This is a collection of questions and answers by Manly P. Hall as published in the “All-seeing Eye” magazine at the beginning of the 20th century.
What is the meaning of the word “occult” and how is it to be used in connection with spiritual sciences?
The word “occult” means hidden. An occultist is one who through the powers of reason is trying to lift the veil of allegory from science and religion and find the germ of truth and unity concealed in their diverse, complex, and literal explanations and teachings.
The occultist is the eternal seeker, seeking eternal truths. Who is a mystic and how does he differ from the occultist?
The mystic is one who is seeking to gain the same truth and lift the same veil by developing the heart side of his nature and to gain by intuition what the occultist searches for by reason. It is the union of these two paths the mystic and the occult, that gives the seeker the balance that is necessary before the higher initiations are possible. When the action of the proper kind is added to this and the student applies his theoretical knowledge, then the eternal triangle is perfected and balanced in man. (Take the test: What do You Know about Occult Sciences?– Quiz)
What is the aim of a true occult student?
The occult student is seeking to gain the power within himself which will qualify him to become a conscious worker, in the Great Plan of cosmic unfoldment. He is striving to evolve, within the latent qualities which are his divine birthright and which, when awakened, will make him a helper instead of one of the many who are now receiving help.
What is the true object of all the Wisdom Teachings?
Their purpose is to show man his true position in the great plan of creation. They explain to the student the responsibilities of life, and, through the knowledge that they give him, prepare him for the Great Work that awaits all when their days of schooling are over.
Where should we search for occult wisdom?
Everywhere. They who only look for it in books and lecture halls will never find it. The great laws of nature are daily molding the destinies of worlds, nations, and individuals. If we look at the stars, we see God’s laws; if we gaze at the rolling sea, we again behold his manifestation. As we stand on a busy corner of the street or at the bedside of the sick we can, if we have the eyes, lift the veil and see the eternal hand of God operating behind every action and thought in the universe. In this way we’ can study truth and the so-called hidden sciences first hand, and, by using the God-given faculty of thought, learn for ourselves the explanation of the mystery of being in a way no book can possibly instruct us. (Take the test: Test your Knowledge in Occult Sciences – Quiz)
How much time should an occult student devote to study?
Twenty-four hours a day. Spirituality is not something to be assumed at certain times by would-be occultists; it is a state of consciousness evolved by the aspiring student of nature’s laws. The great lessons are not learned in school, but in daily contacts with living and often unconscious instructors. Our studies should be about ten percent out of books and ninety percent out of human life. This study must be carried on eternally, beginning with each morning and not ending even with sleep. (Further reading:9 Powerful Ancient Magic Spell books, you need to explore.)
What is divine law?
Law is the plan through which God, man, and the universe, the triple unit, were brought into manifestation, are being preserved in manifestation, and will later be dissolved. There are none who are above law and those who spiritually rise to such a height are too great dream of disobeying. To deny law does not destroy it, for it grinds all things to dust who attempt to stay it. No one has ever broken a law-the law has broken them.
Which religions are occult?
All religions have a hidden or esoteric side. The same may be said of all the divisions of religion. The esoteric doctrine we see in religion depends upon the esoteric eyes we have developed in our own spiritual natures. They who look through the eyes of form can see only form, while to them who have evolved the spiritual sight, the life behind the form (the truth behind the allegory), is visible. All religions are steps in the unfoldment of one truth and they only clash when their spiritual ideals are crystallized into material forms.
What is a miracle?
A miracle is an effect, the cause of which is unknown. The. cause, however, must be as great as the effect it produces. If the student wants a miracle to happen to him, he must set in motion causes great enough to produce the desired effect.
What is the difference between the divine will and the human will?
The Divine Will wills to do and the human will wills to avoid doing anything that is not pleasant.
Why do the sages spend so much time in silence?
Silence is the teacher of the sage. When he breaks the calm of soul and body he destroys the teachers who only come to him when he has mastered the confusion of external things.
What is the purpose of life?
The Development and evolving of our partially awakened faculties is the purpose of life. When the spirit centers itself on this eternal work, man is harmonious and this harmony is the basis of his only happiness.
What is the duty of man?
Man’s duty is to awaken the latent powers within himself and transmute them into active tools to be used in building his own temple and carrying on the labors of the universe.
What then is happiness?
Happiness is the natural effect of adjustment between conflicting poles of consciousness. Unhappiness, which is mental, physical or spiritual discomfort, is the result of maladjustment of centers of consciousness either to each other or to bodies.
Should we allow our lives to be run or influenced by numerology?
We should be the masters of our destiny and let our lives be run by nothing but the highest spiritual consciousness within ourselves. We should study and learn all the good in everything but never become servants to our own slaves.
What is the meaning of service?
Service, from the occult standpoint, means to do something that will help somebody besides yourself without the hope of a reward.
Why are we so much in doubt as to what is right and what is wrong?
The reason why there is so much misunderstanding is that right and wrong are individual concepts and what is right for one is wrong for another. The only thing that is right for anyone is the very highest, noblest, truest and purest that they can conceive of. Everything else falls short, regardless of other people’s estimates.
Why should an innocent person suffer for the sins of another?
They do not. They suffer for the mistakes that they themselves have made and the person whom they believe is injuring them is really only an instrument used to pay debts long over-due. Of course, this does not excuse the injury but injustice is impossible with a just God.
What is the meaning of the six pointed star?
It is the interlacing of two triangles and represents the union of the threefold spirit with the threefold body.
What was the Sphinx built for?
There is an ancient legend that says originally the Sphinx was the gateway to the Great Pyramid. There is also a temple dedicated to the sun between the great paws of the Sphinx.
Why is blood called a precious substance?
Because it is the vehicle of the spirit. The indwelling consciousness of man works through the blood.
How do you reconcile the fall of man with the doctrine of eternal progression?
There is nothing in the entire history of human progress which did as much to develop man as his so-called fall which was only a great dip into the matter to learn the lessons that were necessary to his later perfection.
Must Karma created here always be worked out on this plane?
Karma created here is worked out on one of two planes-the lower plane or the astral.
Can a man live forever if he will not sin?
If man does not sin he will turn to stone. Sin produces experiences. What we call sin and suffering is one of our greatest friends. We sin and break a natural law-if we did not suffer we would soon find ourselves destroyed and never know it. We can live forever if we absolutely harmonize ourselves with all the planes of nature-but it cannot be all in one place. People who live forever would get tired of it as they get tired of dying today. You must be reminded that we live forever now-we never die. We just do not realize it because we have not enough knowledge to see it. We have to evolve the intelligence to realize that we already have what we are looking for.
When can we tell that a past debt has been paid?
When we met an unpleasant problem and master it. We never have to pay the same debt twice. If it still bothers us we have not met it.
How can we change our environment?
Our environment is created within ourselves and if we would see harmony we must build harmony within, for we see all the world through our own eyes, our own failings likes and dislikes.
When should we be guided by our intuition?
When we have proved by experience that our spiritual natures have unfolded to that degree that they guide us in the way that leads to constructive acts. If we do not purify the bodies and make the glass clean we can never be sure where inspirations come from. (Further reading: Make More Effective Decisions by Using Your Intuition)
Can we get anything we want by wishing for it?
Yes, if we wish to work.
How long and how often should one fast and pray for spiritual growth?
Next time you decide to do this, take a vacation, roll up your sleeves and go to work to help someone who needs something and fast in your spare time. In your fasting, let your lower emotions starve for lack of nourishment and let your prayer be a life lived well twenty-four hours a day.
Can the mind image anything unreal?
It is impossible for a human mind to create or image anything that does not exist somewhere on one of the many planes of nature.
Is the power of communication with the astral spirits a sign of development?
Not necessarily. Development is a positive step forward while many become conscious of super physical things through retrogression. Crystal-gazing, magic mirrors, and all those things are not developments but are degenerations which will destroy us if we continue them.
What are the real dangers of psychic development?
The first great danger is negative development which results in mediumship and obsession. The second great danger is seeking to unfold spiritual powers before the body has been properly purified to sustain the strain.
Is it not better at times to live out desires than to suppress them?
Absolutely. To be good or spiritual because you have to or afraid not to brings little real growth. The most important thing is to be truly honest with yourself and not try to hide a weakness under affirmations of spirituality. There is always the motive of our goodness to be considered and if it is not up to the action, much of the value of said action is lost.
What is scientific thinking?
Scientific thinking is the power to reason in an orderly, consecutive manner without interfering with others’ thoughts and not confusing your own.
What is the soul?
The soul is a body, built by the thoughts, actions, and desires of human life which weave a garment according to their own quality. Later this garment becomes the vehicle of consciousness for the spirit for within it is incorporated all of the growth of the lower bodies.
What is free will?
God alone has free will. Man has the power of choice. Ignorance is the limiting factor in free will. The greater number of things we know the greater is our area of choice until as gods, knowing all, we have the choice of all.
What is meant by the Word?
The Word is a center of consciousness around which negative particles gather and out of which forms are built. It is not in the last analysis a: sound, but a rate of vibration. It is the Life producing and manifesting through form.
Do dreams mean anything?
Some do and some do not. They are often partial memories of things we have learned and done while the bodies were asleep. Sometimes they are only thoughts of the day which have automatically repeated themselves even after sleep has deprived us of conscious power. Sometimes the brain does not all go to sleep at once and faculties will labor all through the night while the brain is otherwise asleep causing dreams and hazy memories.
Is it Black Magic for a salesman to influence someone to buy something?
It is. It is black magic to in any way influence the mind of a person without giving him the conscious opportunity to combat that influence, and the result of a decision influenced by you will bring with it a karmic debt which you must shoulder. It is black magic for one person in any way unconsciously to another to influence him by the power of mind.
How should we regard a religion?
Religion is a phase of truth attuned to the states of consciousness of them who are evolving through it. It is the doctrine, part of a still greater doctrine, to which we are drawn by the faculties we have developed and the spiritual sight we have unfolded within ourselves. It is a changeable point.
As we grow in experience and understanding, our religion and religious concepts should broaden with us. Every living being change, or should change in some way, his religion with each experience and unfoldment which ‘daily life brings; if he does not do this he is standing still. When we are inclined to look down upon creeds or religions that seem primitive to us, we should remember that they are all steps in a great plan that must be passed through before the Planner can be revealed. When we have passed through and reached a more elevated ideal, our broadened, spiritual intellect should help us to realize the need of all of the other steps, and the fact that a doctrine exists at all on this plane of nature is proof certain that it is helping someone who would fall without the protection and inspiration that it gives, for nature supports nothing any great length of time that is not of use in the plan.
Why does the Lord’s prayer say: “Lead us not into temptation?” ls this not a blasphemy?
This part of the Prayer is directed to the lower emotions, asking in the name of the divine that they lead us not into temptation. It is not addressed to God, but to the lower man in the name of God.
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Source: “The All-seeing Eye” Magazine By Manly P. Hall
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