The Path of Attainment is the path on which we develop our spiritual sight and spiritual powers. Spiritual sight is often spoken of as the sixth sense. Ordinary humanity has only five senses, but we all have the sixth sense dormant, and some of the pioneers have developed it. There was a time when we only had four senses fully developed; another, when we possessed three, and so on. In the period, for instance, when we only had four active senses, there were undoubtedly some who said that it was impossible to have a fifth sense; that those visionaries who told of a fifth sense were deluded. History repeats itself. Today the rank and file of humanity have five senses, but some report the existence of a sixth. They are often regarded by the others as being deluded. When these advanced individuals tell of realms and visions and powers of which we are not made aware by our five senses, there are always some to say that they are the product of imagination. Yet we know that they are not. We know that these higher regions and powers exist.
The first evidence of the development of the sixth sense consists in sensitiveness to the vibrations from the planes above the physical. When we have become sensitive to these vibrations, even if our sixth sense is not actively developed, we sense the fact that these higher planes exists, and we also perceive the truth in philosophies which describe them. In this class are the majority of the students of esoteric philosophy. The mere fact that they are students of this philosophy and that they are able to sense the truth in it proves that they have become more or less sensitive to superphysical vibrations.
The sixth sense, or the spiritual sight by which we obtain firsthand knowledge of the higher planes, is threefold. The lowest grade is etheric sight, that by which we perceive the etheric world and the etheric entities therein, such as the nature spirits. By etheric sight we are able to see through physical objects and observe conditions in any part of them. This applies to all substances except glass.
The second grade of spiritual sight is the clairvoyance of the desire world. By this sight we perceive the desire world and the desire bodies of entities living therein. In clairvoyance an object appears to be spread out before us so that we see the whole of it at a single glance. Clairaudience is another method of contacting the desire world. This enables one to hear the spiritual voices of those who live there.
The third grade of spiritual sight is that by which we perceive the spiritual realities in the world of thought. Here we contact the archetypes of all existing things. These archetypes, being living entities, speak to us and convey knowledge to us about themselves. It is difficult to put knowledge obtained by this method into logical order, because we perceive it as a whole, and not as made up of parts as in the case of our physical vision.
Spiritual sight may be positive or negative. The positive form is that which the student of a positive esoteric school develops. It is developed by living a life of purity and service, thus awakening the pituitary body and pineal gland. By certain exercises, after a spiritual life has been lived the proper length of time, the pituitary body is set into vibration in such a way that it deflects the lines of ascending sex force and causes it, then, to pass through the pituitary body and pineal gland, thus bridging the gap between the two. Thereby positive spiritual vision is obtained, which is under the control of the will. In the case of the esotericist the greater part of the current of sex force flows upward through the spinal canal and larynx to the brain, then downward through the heart. The esotericist develops the intellectual side of his nature to a greater degree than the devotional side. In the case of the mystic the greater part of the current flow upwards through the heart and larynx before reaching the brain. The mystic develops the heart or devotional side of nature to a greater degree than the intellectual. Both forms come under the head of positive spiritual development.
The negative path of development is that of mediumship, which is developed through the solar plexus and the sympathetic nervous system instead of through the brain and cerebro-spinal system. The spiritual sight which is developed by the medium is not under his control, and is not subject to his will; therefore it is a very poor kind of sight. Moreover, it is not retained during future lives, whereas the positive spiritual sight gained by the true esotericist or mystic is thus retained.
The esotericist and the mystic must each in time attain the development of the other; in other words, the heart side and the head side of the nature must eventually be equally developed. The negative mediumistic stage is one which is frequently passed through by the aspirant on his way to the development of positive spiritual sight. The mediumistic state, however, is one which we should not cultivate, and it is not necessary to pass through it at all.
Spiritual sight and esoteric powers can be safely developed only in connection with a life of service to humanity. If we develop these powers from any other motive than that of cooperating with the great plan of evolution, we are in danger. If our motive in developing is the selfish desire for power for our own purposes and our own individual advantage exclusively, then we are opening up our aura to evil entities who will service us temporarily in obtaining the power which we desire, but whom in turn we must eventually serve. They will exact the payment of the debt to the uttermost, and in paying the debt the aspirant is often dragged down to the depths of degradation.
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1. What is the Path of Attainment?
2. Describe the sixth sense. What is the first evidence of its development?
3. Describe the three grades of spiritual sight.
4. Describe the development of positive spiritual sight.
5. How is negative spiritual vision developed, and what are its disadvantages?
6. What is the difference between the esotericist and the mystic, and what must each eventually do?