THINKING AND DESTINY
Harold W. Percival
THE GREAT WAY
Preparing oneself to enter upon The Way. Honesty and truthfulness. The regenerative breath. The four stages in thinking.
This section is written for those who feel that they would like to find and be on The Way. Here first principles only are considered. The system of thinking at the end of the book is more extensive; it leads from the beginning to the end of The Way.
The Way which leads the human to Self-conscious immortality cannot be traveled by everyone. It is the destiny for everyone, ultimately, but not immediately. Comparatively few will consider it before it is recognized as a public topic. It is not for the disbeliever. One who does not feel reasonably sure: that there is The Way, that there is the Triune Self, and that he is the doer part of such a Triune Self, ought not to undertake the quest.
The quest is to find oneself in the body, and one’s greater Self when on The Way.
To prepare oneself for The Way involves a definite decision to do so, and is a far reaching step. The sooner one begins the work, the fewer lives are needed. Once the choice is made, it acts for the eleven doer portions not in the body. The decision is one’s own private affair and should be considered as such. No one should advise him.
One should not decide for The Way until he has given due consideration to the marriage relation; to its duties and its consequences. One who is married may decide to be on The Way. In which case the relation will be mutually and naturally adjusted in due time. But one who is unmarried must understand that he cannot go on The Way unless there is cessation of the sexual desire and act. The desire must be for permanent union of feeling-and-desire, not for spasmodic union of physical bodies. Sex indulgence is the continuation of births and deaths. Whereas, The Way leads to Self-knowledge in a perfect and everlasting physical body.
You, the conscious doer-in-the-body, who have decided to find and be on The Way, may appeal to your thinker part to guide you. You will have the Conscious Light within to show you The Way—to the degree that you trust it and use it. The Conscious Light within is Truth, it is your degree of Truth. The Light will show you things truly as they are. That is what Truth does.
You must learn to distinguish that from all other lights. The difference is that the lights of the senses are lights of nature. They make you aware of the objects of nature from the outside, but they are not conscious of the objects which they make visible outwardly. Nor are they conscious inwardly; lights of nature do not know anything; they are conscious as their functions only, nothing more. Whereas, the Conscious Light is Self-knowing; it is conscious that it is the Light that knows that it knows. The Light leads and shows the way to the knowledge of all things of nature, and to the knowledge of one’s greater Self. Without the Conscious light one could not be conscious of or as oneself.
Without the Conscious Light you cannot find The Way. In right thinking you use the Light; and when you seek The Way, the Light will show you and keep you on The Way. But you must qualify yourself in two arts in order to find and to travel The Way.
The first is the art of seeing things as they are. You may ask: What do I see, if I do not see things as they are? You see things as appearances, as they appear to be, but not as they really are.
In acquiring the art, preference and prejudice, two treasured heirlooms of the human, must be done away with in order that you may find and travel The Way. Preference and prejudice grow on the mind’s eye like as cataracts do on the physical eye. Thus the Conscious Light is dimmed and finally obscured. Therefore they must be removed and forgotten. They can be removed by virtue.
Virtue is one’s power of will in the practice of honesty and truthfulness.
Honesty begins with right thought and motive in oneself, and is expressed by one’s actions in dealing with others. Honesty is not merely a passive not-taking what belongs to others; it is also an active refusal to consider being devious or crooked.
Truthfulness is the purpose and practice of stating facts as the facts are, without intent to deceive. Truthfulness is not the mere negative assent to, or statement of what is so, fearful of misstatement or of being mistaken. It is the strict intent to not deceive oneself, and then be direct in statement of facts, in the simple words that allow no opposition.
One may have a strong will and a general acquaintance with honesty and truthfulness, and yet not have virtue. Virtue does not happen at once. Virtue is developed, but only by the practice of honesty and truthfulness.
Virtue, as the power of will in the practice of honesty and truthfulness, develops a strong and fearless character. Dishonesty and falsehood are then strangers, and are foreign, undesirable to virtue. By virtue the scales of preference and prejudice are dissipated and removed, and one sees things as they are. When the scales of preference and prejudice are removed from the mind’s eye, the unobscured Conscious Light shows and makes one conscious of things as they are. One is then truly qualified to learn what not to do, and what to do.
The second art is the art of knowing what to do, and doing that; and knowing what not to do, and not doing that. Now you can speak to your thinker and ask to be guided. You can mentally say: My Judge and Knower!—guide me in all I think and do!
Rightness of your thinker will speak to you through conscience in your heart, and tell you what not to do; and reason of your thinker will tell you what to do. Practice in the art of seeing things as they are, and in the art of knowing what to do and what not to do, will be your preparation to travel the three sections of The Way.
For practicing the two great arts: of seeing things as they are, and of knowing what to do and what not to do, your ordinary everyday experiences will give you all the opportunities necessary for the practice. You need not be surprised at anything that happens, or that nothing that happens is out of the ordinary or beyond your duties. But whatever does happen will be for your training and for the development of your character, whether it be strange or commonplace.
Duties are important, always; but they are most important when one decides to be on The Way. No duties should prevent one from deciding for The Way, because no human can ever be free from them until he has performed all his duties. All that one has to do is: to do that which he knows to be his duty, and to do it as well as he can with goodwill, without undue expectation, and without fear.
Whether one’s position in life be lofty or lowly does not matter. Whether married or single, with or without family, with or without encumbrance, does not matter so much. But what does matter is that one does in good faith all that he has agreed to do, or that circumstances show to be necessary. Should there be any ties, they will not be broken; they will naturally fall away. Duties that would ordinarily seem insuperable will in this way be done naturally and properly through circumstances which will come about in orderly process of time: they have a purpose in your training. For the learning and doing, time is not the important matter. The essence of the doing is in the accomplishment, not in length of time or number of lives that may be required. You are to learn to think and live in the Eternal, not in time.
There is a method of regenerative breathing which assists in seeing things as they are, and in knowing what to do and what not to do. It re-establishes the right relation between the breath and the form of the breath-form; it is a beginning of the reconstruction of the human body according to the form of its original perfect body. Further, this method is a way of exploring and examining the body by means of the breath, of knowing the mystery of the human body.
The breath as it is breathed in should be of four kinds: the physical breath, the form breath, the life breath, and the light breath. Each of these is subdivided into four subsidiary breaths. As the four subsidiary breaths of the first kind are practiced and known, they prepare and initiate one into the next kind and its subsidiaries.
The four subsidiaries of the physical breath are: the solid-physical, fluid-physical, airy-physical, and radiant-physical breaths; in other words, the structure of the physical, the form of the physical, the life of the physical, and the light of the physical.
These first four subsidiary breaths build and repair the structure of the physical body. They should maintain a balance between the building material and the waste matter that cannot otherwise be removed. This is done by the regular inflow and outflow of the four substates of solid-physical matter: that is, of solid, fluid, airy, and radiant units.
Breathing is intended to permeate and supply all parts and states and substates of the solid body with units of matter of its own state, so that all units in the body can perform their functions properly. This can be done only by regenerative breathing. At present, the human breathes only portions of the gross physical breath. These are insufficient for proper digestion and assimilation of the food and drink taken into the body. Therefore ill health and death may be consequences of improper breathing.
Tissue is built, and a balance is maintained between the building material and the elimination of waste matter from the body, by the process of breathing. Breathing is the process of (a) building new material as structure onto the form of the breath-form; (b) the elimination of waste matter from that structure; and (c) the metabolizing or maintenance of balance between the building and elimination. This explains the age-old biological mystery of tissue building.
By practicing the regenerative method of breathing until such breathing becomes the habitual breathing of the physical breath at all times, the solid-fluid-airy-radiant structure of the physical body will, by the four subsidiary states of the physical breath, be built into a properly adjusted and functioning physical body of health, the life of which may be prolonged indefinitely. One who decides to practice this system of breathing is advised not to practice yoga breathing, pranayama, or any other system: they would be interferences. The rules for the regenerative breath are as follows:
1) There should be no unnecessary pause or interruption of breathing, between inbreathing and outbreathing. That would be an interference with the rhythm of breath, or a stoppage of the Light for thinking.
2) One should think with and follow the breath as it comes into and passes through the body, to observe and actually feel where it naturally does go, what it does, and the results of what is being done by the breath in its tidal passage in and out of the body.
3) A time should be set for the daily practice of regenerative breathing; it should be at first not less than ten minutes, and should be gradually extended to longer periods as seems consistent with one’s reason. But the breathing may also be practiced at any time of day or night, so that eventually the practice will become one’s regular and normal breathing.
4) The practice of the breathing should be suspended or stopped if one believes there is any reason for so doing.
5) If there is a time of panic, anger, excitement, or when one seems likely to be overwhelmed, then persist in the uninterrupted and full inbreathing and outbreathing.
By the practice of this regenerative breathing, the breath rebuilds the tissues and opens new avenues for the unobstructed flow of the breaths through all the interstices of the body and its senses, its organs and its cells, molecules, atoms, and electrons or protons. The breath passing through the blood and nerves tends to relate and put into agreement desire, the active side of the doer-in-the-body, and feeling, its passive side, so that they will be in intimate relation.
The blood vessels and the nerves in the body run side by side, the blood being the field of desire, and the nerves the field of feeling. As the breath passes through blood and nerves it puts feeling and desire into phase, and so they act conjointly.
Thinking is the steady holding and focusing of the Conscious Light within on the subject of the thinking. The steady holding, or actual focusing, of the Conscious Light, by thinking, is possible only at the neutral moment or point between the outbreathing and the inbreathing, and between the inbreathing and the outbreathing. So that the actual results of thinking are possible only at the two poles or points of the complete round. The practice of so breathing and thinking is a method for acquiring the power to think.
When the thinking is on the subject of this regenerative breathing, the processes of breathing in the rebuilding of the body will be made known, as the Conscious Light is focused at the neutral points between the breathings. As the practice continues, the thinking will make known the parts and functions of the body in relation to the functions of the universe; and the relation of the functions of the universe to the parts and functions of the body, and to the body as a whole, and their reciprocal action and reaction.
There are four stages or degrees in thinking. First, the selection of the subject, and giving attention to the subject. Second, holding the Conscious Light on that subject. Third, focusing the Light on that subject. Fourth, the focus of the Light.
The subject should be the only thing to which attention is given. There should be nothing else with which the attention is engaged.
In the second, the holding of the Light steadily means that all the available Light in his mental atmosphere that one has to think with is turned on that subject. As soon as the Light is turned on the subject, that Light attracts one’s past thoughts, and any other idle or wandering thoughts. To the Light so turned, thoughts and subjects of thought, pests of the night, all try to crowd into that Light. The first effect on the thinker is that there are a great many subjects that would obscure or prevent his seeing his subject. The thinker usually tries either to get these out of his Light, or else to give attention to any one of the number of thoughts that crowd in. This is too difficult and the thinker is usually distracted and prevented from holding the Light on the subject of his selection. He will mentally see one of the subjects or thoughts that have crowded in, and hold the Light on that. But no sooner has he done so than the others try to crowd that one out by getting in the line of his mental vision. Fight as he will, he cannot seem to get back to his subject. And he turns the Light from one to the other of the innumerable thoughts or things that crowd in; and he does not get any farther; so he finally gives up the effort, or else falls asleep.
He may take this same subject up again and again, for what he calls contemplation, or meditation, or by any other name. Then he will have itchings, or feelings of irritation and uneasiness, changing his position and beginning over and over again. He often tries to do away with these unwarranted intrusions. But the more he tries to put them out of his thinking, the less he is able to be rid of them. There is one way, and one way only, by which they are dispersed. That way is to keep on trying to think steadily on the subject, and to mentally refuse to see anything but the subject on which he is trying to hold the Light.
However many efforts and however long this may take, it is necessary for him to do it. Because that is steadiness in thinking. Each time he thinks of things that annoy him, he turns the Light on that thing and the other thing, and he is not holding the Light on his subject. But when he refuses to see anything but what he wills to see as his subject, then the unwarranted subjects flee, and he is holding the Light steadily on the subject; he has completed the second stage.
The third stage is the focusing of the Light. The Light is more or less diffused over an area, so to say. By looking steadily at the subject as a point, the Light becomes more compact and is directed from the area to its central point, which is the subject. The focusing must be continued until all the Light comes to a focus, to its focus on the subject. As soon as the Light is focused, the subject as a point opens into the fullness of the knowledge of the subject, which the Light shows at once in its entirety. It is a more complete revelation of the subject of the thinking than a lightning flash which illuminates a landscape in the darkest night. The difference is, the lightning shows what is seen by the senses. The Light is the knowledge of the subject accomplished by thinking.
Concerning the second stage, the holding of the Light: Each time the Light is turned on intervening subjects, there is a change of distance and perspective. One subject intervening comes closer, another closer still; another may come still closer. Each tries to get closer in the line of vision, to attract attention. And the poor thinker is so distracted that he does not know what he is thinking about. And he becomes confused, ill at ease, or gives it up in discouragement. He does not get the knowledge until all the Light is focused. With each focus of the Light he acquires knowledge.
When one looks at a thing it is not seen as an entirety. To see it, one must see the focal point of the thing that he looks at. And if he can see the focal point, he can see the whole through that point.
How does one get the Light in thinking? The surest way of getting the Light is by regular breathing. Whatever Light one gets will come through a point, at the neutral point, between inbreathing and outbreathing, and between outbreathing and inbreathing. So there is twice in one round of complete breathing where the Conscious Light can be focused.
When the Light comes in at the two neutral points between the inbreathing and the outbreathing, one must be thinking steadily on the subject, else the Light is diffused. If he has more than one subject while trying to think, the Light cannot be focused. So many subjects are hindering him in his steady thinking that he does not get any focus when the Light would come in; it is therefore diffused over the many subjects. But the continued practice of trying to hold his thinking steadily on the subject selected, allows him to so exercise his mental vision that if he persists long enough he will eventually be able to discover something about his subject, because the Light will give a little illumination on his subject, although it may not open it into knowledge.
In this way those who think get information in business, in art, in any occupation or endeavor in life. The Light gives information about the subjects of which they believe they think. But one seldom thinks steadily enough to get knowledge on the subject. All inventions, all discoveries in science and art, or in any earnest endeavor in life, come either as illuminations on the subject or as flashes of knowledge, through the neutral point between inbreathing or outbreathing.
This is thinking, human thinking; not real thinking. Real thinking is beyond the ordinary human. If it were necessary, when the Light was focused at the time of thinking on the subject, breathing would stop. The Light would suspend the breathing, and one would think into the Light, and see into any subject of his choice. That would be real thinking, an extension of what may be called regular thinking.
Light is intelligence per se, and only that which can use Light is intelligent. But human beings are not Intelligences. They become intelligent in varying degrees, according to their ability to hold the Conscious Light on the subject of the thinking.
As one goes on and persists in the thought and action of right and justice, the advice and guidance of one’s thinker, as Judge, can be mentally asked and received during breathing. So, one may gain strength, and act fearlessly and with confidence in any undertaking. So, one may from time to time have revelations in answer to one’s questions on the relation between the universe and one’s body, concerning duties, and one’s relation to the thinker and knower of his Triune Self.
Each subsidiary of the physical breath is the medium which the next finer breath uses in the building of its matter into the structure of the physical body. The form breath and its subsidiaries begin to build out the form body when the physical body is developing to physical health. The breath-form will gradually and automatically rebuild and reconstitute and re-establish the physical body in its original state of perfection. But it can only do so as the doer empowers and directs it by thinking.
The one whose regenerative breathing has prepared the body for the form breathing will breathe the form breath, which will gradually improve and reconstruct the structure towards perfection and extend the life of the physical body indefinitely. The form breath is the beginning of the rejuvenescence of bodily life; it is the initiator and mystery and miracle of life in all its higher forms. It will gradually prepare the body for the breathing of the life breath. Then one will receive further information from the thinker and the knower of his Triune Self, as indicated by the system of thinking in the fourteenth chapter.
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A chapter on “Freemasonry” was to follow this last section of “The Great Way,” in which that subject was treated in the light of what is stated in this book. It was shown how the history of the conscious self in the body is depicted in the Ritual of Freemasonry, the Order being ancient beyond the dreams of any Mason, and symbolically recording such evidence and history of the self as are unknown to modern Masons. The progress of the conscious self in its capacity to become conscious of more Light is recorded by their symbols. The symbols show the Mason’s progress by degrees in his travels, even to the building of the “second temple, eternal in the heavens,”—as shown in “The Great Way.”
On presenting the manuscript to publishers, it appeared that an interpretation of the “Dogma and Ritual” of Freemasonry, by a layman, not a member of the Order, might give offense. That was not intended. Therefore, the chapter is withdrawn; it will not be published, unless so desired by Masons.
H. W. P.
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Since the original publication of Thinking and Destiny Masons did review and approve the chapter mentioned above. The Word Foundation first published it in 1952 as a separate book—Masonry and Its Symbols—and continues to keep it in print.
The Word Foundation
Copyright 1974 by The Word Foundation, Inc.