"The etheric body is a body composed entirely of lines of force, and of points where these lines of force cross each other, and thus form (in crossing) centers of energy. Where many such lines of force cross each other, you have a larger center of energy, and where great streams of energy meet and cross, as they do in the head and up the spine, you have seven major centers. These are seven such, plus twenty-nine lesser centers and forty-nine smaller centers, known to esotericists." (Esoteric Healing, p.17-72)
"The whole subject of the centers is dangerous if misunderstood; the centers constitute a menace when prematurely awakened, or unduly energized, and this entire subject can prove most dangerous to the curiosity-impelled man, and to the ignorant experimenter. The time is not yet ripe for the presentation of this subject in a fully co-ordinated manner; students are warned against publishing a clear correlated thesis on the subject as a result of their researches in my books. Nevertheless the true aspirant must be given the needed information." (The Rays and the Initiation, p.18-336/37)
"Much has been written and discussed anent the centers, and much mystery exists which has aroused the curiosity of the ignorant, and has tempted many to meddle with that which does not concern them. . . . I do not in any way intend to take up the subject from such an angle as to convey rules and information that will enable a man to vivify these centers and bring them into play. I sound here a solemn word of warning. Let a man apply himself to a life of high altruism, to a discipline that will refine and bring his lower vehicles into subjection, and to a strenuous endeavor to purify and control his sheaths. When he has done this and has both raised and stabilized his vibration, he will find that the development and functioning of the centers has pursued a parallel course, and that (apart from this active participation) the work has proceeded along the desired lines. Much danger and dire calamity attends the man who arouses these centers by unlawful methods, and who experiments with the fires of his body without the needed technical knowledge. He may, by his efforts, succeed in raising the fires and in intensifying the action of the centers, but he will pay the price of ignorance in the destruction of matter, in the burning of bodily or brain tissue, in the development of insanity, and in opening the door to currents and forces, undesirable and destructive. It is not the part of a coward, in these matters concerning the subjective life, to move with caution and with care; it is the part of discretion. The aspirant, therefore, has three things to do:
1. Purify, discipline and transmute his threefold lower nature.
2. Develop knowledge of himself, and equip his mental body by good deeds and thoughts.
3. Serve his race in utter self-abnegation.
In doing this he fulfills the law, he puts himself in the right condition for training, fits himself for the ultimate application of the Rod of Initiation, and thus minimizes the danger that attends the awakening of the fire." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p.161/62)
"The centers in the human being deal fundamentally with the FIRE aspect in man, or with his divine spirit. They are definitely connected with the Monad, with the will aspect, with immortality, with existence, with the will to live, and with the inherent powers of the Spirit." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p.165)
"The centers are formed entirely of streams of force, pouring down from the Ego, who transmits it from the Monad. In this we have the secret of the gradual vibratory quickening of the centers as the Ego first corners into control, or activity, and later (after initiation) the Monad, thus bringing about changes and increased vitality within these spheres of fire or of pure life force.
The centers, therefore, when functioning properly, form the "body of fire" which eventually is all that is left, first to man in the three worlds, and later to the Monad. . . . when the form is destroyed there is left this intangible spiritual body of fire, one pure flame, distinguished by seven brilliant centers of intenser burning. . . . We must disabuse our minds of the idea that these three centers are physical things. They are whirlpools of force that swirl etheric, astral and mental matter into activity of some kind." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p.166/7)
"The evolution of the centers is a slow and gradual thing, and proceeds in ordered cycles varying according to the ray of a man's Monad." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p.173)
"The centers in physical matter are recognized as being simply focal points of energy located on the etheric body, and having a definite use. This use is to act as transmitters of certain forms of energy "consciously" directed by the Ego or Self , with the intent of driving the physical body (which is not a principle) to fulfill egoic purposes." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p.1155)
"Only one in a thousand aspirants is at the stage where he should begin to work with the energy in the centers to develop, and unfold more slowly, and therefore, more safely. Unfold they inevitably will, and the slower and safer method is (in the vast majority of cases), the more rapid. Premature unfoldment involves much loss of time, and carries with it often the seeds of prolonged trouble." (A Treatise on White Magic, p.590)
"I teach no mode of awakening the centers, because right impulse, steady reaction to higher impulsions, and the practical recognition of the sources of inspiration, will automatically and safely swing the centers into needed and appropriate activity. This is the sound method of development. It is slower, but leads to no premature development, and produces a rounded unfoldment; it enables the aspirant to become truly the Observer and to know with surety what he is doing; it brings the centers, one by one, to a point of spiritual responsivness, and then establishes the ordered and cyclical rythym of a controlled lower nature." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 261/2)
"If the aspirant seeks but spiritual development, if he but aims at sincerity of purpose, and at compassionate altruism, if he, with serene application, concentrates on the subjugation of the emotional body, and the enlargement of the mental, and cultivates the habit of abstract thinking, the desired results upon the centers will be produced from necessity, and danger will be eliminated." (Letters on Occult Meditation, p. 77)
"You will observe that the subject (the development of the centers) really becomes more abtruse, the longer it is studied." (Letters on Occult Meditation, p. 80)
"I would also beg you to realise five facts:
1. That undeveloped men are energised and galvanised into outer activity through the medium of the three centers below the diaphragm.
2. That average man is beginning to function primarily through the solar plexus center, and to use it as a transferring center of force for energies which must be carried from below the diaphragm to above the diaphgram.
3. That the world aspirants are slowly being energised and controlled by the forces which are being transferred from the centers below the diaphragm, to the throat center, and from the soul to the throat center. This leads to creative activity of some kind.
4. That the world disciples are beginning to be governed and controlled by the throat and heart centers, and are also beginning to transfer the forces which have been raised to the heart and the throat, to the ajna center between the eyebrows, in the middle of the forehead. When this has been done, the man is then an integrated personality. The soul also stimulates the ajna center.
5. That the more advanced disciples and world initiates, are also energised from two sources: by means of the energies raised up and lifted into the head from all centers of the body, and by those that pour into the human frame from the soul, via the highest center at the top of the head.
The whole process is, as you can see, one of development, use and transference, as in the case in all evolutionary development." (Esoteric Psychology, Vol.II, p. 521/2)
"In both the astral and mental sheaths there exist the counterparts of the centers as found in the physical body." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 58)
"The three major centers in the body of the planetary Logos are:
The head center - Shamballa - 1st ray of Will.
The heart center - Hierarchy - 2nd Ray of Love-Wisdom.
The throat center - Humanity - 3rd Ray of Active Intelligence.
The impact of the new incoming energies upon Humanity will result from a planned redirection. This will bring in a era of greatly enhanced creative activity; it will be an activity as has never been seen before, and which will express itself in every department of human living." (The Rays and the Initiations, p. 551/2)
The Awakening of the Centers
"The question now arises: How can this awakening and co-ordination (of the centers) be brought about? What steps must be taken in order to produce this vitalisation and the eventual synthetic activity of the three centres? . . . So oft the aspirant is anxious to be told some new thing, and when he is told some old truth -- so old and familiar that it fails to call forth a registering response -- he feels that the teacher has failed him, and so succumbs to a sense of futility and depression. . . . Let us enumerate (the requirements) in tabulated form, and then we will deal briefly with each point afterwards:
i. Character building, the first and essential requisite.
ii. Right motive.
v. A technical study of the science of the centres.
vi. Breathing excercises.
vii. Learning the technique of the Will.
viii. The development of the power to employ time.
ix. The arousing of the Kundalini fire.
. . . Do you appreciate the fact that if you were making full use of each piece of information given in the course of the training, and making it a fact in your experience, and were living out in your daily life the teaching so steadily imparted, you would be standing ere now before the Portal of Initiation? Do you realise that truth has to be wrought out in the texture of daily living before new truth can be safely imparted? . . .
Right Motive. . . . The question which the seeker now asks and which he only has the right answer, is: What is the motive governing my aspiration and my endeavour? Why do I seek to build upon a true foundation? Why do I so diligently invoke my soul?
The development of right motive is a progressive effort, and constantly one shifts the focus of one's incentive when one discovers himself, as the Light shines ever more steadily upon one's way and constantly a newer and higher motive emerges. Again, let me illustrate: An aspirant in the early stages is practically always a devotee. To measure up to the standard set by a loved friend and teacher, he struggles and strives and gains ground. Later, this object of his devotion and ardent effort is superseded by devotion to one of the Great Ones, the Elder Brothers of the race. He bends all his powers and the forces of his nature to Their service. This incentive is, in its turn, surely and steadily superseded by
a vital love for humanity, and love of one individual (be he ever so perfect) is lost sight of in love for the whole brotherhood of men. Unceasingly, as the soul takes more and more control of its instrument, and the soul nature steadily manifestes, this too is superseded by love of the ideal, of the Plan and of the purposes underlying the universe itself. The man comes to know himself as naught but a channel through which spiritual agencies can work, and realises himself as a corporate part of the One Life. Then he sees even humanity as relative and fractional, and becomes immersed in the great Will.
Service. A sudy of right motive leads naturally to right service, and often parallel in its objective form, the motivating consciousness. From service to an individual as an expression of love, to the family, or to the nation, there grows service to a member of the Hierarchy, to a Master's group, and thence service to humanity. Eventually there is developed a consciousness of and service of the Plan, and a consecration to the underlying purpose of the Great Existence Who has brought all into being for the fufilment of some specific objective." (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 200/4)
"It must be carefully borne in mind that the main task of the aspirant is the handling of energies, both in himself and in the world of physical phenomena and externalisation. This consequently involves an understanding of the centers and of their awakening. But understanding must come first, and the awakening at a much later date in the sequence of time. This awakening will fall into two stages:
First, there is the stage wherein, by the practice of a disciplined life and by the purification of the thought life, the seven centers are automatically brought into a right condition of rhythm, vitality and vibratory activity. This stage involves no danger, and there is no directed thought -- in connection with the centres -- permitted to the aspirants. By that I mean he is not allowed to concentrate his mind upon any one center, nor may he seek to awaken or energise them. He must remain engrossed with the problem of purifying the bodies in which the centers are found, which are primarily the astral, etheric and physical bodies, remembering ever that the endocrine system and the seven major glands in particular, are the effectual externalisations of the seven major centers, and is dealing with their environing matter and with the living substance which completely surrounds them. This is all that can be safely undertaken by the majority, and it is with this stage that the bulk of the aspirants in the world today are engaged and with which they must remain engaged for a long time to come.
Secondly, there is the stage wherein the centers, through the effective work of the earlier stage, become what is esoterically called "released within the prison house"; they can now become the subject (under proper direction by a teacher) of definite methods of awakening and of charging -- the methods differing according to the ray (personality and egoic) of the aspirant. Hence the difficulty of the subject, and the impossibility of giving general and blanket rules." (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 587/8)
"I would here like to point out two other matters, and so clarify the entire situation. There is much confusion on the subject of the centers, and much erroneous teaching, leading many astray and causing a great deal of misapprehension.
First I would state that no work, such as an effort to awaken the centers, should ever be undertaken whilst the aspirant is aware of definite impurities in his life, or when the physical body is in poor condition or is diseased. Neither should it be undertaken when the pressure of external circumstances is such that there is no place or opportunity for quiet and uninterrupted work. It is essential that for the immediate and focussed work on the centers, there should be the possibility of hours of seclusion and of freedom from interruption. This I cannot too strongly emphasise, and I do so in order to demonstrate to the eager student that at this period of our history there are few whose lives permit of this seclusion. This is, however, a most beneficent circumstance, and not one to be deplored. Only one in a thousand aspirants is at the stage where he should begin to work with the energy in the centers, and perhaps even this estimate is too optimistic. Better far that the aspirant serves and loves and works and disciplines himself, leaving his centers to develop and unfold more slowly and therefore more safely. Unfold they inevitably will, and the slower and safer method is (in the vast majority of cases) the more rapid. Premature unfoldment involves much loss of time, and carries with it often the seeds of prolonged trouble." (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 589/90)
"Work is connection with the centers is incidental to true spiritual development, and is or should be purely mechanical and automatic. The centres are physical, being aspects of the etheric body, and constructed of etheric matter, and their function is simply to express the energy which flows in from the astral body, or from the mind or from the soul (in three aspects)." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 604)
"If the tuning up and awakening (of the centers) is forced, or is brought about by exercises of various kinds before the student is ready, and before the bodies are co-ordinated and developed, then the aspirant is headed towards disaster. Breathing exercises, or pranayama training should never be undertaken without expert guidance, and only after years of spiritual application, devotion and service; concentration upon the centers in the force body (with a view to their awakening) is ever to be avoided; it will cause over-stimulation and the opening of doors on to the astral plane, which the student may have difficulty in closing." (The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p. 18)