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The Soul and its Mechanism - Conclusion
Chapter VII


In this book we have considered the two systems of psychology, the Eastern and the Western. Taken together we have a complete picture of man as a living soul, functioning through a certain mechanism. Part of this, the etheric body with its centers, is subtle, unseen and beyond the reach of our five senses, and another part is in the dense physical realm, namely the endocrine glands and the nervous system, which control the rest of the dense physical manifestation. These two parts, we believe, form one whole.

The soul is always the great reality, the expression of the one life, which is made up of the etheric and dense bodies. It is the soul force playing upon and functioning through the etheric body which evolves the specialized centers in that body, and which in turn acts upon the dense physical.

The question which appeals most strongly to the Western mind is how to achieve greater efficiency in operation. Man, the soul, is limited in his operating efficiency by the condition of his instrument. If the glands, nervous system and the etheric body with its centers are out of adjustment and not functioning properly, man, the soul, must repair or heal them. It is only because man is essentially [129] a living soul that we can even conceive of his glands as not functioning properly, much less proceed to study, correct and perfect them.

Work directly upon the glands and the nerve centers through the use of medicines and by other means is essentially repair work, and is limited to the highest state of those particular glands and nerve centers originally created by the particular man in question. The same is equally, and if anything, more emphatically true of the centers in the etheric body which can be affected by certain Oriental practices of breathing, mantras and posture. Such practices are most dangerous, often, indeed, leading to insanity. Eventually, it is to be hoped, we shall have sufficient knowledge and experience to work with intelligence directly upon the centers and thus be able to control more effectively the neuroses and glands of the physical body.

Three theories apparently emerge as the result of our investigation, and form a triple hypothesis to account for man as an organism, demonstrating life, self-consciousness and intelligent purpose.

  • The first is: As a man's glands and nervous system, so is he. His temperament, natural qualities and intelligent handling of his life experiences and of his environment are determined by his endocrine system. So says the West.
  • The second is: As a man's centers, so is he. The quiescence or the activity of certain focal points of energy in the human, etheric body, determine his character, his method of expression, his type and [130] also the tenure of his body. His activities on the physical plane are entirely dependent upon the qualities of force flowing through his centers. So says the East.
  • The third is: The glands and neuroses as well as the centers are conditioned by the control or lack of control exerted by the soul.

It might be argued that we have only succeeded in pushing the whole matter back into the realms of the unseen and the unprovable. But is this really so? Have not many factors now accepted as realities emerged from the speculations and vague hypotheses of the past ages? Has not what was regarded as unprovable in the past been proved and demonstrated in the present age? Might it not be possible to apply a technique and employ a method which may in time suffice, through the mass of direct available evidence, to give us a clearer perception of the factors which are at present so obscure to us?

The West comes forward as we have seen with its facts concerning the structure. Man's mechanism is determined by his endocrine system plus the nervous system, the response apparatus. Can we approach the subject from this standpoint and by a treatment of the human glands produce perfection of the human body and thus eventually lead man out into the full light of the soul? Can divinity be unfolded through physical means? Or, accepting the Eastern position that the centers are the mediums of expression for the soul, and responsible [131] for the building and control of the body, through the nervous system and the glands, can we investigate and apply a recognizably dangerous method and work directly on or through the centers ?

Is there a third way by means of which we can avoid the purely physical approach and also the danger of awakening the centers prematurely? May it not be possible to arrive at a solution and a method which will give the soul the full use of its instrument, and produce that perfect interplay between soul and body which a right activity of the centers is claimed to bring about?

There is a way whereby man can ascertain that he is really a soul, and therefore is able to control his instrument of expression, the threefold lower nature, the sumtotal of psychical and mental states. Through this method it is possible to bring about a union of the wisdom of the East and the knowledge of the West, so that the best aspects of each system can be available to mankind as a whole.

In considering the possibility of man discovering his soul, there must be, to start with, a willingness to accept an hypothesis, for hypotheses have always been the starting point for knowledge. We assume then, as a working hypothesis that man is a soul and possesses a body, and that there is a unifying medium linking these two in the form of an energy body. [132]

Those who have sought to ascertain the fact of the existence of the soul and of its vitalizing apparatus hitherto can be divided into two groups. There are the mystics who have employed aspiration and emotion, plus physical means, and there are those who are more purely mental in caliber, and who have utilized the intellect and the mind, in order to arrive at spiritual knowledge. This long line of knowers of God have used different terminologies, but it is immaterial for our purpose whether they call the soul the self, the Beloved, the One, or God, or Christ. The mystic flagellated and misused his body through fasting and over-discipline. He thus reduced the claims of the fleshly appetites. To this he added an intense devotion for the Beloved and a longing for the Vision. At the close of years of strenuous exercise he found that which he sought, and was united with that Beloved.

The second group employed the reason and practiced mind control, plus stern emotional and physical control. Through the one-pointedness of their search they, too, found reality and came into a wide consciousness of the eternal plan, arriving at union with the Universal Soul.

Both groups bear testimony to the truth of the existence of the Soul, but, limited by their peculiar bent and method, their testimony is one-sided. One is too visionary, mystical and emotional; the other too academic, intellectual and form-building. Now, through the wide dissemination of human [133] knowledge and the close intercourse existing between minds through the medium of literature, the spoken word and travel, the time has come when a fusion is, for the first time, generally possible, and, from the past conclusions of the philosophers and saints of both hemispheres, we should be able to work out a system and a method which will be for our day and generation the mode of spiritual achievement.

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