A close study of one’s emotional reactions brings one to the consideration of that basic characteristic which cannot be over-emphasized in view of the world’s present condition. Harmlessness. I tell you that the achieving of harmlessness in the positive sense (not in the negative) means the attainment of that step which leads definitely to the Portal of Initiation. When first mentioned, it sounds of small moment, and to bring the whole subject of initiation into such small account that it becomes unimportant. But let him who so thinks practice that positive harmlessness which works out in right thought (because based on intelligent love), right speech (because governed by self-control), and right action (because founded on an understanding of the Law), and he will find that the attempt will call forth all the resources of his being and take much time to achieve. It is not the harmlessness that comes from weakness and sentimental loving disposition, which dislikes trouble because it upsets the settled harmony of life and leads to consequent discomfort. It is not the harmlessness of the little evolved negative impotent man or woman, who has not the power to hurt because possessing so little equipment wherewith damage can be done.

It is the harmlessness that springs from true understanding and control of the personality by the soul, that leads inevitably to spiritual expression in everyday life. It emanates from a capacity to enter into the consciousness and to penetrate into the realization of one’s brother, and when this has been accomplished – all is forgiven and all is lost sight of in the desire to aid and to help.

Response to wrong vibration will not be basically prevented by the methods of either “building a shell”, or by “insulation” through the power of mantrams and visualization. These two methods are temporary expedients by which those who as yet have somewhat to learn seek to protect themselves. The building of a shell leads to separateness, as you well know, and necessitates the eventual overcoming of the habit of shell-building, and a shattering and consuming of the shells already built. This latter can be more easily done than the overcoming of the habit. Automatically the building process goes on until finally the aspirant has built so many ramparts around himself that he can neither get out nor can any contacts be made with him. The process of insulation, which is a more advanced practice and calls for more magical knowledge, consists of the emanating of certain energies of the vital body in a particular direction, which serve to keep other energies at a distance through what is called impact. Through this impact upon approaching energies, they are reversed and sent in another direction. But those energies must go somewhere, and should they damage another person, is not the one who reversed their direction through a desire to protect himself responsible?

The practice of harmlessness is the best and easiest way for the aspirant to work. There is then nothing in him which is inimical to any life in any form, and he therefore attracts to himself only that which is beneficent. He uses the beneficent forces thus attracted for the helping of other beings. This has to be the first step, and the discipline it entails and the constant supervision of all the activities on the three planes of human evolution and of all reactions bring the emotional body under the dominance of the illumined mind. They also bring about the understanding of one’s fellow men.

There is secondly, a later stage wherein the disciple learns to absorb and transmute the wrong vibrations and the energies which are destructive. He has no shells nor barriers. He does not insulate himself nor isolate himself from his brothers. Through harmlessness he has learnt to neutralize all evil emanations. Now he acts with a positiveness of a new kind. Definitely and with full awareness of what he is doing, he gathers into himself all the evil emanations (destructive energies, and wrong forces) and he breaks them up into their component parts and returns them whence they came, neutralized, impotent and harmless, yet intact in nature. You say that this is a hard teaching and conveys but little to the average aspirant? Such is ever the way in esoteric teaching, but those who know will understand and for them I speak.

Another method is still more advanced and is utilized by the initiate. Through a knowledge of the law and of certain Words of Power he can command the energies to reverse themselves and to return to their originating center. But with this method we have nothing to do. There must as yet be much practice in harmlessness and a close watch kept upon its application in the daily life.

The right direction of astral energy can be summed up in its three aspects from the ancient Book of Rules, given to chelas of the entering degrees. All true esoteric schools begin with the control of the astral body, and the chela had to memorize and practice these three rules after he had made some real growth in the manifestation of harmlessness.

• Rule I. Enter thy brother’s heart and see his woe. Then speak. Let the words spoken convey to him the potent force he needs to loose his chains. Yet loose them not thyself. Thine is the work to speak with understanding. The force received by him will aid him in his work.
• Rule II. Enter thy brother’s mind and read his thoughts, but only when thy thoughts are pure. Then think. Let the thoughts thus created enter thy brother’s mind and blend with his. Yet keep detached thyself, for none have the right to sway a brother’s mind. The only right there is, will make him say: “He loves. He standeth by. He knows. He thinks with me and I am strong to do the right.” Learn thus to speak. Learn thus to think.
• Rule III. Blend with thy brother’s soul and know him as he is. Only upon the plane of soul can this be done. Elsewhere the blending feeds the fuel of his lower life. Then focus on the plan. Thus will he see the part that he and you and all men play. Thus will he enter into life and know the work accomplished.

A note, appended to these three rules says:

“These three energies – of speech, of thought, and of purpose – when wielded with understanding by the chela and blended with the awakening forces of his brother whom he seeks to aid, are the three energies with which all adepts work.”

It is almost impossible to translate these ancient formulas into adequate terms, but the above rough paraphrase will convey the idea to the illumined; these rules sum up the few thoughts which the average aspirant needs to grasp about the right direction of energy, and for which he is ready.

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