Beloved Master, we are told that knowledge imparted to us brings with it an obligation to utilize that knowledge for the blessings of life. Will you tell us how best to assimilate the truth within the instructions given to us by the ascended masters?
Blessed chela, the old adage, "Where ignorance is bliss it is folly to be wise," has a good deal of truth within it. The individual who has not had the opportunity of receiving assistance & directions from the ascended masters is not as liable before the cosmic law for manifest works as is the one entrusted with the time, energy, thought & instructions of beings whose every breath is priceless because it can & should be used only to further the divine plan. It is not enough to read the Word of the Master nor to accrete an intellectual knowledge of spiritual fact. The chela must build the Word into his own nature & become master.
Beloved Master, is there any particular recommendation you can give us so we may best profit by your instructions?
Blessed chela, yes. Proceed somewhat as follows. First, choose a certain time of day for your reading & endeavor to build a momentum of rhythm in adhering to your contemplative cycle.
Second, prepare your consciousness by reflecting earnestly on what you are about to do, enter holy communion with your God & your master. Still your mental, emotional & physical vehicles & raise your consciousness until it touches the spiritual aura of the author of the Word you are about to consider. Ask Him or Her to give you the ascended master's feeling, comprehension, understanding & capacity to interpret that Word into action for the blessing of your fellowman. Remember you are about to partake of the qualified life of some God-being who has in mercy & love chosen to give you his instructions to help you to become free also. Feel a sense of deep gratitude, reverence & humility in accepting this essence. If you will do this you will receive not only the worded expression of truth but the living essence of truth which will be a fire unto your spirit. A simple prayer to be said before reading the Word of the Master could be something like: "Beloved Presence of God I AM! It is Thy Life & Intelligence which enable me to read, to comprehend, to absorb & to do what is required of me! For Life I AM so grateful! Beloved Master, I ask You your feeling & your capacity to use this instruction to God's glory & mankind's comfort."
Third, do not read hastily! Remember, gluttony is not only of the flesh but of the mind as well. Many civilized people who shrink at the ravenous gulpings of the savage or the beast would be amazed at sight of their own mental body devouring knowledge. Let your mind reverently, respectfully & gently approach the instructions of the master & pause upon a sentence or paragraph which the grace of the Ever-Presence may emphasize thru your own soul's light. It is not how much you read nor how much you know but what you are that forms the measure of your capacity for spiritual assimilation.
Fourth, elect within yourself to make some portion of your reading an active part of your nature each day. Thus the process of sublimation & of transmutation becomes a rhythmic cycle of graduating consciousness rather than a clumsy lumbering resulting from spasmodic endeavors.
Fifth, when you have completed your reading again make a brief invocation to your own I AM Presence & the master with whom you have been in communion to nourish by the spiritual grace of cosmic truth the seeds planted in your consciousness. Ask that the ideas thus entrusted to you shall become manifest flowers of perfect expression in your world & the world of your fellowman: "Beloved Presence of God I AM! Pour the light of Thy grace upon my consciousness. Nourish the seeds planted by the master. Let me not be one admonished from without but not inflamed within lest the Word which I have heard & not practiced, known & not loved, believed & not observed, rise up in judgment against me." Quoting the words of a wise man who walked the path before you: "Truly when the Day of Judgment comes it will not be asked of us what we have read but what we have done, not what fine discourses we have made but how righteously we have lived."
Beloved Master, is there any prescribed course of reading which would be of particular benefit to our soul growth?
Blessed chela, for each man a different type of instruction is required. When the master himself does not conduct personal instruction for the chela daily the chela must draw from within himself thru the intuitive faculty & the flame of wisdom in the heart that which can best benefit him each day. When a chela is particularly drawn toward a specific master the chela can build up a momentum of spiritual rapport with such a one thru observance of the above exercise & then reading that Word written by the master. Even in reading the words of unascended beings if the individual were to put himself into spiritual communion with the consciousness of the writer so much more could be received in a short period of study than when the outer mind literally plunges into reading in a haphazard fashion.
Beloved Master, there are two lines of thought to which students ascribe themselves. One is the development of interest in & cultivation of the use of pictures, images, symbols, icons & all external stimuli to remembrance & recognition of God & His representatives. The other is the rejection of such symbology as a deterrent from concentration upon the indivisible One! To which line of procedure would You recommend us?
Blessed chela, the development of the individual consciousness is a great determining agent in the attitude of receptiviy or rejection of representations of deity & His messengers. For instance, individuals who belong to the angelic kingdom or the devic evolutions are naturally more interested in radiation, spiritual essence, the music of the spheres than in form. Men & elementals enjoy the form which is the grail of the spirit. This natural alignment of individual consciousness to any one of the three kingdoms will have a pronounced effect upon his type of worship, required stimulus & generally his happiness in such worship. In the East many holy men & women come to the point of full illumination thru concentration upon a lotus blossom or a drop of dew. In the West many holy men & women have come to the development of personal sainthood thru contemplation of the being represented in a statue of the Christ or the Madonna.
Beloved Master, in some individuals there is such a strong repugnance to symbols of a spiritual nature that their presence detracts from any spiritual nourishment such people might receive from a service. What can be done in such a case?
Blessed chela, in all cases where there is resistance, rebellion, discord & inharmony it is the result of lack of understanding. Whenever possible if the reason for such symbols is explained & certain specific applications made by the group director this resistance can be overcome.
Beloved Master, what applications do you suggest?
Blessed chela, the director must recognize that all within the compass of his aura are not necessarily of the same spiritual evolution, background, development or understanding. Besides the aforementioned fact that agnels, men & elementas have a natural difference in the type of worship which appeals to them there are the etheric records builded into the consciousness of all who ascend the ladder of evolution. Like every God-designed ideal, pattern & plan the exquisite designing of representations of the angels, masters & divine beings was seized upon by those who wished to place before the mind & sense of men forms magnetized to render powerless the spiritual natures of those who concentrated upon them. These idols were used by certain misguided individuals to secure power over the masses. Individuals who remember such experiences in the deep recesses of the etheric body & who either consciously participated in opposing such practices or who succumbed to being hynotized by these foci are determined in themselves to remain free from a like experience.
The deep fears of all forms which represent the deity must be removed & the conscious mind made to realize the self-evident truth that the type of representation determines the current, radiation, influence, beneficent or malevolent powers focused thru the form. Good common sense will be the measure of an intelligent man's acceptance of a picture, a statue, a symbol as a stimulus to his aspiration or a deterrent to his spiritual culture. The purifying currents of violet flame called forth thru the etheric bodies of students by the group director before classtime will do much to assist in breaking down bigotry & intolerance. The clear detailed explanation of the why & wherefore when there is an introduction of a new expression in the service will clarify the outer consciousness & make for cooperation & understanding among the students.
Beloved Master, what are the reasons for having the pictures of the masters, statues of divine beings, symbols of the activities of the sacred fire before the outer consciousness of the students?
Blessed chela, they are reminders to the sense consciousness of the Presence of God-free beings who are an ever-present help when called into action! The senses of man are so constantly fastened on distress & imperfection that any & all types of perfected form that turns the attention of mankind Upward & away from the chains that bind him are essential to the survival of the spiritual spark within the soul. Even your churchspire pointing Heavenward, your majestic mountain ranges, the graceful upreaching arms of the trees are designed toward that end.
Furthermore, each focus of a perfected being, an angel, master or deva becomes an open door into the energy, consciousness, being, world & activity of such a one. A line of energy flows from the heart of the God-free being into the form which represents Him & into the world of all who look upon that form, bringing blessing & benediction in its wake. Thus the picture or statue is a magnetizing center drawing the radiation of the perfected being down into the world of the student & drawing the attention & energy of the student upward into the perfected realms of the God-free.
Beloved Master, as there is such a great divergence in the representations of the deity, masters, angels & devas in statues, pictures, icons, etc., how does this affect the students' consciousness & the magnetizing power of the picture or representation?
Blessed chela, first one must remember that the student is not worshiping the form, the picture, the talisman or amulet in itself. He is merely using it as a reminder of the being whose perfected glory flows thru the representation. Thus I have seen even a very roughhewn handcarved figurine draw tremendous blessing upon an earnest soul & conversely a magnificent piece of sculpture leave the spiritual spark unstirred. The consciousness, feelings, thoughts & nature of the artist will be a determining factor in the capacity of the representation to reach the heart; also the faith, innocence, love & devotion of the aspiring one will be a determining factor in how much good the contemplation of such a focus will bring to the individual consciousness.
Beloved Master, why is there such a great divergence among the pictures & representations of deity--Yourselves, the angelic host & others of the Heavenly kingdom?
blessed chela, this is so because every form that manifests on Earth comes thru the consciousness of some individual who is part of Earth's evolution. The purity of consciousness, the developed talents which can transfer the impression to canvas or marble, the patience of the artist--all are determining factors in the representation.
Beloved Master, does not the difference in presentation of the masters' pictures tend to confuse the chela's mind as to the true likeness of the master?
Blessed chela, while the chela's mind can be confused you can rest assured something will arise which will confuse it. You have seen photographs of the same person taken in different stages of a lifetime, the vital pictures of early youth bearing little resemblance to the mellow pictures of maturity. Yet the outer consciousness knows & recognizes the individual who is represented in that picture & can enjoy the infant's innocent smile as well as the mature man's steadfast gaze.
Artists & individuals who represent the ascended masters use different methods to receive their inspiration. On rare occasions actual photographs are available. Why? Because there is no present mechanical photographic device available which can register the high frequency of vibration of the electronic body of the ascended being. In very rare instances where the aura of a chela is sensitized & can provide out of its own substance a clothing for the likeness of the Electronic Presence, stepping down the vibratory action, such photographs have been taken. These are very sacred spiritual gifts & are guarded carefully by their recipients. In the case of the Cottingly photographs (see "Fairies" by Ed. Gardiner) the children in question provided a similar clothing for the elementals so that they were able to be photographed with present methods of mechanical instruments.
On the other hand artists often draw on their own etheric memories of contact with & association among masters, angels, devas & God-beings. When purified enough these artists are visited by members of these kingdoms & thru the veil of their own consciousness look upon the celestial beings who invariably take on some of the characteristics, outlines, concepts & nature of the artist's own being. Then these impressions are conveyed by greater or lesser artistic talent to the medium of expression which the artist has chosen. As the etheric memories go back to the first Golden Ages thru all succeeding generations one master may appear in the glory of Lemurian splendor, Atlantean priesthood, Himalayan ruggedness, Eastern vesture or Western modernism. The important thing for the chela is to remember the being who is represent, not concentrating upon the representation to the exclusion of receiving the benefits of radiation which might otherwise flow freely, stimulating body, mind, soul & spirit. It would be like a man dying of thirst insisting upon tracing the pattern on the cup while the lifegiving water trickled away unused.