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Re: True Progress

Sep 16, 1995 08:40 AM
by Eldon B. Tucker


>"TRUE PROGRESS" an article by William Q. Judge

My chance to add a few comments.

>Perhaps those who have engaged in discussions about whether it is more
>advisable to become acquainted with the Astral Plane and to see therein than
>to study the metaphysics and ethics of theosophy, may be aided by the
>experience of a fellow student.

This is posing the question: is it better to become acquainted with the
astral plane than to study the metaphysics and ethics of Theosophy?
The question would apply to someone *without a naturally awakened
psychic ability*, since with awakened psychic sight is is not in
an either/or situation.

>For several years I studied about and
>experimented on the Astral Light to the end that I might, if possible,
>develop the power to look therein and see those marvellous pictures of that
>plane which tempt the observer.

It should be noted that Judge is framing his personal experience in the
guise of a beginning student. He is also considered to be an advanced
Chela, with the power of avesa, and to have existed in the body of an
easterner, at times. His reply mentions nothing of his real (be they
controversial) abilities, because he does not want to draw special
attention to himself.

>But although in some degree success followed
>my earnest efforts so far as seeing these strange things was concerned, I
>found no increase of knowledge as to the manner in which the pictures were
>made visible, nor as to the sources from which they arose.

He is giving a "textbook answer" to what happens for a beginner in
forced psychical development, and not a complete disclosure of his
own experiences and status.

>A great many facts
>were in my possession, but the more I accumulated the farther away from
>perception seemed the law governing them. I turned to a teacher, and he said,
> "Beware the illusions of matter."

We can laugh at the simplicity of such a statement, but sometimes the
greatest truths sound like platitudes. It's interesting to note that
the term "platitudes" were a negative reference to Plato and his approach,
a put down of the Platonic.

> "But," said I, "is this matter into which I gaze?"
> "Yes; and of grosser sort than that which composes your body; full of
>illusions, swarming with beings inimical to progress, and crowded with the
>thoughts of all the wicked who have lived."

What is said hear is nothing new. We hear it frequently as we read the
source writings.

> "How," replied I, "am I to know aught about it unless I investigate it?"

We all wonder this. Especially if we have some natural-born abilities.
But without a spiritual teacher, with actual knowledge of the abilities
that we have, we're guessing at the true nature of what we see.

> "It will be time enough to do that when you shall have been equipped
>properly for the exploration. He who ventures into a strange country
>unprovided with needful supplies, without a compass and unfamiliar with the
>habits of the people, is in danger. Examine and see."

This is just stating the obvious again. We need to properly equip ourselves
for a journey of any time. And how to we equip ourselves? Through an
awakened spirituality, the ability to sense what is true, and a clear,
penetrating moral insight into life.

> Left thus to myself, I sought those who had dabbled in the Astral Light,
>who were accustomed to seeing the pictures therein every day, and asked them
>to explain. Not one had any theory, any philosophical basis. All were
>confused and at variance each with the other. Nearly all, too, were in
>hopeless ignorance as to other and vital questions.

Yes. I'd expect that it would require someone of the status of a theosophical
Chela, appropriately trained, to provide us with useful training.

>None were self-contained
>or dispassionate; moved by contrary winds of desire, each one appeared
>abnormal; for, while in possession of the power to see or hear in the Astral
>Light, they were unregulated in all other departments of their being.

The point here is that a growth in spiritual, intellectual, and ethical
faculties is needed to qualify one to properly interpret such experiences.
Anyone with psychic faculties that were far in advance of the rest of
their nature would be an unreliable source or teacher.

>more, they seemed to be in a degree intoxicated with the strangeness of the
>power, for it placed them in that respect above other persons, yet in
>practical affairs left them without any ability.

This sense of "intoxication" is perhaps the numinous nature of being
possessed by unconscious contents. There is a sense of magic and wonder
and excitement and other-worldliness. Is this bad? It depends upon the
individual person when the line between enthusiasm and intoxication is
crossed and one is out of control.

> Examining more closely, I found that all these "seers" were but
>half-seers--and hardly even that. One could hear astral sounds but could not
>see astral sights; another saw pictures but no sound or smell was there;
>still others saw symbols only, and each derided the special power of the

The faculties are partially developed. In future Root Races, they may
represent fully-deveolped senses that we all have. Presently, we have
physical vehicles with a particular sense apparatus and brain chemistry,
and corresponding psychical senses. Our outer and inner natures have a
certain structure to them. Various mutations will occur over time in
the outer and inner structures, changes in form, brain chemistry, and
psychic and psychological apparatus, until some, then many of us will
have the forms suitable for membership in a future subrace.

Theosophy tells us of another manner of evolution, though, that is not
simply riding the crest of the human lifewave as it sweeps through the
rounds and races. It is *racing ahead inwardly,* where we experience
within, and on the other Globes, the lessons of life that lead to unfolding
our Fifth Round natures. This is the path that the Mahatmas followed, and
it is also open to any of us as well, if we will take it.

>Turning even to the great Emmanuel Swedenborg, I found a seer of
>wonderful power, but whose constitution made him see in the Astral world a
>series of pictures which were solely an extension of his own inherited
>beliefs. And although he had had a few visions of actual everyday affairs
>occurring at a distance, they were so few as only to be remarkable.

We find this with many seers. Leadbeater saw mars and mercury as part of
our earth chain, for instance, after having read Sinnett's books which
contained that misconception. Apparently he did not read Blavatsky's
correction to that mistake in "The Secret Doctrine". It is in the nature
of psychical sight itself, that our expectations can cloud what we
perceive, and not anything particular to the failings of Leadbeater or
anyone that writes from such forms of investigation.

> One danger warned against by the teacher was then plainly evident. It was
>the danger of becoming confused and clouded in mind by the recurrence of
>pictures which had no salutary effect so far as experience went. So again I
>sought the teacher and asked:
> "Has the Astral Light no power to teach, and, if not, why is it thus? And
>are there other dangers than what I have discovered?"

Given the nature of the media, I'd expect that through the astral light
we are working out the logical conclusions of the ideas that we hold,
much in the same manner that we would in devachan, or in thinking through
the ideas. We see what we expect, so we're really working with *our own
unconscious contents*.

> "No power whatever has the astral plane, in itself, to teach you. It
>contains the impressions made by men in their ignorance and folly. Unable to
>arouse the true thoughts, they continue to infect that light with the virus
>of their unguided lives. And you, or any other seer, looking therein will
>warp and distort all that you find there. It will present to you pictures
>that partake largely of your own constitutional habits, weaknesses, and
>peculiarities. Thus you only see a distorted or exaggerated copy of yourself.

Yes, we are looking into a mirror, and often having a dialog with our
own personal unconscious, rather than actual other beings. How do we tell
when something is a complex in our unconscious, as opposed to an actual
astral being? It's hard to say. Perhaps both are elementals at some stage?

>It will never teach you the reason of things, for it knows them not.

It is not a teacher, but rather a plastic media which is readily influenced
by both the conscious and unconscious contents of our minds.

> "But stranger dangers than any you have met are there when one goes
>further on. The dweller of the threshold is there, made up of all the evil
>that man has done. None can escape its approach, and he who is not prepared
>is in danger of death, of despair, or of moral ruin.

There are psychic corpses there, the decaying remnants of kamarupas.
These are aggregates of elementals that still contain something of the
life energes of a departed person. These bundles of Skandhas eventually
dissipate. The higher depart first, and the lowest take the longest to
decay or break apart.

The "dweller on the threshold," though, refers to something that we would
not generally meet. A chance meeting of one may not be likely. They are
the psychic corpses of particularly evil men, with sufficient energy that
they take incredible periods of time to decay. Until they have decayed,
they can have an influence upon us, if we were to meet them, and we certainly
wouldn't want one to follow us home! (consider a smiley face at this point)

>Devote yourself,
>therefore, to spiritual aspiration and to true devotion, which will be a
>means for you to learn the causes that operate in nature, how they work, and
>what each one works upon."

This is talking about the path, with Judge taught, and Purucker after him,
of the spiritual-intellectual approach.

> I then devoted myself as he had directed, and discovered that a
>philosophical basis, once acquired, showed clearly how to arrive at
>DISPASSION and made EXERCISE therein easy. It even enables me to clear up the
>thousand doubts that assail those others who are peering into the Astral

Conviction and certainty comes *from within*, from a study and learning
that we do, with hard intellectual work in combination with a directed
spiritual insight.

>This too is the old practice enjoined by the ancient schools from
>which our knowledge about the Astral Light is derived. They compelled the
>disciple to abjure all occult practices until such time as he had laid a sure
>foundation of logic, philosophy, and ethics; and only then was he permitted
>to go further in that strange country from which many an unprepared explorer
>has to return bereft of truth and sometimes despoiled of reason.

This is exactly the approach that I have been attempting to describe, with
a writing style that hopefully improves over the years. It is not exclusive,
it is not for the elite, it does not make any claims to specialness or to
its followers being better than others. It rather fosters an attitude that
downplays a sense of ego, that downplays the personality, that leads one to
fill his mind and heart with the glories of the spiritual path. There is
no thought of the personal acquisition of powers of any kind. One's awareness
is filled with wonder and excitement, filled with the inspiration of the
divine within our hearts, and bathed in the continued presence of our Inner

>Further, I
>know that the Masters of the Theosophical Society have written these words:
>"Let the Theosophical Society flourish through moral worth and philosophy,
>and give up pursuit of phenomena."

This statement indicates the opposite goal to what the third object of the
Theosophical Society seems to advocate. But again, apart from the general
approach of the organization, we have the case-by-case discernment of what
is right for particular individuals. What is right for JRC may not be right
for Eldon. And what is right as a general policy of the T.S. may not be
appropriate for either of us, as individuals, with our own goals to life.

>Shall we be greater than They, and
>ignorantly set the pace upon the path that leads to ruin?

This last line does sound like Daniel, referring to the Bible. An appeal
to authority only carries weight to people that acknowledge that authority.
We're not required to accept any authority with HPB or WQJ, but confer or
deny that sense of authority based upon our own individual studies and
respect or lack of respect for their writings. I confer respectful
authority, in the sense of considering them as writing on behalf of the
Masters. Becaue of this, I would read and consider what they said with
especial care. But I still reserve the right to disagree with what they
appear to say, when it does not ring true to me; I reserve the right to be
the final authority as to what I accept as true and take to heart.

-- Eldon

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