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Esoteric Psychology II - Chapter II - The Ray of Personality - Problems of Disciples and Mystics
Problem of the Development of the Mystical Vision

This process of sensing the goal, of contacting the ideal and of visioning the many symbols that veil the soul, which [599] portray pictorially the ultimate destination and the final purpose, are the recognized prerogative of the mystical aspirant. The mystical literature of all the world religions is, as you know, full of these visions, ranging all the way from the more sexual approach of the Song of Solomon or the writings of many of the feminine mystics of the Church to the amazing revelations given in the ancient Puranas or in the Apocalypse. These cover all the ground from the formulation of the high-grade "wish-life" of the mystics to the true prevision as to the future of the race as found in the writings of the prophetically Scriptures. With the detail I do not intend to deal. It has been considered by the modern psychologist and the religious instructor and Church writers and dealt with by them at great length. I want only to touch upon the effects that these experiences have upon the mystic himself. I would ask you also to remember that I am generalizing and not being specific.

The difficulties to which such mystics are prone are four:

1. Devitalization. The mystic is drawn so constantly "upwards" (as he regards and terms it) to the land of his dreams, to the person of his idealism or to the spiritual ideal (personified or non-personified) of his aspiration that he reverses the normal and wholesome process of "the Way of the constant materializing of the Real". He lives entirely in the world of his aspiration and thus neglects life on the physical plane, becoming not only impractical but negative to the physical plane. He draws all his life forces upward so that the physical body and life on the physical plane suffers. Technically, the forces of the solar plexus are not drawn upward into the heart center, as they should be, nor is the energy of the heart poured out in selfless love of humanity; they are all focused and distributed in the highest level of the astral consciousness and sent to feed the forces of the astral body. They reverse, [600] therefore, the normal process and the physical body suffers grievously through this.

A study of the lives of the saints and mystics will reveal much of this difficulty, and even in the relatively rare cases where there has been some definite service to humanity, the motives were frequently (I might say, usually) the meeting of a sensed requirement or obligation which would serve the mystic, bringing him emotional satisfaction and reward. This devitalization was often so excessive that it led not only to nervous debility, trance conditions and other pathological developments, but sometimes to death itself.

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