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Questions Concerning Health and Disease
Question: Do the Rosicrucians believe in materia medica, or do they follow Christ's method of healing?
Answer: It is generally acknowledged by the best practitioners that materia medica is an empirical science; that drugs do not act in the same way on all person, and that, therefore, it is necessary for the physician to experiment with his patients. Hence materia medica is unsatisfactory. Drugs cannot be relied upon to do the work at all times.
Observation shows that while all oxen will thrive on grass, and all lions are content with a diet of flesh, we find in the human being that there is always an individuality which makes each different from all the rest of his kind; and this peculiarity of the human race arises from the fact that while each species of animals is the expression of one single group spirit which guides the separate animals from without, there is in each human being an individual indwelling spirit, an Ego, and therefore one man's meat is often another's poison.
It is only when materia medica takes this point into consideration that it can be of real service in all cases, and the way to find out the peculiarities of the spirit that dwells in the patient body is to cast his horoscope to see when the times are propitious for the administration of drugs, giving the appropriate herbs at the proper time. Paracelsus did that, and therefore he was always successful with his patients; he never made a mistake. There are some who use astrology for that purpose today; the writer, for instance, has thus used it in diagnosis in many cases. He has then always been able to see the crises in the patient's condition, the past, present and the future; and has thus been able to afford much relief to persons suffering from various illnesses. It is to such uses that astrology should be put, and not degraded into fortune telling for the sake of gold, for, like all spiritual sciences, it ought to be used for the benefit of humanity, regardless of mercenary considerations. If physicians would study the science of astrology, they would thus with a very slight effort be able to diagnose their patient's condition in a manner altogether impossible from the ordinary diagnostician's point of view. Some physicians are waking up to that fact and have discovered by their experiences that the heavenly bodies have an influence upon the human frame. For instance, when the writer was in Portland, Oregon, a physician mentioned as his observation that whenever it was possible for him to perform an operation while the moon was increasing in light, that is to say, going from the new to the full moon, the operation was always successful and no complications would set in. On the other hand, he had found that when circumstances compelled him to perform an operation when the moon was going from the full to the dark there was great danger of trouble, and that such operations were never as satisfactory as those performed while the light of the moon was increasing.
There is also a tendency among physicians more and more to cure by suggestion, giving to the patient a harmless pill and a good suggestion. Every mother, whether she knows the potency of suggestion or not, at times unconsciously applies it in the case of her child. If the little one falls, she may by her suggestion cause it to either cry or laugh. If she says to the little one, "Oh, you poor little baby, you've hurt yourself very bad, that poor little head of yours," the child will commence to cry; but if, on the other hand, she points to the floor and exclaims, "Oh, dear, how you hurt that poor floor, why that is too bad—kiss it!" the child will be very sorry it hurt the floor, thinking not at all of its own lesions.
In a similar manner the physician influences his patient, and it is criminal for a physician to enter the sickroom with a gloomy mien, asking the patient to make his will, telling him that he has not long to live. Those things act upon the patient in a manner far greater than realized, and many a physician has thus killed those whom he might have saved. On the other hand, if he is cheerful and comes into the sickroom with a smile and an encouraging word, if he gives a harmless cure and a good suggestion the patient is apt to recover where otherwise he might succumb to the disease. Thus, suggestion is far beyond materia medica. The faith which the patient has in the physician will work wonders, either for good or for evil, and faith was the method which Christ used in his healing. If the inquirer will look up the instances where the Christ healed the sick in the Bible, he will find that there was always a question concerning the faith of the one seeking healing. To each applicant the Christ said, "According to thy faith, be it unto you."
That skepticism destroyed even His power is, perhaps, most evident from the passage where we are told that He journeyed to His native city and found that a prophet is not without honor save in his own country. This story is told in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, also by Mark, and it is significant that the last verse in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew says that He did not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. Mark tells us that because of their skepticism He was only able to heal a very few people by laying His hands upon them.
The open mind is an essential requisite to all investigation and skepticism is absolutely fatal to the attainment of knowledge. As an illustration, we may mention that the writer was in Columbus a few years go and there went to a lecture by Professor Hyslop, the Secretary of the Society for Psychical Research. The subject of the lecture was "New Evidence of a Future Life." The writer was astonished to find that Prof. Hyslop did not present in his lecture one single point which had not been brought out in the last twenty years in the reports of the Society to which he belongs. But the solution came after the lecture, when a question brought out the fact that Prof. Hyslop did not believe in anything that had been said in the Society's reports. He did not believe in the results obtained by anyone but himself. This evidence which he had just presented had been collected by him; therefore it was new to him and he expected his audience to take his word, although he himself was unwilling to take the word of anyone else, and as an illustration of how skepticism acts, he unconsciously gave a very fine example, when he related that, going to a medium on a certain day, Richard Hodgson, deceased, spoke through the medium and Prof. Hyslop commenced to ask questions which, though quite simple, Mr. Hodgson had great difficulty in answering. Prof. Hyslop at last impatiently said, "Why, what is the matter with you, Richard; when you were alive you were quick enough; why can't you answer now?" "Then," said Prof. Hyslop, came the answer, quick as lightning, "Oh, every time I get into your wretched atmosphere I go all to pieces." Prof. Hyslop could not understand the reason why, but anyone who has seen a pupil before a Board of Examiners which has made up its mind that he is a dunce will know why, and understand that it was Prof. Hyslop's critical skeptical attitude of mind which caused Richard Hodgson's great difficulty in communicating. We may, therefore, say that we believe in materia medica when used in conjunction with astrology and also in Christ's method of healing, which is Faith Cure, and in the power of suggestion and the various other systems of healing. They all contain some truth, though unfortunately many are made into fads and carried to extremes. Then they lose their power for good and become menaces to those who might otherwise have been benefited.
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Question: Since suffering is the result of our own actions, do you think it wrong to take medicine to remove pain if one is not hopelessly ill or dying?
Answer: This question reveals an attitude of mind that is extremely deplorable; as well ask if it is right to try to save one's self if drowning, for falling in the water is also an effect of some self-generated cause. Certainly, it is our duty to take medicine administered by a properly qualified person, or attempt to cure the ills from which we suffer in any other way possible that appeals to us. We should be doing decidedly wrong if we allowed our physical instrument to deteriorate for lack of proper care and attention. It is the most valuable tool we possess, and unless we use it circumspectly and care for it, we are amenable to the law of cause and effect for that neglect.
A question such as this reveals an altogether erroneous idea of the law of cause and effect. It is our duty to try to rise above conditions instead of allowing circumstances to guide our lives. There is a beautiful little poem which aptly enunciates this idea:
"One ship sails east and another sails west
With the self same winds that blow;
"Tis the set of the sail and not the gale
Which determines the way they go.
"As the winds of the sea are the ways of Fate
As we voyage along through life,
"Tis the act of the soul which determines the goal
And not the calm or the strife."
If we endeavor to turn the sails of our bark of life aright, we shall always be able to modify if not to altogether change conditions, and make our lives what we will instead of sitting supinely waiting for the clouds to pass by, because we have made those clouds ourselves. The very fact that we have made them ought to be an inspiration to give us the courage and energy to unmake them, or push them away as quickly as possible.
Question: What form of healing do you advise, physicians or practitioners, as in the Christian Science belief?
Answer: That depends upon the nature of the sickness and the temperament of the patient. If it is a case of a broken leg, a surgeon is obviously the one to call. If there is an internal disorder and it is possible to get a broad minded physician, then in certain cases he is the one to get. If, on the other hand, a mental healer, Christian Science healer or anyone else who is spiritually minded can be brought in, they may help a person who is himself strong in faith, for, as a tuning fork which is of certain pitch will respond when another tuning fork of the same pitch is struck, so will the person filled with faith respond to the ministrations of these last named ones. But where faith in their methods is lacking in the patient, it is far better to send for a regular physician in whom the patient has confidence, for health or sickness depends almost altogether upon the state of the mind, and in the conditions of sickness where a person is thwarted in his preferences. Besides, whatever good there is in any system of healing, the effects upon a certain person will be beneficial or the reverse in exact proportion to this faith in its healing power.
Question: What is your opinion in regard to fasting as a means of curing disease?
Answer: We may readily conceive that there are more people in the West who die from over eating than from getting too little food. And under certain conditions fasting for a day or two is undoubtedly beneficial, but just as there are gourmands and gluttons, so there are also others who go to the opposite extreme and fast to excess. There lies a great danger. The better way is to eat in moderation and to eat the proper kinds of food; then it will not be necessary to fast at all.
If we study the chemistry of food we shall find that certain foods have properties of value to the system under certain conditions of disorder, and taken properly food is really medicine. All the citric fruits, for instance, are splendid antiseptics. They cleanse and purify the alimentary canal. Thus they prevent disease. All the cereals, particularly rice, are anti-toxins; they will kill disease and the germs of putrefaction. Thus, by knowing these medicinal properties of the different foods, we may very readily secure a supply of that which we need to cure our ordinary ailments by food instead of by fasting.
Question: Do you consider it wrong to try to cure a bad habit, such as, for instance, drunkenness, by hypnotism?
Answer: Most decidedly yes. Looked at from the standpoint of one life, such methods as for instance those employed by the healers of the Immanuel movement, are undoubtedly productive of an immense amount of good. The patient is seated in a chair, put into a sleep and there he is given certain so called "suggestions." He rises and is cured of his bad habit; from being a drunkard he becomes a respectable citizen who cares for his wife and family, and upon the face of it the good seems to be undeniable.
But looking at it from the deeper standpoint of the esotericist, who views this life as only one in many, and looking at it from the effect it has upon the invisible vehicles of man, the case is vastly different. When a man is put into a hypnotic sleep, the hypnotist makes passes over him which have the effect of expelling the ether from the head of his dense body and substituting the ether of the hypnotist. The man is then under the perfect domination of another; he has no free will, and, therefore, the so called "suggestions" are in reality commands which the victim has no choice but to obey. Besides, when the hypnotist withdraws his ether and wakens the victim he is unable to remove all the ether he put into him. To use a simile, as a small part of the magnetism infused into an electric dynamo before it can be started for the first time is left behind and remains as residual magnetism to excite the fields of the dynamo every time it is started up, so also there remains a small part of the ether of the hypnotist's vital body in the medulla oblongata of the victim, which is a club the hypnotist holds over him all his life, and it is due to this fact that suggestions to be carried out at a period subsequent to the awakening of the victim are invariably followed.
Thus the victim of a hypnotic healer does not overcome the bad habit by his own strength, but is as much chained in that respect as if he were in solitary confinement, and although in this life he may seem to be a better citizen, when he returns to earth he will have the same weakness and have to struggle until at last he overcomes it himself.
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Question: Are there any methods of eradicating the calcareous matter which comes into our bodies by wrong methods of diet?
Answer: The question shows that the inquirer is aware that our bodies are gradually hardening from childhood to old age, on account of the chalky substances contained in most of the foods we usually nourish our bodies upon. This calcareous matter is primarily deposited in the walls of the arteries and veins, causing what is known to the medical profession as arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. The arteries of a little child are extremely soft and elastic, like a rubber tube, but gradually as we advance through childhood, youth and on toward old age, the walls of the arteries become harder in consequence of the deposits of chalk left by the passing blood. Thus in time they may become as stiff and unelastic as a pipe stem. There is a condition which is called pipe-stem artery. The arteries then become brittle and may break, causing hemorrhage and death. Therefore it is said truly that a man is as old as his arteries. If we can clear the arteries and capillaries of this earthy matter, we may greatly prolong life and the usefulness of our body.
From the esoteric standpoint, of course it is no matter whether we live or die, as the saying is, for death to us does not mean annihilation but only the shifting of the consciousness to other spheres; nevertheless, when we have brought a vehicle through the useless years of childhood, past the hot years of youth, and have come to the time of discretion when we are really beginning to gain experience, then the longer we can prolong the time of experience the more we may gain. For that reason it is of a certain value to prolong the life of the body.
In order to accomplish that result, we must first select the foods that are least impregnated with the choking substances which cause the induration of arteries and capillaries. These may be briefly stated to be the green vegetables and all fruits. Next, it is of importance to seek to eradicate the choking matter which we have already absorbed, if that is possible, but science has not yet found any food or medicine that will with certainty produce that effect. Electric baths have been found to be exceedingly beneficial but not entirely satisfactory. Buttermilk is the best agent for eradicating this earthy substance, and next comes grape juice. If taken continually and in generous quantities, these substances will considerably ameliorate the hardened condition of the arteries.
Question: Is not nature guilty of frequent physical malformations in the plant and animal world as well as in the human race, and can there be a perfectly whole and sane intelligence with a forceful will in a diseased or malformed body?
Answer: We would ask, what do you mean by nature? Bacon says that nature and God differ only as the print and the seal. Nature is the visible symbol of God, and we are too apt to think of nature nowadays in a materialistic sense. Back of every manifestation in nature there are forces, not blind forces, but intelligences. Perhaps an illustration will enable us to realize our relation to them.
Supposing we have materials and tools; we are engaged in making a table and a dog is sitting looking at us. Then the dog, a being of a lower kingdom, will gradually see us planing the wood and putting the top on the legs; it will see the table coming into existence by degrees; it may watch the process, though it may not know the use of the table and may not understand what is in our minds while we are fashioning the table. It simply beholds a manifestation, it sees us working and views the results. Supposing further, for the sake of illustration, the dog could see the materials and how they were gradually being shaped into a table, but could not see us working and putting the various pieces together to form this table; then the dog would be in about the same relation to us as we are to the nature forces. What we speak of as electricity, as magnetism, as expansion in steam, etc., are intelligences which work unseen to us when certain conditions are brought about. Nature spirits build the plants, form the crystals of the rock, and with numerous other hierarchies are working around and about us unseen, but nevertheless busy in making that which we call nature.
These are all evolving beings, like ourselves, and the very fact that they are evolving shows that they are imperfect and therefore apt to make mistakes which naturally result in malformations, so that it may be said in answer to the question that the invisible intelligences which make what we call nature are guilty of frequent mistakes as well as we.
As to the second part of the question, whether there can be a perfectly whole and sane intelligence with a forceful will in a diseased or malformed body, we may say "yes, undoubtedly," but as the expression of that intelligence is dependent upon the efficiency of its instrument it may, naturally, be hampered by the physical deformity, on the same principle that no matter how skilled the workman is, his efficiency depends in a great measure upon the condition of his tools.
Question: What is the effect of vaccination from the esoteric point of view?
Answer: Bacteriologists have discovered that many diseases are caused by microorganisms which invade our body, and also that when this invading army begins to create a disturbance the body commences to manufacture germs of an opposing nature or a substance which will poison the invaders. It is then a question of which are the strongest, the invaders or the defenders. If the defending microbes are more numerous than the invaders or if the poison which is noxious to the invaders is manufactured in sufficient quantities, the patient recovers. If the defenders are vanquished or the body is unable to manufacture a sufficient quantity of the serum necessary to poison the invaders, the patient succumbs to the disease. It was further discovered that when a certain person has once successfully recovered from a specific malady, he is immune from renewed attacks of that disease for the reason that he has in his body the serum which is death to the germs that cause the disease he has once weathered.
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From the above facts certain conclusions were drawn:
(1) If a healthy person is inoculated with a few of the germs of a certain disease he will contract that disease in a mild form. He will then be able to develop the saving serum and thus he will become immune to that disease in the future.
That is the philosophy of vaccination as a means of preventing disease.
(2) When a person has contracted a disease and is unable to manufacture a sufficient quantity of the serum which will destroy the invading micro-organisms, his life may be saved by inoculation with the serum obtained from another who has become immune.
As it is not easy to get such antitoxins or cultures from human beings, these germ-cultures and poisons have been obtained from animals, and much has been written both for and against the use of such methods of fighting disease. With these we are not here concerned; the inquirers asks for the esoteric viewpoint, which goes deeper than the questions at issue as seen from the material side of life. There are undoubtedly cases where disease has been prevented by vaccination and cases where death has been prevented by the use of antitoxin; there are also cases where vaccination and antitoxin have caused the fatality they were designed to prevent, but that is beside the question. From the esoteric viewpoint vaccination and the use of antitoxin obtained by the processes in use in bacteriological institutes is to be deplored. These methods work a wrong on the helpless animals and poison the human body, making it difficult for the Ego to use its instrument.
If we study the chemistry of our food we shall find that nature has provided all necessary medicine, and if we eat right we shall be immune from disease without vaccination.
When in normal health the body specializes a far greater quantity of the solar energy than it can use. The surplus is radiated from the whole surface of the body with great force and prevents the entrance of microorganisms which lack the strength to battle against this outwelling current, nay, more! on the same principle than an exhaust fan will gather up particles of dust in a room and hurl them outward does this vital fluid cleanse the body of inimical matter, dangerous germs included. It must not surprise us that this force is intelligent and capable of selecting the materials which should be eliminated, leaving the beneficial and useful. Scientists recognize this fact of selective osmosis. They know that while a sieve will allow any particle of matter to pass through which is smaller than the mesh of the sieve, the kidneys, for instance, will keep certain fluids of use to the body, while allowing waste products to pass. In a similar manner the vital fluid makes a distinction, it rids the body of the poisons and impurities generated inside and repels similar products from without.
This emanation has been called N-rays, or Odic fluid, by scientists who have discovered it by means of chemical reagents which render it luminous. During the process of digestion it is weakest, for then an extra quantity of the solar energy is required for use inside the body in the metabolism of the food; it is the cementing factor in assimilation. The heartier we have eaten, the greater is the quantity of vital fluid expended within the body and the weaker the eliminative and protective outrushing current. Consequently we are in the greatest danger from an invasion by an army of inimical microorganisms when we have gorged ourselves.
On the other hand, if we eat sparingly and choose the foods which are most easily digestible, the diminution of the protective vital current will be correspondingly minimized and our immunity from disease will be much enhanced without the necessity of poisoning our body with vaccine.
Question: If, as you state, the Ego dwells in the blood, is not then the practice of blood transfusion from a healthy to a diseased person dangerous. Does it affect or influence the Egos in any way, and if so, how?
Answer: Among the latest discoveries of science is hemolysis—the fact that inoculation of blood from the veins of a higher animal into one of a lower species, destroys the blood of the lower animal and causes its death. Thus the blood of man injected into the veins of any animal is fatal. But from man to man it is found that transfusion may take place, although at times there are deleterious effects.
In olden days people married in the family; it was then looked upon with horror if one should "seek after strange flesh." When the sons of God married the daughters of men, that is to say, when the subjects of one leader married outside the tribe, there was great trouble, they were cast off by their leader and destroyed, for at that time certain qualities that we now possess were to be developed in humanity and were thus implanted in the common blood which ran pure in the family or small tribe. Later on when man was to be brought down into more material conditions, international marriages were commanded and, from that time on, it has been looked upon as equally horrible if persons within the same family united in marriage.
The old Vikings would not allow anyone to marry into their family unless they had first gone through the ceremony of mixing blood to see if the transfusion of the blood of the stranger into their family was detrimental or otherwise. All this was because in earlier times humanity was not as individualized as it is today. They were more under the domination of the race spirit or family spirit, which dwelt in their blood, as the group spirit of animals does in the blood of animals. Later the international marriages were given to free humanity from that yoke and make every separate Ego sole master of its own body without outside interference.
The thumb-marks of no two people are alike, and it will be found in time that the blood of each human being is different from the blood of every other individual. This difference is already evident to the esoteric investigator, and it is only a question of time when science will make the discovery, for the distinguishing features are becoming more marked as the human being grows less and less dependent, more and more self-sufficient.
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This change in the blood is most important and in time, when it has become more marked, it will be productive of most far-reaching consequences. It is said that "nature geometrizes," and nature is but the visible symbol of the invisible God whose offspring and image we are. Being made in His likeness, we are also beginning to geometrize, and naturally we starting on the substance where we, the Human Spirits, the Egos, have the greatest power, namely, in our blood.
When the blood courses through the arteries, which are deep in the body, it is a gas; but loss of heat nearer the surface of the body causes it to partially condense, and in that substance the Ego is learning to form mineral crystals. In the Jupiter Period we shall learn to invest them with a low form of vitality and set them out from ourselves as plant-like structures. In the Venus Period we shall be able to infuse desire into them and make them like animals. Finally, in the Vulcan Period, we shall give them a mind and rule over them as race spirits.
At the present time we are at the very beginning of this individualization of our blood. Therefore it is possible at present to transfuse blood from one human being to another, but the day is near at hand when that will be impossible. The blood of a white man will kill all who stand lower, and the blood of an advanced person will poison the less cultured. The child at present receives its supply of blood from the parents, stored in the thymus gland, for the years of childhood. But the time will come when the Ego will be too far individualized to function in blood not generated by itself. Then the present mode of generation will have to be superseded by another whereby the Ego may create its own vehicle without the help of parents.
Question: What are the causes of insanity?
Answer: To answer that question would require volumes, but we may say that from the esotericist's standpoint there are four classes of insanity.
Insanity is always caused by a break in the chain of vehicles between the Ego and the physical body. This break may occur between the brain centers and the vital body, or it may be between the vital and desire body, between the desire body and the mind, or between the mind and the Ego. The rupture may be complete or only partial.
When the break is between the brain centers and the vital body, or between that and the desire body, we have the idiots. When the break is between the desire body and the mind, the violent and impulsive desire body rules and we have the raving maniac. When the break is between the Ego and the mind, the mind is the ruler over the other vehicles and we have the cunning maniac, who may deceive his keeper into believing that he is perfectly harmless until he has hatched some diabolical, cunning scheme. Then he may suddenly show his deranged mentality and cause a dreadful catastrophe.
There is one cause of insanity that it may be well to explain, as it is sometimes possible to avoid it. When the Ego is returning from the invisible world toward re-embodiment, it is shown the various incarnations available. It sees the coming life in its great and general events, much as a moving picture passing before its vision. Then it is given the choice usually, of several lives. It sees at that time the lessons it has to learn, the fate it has generated for itself in past lives, and what part of that fate it will have to liquidate in each of the embodiments offered. Then it makes its choice and is guided by the agents of the Recording Angels to the country and family where it is to live its coming life.
This panoramic view is seen in the Third Heaven where the Ego is naked and feels spiritually above sordid material considerations. It is much wiser then than it appears here on earth, where it is blinded by the flesh to an inconceivable extent. Later, when conception has taken place and the Ego draws into the womb of its mother, on about the eighteenth day after that event, it comes in contact with the etheric mold of its new physical body which has been made by the Recording Angels to give the brain formation that will impress upon the Ego the tendencies necessary to work out its destiny.
There the Ego sees again the pictures of its coming life, as the drowning man perceives the pictures of his past life—in a flash. At that time the Ego is already partially blind to its spiritual nature, so that if the coming life seems to be a hard one, it will oftentimes shrink from entering the womb and making the proper brain connections. It may endeavor to draw itself out quickly and then, instead of being concentric as the vital and the dense bodies should be, the vital body formed of ether may be drawn partially above the head of the dense body. In that case the connection between the sense centers of the vital body and the dense body are disrupted and the result is congenital idiocy, epilepsy, St. Vitus dance, and similar nervous disorders.
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The inharmonious relation between the parents which sometimes exists is often the last straw that makes an Ego feel that it cannot enter such an environment. Therefore, it cannot be too seriously impressed upon prospective parents that during the gestatory period it is of the utmost importance that every thing should be done to keep the mother in a condition of contentment and harmony. For it is a very hard task for the Ego to go through the womb; it taxes all its sensibilities to the very utmost, and inharmonious conditions in the home it is entering are, of course an added source of discomfort which may result in the above named dreadful state of affairs.
Question: When an insane person dies, will he still be insane in the Desire World?
Answer: That depends upon where the break is, for insanity is a rupture in the vehicles between the Ego and the physical body, and this derangement may occur between the Ego and the mind, between the mind and the desire body, or between the desire body and the vital body, and also between the latter and the dense body. If the break is between the dense and the vital body or between that and the desire body, the Ego will be perfectly sane in the Desire World immediately after death, because it has then discarded the two vehicles which were afflicted.
Where the break occurs between the desire body and the mind, the desire body is, as a matter of course, still rampant, and often causes the Ego much trouble during its existence in the Desire World; for the Ego, of course, is at no time insane. What appears as insanity arises from the fact that the Ego has no control over its vehicles; the worst of all, obviously, is where the mind itself has become affected and the Ego is tied to the personality for a long time until these vehicles are worn away.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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