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The Training And Work Of An Initiate



  The word Initiate, as used in these pages, means one in whom the Higher Self, the Individuality, has coalesced with the personality and actually entered into incarnation in the physical body. An Initiate, therefore, is one whose Higher Self it is that looks out at us through his eyes. The personality is reduced to a set of habit-complexes of living, leaving the Higher Self free to carry on its work with the minimum demands upon its attention from the physical plane.  




  The moon may be taken to represent the personality, waxing and waning through innumerable incamatory phases of reflection of the sun's light or its deflection by the earth's shadow; whereas the Higher Self, the immortal Spirit in man, is rightly symbolised by the sun, which shines perpetually in the heavens, whether we see it or not . These glyphs will repay meditation.
The Higher Self comes into manifestation in the physical body when Initiation takes place. We have only to consider the vast difference between the Individuality and the personality in the average man to realise the immense amount of preparation that must take place before such a manifestation is possible. Moreover, we cannot fail to see that if that manifestation were attempted before due preparation had been made, the incoming Self would find so great a disparity between itself and its vesture, that like a badly-fitting garment, the vesture would be split as under by the attempt to wear it. This is an occurrence sometimes observed among occultists and accounts for many of the problems of occult fraternities.
Before it is possible for the Higher Self to manifest through brain-consciousness, the personality must be tuned to the same key as the Individuality. The Individuality carries on its existence in the spiritual spheres just as the personality carries on its existence in the mundane sphere; the actions of the former are determined by its desire to maintain its harmony with the Divine Life of the Cosmos, whence it draws its being; and the actions of the personality are determined by its desire to maintain its harmony with the world of matter, whence the life of the body draws its being. It is obvious, therefore, that the personality will have entirely to re-orientate its standpoint before it can come into line with the Higher Self.We must be prepared to shift the basis of all our motives if we want to receive Initiation. This requires singleness of purpose that bauIks at no sacrifice-"Sell all that thou hast, and follow Me" said the Master; and again, "Let the dead bury their dead. Follow thou Me". These are hard sayings, but experience proves them to be true. There is no reason why anyone should offer themselves as a candidate for Initiation, for they can achieve the goal of Divine Union by the winding path of evolution; but, on the other hand, they must not declare that the ancient Secrets have been lost because they, not being willing to pay the price, have not received the Great Pearl.
The personality and the things of the senses have to be sacrificed in order that the Higher Self may manifest; there can be no dispute on this point. All the Initiates have declared it to be so. We are inclined to think that having sacrificed the personality, we shall be bereft of all things. This is because the mind of the West still clings to its habit of believing that the death of the body ends existence. So we believe sub-consciously that the death of personality ends enjoyment of the fulnessof life. We forget that the merchant who sold all he had was able to purchase the Great Pearl. True, he had realised all his assets, but they were re-invested in something offar greater value. The Gospel story implies that he bore off the Pearl in triumph. So it is with us if we make the sacrifice of the things of the senses that permits of the incarnation of the Higher Self in the physical body. There is a period of struggle as the threads that bind us to the desires of the senses are snapped, but as soon as an appreciable clearance has been made, the Higher Light begins to dawn. We are not left long comfortless.
"Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom after all
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?"
While consciousness is focussed in the personality we cannot contact realities direct, but can only see their reflections in the world of form. The call of the Higher Life is to arise and turn away from the mirror of form consciousness and look straight at Reality, which is Life, not form. It is this turning round that constitutes the soul's task when it seeks Initiation. As the personality is brought gradually into subjection to the Higher Self, the Inner Light begins to irradiate it.




  The occultist, on the other hand, indulges only in sufficient mortification of the flesh to bring it into subjection and teach it to obey the sovereign will without murmuring. His design it is to build himself such a personality that his Higher Self can function through it without let or hindrance. It must be like a powerful and spirited horse that answers instantly to the heel and rein, needing neither spur nor curb. Its senses do not mislead him; its passions do not blind him. He uses it as a transparent window of the soul that does not distort the view.
The mystic renders his personality negative in order that he may be a channel for the Cosmic Forces. "Be still, and know that I am God" is his attitude towards all the problems he is called upon to solve. He becomes still upon the mundane plane and allows the spiritual powers to find a channel into the group-mind through his meditations. The occultist on the other hand, deals with forms and uses his concrete mind in order to shape those forms into channels for the Cosmic Forces. The mystic works in the Higher Self exclusively; the occultist brings the Higher Self into manifestation on the planes of form.
The mystic, having achieved liberation from the bondage of the senses, is content with the experiences of inner consciousness; he does not seek to bring them into manifestation on the plane of earth; the occultist, on thb other hand, having won to the same realisation as that which the mystic desires, endeavours to bring about the reflection on the plane of form of the state of consciousness to which he has won. He does this, if he be a Brother of the Right-hand Path, because it is necessary for the Great Plan that certain ideals should be worked out in the world of form, but he never does it for the gratification of the senses. That is the test by which Our Lord was tested in the Wilderness, "Command these stones that they be made bread." He was both occultist and mystic, as was shown by such miracles as the turning of water into wine and the passage through closed doors, but He never used His occult powers save in the service of His mission, and it will be noted that, as He advanced towards His final achievement, He used them less and less.




  There are three Initiators who bring us to the altar of the Mysteries; the Great Initiator, who is the Master, the Lesser Initiator, who is the Teacher, and our own Higher Self, which trains us by means of the lessons of life and the realisations they bring. The discipline of the Path cannot be learnt from books, it is experience alone which brings realisation. Let us therefore accept our karma as the first initiation. Let us strive for a mastery of ourselves and our circumstances which shall give us serenity under all conditions. What cannot be cured must be endured; this is the first lesson which karma teaches us.  




  The initiate is always revaluing things according to cosmic principles. He knows that his real life is lived in his Higher Self, (the unit of evolution), and that this human personality is but a phase of his life and that his real existence is never immediately involved in it. From the experiences of this phase he derives the food whereby his real self grows through the vast aeons of evolutionary time. To him it is his real self that matters not his series of transitory personalities and so he dares to take risks with his mundane prospects which most men would not dare to take. Consequently, although he may not amass the things of this world, his life has a significance, a richness and a freedom which are lacking to the man who dares not so adventure lest he lose his all. The initiate lives gloriously because he lives dangerously. Nevertheless, his risks are more apparent than real, as were the risks of Columbus, who staked his success on a mathematical hypothesis. He depended for his safety upon the truth of the theory that the earth was round; if as most people believed, it was flat and at the world's end was the precipice of outer space, he would never return from his great adventure of sailing towards the West in order to reach the East.