THINKING AND DESTINY
Harold W. Percival
THE GREAT WAY
The Way of thinking. Honesty and truthfulness as the foundation of progress. Physical, psychic, mental requirements. Changes in the body in the process of regeneration.
The second of the three Ways of The Great Way, The Way of thinking, begins when the human has run the gamut and is through with pleasure and pain, when the doer has reached the saturation point of experiences, and when the human inquires into the causes of human action and inaction, into the purpose of living, of health and disease, riches and poverty, virtues and vices, life and death. He then discovers a futility in human effort. Though discontent and restlessness are experienced by everyone, and though at times despondency comes and weariness and indifference, these states are not what is meant by that discovery.
The discovery of the vanity, the emptiness of life, the discovery that no human possession is worth while, is a mental insight and is made when the human has reached the saturation point of human experiences. The desire of the doer can never be satisfied with physical things; but it can be gorged and surfeited with experiences of them, so that feeling cannot get anything more out of experiences. Still, feeling-and-desire are not satisfied and continue to drive the body-mind over the range of things that might satisfy. Then the body-mind, still driven by desire, makes the discovery to the doer of the futility of human effort.
By a flash of interior Light the human sees the world as a whirligig. He sees that the objects and the situations which men desire revolve; that they have appeared and disappeared to him many times. He sees that these things are toys which attract people and hold the attention and interests in life. One set of toys gives place to another. The toys, though seemingly innumerable, are of a few types and patterns. They return endlessly and seem new when they come. The types are sex and its four desire generals, food, possessions, fame, and power. They spring from feeling-and-desire, which are never satisfied. Thereby feeling-and-desire cause the change and keep the whirligig going, make the toys, give them movement and color and ruin them. This goes on until feeling and desire each seeks the other in itself. The whirligig stops.
With the discovery the castles, dungeons, playgrounds and workshops of the world break down and disappear, so far as value, attraction or repulsion goes.
The discovery of the futility of all efforts and the state of emptiness that follows, eventually force the human to question who he is and to search into the recesses of his being for a way out of the emptiness. By hearing or reading or a flash from within, he becomes conscious that there is a way, and he desires to find it. This is a distinct understanding and a choice. He discovers that there are many things to be done and many things that must not be done, before he can find the way. The saturation disappears when there is a desire for the new way, the true way which lies beyond, past human events. Singleness of desire, and purpose to find and walk on the true way, start the feeling-mind and the desire-mind, before little used, and these bring more Light of the Intelligence.
In the ordinary man, feelings, started by nature, influence desires; these compel rightness, which starts reason, and that reacts to feeling. Thus the rounds continue with passive and active thinking. But in the case of one who desires to follow his knower, from whom the Light comes, the round is reversed. The feelings are not started by nature from the outside, but the desires are started by rightness acting on feeling from within. Therefore, the Light which selfness sends to rightness rules the desires which cause the feelings to appeal to reason; so that the desires are more passive and the feelings are more active than in the run of human beings. Then reason goes to I-ness for Light and I-ness causes selfness to send Light to rightness. And so the rounds continue. This is the government from within, instead of the government from without which obtains with the run of human beings, (Fig. IV-B).
The human then lives and works by the Light from within. He does not get that Light, which is a direct Light from his knower, continuously, but only in flashes and in response to his own efforts. After complying with the necessary requirements he has, eventually, an illumination and during that, finds that he is on The Way.
The period from the time when a human first discovers the futility of human effort for the things of the world to the time he enters The Way, sees many changes in his environment, in his occupation, in his associations, in his inner life and in his physical body. The period covers the time it takes to save thirteen lunar germs which have become one, and for it to reach the coccygeal ganglion for the building of the bridge. There may have to be many re-existences of the doer after the choice is once made.
A human may be in any environment when he makes the great discovery. He may be in a vast city, a small town, a hamlet or a lonely place; he may be engaged in any occupation, he may be a pork butcher, a jail guard or a party politician; he may have all sorts of acquaintances, associates and friends; his family ties may be close or loose; and his possessions may be great or small. All this will change; but not by a violent effort on his part. That is not to say he should be unconcerned about the duties which these connections impose on him, but means that he must not be attached by liking or disliking.
One’s surroundings, his work and his ties will change naturally, as his thinking changes, after he has made the choice. It is not for him to decide for changes and to move by his own efforts out of present conditions. He must wait, wait until opportunities for change present themselves. He should not make opportunities. He lives in a certain environment and is held by the various ties of and duties to locality, nation, race, friendship, family, marriage, position and possessions, because there is a purpose. Ties cannot be broken; they must be worn away or must fall away. Even possessions should not be done away with to be rid of them; one has them for a purpose; they mean responsibilities and trust and one must answer for them and his stewardship. They, too, will disappear naturally if they are in the way of his advance. There is in these outward conditions no mark, no criterion by which the world can distinguish from the run of human beings one who has made the great discovery and has made his choice for an inward life.
As he progresses by thinking and by leading the life, his body will change and he will gradually retire from the world, inconspicuously and without attracting any attention. Though there is no standard in outward things, in the scenery in which he lives, there are standards to which he must have attained in his psychic nature, in his mental set and activities and in his physical make-up before he can enter The Great Way.
The stages through which one passes before he reaches the psychic standard to enter The Way, vary with different persons, but this standard which must be reached by all is substantially the same for all. Honesty and truthfulness must be the foundation of his character. His unequivocal feeling-and-desire must be to see things as they are, else preferences and prejudices will unseat his judgment and lead him astray.
The standard for his psychic nature is that feeling-and-desire are in agreement to gain The Great Way, above all things. Ordinarily feeling-and-desire are not in agreement; before they are in agreement he has to go a long way, and many things will happen to him.
When after his great discovery he desires to look for the Light within, the saturation ceases. To be cloyed and to choose to get out of the world is one thing, to be free from it so that it has no claim, is quite another. The saturation is a saturation with the world, with its outward life and gifts and attractions, a world-sickness. It chokes up the cloyed feelings and desires. When they are turned towards an inward life new realms of experience are opened and new objects are to be attained. The cloyed feelings and desires go into the new realms and as they find objects there the saturation ceases.
The feelings and desires had not overcome the old things which cloyed them. They are still slaves of nature when they go away from it and turn to an inward life; they are slaves, although slaves who demand their freedom.
The old things have renewed attractions and new attractions; renewed attractions because the old ones were not overcome, and new ones because things are looked at from a new point of view. Both of these attractions are great, greater than they would be with an ordinary person. Formerly he went along with them and now he fights them; now the pull of nature behind and through its things is stronger, as nature can now get more Light than from the ordinary person. Therefore as one seeks The Way and accumulates a little Light he is apt to make missteps. However often he fails, if he continues his efforts for an inward life, he will go on.
The psychic standard requires, second, certain moral qualifications. The moral aspect of his psychic nature is of course interlinked with the rightness of the mental part, the thinker. Ingratitude, malice, rancor, hatred, envy, anger, vindictiveness; jealousy, meanness, greed, fretfulness, restlessness, gloom, despondency, discontent, fear, cowardice, voluptuousness and cruelty must be strangers to him. He must have become estranged so that they are not his usual, or occasional or recurring visitors. It means that if they approach they are unwelcome because he has grown to be out of touch with them. They are now not natural to him, there is no room for them because he is surcharged with a power that comes from his new method of living. He is chaste, friendly, kindly, brave, temperate and firm.
The psychic standard requires, third, with all this, a fineness of feeling. It also requires, fourth, that psychic powers and the finer side of the four senses be not employed and that though one be sensitive to astral impressions he is not influenced by them.
The mental standard one must have reached before he can enter The Way relates to mental quality, mental attitude and a mental set, all of which will manifest in a certain kind of thinking which will produce the psychic and the physical standards. His mental quality must be such that dishonesty and untruthfulness are abhorrent to him. Deceit, hypocrisy, pride, vanity and arrogance must be strangers. He must be honest with himself, self-restrained, self-contained, and modest withal. His mental attitude must present friendliness generally, that is, the recognition that he is a related part of the whole; a readiness to perform his duties with joy if they relate to The Way and with willingness if they relate to other things; a determination to respond to rightness; and a reverence for and an eagerness to receive Light of the Intelligence. His mental set must be for one point only and that is, to be on The Way.
The standard for the body is that it has preserved the germs of thirteen lunar months. Ordinary nerve matter cannot hold a lunar germ much more than one month. To preserve thirteen a new, special, finer, fourfold nervous structure has to be grown within the old. At any time while this new structure grows it may be broken down. Malice and malcontent encrust, rancor tears, hatred withers, envy rots, jealousy, greed and salaciousness eat into, anger consumes, vindictiveness contracts, meanness dries up, fretfulness and restlessness unsteady, sullenness stifles, gloom deadens, despondency wears away, fear paralyzes, cowardice shrinks, voluptuousness wastes, licentiousness softens, lust burns, cruelty scars the finer nervous structure, and ingratitude shuts off the Light and leaves one in ignorance of his relation to his Triune Self and to humanity.
The body must be healthy and strong. Any food will do if it supplies what the body needs for health. Food should not be a fad and has little or nothing to do with the goal, that is, the preservation of the thirteen lightbearers, except that one should be temperate and should not eat too little or too much. Beverages, whatever they are, must be free from alcohol. The body must not sleep too much, or too little. It must not be abused by fasting, discomforts or other kinds of asceticism. Torturing the flesh will not bring anyone to or near The Great Way. The body must be kept healthy and strong, and all that is necessary for this is the steady living of a simple, temperate and chaste life. The body must not be governed from without by nature, but from within by thinking.
During the thinking, the living and the striving, which is the special preparation for entrance upon The Great Way, the body undergoes certain changes. The thymus gland becomes active and works with the thyroid. The gut will be less of a sewer. The stomach, duodenum, jejunum, ileum and colon become shorter and smaller. During the rounds of the lunar germs in the body the nervous currents are regulated by the lunar germs and gradually strengthened, so that a new and inner nervous structure grows up. The involuntary nerves of the digestive system begin to form a structure which eventually will be similar to that of the voluntary nervous system.
The length of time it takes from the discovery that the world has been a whirligig for countless years and ever disappoints expectation, to the entering upon The Way, varies with human beings. After the discovery and the choice for an inward life there is usually a steady progress, for a time. Then the world, which is nature, exercises its pull effectively, because some of the thoughts which have not been balanced by the human, aid nature when their cycles tend toward exteriorization. The human may get discouraged and may fall back into the world. When he is again sick of the world, he looks again for an inward life.
When death has intervened between his flounderings, he is reborn with an inclination to recognize the futility of an outward life. He will at some time in that or in the next life make the discovery again, and it will not strike him as being strange; he will make the choice and seek to attain to The Way and perhaps fail again. In a new life it is natural for him to see that life is empty; when the time comes he will again make the choice for the road that will lead to The Way. Once one has made the discovery and made the choice, he will be led towards The Way, even though he does not again make the discovery. Failures cannot prevent, they will only delay the finding of The Way. Failures are incidents, and sometimes they are unavoidable because of past thoughts; they are often blessings in disguise and cannot hold back one who is determined to strive for The Way, after he has once made his choice.
Having now in it a lightbearer, that is, a lunar germ into which will merge the germs of the next twelve months and which has now begun to grow, the human eventually enters The Way when the lightbearer opens the seal and enters the filament, (Fig. VI-C, D).
Copyright 1974 by The Word Foundation, Inc.