Serial Lesson 220
From Course XXI, Personal Alchemy, Chapter 5
Original Copyright 1949, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2012, The Church of Light
Subheadings: Debates Do Not Convince The Stellarian Questionnaire Think Kindly Be Eager to Learn The Habit Systems of Energy Utilizing the Occupation Think Only the Truth
Birth Charts: Bismark Chart Herbert Spencer Chart
Spiritual Trends in Personal Conduct
DOUBTLESS you have walked down Broadway during the busy hour, or at least you have been in an auto at a time when there was great congestion of traffic. And under such circumstances you found that you had no great difficulty so long as you kept step with the procession. So long as you walked no faster nor slower than those about you, or so long as your car went no faster nor slower than the other cars on the street, there was no great cause for discomfort. But if you slacked your pace you were jabbed by elbows and shoved in the back, or if in an auto, there were loud honkings and harsh words from those you thus impeded. And if you tried to move faster than the crowd, the angry glances, the words of those you passed, and the general remonstrance increased in direct ratio to your hurried efforts.
Life, also, is like that. So long as the neophyte keeps in mental step with those around him, no opposition is likely to develop. But the more backward individual is always shoved and buffeted about. And when the neophyte begins to step out mentally and spiritually, when he begins to move faster in his progress than those about him, he is apt to arouse a storm of disapproval.
If the person hurrying down crowded Broadway stops to argue with every person who makes it plain he believes such speed is uncalled for, he is apt to spend so much time and effort in verbal combat that he really makes no more headway than the crowd. Instead of this, if he meets displeased glances with a smile, he is neither delayed nor so greatly impeded. And this is true also in the neophyte’s efforts to make the greatest progress. It is seldom that violent arguments convince anyone, and they are all too apt merely to increase antagonism and arouse discordant emotions.
After all, people think as they do because of their experiences. And they have a right to a hearing as to their views if you are trying to convince them of something. In fact, unless you do permit them thus to present all their objections to your ideas, they will feel that you are unaware of these objections, and that you believe as you do because you are ignorant of them. Furthermore, in addition to making it plain to the individual that you thoroughly understand each of his points as he presents them to you, you should make him feel that you are friendly disposed. Certainly, one of the surest indexes to smallness of character is the inability to be friendly with someone with whom you disagree on some matter of politics or religion. You can be friendly, and make the other individual feel that you continue to be friendly, even though you do not agree with all he says.
Debates Do Not Convince
The neophyte can hardly contribute his utmost to universal welfare unless he tries to make this a better world, and tries to help people gain optimum living both while on earth and after they have passed to the inner plane, through getting as many as possible to become familiar with and accept The Religion of the Stars. As with everything else that should be done, there is a poor way to go about it, and a right way. The poor way is to try to cram your opinions down the other fellow’s throat by aggressive argument.
No matter how sound your argument may be, or how weak his, you will never convince him unless you can keep him in a friendly and non-combative mood. Any attempt to overcome his opposition by arguments forcefully delivered, hoping to overpower and route those he presents, will give his ego the feeling that if he admits you are right it will concede to you a superiority and to him an inferiority. His ego, because the power urges are the strongest of all mental factors, will never permit the development of such a feeling of inferiority; and no matter how sound your arguments may be they will only succeed in stimulating him into seeking additional reasons to disagree with you.
Public debates, for this reason, seldom convert anyone to a different opinion. Those who attend such debates have their minds made up before they go, and thus identify themselves with the speaker, or speakers, who express their views. It is thus a matter of combat, in which their ego will not permit them to admit defeat by a change of views, because to do so would result in a feeling of inferiority. What they attend the debate for is to see their opponent defeated. Nor will either side admit such defeat. All go away with the same opinions, strengthened by the heat of conflict.
In making converts to The Religion of the Stars there are four principles that should be understood and as often as possible applied.
1. You should be thoroughly familiar with the truths you are trying to get the other person to accept.
2. The interchange of thoughts should remain at all times friendly. Whatever doctrine of The Religion of the Stars you are trying to get some other person to accept, the next requisite to understanding it yourself is to bring the matter up between you on terms of friendly interchange of thought, and not as something you are attempting to thrust upon him. And it is essential to see to it that this friendly feeling of interchanging views is maintained throughout; for should it develop even in a small degree into a contest, that implication will cause him to reject arguments no matter how plausible they may be. Even though verbally he admits them to be reasonable, his ego will continue to reject them to maintain its own self-esteem.
3. It must be recognized that the human mind is not so constituted that it can readily accept a number of new viewpoints at once clearly. Therefore, when the time arrives when you are permitted to present your own views on the subject, always select only one or two of the most important and convincing points.
4. Be sure you have his attention, and then present the point or points you have selected as most significant positively and forcefully, but in a friendly manner. If your friend interrupts you with new argument while you are clearly presenting your views, you may be sure he is thinking of means to combat, rather than to understand, what you are saying. With the utmost friendliness insist that he hear your side of the matter. And without antagonizing, see that he understands it. Repeat it positively until you are sure it has registered. But present only the most important of your material.
Your acquaintance on the street car, for instance, voices disapproval of astrology. Find out what he knows about it. Ask him questions to get his views, and show him by further questions that you understand his arguments. Do not, however, start to refute him; for this will place him on the defensive against an aggressor. Then, after he has told you all he really knows about it, tell him convincingly that the professors who scoff at planetary influence have never seriously investigated the subject, do not know how to erect and progress a chart of birth, and have no real evidence on which to base their opinion.
Then cite concrete examples of birth chart portrayal of character traits, natural aptitudes and predispositions toward types of events and types of disease, and cases in which the event or disease indicated by its progressed constants have actually taken place or developed at the time the progressed constants were present. In a friendly manner keep on relating authentic facts that afford concrete proof that astrology actually works. Do not scatter about, trying to answer all his previous arguments, but get him to see the central idea you are endeavoring to present, in this case the actual proof that astrology does the things you claim for it. And if you have not aroused antagonism you will thus have made as strong an impression as possible toward getting him to accept your views.
Or suppose he sneers at the possibility of those who have passed from physical life communicating with those still in the flesh. Get him to tell you about his unsatisfactory experiences with mediums. And where you can agree with him, so agree; and where you cannot agree, for a time let him talk. Then in a friendly manner get hold of his attention long enough to explain first, that numerous universities have, under test conditions, demonstrated that telepathy, the non-physical communication of mind with mind, is a fact. Then tell him of the painstaking manner in which various outstanding scientists have investigated this matter and have come to the conclusion that the personality survives the tomb and sometimes communicates with those yet in the physical. Then go on to tell him of experiences of your own, or other persons, experiences, that tend to substantiate these scientific findings. See that he gets this central idea clearly, and that telepathy is now accepted by science, as forcefully as they can be given without arousing antagonism, and you will have done all you can to give him a better understanding of the relation between those on the two planes of life.
This method of convincing another follows strictly the laws of psychology. But it must not be supposed that every person one meets is in a state of development where such convincing is possible. The emotional elements, built by childhood religious training, often are too strong to be overcome even by first hand and irrefutable experience. Neither facts nor logic can get past a sufficiently powerful emotional block.
Yet at least one part of the sound psychological formula can be retained, even when people violently antagonize your views and your progress. You can still smile and still give them to understand that you feel friendly toward them. Their antagonism and their efforts to hinder will be lessened by a friendly manner, and under no circumstances will the opposite course aid in converting them to your views.
However, I am not suggesting that there should be any backwardness or hesitancy, when it will serve a constructive purpose, in presenting facts which will aid mankind to a better understanding of life and its problems. The withholding of information which will help others is cowardice or gross selfishness. I am not merely suggesting that there is a right time, but also that there is a right place and a right manner for their presentation. Untimely effort, or effort directed athwart sound psychological laws, is not only wasted, but often stirs up strife that prejudices against the later acceptance of progressive views.
As illustrated by the hindrance to your movements when you try to travel a crowded street swiftly, you will find that the faster you attempt to travel spiritually the more opposition to your progress you will meet. And there is a wrong way and a right way to handle such hindrances. The wrong way is to feel irritated, to incite antagonism, and to engage in heated arguments. The right way is to be well informed, and to plan carefully how you can do the thing which spirituality requires with the least conflict with others. If real spirituality, if righteousness, demands conflict, there should be no hesitancy about taking a firm and aggressive stand. But as a rule firmness can be combined with kindness in such a way that conflict will not prove necessary.
Yet for Stellarians, spirituality does demand whereever it is possible that seed shall be sown that will grow into interest in The Religion of the Stars. Every opportunity to get people familiar with Stellarian teachings should be grasped. But the seed thus sown should be watered with kindness and tolerance so that it will grow.
Thus to be able to plant the seeds of interest, and to stimulate their growth into a serious desire to learn the doctrines of The Religion of the Stars, each Stellarian should not only be familiar with the general ideas set forth in Brotherhood of Light lessons, but he should at all times have at his ready command both the questions and the answers that are most significant in the tenets of The Religion of the Stars. So that he may at any time explain these facts to others, and thus give them an accurate overall picture of The Religion of the Stars, and so that he can use any one of them convincingly in getting others to accept the Stellarian viewpoint, each Stellarian should learn to use the following questions and answers with facility.
The Stellarian Questionnaire
As in The Church of Light there are 50 degrees of initiation leading to absolute human perfection on the earth plane, the endeavor has been to formulate 50 of the most important questions and their answers, the last one, of course, crowning all, as does the united sun and moon at the apex of The Church of Light emblem, indicating exactly how every Stellarian should try at all times to live.
The Roman numeral following the answer indicates the Brotherhood of Light course, and the Arabic numerals indicate the pages in that course, where a more complete explanation may be found. The serial lessons, as well as the hardbound books, of each course may be referred to with facility according to the pages indicated; for each booklet contains exactly 32 pages, and their consecutive place in the course is indicated by a letter on the upper right hand margin of the cover. Also by consulting a Lesson List the serial number and the consecutive place of each lesson in a course may be ascertained. Its serial number is located on the upper left-hand margin of the cover of each booklet.
Editors Note: The above paragraph was written in 1949. Because the serial lessons have been subsequently reformatted for later printings, the references in the following questions and answers have been corrected to reflect the new page numbers.
1. What is the ego?
Ego is the indestructible spark, or emanation, from Deity which is the potentiality activating every soul. Course II, Astrological Signatures, Serial Lesson 4, pages 103-105; Course V, Esoteric Psychology, Serial Lesson 56, pages 9-16.
2. What is the soul?
The soul, or character, or unconscious mind, is the inner-plane organization of the ego’s total experiences up to the present time. Course II, Astrological Signatures, Serial Lesson 4, pages 106-122; Course V, Esoteric Psychology, Serial Lesson 56, pages 5-27.
3. What is the purpose for which the soul is brought into existence?
The soul is brought into existence and undergoes such experiences as are necessary to train it to become a constructive workman in the realization of God’s Great Evolutionary Plan. Course V, Esoteric Psychology, Serial Lesson 56, pages 9-16; Course XIV, Occultism Applied, Serial Lesson 151, pages 8-24; Course XIX, Organic Alchemy, Serial Lesson 213, pages 135-138.
4. What are the three drives which the soul, both while it has a physical body and after the dissolution of the physical form, at all times strives to realize?
The drive for significance, the drive for nutrition, and the drive for reproduction. Course V, Esoteric Psychology, Serial Lesson 60, pages 135-137; Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 133, pages 5-8.
5. How is the soul attached to the physical form it occupies?
By psychokinesis. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, page 235.
6. What determines the species of life form to which the soul is attached?
Its ability gained through experience while attached to less complex life forms. Course XIX, Organic Alchemy, Serial Lesson 209, pages 18-24.
7. What enables the soul after the dissolution of one physical form to attach itself to, and have experiences through, the form of a higher species of life?
Its increased ability gained through experiences in the form it left. Course XIX, Organic Alchemy, Serial Lesson 209, pages 14-26.
8. What are the functions of pleasure and pain?
Pain has but one function; to inform the soul that a destructive condition is present. Pleasure has but one function; to inform the soul that a favorable condition is present. The purpose of pleasure is not to reward, and the purpose of pain is not to punish.
9. What is the universal law of compensation?
The universal reward of effort is greater ability. Course XIX, Organic Alchemy, Serial Lesson 213, pages 143-148.
10. What part has freedom in the evolution of the soul?
Every step in evolution is toward greater freedom. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, pages 235-242.
11. Why, after occupying and gaining experience in the form of man, must evolution and still more complex experiences be had, not on earth, but on the higher-velocity inner plane?
The chief function of life in the human form on earth is to confer self-consciousness. Physical life has its limitations. The experiences necessary in training the soul to become a constructive workman in God’s Great Evolutionary Plan cannot all be had on earth. They require conditions that can be had only on a higher-velocity plane than that of earth. Course XX, The Next Life, Serial Lesson 182, pages 307-311.
12. What evidence is there of an inner plane on which life continues?
Extrasensory perception and psychokinesis operate according to non-physical laws, and thus imply the existence of an inner plane. Course I, Laws of Occultism, Serial Lesson 40, pages 41-44.
13. What evidence is there of extrasensory perception, telepathy and psychokinesis?
Millions of trials conducted by university scientists prove that such psi phenomena take place. Course XII-I, Evolution of Life, Serial Lesson 126, pages 45-47; Course XII-I, Evolution of Life, Serial Lesson 131, pages 198-205; Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 139, pages 199-211.
14. What evidence is there the personality survives the tomb?
Many of the world’s greatest scientists have investigated psychical phenomena and have concluded the phenomena prove such survival. Course I, Laws of Occultism, Serial Lesson 44, pages 157-161.
15. If good karma and bad karma are responsible for man’s condition in the present life, as creatures lower in the evolutionary scale have no sense of morals, what determined the condition of a life form at its first incarnation as a human?
The soul’s past experiences, which are neither moral nor immoral, in lower forms of life. And these, together with its human experiences, determine its condition when it passes to the next plane. Course II, Astrological Signatures, Serial Lesson 20, pages 212-217; Course X-I, Delineating the Horoscope, Serial Lesson 105, pages 67-70.
16. What actually determines the birth chart of an individual, and therefore the condition and events toward which he is predisposed?
He is born at the time the inner-plane (astrological) weather corresponds to the thought-cell organization which constitutes the character of the individual then born. Course I, Laws of Occultism, Serial Lesson 42, page 103; Course X-I, Delineating the Horoscope, Serial Lesson 105, pages 69-71.
17. How can the individual best find out if the inner-plane weather conditions mapped by astrology actually and profoundly influence his life?
He should erect the birth charts and work the progressed aspects of himself and his friends, and check on character traits, and the events that have happened in the past, and observe the type of events progressed aspects indicate for the future. Course VIII, Horary Astrology; Course X-I, Delineating the Horoscope; Course X-II, Progressing the Horoscope.
18. Does the outer-plane environment or the inner-plane environment have more influence over man’s life while he is still on earth?
Their influence is about equal. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 139, pages 211-216; Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, pages 227-234.
19. What are the three types of inner-plane energies that have an influence over man both while he is still on earth and after he has passed to the next life?
The character vibrations of objects, the thoughts of other people and entities, and the inner-plane (astrological) weather. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 139, page 212.
20. Do progressed aspects indicate inevitable physical conditions or events?
No, they only indicate the influence of inner-plane weather of a particular type and harmony or discord. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, pages 228-233.
21. Is there a god of whim and prejudice such as the Old Testament pictures?
No. But there is an all-pervading Super-Intelligence Who operates through undeviating law. Course XVII, Cosmic Alchemy, Serial Lesson 4, page 133-1346; Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 139, pages 218-219.
22. Why is vicarious atonement impossible?
No one can gain knowledge, ability, character or spirituality for another. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 138, Pages 187-188.
23. What are the only four possessions an individual can take with him when he loses his physical body?
Knowledge he has acquired, ability he has acquired, the organization of his finer form (character), and his dominant vibratory rate (spirituality). Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 138, page 188.
24. Is there a static heaven and hell?
No. Course XX, The Next Life, Serial Lesson 174, pages 46-55.
25. What determines the spiritual level on which the individual functions both while he occupies a physical body and after life on earth is done?
His dominant vibratory rate. Course XX, Serial Lesson 173, The Next Life, pages 18-31.
26. Should one’s religion be based merely upon belief?
People have found in other than the religious affairs of life that if they believe what they are told without demanding proof they will be exploited and cheated. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 133, pages 11-19.
27. Why is the Stellarian Religion called The Religion of the Stars?
Because astrology affords the best possible roadmap for guidance to the most effective and highest type of life. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, page 227.
28. Why is materialism on its way out?
Because irrefutable evidence has been obtained by widespread university experiments that man’s mind does not operate in accordance with physical laws. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, page 227.
29. Why is orthodoxy on its way out?
Because evidence is fast accumulating that man’s life on the inner plane is not as orthodoxy has pictured it. Course XX, The Next Life; Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 139, pages 197-204.
30. Why should research be conducted to bring extrasensory perception under control?
Because it can benefit man by enabling him to acquire valuable information he otherwise could not get. XII-II Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 139, 204-209.
31. Why should research be conducted to bring psychokinesis under control?
Because psychokinesis can heal the sick and assist man to have freedom from want. Course XII-II, Serial Lesson 139, Evolution of Religion, pages 209-211.
32. Just what does religion strive to do?
Religion consists of the effort to employ non-physical means to find on earth more ample satisfaction for the drive for nutrition, the drive for reproduction and the drive for significance, and to continue to find satisfaction for these three drives for as long a period as possible on the inner plane. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 133, page 8.
33. How does knowledge of astrology assist in developing moral attributes both in children and in adults?
It indicates toward which specific weaknesses they have a predisposition, and the means to overcome these specific weaknesses. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, pages 227-245.
34. How does knowledge of progressed aspects assist the individual to live according to the tenets of his religion?
It indicates the periods in which temptation will be strong, and what precautionary actions to take not to succumb to it. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, page 245.
35. How does knowledge of astrology enable the individual to select the vocation in which he can most benefit himself and most benefit society?
It indicates his natural aptitudes and the environment in which he can employ them most fortunately. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, pages 245-247.
36. How does knowledge of astrology enable the individual to remain in good health?
It indicates the diseases toward which he has a predisposition, the periods when each is apt to develop, and the precautionary actions to take to prevent them developing. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, pages 247-249.
37. How does knowledge of astrology assist the individual to avoid unfortunate events and to attract events which are more fortunate?
It indicates toward which unfortunate, and toward which fortunate, events there is a predisposition, and the periods when a certain type of event is likely to occur. And it indicates the precautionary actions to take to avoid or mitigate the unfortunate events and to take the utmost advantage of those which are fortunate. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, pages 249-251.
38. How does knowledge of astrology assist individuals and nations to live together in peace and harmony?
It gives them a clear understanding of each other, and of the periods when they are apt to behave in a certain manner due to the impact of inner-plane weather. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, page 251-252.
39. Is it more sensible to judge what God wants by his actions, as observed in nature, or to judge what he wants by some person’s opinion who is ignorant of nature?
It is better to judge by observing what takes place in nature. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, pages 252-253.
40. What has been the means orthodoxy has employed to enslave the people of the West?
It has taught reward in heaven for doing as the priesthood dictated, and punishment in hell for those who did not do as the priesthood dictated. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 138, pages 185-187.
41. What has been the means orthodoxy has employed to enslave the people of the East?
It has taught reward in a future life on earth for doing as the priesthood dictated, and punishment in a future life on earth for not doing as the priesthood dictated. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 137, pages 153-157.
42. What is the difference between the means orthodoxy has employed in the West and the means orthodoxy has employed in the East to keep people enslaved?
The reward for obeying priestly commands and the punishment for not obeying priestly commands in the West has been promised for a future life on the inner plane, and in the East has been promised for a future life on earth. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 137, page 156-157.
43. Why is freedom of information and freedom publicly to discuss any and all facts essential for the progress of the world?
Because only thus can people learn the truth, and only when they learn the truth and act upon it can they make satisfactory progress.
44. What is the Universal Moral Code?
A soul is completely moral when it is contributing its utmost to universal welfare. Course XIX, Organic Alchemy, Serial Lesson 214, pages 178-179.
45. Why must religion never remain static?
Because it should be based upon as many outer-plane facts and inner-plane facts as possible, and thus include new facts as fast as they are discovered. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 133 page 11.
46. Why is The Religion of the Stars the world religion of the future?
It is because as fast as they are discovered and properly verified, each new significant outer-plane fact and each new significant inner plane fact is added to it in its proper relation to all facts already known. Course XII-II. Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 140, page 202.
47. Why can truth alone make men free?
Only when they have the truth and act upon it, instead of upon error, can men be free from want, free from fear, have freedom of expression and have freedom of religion. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 133, page 12-22.
48. Why are those who permit their emotions, thus conditioned in childhood, to determine their religion, like European lemmings?
Both instead of following the dictates of reason based on facts, permit emotion to guide them into disaster. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 133, pages 12-14.
49. Why is it so important to properly recondition the emotions?
Because they are the tools man must use to get what he wants, and if they are not reconditioned they will get him what he does not want. Course XII-II, Evolution of Religion, Serial Lesson 133, page 15.
50. In what way does the Stellarian try to handle each and every problem with which he is confronted?
He tries to handle it in the manner that will contribute as much as possible to universal welfare. Course XXI, Personal Alchemy, Chapter 1 (Serial Lesson 116).
The Religion of the Stars demands of its neophytes that they do their utmost to help the life forms by which they are surrounded. Working as efficiently as possible for universal welfare is a fundamental creed. Yet no one can do his utmost for others if he feels irritated or antagonistic towards them. Feelings radiate energy that impinge on the finer forms of others and have a harmonious or discordant influence upon them. One need not be sympathetic in the sense of feeling the other person’s affliction; and it is better not thus to take on the afflictions of others. But to do most to assist others one must feel kindly toward them.
The neophyte, therefore, who aspires to reach the exalted height of adeptship, should commence to establish the feeling of kindness towards all persons and all other creatures as a permanent habit system. Whenever he begins to feel irritated or antagonistic he should commence to think about some phase of the other person’s life, or about something which is admirable which can, directly or indirectly, be associated with the person causing irritation. One can have on tap certain thoughts for such occasions which will lead the mind and emotions to feelings of kindness and well wishing. There is always something that can be brought to mind that will present a kindly angle where another is concerned, and which can be substituted for discordant thoughts.
The habit of thinking kindly toward every other person and creature you contact will not be developed in a moment, nor even in a year. There are almost sure to be lapses in which the old feeling of irritation comes to the surface. But, with persistent effort and proper determination, you can arrive at this very definite state of spiritual development. Even a slight degree of success in this cultivation of kindness is eminently worthwhile. And when you reach a state in which, not mere tolerance, but an active kindness is felt toward every living thing at all times, you can be assured you have reached a very important level in your upward climb.
Be Eager to Learn
Still another habit system which every neophyte should acquire is an eternal eagerness to learn something more. The adept, although he is the perfect man, never thinks he knows all there is to know. The man who thinks he knows it all invariably is an ignoramus. The adept realizes, although his horizon is vastly wider than that of most men on earth, in relation to the vastness of the universe and its multiple planes, and to other types of universes in the cosmos, that what he knows is minute. No matter how advanced in knowledge he becomes, he continues to have an insatiable thirst for more.
The effort to acquire still further and more accurate information should become so built into the character that it is a permanent habit system. Alertness to acquire new perspectives, a keenness for facts that have a bearing on the problems of existence, and some time regularly spent in study are not merely the marks of a neophyte, they likewise are traits which distinguish the most advanced men. And the neophyte who acquires early in his progress these tendencies, and so thoroughly ingrains them into his makeup that they are essential ingredients of his character, has taken a long step in the right direction. He is actually following a practice now that he will never have to discard; for he has made his own a trait which he will continue to employ after he attains adeptship.
The Habit Systems of Energy
There are so many erroneous notions afloat about the kind of life led by a Master that I should once again point out that a Master does not lead a life of ease, but a life in which work of importance and magnitude is done for the benefit of his fellow man. No one who is lazy can become an adept. To scale the spiritual height requires ceaseless effort.
Some people are sluggish, and with difficulty can prod themselves to make a moderate amount of effort. Other people are so high strung that their over activity repeatedly impairs their health.
While mental or physical work uses up either electrical or physical energy, commonly, due to tensions, the exhaustion that results is out of all proportion to the work actually accomplished. Few people know how properly to relax. To make a speech in public, to write a letter on the typewriter, to drive a car, to go shopping, to cook meals, or to do most of the work that needs to be done nowadays requires very little muscular tension. Yet most people who do these things are muscularly tense. And it is this unnecessary muscular tension that wears them out rather than the work they do.
A tense muscle is an indication of nerve tension. And nerve tension indicates that electrical energy is being used. Muscular activity requires that certain muscles be shortened. But when muscles are thus shortened at times when there is no need for their activity it uses up energy needlessly. But most people have developed a habit system of tensing muscles when they think certain thoughts, and of tensing muscles that are not required to be active in the work they are doing, and thus unnecessarily wear themselves out.
A ball player or other athlete who keeps his muscles in a constant state of tension is never a success, and ends up by being muscle bound. To throw a ball with facility and accuracy, to drive a car through bad traffic without danger, to type with speed and accuracy, or to think clearly and with facility, the muscles should be relaxed as much as possible before being called on for whatever work, if any, it is necessary for them to do.
To be able to work with speed and accuracy, and without unnecessary fatigue, the individual should learn to relax completely at intervals and to call upon his muscles for action only as such action is needed. People can even wear themselves out sitting in a chair if they keep tense, and if the tension continues after they go to bed they may be unable to sleep. When the body is completely relaxed there is no difficulty in going to sleep.
Practice in relaxation often is quite as necessary as practice in doing the work required. Thus to relax, lie on your back in such a position that there is no strain on any muscle of the body. Then give attention to one set of muscles after another, letting the muscles under consideration go as limp as possible and talking to them mentally, giving them the suggestion, “let go, relax, let go, relax, relax still more.” Start with the toes and work up, devoting several minutes to each set of muscles: the calves of the legs, the thighs, the abdomen, the hands, the arms, the shoulders, the neck, the face, and finally the eyelids. And keep giving them the suggestion to let go, and feel them thus go limp.
Then when you go about your work, as much as possible keep the muscles relaxed. And as any discordant thought or painful emotion tends to tense the muscles and otherwise use up electrical energy, take what happens in your stride and harbor only pleasant thoughts. In this way you will be able to accomplish vastly more, and will avoid nerve difficulties.
One becomes accustomed to living at a certain speed to which the body and energy generated gradually adapt themselves. If this speed is acquired at the expense of tension and nervousness, it is wearing and decreases the efficiency. And if it cultivates habitual sluggishness and a dread of effort, it affords neither pleasure nor adequate output. But if tension is avoided the speed of activity can with practice be accelerated and maintained throughout each day with maximum output.
To the neophyte who would become an adept there is no escape from much work. Attainment is ever at the cost of persevering effort. But handled without unnecessary tension the amount of work involved in arriving at this exalted state, or that involved in the active, useful life of a Master, need not seriously deter any earnest aspirant; for as progress is made, the ability to work long and with more speed without fatigue gradually develops. The relaxed body not only becomes accustomed to maintaining swift activity, but there is an increasing joy and satisfaction felt in such activities.
Utilizing the Occupation
Even among those who set their feet resolutely upon the path leading to adeptship, all too often the occupation is regarded as a necessary evil, endured in order to make a living. In many cases this attitude is due to the circumstance that the individual cannot make a living at the things he is best fitted to do. That is, the occupation which economic conditions force upon him is not the one for which he is really fitted. It is not along the line of his real cosmic work.
Yet almost every occupation which men are forced to follow offers constant opportunities for character development and for the expression of the spiritual side of the nature.
The neophyte will find it excellent discipline for a higher type of work to leave no stone unturned to discover the advantages and pleasures which can be associated with the occupation. This does not signify that he should not try to find an occupation more suited to his ability and temperament; but that, so long as conditions make it advisable to follow a certain occupation, this circumstance offers him a training school for developing the pleasure technique.
And in any such occupation there is always opportunity to develop self-expression. Even in routine work, which appears to be but drudgery, one can exercise ingenuity to perform it in ways which, more and more completely, will give expression to the soul’s desire to accomplish what it does in the best possible manner.
A little more skill can be developed, lost motion can be avoided, just the proper amount of energy applied to get the best results. Almost nothing is done in the best possible manner, and the effort to improve the methods and manner of work builds factors into the character which, even in the after life, will prove advantageous; for our attitude towards conditions in the future is determined by our attitude towards the circumstances we meet before we reach the future.
Furthermore, in addition to using one’s occupation to practice developing a permanent pleasure technique, which may be used in meeting obstacles of the future, and in developing a constructive and progressive attitude, which will become an integral part of the character, the occupation also presents the opportunity to develop refinement, and this means acquiring spirituality.
Almost anything can be handled in not merely a way which gives better practical results, but also in a way that in some manner calls forth the finer emotional nature. A flower on an office desk adds an element of taste. An extra polish on a machine appeals to the sense of sight and touch pleasantly. Clean cut work, just the proper amount of embellishment, the development of harmony among those with whom one must work, all lend themselves to a richer type of existence. There are few lives but that could be lent an element of grace and beauty. Anything that removes the sordid and replaces monotony with constructive pleasure is in the direction of the spiritual. And the neophyte can grasp the opportunities thus presented and use them for his spiritual gain.
Think Only the Truth
One of the most disastrous habits is that which psychologists term rationalizing. It is not, as at first might be thought, the applying of reason to discern the full and unvarnished truth; but is the process of finding a plausible reason for believing that to be true which one desires to be true.
It has become an axiom among those who apply themselves to the exactitudes of material science that the reports of a researcher along some particular line can usually be accepted unless the results of his research in some manner have a bearing upon his personal life. When the personal habits and desires, such as the religious beliefs, customs in eating, personal liberty, or the hobby of the scientific man is in any way affected by his findings, other scientific men feel at once called upon to challenge his findings. If you wish an example of this unconscious warping of facts, read the carefully compiled, yet completely contradictory, reports of the medical profession on the effects of tobacco and alcohol on the health.
Your college professor may stoutly affirm that astrology is an “exploded science,” even though he has never set up a birth chart and does not know how to do so, because he feels that astrology, in some manner deprives him of freewill. He does not wish to think that his life is all mapped out for him at birth, and that he has no power to determine his own future. And while astrology really only maps inner-plane weather, and makes no such claims, yet the popular idea of it, which the professor has imbibed, is that it signifies fatality. Consequently he thinks he rejects it because other scientific men have investigated it, but in reality he rejects it because he has a strong aversion to being shoved about like a machine by the stars, and he thinks astrology teaches just that.
Of the many things that come to mind which are thus rationalized I shall, by way of illustration, call attention to but one other. It appeals to the most powerful of all urges within the human constitution, the power urges; to those urges which express self-esteem, or when exaggerated, express colossal egotism.
The desire to be important is not destructive. It is a fine impulse. But the desire should be to be really important through accomplishment for the good of all, and not to wallow sentimentally in an unearned and unreal sense of importance.
The very highest position in the cosmos is occupied by the Super-Intelligence directing it Whom we term God. Therefore the highest flattery an individual can imagine is to believe himself to be God. And the highest tribute to his colossal egotism others can give him is to pretend to believe he is God. Kings of old demanded such homage from their subjects; and through mantrams and affirmations and the rationalizing of philosophy, certain present day individuals come to believe themselves to be God.
The affirmation, or mantram, “Be Still and Know That I Am God…” may be construed by the use of a comma as merely drawing the attention of God to the individual. But many persons interpret it, and come to believe, that they are God. And what could please their egotism more than to believe that they are the rulers of the cosmos. The ego of man has divine potentialities. Through the development of its twin souls it may evolve and control, in the illimitable future, a whole universe. But, even so, there will be other universes. And over all, directing all, still will be the Super-Intelligence Whom we call God. Man is not God, and will never become God.
However, God has a Great Plan which is in the process of development, and the soul of man has the power of uniting itself with the intelligence directing this Great Plan. To the extent that the soul can thus enter into the consciousness of the cosmic intelligence it can unite itself in consciousness, and in effort, with God. It does not thus become God, but it unites itself with God through tuning in on the highest level of spiritual intelligence it can reach. And it does participate in divine powers and attributes through tapping such an exalted reservoir. This truth is good enough.
Any falsehood accepted by the unconscious mind impedes progress; because before the soul can make proper adjustments it must have a clear conception of the real conditions. And the real truth, when the neophyte digs down beneath the rubbish of appearances, will be found amply satisfying. He will find also that it is a bad thing to lie to anyone; but quite disastrous to lie to himself.
At all times, and under all circumstances, let him seek the raw truth. His desires, his previous learnings, his emotional reactions, all will from time to time try to varnish and sugarcoat the real facts. But as he can act to best advantage only when guided by the unembellished truth, he should ever seek to discern it as it actually is.
April 1, 1815
Chart from 1001 Notable Nativities
1847, attracted attention in Prussian Parliament: Venus sextile Mars p.
1851, diplomatic career commenced: Jupiter trine Mars r.
1859, saw opportunity to free Germany: Mercury sextile Mercury r.
1862, ambassador to Paris: Venus square Jupiter p.
1871, dictated terms of peace to France: Sun trine Jupiter r.
1884, inaugurated Germany’s colonizing career: Sun square Mercury r.
1890, March 18, fell from power: Sun square Mars p.
1898, July 30, died: Sun square Jupiter p.
Herbert Spencer Chart
April 29, 1820
Chart from 1001 Notable Nativities
1837, because of aversion to languages refused college education and became railroad engineer: Mercury trine Uranus p.
1859, Darwin’s Origin of Species gave him scientific basis for his speculations: Mercury sextile Mars p.
1860, announced the issue of a System of Synthetic Philosophy: Sun square Jupiter r.
1896, finished his System of Synthetic Philosophy which embraced first principles, biology, psychology, sociology and ethics: Venus inconjunct Jupiter r.
1903, Dec. 8, died: Mars semisquare Moon r.