(1) Those who have made considerable progress along the same lines, in past incarnations, and who have awakened to consciousness in the present life with the strongest tendencies toward occultism and similar subjects. These people learn rapidly and are conscious of the fact that they are but relearning some lesson learned in the past.
They grasp occult truths intuitively and find in such studies food for the hunger of the soul. These souls are, of course, in various stages of development. Some have but an elementary acquaintance with the subject, their knowledge in the past incarnation having been but slight; others have progressed further, and are able to go much further in their present work than those who are less developed; still others are quite highly developed, and lack but little of having reached the “conscious” stage of incarnation, that is, the state of being able to awaken to a conscious knowledge of past lives. The last mentioned sub-class are apt to be regarded as “queer” by their associates, particularly in early life-they appear “old” and “strange” to their companions. They feel as if they were strangers in a strange land, but sooner or later are sure to be brought into contact with others, or made acquainted with teachings, which will enable them to take up their studies again.
(2) Those who awaken to a conscious knowledge, to a greater or lesser degree, of their past lives, and what they have learned there. Such people are comparatively rare, and yet there are far more of them than is generally supposed, for these people are not apt to bestow their confidence upon chance acquaintances, and generally regard their knowledge and memory of the past as something sacred. These people go through the world, sowing a little seed here, and a little there, which seed falling on fertile ground bears fruit in the future incarnations of those who receive them.
(3) Those who have heard some occult truths in past incarnations some words of wisdom, knowledge or advice dropped by some of those who have advanced further along the path. In their mental soil, if rich, they let these seed-thoughts sink deep into them, and in the next life the plant appears. These people are possessed of an unrest, which makes them dissatisfied with the current explanations of things, and which causes them to search here and there for the truth, which they intuitively know is to be found somewhere. They are often led to run after false prophets, and from one teacher to another, gaining a little truth here, having an error corrected there. Sooner or later they find an anchorage, and in their rest they lay up stores of knowledge, which (after being digested in the period of soul-rest in the Astral World) will be of great value to them in their next incarnation.
It will be readily recognized that it is practically impossible to give detailed directions suited for the varying needs of these different students. All that can be done (outside of personal instruction from some competent teacher) is to give words of general advice and encouragement. But do not let this discourage you.
Remember this – it is a great occult truth – when the student is ready the teacher appears the way will be opened to you step by step, and as each new spiritual need comes into existence, the means to satisfy it will be on the way. It may come from without – it may come from within – but come it will. Do not let discouragement creep over you because you seem to be surrounded by the most unfavorable environments, with no one near to whom you can talk of these great truths that are unfolding before your mental vision. This isolation is probably just what you need in order to make you self – reliant and to cure you of that desire to lean upon some other soul. We have these lessons to learn – and many others – and the way that seems hardest for us to travel is very often the one laid out for us, in order that we may learn the needed lesson well and “for good.”
It follows that one who has grasped the fundamental ideas of this philosophy will begin to find
fear dropping from him – for when he realizes just what he is, how can he fear? There being nothing that is able to really hurt him, why should he fear? Worry, of course, follows after Fear, and when Fear goes, many other minor mental faults follow after it. Envy, Jealousy and Hate – Malice, Uncharitableness and Condemnation – cannot exist in the mind of one who “understands”. Faith and Trust in the Spirit, and that from which the Spirit comes, must be manifest to the awakened soul. Such a one naturally recognizes the Spirit’s guidance, and unhesitatingly follows it, without fear without doubt. Such a one cannot help being Kind – to him the outside world of people seem to be as little children (many of them like babes unborn) and he deals with them charitably, not condemning them in his heart, for he knows them for what they are. Such a one performs the work which is set before him, knowing that such work, be it humble or exalted, has been brought to him by his own acts and desires, or his needs – and that it is all right in any event, and is but the stepping – stone to greater things. Such a one does not fear Life – does not fear Death – both seem as but differing manifestations of the same thing – one as good as the other.
The student who expects to make progress, must make his philosophy a part of his every day life. He must carry it around with him always. This does not mean that he should thrust his views and opinions upon others-in fact, that is expressly contrary to occult teachings, for no one has the right
to force opinions upon others, and it is contrary to natural growth and freedom of the individual soul. But the student should be able to carry with him an abiding sense of the reality and truth of his philosophy.
He need not be afraid to take it with him anywhere, for it fits into all phases of life. If one cannot take it with him to work, something is wrong with either the philosophy or the work, or the individual. And it will help us to work better – to do more earnest work – for we know that the work is necessary for the development of some part of us – otherwise it would not be set before us and no matter how disagreeable the task, we may be able to sing with joy when we realize just what we are and what great things are before us. The slave chained to the galley – if he have peace in his soul and the knowledge in his mind – is far less to be pitied than the king on his throne who lacks these things. We must not shirk our tasks, not run away from our destiny – for we cannot really get rid of them except by performing them. And these very disagreeable things are really strengthening our character, if we are learning our lesson aright. And then, remember “even these things shall pass away.”
One of the greatest hindrances to the progress of the student into the higher stages of occultism, particularly the phenomenal phases, is the lack of self-control. When one wishes to be placed in possession of power, which, if carelessly used or misused, may result in the hurt of oneself or others, it is the greatest importance that such a one should have attained the mastery of self-the control of the emotional side of his nature. Imagine a man possessed of high occult powers losing his temper and flying into a rage, sending forth vibrations of Hate and Anger intensified by the increased force of his developed powers. Such exhibitions, in a man who has attained occult powers, would be very harmful to him, as they would, perhaps, be manifested upon a plane where such things have an exaggerated effect. A man whose investigations lead him on to the Astral Plane, should beware of such a loss of self-control, as a failing of this kind might be fatal to him. But, so nicely is the world of the higher forces balanced that a man of violent temper, or one who lacks self-control, can make but little progress in occult practices – this being a needed check. So one of the first things to be accomplished by the student who wishes to advance is the mastery of his emotional nature and the acquirement of self-control.
A certain amount of courage of the higher sort is also needed, for one experiences some strange sights and happenings on the astral plane, and those who wish to travel there must have learned to master fear. One also needs calmness and poise. When we remember that worry and kindred emotions cause vibrations around us, it may readily be seen that such conditions of mind are not conducive to psychical research Â¬in fact the best results cannot be obtained when these things are present.
The occultist who wishes to attain great powers must first purge himself of selfish grasping for these things for the gratification of his own base ends, for the pursuit of occult powers with this desire will bring only pain and disappointment and the one who attempts to prostitute psychic power for base ends will bring upon himself a whirlwind of undesirable results. Such forces, when misused, react as a boomerang upon the sender. The true occultist is filled with love and brotherly feeling for his fellow men, and endeavors to aid them instead of to beat them down in their progress.
Of all the numerous books written for the purpose of throwing light on the path of the student of occultism, we know of none better fitted for the purpose than that wonderful little book called “Light on the Path”, written down by “M. C.”, at the instigation of some intelligences far above the ordinary. It is veiled in the poetic style common to the Orientals, and at first glance may seem para doxical. But it is full of the choicest bits of occult wisdom, for those who are able to read it. It must be read “between the lines”, and it has a peculiarity that will become apparent to any one who may read it carefully. That is, it will give you as much truth as you are able to grasp today; and tomorrow when you pick it up it will give you more, from the same lines. Look at it a year from now, and new truths will burst upon you – and so on, and on.
It contains statements of truth so wonderfully stated – and yet half concealed – that as you advance in spiritual discernment – and are ready for greater truths each day – you will find that in this book veil after veil will be lifted from before the truth, until you are fairly dazzled. It is also remarkable as a book which will give consolation to those in trouble or sorrow. Its words (even though they be but half-understood) will ring in the ears of its readers, and like a beautiful melody will soothe and comfort and rest those who hear it. We advise all of our students to read this little book often and with care. They will find that it will describe various spiritual experiences through which they will pass, and will prepare them for the next stage. Many of our students have asked us to write a little book in the way of an elementary explanation of “Light on the Path” – perhaps the Spirit may lead us to do so at some time in the future – perhaps not.
It is not without a feeling of something like sadness that we write these concluding lines. When we wrote our First Lesson, we bade our students be seated for a course of talks – plain and simple upon a great subject. Our aim was to present these great truths in a plain, practical simple manner, so that many would take an interest in them, and be led toward higher presentations of the truth. We have felt that love and encouragement, which is so necessary for a teacher, and have been assured of the sympathy of the Class from the first. But, on looking over our work it seems that we have said so little – have left unsaid so much – and yet we have done the best we could, considering the small space at our disposal and the immense field to be covered. We feel that we have really only begun, and yet it is now time to say “good-bye”.
Perhaps we have made some points a little clear to a few who have been perplexed – perhaps we have opened a door to those who were seeking entrance to the temple – who knows? If we have done even a little for only one person, our time has been well spent. At some future time we may feel called upon to pass on to you a higher and more advanced presentation of this great subject – that is a matter which depends much upon your own desires – if you need us you will find us ready and willing to join you in the study of the great truths of the Yogi PhilosoÂ¬phy. But, before you take the next step onward, be sure that you understand these elementary lessons thoroughly. Go over and over them, until your mind has fully grasped the principles. You will find new features presenting themselves with each reading. As your minds unfold, you will find new truths awaiting you even in the same pages that you have read and reread several times. This, not because of any special merit in our work (for this work is crude, very crude, to our idea), but because of the inherent truth of the philosophy itself, which renders any thing written upon it to be filled with subject for thought and earnest consideration.
Good-bye dear students. We thank you for your kindness in listening to us during the term of this Class. We have felt your sympathy and love, as many of you must have felt ours. We feel sure that as you read these lines – filled with our earnest thoughts of kinship to you – you will feel our nearness to you in the Spirit – will be conscious of that warm handclasp which we extend to you across the miles that separate us in the flesh.
Remember these words, from “Light on the Path”: “When the disciple is ready to learn, then he is accepted, acknowledged, recognized. It must be so, for he has lit his lamp and it cannot be hidden.”
Therefore, we say “Peace be with You.”