mind, employ the arbitrary language
with which the individual customarily does his objective thinking. It usually uses a
different type of symbolism, based on ASSOCIATION, to convey the information it
has acquired to objective consciousness. Furthermore, often there are factors within
the unconscious mind with much power gained from emotional experiences, that
block the delivery of the information gained by the soul to objective consciousness,
or warp it from its true significance.
The third difficulty to be overcome is that of giving the correct interpretation by
cerebral processes of the image or account of what was perceived. Not only must
symbolism often be interpreted, and due allowance made for the cunning way in
which strongly energized factors within the unconscious exercise censorship over
certain facts, or permit them to reach objective consciousness only through
subterfuge in which they adopt some symbolical disguise, but unless the brain has
sufficient training to grasp the import of the information its true significance is lost.
Genius must be able not only to tune in on the information sought, but must be able
also to understand it when it comes filtering through into objective consciousness.
Exhaustive experiments made by Whatley Carington, the Cambridge psychologist,
brought out two important points which the experiments of others tend to confirm.
His experiments were chiefly conducted with drawings. And he found that it made no
great difference to the ability of the distant percipient whether the drawing was
actually drawn or not provided it was clearly impressed on the mind of some person
who was connected with the experiment. The point thus brought out is that it seems
equally easy to see an object clairvoyantly or to see the thought of the object
telepathically.
The experimenters at Duke University had conclusively proved clairvoyance,
post-cognitive clairvoyance and precognitive clairvoyance. Post-cognitive
clairvoyance is when something in the past is perceived by clairvoyance.
Precognitive clairvoyance is when something that has not yet happened, but will
happen in the future, is perceived by clairvoyance.
background image
And Whatley Carington demonstrated that it seems as easy to use post-cognitive
telepathy and precognitive telepathy, as to use post-cognitive clairvoyance or
precognitive clairvoyance. This means that through extrasensory perception not only
the conceptions now being thought can be perceived telepathically, but that which
was thought in the past, and that which has not yet been thought, but will be thought
in the future, also can be perceived telepathically.
Thus so far as now known there is no possible information that is beyond the reach of
extrasensory perception, provided it, and the brain using it, have sufficient ability.
As on the outer plane, information may be obtained on the inner plane in three
different ways. On the outer plane we may investigate the relation in nature for
ourselves. And on the inner plane we also may contact the relation in nature and learn
that which we are seeking to know. On the outer plane we may witness moving
picture portrayal, see the matter explained by television, or by pictures and the
printed page. We thus get the information from the record left by some person or
persons. And we may also on the inner plane contact telepathically the record left by
the thoughts of people about the information sought, or we may contact the thoughts
in some person's mind.
The third way of getting information on the outer plane is through listening to some
person explain it over the radio, in a lecture hall, or through less formal conversation
in which the seeker asks questions which are answered by the person having the
information. On the inner plane it is also possible for one still in the flesh to listen to
lectures and to carry on conversation by asking questions of an inner-plane person
and receiving his answers, and bringing those answers up into the region of objective
consciousness. Such spiritual communion, however, should not be confused with
mediumship; for in it neither intelligence controls the other. There is the same
freedom in exchange of ideas, and freedom of domination of one by the other, as
there is between two students of the same subject, one perhaps being more advanced
than the other, who discuss with each other some matter of scientific interest.
Either on the outer plane or the inner plane, those of similar interests are attracted to
each other. Even more so on the inner plane because the similarity of vibration of
their mental interests automatically brings their minds into contact. And those more
experienced on either plane usually find pleasure in imparting information about
their common interest to others who also are deeply interested in the same subject.
But to contact information on the inner plane it is not necessary to seek some person
possessing that information. Which of the three methods the unconscious mind
employs to acquire the desired information is not important. The important thing is
that it get correct information about the matter in which there is interest. And
commonly it is better to permit the soul, or unconscious mind, to select the one of the
three methods without giving it commands or otherwise interfering with its choice.
background image
The first essential in thus acquiring information from the inner plane is that there
shall be an intense interest in it, and a strong desire to get it. This desire must be not
merely of objective consciousness. It must in some manner be imparted to the soul.
And the soul must have sufficient energy at its command to get it.
The energy which the brain uses in acquiring information is electrical in nature, and
while the soul is attached to a physical body the energy by which it is directed, and
which it must transform into astral energy to do extrasensory or psychokinetic work,
is electrical in nature. As explained in Course XIV, Chapter 4 this electrical energy is
liberated by the oxidation of the nitrogen fraction of the bodily cells, and furnishes
electromagnetic wavelengths which vary with the purpose for which they are used.
Rhythmic breathing increases the electrical energy generated by the nervous system,
which is the most potent source of such energy, and the type of feeling engendered by
the thoughts determines whether the electromagnetic wavelengths which result are
of the type which are used in brain work (Mercury), in giving vitality (Sun) to the
body, in mediumship (Moon), in affectional (Venus) matters, in inspiration
(Uranus), in feeling extrasensory perception (Neptune), or for inner-plane (Pluto)
work.
Consciousness does not successfully focus on both planes at once. When there is
considerable cerebral activity, the electrical energies there active keep the attention
of the soul largely occupied, and it does very little on the inner plane. But when the
consciousness largely withdraws from cerebral activity and the attention is not held
to such activities or to something in the outer world, the soul may get information
from, or do work on, the inner plane.
However, just because there is almost no cerebral activity and no attention given any
external thing no more signifies that the soul is trying to get inner-plane information
than it signifies that the individual so mentally inactive is trying to get information
from the outer world. People often wish they had some information that can be
acquired in the outer world, but do nothing about it. And they may equally wish to get
some information from the inner plane and do nothing about it. To get information
from either plane, unless it happens to arrive spontaneously, as it occasionally does,
the mind must work to get it. Because of lack of conditioning, lack of having used the
mind on the inner plane, it is usually more difficult to get it there active than it is to get
it to use the brain, which has had schooling for many years. to work for outer-plane
information.
But if there is an intense desire for some information, and the consciousness is
withdrawn from the external world largely to the inner world, which means that
cerebral thinking must practically cease but that inner attention must be active, this
may bring the soul in contact with the information. The concentration of the inner
attention on the information sought tends to give the soul the vibration of the
information sought and tune it in on it. But if it contacts the right target, instead of
something else, the inner attention must not wander.
background image
Not only must the soul have sufficient energy to contact the information sought on
the inner plane, but if this information is to be brought into objective consciousness,
it must have energy enough to compete with any other energies which tend to come
into objective consciousness from the outer world, from the unconscious mind, or
from the inner plane. To give it the required energy, rhythmic breathing may be used.
Ordinary cerebral thinking competes in utilizing the electrical energies necessary to
impress objective consciousness, with the information which, through extension of
consciousness, the soul has thus acquired. Therefore, either to extend the
consciousness to the information sought or to bring it through, cerebral thinking must
cease, or be brought to a minimum. Furthermore, the information imparted to
objective consciousness by the soul, or unconscious mind, seldom comes through in
words and sentences. Form, color, feeling, emotion and concepts are more readily
conveyed from inner consciousness to outer consciousness. Thus, more often than
not, either the idea flashes into consciousness, or it is presented to consciousness as a
symbol. Furthermore, unless it is merely the answer to a question that may be
answered briefly, the information usually comes through piecemeal, one fragment
after another. Often one significant factor of an idea comes into the consciousness,
then another, and so on until the whole is made clear It is difficult for the soul to
mobilize sufficient electrical energy to compete with other thoughts and bring up
into objective consciousness too much at one time.
In tuning in on information, the soul must raise or lower its vibration to the
inner-plane level where the information is to be found. The information most seek is
on a basic vibratory level not difficult for them to tune in on. But exalted spiritual
ideas may be on a level far above that which an individual can tune in on. He may be
quite unable to raise his vibrations high enough.
Basic inner-plane levels are comparable to carrier waves in radio. To pick up a radio
program you have to tune in on the proper carrier wave; so many kilocycles. But once
tuned in on the inner-plane basic level where the information may be found, to
contact the information sought is to adjust the consciousness, by thinking about the
matter, much as to carry a program the carrier waves in radio are modulated.
Meditation
--Without being aware of how it gets its ideas, all genius taps inner-plane
information. The genius enthusiastically wants to know how to do something or
wants some information. His mind is on the matter during his waking moments, and
his soul impelled by strong desire extends his consciousness during sleep to get it. In
his insistent pondering on the matter the soul, which during sleep, or while he is
meditating on the matter while awake with his attention withdrawn from the external
world, has acquired the information. Then at moments when his cerebral activity is
not interfering too much, it projects up into his consciousness some idea of value. He
ponders on this, or tries to put it into practice. And then his soul finds opportunity to
inject another idea of value into objective consciousness.
background image
Sometimes a whole complex idea will strive for days to move from the unconscious
into objective consciousness, and at last, finding an opportune time when it can
mobilize enough electrical energy to overcome competition for objective attention, it
is able to make the whole matter clear to the objective mind. The whole thing comes
through in a flash of illumination.
Proper meditation is one of the best ways to get illumination. There must be an
intense interest in something. The interest must be more than merely intellectual; it
must be energized with enough desire to impress the soul, or unconscious mind, also
with an eagerness to get the desired information, or to make the desired inner-plane
contact.
In proper meditation the body is as completely relaxed as possible. Sitting in an easy
chair, or lying down, assists thus to relax nerve and muscle tension. That which there
is an intense desire to know is clearly formulated in the mind. The objective
consciousness thinks about the subject. Then it narrows its attention so that unrelated
thoughts are not present in the consciousness. As usually stated, there is
concentration on the matter. Concentration is the bringing the mind to a focus and
keeping it intently occupied with a given subject to the exclusion of unrelated
subjects. Thus the subject meditated about is the center of attention. And in the
outer-plane type of meditation, from this center the mind radiates out, gathering as
many valuable thoughts about the subject as it can. Meditation does not require that
any sentence shall be repeated over and over again. It requires merely that the thing
be given concentrated thought, the deeper the better.
But for the type of meditation that brings illumination, after the subject has thus been
given concentrated thought, and unrelated ideas excluded, the consciousness is
shoved down and away from the brain. A good place to move it is behind the heart,
and then out onto the inner plane. If the consciousness is concentrated in the brain
area it is very difficult to inhibit cerebral thinking; for electrical energies tend to
move to any spot in the body on which attention is centered. Thus by withdrawing the
consciousness from the brain to a region back of the heart, and then moving it out on
the inner plane, there is aid in withdrawing electrical energies from the brain which
stimulate objective thinking.
Just sufficient consciousness should be left in the brain to be able at all times to keep
aware of impressions that come into it from the activities of the soul. The individual
should not go to sleep. He should inwardly keep intensely aware, and hold his inward
attention on that which the meditation is about. So absorbed should he become in the
inward recognition of facts about the subject of meditation, that external visual and
auditory impressions are unnoticed. His reverie should be so deep that he is oblivious
of the outside world. Memory images also should be shut out. And the inner alertness
should be so intense that dream images do not intrude, as they often do in the close
approach to sleep. These can be recognized by the way they combine to form a
coherent dream-like picture. They are image associations of the unconscious on the
background image
fantasy level. This is a level influenced by thoughts which have impressed the
electromagnetic boundary-line region, or by suggestions from the outer-plane. And
to get correct information the consciousness must get clear of both these regions. It
must tune in on the astral realm, or if the information desired is still beyond that, on
the still higher velocity spiritual realm.
While not going to sleep, and by rhythmic breathing supplying energy with which to
keep awake and at the same time withdraw his consciousness almost completely
from both the outer-plane and the electromagnetic boundary-line region, he should
extend his consciousness tune in on--that about which information is desired.
In this state, at least occasionally, it is likely his objective consciousness will be
flooded as if by a light which is coincident with undeniable knowledge which comes
from identifying himself with the object on which his mind dwells. At other times
information about it will flash into his objective consciousness piece at a time
without the light or the enthusiasm that accompanies the more complete
illumination. But even when the light and feeling of exaltation are absent, if the
information that comes through is correct, it is the same process, but operating in a
less degree of intensity and completeness.
Whatever the manner in which during meditation, or projection of consciousness on
the inner plane, the information comes through, only enough awareness should be
maintained to get it registered on objective consciousness. There should be no
reasoning about it. It should as it comes through merely be observed. If any type of
objective thinking about it starts, the cerebral activity thus inaugurated makes of the
brain not a receiving set, but a broadcasting set. And the energies of such
broadcasting usually have enough potential that they take over the activities of the
brain and prevent the soul from being able to use electrical energies in competition
with them strong enough to register the information it is trying to convey.
But immediately after the illumination, or the fragmentary knowledge has registered,
and it seems that the period of illumination is at an end, a record should be made of
any impressions or conceptions that have thus been received. With the brain in the
required state of cerebral inhibition, the memory of what has been received departs
quickly, even as the memory of most dreams is fleeting.
Then after the period of proper meditation is over, and its impressions and ideas
recorded, they should be thought about intensely by objective consciousness in the
effort to perceive their true significance.
Inspiration
--There are those who contact and bring through information from the inner plane
quite apart from any deliberate attempt to do so. They are intensely interested in
some subject. And they think about it objectively. The intense interest in the matter
stimulates their soul to make inner-plane contact with significant information.
Perhaps while taking a walk and thinking about the matter, or sitting at a typewriter
background image
writing about it, the objective consciousness automatically at short intervals sinks
into a sort of reverie in which the positive cerebral activity ceases long enough for
one flash after another of information which the soul has gained to be projected by it
up into the region of objective consciousness. The wave-lengths of
electromagnetism which are of the Uranus type are conducive to getting information
through this method. When it comes through, as it often does, in this manner, it is
called inspiration.
Subjects for Meditation
--Although this is mentioned elsewhere, it should be pointed out that the best way to
get a thorough knowledge of a subject is to teach it. In teaching a subject one must be
able to explain it to others so that they understand it. And only when one can do
this--as often one cannot do who thinks he knows a subject--does he have a
thorough knowledge of it.
Every one of the 210 Brotherhood of Light lessons contains material that can to
advantage be expanded through meditation. The rule is that those who go through
them the second time get more than the first time over, even though they pass the
examinations. And that the third time over they get still more than the first and second
time. But in addition to the explanations given in each lesson, if the individual
meditates on the subject matter it will lead his mind to other significant information
of value. Thus each Brotherhood of Light lesson provides a subject for meditation.
And if one is teaching it, such ideas are valuable aids in keeping a class interested.
Each of the 22 Major Arcana of the tarot also provides a fertile subject for meditation.
What has been said about it in the Brotherhood of Light lessons has necessarily been
condensed to the utmost. And by meditation new information can be ascertained
about the principle represented symbolically by each. As the tarot is a synthesis of all
knowledge, the extent to which this acquiring additional information through
meditating upon its symbolism can be carried is limited only by the capacity of the
individual's mind to understand that which it thus contacts on the inner plane.
However, there is probably no better subjects for meditation, because they are a
collection of spiritual truths of paramount import, than the Spiritual Texts of
Astrology. These Spiritual Texts are not just random statements, nor are they just
casually observed facts, such as are most of the subjects for meditation given in
current periodicals. Instead, they embrace the wisdom of the ages in regard to the
proper conduct for a soul. They are a summary of what the wise ones since the earth
began have found of most importance to the individual who desired to live a spiritual
life. And because they are thus boiled down, they afford the greatest facilities for
meditation; for in meditation of this type a single thought or idea is selected and then,
in the deep inner-plane concentration of the mind, all its meanings, bearings, and
lines of relation are traced to the fullest possible extent.
background image
These Spiritual Texts are the ideas which generation after generation of specialists in
spiritual research found were the most important things the neophyte should know.
The spiritual giants of the past who discovered these facts, and selected these
particular ones as the most important, placed them as universal symbols in the sky.
These texts and the universal symbolism by which they are portrayed in the sky, not
only are the best known subjects for meditation, but each should be expanded into a
sermon and delivered to an audience whenever this is possible.
Affirmations and Mantrams
--When a mantram, or any other affirmation is successfully used, the idea in time
becomes firmly grasped by the unconscious mind as a part of reality. The soul
accepts the idea as fact, and gradually the internal life, and finally the external life,
become governed on the basis of this idea being a fact. As stated in Course XXI, Chapter 1,
in the course of time the idea will be assimilated and evolve into the outward form and
constitute the dominant idea of Truth, which will result in Spiritual Power.
But if the affirmation is not a truth, but is an error, it nevertheless will produce a
mental and spiritual state into which the idea will involve. It will become a part of the
internal nature. But being an error, it will result in actions based upon this error.
It is quite true that simultaneous concentrated thinking by people scattered over a
wide area lends force to the thought-form thus launched upon the sensitive fields of
the astral. Therefore, if the thought is about something that really should occur, such
as World Peace, or World Prosperity, such united thinking has an influence to bring
about better conditions. And, where no doubt can be entertained as to the advisability
of the thing thus formulated by many minds, such simultaneous thinking of a given
thought has its merits.
But there is also another angle which the student should always take into
consideration. I have gone more thoroughly into the principle of the matter in Course XVIII,
Chapter 5, but nevertheless here it should be pointed out that when, at a set time of day
you make the same affirmation, or meditate on the same sentence such as those
published for the purpose in some periodicals--you are tuning in on the same
thought-frequency that many others are tuned in on. The effect, in principle, is not
dissimilar to that obtained in a "developing circle,, in which those present at a seance
join hands and sing a hymn. A thought current is set up which tends to circulate from
one participating individual to another.
No particular harm is accomplished by this. But actual observation of results leads
me to believe that many of those who thus participate in group affirmation or group
meditation, tend to become somewhat negative at times during the period. And if one
becomes negative while tuned in on the same vibratory rate that hundreds of other
minds are tuned in on, it is very easy to pick up other thoughts and tendencies which
are also radiated by other minds. That is, some of them, at the time they are making
background image
the affirmation, or during the meditation, may permit their minds to wander from the
subject and to think strongly and positively of other, and less desirable things. And
such undesirable thoughts may then be carried along by the strong thought current set
up by the united thoughts of all participants, and seep into the minds of such as are not
too positive to receive them.
The thought-stream becomes like a stream of water fed by many brooks. It carries
some clear water and some muddy water, and also whatever filth is poured into it by
any dirty rivulet that has access to it. And because all participants are tuned in on this
major stream, thus fed by minor creeks, the stream carries whatever it contains to all
minds entering into the effort. And unless a mind is radiating too strongly to absorb
thoughts thus reaching it, there are opportunities present for pernicious thoughts to
enter the mind and defile it, that would never find harbor there except through some
such artificial contamination.
In addition to this, on the principle followed in the seance room, such united tuning in
on a common thought-vibration affords opportunity for entities to dominate the
thinking of the entire group. A strong mind, either on the outer plane or on the inner
plane, who is aware of the time and thought set for such affirmation or meditation,
can take this time to launch some thought of his own, in association with the thought
set for affirmation or meditation in such a way that it will ride the thought current and
become the dominant influence in it. That is, a powerful thinker can launch some
thought, along with the one chosen by others as the subject of affirmation or
meditation, and the thought thus launched, being stronger than other individual
thoughts, will draw to itself the combined thought-energy of the whole. Thus the
whole force of the united thinking, at times becomes utilized, not to carry forward the
idea thought about, but to give force to some other thought in the endeavor to
dominate the whole group by the new thought, or even to compel society at large to
accept it, regardless of its merits.
Again I must repeat that any power or principle that can be used for good can also be
used for evil, and the higher potency it has for good when rightly used the more
power it has for evil when used destructively. We need experience no surprise, then,
that this principle is present in the use of affirmations and subjects of meditation.
An affirmation properly used, as explained in Course V, Chapter 8, is one of the most potent
agents in the development of spiritual power, and the neophyte is urged to learn how
to apply them, and to use some affirmation daily. For general use The Church of
Light mantram given in Course XXI, Chapter 1, has been found to be the best of all. Next in
practical results obtained has been the use of the Tarot mantram, given in Course VI,
Chapter 3. But in addition to these two tried and proven mantrams, it seems preferable for
the aspirant for adeptship who does not care to become the victim of mass
psychology, to select for himself and use only affirmations particularly suited to his
own need, rather than join at set times in repeating statements in unison with others.