The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 12

Also predetermined is the kind of body. Physical heredity and how it is limited. Chief mundane occupations. Diseases. The chief events in life. How destiny can be overcome.

Also among the events determined at the moment of death as preordained for the next life is the kind of body. Even in youth, and more distinctly later in life, such destiny appears as a favorable or adverse gift. Doers find themselves in bodies which are gross, weak, supple or tough. The four classes of elementals build all bodies according to the lines exhibited on the breath-form at conception. Weak eyes, soft bones, stiff joints, or the opposites are foreordained, as well as the ability of a body to recover from wounds or diseases. The features of the face and the movements and other characteristics of physical appearance are predestined.

There is a physical heredity, a transmission of qualities from the parents of the body. Some bodies are good examples of heredity, others do not show it in a marked degree. The seed cell and the soil cell carry with them the appearance and quality of the bodies of the father and of the mother, but the cells must build according to the form of the breath-form of the new human being. The cells build according to the pattern which the breath-form conveys through the astral parts of the cells. These astral parts, or breath link units, can thus build the pattern coming from the father and the mother only in so far as the pattern of the breath-form permits. Where the lines on the breath-form are not pronounced, the heredity is exact, almost as in plants and animals. The more distinctive the lines, the less noticeable will be the heredity of features, qualities and habits. Strong personalities will diverge from the parents, but if the character traits are alike even strong personalities may resemble them. The existing doer gets from the parents only some of the material used in the make-up of the body. The compositor units of the present body, namely the senses, the organ units and the four kinds of link units in each cell, are the identical units that were in the former body. They come back from nature and build the new body, using the qualities inherent in the seed and soil cells to build out the bodily characteristics marked on the breath-form.

The form and features of a person change little more from existence to existence than they do at various periods in a life on earth. Thinking changes features gradually during life. Pictures of the average person taken at corresponding periods of two or even several lives would show little difference. The physical parents may or may not be the same, but the features furnished by heredity no matter from what parents, are the same for a string of lives, with the ordinary person.

Inherent manners are predestined. They are qualities of the re-existing portion of the doer, are of its own nature and show the development of the doer portion. They are the basis of the superficial manners which are the customs of a period and country. The inherent manners range from those of a brute to those of gentility. They are of two kinds; those shown in strictly personal conduct and those displayed where other people are also concerned. The inherent personal manners are those that show respect for oneself. The other kind are seen in one’s speech and conduct towards others. Respect for or disregard of their rights and feelings mark the difference between good and bad innate manners. Not conventional training or superficial compliance with formalities, but the inherent manners make a gentleman or a gentlewoman.

Native manners are character in action. They are important indications of the development of the particular doer portion. They are the result of thinking in conformity with or in opposition to what the Light of the Intelligence has shown the human what his conduct should be. They are among the factors which determine lasting associations. They produce grace of nature, grace of speech and grace in movement, or the opposites. They cause deep lines to be made on the breath-form along which the person will act in life. But they can also change by improvement or impairment. They are brought over from the past life, because they are of the doer itself. They are called manners and usually confounded with superficial behavior according to fashion and custom, but they are more. They show the brutishness or refinement of the re-existing doer portion. There is in them a continuity which is absent in superficial manners.

These native, predestinated manners will work themselves out, no matter what the early surroundings were. Usually birth in a family where there is breeding, culture and leisure aids the display of good manners, but many are born into such favored families, whose inherent manners are brutish and selfish, though their superficial behavior is polished.

In most cases the chief mundane occupations of a life are predestined. It is so whether a person selects an occupation, accepts one proposed for him or is compelled to it by force of circumstances. He was making the destiny for the present life when he fell in with and consented to remain in the occupation of the past life, or when, though he rebelled, he did no thinking that would produce a change, or when the exteriorization of past thoughts as an occupation can no longer be postponed. Occupations are superficial, vary with age and country and lead the doer outward.

Occupations are of four classes, labor, trade, learning and knowledge. Inside these classes the occupations change with the conditions of the times. Leadbeaters are no longer in demand; plumbers have come into existence. Among the traders new kinds have appeared with the revelation and use of electrical forces. There are many subdivisions, especially among the traders and the laborers, and the changes go on as inventions are made and as forces of nature are discovered. Even among the learned the application of these discoveries causes new methods and occupations, as in architecture, engineering, surgery, archaeology and chemistry. In some occupations bodily exertions predominate, and little or no mental effort is used. In some the work is almost entirely mental. Some occupations tax the workers to the utmost with long hours and strenuous work, mental or physical, while others allow the workers leisure and even idleness. Some occupations are for amusement or sport, but require taking risks and hard work. Some people, poor or rich, are occupied with idling, looking for something to do or shirking work. Another occupation is the commission of crimes. People perform their work mechanically or with originality, with or without interest, well or ill, and the quality of the worker may vary from inefficiency up to genius. All occupations, no matter how necessary they may seem for sustaining life and supporting a family or maintaining public order, safety, and welfare, no matter how unavoidable and forced are superficial.

The purpose of every occupation is the training of the doer. From that standpoint it does not matter whether they are easy, agreeable, high, remunerative, successful, healthful, or the opposites. It does not matter whether a person has one occupation or several, or whether he changes his occupations during life, or whether talents are concealed and find no opportunity of appearing in the particular occupation which is part of his destiny. The purpose of a man’s having a particular occupation is to spur on or to hold back his development in a certain direction.

All is arranged by his thinker according to his thoughts, which develop by exteriorization directly as design and thereafter as destiny projected according to the balancing factor. The human in his undeveloped state cannot judge what occupation is best for him. So his thinker, seeing the best arrangement that can be made for the experience of the doer, allows events that will lead into an occupation and then makes the occupation the chief factor in bringing out the principal events in the life. The kind of occupation is not preordained to the same degree as are the chief and turning events. What other occupations the doer will be led into depends on the attitude and manner in which it deals with its occupation and the concomitant events.

Like family and social connections, occupations are means of bringing the doer into contact with those it is destined to meet. It is likely that it has met them before. The relations may change from superiority to dependence, from beneficence to mordacity, as the destiny is worked out. Through the conditions under which occupations are carried on, usually come rewards, punishments, duties and the opportunity for development. No matter how much time the pursuit of one’s occupation demands, there is always a margin of leisure. This margin, though it be ever so small, is important for future destiny. This margin is the field that offers more of an opportunity for the exercise of what is called free will than any other condition. The margin has to be used in some way whether by idling, daydreaming, passive thinking or work undertaken for some purpose. The way the margin is used shows the choice of the doer when there is no compulsion by circumstances, and shapes the future occupations according to the choice, in so far as they have not yet been made unavoidable by the past.

Important though occupations are as exteriorized thoughts and thereby as affecting the relations of life, there are some things occupations do not do. They educate the senses, develop skill and endurance of the body and compel a certain amount of thinking. They allow the past to work out in the present. But in all this they keep the doer employed largely with the external world. They do not tell the doer anything about itself. Rather do they keep it ignorant about itself while they tangle it up with the world. They do give experience and sometimes teach, but they cannot give knowledge of the conscious self in the body.

Certain of the diseases that people have are predestined from the past life. Hereditary diseases and such as come without apparent cause are among their number, sometimes also those that result from unexpected injuries and from infections. If signatures for them are on the breath-form for the new life they are predestined, no matter at what time in life they appear. Many a disease which afflicts a person is not predestined from the past life. The thoughts stimulate the breath-form to action and that causes the systems to which the disease belongs to build out the symbolic lines into the bodily disease. It comes assisted by hereditary preparation, bodily inclination or occupation or infectious taint. The time of its appearance will fit in with the condition of the body and of the place in or on the body where it breaks out.

The chief events in life are also usually predestined, because they are things from the past that must be dealt with. They are either things wished for or submitted to, or things unwished for that can no longer be avoided. Among them are education and ignorance, marriage and offspring, friends and enemies, poverty, riches and sudden changes, honor and disgrace, travels and adventures, injuries and escapes.

All such features of a life that are preordained are the result of the thoughts which the human had in his past life. That human has vanished. He centered himself around a false “I,” which covered the real, but unknown, identity of the doer. The new human is likewise built around a false “I,” and knows as little of the underlying identity, but he is the inheritor, nevertheless, of some of the thoughts and desires of the vanished human from whom he also inherits his physical destiny.

Universal law ever pushes the doer on, ever causes some thoughts to turn into new events which confront the doer, ever forces the doer to meet them and to deal with them. The doer must do something with its destiny and with the desires and thoughts which come to it.

Once thoughts have been exteriorized, they are destiny, whether brought over from the life of the last human or made by the present one. What a person does with his destiny will make the present and determine part of the future. So it is with what one does with the desires and thoughts from the past that visit him. They, too, are destiny, every bit as much as the hard and fast facts of life. They come from the realms of the atmospheres and from those portions of the Triune Self that are not in contact with the body. They surge up in him, float into his present thinking, urge him on to actions, stand behind him like a background and make parts of the future. They build around him clouds of gloom or doubt or make him see things in clear and cheerful light.

This destiny, tangible and intangible, one has to meet from birth to death. What can he do with it? How far does it control him? How far can he act freely with or against it? Destiny as the events that have occurred, such as birth in a certain family, cannot be revoked; nor can that which is destined to be be prevented, though it may be hastened or postponed, accentuated or weakened. When it is precipitated the consequences which flow from it are largely decided by what one thinks about it.

The average man thinks little about it. He feels the advantage or disadvantage, it impresses him as acceptable or objectionable; but he does not think about it. He acts in consequence of it, but not in consequence of thinking about it. So he misses his opportunity to deal with it as he should and, therefore, destiny controls him. But this need not be.

Its consequences are not impassable. Some of them can always be overcome. There is always a leeway and it depends on the determination and clarity of one’s thinking about his destiny. He is bound to it by his inability to see it as it is, to think about it and to accept it. With honesty and persistent thinking a way can be found to overcome some of the apparently insuperable consequences. One can act freely with or against his destiny to the degree that his thinking can control his acting.

The factors which act on a human during his life are of two classes. In one are some of the thoughts of the human being of the past life, which appear exteriorized in the hard facts of destiny or as thoughts which come and go and leave pleasant or unpleasant impressions. These are all from the past. In the second class are thoughts of the present life. They are the new crop that has to do with the present, yet it grows out of the past. There is a sharp distinction on the one hand between the thoughts which suggest themselves and of whose cause one is ignorant and has no memory and which come over from the past, and on the other hand the thoughts conceived and issued in the present life. The distinction is shown by memory. The thoughts of the present life can be remembered, can be identified with persons, places, purposes or events. This new crop of thoughts is the other factor which acts on a human during his life. It strengthens or weakens the cycling thoughts, it hastens or delays their exteriorizations and so precipitates or puts off destiny. It wears away old bonds or forges new ones; but most important of all, the present thinking will reclaim Light from nature or call in new Light from the Intelligence, or lose Light to nature.

It is not a misuse of Light to send it out into nature to maintain its higher forms as plants, trees, animals or rocks, but it is a desecration of the Light to appropriate it to the vermin, pests and scourges of nature as does the run of human beings. If one’s thoughts put the Light which is loaned to the doer to legitimate uses, it is returned and sooner or later he learns from it what it went through while out in nature. That Light will enlighten him when he is thinking upon the subject with which the Light was connected. It will so show him the stupendous wonders of plant life and the molecular and atomic marvels of organic and inorganic nature, the actions of which it guided. The Light reclaimed will also affect his destiny more quickly than any other power. The Light shows one his destiny, how to deal with it, how to accept it and thereby to make the most of it.