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A Treatise on White Magic - Rule Five - The Awakening of the Centers
1. Character building. These nine points are to be studied from their force aspect, and not from their ethical or spiritual import. It is the "world of force into which the initiate enters," and it is the training he receives as an aspirant that makes such a step possible. Each of us enters life with a certain equipment - the product of past lives of endeavor and of experience. That equipment has in it certain deficiencies or lacks, and is seldom of a balanced nature. One man is too mental. Another is too psychic. A third is primarily physical, and still another is too mystical. One man is sensitive, irritable, and impressionable. Another is the reverse of all these qualities. One person is centered in [202] his animal nature, or is strictly material in his outlook on life, whilst another is visionary and free from the sins of the flesh. The diversities among men are innumerable, but in each life there is a predominant trend towards which all the energies of his nature turn. Perhaps he is swayed strongly by his physical forces and lives consequently the life of an animal. Or he is swayed by astral energy and lives a potently emotional and psychic life. Perhaps - like so many - he is swayed by three types of energy, physical, emotional and an occasional flow of soul energy. The point to be remembered is that the bodies in which we, as souls, are functioning, constitute primarily energy bodies. They are composed of energy units, atoms in a state of constant flux and movement and find their place in an environment of a similar nature. Acting as the positive nucleus in these energy bodies, and at present, in the majority of cases relatively static, is the soul. It exerts as yet little pressure upon its sheaths and identifies itself with them, thus temporarily - negating its own intrinsic life.

The day comes, however, when the soul awakens to the need of dominating the situation and of asserting its own authority. Then the man (spasmodically at the beginning) takes stock of the situation. He has to discover first which type of energy preponderates and is the motivating force in his daily experience. Having discovered this, he begins to reorganize, to reorient and to rebuild his bodies. The whole of this teaching can be summed up in two words: Vice and Virtue.

Vice is the energy of the sheaths, individual or synthesized in the personality, as it controls the life activities and subordinates the soul to the sheaths and to the impulses and tendencies of the lower self.

Virtue is the calling in of new energies and of a new vibratory rhythm so that the soul becomes the positive controlling factor and the soul forces supersede those of [203] the bodies. This process is that of character building. Let me illustrate! A man is the victim of an irritable and nervous disposition. We say to him that he needs to be calm and peaceful and to cultivate detachment and so gain control of himself. We teach him that in place of a cross disposition there should be sweetness and calm. This sounds a platitude and most uninteresting. Yet what is really being stated is that in place of the restless self-centered emotional nature and the activity of the solar plexus center (carrying the powerful forces of the astral plane) there should be imposed the steady detached and harmonizing rhythm of the soul, the higher self. This work of imposing the higher vibration on the lower is character building, the first prerequisite upon the Path of Probation. On reading this the earnest student can begin to sum up his energy assets; he can tabulate the forces which he feels control his life, and thus arrive at a reasonable and truthful understanding of the forces which require to be subordinated and those which require to be strengthened. Then in the light of true knowledge, let him go forward upon the path of his destiny.

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