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I. The Visible and Invisible Worlds
The first step in Esotericism is the study of the invisible Worlds. These Worlds are invisible to the majority of people because of the dormancy of the finer and higher senses whereby they may be perceived, in the same way that the Physical World about us is perceived through the physical senses. The majority of people are on a similar footing in regard to the super-physical Worlds as the man who is born blind is to our world of sense; although light and color are all about him, he is unable to see them. To him they are non-existent and incomprehensible, simply because he lacks the sense of sight wherewith to perceive them. Objects he can feel; they seem real; but light and color are beyond his ken.
So with the greater part of humanity. They feel, and see objects and hear sounds in the Physical World, but the other realms, which the clairvoyant calls the higher Worlds, are as incomprehensible to them as light and color are to the blind man. Because the blind man cannot see color and light, however, is no argument against their existence and reality. Neither is it an argument, that because most people cannot see the super-physical Worlds no one can do so. If the blind man obtains his sight, he will see light and color. If the higher senses of those blind to the super-physical Worlds are awakened by proper methods, they also will be able to behold the Worlds which are now hidden from them.
While many people make the mistake of being incredulous concerning the existence or reality of the super-sensuous Worlds, there are also many who go to the other extreme, and, having become convinced of the verity of invisible Worlds, think that when a person is clairvoyant all truth is at once open to him; that when one can "see," he at once "knows all about" these higher Worlds.
This is a great mistake. We readily recognize the fallacy of such a contention in matters of everyday life. We do not think that a man who was born blind, but has obtained his sight, at once "knows all about" the Physical World. Nay, more; we know that even those of us who have been able to see the things about us all our lives are far from having a universal knowledge of them. We know that it requires arduous study and years of application to know about even that infinitesimal part of things that we handle in our daily lives, and reversing the Hermetic aphorism, "as above, so below," we gather at once that it must be the same in the other Worlds. At the same time it is also true that there are much greater facilities for acquiring knowledge in the super-physical Worlds than in our present dense physical condition, but not so great as to eliminate the necessity for close study and the possibility of making a mistake in observation. In fact, all the testimony of reliable and qualified observers prove that much more care in observation is needed there than here.
Clairvoyants must first be trained before their observations are of any real value, and the more proficient they become the more modest they are about telling of what they see; the more they defer to the versions of others, knowing how much there is to learn and realizing how little the single investigator can grasp of all the detail incident to his investigations.
This also accounts for the varied versions, which superficial people think are an argument against the existence of the higher Worlds. They contend that if these Worlds exist, investigators must necessarily bring back identical descriptions. If we take an illustration from everyday life, the fallacy of this becomes apparent.
Suppose a newspaper sends twenty reporters to a city with orders to "write it up." Reporters are, or ought to be, trained observers. It is their business to see everything and they should be able to give as good descriptions as can be expected from any source. Yet it is certain that of the twenty reports, no two would be exactly alike. It is much more likely that they would be totally different. Although some of them might contain leading features in common, others might be unique in quality and quantity of description.
Is it an argument against the existence of the city that these reports differ? Certainly not! It is easily accounted for by the fact that each saw the city from his own particular point of view and instead of these varying reports being confusing and detrimental, it is safe to say that a perusal of them all would give a fuller, better understanding and description of the city than if only one were read and the others were thrown in the wastebasket. Each report would round out and complement the others.
The same is true regarding accounts made by investigators of the higher Worlds. Each has his own peculiar way of looking at things and can describe only what he sees from his particular point of view. The account he gives may differ from those of others, yet all be equally truthful from each individual observer's viewpoint.
It is sometimes asked, Why investigate these Worlds? Why is it not best to take one World at a time; to be content for the present time with the lessons to be learned in the Physical World, and, if there are invisible Worlds why not wait until we reach them before investigating? "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof!" Why borrow more?
If we knew without doubt that at some time, sooner or later, each one of us must be transported to a far country where, under new and strange conditions, we must live for many years, is it not reasonable to believe that if we had an opportunity to learn of that country in advance of our removal to it we would gladly do so? Knowledge would render it much easier for us to accommodate ourselves to new conditions.
There is only one certainty in life and that is—Death! As we pass into the beyond and are confronted by new conditions, knowledge of them is sure to be of the greatest help.
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But that is not all. To understand the Physical World, which is the world of effects, it is necessary to understand the super-physical World, which is the world of causes. We see street cars in motion and we hear the clicking of telegraph instruments, but the mysterious force which causes phenomena remains invisible to us. We say it is electricity, but the name gives us no explanation. We learn nothing of the force itself; we see and hear only its effects.
If a dish of cold water be placed in an atmosphere of a sufficiently low temperature ice crystals immediately begin to form and we can see the process of their formation. The lines along which the water crystallizes were in it all the time as lines of force but they were invisible until the water congealed. The beautiful "frost flowers" on a windowpane are visible manifestations of currents of the higher Worlds which operate upon us all the time, unrecognized by most of us, but none the less potent.
The higher Worlds are thus the worlds of causes, of forces; and we cannot really understand this lower World unless we know the others and realize the forces and causes of which all material things are but the effects.
As to the reality of these higher Worlds compared with that of the Physical World, strange as it may seem, these higher Worlds, which to the majority appear as mirages, or even less substantial, are, in truth, much more real and the objects in them more lasting and indestructible than the objects in the Physical World. If we take an example we shall readily see this. An architect does not start to build a house by procuring the material and setting the workmen to laying stone upon stone in a haphazard way, without thought or plan. He "thinks the house out." Gradually it takes form in his mind and finally there stands a clear idea of the house that is to be—a thought-form of a house.
This house is yet invisible to all but the architect. He makes it objective on paper. He draws the plans and from this objective image of the thought-form the workmen construct the house of wood, iron, or stone, accurately corresponding to the thought-form originated by the architect.
Thus the thought-form becomes a material reality. The materialist would assert that it is much more real, lasting and substantial that the image in the architect's mind. But let us see. The house could not have been constructed without the thought-form. The material object can be destroyed by dynamite, earthquake, fire, or decay, but the thought-form will remain. It will exist as long as the architect lives and from it any number of houses similar to the one destroyed may be constructed. Not even the architect himself can destroy it. Even after his death this thought-form can be recovered by those who are qualified to read the memory of nature, which will be dealt with later.
Having thus seen the reasonableness of such Worlds existing around and about us, and having satisfied ourselves of their reality, their permanency, and of the utility of a knowledge concerning them, we shall now examine them severally and singly, commencing with the Physical World.
Chemical Region of the Physical World
In the Rosicrucian teaching the universe is divided into seven different Worlds, or states of matter, as follows:
• World of God
• World of Virgin Spirits
• World of Divine Spirit
• World of Life Spirit
• World of Thought
• Desire World
• Physical World
The division is not arbitrary but necessary, because the substance of each of these Worlds is amenable to laws which are practically inoperative in others. For instance, in the Physical World, matter is subject to gravity, contraction and expansion. In the Desire World there is neither heat nor cold, and forms levitate as easily as they gravitate. Distance and time are also governing factors of existence in the Physical World, but are almost non-existent in the Desire World.
The matter of these worlds also varies in density, the Physical World being the densest of the seven.
Each World is subdivided into seven Regions or subdivisions of matter. In the Physical World, the solids, liquids and gases form the three denser subdivisions, the remaining four being ethers of varying densities. In the other Worlds similar subdivisions are necessary, because the matter of which they are composed is not of uniform density.
There are still two further distinctions to be made. The three dense subdivisions of the Physical World—the solids, liquids and gases—constitute what is termed the Chemical Region. The substance in this Region is the basis of all dense Form.
The Ether is also physical matter. It is not homogeneous, as material science alleges, but exists in four different states. It is the medium of ingress for the quickening spirit which imparts vitality to the Forms in the Chemical Region. The four finer or etheric subdivisions of the Physical World constitute what is known as the Etheric Region.
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In the World of Thought the three higher subdivisions are the basis of abstract thought, hence they, collectively, are called the Region of Abstract Thought. The four denser subdivisions supply the mind-stuff in which we embody and concrete our ideas and are therefore termed the Region of Concrete Thought.
The careful consideration given by the esotericist to the characteristics of the Physical World might seem superfluous were it not that he regards all things from a view point differing widely from that of the materialist. The latter recognizes three states of matter—solids, liquids, and gases. These are all chemical, because derived from the chemical constituents of Earth. From this chemical matter all the forms of mineral, plant, animal, and man have been built, hence they are as truly chemical as the substances which are commonly so termed. Thus whether we consider the mountain or the cloud that envelops its top, the juice of the plant or the blood of the animal, the spider's thread, the wing of the butterfly or the bones of the elephant, the air we breathe or the water we drink—all are composed of the same chemical substance.
What is it then which determines the conformation of this basic substance into the multiplex variety of Forms which we see about us? It is the One Universal Spirit, expressing Itself in the visible world as four great streams of Life, at varying stages of development. This fourfold spiritual impulse molds the chemical matter of the Earth into variegated forms of the four Kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal, and man. When a form has served its purpose as a vehicle of expression for the three higher streams of life, the chemical forces disintegrate that form so that the matter may be returned to its primordial state, and thus made available for the building of new forms. The spirit or life which molds the form into an expression of itself is, therefore, as extraneous to the matter it uses as a carpenter is apart from and personally independent of the house he builds for his own occupancy.
As all the forms of mineral, plant, animal, and man are chemical, they must logically be as dead and devoid of feeling as chemical matter in it primitive state, and the Rosicrucian asserts that they are.
Some scientists contend that there is feeling in all tissue, living or dead, to whatever kingdom it belongs. They include even the substances ordinarily classed as mineral in their category of objects having feeling, and to prove their contentions they submit diagrams with curves of energy obtained from tests. Another class of investigators teach that there is no feeling even in the human body, except in the brain, which is the seat of feeling. They say it is the brain and not the finger which feels the pain when the latter is injured. Thus is the house of Science divided against itself on this as on most other points. The position taken by each is partly right. It depends upon what we mean by "feeling." If we mean simply response to impacts, such as the rebound of a rubber ball that is dropped to the ground, of course it is correct to attribute feeling to mineral, plant, and animal tissue; but if we mean pleasure and pain, love and hate, joy and sorrow, it would be absurd to attribute them to the lower forms of life, to detached tissue, to minerals in their native state, or even to the brain, because such feelings are expressions of the self-conscious immortal spirit, and the brain is only the keyboard of the wonderful instrument upon which the human spirit plays its symphony of life, just as the musician expresses himself upon his violin.
As there are people who are quite unable to understand that there must be and are higher Worlds, so there are some who, having become slightly acquainted with the higher realms, acquire the habit of undervaluing this Physical World. Such an attitude is as incorrect as that of the materialist. The great and wise Beings who carry out the will and design of God placed us in this physical environment to learn great and important lessons which could not be learned under other conditions, and it is our duty to use our knowledge of the higher Worlds in learning to the best of our ability the lessons which this material world has to teach us.
In one sense the Physical World is a sort of model school or experiment station to teach us to work correctly in the others. It does this whether or not we know of the existence of those other worlds, thereby proving the great wisdom of the originators of the plan. If we had knowledge of none but the higher Worlds, we would make many mistakes which would become apparent only when physical conditions are brought to bear as criterion. To illustrate: Let us imagine the case of an inventor working out his idea of a machine. First he builds the machine in thought, and in his mind he sees it complete and in operation, performing most beautifully the work it is designed to do. He next makes a drawing of the design, and in doing so perhaps finds that modifications in his first conception are necessary. When, from the drawings, he has become satisfied that the plan is feasible, he proceeds to build the actual machine from suitable material.
Now it is almost certain that still further modifications will be found necessary before the machine will work as intended. It may be found that it must be entirely remodeled, or even that it is altogether useless in its present form, must be discarded and a new plan evolved. But mark this, for here is the point: the new idea or plan will be formulated for the purpose of eliminating the defects in the useless machine. Had there been no material machine constructed, thereby making evident the faults of the first idea, a second and correct idea would not have been formed.
This applies equally to all conditions of life—social, mercantile, and philanthropic. Many plans appear excellent to those conceiving them, and may even look well on paper, but when brought down in the actual test of utility they often fail. That however, should not discourage us. It is true that "we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes," and the proper light in which to regard this Physical World is as a school of valuable experience, in which we learn lessons of the utmost importance.
The Etheric Region of the Physical World
As soon as we enter this realm of nature we are in the invisible, intangible World, where our ordinary senses fail us, hence this part of the Physical World is practically unexplored by material science.
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Air is invisible, yet modern science knows that it exists. By means of instruments its velocity as wind can be measured; by compression it can be made visible as liquid air. With either, however, that is not so easy. Material science finds that it is necessary to account in some way for the transmission of electricity, with or without wires. It is forced to postulate some substance of a finer kind that it knows, and it calls that substance "ether." It does not really know that ether exists, as the ingenuity of the scientist has not, as yet, been able to devise a vessel in which it is possible to confine this substance, which is altogether too elusive for the comfort of the "wizard of the laboratory." He cannot measure, weigh, nor analyze it by any apparatus now at his disposal.
Truly, the achievements of modern science are marvelous. The best way to learn the secrets of nature, however, is not by inventing instruments, but by improving the investigator himself. Man has within himself faculties which eliminate distance and compensate for lack of size to a degree as much greater than the power of telescope and microscope as theirs exceeds that of the naked eye. These senses or faculties are the means of investigation used by esotericists. They are their "open sesame" in searching for truth.
To the trained clairvoyant ether is as tangible as are the solids, liquids, and gases of the Chemical Region to ordinary beings. He sees that the vital forces which give life to the mineral forms of plant, animal and man flow into these forms, by means of the four states of ether. The names and specific functions of these four ethers are as follows.
This ether is both positive and negative in manifestation. The forces which cause assimilation and excretion work through it. Assimilation is the process whereby the different nutritive elements of food are incorporated into the body of plant, animal and man. This is carried on by forces with which we shall become acquainted later. They work along the positive pole of the chemical ether and attract the needed elements, building them into the forms concerned. These forces do not act blindly nor mechanically, but in a selective way (well-known to scientists by its effects) thereby accomplishing their purpose, which is the growth and maintenance of the body.
Excretion is carried on by forces of the same kind, but working along the negative pole of the chemical ether. By means of this pole they expel from the body the materials in the food which are unfit for use, or those which have outlived their usefulness in the body and should be expurgated from the system. This, like all other processes independent of man's volition, is also wide, selective, and not merely mechanical in its operation, as seen, for instance, in the case of the action of the kidneys, where only the urine is filtered through when the organs are in health; but it is known that when the organs are not in health, the valuable albumen is allowed to escape with the urine, the proper selection not being made because of an abnormal condition.
As the chemical ether is the avenue for the operation of the forces the object of which is the maintenance of the individual form, so the life ether is the avenue for the operation of the forces which have for their object the maintenance of the species—the forces of propagation.
Like the chemical ether, the life ether also has its positive and negative pole. The forces which work along the positive pole are those which work in the female during gestation. They enable her to do the positive, active work of bringing forth a new being. On the other hand the forces which work along the negative pole of the life ether enable the male to produce semen.
In the work on the impregnated ovum of the animal and man, or upon the seed of the plant, the forces working along the positive pole of the life ether produce male plants, animals and men; while the forces which express themselves through the negative pole generate females.
This ether is both positive and negative, and the forces which play along its positive pole are the forces which generate that blood heat in the higher species of animal and in man, which makes them individual sources of heat. The forces which work along the negative pole of the light ether are those which operate through the senses, manifesting as the passive functions of sight, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling. They also build and nourish the eye.
In the cold-blooded animals the positive pole of the light ether is the avenue of the forces which circulate the blood, and the negative forces have the same functions in regard to the eye as in the case of the higher animals and man. Where eyes are lacking, the forces working in the negative pole of the light ether are perhaps building or nourishing other sense organs, as they do in all that have sense organs.
In plants the forces which work along the positive pole of the light ether cause the circulation of the juices of the plant. Thus in winter, when the light ether is not charged with sunlight as in summer, the sap ceases to flow until the summer sun again invests the light ether with its force. The forces which work along the negative pole of the light ether deposit the chlorophyll, the green substance of the plant and also color the flowers. In fact, all color, in all kingdoms is deposited by means of the negative pole of the light ether. Therefore animals have the deepest color on the back and flowers are deepest colored on the side turned towards the light. In the polar regions of the earth, where the rays of the sun are weak, all color is lighter and in some cases is so sparingly deposited that in winter it is withdrawn altogether and the animals become white.
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It has heretofore been stated that the idea of the house which has existed in the mind can be recovered from the memory of nature, even after the death of the architect. Everything that has ever happened has left behind it an ineffaceable picture in this reflecting ether. As the giant ferns of the childhood of the Earth have left their pictures in the coal beds, and as the progress of the glacier of a bygone day may be traced by means of the trail it has left upon the rocks along its path, even so are the thoughts and acts of men ineffaceably recorded by nature in this reflecting ether, where the trained seer may read their story with an accuracy commensurate with his ability.
The reflecting ether deserves its name for more than one reason, for the pictures in it are but reflections of the memory of nature. The real memory of nature is found in a much higher realm. In this reflecting ether no thoroughly trained clairvoyant cares to read, as the pictures are blurred and vague compared to those found in the higher realm. Those who read in the reflecting ether are generally those who have no choice, who, in fact, do not know what they are reading. As a rule ordinary psychometrists and mediums obtain their knowledge through the reflecting ether. To some slight extent the pupil of the esoteric school in the first stages of his training also reads in the reflecting ether, but he is warned by his teacher of the insufficiencies of this ether as a means of acquiring accurate information, so that he does not easily draw wrong conclusions.
This ether is also the medium through which thought makes an impression upon the human brain. It is most intimately connected with the fourth subdivision of the World of Thought. This is the highest of the four subdivisions contained in the Region of Concrete Thought and the homeworld of the human mind. There a much clearer version of the memory of nature is found than in the reflecting ether.
The Desire World
Like the Physical World, and every other realm of nature, the Desire World has the seven subdivisions called "Regions," but unlike the Physical World, it does not have the great divisions corresponding to the Chemical and Etheric Regions. Desire stuff in the Desire World persists through its seven subdivisions or regions as material for the embodiment of desire. As the Chemical Region is the realm of form and as the Etheric Region is the home of the forces carrying on life activities in those forms, enabling them to live, move and propagate, so the forces in the Desire World, working in the quickened dense body, impel it to move in this or that direction.
If there were only the activities of the Chemical and Etheric Regions of the Physical World, there would be forms having life, able to move, but with no incentive for so doing. This incentive is supplied by the cosmic forces active in the Desire World and without this activity playing through every fiber of the vitalized body, urging action in this direction or that, there would be no experience and no moral growth. The functions of the different ethers would take care of the growth of the form, but moral growth would entirely lacking. Evolution would be an impossibility, both as to form and life, for it is only in response to the requirements of spiritual growth that forms evolve to higher states. Thus we at once see the great importance of this realm of nature.
Desires, wishes, passions, and feelings express themselves in the matter of the different regions of the Desire World as form and feature express themselves in the Chemical Region of the Physical World. They take forms which last for a longer or shorter time, according to the intensity of the desire, wish, or feeling embodied in them. In the Desire World the distinction between the forces and the matter is not so definite and apparent as in the Physical World. One might almost say that here the ideas of force and matter are identical or interchangeable. It is not quite so, but we may say that to a certain extent the Desire World consists of force-matter.
When speaking of the matter of the Desire World, it is true that it is one degree less dense that the matter of the Physical World, but we entertain an entirely wrong idea if we imaging it is finer physical matter. That idea, though held by many who have studied esoteric philosophies, is entirely erroneous. The wrong impression is caused principally by the difficulty of giving the full and accurate description necessary for a thorough understanding of the higher worlds. Unfortunately, our language is descriptive of material things and therefore entirely inadequate to describe the conditions of the super-physical realms, hence all that is said about these realms must be taken tentatively, as similes, rather than as accurate descriptions.
Though the mountain and the daisy, the man, the horse, and a piece of iron, are composed of one ultimate atomic substance, we do not say that the daisy is a finer form of iron. Similarly it is impossible to explain in words the change or difference in physical matter when it is broken up into desire-stuff. If there were no difference it would be amenable to the laws of the Physical World, which it is not.
The law of matter of the Chemical Region is inertia—the tendency to remain in statu quo. It takes a certain amount of force to overcome this inertia and cause a body which is at rest to move, or to stop a body in motion. Not so with the matter of the Desire World. That matter itself is almost living. It is in unceasing motion, fluid, taking all imaginable and unimaginable forms with inconceivable facility and rapidity, at the same time coruscating and scintillating in a thousand ever-changing shades of color, incomparable to anything we know in this physical state of consciousness. Something very faintly resembling the action and appearance of this matter will be seen in the play of colors on an abalone shell when held in the sunlight and moved to and fro.
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That is what the Desire World is—ever-changing light and color—in which the forces of animal and man intermingle with the forces of innumerable Hierarchies of spiritual beings which do not appear in our Physical World, but are as active in the Desire World as we are here. Some of them will be dealt with later and their connection with man's evolution described.
The forces sent out by this vast and varied hose of Beings mold the ever-changing matter of the Desire World into innumerable and differing forms of more or less durability, according to the kinetic energy of the impulse which gave them birth.
From this slight description it may be understood how difficult it is for a neophyte who has just had his inner eyes opened to find his balance in the World of Desire. The trained clairvoyant soon ceases to wonder at the impossible descriptions sometimes brought through by mediums. They may be perfectly honest, but the possibilities of parallax, and of getting out of focus are legion, and of the subtlest nature, and the real wonder is that they ever communicate anything correctly. All of us had to learn to see, in the days of our infancy, as we may readily find by watching a young babe. It will be found that the little one will reach for objects on the other side of the room or the street, or for the Moon. He is entirely unable to gauge distances. The blind man who has been made to see will, at first, often close his eyes to walk from one place to another, declaring, until he has learned to use his eyes, that it is easier to walk by feeling than by sight. So the one whose inner organs of perception have been vivified must also be trained in the use of his newly acquired faculty. At first the neophyte will try to apply to the Desire World the knowledge derived from his experience in the Physical World, because he has not yet learned the laws of the world into which he is entering. This is the source of a vast amount of trouble and perplexity. Before he can understand, he must become as a little child, which imbibed knowledge without reference to any previous experience.
To arrive at a correct understanding of the Desire World it is necessary to realize that it is the world of feeling, desires, and emotions. These are all under the domination of two great forces—Attraction and Repulsion, which act in a different way in the three denser Regions of the Desire World from that in which they act in the three finer or upper Regions, while the central Region may be called neutral ground.
This central Region is the Region of feeling. Here interest in or indifference to an object or an idea sways the balance in favor of one of the two previously mentioned forces, thereby relegating the object or idea to the three higher or the three lower Regions of the Desire World, or else they will expel it. We shall see presently how this is accomplished.
In the finest and rarest substance of the three higher Regions of the Desire World the force of Attraction alone holds sway, but it is also present in some degree in the denser matter of the three lower Regions, where it works against the force of Repulsion, which is dominant there. The disintegrating force of Repulsion would soon destroy every form coming into these three lower Regions were it not that it is thus counteracted. In the densest or lowest Region, where it is strongest, it tears and shatters the forms built there in a way dreadful to see, yet it is not a fatalistic force. Nothing in nature is vandalistic. All that appears so is but working towards good. So with this force in its work in the lowest Region of the Desire World. The forms here are demoniac creations, built by the coarsest passions and desires of man and beast.
The tendency of every form in the Desire World is to attract itself all it can of a like nature and grow thereby. If this tendency to attraction were predominate in the lowest Regions, evil would grow like a weed. There would be anarchy instead of order in the Cosmos. This prevented by the preponderating power of the force of Repulsion in this Region. When a coarse desire form is being attracted to another of the same nature, there is a disharmony in their vibrations, whereby one has a disintegrating effect upon the other. Thus, instead of uniting and amalgamating evil with evil, they act with mutual destructiveness and in that way the evil in the world is kept within reasonable bounds. When we understand the working of the twin forces in this respect we are in a position to understand the esoteric maxim, "A lie is both murder and suicide in the Desire World."
Anything happening in the Physical World is reflected in all the other realms of nature and, as we have seen, builds its appropriate form in the Desire World. When a true account of the occurrence is given, another form is built, exactly like the first. They are then drawn together and coalesce, strengthening each other. If, however, an untrue is given, a form different from and antagonistic to the first, or true one, is created. As they deal with the same occurrence, they are drawn together, but as their vibrations are different they act upon each other with mutual destructiveness. Therefore, evil and malicious lies can kill anything that is good, if they are strong enough and repeated often enough. But, conversely, seeking for the good in evil will, in time, transmute the evil into good. If the form that is built to minimize the evil is weak, it will have no effect and will be destroyed by the evil form, but if it is strong and frequently repeated it will have the effect of disintegrating the evil and substituting the good. That effect, be it distinctly understood, it not brought about by lying, nor denying the evil, but by looking for the good. The esoteric scientist practices very rigidly this principle of looking for good in all things, because he knows what a power it possesses in keeping down evil.
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There is a story of Christ which illustrates this point. Once when walking with His disciples they passed the decaying and ill-smelling carcass of a dog. The disciples turned in disgust, commenting upon the nauseating nature of this sight; but Christ looked at the dead body and said "Pearls are not whiter than its teeth." He was determined to find the good, because He knew the beneficial effect which would result in the Desire World from giving it expression.
The lowest Region of the Desire World is called "the Region of Passion and Sensual Desire." The second subdivision is best described by the name of "Region of Impressionability." Here the effect of the twin forces of Attraction and Repulsion is evenly balanced. This is a neutral Region, hence all our impressions which are built of the matter of this Region are neutral. Only when the twin feelings, which we shall meet in the fourth Region, are brought to bear, do the twin forces come into play. The mere impression of anything, however, in and of itself, is entirely separate from the feeling it engenders. The impression is neutral and is an activity of the second Region of the Desire World, where pictures are formed by the forces of sense-perception in the vital body of man.
In the third Region of the Desire World, the force of Attraction, the integrating, upbuilding force, has already gained the upper hand over the force of Repulsion, with its destructive tendency. When we understand that the mainspring in this force of Repulsion is self-assertion, a pushing away of all others that it may have room, we shall understand that it gives way most easily to a desire for other things, so that the substance of the third Region of the Desire World is principally dominated by the force of Attraction towards other things, but in a selfish way, and therefore this is the Region of Wishes.
The Region of Coarse Desires may be likened to the solids in the Physical World; the Region of Impressionability to the fluids; and the fluctuating, evanescent nature of the Region of Wishes will make that compare with the gaseous portion of the Physical World. These three Regions give the substance for the forms which make for experience, soul-growth and evolution, purging the altogether destructive and retaining the materials which may be used for progress.
The fourth Region of the Desire World is the "Region of Feeling." From it comes the feeling concerning the already described forms and upon the feeling engendered by them depends the life which they have for us and also their effect upon us. Whether the objects and ideas presented are good or bad in themselves is not important this stage. It is our feeling, whether of Interest or Indifference that is the determining factor as to the fate of the object or idea.
If the feeling with which we meet an impression of an object or an idea is Interest, it has the same effect upon that impression as sunlight and air have upon a plant. That idea will grow and flourish in our lives. If, on the other hand, we meet an impression or idea with Indifference, it withers as does a plant when put in a dark cellar.
Thus from this central Region of the Desire World come the incentive to action, or the decision to refrain therefrom (though the latter is also action in the eyes of the esoteric scientist), for at the present stage of our development the twin feelings, Interest and Indifference furnish the incentive to action and are the springs that move the world. At a later stage these feelings will cease to have any weight. Then the determining factor will be duty.
Interest starts the forces of Attraction or Repulsion.
Indifference simply withers the object or idea against which it is directed, so far as our connection with it is concerned.
If our interest in an object or an idea generates Repulsion, that naturally causes us to expurgate from our lives any connection with the object or idea which roused it; but there is a great difference between the action of the force of Repulsion and the mere feeling of Indifference. Perhaps an illustration will make more clear the operation of the twin Feelings and the twin Forces.
Three men are walking along a road. They see a sick dog; it is covered with sores and is evidently suffering intensely from pain and thirst. This much is evident to all three men-their senses tell them that. Now Feeling comes. Two of them take an "interest" in the animal, but in the third there is a feeling of "indifference." He passes on, leaving the dog to its fate. The others remain; they are both interested, but each manifests it in a quite different way. The interest of one man is sympathetic and helpful, impelling him to care for the poor beast, to assuage pains and nurse it back to health. In him the feeling of interest has aroused the force of Attraction. The other man's interest is of a different kind. He sees only a loathsome sight which is revolting to him and wishes to rid himself and the world of it as quickly as possible. He advises killing the animal outright and burying it. In him the feeling of interest generates the destructive force of Repulsion.
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When the feeling of Interest arouses the force of Attraction and it is directed toward low objects and desires, these work themselves out in the lower Regions of the Desire World, where the counteracting force of Repulsion operates, as previously described. From the battle of the twin forces—Attraction and Repulsion—results all the pain and suffering incident to wrongdoing or misdirected effort, whether intentional or otherwise.
Thus we may see how very important Feeling we have concerning anything, for upon that depends the nature of the atmosphere we create for ourselves. If we love the good, we shall keep and nourish as guardian angels all that is good about us; if the reverse, we shall people our path with demons and our own breeding.
The names of the three upper Regions of the Desire World are "Region of Soul-Life," "Region of Soul-Light," and "Region of Soul-Power." In these abide Art, Altruism, Philanthropy, and all the activities of the higher soul-life. When we think of these Regions as radiating the qualities indicated by their names, into the forms of the three lower Regions, we shall understand correctly the higher and lower activities. Soul-power, however, may for a time be used for evil purposes as well as for good, but eventually the force of Repulsion destroys vice and the force of Attraction builds virtue upon its shattered ruins. All things, in the ultimate, work together for good.
The Physical and the Desire Worlds are not separated from each other by space. They are "closer than hands and feet." It is not necessary to move to get from one to the other, nor from one Region to the next. Just as solids, liquids, and gases are all together in our bodies, inter-penetrating one another, so are the different Regions of the Desire World within us also. We may again compare the lines of force along which ice-crystals form in water to the invisible causes originating in the Desire World, which appear in the Physical World and give us the incentive to action, in whatever direction it may be.
The Desire World, with it innumerable inhabitants, permeates the Physical World, as the lines of force do the water—invisible, but everywhere present and potent as the cause of everything in the Physical World.
The World of Thought
The World of Thought also consists of seven Regions of varying qualities and densities, and, like the Physical World, the World of Thought is divided into two main divisions—the Region of Concrete Thought, comprising the four densest Regions; and the Region of Abstract Thought, comprising the three Regions of finest substance. This World of Thought is the central one of the five Worlds from which man obtains his vehicles. Here spirit and body meet. It is also the highest of the three Worlds in which man's evolution is being carried forward at the present time, the two higher Worlds being practically in abeyance as yet, so far as man is concerned.
We know that the materials of the Chemical Region are used in building all physical forms. These are forms are given life and the power of motion by the forces at work in the Etheric Region, and some of these living forms are stirred into activity by means of the twin Feelings of the Desire World. The Region of Concrete Thought furnishes the mind-stuff in which ideas generated in the Region of Abstract Thought clothe themselves as thought-forms, to act as regulators and balance wheels upon the impulses engendered in the Desire World by impacts from the phenomenal World.
Thus we see how the three Worlds, in which man is at present evolving, complement one another, making a whole that shows forth the Supreme Wisdom of the Great Architect of the system to which we belong, and Whom we reverence by the holy name of God.
Taking a more detailed view of the several divisions of the Region of Concrete Thought we find that the archetypes of physical form no matter to what kingdom they may belong, are found in its lowest subdivision, or the "Continental Region." In this Continental Region are also the archetypes of the continents and the isles of the world, and corresponding to these archetypes are they fashioned. Modifications in the crust of the Earth must first be wrought in the Continental Region. Not until the archetypal model has been changed can the Intelligences which we (to hide our ignorance concerning them) call the "Laws of Nature," bring about the physical conditions which alter the physical features of the Earth according to the modifications designed by the Hierarchies in charge of evolution. They plan changes as an architect plans the alteration of a building before the workmen give it concrete expression. In like manner are changes in the flora and fauna due to metamorphoses in their respective archetypes.
When we speak of the archetypes of all the different forms in the dense world it must not be thought that these archetypes are merely models in the same sense in which we speak of an object constructed in miniature, or in some material other than that appropriate for its proper and final use. They are not merely likenesses nor models of the forms we see about us, but are creative archetypes; that is, they fashion the forms of the Physical World in their own likeness or likenesses, for often many work together to form one certain species, each archetype giving part of itself to build the required form
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The second subdivision of the Region of Concrete Thought is called the "Oceanic Region." It is best described as flowing, pulsating vitality. All the forces that work through the four ethers which constitute the Etheric Region are there seen as archetypes. It is a stream of flowing life, pulsating through all forms, as blood pulsates through the body, the same life in all forms. Here the trained clairvoyant sees how true it is that "all life is one."
The "Aerial Region" is the third division of the Region of Concrete Thought. Here we find the archetype of desires, passions, wishes, feelings, and emotions such as we experience in the Desire World. Here all the activities of the Desire World appear as atmospheric conditions. Like the kiss of summer breeze come the feelings of pleasure and joy to the clairvoyant sense; as the sighing of the wind in the tree-tops seem the longings of the soul and like flashes of lighting the passions of warring nations. In this atmosphere of the Region of Concrete Thought are also pictures of the emotions of man and beast.
The "Region of Archetypal Forces" is the fourth division of the Region of Concrete Thought. It is the central and most important region in the five Worlds wherein man's entire evolution is carried on. On the one side of this Region are the three higher Regions of the World of Thought, the World of Life Spirit and the World of Divine Spirit. On the other side of this Region of Archetypal Forces are the three lower Regions of the World of Thought, the Desire and the Physical Worlds. Thus this Region becomes a sort of "crux," bounded on one side by the Realms of Spirit, on the other by the Worlds of Form. It is a focusing point, where Spirit reflects itself in matter.
As the name implies, this Region is the home of the Archetypal Forces which direct the activity of the archetypes in the Region of Concrete Thought. From this Region Spirit works on matter in a formative manner. Diagram 1 shows the idea in a schematic way the forms in the lower World being reflections of the Spirit in the higher Worlds. The fifth Region, which is the one nearest to the focusing point on the Spirit side, reflects itself in the third Region, which is nearest the focusing point on the Form side. The sixth Region reflects itself in the second and the seventh reflects itself in the first.
The whole of the Region of Abstract thought is reflected in the World of Desire; the World of Life Spirit in the Etheric Region of the Physical World; and the World of Divine Spirit in the Chemical Region of the Physical World.
Diagram 2 will give a comprehensive idea of the seven Worlds which are the sphere of our development, but we must carefully keep in mind that these Worlds are not placed one above another, as shown in the diagram. They inter-penetrate—that is to say, that as in the case where the relation of the Physical World and the Desire World was compared, where we likened the Desire World to the lines for force in freezing water and the water itself to the Physical World, in the same way we may think of the lines of force as being any of the seven Worlds, and the water, as in our illustration, would correspond to the next denser World in the scale. Another illustration may perhaps make the subject clearer.
Let us use a spherical sponge to represent the dense earth—the Chemical Region. Imagine that sand permeates every part of the sponge and also forms a layer outside the sponge. Let the sand represent the Etheric Region, which in a similar manner permeates the dense earth and extends beyond its atmosphere.
Let us further imagine this sponge and sand immersed in a spherical glass vessel filled with clear water, and a little larger than the sponge and sand. We place the sponge and sand in the center of the vessel as the yolk is place in the center of an egg. We have now a space of clear water between the sand and the vessel. The water as a whole will represent the Desire World, for just as the water percolates between the grains of sand, through very pore of the sponge, and forms that clear layer, so the Desire World permeates both the dense Earth and the ether and extends beyond both of these substances.
We know there is air in water, and if we think of the air in the water (in our illustration), as representing the World of Thought, we shall have a firm mental picture of the way in which the World of Thought, being finer and more subtle, inter-penetrates the two denser Worlds.
Finally, imagine that the vessel containing the sponge, sand and water is placed in the center of a large spherical vessel; then the air in the space between the two vessels would represent that part of the World of Thought which extends beyond the Desire World.
Each of the planets in our solar system has three such inter-penetrating Worlds, and if we think of each of the planets consisting of three Worlds as being individual sponges, and of the fourth World, the World of Life Spirit, as being the water in a large vessel where these three cold separate sponges swim, we shall understand that as the water in the vessel fills the space between the sponges and percolates through them, so the World of Life Spirit pervades inter-planetary space and inter-penetrates the individual planets. It forms a common bond between them, so that as it is necessary to have a boat and be able to control it, if we wish to sail from America to Africa, so it is necessary to have a vehicle correlated to the World of Life Spirit under our conscious control in order to be able to travel from one planet to another.
In a manner similar to that in which the World of Life Spirit correlates us to the other planets in our own solar system does the World Divine Spirit correlate us to the other solar systems. We may regard the solar systems as separate sponges, swimming in a World of Divine Spirit, and thus it will be apparent that in order to travel from one solar system to another it would be necessary to be able to function consciously in the highest vehicle of man, the Divine Spirit.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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