Oct 13, 2014

Two Poles of Being

Every Mental Activity Is Electrical In Its Nature

John Garrigues

Two Poles of Being


Editorial Note:

Two Poles of Being was first
published by “Theosophy” magazine at
Los Angeles, in the April 1926 edition,
pp. 269-270. It had no indication as to the
author. A 2014 analysis of its contents and
style indicates it was written by J. Garrigues.



“To tread the path towards Adeptship means
war, struggle, grim unrelenting battle, waged
every step of the way. Let us have no doubt as to this.”

All who are familiar with Theosophic truths know that the Adept and the medium are said to represent two poles, the positive and negative poles of being. Most learners, knowing they are not Adepts, and feeling equally sure they are not yet mediums in the commonly accepted sense of that term, rest content with the above information without trying to see its direct and important bearing on their own lives and actions.

However, it is a fact which must sooner or later be faced, that each individual is daily and hourly traveling on one of two paths, the path which leads to the shining heights of Adeptship, or that easier path which descends at last to the murky depths of mediumship. One may hope, and even believe he is treading the higher path, but that is not enough. He must know. He must learn to discern clearly between the two paths, between positivity and passivity, or he is as helpless as a blind man who hopes that luck or chance, his good intentions, or some passer-by may direct him aright. 

To tread the path towards Adeptship means war, struggle, grim unrelenting battle, waged every step of the way. Let us have no doubt as to this. Most do not like fighting, not daily and hourly fighting, at any rate; so the ranks of true soldiers are never overcrowded. Nevertheless, could we but catch one glimpse of the actual condition of the majority of men and the goal towards which they are unconsciously heading, we would be far more ready to wage the desperate age-old struggle with every ounce of determination and energy at our command.

As each is a copy of the whole, every condition or mode of action experienced by any being is depicted in ourselves; so it is the daily phenomena of our own internal processes which must be ardently studied, and thoroughly understood, if we are ever to reach discernment.

All mental activity is electrical in its nature, and by a process almost identical with physical-plane photography, every mental action is photographed on the surrounding and permeating medium, the Astral Light, there to remain indefinitely. Furthermore, we have to remember that these pictures are not dead things; they are composed of elemental lives or forces energized and qualified by man. The spiritualistic medium is one who has become, through passivity, a helpless prey to these pictures and forces existing in the lowest strata of the Astral Light. The difference between the condition of such an one, and that of the average man is one of degree only - a fact that can be soon determined by anyone who will scrutinize his own mental processes and ascertain their nature.

Just as the physical man is surrounded and influenced by the atmospheric conditions and changes of the physical plane, as well as by innumerable other contacts, just so is the inner psychic man environed by the astral-kama-manasic atmosphere.

Until one understands this and begins, at least in some measure, to disentangle himself from its influence, there is no possibility of positive, creative, self-induced thought and action from within outward. To the extent that we allow these vagrant influences, which appear to us as our thoughts and feelings, to determine the nature or course of our action, to that extent are we passive and mediumistic - in a state directly opposed to spirituality. Spiritual action is action based on the direct perception of principles, and is entirely independent of any feelings.

Practically every action of the ordinary human being is psychic action, induced by the identical forces which more completely dominate the spiritualistic medium. During the waking state the mind of the average man is engaged in a kind of mechanical motion. It is either reviewing those pictures which relate to its experiences of the past, or is darting forward with hopes, plans, or fears, making new pictures for the future. Men call this motion, thought, and the sensations derived therefrom is all they know of life. Such mental action is not thought; it is but the natural motion of the lower manasic lives allowed to follow their own tendency undirected by the will. If the pictures presented to the eyes of the astral man are pleasing, we feel happy; if gloomy, we feel depressed. Can we not see that this is but a state of waking-dreaming in which nightmares harass and torment, or sweet dreams soothe?

All the hopes, fears, loves, hates, joys, plans and purposes of human nature belong to this psychic realm of nature. It includes even the highest human loves and emotions. They but represent one of its higher layers or strata; for while these higher human qualities can and should be encouraged, developed and used, it must be understood that they are no more the real man than are the lower energies. The spiritual man has naught to do with this psychic realm other than to observe, understand and control it.

The very fact that the psychic nature and its actions are objects of perception to the Perceiver should be sufficient to convince man that he exists apart from it. As the pictures are thrown up before the eyes of the Soul, each gives rise to an idea and a feeling, which are but three modes of perception of the same thing; the manasic, or idea side; the astral, or form side, and the feeling, or kamic side. When these are seen as they are and for what they are, the spiritual man takes his first step towards emancipation.


On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.  

Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.