Take a seat in any cafe or restaurant and observe the people sitting at the tables around you. Listen to their conversation and note what they have to say to one another. Go into families; watch your most intimate friends in their hours of leisure when work no longer presses.
You will be shocked at the hollowness of their conversations when they cannot talk about their various occupations. If you observe them closely you will sense with disgust the emptiness of their thoughts and the oppressively narrow sphere of their interests, as well as their terrible superficiality. The few exceptions you encounter, those whose words in their leisure hours of everyday life are penetrated by a longing for a greater development of their souls, will appear to you as solitary strangers in the hustle and bustle of a street fair.
It is just in his so-called leisure hours that you can best recognize the real inner man, when his daily work is done and he has lost the outside support provided by his special field of knowledge. What then remains is the actual man. Watch him and listen dispassionately to his words. You will soon cease your observations because they will become intolerable. You will be filled with deep sadness when you realize that many people are not very much different from animals, not quite so dull and equipped with a higher intellect, but on the whole the same. They go through life on earth as if with blinkers, never seeing more than one aspect, i.e., what is purely material. They attend to eating and drinking and aim to increase to a greater or lesser extent their hoard of earthly treasures, seeking for physical enjoyment and regarding all reflection on things they cannot see as a waste of time, which they consider would be better employed in “rest and recreation”.
They cannot and will not understand that life on earth, with all its pleasures and joys, only gets its real meaning when one has become more or less familiar with the Ethereal World, and knows about the reciprocal actions connecting us with it, for then one no longer has the feeling of being at the mercy of chance. They repudiate this idea under the misapprehension that, if an ethereal world really exists, it would only bring them discomfort or even terror as soon as they concern themselves with it.
To them it is a strange idea that life on earth only gets real value through striving upwards, which causes the most wonderful vital warmth to pulsate through all earthly joys and pleasures. These then are by no means pushed aside; on the contrary, those who yearn for and earnestly seek what is pure and high will, as a beautiful result of reciprocal action, attain an ardent love of life, often ending in jubilant enthusiasm for all that exists and presents itself.
Fools are they who pass this by! Cowards, to whom the glorious joys of those who advance courageously will ever be denied.
Rejoice that all around you lives, into seemingly immeasurably far away regions! Nothing is dead; nothing is void as it would appear. Everything is working and weaving in reciprocal action, in the centre of which you stand as humans to continually form and direct anew the threads, as both starting points and final goals. Mighty rulers are you, every single one of you, establishing your own kingdom in such a way that it will either uplift or bury you beneath its ruins. Awake! Use the power given to you in the full knowledge of this mighty happening, lest in your stupidity and obstinacy, or even in your indolence, you bring forth only harmful deformities which choke all that is healthy and good and finally cause you as their author to totter and fall.
Even man’s nearest ethereal surrounding can contribute much to uplifting or debasing him. This is the strange world of thought-forms, the vital activity of which comprises only a small part of the giant mechanism of the whole Creation. Its threads, however, run both into the Gross Material World and further up into the more Ethereal World. In the same way, however, they also run downward into the realm of Darkness. Like a gigantic network of veins or nerve-strands, all is intertwined and interwoven, un-tearable and inseparable! Mark this well!
There are privileged ones who here and there can see a part of this, but much they can only intuitively sense. In this way some things have come to the knowledge of mankind, who have sought to build further upon this knowledge in order to obtain a complete picture. But in so doing gaps and mistakes were bound to occur. Many investigators of the ethereal realm jumped to conclusions which inevitably caused the proper connection to be lost. Others again filled the gaps with fantastic imagery, bringing misrepresentations and distortions which consequently shattered faith in the whole matter. The result was justifiable derision which, based on the lack of logic of the so-called spiritual researchers, was certain to win the day.
If these matters are to be spoken of at all it is necessary that first of all a cord must be drawn through all that happens in the working of Creation, which the onlooker can grasp in order to help him climb upwards. Many of the processes which perplex him have their origin in his immediate vicinity. One glance into the world of thought-forms should help him understand some things that seemed inexplicable before. In many cases the justice system for example would find the real perpetrators of a crime to be quite different from the persons accused of it and hold them primarily accountable. The key to this lies in the connection between the individual and the world of thought-forms, which is closest to humanity. It is certainly a blessing for many to be blindfolded and unable to see further than their physical eyes will permit, for the nature of the existing thought-forms would give them a fright. Paralysing horror would grip many who today naively or frivolously lead unscrupulous lives. For every thought that is generated, like everything in the Ethereal World, immediately takes a form which embodies and expresses the essential meaning of the thought.
The Living Creative Power flowing through man concentrates ethereal matter through the focused volition of a completed thought and combines it into a form which expresses the volition of the thought. Thus this form is something real, something living, which now, in accordance with the Law of Attraction of Homogeneous Species, attracts what is homogeneous in this world of thought-forms or is attracted by them, depending on the strength it possesses. Just as a thought, when it arises, is simultaneously perceived intuitively with greater or lesser intensity, so will its ethereal form bear equivalent life. This world of thoughts is densely populated. Through the mutual power of attraction complete centers have formed which, by means of their accumulated energy, exert their influence upon human beings.
In the first place those persons will always be influenced who tend towards a similar nature, that is, who bear something similar within themselves. Such persons will thereby be strengthened in their corresponding will, and encouraged to continue producing new and similar forms which, working in the same manner, enter the world of thought-forms.
But other people who do not possess these characteristic can also be disturbed by these influences and gradually be attracted to them, if these centers are continually reinforced and so obtain unimagined power. Only those are protected who possess something of a different nature in greater strength, rendering impossible a connection with what is dissimilar.
Unfortunately, however, it is hate, envy, jealousy, lustfulness, avarice and all other evils which, through their greater numbers of adherents, form the strongest power centers in the world of thought-forms. Far less great are those of purity and love. This is the reason why evil is spreading with such incredible rapidity. In addition, these power centers of thought-forms in turn obtain a connection with homogeneous spheres of the darkness. From there they are specially fomented to ever greater activity so that as a consequence they are able to create downright devastation among mankind.
Therefore, blessed be the hour when thoughts of pure Divine Love will once more occupy a greater place among mankind, so that similarly strong centers will develop in the world of thought-forms, which can be reinforced from the more luminous spheres and thus not only strengthen those striving towards what is good, but also slowly exert a purifying effect on darker souls.
Yet another activity is to be observed in this Ethereal World: Through the wishes of their originator thought-forms are directed to certain persons to whom they may then adhere. If these thought-forms are of a pure and noble nature, they will beautify the person for whom they are meant, strengthen the shield of purity around him and, if they meet with inner intuitive perceptions of a similar nature, they can uplift him further and strengthen him for his ascent. Impure thoughts, however, cannot fail to soil the person for whom they are meant in just the same way as a physical body is soiled if mud and dirt is thrown at it. If a man so attacked is not inwardly anchored firmly to the centers of light-streams, it may very well happen that in time his intuitive perception becomes confused under this barrage of impure thoughts. This is possible because these impure thought-forms clinging to him are able to attract others of a like nature, which strengthen them so that by degrees they poison the thoughts of the person in its clutches.
The greater part of the responsibility naturally falls back upon the man who generated the impure thoughts and whose wish or desire sent them out to the person concerned, for the thought-forms also remain attached to their author and react upon him accordingly.
It is therefore necessary to call out to all true seekers over and over: “Be mindful of the purity of your thoughts!” Put all your energy into this effort. You have no idea what you accomplish thereby; it is tremendously powerful! You can use it as mighty warriors and pioneers for the Light and thus for the liberation of your fellow-men from the poisonous creepers that infest the world of thought-forms.
If the bandage were removed from the eyes of a man so that he could look into his immediate ethereal environment, he would at first be alarmed and terrified at the wild confusion he would see there. But this would only last until he realized the power within him, with which, as with a sharp sword, he is able to cut a free path for himself, effortlessly, merely by exerting his volition. He would see thought-forms in a hundred thousand varieties in all possible and, to the physical eye often impossible, forms. Each one, however, is sharply defined, showing and expressing precisely, unadorned and without artificial disguise, the true volition at the time when the thought was generated.
Still, in spite of the thousands of varieties, one learns in time to recognize at a glance the nature of each thought-form, that is to say, one knows to which category they belong in spite of their different forms. Just as one can distinguish a man from an animal by his face, or indeed recognize the different human races by certain facial characteristics, so in precisely the same way thought-forms have definite features that clearly indicate whether the form belongs to hatred, envy, lust, or some other basic type. Each of these basic types has its own particular stamp which is impressed on each thought form according to the basic characteristic embodied by it regardless of the outer shape it has taken through the generating thought. Thus, in spite of the most bizarre distortion of a form into grotesque deformities, one can immediately recognize its fundamental type. With this recognition the appearance of wild confusion no longer exists.
One sees the inexorable order and strictness of the fundamental laws governing all Creation which, if one knows them and has adapted oneself to their course, afford immeasurable protection and great blessing. He, however, who opposes these laws will naturally be attacked and will, if not utterly knocked down and crushed, at least undergo a severe grinding down which, through pain and bitter experiences, will remodel him until he fits into the flow of these laws and no longer represents an obstacle. Only then can he be carried along upwards.
These thought-forms not only return their effects to humanity, but they go further; for the greater number of nature beings belong to the same Ethereal World of the close environment. He who has reconciled himself to the fact that all is alive thus has form, whether physically visible or not, will not find it difficult to go a step further and realize that the forces of nature also have form. To these belong the gnomes, elves, sylphs, water-sprites, etc., the earth, air, fire and water beings, which have been seen by many – in earlier times more often than now. These are being influenced by the thought-forms and thus are the cause of much good and evil. And so it goes on. One thing gears into another like cogwheels in the finest and most highly-perfected mechanism.
In the midst of this mechanism stands man! He is equipped with the means to determine the nature of the weaving that is to proceed from the loom of Creation and to set the mechanism in motion in different directions. Be conscious of this immeasurable responsibility, for it all takes place only within the circle of your earthly limits. By the wise ordinance of the Creator nothing goes beyond this, but everything only returns back to you. Through your desires, thoughts and volition you are able to poison or, purify and uplift towards the Light this world and the beyond. Therefore master your destiny so that it may lead upwards through the purity of your thoughts!