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THEOSOPHY WORLD ---------------------------------- November, 1996

An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World

To submit papers or news items, subscribe, or unsubscript, write
to theos-world@theosophy.com.

(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are 
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not 
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)

==================================================================
CONTENTS

"A Changing ULT" by John Paul Rolston
"Spiritual is Higher" by Eldon Tucker
"Follow First the Chela Life" by G. de Purucker
"Personal Views on Psychism" by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
"Schizophrenia and the Path" by Eldon Tucker
"Astral Intoxication" by William Q. Judge
"Technology Update" by various students
"Regarding Theosophy and Psychism" by Daniel Caldwell
"Science and Psychical Research" by Chuck Cosimano
"How Do We Know When Inner Visions Are Real?" by David Lane
"Suicide and Occult Experimentation" by Chuck Cosimano
"The Value of Past-Life Regressions" by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
"OOBES Are Hallucinations" by Don DeGracia, Phd
"Powers of Mind" by Eldon Tucker

==================================================================
Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is
making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other
people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I
call it "creative observation." Creative viewing.

-- William Burroughs, THE CREATIVE OBSERVER

However, no two people see the external world in exactly the same
way. To every separate person a thing is what he thinks it is --
in other words, not a thing, but a think.

-- Penelope Fitzgerald, THE GATE OF ANGELS

------------------------------------------------------------------
A CHANGING ULT

by John Paul Rolston

[Reprinted with permission from ERGATES, Autumn 1996.]

Of necessity time rolls on and things change. All of us feel
threatened or dismayed at times when we learn that the bedrock
upon which we were standing moves beneath our feet. Change is
inevitable in the Theosophical Movement, as it is in all things;
but the kind of changes we sanction are of the utmost importance.

There are those who would like ULT to hold strictly to The
Way Things Have Been-only thus can the Teachings be preserved,
they think. This is not only unwise, but fatal. To be truly
orthodox is not to maintain the original form or method, but to
hold to the original lines laid down. In this case, the lines
were laid down for us one hundred years ago by the Masters and
Their messengers. We must follow along those lines as things
unfold, but we must not remain chained to the singular points on
the line at which "our" events occurred, namely the advent of
HPB, WQJ and Robert Crosbie. We must move forward: static
organisms die.

Even during the lifetime of HPB events in the world and the
turning of the cycle necessitated changes, including changes to
the constitution of the T.S. and the original Three Objects. 
For us today to follow the specific plans, methods, and forms of
the old T.S., HPB, WQJ or Robert Crosbie, would be foolish. 
Those were the activities of another time, another cycle. 
Rather, we must try to ascertain the meaning behind such plans,
methods and forms, and adapt them to our time and needs. Surely
their methods are of tremendous interest to us, for they are a
blueprint of living the life and serving the Cause. At the same
time, while principles remain the same, application does not. 
Short of an unambiguous letter from a Master, we are left to our
own reason and our own understanding of the teachings,
collectively as an Association.

One may point to the fact that HPB did not appear on the radio or
television; so we too could shun the use of media such as
television, computers, the Internet, video-taped productions etc. 
But everyone knows how short-sighted this would be. HPB lived in
a different time when certain technologies weren't available. We
have the ability to go forward and use new methods.

This idea isn't as obvious or widespread as one might think. Let
us examine the books printed and sold by the ULT lodges. We
see that we have developed a canon which closed with the death of
Mr. Crosbie. No new authors have been printed (under ULT 
auspices) in 50 years, despite fine recent works by our best
students, e.g. THE PHOENIX FIRE MYSTERY. It is among the most
important books in the United States today, quoted by scholars
and used in classrooms worldwide. Yet while we sell it, no
ULT lodge would agree to print it, and the authors had to
turn elsewhere-squandering profits and recognition that would
have served ULT well. Likewise with the biography HPB by
Sylvia Cranston.

The reasoning behind this situation is clear: to publish new
books by authors besides the Founders would be to draw attention
away from the Source Teachings, dilute the energy of the
Movement, and risk misrepresentation of the philosophy. Who
better can teach, we think, than our Teachers? The danger of
distraction is very real and not to be played down. And yet, to
remain frozen seems equally foolish, particularly as the English
language evolves and the Source teachings become harder to
understand by new generations. Already many newcomers (those
without a good metaphysical background) find our most basic books
difficult to grasp.

Some long-time Theosophists may scoff at this notion, and insist
that THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY, for example, is written in plain,
clear English. These Associates may not have had the recent
experience of working with the reading public. One newcomer to
Theosophy in Oregon, an intelligent fellow holding a Ph.D.,
complained that the OCEAN was written in archaic language and its
meaning was opaque to him. Several educated visitors have said
the same in San Francisco. For readers who doubt, let us look at
the first few pages of THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY with the eyes of a
newcomer to the lodge.

The third sentence of the OCEAN, page one, runs:

> Although it contains by derivation the name God and thus may seem
> at first sight to embrace religion alone, it does not neglect
> science x.

For those who do not read Greek-and most people do not, nowadays-
this sentence produces a blank. They do not know that theos
means god, nor that sophia means wisdom.

On page two we find a series of grammatically complex sentences,
beginning with this one:

> The religion of the day is but a series of dogmas man-made and
> with no scientific foundation for promulgated ethics; while our
> science as yet ignores the unseen, and failing to admit the
> existence of a complete set of inner faculties or perception in
> man, it is cut off from the immense and real field of experience
> which lies within the visible and tangible worlds.

This sentence, besides being long and complex, contains a host of
perplexities for the new student.

Which "religion of the day" is being described? Surely not
Buddhism, growing quickly in the West. But what are "promulgated
ethics" and what "scientific foundation" is meant? What is "our"
science? Would this include homeopathy and acupuncture? Having
introduced dozens of students to THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY over the
course of many years, this writer assures the readers of Ergates
that these questions are all too real for the beginner, and
require copious explanations from a qualified guide: "In the 19th
century x."

This is not to criticize Mr. Judge or the value of THE OCEAN OF
THEOSOPHY as a brilliant compendium of the teachings in a
remarkably short space; still, it is sad but true that most
high-school educated people are not up to the challenge of
reading it with any clear understanding of what is being
communicated. In short, new introductory books are desperately
needed, perhaps composed of extracts of the Founders' easier
writings accompanied by explanatory text, while the OCEAN perhaps
could be used as a mid-level textbook for those with a basic
grasp of the teachings-for those who have developed the thirst
for knowledge enough to wade through 19th century English.

Certainly, many students who have read this far will have already
picked up their pens to write a scathing rebuttal to Ergates re:
the above (heretical?) analysis of the accessibility of the
OCEAN. But do not misunderstand: there is no doubt that the
original books are the Source teachings, and we cannot allow
ourselves to think that they should quietly slip into the
background.

Quite the opposite, the Movement draws its life and vitality from
its Founders. Newcomers to a lodge or study group should be made
immediately aware of the Founders, their works, and the basic
principles of Theosophy.

At the same time, propagation of works by students, if of value
to the education of others, seems not only permissible but
actually necessary.

While each must make one's own use of the resources our Teachers
left, it is extremely helpful that the teachings come to each
inquirer in his or her own language and idiom. When we cease
interpreting and applying the sources anew for each ever-changing
cycle, they become dead, rote, and of purely ritual value. A
true student of Theosophy knows the sources, but is able to
restate the teachings smoothly and accurately in his or her own
words. Why should not the public receive the benefit of this
expertise in new printed (or electronic) forms?

Besides the literature which we first hand to newcomers, other
aspects of ULT bear scrutiny and perhaps change. What is our
platform work like? Do we use the best pedagogical methods to
educate our students? Last century, before television and even
radio, the lecture was a popular means of entertainment and
education. Today, many people feel turned off by hearing a long
lecture. Psychologically, it puts the listener in a passive
position, "under quarantine" as it were until the question and
answer period. Yet much evidence suggests that people learn best
when they are active participants, able to be part of the flow of
dialogue and contribute to the give and take of proceedings. For
this reason some lodges are experimenting with new formats-using
a panel of people on the platform where different perspectives
can be heard simultaneously; or even giving up the platform
altogether and seating the group in a circle or square.

The methods of outreach in ULT could stand examination as
well. In this age of technology, ULT is just beginning to
try out effective new means of communication. The New York lodge
has staged successful ongoing broadcasts on public television,
and recorded these panel discussions on video-tape: the tapes are
available to any lodge, but many centers do not seem to own the
necessary audio-visual equipment. A student in the Kent,
Washington group has exerted tremendous effort to put up a "page"
on the World Wide Web (an aspect of the Internet), with
permission to include Theosophy magazine. This has the potential
to reach literally millions of inquirers. Yet most associates do
not seem to know how to access the Internet (meaning they are
unable to direct others to get there either). Only one or two
lodges have a computer system on site, capable of monitoring and
directing Theosophical discussion.

It is a bold new world compared to last century, when the
teachings were re-presented once more. Things are different in
our society in large part because of the efforts of the Teachers
and their companions around the globe for over a century. 
Christian dogmas are fading; the materialistic science criticized
in The Secret Doctrine has evolved into newer and slipperier
shapes; Eastern religions make deep inroads in the West.

And so it is time to take stock of our successes and failures, as
well as the needs of the world. We must not try to hold to the
methods of yesteryear, but as far as is possible, determine the
movements and work of the Masters and the needs of the cycle
TODAY, and strive to help them onward.

We are a living body, and must adapt to the world in which we
ourselves have wrought change. What are TODAY's societal needs,
what are its problems, blind spots, errors, prejudices? Where and
how will we be most effective?

As ULT, we need not confine ourselves to the role of
preservers only, passively awaiting those fortunate souls who
pass through the golden portals of our lodges. We can be more
organized, more focused, more pro-active in meeting the needs we
perceive. Should we add to our list of publications? Should we
make a map of each nation, target its cities, and set up weekend
"seminars" in hotels or schools? Or confine ourselves to mass
communication?
 
Should we increase conferencing and joint projects with other
groups, within and without the "Theosophical" movement? How about
an annual convention?

How can we best communicate our teachings, within our price
range? How can we best preserve our teachings for the future?
Etc. etc.

ULT has been extremely successful in much of what it has
done. Despite some inflexibility, spiritual pride, and even
isolationism, we have kept the original teachings in print and in
circulation, by publishing, lecturing, teaching, and studying. 
Our Associates have and continue to produce (privately) new works
illuminating our history, our three objects, our philosophical
teachings, and their relevance to modern problems. And we have
established centers around the world as nuclei of brotherhood,
study, and public inquiry. It is time now, at the end of the
current cycle, to evaluate ourselves as critically and fairly as
possible and see how we intend to carry out our mission-to the
very large and diverse global village of the 21st century.

------------------------------------------------------------------
SPIRITUAL IS HIGHER

by Eldon Tucker

[From an October 7, 1993 posting to theos-l@vnet.net.]

Psychic powers are acquired by the personality. They represent
extensions to the experiences of material existence. The senses
are enhanced on this or is some cases another plane. On any
plane where you have fully manifested your consciousness, you are
a fully-embodied seven principle being. I would associate the
senses, the sensory input with the Linga Sharira, fairly low on
the scale of consciousness.

Being able to see physical things at a distance, being able to
look into the astral light at the formative energies behind
material objects, being able to perhaps get some confused sensory
input from yet another globe or plane--all these are experiences
that we first acuqired while in the mineral kingdom. Our seat of
conscious if far higher, centered in kama-manas and our goal is
to raise it to buddhi-manas.

Extensions of the senses do not make one wiser. A dog is not
wiser than a man just because the dog has an acute sense of
smell. If the dog could see into the astral light, it would
still not have manas, and having more to preoccupy it, might be
distracted from its evolutionary goal in life, the acquisition of
the capability of thought.

If you could run faster, lift heavier weights, hear better, see
sharper, smell as more acutely, would you be better off? I would
say no. I would say that it is not appropriate to awaken senses
on other planes unless you have the qualities of consciousness
appropriate to those planes. When those qualities have been
developed, an appropriate vehicle of consciousness will have been
developed for that globe and you will just naturally find
yourself reborn there.

Faculties of the personality, including the senses, both ordinary
and psychic (ahead of one's time), are appropriate to the
personality you have here on globe D, our earth. Enhancing this
personality does not develop the personalities appropriate to the
other globes, and only strengthens the ties to physical existence
here, the karmic bonds or nidanas that hold you back rather than
hasten your evolution. What good it is to be able to walk on
water or see what's going on at this moment thousands of miles
away? The personal desire for powers can be corrupting and is a
hinderance to overcome.

Say you could bridge the gap to another plane and see what is
happening there. It would not be understandable. You would be
looking at it through the personality evolved for the
manifestation of consciousness on this globe, which is simply not
equipped to interpret and deal with experiences there. (When I
say another plane, I mean another *real*, substantive world,
another sphere of causes, and not just the looking into the
astral light surrounding our globe D earth, a passive sphere of
effects in which our dreams and "astral projections" occur.)

I do not think that the idea of the "psychic scientist" is a good
one. Anything that give more power to the personality, that
centers one's consciousness in the activity of the personal ego,
is to be avoided. Human knowledge will not be advanced by the
cultivation of psychic capabilities. Common knowledge of how to
cultivate paranormal powers would lead to widespread sorcery and
a hastening of the end of our modern civilization.

(This is speaking, of course, from the standpoint of a spiritual
aspirant, speaking as someone whose primary concern is the Path.
From the standpoint of a secular scientist, the paranormal is as
valid an area of research as any other, and certainly contains
many untapped secrets!)

The senses we have are what is appropriate for our current
evolution. What we have at our disposal to live a life in the
human kingdom through our personal existences is *not* a chance
occurrence, and altering the situation does not advance humanity. 
The evolution is overseen by our parents, the Dhyani-Chohans, and
programmed the way it is based upon what is appropriate at this
time.

To hasten our spiritual evolution, to advance beyond the current
state of things, is not related to any particular alteration of
the personality, because it is born into a regulated existence,
an existence whose parameters are controlled and laid out
according to the general plan of human evolution. Any
accelerated advancement comes by stepping aside and cultivating
with the faculties of consciousness appropriate to future periods
of existence, consciousness that cannot be directly given
expression in and through the personality. It is something
different that merely upgrading, enhancing, extending the powers
of personality.

Our ultimate goal is to develop the buddhi-manasic consciousness,
something that is not an extension or extrapolation of any other
principle of consciousness that we currently have. It is
something that is different, yet functions at the same time, as
other aspects of consciousness, and it is hard to even get the
true flavor of what it's all about! The Great Initiations all
represent stages of being infilled with it, coming from one's
Inner God. There are a number of mysteries to it that are only
hinted at in our theosophical books! Life has all sorts of
wonders awaiting us!

------------------------------------------------------------------
FOLLOW FIRST THE CHELA LIFE

by G. de Purucker

[From CORRELATIONS OF COSMIC AND HUMAN CONSTITUTIONS, pages 92-93
and footnote.]

I must ... with all the emphasis at my command call the
attention of students of the School to the fact that any attempt
by any student, who may be wasting his time in reading the
exoteric Tantrika or Hatha-Yoga works of India, to apply what he
has read in these exoteric works to his own body, whether by
breathing exercises or otherwise, that any attempt thereby to
evoke secret powers or to stimulate the body in certain and
usually illicit directions, is fraught with the very gravest
danger.

Such danger lies not only in the very real risk of the loss of
physical health or of bodily power, but likewise involves
possible severe injury to mental stability; for it is not only
quite possible but even probable that such unwise dabbler in
Tantrika practices, or even in those of Hatha-Yoga, will, instead
of increasing his health and physical powers, in all likelihood
find himself in the grip of some well-known or perhaps mysterious
ailment or disease of the body, and, even worse, with possible
loss of mind -- or plain insanity.

Pulmonary tuberculosis is one of the most common resultants of
such dabbling, and one of the least dangerous, for there are
other physical diseases far worse, such as cancer, etc., which
could readily follow upon a disturbance of the equilibrium of the
Pranas in the body through an attempt to evoke or to stimulate
into abnormal activity one or another of the chakras upon which
the misguided and unfortunate student has fastened his attention.

The effort of our students should not be to fasten attention upon
the body and its organs, upon its attributes and functions, upon
its powers and capacities, but to divert their attention
precisely away from these things into the higher nature, where by
aspiration and spiritual yearning they may awaken into far
greater strength and power than now they know lofty
spiritual-intellectual and higher psychical capacities which,
alas, in most men lie latent from birth until death -- partly
through ignorance of their existence, and partly through the
inherent laziness which most men in this connection have no
desire to conquer or overcome.

Consequently any observations that I may hereafter make are not
by way of encouraging a study of the body and its organs, etc.,
etc., but by way of attempting to elevate Occidental notions of
what the body is so that students in the School may learn to
respect and even in a way to revere the wonderful psycho-physical
mechanism and apparatus which the bodies that they have are, and
thus to learn to look upon our physical bodies as instruments of
the Spiritual Monad within, sounding-boards, as it were, upon
which the god within us may play.

The rule which all students of the School should strive to follow
is, by wholly normal and well-known methods, to keep their bodies
in good health, and sweet and clean, so that they may be proper
vehicles in which to live grandly and to think and function
nobly. MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO -- to use the old Latin proverb
-- is the rule which all should essay to follow so far as the
body is concerned: "A healthy mind in a healthy body."

[The remaining text is from a footnote.]

There is a complete science regarding the chakras, but it is not
a science which it would be helpful for you to study now. It is
mostly studied by the Black Magicians or by those who
unconsciously aspire to become Black Magicians, because what they
want is to gain 'powers.'

This teaching is not encouraged in our Order unless it be under
the direct supervision of a Master; and even the chelas are not
allowed to cultivate the powers of the chakras by concentrating
upon them.

They find out by following the chela-life how to use the powers
naturally; and I have known chelas who did not even know the
names of the chakras. They have heard vaguely that these
nerve-centers are in the body, but they are not interested. They
simply use the powers which flow through these chakras, because
they have become evolved men; precisely as we today use our
brains and our wills, and most men do not know what part of the
brain it is which is the organ of the highest part; and most men
do not know what part of the body it is through which the
spiritual influence flows, and yet we use it.

This is Raja-Yoga, Jnana-Yoga, kingly union, wisdom-union; but
the Hatha-Yoga tells its unfortunate students that if you want to
gain physical powers you must center your attention on the chakra
at the base of the spinal column.

If you want to gain powers over your fellow-men you must
concentrate your attention on a chakra which is at the solar
plexus, combined with another one which is at the back of the
neck. This almost always leads to Black Magic. Touch it not. 
There is every danger of your becoming insane or diseased.

The powers that you need you will gain by living the life, the
chela-life. The powers that these unfortunate Hatha-Yoga seekers
long for, and occasionally gain in small degree, almost
invariably work moral mischief with their natures, and psychical
and physical evil to their constitutions, because they have
gained these powers before they are able to control themselves. 
Follow the Jnana-Yoga-Marga, the Raja-Yoga-Marga, the path of
Jnana-Yoga, wisdom-yoga, and Raja-Yoga, kingly union, that is to
say the path of a man who is a king in his own rights, by the
spiritual divinity within him.

------------------------------------------------------------------
PERSONAL VIEWS ON PSYCHISM
 
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
 
[From an October 13, 1993 posting to theos-l@vnet.net.]
 
I would like to add a thought or two based on my personal
experiences in the matter of psychism. It seems that all my
life, I've heard tales concerning psychic phenomena of all types. 
Psychics are in every generation in my own family, and stories
going back to my great grandmother in the early and mid 1800's,
have been handed down, and I've seen more than my share of
phenomena. Based upon mine and the experiences of others, I have
come to the conclusion that psychic abilities have more to do
with heredity and have about as much to do with spiritual
development as the color of one's hair. Therefore, I agree with
Eldon; psychic ability is NOT a sign of spiritual development. 
As is sometimes pointed out, this E.S.P. seems to be of two
types; one is based in the emotional/mental nature, while the
other seems to be a function of one's spiritual nature. The
first, is what I call "lower psychism," and if anything, is more
of a hinderance to spiritual development, rather than a sign of
it. The other appears to be a function of our spiritual nature,
and is also accessible to everyone, but doesn't receive as much
attention. I call this mode of perception "spiritual vision."
 
The lower psychism, based upon the emotional/mental nature seems
to be very common. About every third person I meet seems to have
this psychic nature to a greater or lessor degree. For some
reason, I'm immediately aware of who those people are upon
meeting them--but that is partly because I have the dubious honor
of being among this group. These people are all able to at least
sense if not experience other people's feelings. Some of them
can sense the "psychic atmosphere" of an empty room where
something of an emotional nature may have recently happened. A
lessor number of them will also pickup other's thoughts
(telepathy), but I never met anyone who could do this at will and
with any accuracy--it was either involuntary and/or only
partially accurate.
 
On the psychic vision (clairvoyant) level, I found that most
people can see "energy fields" around people and objects. I use
to teach Theosophy classes in Los Angeles where one segment was
always devoted to psychism. In teaching these classes, I
discovered that with very little training, almost everyone
learned to see these fields in greater or lessor detail. I've
tentatively concluded that they are really on the lower threshold
of physical vision, accessible to almost everyone, but
unconsciously blocked out because they really don't convey much
(for most people) meaningful information. This kind of
perception seems to be consistent with C.W. Leadbeater's
description of "etheric vision," but it is not what Blavatsky
means by the "etheric" or of the Linga Sirira. The latter,
according to Blavatsky's descriptions, does not radiate from the
body. My guess is that CWL's "etheric body" is really the very
lowest levels of Blavatsky's "auric egg," which does radiate from
the body and its lowest levels does border upon the physical.
 
Perception of colors around people, seems to be much rarer. 
Those whom I have met with this ability, usually see only the
nimbus (an aura of color around the head), but only occasionally
and involuntary. A few people I have met are able to see the
entire "aura," and some are able to do so at all times. But
these people don't pay any attention to it, for the same reason
that people cut out "etheric vision" from their consciousness. 
My own experiences with seeing colors are very occasional and
involuntary, so there is little I can say on this from personal
experience. But I have conducted interviews with numerous people
who have this ability at all times, and have discovered an
inconsistency as to their perceptions of the significance of the
colors. One person (a theosophist) I interviewed, was very
familiar with C.W.L.'s correlations of colors (MAN VISIBLE AND
INVISIBLE), and said that they were not at all consistent with
her experiences.
 
Another thing I learned, is that the reputation psychics has very
little to do with their accuracy. Around 1964, I was at a
theosophical gathering at Krotona, where everyone was milling
around in a large reception room in the main building. At a
certain moment, while among those people, I was thinking about
the Liberal Catholic Church, and about someone who was trying to
get me to join it. Almost immediately, an elderly woman came
across the room and told me that I would someday be a Bishop in
the Liberal Catholic Church. After a short discussion, she then
moved back across the room to continue her conversation with
someone else. As soon as she left, another elderly man came up
to me and asked what the lady said to me. I told him, and he
replied that I should take her words seriously, because she was
Phoebe Bendit, "one of the three greatest psychics of the
Theosophical Society." C.W. Leadbeater and Dora Kunz, according
to him, were the other two. Those who personally know me, can
testify that my becoming a Bishop in the Liberal Catholic Church
is very unlikely. The above incident seemed to me to be more of
an impressive demonstration of telepathy, rather than any
prediction of my future.
 
About twelve years later, after Phoebe Bendit had passed away,
her psychiatrist husband, Laurance moved to Ojai, and for a short
time, we resumed our friendship that had begun in the early
sixties. For the first time, I related my experience regarding
his late wife to him, and we fell into a rather lengthy
conversation concerning his fifty years worth of experiences with
Phoebe, and other psychics he had known. He made one very
important point that stands out in my mind: clairvoyants, in his
experience, are typically unable to distinguish where their
observations end and their imaginations begin. He was convinced
that this was a problem with all of them he had known, including
his wife and C.W. Leadbeater.
 
Around the late sixties, Dame Sybil Leek, came to Los Angeles on
a speaking tour. On a whim, I bought a ticket and went to hear
her speak about Witchcraft. During the question and answer
period, a woman began to describe the training she went through
to develop "psychic powers," and said she was able to see events
before they happened. As she described her experiences her voice
started to falter and she began to break into sobs. She said
that she was unable to turn this ability off, and began to beg
the speaker to help her do so. Sybil Leek, replied: "My dear,
you have a great gift." Most of the audience appeared to be
distressed at this woman's plight, and understood the woman's
plight here. Unfortunately, there were others, like the speaker,
who seemed to miss the point.
 
I have a few personal experiences of what I call a "lower"
psychic nature that I would like to share because they seem to be
unique. I would like to know if anyone had experienced anything
similar. One that stands out at the moment was from childhood. 
I remember being able to look at the wall nearest my bed, and its
solidity would melt away into a vortex of motion. The wall at
first would look like it was completely covered with ants moving
at an amazing speed, then disappear, leaving in its place a
portal of some sort. Behind, or rather "within" the wall, was a
man and a woman. In all respects they appeared to be perfectly
normal adult people. We would have conversations, the substance
of which I can no longer remember, except that they spoke as
adults and I recall complaining about the people around me. I
remember feeling "turned off" when people would be speaking in
one way, yet feeling differently. I think the inconsistency of
people's feelings and actions was my major complaint. I don't
know how I knew this, but I did. This experience also taught me
not to underestimate the mind and perceptions of a child. If my
experience has any general application, small children are far
more perceptive then most people know.
 
Whatever my friendly apparitions said to me, there words were
very consoling and important to me at the time. We all knew each
other quite well, and I felt a bond of friendship to them that
was far older than my years. I knew that they were very old and
dear friends, though I had no memories of them before or outside
of our visits "through the wall." One day, they told me that they
had "to go," and that this would be our last visit. I remember
my deep disappointment upon hearing this. We had a short goodby
and the portal closed. A day or so later, I looked into the same
wall, and it opened as before, but no one was there. I never
repeated this until, some years later, after recalling the
incident. I tried again, and the wall opened as usual, but it
was with effort. I felt that my ability to open this portal was
going away for lack of use. The wall opened, but nothing was
there. Over the years, I had largely forgotten the incidents. 
Occasionally I would recall them, but I never attempted to open
another portal.
 
When I was in my late teens, I was working a night job, stuffing
newspapers, and happened to glance at the cement floor, which
began to open in the same way as in my childhood. The opening
was like a round portal as before, but I didn't notice anything
on the other side of it. A few days later, I described the
incident to a woman with whom I was studying Theosophy. She was
very psychic, but we rarely discussed our experiences. I knew
that she was interested in discouraging me from getting too
interested in them. My aunt, who also had many experiences, also
had the same attitude. My Theosophy teacher suggested that the
movement that I described to be like "a swarm of ants moving at
an amazing speed" might have been the molecular motion of the
floor, and that I was somehow perceiving it.
 
I have collected stories from several people who, in stress, have
experienced people appearing in their rooms--but not in walls. 
My own experience seems to be unique in two ways: First, they
were childhood experiences of visitations rather than adult. 
These visions were not the common childhood experience of having
"imaginary friends." That is a different kind of experience where
the friends are more "inside" one, if that makes any sense. This
experience seems to be closer to the appearances that some adults
have at times of extreme crises. Though I don't recall going
through a "crises." Second: the apparitions were "within" the
wall, rather than being appearances in the same room. It was
more like being in one room, sitting at a doorway, and talking to
someone in an adjoining room. Perhaps someone else has had
experiences like this.
 
Another issue I would like to discuss has to do with the
emotional content of psychic transference. I remember that from
earliest childhood into young adulthood, other people's feelings
were always a source of confusion to me because I had difficulty
distinguishing them from my own. This was never really resolved
until I was in my early thirties. I remember sitting on a bench
in Griffith park while my daughter was riding a pony. A young
man and woman walked by, and a wave of depression came over me. 
I immediately became aware of my own mood swing and tried to
"step away" so to say, to analyze why my mood had changed. I
then realized that the man who was walking by an instant before
was deeply depressed. I also knew that his woman companion was
not really aware of the depth of his depression, and she was not
depressed at all. It was only after that singular experience
that I finally learned to make the separation between my own
feeling and others. I shared this incident with my wife, who is
a trained therapist. She coined the term "low ego boundaries"
for this condition. That is, my own sense of self was at a level
where there was no real difference between my own feelings and
others, as far as my own perceptions went. It seemed to fit.
 
Regarding what I call "spiritual vision," I think there is a lot
of confusion concerning this. About seven years ago, a
theosophist who was a new member of the Krotona "inner group"
approached me with a "message from those in the know" (ie the
E.S.), and began to inform me as to what theosophical subjects I
may or may not be permitted to discuss with other members and
with the public. The E.S. members at Krotona and Wheaton were
distressed at the time because we were doing historical
presentations on Theosophy for the public. We had presented our
show in Toronto as well as to a West Coast conference meeting
that was packed with old time E.S. members. I grew angry at my
messenger's impertinence of thinking he or the E.S. could
dictate to me that we were not permitted to discuss theosophical
history. So I started to tell him off. He calmly turned away
from me, without giving me the satisfaction of blasting him, only
to say as he began walking away: "you need to learn to think in
your Buddhic body." I became even more infuriated at his
continuing impertinence. Only after looking back on this
incident that it became funny. At the time, I saw no humor in it
at all. I'm telling this story not to disparage the E.S. I
wrote a letter of complaint to one of those "in the know" and
received a reply that "their messenger" had acted on his own, and
was not "sent" by them. Whether my messenger was sent, or came
on his own, his notions concerning Buddhic consciousness gives a
perfect example as to how the theosophical teachings have been so
badly distorted into mis-teachings that the original teachings
concerning consciousness and psychism have been thrown into
confusion.
 
Buddhic consciousness in the original teachings, is a level of
relative omniscience--it is the state of consciousness of the
Buddha. My messenger was implying that because of his
association with the E.S., he was in possession of this
consciousness, therefore my lowly protests were of no consequence
to him. According to the teachings of Blavatsky, and of the
Mahatma Letters, the whole of the human race is in the fourth
planetary round. That is, we are still perfecting the Kamic
principle. In other words, our emotional nature is still in
evolution, has not been perfected, and is the primary overall
focus at this time of our development. However, we are also in
the fifth root race. This allows us a secondary focus on the
manasic, yet even at this state, we still operate primarily out
of our feelings. We can't escape them--the primary level of our
consciousness is kama, though we "think" through the manasic
subprinciple of kama. According to these core teachings, this is
true of everyone, with very few exceptions. Those exceptions are
called "fifth rounders" according to cosmological notes found in
the back of the Blavatsky-Sinnett letters. According to these
Mahatmic teachings, when humanity reaches the fifth
round--millions of years from now, our consciousness will be
centered in manas, but it won't be until the sixth round that we
will be operating out of buddhi. So the claim my impertinent
friend implied about himself, if he really understood what he was
talking about (I don't think he did), meant that he was tens of
millions of years in advance of the rest of us poor humanity. He
is even in advance of the Mahatmas, and has the consciousness of
a Buddha. Even K.H. is a spiritual inferior, to my messenger,
since HK confessed in a letter to A.P. Sinnett that he was
"annoyed" with A.O. Hume.
 
According to these Theosophical teachings, we are barely in the
human state of evolution. Our physical forms are human enough,
but our level of consciousness is still more akin to the animal. 
Yet, we all still get glimpses of spiritual vision. Those
flashes of intuition, and the simple knowing that has nothing to
do with feelings or logic, may be from those higher realms of
consciousness that we are still moving toward. This kind of
awareness is not accompanied with beautiful feelings, or
exquisite colors, but is simply an extraordinary level of
understanding that is of a loftier and truer quality than
anything that could ever be achieved through psychism or
clairvoyance. A book that most beautifully expresses the
differences between the psychic and spiritual consciousness is
the VOICE OF THE SILENCE, where the base psychic powers are
called the lower iddhis. But to gain true spiritual vision:
 
> Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained,
> and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion.
> 
> Before the Soul can hear, the image (man) has to become as
> deaf to roarings as to whispers, to cries of bellowing
> elephants as to the silvery buzzing of the golden fire-fly.
> Before the soul can comprehend and may remember, she must
> unto the Silent Speaker be united, just as the form to which
> the clay is modelled is first united with the potter's mind.
> 
> For then the soul will hear, and will remember.
> 
> And then to the inner ear will speak--
> 
> -- THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE

------------------------------------------------------------------
SCHIZOPHRENIA AND THE PATH

by Eldon Tucker

There was an article in the April 29 issue of THE LOS ANGELES
TIMES, "Unraveling a Cruel Mystery of the Mind", that discussed
a new breakthrough in the study of schizophrenia. The article
continued some interesting information, and makes me wonder about
how that form of mental illness might be described in
theosophical terms.

[Some of the information in this article was originally presented
in another theosophical forum in May, and met with a mixed
reaction. Some people discussed their personal experiences with
the illness, with knowing and having to care for family members. 
Others reacted with outrage, considering a presentation of these
materials to be an attack on them personally, because they are
actively into an exploration of the psychic, some hearing voices
which they attribute to beings on other planes.]

There is a box that defines schizophrenia:

LA> What is Schizophrenia?
LA>
LA> Schizophrenia is not, as was once widely believed, a case of
LA> multiple-personality disorder. A rundown on the condition:
LA>
LA> * Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness characterized by
LA>   inappropriate emotions, hallucinations, and a disordered
LA>   thought process.
LA>
LA> * Some medical journals call it "the worst disease affecting
LA>   mankind."
LA>
LA> * Disease strikes in late teens or early 20s.
LA>
LA> * It affects about 2.5 million Americans, or about 1% of the
LA>   population.
LA>
LA> * A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that brain
LA>   abnormalities, rather than social conditions are the cause.
LA>
LA> * In the last six years, a host of new antipsychotic drugs
LA>   has shown great promise in helping schizophrenics make
LA>   steady recoveries.

The major characteristics are inappropriate emotions, 
hallucinations, and a disordered thought process. All three would 
come from a perception of the subjective "spheres of effects" that 
surround our objective, physical earth. 

When someone sees into the astral light, and what they see is a 
reflection of the content of their own psyche, we have an 
hallucination. But is it "real". Yes, but it is subjective to the 
individual seeing it, and it is not physical in nature nor 
objective in the sense that it exists in its own right and can 
remain unaltered by how we might like it to be.

This "sight" is no more real than the experiences that we stage
for ourselves in the devachan. Those devachanic experiences are
self-made, and represent the working out the content of our
consciousness. They don't represent interaction with other
beings. The same is true of these "hallucinations" or glimpses
of the astral light. 

The inappropriate emotions would come from a failure to clearly 
relate to this physical world, being "out-of-focus" as it were, 
being focused somewhat on the non-physical realms. The person 
would be responding to internal, subjective events, and not 
clearly distinguishing the people and events before them 
in the physical world from these subjective experiences. 

The disordered thought process would be due, perhaps, to the 
constant intrusion of thoughts and images into the mind. 

----

We might wonder, what is the advantage to us, as students of 
Theosophy, to understanding the workings of mental illness? One is 
in learning better about human nature. We can observe how people 
grow and change for the better.
We can obtain a better perspective on our inner natures, learning
to better say "I am not my personality" when seeing disorders of
the personality and how they are healed. It's easy to take life
for granted when we are healthy, but with the onset of illness,
we are reminded of the frailty of our mortal selves, and the
preciousness of life. This point hits home hardest when seeing
how even our mental health and our ability to understand and cope
with life can be lost to us.

As aspirants to the Path, individuals seeking to initiate the 
process of self-genesis and hasten our personal evolution, for the 
purpose of serving humanity, we can learn from mental illness. We 
can apply a knowledge of mental illness and how it is healed to 
our own situation in life. We can look at how sick minds and 
hearts are healed, and get analogies, hints, metaphors that may 
apply to the steps taken in Initiation, in flowering to the 
spiritual. There may be keys to unlock great mysteries of life 
hidden in madness and how it is healed.

----

As to the new findings mentioned in the article:

LA> What Hollister Found
LA>
LA> Meggin Hollister's research gives the first indication of a
LA> link between a mother's immune system and schizophrenia. 
LA> What she discovered:
LA>
LA> 1. The problem starts with a blood-type difference between
LA>    mother and fetus -- for example, if fetus has positive
LA>    blood type while mother has negative type.
LA>
LA> 2. Through a tearing of the placenta or another mechanism,
LA>    fetal blood comes into contact with the mother's blood.
LA>
LA> 3. Mother's immune system launches response, producing
LA>    harmful antibody capable of crossing placenta and
LA>    reaching fetus.
LA>
LA> 4. Antibodies affect fetal brain development, possibly
LA>    leading to schizophrenia.

I would expect that the sort of brain change that is represented 
in schizophrenia is, as said, a breakdown in the normal brain 
formation, leading to an abnormal experience of life. It is not 
the sort of brain change that spontaneously arises as a "mutation" 
or evolutionary step forward.

My thinking is that the future faculties and powers that await
our race are not along the lines of seeing subjective
psychological content as through it were "real". They are not
leading towards a greater emphasis on the subjective spheres of
effects, the backstage to life, populated by spooks and
elementals. They lead, rather, I think, towards greater powers
of understanding and comprehension, and towards powers over
manifest nature, over nature as found on this and other spheres
of causes.

Evolution lies in growing *powers of mind*, not powers of sense 
perception. The ability to learn and understand mathematics, for 
instance, is a much "higher faculty" or "inner power" than the 
ability to see what color a rock is on the nth subplane of the 
astral. The senses we have provide us with an appropriate 
container for working on that evolution, and rebelling against 
them is like an impatient child, bored with learning, yearning to 
escape the confines of the classroom, wanting to run out and play 
at the upcoming recess.

It is a special blessing to be born into this world, with the 
objectivity and ability to acquire sentience that we have. If we 
take advantage of this opportunity, we can make great strides 
towards enlightenment and towards the "saving" of others. The 
choice, though, is ours to make as individuals. Some opt out, 
choosing the path of the Pratyeka Buddha, seeking solitary bliss. 
Others stick it out, supporting the never-ending process of 
bringing light, love, and upliftment into the world.

------------------------------------------------------------------
ASTRAL INTOXICATION

by William Q. Judge

[Reprinted from ECHOES OF THE ORIENT, I, 45-47.]

There is such a thing as being intoxicated in the course of an
unwise pursuit of what we erroneously imagine is spirituality. 
In the Christian Bible it is very wisely directed to "prove all"
and to hold only to that which is good; this advice is just as
important to the student of occultism who thinks that he has
separated himself from those "inferior" people engaged either in
following a dogma or in tipping tables for messages from deceased
relatives -- or enemies -- as it is to spiritists who believe in
the "summerland" and "returning spirits."

The placid surface of the sea of spirit is the only mirror in
which can be caught undisturbed the reflections of spiritual
things. When a student starts upon the path and begins to see
spots of light flash out now and then, or balls of golden fire
roll past him, it does not mean that he is beginning to see the
real Self -- pure spirit. A moment of deepest peace or wonderful
revealings given to the student, is *not* the awful moment when
one is about to see his spiritual guide, much less his own soul. 
Nor are psychical splashes of blue flame, nor visions of things
that afterwards come to pass, nor sights of small sections of the
astral light with its wonderful photographs of past or future,
nor the sudden ringing of distant fairy-like bells, any proof
that you are cultivating spirituality. These things, and still
more curious things, will occur when you have passed a little
distance on the way, but they are only the mere outposts of a new
land which is itself wholly material, and only one removed from
the plane of gross physical consciousness.

The liability to be carried off and intoxicated by these
phenomena is to be guarded against. We should watch, note and
discriminate in all these cases; place them down for future
reference, to be related to some law, or for comparison with
other circumstances of a like sort. The power that Nature has of
deluding us is endless, and if we stop at these matters she will
let us go no further. It is not that any person or power in
nature has declared that if we do so and so we must stop, but
when one is carried off by what Boehme calls "God's wonders," the
result is an intoxication that produces confusion of the
intellect. Were one, for instance, to regard every picture seen
in the astral light as a spiritual experience, he might truly
after a while brook no contradiction upon the subject, but that
would be merely because he was drunk with this kind of wine. 
While he proceeded with his indulgence and neglected his true
progress, which is always dependent upon his purity of motive and
conquest of his known or ascertainable defects, nature went on
accumulating the store of illusory appearances with which he
satiated himself.

It is certain that any student who devotes himself to these
astral happenings will see them increase. But were our whole
life devoted to and rewarded by an enormous succession of
phenomena, it is also equally certain that the casting off of the
body would be the end of all that sort of experience, without our
having added really anything to our stock of true knowledge.

The astral plane, which is the same as that of our psychic
senses, is as full of strange sights and sounds as an untrodden
South American forest, and has to be well understood before the
student can stay there long without danger. While we can
overcome the dangers of a forest by the use of human inventions,
whose entire object is the physical destruction of the noxious
things encountered there, we have no such aids when treading the
astral labyrinth. We may be physically brave and say that no
fear can enter into us, but no untrained or merely curious seeker
is able to say just what effect will result to his outer senses
from the attack or influence encountered by the psychical senses.

And the person who revolves selfishly around himself as a center
is in greater danger of delusion than any one else, for he has
not the assistance that comes from being united in thought with
all other sincere seekers. One may stand in a dark house where
none of the objects can be distinguished and quite plainly see
all that is illuminated outside; in the same way we can see from
out of the blackness of our own house -- our hearts -- the
objects now and then illuminated outside by the astral lights;
but we gain nothing. We must first dispel the *inner* darkness
before trying to see into the darkness without; we must *know
ourselves* before knowing things extraneous to ourselves.

This is not the road that seem easiest to students. Most of them
find it far pleasanter and as they think faster, work, to look on
all these outside allurements, and to cultivate all psychic
senses, to the exclusion of real spiritual work.

The true road is plain and easy to find, it is so easy that very
many would-be students miss it because they cannot believe it to
be so simple.

            "The way lies through the heart";
            Ask there and wander not;
            Knock loud, nor hesitate
            Because at first the sounds
            Reverberating, seem to mock thee.
            Nor, when the door swings wide,
            Revealing shadows black as night,
            Must thou recoil.
            Within, the Master's messengers
            Have waited patiently:
            That Master is Thyself!

------------------------------------------------------------------
TECHNOLOGY UPDATE
 
by theosophical students in New York, San Francisco, and Kent,
Washington

[reprinted from Autumn, 1996 ERGATES with permission.]

Millions of people in the world now have computers that can
access the Internet, and among all the many and varied subjects
that are available there, it is high time that Theosophy pure and
simple made an appearance!

ULT associates from different lodges have crafted two
different pages for the World Wide Web in an attempt to spread
broadcast the teachings of Theosophy on the Internet. These are
the first exciting efforts in what will hopefully be an ongoing,
expanding labor as more and more students around the globe gain
access to the Internet.

All on-line computer users are invited to browse the new Los
Angeles ULT web site at http://www.theosophycompany.org.

For those who are new to the World Wide Web, a little background
information may be useful. The World Wide Web is a multimedia
part of the Internet, meaning that when one signs on using the
computer, text accompanied by sound and pictures appears. One
needs a computer, a modem (something like a phone for your
computer), an Internet service provider (with companies like
America Online or Prodigy) and software that allows one to
connect (Netscape is one well-known program).

The Los Angeles ULT web page has a menu page and several "links"
or connections to further information. While one may read a book
front to back, pages on the World Wide Web can be viewed in any
order by following the links; just by pointing at the desired
location-poof, you are there.

Its web page has links to:

* ULT Declaration and the Three Objects of the Theosophical
  Movement.

* The Fundamental Principles.

* Where Does Theosophy Come From?

* Theosophy magazine, containing the same articles as the
  published version, starting with Vol.  85, number 1 (November). 
  It will be updated monthly.

* "Currents": a periodical gleaning of the various contributions
  offered on selected subjects from recent issues that show a
  particular significance for our time of transition.

* Biographical notes on HPB, WQJ and Robert Crosbie.

* The ULT catalog and a way to order those books for purchase.

* The location of lodges and discussion groups around the world.

This web page was designed by a ULT associate who is a beginner
in computer programming (actually, she just took a class over the
last year, bought a book, and educated herself as quickly as
possible) so the Web page has no fancy gimmicks, colors, scripts,
etc. although there are some photos and images, including a big
picture of H.P. Blavatsky.

The next step is to list the web page with various on-line
directories (called "search engines") so that people searching
for topics in religion and philosophy can find us, and so we can
assess the response. This should be accomplished by the time
this issue of ERGATES goes to press.

Another Web page called "Blavatsky Net" may be found at:
http://www.blavatsky.org. It is dedicated to continuing research
and verification of Theosophy.

Blavatsky Net aims to become a "repository of evidence" that is
supportive of, and vindicates the writings of, H.P. Blavatsky. 
A start has been made towards this objective.

A second objective is to make the actual words of HPB more
accessible to the public. Toward this end, the various materials
that vindicate her have numerous quotations from her works,
mostly from THE SECRET DOCTRINE. Also all of her articles in the
three volume set published by Theosophy Company plus all the
articles in A MODERN PANARION (some 2000 book bound pages) have
now been scanned into the computer by Blavatsky Net. They are in
the process of being spell-checked, proofread and readied for web
page format before being placed on-line, available for anyone in
the world to download and read.

The homepage of Blavatsky Net is divided into four sections. The
first section is "for visitors new to Theosophy." It has several
offerings, including "Why Study Theosophy?" "The Source of
Theosophy," and the article by Mr. Judge, "Theosophy Generally
Stated" which was delivered at the Parliament of World Religions,
1893.

A second section is devoted to evidence for Theosophy. Offerings
on this page include "Evidence supportive of Theosophy"
(substantial research), "Pebbles" (light confirmations of
Theosophy) and "Prophecies Fulfilled."

The third section is called "Resources" and at this writing has
an alphabetical list of the 237 articles of HPB described above. 
When the articles are ready they will be available in full in
this section.

A fourth and final section contains miscellaneous items including
an announcement mailing list to which a visitor can subscribe to
receive announcements of updates to the page.

This web page is able to register the number of visitors which
have checked out the site, established August 16, 1996. By
October 14, 1996 more that 500 visits had been registered.
------------------------------------------------------------------
REGARDING THEOSOPHY AND PSYCHISM

by Daniel Caldwell

In a discussion on the theosophical view regarding psychism, a 
student might suggest that HPB developed and used a considerable 
arsenal of psychic abilities. So why are Theosophists concerned 
about the psychical?

There *is* a difference between her situation and ours. The
Mahatmas *trained* HPB and the following quotes from their
letters also indicate her special position in relation to the
Mahatmas:

> ...imperfect as may be our visible agent -- and often most
> unsatisfactory and imperfect she is -- yet she is the best
> available at present....
> 
> -- MAHATMA LETTERS, Letter 2

> This state of hers is intimately connected with her occult
> training in Tibet, and due to her being sent out alone into the
> world to gradually prepare the way for others. After nearly a
> century of fruitless search, our chiefs had to avail themselves
> of the only opportunity to send out a European *body*....
> 
> -- MAHATMA LETTERS, Letter 26

> [HPB is] a woman of most exceptional and wonderful endowments. 
> Combined with them she had strong personal defects, but just as
> she was, there was no second to her living fit for this work. We
> sent her to America....
> 
> -- MAHATMA LETTERS, Letter 45

And as to HPB's occult training: 

> She can and did produce phenomena, owing to her natural powers
> combined with several long years of regular training, and her
> phenomena are sometimes better, more wonderful and far more
> perfect than those of some high, initiated chelas....
> 
> -- MAHATMA LETTERS, Letter 54

But as to the regular run of psychics and seers in HPB's time,
Koot Hoomi pens the following:

> Vainly do your modern seers and their prophetesses, creep into
> every cleft and crevice without outlet or continuity they chance
> to see; and still more vainly, when once within do they lift up
> their voices and loudly cry: 'Eureka! We have gotten a revelation
> from the Lord!' -- for verily have they nothing of the kind. They
> have disturbed but bats, less blind their intruders; who, feeling
> them flying about, mistake them as often for angels -- as they too
> have wings! Doubt not...it is but from the very top of those
> 'adamantine rocks' of ours, not at their foot, that one is ever
> enabled to perceive the *whole* Truth, by embracing the whole
> limitless horizon....
> 
> -- MAHATMA LETTERS, Letter 48

And there is much in this letter on psychism.

Here is what Koot Hoomi says in a letter to Laura Holloway who
herself was a clairvoyant, psychic and sensitive. This passage
has never been published before:

> ...since you have scarcely learned the elements of self-control,
> in psychism, you must suffer bad consequences. You draw to
> yourself the nearest and strongest influences -- often evil -- and
> absorb them, and are psychically stifled or narcotised by them. 
> The airs become peopled with resuscitated phantoms. They give
> you false tokens, misleading revelations, deceptive images. Your
> vivid creative fancy evokes illusive Gurus and chelas, and puts
> into their mouths words coined the instant before in the mint of
> your mind, unknown to yourself. The false appears as real, as
> the true, and you have no *exact method* of detection, since you
> are yet prone to force your communications to agree with your
> pre- conceptions.
> 
> -- Letter dated July, 1884.

And Morya also writes on psychism:

> There is one general law of vision (physical and mental or
> spiritual) but there is a qualifying special law proving that all
> vision must be determined by the quality or grade of man's spirit
> and soul, and also by the ability to translate diverse qualities
> of waves of astral light into consciousness. There is but one
> general law of life, but innumerable laws qualify and determine
> the myriads of forms perceived and of sounds heard. There are
> those who are willingly and others who are *unwillingly* -- blind. 
> Mediums belong to the former, sensitives to the latter. Unless
> regularly initiated and trained -- concerning the spiritual
> insight of things and the supposed revelations made unto man in
> all ages from Socrates down to Swedenborg.... -- no self-tutored
> seer or clairaudient ever saw or heard *quite* correctly.
> 
> -- MAHATMA LETTERS, Letter 40

And KH writes:

> The world of force is the world of Occultism and the only one
> whither the highest initiate goes to probe the secrets of being. 
> Hence no-one but such an initiate can know anything of these
> secrets. Guided by his Guru the chela first discovers this
> world, then its laws....
> 
> -- MAHATMA LETTERS, Letter 22

(Note that letters from the Mahatmas are referenced from the 
first, second, and third editions of THE MAHATMA LETTERS.]

------------------------------------------------------------------
SCIENCE AND PSYCHICAL RESEARCH

by Chuck Cosimano

The Sages know nothing about the scientific method. Experiments
have to be repeatable, not the subjective ravings of psychical
lunatics. It is their sort of nonsense that keeps us from making
serious headway in getting funding for real research into this
area.

I find it difficult to keep an open mind on things that bring my
area of psionic research into disrepute. I've seen writings that
reveal the workings of mind that are fundamentally disfunctional,
probably schizophrenic judging by the symptoms, but clearly ill.

The problem I have with some psychical investigators is twofold.

First, I am turned off by the tone of their approach to things,
but that is a personal matter of taste and I would never be so
foolish as to expect anyone else to agree with me on it.

The second is far more serious. One of the things we have
learned about how the brain functions is that the electrical
activity inside it takes visual forms. So a piece of music, for
example, will cause the optic nervous system, not merely the
optic nerves but that part of the brain that sees, to have a
visual experience. This is easily provable by the fact that if
one is meditating and is disturbed by a sudden noise one sees all
kinds of colors for an instant.

In any event, these forms have been mapped to the point were
computers can be programmed to duplicate emotions by the visual
forms they produce. Some have apparently seen these forms and
then externalized the vision. In other words they saw them
outside of themselves rather than merely as an internal light
show.

Now this skill can be learned. It is, in fact, the visualization
training that is so important in magick. When it is involuntary,
however, as was clearly the case with some investigators I've
read, it is a symptom of mental illness and in fact is part of
the diagnoses of schizophrenia.

We have a problem because of the totally subjective nature of
some writers' visions. As far as their other clairvoyant work,
some of it may be valuable as anecdotal evidence, but the problem
of repeatability still bedevils us and will for some time. That
is why academic type parapsychologists have gone to the
statistical gobbledygook that makes their work unreadable.

Now, to be fair, some of the psychically-based books were written
by a generation that was notoriously uncritical in its thinking. 
There was such a strong desire to believe in something, anything,
that the most preposterous claims were often taken on face value,
especially in the Theosophical Society, sadly to say. And at the
time the peculiar workings of the brain were not understood as
they are today and we still are only scratching the surface.

Some writers had the problem that they may have become so
idolized that they believed their own press, as it were, and lost
the ability to question the reality of their visions. It may be
that the only way to deal with such people is to examine each
action as an individual phenomenon and divorce it from any whole
in order to find out what was true and what was nonsense. But
hero-worship does no good in any form of inquiry. It only gets
in the way and we can observe some fundamentally questionable
attitudes.

Clearly such comments as references personal visits from the
master Polidentus does not cause any confidence in this sort of
literature.

There is a type of divine madness that brings breakthroughs. 
Then there is the type that creates an overweening spiritual
pride that makes the sufferer think that the guardian angel of a
continent would be happy that the person deigned to notice him. 
That was the type of looniness that psychical investigators may
fall prey to.

Let's move forward with real scientific research into the 
psychical, and leave this looniness behind!

------------------------------------------------------------------
HOW DO WE KNOW WHEN INNER VISIONS ARE REAL?

by David Lane

[The following article originally appeared on the Internet in
April. It has been reformatted and the language slightly
smoothed out, then reviewed by the author for approval.]

[The issue touched upon is as important in theosophical circles
as it is in ECK, which includes the basic question: How real are
subjective psychic experiences?]

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Bill Couch, and Eckankar Masters
are appearing at the Astral Starlite Tonite!

What immediately strikes one about purported inner visions is the
amazing plasiticity of the encounters. Literally anyone can see
anybody at anytime! From Masters, to Babaji (of Yogananda fame)
to Jesus (that allegedly real person who died some 2000 years
ago).

Now this reminds me of one my all-time favorite characters, the
Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, who made a delightful appearance in
the first Ghostbusters film.

What happens if one sees him on the inner regions? Are we then to
suggest that he "really" exists? Or, are we to say that the
imagine-nation (one of the few places apparently with no
boundaries, especially rational zones) allows for innumerable
characters to live and breathe which have no empirical or
super-empirical referent?

I think this is central to our ongoing discussions about Masters
and their historicity. Are they world citizens or merely part of
the voting population on Tuza? Why is this important? Because it
seems that we are confusing two types of images:

(1) There are image-produced characters which are an admixture of
what we read, see, smell, and believe. "Hey, I just saw a pink
unicorn playing with pee wee herman upon a pyramid in Elvis' deli
at Plato's cave next to silly putty's newspaper stand!"

(2) There are images which are more or less reflections of what
appears relatively stable and permanent in the here and now.

For instance, we can argue about the "love" of Jesus and debate
endlessly about it, and never come up with a "best" answer. Why?
Because we are stuck to speculation that has no fundamental or
empirical referent.

However, if we argued about how to start a car, our debate would
more or less resolve itself by pointing to the key and pointing
to how to turn it. Now I realize that my postmodern friends are
going to tell me that that stuff is "relative" or
"decontextualized" too.

But, quite frankly, when triple A shows up and you need a jump
start, post-modern "textual" readings just collapse. -- Or else
you end up staying at Ralphs all night long!

When we debate these inner visions, we are essentially talking
non-sense. And, as such, anyone's vision is about as good as
another's! Which is it? Stay Puft? Virgin Mary? The Master K.H.?
They're all nonsense, unless, of course, there are some outer and
inner criterion upon which we can have common agreement.

This note is not meant to be an answer, but merely a starting
point. The question, then: How can we differentiate an inner
vision of a Marshmallow man from a religious vision of our chosen
guru? Is there a difference? If so, why? If not, why not?

Here's the catch: The parameters by which we answer this
question, I would suggest, should be at least pointing in the
direction of how we start cars every morning.

In other words, it should have some point at which we do it
right, do it wrong, or just don't do it at all. Unless we do
that, then of course we can simply lubricate all the more and
never ever differentiate! Which is okay, until the vision you
have rapes or molests or kills you!

So here's the question in a simplified form: How does one know
that an inner vision is "real"? Or at least more real or more
useful than one of Bill Couch dressed up as a dessert. (Bill
Couch was the stunt man who played the Stay Puft Marshmallow
man.)

------------------------------------------------------------------
SUICIDE AND OCCULT EXPERIMENTATION

by Chuck Cosamino

[Written March 12.]

This is going to come as shocker to some people, but only last
week, a young man, full of great promise and determination but
with little in the way of actual sense, pushed occult
experimentation to the point where he committed suicide. He had
managed to combine premature kundalini, self-possession and the
Exu into one unhealthy occult cocktail.

I was unable to help him and his other confidant, another occult
inventor, tried as well, to no avail.

Coming at the same time as a seriously painful illness, this news
was a jolt to my system that is going to take some work
recovering from and maybe even some re-evaluating of my own
ideas, for in spite of a deliberately reckless philosphy of life,
I tend to take a very cautious actual approach to things.

I'm probably going to have to do some book re-writing and be more
reflective of that.

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE VALUE OF PAST-LIFE REGRESSIONS
 
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
 
[from an October 20, 1993 posting to theos-l@vnet.net.]
 
Regarding the question concerning people gaining "real medical or
psychological relief" from past life regressions, I would like to
express my thoughts. From all reports that I have heard about,
and past life therapists I have talked to, there appears to be
genuine value in past life therapy in relieving psychological
anxiety and physical problems. Somehow, the experiences that the
person has under hypnosis, whether they be metaphorical or actual
memories, serves to get people past old issues and on to a newer
and better life. On the other hand, the question as two whether
the client has actually experienced a memory of their past life
is neither proven or disproven in this situation. Other
explanations are already available. For instance the patients
may be drawing the material from their own unconscious, which has
made the material unrecognizable through the psychological
processes of condensation and displacement as we do in dreams--or
through the mechanism of decomposition, used in mythology. 
Condensation is the process of taking a lot of meaningful but
unpleasant or traumatic experiences and condensing them into one
unrecognizable experience or symbol. For example: lets say that
at different times over the past five years, you: 1. read a
disturbing article in the newspaper about a mass murder; 2. had
a disagreement with your boss; 3. inadvertently knocked over a
pile of books at work. Later you might dream of a porcelain doll
of a king that you brush against and it falls and breaks. The
doll may represent your boss, who may have a brittle personality;
brushing up against it and knocking it over may represent your
knocking over the books; the doll breaking may represent the loss
of lives through the massacre you read about in the newspaper. 
Though the three events were unrelated by time or causality, they
were still condensed into a single unique experience, unlike
anything in memory, though the dream may carry the feeling of
familiarity, and may now symbolize a new situation that has
fragments of the characteristics of the unrelated real life
experiences.
 
Displacement is a mechanism where something less pleasant is
replaced by something more pleasant or acceptable. Most people,
in a public place have inherited the Victorian custom of asking
where the "restroom," or the "bathroom" is, when what they really
want is the "toilet." But the toilet is too specifically
suggestive in this culture. In France, where there is less
shyness about these things, if you were to ask for the "bathroom
(le salle de bain), people would assume that you want to take a
bath. But the English culture is more shy about these things. 
So our language allows us to displace the toilet for the bath or
the swooning couches that used to be located in them. In dreams,
we may have a character acting out characteristics of ourselves
that we prefer not to admit that we have. Decomposition occurs
in mythology and works of fiction. Several people with different
personalities may represent one person in life whose more
complicated personality is divided up among the several new
characters. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Claudius, the Ghost, and
Polonius all represent father figures for the protagonist. 
Therefore, it is possible that the patient is unconsciously using
these mechanisms to create a past life that would have the
cathartic effect of relieving a lot of turmoil. Or to say it
another way, they unwittingly created a myth to give relief and
meaning to a lot of unresolved problems.
 
You may recognize these terms as originating from Freud. Some
people would reject them just because of the association of his
name. Too bad. Though many of Freud's ideas have fallen into
doubt, he also had many brilliant ones. Let's not throw the baby
out with the bath water.

------------------------------------------------------------------
OOBES ARE HALLUCINATIONS                                                        

by Don DeGracia, Phd                                                            

[This material first appeared in postings to theos-buds on June 5,              
1996.]                                                                          

I scientifically study the OBE/Astral projection/Lucid dream                    
experience. I'd like to try to cool this unnecessary bickering                  
back and forth between occultists and scientists.                               

In a nutshell, some theosophical students have a bad attitude for               
ignoring the evidence that scientists present. Scientists refer                 
to well established facts, and it is only by being uninformed                   
that one is not aware of them.                                                  

Granted, some scientists have a bad attitude. Sarcasm and                       
constant reference to "trivial explanations" for OOBES as a form                
of dreaming seem to me to indicate that they are quite                          
unimaginative and do not appear to appreciate some of the                       
subtleties involved. Their sarcasm and cockiness are also in bad                
taste and do little by way of inducing intelligent conversation.                

Nonetheless, within the scope of present knowledge scientists                   
have the facts on their side. The slant I have since taken is                   
that the scientific and occult views can be reconciled only when                
scientists become deeper in their thinking and, for example,                    
realize that dreams are by no means trivial experiences but imply               
vast subtlties about the nature of the brain.                                   

On the other hand, occultists must learn to be better informed as               
to the status of current knowlege. Many occult ideas were                       
formulated in the late 1800s and many have since been simply                    
shown to be false.                                                              

Our scientific understanding has mushroomed massivly since the                  
days of Blavatsky or Leadbeater and no amount of attachment to                  
outdated ideas can change the growth in knowledge that has                      
occured in the past 100 years.                                                  

So, if both sides could only make the effort to meet in the                     
middle, perhaps we could get beyond this pettiness.                             

Am I simply echoing the majority opinion? At a superficial level                
this is indeed true. As the reader probes deeper into my                        
understanding though, I don't know if such a statement can apply.               

We could say that the "facts" of science of today may change at                 
any time. Don't they go in and out of fashion almost as                         
frequently as hemlines?                                                         

This statement is observant and accurate to a degree, however, it               
is incomplete. Science has a cumulative nature about it. Most                   
mathematicians today continue to quote Euclid because many of                   
Euclid's ideas forn the corner stone of math. Non-Euclidean                     
geometry (which Einstein used to forumlate Relativity theory) is                
not a refutation of Euclid - it is an extension of Euclid and                   
would not exist without Euclid's contributions.                                 

This is generally true of all science. I am a chemist. I do not                 
quote 18th century chemist like Lavosier or Dalton, but                         
everything I do in my lab implies what these people discovered                  
two centuries ago. What I do in my lab would be impossible                      
without their contributions.                                                    

So, the nuts and bolts of science are not really fashion at all,                
nor are they arbitrary. They are techniques and viewpoints that                 
serve as foundations to build upon.                                             

There is a tendancy among scientists to have an a priori                        
rejection of all extraphysical phenonema. Part of this attitude                 
amongst scientists reflects the historical roots of science:                    
science grew as a counter-cultural movement to the unthinking                   
dogma of the Medieval Church. And, like a brash teenager trying                 
to proove his own, science rejected its connection to spirutal                  
truths.                                                                         

This is not universal among scientists, though, and not even the                
general rule. Many great scientists, including Newton, Einstein,                
and many others were imminently spiritual men, and saw science in               
a spritual light.                                                               

Another part of this attitude has to do with finding the least                  
complicated explanation. Science is driven by Ocam's razor,                     
which is to find the simplest explanation for a phenomena. When                 
this fails, more complicated explanations are then invoked.                     
Necessity drives this process, not fancy or speculation. The                    
history of science is replete with such examples.                               

Thus, to attribute OOBEs as phenomena created by the brain is the               
simplest explanation, and also the most obvious. It is a                        
starting point, and a good one that has worked well for the past                
several decades in which this paradigm has been used. Again                     
however, a scientist simply has a bad attitude when treating                    
these issues are all black and white.                                           

Even Manly Hall himself has said that we should not try to invoke               
super-physical explanations when a physical explanation will                    
suffice. This of course is different from rejecting spirituality                
in any sense, which is a mistake many scientists make.                          
Scientists who flat out reject spirituality simply expose their                 
ignorance and lack of depth and subtlety.                                       

Someone might say that while the brain is an immensely interesting              
thing, it is not the most interesting. To occultists, not mere                  
mystics, the mind might be considered paramount.                                

This is what is taught, but it is an unfortunate viewpoint. It                  
is making a dichotomy where, in fact, there is none. It is also                 
unfortunate that occultists feel justified to ignore the                        
knowldege of the brain without first studying it and trying to                  
understand it. I used to hold this attitude, but I was force to                 
learn about the brain in my PhD program, and what i learned so                  
fascinated me that I now am enamored with the study of the brain.               
I can literally think of no more interesting topic. The brain is                
a vast mystery and to dismiss its study so nonchalantly only                    
reveals that you are not well informed about our current state of               
knowledge of the brain and mind.                                                

The brain and mind are two different views of the exact same                    
thing. The mind is not different from the brain. The mind is a                  
process created by the brain. Now, this does not need to imply                  
that there is no mind that transcends brains, as for example,                   
with the occult idea of the mental plane. From another angle,                   
God's mind created not only the brain, but the entire physical                  
world.                                                                          

All I am saying is do not sell yourself short by rejecting ideas                
with which you have no familiarity. If your brain was to become                 
damaged either by trauma, stroke or other means, you would                      
quickly appreciate the significance of the brain in the action of               
the mind. I hope it never comes to this and that you can simply                 
open your mind to current knowledge and discover intellectually                 
just how important the brain is for the operation of your mind.                 

Another popular analogy is to compare the brain to a                            
fantastically efficient computer, while describing the mind as                  
the operator of that computer.                                                  

Again, such thinking is a vast oversimplification. There is                     
nothing wrong if you wish to allow your thinking to exist at such               
a simple level. However, when others offer more sophisticated                   
views, I would hope you would at least listen to what they have                 
to say.                                                                         

The brain/mind is very, very different from a computer. I don't                 
have time to go into this but if you want references to authors                 
who discuss this matter, I can happily send them to you.                        

The brain controls itself. Your sense of control of your                        
thoughts, emotions and actions are in fact due to a specific part               
of your cerebral cortex. There are thousands of documented cases                
of people who have sustained damage to these regions of the                     
cortex and lost control of themselves and experienced drastic                   
changes in personality.                                                         

I use to believe that the brain was merely a channel for our                    
non-physical self. I no longer belief this idea. I consider the                 
idea, but I do not believe it. What I do know, and have seen in                 
hospital settings is that people who experience brain damage                    
undergo drastic changes in their mental and psychological                       
functioning.                                                                    

To me, the crux of the matter always rested on dreams. Dreams,                  
supposedly are our nonphysical experiences, or at least some of                 
them are. The fact is however, when people suffer symptoms of                   
brain damage, these symptoms are also present in their dreams.                  
If our dreams were, say, our astral body acting                                 
semi-independently of the physical body, there is no reason to                  
believe that brain damage would affect the action of the astral                 
body. However, brain damage symptoms do occur in the person's                   
dreams, indicating that dreams themselves are a product of the                  
brain.                                                                          

This idea leads to a very different line of thought than the                    
traditional occult view that seperates physical and nonphyscal                  
bodies. Instead of simply rejecting this view because it appears                
to counterdict what you presently believe, I would recommend                    
opening up to this view, even if it does challange your present                 
believes.                                                                       

I have discovered, and unfortunately, again do not have time to                 
dwell on this issue, that the idea that the brain creates our                   
conscious awareness is not contradictory to traditional occult                  
ideas of transcendental realities. however, by mixing the two                   
viewpoints, a new viewpoint emerges that is substantially                       
different than either alone, and, not suprisingly, is a view in                 
complete harmony with the great mystical and religious truths of                
the aeons.                                                                      

At this point, someone might assert that the brain/mind                         
separation is a perception of reality that is not amenable to                   
either scientific proof or disproof in our times.                               

Again, I would only suggest that the reader familiarize oneself                 
with the evidence. When you see the state of our current                        
knowledge, you will come to appreciate that such statements as                  
this are no longer applicable.                                                  

Please don't think that the brain/mind relationship solely deals                
with matters spiritual, and is never amenable to scientific proof.              
It can, I say, be studied by scientests, in an open and unbiased                
manner.                                                                         

And while we expect scientists to approach this study with an                   
open mind, we should expect theosophical students to make the                   
effort to familiarize themselves with current evidence and                      
thinking.                                                                       

You will see that scientific ideas are not biased, that they are                
driven by necessity (for example, trying to determine how to                    
treat a victum of brain damage). You must ask yourself: as an                   
occultiust who makes a claim to understanding the human                         
constitustion, how would you personally deal with a person who                  
has suffered brain damage? How would your ideas be of practical                 
value in helping such a person?                                                 

This is really worth thinking about.                                            

------------------------------------------------------------------
POWERS OF MIND

by Eldon Tucker

[from October 20, 1993 posting on theos-l@vnet.net.]

I'm not sure that I'd call Theosophy just a library of ideas,
since its deep study constitutes a spiritual practice that
awakens the highest and most noble parts of our natures.

The study of Theosophy is a practice, and it is more real than
the visiting, in our current state of human development, of other
planes. We do not become something by visiting a place, we
change by changing ourselves. A bird that happens to fly through
a human library will not thereby gain human knowledge. There is
a long sweep of evolutionary unfoldment, and it is hastened by
the awakening of additional faculties of consciousness, and by
the deepening of the consciousness that we have, not by escaping
the physical plane or perceiving the physical side to other
planes. *Where we are* is not as important as the fact of the
self-unfoldment of consciousness.

I would say that it is possible to hasten our spiritual evolution
through the study of Theosophy, whereas the cultivation of
psychic capabilities is a distraction at best, and often a
hinderance. I don't think that the acquiring of paranormal
powers is a something new; we've had great powers in previous
races, they come and go in a cyclic manner; they are one phase of
the experience of life in the personality. The life that we have
in a particular subrace, including the senses and powers, are
regulated by, I would say, the Dhyani Chohans. Their presence,
the times when they naturally occur, their ease of use all come
when a particular type of learning in the personality is needed. 
Their absence likewise comes when different types of learning are
needed.

Psychic and magical powers, powers to perceive and control our
external environment, on whatever plane, were developed in us
before even reaching the human kingdom. The powers we are
developing, and we've only made a start at it, are the powers of
mind.

I'm not sure where the dividing line between safe and dangerous
psychic development lies. In medicine, there is the concept of
prescription and non-perscription drugs. If you're a doctor and
have had medical school training, you can write prescriptions;
otherwise you're left to the guidance of your doctor and may only
on your own use non-perscription drugs.

When you acquire paranormal powers, what part of your nature are
you developing? Certainly not the spiritual. Do they come along
with spiritual development? I'd say not, since their possesion is
a cyclic attribute of personality and not a permanent, lasting,
evolutionary change.

I'd say that the western occultism that may come from Theosophy
will center around the study of the original teachings. And the
popular religion to come will center around a few core ideas of
Theosophy wedded to popular thought, with perhaps a bit of
astrology, the Tarot, Jungian psychology, astral projection,
magical practices, and Buddhism thrown in. The religion will
contain much that is popular and touches people in an
easy-to-see, immediate way, and like the other religions be an
exoteric blind for the esoteric truths.

When comparing Theosophy to Jungian psychology or the various
religions of the world--say Christianity, Buddhism, or
Hinduism--it is possible to draw analogies and enrich one's
understanding of the teachings to a degree. It's important to do
this with care, though, since not everything in every religion or
philosophy is correct. When drawing on quotes from the religions
of the world in "The Secret Doctrine", HPB would sometimes say
"we agree with this", but also at times say "we don't agree with
that" ... Theosophy provides a key to help the student separate
the good from the bad, it does not say all is good, believe
everything, everywhere.

We can, say, talk about the different schools of Yoga, the Tree
of Life, the Tibetan Deities, Jungian archetypes, or near-death
experiences. We can apply keys to understanding them provided us
by Theosophy. There is much to be learned in them. But I would
say that we can be misled when we use them to teach us Theosophy.

Take Tibetan Buddhism. We can go to it and see certain ideas as
theosophical. Further exploring Buddhism, we may find related
Buddhist ideas that we can apply back to Theosophy. We are using
Buddhism as an analogy to Theosophy and extending the analogy to
see if we can learn something more. And it may very well prove
true and we may have new understandings. But it could also prove
to be a false analogy. Discrimination is needed and each idea
must be tested against the teachings to see if it has the ring of
truth to it.

If Theosophy says that we are reborn, and another philosophy that
we might study also says we are reborn, there is an analogy. But
if the other philosophy goes on to say that we are reborn as
butterflies, we'd reject that idea as inconsistent with the
teachings. (Excuse the poor example here, it's the only one that
happens to occur to me at this moment as I'm writing this.)

I'd say that going after the highest and most spiritual in you is
the most direct route, the quickest approach to spiritual
evolution, where the personality is maintained but not given too
much importance. Forget the senses and go deeper within, *know*
and *be*, don't just see, touch, and taste life.

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application