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Question: What is the difference between a Clairvoyant, an Initiate and an Adept?
Answer: What a man sees depends upon the sensitiveness of his eye. Some people can distinguish objects at a distance which makes them invisible to other people. Artists perceive shades of color which ordinary people cannot distinguish and some people are color blind; there are even those who cannot see at all—they are blind.
The people who can see the farthest or distinguish the most delicate shades of color are more clairvoyant, or clearsighted, than the rest.
The majority among us are able to see most things in our environment, but we know very little about the things we see just because we see them. We had to be initiated into the use of the telephone, the bicycle, automobile, piano, etc.
But, though we may know how to use these instruments under ordinary circumstances, we are not so thoroughly familiar with their construction that we are able to build or repair them when they have become disabled. Before we become qualified for that work we must take a course of special training, and if we apply ourselves with our whole heart, we may become adepts in our special line.
If we apply this illustration to the problem before us, we may understand that a clairvoyant is a man whose sense of sight has become so extended that he perceives another world, which is invisible to most of us, and that he is able to see everything there.
But he does not "know all about" the things he sees there by the mere fact of perception any more than we know all about the things we see in this world. He must apply himself to gain that knowledge. Then, by degrees, he will become an Initiate, who understands the things he sees, and may be able to manipulate some of them under ordinary circumstances, as we are able to play upon a piano or ride a bicycle when we have learned these arts.
It will require further training to enable the Initiate to exercise power over the things and the forces in the invisible world as an Adept.
Thus the Clairvoyant is one who sees the invisible world; the Initiate both sees the invisible world and understands what he sees, while the Adept sees, knows and has power over things and forces there.
Question: Why is it that trained clairvoyants do not offer to lend themselves to some simple but conclusive tests conducted by men of science which would convince everybody of the reality of faculties transcending the ordinary senses?
Answer: In the first place, trained clairvoyants have no axes to grind; they are not concerned in the smallest degree whether people believe or not; while it might make a great deal of difference to the people themselves were they to believe, it makes no difference whatever to the trained clairvoyant. He never seeks for money, or any other consideration that the world could offer him if convinced; he has no wish for worldly power, he never flaunts his faculty or boasts of it, but always speaks of it with exceeding modesty when he does so at all. If he does deeds that are meritorious, perhaps, in helping his fellow men, he does not care to have these facts known. He usually does not let "his left hand know what his right hand does."
A blind man does not see the colors and the light, although they are everywhere about him, and if he should come to us and ask us to submit to tests which would prove to him beyond a doubt that we perceive light and color, we should wonder what tests could possibly convince him of those facts. So does the trained clairvoyant wonder what tests would convince everybody. There has been no test devised yet that would not be open to some other explanation in the minds of some people, and the unfortunate clairvoyant who should lend himself to such tests would have to keep on and on forever, and yet generations of skeptics would denounce him as a fraud. He would be required to submit to the tests of every single one of the scientists, and scientists do not even believe their own eyes. If their reason says a thing is impossible they refuse to believe, though shown. Scientists are forced to be content to experiment under the laws of nature, when conducting their researches in chemistry, etc., of which they know something, but arrogate to themselves the right to prescribe conditions when testing superphysical matters of which they are confessedly ignorant. When mediums demand a darkened room for their experiments, the scientists usually say,
"Ah, yes, that at once shows that they are frauds; they want the room darkened so that they can play their tricks undetected." The mediums usually do not know why the room should be darkened and therefore cannot explain, but a law underlies the demand of the medium.
It is this: Light rays set the ether into violent vibration and make it difficult for the communicating entities to work with it in that condition, to mold it into a body, a vocal organ, a hand, or other material manifestation. The darker the room the less the ether vibrates, and the easier it is for these entities to use it as required for the spiritualistic phenomena.
There are numerous other laws affecting superphysical phenomena, of which science has no conception, and this ignorance at once disqualifies the scientists for prescribing conditions. The way is always open for them, however, to know at first hand. They say to us, procure a number of lenses, ground in a certain way, place them in a tube in a certain manner, point that tube with your lenses in a certain direction in the sky and you will see eight moons revolving around Saturn. If we comply with their directions, we shall see that what they tell us is to be found there. If we refuse to provide the necessary instrument we cannot see the moons of Saturn. We say to them: live the life and perform the exercises, so that you may evolve in yourselves that faculty of which we speak. Then you will see that we have spoken the truth, and you will be compelled to assert the things we assert. If they are unwilling to comply with our directions, they may remain as unconvinced of the existence of super-physical realms as the man who will not procure a telescope may doubt the existence of the Saturnian moons, for all that the trained clairvoyants care.
Question: If clairvoyance is such an accurate means of investigation, such a high spiritual faculty, why do we usually see it in possession of people of little education and coarse breeding; who have seemingly very little spirituality and who often tell lies?
Answer: There was a time in the far, far past when the human body was a very much less complicated organism than it is today, before the cerebrospinal nervous system had been evolved to give man voluntary control over his body. At that time the sympathetic or involuntary nervous system took care of the purely animal functions, much as it does today. Then man was a much more spiritual being than he is now, and his means of perception of the Spiritual Worlds were organs which are now temporarily in disuse. We have a number of organs in our bodies in various stages of completion, some of which are atrophying because they have served their uses. The muscles which move the ears in animals, for instance, are also present in man, but they are no longer needed and, therefore, most of us have lost the use of them. Other organs are in a state of development, such as, for instance, the heart, which is an involuntary muscle, but is being invested with cross-stripes like the voluntary muscles and will, at a future time, be capable of regulation at any desired speed.
Another class of organs are simply in a state of dormancy, and among these are the pituitary body and the pineal gland. If they were not to be used in the future, they would surely atrophy, as do all other organs when they have ceased to be useful. In the far past these organs were connected with the sympathetic system and invested man with involuntary clairvoyance, and because of their connection with the cerebro-spinal system they will in the future enable mankind to effect a contact with the Spiritual Worlds at will.
It is easier to roll a stone down hill than to roll it up hill; retrogression is more readily accomplished than progression, and when people seek for development in a negative condition they readily renew the negative activity of the pituitary body and the pineal gland, and become negative clairvoyants. But as any faculty which is exercised by means of the involuntary nervous system cannot be exercised by the power of the will, this faculty is, of course, sporadic in mediums. At times, when the power is on, they can contact the Spiritual Worlds in a limited way. At other times, when the power is off, they are unable to see. Therefore, they often simulate in order to earn a needed fee.
The man who consciously evolves his spiritual faculty controls the vibration of the two little organs named by will power and has no "off" days. The power to see is his at any and all times. Thus, in his hands, clairvoyance is an accurate means of investigation, but it should be understood that as it is necessary to investigate in this world before we know, so it is also in that world. Many people are foolishly skeptical concerning the existence of superphysical worlds and senses, but people who think that when a man "sees" in the invisible worlds he at once knows everything about them are equally foolish. A blind man who has acquired the faculty of sight by an operation affords an illustration of the fact that we must learn to see here in the Physical World, for at first he very often shuts his eyes, declaring that it is easier to walk by feeling than by sight, because he has not yet learned to gauge distances. The infant which reaches for the moon or for something on the other side of the room also demonstrates this fact. As above, so below; before a man has been trained, the mere fact of clairvoyance is not of much use to him, and the idea that because he sees, he necessarily knows everything, is gratuitous. We who have seen here all our lives do not know all about everything in this world; neither do the people who "see' know all about the other world. Besides, the forms here are stable and do not easily change, while the matter of sight and knowledge is complicated in the Inner Worlds by the plasticity of the forms there, for they often change in the twinkling of an eye in response to the thoughts of entities who function there.
To evolve voluntary clairvoyance is an arduous task, and this faculty, therefore, is possessed by few, while negative clairvoyance, unfortunately, has been developed by many who had no high ideals to prevent prostitution of their faculty for gold.
Question: What do you mean by initiation, and why are only men initiates?
Answer: The ordinary idea of initiation is that of admittance into a secret order, usually in consideration of an initiation fee, but spiritual initiation is very different. When a person has endeavored to live the higher life for some time, has purified his vehicles by mental, moral and physical endeavors, he emits a light in the invisible world and accumulates a power within. In time a point of culmination is reached where this power must be given vent. Then there appears in his life a teacher who shows him the power he has cultivated, often unconsciously to himself, and its use. This demonstration is called initiation. It may take place in a temple or not; it may or may not be accompanied by a ceremony, as the circumstances demand. Let it be clearly understood that no ceremony can give to the candidate the powers which initiation teaches him to use, any more than pulling the trigger of a pistol which is not loaded can cause an explosion. The initiatory ceremony would be worthless save as a culmination to the life of discipleship.
Thus it is evident that Initiation is the inevitable result of merit. It is never sold for money, though there is no lack of unscrupulous charlatans who offer to initiate anyone into the esoteric arts of which they know nothing themselves; nor are gullible fools wanting, or dishonest persons who hope to gain a sinister power over their fellow-man by purchase. If Simon, the sorcerer, merited the scathing rebuke of Peter when he attempted to buy a spiritual power for gold, we wonder what condemnation is adequate to meet the case of those who advertise them as commercial wares, particularly when, in the nature of things, they are unable to deliver the goods offered for sale. The inquirer is under a misapprehension when he believes that only men are Initiates, at least so far as the Lesser Mysteries are concerned. There are women Initiates and sometimes even Initiates of the Greater Mysteries take upon themselves a feminine body for the sake of a special work which they desire to accomplish. It is true, however, that those who have advanced so far that they have a choice regarding sex usually prefer a male body, and the reason is not far to seek. Woman has a positive vital body but a negative dense body and is, therefore, somewhat at a disadvantage in the world as at present constituted. Striving for the higher ideals and living the higher life, we spiritualize the vital body and transmute it into soul which is always positive—a power usable regardless of sex—and when the Initiate wears a masculine body also, he is thoroughly positive in the Physical World and has a better chance for advancement than when using a feminine vehicle.
Question: Is it not the duty of one who is informed on subjects concerned with the higher life to give information and help to the less informed?
Answer: Certainly, knowledge is the one thing which we may give to others and still retain ourselves. In fact, when we help others by disseminating our knowledge we are helping ourselves and increasing our own store. For no one really knows a thing until he has told and explained it to someone else, and we should understand that whatever knowledge we may obtain is not our exclusive property, but is to be used for the universal good. If we selfishly hoard it and refuse to enlighten others, it will act upon us in the same way as if we continued to eat physical food without getting rid of the ashes. There would come a time when we could hold no more and we would become sick. So with people who obtain knowledge concerning things of the higher life. When they hoard it up instead of using it for the benefit of others, they are very apt to become recluses, and may become insane.
Question: What qualifications are necessary to become an Invisible Helper? Must the whole life be given over to spiritual endeavor?
Answer: No, not at all; in fact, no one is justified in giving his whole life to spiritual endeavor unless he has first fulfilled whatever material obligations he may have to others. The duties in the family are means of being visible helpers, and the man or woman who shirks duty here can surely not be depended upon to fulfill the duties of an Invisible Helper on the other side.
Therefore, a patient continuance in the performance of all our earthly duties to the very best of our ability is the first and most essential qualification of the aspirant. As a further qualification, we may mention self-control. While we are living and working on our dense bodies, the desire body is in a measure held in check by imprisonment in dense, physical matter. If we lose our temper here, the result may be dangerous to ourselves and to those around us, but it is not a circumstance to the peril attendant upon loss of temper in the other world, for our desire body, as we know, can wreck our physical body in a fit of temper so that it may sometimes be sick for weeks as a result of a few minutes' loss of temper. But when outside the dense body, if its force were directed against anyone else, it could instantly kill an army.
Knowledge is also requisite to the aspirant. Unless we have studied conditions after death and are familiar with the scheme of evolution, have a comprehensive idea of the constitution of man and similar subjects it is impossible for us to instruct those who are less informed, and to set us the tasks of an Invisible Helper and instructor would be analogous to sending an ignorant boor to teach school.
Last, but not least, the Invisible Helper must be imbued with an all embracing love of humanity. We cannot be callous to the sufferings of our fellow creatures here and at the same time be filled with love and a desire to help in the other world, any more than a man who does not know a note in earth life can become a proficient musician by the mere fact of dying, or acquire such a passion for music that he is anxious to spend eternity tooting in a horn or playing on a harp. Therefore, we reiterate that to become an Invisible Helper there, we must first qualify by helping here.
Question: What purpose has the person in going out of his body?
Answer: At the present stage of our evolution, the greater part of humanity are tied to their bodies during earth life. They are placed in a small and narrow environment because certain lessons may be learned there which can best be mastered by practically shutting out every other place and condition from view. But there comes a time when man has grown sufficiently in knowledge to make it desirable that he should have a wider scope for his activities. Then the body becomes a clog and a fetter which it is expedient to leave at times, and accordingly he is taught by the Elder Brothers to extricate himself at will. They themselves have been helped in the past by more advanced beings from other planets until they have now become capable of teaching the less evolved among humanity.
The purpose in going out is to gain a wider knowledge. But that knowledge in itself is only a means to an end, namely, to help others progress. Therefore, those who are capable of leaving their bodies are known as Invisible Helpers. Their work is to help both living and dead, according to ability.
Question: Is it absolutely necessary to live a life of asceticism in order to become spiritual and endowed with psychic powers?
Answer: That depends upon what the inquirer means by asceticism. Some people in the East creep into a barrel of spikes and roll themselves about in order to mortify the flesh, or lash and maim themselves in various ways to attain a realization of spiritual powers. That, assuredly, is not right. They may and do at times become clairvoyant, but that course is as reprehensible and its results as transitory as the effects obtained by crystal gazing, the drug habit and similar methods.
We should realize that this physical body is our most valuable instrument, and that it is our duty to give it all reasonable care under conditions which are conducive to its health and well-being. No power obtained by maltreating our body is of the highest kind, and therefore is neither lasting nor fully efficient.
But some people mean by asceticism, "living a clean and pure life." They want spiritual power without sacrifice of animal propensities; they desire to soar in the clouds at will, while at other times they claim liberty to wallow in the mire. They want to continue feeding on coarse food, to gorge themselves on meat, alcohol and tobacco, to indulge their passions and sensual desires in every direction, and at the same time they want to have spiritual powers.
That cannot be done. Our bodies are our tools. A good workman appreciates the value of good tools and keeps them in the very best condition—sharp and clean. When our senses have been dulled by alcohol and tobacco, when the system is forced to exert all its energy to digest or eliminate coarse food, is it to be expected that the man should be a sensitive? We cannot serve God and mammon; ours is the choice. If we want spiritual powers we must pay the price of clean lives; we must give our bodies pure food and conform to the rules of the simple life; we must abstain from everything that dulls the senses—alcohol, tobacco, and similar abuses. If that is called "a life of asceticism," then asceticism is absolutely necessary.
Question: Are all children clairvoyant up to a certain age?
Answer: Yes, all are clairvoyant at least during the first year of their life. It depends upon the spirituality of the child to a great extent, also upon its environment, how long it will keep the faculty, for most children communicate all they see to their elders and the faculty of clairvoyance is affected by their attitude. Often children are ridiculed, and nothing so hurts their sensitive little natures. They soon learn to shut out the scenes which engender the ridicule of their elders, or at least they will learn to keep such experiences to themselves. When listened to, they often reveal wonderful things, and at times it is possible to trace a previous life by information from a little child. This happens particularly, of course if the child died as a child in its previous life, for then it would only have been in the Invisible World from one to twenty years, so that it is possible to verify its information. Children who, in their previous life, died as children, are much more apt to remember the past and to be clairvoyant than other children, because the desire body and vital body are not born at the same time as the physical birth of the child, but at seven and fourteen years of age, respectively, and what has not been quickened cannot die, so that if a child passes out before birth of the vital body or of the desire body, it will not go into the Second and Third Heavens, but will stay in the Desire World and will be reborn with the same desire body and mind that it possessed in its previous life, and therefore it will be very much more apt to remember what happened then. The writer came across such an instance a few years ago in Southern California.
One day in Santa Barbara, a man by the name of Roberts was walking along the street when a little child ran up to him, put her arms around his knees and called him "papa." Mr. Roberts thought someone was trying to foist a child upon him and indignantly freed himself. The mother of the child was also indignant at its action and took it away. But the child kept crying, "It is my papa, it is my papa." On account of circumstances which will appear later, the incident preyed upon Mr. Roberts' mind, and he went to a gentleman whom we will call "X". Together they sought the house where the little child lived with her parents, and after some parleying were allowed to question her. As soon as the little girl saw Mr. Roberts she ran to him again and called him "Papa." Then, in answer to intermittent questioning during the afternoon, the child told the story, which we give here connectedly.
Once upon a time she lived with Mr. Roberts as her father and another mama in a little house by a brook where flowers grew (here she ran out and fetched some pussy willows). There was a gang plank across the brook which she was forbidden to cross, lest she fall in the water. One day Mr. Roberts left her mama and herself never to return. After some time her mama laid down and moved no more. "She became so still, and she died." Then, said the child, "I died too; but I didn't die, I came here!"
Next, Mr. Roberts told his story. "About eighteen years previously he had lived with his father, a brewer, in England. He fell in love with their servant girl, but the father refused permission to marry. The young people ran off to London, were married, went to Australia, where he cleared a little farm in the bush, and built a house by a brook where pussy willows grew. There was a gang plank over the brook. A little child was born to them, and when that child was about two years of age, Mr. Roberts went one day to a clearing about a mile from the cabin and while there an officer of the law approached him with a gun and arrested him for a bank robbery committed on the night he left London.
"He protested his innocence, begged leave to visit wife and child to take care of them, but the officer feared a trap to get him into the hands of confederates, and drove Mr. Roberts to the coast at the point of the gun. He was taken to England, tried for the robbery and found not guilt. Not until then did the authorities listen to his constant ravings about a wife and child who must surely have starved in the wilds of Australia. A telegram was sent, a search party organized and in due time the answer came. They found the skeletons of the deserted ones, and Mr. Roberts departed for America, a heart-broken man."
The child was then shown a number of pictures, in a casual way, among them being two photographs of Mr. Roberts and his wife. Mr. Roberts' appearance had altered very much since that photograph was taken. Nevertheless, when the child came upon the picture, she joyously shouted, "Oh, there is Papa!" She also recognized the picture of her mother in the previous life. The little child was only about three years of age at the time when Mr. Roberts found her, and could not possibly have made up such a story. Later the case was investigated by one of the foremost newspapers in Southern California, the Los Angeles Times, and the facts found to be as here related.
Question: What is the difference between White and Black Magic and what is the effect of the practice of Black Magic upon the soul?
Answer: Magic is a process whereby we may accomplish certain results not achieved by means of laws ordinarily known. Some men have investigated laws of nature unknown to most people, and have become adepts in manipulating the finer forces. They use their power to help their fellow man, where that can be done in harmony with the laws of his growth. Others, having studied the laws and become capable of manipulating the hidden forces of the universe, use their knowledge for selfish ends to gain power over their fellow creatures. The first named class are White Magicians, the latter are Black. Both of them use and manipulate the same forces, the difference being the motive which prompts them. The White Magician is prompted altogether by love and benevolence. Although he is not actuated by thoughts of reward, a soul growth wonderful to contemplate results from his use of magic. He has put his talents out to usury and is gaining interest a hundredfold. The Black Magician, on the other hand, is in a sad state, for it is said that the "soul that sinneth, it shall die," and all we do contrary to the laws of God inevitably results in a deterioration of the soul qualities.
The Black Magician by his knowledge and art may, sometimes for several lives, maintain his position in evolution, but eventually there comes a time when the soul disintegrates and the Ego reverts into what we may call savagery.
Black magic in its minor forms, such as hypnotism, for instance, sometimes causes congenital idiocy in a future life. The hypnotist deprives his victims of the free use of their bodies. Under the law of consequence he is then tied to a body with a malformed brain, which prevents his expression. We must not infer, however, that every case of congenital idiocy is due to such malpractice on the part of the Ego in a past life; there are also other causes which may bring congenital idiocy as a result.
Question: What is the difference between etheric sight, clairvoyance and the sight pertaining to the World of Thought?
Answer: When we look at a man with etheric sight, we first see his outside clothing, then the lining inside, his underclothing, his skin, ribs and the various organs of his body along the line of our vision; then the spinal column, the back of the ribs, the flesh, the skin and the clothing on his back. In other words, we see through him. By the etheric sight a man can see through books, papers, letters, walls, or anything else for a short distance. In fact, this faculty may be called X-ray sight. Only one substance is proof against its penetrative faculty. Glass is as opaque to etheric sight as a stone wall to ordinary physical sight for the same reason, perhaps, that glass is such a splendid insulator for electricity.
When we look at a person or a thing with ordinary clairvoyant sight, we see their desire bodies and the counterparts of their other vehicles inside and out—every particle at the same time. It is rather difficult to read a book or even a letter with etheric sight, because we must look through other pages which blur the one we wish to read. When we use ordinary clairvoyance it seems as if the book or letter is spread out so that we can ready any age or part without having to look through any other part. But when we look at an object with the sight pertaining to the four lower regions of the World of Thought, and the writer has personal knowledge of no higher realms, we find that instead of forms there are hollow spaces or molds, which speak to us and tell us about themselves. The necessity of investigation is eliminated from that world. There we know at once everything about whatever becomes an object of our attention. There is, however, a curious drawback to the knowledge gained in that manner—it dawns upon us all at once. The sum of this knowledge is a whole, and has neither beginning nor end. It is therefore usually a Herculean task to unfold it into an orderly, sequential concept which may be comprehensively stated to ourselves and others.
Question: Is it safe for a person in a greatly debilitated nervous condition to take esoteric training given by the Rosicrucians, or is it necessary for such a person to first recover? Is health regained by esoteric training?
Answer: The only exercises given publicly by Rosicrucians are the morning and evening exercises. The evening exercise consists of a retrospect of events of the day in reverse order. During this review the aspirant aims to cultivate a feeling of the most sincere contrition for anything he may have done amiss, and also to feel intensely glad when he has been able to better his previous conduct in any act during the past day. The morning exercise consists in concentration upon a high ideal, the Christ, for instance.
If a person of a nervous temperament will endeavor to calmly and quietly perform these exercises, he will experience a very beneficial effect, particularly if he will strive to relax every muscle of the body during the exercises.
The attitude of a cat watching a mouse hole affords an excellent illustration of relaxation. It sits in a perfectly easy position; calmly and quietly it waits for the appearance of the mouse. No energy is dissipated by fretfulness or anxiety. It quietly persists in the faith that sooner or later opportunity will come. All its strength is reserved for the supreme moment when it springs to secure its prey. If the pupil will completely relax his muscles, calmly and quietly review the day's happenings in the evening exercise and concentrate upon a high ideal in the morning exercise, the nervousness will gradually disappear, and one day the opportunity will come; the spiritual sight will unfold.
Question: A sound body being necessary for spiritual unfoldment, what does the Rosicrucian teaching hold out to one not at present in the best physical condition? Will perfect health be one result of the study of this philosophy, and if the teaching is practiced, will it tend to keep a person in good health?
Answer: The inquirer starts with a misconception, namely, that a sound body is necessary to true spiritual unfoldment, and, probably, also forgets the distinction between "sound" and "sensitive." Many people of low development have a most sound and healthy physical body, but are not at all sensitive with respect to spiritual vibrations. An illustration will elucidate: The writer has had an alarm clock, a low-priced time-piece, for a number of years. It has been packed at times in a trunk handled by baggagemen, porters, etc., in an exceedingly careless manner, and yet when taken out of the trunk, after all the shaking up and ill-usage, it will still go and keep time after a fashion, that is to say, if one does not mind a few moments' variation one way or the other. Such a time-piece is strong and sound but not accurate.
On the other hand, a chronometer used on board ships is an exceedingly delicate time-piece. It rests upon balances which always keep it in a horizontal position and compensate for the slightest motion of the ship, so that the chronometer may keep perfect time, for thousands of lives are at times dependent upon the extreme accuracy of that instrument. A captain launched upon the trackless ocean knows how far east or west he is from Greenwich, England, by means of this accurate time-piece—the chronometer. When he calculates the difference between noon of the place where he finds himself and the time shown by the chronometer he has a correct gauge of his location, a gauge to which he trusts the lives of all his passengers and the millions of dollars' worth of property in his care. A comparison of the sensitive chronometer and the rough and ready alarm clock illustrates the difference between "sensitive" and "sound."
There are cases, however, when a sickness is necessary to bring about certain changes in the body which are precursors of a higher step in spiritual unfoldment, and under such conditions, of course, sickness is a blessing and not a curse. In general, however, it may be said that the study of the highest philosophy will always tend to better one's health, because "knowledge is power" and the more we know the better we are able to cope with all conditions, provided, of course, we bring our knowledge into practice and live the life—that we are not merely hearers of the word, but doers also, for no teaching is of any benefit to us unless it is carried into our lives and lived from day to day.
Question: In what way will it help us in the life after death if we have cultivated clairvoyance in the present life?
Answer: In a number of ways. In the first place, many people have a great fear of death; the very mention of the word death sends the cold shivers down their backs, and they always avoid the subject. Fear of death generates thought forms of a hideous nature and when a person leaves the body at death to enter the Invisible World, he sees those dread forms surround him as so many fiends, and they sometimes drive him almost insane. They are his progeny, however, and he cannot rid himself of them until he learns that they have no power over him and fearlessly bids them begone. Then they vanish as dew before the sun.
The man who has cultivated clairvoyance during earth life is sometimes also tormented on his first entrance into the Invisible World by various elemental entities which take upon themselves most hideous forms. They recognize in the neophyte a possible future master and seek to sway him from his purpose by intimidation, but as he is usually helped by a teacher and is taught that these beings have no power over him, he very quickly overcomes fear. When later he leaves his body at death and enters the Invisible World, he is already familiar with many of the sights and scenes there; above all he has no fear to hamper him.
Question: Would the contemplation of the God within, if persistently carried on, aid one in spiritual growth and bring one to Adeptship?
Answer: We are living at the present time in the workaday Western World, where it is our duty to fill whatever niche is ours. Each of us has a work to do, and if we shirk it for the sake of a morbid introspection, we shall not only not grow, but we shall degenerate spiritually.
Some people, unfortunately, think themselves justified in leaving their earthly duties when they imagine spiritual progress calls them, but until we have fulfilled every duty here, there can be no true spiritual advancement; whatever may seem so will in the end turn out to be dust and ashes.
What does not tend to lift all will never lift anyone. A deep-seated and heartfelt desire to further the common good is the only valid justification for expending the effort incident to cultivation of spiritual power. Stories have been told of mothers attending mothers' meetings to discuss how best to care for home and children, meanwhile leaving their children in a most untidy house without care. These stories are not merely exaggerations and jokes; they contain more truth than poetry. And the people who prate of spirituality, who desire to contemplate the angel within, to the neglect of their families and other obvious duties, are on a par with such mothers. The sooner we awake to a realization of the fact that no present duty, however humble, may be neglected with impunity for spiritual work, however exalted, the better for ourselves and all concerned. We would advise the inquirer to read Longfellow's poem, the "Legend Beautiful." It is very much in point: A monk is kneeling upon his floor of stone, when a beautiful vision of the Christ appears to him just as the noonday bell summons him to the gate where the poor are waiting for alms which it is his duty to give to them each day. There arises in the monk's mind the question, shall he stay and commune with the Blessed Visitor, or shall he leave Him for the sake of a parcel of hungry beggars? But a voice within him says,
"Do thy duty, that is best,
Leave unto thy Lord the rest."
He follows the behest of that voice, leaving the Vision in his cell wondering if it will be there when he returns. Yet he feels it is right to do his duty to others regardless of loss to himself, and when, after having dealt alms to the poor, he returns to his cell, the Vision greets him with the words: "Hadst thou stayed, I must have fled."
Question: Has it not been recorded that certain individuals have developed spiritual power, clairvoyance, sixth sense, or whatever we wish to call it, by living a clean life in harmony with nature's laws, and do not the teachings of modern esotericists with so many terms of technicality have a tendency to create confusion rather than bring the desired results?
Answer: The path of development in all cases depends upon the temperament of the aspirant. There are two paths, the Mystic and the Intellectual. The Mystic is usually devoid of intellectual knowledge; he follows the dictates of his heart and strives to do the will of God as he feels it, lifting himself upward without being conscious of any definite goal, and in the end attains to knowledge. In the middle ages people were not as intellectual as we are nowadays, and those who felt the call of a higher life, usually followed the mystic path. But, during the last few hundred years, since the advent of modern science, a more intellectual humanity has peopled the earth; the head has completely overruled the heart, materialism has dominated all spiritual impulse and the majority of thinking people do not believe anything they cannot touch, taste or handle. Therefore, it is necessary that appeal should be made to their intellect in order that the heart may be allowed to believe what the intellect has sanctioned. As a response to this demand modern systems of esotericism aim to correlate scientific facts to spiritual verities. The materialistic attitude of mind is, of course, particularly adopted in the West, and the Rosicrucian Order was founded in the 13th century to prepare an antidote for poison of materialism which could be administered in doses to suit the exigencies of the case. Paracelsus, Comenius, Hellmond, Bacon and others gave in a more veiled manner the teachings now being definitely promulgated to demonstrate that science, art and religion are a trinity in unity which cannot be separated without distorting our view.
True Religion embodies both science and art, for it teaches a beautiful life in harmony with the laws of nature.
True Science is artistic and religious in the highest sense, for it teaches us to reverence and conform to the laws governing our well-being and explains why the religious life is conducive to health and beauty.
True Art is as educational as science and as uplifting in its influence as religion. In architecture we have a most sublime presentation of cosmic lines of force in the universe. It fills the spiritual beholder with a powerful devotion and adoration born of an awe-inspiring conception of the overwhelming grandeur and majesty of Deity. Sculpture and painting, music and literature inspire us with a sense of the transcendent loveliness of God, the immutable source and goal of all this beautiful world.
Nothing short of such an all-embracing teaching will answer the needs of a large and growing class, therefore the technico-devotional religion is absolutely necessary at the present time.
Question: Is it possible to cultivate clairvoyance by the use of drugs, by crystal gazing or breathing exercises, and do these methods not bring results quicker than the methods you advocate?
Answer: Yes; it is possible to cultivate a certain kind of clairvoyance by any of the methods mentioned, but when a man cultivates the sixth sense by such means he is not master of his faculty; the power of producing clairvoyance is vested in the crystal and not in the man. He is in a similar position to one who learns horsemanship at a riding-academy where the horses are trained to allow themselves to be ridden. The pupils acquire no ability to deal with intractable animals, but simply ride by permission of their mount.
If a man learns to break a wild horse he can break others, and rides by virtue of his own power to master his horse, and when a man has used will power instead of drugs or a crystal to subdue his body and cultivate clairvoyance, he has acquired a soul quality which enables him to exercise his faculty in all future lives. But the crystal gazer and the drug fiend have lost their power at death, and must wait till they can obtain drugs or crystals in the new life to train the new body, and thus a great loss of time and effort results from the use of such methods. When we take into consideration the fact that drugs and breathing exercises have a dreadfully destructive effect upon the body, it will be seen that these methods are altogether undesirable. Many a man is today in the insane asylum or in the grave of the consumptive on account of breathing exercises, and the effects of drugs are well known.
Besides, there are various kinds of clairvoyants. There are some who have a faculty of such a nature that the clairvoyant may be likened to a prisoner who sits in his cell behind bars. The window in his cell opens upon a certain view; he cannot escape seeing whatever comes into the range of his vision, for he cannot turn away. There is also a shutter before his window which he cannot control either. Thus at all times when that shutter is open he must see whatever passes outside his window whether the sight pleases him or not. A faculty of that nature is an unmitigated curse, for sometimes the most dreadful scenes are enacted before the vision of such a clairvoyant. The writer remembers the case of a certain gentleman, who possessed that kind of a faculty. Lecturing before a certain society at the time of the War in the Philippines, a battle scene presented itself before his gaze. An encounter was taking place at that moment between Filipinos and U.S. soldiers. He saw horses ripped open and falling with entrails on the ground. Unable to shut off the vision, he turned deathly pale, but exercise of will-power enabled him to finish his lecture without attracting attention from the general audience.
There are other clairvoyants who have only a partial control of their sight and who cannot count on the power at any time. To this class belongs the ordinary medium who prostitutes the faculty for a fee. At times, when the power is on, she may give exceedingly good readings and tell the truth, but at other times, when the power is off, there may be a temptation to secure the fees needed for office rent and personal expenses by simulating.
The only safe way to cultivate the faculty of clairvoyance is by means of exercises given by the mystery schools, but these exercises and lessons in the development of the higher faculties are never sold for gold or any material consideration. They are always given without money as a reward of merit. The man who possesses this faculty, cultivated by their method, has no off days, but he will never consent to use it to gratify anyone's curiosity, for tests or other frivolous purpose. He directs all his energy to aid in uplifting humanity.
Question: What time in the morning is best for concentration?
Answer: The object of the exercises, both morning and evening, is to bring the pupil into conscious touch with the invisible worlds, and there is no time so good as the morning, for during the night the spirit withdraws from the dense body and enters the invisible world, leaving the body asleep upon the bed; and it is the return of the spirit in the morning which causes the body to awake and focuses our consciousness upon the material world through the sense organs. Wordsworth says in his beautiful "Ode to Immortality":
"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who
is our home:
"Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But He beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy.
"The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day."
During the life of a person, the Inner Worlds are closest to him in childhood's years, as Wordsworth says, for that is life's morning, and so it is with us; when we waken in the morning we are in closer touch with the Spirit Worlds than at any other time of day, and then it is easiest to return to them. Therefore, the pupil should commence his exercises the very moment he wakens, without allowing his mind to rest upon anything else. He should be particular to relax his body perfectly so that no muscle is tense and fix his mind upon a high ideal or upon the first five verses of the Gospel of St. John, either sentence by sentence, or as a whole. That will put him in touch with cosmic vibrations. He should still the senses so that he can hear nothing and see nothing in his room. When he succeeds the scenes of the Desire World will present themselves to his inner vision. First spasmodically, later more and more clearly, as practice makes him perfect.
For most persons, however, the evening exercise is of the greater importance and will probably bring results quicker, because that works upon the life we lead and ennobles us in a way that the morning exercise cannot.
Question: It is difficult for me to review the events of the day in reverse order when doing my evening exercises. Is this absolutely necessary, and if so, why?
Answer: In the evening exercise the pupil reviews and judges his life for that day. He is then doing the work ordinarily reserved to Purgatory and the First Heaven. There the life is lived backward from effects to causes in order that we may see how and why suffering results from our mistakes. Reviewing our daily life, in reverse order, from effects to causes, we note that our troubles and trials have all been caused by previous acts during the past day or some other day of our life.
It is our task to find that cause and to analyze the reason which leads up to every development, so that we may know in future how to take advantage of opportunities for soul growth and avoid evil. Thus if we follow up the day's experience in reverse order we profit by the experiences gained right away instead of waiting until we have passed out of this life and are forced to reap the fruits of our deeds in Purgatory and the First Heaven.
Question: What value are breathing exercises in developing body and mind?
Answer: The value of breathing exercises depends upon the knowledge of the person who gives them. Breathing exercises given in books and by so-called teachers, who advertise courses in psychic development, are exceedingly dangerous and many a person is in the insane asylum today on account of having attempted to use them, or, perhaps, sleeps under the sod in the grave of a consumptive.
Every human being is an individual and needs individual exercises. The appropriate exercises can only be given by a person who is clairvoyant and also able to watch the growth of certain etheric organs in the physical body of his pupil. He must also know what this growth should be in each individual case. Anyone who has the ability to thus give this individual exercise also knows how to check undesirable developments. But such a teacher does not advertise psychic developments for so much per lesson. Such exercises are never sold for money, but are always given for merit.
The reason is evident. One who has the faculty of clairvoyance at command has an enormous power; if misused it can work more harm than any earthly weapon. It could cause a panic in the markets of the world, bring about wars and enmities among people anywhere and everywhere, and thus the possessor would become a scourge to society unless he were also of such a mind that he would never use his faculty save for good. The powers behind evolution, the Elder Brothers of humanity who have developed these powers and are capable of teaching them, take exceeding good care that no one shall attain to this power until they have given proofs of unselfishness and have been bound by vows and restrictions. Therefore it may be said that no one should undertake breathing exercises unless prescribed by the proper teacher, and neither is it necessary to run about the world seeking such a teacher. The aspirant ought rather to strive to do good and use the faculties which he now possesses in the environment where he is, for that is the only proper stepping stone towards a higher power. When he has sufficiently fitted himself, the teacher will appear in his life and he will not for a moment be in doubt of the genuineness of the teaching that will then be given. In this respect we may quote a little poem that is exceedingly beautiful:
"Don't waste your time in longing
For bright, impossible things;
Don't sit supinely waiting
For the sprouting of angel wings.
Don't scorn to be a rushlight,
Everyone can not be a star;
But brighten some of the darkness
By shining just where you are.
"There's need of the tiniest candle
As well as the garish sun,
And the humblest deed is ennobled
When it is worthily done;
You may never be called on to brighten
Darkened regions afar,
So fill day by day your mission
By shining just where you are."
Question: Is not the invisible world of which you speak very unreal and shadowy in comparison to this world in which we now live?
Answer: God is the Prime Reality. The Desire World and the World of Thought are one and two steps nearer to that central source of energy and hence they are more real. By "real" the inquirer presumably means that in this world the forms are stable and do not easily change, whereas in the Invisible Worlds they are more than plastic and change with the rapidity of thought, but the life within is the reality and not the form. Stability is not a mark of reality. Everything in the world which is now crystallized and stable has first existed in a plastic condition in the Invisible World. Everything which has been made by the hand of man was first a thought form in the mind of its maker.
When an architect desires to build a house, he first thinks it out. He seeks to form an idea as clearly as possible of what the house is to be. Could the workmen see the thought form in the mind of the architect, they would be able to work from that without plans, but the architect's idea is hidden from them by the veil of flesh and, therefore, it is necessary for the architect to put his idea on paper and make a plan. This is the first stage of crystallization; afterward the workmen build the house in iron, wood and stone.
According to the ideas of most people this house is much more real than the thought form in the mind of the architect, but in reality that is not so. The concrete house may be destroyed in a moment by earthquake, by dynamite, or in other ways, but the idea in the architect's mind will last as long as he lives and from that idea a new house, or a dozen, may be built at any time, yes, even after the death of the architect the house will still exist as a model in the ether, and any clairvoyant capable of contacting the Invisible Worlds and reading in the memory of nature is capable of seeing it there at any time, though millions of years may elapse. Thus the Invisible World is the source and everlasting record of all that is or was here, hence it is the prime reality.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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