The Soul reflects itself in the personality that is itself threefold:
1. A mental body.
2. An emotional body.
3. A physical body.
The aim is to bring these lover aspects under the control of the Soul.
The emotional or astral body is, as is well known, distinguished by its colourfulness, and according to the stage of unfoldment, so will the colours be beautiful, clear and translucent, or ugly, dark and cloudy. Vibrations reach the astral body from the physical plane and from the mental world, and according to the nature of the man and to the point in evolution which he has reached, so will be the response to the higher or the lower call. It is either attentive to the egoic impression or swayed by the million voices of earth. It apparently has no voice of its own, no character of its own. The disciple stands midway between the two opposing forces of good and evil and searches for the right attitude to both. The astral plane is the battleground of the soul, the place of victory or the place of defeat.
In, Letters on Occult Meditation, we read the following:
The emotional body is simply a great reflector. It takes colour and movement from its surroundings. It receives the impress of every passing desire. It contacts every whim and fancy in its environment; every current sets it in motion; every sound causes it to vibrate unless the aspirant inhibits such a state of affairs and trains it to receive and register only those impressions which come from the intuitional level via the Higher Self, and therefore via the automatic subplane. The aim of the aspirant should be to so train the emotional body that it will become still and clear as a mirror, so that it may reflect perfectly. His aim should be to make it reflect only the causal body, to take on colour only in line with the great Law, and to move under definite direction and not just as blow the winds of thought, or raise the tides of desire. It should be still, serene, unruffled, quiet, at rest, limpid and clear, of a quality mirror-like, of surface even, a limpid reflector – one that accurately transmits the wishes, the desires, and the aspirations of the Ego and not of the personality.
The best way that I have worked out to deal with my emotions or to control them is an attitude of  acceptance,  surrendering,  and I don’t give a damn attitude.  I also practice harmlessness in thought, in emotional reaction and in physical action.  Spiritual reading and study keep me from depression and gives direction to my live.  Service also help for depression, keeps me out of trouble and gives meaning to life.
Before the desire of a man can be towards things spiritual he has to cease to desire the things of the world, and of the flesh. This produces an interlude of great difficulty in the life of neophyte, and the process is symbolized for us in the use of the word “conversion” in orthodox Christian circles; it involves “a turning round” with its consequent temporary turmoil, but eventual quietness.
Purification and transmutation are brought about in several ways, some at the direction of the aspirant, and some at the direction of the Master.
1. By the constant watching of all desires, motives and wishes that cross the horizon daily, and by the subsequent emphasising of all those that are of a higher order, and by the inhibition of the lower.
2. By a constant daily attempt to contact the Higher Self, and to reflect His wishes in the life. At first mistakes will be made, but little by little the building-in process proceeds, and the polarisation in the emotional body gradually shifts up each subplane until the atomic is reached.
3. By definite periods daily directed to the stilling of the emotional body. It should be remembered that the stilling of the emotional nature is a step preliminary to the quieting of the mind; one succeeds the other and it is wise to begin at the bottom of the ladder. Each aspirant must discover for himself wherein he yields most easily to violent vibrations, such as fear, worry, personality desire of any kind, personality love of anything or anyone, discouragement, over-sensitiveness to public opinion; then he must overcome that vibration, by imposing on it a new rhythm, definitely eliminating and constructing.
4. By work done on the emotional body at night under the direction of more advanced egos, working under the guidance of a Master. Stimulation of vibration or the dampening of vibration follows on the application of certain colours and sounds.
The work is gradual, and as the polarisation shifts up, the moment of transition from one subplane to another is marked by certain tests applied at night, what one might term a series of small initiations that eventually will be consummated in the second great initiation, that marks the perfection of the control of the body of the emotions.
We must not suppress and restrict the feeling nature but the suppressed or hidden conflicts must be faced and resolved, and the astral body rebuilt of higher grade substance. At this higher vibration the emotional body becomes a functioning asset to the disciple instead of a hindrance, and through it he becomes aware of the needs of others.
In the early stages of his invocative work, the instrument used is the creative imagination. This enables him at the very beginning to act as if he were capable of thus creating; then, when the as if imaginative consciousness is no longer useful, he becomes consciously aware of that which he has—with hope and spiritual expectancy—sought to create; he discovers this as an existent fact and knows past all controversy that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
The evolutionary processes can equally well be stated to be those of eliminating the physical substance lying between the dense physical body and the astral sentient body, and substituting substance of the four highest planes, the four cosmic ethers. Physically speaking, it is this etheric substitution which enables a man successively to take the five initiations which make him a Master of the Wisdom.
We must not forget that the esoteric teaches that the emotional nature and its conflicts can only be controlled by developing the mental body-by identifying oneself as “the thinker” rather than ‘The feeler”. And as we develop mental poise it is essential to relate it always to the overshadowing soul least we lose ourselves on purely concrete mental levels.
The greater the sensitivity of the astral body, the greater its reactions to the physical world and to the mental condition, and hence the fact emerges that the disciples and the more highly evolved people in the world have a more potent astral body and work under greater emotional strain than the less higher evolved and the liberated sons of God. They must deal drastically and potently with their emotional natures, remembering that victory descends from above and cannot be worked up to from below. The soul must govern and its instrument in the warfare is the consecrated mind.
Although the emotions must be stilled before the mind, it is the mind that must be used to still the emotions first and then itself. Lives are changed primarily by reflection; qualities are developed by directed conscious thought; characteristics are unfolded by brooding consideration.
We must learn that the attitude which involves a certain “don’t care” reaction and a form of indifference is one of the quickest ways by which to release the self from personality claims. This must be the attitude of the integrated thinking personality of the disciple towards the astral or emotional body and not affect the disciple’s attitude to other people. It leads him to assume the position that not one single thing which produces any reaction of pain or distress in the emotional body matters in the very least.
A man’s discomfort, lack of coordination, pain and distress are symptoms of aspiration, unrealised perhaps but none the less there. They are the reaction of the integrated aspects to that aspect which is seeking integration. The aspect to be integrated is essentially more powerful than the lower waiting aspects, for they are negative or receptive whist that which should be realised and accepted is positive and dynamic. Hence the sensed discomfort.
The capacity, innate in that imaginative creature, man, to act “as if”, holds the solution to the problem. By the use of the creative imagination, the bridge between the lower aspect and higher can be built and constructed. “As a man thinketh, hoped and willeth” so is he. This is a statement of an immutable fact. The sense of fantasy brings the creative imagination into play, thus providing the emotional nature with constructive outlets; this should be balanced and motivated by the recognition of the power of right choice and the significance of the higher values. These in turn, can be developed selflessly by a due recognition of the environing whole in which the individual has to play his part, whilst the entire range of reactions is increasingly subordinated by the understanding of the ordered purpose which is working out in the world.
The establishment of a definite rhythm composed of the creative imagination, of discriminating choice, of the value of the relation of the part to the whole, and of the acceptance of group purpose. This rhythm, when duly established in a life or in a series of lives, leads eventually to integration.
The imagination is one of our first and finest faculties, and may be used in true creative fashion; but to be used creatively, it must be separated from fantasy, both as a concept and in practice.
Fantasy is the play of the group subconscious in the individual of the particular group, and in the self-conscious person it becomes particularised by his personal desires.
What distinguished imagination from fantasy is creative purpose. It then becomes a creative faculty and a tool of inestimable creative power in our spiritual work. Hearing of the Hierarchy, Shamballa, Divinity, we seek to grasp the meaning behind the words, and since these names represent mysteries, we follow along the path of what may be said about them, in an endeavour to capture and hold in our consciousness some conception of the realities that words veil.
This is concentration – the concentration of the life-purpose, for the moment, in a given direction, towards a particular goal. The extraordinary fact about this process is that we do bring back from the quest conceptions of the hierarchy, Shamballa and Divinity. And though these conceptions are very largely imaginary in the beginning, we know of our own knowledge and experience that they are also true in essence, and that they form a nucleus of definite knowledge and understanding which, like a crystal, grows itself into a developed form of Reality.
Imagination is the first extension of our mental capacities beyond the rational level, and it is also our first capacity for fusion and identification with phases of experience and being that lie beyond the reach of our sensory faculties. In fact, it may reasonably be said that imagination is that capacity by which we “perceive” those realities that lie beyond the reach of reason and our five senses.
Considered in a loose and general manner, the findings of imagination may be thought of as inchoate and of little value. And much of our imagination is no more than this. But every creative process of any specific kind requires the service of the imagination. No human-made thing is brought into being without it. Before a creative project ever comes into form at physical levels, it comes into form at imaginative levels, countless selections being made by the mind among all the items of possibility that the imagination brings out of nameless spaces for the building of the project. Imagination, at the human level, is the servant of all archetypes in their endeavours to reach physical levels.
A trained imagination becomes a capacity for “imaging”, but this does not mean simply a capacity for making arbitrary images; it is more than that. The purposive practice of imagination develops sensitivity of perception in areas of super sensory being, and there is a close connection between imagination, intuition and revelation, since all of these three faculties operate in transcendent areas of the whole mental field and bring into human awareness knowledge and understanding which is grasped without being taught.
The practice of meditation has both a developmental and a steadying effect upon the imaginative faculty. In meditation, the point of focus is supplied, on which imagination may play, while at the same time, the imagination is put directly to work beyond the sensory field, beyond the personal field, and beyond the field of the rational mind, and is directly involved in subtle areas of quality, significance and value, which all words symbolise.
To imagine oneself before the Angel of the Presence, for example, requires  concentration  at an impersonal level of consciousness, when  some good measure of integration among all the factors of one’s personality will be automatically reached, and  consciousness will be centred at transcendent levels of being.
It is necessary for us to grasp firmly, and to know for ourselves, HOW to achieve the expansive transcendence of our lower nature and achieve fusion and identification with wider phases of being. For this purpose the imagination is the great exploring instrument which we all possess; but, like every other reality, it must be shorn of glamour and illusion if it is to be clear and true in its service.
The use of the imagination in these spiritual matters is of real importance and develops a connection between that faculty and its higher counterpart, the intuition. Imagination must be used with discrimination otherwise it can become a tool to brainwash us and create brainless fanatics.
Freedom from water is a symbolic way of stating that the astral nature is subjugated and the great waters of illusion no longer hold the emancipated soul. The energies of the solar plexus no longer dominate.
Based on the works of AAB and DK.
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