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Discipleship in the New Age II - Personal Instructions to Disciples - W.D.S.
My reply to him is:

In the above enquiry, my brother, you have asked nine questions, all bearing on the same subject. Some of them would not have needed a reply had you had the time to study A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, for in that book much of your question is answered.

The difficulty in distinguishing between thought and emotion is due entirely to two things:

  1. The point in evolution of the Observer, which determines very largely the field of his observation and the focus of his directed attention
  2. The present status of the human race. Most of humanity is not, at present, thinking but is actively feeling.

The quality of mind, which is primarily discrimination, is largely lacking in the bulk of mankind. The quality of emotion is however becoming understood as the mind develops. It is the result of a measure of discrimination which enables the Observer to realize that he is undergoing an emotion, or passing through an emotional crisis. This emotion is, in its turn, the result of sensory perception. There can be much feeling reaction without emotion. There can be no emotion, as a result of feeling, without some measure of mental unfoldment and of thought being present. Therefore, the relation between thought and feeling is called by us emotion. Your question is therefore answered by saying, in a large and general way, that feeling can be (and frequently is) present where there is no thought at all. But when thought enters in, then the result of the interplay between thought and feeling is the production of emotion.

We pass on then to your second question where you seek to describe thought as "sublimated emotion." Here you are putting the cart before the horse, as the saying is. Thought is the medium whereby emotion can be sublimated. It is feeling without thought which has produced the world of illusion, of glamor, and of delusion. It is thought, with its [624] discriminating and analyzing faculty which makes us aware of this maya in which we are ceaselessly walking. Thought throws a clear light into the fog and mists of the astral plane. Astral energy - the energy of sensitive feeling reaction - has for millions of ages been thrown into activity by all the forms of life in all the kingdoms of nature. This has produced the world illusion. Only in the human family, however, is it seen for what it is, and the power of thought and the white light of the mind begin to play upon the matter of that plane, producing emotion, but the emotion is an astral condition recognized by the mind and later seen to be one of the effects of the steadily growing mind power of the race.

This is the thought underlying the phrase found so often in the theosophical books, kama-manas - desire-mind - for all feeling-emotion inevitably evokes desire. If the emotion evoked by the mind's recognition of the feeling (registered in the astral body) is pleasurable, then desire is evoked for the continuance or the repetition of the experience. If it is not pleasurable, but painful, then the reaction is desire for the cessation of the experience and therefore liberation from it. This is the basic human desire, leading to desire for liberation (in the first and earliest instance) from the womb into life on the physical plane, on and up to that great and final desire which is for liberation into life itself. This thought leads us into the world of the most technical esoteric psychology.

It is very difficult for the beginner to grasp the basic differentiations which he has welded into unities through his innate capacity to identify himself sequentially with that which is revealed. Feeling and mind are, for the individual, the two basic differentiations in time and space. That which is registered in the interplay between the two is emotion and, later, thought. But thought is a later realization and reveals emotion; it is not however emotion. It discovers feeling with which the soul has consistently identified itself for aeons, and - if I may so express it - it is the turning of the searchlight of the slowly developing mind into the world of feeling, of glamor and of illusion which reveals man's reaction [625] to it all, and this we call emotion. In a deeply and truly esoteric sense, it is the intuition which is sublimated emotion, and not the mind.

Therefore, in answering your third question, I would say that thoughts do not arise out of our feelings, but that when the mind begins to be active, our feelings stand revealed and the result of that revelation we call emotion.

Thoughts, again, are not "fossilized feelings," but emotions which can be registered by the image-making faculty of the mind, and the thought-forms thus created (embodying the mind's reaction to the world of feeling) can be so powerful that they can persist in the treasure-house of the memory and can be constantly revitalized by a recurring emotion. It is the mind's activity in relation to feeling or to the range of feelings which reveals emotion. In the present time when the average human being and the average aspirant cannot distinguish accurately between mind, emotion, feeling and the thought-forms which memory guards, it is impossible for a clear line of demarcation to be drawn. But this is owing simply to the point of evolution of the race. Such lines and differentiations can be drawn clearly by the developed disciple and the initiate. He then discovers that thoughts are the product of the principle of intelligence, dealing with life and enabling a man to say: I am not my body. I am not my feeling apparatus. I am not that which is developed through the interplay between myself and my environment. I am something other than all this. I am.

In connection with the sixth part of your question, my brother, you have forgotten your technical occultism and the ancient teaching anent the involutionary arc, wherein the various bodies and forms are created by the descending, involving Spirit, and the consciousness appropriated in a great moment of crisis, when each kingdom in nature came into being. The mind exists and needs to be consciously used. Few are yet aware of that quality in matter which is called the mind. But, as on the involutionary arc Spirit created as it descended, and appropriates as it reascends, so each appropriation marks a new point upon the Path of Return and so the Eternal Pilgrim, the soul, does the same in a lesser [626] way. On the path into physical manifestation, the bodies or forms are built. On the Path of Return, they are appropriated and used, and the consciousness of their use steadily grows. For the evolved human being, the goal is a clear and conscious appropriation of that which has been built and its use in the service of the Plan.

Forget not that all aspects or externalizations which the soul uses and through which it expresses itself are constituent parts of the vehicle of expression of the One in whom we live and move and have our being. Therefore we appropriate that which we earlier "earmarked" (if I may use that ancient phrase in its deepest and truest occult significance) on the Path of Descent. We learn to use it consciously. We hear its note as we descend; we see it as we ascend. We identify ourselves with the form as its sound reaches us during the process of involution. We distinguish it on the evolutionary arc, and when the stage wherein we identify ourselves with form begins to die out, we then "see" it and enter the stage of duality.

Yes, my brother, we do indeed raise our bodies into heaven, but the raising takes place within the realm of conscious effort, for when the distinctions of the lower mind fade out, and the work - the necessary work - of discovery and of differentiation has played its part in teaching us the lesson of desirelessness, we find that the form and consciousness are one, the light is one, and the energy is one. But we find also that "one star differeth from another star in glory" because there is One Flame but many sparks of differing brightness within that Flame. Such is the glory of the great Eternal One. This realization is the soul's aspiration and the goal of its great enlightenment. It is, as you rightly point out when viewing the subject from the angle of mother-matter, the assumption of the Virgin into Heaven, there to be glorified. Much of the mystery connected with "the three vestures of the Buddha" is related to this glorification of the three bodies. Much can be learnt by a careful study of the connection between the three bodies of a human being and the vestures or vehicles of the Lord Buddha. The whole story of Sublimation, of Purification, and of Transfiguration is hidden [627] in this relationship. The correspondences remain, however, to be pointed out. It is a task that has not yet been done.

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