KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT
Enlightenment is the result of very simple processes. Here, too, it is a matter of developing certain feelings and thoughts which slumber in every human being and must be awakened. It is only when these simple processes are carried out with unfailing patience, continuously and strenuously, that they can lead to the perception of the inner light-forms. The first step is taken by observing different natural objects in a particular way; for instance, a transparent and beautifully formed stone (a crystal), a plant and an animal. The student should endeavour, at first, to direct his whole attention to a comparison of the stone with the animal, in the following manner. The thoughts here mentioned shall pass through his soul accompanied by vivid feelings, and no other thought, no other feeling, must mingle with them, and disturb what should be an intensely attentive observation. The student says to himself: ‘The stone has a form; the animal also has a form. The stone remains motionless in its place. The animal changes its place. It is instinct (desire) which causes the animal to change its place. Instincts, too, are served by the form of the animal. Its organs and limbs are fashioned in accordance with these instincts. The form of the stone is not fashioned in accordance with desires, but in accordance with desireless force.’ [footnote: The fact here mentioned, in its bearing on the contemplation of crystals, is in many ways distorted by those who have only heard of it in an outward, esoteric manner, and in this way such practices as crystal gazing have their origin. Such manipulations are based on a misunderstanding. They have been described in many books, but they never form the subject of genuine esoteric-teaching]
By sinking deeply into such thoughts, and while doing so, observing the stone and the animal with rapt attention, there arise in the soul two quite separate kinds of feelings. From the stone there flows into the soul the one kind of feeling, and from the animal the other kind. The attempt will probably not succeed at first, but little by little, with genuine and patient practice, these feelings ensue. This should be practised over and over again. At first the feelings are only present as long as the observation lasts. Later on they continue, and then they grow to something which remains living in the soul. The student has then only to reflect, and both the feelings will always arise, even without the contemplation of an external object. Out of these feelings and the thoughts that are bound up with them, the organs of clairvoyance are formed. If the plant should then be included, it will be noticed that the feeling flowing from it lies between the feelings derived from the stone and the animal, both in quality and degree. The organs thus formed are spiritual eyes. The student gradually learns, by their means, to see something like psychic and spiritual colours. The spiritual world, with its lines and figures, remains dark, as long as he has only attained what has been described as Probation; through Enlightenment it becomes light. Here also, it must be noted that the words ‘dark’ and ‘light’, as well as the other expressions used, do but approximately describe what is meant. This cannot be otherwise, if ordinary language is used, for this language was created to suit physical conditions. Spiritual Science describes that which, for clairvoyant organs, flows from the stone, as ‘blue’, or ‘blue-red’; and that which is felt as coming from the animal as ‘red’ or ‘red-yellow’. In reality colours of a spiritual kind are seen. The colour proceeding from the plant is green, which little by little, resolves itself into a light ethereal pink. The plant is actually that product of nature which in higher worlds resembles, in certain respects, its constitution in the physical world. The same does not apply to the stone and the animal. It must now be clearly understood that the above-mentioned colours only represent the principal shades in the stone, plant and animal kingdoms. In reality all possible intermediate shades are present. Every stone, every plant, every animal has its own particular shade of colour. In addition to these, there are also the beings of the higher worlds, which never incarnate physically, but which have their colours, often wonderful, often horrible. Indeed the wealth of colour in these higher worlds is immeasurably greater than in the physical world.
Once the faculty of seeing with spiritual eyes has been acquired, one then encounters, sooner or later, the beings here mentioned, some of them higher, some lower than man himself - beings which never enter physical reality.
If this point has been reached, the way to a great deal lies open. But it is inadvisable to proceed further, without paying careful heed to what is said or otherwise imparted by the spiritual investigator. And for that too, which has been described, attention paid to such experienced guidance is the very best thing. Moreover if a man has the strength and the endurance to travel so far, that he fulfils the elementary conditions of Enlightenment, he will assuredly seek and find the right guidance.
But, under all circumstances, one precaution is necessary, failing which, it were better to leave untrodden all steps on the path to higher knowledge. It is necessary that the student should lose none of his qualities as a good and noble man, or his receptivity for all physical reality. Indeed, throughout his training, he must continually increase his moral strength, his inner purity and his power of observation. To give an example: during the elementary exercises on Enlightenment, the student must have a care to be always enlarging his sympathy for the animal and the human worlds, and his sense for the beauty of nature. Failing this care, such exercises would continually blunt that feeling and that sense; the heart would become hardened, and the senses blunted, and that could only lead to perilous results.
How Enlightenment proceeds, if the student rises, in the sense of the foregoing exercises, from the stone, the plant and the animal, up to man, and how, after Enlightenment, under all circumstances, the union of the soul with the spiritual world is effected, leading to Initiation - of these things the following chapters will deal, in so far as they can and may do so.
In our time, the path to Spiritual Science is sought by many. It is sought in many ways, and many dangerous and even objectionable practices are tried. It is for this reason that they who claim to know something of the truth in these matters, place before others the possibility of learning something of esoteric training. Only so much is here imparted as corresponds with this possibility. It is necessary that something of the truth should become known, so as to prevent error causing great harm. No harm can come to anyone following the way here described, so long as he does not force things. Only one thing should be noted; no student should spend more time and strength upon these exercises than he can spare, with due regard to his station of life and his duties, nor should he change anything, for the time being, in the external conditions of his life, through taking this path. Without patience, no genuine results can be attained. After doing an exercise for a few minutes, the student must be able to stop, and continue quietly his daily work, and no thought of these exercises should mingle with the day’s work. No one is of use as an esoteric student or will ever attain results of real value, who has not learnt to wait in the highest and best sense of the word.