HABIT :A habit is that action, or series of actions, which have become impressed upon our subconscious so that we may perform even intricate operations or maneuvers without conscious effort or the intervention of the conscious mind.
The life and actions of most people is merely the following of habits. Most people could just as well be automatons ; they get up at the same time in the morning because of habit, they do things at the same time of day because of habit. People smoke — even knowing that it is killing them ! — because of habit.
Habit starts like the gossamer thread of a spider's web. One thread is weak and can easily be broken, but lay those threads side by side so that you have a hundred, a thousand, a million threads, and one would be immovably bound, powerless, almost impotent to break the habit without really determined efforts.
Look upon habit as upon a series of binding threads. Replace bad habits with good habits. That will make it like replacing each thread individually instead of trying to snap the whole. You cannot take away a thing without replacing it with something more suitable.
If you are a pessimist, smile instead of scowl, it is easier to smile. Make a habit of smiling, make a habit of being kind to people, make a habit of being honourable and keeping your word. Soon you will be a different person, a person whom all will admire and respect. Habit is one of the most important things of life, and a good habit helps one, but a bad habit stultifies one's development.
HALASANA : This is sometimes referred to as the Plough Posture. It should be emphasised again that all these exercises really do not do anyone any good. Sometimes it is claimed that it develops spiritual discipline, but if one already has the discipline necessary to tie oneself in a knot, then surely that discipline can be directed into far more useful channels.
Let me put on record that I regard all these ‘exercises’ as crackpot inventions designed to lead one away from true progress. But if you want to try the Plough Posture, here it is :
Lie on your back, keep your arms parallel and very tightly pressed against your body. Press your palms against the floor. Take a deep breath (you will need it !), and then raise your legs and move them up and over your body so that your legs are over your head and your toes are touching the ground beyond the top of your head.
Raise up your body as much as possible, and put your arms around your head. This particular exercise makes one assume the shape of an old-fashioned plough.
If you want to do shapes, etc., etc., it is much more comfortable to have a darkened room and a white wall, and put your hands between a lighted candle and the wall, then you can make all sorts of shapes in shadow, rabbits and cats and things like that. It's much more fun and much more comfortable.
The mistake arose in an original translation because Vishnu was alleged to remove sins and faults by love and wisdom. Actually, of course, we can only remove faults and sins ourselves by adopting the right attitude to life, and towards others.
There are other meanings attached to Hari.
HARI BOL : This means ‘chant the name of the Lord that ye may be purified and your sins may be washed away.’
HARI OM : This meaning of Hari is that of a sacred syllable, or actually, to be strictly correct, sacred syllables.
By repeating ‘Hari Om, Hari Om, Hari Om’ when one is alone, of course, one's own personal vibrations may be increased, one’s spirit may be elevated, and so one approaches more closely to one's God.
Friendly advice — if you try any of these syllables or exercises, then do it when you are alone or people will look at you suspiciously and send for the man in the white coat which ties at the back !
HARMONY : There are stated to be Three Powers of Divinity. Harmony is one of those Powers.
It is necessary to have all organs of the human body in harmony with all other organs in the body. If you have that, then the result is a person who is well balanced and healthy.
A person with harmony in the mind is one who has pure love and compassion for others, and that person is able to assist others without thought of self-gain.
If all people of this world had harmony within them this would indeed be the Golden Age, because then there would be no difficulty in following the Rule which says, ‘Do as you would be done by.’
HATHA-YOGA : This is just a series of exercises, a system of physical exertion. It is meant to give one mental or spiritual discipline, or something like that, but it is concerned only with postures of the body and need not be taken in any way seriously. It should be borne in mind that the true Masters of the Occult, the true Adepts, never go in for this Hatha-Yoga stuff.
According to the people who do try these stunts, ‘Ha’ means the sound of a breath going in, and ‘Tha’ is the sound of the breath coming out.
The really evolved person does not go in for these circus turns without, of course, being in a circus, and these rather stupid exercises merely take one's attention from that which is more essential — spirituality and the desire to help others.
The practitioners of these exercises have a wholly inflated idea of their own importance, but that only means that spiritually they are very poorly evolved.
There are systems of Yoga devoted to the attainment of spiritual perfection, of course, but Hatha-Yoga is not one of them.
HEAD : Apart from being that knob which protrudes from the end of the neck and bears the organs of sight, sound, and smell, the head also contains the mechanism through which one can receive messages from the Overself, and transmit messages to the Overself.
The head is a rather delicate contraption which suffers from the fact that all blood supplies, all nervous energies, must go through a rather narrow channel in the already narrow neck. It follows that the head should be well balanced so that there is no undue constriction of the spinal cord.
A very good exercise to get balance of the head is to put two or three heavy books on the head, and provided that you can keep them there long enough, put your hands on your hips out of the way, and then walk up and down the room several times without shedding the books in the process.
This is not to be confused with any Hatha-Yoga 'exercise ' but this is a definite thing to enable one to attain poise. It will help your poise, and will also help your posture. It will cause you some pleasurable surprise, too, that you can walk up and down with a load of books on your head.
In the East the small boys who are going to be monks of any kind sometimes have a bowl full of hot wax in which there is a lighted floating wick. The wretched boy walks up and down the corridors with this bowl on his head. If he cannot balance, and the bowl spills, the hot wax goes on his clothes and he spends the next day scrubbing them clean.
Only small boys, and possibly small girls, do these things. The person who has progressed, even a little, does not have to indulge in such things.
HEALING : When we refer to healing we do not intend to indicate the stuff dispensed by the local doctor. Our reference to ‘healing’ is that process carried on by the etheric double during the physical sleep of the material body.
The material body gets a lot of misuse and abuse during the day, so when the astral body is out wandering during the night the etheric double carries out the work of the repair man, or repair woman, whichever the case may be.
Certain people have healing power which means that they possess a super-abundance of etheric energy which they can pass to another person with a deficiency. Thus it works in much the same way as a blood transfusion, only in this case one transfuses energy and the will-power which is necessary to make a sick person decide to recover.
HIGHER SELF :This is our Overself, the piece of us which controls the physical body from afar. We, down here on Earth, are ‘pulling the chestnuts out of the fire for our Overself.’ It does not matter unduly if we get our fingers burnt, because our fingers have to last a few years only, but the Overself has to last throughout Eternity and a bit longer.
We can feed the spirit part of us by meditation, by contemplation, and by seeing the good which we have learnt through the incarnate experiences.
We have to develop love and good sense. We must develop and practice understanding. We must avoid doing those things which cause pain and distress to others, for although while on this world it is easy to delude other people, to lead them astray, and although possibly we are so clever that we are immune to the laws of the Earth, yet when we once pass beyond the confines of this Earth we find that we have to pay for all the misery we have caused others, we have to pay for all the losses which we have inflicted upon others. Thus it is, in commonsense terms, cheaper for us to behave ourselves while on this Earth, because this is just a blink of the eye compared to the Greater Life beyond.
HSIN : This is a Chinese word meaning ‘Good Faith,’ meaning that we must act so that those around us have respect for us, and so that our behaviour enhances instead of detracts from the stature of the human race.
HSUAN HSUEH : This is a very deep metaphysical concept and doctrine which started in the third century in China. It is a doctrine of mystical experiences which in some ways resemble the Egyptian mysteries, but it is not often practiced now because of the long, long years of study necessary.
Of course, when one is able to do astral travelling consciously, one can go in the astral and learn there in the matter of minutes all those things which takes the Hsuan Hsueh student a lifetime.
One of the ordeals which those students had to undergo was this ; before a student could pass into a higher grade he was killed, and the astral allowed to go free. By special methods the blood was maintained in the brain so that no brain damage occurred. But the student had great experiences in the astral, and was then revivified.
The awakened student was never the same after ! Knowing what was the other side of life, he was more careful of his own actions, particularly how his actions affected the lives of others.
HYPNOTISM :Most people do not realise the terrible force latent in hypnotism. Hypnotism should never, never, never be used except under the most stringent conditions.
Any person, unless he has been specially trained, can be hypnotised. It does not matter if the person is extroverted or introverted ; any person can be hypnotised.
Hypnotism is a state of heightened awareness. The person hypnotised is aware only of that person who has hypnotised him, he is unable to determine between right and wrong.
A person who is going to be hypnotised believes that he can be hypnotised. He may not believe it consciously, but subconsciously he believes he can be hypnotised, and so his state of tension actually helps to hypnotise him !
In hypnotism a form of disassociation occurs. The small part of the entity which is conscious of right and wrong is driven away—confined, restricted, removed from the scene of operations, leaving behind the nine-tenths of the sub-conscious.
The sub-conscious is like some blundering great lout who has no reason, who is not able to tell right from wrong, but somehow has obtained a lot of information and the power to move about.
With the censor, or one-tenth of the mind, out of action there are no limits to what the nine-tenths will do.
The person doing the hypnotising can persuade the subject — the one hypnotised — that the fully loaded revolver which the latter holds is just a toy water-pistol. Thus, if the hypnotiser convinces the hypnotised person's sub-conscious that it is all a joke to pull the trigger and squirt water, then the hypnotised subject will pull the trigger and kill the object of the attack.
It is a terrible thing to hypnotise a depressed person, and to assure that person that he or she is now happy, because it can make neurotic habits very much stronger, and it can bring about suicide.
The person who goes to parties and hypnotises just for the fun of it is a menace who should be removed to a padded cell because he can cause others to go to a padded cell !
Almost anyone can be hypnotised, and when a person has been hypnotised several times that person can be made to do anything at all, it is all a matter of suggesting the action in such a way that the hypnotised person believes that he or she is doing good. Then having been so persuaded the hypnotised person can be made to do anything whatsoever the hypnotiser desires. Statements to the contrary are designed merely to cover up the terrible danger which exists in hypnotism.
Hypnotism is actually a crime against the Overself, because it is a crime to tamper with the mechanism which the Overself controls. It can cause one to have a Karma which will take incarnation after incarnation to clear up. So if any of you have a desire to hypnotise, or to be hypnotised, think again, and then refrain.
In the hands of a genuine specialist — not a stage performer — hypnotism can be used successfully to probe past incarnations. A person, always in the presence of witnesses, of course, and with a tape-recorder running, can be progressively hypnotised and asked questions about different ages even before being born to this Earth. It takes a very, very great deal of experience before the hypnotist is safe to undertake such things.
AUTO-HYPNOTISM :This is a process under which a person is able to disassociate the conscious and the sub-conscious, and in which the conscious part of one acts as the hypnotising agent. Under certain conditions it is possible to correct bad habits of character and to strengthen good habits. But, again, one should not normally indulge in auto-hypnosis unless one has first had a thorough medical examination to make sure that one is sound physically, and — let me add — mentally. Hypnotism is a sword with three edges instead of only two or one, and it should be left well alone except by the accredited experts.