Filename: RC1104.TXT Source: +quot;The Web of Destiny+quot; by Max Heindel [PAGE 3744] PRA

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Filename: RC1104.TXT Source: "The Web of Destiny" by Max Heindel [PAGE 3744] PRAYER--A MAGIC INVOCATION: THE NATURE OF AND PREPARATION FOR PRAYER: The subject of prayer is well worth the attention and study of all who aspire spirituality, and we trust the following hints may help our students in their efforts in this direction. There is only one force in the universe, namely, the Power of God, which He sent forth through space in the form of a Word; not a single word, but the creative fiat which by its sound-vibration marshaled the millions of chaotic atoms into the multitudinous shapes and forms from starfish to star and microbe to man, which constitute and inhabit the universe. As the syl- lables and sounds of this creative Word are being spoken, one after another through the ages, species are being created and the older ones evolved, all according to the thought and plan conceived in the Divine Mind ere the dy- namic force of creative energy was sent out into the abyss of space. [PAGE 3745] This, then, is the only source of power, and in it we really, truly, and literally live and move and have our being, just as surely as the fishes live in the water. We can no more escape or withdraw ourselves from God than the fish can live and swim on dry land. It was no mere poetic senti- ment when the Psalmist said: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there. If I make my bed in the grave behold Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me and thy right hand shall hold me." God is Light, and not even the greatest of modern telescopes which reach many millions of miles into space have found the boundaries of light. But we know that unless we have eyes wherewith to perceive the light, and ears which register the vibrations of sound, we walk the earth in eternal dark- ness and silence; similarly, to perceive the Divine Light which alone can illuminate our spiritual darkness, and to hear the voice of the silence which alone can guide us, we must cultivate our spiritual eyes and ears; prayer, true scientific prayer, is one of the most powerful and effcacious methods of finding favor before the face of our Father, and receiving the immersion in spiritual light which alchemically transforms the sinner to the [PAGE 3746] saint and places around him the golden wedding garment of Light, the lumi- nous soul body. PREPARATION FOR PRAYER. ORA ET LABORA: But be not deceived, prayer alone will not do this. Unless our whole life, waking and sleeping, is a prayer for illumination and sanctification, our prayers will never penetrate to the Divine Presence and bring down upon us a baptism of His power. "ORA ET LABORA"--pray and work--is an occult in- junction which all aspirants must obey or they will meet with but scant suc- cess. In this connection an ancient legend of St. Francis of Assisi will bear repetition because of the light it sheds upon the life on one wholly dedicated to the service of God. One day St. Francis stepped up to a young brother in the monastery with the invitation: "Come, brother, let us go down to the village and preach to the people." The young brother addressed responded with alacrity, overjoyed at the prospect of a walk with the holy father, for he knew what a source of spiritual upliftment it would be. And so they walked to the village, up and down its various streets and lanes, all the while conversing upon topics of absorbing spiritual interest, and finally turned their steps homeward to- wards the monastery. Then suddenly it dawned upon the young brother that they had been so absorbed in their own conversation that they had forgotten [PAGE 3747] the object of their walk to the village. Diffidently he reminded St. Francis of the omission, and the latter responded: "Son, while we were walking the village streets the people were watching us, they overheard snatches of conversation and noted that we were talking of the love of God and His dear Son, our Saviour; they noted our kindly greetings and our words of cheer and comfort to the afflicted ones we met, and even our garb spoke to them the language and call of religion; so we have preached to them every moment of our sojourn among them to must better purpose than if we had ha- rangued them for hours in the market place." St. Francis had no other thought but God and to do good in His name therefore he was well attuned to the divine vibration, and it is no wonder than when he went to his regular prayers he was a powerful magnet for the divine Life and Light which perme- ated his whole being. We who are engaged in the so-called secular work of the world and forced to do things that seem sordid, often feel that we are hampered and hindered on that account, but if we "do all things as unto the Lord" and are "faith- ful over a few things," we shall find that in time opportunities will come of which we do not dream. As the magnetic needle temporarily deflected from the North by outside pressure instantly and EAGERLY returns to its natural [PAGE 3748] position when the pressure is removed, so we must cultivate that yearning for our Father which will instantly turn our thoughts to Him when our work in the world is done for the day and we are free to follow our own bent. We must cultivate a feeling similar to that which ensouls young lovers when af- ter an absence they fly into each others arms in an ecstasy of delight. This is an absolutely essential preparation for prayer, and if we fly to our Father in that manner, the Light of His presence and the sweetness of His voice will teach and cheer us beyond our fondest hopes. THE PLACE OF PRAYER: The next point requiring consideration is the place of prayer; this is of very vital importance for a reason not generally known even among students of occultism; it is this. Every prayer, spoken or unspoken, every song of praise, and every reading of parts of the scriptures which teach or exhort, if done by a PROPERLY PREPARED READER WHO LOVES AND LIVES WHAT HE READS, BRINGS DOWN UPON BOTH THE WORSHIPER AND THE PLACE OF WORSHIP AN OUTPOURING OF SPIRIT. This in time an invisible church is built around the physical structure which in the case of a devout congregation becomes so beautiful that it transcends all imagination and defies description. Manson in the "Servant in the House" gives us only the faintest glimpse of what it is like [PAGE 3749] when he tells the old Bishop: "I am afraid you may not consider it an altogether substantial concern. It has to be seen in a certain way under certain conditions. Some people never see it at all. You must understand, this is no dead pile of stones and unmeaning timber, it is a LIVING THING. When you enter it you hear sound, a sound as of some mighty poem chanted. Listen long enough and you will learn that it is made up of the beating of human hearts, of the name- less music of men's souls; that is, if you have ears. If you have eyes, you will presently see the church itself, a looming mystery of many shapes and shadow leaping sheer from floor to dome, the work of no ordinary builder. Its pillars go up like the brawny trunks of heroes; the sweet human flesh of men and women is moulded about its bulwarks, strong impregnable. The faces of little children laugh out from every corner stone; the terrible spans and arches of it are the joined hands of comrades, and UP IN THE HEIGHTS AND SPACES ARE INSCRIBED THE NUMBERLESS MUSINGS OF ALL THE DREAMERS IN THE WORLD. It is yet building, building, and built upon. Sometimes the work goes forward in deep darkness--sometimes in blinding light--now beneath the burden of unutterable anguish, now to the tune of great laughter and heroic shoutings like the cry of thunder. Sometimes in the night time one may hear [PAGE 3750] the tiny hammerings of comrades at work in the dome, the comrades that have climbed ahead." But this invisible edifice is not merely lovelier than a fair palace in a poet's dream; it is as Manson says, A LIVING THING, vibrant with divine power of immense aid to the worshiper, for it helps him in adjusting the tangled vibrations of the world which permeate his aura when he enters a true "House of God" and to get into the proper attitude of prayer. Then it helps him to lift himself in aspiration tot he throne of divine grace, and to offer there his praise and adoration which call forth from the Father a new outpouring of the spirit in the loving response, "THIS IS MY BELOVED SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED." Such a place of worship is essential to spiritual growth by scientific prayer, and those who are fortunate enough to have access to such a temple should always OCCUPY THE SAME PLACE IN IT, for that becomes permeated with THEIR individual vibrations and they fit into that environment more easily than anywhere else; consequently they get better results there. But such places are scarce, for a REAL sanctuary is required in scien- tific prayer. No gossip or profane conversation may take place in or near it for that spoils the vibrations; voices must be hushed and the attitude reverent; each must bear in mind that he stands upon holy ground and act ac- cordingly, Therefore no place open to the general public will answer. [PAGE 3751] Furthermore, the power of prayer increases enormously with each addi- tional worshiper.--The increase may be compared to geometrical progression if the worshipers are properly attuned and trained in COLLECTIVE prayer; the very opposite may result if they are not. Perhaps an illustration may make the principle clear. Suppose a number of musicians who have never played with others and who perhaps are not very proficient in the use of their instruments, were brought together and set to play in concert; it needs no very keen imaginations to realize that their first attempts would be marked by much discord, and were an amateur allowed to play with them, or even with a finished orchestra, no matter how earnest and how intense his desire, he would inevitably spoil their music. Similar scientific conditions govern collective prayer; to be effcacious par- ticipants must be equally well prepared as elucidated under a previous head- ing; THEY MUST BE ATTUNED UNDER HARMONIOUS HOROSCOPIC INFLUENCES. When a malefic in one nativity is on the ascendant of another, those two cannot profit by praying together; they may rule their stars and live in peace if they are developed souls, but they lack the basic harmony which is abso- lutely essential in collective prayer. Initiation removes this barrier but nothing else can. [PAGE 3752] THE WINGS AND THE POWER; THE INVOCATION; THE CLIMAX: It was made clear in Part I that there are certain occult reasons which make COLLECTIVE prayer inadvisable except under special conditions. It was knowledge of these difficulties which prompted the Christ to warn his disciples not to say their prayers before men and to advise them that when they wanted to pray to enter into their CLOSET. We cannot each have a large beautiful edifice for our devotions, not do we require it; too often prompt and display are apt to turn our hearts from God. But most of us can set a small portion of our room aside for devotion, curtain it off or with a screen separate it from the rest of the apartment, or we can take a closet (literally) and make it into a sanctuary. The nature of the encircling walls matters not it is THE APARTNESS AND THE INVISIBLE HOUSE OF GOD which we build our prayers, and the divine downpouring which we receive in re- sponse from our Father that are important. A picture of Christ and a Rose [PAGE 3753] Cross may be hung upon the wall if desired, but are not essential. The All-Seeing Eye is preferred by some very successful occultists of our ac- quaintance as a symbol of the Father. But we remember the words of Christ, "The Father and I are one;" so though we have no authentic picture of Christ, we prefer to use such as we have, for we know that thoughts will not go astray on account of lack of authenticity. Christ is the Lord of this era; later, of course, the Father takes charge, but now Christ is mediator for the masses. We need scarcely say that no matter how large of small, the whole room or apartment of the successful aspirant is permeated by an atmosphere if holi- ness, for all the thoughts which he can legitimately have apart from the faithful performance of his worldly duties are of the heavenly Father, but the corner of closet set apart as a sanctuary soon becomes filled with SU- PERLATIVELY SPIRITUAL VIBRATIONS; therefore any aspirant who contemplates following the scientific method of prayer should first seek to secure A PER- MANENT PLACE OF RESIDENCE, for if he moves about from place to place he will suffer a distinct loss every time and have to begin to build anew. The in- visible temple which he built and left disintegrates by degrees when worship ceases. [PAGE 3754] THE WINGS AND THE POWER: It is a mystic maxim that "all spiritual development begins with the vi- tal body." This is next in density to our dense body, its key-note is REP- ETITION, and it is the vehicle of habits, hence somewhat difficult to change or influence, but once a change has been effected and a habit acquired by repetition, its performance becomes automatic to a certain extent. This characteristic is both good and bad in respect to prayer, for the impression registered in the ethers of this vehicle will impel the aspirant to faithful performance of his devotions AT STATED TIMES, even though he may have lost interest in the exercise and his prayers are mere forms. If it were not for this habit forming tendency of the vital body, aspirants would wake up their danger as soon as the real love began to wane, and it would then be easier to retrieve the loss and keep on the Path. Therefore the aspirant should carefully examine himself from time to time to see if he still has WINGS and POWER wherewith swiftly and surely to life himself to his Father in Heaven. The wings are two in number; LOVE AND ASPIRATION are their names, and the irresistible power which propels them is INTENSE EARNESTNESS. Without these and an intelligent understanding to direct the INVOCATION, prayer is only a babble; properly performed it is the most powerful method of soul growth known. [PAGE 3755] THE POSITION OF THE BODY: The position of the body matters little in SOLITARY PRAYER; that is best which is most conducive to concentration of purpose; but in COLLECTIVE pray- ing it is the practice of accomplished occultists to stand with bowed heads and hands folded in a peculiar manner. This makes a magnetic circuit which unites them spiritually from the very commencement of the exercises. In communities not so advanced, the singing of a hymn so standing has been found of great benefit, PROVIDED ALL TAKE PART. THE INVOCATION: Prayer is a word which has been so abused that it really does not de- scribe the spiritual exercise to which we have reference. As already said when we go to our sanctuary we must go as the lover who hastens to his be- loved, our spirit must fly ahead of our slow-moving body in eager anticipa- tion of the delights in store for us, and we must forget all else in the thoughts of adoration which fill us on the way. This ids literally true; the feeling required for success resembles nothing in the world so much as that which draws the lover to his beloved; it is even more ardent and in- tense. "As the hind panteth for the water brook, so thirsteth my soul after Thee," is an actual experience of the true lover of God. If we have not [PAGE 3756] this spirit, it can be cultivated by prayer, and one of the most constant of the legitimate prayers for self should be, "O God, increase my love for Thee so that I may serve Thee better from day to day." "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, My strength and my Redeemer." Invocations for temporal things are black magic; we have the promise "See ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." The Christ indicated the limit in The Lord's Prayer when He taught His disciples to say: "Give us this day our daily bread." Whether for ourselves or others we must beware of going father in scientific invocation. But even in praying for spiritual blessings we should beware lest a selfishness develop and destroy out soul growth. All the saints tes- tify to the days of darkness when the divine Lover hides His face and the consequent depression. Then it depends upon the nature and the strength of our affection: Do we love God for Himself, or do we love Him for the de- lights we experience in the sweet communion with Him? If the latter, our affection is essentially as selfish as the feelings of the multitude which followed Him because He had fed them, and now as then it is necessary for [PAGE 3757] Him to hide from us in such cases, a mark of His tender love and solicitude which should bring us to our knees in shame and remorse. Happy are we if we right the defect in our characters and learn the lesson of unfaltering faithfulness from the magnetic needle, which points to the pole without wavering despite rain or storm clouds that hide its beloved star. It has been said that we must not pray for temporal things, and that we ought to be careful even in our prayers for spiritual gifts; it is therefore a legitimate question: What then shall be the burden of our invocation? And the answer is, generally, PRAISE AND ADORATION. We must get away from the idea that every time we approach our Father in Heaven we must ask for something. Would it not annoy us if our children were always asking for something from us? We cannot of course imagine our Father in Heaven being annoyed at our importunities, but neither can we expect Him to grant what would often do us harm. On the other hand, when we offer thanksgiving and praise we put ourselves in a favorable position to the law of attraction, a receptive state where we may receive a new downpouring of the Spirit of Love and Light, and which thus brings us nearer to our adored ideal. THE FINAL CLIMAX: Nor is it necessary that the audible of inaudible invocation should [PAGE 3758] continue during the whole time of prayer. When upon the wings of Love and Aspiration, propelled by the intensity of our earnestness, we have soared to the Throne of our Father, there may come a time of sweet but silent commun- ion more delightful than any other state or stage; it is analogous to the contentment of lovers who may sit for hours in unbroken silence, too full of love for utterance, a state which far transcends the stage where they depend upon speech for entertainment. So it is also in the final climax when the soul RESTS in God, all desires satisfied by that feeling of at-one-ment ex- pressed in the words of Christ, "My Father and I are One." When that climax has been reached the soul has tasted the quintessence of joy, and no matter how sordid the world may seem or what dark fate it may have to face, the love of God which passeth all understanding is a panacea for all. It should be said however, that that final climax is only attainable IN ALL ITS FULLNESS at rare intervals. It pre-supposes not only the intensity of purpose to soar to the divine, but a reserve fund to remain posed in that position, which most of us have not always at hand. It is a well known fact that nothing worth while comes without effort. What man had done, man can do, and if we start to cultivate the power of invocation along the scien- tific lines here laid down, we shall in time reap results of which we little dream. And may our Father in Heaven bless our every effort. [PAGE 3759] PRACTICAL METHODS OF ACHIEVING SUCCESS BASED UPON CONSERVATION OF SEX FORCE: It is just impossible to attain true and lasting success with living in harmony with the laws of life, as it is for a criminal to live at peace in the community whose laws he breaks. Just as he is eventually punished be- cause of his predatory habits, and incarcerated and restrained, so also na- ture punishes, incarcerates, and restrains us when we break her laws. This restraint is called disease and is an enemy of happiness, for one, no matter what wealth he may have or what position he may occupy in the world, can be very happy when he is in ill health bodily. Thus it will be seen that one of the vital requirements for the man and woman who desires a full realiza- tion of happiness and success in life is health, including strength, for only in the measure that we are supplied with bubbling-over health can we feel sufficiently optimistic, cheerful and vigorous to attain the success which we are seeking. [PAGE 3760] The Bible tells us that death and disease cam into the world through eat- ing of the "tree of knowledge," and though from the materialist point of view this may sound silly, let us not dismiss the story without looking at it a little closer. We shall find that it is perfectly in harmony with sci- entific facts as shown in the world today. Consider first the meaning of the tree of knowledge as illustrated by the later remarks: "Adam KNEW his wife and she bore Abel;" "Adam KNEW his wife and she bore Seth;" and Mary's words to the angel, "How shall I conceive seeing I KNOW not a man?" From these and many similar remarks it is evident that the tree of knowledge was a symbolical expression of the generative act. Mankind is thus, as the Bible says, conceived in sin and therefore subject to death, and from this there would seem no escape. We would, however, do well to remember that evolution is a fact in na- ture; that man as he is today is the result of a long past, and that this present state is not the final attainment of a standard of perfection, but that there are greater heights ahead of us. We are in a state of EVER BE- COMING; there is no halting nor resting upon the path, which is as limitless as the age of the spirit. Moreover, as what we are today is the result of what we were yesterday, so also it depends upon how we use our faculties [PAGE 3761] today whether we shall be one thing or another tomorrow. Let us then exam- ine the past, so that by learning what we have been, we may gain an inkling of what we are to be. According to the Bible, mankind was male-female before it was separated into two distinct sexes as man and woman. We still have with us hermaphro- dites who have this, as we thing today, abnormal formation to prove the truth of this Biblical assertion; and physiologically the opposite organ of either sex is latent in all. During the period when man was thus consti- tuted fertilization must have occurred within himself; nor is this any stranger than that many plants are so fertilized today. Let us now see from the Bible what was the effect of self-fertilization in the early days. There are two prime facts that stand out: One is that THERE WERE GIANTS IN THE EARTH IN THOSE DAYS; the other that THE PATRIARCHS LIVED FOR CENTURIES; and these two characteristics, great growth and longev- ity, are possessed by many plants of today. The great size of trees and the length of their life are wonderful, the live centuries where man lives only a few score years. Then the question comes, what is the reason of the evanescence of human life, and what is the remedy? Let us first take up the [PAGE 3762] question of the reason, and the remedy will later be apparent. It is well know to horticulturists that plants are stunted in their growth when they bloom too prolifically. A rose may bloom to such an extent that it dies; therefore the wise gardener prunes the buds from the plants so that the strength may go partly into growth instead of blossom. Thus BY KEEPING THE SEED WITHIN ITSELF it attains the strength required for growth and longevity. This was the secret of the great size and long life of the earliest races, as it is the secret of the size and longevity of the plants today. That the creative essence in the seed is a spiritual substance is evident when we compare the dauntlessness and impatience at restraint of the stal- lion or the bull, with the docility of the steer and the gelding. Moreover, we know that the confirmed libertine and the degenerate become sterile and emaciated. When these facts have sunk into our consciousness it will not be difficult to conceive of the truth of the Bible assertion that the fruit of the flesh, which brings us under the law of sin and death, is first and foremost fornication, whereas the fruit of the spirit which make for [PAGE 3763] immortality, as shown in the same book, are said to be principally continence and chastity. Consider also the child and how the creative force USED WITHIN AND FOR THE CHILD ITSELF causes an enormous growth during the early years, but at the age of puberty the birth of passion commences to check growth; the vital force then produces seed in order to find growth and expression elsewhere, and thenceforth growth is stunted. If we continued to grow during life as we grow during childhood, we should be giants as were the divine hermaphro- dites of long ago. The spiritual force generated from the time of puberty and all through life may be used for three purposes, GENERATION, DEGENERATION, OR REGEN- ERATION. It depends upon ourselves which of the three methods we choose; but the choice that we make will have an important bearing upon our whole life, for the use of this force is not confined in its effect to the time or occasion upon which it is thus used. IT OVERSHADOWS EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF OUR EXISTENCE, and determines among our fellow men; how we meet the various trial of life; whether we are able to grasp our opportunities or let them slip by; whether we are healthy or sick; and whether we live our life [PAGE 3764] according to a satisfactory purpose; all of this depends upon the way we use the vital force. That is the very spring of all our existence, the elixir of life. The part of the creative force which is legitimately sacrificed upon the altar of fatherhood and motherhood is so small that it may be entirely ne- glected for the purpose of the present considerations. There is no reason whatever from a physical or spiritual standpoint why celibacy should be in- sisted upon in any religious order, neither is this at all in harmony with the Bible. The mere suppression of sexual attraction is not a virtue in it- self; in fact it may be a very serious vice, for there is no question that many millions, fall into the most unspeakable vices on that account. Even if they abstain from the sexual act, their thoughts are of such a nature that they make themselves whited sepulchres, horrible within though out- wardly seeming pure and white. Paul himself, thought not in the condition mentioned, said: "It is better to parry than to burn;" and the natural ex- pression is far to be preferred to such an inward state as above described. [PAGE 3765] While there are very few who will defend abuse of the generative func- tion, many people who follow spiritual percepts in other things still have the feeling than frequent indulgence of the desire for sexual pleasure works no harm; some even have the idea that it is as necessary as the exercise of any other organic function. This is wrong for two reasons: First, each creative act requires a certain amount of force which burns up tissue that must be replenished by an extra amount of food. This strengthens and aug- ments the Chemical Ether. Secondly as the propagative force works through the Life Ether, this constituent of the vital body by sending the creative force downwards for gratification of our desire for pleasure; and their in- terlocking grip upon the two higher ethers which form the soul-body becomes tighter and more powerful as time goes on. As the evolution of our soul-powers and the faculty of traveling in our finer vehicles depends upon the cleavage between the lower ethers and the soul-body, it is evident that we frustrate the object we have in view and retard development by indulgence of the lower nature. If we turn again to the garden we may obtain a striking illustration of the result of following the apostle's advice to "keep the seed within," by considering the qualities of the seedless varieties of fruit. Seedless fruits are larger and better flavored than those which have seeds, because in them all the sap is used for the single purpose of making the fruit deli- cious and succulent. Similarly, if instead of wasting our substance we live chastely and send the creative force upward for regeneration, we thereby etherealize and refine our physical bodies at the same time that we strengthen our soul bodies. In this manner WE MAY MATERIALLY LENGTHEN LIFE and so increase our opportunities for soul growth and advancement upon the Path in a very marked degree. When we realize that success does not consist in the accumulation of wealth but in soul growth, it will be evident that continence is an impor- tant factor in the attainment of success in life. 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