THERE is such a thing as being intoxicated in the course
of an unwise pursuit of what we erroneously imagine is spirituality. In
the Christian Bible it is very wisely directed to "prove all"
and to hold only to that which is good; this advice is just as important
to the student of occultism who thinks that he has separated himself from
those "inferior" people engaged either in following a dogma or
in tipping tables for messages from deceased relatives - or enemies - as
it is to spiritists who believe in the "summerland" and "returning
The placid surface of the sea of spirit is the only mirror in which can
be caught undisturbed the reflections of spiritual things. When a student
starts upon the path and begins to see spots of light flash out now and
then, or balls of golden fire roll past him, it does not mean that he is
beginning to see the real Self - pure spirit. A moment of deepest peace
or wonderful revealings given to the student, is not the awful moment
when one is about to see his spiritual guide, much less his own soul. Nor
are psychical splashes of blue flame, nor visions of things that afterwards
come to pass, nor sights of small sections of the astral light with its
wonderful photographs of past or future, nor the sudden ringing of distant
fairy-like bells, any proof that you are cultivating spirituality. These
things, and still more curious things, will occur when you have passed a
little distance on the way, but they are only the mere outposts of a new
land which is itself wholly material, and only one remove from the plane
of gross physical consciousness.
The liability to be carried off and intoxicated by these phenomena is to
be guarded against. We should watch, note and discriminate in all these
cases; place them down for future reference, to be related to some law,
or for comparison with other circumstances of a like sort. The power that
Nature has of deluding us is endless, and if we stop at these matters she
will let us go no further. It is not that any person or power in nature
has declared that if we do so and so we must stop, but when one is carried
off by what Boehme calls "God's wonders," the result is an intoxication
that produces confusion of the intellect. Were one, for instance, to regard
every picture seen in the astral light as a spiritual experience, he might
truly after a while brook no contradiction upon the subject, but that would
be merely because he was drunk with this kind of wine. While he proceeded
with his indulgence and neglected his true progress, which is always dependent
upon his purity of motive and conquest of his known or ascertain-able defects,
nature went on accumulating the store of illusory appearances with which
he satiated himself.
It is certain that any student who devotes himself to these astral happenings
will see them increase. But were our whole life devoted to and rewarded
by an enormous succession of phenomena, it is also equally certain that
the casting off of the body would be the end of all that sort of experience,
without our having added really anything to our stock of true knowledge.
The astral plane, which is the same as that of our psychic senses, is
as full of strange sights and sounds as an untrodden South American forest,
and has to be well understood before the student can stay there long without
danger. While we can overcome the dangers of a forest by the use of human
inventions, whose entire object is the physical destruction of the noxious
things encountered there, we have no such aids when treading the astral
labyrinth. We may be physically brave and say that no fear can enter into
us, but no untrained or merely curious seeker is able to say just what effect
will result to his outer senses from the attack or influence encountered
by the psychical senses.
And the person who revolves selfishly around himself as a center is in
greater danger of delusion than any one else, for he has not the assistance
that comes from being united in thought with all other sincere seekers.
One may stand in a dark house where none of the objects can be distinguished
and quite plainly see all that is illuminated outside; in the same way we
can see from out of the blackness of our own house our hearts - the objects
now and then illuminated outside by the astral light; but we gain nothing.
We must first dispel the inner darkness before trying to see into the darkness
without; we must know ourselves before knowing things extraneous to ourselves.
This is not the road that seems easiest to students. Most of them find
it far pleasanter and, as they think, faster work, to look on all these
outside allurements, and to cultivate all psychic senses, to the exclusion
of real spiritual work.
The true road is plain and easy to find, it is so easy that very many
would - be students miss it because they cannot believe it to be so simple.
| "The way lies through the heart";|
Ask there and wander not;
Knock loud, nor hesitate
Because at first the sounds
Reverberating, seem to mock thee.
Nor, when the door swings wide,
Revealing shadows black as night,
Must thou recoil.
Within, the Master's messengers
Have waited patiently:
That Master is Thyself!
Path, October, 1887