3. The Great Disenchantment
A Course of Lessons for Advancement in the Spiritual Life
Especially dedicated to those who desire to go All the Way with Jesus Christ
THE fairy-tales of our childhood and the mythologies of our race-youth contain many parables of man’s being regenerated out of the animal life back into his original state, from which he had seemed to fall, through the wicked working of some adverse power.
The wicked power may be some Circe and her maidens who, through their seductions, convert Ulysses’ sailors into the swine of which their appetites were type. It may be some Ortega in the story of Elsa and Lohengrin, who used her witchcraft to wreak her vengeance on Elsa by changing Elsa’s brother into a swan, afterwards to be disenchanted by the Christ-like Lohengrin.
The victim of the hypnotizer may be some Sleeping Princess cast into her hundred years of dreaming by a malicious fairy, symbol of a malefic destiny, to be awakened at last by a brave Prince, who Savior-like, braves invisible enemies and cuts through the century-growth of thorns to rescue the lovely maiden.
Or the victim may be some unfortunate prince, converted into an ugly beast, to remain so until some beautiful woman shall love him for what he is in spite of what he appears to be. “Beauty and the Beast” enfolded the story of the great spell that is upon all humanity, which appears to be but an advanced order of animal, yet all the time is the Presence of God’s Angel, disguised in human form. And the Truth breaks the spell, and brings man back to his original form through knowledge of it and firm and faithful practice thereof. This we have called “the Great Disenchantment.” Let us examine into the Way by which it comes to pass.
We are all here in this realm of appearances because we have had a problem to solve. We are here to bear witness to the Truth, and the sooner we solve our problem, the better for us. The old story of Eden, and our being cast out of Eden into the earth, applies to us this very day, so that we can have opportunity to return, if we remember that this appearance is not the real earth of God’s making, but a reflection of it, our view concerning it, and we are not to have experience in good and evil, spirit and matter, but we are here to prove that there is but one presence and one power, and that is God.
As long as we are deceived into thinking there is something for us in this appearance—something in the way of gain through holding property, or by having sensation or other gratification through personalities or some such experiences, we cannot go forward in the regeneration. We must first look the Truth squarely in the face, and be willing to give up all these in order that we may know that which is real.
The desire for things and persons hypnotizes many who are seeking divine freedom. This is at the root of being drawn into new relations and experiences, that in the end bring only sorrow and bitter fruit to humanity. People seek marriage for its assurance of support and the price they pay is very high and often it proves the poorest of investments, yet the fear of non-support and the clinging to things keeps the victim in the clutches of maya. The looking to people for satisfaction also deludes humanity. Expecting supreme satisfaction in the association of one of the opposite sex bandies the victim from one experience to another, who, like the drunkard, cannot be undeceived as long as he listens to his carnal appetite and seeks to gratify it in the way that millions have sought before him. Sought, to find the same old hunger remaining and a grave yawning to receive them when all their vital forces have at last been drained.
Wisdom reveals to us that all this mortal existence is a kind of spell under which we came even before birth, and into which we have been plunging more deeply until either through suffering or revelation we accept the Truth, and begin to break the bonds that have been wound about us.
Great Masters have given light from time to time by which the wanderers in this enchanted wood have begun their journey out of delusion. Not among the least of these is Prince Siddartha or Guatama Buddha, who taught that man’s deliverance begins with the “realization of the miseries of earthly existence” and that the cause of these miseries is “the eager and persistent desire for satisfying oneself from material sources and sensual channels without ever being able to do so.”
The Buddha further taught “there is a way of rising above the plane of these desires and thus escaping the sufferings they entail,” and “there is a knowledge of the true means of overcoming these desires and thus securing perfect peace.”
Buddha took his disciples a long way on the Path, but because he knew not that the teacher within him was God, he could not take his disciples all the Way. Therefore, another had to come to supply what other Masters had omitted, and to finish the work that belongs to the perfect regeneration. Jesus’ message includes what Buddha gave, and he uses strong figures of speech to convey the absolute renunciation of the devotee who is eager for complete deliverance. “Whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart and if thy right eye offend thee pluck it out and cast it from thee, for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
In the regeneration, all the delusions, seductions and deceptions of sense are overcome, put under foot and finally disappear entirely from the experience of the devotee, and even his memory.
The problem of life may be stated in three ways, corresponding to the three great crises of our life, that is (1) birth, (2) marriage and (3) death. These are three forms of but one condition and so much alike are they, that to solve the problem under one form, is to find the solution of the other two.
In all three of these states, we leave a former condition and relationship and enter into a new environment with new associations, sometimes quite the opposite, at least very different from what we experienced before.
First, by birth we leave the pre-existent state, to which most of us are strangers; that is, we do not remember what has taken place before we were born. And this memory cannot be restored until, at least, a measure of our attachment to this present state has been removed. Attachment of any kind, biases us, obscures our vision and makes lapses in our memory. But detachment takes away the mental congestion and restriction, and allows our memory to flow like unconfined waters, into whatever channel we please to direct it. As soon as we are born we have new relations and new surroundings that we have not had before.
In marriage, these two changes are seen very much more plainly, because the conditions and the relationships of both the old and the new stand out distinctly in the memory. Both the bride and the bridegroom must turn from their former families and homes and enter into new families as well as form a family of their own, and must adjust themselves to new environment and new views. Thus is marriage a kind of new birth and at the same time a kind of death.
Again, the same things take place when one dies. We leave the old family, the old conditions, and we enter into new creations and into a new plane where everything is quite different.
Some children when they are born, bring in memories of what they were in a pre-existent state, but, for the most part these memories are lost. In marriage, we retain the ability to look upon both states and make comparisons. So also in death, although the connection is not so close between the causes and their effects as in marriage.
It is plain that we, who are now on this earth-plane, have not solved the problem of birth. And we have yet to solve the problem of death. The fact is, we can solve both the problems of death and birth if we will take the right attitude toward marriage. The same reasons lie back of the entrance into marriage, on the part of most people, that were the causes of their entrance into this earth-plane by birth, namely, the desire for certain new experiences, a new knowledge, a seeking for satisfaction in companionship, for an assurance of a rounded or perfect life; curiosity, passion—even spite and revenge are some of the forms of this hypnotism; again, the desire to do good—a kind of self-sacrifice—and a thousand other reasons are common to our entering marriage and our entering into birth.
The problem of life may be put into the form of three questions, applying to each one of these three states. First, Birth. What is the cause of birth? How may one avoid birth? Or, if one has entered into birth, how may one be delivered from it? Second, Marriage. What is the cause of marriage? How may marriage be avoided? Or, if one has entered into it, how best to be delivered from it? Third, Death. What is the cause of death? How may death be avoided? Or, if one has entered into death, how may one be delivered?
Satisfied that this plane of illusion was one to look at and not to be identified with, we proceed to investigate these three states, and to answer these three questions.
It is no new teaching that we have existed before, and that we continue to incarnate until we get that Truth that dehypnotizes us and gives us knowledge, so that we are obedient to the Spirit and cease to desire experiences in the opposite. If one can accept the preexistent idea, even theoretically for a while, many things can be explained that have hitherto been dark. Let it be understood that reincarnation is not an essential truth, nor an absolute fact of existence that one incarnates again and again. Sufficient to predicate it concerning our existence just previous to being born in this body.
We are immortal, which means without beginning as well as without end. Therefore, we have existed before birth as we shall also continue after the appearance called death. What were we doing in that state before our present existence? Naturally, we were doing the same thing that we are doing now. Incarnations might be compared to the days of a week. Each morning is like a new birth. The dress we wear is like a new body. Each night is like the interim of death between the incarnations. The next day we wear another dress but we are the same person; and as we have the same ego and identity, though we wear different dresses with different days of the week, so also with different incarnations—the same identity, though the bodies may seem to be many.
We can never speak satisfactorily on this subject without bringing this in: It is not necessary for us to incarnate again. Indeed, it is not only not necessary, but we are especially enjoined not to incarnate again but to finish it now. Let this existence be our closing earth-life under the old order, and let us return to the great Creative Plan, which was given us in the beginning, and with which come supernal joys in its promotion and consummation.
Every time a human being descends into birth, the old story of Eden is repeated, and man is cast out of that delectable Garden into the earth-dream. Somewhere there has been a disobedience to the interior Voice. That is what is called original sin, which opens the door to every other sin. According to the Hindu teaching, there are three great causes for every rebirth, (1) Tamas, (2) Rajas, (3) Sattvas.
The first one signifies a drifting, an inertia, torpidity. As though one came in, as in a crowd, without any special purpose or reason. When people move along the street, or join with a mob in an idle, unthinking way, it is the dullness or torpidity of sheer ignorance. So thousands drift idly into this world because they are uninstructed and know no way, or reason for keeping out of it.
The second class is the passionate. It may be lust or revenge, some other fond desire or strong feeling. Hatred toward certain enemies have drawn people into birth, just as surely as inordinate affection for certain personalities.
The third class is that of goodness, enlightenment, the desire to do good and to give good.
It is according to which predominates, what will be the nature of the associations, environment and experiences of the one who is born. We gravitate to those who are like ourselves and whom we have known before, according to the old adage, “birds of a feather flock together.” Therefore we seem to have traits in common with our families. We do not get these from each other, but we have come together because we are alike. We really inherit from ourselves. We are our own ancestors, and we only suffer through the sins of ourselves. We are wise if we no longer blame our parents or ancestors, but see to it, that we overcome the traits within ourselves. We gravitate to the doors of generation that offer the least resistance to us, and most naturally, are born among our own descendants. This is one of the reasons why the Hebrews were always so anxious to have an heir, so that they could have a direct line of descent through which to keep in the Hebrew race and thus would not be obliged to be born outside their beloved nation. For a name or a family to run out among the Hebrews was looked upon as an indicator of God’s displeasure, a curse from God, for thus a man might “be cut off from Israel.”
The statements of those who say they know as to the length of time between incarnations, differ greatly. Among the Hindus, it is claimed to be even thousands of years between incarnations, but among the Hebrews it was believed possible to make a very quick return. These are the two extremes, and it will be seen that the reason of this is, that the Hindu believes in long psychic experience in the realms between incarnations, while the Hebrew looks for everything right on this earth, and builds up no heaven or hell in the invisible. It was considered an innovation on the part of the Hebrews at the time of Jesus Christ, to believe in a heaven after death, or a hell after death, and as something borrowed from the surrounding nations, but Jesus showed that the Pharisees were nearer right in this respect than the Sadducees who believed that there was no consciousness when there was no physical body. There is no fixed rule about this interval. It is unto one according to his belief, and also according to certain laws of cause and effect, which must be carried out. All these things about incarnation that are being presented here are in the realm of supposition, speculation and theory, exceedingly elastic and pliable to our belief. We can make them what we will if we know the Truth, but a mere ignorant denial of these facts will not aid us. Therefore let us face what thousands of people have believed in as the facts of existence.
It is the unborn children that are pursuing their descendants, desiring them to receive them for further incarnation, that often make matches in marriage. They overshadow the young man and the young woman until each sees in the other the beauty, grace, innocence and strength of the unborn one who is there. They are drawn irresistibly together and when the child is conceived, sometimes the work is quite finished between this pair, and their love seems to fly. It is ignorance concerning these laws that makes so many sad mistakes in the mating of young men and women. These unborn children are the little Cupids that are making the matches, and the child that is born first is the one who is most instrumental in mating the pair, and thus is said “to build the house,” and therefore, naturally becomes the heir of all the house contains. This is the occult cause of the laws of primo-geniture. The brothers and sisters are, in many cases, retainers, old friends, followers, associates with the elder one.
Sometimes this child, while yet unconceived is so aggressive and so assertive, that it breaks down all barriers of convention and law, and whether there be marriage or not, the young couple are forced together under a kind of hypnotic spell because the child wills to come.
There is a Gospel in the Invisible that can be heard by these who are not yet conceived, and they can be made to wait, and, instead of passing through the gates of the fleshly father and mother, they may enter upon the earth finally, when Jesus Christ shall come with a great host of those who have been obedient and who have waited. Rebirth must cease. Rebirth is the “second death,” to which no one need be subject who is looking to the Christ, or a messenger of the Christ, in the Invisible. “On such the second death hath no power but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Rev. 20:6. These children do not need to be born; they can come as the angels came to Abraham, walking, even in the flesh, in forms fullgrown and perfect; but in order to be able to hear these instructions from the wise ones in the Invisible, one must have had some cooperation with the Christ before one died the previous incarnation, that is, conscious light as to the Christ, and a looking to Jesus Christ for direction.
Every soul that is back of an incarnation is as great as every other soul, but each brings in a different character to be worked out. Sometimes co-called “prenatal influences” are the influences of the little children upon their mothers, as well as the mother’s thought upon them, and when a prospective mother appears to be very different in her disposition during pregnancy, it is because the child is dominating the mother. If the mother will control herself and learn to commune with the little one as though it were a living Soul and could co-operate, she will find that certain things can be worked out before it is born, and both have an advantage. A child’s training in character can begin with its conception. [This subject is treated more fully in “Child Unfoldment” by Annie Rix Militz.]
Let us no longer say, “Why was I born? I did not bring myself here, and I am not responsible for the past.”
Let us now begin to eradicate the desire for experience, which has caused us to come. And let us put from us the thought, or belief of the necessity of making reparation or atonement for wrongs done. Putting aside all the thoughts that cause rebirth, will also deliver us from the psychological influences that cause men and women to marry; and likewise, repudiating the subtleties that have drawn human beings into marriage and, seeking the union with God only, will save one from the maelstrom of rebirth.
The three causes of birth interpreted as to marriage may be described as (1) Tamos, the drifting into marriage because everybody else does, and it would be a swimming against the current not to do so. It’s hard to some to appear “queer” or “an old maid” or a misogomist. (2) Rajas, passion, hunger for experience or for companionship, or for oifspring. (3) Sattvas, desire to do good, even to sacrificing oneself for the sake of one’s family, or to reform another, etc.
Nothing but Principle can save some of us from this age-honored institution. Others are being kept from marriage by an innate resistance, others by circumstances or “fate.” Jesus described three ways, by which men and women have been withheld from marriage, thus:
“All men cannot receive this saying save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs who were so born from their mother’s womb; and there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it let him receive it.” Matt. 19:12.
The hunger for the companionship passes away with the love of God. The desire to bring forth offspring passes away through developing the Christ-child within oneself. The hunger for knowledge is gratified through our knowing that we have the omnipotent mind, and remembering that, and opening ourselves to all knowledge, whether it is in the real or on the plane of appearances, through the Christ consciousness and love, we become one with every human being, and we know their experiences, their feelings, and all that they pass through without ourselves passing through them.
The desire for motherhood is probably the most legitimate and the highest incentive for a young woman to marry. But if she will realize that she is only repeating the experiences of previous incarnations, through which she has been thousands of times, the desire will leave her, and she will enter into the universal Motherhood, and bring forth the Christ-child in human beings, all round about her, leaving the bringing forth of the flesh-body to other mothers who do not know what she knows.
The desire for the holy, sweet companionship of a pure woman, who will open up one’s interior consciousness to the spiritual deeps of one’s whole nature, is the truest desire and thought, that can lead a man to marriage. But if one will remember that every human woman has much to work out, in order to show her divine feminine, the wise man will wait on the Spirit, and not hurry into marriage. He may make the discovery, as the assurance comes to the women who are his friends that he desires no fleshly contact, that he will receive all that is sweetest and best in the divine feminine nature, and escape the trials and sorrows of the human feminine. Women become as abandoned as children in the presence of a pure man. They may be ignorant as to his doctrines; they only know his heart. They themselves may not have overcome and, in consequence, become a temptation to him; and sometimes he falls. But if both the man and the woman can be strong through the Christ-knowledge, there is no more ideal companionship than this. It is heaven on the earth. The creative forces no longer dominated by sex importunity, rise into greater and finer and higher expressions in art, science and a spiritual development practically unknown to the mere sense-man. The seed no longer drawn outward to express the flesh body of other human beings, passes through the fine alchemy of the spiritual life, building an interior body of fineness and strength which eventually takes the place of this physical body even while we walk here on the earth. Moreover, there is an atmosphere built around such, the atmosphere of light and beauty and strength that harmonizes all that come in contact with it.
Instead of one being overshadowed by the descending, burdening, perhaps degenerate shadows of those who seek incarnation, one is filled with the light and life and beauty of angel forms which identify themselves with those who are absolutely pure and on the road to regeneration. They are on their way conquering death, and are equal unto the angels, as Jesus Christ has said, being worthy, that is, able, to attain the new world and the resurrection of the dead, because they neither marry nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more, that is, neither can they die the second death, which means to be reborn in another incarnation.
Conquering the three causes of birth, and their correspondent forms, as causes of marriage, the devotee is enabled to escape the same three causes that eventuate in death. Not abiding in ignorance, one does not (1) drift helplessly into the way of death, nor can such be drawn by their (2) feeling nature into the invisible, nor are they the losers by a life of immolation upon the altar of (3) goodness and service to humanity, but are among those of whom it is written, “He that loseth his life for my sake (in order to be the Christ) and the gospel (the Truth) shall save it.”
Let us walk through this maze, let us play in it, but let us keep ourselves divinely free from its entanglements. Jesus Christ has shown us The Way—Walk YE IN IT.