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Esoteric Psychology II - Chapter II - The Ray of Personality - Problems of Disciples and Mystics
The Science of the Breath, which is the science of laya-yoga or the science of the centers, is one of profound importance and one of real danger as well. It is, in the last analysis, the Science of Energy and teaches the method whereby energy can be controlled, directed and utilized for the expanding of the consciousness, for the establishing of right relations between the man and his environment and, above all (in the case of those affiliated with the Great White Lodge), for the production of white magic. This pranic energy works through the vital body and courses through the many "nadis" found therein. These "nadis" exist in their millions and are minute channels of force which underlie the entire nervous system of man. Of this they are the counterpart and the animating factor, making sensitivity possible and producing that action and reaction which converts the mechanism of man into an intricate "receiver" of energy and "director" of force. Each [592] of these tiny lines of energy are fivefold in nature and resemble five strands or fibers of force, closely knit together within a covering sheath of a different force. These forces are bound together in a cross-sectional relation.

It is to be noted, also, that these five types of energy form one closely knit unit, and these units form, in their entirety, the etheric sheath itself. Through these five channels flow the five major pranas - energizing, galvanizing and controlling the entire human organism. There is no part of the physical body which this network of energies does not underlie or "substand". This is the true form or substance.

Where the lines of force cross and recross, as they repeat in the microcosm the involutionary and evolutionary arcs of the macrocosm, there are formed five areas up the spinal column and two in the head where the energies are more potent than elsewhere, because more concentrated. Thus you have the appearance of the major centers. Throughout the entire body, these crossings and recrossings occur and so the equipment of energy centers is brought into being:

  1. Where the lines of force cross 21 times, a major center is found. Of these there are seven.
  2. Where they cross 14 times, you have the appearance of the minor centers, to which I earlier referred.
  3. Where they cross 7 times, you have tiny centers and of these minute centers there are many hundreds.

Some day the entire etheric body will be charted and the general direction of the lines of force will then be seen. The great sweep of the energies will be apparent, the point in evolution more easily established and the psychic situation infallibly indicated. The intricacy of the subject is, however, very great, owing to just this difference in the evolutionary development of the vehicles, the stage of the expanding [593] consciousness and the receptivity to stimulation of the human being. The Science of Meditation will eventually absorb the science of laya-yoga, but only in the highest form of the latter. The goal of meditation is to bring about the free play of all the incoming forces so that there is no impediment offered at any point to the incoming energy of the soul; so that no obstruction and congestion is permitted and no lack of power - physical, psychic, mental and spiritual - is to be found in any part of the body. This will mean not only good health and the full and free use of all the faculties (higher and lower) but direct contact with the soul. It will produce that constant renewing of the body which is characteristic of the life expression of the initiate and the Master, as well as of the disciple, only in a lesser degree. It will produce rhythmic expression of the divine life in form. To the clairvoyant view of the adept as He looks at the aspirant or disciple, it causes:

  1. The rhythm of manifestation. This is the cause of the appearance and the disappearance of the form. The adept, by looking at the body, can tell just how long it has been in incarnation and how long it will still continue to "appear". The state of the pranic channels reveals this accurately, particularly those found below the diaphragm. The center at the base of the spine, where is found the seat of the will-to-live (governing the seed of the life principle in the heart) reveals this.
  2. The rhythm of the psychic life. This is, in reality, the revelation of where the man stands in relation to consciousness and its contacts. The adept, when seeking information upon this point, looks first of all at the solar plexus center and then at the heart and head, for in these three centers and in their relative "light and radiant brightness", the whole story of the individual stands [594] revealed. The head center, looked at for the average or below average man, is the center, between the eyebrows. In the case of the aspirant, mystic and disciple, it is the highest head center.

As evolution proceeds and the life forces flow ever more freely along the "nadis" and through the centers - major, minor, and minute - the rapidity of the distribution and of the flow, and the consequent radiance of the body steadily increases. The separating walls within the enclosing sheath of the tiny channels of force eventually dissolve (under the impact of soul force) and so disappear and thus the "nadis" of the advanced disciple take a new form indicating that he is now essentially and consequently dual and is therefore an integrated personality. He is soul and personality. Soul force can now flow unimpeded through the central channel of the "nadi" and all the other forces can flow unimpeded around it. It is whilst this process is going on and the forces within the "nadis" are being blended and thus forming one energy that most of the diseases of the mystics make their appearance, particularly those connected with the heart.

Simultaneously with this appearance of duality in the "nadis", the disciple finds himself able to use the two channels - ida and pingala - which are found up the spinal column, one on each side of the central channel. There can now be the free flow of force up and down these two "pathways of the forces" and thus out into the "nadis", utilizing the area around any of the major centers as distributing areas and thus galvanizing, at will, any part of the mechanism into activity, or the whole mechanism into coordinated action. The disciple has now reached the point in his development where the etheric web, which separates all the centers up the spine from each other, has been burned away by the fires of life. The [595] "sushumna" or central channel can be slowly utilized. This parallels the period wherein there is the free flow of soul force through the central channel in the "nadis". Eventually this central channel comes into full activity. All this can be seen by the clairvoyant eye of the Master.

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