Theosophy Magazine Vol. 35 p. 454   August  1947


WE think, yet know not how thought is produced. The source and nature of the energies that set ideas in motion remain enigmas to the psychologist. Certain electric phenomena relative to the brain have been noted, but whether these are the cause of thought, or are set in motion by thought, is still to be determined. Moreover, the difference between pure thought—sometimes called meditation—and thought that energizes particular action is not even considered. Nevertheless these two categories play a most important part in the Karma of the reincarnating ego.
       Through meditation all the aspirations and holy desires are expanded and strengthened, and though they may not be realized on the plane of action in one lifetime, they shape fundamentally the vehicle and mind of the future life. It is through meditation that the dynamics of spiritual knowledge can be brought into the mind’s sphere of perception. Theosophy places the source of self-consciousness in the higher Manas—illuminated by pure spirit. Any omission of spirit, and the spiritual aspect of mind, will inevitably develop a materialized psychology inhibiting a true understanding of the nature of the energic mind—the inner magnetic field of thought. The potentially powerful field of the inner thinker acts as the medium for transforming spiritual energy into the subtle forces of brain and nerve.
       The generic and ancient name given to the cosmic aspect of these forces is Fohat—occult electricity—which has a potential relative to each of the seven planes of being, and in its multiple aspects creates the connecting links between the modes of ideation on these planes. This process is open to study, for there is a direct connection between the deep-sleep consciousness of spirit and the dream state. The egoic realities of the spiritual state are “stepped down” into corresponding symbols of the dream state; then, in the waking state, these dream pictures reveal their meaning through the intuitive powers. They are like charades enacted for instruction, inspiration, or warning to the personality. A dream may represent but a moment of waking time, and yet in that moment the energy employed can bring together a great variety of details drawn from the brain. These are woven into a series of living scenes in which the dreamer participates. That this backdrop of ideation is not understood is largely because the actor steps upon the stage of waking consciousness forgetting or ignoring what is behind him, and concentrates upon the audience with which he associates the idea of reality. If, however, he pauses between scenes to examine his backdrop, he may find a means to better enact the theme of his play.
       As yet the postulate that every form of energy is inseparable from intelligence has not been accorded recognition in the halls of science. It is nevertheless a fundamental part of the occult system. Divorce occult energy and intelligence, and the result will always be a mechanistic conception of the brain’s activities, devoid of any moral or ethical relation. Just as the producer is called in once the play is written, to assemble all associated elements, scenes, actors and technicians, so occult electricity—the agent of egoic intelligence—organizes ideation between plane and plane of the inner perception. Without this help ideas could not be carried beyond the primary stage of contemplation.
       There is a distinction to be made between thought and ideation. The idea emerges from, or is the reflection of, the archetype the ideal conception of an imagined or known theme or object. The archetype is the child of countless ages of the evolution of ideas, beyond which finite mind cannot penetrate. To understand its practical application, we might consider the wheel as an archetype. No human genius can better the idea of the wheel. Upon its perfect relationship of the center to circumference has been built the modern era of what is called industrial civilization. To be sure, there are countless types of wheels, but the archetype is always present beneath the particular elaboration of hub, spokes, or tire.
       Thought is called into action by the alerting of the consciousness upon the perception of an inner idea, or outward object, perceived through the senses. In making the distinction between ideation and thought, the former is to be assigned to Manas in its higher aspect, the latter to the lower manas—that which, hand in hand with desire, impels and operates the brain’s activities. Ideas belong to the ego’s gallery of pictures—thoughts, to the artist at work, a work ever falling into definable patterns.
       The limitations of each mind determine the extent of the field in which its energies may expand. These limitations may be thought of as self-imposed through life after life of expansion or contraction of mental activity; but the source of mental energy is exhaustless, and there are few limits to its possible use. It radiates from the One Life, which is the basis of all individual lives, and the capacity for its use is limited only by the vehicle which man himself builds. A period of rest is necessary for adjustment after the intake of energy, as it follows also the expenditure of energy with cyclic precision.
       Sleep is needed to allow the body to absorb the excess energy developed during waking activity. In the mental field, life is experienced on a higher plane and at a greater rate of vibration than the physical, and therefore its periods of action and rest may succeed each other in almost imperceptible cycles. This is the cause of the instability of the untrained mind: it tends to fly from subject to subject—from point to point—until a saturation of energy is reached. The one-pointed mind is a mind able to insulate the energy generated by an idea against its dissipation in the field of associated ideas—the brain’s storage of memory. If the energy is allowed to escape, it is lost in the endless  labyrinth of the brain cells, which are necessary to thought, but use full only to the extent that energy is controlled. During the rest periods, either long or short, synthesizing intelligence utilizes this energy to adjust the idea to its proper associations. This is the basis for the mental phenomenon, so often noted, that causes the solution of a problem to enter the consciousness like a flash. The sequence may be stated as follows: there is the establishment of an idea in the field of mind, followed by a period of intense exercise upon the idea, such as research affords; then a period of rest after which the synthetic idea, now itself a secondary archetype, is formulated as a new and basic center for mental activity.
       Mental deposits carried from life to life are the synthesized reactions to ideas. These lie in two categories, those produced by reflection—thought on the plane of ideas—and thought coincident to action on the plane of the physical man. They remain as subtle deposits in the soul’s memory—seeds to fructify in future incarnations. It must be remembered that although the mind-principle remains constant, there is a new “working mind” for each incarnation. The seeds of former minds are its basis and cause. It is, however, new only in the sense that causes are reassembled in a fresh pattern for action—the pattern of Karma. No matter how intense the devachanic bliss may have been, the reincarnating ego has to meet both physical and mental effects of causes created by former activity in a body. To these effects is due the initial development of the personality, for Karma is so integrated with mental deposits that motivation, potential reaction to environment and to affinities, follows in a well-formulated trend from childhood. However, those currents due entirely to study and meditation upon the Supreme Spirit, which have produced the upsurge of spiritual knowledge within the egoic consciousness, are above the field in which Karma is felt, and become the energy of the inner voice we call conscience. It is not rare to see one who, though passing through distressing physical Karma, is inwardly illuminated by a light which enables others to see more clearly. Conscience is then more than a far-off voice—it may envelop the entire inner being with light under which no evil can prowl.
       Karma is interwoven in the very structure of the newly developing mind of each incarnation. Acting upon the several planes of being up to that of spirit, Karma eventually leads each individual to seek an understanding of its processes. Karma is of the ego’s own making, and therefore he must mirror himself in such a way as to able to see and understand that which he has done, and is doing, to produce good or bad effects. The problem is one of long-sustained intention to cut through the wall of belief. It is not the teachings nor our experiences which fail us, but what we believe regarding them. One may study every aphorism on Karma, and every definition the teachings afford, and yet “believe” erroneously. Therefore each belief— each reaction, in fact—should be laid aside until tested through observation and self-examination. Gradually success comes and the ego is able to step aside, to see himself wearing the karmic garments he has woven. A new sense of responsibility then awakens and there arises a desire in the individual to willingly exhaust all karmic. effects rather than to escape and forget. There can be no erroneous belief in the light of such a position, and if Karma has yet to fall with heavy blows, the ego is prepared to receive them with fortitude, knowing his own has come back to him. Much is said in The Secret Doctrine about the Akasa of which the astral light is the lower aspect. The latter is the recorder of all the thoughts and acts of man, but the Akasa contains the ultimate spiritual knowledge attainable by divine man under cyclic law. The ego may choose which medium he will work with. As the all-enveloping air gives life and energy to the body, so the Akasa provides the spiritual mind with its energizing ideas. But like air which has become impregnated with contagion, the astral light infects the lower mind with the insidious virus of evil if that mind is allowed to become passive. The mind which refuses to alert itself to unwelcome suggestion becomes a center of attraction in the astral light for that which is magnetically sympathetic to it. Therefore even the passive mind becomes selectively active in the astral accretions of man’s lower thoughts and acts.
       The divine heritage of the ego is neither generally accepted nor understood, and yet it must be assumed during life in a body. Through the medium of his divine nature the ego attains to higher strata of thought. Is it not reasonable to accept the position that no such exalted state can be attained while the lower nature has its metaphysical doors and windows open to the insidious astral atmosphere?
       Changes in man’s nature are gradual. The Karma of ages must run its course. If there appears to be a sudden turning-point, it is because the Karma then in action has reached its final adjustment, and new Karma begins to make its effects felt. Life cannot be still; the ego is subjected to the shifting light and shade of material existence until the soul yearns for a better perception of self hood. There are few who cannot recall some moment when the inner perception awakened to truth. Such an experience may come after a great sorrow, or at a moment of unselfish achievement; or, with a soul accustomed to contemplation, a mood of nature may quietly work upon the inner sphere, causing the vibratory mind to attune itself to the spiritual plane of thought. In these ways Life itself fixes the attention upon that which belongs to the higher nature, and the unexplored spiritual environment becomes reality. With faith and energy devoted to this new concept of reality, the words of Great Ones who have attained perfection become practical instructions rather than mystical ideals.