Anyone who moves aside from the ordinary course of life to an interest in actual spiritual development steps into bewilderment. Unless he watches himself warily he is likely to take quite innocently what the occultists call The Left Hand Path. There are tens and dozens of systems from which he can choose. Teachers of them swarm.They come in robe and turban; or in the ordinary garments of western civilization. They are mysterious, and remote, and occult and ritualistic: or they deal in plain words, plainly used. They call themselves religious; or sciences; or philosophies. They are all quite certain of themselves, and generally where they differ, they are mutually exclusive. Their followers are ordinarily enthusiasts. Furthermore, these systems all sound reasonable and logical; and, catch him right, they are capable of our seeker's belief and fanatic adherence. At least for a while.
Some of them are based on truth and reality and so are good. They differ one from the other only in the externals that make them adaptable to different types of people. But a lot of them are based on half truths. Some may be valuable enough in their native soil, but cannot bear transplanting. Some are baldly fake systems to catch suckers. Some are clever imitations of the real thing. Some are downright perversions. How is a man to determine? There are so many; New Thought; Unity; Christian Science; Sufism; Theosophy; yogism and others derived from the East; Occultism - to mention but a few, at random.
Some of them are very detailed. They offer minute instruction and how to go about it. These are likely to be the fashionable systems. We find amateur Yogis posturing and breathing and trying to meditate in the eager hope that these exercises will, and promptly, confer on them expansions and powers. To find others earnestly 'holding the thought' in the expectation of 'manifesting' for themselves what they think they desire. We have every once in a while imported messiahs and teachers who promise great illuminations; who gather swarms of worshipful followers; but who in most cases eventually disappear. Yet there is to the thoughtfully unprejudiced something genuine about some of them. How much? and which? That something genuine is so fundamental that it gives pause. And yet there seems, to one with sensitive antennae, a catch in most of it.
The difficulty is to find out what the catch is. Much of it seems, in some degree, to work. There are results. Are the results good? Are they good for us?
"Beginning with the simplest concept of the lot; how about the 'holding the thought' stuff, for the purpose of 'manifesting' what one desires? Can that be done? A great number of worthy folk believe in it. Some very sincere people devote themselves to teaching it. Compared to some of the more elaborate systems, this is a moderately simple magic. Nevertheless, if one examines without prejudice its structure, it seems based on laws that ought logically to work. Testimony is offered that is difficult to dismisse as coincidence.
"There is evidently," said Gaelic as to this, "somewhat of a puzzle in your minds concerning the law of acquisition; the drawing to yourself of that which is outside yourself for your own use. A thing is for your own use if it passes through your manipulation, whether its object is a satisfaction of a personal desire, or is supposed to subserve a purpose. The underlying principle that clarifies the logic of the whole situation can be very simply stated. Nothing can be acquired without the price for it is paid.
"There are no free and gratuitous acquisitions. If a thing is acquired apparently without payment by the one demanding it, be certain the payment is made by someone or some group force, and the price deferred is charged against that one's credit.
"The simplest method for acquiring material possession for any purpose whatever is through the economic law that each clearly understands. The payment is made in the token you call money, which represents a well-understood and defined need of effort, service or exchange. If you desire an object, you know exactly its price; and furthermore you know what payment of that price means to you in those terms. So you may evaluate exactly its desirability as balanced against its price.
"Material possession may also be acquired by the invocation of more subtle laws than those of economics. The acquisition is certain to one who thoroughly understands this law, and can inject into it enough dynamics for its operation. But the material object does not come into possession from a storehouse of gratuities. There must be expended for it a price. That price is not a fixed unit, as is the money token of the lesser economic law. It is a variable, depending on what coin you possess, and what coin you owe. There is also a dependence on your purpose of investment and its singleness. Each alloy of lesser purpose alters the coinage which must be paid. Only a Master is in a position to see as clearly and as accurately as does one operating under economic law the amount and kind of payment. As for the others who invoke law blindly, he is a foolish man who takes from the shelves careless and unknowing of price, of kind of payment, of time payment, of rate of interest.
"That, in brief, is the danger of the knowledged invocation by rote of laws not understood, except in effects. Nothing comes into your hands but you are charged with its price. Know that you must pay before you strike the bargain. Know from whom, if anybody, you are borrowing your credit, and what repayment will be demanded of you. Aside from higher considerations, it is a grave foolishness to take, on such blind credit, that which may at least be worked for, if not obtained, by a comprehended law.
"Another danger in the invocation, the concerted invocation of half-understood occult laws, is that one thereby affiliates himself psychically with a group whose individual constituents are unknown to him. Affiliation in a group for those purposes, if the affiliation is active, implies a certain degree of responsibility - a certain degree, mind you, of each for the others. It is always well to pause before undertaking blind liabilities. That is the reason why, beside the danger of coagulating formalisms, we consider it generally undesirable to teach miscellaneous and unchosen groups. Spiritual matters are rarely, after the first simplicities, susceptible to mass dissemination. A teacher should be responsible for and very sure of what he teaches, of course; but he should not forget that in the gathering together of those whom he would instruct he has also a responsibility, in that he is exposing them, more or less uninsulated, one to the other. A chance-gathered assemblage, called for aught but the universal simplicities, is a formation of an entity of mutual responsibility and influence.
"The usual protection is a ritualism that soon hardens to the crumbling point of disintegration; or a formalism which bears in rebound from the surface of the mind.
"This has always been recognized by the genuine teachers of the world. Those Masters who have addressed the multitude of mankind have told but a few and simple things. When it has become desirable to teach higher matters, it has always been to the few chosen. So in general distrust the one who would instruct you together with the multitude in the higher things of spirit. He offers you but the outward shells that have contained, but contain no longer; or, if the thing he offers has power, that power nay be misused, and yours be part of the responsibility to work out.
"Now I must not be misunderstood. It is very difficult to illumine the facets, all of them, in the space of an hour. The prophet vivifying the spirit of the multitude is a real and living and constructive force. The seer who opens to vision the flash of a vista performs a necessary spiritual vivification. But whatever he tells the multitude - if you examine it when the glory of irradiation has cooled - is but an old simplicity which men have known. Nor do I decry those gatherings in the temples of understood worship which have as their end, not knowledge or power, but communion with the source. The formalisms and rituals of such gatherings, and they be not the lip service of rote, are simply the opening hands to the door.
"With these discriminations I leave this imperfect warning to your consideration. The Master said, 'if there be two or three gathered together in my name,' He spoke not of a multitude.
"I might add a wee word. It is very unlikely that any of you may feel yourselves called upon to stand in the market place and instruct. That you may instruct, I doubt not; but it will be in the more personal way. But he who addresses the multitude in occult knowledge, himself stands in grave danger of entering the darker path, unless he well understands. For in the powers he passes on he must himself follow or resolve the ultimate use to which they may be put. I do not say he will be responsible in the full sense, as is the misuser: but he has endorsed the note. One may of course enunciate the principles of spirituality. I have talked this evening of the occult."
"How about books conveying such knowledge? Are they harmful?" one of us asked.
"If you ignorantly put the practices you see in books into use: yes. If read for formation for a rounded knowledge; no. Specific directions for the acquisition of specific powers we of the Wisdom do not knowledgably place in books. If innocently disclosed, it is through ignorance or half-knowledge. I speak now of formulae for power. I do not speak of formulae for purely spiritual growth. There is a great distinction. If formulae are given (for self defense, etc.) they are an antidote to uncountenanced disclosure."
That seemed satisfactory. It covered, in Principle, a larger field than the direct question had contemplated. But it did not fully answer another that had to do with higher matters than mere material acquisitions. At that time there was a great interest among some of our acquaintances in Yogi practices; or what purported to be such. They pointed definitely to certain methods which promised definitely a shortcut to certain results. Were these methods effective? Were they legitimate? Were they wholesome? What was their effect on the Yogi himself?
"On what Yogi?" asked Gaelic pertinently. "You might ask me the effect of rain. On what? Salt? Grass?
"It is a large subject. I will do my best. I must use figures of speech, and I must be be permitted to change my figure without being accused of inconsistency.
"The evocation of powers or forces is a purely natural thing, just as you evoke the power of steam by knowledgably building your fire, containing your water, and compressing your vapor into the proper channels. Any fool can make steam if he knows but a simple procedure, purely mechanically. Any fool can evoke any natural force provided he knows the more or less complex circumstances necessary to call it into being. The power is always the same. The effect of the power depends upon the machine through which it works. If one develops a steam pressure of, say, five hundred pounds, he may usefully employ it in a machine adapted to that pressure; whereas in a frailer structure adapted to one hundred pounds only, he would meet with disaster.
"Now there are, to abandon the figure, certain degrees of power that are generated according to the strength of the machine. It is as though, when you had builded a mechanism capable of withstanding and using a hundred pounds of steam, the hundred pounds would be automatically generated and supplied in exact force and quantity by the mere fact of the machinery's existence. And when you had constructed a machine of five hundred pounds capacity, the pressure would also automatically and without intervention on your part accompany the mechanism. It is actually thus with the power of the human entity. The machine in this case being the stable and external character or soul or spiritual body or degree of development or evolution to which he has attained, and so-called psychic and other powers are the steam pressure that automatically accompanies the machine.
"Now conceive that by a shortcut, as you call it, your possessor of the hundred pound machine should by artifice, and not by automatic means, raise his pressure to a hundred and fifty pounds, instead of building up the machine to that capacity and so acquiring it in the usual course. Without doubt the machine would run in an accelerated manner until something broke. In a broad and general way this is the difficulty with any forcing system aimed at acceleration of personal evolution. It is not constructing a machine of added capacity; it is building an additional fire to raise the pressure. The attention is directed to the wrong end of the problem. Instead of saying, 'if I develop the capacity the powers will be supplied,' one says, 'if I develop the powers I can do more with the old machine.'
"The measure of capacity in the human machine is character, the soul capacity, the degree of evolution, the eternal body, whatever you will; and that, like the human body, is a complex thing. By lifting a heavy weight in mechanical manners you may develop enormous muscles; but if, at the same time, a corresponding nervious vitality is not also developed, the result is not a stronger man but a weaker man.
"To change the figure, it is possible by the application of water and artificial forcing methods to grow enormously and fairly in a very short season, but it is not possible to grow sturdily without the stiffening and stablilizing ingredient of time. There is no known system, Yogi or otherwise, which in the finite world conditioned by space and time - which are indeed one thing and interchangable - can successfully rid itself of this one ingredient. For there is an inextricable fiber of all finite things, and sooner or later its lack makes itself known by that absence of stability which indicates lack of fiber. The systems you speak of, and many others, are incomplete. If they possessed in themselves all the ingredients of evolutional development, instead of only a proportion, then indeed it might be possible by the very harmony of its completeness to accelerate the time ratio. But they do not contain all the ingredients - only those which mechanically bring about the fair and watery fruit without the substance.
"This is in general true. It is not, however, to say that there are no apparent exceptions. I say apparent. You have often seen a wee rain fall upon the seeded earth, and the sun has shone, and once more the earth is dry and brown. And in the days later it has rained again, and once more in a few hours the grasses have sprung from the hard brown earth; almost unnaturally a forced growth, one might say. Yet beneath the hard surface the regular and orderly process of nature had been going on in due course, until the seed was developed to the very point of germination. Had not the second rain come so soon, naught would have happened until by the slower moisture already accumulated the shoots had come more slowly forth. The second rain did not force the process, did not bring a development by a shortcut, but merely furnished a favorable condition for the earlier unfolding of what was actually already complete. In this manner it may happen that conscious exercises, consciously performed, in a very few cases might bring a result; but it would be a result already achieved."
A little later in the evening he added this; apropos of striving for receptivity.
"One does not strive for it. It comes. It is a good thing. It is a part of the pressure that comes with the machine. Build your machine. Let force, power, the ability to make rabbits come out of hats, take care of itself. When you have a rabbit machine, rabbits will be plentiful.
"You build your machine by building yourself. You build yourself by the exercise of decision, moment to moment. You get the materials for decision from what you have received. You receive in proportion to your receptivity. And thus you have chased your tail in a complete circle."
We returned to the subject on another evening. One asked whether the 'adepts' of India actually exist as so often described.
"They exist, yes; as described, no," replied Gaelic. "There are certain consciousnesses and always have been on your plane who are in reality advanced beyond the need for its particular conditions, but who, for reasons of service, or as one enters a condition in order to better understand it, do dwell upon your planet. These are the true adepts, and are generally unknown, except for some special and individual purpose. They are above the necessity of personal contact in order to do their work.
"They possess methods of reaching those capable of receiving what they have to offer, which transcend in certainty the ordinary methods of human intercourse. As usually described, merely incidental and accompanying insignificances are portrayed as the living reality. They are advanced consciousnesses furnished forth with attributes which naturally and inevitably accrue to that growth. They are not men who have, by practice and study acquired powers as one collects jewels."
"How then does it happen," objected the questioner, "that the practice of 'certain exercises' is always mentioned in connection with these adepts. I never heard the Masters spoken of without mention of Yog Vidaya, as though the one were made by the other. It is all very confusing."
"Men have confused the symbol with what they believe to be a fact. All this expression of the East is rich with symbolism," replied Gaelic.
"In order to gain the advancement in consciousness to which the so-called adept has grown, certain phases of growth must be reached, lived out, and passed through. This is true throughout all nature. Before the human infant can be born, it must review its own biological history, before it gains the elements of moral consciousness, it must in brief pass through its own history of their acquisition, through fears, through hungers, through the simple passions, until the moral nature has become subtle.
"Now symbolize these things. Say that in place of passing through the inner experiences of growth, you illustrate each of these stages by a physical symbol. Can you not see that the visitor from another planet, to whom our processes were unfamiliar, might take the symbol for a literal fact, and report to his fellows on his return that, to reach the beginnings of a moral nature, the human young must perform certain ceremonies of casting out fear, etc.?
"In exactly the same way the symbolism which was intended to shadow forth in illustrative form the perfectly normal steps in development and growth which lead to that higher consciousness you call the adept, have been taken in their literal meaning."
"According to that," said someone, "what we need in our evolution is brought to us step by step, quite naturally and without seeking on our part!"
"Have you ever heard the text, 'One cannot add a cubit to his stature by taking thought?" demanded Gaelic.
"How about K?" asked someone, naming an American practitioner of these so-called Yogi exercises, and one of decidedly mixed character. I say 'so-called' advisedly in view of a warning expressed at another time.
"I qualified the statements of Yogi by saying 'the so-called, commonly understood practices.' There is an underlying truth in the true form that fitted certain stages of spiritual development historically, and since the human race, like the embryo, runs through its spiritual history, and since all stages of development have still their representation on earth, it has even yet its significance. We try now rather to give you working materials for your own present, than to indulge in historical speculation.
"He," went on Gaelic, answering the question as to K, "is a representative of a very large type.
"The artificial stimulation of powers, beyond that which is natural to the state of development, merely accentuates and makes more vivid those traits of character which the individual already possesses. His better parts work for good more easily, his selfish parts are more selfish, his evil propensities are made more potent. There is no change in the proportionate ensemble. There is furthermore, grave danger of a disunited personality, and for this reason:
"In even a fairly harmoniously constituted human entity the lowest possibilities are not so very much lower than the highest possibilities, and as the top rises so does the lower level, so that always there is in the constituent makeup of that man a certain compactness. But if with the same characteristics and without intrinsic change therein, the good is intensified and thrown higher, so to speak, and the selfishness and evil are intensified and thrown lower, so to speak - as of diverging lines - then, you can see, that the compactness is in danger of becoming scattered and lost. That is another of the dangers of forced growth.
"I would change the figure. It is important.
"Conceive of the human entity as a sphere composed of atoms of a certain size, these atoms representing all the diverse psychic characteristics of which mankind is composed. Now in the natural growth of this sphere, in expansion, the atoms also increase pari passu in size, so that always the surface of the sphere remains, through the always intimate juxtaposition of these increasing atoms, unbroken.
"But conceive the sphere enlarged in its circumference of power by artificial methods rather than natural growth. The atoms of which it is composed have not enlarged in correspondence. How could they, since there is no growth, only an extension of the radii of power? And since this is so, they are no longer in juxtaposition on the surface, and your entity is open to whatever winds of destruction may be astir."
"In case a person highly suggestible came under the evil influence of a person like K," proposed one curious one, "what would be the best method of resisting it? Suppose, for instance, the person were very young, and inexperienced in such things."
"If your person is so suggestible as you think," said Gaelic, "and the suggestion from the other person is as evilly intended and as evil as you think, then the receptivity presupposed by this suggestibility will quite clearly also receive an intuition of the evil. The only possible danger is that the intuition should fail of recognition. A suggestion from a friendly source, not against the possibility of evil suggestion, but in the direction of assurance that an intuition will surely come and will be recognized and should be obeyed, will, if clearly conveyed and definitely conveyed, prove an ample safeguard.
"There are several classes of very definite results to be obtained from any of these practices.
"First of all there are those who strive for the purely mechanical acquisition of certain wonderful-seeming but actually trivial powers. Those, if pursued for themselves, are at worst dangerous, and at best unbalancing as we have seen.
"Another class, a grade above the last, is actually and earnestly striving toward an ideal such as is depicted in the popular conception of the adept. These people are in no danger except that of losing a balance that they must later supply. In essence their only mistake is in striving to become something and using certain means solely with that end in view, instead of realizing that in any growth that is sure and solid, each means, no matter how small and trivial, is for the period of its employment, the end itself, and must be so approached and so considered.
"Then of course, there is the third class which realizes this point, the members of which are developing in the only possible way, and who in real truth supply to the particular religion or sect or cult of philosophy or what-not, its only real life. All the rest are merely the showy but parasitic growth; and were the cult actually dependent on them alone, it could not endure."
A discussion followed concerning retirement from the ordinary trivialities of ordinary life, in order to concentrate more effectively on spiritual growth; in other words, adjusting the lesser things in life to the greater.
"You have the thing wrong end to," Gaelic negatived this, "John Jones could not withdraw to the Himalayas and do the things in the certain way you speak of and become an adept. It is only an adept that can do that. It is not by conscious taking of thought, and withdrawing from life for the purpose of pursuing spirituality like an elusive and rather solitary fox, that one attains; - unless the withdrawal seems, not a question, but the most natural thing in the world. It is not at that point that the necessary effort which is the price of all growth must be applied. The effort must always be to expand, to reach out, to gain more contacts, to live everyday life with a leaven of sympathy, and to walk on the highest plane of which one is capable. If these things are done naturally and simply, and eagerly, and with a will, spirituality, as you call it, will flood in, bringing with it all its gifts of intuition, of spiritual wisdom, of cosmic contact. But that is a thing which must be left to take care of itself. All the other is yours to do, and to its doing you bring all that you can of that which comes to you on the flood. In that way you have again chased your tail in a circle.
"For that you will find there needs no years of solitude, no hours of meditation; but in the ideal perfection of the process, the flash of time between the raising and lowering of the eyelid will be quite sufficient to your enrichment."
"Is there any truth in the people who are always running down the intellect and its cultivation?" it was asked.
"The intellect is the focus point of consciousness, most favorable in that environment (earth life) to the development of any entity. In that case shouldn't it always be the first step to get your focus point in the best possible working order?
"It is important. The main difficulty is that people tend to build a lightproof and completely impermeable wall around the intellect, to the exclusion of all other influences. It is a manifest absurdity to concentrate all one's attention upon a temporary habitation, to the entire exclusion of preparation of those fields in which one will shortly roam. There is a due and balanced proportion in all things. A focus point, by its very nature as a focus, is of paramount importance for the immediate need, but is of decidedly secondary importance as compared with the whole field."
"Isn't it true that, if you develop the focusing point very strongly, less experience is required for the same amount of evolution? For instance, if you develop your intellect eight times its original capacity, wouldn't you require one-eighth as much experience of any given kind to complete your evolution in that particular field?"
"Not if the intellect is expanded at the expense of the intuitional faculties; then it does you only one-eighth as much good. I say your remark is perfectly true if the extremely strong intellect has not been strengthened at the expense of the more important intuitional faculties - if the balance is kept. It is all a question of proportion.
"The reason that the intellect is cried down and the intuitional faculties are exalted by men such as your friend, is that in ordinary life the reverse is ordinarily true. All education is directed towards the intellectual at the expense of the intuitional. Thus a precept which is in general true is overemphasized by those who have not a full comprehension of truth."
"You stated some time ago," said someone, "that we must establish the connection between what you call our 'essential simplicities' and our intellectual belief. The Yogis offer their exercises as a means. Is this profitable? Or are they never advisable?"
"That is very difficult to answer in general terms," replied Gaelic. "Some people of certain types these exercises will - "
"He won't tell me any more - just shows pictures," interpolated in my own person. "He is showing these seeds that are germinating and ready to come up out of the ground."
"Yogi exercises are adapted to that particular type of people. Other people taking those same exercises will through them obtain a totally different class of result. We discussed all this under the title of forced growth.
"People not of the Yogi type meet this conscious contract in due time when they have grown into it, when they are ready for it, through a great variety of means or experiences, depending on their individual makeup. Some, like William Bucke, suddenly attain what they describe as cosmic consciousness. Others, like Swedenborg, are illuminated. Others, like St. Theresa, think they see visions of Heavenly Hosts. Still others receive merely an enlightening intellectual inspiration. Each of these experiences is led up to by as definite an unfolding formula as the Yogi exercises you speak of.. In some cases these are consciously employed, like the Yogi exercises, as in the cases of the saints who fasted and prayed. Others are apparently insignificant and often unnoticed sequent events of everyday life which, nevertheless, when examined in retrospect with an understanding eye, may be seen to have been as though prescribed and arranged by an intelligence."
Here I again interpolated. At these junctures, instead of words floating down the surface of that upper stream of consciousness, which I reported, I seemed to catch ideas and concepts. These I expressed in my own words.
"He says to tell you something," said I. "He says that all these different systems are adapted to different people. The mistake, and the deadly mistake, is in going out consciously and intellectually and selecting one of them - that it will select you. When you consciously review these formulitic systems and pick out one for predetermined experiments without an inner urge of the sub-currents toward it, the result is invariably bad. That is where your intellect comes into its own. Obtain an intellectual understanding of everyrthing you can, but without consciously determined selection. If there is in what you thus intellectually encounter a whole or a fragment, fitted for your unfoldment from the unconscious to the conscious, of what you already possess or are developing into, be assured that without volition on your part it will do its work."
"A young friend of mine down south," pursued Ward, "has been urging me to take his yogi exercises, and in support of them has repeatedly quoted the text; 'Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all things shall be added unto you.' I feel that that is not a right application of the text, but do not know quite why."
"Why don't you hunt up a text of your own," suggested Gaelic. "Texts means nothing. That text, is true, but - do not be misled by the sophistry of begging the question in that text. This man states a truth; Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all things shall be added unto you.' And implies that that refers to his own method, whatever it is. That is a non-sequitur. At least the burden of proof is on his side that his method is designated. In reply to him I would say; do not seek consciously and foredeterminedly the Kingdom of Heaven - you seek it in every action of daily life.
"This text, like all the richly figurative Oriental texts of that day is a generalization based on indirections, and like most of those texts has been wrenched from a figurative to a literal meaning. Turn it the other way around.
"The most unfitted men conceived they were obeying the text and seeking the Kingdom of Heaven by going into monastaries. As a matter of fact, that kind of life was the very last way men of that particular type could seek the Kingdom of Heaven.
"The text merely means, lead the best life of which you are capable in the station to which you are called; and it has not been wrenched from that meaning by two thousand years of contrary interpretations."
Thus the matter rested for some months. Then Gaelic returned to it of his own accord, extending it to include some wider aspects of occultism.
"I would not have you think," he began, "that I am trying to undermine the valuable portions of what has been given of truth to the world in the name of what you call occultism. But like all truths of long-standing growth, there has accumulated a sort of fungus of misapprehension, unwise practice, and extraneous matter, which, like all fungus, obtains its body, not from the parent stem, but in true parasitic form from the outside. The most striking example of this I have hinted at before and have pointed out in its own fallacies; but I have never expressed the fundamental fallacy. I refer to the forced growth, the accelerated speed along the path of progress induced by certain formal practices.
"It is perfectly possible to acquire powers beyond those possessed in the ordinary course of development. These powers are not illusory. They can be employed to produce certain effects. Their possession may even be said to indicate an advanced state of development in the person of the possessor. Nevertheless such practices are perilously close to what might be called black magic, and for this reason:
"The primary object in your physical world of any development whatever, whether of a person, a living thing, or the very rock of the fields, is not to produce a definite result by means of a process, but to enable an added portion of ultimate reality to clothe or manifest itself in physical form. You may take a man, and without demanding effort on his part beyond the mechanical performance of a certain specified exercises, cause him to come into possession of the power to perform very definite, very wonderful and very startling things. By so doing you apparently cause things to happen of far-reaching effect. As an actuality you have done nothing more than bring about a rearrangement of the affected elements, abnormally, and in such a fashion that although the apparent effects are of great magnitude, the final effects are almost nothing - because in the balance of nature a readjustment into what would have been the result of the original form will inevitably take place.
"This is because no reality, no portion of reality, has been precipitated, manifested, clothed by, and so made an entity of the physical world, by this process. The only way this can be done is by a definite, normal and ordinary effort of the free will, acting seriatim, without gap in the course of its regular progress of development. Any effect, no matter how large, of the former method, as respects both the individual who performs it and the portion of the universe by which he is intimately surrounded, is illusory and fleeting. In effect, no matter how minute, that is a product of directed effort but is permanent, both in building up the one who evokes it and in adding to the sum total of universal progress. The one is of no substance; the other is as solid as the foundation of cosmos itself.
"That, then, is for the growth caused by 'occult', mechanical practice. You must add to this what I said the other evening.
"Precipitation on the physical plane must come from those endowed with the physical faculties. It must be a living human being - living in your sense - who performs. No others but the great creative intelligences are able by the checking quality of their ideas actually to create on the physical plane. If we would effect an actual manifestation or clothing of any portion of reality in your sphere, we must not only work through the intermediation of one of yourselves, but we must do it indirectly, so to speak, by arousing you to make your own effort. We can direct you straight away to do a certain thing, simply by telling you to do it; and you will do it and will apparently gain to a certain effect. But in the result will be no iota of the substance of reality, nor permanence and in the inevitable readjustments it will be as if it never had been. Of what avail then to lead you on by direct advice? One blows down the wind! What you want, what the flow of progress wants, what we want, is rather the single grain of sand than the oceans of drifting fog.
"And I must repeat that the only mechanism we know to place this clothed reality in your world is the carnate human will. And for exactly the same reason as that which underlies the insubstantiality of these occult practices - that is why you are not more helped by us."