Letters That Have Helped Me
It is a great advance that you hear the bells, which few hear, and evidence that you are where you can hear them; that is a great deal indeed. Do not look for the voice of the bells, but regard the ideas which thereupon come into the head, and apply to them the touchstone of your own Soul, just as you advised B. The fact that you feel “dead” is something you should not worry about. It is likely that you are under the operation of a law which prevails in nature, that you will find referred to in an article in Path Magazine for April, ’86, page 14. It is that the soul goes to a new place or new surroundings and becomes silent there awhile—what you call “dead”—and draws strength there, begins to get accustomed to its new surroundings, after which it begins to move about. This is seen in ordinary life in the bashfulness of a boy. That is, the bashfulness is the shyness felt in new surroundings, and is just what happens when the soul goes to a new place or into new surroundings. There can be no loss or detriment to our efforts. Every aspiration higher brightens up the road connecting the higher and lower self. No doubt of that. It is not what is done, but the spirit in which the least thing is done that is counted. Hear the word of the Master.
“He who does the best he knows how and that he can do, does enough for us.”
The mere fact that a man appreciates these truths and feels these aspirations is proof that he is on the right road. It is well to tread it now. We will not always live. Death must come. How much better, then, to embrace death while thus at work than to swerve off only to be brought up with suddenness in after lives. Immediate rebirth is for those who are always working with their hearts on Master’s work and free from self interest.
The one Spirit is in all, is the property of each, therefore It is always there, always with us, and, by reflecting on that, little room is left for sorrow or delusion. If we believe that the soul of all is measured by the whole of Time and not by a part, then we care not for these moments which relate alone to our body. If we live in our hearts we soon prove that space and time exist not. Nothing foreign to Master enters there; our faults are not there. The heart reaches Him always, and no doubt He replies. He does I know. He helps us while He leaves us to ourselves. He needs not to stoop to see our devotion, for that is of a supernal quality and reaches anywhere.
No, I do not say nor have I said that you ought to do something other than you do. We each do what we can. None of us can be the judge of any creature existing; so I do not judge you in the least respect. Your life may in the great sum total be greater than any life I ever led or that any one has led. Whether you are in America, Europe, or India makes no difference. This is seeking conditions. I have come to understand that Masters themselves must have worked themselves up out of much worse conditions than we are in. No matter where we are, the same spirit pervades all and is accessible. What need, then, to change places? We do not change ourselves by moving the body to another locus. We only put it under a different influence. And in order to change we must have got to dislike the place we moved from. That is attachment by opposites, and that will produce detriment, as does all that disturbs the equilibrium of the soul. You know the same result is produced by two exact opposites, and thus extremes meet.
That hot flame you speak of is one of the experiences, as are also the sounds. There are so many, many of these things. Often they result from extreme tension or vibration in the aura of an aspirant of pure devotion. They are himself, and he should be on his guard against taking them for wonders. Often they are “apparitions of Brahm.” They are like new lights and sights to a mariner on an unfamiliar coast. They will go on, or alter, or stop. You are only to carefully note them, and “do not exhibit wonder nor form association.”
I cannot say more. All help you extend to any other soul is help to yourself. It is our duty to help all, and we must begin on those nearest to us, for to run abroad to souls we might possibly help we again forsake our present duty. It is better to die in our own duty, however mean, than to try another one. So lift your head and look around upon the hulks of past imagined faults. They were means and teachers. Cast all doubt, all fear, all regret aside, and freely take of truth what you may contain right on every step. It will thus be well. Eternal Truth is one and indivisible, and we may get from the Fathers (Pitris) flashes now and then of what is true.
Words are things. With me and in fact. Upon the lower plane of social intercourse they are things, but soulless and dead because that convention in which they have their birth has made abortions of them. But when we step away from that conventionality they become alive in proportion to the reality of the thought—and its purity—that is behind them. So in communication between two students they are things, and those students must be careful that the ground of intercourse is fully understood. Let us use with care those living messengers called words.
Where I see you mistaken I will speak, to warn my Brother who temporarily knows not. For did I not call on the bugle, perhaps other things might switch him off to where perhaps for the time he would be pleased, but would again be sorry, and then when his mistake was plain he would justly sigh to me across dark centuries of separation that I had been false to my duty of warning.
As ever, Z.
The new plane to which the soul may go, referred to in this letter, is the astral plane. It is the plane next above the material one, and consists of a subtile order of matter. When a student turns his attention to the higher life and desires intensely to find the way, his soul has begun to awaken and to speak. It has heard the voice of the spirit. Then the inner senses begin to unfold, at first ever so gently, so tenderly, we scarce hear their report. But the soul has then turned its attention to the astral plane, that being the next one to be learned on the way upward; its energy is transferred from the material plane to this one, and we have an influx of many confused dreams and strange experiences, awake and asleep. These may or may not continue; all depends upon the individual soul and upon Karma. It is a most confusing plane, and, generally speaking, we may say that those students are more fortunate who make a marked degree of progress in spiritual things without having any conscious experience of the astral plane. For then they can later on learn it from above, instead of from below, and with far less danger to themselves. The whole must be known, but we may progress in various ways, even by discontinuous degrees, only then we must go back later on, to what we passed by. Such a going back does not imply detriment or loss of degree, for such cannot be lost when once gained in reality.
With regard to the astral plane’s being a more subtile order of matter, this truth is often denied by clairvoyants and untrained seers. They do not distinguish between the psychic senses and the spiritual. They can see through gross matter, such as a wall, the human body, and so forth, as if it were glass, but they cannot see through astral substance, and hence they believe its forms and all the pictures and shapes in the astral light to be real. Only the adept sees through these illusions, which are far more powerful because composed of a subtile order of matter: subtile energies, fine forces have a highly increased rate of power over grosser ones. The adept has at his command the rate of vibration which dispels them or drives them asunder. In speaking of the astral plane, I mean the lower soul plane, and not that higher and purified quality which the author of Light on the Path calls the “divine astral.”
By anxiety we exert the constrictive power of egoism, which densifies and perturbs our magnetic sphere, rendering us less permeable to the efflux from above.—J. N.