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Education in the New Age - Chapter II - The Nature of Esotericism
Esoteric study, when coupled with esoteric living, reveals in time the world of meaning and leads eventually to the world of significances. The esotericist starts by endeavoring to discover the reason why; he wrestles with the problem of happenings, events, crises and circumstances in order to arrive at the meaning they should hold for him; when he has ascertained the meaning of any specific problem, he uses it as an invitation to penetrate more deeply into the newly revealed world of meaning; he then learns to incorporate his little personal problems into the problem of the larger Whole, thus losing sight of the little self and discovering the larger Self. The true esoteric viewpoint is always that of the larger Whole. He finds the world of meaning spread like an intricate network over all activity and every aspect of the phenomenal world. Of this network the etheric web is the symbol and design; and the etheric web to be found between the centers up the individual spinal column is its microcosmic correspondence, like a series of doors of entrance into the larger world of meaning. This, in reality, concerns the true Science of the Centers to which I have frequently referred. They are modes of conscious entry (when developed and functioning) into a world of subjective realities [67] and into hitherto unknown phases of the divine consciousness.

Esotericism is not, however, concerned with the centers as such, and esotericism is not an effort scientifically to awaken the centers, as many students think. Esotericism really is training in the ability to function freely in the world of meaning; it is not occupied with any aspect of the mechanical form; it is occupied entirely with the soul aspect - the aspect of Savior, Redeemer and Interpreter - and with the mediating principle between life and substance. This mediating principle is the soul of the individual aspirant or disciple (if one may use such misleading wording); it is also the anima mundi in the world as a whole.

Esotericism. therefore involves a life lived in tune with the inner subjective realities; it is only possible when the student is intelligently polarized and mentally focused; it is only useful when the student can move among these inner realities with skill and understanding. Esotericism, involves also comprehension of the relation between forces and energies and the power to use energy for the strengthening, and then for the creative use of the forces contacted; hence their redemption. Esotericism uses the forces of the third aspect (that of intelligent substance) as recipients of the energies of the two higher aspects and, in so doing, salvages substance. Esotericism is the art of "bringing down to earth" those energies which emanate from the highest sources and there "grounding them" or anchoring them. As illustration: it was an esoteric activity of a worldwide group of students which resulted in the giving out of the teaching anent the New Group of World Servers, [A Treatise on White Magic, pages 398-433; A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Vol. II (Esoteric Psychology), pages 629-751] thereby grounding and fixing in the consciousness of humanity the fact of the existence and work of this basically subjective group; thus the work of that group was focused and their redeeming activity intensified. [68]

All true esoteric activity produces light and illumination; it results in the inherited light of substance being intensified and qualified by the higher light of the soul - in the case of humanity consciously functioning. It is therefore possible to define esotericism and its activity in terms of light, but I refrain from doing so because of the vagueness and the mystical application hitherto developed by esotericists in past decades. If esotericists would accept, in its simplest form, the pronouncement of modern science that substance and light are synonymous terms, and would recognize also that the light which they can bring to bear on substance (the application of energy to force) is equally substantial in nature, a far more intelligent approach would be made. The esotericist does deal with light in its three aspects, but it is preferable today to attempt a different approach until - through development, trial and experiment - the esotericist knows these triple differentiations in a practical sense and not just theoretically and mystically. We have to live down some of the mistakes of the past.

I have given you many other definitions in my various books, and some of them were quite simple; they can carry meaning today and will come to have more abstruse significances to you later on.

I would challenge all esotericists to attempt the practical approach which I have here outlined. I would ask them to live redemptive lives, to unfold their innate mental sensitivity, and to work continuously with the meaning which is to be found behind all individual, community, national and world affairs. If this is done, then the light will suddenly and increasingly shine upon your ways. You can become light-bearers, knowing then that "in that light you will see Light" - and so will your fellowmen. [69]

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