The Creative Work of Sound
Part 2 of 3 here.
Present day troubles are largely due to the lack of intuitive perception in the past and this fault lies primarily among the mystics of the world and not so much among the lower aspirants. The trouble has not lain in lack of idealism or even in a lack of intelligence and sincerity, it consists in the failure to sacrifice the personality at all times in order to make the intuitive realization demonstrate its realities. Compromise has been permitted and in the occult world compromise is forbidden. When indulged in, it leads to disaster and sweeps away eventually, in ruin and in storm, the personalities of those who so stoop. People have sought to adjust the truth to the hour instead of adjusting the hour to the truth, and in diplomacy they have endeavored to bring about as much of the reality as they deem wise. The Masters are looking out for those with clear vision, uncompromising adherence to the truth as sensed, and capacity to drive steadily forward toward the ideal. This entails the following factors:
- A recognition of that ideal through meditation.
- Its application to the present through one-pointedness.
- Removal of the old and hindering thought-forms through self-sacrifice.
- A refusal to compromise, through clear vision.
- A discrimination that enables the disciple always to distinguish between the acts of an individual and the individual himself.
- Realization that, in the occult work, it is not permitted to interfere with personal karma any more than it is permitted to shield from the consequences of action. This entails therefore a refusal to interfere in anyone’s business – that is, as regards the personality life, and yet involves a refusal to shirk the business of the larger cause. It is essential that the workers learn to discriminate between the factors which make for personal liberty and those which militate against group liberty.
The fourth result to be brought about by the present opportunity to work is the bringing in the new cycle and the new group of participants. Workers in the new era will be drawn from all groups and the test of their choice depends largely upon the measure of impersonality with which they work and the strength of their inner contact with the soul. It is not easy for any of you, therefore, submerged as you are in the smoke and roar of battle, to judge results with accuracy or to judge people with perfect propriety. These things have to be dealt with on the inner planes and are noted by the watching guides of the race. I would like here briefly to point out a few of the things for which the Great Ones look.
They look to see whether the inner flame – the result of effort wisely to work and think and do – burns with increased brilliance; they note whether it remains hidden and dim through the whirl of astral currents and by thought forms of personal antagonism, ambition and envy. As a result of world work some will be drawn into closer connection with the work of the Hierarchy, and others will be temporarily set back. Capacity to dominate the astral and to work from mental levels will largely count.
They look to see who can struggle and contend for principle with personalities, and yet keep the link of love intact. This counts perhaps more than men realize and a man who can stand for principle and yet love all human beings – refusing compromise and yet refusing hate – has something rare to offer in these days and the Great Ones can use him. See to it, therefore, all of you who work, that with clear vision, upright purpose and firm undeviating action you forge ahead. See to it that you deal with patience and forbearance with those of your brothers who choose the lesser principle and the lesser right, who sacrifice the good of the group for their own personal ends or who use unworthy methods. Give to them love and care and a ready helping hand, for they will stumble on the way and sound the depth of the law. Stand ready then to lift them up and to offer to them opportunities for service, knowing that service is the great healer and teacher.
The Great Ones look to see the faculty of pliability and adaptability working out, that faculty of adaptation that is one of the fundamental laws of species which nature so wonderfully demonstrates. The transference of this law to the inner planes and its working out in the new cycle of effort must be undertaken. This law of adaptation involves the appreciation of the need, the recognition of the new force coming in with the new cycle and the consequent bringing together in wide synthesis of the need and of the force, regarding the personal self simply as a focal point for action and transmutation. It involves the transmutation of the five senses and their extension into the subtler planes so that sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell are welded into one synthetic cooperating whole, for use in the great work. On the physical plane, these tend to the unification of the personal life and to the adaptation of the physical world to the needs of the personal self. On the subtler planes they must be transmuted until they are adequate to the needs of the group of which the individual forms a fragmentary part. The ability to do this is one of the things that the Great Ones look for in those individuals whose privilege it may be to inaugurate the New Age.
Above all, They look for an enlarged channel from the soul to the physical brain, via the mind. Such an enlarged channel indicates that a man can be used. One might almost express it by saying that They look for the perfecting of the antahkarana, that channel of communication between the soul consciousness and the brain whose possessor is one whom the Masters can successfully use. They are guided in their choice of workers by a man’s personally achieved capacity and by his own hard won ability. When there is capacity, ability, and faculty, then the Great Ones joyfully employ him. The wrong angle has been, at times, over-emphasized and the reverse of this taught. The Masters must not be sought because a man seeks capacity. They will be found when a man has capacity – capacity that makes him available for group work and that can be extended under careful instruction into the higher powers of the soul. Leadership in groups controlling the work of the New Age will grow out of the discipline of the individual, and leaders will be found among those who sense the inner issue. Leadership that endures does not come to those who strive for place and power nor for those who have their eyes only on outward conditions and overlook the underlying causes. Leadership does not come to those who place the personal self and its position and power before the good of the group. It comes enduringly to those who seek nothing for the separated self, to those who lose themselves in the good of the whole.
To resume our consideration of the AUM. The Sound or the Sacred Word when correctly used has various effects which might be touched upon here.
OM sounded forth, with intent thought behind it, acts as a disturber, a loosener of the coarse matter of the body of thought, of emotion, and of the physical body. When sounded forth with intense spiritual aspiration behind it, it acts as an attractive medium, and gathers in particles of pure matter to fill the places of those earlier thrown out. Students should strive to have these two activities in their minds as they use the Word in their meditation. This utilization of the Word is of practical value, and results in the building of good bodies for the use of the soul.
The use of the OM serves also to indicate to the workers on the universal planes, and to those in the outer world who are gifted with spiritual perception that a disciple is available for work and can be utilized actively in the needy places of the earth. This should be borne in mind by all aspirants and should serve as an incentive in making the outer phenomenal life coincide with the spiritual impulse.
The use of the Sacred Word has its place also in the magical work of the Hierarchy. Thought forms are created for the embodiment of ideas and these embodied forms are sent forth to contact the minds of the disciples who are responsible in the group of a Master for the carrying forward of the plan.
Through the cultivated receptivity of the developed and controlled mental body, aspirants become aware of the ideas which the Masters bring through from the plane of the Universal Mind, and hence are in a position to cooperate intelligently. They, in their turn, as this Rule seeks to indicate, create thought forms of those received ideas, and utilize them in their groups for the helping of the world. The main work of a disciple on the mental plane is to train himself to do four things:
- To be receptive to the mind of the Master.
- To cultivate a right intuitive understanding of the thoughts sent him by the Master.
- To embody the ideas received in such form as will be suitable for those he is engaged in helping.
- Through sound, light and vibration to make his thought form active (embodying as much of the universal thought as is desirable) so that other minds may contact it.
Thus are groups gathered, organized, taught and lifted, and thus the Hierarchy of Adepts can reach the world.
There are many other uses, of course, but if the students will ponder on these three they will make it possible for further uses to be imparted later.
May I add, that the sound is only truly potent when the disciple has learnt to subordinate the lesser sounds. Only as the sounds he sends forth normally into the three worlds are reduced in volume and in activity, as well as in quantity will it be possible for the Sound to be heard, and so to accomplish its purpose. Only as the multitude of spoken words is reduced, and silence in speech is cultivated, will it be possible for the Word to make its power felt on the physical plane. Only when the many voices of the lower nature and of our environment are silenced, will the “Voice that speaketh in the stillness” make its presence felt. Only when the sound of many waters dies away in the adjustment of the emotions will the clear note of the God of the waters be heard.
People seldom realize the potency of a word, yet it is stated, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God. Without Him was not anything made that was made.” When therefore we read those words our minds go back to the dawn of the creative process when, through the medium of sound, God spoke and the worlds were made.
It has been said that, “the chief agency by which Nature’s wheel is moved in a phenomenal direction is sound,” for the original sound or word sets in vibration the matter of which all forms are made and initiates that activity which characterizes even the atom of substance.
The literature and the scriptures of all the ancient nations and great religions bear testimony to the efficacy of sound in producing all that is tangible and visible. The Hindus say very beautifully that “the Great Singer built the worlds, and the Universe is His Song.” This is another way of expressing the same idea. If this is realized and the science of this concept somewhat understood, the significance of our own words and the utterance of sound in speech, becomes almost a momentous happening.
Sound or speech and the use of words have been regarded by the ancient philosophers (and are increasingly so regarded by modern thinkers) as the highest agent used by man in moulding himself and his surroundings. Thought, speech and the resultant activity on the physical plane complete the triplicity which make a man what he is, and place him where he is.
The purpose of all speech is to clothe thought and thus make our thoughts available for others. When we speak we evoke a thought and make it present, and we bring that which is concealed within us into audible expression. Speech reveals, and right speech can create a form of beneficent purpose, just as wrong speech can produce a form which has a malignant objective. Without realizing this, however, ceaselessly and irresponsibly, day after day, we speak; we use words; we multiply sounds; and surround ourselves with form worlds of our own creation. Is it not essential, therefore, that before we speak we should think, thus remembering the injunction, “You must attain to knowledge, ere you can attain to speech”? Having thought, let us then choose the right words to express the right thought, attempting to give correct pronunciation, proper values, and true tonal quality to every word we utter.
Then will our spoken word create a thought form which will embody the idea we have in our minds. Then too will our words carry no discord, but will add their quota to that great harmonizing chord or unifying word which it is the function of mankind ultimately to utter. Wrong speech separates, and it is interesting to bear in mind that the word, the symbol of unity, is divine, whereas speech in its many diversifications is human.
As evolution proceeds, and the human family rises into its true position in the great plan of the universe, right and correct speech will be increasingly cultivated, because we shall think more before we utter words, or, as a great teacher has said, “through meditation we shall rectify tile mistakes of wrong speech;” and the significance of word forms, true and correct sounds, and vocal quality will become ever more apparent.
The second word of importance in this fourth Rule is the word light. First the sound and then the first effect of sound, the pouring forth of light, causing the revelation of the thought form.
Light is known by what is revealed. The absence of light produces the fading away, into apparent non-existence, of the phenomenal world.
The thought form created by the Sound is intended to be a source of revelation. It must reveal truth, and bring an aspect of reality to the cognizance of the onlooker. Hence the second quality of the thought form in its highest use is that it brings light to those who need it, to those who walk in darkness.
I deal not here with light as the soul, cosmically or individually. I touch not upon light as the universal second aspect of divinity. I seek only in these Instructions to deal with that aspect of truth which will make the aspirant a practical worker, and so enable him to work with intelligence. His main work (and increasingly he will find this to be so) is to create thought-forms to carry revelation to thinking human beings. To do this he must work occultly, and through the sound of his breathed forth work, through the truth revealed in form, will he carry light and illumination into the dark places of the earth.
Then he finally makes his thought form live through the power of his own assurance, spiritual understanding and vitality. Thus the significance of the third word, vibration, appears. His message is heard, for it is sounded forth; it carries illumination, for it conveys the Truth and reveals Reality; it is of vital import, for it vibrates with the life of its creator, and is held in being as long as his thought and sound and intelligence animate it. This is true of a message, of an organization, and of all forms of life, which are but the embodied ideas of a cosmic or a human creator.
Students would find it of value to take these three vital words and trace their relation to all embodied thought forms – a cosmos, a plane, a kingdom in nature, a race, a nation, a human being. Consider the diverse groups of creating agencies – solar Logoi, solar Angels, human beings, and others. Consider the spheres of the creative process and see how true the Old Commentary is when it says:
“The sound reverberated amidst varying wheels of uncreated matter; and lo, the sun and all the lesser wheels appeared. The light shone forth amidst the many wheels, and thus the many forms of God, the diverse aspects of his radiant robe blazed forth.
“The vibrant palpitating wheels turned over. Life, in its many stages and in its many grades commenced the process of unfolding, and lo, the law began to work. Forms arose, and disappeared, but life moved on. Kingdoms arose, holding their many forms which drew together, turned together, and later separated, but still the life moved on.
“Mankind, hiding the Son of God, the Word incarnate, broke forth into the light of revelation. Races appeared and disappeared. The forms, veiling the radiant soul, emerged, achieved their purpose and vanished into night, but lo, the life moved on, blended this time with light. Life merged with light, both blending to reveal a beauty and a power, an active liberating force, a wisdom and a love that we call a Son of God.
“Through the many Sons of God, who in their inmost center are but one, God in his Fatherhood is known. Yet still that lighted life moved on to a dread point of power, of force creative, concerning which we say: It is the All, the Container of the Universe, the persistent center of the Spheres, the One.”
We have touched upon two words of significance in the fourth Rule, – sound and light, – and one paramount idea emerges. The soul is to be known as light, as the revealer, whilst the Spirit aspect will later be recognized as sound. Complete light and illumination is the right of the disciple who attains to the third initiation, whilst the true comprehension of the sound, of the triple AUM, the synthesizing factor in manifestation appears only to the one who stands master of the three worlds.
The word vibration must next engage our attention but it may not be dissociated from the next word in the sequence form. Vibration, the effect of divine activity, is two-fold. There is the first effect in which the vibration (issuing from the realm of subjectivity in response to sound and light) produces response in matter, and therefore attracts or calls together the atoms out of which molecules, cells, organisms and finally the integrated form can be built. This effected, the aspect of vibration is to be noted as a duality.
The form, through the medium of the five senses, becomes aware of the vibratory aspect of all forms in the environment wherein it, itself, is a functioning entity. Later, in time and space, that functioning form becomes increasingly aware of its own interior vibration, and by tracing back that vibration to its originating source becomes aware of the Self, and later of the Kingdom of the Self. Humanity as a whole is aware of its environment and, through the information conveyed by the sense of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell, the phenomenal world, the outer garment of God, is known, and communication between the Self and what we call the natural world is set up. As the mind appropriates and synthesizes this knowledge, the dweller in the form passes through the following stages:
- Vibration is registered, and the environment has its effect upon the form.
- This effect is noted, but not understood. The man, under the slow and steady impact of this vibratory effect, slowly awakens to consciousness or awareness.
- The environment begins to interest the man and he regards it as desirable. Steadily the attraction of the three worlds grows and holds the man in reiterated incarnation. (The word “reiterated” is literally and more academically correct than the word “repeated.” Each of us is really a reiterated word, sounding in time and space.)
- Later, when the vibration of the environing forms of the natural world becomes monotonous through constant impact over many lives, the man begins to turn a deaf ear and an unseeing eye upon the familiar phenomenal world of desire. He becomes insensitive to its vibratory impact and increasingly aware of the vibration of the Self.
- Later, on the Path of Probation and of Discipleship, this subtler vibratory activity exerts an increasing allure. The outer world ceases to attract. The inner world of the Self assumes paramount place in the desire nature.
- Little by little, using the language of modern psychology, within the outer form, which is the response apparatus for the process of becoming aware of the phenomenal world, the disciple builds a new subtler response apparatus whereby the subjective worlds can be known.
When this stage is reached there ensues a steady turning away from vibratory contact with the outer worlds of form, and an atrophying of desire in that direction. All seems arid and undesirable, and all fails to satisfy the ardent and aspiring soul. The difficult process of reorientation toward a new world, a new state of being and a new condition of awareness is set up, and because the inner subtle response apparatus is only in an embryonic condition there is a devastating sense of loss, a groping in the dark, and a period of spiritual wrestling and exploration that tests the endurance and steadfastness of purpose of the aspirant to the very limits.
But (and this is the encouraging point to be remembered) all “proceedeth under the law and naught can hinder now the work from going forward.” Note these words in Rule IV. There comes a stage when a man is verily and indeed “founded on the rock,” and though he may experience the alternation of light and shade, though the waves of the purifying waters may roll over him, and threaten to sweep him off his feet, and though he may feel himself deaf and dumb and blind, naught can ultimately defeat the purpose of the soul. All that is lacking is the developed spiritual body which is equipped to respond to the vibration of the inner spiritual world. It exists in embryo, and the secret of its use lies in the attitude of the brain to the functions of the etheric body, as it exists as an intermediary between the brain, nervous system and the mind, or between the soul, mind and the brain. This cannot be elaborated here but the hint can be given for the reflection of the keen aspirant.
We have therefore the following stages dealt with in Rule IV and pointed out with lucid clarity, yet with that parsimony of phrase which distinguishes all occult and symbolic writings:
- The integration of the form, as the result of the activity of the soul, through the use of
- The development of a response apparatus for use in the phenomenal world.
- The eventual turning away from the phenomenal world, as the result of use and consequent satiety, and the gradual use of the subtler response apparatus.
- The response apparatus of the soul – mind, etheric body, brain and nervous system – is reoriented, and the man becomes aware of the kingdom of the soul, another kingdom in nature.
- The turning away from the kingdom of the world to the kingdom of the soul becomes an esoteric habit, and in this thought lies hid the secret of esoteric psychology. The man is stabilized in the spiritual life. Naught can now hinder.