Rosicrucian Writings Online

[Ralph M. Lewis]

[From The Rosicrucian Digest March 1949]
WE WILL discard the conventional definition of talent. As an immediate beginning, to serve our purpose, we can say that talents are aptitudes which we display. An aptitude to most of us means general inclination toward something, such as, for example, mechanics, with perhaps more ability in that than in some other endeavor. This seems irreconcilable with talent, as perhaps you are accustomed to think of it. Usually, we look upon someone having talent as the possessor of a particular ability which enables him to excel those not having the same inclination.
To use an analogy. There are two men: one is a prominent student of languages, a teacher of them, in fact; the other is a clerk in a large office. The clerk is restless in his work; he is fascinated with mechanical things. He likes to toy with machinery, engines, motors, and devices. Besides having that love, he displays a mechanical talent, an ability to do mechanical things better than anything else which he does. The other man, the linguist, has no particular interest in machinery or mechanics. Most certainly whatever he does mechanically is not equal to his linguistic ability. However, when by necessity he does devote his time to mechanical things, he can accomplish more with them than can the clerk who has a talent for mechanics.
In your own experience, you have perhaps known people who would have made fair attorneys or mathematicians, better than the usual perhaps, because they excelled in those or related fields when called upon, but who nevertheless detested them and would do better in their chosen field. This belies the popular conception that one who has a talent always can achieve more with it than one who does not have it.
A talent, therefore, is a personal responsiveness, a sensitiveness to demands made upon your faculties or intellectual powers, a sensitiveness which exceeds any other you have, so far as creative ability, or ability to accomplish, is concerned. Because of that sensitivity, that instinctive and organic inclination on your part, the performing of all acts directly connected with it comes easier for you. Since it is easier--that is, not so laborious--and since it satisfies you emotionally, you like it as well. It does prove that greater possibilities for you lie within the channel of your talent.
There are two ways of explaining this sensitivity of talents. The materialist's theory is that in certain cortical and association areas of our brain the neurons (nerve cells) are more highly developed, this development sometimes being a coincidence, and at other times a matter of heredity. However, the materialists are not in accord as to whether the predisposition or talents can be transmitted from father to son. Dr. August Weismann, whose works have become classics on heredity, says "Gauss was not the son of a mathematician; Handel's father was a surgeon, of whose musical powers nothing is known; Titian was the son and also the nephew of a lawyer, while he and his brother, Francesco Vecellio, were the first painters in a family which produced a succession of seven to the artists, with diminishing talents. These facts, however, do not prove that the condition of the nerve-tracts and centers of the brain, which determine specific talent, appeared for the first time in these men; the appropriate condition surely existed previously in their parents, although it did not achieve expression."
The point of interest in this statement is not whether the talents have been transmitted from parents, but that the "appropriate condition" can exist with some people and "not achieve expression."

Mystical Interpretation
The Rosicrucians have a mystical explanation for the possession of this sensitivity amounting to talent, and which we all have to a certain degree. The personality of the soul is distinctly separate in that it is not bound by family relationships, that is, each of our personalities are different, regardless of family connection. Cosmically, in other words, we are not ordained to pursue a life or profession similar to that of our parents, unless such is necessary to the evolvement of our personality. If it is our mission in life, that which we must learn, and the manner in which we must serve, then, of course, we may be inclined, through a predisposition, to do those things which our parents have also done--in other words, to follow the same pursuits.
In this incarnation, our parents are those who, by their training and by their association with us, can contribute best those experiences we need for the perfection of our soul's ego--the personality. However, we may have entirely different predispositions or talents than our parents. The talents are endowed on us because by the pursuit of those interests we can best serve the Cosmic and acquire those earthly experiences necessary for the rounding out of the soul-personality, the development of self. However, the Cosmic endowment of those talents is quite within the findings--in other words, within the explanations offered by the physiologists and psychologists. Physically speaking, this endowment consists of the sensitivity of certain nerve-tracts and areas of neurons in our brains.
The mechanical process and the physiological aspect are quite necessary if we are to manifest talents; for, after all, talents are not something, even though the Cosmic intends them for us, that mysteriously descends upon us like a vapor from the heavens. They are physically and materially developed within us but the Cosmic has decreed the ones they shall be. This mystical and Rosicrucian principle concerning talents further confirms or is in harmony with science. Each time we are placed upon this earth plane, unless we have incurred a great karmic debt, we are caused to have such parents who will further our psychic development--the perfection of self. Consequently, our parents will be those whose native intelligence and sensitivity to the finer and nobler things of life, and those ends necessary for creating from their environment, will be greater. The parents may not have the education nor the fame which the child might attain. It will be found, however, that they have those instinctive and psychic qualities which will contribute to the excellence in attainment of their progeny. A son, because of his oratorical ability and logic may become a famed attorney. His father may be a humble farmer, but it will be proved easily that the father has a keen intelligence and excellent reasoning powers.
Again, talent is not always related to intelligence, that is, the procedure of thought. Talent springs from certain emotional responses as well. A great depth of feeling, of compassion, of love, and the ability to express self musically, for example, is as much a talent as an intellectual aptitude, such as literary ability.
A particular talent is designated by the area of the brain which is a seat for certain powers of mind and the exercise of certain emotions. When the soul enters the body, its incarnated ego has the mission, the incentive to develop along certain needed lines, to express itself in definite channels. That incentive is that which causes the areas of the brain best able to bring about that mission to become especially sensitive and manifest as talents. Therefore, in reality, the development of the body and the brain as a vehicle for the soul and its ego, conforms to a prescribed pattern. It is not difficult for the body so to develop, because the soul has been put in a body which has been selected to meet the demands which will be made upon it. It is like an inventor, who has a certain design which he has visualized and wishes to create, being given the materials best suited to his purpose.
So far it would seem, from our discussion, as though we could not escape our talents. Everything appears to be preconceived for us, however, let us not forget that we mortals have been given wills, which permit us to reject and to deny our powers or to recognize them. Therefore, whether talents which are latent within us are exercised and brought to the maximum of their efficacy depends solely upon us as individuals. If we deny a talent, we retard the development of self, the personality in this incarnation.
Talents are never so dormant that we can not become conscious of their existence. The usual discovery of a talent consists in finding the easy manner in which we can develop the technique to do something, or the immediate comprehension we have of the details of some art or science, combined with our likeness for it. An inclination to try something, a mere fascination for some endeavor, is not an indication of a talent. Many of us have thought we would like to do a certain thing. After some application to it, we found it laborious and difficult for us to comprehend, and therefore no longer enjoyable.

If you have a longing to indulge in an art or a science, to be a mechanic or mathematician, try it. Do not give up your present profession or occupation, but make it a hobby or avocation. Very shortly you will find whether you have the aptitude. This will be indicated by the ability to concentrate without effort on the instructions of whatever you are pursuing, and, with practice, a rapidly developing perfection and an increasing, rather than decreasing pleasure. Further, you will find that as you exercise the talent (and this is a further proof that it is one), you will be able to observe in your world, your daily environment, ways and means of utilizing your ability never dreamed of previously. Just as a man who acquires greater physical strength is able to lift greater weights with ease, so one who exercises his talents finds about him more and more channels for their expression.
There are usually one or more talents which we possess and of which we are very much conscious. Sometimes, since they seem so dominant, we devote ourselves to them, to the exclusion of others--perhaps one may have even greater possibilities. It, therefore, becomes necessary to awaken these submerged talents--rather, to discover that we have them. To do this, you must suggest the nature of certain vocations, trades, arts, or sciences as an idea to your subjective mind. Allow the stimulus of those ideas to arouse within you any special responsiveness you may have to them. For example, go to an opera, or visit an art gallery and look at good paintings, try describing an incident of the day in writing. See if you can mentally create an improvement on some mechanical device. In other words, let your consciousness dwell on unaccustomed experiences, something to which any talent sensitivity you may have can respond. The mental area of which a talent may consist in your brain may be now as a parched ground waiting for rain to give it life.
An excellent way to awaken talent is to visualize people in different trades, professions, arts, and sciences, to which possibly before you have given little or no thought. When you visualize them doing these things, if you feel a quickening in your solar plexus, a sort of suppressed excitement, that is your cue to investigate that particular sphere of activity further. Go to the place where these things are being done, that to which you respond, and see if you can have this experience directly; or try imitating the activity in your home, by studying or reading about it. Many a man never knew he had a talent for art, for example, until he started to dab around with someone's palette and brushes. Finally he senses a mastery, an ease of achievement, and a satisfaction that inwardly tells him, "I have discovered a talent."
Because of the Imperator's absence overseas at the time when this issue goes to press, we are reprinting the above article written by him, from The Rosicrucian Forum.

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