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Thought Forms Annie Besant

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Thought Forms

by Annie Besant

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Forms Seen in Those Meditating

Sympathy and Love for all.—Hitherto we have been dealing chiefly with forms which are the expression of emotion, or of such thought as is aroused within the mind by external circumstances. We have now to consider some of those caused by thoughts which arise from within—forms generated during meditation—each being the effect produced by a conscious effort on the part of the thinker to form a certain conception, or to put himself into a certain attitude. Naturally such thoughts are definite, for the man who trains himself in this way learns how to think with clearness and precision, and the development of his power in this direction shows itself in the beauty and regularity of the shapes produced. In this case we have the result of an endeavour on the part of the thinker to put himself into an attitude of sympathy and love towards all mankind, and thus we have a series of graceful lines of the luminous green of sympathy with the strong roseate glow of affection shining out between them (Fig. 37). The lines are still sufficiently broad and wide apart to be easily drawn; but in some of the higher examples of thought-forms of this type the lines are so fine and so close that no human hand can represent them as they really are. The outline of this thought-form is that of a leaf, yet its shape and the curve of its lines are more suggestive of a certain kind of shell, so that this is another example of the approximation to forms seen in physical nature which we noted in commenting upon Fig. 16.

FIG. 37. Sympathy and Love For All

An Aspiration to Enfold all.—In Fig. 38 we have a far more developed example of the same type. This form was generated by one who was trying, while sitting in meditation, to fill his mind with an aspiration to enfold all mankind in order to draw them upward towards the high ideal which shone so clearly before his eyes. Therefore it is that the form which he produces seems to rush out from him, to curve round upon itself, and to return to its base; therefore it is that the marvellously fine lines are drawn in lovely luminous violet, and that from within the form there shines out a glorious golden light which it is unfortunately quite impossible to reproduce. For the truth is that all these apparently intricate lines are in reality only one line circling round the form again and again with unwearied patience and wonderful accuracy. It is scarcely possible that any human hand could make such a drawing as this on this scale, and in any case the effect of its colours could not be shown, for it will be seen by experiment that if an attempt be made to draw fine violet lines close together upon a yellow background a grey effect at once appears, and all likeness to the original is destroyed. But what cannot be done by hand may sometimes be achieved by the superior accuracy and delicacy of a machine, and it is in this way that the drawing was made from which our illustration is reproduced,—with some attempt to represent the colour effect as well as the wonderful delicacy of the lines and curves.

FIG. 38. An Aspiration to Enfold All

In the Six Directions.—The form represented in Fig. 39 is the result of another endeavour to extend love and sympathy in all directions—an effort almost precisely similar to that which gave birth to Fig. 37, though the effect seems so different. The reasons for this variety and for the curious shape taken in this case constitute a very interesting illustration of the way in which thought-forms grow. It will be seen that in this instance the thinker displays considerable devotional feeling, and has also made an intellectual effort to grasp the conditions necessary for the realisation of his wishes, and the blue and yellow colours remain as evidence of this. Originally this thought-form was circular, and the dominant idea evidently was that the green of sympathy should be upon the outside, facing in all directions, as it were, and that love should lie at the centre and heart of the thought and direct its outgoing energies. But the maker of this thought-form had been reading Hindu books, and his modes of thought had been greatly influenced by them. Students of Oriental literature will be aware that the Hindu speaks, not of four directions (north, east, south, and west), as we do, but always of six, since he very sensibly includes the zenith and the nadir. Our friend was imbued from his reading with the idea that he should pour forth his love and sympathy "in the six directions"; but since he did not accurately understand what the six directions are, he directed his stream of affection towards six equidistant points in his circle. The outrushing streams altered the shape of the outlying lines which he had already built up, and so instead of having a circle as a section of his thought-form, we have this curious hexagon with its inward-curving sides. We see thus how faithfully every thought-form records the exact process of its upbuilding, registering ineffaceably even the errors of its construction.

FIG. 39. In the Six Directions

An Intellectual Conception of Cosmic Order.—In Fig. 40 we have the effect of an attempt to attain an intellectual conception of cosmic order. The thinker was obviously a Theosophist, and it will be seen that when he endeavours to think of the action of spirit upon matter he instinctively follows the same line of symbolism as that depicted in the well-known seal of the Society. Here we have an upward-pointing triangle, signifying the threefold aspect of the Spirit, interlaced with the downward-pointing triangle, which indicates matter with its three inherent qualities. Usually we represent the upward triangle in white or gold, and the downward-pointing one in some darker hue such as blue or black, but it is noteworthy that in this case the thinker is so entirely occupied with the intellectual endeavour, that no colour but yellow is exhibited within the form. There is no room as yet for emotions of devotion, of wonder, or of admiration; the idea which he wishes to realise fills his mind entirely, to the exclusion of all else. Still the definiteness of the outline as it stands out against its background of rays shows that he has achieved a high measure of success.

FIG. 40. An Intellectual Conception of Cosmic Order

The Logos as manifested in Man.—We are now coming to a series of thoughts which are among the very highest the human mind can form, when in meditation upon the divine source of its being. When the man in reverent contemplation tries to raise his thought towards the Logos of our solar system, he naturally makes no attempt to image to himself that august Being; nor does he think of Him as in any way possessing such form as we can comprehend. Nevertheless such thoughts build forms for themselves in the matter of the mental plane; and it will be of interest for us to examine those forms. In our illustration in Fig. 41 we have a thought of the Logos as manifested in man, with the devotional aspiration that He may thus be manifested through the thinker. It is this devotional feeling which gives the pale blue tinge to the five-pointed star, and its shape is significant, since it has been employed for many ages as a symbol of God manifest in man. The thinker may perhaps have been a Freemason, and his knowledge of the symbolism employed by that body may have had its share in the shaping of the star. It will be seen that the star is surrounded by bright yellow rays shining out amidst a cloud of glory, which denotes not only the reverential understanding of the surpassing glory of the Deity, but also a distinct intellectual effort in addition to the outpouring of devotion.

FIG. 41. The Logos As Manifested In Man

The Logos pervading all.—Our next three Figures are devoted to the effort to represent a thought of a very high type—an endeavour to think of the Logos as pervading all nature. Here again, as in Fig. 38, it is impossible to give a full reproduction, and we must call upon our readers for an effort of the imagination which shall to some extent supplement the deficiencies of the arts of drawing and printing. The golden ball depicted in Fig. 42 must be thought of as inside the other ball of delicate lines (blue in colour) which is drawn in Fig. 44. Any effort to place the colours in such intimate juxtaposition on the physical plane results simply in producing a green blur, so that the whole character of the thought-form is lost. It is only by means of the machine before mentioned that it is at all possible to represent the grace and the delicacy of the lines. As before, a single line produces all the wonderful tracery of Fig. 44, and the effect of the four radiating lines making a sort of cross of light is merely due to the fact that the curves are not really concentric, although at first sight they appear to be so.

FIG. 42. The Logos Pervading All

FIGS. 44-47
FIG. 46. The Threefold Manifestation         FIG. 45. Another Conception
FIG. 44. The Logos Pervading All         FIG. 47. The Sevenfold Manifestation

Another Conception.—Fig. 45 exhibits the form produced by another person when trying to hold exactly the same thought. Here also we have an amazing complexity of almost inconceivably delicate blue lines, and here also our imagination must be called upon to insert the golden globe from Fig. 42, so that its glory may shine through at every point. Here also, as in Fig. 44, we have that curious and beautiful pattern, resembling somewhat the damascening on ancient Oriental swords, or that which is seen upon watered silk or moire antique. When this form is drawn by the pendulum, the pattern is not in any way intentionally produced, but simply comes as a consequence of the crossing of the innumerable microscopically fine lines. It is evident that the thinker who created the form upon Fig. 44 must have held in his mind most prominently the unity of the Logos, while he who generated the form in Fig. 45 has as clearly in mind the subordinate centres through which the divine life pours forth, and many of these subordinate centres have accordingly represented themselves in the thought-form.

The Threefold Manifestation.—When the form employed in Fig. 46 was made, its creator was endeavouring to think of the Logos in His threefold manifestation. The vacant space in the centre of the form was a blinding glow of yellow light, and this clearly typified the First Aspect, while the Second was symbolised by the broad ring of closely-knitted and almost bewildering lines which surround this centre, while the Third Aspect is suggested by the narrow outer ring which seems more loosely woven. The whole figure is pervaded by the usual golden light gleaming out between the lines of violet.

The Sevenfold Manifestation.—In all religions there remains some tradition of the great truth that the Logos manifests Himself through seven mighty channels, often regarded as minor Logoi or great planetary Spirits. In the Christian scheme they appear as the seven great archangels, sometimes called the seven spirits before the throne of God. The figure numbered 47 shows the result of the effort to meditate upon this method of divine manifestation. We have the golden glow in the centre, and also (though with lesser splendour) pervading the form. The line is blue, and it draws a succession of seven graceful and almost featherlike double wings which surround the central glory and are clearly intended as a part of it. As the thought strengthens and expands, these beautiful wings change their colour to violet and become like the petals of a flower, and overlap one another in an intricate but exceedingly effective pattern. This gives us a very interesting glimpse into the formation and growth of these shapes in higher matter.

Intellectual Aspiration.—The form depicted in Fig. 43 bears a certain resemblance to that in Fig. 15; but, beautiful as that was, this is in reality a far higher and grander thought, and implies much more advanced development on the part of the thinker. Here we have a great clear-cut spear or pencil of the pure pale violet which indicates devotion to the highest ideal, and it is outlined and strengthened by an exceedingly fine manifestation of the noblest development of intellect. He who can think thus must already have entered upon the Path of Holiness, for he has learnt how to use the power of thought to very mighty effect. It will be noted that in both the colours there is a strong admixture of the white light which always indicates unusual spiritual power.

FIG. 43. Intellectual Aspiration

Surely the study of these thought-forms should be a most impressive object-lesson, since from it we may see both what to avoid and what to cultivate, and may learn by degrees to appreciate how tremendous is our responsibility for the exercise of this mighty power. Indeed it is terribly true, as we said in the beginning, that thoughts are things, and puissant things; and it behoves us to remember that every one of us is generating them unceasingly night and day. See how great is the happiness this knowledge brings to us, and how gloriously we can utilise it when we know of some one in sorrow or in suffering. Often circumstances arise which prevent us from giving physical help either by word or deed, however much we may desire to do so; but there is no case in which help by thought may not be given, and no case in which it can fail to produce a definite result. It may often happen that at the moment our friend may be too entirely occupied with his own suffering, or perhaps too much excited, to receive and accept any suggestion from without, but presently a time comes when our thought-form can penetrate and discharge itself, and then assuredly our sympathy will produce its due result. It is indeed true that the responsibility of using such a power is great, yet we should not shrink from our duty on that account. It is sadly true that there are many men who are unconsciously using their thought-power chiefly for evil, yet this only makes it all the more necessary that those of us who are beginning to understand life a little should use it consciously, and use it for good. We have at our command a never-failing criterion; we can never misuse this mighty power of thought if we employ it always in unison with the great divine scheme of evolution, and for the uplifting of our fellow-man. New Thought Media is out of this world

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