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Serial Lesson 156
From Course XIV, Occultism Applied, Chapter 6
Original Copyright 1944, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2011, The Church of Light
Subheadings: Our Behavior is Made Up of Habit Systems Reason Customarily Plays an Insignificant Part The Three Fundamental Principles of Changing a Habit System People Like Us When We Give Them Pleasure Next to Self-Esteem People Most Desire the Esteem of Others Occult Influences
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How to Have Friends
MAKING friends and keeping friends are no more mysterious than being attractive, when the various factors that contribute to them are considered separately. One makes friends or fails to make them because of very definite habit systems. Presently I am going to discuss these factors that contribute to making friends and to keeping them.
But before giving further attention to the effect that our customary behavior has upon the attitude of others toward us, it seems highly desirable that we know more about these habit systems, and in due time, also how to change them.
I am not in this place going to give a detailed explanation of the elements of the nervous system and the way they act. Anyone interested in neurons, with their axons and dendrites, and the synapses between them over which nerve currents must pass, may refer to some good physiology book. Nerve currents, thoughts, and actions once expressing in a certain way find it easier to express in that way in the future. Groups of muscles or groups of thoughts, in some manner cooperating once, find it easier to cooperate in the same manner again. This fact has been thoroughly established by experiments. This is due, no doubt, somewhat to the laws governing the nervous system, but even more, I believe, to the establishment of pathways of energy, and energy connecting lines between various factors, in the astral body.
Some of us have lived at times in parts of the world where in winter the ground became deeply covered with snow. After a heavy snow, and before trails were broken, the going was found exceedingly difficult. The first person to go from one point to another not only found it difficult to make headway through the deep drifts, but frequently, because of side interests, did not go the most direct route. The next person to go to the same place found travel less difficult, because the trail had been broken. He could, of course, by the use of effort and initiative, go the most direct route by leaving the trail where it departed from this route and break a new one. But unless the first trail were excessively circuitous he usually preferred to follow it, because on the whole it took less effort. And the next person over the trail found it still easier to travel. By the time it had been gone over a few times the trail became so well established that progress through it was very easy compared to progress where no trail existed.
Our Behavior is Made Up of Habit Systems
Our behavior in life is made up of habit systems, and these are simply systems of trails that have been broken in our astral body. It required considerable energy to break each trail, to establish each particular action of a system. Certain of these trails converge and unite in a definite system. Thus in learning to handle a fork properly, the child must first learn how to grasp it. He must learn how to get it under the food. He must learn the distance from plate to mouth, and the direction of his mouth, and accuracy enough to find it without fumbling. A number of actions usually learned separately are required in this and in any act of skill. With these trails in the astral body, or if you prefer the materialistic view, in the nervous system, established separately, he joins them together as a single system. He no longer has to think of each separate movement. All he has to do is to think of eating with a fork, which places his activities on this system of trails, and because the trails are all well broken and joined together his activities follow them and he continues to eat properly with the fork so long as he holds the thought of so eating, all the details taking care of themselves. The details have become habitual, that is, they are governed by trails in the astral form which constitute a portion of the unconscious mind.
Some of these habit systems are formed before birth into human form. The reflex actions, digestion, secretion, breathing, and assimilation are habit systems built into the astral form in lives lower in the evolutionary scale than man. But as was explained in the preceding chapter (Serial Lesson 155), with the exception of a few fundamental responses, our likes and dislikes, our inclinations and our more overt behavior are all acquired after birth. Through early experiences in life we have formed the habit of behaving in certain ways toward acquaintances, behaving in other ways in reference to business, in still other ways in our domestic life, and according to other standards when engaging in recreation.
People usually believe that in these various relations of life they are acting according to the dictates of reason; but as a matter of fact reason plays a rather insignificant part in the behavior of most people. Their behavior when confronted with a certain situation, instead of being determined by a careful analysis of the circumstances, is usually determined by habit.
These habits were not formed because they are the best method of meeting such situations, but because of a variety of associations in early life that gave rise to pleasure or pain. If a certain situation in infancy was met by fear, and similar situations later in life were permitted to cause fear, no matter how unreasonable it may be, the adult will be very apt to experience fear whenever such a situation arises. The child who repeatedly gains his point by becoming angry, when he becomes a man in business will continue to try to gain his point through anger, even though his reason tells him it is the worst of all policies in his present situation. His Mars thought cells will take the reins in spite of his attempts to remain calm, and anger will take possession of him. Or if he has formed the habit of speaking disparagingly of others, even though reason indicates that such a course only brings enmity and no gain, out will come nasty remarks about others at unguarded moments in spite of himself.
Reason Customarily Plays an Insignificant Part
That reason customarily plays so insignificant a part in directing human behavior is not due to lack of the power to reason, but to the circumstance that of necessity most actions of life are the result of habit, and that these habits were formed by conditions that arose in the life before the reasoning powers were fully developed. The early associations with certain words, with certain kinds of people, and with certain objects are such as to cause people to be attracted to or repelled by them. If these early experiences were pleasant, they continue to be attracted toward these words, people and objects later in life. If these early experiences were painful, they tend to continue to be repelled by them.
We are taught in life to be attracted by the words moral, good, true, and similar words associated with conduct beneficial to society. Our reaction to these words has become habitual. Consequently, when a politician stands on a platform and speaks of the high morality of his candidate, of his truthfulness, and of the good he will do if he obtains office, we warm toward that candidate. When he denounces the opposing candidate as immoral and a liar, and implies that only evil will result from his obtaining office, our habits make us shrink from this opposition candidate. And it is only the unusual individual, one in a thousand perhaps, who overcomes these habitual reactions to words to the extent of carefully analyzing the situation with a view of discerning the real morality, truthfulness, and benefit to be derived from each candidate. Orators play upon, and move people by, the words toward which habitual responses of a given character have been firmly established.
If early in life one is taught to look upon people dowdily dressed, or if in early life one’s parents and those who are kind to one always appear well dressed, and such others as tease, annoy, and mistreat happen to be people poorly dressed, a truly democratic attitude will be very difficult to attain later in life. In the unconscious—that is, in the astral body—the association of that which is disagreeable will be closely linked up with shabbily dressed persons. One will feel uncomfortable in their presence, and—regardless of the ability or moral qualities—one will be repelled from them. And one will tend to like all well dressed persons, even though little ability and reprehensible morals are their outstanding characteristics.
If one has a very disagreeable experience of some kind when on a bridge very early in life, later in life, after the event has been forgotten, there may be an unaccountable aversion to bridges. If, in addition, the event is never spoken of through shame, and a strong repression results, the aversion may become pathologic. Thus do various phobias develop. There are otherwise normal people who are violently afraid of knives, of open spaces, of closed rooms, or of running water. In fact, I am inclined to think that most of us have what has been called nomic phobia, meaning the fear of going against custom or tradition.
Even the thought of changing something in the standard prayer book recently outraged the feelings of many good people. Just say “evolution” in the presence of a fundamentalist, and he immediately is insulted. Speak of astrology, or of the occult sciences, or of the abolition of armament in a conservative group and they become indignant. Not because they have investigated these things, or because they know of any careful analysis made by another, but because certain ideas have become habitual. Habits have been formed of accepting certain ideas as sound. Any departure from these ideas necessitates breaking up these habit systems. With so strong a habit system established regarding the sacredness of accepted ideas, even the contemplation of a new idea gives rise to a feeling of guilt.
Due to the circumstances surrounding certain early experiences, often habit systems form that are of great detriment all through life. Excessive shyness in an adult, for instance, usually may be traced either to oversolicitous care or to unreasonable prohibitions in childhood. If a child is held back from entering into the games and sports common to childhood, usually a sense of shame develops. He fears these games but is ashamed to admit it. He is also ashamed to admit his parents will not let him play as other children do. This shame thus becomes a repression, which in adult life, in spite of his reason, causes him to be timid and unapproachable.
Real and imaginary inferiorities are compensated for often by habitual actions or emotions all out of proportion to the circumstances that give rise to them. In spite of the real qualifications, there is a tendency of the unconscious to refuse to admit unfortunate events are due to the person’s deficiencies. And, where difficult conditions are met early in life, the habit of fleeing from reality by living in a world of fantasy develops. Mechanisms of defense, mechanisms of compensation, and the flight from reality, in some small degree enter into the habit systems of all of us. In others these become dominant habit systems. But whether to a great extent, or to a lesser, they hinder our successful adaptation to the circumstances of life, and should be replaced by habit systems based upon straight thinking.
Every situation in life, everything we do, presents a problem. There are numerous ways of meeting each situation and of doing each act. Also there is a best way. The problem is to find this best way. It can only be solved through a cool and impartial analysis of all the factors involved. The more facts at the command the better. Due reflection, in which different methods are thought out and compared one with another is the proper method of procedure. And because so much of thought, activity and feeling are based upon early acquired habits, it is well thus to carefully analyze every once in a while not only the more important activities of life, but also those apparently inconsequential. In the latter are often found the cause of larger failure or success.
I can think of no one thing that will conduce so much toward enabling a person to attain his desires as that of habitually considering every situation that arises as a distinct problem to be solved by finding the best possible way to think, feel, and act under the circumstances.
Merely to perceive the best way of thinking, feeling, and acting under a given circumstance, however, does not give one the ability to meet the circumstance in this predetermined way. Merely to know a beautiful tone when it is sounded on a violin does not give one the ability to produce that tone. Acts of skill are based upon habit. To think, and feel, and act as reason dictates, we must replace unadvantageous habits by those of greater value. That is, to change our lives to any appreciable extent, we must change our habit systems.
Habit systems are not changed by simply thinking about them. They are changed only through the application of much effort; and if the effort is applied according to the psychological principles underlying habit formation, the change will be brought about more readily. Regarding the old habits, as old trails become obliterated when disused, they should be given no attention. Because habits feed on attention, the attentions should all be given to those that are to replace.
The Three Fundamental Principles of Changing a Habit System
Three fundamental principles should at this point be emphasized. 1. To break a bad habit, cultivate some good habit which by its nature is incompatible with the bad habit, and when practiced tends to displace the latter. 2. To remember something unfamiliar, associate it strongly with something else sure to be remembered. 3. In some manner, associate as strongly as possible with feelings of pleasure those acts and thoughts that it is desirable to make habitual.
As has been explained in some detail and illustrated by example in Chapter 2 (Serial Lesson 155), the initial difficulty in forming a new habit is the tendency not to remember at the proper time that the predetermined upon actions are to take place. As there illustrated, this difficulty may be overcome by linking up in the mind the desired actions with other activities that already are habitual.
Habits, as was explained in Chapter 5 (Serial Lesson 155) where the experiments with Pavlov’s dogs are mentioned, are originally formed as reactions to pleasure or pain. They are formed to attain pleasure and to escape pain. Not that they always attain these results, for a habit that brings pain may arise through false belief that it will bring pleasure. But the principle underlying all animal activity is that movement is toward pleasure and away from pain. This principle should be utilized in the formation of new habits. Habits naturally form along the line of the most pleasant association.
There are, of course, two habit-forming techniques. There is the pleasure technique, such as just mentioned, and the pain technique. Not only does the burned child shun the fire, as we are often reminded, but it is customary, and no doubt necessary, to restrain and in some manner punish small children When Willie at table dips his fingers into a dish of food he is usually reprimanded, and if he persists, his knuckles are perhaps rapped with the back of a fork. This is the pain technique. Willie learns not to use his fingers where others use silverware. But the pain technique has two serious drawbacks that curtail its usefulness. First, it builds inharmonious thought cells into the astral body that tend to attract misfortune. Second, it builds up an association of pain with the habit in such a manner that factors originally associated with the habit are intensely disliked, and in such a manner that when the element of pain ceases to be obvious the habit may be discontinued.
People who have had to make considerable sacrifice to get an education usually appreciate its advantages more than those who have not. Unless they had strongly desired an education they would not have made the sacrifices. They were doing something they desired to do, using the pleasure technique. Others who continued in school because compelled to do so by parents, or merely because it is the customary thing to do usually have less appreciation of learning, and are less likely to continue studying after they leave school and the compulsion ceases. This exemplifies the pain technique; for compulsion is always painful.
Probably the strongest reason why people after they leave school care so little about further improving their mind is due to the pain technique commonly used in building the study habit system. In the first place, there were many pleasant things to do out of school, and being shut up in an unattractive room a greater part of the day in itself is monotonous. The school teacher compelled them to study, and as mentioned, being driven is painful to the self-respect of most persons. Perhaps, also, the school teacher was sarcastic, became angry on occasions, and made them sit motionless and in silence, gave examinations that frightened them with thought of failure, gave demerits, and caused them to stay after school. Always there was a great relief when the study period ended and they left the dull books behind to play and romp on the way home after school. Thus the habit was formed of feeling joy at getting away from studies, and the feeling of pain of many kinds was closely associated with studies. Is it any wonder, then, when the pain technique is so common in our schools, that so few people make an effort to improve their minds after leaving them. Unconsciously, because of school-day habits of feeling, they feel uncomfortable at the very thought of study.
What has been said will give an understanding of the most important principles to be used in building new habit systems. There are still other factors worth mentioning also, but in order that we may now take up those habits that are conducive to making and keeping friends, we shall reserve them for the next chapter (Serial Lesson 157).
People Like Us When We Give Them Pleasure
What has been said about the pleasure technique has its application also to the subject of friends. Make no mistake about this, people like us or dislike us in the first place as we give them pleasure or pain; and they continue to like us while we give them pleasure and they begin to dislike us when we give more pain than pleasure. If we are to have friends, then, we must find out what gives people pleasure and what gives people pain, and build into ourselves those habit systems that give others pleasure.
Of all the ten groups of fundamental urges into which the desires of human life may be grouped, experiments have convinced psychologists that the power urges are strongest. To be more specific, the unconscious mind of the average individual has a stronger desire to keep self-respect than it has for food, sex, or safety. Anything, therefore, that tends to lower an individual’s self-respect is resisted violently. This resistance to lowering the self-esteem commonly takes form of unconscious fiction. People excuse to themselves their shortcomings by alibis. Even the most vicious criminal in prison says to himself that others would have done the same as he if they had had the courage; or others would have done no better if they had had the same temptation and the same early environment. The ways in which the feeling of self-respect is maintained are numerous, and because this desire is so fundamental, if we are to have friends we must use care not to attack their self-esteem. On the other hand, if we can increase their self-esteem the pleasure they thus derive will tend toward a feeling of friendliness.
One of the outstanding habit systems to cultivate, if we would have more friends, is by various means to make people feel self-important, for this gives them a distinct glow of pleasure. This feeling of pleasure is associated with us, and gives rise to kindly regard. But if we criticize people in such a way as to make them feel less important, even though the criticism is deserved, they feel disagreeable, and associate this disagreeable feeling with us.
This does not signify that we are to go about flattering people, or that we are to refrain from pointing out their weaknesses. By the use of diplomacy another person’s mistake, or his weakness, may be brought to his attention in a way that does not make him feel disagreeable. If brought to his attention in such a manner as not to attack his self-esteem he will also more readily put forth an effort to correct it. For when his self-esteem is attacked, his unconscious is too busy defending itself to be able to mobilize energies to correct the matter. Then again, nearly everyone has good qualities that are really worthy of notice. If these qualities are brought to his notice in a pleasant way, not only will he feel friendly toward the person who recognizes his worth, but it gives him the high pleasure technique incentive to put forth an effort to become even more worthy of praise. It is nearly always more beneficial to a person to be praised for good actions than to be denounced for errors.
Even to attack a man’s opinions inflicts pain on his ego. People are not convinced by argument; for in an argument they are so busy defending their opinion that the logic of the opposition fails to gain proper attention. When we bluntly tell a man he is wrong he resents it. But if we ask him to explain why he thinks as he does, and make it plain we understand his viewpoint, and say frankly that we have been wrong in many things and may be wrong about the matter in question, he is apt to feel pleasant, even though in the end we do not adopt his ideas. In such points as we are in error we should quickly admit it. He will feel his own self-esteem raised by being able to point out an error which we admit. And when finally we present the strongest factor that leads us to an opposite view on the significant matter, he will be inclined to be kindly tolerant, if not actually agreeing with us.
When we fail to remember an individual’s name he feels that to us he does not seem important. But if we not only remember his name, but also his problems and interests, his self-esteem is raised because apparently we consider him important enough to be interested in him and his affairs. If we greet him with cordiality, and make him feel that we are glad to see him, this still further raises his self-esteem. And if we smile and seem happy, this attitude on our part brings out a sympathetic response from him. Through associating with us he takes on the quality of our feeling, and if this is joyous and genial his pleasure is increased. People are not apt to like those who seem indifferent to their existence. A warm handshake and a smile gives evidence of pleasure and interest.
As people are interested in themselves it gives them pleasure to talk about their accomplishments, their affairs and their problems. Draw them out. Let them know you are interested in what they think and what happens to them. Give close attention to their recitals. Ask questions, and make suggestions designed to be helpful. But refrain from being dogmatic. Show lively sympathy and understanding. This will raise the other’s feeling of self-esteem and conduce to the pleasure of your companionship.
When people have ideas that are adopted they gain in self-esteem. Abruptly disparaging the plans put forth by another gives him a feeling of distress. But if he can be led around to believing he originated, or is at least partly responsible for, the sounder plans that are adopted, he will gain in self-esteem, and experience the feeling of pleasure. Instead of at once violently opposing some unsound plan it often is better policy to get its sponsor to talking and gradually lead the conversation around to a point where he will see, largely of his own accord, the better way, and suggest it himself.
And while flattery is reprehensible, praise, and plenty of it, where praise is due, increases the individual’s self-respect, and his friendship for the one who thus increases his enjoyment.
Next to Self-Esteem People Most Desire the Esteem of Others
Next in power to self-esteem, and activated by the same group of thought cells mapped in the birth chart by the Sun, is the desire for the respect of other people. It is probably the most dominant motive in the commercial world. People may want money for what it will buy, but they commonly want it even more to feel important in the eyes of others. To possess wealth gives a sense of power, and is to be envied by poorer people. If one has the money, one may have just as good a car, just as fine clothes, just as pretentious a home, as one’s friends. Great effort is made, therefore, to acquire these things, not because they are necessary to life and comfort, but because they permit one to mingle on terms of equality with a certain social stratum. The working man strives hard to be worthy of a raise in wages, not because his family is in actual want, but because such a raise will enable them to have things and do things that give them social prestige.
When those who employ others learn the strength of the urge for self-esteem and the urge for the esteem of others, there will be less dissatisfaction among employees. A reprimand, even when deserved, tends to attack the self-esteem. When the reprimand is given publicly it outrages the esteem of others. Nothing is so resented by an employee as to be criticized in the presence of his fellow workers. And the circumstance that commonly he must refrain from openly defending himself makes the hurt strike the deeper. It is forced down into the unconscious, there to rankle and grow more bitter until some labor dispute arises. Then it comes to the surface in full power and expresses itself in unreasonable demands and sabotage.
Moved by the universal human urge, your friends desire to have the respect of other people. If you are able to assist them attain this great desire they are sure to warm toward you.
There are two ways in which this aim may be advanced. Primarily, of course, through encouragement and support, they may be helped to do those things that spontaneously attract the commendation of their fellow man. Thus will you be doing them a favor, and at the same time be doing something valuable for a still wider circle.
The second way is to draw the attention of others to their good qualities. As previously mentioned, most people have some very good qualities. If these are brought to the attention of others and emphasized, it increases the esteem of these others for the individual under discussion. And if he responds in the normal manner, this increased esteem of others will stimulate him to make an effort to be worthy of it.
We should not leave this subject without a few words about the person who talks disparagingly about his friends behind their backs. He loses friends, of course, and rightly so, because more often than not his innuendoes are repeated and finally get back to his friends.
He does not openly attack his friends to others. Commonly he first speaks of some good quality possessed by the friend. “Yes, John is a wonderful fellow, so fine and upright. Isn’t it a shame that ...” Thus does profession of friendship end up with some subtle remark tended to injure the standing of John. What is the underlying psychological urge that causes so many people thus cunningly to undermine the esteem in which their friends are held?
There is an unconscious recognition that superiority is relative. Every individual wishes to feel himself a superior person, and he wishes others so to believe him. There is also the tendency to feel that such superiority is to be gained through competition. In the case under consideration the speaker thinks others will be apt to compare himself with John. If John is given too high a reputation, by comparison, his own reputation will suffer. He feels friendly toward John, but at the same time his unconscious urge for the recognition of others does not countenance the thought of permitting others to think John is superior to himself. Consequently, almost unconsciously to himself, whenever opportunity arises he throws out a suggestion intended to undermine John’s character, and thus relatively raise his own standing. Needless to say, few people are misled by such tactics. They attribute the “catty” remark to jealousy. He has thus really lowered himself in the estimation of the very people he was seeking to impress with his superiority, and his tactics cause him to lose John as a friend.
Another fundamental urge of great strength is the desire for response. This social urge manifests not only as sexual desire, but also as the desire to have the sympathy, help, understanding, interest, and companionship of others.
If another person realizes that you are interested in him and in what he is doing, it gives him pleasure. If he feels that you have his welfare at heart, he tends to respond by being concerned with your welfare. And if you show him that you understand his problems, and his viewpoint toward life, this forms a link of attraction between you. And why should we not be interested in others? Is life so restricted that we have no energy with which to sympathize with the problems and joys of others?
We shall presently consider at greater length this primary urge for response in its intellectual aspect. But first let us glance at the physical.
Professional politicians are looked upon by most with considerable contempt. They are often out to gain their own ends by fair means or foul. But if they are successful politicians they are excellent judges of human nature and understand how to influence human behavior. They are good practical psychologists. They also depend almost entirely upon their power to make friends and to hold friends for political influence. Thus they know how to have friends.
The political boss places one rule ahead of all others. He does favors for as many people as possible. He does not hesitate to spend time and effort to be of assistance to his friends. He gets out and does something that furthers the interests of as many people, individually and collectively, as possible. His next rule is that he never goes back on his friends. Those that help him in any way may be sure of his active service or influence whenever needed.
These rules, when they are used to advance the interests of one group at the expense of other groups, are not to be commended. But they do illustrate a vital psychological principle. If you desire to have friends, do not hesitate to be of material assistance to them whenever the opportunity arises. Do not hesitate to inconvenience yourself for them. Do not consider any of their interests unimportant to you. There are a thousand little things that can be done, things too numerous to mention, but which are suggested by the circumstances, by which we can be of assistance to others. Such assistance, through tending to dissipate selfishness, is beneficial to ourselves, and it is a sure road to friendship.
Security is another strong fundamental urge of all life. In the human family it takes the form of acquiring money and property to safeguard against future contingencies. If you assist another to get better employment, to get a better salary, or in any way advance his economic situation, you have touched upon and helped him realize a deep-seated desire. And because of his interest in his family, if you can conduce in any way to their security and comfort you will have rendered a service which commonly is appreciated.
In these days, however, when the lives of comparatively few people are acutely in danger from lack of food, clothing and shelter, there is another urge that experiments show to be more actively dominant in the lives of most people. Strange as it may appear at first sight, this is the urge for adventure.
The desire for new experiences, for taking risks in the hope of greater accomplishment, has evolutionary value. When areas became crowded, those who moved to new lands had a better chance to survive. When one food supply began to be exhausted, those with originality enough—as did our English sparrows—to try out and adopt a new food, fared better than the less adventurous. Pioneers in any line are those with a strong urge for adventure. If, therefore, you are able to break the monotony of other people’s lives by giving them a change, through planning outings, entertainments, or other activities in which there is a trace of adventure as well as a good time in general, you will not lack friends.
Having already considered the methods used by politicians to secure friends, we should feel no hesitancy about making another excursion into the realm of less idealistic practical affairs to find an illustration. It is the custom of the managers of small town stores to go to the large cities at certain seasons to make purchases. Larger firms have special buyers, who make all the purchases for certain departments. The wholesalers and jobbers, who sell these goods to the dealer, have a strong incentive to gain good will and sell as large orders as practical to these various buyers. In fact, competition is of the keenest, and in order to remain in business they must make sales. Under these conditions of practical competition, a workable technique is sure to develop.
The worth of the product is of course played up and its price advantages. But the general practice has been, first of all, for the salesman to get the buyer in tow, give him fine dinners, take him to the kind of entertainment he enjoys, and show him something of the night life of the city. He is given a good time where his physical appetite for food is concerned. His emotions are given pleasurable outlet through attending entertainments. And finally, he is given what he considers a real adventure. He has something unusual to think about and to talk about and to anticipate until his next visit to the big city. No matter if the whole affair is quite dull to the salesman, the buyer had a good time and some real excitement. He therefore feels unusually friendly to the salesman who made these things possible, and to the extent no great loss is incurred by so doing, gives this salesman all his orders.
In general, increasing the activity and harmony of the thought cells mapped in the birth chart by Venus and the thought cells mapped in the birth chart by Jupiter exerts a beneficial influence upon the ability to have friends. The Venus thought-cell activity may thus be accentuated by thinking light, artistic and cheerful thoughts, making pleasant social contacts, and cultivating artistic trends with the object of getting as much cheer, amusement and pleasant emotion out of them as possible. The Jupiter thought-cell activity may be accentuated by cultivating joviality and the feeling of good will toward all, and by placing faith in a higher than human source to oversee matters beyond control.
In addition to these general measures which may be applied by all, there are more special measures which may be ascertained only from an inspection of the individual chart of birth. The most important of these measures consists of increasing the activity and the harmony of the thought cells mapped in the birth chart eleventh house. These thought cells, working from the inner plane, have more power than any others to attract or repel friends. If they are already harmonious, they should be given greater activity. If they are discordant they should be harmoniously reconditioned by applying the proper mental antidote as explained in Course IX, Mental Alchemy.
Each planet aspecting the ruler of the Eleventh House also should be inspected; for each indicates a line of influence affecting friends that runs from the department of life ruled by that planet to the house of friends. Such lines of influence as are indicated by harmonious aspects may be strengthened by appropriate thoughts and actions, and may especially be made use of where friends are concerned. Lines of influence indicated by inharmonious aspects may be neutralized by the proper mental antidote, and the department of life indicated by such inharmonious aspecting planets sedulously avoided in all contact with friends. Thus if a planet in the Second House (money) is in good aspect to the ruler of the house of friends, and at the same time a planet in the Sixth House (work and illness) is in evil aspect to the ruler of the house of friends, money transactions of various kinds may be counted on to assist in making and having friends. Such transactions, therefore, may be sought out for that purpose; and also, by proper thoughts and experiences this influence may be built up to greater strength within the astral body. But everything to do with labor and illness may be counted on to disrupt friendship. Under such circumstances it will be unwise to employ friends, or to seek them in time of illness. Where labor and illness are concerned, it is better to associate only with those the loss of whose friendship is of no great concern. Also a proper mental antidote may be applied for the purpose of giving the discordant thought cells more harmonious desires.
Demonstrating friendship by means of visualizing (Chapter 12 Serial Lesson 67, Course V, Esoteric Psychology) has possibilities, but should be used with considerable caution; because people attracted into the life are not passive objects, but often have a power for good or ill. Be sure of just the kind of a friend you desire, and that the person has just the qualifications you are led to believe he has, before demonstrating friendship. And furthermore, that the law of compensation be not violated, be sure that the friendship has possibilities of mutual advantage.
Selecting a house number, telephone number, a name, color, gem, locality and various other objects of the environment that vibrate to the thought cells in your astral body most favorable to friendship (Course VI, Sacred Tarot) all have a beneficial influence.
Friendship of the finest type, however, is always based upon a sympathetic understanding, and a peculiar mutual exchange of ideas and energies. The type of person with whom such relations can be established may be determined from the birth chart. Those whose dominant planet is a planet sorely afflicted in your birth chart may become good friends, but will not attract to you fortunate events. Those persons whose dominant planet is a planet well aspected in your chart, in so far as you associate with them, will be friendly disposed, and will tend to attract to you beneficial events. But something more than this is required as the basis of a high and lasting friendship. In the first place the magnetic polarity, as shown by the birth charts, must not be too diverse. Next there must be some similarity of viewpoint as indicated by the signs occupied by Sun, Moon and Ascendant, and by the ruling planets. That is, if one is naturally conservative and the other is naturally progressive, these tendencies tend to clash. But if both are interested in some subject, as if both have Mars and Neptune so located as to give an interest in aeronautics, this forms a basis of friendship. The birth charts thus indicate the possibilities of friendship between two people.
In the development of a high type of friendship, such as we are considering, a very unique and socially valuable process is inaugurated. The mind of one person quickly grasps the ideas presented by the other. He may not agree, either in whole or in part, with the other’s conclusions, but he understands how and why the other arrived at those conclusions. The two minds enter quickly into that state of sympathy termed rapport, in which there is an interchange of invisible energy. The thoughts of one flow into the mind of the other, and the thoughts of the other flow into the mind of the one. Even as an individual may set certain facts within his knowledge against other facts also within his mind, so two such friends unite temporarily as one mind, yet each maintains his individuality.
Under such circumstances the thought of one often is recognized by the other before it is spoken, or before completely expressed. There is a fusion and blending of ideas based upon mutual understanding and this exchange of astral energies. But not infrequently from this exchange of ideas both come into a comprehension of the matter not only far beyond what either alone had, but far beyond the sum total of what both had. In other words, through the unseen blending of thoughts on the astral plane due to their companionship new ideas are conceived, developed in the unconscious, and finally given birth to in objective expression.
It is true that many noteworthy examples that may be cited in which schools of thought have been brought into existence, scientific discoveries made, or works of art brought to the light of day, are the result of an association between persons of opposite sex. But other notable examples may also be cited of similar results arising from the friendship of two or more men, or from that of two or more women. Thoughts are sexed, but mind itself is not. That is, its temporary polarity is determined by its thoughts, and these may be held by either a man or a woman. But whether arising from persons of the same sex, or of opposite sex, where mind blends with mind thoughts tend to impregnate each other and to undergo progressive unfoldment below the threshold of objective consciousness, coming forth later as something new and better than either is able to produce alone.
I believe that the more enduring friendships are based upon such sympathetic understanding and exchange of ideas and energies as I have mentioned. Certainly such friendships as these are those that are most satisfactory and beneficial both to the individuals concerned and to society. At least there should be a process of give and take between the minds of friends. The individual who insists on doing all the talking, who consumes the time spent together in relating his adventures, telling about his business, or pouring out his troubles, does not make a high class friend. Nor does the one who never has anything to say, who merely absorbs what is said to him. He is not a friend, just a human sponge. And the individual who just talks small talk, or on conventional topics out of politeness, has no power to hold others. There must be earnestness, mutual understanding, and a mutual contribution to common mental processes.
Finally there is the person who wants friends for but one purpose: to tell troubles to. The right kind of friends, if the friendship is well established, will not hesitate to listen to and sympathize with another’s troubles. But this is a strain upon friendship, not an aid to it; for people are attracted only by what is pleasant. Troubles are unpleasant, and therefore tend to repel. Unloading one’s troubles in the presence of others is selfish, and should be indulged in only on rare occasions.
If one were to summarize very briefly the rules for having friends, it might be stated that first, last, and all the time, there should be an understanding of, and a sympathy for, the other person’s desires and point of view. Those things, then, that give the other person pleasure, and assist him to realize his desires, are the things which make of him a friend.
Josef Stalin Chart
January 2, 1880 (Dec. 21, 1879 Old Style), 8:16 a.m. 44E. 42N.
(Rectified chart published in Modern Astrology. For verification of day of birth see mother’s statement, December, 1936, Astrology.)
1897, expelled from theological seminary, joined Socialists: Mars inconjunct Mercury r.
1901, arrested first time: Sun inconjunct Moon r.
1905, December, met Lenin, helped in abortive revolution: Sun inconjunct Uranus p.
1917, freed and returned from exile: Sun sextile Mercury r.
1924, Lenin died, enemies tried to oust him: Sun square Pluto r. 1936, purged Red Army: Sun opposition Uranus r.
1941, June 22, Germany attacked Russia: Mars square Uranus r.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Chart
January 30, 1882, 8:00 p.m. 74W. 41:45N.
(Data from his secretary at time he first ran for President.)
1898, tried to join Navy in Spanish-American war: Sun trine Mars p.
1910, elected to State Senate: Mercury trine Mars r.
1913, Assistant Secretary of Navy: Sun sextile Neptune r.
1918, to Europe, got pneumonia: Sun opposition Uranus r.
1921, stricken by infantile paralysis: Sun semisquare Saturn r.
1932, elected President, launched New Deal: Asc. trine Mercury r, trine Mars r.
1940, elected President for third term: Mars sextile Saturn p.
1941, August, formulated Atlantic Charter: Mercury sextile Neptune p.
1943, December 7, Japan attacked U. S.: Sun square Mars p.
1943, December, at Teheran signed declaration with Stalin and Churchill: Mercury opposition Uranus r.