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Serial Lesson 162
From Course XIV, Occultism Applied, Chapter 12
Original Copyright 1944, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2011, The Church of Light
Subheadings: Reconciling the Desires of Thought Cells Within the Unconscious Supreme Happiness There Must Be Interest Outside of Self
Birth Charts: Elbert Hubbard Chart Gerald P. Nye Chart
How to Be Happy
THAT which gives rise to happiness depends upon the conditioning of the individual; for it is an emotion of a particular kind which is not called into expression universally by any given set of events. Due to different conditioning by experience, the same set of objective conditions arising in the lives of two people may make one discontented and the other happy. The emotional reactions of an individual are largely acquired through his experience with environment.
A thousand dollars in the bank to a man who previously has been poverty stricken may make him feel wealthy, while the same amount to one who has had millions may give the feeling of poverty. Yet there are fundamental desires common to human life which, given special trends by experience, nevertheless cry out for satisfaction. Their adequate realization is a source of joy, and establishes that harmonious emotional state which we commonly call happiness.
In the problem of happiness, therefore, we have two sets of factors. We have those desires which like hunger and the urge for self preservation are a part of our biological inheritance, and others, sometimes equally as strong, like the urge for religion, which are the outgrowth of environment. These fundamental yearnings are so thoroughly interwoven within the structure of the unconscious mind that even though the person is unaware of them consciously, unless they find expression they produce those inharmonious stresses in the astral body that give the feeling of discontent.
The second set of factors relates to the manner in which experience influences the emotional reactions to the various circumstances of life. It was indicated in Chapter 5 (Serial Lesson 155) that the child is born with no definite emotional reactions toward different objects, and it was shown that through associating certain experiences with it a child can be made to fear any object, or to become angry at sight of it, or to feel great joy in its presence. Objects in themselves are not the cause of the emotions they arouse by their presence. The emotions are aroused by the thoughts stimulated by the objects, and these are given their quality through mentally associating the objects with experiences in the past.
Sometimes these two sets of factors are brought into conflict. The experiences of life may be such as to cause a feeling of abhorrence toward some situation. Yet there may be a fundamental urge that can only find satisfaction in some such situation. The classical example, given so wide publicity through Freudian literature, is that of the sex impulses. Puritanical teachings, or some early unfortunate emotional experience, may make the conscious mind revolt at the thought of sex. Yet, because it is a fundamental urge, unless it finds expression in some associate channel, its striving for satisfaction is a source of chronic disquiet.
The emotion of unhappiness arises from a conflict of mental factors. If this conflict becomes too severe it causes a mental breakdown, commonly called nervous prostration.
Mental factors may fail to adjust themselves harmoniously to each other for a wide variety of causes. Their clashes with one another upset the harmony of the astral body and give rise to the feeling of dissatisfaction. The only way by which the emotional harmony may then be restored is not by crushing the resistance of the revolting mental factors, but by providing a plan by which they can be induced to spend their energies in a manner harmonious to the other mental factors. Even when the impact of physical environment is extremely harsh, if all the mental factors work together harmoniously, this inward harmony is recognized as happiness.
Reconciling the Desires of Thought Cells Within the Unconscious
Because of discordant conditioning, certain groups of thought cells not only work from the inner plane to attract into the life unfortunate events, but if they have been associated with powerful fundamental desires they may, when stimulated by some environmental condition, so dominate the individual that he moves at their behest in spite of warnings by reason to do the opposite. He may feel within himself two strong but conflicting impulses; one to act as intelligence suggests, and the other to act according to the dictates of feeling. And the feeling that thus wells up from within, which may become powerful enough entirely to dominate the thinking and actions of the individual, has its source in the release of energy from some group of thought cells.
In olden times there was neither knowledge of thought cells within the finer form nor of physical cells within the material body. But there was knowledge that within the finer form of man were intelligences which had desires, and that the desires of these intelligences attracted fortune or misfortune into the life, and often strove to dominate his actions. Until rather recently they, together with certain other intelligences, were referred to as sub-mundane atoms of life, or by some such similar name. Coming down from very ancient times is a mantram of seven paragraph which is given to all Church of Light members. In paragraph five and paragraph six is the statement of the effort through which each Church of Light member strives to make progress; the effort properly to recondition the thought cells, or sub-mundane atoms of life, within his finer form so that they will cooperate with one another in assisting him to live the kind of life he has decided is best.
“5. I am progressing rapidly toward the subjugation of matter and the complete lordship over all submundane atoms of life, which exist only by my permission, as peaceful and obedient servants within the lower animal realms of my dominion.
“6. They exist by virtue of their functions in the work of creation which I am now assisting, but they are, and ever must be, subservient to the higher realms of Spirit to which I by right belong.”
That energies or intelligences of the inner plane do commonly dominate material conditions can be verified by anyone who has given careful study to the events which come into human lives coincident with progressed aspects, and the events that affect even inanimate objects, such as ships that go to sea, in response to planetary vibrations. The thought here is not that matter should be subjugated by inner-plane forces and intelligences—as this is the common state of affairs—but that the individual should so develop and harmonize the groups of thought cells within himself that he attracts into his life the kind of conditions and events he desires, and thus subjugates material conditions to his will.
The mantram further points out, not merely the function of the thought cells within his own soul, and that they should be obedient to the individual’s desires—and they can be made thus obedient only by proper reconditioning—but that they are and ever must be subservient to the higher realm of spirit to which the individual belongs. It states who is boss, and it also states why the individual should be boss rather than be dominated by some group of thought cells.
The mantram includes several other important matters also, but as two of the total of seven statements relate to these sub-mundane atoms of life, it will be seen that the ancient masters placed great importance on their control. In fact, the only way in which the individual can direct his life, rather than have it controlled by other forces and intelligences within or without himself, is to induce the thought-cells and thought-cell groups to work for the ends he has decided to reach. And if that end, among others, is happiness, they must be induced to work together harmoniously.
This does not imply that the physical environment should be ignored. It means, instead, that all the desires, all the events of life, and every circumstance of the physical environment need to be understood in their true relation to the life. When this proper relation to the individual is discerned, steps may be taken by which each contributes in some manner to the harmony of the astral body, and therefore to the harmony of the mind, and thus advance the happiness.
Whatever else the ascetic who denies the normal demands of the body may or may not attain, he does not attain what we customarily term happiness. He may gain certain powers that give him some satisfaction, or he may take pride in his triumph over natural tendencies, but there is not complete inward harmony. Desires that have been crushed by the weight of an opposing will are not peaceful subjects, nor are they dead. They persist as revolutionary minorities, always on the alert to overthrow, even temporarily, the control exercised over them. They spread their discontent to associate factions and cause these also at times to rise without warning against the central authority.
Self-indulgence, of course, is not the road to happiness. It is but one of two unhappy extremes.
In over forty years devoted to occult studies, twenty-nine of which up to date has been spent in Los Angeles teaching astrological and occult classes every week, I have been brought in contact with an unusually large number of those following various methods of asceticism. Out of all these individuals, who in some way mortify the body in the attempt to gain spirituality, including those from India and other far off lands, I have yet to see one whom I consider emotionally well balanced.
Some, to be sure, who travel about teaching ascetic methods, are not so strict in their own lives. But those who are—and there are hermits and little groups here and there in various parts of the Southwest—I have found to be much more easily upset in their emotions than ordinary people. They become vastly excited over rather inconsequential events. They develop acute fears which are out of all proportion to dangers that may threaten. And they fly into uncontrolled rage with very little provocation. They are well meaning, but the insubordinates in their mental realm take advantage of every opportunity to create a discordant emotional disturbance. From what I know of their lives I cannot believe they are happier than others.
Still another type believes the world is very sinful, and that the way to spirituality is to live apart from it. The monasteries that are so prevalent in the Orient today, and those that once played so important a part in the history of Christianity, are an outgrowth of this conception.
Modern psychologists have taken the pains very thoroughly to dig to the bottom of this idea. It is in truth but another method of fleeing from reality. The human mind when it finds conditions that are hard to face, even as a soldier who meets a doughty foe, feels inclined to run away. The child in bed at night hears a noise, is afraid to look in that direction because it fears seeing something awful, so hides its head under the covers. An adult meets some conditions that seem too awful to face, so he turns his mind away from external conditions. He refuses to recognize reality because it has become too difficult. If he persistently does this he is called insane.
Taking refuge in an isolated life, or one otherwise sheltered from the harshness of worldly contact, is just another way of fleeing from reality. Such flight, because it prevents the expression of some of the fundamental urges, is not a safe road to happiness.
There is still another and more common way by which people flee from reality. It is through unwittingly substituting fiction for fact. The unconscious is unwilling to admit the imperfection of the individual and instead of facing the fact that certain difficulties arise from his own error, he holds to the conviction all his troubles are due to the mistakes and unjust antagonisms of others. Fearing he may lose the love of one very dear to him, he magnifies little actions, places undue significance on chance meetings, and implies designs to others that have never entered their heads. This path of jealousy departs from fact and substitutes a condition that exists only in the jealous person’s mind.
Haughty seclusiveness, snobbery, whining, bitterness and boasting are all methods by which people attempt to maintain self-esteem by substituting a fictitious state of affairs for reality. Likewise, self pity, self-excuse, and all forms of conceit are means that serve the same mendacious ends.
Nothing that can happen in life should make of us cowards. Our responsibility ceases when we have done the best we can under the circumstances; but we should not be afraid to face facts and conditions. These may be disagreeable, but let us look them straight in the eye. When they are recognized for what they are, this alone deprives them of most of their power to stimulate conflict between mental factors. This willingness and ability to face whatever facts life holds is one of the longest steps toward happiness that most persons can take.
Among these facts it should be recognized that the body is endowed to perform certain functions. It should be perceived that in the normal course of human life there are definite responsibilities to be shouldered. And it should be admitted that advancement from level to level in knowledge and spirituality throughout life is to be desired.
The strongest of all fundamental desires, as I have indicated in previous chapters (Serial Lessons 151-161), is the urge for self-esteem. It belongs to the Power Urges ruled in astrology by the Sun. The conscious mind often accepts the idea of inferiority, but the unconscious resists and never does fully accept it. Even in those religions which teach the necessity of killing out all thought of self, the followers take pride in their excessive humbleness, and are filled with self-esteem because they are less selfish than others.
The desire for significance is insistent and will not be blocked. It will find normal expression, or failing this manifest surreptitiously in some inharmonious method of compensation. It finds a normal outlet in courageously accepting all the responsibilities of life. To sidestep these responsibilities engenders a conscious feeling of inferiority that compels the unconscious to invent some fiction to escape admitting inadequacy.
Each individual owes it to himself and to society to make as much as possible of his life. The development of his various powers will be a source of satisfaction to him. Their use not only to benefit himself but to benefit others will gratify his feelings of importance. In fact, whether others recognize one’s worth or not, there is nothing that so fully conduces to proper self-esteem as the accomplishment of something which conduces to the welfare and happiness of others.
But one should not approach these responsibilities, or whatever in the way of accomplishment that is decided upon to induce an honest feeling of self-esteem, as a duty. However laudable an act may be, if it is forced or otherwise associated with disagreeable feelings, it does not enter into harmonious relations with other mental factors. Instead, it exercises a discordant influence. The endeavors, therefore, that are undertaken to promote happiness, including those that conduce to self-esteem, should have as many pleasant associations as possible. They should be looked upon with deep satisfaction.
Another fundamental desire of human life of great insistence is the urge for adventure. Life in all its forms has had a constant struggle to adapt itself to continuously changing conditions. From the first protoplasm to exist on earth to the finest trained human brain, survival has depended upon successful adaptation to new environments. The desire for new experiences, therefore, has behind it the pressure of inheritance of over a million generations. It should not be denied.
Routine engenders a feeling of mediocrity, and this fails to bring happiness. But change, if there is an element of uncertainty about it, or if it brings the individual into contact with new conditions, gives rise to a feeling of self-expansiveness. In a manner the individuality has extended itself, and feels the thrill of a larger existence.
This love of adventure, of new and somewhat exciting experiences, is one of the Aggressive urges ruled in astrology by the planet Mars. It is one of the group of desires that finds expression in overcoming difficulties, in strife, and in destruction and construction. Full and beneficial expression of the other tendencies of this group can be had through efforts directed into any constructive enterprise. This feeling of overcoming difficulties, of triumphing over opposition, and of building something—whether a house, a business, or a piece of literature—is a source of great satisfaction. And emotional satisfaction is happiness.
But the love of adventure part of these urges is not satisfied merely with constructive activity. It calls for new conditions to be encountered, and the swift emotional responses aroused by them. This finds full expression in various forms of recreation. The playing of games gives it full satisfaction with some. Going to the movies and vicariously enjoying the perils, the loves, and the triumphs of the screen stars is a common avenue for its expression. Or it may be had through sympathy for the chief actors in works of fiction, or through travel, or through listening to the encounters of opposing athletic teams or individuals as described over the radio. It matters little which method is employed, the important thing is to in some manner get a little taste of adventure now and then. Break up the monotony. Experience a little excitement, get a thrill out of something new and unusual, something beautiful, or something grand. Do not root and grow in one spot. Do something, harmless but unusual, now and then, just for the fun of the thing. Enjoy doing it. It brings emotional satisfaction, and this is happiness.
Quite as far back in our biological ancestry as the urge to resist invasion and the urge for change there developed the desire for security. All beings seek and desire security, even though at the same time there is the desire for adventure. Men desire security from sickness, from accidental injury and death, from poverty now and from want in old age. They desire security for themselves and for their families and loved ones. Uncertainty of employment, financial losses, ill health, the threat of separation from loved ones, and fears of every kind, disturb the desire for security, produce worry, and result in unhappiness.
These Safety urges, ruled in astrology by the planet Saturn, cause as much unhappiness in life as all the other desires combined. It is not that people commonly do not express the urge for security, but that all too often they express it in a discordant way.
Just how to go about it to attain this security, so ardently desired by all, has been set forth in the chapters on how to keep young, how to be attractive, how to have friends, how to get employment, how to make money, how to achieve honors, how to be successful in marriage, and how to have a pleasant home (Serial Lessons 154-161). Little more, therefore, need be said on the method to be employed in obtaining security. Nor need it be urged especially, seeing that most people spend much of their energy in seeking security in one way or another, that happiness demands that this desire for safety shall find ample expression. Of course, some people are reckless, and squander their health, their money, and their energies in riotous living. But few nowadays believe that these people are happy. Instead of emphasizing the necessity of expressing the urges for security, the great necessity is for people to learn to express it only in harmonious ways.
The happiest people in the worlds according to my observation, are those who are eagerly trying to do something. There is certainly such a thing as too much work and too little play; but plenty of work of some kind is a necessity to keep the ordinary person from becoming discontented. Neither the idle rich nor the idle poor are happy. To be idle, not to be striving for something, is against the habits built into the unconscious by all our animal and human ancestors. Life too long has been compelled to strive for something in order to survive to be able to cease such struggle now without cloying the appetite for life itself. Eagerness to accomplish something, and active effort to accomplish it are powerful accessories to happiness.
Yet whether this work is prompted by a desire for security, a desire for honor, or a desire to contribute something to the welfare and happiness of others, if it is to confer happiness the attention must hold to the desired goal, to the striven-for end, to the exclusion of the thought of its opposite.
Unfortunately for happiness, we are all too often brought face to face with conditions that threaten to deprive us of some security. It may be actual loss or actual danger or merely threatened loss, threatened injury or threatened disappointment. But whether there is actual deprivation, or merely a possibility of it, the image of it in our mind is painful. Painful images, from whatever source arising, conduces to unhappiness.
We should not, of course, refuse to admit a condition when it is present. But if it is a condition that causes anxiety, fear, depression or other painful mental states it is better not to view or consider it further than is necessary to formulate a proper course of action. Movement is in the direction of the image held in the mind, and if the image of a painful state of affairs is held before the attention, there is a movement of both the physical energies and those of the unconscious mind toward its fulfillment. Furthermore, such discordant feelings build discordant thought cells into the astral body, and these in turn work from the inner plane to attract still more misfortune. No one can afford to harbor fears, worries, or other unpleasant thoughts.
Instead of thinking about these various lacks, or about the possibility of insecurity of any kind, the mind should think so energetically about the things that can be done and that should be done to provide for security that no part of the attention can wander to the thought of its lack. If at times the disagreeable thoughts are very persistent, it may be necessary to displace them, as explained in Chapter 2 (Serial Lesson 152), with the thoughts of the most pleasant experience in the life. But under ordinary circumstances, even if for a time things seem to be going badly, the thoughts may be trained to focus on accomplishment, rather than on lack of anything or danger of its loss. This gives a free and harmonious expression to the fundamental desire for security, and thus adds to the feeling of well being and happiness.
The four most insistent urges in human life, and those therefore that must require some adequate expression are the desire for self-esteem, the desire for adventure, the desire for security and the desire for response. Such is the classification of our most eminent psychologists.
The desire for response embraces the Social urges, in astrology ruled by the planet Venus. It has to do with friendship, with love, and with marriage and reproduction. There is so much literature on the subject of psychoanalysis easily accessible that most people are now aware that the repression of the sexual nature always brings difficulty into the life and results in unhappiness.
But because of this we cannot advise all people to marry. There are some people who always attract great discord when closely associated with the opposite sex. The chart of birth may indicate that the nuptial relations will result in tragedy, or that some great misfortune will follow entering into such close relations. Or it may be that it indicates that the loved one cannot be obtained. Or various obstacles may make marriage inadvisable.
The sexual attribute, however, need not express itself in any one particular channel. That its promptings are there should not be denied. Yet recognizing the source of unrest in itself tends to release the repression, and from that it is but a step to finding some other and more acceptable outlet. Even in marriage there is often a lack of full expression for this fundamental and insistent impulse. Chapter 10 (Serial Lesson 160) goes more into the detail of this. I do not here mean the development of the feeling of incompletion, but that adequate expression of this urge makes it necessary to love someone or something more than you love yourself.
When something, some cause, some work, some individual is found that you can love more than you love yourself, it is possible to sublimate the sexual energies to a higher plane of activity. They then find adequate expression in this nonphysical type of love. There are no repressions but instead a satisfying expression of the desire for response through this substitute channel. Many of the noblest tasks in the world have been accomplished by those who have thus sublimated their love, and they have found happiness in these tasks.
Of somewhat less frequent power in human life, in addition to the four groups of urges mentioned, there are six others. In some people they exert all the forces, or sometimes more, of those considered. But in other people they are not insistent urges. They, therefore, are less universal in application.
The Domestic urges, ruled in astrology by the Moon, belong to these. They are the desire for a home, the desire for children, the desire to care for and look after the welfare of someone or some creature less competent than oneself. A popular writer has classified both men and women into three types as regards their domestic desires. One cares more for the mate as a lover than for business or children. One cares more for business and not a great deal for either mate or children. The third type cares primarily for home and children, and business and a mate are important only as contributing to these. Thus we have the sweetheart type, the bachelor type, and the home-loving type.
Some people, as their birth charts plainly indicate, are quite unfitted for various reasons to raise children. Others have no particular leaning in this direction, and it would be unwise to force family life upon them. Yet the domestic urges are strong enough in every individual that he never attains as much happiness as he might if he does not find opportunity for their expression. Down in his unconscious, inherited from many generations of animals that took joy in protecting and rearing their young, there is a desire that may be so deeply buried as to cause no discomfort. Yet if it finds expression through looking after the welfare of some other weaker human being, or even some animal, it gives a profound feeling of satisfaction. To those who are adapted to it, few things bring as much lasting emotional satisfaction and therefore happiness as the rearing of a family.
Another quite universal desire among human beings commonly expresses in the worship of some being or power superior to man. This desire, along with that to find a satisfactory philosophy of life, and the desire to benefit one’s fellow man, belongs to the Religious urges, ruled in astrology by the planet Jupiter.
These urges have no set form, but express according to environment, temperament and education. One person finds ample satisfaction for his religious urges in going to church every Sunday and observing a strict code of conduct in all the affairs of his life. Another expresses the same group of urges quite as completely by reverently watching the sunset, admiring the flowers, the birds and the trees, and seeing the handiwork of the Great Architect in the snow-capped mountain and the white water of a glorious waterfall. Even the atheist and the agnostic very frequently find the religious urges insistent. They express them, however, not in worship of a supreme power, and not in perceiving in the beauty and grandeur any influence beyond the material, but in acts of philanthropy.
When the religious urges are strong, some opportunity of expressing them should be provided. How they express must be determined by the intellectual and spiritual level of the persons. Yet it may be said with considerable definiteness that nearly everyone has a strong desire to find some satisfactory philosophy of life. He yearns to know why he is here, where he came from, what he should do about it, and whither, if anywhere, he sojourns after the dissolution of the physical. When he finds a solution to these perplexities that to him seems adequate—whether or not it be adequate to another—he experiences a deep emotional satisfaction. It is a satisfaction that contributes to happiness.
Throughout the ages man has been compelled to escape his enemies and to find food and shelter, to use intelligence. Because reason is a faculty so recently developed in evolution, real thinking is the hardest work done by man. Even though this be true, in most people there is a craving to know the why and how of things. It is exercise of such curiosity that has led man to outdistance other animal life.
Such desires belong to the Intellectual urges, in astrology ruled by the planet Mercury. I do not say that a man cannot be happy without giving considerable exercise to his intelligence; but I do feel sure that the acquiring of knowledge is an added source of satisfaction. It is a satisfaction of less emotional volume, no doubt, than that obtained through the realization of more fundamental desires. But it is on a plane where the pleasure derived is more exquisite and enduring. It therefore adds quality as well as quantity to the happiness.
Something about human nature also demands the individual in some particular to be different from others. The herd instinct is strong; but even so, each one likes to be distinct from his fellows. There is a desire for originality. It may express in the wearing of a dress that is not just the same as others are wearing, or in having something new and unique about the latest car. It is the desire for a distinct individuality. It resents too complete standardization, is ever on the alert for new and better ways of doing things, for new and better ideas, and for short cuts to improvement.
Such desires belong to the Individualistic urges, ruled in astrology by Uranus. They are not very insistent in the lives of most people. But when they do find expression they give a satisfaction that adds to the happiness.
Two more groups of urges remain to be considered. One is the Utopian urges, a group in astrology ruled by Neptune. It embraces those various yearnings for ideal conditions. It causes the individual to seek beyond the physical for satisfaction. It gives rise to the urge for spiritual things, and makes one feel that life is only worthwhile if spiritual advancement is being made.
These utopian urges are the most insistent of all desires in the lives of certain people, while they have almost no power in the lives of others. If the desire is there, no greater sense of satisfaction can be had than that arising from the assurance that one is making real spiritual progress. To those that sense the value of living the life of the spirit, no greater satisfaction can come, and consequently no greater contribution to happiness, than that arising from earnest spiritual endeavor.
The other group embraces the Universal Welfare urges, in astrology ruled by Pluto. These also find their greatest satisfaction in spirituality. But instead of being content merely to attain high levels of consciousness in which there is awareness of union with the all-pervading presence of Deity, this group must express through aggressive activity in which there is cooperation with others to attain a mutually beneficial end.
Cooperation with others in group activity may provide adequate satisfaction for the universal welfare urges. But more refined and enjoyable satisfaction is gained when the cooperative effort is to benefit a large number of people. And its greatest satisfaction comes when the individual tunes in on the all pervading presence of Deity sufficiently to recognize that he has a specific work to do in the cosmic scheme, and then devotes his life to this task, cooperating with others in the realization of the Deific Plan and thus contributing his utmost to universal welfare. His highest satisfaction comes not merely in dreaming of spirituality, and not merely in feeling spiritual levels tuned in on, but in aggressive spiritual activity.
Supreme happiness requires that all the various groups of desires find satisfactory expression. The person in whose life any one of the ten urges finds no outlet may be reasonably happy, but he has not attained to all the happiness possible to him.
On the other hand, and this must not be overlooked, the mere expression of the different desires may lead neither to satisfaction nor happiness. For happiness to result the stronger desires must find satisfaction, and this satisfaction is not derived from mere expression, but from harmonious expression.
Even a fundamental desire is better repressed than given too discordant an outlet. And because certain groups of desires may be discordantly organized in the astral body, it may be exceedingly difficult to express them without attracting into the life misfortunes that contribute even more to unhappiness. I know of only one way by which such conditions may be determined. It is by a scrutiny of the birth chart.
If the Safety urges, as shown by the aspects to Saturn in the birth chart, are too discordant, many of the efforts in life to provide security will attract discordant conditions. This does not mean that all thoughts of security should be abandoned, or that security may not be obtained. But it signifies that the efforts in the direction of security must be selected with unusual care, and with reference to the birth chart, so that they may be directed into special channels that are not so discordant. The Safety urges should find expression; but if the birth chart shows afflictions in this respect, the expression is better narrowed to small but harmonious channels.
So also with the desire for self-esteem. If the Sun is severely afflicted in the birth chart, the more usual methods of gaining self-esteem through contact with powerful persons will bring much discord, and therefore unhappiness, into the life. A careful survey, however, will reveal certain things that can be done that will not attract such discord, or even if it does, it will compensate in satisfaction for the discord. Thus the attempt to gain self-esteem will not result, as it otherwise might, in a failure that would give rise to discontent. At least, through such careful consideration a plan may be mapped by which the power urges may find maximum satisfaction and thus lend themselves to happiness.
Then again, if the planet Mars in the birth chart is severely aspected, considerable circumspection must be used in the expression of the desire for adventure. Unless such expression is conducted wisely, accidents, strife, and even tragedies may accompany such expression and the result be the reverse of happiness. Yet a study of the birth chart will indicate where the desire may find harmonious outlet, and furthermore the periods of life when certain efforts may be undertaken in reasonable safety, and at the same time show the periods when they are unduly dangerous.
The same considerations may well be applied not merely to the desire for response and the domestic urges, but to all the strong and insistent desires of life. Some people should never marry and some should never attempt to have children, because of the misfortune sure to follow such steps. Yet these individuals need not repress their desires for response and for parenthood. There are substitute channels that can be found into which these desires can be diverted that will permit satisfactory expression, and that will not attract disaster into the life. The greatest happiness requires adequate expression of the fundamental and insistent desires that reside within the unconscious mind. But to secure that happiness the channels of expression should be chosen that do not attract undue misfortune. The birth chart reveals these channels.
We have so much discussed the necessity of expressing the fundamental desires that it may appear that one should have his mind on himself much of the time. But nothing could be further from the truth. Distrustfulness, timidity, shyness, inability to make love, hate, vacillation, jealousy, sulkiness, contemptuousness, moroseness, etc., and many other unhappy attitudes of mind are common only to people who think a great deal about themselves.
There Must Be Interest Outside of Self
Happiness can only be obtained by going out from oneself. There must be some outside interest; for the self-centered mind is never happy. It is usually too much thinking about oneself and the effect of everything upon oneself, that prevents the expression of the insistent urges. The individual who is not self centered is not bashful, and while he may not make love well, yet he finds no difficulty in making love. He is not unduly concerned over his welfare, and so has no hesitation about making changes and experiencing some adventure. He does not fear want, and therefore gets pleasure from expressing the desire for security through working consistently and joyfully to that end. He neither places himself on a pedestal, nor considers himself a weakling; and therefore, from doing the best he knows how under all circumstances he derives satisfaction for the desire for self-esteem.
Only those who learn how to go out from themselves are happy. When an individual is too interested in other people’s welfare to think about fancied slights, or about aches and pains, he has learned something about happiness. If he can smile, even when things seem rather difficult for himself, just to cheer someone else up, he has taken another step in the direction of a happy life. Happiness to this extent is contagious, that when we give happiness to others, it in some similar measure returns to us.
To make the picture somewhat clearer, the happy person takes little pride in accumulations; but much pride in his achievements—which may include the use of accumulations—that have advanced in some manner the interests of mankind. He is not a slave to duty; but earnestly endeavors to accomplish something in life because he enjoys contributing to the world’s welfare. Instead of making of life a dull grind, he enters into whatever he puts his hand to as one more glorious adventure.
And whatever he is doing he thinks about pleasantly and wholeheartedly. He does not wish he were somewhere else, or doing something else, while he is compelled to do the thing at hand. Such divisions of interest and desire split the mental factors up into jarring factions. But if the interest is kept on the thing that is being done, no such discords develop.
Sometimes, to be sure, there are desires that tend to pull in different directions at the same time. Such a condition creates acute mental unrest. Yet with care and application a solution can always be found by which the conflicting desires are reconciled. If the advantages of each are thoroughly considered, and the disadvantages, and then the whole carefully inspected from the viewpoint of the greatest good to the personality in the long run, a plan can always be developed that will not be opposed by either set of desires. That is, such elements of both as are not compatible with the ultimate welfare of the individual, when they are fully recognized as such by the unconscious, will be eliminated. The factors of both that do contribute to the ultimate welfare of the individual, by the very fact of being so recognized, will enter into cooperative effort. In this manner all conflicting desires can be integrated into a harmonious stream of effort, the expression of which will be realized as happiness.
Still another consideration in the expression of life’s energies is that quality is even more important than volume. These various desires that we have been discussing may be expressed on different planes. They may find expression on a level little above gross animality. On the other hand, they may be expressed through channels of utmost refinement. The more refined the channel of expression the greater the joy experienced, and the more intense the happiness.
This refinement of mind and body by which greater enjoyment and satisfaction are experienced is progress in the direction of true spirituality. True spirituality also includes the use of the various powers and possibilities not merely for the benefit of self, but for the benefit of society as a whole. Yet, as we have seen, self-centeredness makes for a contracted life which so limits the freedom of expression that it leads to discontent. You, I am sure, have never known a really selfish person who was not discontented and therefore unhappy. On the other hand, I am equally confident, you have never known a truly happy person who was not intensely interested in someone or something outside himself. Yet refinement and the endeavor to benefit others constitute true spirituality. The most happy people in the world are spiritual people.
This mention of the word spirituality is all too apt to present a vision of various “don’ts.” But this is a very erroneous impression. Spirituality is not a matter of not doing things, but a matter of doing something that elevates the individual and benefits, at least in some small measure, mankind.
Some Oriental philosophy, to be sure, insists on the “don’ts.” The orthodox church also insists on the “don’ts.” But from the view of practical occultism both are wrong.
Acts that debase the mind, make gross the body and coarsen the feelings certainly are anything but spiritual. Acts that injure others or tend to degrade mankind are not spiritual. But why give so much attention to these things, when we know that action is always in the direction of the mental image? These tendencies as a rule are inherited from our animal ancestry. Some of them, about which demagogues rave, are not very important one way or another. And those that are important will have far less power if they are not so much noticed. What they need is not antagonism, but a carefully thought out plan by which desires developed in animals lower than man can be diverted into socially acceptable channels. Give their energies constructive expression and there will be no need to fight them.
Instead of being taught that being spiritual consists of being dull and foregoing most of the pleasures of life, or that it consists of being a slave to duty, it should be taught that spirituality is the method of life that yields the highest pleasure and the maximum of enjoyment.
Happiness does not come spontaneously. It is something to be acquired through proper habit formation; and like tennis or golf it may be acquired by almost anyone who is willing to make the effort to undergo consistent training.
The individual who has found the line of endeavor in which he can render greatest service to humanity, who has learned how to find pleasure in all that he does, who makes effort to refine his body, intellect and feelings, and who has taken the pains to find harmonious channels of expression for all his insistent desires, is one of the happiest people in the world.
The greatest happiness possible to any individual results from the cultivation of habit systems that have the furtherance of these four aims as their object.
Elbert Hubbard Chart
June 19, 1856, 7:00 a.m. 89W 40:40N.
(Data given by his wife.)
1872, free-lanced for Chicago newspapers: Venus square Mars r.
1880, position with a Buffalo manufacturing company: Sun square Mars p.
1881, June 30, married: Venus square Mars p.
1883, moved to East Aurora, N. Y.: Venus sextile Uranus p.
1892, retired from business, took trip abroad, fell under influence of William Morris: Asc. square Uranus r.
1893, published first of his three novels: Mercury semisextile Venus r.
1894, published first of his 170 “Little Journeys,” founded at East Aurora the Roycrofter Shop, and published first issue of the magazine, The Philistine: Sun square Pluto r, Venus trine Jupiter r.
Gerald P. Nye Chart
December 19, 1892, 10:10 p.m. 88:30W. 44:20N.
(Data given personally to Arthur J. Davis.)
1911, graduated from high school and started publishing newspaper, The Review: Mercury square Mars r.
1916, moved to Iowa, married, manager and editor The Daily Plain Dealer: Mars sextile Pluto r, Neptune p.
1919, moved to North Dakota and became editor Griggs County Sentinel Courier: Sun sextile Mars r, Venus conjunction Sun r.
1923, defeated in race for Congress: Mercury square Saturn r.
1925, November 14, appointed to U. S. Senate to fill vacancy due to death of Senator from North Dakota: Mars conjunction Jupiter r.
927, elected U. S. Senator: Venus conjunction Moon r. 1932, reelected U. S. Senator: Sun sextile Moon r.
1938, reelected U. S. Senator: Sun sextile Jupiter r.