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Esoteric Psychology II - Chapter I - The Egoic Ray - The Seven Laws of Soul or Group Life
a. The Law of Repulse and Desire

The section with which we have now to deal will concern itself specifically with the major problem of humanity. We shall, however, touch upon it most briefly, and will deal particularly with the aspect of it which shifts from the problem as it concerns the aspirant to the problem of the disciple. Underlying the entire psychological problem of humanity as a whole lies that major attitude towards existence which we characterize as Desire. All lesser complexities are based upon, subservient to, or are emergent from, this basic urge. Freud calls this urge "sex," which is, nevertheless, only another name for the impetus of attraction for the not-self. Other psychologists speak of this dominant activity as the "wish-life" of humanity, and account for all allied characteristic tendencies, all emotional reactions and the trend of the mental life, in terms of the underlying wishes, longings and acquisitive aspirations as "defence mechanisms," or "ways of escape" from the inevitability of environing conditions. To these longings and wishes and the labor incidental to their fulfilment, all men give their lives; and everything done is in an effort to meet the realized need, to face the challenge of existence with the demand for happiness, for heaven, and for the eventual fulfilment of the hoped-for ideal state.

Everything is governed by some form of urgency towards satisfaction, and this is distinctive of man's search at every stage of his development - whether it is the instinctual urge to self-preservation, which can be seen in the savage's search for food or in the economic problems of the modern civilized man; whether it is the urge to self-reproduction and the satisfaction of that appetite which works out today in the complexity of the sex life of the race; whether it is the urge to be popular, loved and esteemed; whether it is the urge for [155] intellectual enjoyment and the mental appropriation of truth, or the deep seated desire for heaven and rest which characterizes the Christian, or the aspiration for illumination which is the demand of the mystic, or the longing for identification with reality which is the "wish" of the occultist. All this is desire in some form or another, and by these urges humanity is governed and controlled; I would say most definitely controlled, for this is only a simple statement of the case.

It is this realization of man's fundamental bias or controlling factor that lies behind the teaching given by the Buddha, and which is embodied in the Four Noble Truths of the Buddhist philosophy, which can be summarized as follows:

The Four Noble Truths

  1. Existence in the phenomenal universe is inseparable from suffering and sorrow.
  2. The cause of suffering is desire for existence in the phenomenal universe.
  3. The cessation of suffering is attained by eradicating desire for phenomenal existence.
  4. The Path to the cessation of suffering is the noble eightfold path.

It was the realization of the urgency of man's need to be delivered from his own desire-nature which led Christ to emphasize the necessity to seek the good of one's neighbor in contradistinction to one's own good, and to advise the life of service and self-sacrifice, of self-forgetfulness and love of all beings. Only in this way can man's mind and "the eye of the heart" be turned away from one's own needs and satisfaction to the deeper demands of the race itself.

Until a man stands upon the Path of Perfection, he cannot really grasp the imperative demand of his own soul for [156] release from the search for outer, material, tangible satisfaction, and from desire. It has been this demand which indicated the soul's need to incarnate and to function, for a needed period, under the Law of Rebirth. As the work of purification proceeds upon the Path of Purification, this demand for release becomes stronger and clearer, and when the man steps out upon the Path of Discipleship, then the Law of Repulse can, for the first time, begin to control his reactions. This takes place unconsciously at first, but it becomes more potent and more consciously appreciated as the disciple takes one initiation after another, with increasingly pointed understanding.

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