It is not necessary to be conscious of the progress one has made. Nor is the date in any sense an extinguisher, as some have styled it. In these days we are too prone to wish to know everything all at once, especially in relation to ourselves. It may be desirable and encouraging to be thus conscious, but it is not necessary. We make a good deal of progress in our inner, hidden life of which we are not at all conscious. We do not know of it until some later life. So in this case many may be quite beyond the obstacles and not be conscious of it. It is best to go on with duty, and to refrain from this trying to take stock and measuring of progress. All of our progress is in the inner nature, and not in the physical where lives the brain, and from which the present question comes. The apparent physical progress is evanescent. It is ended when the body dies, at which time, if the inner man has not been allowed to guide us, the natural record against us will be a cipher, or "failure." Now, as the great Adepts live in the plane of our inner nature, it must follow that they might be actively helping every one of us after the date referred to, and we, as physical brain men, not be conscious of it on this plane.
On Wisdom in Action.
IN A BORROWED BODY.
It is true that day by day the effect of my philosophy is more apparent on me, as yours is and will be on you, and so with us all. I see it myself, let alone all I hear of it from others. What a world and what a life! Yet we are born alone and must die alone, except that in the Eternal Space all are one, and the One Reality never dies.
The first question a man should ask himself (and by "man" we mean postulants of either sex) is: "When and how did I get a desire to know about chelaship and to become a chela?"; and secondly, "What is a chela, and what chelaship?"
Tell your friend to remember what was long ago said; that the Master would manage results. You must not manage, precipitate, nor force. Beware. Let Y. assume that the others do not think harshly nor31 critically, but put it all against the dark powers, and the results will be managed by Master. As chelas and students conceal rather than give out your inner psychic life, for by telling of it your proper progress is hindered. There must be silence in heaven for a time or the dark ones rejoice to so easily get good, malleable images for annoying you. It will be tried again either that way or some other. By gentleness, detachment, strict attention to duty, and retiring now and then to the quiet place bring up good currents and keep back all evil ones. Remember it is the little things the work is done through, for they are not noticed, while the larger ones draw the eyes and minds of all.
Here is a case where the real Master has recommended the aspirant to a co-worker who perchance is some grade higher than our neophyte, and the latter is now in a different position from the many others who are silently striving and working, and learning from any and all teachers, but having no specialized Guru for themselves. This neophyte and his "little guru" are connected by a clear and sacred bond, or else both are mere lying children, playing and unworthy of attention. If the "little guru" is true to his trust, he occupies his mind and heart with it, and is to consider that the chela represents Humanity to him for the time.
The new plane to which the soul may go, referred to in this letter, is the astral plane. It is the plane next above the material one, and consists of a subtile order of matter. When a student turns his attention to the higher life and desires intensely to find the way, his soul has begun to awaken and to speak. It has heard the voice of the spirit. Then the inner senses begin to unfold, at first ever so gently, so tenderly, we scarce hear their report. But the soul has then turned its attention to the astral plane, that being the next one to be learned on the way upward; its energy is transferred from the material plane to this one, and we have an influx of many confused dreams and strange experiences, awake and asleep. These may or may not continue; all depends upon the individual soul and upon Karma. It is a most confusing plane, and, generally speaking, we may say that those students are more fortunate who make a marked degree of progress in spiritual things without having any conscious experience of the astral plane. For then they can later on learn it from above, instead of from below, and with far less danger to themselves. The whole must be known, but we may progress in various ways, even by discontinuous degrees, only then we must go back later on, to what we passed by. Such a going back does not imply detriment or loss of degree, for such cannot be lost when once gained in reality.
"Beyond the Hall of Learning is the Lodge. It is the whole body of Sages in all the world. It cannot be described even by those who are in it, but the student is not prohibited from imagining what it is like."