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Philosophic Encyclopedia

Questions Dealing With Spiritual Sight
The Method of Spiritual Cognition

Question: Will you please discuss the problem of cognition? How does the seer know on the higher planes? By this I mean, (a) How can he distinguish between a thought form emanating from his own mind and (b) The thought form emanating from some other person either in the body or out, and (c) Objective spiritual entities?

Answer: Contrary to the opinion of people who do not know anything about the matter this is purely a matter of training. It is absolutely wrong to suppose that because a person who has developed the spiritual sight and is able to see things in the worlds which are usually invisible to the ordinary human view in the present stage of evolution he therefore by the same faculty knows everything. As a matter of fact he does not know anything until he has acquired the knowledge by investigation. The law of analogy, which is the master key to all mysteries, should make this clear. "As above, so below," and "as below, so above." We see the telephone hanging on the wall; we know how to operate it by taking down the receiver, placing it to our ear and talking through the transmitter. We know even in a vague way that it is operated by electricity, but the mechanism is a mystery to the great majority.

Similarly, we may turn an electric switch, see the lights flash on, and the motors begin to whirl. We see the phenomenon, but we do not know the underlying forces until by investigation we have fitted ourselves and acquired the knowledge. The very same conditions obtain in the Desire World to an even greater degree, because of the superlative plasticity of the desire stuff and the ease wherewith it is changed into different forms by the ensouling Spirit, whether superhuman or elemental. On that account even the person who has voluntary control of his spiritual sight requires a thorough training and must cultivate the faculty of seeing beyond the form to the ensouling life. It is only when he has cultivated that faculty that he is free from delusion and able to distinguish the true nature and status of all the things and beings which he sees in the invisible world. To do this in the most efficient manner and have the certainty of escaping illusion it is necessary to cultivate the grade of spiritual sight pertaining to the concrete region of the World of Thought, where the archetypes which are the ensouling life can be seen.

To make this clear we may call to mind that the physical sight varies so that there are certain beings which see perfectly under conditions which to us appear as darkness. For instance owls and bats. The eyes of fishes are constructed so that they see under water. The organs of spiritual sight are also capable of being attuned to different vibrations. Each rate of vibration produces a different grade of sight and opens up to the investigator a certain realm of nature. By an exceedingly slight extension of the physical sight the ethers and the beings therein become plainly visible. This grade of sight may be likened to the X-ray, for objects which appear solid to the physical sight are most easily penetrated by the etheric sight or vision.

When one looks at a house with etheric vision he sees right through the wall. If he wants to find out what is taking place in a room on the farther side of the house from where he stands, the etheric rays from his eyes to the object in that room pierce the walls and all other intervening objects, and he sees them just as plainly as if the whole house were made of glass. This grade of sight may be applied to the human body, and it is possible with its help to look through the whole organic structure and watch its functions in actual operation. The writer also had the idea until recently that the common trick of reading a letter which is enclosed in a sealed envelope, perhaps in the pocket of another person was done in the same manner. However, stimulated by the articles on psychometry in our magazine, he one day took a letter addressed to himself and tried the experiment, which succeeded beautifully, showing the person who had written the letter sitting in his room, and giving the whole contents very nicely. Immediately afterward he tried another letter with etheric sight to ascertain how the result would differ, and it was then found to be very difficult to disentangle the writing on account of the letter having been folded up. There seemed to be a conglomerate mass of ink streaks, and it required the use of the next higher grade of sight which penetrates to the Desire World before the letter could be distinguished and read.

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When one looks at an object with the sight necessary to see the Desire World, even the most solid objects are also seen through and through, but with the difference that one sees them as it were from all directions. Thought forms such as spoken of by the enquirer would probably be clothed in this material because no thought form can compel action save through the medium of this force—matter which we call desire stuff, and no one who has not made a study of it can guess how many people are actuated by thought forms which they think are their own, but which as a matter of fact, originated in the brain of some one else. It is in this way that what we call public opinion is formed. Strong thinkers who have certain definite ideas about a particular thing radiate those thought forms from themselves, and others less positive and not antagonistic to the view expressed in these wandering thought forms catch them up and think that these thoughts have originated within themselves. Thus gradually the sentiment grows until that which was originally started by one man has been accepted by a large part of the community.

To learn positively the origin of such stray thought forms would necessitate examination by means of the grade of sight necessary to function in the Region of Concrete Thought where the idea first took shape. There all solid objects appear as vacuous cavities from which a basic keynote is continually sounded and thus whoever sees a thing also hears from itself the whole history of its being. Thought forms which have not yet crystallized into physical action or being do not present themselves to the observer as a cavity, but there thoughts are not silent. They speak in a language which is unmistakable and convey far more accurately than words can, what is their intent until the force which their originator expended to bring them into being has been spent. As they sing in the key peculiar to the person who gave them birth it is a comparatively easy matter for the trained esotericist to trace them to their source.

Regarding section "c" of your question is it not quite clear what you mean. If you want to know how we can distinguish the thoughts of objective spiritual entities from our own thoughts, the foregoing method may be applied to all beings without any distinction whatever. But if you mean how can we distinguish objective spiritual entities from thought forms, the answer is that thought forms lack spontaneity. They are more or less like automatons. They move and act in one direction only, according to the will of the thinker which is the motive power within them. The actions of objective spiritual entities are spontaneous and changeable in the same way that our actions or tactics are, whenever we wish or it seems desirable to change them.

The Fourth Dimension

Question: It is stated in the Cosmo that the faculty of space perception is connected with the delicate adjustment of the three semicircular canals in the ear, pointing in the three dimensions of space. Logical thought and mathematical ability are in proportion to the accuracy of their adjustment.

It seems that the perception of the fourth dimension has been arrived at by mathematicians of a very high degree. Can you tell me if there is any change in the arrangement of these semi-circular canals, or what is the process that leads up to the fourth dimension consciousness?

It would also seem that nature spirits and elementals have this fourth dimensional consciousness which is a higher degree of consciousness than that which we now possess, and possibly the bee or the Elberfeld horses. Will you please supply the missing link? What makes man or humanity superior to these beings, and what is the arrangement of these semi-circular canals in the case of the bees and these gifted horses?

Answer: To the majority of mankind figures are exceedingly tedious, for we are used to living an outward life among other people and friends where we give expression to our desires, feelings, and emotions. The more these are stirred the more interesting we find life, and contrariwise, the things that do not cause a ripple of emotion are held to be dull and uninteresting. Therefore, the majority do not take to mathematics or anything else that will sharpen the mind without at the same time arousing the emotional nature.

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We know that God geometrizes, that all the processes of nature are founded upon systematic calculation which argues the great Master-mind. When God as the great Architect of the universe has built the whole world upon mathematical lines, we may know that consciously or unconsciously the mathematician is reaching out in a direction in which eventually he will find himself face to face with God, and this in itself argues an expansion of consciousness. When we consider the fact that each of the semi-circular canals is in fact a supersensitive spirit level adjusted so as to indicate to our consciousness the motion of our body through the length, breadth, or depth of space we may easily understand that their actual adjustment is necessary to space perception. If they are true, then the space perception of the person is perfect, and if he takes up the study of mathematics, then his theories will agree with what he sees in the world as actual facts. This in some high minds engenders an actual love of figures so that they may rest such a mind instead of being a source of fatigue as they are to most people. The love of figures may arouse in such a person the latent spiritual faculties, but not through any change in the semi-circular canals. These are bony structures and not easily changed during the life time. There is no doubt, however, that one who has a taste for music or mathematics will later build these canals more accurately in the Second Heaven between death and a new birth.

With respect to the consciousness of the elementals or nature spirits, you are quite correct in assuming that they have what may be called a fourth dimensional consciousness. In addition to the height, width, and length, which are the dimensions of space in the physical world, there is what we may call "throughness" in the ethers. With the etheric sight you may look into a mountain, and if you have an etheric body such as the nature spirits possess, you may also walk through the hardest granite rock. It will offer no more obstruction than the air does to our progress here. In fact, not so much, for here we are hindered by winds. However, even among nature spirits there are different entities and a corresponding variation of consciousness.

The bodies of the gnomes are made of the chemical ether principally, and therefore they are of the earth earthy. That is, one never sees them fly about as do the sylphs. They can be burned in fire. They also grow old in a manner not so greatly different from the human beings.

The undines which live in the water and the sylphs of the air are also subject to mortality, but their bodies being composed of the life and light ethers, respectively, makes them much more enduring. Thus while it is stated that the gnomes do not live more than a few hundred years, the undines and sylphs are said to live for thousands, and the salamanders whose bodies are principally built of the fourth ether are said to live many thousands of years. The consciousness which builds and ensouls these bodies, however, belongs to a number of divine hierarchs who are gaining additional experience in that manner; and the forms which are built of matter and thus ensouled have attained a degree of self-consciousness during these long existences. They have a sense of their own transitory existence and it is to their rebellion against this state of things that the war of the elements, notably fire, air, and water, is due. Fancying that they are being held in bondage, they seek liberation from the leash by force, and having no sense to guide themselves, run amuck in a destructive manner which at times brings about great catastrophes.

The consciousness of the gnomes is too dull to take the initiative, but they not infrequently become accomplices of the other nature spirits by opening passages which favor explosions in the rock. However, this has no connection at all with the Elberfeld horses or kindred animal prodigies. These are the wards of their respective Group Spirits and it is probably the last time they will seek embodiment in an animal form. When that happens, such Spirits are relegated to Chaos where they must wait during the Cosmic night for their less gifted brothers until the time when it is possible to begin their human evolution in the Jupiter Period.

The Memory of Nature

Question: How do the records in the Memory of Nature appear to the spiritual vision? That is, how are the acts of a person in a former life represented?

Answer: That depends upon where you read the Memory of Nature. There are, in the reflecting ether, pictures of all that has happened in the world, at least several hundred years back, perhaps in some cases much more. And they appear almost as the pictures on a screen, with this difference, that the scene shifts backward. Thus if we wish to study the life of Luther or Calvin in the Memory of nature we may by concentration call up any certain points in their lives and start there, and we may hold that scene wherewith we start, or any other scene, as long as we desire, by simply willing so to do. However, we shall find that the picture rolls backward, so if we start with the scene where Luther is said to have thrown the ink bottle against the wall to oust his Satanic Majesty, and if we want to know what happened after that, we shall find ourselves foiled in our purpose. We will then have presented to us all the scenes that went before, and in order to get the information we want we must start at a point later in time than that event. Then the scenes will roll backward in orderly sequence until we come to the episode with the ink bottle, and we may later reconstruct the whole picture in the progressive manner which obtains in ordinary every day physical life.

But if we read in the Memory of Nature in the next higher realm where it is kept, namely, the highest subdivision of the Region of Concrete Thought, we obtain a vastly different view in quite another manner. By concentrating our thought upon Luther we shall there call up in our mind at one flash the whole record of his life. There will be neither beginning nor end, but we shall obtain at once the aroma or essence of his whole existence. Neither will this picture or thought or knowledge be outside ourselves, so that we stand as spectators and look at the life of Luther, but the picture will be, so to speak, within ourselves, and we shall feel ourselves as if we were actually Luther. This picture will speak to our inner consciousness and give us a thorough understanding of his life and purpose, not to be gained by an exterior view. We shall know whatever he knew, for the time being. We shall feel whatever he felt, and though there will be no audible word spoken, we shall obtain a perfect understanding of what the man was from the cradle to the grave. Every thought, no matter how secret, and every act, no matter how well concealed, will be known to us with all the motives and everything that led up to the event, and thus we shall obtain a most thorough understanding of the life of Luther, so intimate that probably not he himself during life, realized himself as perfectly as we shall then.

Now it would seem that having obtained such an intimate and thorough knowledge of Luther, Calvin, Napoleon, or any other man or event in history, or before the date when history was written, we should be able to write books that would explain all these things in the most wonderful manner. Anyone who has tried to read in the Memory of Nature as kept in that high region will testify with the writer that they have felt just that way when they left their investigation and returned to their ordinary brain consciousness. But, alas and alack! Thought must be manifested through the brain and to be intelligible to others it must be translated into sentences consecutively unfolding the ideas to be conveyed, and no one who has not felt this limitation on coming back from the Heaven World with such valuable information can realize the chagrin and despair which one feels when he endeavors to do this. In that highest subdivision of the Region of Concrete Thought, all things are included in an eternal here and now; there is neither time nor space, beginning nor end, and to arrange that which is there seen, heard, and felt, into consecutively arranged ideas is next to impossible. It simply seems to refuse to filter through the brain. We who have seen and heard know what we have seen and what we have heard, but we are unable to utter it. There is no human language or tongue that can translate these things in an adequate manner and give to another anything but the faintest feeling, the most attenuated shadow of the glorious reality.

There is still another record of the Memory of Nature in the World of Life Spirit, which is said by the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucians to cover events from the earliest dawn of our present manifestation and to be so sublime and wonderful that we have no word that will give even the slightest idea thereof. There are a number of misguided people who deceive themselves and others into thinking that they are able to read this record, but the fact is, according to the Elder Brothers, that only they and other hierarchs of the other Mystery Schools, together with the Adepts who have graduated from these institutions, are able to do so.



Contemporary Mystic Christianity


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