THEOSOPHY, Vol. 23, No. 11, September, 1935
(Pages 511-514: 13K)
(Number 35 of a 36-part series)
STUDIES IN THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY
IF "all that has been outlined in preceding chapters is true, then in man are the same powers and forces which are to be found anywhere in Nature"; and the vast "field of psychic forces, phenomena, and dynamics" is represented in each human being, however humble. In the "Human Workshop", Desire is superintendent; Will, director; and Imagination, the constructor. The innate individual energies supply the motive power; for, in "the view of the Lodge, 'the human brain is an exhaustless generator of force'". The great engine that turns the dynamo is Faith. All necessary "instruments are in the body and brain"; the materials used are drawn from the substances of the seven worlds; while from the Astral Light -- indelible record of the Race's past thought -- any imaginable design may be selected.
The Law governing this construction is polarity, under three aspects: attraction, cohesion, and dispersion; and a "knowledge of the law when added to faith gives power over matter, mind, space, and time." The Christian does not really believe it, but faith could remove a mountain! It is the Eastern mystic's faith that enables him to produce the phenomena so nearly incredible to our "lay mind infected by the materialism of the day". The Adept expresses these powers in higher degree and for loftier ends than does the wandering Fakir; but the Mahatma employs them in their mightiest potencies and universal fullness.
Between the ordinary psychic manifestations of the East and those of the West, a remarkable difference is evident. Even in its temporary decadence, the former is sufficiently spiritual to admit of adepts sometimes mingling with the people; and there, knowledge still lingers of "the occult laws of chemistry, of mind, of force, and of matter", in addition to the commonly held conviction of an inner "complete person", clothed in astral substance, and equipped with organs enabling him "to act with or without coordination with the physical". All of this tends towards the conscious exercise of many recondite capacities known to us only by hearsay; whereas in the West, where spiritual darkness obscures the mind of the masses, the trend of psychism is definitely towards necromancy, the production of irresponsible mediumship -- disdained by all Eastern peoples.
Theosophical literature affords abundant description of magical operations: precipitation, apportation, levitation, clairvoyance, clairaudience, second-sight, mind-reading, and many other feats. Of these the most wonderful, perhaps, and least familiar to us, is the precipitation, "objective to the touch" of "material which was not visible before, and in any desired shape." This is accomplished by trained, directed imagination, the same "picture-making power" that, "suffered to act in an unregulated mode", stands in the West for "fancy or misconception and at all times for unreality." Yet, this is the "King faculty", second only to Will. A distinct idea unwaveringly held evolves an "actual image or form" in the Astral Light and is "then used in the same way as an iron moulder uses a mould of sand for the molten iron."
True Magic being but Nature, deeply perceived, well understood, and fully expressed, contravenes none of her laws. Thus, "Theosophy does not deny nor ignore the physical laws discovered by science", but merely "asserts the existence of others which modify the action of those we ordinarily know." It indicates "the occult cosmos with its ideal machinery" concealed behind the visible, phenomenal one and perceivable only "by means of the inner senses which pertain to it" -- senses not easily developed "if their existence is denied." The pity of denial is that while it can delay normal psychic unfoldment for the denier, it affords no protection against misunderstood and misapplied psychism. In this Cycle, inner faculties are due to quicken and act, in right or wrong direction. When controversy raged over the spherical shape of the earth, mere denial was powerless to flatten the globe; but investigation opened up a whole new half of the world. Even so, a whole new inner portion of this same world awaits to reveal its wonders to the open-minded searcher.
In these investigations, the real scientist's own nature becomes his laboratory, for all testings and provings. But, far from "sitting for development", this means standing on principles -- alone, if need be -- in sustained effort to check the facts of life and beinghood against prevailing conceptions. While mediums "rarely, if ever, know anything about how they accomplish any feat", students of the Wisdom-Teaching strive to know what they are doing, all of the time. Self-knowledge, wisdom, and righteousness are not products of psychic development; but sound, wholesome psychic unfoldment is ultimately produced from them. Evolution is always from above, down!
Under Karma, the every-day round of activities is rich in phenomenal occurrences, to reward attentiveness and provide materials for serious pondering. For each individual, these experiences are peculiarly his own. Therein lie his especial lessons -- lessons never to be learned by witnessing the weird rites of the seance-room or by consulting "psychics". Most of us would repudiate any imputation of clairvoyance. "Yet", says the Teacher, "it is a faculty common to all men, though in the majority but slightly developed; but occultism asserts that were it not for the germ of this power slightly active in every one no man could convey to another any idea whatsoever." What is true of one faculty must be true of the rest. Are we always sure that the stimuli of our senses are outside and not within; or that telepathic communication is not taking place between ourselves and others, un-noted; or that our apparently free choices are not due to influences from the Astral Light impelling us? Unless entirely sure, it might pay to watch our impressions. Ignorance and heedlessness are no safeguards to the path of virtue!
Then, following day, come the "dreams and visions of the night", from which to learn still deeper truths of self-hood. The man of gross flesh travels not those mysterious pathways of Dreamland; yet "some one perceives and feels therein, and this is one of the arguments for the inner person's existence" and evidence, also, that he then "communes with higher intelligences", and is possessed of wisdom transcending that of his earthly representative. Some dreams are the chaotic effects of brain action automatically proceeding or the results of physical derangement; but the sleeper's drowsy, dormant brain could never fabricate visions of prophecy, allegory, vital suggestion, clear retrospect, or valid warning.
To the observant, waking and dreaming both bear witness to Man's psychic faculties. Fortunate he in whom these may be classified as "normal"; and wise, he who constantly checks them with doctrinal explanations and admonitions. In warning against practices, Theosophy embodies some of its greatest philosophical and scientific treasures. But while warning against psychic indulgences, the Teachers ask for charity towards the befuddled sufferer therefrom. The alleviation of such disabilities constitutes one of the Movement's prime purposes. The germ of psychic derangement resides in the lower nature of everyone, even as the potentialities of adeptship abide in the higher nature of even the morally broken and physically diseased medium. Were Theosophy for the pure and sound, exclusively, it might well have never been "called forth".
At first thought it seems strange to read of mankind mirroring "wonderful" and "terrible" powers. There appears nothing awesome in daily human activities; yet all force being spiritual, must it not be that even those forces ordinarily employed must actually be terrible and wonderful potencies stepped down to meet the needs of this workaday world? Were the hustling business man or busy housewife to watch carefully, they might discover their own use of the same processes, at least as those used in the Oriental feats, "which seem so strange to those who deny or are unaware of the postulates of occultism." A design objectivated is precipitation; to sustain a purpose is concentration. Rising superior to difficulties is levitation; and looking into the principles of things is clear-seeing. When a cause is perceived and its effect apprehended, there is pre-visioning. It is second-sight that reads between the lines and hears within the words; while compassionate understanding is true clairvoyance, or spiritual-knowledge.
No humblest act but is governed by psychic dynamics. To accomplish anything, ideas are attracted on the mental plane, cohered on the astral, and precipitated on the physical. Materials are "found", "kneaded", and combined "by adding here, taking away there, and often altering"; then all is held in cohesion in the completed form, even if it be by means of nail, cement, glue, or thread. Universal processes enter into the least construction, as well as into the greatest. Always, Desire, Will, Imagination, and Faith must co-operate to carry through a plan.
In the inevitable osmosis between the Eastern and Western hemispheres Souls incarnated there will sometime come here; while many living here will be re-embodied there. Then the Oriental now growing the mango-tree by the power of his focussed Will may grow an orchard in the Occident by manual labor and the sweat of his brow. Perchance it may require even greater exertion of will-power to become a successful nurseryman. It might be, as well, that the present American is too recently transferred from the older lands to be thoroughly practical here. His empire-building gives little evidence of familiarity with the true ideals of the Fathers of this country. Could a portion of our citizens be new-comers, swept off their feet by blare and rush, fascinated and be-fooled by strange, new opportunities for pleasure, and so missing the mark?
Be that as it may, balance and direction are to be found in Theosophy alone. By its practical application, men of the Orient would arouse themselves out of their lethargy; while it would supply for the Occidental that calm and deliberate action so entirely lost at present in the whirl of events. The Movement came to Westerners for their education, and that they could lend a hand in their turn to their Eastern brothers of the same Race! Thus enlightening and helping one another in the true sense the highest felicity can be reached by both East and West. Brotherhood, not psychism, is the practice that must heal the world.
STUDIES IN "THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY"
(Part 36 of a 36-part series)
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