Rosicrucian Writings Online

The Value of Rosicrucian Experiments

By The Imperator
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Rosicrucian Digest April 1931]
I would like to write at this time a few words regarding the various experiments and exercises contained in the different lectures and lessons of our graded work as issued to all of our students, either in their home studies or in their studies in the groups and lodges.
It seems to me, as I analyze much of our correspondence and think of some of the past interviews I have had with members that we have really two classes of persons in our organization. We have those who have had a very high or complete education in college or university or in special schools of study and who are fond of studying and of acquiring knowledge. They love to study for the sake of studying and they love to acquire knowledge for the sake of becoming familiar with all of the facts that it is possible to jam into the mind. This type of person is what might be called the intellectual type. We find them going to lectures on travel and attending discourses on international affairs and we find them buying the latest scientific, philosophical, and other books on moral and ethical questions. They like to hear eminent men speak and will go out of their way to listen to a discourse on the roundness of a square hole if it is delivered by some eminent speaker.
On the other hand, we have the other class of members who are not over-fond of study and who feel that if they are going to study anything at all it must be of a practical nature and worth while in meeting the real problems of life. They do not care for philosophical discourses that begin with a supposition and end with a personal conclusion. They have little time for real concentrated study or reading and all the time they do have must be devoted to something that is going to serve them in a very useful way in improving themselves and in helping them to help others around them. They want real knowledge but it must be knowledge that is of the present hour and of present usefulness.
They wouldn't spend five cents or walk across the street to hear a lecture on the origin of the Greek alphabet unless the lecture ended with some instruction as to how the Greek alphabet could be used today to meet some of life's problems. They do not want much knowledge but they do want useful knowledge. They may not know the exact name and birth date of the first man in ancient Gaul that put on knighthood armor and rode a white horse at the head division of the second section of the first crusade, and probably care less about him than they do about some man who is working today to discover how to live a better life right now and attain greater success in our every day affairs. This class of persons will be those who are students because they want to build up a practical education and a practical usefulness in their own lives.
Now the interesting point about these two classifications is that when it comes to our work the latter class of persons who want only a little knowledge and want that knowledge to be very useful become highly enthusiastic about our work and delve very deeply into every lesson, analyzing it very carefully and spend as much time in trying all of the experiments and exercises as they can give to them. They look upon each experiment and each exercise as a very important point in the work and go at each one with a determination to master it as though it was a matter of life or death to them.
On the other hand, the other class of members representing the intellectuals who love study merely for the sake of study and who want knowledge merely to build up a great library in their minds of diversified facts, have little or no interest whatever in the experiments and exercises. They pass over these things in each lesson like some people pass over a picture in a story book. They always convince themselves that they understand the laws and principles without testing them and they look upon the exercise or experiment as an unnecessary and unimportant explanation of the printed words. When they come to such an experiment as floating a match stick on a glass of water and seeing if they can control it they pass it by. They probably would look with a smiling, fatherly sort of attitude upon the child-like mind of our other members who sit around a table with a glass of water and a match stick trying to control it. They probably think it is an innocent, harmless, childish pastime which some may indulge in but which the high intellectual mind does not enjoy.
Now the results obtained by these two classes of members are quite definite. In the first place, we soon find that the one class of members who are not interested in the experiments at all gradually lose interest in the work and either drop out of the organization or continue to pay their dues and read the lectures and accept all of our work the same as they would belong to a geographical society or a historical society and occasionally read one of their monthly bulletins.
They think it is nice to belong to the Rosicrucian Order and that they are supporting a good work by their membership and that is all there is to it for them. When it comes to their personal development and inner progress along psychic lines they are not able to demonstrate any development at all and do not even bother to test themselves to find out whether they have made any progress. When they are ill they call in a regular physician, when they need advice they call upon a lawyer or the minister of their church, and when they want to know something about what is being done in the psychic or metaphysical world they read some book or paper giving the experience of others. They are quite convinced that the Cosmic world contains many manifestations but they have no desire to learn what these are at first hand. Naturally they are not able to do much for anyone else except to give them intellectual advice.
So far as the great work of our organization is concerned this type of member is absolutely nil. If he once in a great while hands someone a leaflet about our organization he thinks he is doing his share. He would not go out of his way to help some seeker find our organization but he might speak about us at his club or at his college fraternity meeting if the subject of metaphysics was properly introduced, or he might speak of it among his intellectual friends if he was sure none would smile at him. He never wears a Rosicrucian emblem; he never secures a new member for the organization; he never writes a letter to any newspaper contesting any misinformation that may be given about the Rosicrucians; he never contributes an article to our magazine or writes a letter of appreciation to headquarters. He likes to be in contact with some other intellectual members of his own type so that he can discuss with them our teachings and prove to them he knows more about them than they do. He feels that if he pays his dues promptly and keeps out of jail, he is supporting the organization and upholds its good name by his personal dignity.
The other members, on the other hand, soon discover that they are developing a wonderful inner self through the practice of the experiments and exercises. They soon become conscious of the fact that they are dual in being and that the outer self has far less power and less education than the inner self. They also soon notice that their affairs in life are changing and perhaps for a while things are at sixes and sevens with them and conditions not as good as before joining the Order, except that they still have all the necessities of life, or nearly so.
But they also realize that the unsettled conditions or poor conditions around them are in the nature of a great change that is taking place and they realize that when they move out of one small home into a larger and better home that there is a period of time between the two homes when they are almost homeless and that things are worse than they ever were, but they know the future is going to be better and so they put up with the inconveniences of the period of change and are much more hopeful and more determined and even happier than they were in the former conditions and surroundings. They also soon realize that their health is better, that the storms and winds, epidemics and hygienic conditions of the city, county, or state do not affect them as in the past.
They notice that they can work longer and better and with a keener mind and yet have less fatigue. They notice that some of their chronic conditions are passing away. They find that they can do things in a business way and in a social way that they were not able to do before. They find their mind grasping the great laws and principles with an understanding they never had in the past. Each month brings important revelations to them and convictions that they are making real progress toward a higher goal. Each time they try the experiments of the past they find they are more successful than when they first tried them. They gradually make attunement with the Cosmic and Cathedral of the Soul and find great relief and help each time.
They find their home life more content and their life better and the children begin to take the same attitude and everything is more agreeable. Their friends and acquaintances say they notice the change that is going on and are happy about it.
This class of students not only love to study the lessons but they want the whole world to know what they are studying. They never leave the house without carrying some leaflets with them. They look for every opportunity to distribute these leaflets or leave them where somebody will find them. They like to talk to anyone that will talk to them about mysticism or metaphysics and proudly tell them they are a student of the Rosicrucian Order and want all their friends to join with them. They go to the library and leave the leaflets in the books.
They attend other lectures and try to meet people who are seeking. They tithe themselves and use the money to help some poor persons. They write enthusiastic letters to headquarters; buy books to give to friends and libraries; make occasional donations to the propaganda funds; offer to do public lecturing in their communities; submit articles to the magazine; quickly join in new special activities that we announce in our magazine; write letters to the newspapers talking about the Order; write letters to publishers whenever they find a book that says something unfair about the Rosicrucians and in every way throw themselves into the spirit of the work.
Fortunately for us, this latter class of members constitute the majority. There are nine of them to every one of the other kind. The work of the organization in the past centuries and at the present time is carried on and supported by these real members and workers. They are the backbone and life of the organization, just as they are the salt of the earth. It is not strange that throughout the recent business depression such members suffered the least in proportion to their worldly holdings. Our records show that when the Wall Street crashes occurred, the intellectual members who do not care much about the testing and experimenting of our principles and who think that their intellect is sufficient to protect them on all occasions, were the heaviest losers and suffered the most.
These two types of persons represent similar types in all activities of the world. Even when the World War started, there were those who were willing to go and do their bit in the service to protect their country and there were the other kind who thought that they could stay at home and settle the War by thinking. They believed that their highly developed intellects were superior to all material conditions and they did not have to soil their hands by getting down to earth and doing the common-place things in life.
The great mistake that is made by these persons is the overlooking of the fact that at the close of life the intellectual man and woman has less to take with him and to carry over into a future life than the man or woman who has tried to improve himself and others through the development of the inner self and it is further true that the one who is striving to develop the inner self has a more happy, peaceful, contented close of life than the one who has always been seeking mental power of a purely intellectual kind. Usually his mind fails him first before the rest of his body weakens and he spends the last part of his life almost ignorant of his own existence with a mind that is blank from having jammed it with inconsequential things while allowing the real psychic constitution of his health to weaken. He becomes a pitiful, abject specimen of spiritual neglect while the other, who has attempted consistently to develop the inner spiritual part of his being, gradually rises to the greatest heights and enjoys the most wonderful blessings of life.
The real student who has tried every simple experiment and discovered in even a glass of water with a match stick, a profound law that was not explained in the lectures and a profound principle he can use in a thousand ways, is the one who constitutes the real power among men because he eventually finds new life and regeneration toward the close of his life when he needs it most. Thousands of such students are writing to us telling us that even though they are fifty, sixty, and seventy years of age at the present time they have gradually taken on a new life, new vitality, and a new mind and a new power that makes the close of their lives seem to be the most important and the most beautiful of their whole existence. The others fail in all of this and do not know what the Fountain of Youth means when it is referred to in the Rosicrucian teachings. They have no idea what the ancient mystics meant by the Elixir of Life. The others find that this is a real thing and not a philosophical, theoretical thing that has no tangible existence in the lives of men.
Do not make the mistake, therefore, of neglecting the most simple and casual experiments or exercises that are contained in any of the lectures. If a great thinker discovered a great law of nature by the simple falling of an apple, and if a great inventor of the steam engine could discover the great principle of the power of steam by watching the lid on the tea-kettle move up and down, you may discover some very profound psychic law or principle through one of the simple exercises given in our work. The exercises we have placed in them are not put there merely to fill space or to give you something to do, because among the many thousands of students who are anxious to do experimental work there are thousands who are of a critical mind and who would soon tell us that the experiments were useless and that others should be put in their place. Our Research Bureau and the masters of our branches in all lands have collected from thousands of experiments on the part of many members, the very best that are the most helpful and by common consent these have been put into our lectures in just the right place and in just the right manner.
Such simple things as a few drops of oil on water will prove to you after a few minutes that one of the greatest of the scientific statements that oil and water will not mix is untrue and you will discover that there is one power in the universe resident in each human body that can change one of the scientific laws, unknown to the man who does not try this experiment. The use of some of the vowel sounds may sound like a child's first lesson in singing but after you practice it a while you will discover that the whole universe might be affected by these sounds if you could handle them properly and that you are dealing with something more powerful than dynamite or T.N.T., or something more universal than any of the known earthly forces.
The mere concentration on a speck of light until you develop it into a great ball of fire floating in your room may seem like an elementary lesson in magic but after you have once accomplished it and discover that you can control this ball of fire and make it visible to others and do many other things with it, you will discover you are doing something the greatest scientists in the world have been unable to fathom and something that will serve you in hundreds of ways not mentioned in our early lectures, and you finally discover, also, that the will to do these has not only demonstrated the laws and principles to you and given you new power to work with, but they have enabled you to develop some faculties and powers inside of your being that were dormant and sleeping and which bring you new forces and new methods of accomplishing other things in life. This is why the Rosicrucian teachings and practices have been the most astonishing known to the world and explains why the Rosicrucian Order has been the recognized master school of personal development through all the ages, unequaled by any Oriental or Western World system and unequaled by any personal philosophy or discovery of any human being.
It behooves every sincere member, therefore, to be simple minded in his studies and as deeply interested in the little things as a child is interested in his toys. The greatest work in the universe is accomplished through the application of simple laws and not the accomplishing of complex ones. It is only through mastering the simple laws that the real master worker is able to combine them and build up the complex principles that give him a complete control of his own life and over the conditions which surround him.
Therefore, go back over your experiments and in those that you were unsuccessful find an interest in practicing them again. After many months of development inwardly you may find the old experiments easier to do and you will gradually find the new ones that now seem a little difficult much more simple to perform. The real Rosicrucian is one who practices and lives and masters the principles and not one who simply understands them with his outer intelligence and accepts them on faith. His faith will lead him nowhere while the one who practices and accomplishes reaches the greatest heights.

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