Rosicrucian Writings Online
Let Reason RuleBy Joseph J. Weed, F.R.C.
Grand Councilor of AMORC for North Atlantic States
[From The Rosicrucian Digest April 1953]
REASON is not always King but right now and for most people it must be so regarded. I am using this expression in order to awaken a line of thought and encourage you to a certain conscious activity. We must take more pains to reason out the right and the wrong of the situations in which we find ourselves, regardless of whether these quandaries be personal, national or worldwide. We must seek below the surface for the causes. However, to do this intelligently and capably, we must first know more about ourselves and the part that Reason plays in our make-up.
Our Rosicrucian studies explain that we are dual beings composed of two natures: physical and psychic. To avoid any erroneous conclusion, let me say that the statement that reason should rule does not mean it should rule the psychic, the spiritual nature. On the contrary, the psychic nature being higher and finer should always govern the physical which includes the Reason or lower mind. But, unfortunately, very few individuals in the world are at all times and in all circumstances governed by their higher natures. Most of us, most of the time, have the control of our actions lodged in our lower or physical selves, and that is just where the trouble lies.
If it were possible to tell you in a few words or to show you with a simple demonstration how to swing the control of all your actions into your higher nature once and for all, I certainly would not hesitate to do so. But this is a long and difficult task. It has been likened to climbing a high mountain, and when an individual sets out to attempt this most worthy end he is said to be a Pilgrim on the Path up the mountain. Many Pilgrims lose heart and only a few persevere to the end. In our climbing, certain heights are to be attained, certain viewpoints or resting places, from whence we may look back and survey what has been accomplished. A major height to be attained in our progress, and one which frequently guarantees ultimate success in our striving is the achievement known as the "Crowning of Reason," or making Reason the King.
Now, why is this so and how can we set about attaining this characteristic? As already stated, we are dual beings made up of a physical and a psychic nature. But for the purposes of our study, both of these natures may be divided into many components. Actually, no separation or division exists in these various parts. They are all you. However, for the sake of study we will divide our physical nature into three parts: physical, emotional, and mental.
The physical body is the body you normally think of and refer to as I, or look upon as the visible collection of cells and molecules known as John Smith or Sally Jones. This body eats and breathes to keep alive and rests when it is tired. Most of its functions are automatic and planned by an Intelligence far above and beyond our limited creative abilities. All of the functions of the body could and should be automatic if it were running and working as it had been originally planned, but, as you know, at some time in the distant past, the human being usurped control by means of the God-given franchise of free will. Since then, the physical body has usually dominated its own actions and pushed the soul's control into the background. In these cases, the functioning of the physical body is no longer automatic, but purposeful. And when a physical body acts in a purposeful manner, that is, selfishly and for its own ends, it is not acting as it was intended to act. The body is being misused, and as anything else that is misused, it becomes damaged. For example, when we use a fine carving knife to cut wood, we dull the knife quickly and eventually destroy it. When the physical body is permitted to act in a selfish fashion, it damages itself and eventually destroys itself. This is the chief reason that we get sick, grow feeble, and die. Our physical bodies are perfectly constructed; and they would remain in good repair for just as long as we wanted to use them, if they functioned only under soul direction, as they were originally intended to.
Today most intelligent and well-educated people control their physical impulses very well. To a degree, they have learned the art of self-restraint. But, unfortunately, their emotional natures are still dominant and in spite of their good intentions and best efforts, the emotional nature takes control and orders the "complete man" about. This again robs the physical of its tendency toward automatic functioning. For example, the great fears so rampant in the world infect nearly everyone. We fear for the sake of fearing; and when we can't find a legitimate bugaboo, we conjure one up from our imaginations. Now fear, like several other basic emotions, is an incentive to action in the physical--a powerful incentive.
Originally, the ability to fear was implanted for a good purpose. Primitive man felt fear only when he had a good cause to fear, such as when being confronted by a wild beast. Adrenalin was then immediately released into his blood stream in order to stimulate his heart action and give him an instantaneous increase in strength and energy with which to meet the threatening danger. Today we often experience fear when there is no danger imminent. Since the body does not analyze, does not think, it immediately releases adrenalin to provide extra strength and energy which in most cases is not used. This creates a poison in the blood stream which eventually breaks down the physical body. All of our violent emotions have equally harmful effects upon the physical body. They interfere with its normal and proper functioning and serve to shorten its useful existence.
Furthermore, to live on the emotional level (and most of us do live on the emotional level), to place our emotional body in control of our actions, is to seriously hamper our spiritual progress and growth. Emotions were designed as tools to be used as incentives to action, but we have allowed them to rule us. Our consciousness should reside on the spiritual plane and we should use our lower selves, the three physical natures--the physical, emotional, and mental bodies--as instruments only. Unfortunately, we experience only fleeting moments in which we are spiritually focused. Most of us spend the better part of our lives on the emotional plane, occasionally descending to the physical or ascending to the mental. If we would improve at all, if we ever hope to eventually "return to our Father's house," we must learn to take the first upward step in consciousness. We must learn how to think, and how to live on the mental plane. We must make Reason the King.
Restoration of Control
Now those of you who have tried this know it to be much more difficult than it sounds. Yet, it is not so difficult that everyone may not eventually accomplish it--and in this lifetime. But it requires determination, sustained will, and hard work. What I wish to convey is that in order to restore the focus of our consciousness to the spiritual, where it belongs we must first establish it firmly in the mental realm. We must free ourselves of the demands of our physical appetites and loosen the emotional ties which bind us. In the words of the Teacher, we must "kill out desire."
The old teachings all inform us of this, but for the most part they are couched in vigorous language which in many instances tends to mislead the student. Our physical appetites, however, must not be blocked out; they must not be negated. Suppression always ends in an explosion. Control and guidance is the proper technique. By means of control, the physical impulse is redirected, rechanneled, and not suppressed. For example, if you have a craving for a rich dessert and you know it is not good for you, that it will cause indigestion, it is better to order something simple such as applesauce or fresh fruit, instead of going without dessert entirely. Likewise, when we read the instruction to "kill out desire," we must understand that this does not mean to eliminate our emotions. We would be only half men if we did this--or if we could. Here again the technique to be employed is one of redirection, in this case called sublimation.
Each of our emotions is dual in nature. It has lower and higher counterparts. Our objective is to channel all of our emotional drives into their higher counterparts. Take love, for instance. It is the highest emotion of which our lower nature is capable, and yet it has its lower and higher counterparts. Love of self and love of others. Brought to its highest degree, love of others becomes love of all men--yes, love of all that lives and breathes. This is true wisdom. Fear is a most destructive emotion. It must be replaced with trust and confidence, which are creative and will bring into our lives the strength and benefits we need. Each emotion must be examined and if it is the lower counterpart we are manifesting, it must be changed into its higher form.
But, you say, how does one do this? We have tried but without success. It is most difficult if you attack this problem directly. By so doing you focus your attention upon your desires and in this way they are actually strengthened, for energy follows thought. It is best to go about it in a different way, and this is precisely why I am suggesting that you think about Reason, why it should be King, and how you can achieve the "Crowning of Reason."
Some people have said that the way to develop the mind is to do more thinking. This is true, but it is an oversimplification of the problem. Thinking is difficult and most of us avoid it as skilfully as we can. Thinking takes up energy, lots of energy, and since we are generally lazy animals we don't like to use energy. We tell ourselves that we like to conserve it, and often when we imagine we are thinking, we are not thinking at all.
Most people confuse emotional daydreaming with thought. I can see how these terms might become confusing since we have few words in the English language to convey ideas about metaphysical subjects. Actually, we have to use the same words again and again in slightly different associations in order to transmit some of the ideas for which we don't have precise words. My problem this minute is to convey the actual difference between daydreaming and thinking. Daydreaming is an emotional state in which a succession of images crosses the mind. These images may be involuntary or they may be self-induced. Many students of mysticism indulge in daydreaming in the belief that they are meditating.
Here is my attempt to illustrate the difference between daydreaming and thinking. A man sits and thinks about a house he would like to have. He wishes for that house, and in his thinking ideas about houses begin to come to him. He dwells upon and enlarges these ideas. He feels pleasure in the house's beauty and its newness, in the attractiveness of the grounds around it, the trees, the lake in the distance and the general environment. Mentally, he likes to dwell upon these things and does so often. Now this is purely emotional and can be described as daydreaming. It is not creative thought; at best it will only provide an opportunity for the man to proceed to acquire the house by making some physical payment or sacrifice. Actually not even this is likely to happen unless a great deal of emotional energy is put into it.
Now let us consider another man with his mind on a house. This man is an architect and he is planning a house. He measures off each dimension carefully and places each radiator and pipe and doorway with the greatest of skill. This requires concentration and the expenditure of effort, but in the end he achieves a result. He has the plan for a house which needs only a builder to complete it. This man has been thinking.
Now like most illustrations, or analogies, this one isn't particularly good because it contains too many loopholes; however, I think it will convey the general idea of the difference between daydreaming and thinking. The main difference is one of control. The man thinking is driving the automobile; the man daydreaming is riding in the back seat.
Choose Twelve Words
This brings us to the point that to free ourselves, from the glamour induced by our emotional natures, by our desires, is to develop the mind, to turn over the control of our actions to our mental natures with the objective of eventually opening a pathway to spiritual contact and control. The ways to develop the mind are many. You can study. This is natural and beneficial. You can memorize five lines or ten lines of poetry every day. This requires energy as all mental effort does but it is very rewarding. The mental nature is nourished and grows and the memory stays alive and active. But I would like to suggest a technique which everyone can practice with little effort and great benefit. This involves two different types of effort:
(1) Meditate for ten minutes daily--no more, no less. It must be daily--not three days a week, not just weekdays with Sundays and holidays excluded, but daily. Every day. And it must be meditation, which means constructive thinking and not daydreaming. The meditation for the first year should be what is known as "meditation with seed." In other words you start with a single thought and work around it. I would suggest that you select twelve words expressive of ideals or higher emotions and use a different one as the seed thought for each month. These could be words such as--wisdom, peace, love, courage, strength, compassion, gratitude, and so forth.
(2) Review your actions and decisions of the day each night. Spend not more than ten minutes. Don't become morbid or self-accusing. You will probably discover plenty to find fault with if you are honest with yourself, but don't waste a lot of good time on vain regrets. When you find something wrong, say to yourself--"that was a mistake--it mustn't happen again," and then pass on to the next thought. If we are fair and honest in our self-appraisal, we will be able to view ourselves quite impersonally. In this manner we will correct our mistakes and raise the entire standard of our conduct. In addition to the raising of our vibratory rate which will coincide with the lifting of our ethical standards, this nightly résumé will also lift the consciousness into the mental realm and out of the emotional.
Accept this twofold technique for daily practice. Try it for a year and before the end of the year you will most certainly be aware of tangible, noticeable changes in yourself.
Webmaster's Note: The above article is a slightly different version of the lecture entitled "Reason, The King" in the book A Rosicrucian Speaks.
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