IS OCCULT TRAINING ADVISABLE?
THIS QUESTION MUST be answered with a definite “no”! Occult training, which generally includes exercises for the attainment of clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc., is a hindrance to a free development and to real spiritual ascent. As soon as the training is fairly successful it results in what in former times was described as a magician.
It is a process of one-sided groping forward from below upwards, whereby the so-called terrestrial limits can never be crossed. All the phenomena likely to be achieved in such conditions will be of a lower and most inferior order, which cannot actually uplift a man inwardly, but may well lead him astray.
Through these efforts man is only able to penetrate into his immediate ethereal environment, where the entities are often more ignorant than man on earth himself. All that he accomplishes here is that he exposes himself to unknown dangers, from which he otherwise remains protected by not opening himself.
One who has become clairvoyant or clairaudient through such training will often see or hear things on this low plane which appear to be sublime and pure, and yet which are far from it. In addition there is his own imagination which, even more stimulated by his training, also creates a surrounding that the student actually sees and hears, with resultant confusion.
A man thus artificially trained stands insecurely on his feet. He cannot discriminate, nor with the best will can he draw a sharp line between truth and deception or between the thousandfold ways in which the formative power works in ethereal life. Finally there are the base and, for him, decidedly injurious influences to which he voluntarily and with arduous efforts opens himself, and which he cannot oppose with a higher power. Thus he soon becomes a rudderless wreck on an unknown sea, which is liable to be a menace to everything that comes into contact with it.
It is exactly the same as with a person who cannot swim. He is quite capable of sailing in perfect safety over the unfamiliar element in a boat. This can be compared to earthly life. But if during the voyage he removes one of the protecting planks from the bottom, then he tears a hole in his boat through which the water will enter, depriving him of his protection and drawing him down. Through his inability to swim he will thus become a victim of the unfamiliar element.
Such is the procedure in occult training! Man only removes a plank from his protecting boat, but does not learn to swim!
There are swimmers, however, who call themselves experts. In this category are those swimmers already possessed of a certain talent, which with a little training they make more effective, and also continually try to develop further. In such cases, then, a more or less natural talent will unite with artificial training. However, even the best swimmer is confined within rather narrow limits. Should he venture too far his strength will give out, and he will finally be just as lost as a non-swimmer unless, indeed, help comes to them both.
In the Ethereal World such help can only come from the Luminous Heights, from the pure spiritual realm. And this help again can only approach if the one in danger has reached a certain degree of purity in his psychic development, with which it can unite to give a firm hold. Such purity cannot be obtained through experimental occult training, but only through developing true inner integrity by constantly looking upwards to the purity of the Light.
If a man has followed this path it will in time bring him a certain measure of purity which will naturally be reflected in his thoughts, words and deeds. Then by degrees he will obtain a link with purer heights from which, through reciprocal actions, he will also receive increased strength.
Throughout all the intermediary steps he then has a connection which will hold him and to which he can cling. It will not be long before all that the swimmer has vainly tried to achieve will be given to him without any effort. But it is given with the care and precaution which are inherent in the inexorable Laws of Reciprocal Action, so that he gets only as much of it as his own strength can counterbalance, whereby all danger is excluded from the outset.
At last the separating partition, which may be compared to the planks of a boat, becomes thinner and thinner, and finally falls away altogether. That then is the moment when, in the same way as a fish is at home in water, he himself will feel quite at home in the Ethereal World right up to the Luminous Heights. That alone is the right way!
What has been artificially forced by training is wrong. It is only the fish that is free from danger in water, because that is “its element”, for which it has been properly equipped in a way which a trained swimmer can never attain.
When a man intends to take up this training, it is preceded by a voluntary decision, to the consequences of which he is then subjected. Therefore he cannot anticipate that help is certain to be given him! He had the freedom to decide beforehand!
But a man who induces others to take up such training, as a result of which they are exposed to all sorts of dangers, must take a great part of the consequences of the guilt of each individual upon his own shoulders. He will become ethereally chained to them all. After laying aside his physical body he must irrevocably descend to those who have departed before him, to those who have succumbed to the dangers, right down to him who sank lowest of all.
He is unable to ascend himself until he has helped every single one to rise again, until their wrong path has been obliterated and everything neglected through such training has been retrieved. Such is the balance brought about by reciprocal action and, at the same time, the merciful means by which he can put right the injustice and himself ascend.
If such a man has not only influenced others through his words, but also through his writings, he will be hit even more severely, because his writings go on doing harm even after his earthly death. He must then wait in the Ethereal World till the last person he has led astray, and whom he is obliged to help on to the right path, has crossed over. Centuries may well elapse in this process!
However, this does not mean that the field of the Ethereal World should remain untouched and unexplored during life on earth!
At the appropriate hour it will be given to those who are inwardly matured to feel at home where others would still be in danger. They will be permitted to see the Truth and pass it on. But at the same time they will also be able clearly to survey the dangers which threaten those who, by means of occult training, wish to penetrate one-sidedly into the lower spheres of unknown regions. They will never advocate occult training.