The Mystic and the Occultist
By The Tibetan
(Excerpts from "Letters on Occult Meditation" by Alice A. Bailey)
Form as used by the occultist and the mystic.
The subject of this letter today will interest you for we are to take up form as used by the occultist and
It might be of value to us if we first differentiated with care between the two types. I would begin by a statement of fact. The mystic is not necessarily an occultist, but the occultist embraces the mystic. Mysticism is but one step on the path of occultism. In this solar system - the system of love in activity - the path of least resistance for the majority is that of the mystic, or the path of love and devotion. In the next solar system the path of least resistance will be that which we now understand as the occult path. The mystic path will have been trodden.
Wherein lies the difference between these two types?
The mystic deals with the evolving life; the occultist deals with the form.
The mystic deals with the God within; the occultist with God in outer manifestation.
The mystic works from the centre to the periphery; the occultist reverses the process.
The mystic mounts by aspiration and intensest devotion to the God within or to the Master Whom he recognises; the occultist attains by the recognition of the law in operation and by the wielding of the law which binds matter and conforms it to the needs of the indwelling life. In this manner the occultist arrives at those Intelligences Who work with the law, till he attains the fundamental Intelligence Himself.
The mystic works through the Rays of Love, Harmony and Devotion, or by the path of the second, the fourth and the sixth rays. The occultist works through the Rays of Power, Activity, and Ceremonial Law, or the first, the third and the seventh. Both meet and blend through the development of mind, or through the fifth Ray of Concrete Knowledge (a fragment of cosmic intelligence), and on this fifth ray the mystic is resolved into the occultist and works then with all the rays.
By finding the kingdom of God within himself and by the study of the laws of his own being, the mystic becomes proficient in the laws which govern the universe of which he is a part.
The occultist recognises the kingdom of God in nature or the system and regards himself as a small part of that greater whole, and therefore governed by the same laws.
The mystic works as a general rule under the department of the World Teacher, or the Christ, and the occultist more frequently under that of the Manu, or Ruler, but when both types have passed through the four minor rays in the department of the Lord of Civilisation, then a completion of their development may be seen, and the mystic becomes the occultist and the occultist includes the characteristics of the mystic. To make it more simple for general comprehension: after initiation the mystic is merged in the occultist for he has become a student of occult law; he has to work with matter, with its manipulation and uses, and he has to master and control all lower forms of manifestation, and learn the rules whereby the building devas work. Before initiation the mystic path might be expressed by the term, Probationary Path. Before the occultist can manipulate wisely the matter of the solar system he must have mastered the laws that govern the microcosm, and even though he is naturally on the occult path yet he will still have to find the God within his own being before he can safely venture on the path of occult law.
The mystic seeks to work from the emotional to the intuitional, and thence to the Monad, or Spirit. The occultist works from the physical to the mental, and thence to the atma or Spirit.
One works along the line of love; the other along the line of will. The mystic fails in the purpose of his being - that of love demonstrated in activity - unless he co-ordinates the whole through the use of intelligent will. Therefore he has to become the occultist.
The occultist similarly fails and becomes only a selfish exponent of power working through intelligence, unless he finds a purpose for that will and knowledge by an animating love which will give to him sufficient motive for all that he attempts.
I have attempted to make clear to you the distinction between these two groups, as the importance of the matter is great when studying meditation. The form used by the two types is entirely different and when seen clairvoyantly is very interesting.
The mystic form.
The expression, "the mystic form," is almost a paradoxical remark, for the mystic - if left to himself -
eliminates the form altogether. He concentrates upon the God within, brooding on that inner centre of
consciousness; he seeks to link that centre with other centres - such as his Master, or some saint, or
even with the supreme Logos Himself - and to mount by the line of life, paying no attention
whatsoever to the environing sheaths. He works along the path of fire. "Our God is a consuming fire"
is to him a literal statement of fact, and of realised truth. He rises from fire to fire, and from graded
realisations of the indwelling Fire till he touches the fire of the universe. The only form that the mystic
may be said to use would be a ladder of fire or a cross of fire, by means of which he elevates his
consciousness to the desired point. He concentrates on abstractions, on attributes more than on aspects,
and on the life side more than the concrete. He aspires, he burns, he harmonises, he loves and he works
through devotion. He meditates by attempting to eliminate the concrete mind altogether, and aspires to
leap from the plane of the emotions to that of the intuition.
He has the faults of his types - dreamy, visionary, impractical, emotional, and lacking that quality of mind that we call discrimination. He is intuitive, prone to martyrdom and self-sacrifice. Before he can achieve and before he can take initiation he has three things to do:
First, by meditation, to bring his whole nature under rule, and to learn to build the forms, and hence to learn their value.
Secondly, to develop appreciation of the concrete, and to learn clearly the place within the scheme of things of the various sheaths through which the life he so much loves has to manifest. He has to work at his mental body and bring it to the store house of facts before he can proceed much further.
Thirdly, to learn through the intelligent study of the microcosm, his little spirit-matter system, the dual value of the macrocosm.
Instead of only knowing the fire that burns he has to understand and work through the fire that builds, that fuses and develops form. He has, through meditation, to learn the threefold use of Fire. This last sentence is of very real importance and I seek to emphasise it.
The occult form.
We studied, two days ago, the method whereby the mystic attains union, and outlined very briefly the
path whereby he attempts to reach his goal. Today we will outline as briefly the course taken by the
occultist, and his type of meditation, contrasting it with that of the mystic, and pointing out later how
the two have to merge and their individual elements be fused into one.
The line of form is, for the occultist, the line of least resistance, and incidentally I might here interpolate a thought. The fact being admitted, we may therefore look with some certainty at this time for a rapid development of occult knowledge, and for the appearance of some true occultists. By the coming in of the seventh ray, the Ray of Form or Ritual, the finding of the occult path, and the assimilation of occult knowledge is powerfully facilitated. The occultist is at first occupied more with the form through which the Deity manifests than with the Deity Himself, and it is here that the fundamental difference between the two types is at first apparent.
The mystic eliminates or endeavours to transcend mind in his process of finding the Self. The occultist, through his intelligent interest in the forms which veil the Self and by the employment of the principle of mind on both its levels, arrives at the same point. He recognises the sheaths that veil. He applies himself to the study of the laws that govern the manifested solar system. He concentrates on the objective, and in his earlier years may at times overlook the value of the subjective. He arrives eventually at the central life by the elimination, through conscious knowledge and control, of sheath after sheath. He meditates upon form until the form is lost sight of, and the creator of the form becomes all in all.
He, like the mystic, has three things to do:
1. He has to learn the law and to apply that law to himself. Rigid self-discipline is his method, and necessarily so, for the dangers threatening the occultist are not those of the mystic. Pride, selfishness, and a wielding of the law from curiosity or desire for power have to be burnt out of him before the secrets of the Path can safely be entrusted to his care.
2. In meditation he has, through the form built, to concentrate upon the indwelling life. He has to seek the inner burning fire that irradiates all forms that shelter the divine life.
3. Through the scientific study of the macrocosm, "the kingdom of God without," he has to reach a point where he locates that kingdom likewise within.
Here, therefore, is the merging point of the mystic and the occultist. Here their paths become one. I spoke earlier in this letter of the interest to the clairvoyant in noting the difference in the forms built by the mystic and the occultist in meditation. I might touch on some of the differences for your interest, though until such vision is yours my point may be but words to you.