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Clairvoyance In Space: Intentional
Clairvoyance In Space: Semi-intentional
Clairvoyance In Space: Unintentional
Clairvoyance In Time: The Future
Clairvoyance In Time: The Past
Methods Of Development
Simple Clairvoyance: Full
Simple Clairvoyance: Partial
What Clairvoyance Is

Methods Of Development

When a man becomes convinced of the reality of the valuable power of
clairvoyance, his first question usually is, "How can I develop in my
own case this faculty which is said to be latent in everyone?"

Now the fact is that there are many methods by which it may be
developed, but only one which can be at all safely recommended for
general use--that of which we shall speak last of all. Among the less
advanced nations of the world the clairvoyant state has been produced
in various objectionable ways; among some of the non-Aryan tribes of
India, by the use of intoxicating drugs or the inhaling of stupefying
fumes; among the dervishes, by whirling in a mad dance of religious
fervour until vertigo and insensibility supervene; among the followers
of the abominable practices of the Voodoo cult, by frightful
sacrifices and loathsome rites of black magic. Methods such as these
are happily not in vogue in our own race, yet even among us large
numbers of dabblers in this ancient art adopt some plan of
self-hypnotization, such as the gazing at a bright spot or the
repetition of some formula until a condition of semi-stupefaction is
produced; while yet another school among them would endeavour to
arrive at similar results by the use of some of the Indian systems of
regulation of the breath.

All these methods are unequivocally to be condemned as quite unsafe
for the practice of the ordinary man who has no idea of what he is
doing--who is simply making vague experiments in an unknown world.
Even the method of obtaining clairvoyance by allowing oneself to be
mesmerized by another person is one from which I should myself shrink
with the most decided distaste; and assuredly it should never be
attempted except under conditions of absolute trust and affection
between the magnetizer and the magnetized, and a perfection of purity
in heart and soul, in mind and intention, such as is rarely to be seen
among any but the greatest of saints.

Experiments in connection with the mesmeric trance are of the deepest
interest, as offering (among other things) a possibility of proof of
the fact of clairvoyance to the sceptic, yet except under such
conditions as I have just mentioned--conditions, I quite admit, almost
impossible to realize--I should never counsel anyone to submit himself
as a subject for them.

Curative mesmerism (in which, without putting the patient into the
trance state at all, an effort is made to relieve his pain, to remove
his disease, or to pour vitality into him by magnetic passes) stands
on an entirely different footing; and if the mesmerizer, even though
quite untrained, is himself in good health and animated by pure
intentions, no harm is likely to be done to the subject. In so extreme
a case as that of a surgical operation, a man might reasonably submit
himself even to the mesmeric trance, but it is certainly not a
condition with which one ought lightly to experiment. Indeed, I should
most strongly advise any one who did me the honour to ask for my
opinion on the subject, not to attempt any kind of experimental
investigation into what are still to him the abnormal forces of
nature, until he has first of all read carefully everything that has
been written on the subject, or--which is by far the best of
all--until he is under the guidance of a qualified teacher.

But where, it will be said, is the qualified teacher to be found? Not,
most assuredly, among any who advertise themselves as teachers, who
offer to impart for so many guineas or dollars the sacred mysteries of
the ages, or hold "developing circles" to which casual applicants are
admitted at so much per head.

Much has been said in this treatise of the necessity for careful
training--of the immense advantages of the trained over the untrained
clairvoyant; but that again brings us back to the same question--where
is this definite training to be had?

The answer is, that the training may be had precisely where it has
always been to be found since the world's history began--at the hands
of the Great White Brotherhood of Adepts, which stands now, as it has
always stood, at the back of human evolution, guiding and helping it
under the sway of the great cosmic laws which represent to us the Will
of the Eternal.

But how, it may be asked, is access to be gained to them? How is the
aspirant thirsting for knowledge to signify to them his wish for

Once more, by the time-honoured methods only. There is no new patent
whereby a man can qualify himself without trouble to become a pupil in
that School--no royal road to the learning which has to be acquired in
it. At the present day, just as in the mists of antiquity, the man who
wishes to attract their notice must enter upon the slow and toilsome
path of self-development--must learn first of all to take himself in
hand and make himself all that he ought to be. The steps of that path
are no secret; I have given them in full detail in Invisible
Helpers, so I need not repeat them here. But it is no easy road to
follow, and yet sooner or later all must follow it, for the great law
of evolution sweeps mankind slowly but resistlessly towards its goal.

From those who are pressing into this path the great Masters select
their pupils, and it is only by qualifying himself to be taught that a
man can put himself in the way of getting the teaching. Without that
qualification, membership in any Lodge or Society, whether secret or
otherwise, will not advance his object in the slightest degree. It is
true, as we all know, that it was at the instance of some of these
Masters that our Theosophical Society was founded, and that from its
ranks some have been chosen to pass into closer relations with them.
But that choice depends upon the earnestness of the candidate, not
upon his mere membership of the Society or of any body within it.

That, then, is the only absolutely safe way of developing
clairvoyance--to enter with all one's energy upon the path of moral
and mental evolution, at one stage of which this and other of the
higher faculties will spontaneously begin to show themselves. Yet
there is one practice which is advised by all the religions
alike--which if adopted carefully and reverently can do no harm to any
human being, yet from which a very pure type of clairvoyance has
sometimes been developed; and that is the practice of meditation.

Let a man choose a certain time every day--a time when he can rely
upon being quiet and undisturbed, though preferably in the daytime
rather than at night--and set himself at that time to keep his mind
for a few minutes entirely free from all earthly thoughts of any kind
whatever and, when that is achieved, to direct the whole force of his
being towards the highest spiritual ideal that he happens to know. He
will find that to gain such perfect control of thought is enormously
more difficult than he supposes, but when he attains it it cannot but
be in every way most beneficial to him, and as he grows more and more
able to elevate and concentrate his thought, he may gradually find
that new worlds are opening before his sight.

As a preliminary training towards the satisfactory achievement of such
meditation, he will find it desirable to make a practice of
concentration in the affairs of daily life--even in the smallest of
them. If he writes a letter, let him think of nothing else but that
letter until it is finished if he reads a book, let him see to it that
his thought is never allowed to wander from his author's meaning. He
must learn to hold his mind in check, and to be master of that also,
as well as of his lower passions he must patiently labour to acquire
absolute control of his thoughts, so that he will always know exactly
what he is thinking about, and why--so that he can use his mind, and
turn it or hold it still, as a practised swordsman turns his weapon
where he will.

Yet after all, if those who so earnestly desire clairvoyance could
possess it temporarily for a day or even an hour, it is far from
certain that they would choose to retain the gift. True, it opens
before them new worlds of study, new powers of usefulness, and for
this latter reason most of us feel it worth while; but it should be
remembered that for one whose duty still calls him to live in the
world it is by no means an unmixed blessing. Upon one in whom that
vision is opened the sorrow and the misery, the evil and the greed of
the world press as an ever-present burden, until in the earlier days
of his knowledge he often feels inclined to echo the passionate
adjuration contained in those rolling lines of Schiller's:

Dien Orakel zu verkuenden, warum warfest du mich hin
In die Stadt der ewig Blinden, mit dem aufgeschloss'nen Sinn?
Frommt's, den Schleier aufzuheben, wo das nahe Schreckniss droht?
Nur der Irrthum ist das Leben; dieses Wissen ist der Tod.
Nimm, O nimm die traur'ge Klarheit mir vom Aug' den blut'gen Schein!
Schrecklich ist es deiner Wahrheit sterbliches Gefaess zu seyn!

which may perhaps be translated "Why hast thou cast me thus into the
town of the ever-blind, to proclaim thine oracle by the opened sense?
What profits it to lift the veil where the near darkness threatens?
Only ignorance is life; this knowledge is death. Take back this sad
clear-sightedness; take from mine eyes this cruel light! It is
horrible to be the mortal channel of thy truth." And again later he
cries, "Give me back my blindness, the happy darkness of my senses;
take back thy dreadful gift!"

But this of course is a feeling which passes, for the higher sight
soon shows the pupil something beyond the sorrow--soon bears in upon
his soul the overwhelming certainty that, whatever appearances down
here may seem to indicate, all things are without shadow of doubt
working together for the eventual good of all. He reflects that the
sin and the suffering are there, whether he is able to perceive them
or not, and that when he can see them he is after all better able to
give efficient help than he would be if he were working in the dark;
and so by degrees he learns to bear his share of the heavy karma of
the world.

Some misguided mortals there are who, having the good fortune to
possess some slight touch of this higher power, are nevertheless so
absolutely destitute of all right feeling in connection with it as to
use it for the most sordid ends--actually even to advertise themselves
as "test and business clairvoyants!" Needless to say, such use of the
faculty is a mere prostitution and degradation of it, showing that its
unfortunate possessor has somehow got hold of it before the moral side
of his nature has been sufficiently developed to stand the strain
which it imposes. A perception of the amount of evil karma that may be
generated by such action in a very short time changes one's disgust
into pity for the unhappy perpetrator of that sacrilegious folly.

It is sometimes objected that the possession of clairvoyance destroys
all privacy, and confers a limit-less ability to explore the secrets
of others. No doubt it does confer such an ability, but nevertheless
the suggestion is an amusing one to anyone who knows anything
practically about the matter. Such an objection may possibly be
well-founded as regards the very limited powers of the "test and
business clairvoyant," but the man who brings it forward against those
who have had the faculty opened for them in the course of their
instruction, and consequently possess it fully, is forgetting three
fundamental facts: first, that it is quite inconceivable that anyone,
having before him the splendid fields for investigation which true
clairvoyance opens up, could ever have the slightest wish to pry into
the trumpery little secrets of any individual man; secondly, that even
if by some impossible chance our clairvoyant had such indecent
curiosity about matters of petty gossip, there is, after all, such a
thing as the honour of a gentleman, which, on that plane as on this,
would of course prevent him from contemplating for an instant the idea
of gratifying it; and thirdly, in case, by any unheard-of possibility,
one might encounter some variety of low-class pitri with whom the
above considerations would have no weight, full instructions are
always given to every pupil, as soon as he develops any sign of
faculty, as to the limitations which are placed upon its use.

Put briefly, these restrictions are that there shall be no prying, no
selfish use of the power, and no displaying of phenomena. That is to
say, that the same considerations which would govern the actions of a
man of right feeling upon the physical plane are expected to apply
upon the astral and mental planes also; that the pupil is never under
any circumstances to use the power which his additional knowledge
gives to him in order to promote his own worldly advantage, or indeed
in connection with gain in any way; and that he is never to give what
is called in spiritualistic circles "a test"--that is, to do anything
which will incontestably prove to sceptics on the physical plane that
he possesses what to them would appear to be an abnormal power.

With regard to this latter proviso people often say, "But why should
he not? it would be so easy to confute and convince your sceptic, and
it would do him good!" Such critics lose sight of the fact that, in
the first place, none of those who know anything want to confute or
convince sceptics, or trouble themselves in the slightest degree about
the sceptic's attitude one way or the other; and in the second, they
fail to understand how much better it is for that sceptic that he
should gradually grow into an intellectual appreciation of the facts
of nature, instead of being suddenly introduced to them by a
knock-down blow, as it were. But the subject was fully considered
many years ago in Mr. Sinnet's Occult World, and it is needless to
repeat again the arguments there adduced.

It is very hard for some of our friends to realize that the silly
gossip and idle curiosity which so entirely fill the lives of the
brainless majority on earth can have no place in the more real life of
the disciple; and so they sometimes enquire whether, even without any
special wish to see, a clairvoyant might not casually observe some
secret which another person was trying to keep, in the same way as
one's glance might casually fall upon a sentence in someone else's
letter which happened to be lying open upon the table. Of course he
might, but what if he did? The man of honour would at once avert his
eyes, in one case as in the other, and it would be as though he had
not seen. If objectors could but grasp the idea that no pupil cares
about other people's business, except when it comes within his
province to try to help them, and that he has always a world of work
of his own to attend to, they would not be so hopelessly far from
understanding the facts of the wider life of the trained clairvoyant.

Even from the little that I have said with regard to the restrictions
laid upon the pupil, it will be obvious that in very many cases he
will know much more than he is at liberty to say. That is of course
true in a far wider sense of the great Masters of Wisdom themselves,
and that is why those who have the privilege of occasionally entering
their presence pay so much respect to their lightest word even on
subjects quite apart from the direct teaching. For the opinion of a
Master, or even of one of his higher pupils, upon any subject is that
of a man whose opportunity of judging accurately is out of all
proportion to ours.

His position and his extended faculties are in reality the heritage of
all mankind, and, far though we may now be from those grand powers,
they will none the less certainly be ours one day. Yet how different a
place will this old world be when humanity as a whole possesses the
higher clairvoyance! Think what the difference will be to history when
all can read the records; to science, when all the processes about
which now men theorize can be watched through all their course; to
medicine, when doctor and patient alike can see clearly and exactly
all that is being done; to philosophy, when there is no longer any
possibility of discussion as to its basis, because all alike can see a
wider aspect of the truth; to labour, when all work will be joy,
because every man will be put only to that which he can do best; to
education, when the minds and hearts of the children are open to the
teacher who is trying to form their character; to religion, when there
is no longer any possibility of dispute as to its broad dogmas, since
the truth about the states after death, and the Great Law that
governs the world, will be patent to all eyes.

Above all, how far easier it will be then for the evolved men to help
one another under those so much freer conditions! The possibilities
that open before the mind are as glorious vistas stretching in all
directions, so that our seventh round should indeed be a veritable
golden age. Well for us that these grand faculties will not be
possessed by all humanity until it has evolved to a far higher level
in morality as well as in wisdom, else should we but repeat once more
under still worse conditions the terrible downfall of the great
Atlantean civilization, whose members failed to realize that increased
power meant increased responsibility. Yet we ourselves were most of us
among those very men let us hope that we have learnt wisdom by that
failure, and that when the possibilities of the wider life open before
us once more, this time we shall bear the trial better.

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