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Esoteric Psychology II - Chapter II - The Ray of Personality - Problems of Disciples and Mystics
2. Delusion. The drama life of the mystic and the constant cultivation of the vision (whatever that might be) led also in many cases to serious if unrecognized psychological trouble. The vision absorbed the mystic's whole attention and instead of indicating to him a goal to which he might some day attain, or existing in his consciousness as the symbol of an inner reality which he would some day know, as it in truth was, he lived always within his own thought-form of this goal. This powerful dream, this defined thought-form (built year by year through aspiration, worship and longing) ended by obsessing him to such an extent that he finally ended by mistaking the symbol for the reality. Sometimes he died of the ecstasy induced by his identification with his vision. Nevertheless, I would point out here that the true attainment of the mystical goal, so that it is no longer seen but is realized as fact, has never yet killed anyone. It is delusion which kills. It is only when the focus of the life is in the astral body, when the downflow of soul force is there also and when the heart center is over-energized that the mystic dies as a result of his aspiration. Where death does not take place (and this is somewhat unusual) serious psychological difficulties are apt to be found. These have brought much concern to Churchmen at [601] all times and to the modern psychologist and have brought the whole subject of the mystical unfoldment into disrepute, particularly in this modern scientific age.

It is the materializing of the vision in astral matter, its development through the power of emotion (masquerading as devotion) and the failure of the mystic either to enter into the realm of mental perception or to bring his idealistic dream down into physical expression which lies at the root of the trouble. The man becomes deluded by the best that is in him; he is the victim of an hallucination which embodies the highest he knows; he is overcome by the glamor of the spiritual life; he fails to distinguish between the vision and the Plan, between the manufactured unreal of the ages of mystical activity and the Real which stands ever in the background of the life of the integrated human being.

Forget not that the vision (of Heaven, of God, of Christ, of any spiritual leader - or of any millennium) is based in the majority of cases upon the dreams and aspirations of the mystics down the ages who have blazed the mystical trail, who have used the same terminology and employed the same symbols to express that which they sense, and to which they aspire and for which they long so yearningly. They all sense the same Reality, lying behind the glamor of the world aspiration; they all couch their desire and longing in the same symbolic forms - marriage with the Beloved, life in the Holy City, participation in some ecstatic vision of God, adoration of some deified and loved Individuality, such as the Christ, the Buddha, or Shri Krishna, walking with God in the garden of life, the garden of the Lord, the attainment of the mountain top where God is to be found, and all stands revealed. Such are a few of the forms in which their aspiration clothes itself and their sense of duality finds satisfaction. These ideas exist as powerful thought forms on the astral plane and they [602] attract - like magnets - the aspiration of the devotee which follows century after century the same path of yearning search, imaginative expression of a deep seated spiritual "wish-life" and an emotional surging outward towards divinity, described sometimes as "the lifting of the heart to God.

Devitalization and delusion are the frequent case history of the purely emotional mystic. When this astral cycle is over and he later (and probably in another life) swings into a frankly agnostic state of mind, there comes a restoration of balance and a more wholesome unfoldment becomes possible. The true and valuable fruits of the mystical experience of the past are never lost. The inner spiritual realization remains latent in the content of the life, later to be resurrected to its true expression but the vagueness and the sense of duality must eventually be transformed into a realized mental clarity; dualism must give place to the experience of the at-one-ment and the mists must roll away. The mystic sees through a glass darkly but some day must Know, even as he is known.

When, in these modern times, the mystically oriented person comes under the care of a wise psychologist, the latter would be well advised gently and gradually to develop in him a cycle of doubt, leading even to a temporary agnosticism. The result would be a rapid establishing of the desired equilibrium. I would call your attention to the words "gently and gradually". The encouraging of a normal physical life, with its ordinary interests, the fulfiling of its obligations and responsibilities and the usual physical functioning of the nature should bring about much wholesome and needed orientation.

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