Glamour and Illusion

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Summary: A collection of statements by the Tibetan


"Glamour of Fatigue. Let not the glamour of fatigue and of disappointment over world conditions lead to abortive work. . . . Fight it by non-recognition and by complete absorption in the immediate task; I refer to a wise absorption which neglects no due physical care, nor due time for relaxation. The work goes forward in the world along the correct, indicated inner lines. The disciple who has achieved a measure of sensitivity to the Whole, must learn to discriminate between aspects of that whole. . . . Learn to register with equal sensitivity the mass of the world idealisms and aspiring thought; then the glamour of fatigue and of innate disgust will give place to a keen interest and understanding of the glamour-free disciple." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 17).

"Glamour is not dispelled by paying close attention to it. It disappears by the power of clear and steadfast meditation, and the freeing of oneself from self attention." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 358)

"Glamour is the powerful enemy of all who tread the Path of Discipleship. . . . Disciples who live on mental levels are freer from glamour than those whose polarisation is more purely emotional. Therefore, one of the first things we seek to teach all of you is to work, live and think in freedom from the astral plane. . . .
     Glamour is, of course, such a subtle thing that it ever masquerades as the truth. It is powerful because it finds its point of entry into a disciple's consciousness through those states of mind and those habits of thought, which are so familiar that their appearance is automatic and constitutes an almost unconscious manifestation. There are (for the average disciple) three main attitudes of mind and of feeling, which predispose him to being glamoured:

i. Self-pity. To this all disciples are prone. Their lives are necessarily difficult, and they are more sensitive than the average. They are also being constantly tried and tested in this particular direction. Self-pity is a powerful and deluding force; it exaggerates every condition and isolates a person in the center of his own life, and the dramatic situations evoked in his own thoughts. . . .

ii. A spirit of criticism. This induces more states of glamour than any other one factor; and here, who shall say he is immune? When harmlessness and kindness in thought and word are practised, and automatically become a part of a disciple's daily life expression, then glamour will end. . . .

iii. Suspicion. The most poisonous of all weaknesses is this glamour; it is usually the most false and -- even when well founded -- is still capable of poisoning the very roots of being, of distorting all attitudes to life, and of bringing into activity the creative imagination as its potent servant. Suspicion ever lies, but lies with such apparent truth that it seems only correct and reasonable. . . . Give not way to suspicion; but be careful not to cast it away from you into the hidden depths of yourself, whence again it must inevitably raise its head. End its power in your life by doing three things:

(a) By assuming more definitely the attitude of the Onlooker, who sees all people and happenings through the light of love and from the angle of the eternal values.

(b) By leaving everybody to live their own lives and to shoulder their own responsibilities, knowing that they are souls and are being led towards the light. Simply give them love and understanding.

(c) By the fullness of your own life of service, which leaves you no time for the moments and hours of suspicion which blight so many lives.

     These three things, if persisted in and practised, will do more to release you from glamour than any other one thing." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 510/3)

"Avoid at least one glamor, and that is the glamour that it is your task to shoulder all responsibilities and make all final decisions. Leave people . . . the opportunity which you yourself so much welcome, of learning the needed lessons. Seek not unduly to lift and shield, for the shielding mother-complex is in itself a glamour." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 643)

"The disciple is the victim and, let us hope, the dissipator of both glamour and illusion, and hence the complexity of his problem and the subtley of his difficulties. He must bear in mind also (for his strengthening and cheer), that every bit of glamour dissipated and every illusion recognised is overcome, "clears the way" for those who follow after, and makes easier the path of his fellow disciples. This is par excellence, the Great Service, and it is to this aspect of it that I call your attention. Hence my attempts in these instructions to clarify the issue." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 44)

"A deep distrust of one's reactions to life and circumstance, when such reactions awaken and call forth criticism, separativeness, or pride, is of value.The qualities enumerated above, are definitely breeders of glamour. They are occultly "the glamorous characteristics". Ponder on this. If a man can free himself from these three characteristics, he is well on the way to the relinquishing and the dissipation of all glamour. I am choosing my words with care in an effort to arrest your attention.
     . . . It is the soul itself which dispels illusion, through the use of the faculty of the intuition. It is the illumined mind which dissipates glamour." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 82/3)

"Glamour can always be found where there exists:

i. Criticism, where careful analysis would show that no criticism is really warranted.

ii. Criticism, where there is no personal responsibility involved. By that I mean, where it is not the place or the duty of the man to criticise.

iii. Pride in achievement or satisfaction that one is a disciple.

iv. Any sense of superiority or separative tendency." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 84)

The Glamour of Materiality

"The glamour of materiality is the cause of all the present world distress, for what we call the economic problem is simply the result of this particular glamour. . . . That which will meet a need that is vital and real, ever exists within the divine plan. That which is unnecessary to the right expression of divinity and to a full and rich life, can be gained and possessed, but only through the loss of the more real and the negation of the essential.
     Students, however, need to remember that that which is necessary varies according to the stage of evolution which has been reached by an individual. For some people, for instance, the possession of that which is material, may be as great a spiritual experience and as potent a teacher in life expression as the more elevated and less material requirements of the mystic or hermit. We are rated as regards action and point of view, by our place upon the ladder of evolution. We are rated really by our point of view and not by our demand upon life. The spiritually minded man and the man who has set his feet upon the Path of Probation, and who fails to attempt the expression of that which he believes, will be judged as caustically and pay as high a price as does the pure materialist -- the man whose desires center around substantial effects. Bear this in mind and sit not in the seat of the judge or the scornful.
     Today the glamour of materiality is lessening perceptibly. The peoples of the world are entering the wilderness experience, and will find in the wilderness how little is required for full living, true experience and real happiness. The gluttonous desire for possessions is not regarded as so reputable a desire as formerly, and a desire for riches is not producing the clutching hands as earlier in racial history. Things and possessions are slipping out of the hands which have hitherto tightly held them, and only when men stand with empty hands and a realised new standard of values, do they again acquire the right to own and to possess. When desire is absent, and the man seeks nothing for the separated self, the
responsibility of material wealth can again be handed back to man, and the fogs of astral desire will be lessened. Illusion in many forms may still hold sway, but the glamour of materiality will be gone. It is the first destined to disappear. . . .
     . . . The Guides of the Race have felt the necessity of standing by whilst the forces set up by man himself proceed to strip him and thus release him to walk in the wilderness. There, in what is called straitened circumstances, he can readjust his life and change his way of living, thus discovering that freedom from material things carries with it its own beauty and reward, its own joy and glory. Thus he is liberated to live the life of the mind." (Glamour: A World Problem, p. 75/6)

The Glamour of Idealism

"Ideals must go as they are now formulated, because we are entering into a New Age wherein all things will become new. They can safely be relinquished when their place is taken by a real soul love for humanity -- inclusive, sane and practical. Ideals are formulations by the human mind. The Hierarchy has no ideals. The Hierarchy is simply the channel for pure love, and where love exists there is no danger of harshness, of cruelty, of misunderstanding, of evasion of facts, or of harmfulness. Much also that many regard as harmless is definitely harmful in its general effects. Ideals, as usually held, feed pride, lead to stubbornness, and engender a separative superiority; they produce impractical attitudes and negative activities. The one who thus holds them frequently serves only in the limited field, conditioned by his chosen work and coloured by his idealism. He excludes the Whole and thinks in terms of the past and as he wants to think. There is no real understanding of an opposing idealism and often no real attempt to comprehend its basis. His emphasis upon his own ideals (in his own consciousness even when not imposed on others) prevents understanding, and he is so busy up-holding them and defending them (oft again to himself), and being conditioned by them, that the larger human issues escape his attention. He settles down within the limits of his own beliefs. This makes him immediately a theologian, and his usefulness then rapidly evaporates, except in the intimate circle of his fellow idealists. As time goes on, crystallisation takes place. A "crystal barrier" is set up between the personality and the soul. The soul is seen but its influence is insulated. But -- because there is a vision of the soul still persisting -- the disciple is deeply satisfied. The crystallisation eventually affecs all aspects of the nature. Emotions settle into "grooves of crystal"; the mind becomes set and brittle. The physical body crystallises also and gets old rapidly because there is no free flow of life.
     One thing will prevent this from happening: Loving understanding and a consequent sacrifice of the life to humanity as a whole. The greatest good of the greatest number becomes his life theme, and to this the whole man is subordinated." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 530/1)

The Illusion of Power

"The Illusion of Power is perhaps one of the first and most serious tests which comes to an aspirant. It is also one of the best examples of this "great mistake", and I therefore bring it to your attention as being one against which I beg you most carefully to guard yourself. It is rare indeed for any disciple to escape the effects of this error of illusion, for it is, curiously, based upon right success and right motive. Hence the specious nature of the problem. It might be expressed thus:
     An aspirant succeeds in contacting his soul or ego through right effort. Through meditation, good intention, and correct technique, plus the desire to serve and to love, he achieves alignment. He becomes then aware of the results of his successful work. His mind is illumined. A sense of power flows through his vehicles. He is, temporarily at least, made aware of the Plan. The need of the world and the capacity of the soul to meet that need, flood his consciousness. His dedication, consecration and right purpose enhance the directed inflow of spiritual energy. He knows. He loves. He seeks to serve, and does all three more or less successfully. The result of all this is that he becomes more engrossed with the sense of power, and with the part he is to play in aiding humanity, than he is with the realisation of a due and proper sense of proportion and of spiritual values. He over-estimates his experience and himself. Instead of redoubling his efforts and thus establishing a closer contact with the kingdom of souls, and loving all beings more deeply, he begins to call attention to himself, to the mission he is to develop, and to the confidence that the Master and even the planetary Logos apparently have in him. He talks about himself; he gestures and attracts notice, demanding recognition. As he does so, his alignment is steadily impaired; his contact lessens, and he joins the ranks of the many who have succumbed to the illusion of sensed power.
     This form of illusion is becoming increasingly prevalent among disciples and those who have taken the first two initiations. There are today many people in the world who have taken the first initiation in a previous life. At some period in the present life cycle, recurring and recapitulating as it does the events of an earlier development, they again reach a point in their realisation which they earlier reached. The significance of their attainment pours in upon them, and the sense of their responsibility and knowledge. Again they over-estimate themselves, regarding their missions and themselves as unique among the sons of men, and their esoteric and subjective demand for recognition enters in and spoils what might otherwise have been fruitful service. Any emphasis upon the personality can distort most easily the pure light of the soul as it seeks to pour through the lower self. Any effort to call attention to the mission or task which the personality has undertaken, detracts from that mission, and handicaps the man in his task; it leads to the deferring of its fulfilment until such time when the disciple can be naught but a channel through which love can pour, and light can shine.This pouring through and shining forth, has to be a spontaneous happening, and contains no self-reference." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 52/3)

Overcoming the Dweller

"How can I overcome this Dweller and yet at the same time refuse to concentrate upon myself and my problems? This I am told by you not to do, and yet the Dweller is the sum-total of all personality holds and defects, all potencies -- emotional, mental and physical -- which limit my expression as a soul. What can I therefore do?"
     My answer would be: You must first of all accept the fact of the Dweller, and then relegate that Dweller to its rightful place as part of the Great Illusion, the great phantasmagoria of existence and as an integral part of the life of the three worlds. You must then proceed upon your planned life of service (What definite plan or plans have you, my brother?) and act as if the Dweller existed not, thus freeing yourself from all personality influence in due time, and leaving your mind free for the task in hand.I could perhaps word it another way. When your interest in hierachical work and the programme of the Ashram with which you are connected, is adequately strong, it will then dominate all your actions, and all your thoughts (waking or sleeping); you will then find that the grip of the Dweller will be broken, that its life has been destroyed by the force of attention, and its form destroyed in the fires of sacrifice." (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 47/8)