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A Treatise on White Magic - Rule Five - The Awakening of the Centers
5. Study of the centers. This we are now beginning. It is a study as yet in its infancy in the West, and little applied in the East. Our approach will be somewhat new, for though we will accustom ourselves to the names, locations and relationships of the centers we shall do no meditation work upon them. Eventually we shall arrive at an appreciation of their vibration, of their tone and colors and of the astrological significances. We shall not work with the centers down the spinal column, nor aim at their conscious utilization as does the clairvoyant and clairaudient person. All the work done by students must be done entirely in the head and from the head. There is the seat of the Will, or Spirit aspect, working through the soul. There also is the synthetic expression of the personality, and in the understanding of the relation of the two head centers and their mutual interplay will come gradually the domination of the personality by the soul. This will lead to the consequent and subsequent [206] guided activity of the five other centers. The work in these five centers will eventually be as automatic as the present functioning of the heart and the lungs in the physical body.

The presiding Intelligence, the Self, "seated on the throne between the eyebrows" and guided by the Light in the head will be awake to the interests of the soul and as alert as is the 'I' consciousness of the average self-centered man. By the rhythm of his divine life and by his conscious cooperation with the Plan, and functioning through the use of the Will, must the disciple in incarnation act as the agent of his soul in the three worlds.

6. Breathing Exercises. Little by little as progress is made will the needed instruction be imparted. Let me point out however that no breathing exercises can be safely used where there is no attempt to impose rhythm upon the life of every day. The two activities must go hand in hand.

The effect of breathing exercises is varied:

  1. There is an oxygenating effect. The blood stream is purified and pressure is relieved. A symbolism underlies this: - for as the blood is oxygenated so is the life of the man in the three worlds permeated by spiritual energy.
  2. There is the imposition of a peculiar rhythm, brought about by the particular spacing and time limit of the breaths inhalation, retention, and exhalation - and this will vary according to the counts.
  3. There is a subtle effect of prana (which is the subjective element underlying the air breathed in and out) which affects most potently the body of prana, the vital or etheric body. Students should remember that subtle effects are more powerful than the physical effects. They produce results [207] in two directions; on the physical body and on the etheric body. The entire vital body assumes a particular rhythm according to the breathing exercises. This kept up for a long period of time will have a shattering or a cohesive effect upon the physical body, and devitalize or vitalize the etheric body correspondingly.
  4. There is the effect upon the centers, which is most effectual and which follows the trend of the aspirant's thought. If, for instance, a man thinks upon the solar plexus, that center will inevitably be vitalized and his emotional nature be strengthened. Hence the need for students to hold their meditation steady in the head and so awaken the head center.

Let no one doubt the effect of breathing exercises upon the vital body. As surely as eating and drinking build or destroy the physical body, and aid or hinder its right functioning, so do breathing exercises produce potent effects, if rightly used over a long enough period of time.

And what shall I say about the last three requirements? Nothing much, for the time is not yet ripe for their correct understanding. Step by step must the aspirant proceed and his theory must not persistently run ahead of his experience. Perhaps I can give the clue to each of these three through the formulation of a simple rule for daily living. This will be grasped by those for whom it is intended and will not work harm to the unevolved. This rule, when followed will bring about, gently and subjectively, the necessary conditions for the manifestation of the requirement.

  • Learn to use the will through the development of steady purpose and the organizing of the daily life, so that that purpose may reach fulfilment.
  • Learn to do something else with time besides organize [208] it and use it.
  • Learn to do several things simultaneously, and utilize therefore all the three bodies synchronously.

Let me illustrate: - When you are practicing your daily breathing exercise keep your count with accuracy, listen attentively for the sound that "soundeth in the silence" of the interlude. At the same time think of yourself as the soul, the imposer of rhythm, and the voice that speaks. This is something which can be acquired by practice by each of you.

Discover the serpent of illusion by the help of the serpent of wisdom and then will the sleeping serpent mount upwards to the place of meeting. [211]

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