Theosophy: The Path of the Mystic — Katherine Tingley

Chapter 2

The Great Discovery

The Duality of Man's Nature

There is a great discovery which each must make for himself: that human nature is dual and that a battle is ever going on between the higher self and the lower, the angel and the demon in man. When the higher, immortal part dominates, there is knowledge and there is peace. When the lower rules, all the dark despairing elements of human life rush in upon the unguarded soul.

Man, in his inner nature, is a being with a divine inheritance and immeasurable possibilities of evolution.

This strange duality! And how do human weaknesses creep in? First of all we turn the key of selfishness in some closed door of the nature; then, before we know it, the door is open and in walks a stranger, an obsessive, potent force of evil, often with power enough to destroy the very being. No lens has as yet been made that can show you what this is, but it nevertheless exists. And the door of selfish desire once ajar, the incoming stranger is welcomed, entertained, permitted to enjoy the bounty of the intellectual life, permitted to sit in the very chamber of man's being, where only higher and splendid things should be.

This door may open in any of us, but know that it can never be shut, and kept shut, until our feet are planted on the eternal rock of knowledge and of trust, until we have the power — and absolutely know that we have it — to shut out the faintest tinge or touch or thought or vibration of anything that would mar the purity of that inner realm of mind that the soul works in and through.

In the name of justice and of karma I say: Woe be unto those who willfully entertain such visitors as these! Woe be unto those who dare to desecrate their own mind or touch the mind of another with anything but the loftiest, the noblest, the purest and the best!

Once the duality of human nature is admitted by science, our asylums will become great schools of study from which a deeper understanding and a larger compassion shall come. For without a study of the self in its duality, mental disorders cannot be understood. A volume could be written on this one line alone, and the half not then be told.


How wonderfully farseeing was that old teacher of bygone days who left us this injunction: MAN, KNOW THYSELF!

That is the key to the whole situation. Let man take the first step boldly in honest self-examination, with a daring that stops before nothing that may impede his path, and he will find very soon that he has the key to wisdom and to the power which redeems. Discovered through his own efforts, by the law of self-directed evolution, this key will open before him the chambers of the self.

For when a man has the courage to analyze himself — his purposes, his motives, his very life; when he dares to compare the wrong things in his life with the right ones, in the spirit of a love for humanity sufficient to make him willing to lay down his life for it if need be, he will find the secret of living. This is what I mean when I say that we are ever being challenged — challenged by the better side of our natures to stand face to face with ourselves, to reach out in recognition to the divinity within. For this divinity, this knower, this spiritual companion, is ever pleading to be listened to, ever waiting to be recognized, ever ready to help and serve that it may bring the whole nature of man to its standard of godlike perfection.

These two forces: the physical dominated by the spiritual, the mind illuminated by treasures of truth and inspiration from the higher self, these two, working together, will bring about results that are unbelievable. Nor will it take all eternity to bring about these things. The very atoms of our body can be touched by the fire of divine life and brought into harmony with the mind and soul, controlled as the master musician controls his instrument by the higher self.

For life is light and light is life, and the Christos-spirit is in everything in degree. Could we sit at the feet of the Law like little children could we free our minds from misconceptions and learn from nature and listen to the Christos-voice within, what revelations would come to us! We should then be able to say: this is immortal and that is mortal; this belongs to the animal nature of man, and that to the spiritual. The power to do this is the power that we need, arousing us from the dead, so to speak, and bringing to us light and illumination.

Man's Two Companions

From the time that a vow is taken the disciple has ever with him two forces: two invisible companions formed of his own essence, one evil, one divine; the secretion or objectivation of the opposite poles of his own self-consciousness, they represent his good and evil angels, the Augoeides and its counterpart, each seeking to absorb his being. One of these in the end must prevail over the other, and one or the other is strengthened by every act and thought of his life. They are his higher and lower potentialities passing slowly into potency, as the energies (both good and evil) are awakened.

Our problem is to transfer more and more of ourselves to the real battlefield. That field is one that consists of the feelings and thoughts of men; therefore, by right feeling and thought is the battle maintained. Our strength lies in keeping positive; in holding a steady joy in our hearts; in a momentary meditation on all floating great ideas till we have seized them and made them ours; in a meditation with the imagination on the life of humanity in the future, and its grandeur — in dwelling on the conception of brotherhood.

Yet never can we reach that point of spiritual discernment until we have found within our own hearts something new: a larger sympathy for all that lives, and a broader, deeper, grander conception of human life and the superb laws that govern it.

I think each is a focalization to a point of all the good and all the evil elements to which we have given conscious life in the past. At each moment, as we consciously incline toward good or evil, one or the other feeds into and fills the mind. And it is obvious that the point of connection with either is that failing or virtue to which we are most inclined. However small a point, it must, if encouraged, lead to and involve all the rest on that side of the stores of our nature and the universe. If this is true, it follows that to give our conscious volitional encouragement and backing to any fault or any failing, is an immensely pregnant move downward.

But if effort be continual, if no failures or falls discourage the aspirant and are always followed "by as many undaunted struggles upward," he has always the help and counsel of the divine "daimon," the Warrior; and victory, however far away, is certain. For this is an unconquerable power, "eternal and sure," an actual presence and inspiration, if we will but recognize it, having faith and faith and faith.

Why, then, it will be natural to ask, if this Warrior, fighting for us, is invincible, do we ever fail? It is lack of faith, unwontedness of resort to this place of energy, the habit of yielding to temptation without pause or thought, the nonrecognition by meditation of the duality of our nature.

Reconstruction and Duty

Reconstruction is the great keynote of effort at the present time, for it is a time of new things, new light, and very great help, if we invoke it.

The reconstruction of humanity! How shall we set about it? The first step, I hold, is to declare to man: You are divine! There is within you soul-life, and if you WILL to bring out that life it will reveal to you the truth; it will make clear every step that you take. Greatest of all, it will reveal to you your duty. For humanity at present is working largely on mistaken lines of duty.

Duty is misunderstood, as are justice and equity. Yet if we could free ourselves from the limitations of preconceived ideas — ideas that are literally riveted into the mind — we could move out into the free air of harmonious thought and action, and would know what duty is. The things we believed in yesterday we should believe in no longer; the false gods we have worshiped in our home life and the life of the nation, would vanish in the presence of the new light.

For the light is only waiting to be perceived. You need not go to India, nor wait for the touch of a swami's hand, in order to find that light. You can find it for yourselves, although since all have evolved differently, in different environments, under different conditions, and up to different points of understanding, one cannot say when or how. To establish a set rule for reformation would therefore be unwise. This we do know, however, that with the motive pure and the soul ever urging one upward, one moves forward naturally on lines of simple duty, and thus into the light of the higher nature and of truth.


O ye men and women, children of the same Universal Mother as ourselves! Ye who were born as we were born, who must die as we must die, and whose souls like ours belong to the Eternal: I call upon you to arise from your dreamy state and to see within yourselves that a new and brighter day has dawned for the human race.

This need not remain the age of darkness, nor need you wait until another age arrives before you can work at your best. It is only an age of darkness for those who cannot see the light, for the light itself has never faded and never will. It is ours if you will turn to it, live in it; yours today, this hour even, if you will hear what is said with ears that understand.

Arise then, fear nothing, and taking that which is your own and all men's, abide with it in peace for evermore!


Wisdom comes not from the multiplication of spoken or written instructions; what you have is enough to last you a thousand years. Wisdom comes from the performance of duty, and in the silence, and only the silence expresses it.

Let us bring into life as an active, potent factor that knowledge which is not to be purchased, for it is only to be won by the surrender of the lower nature — the passionate, the selfish, the lustful nature — to the Christos-spirit, the god within. Then let us call forth this inner, divine self, that it may illuminate the mind and bring man to the heights of spiritual discernment, to knowledge of the higher self.

We shall never possess the courage that rightfully belongs to man as part of the divine law, until we know that we are souls, until we have opened new doors of experience in our lives, interpreting life according to this law and the higher knowledge of our being.

When with great effort a man has clarified his nature, when he can say: Get thee behind me, Satan! — then has he entered the path of self-development. Though his lower nature may meet him at every turn of the path, never can he fail if his purpose is pure. The godlike qualities of his higher nature are disciplining him, because he has said: It shall be so.

Greater than all Christ knew was the divine compassion that he felt; and it must have been when on the heights, sounding the harmonies of the soul in his compassion for humanity, that he looked into the future, beheld the divine possibilities of those who were to come, and said: Greater things than these shall we do.

The mentality of man will never be fully developed until he has made his own the enlightenment that comes from soul-knowledge. And yet each holds this rare possession within his heart of hearts. It belongs to all men, they have but to claim their own.

Self-Study and Self-Control

Self-analysis, self-study, self-control: these are the divine, protective power, the golden keys to an understanding of the self. Oh, that we might realize what books of revelation are piled up on the shelves of our own lives!

Have you meditated on that higher self to which you aspire? This is the first step to an understanding of the real nature of the inner and outer man. It clarifies your whole being, unloading and separating from you much that you have hitherto thought to be yourself, helping you to an understanding of the valuelessness of much that you have hitherto desired and perhaps thought necessary to your welfare or peace of mind; separating the chaff from the wheat in consciousness, conferring added power of insight into human nature, and discrimination in your dealings with men.

We are too slow in looking at these grave problems of human nature from the practical standpoint, too dilatory in our efforts to study them from analogy. Yet this is just what we must do if we are to go forward on the path of self-conquest and real helpfulness to others. We may talk about duality all day; but what does it avail if we do not apply our knowledge to the conditions of actual life?

It is in the mysterious chambers of the self, within the very atoms of the mind, that the little weakness, the little untruthfulness or disobedience, the all but unnoticed vice, take root and grow, marking the subtle beginnings of an evil that is worse than a crawling, venomous reptile ready to spring at your throat. This is a vivid picture, but we need it — to see things as they are.

To reconstruct mankind we must arouse more faith in the self The spiritual failure becomes such because man has lost faith in himself. That is always the initial step. Then comes loss of faith in his friends, then in mankind as a whole, and soon he finds himself living in a strange house: the house of the lower nature.

It is an awful spectacle, the decay of a loyal nature. So little a bar seems to keep the poor, unhappy mind, fluttering through its delusions, from finding its own place of peace. But even these cases can help, if we study them and learn from them the two keynotes that mark our own duality: one inducing worry, the hot brain, misery, discordant overtones, self-justification, and again and again self-justification, an eternal harping on that; the other peace, love, joy, clear vision, work.

No one, thoroughly set in a wrong course, can ever be brought to a realization of that fact by words alone. Why? Because the lower nature is there; it is, for the time, master of the situation, master in the house of mind, inimical naturally to whatever would enable its victim to learn the truth.

We all know that the inner man is true, eternal, strong, pure, compassionate, just. The outer is too often weak, wavering, selfish; its energy arises out of desire and ambition. Yet it is the instrument which the soul, the inner, seeks to perfect in compassion. It is in this outer nature, usually physically dominated, that arises the common feeling of I, and it is to the blending of this with the real I that evolution tends.

Our consciousness is often a strangely self-gullible, dual entity. Victories are won first in thought; and the habit of substituting a good thought or picture that arouses compassion or any part of the spiritual nature, or a grander idea in any way going beyond the limited selfhood, for a selfish or personal or sensual one, is easily learned.


To touch upon this moot question, so often raised by modern psychology, the question of habit: it is habit that makes or mars the character; but he who knows the dividing line between self-indulgence and self-control, has the key to habit and knows how to build aright.

I find myself thinking the same thing today that I did yesterday, holding the same ideal but with each day living closer to it, nearer to the warmth and glow of the real life. Soon habit is established, the habit of aspiration and self-control, the foundation of character.

Were this knowledge universal, there would open new paths in life. We should have no disharmonies, no war. We should have religion itself — religion that would lead us to see the beauties of nature in a new way, and to find the virtues of our brothers and cultivate them so understandingly and so generously that in time all hatred would disappear.

It is indeed time to think along these lines, for the spirit of hatred has passed so deeply into our natures — sucked in, so to speak, as the rain sucked into the earth — that it will take no end of spiritual sunshine, no end of spiritual virility and splendid hope to bring us to a higher standard, with its promise of ultimate perfection.

The Higher and Lower Psychology

The duality of human nature is the great revelation in the realm of psychology. Were we to take John Knox's old conception of the devil, and were we to intensify its fiendish nature and send it out into the world as a living personality, it would be harmless in comparison with the force of the lower psychology which today is seeking to destroy the power of the human mind.

This is one of the closed doors in human life, and we are trying to open it for the benefit of mankind.

We declare that there is no hell except that which abides in man, or which he makes for himself by his own thought and deeds; no heaven except that which man makes for himself.


The more exalted the dominant motive of the life, the greater is the soul-expression, the more dominant the soul-psychology. The lower the life motive, the stronger becomes the lower self and with it the lower psychology, which so far as it manifests in human life today, is the damnation of humanity.

Nor is this peculiar to our age or to our race, for these dual conflicting forces are as old as humanity itself. How do they manifest? Very simply and in many unsuspected ways. For example, have we not in our experience met with real sermons in poetry, music or art, that lifted us spiritually, above the senses to a higher plane? And, on the other hand, have we not contacted other and evil forces, which played in upon our minds, silently, but nevertheless shutting away the soul-light? We find the play and interplay of the higher and lower psychology on all sides, for as the ancient scripture has it, the Bhagavad-Gita: "These two, light and darkness, are the world's eternal ways."

And then this question of obsession: there are so many theories, so many so-called explanations. But our psychologists have much to learn about it because there exist in the nature invisible and intricate forces which have their connection with the physical brain, and yet can neither be measured nor seen. They exist nevertheless — subtle and powerful forces — that under the pressure of selfish desire will desecrate the loftiest ideals, destroy the highest motives, nullify the best of intentions. They beat in upon the physical brain with play and interplay, and use it to destructive ends.

There is something very wonderful about this brain-mind of ours; there is even something sacred about it because, though it does belong to the physical makeup of man, there still shine upon it as upon a flower the rays of the spiritual sun. But when some selfish desire shuts that light away, there seems no limit to its capacity to be used on lower, destructive lines.

On the other hand, there is no limit to the service the brain-mind can render on the highest spiritual lines, when disciplined and balanced by right education, with the high and immutable principles of a true philosophy of life reflected upon its walls. These are the real mysteries, and they are not studied as they should be.


With all my soul I urge you to look within. Even to the man who has lost faith in humanity and in himself, even to the pessimist who dares not think a week ahead in hope — to such as these I say: Look into the chambers of your soul, for truly you are a soul. Rediscover the energy and strength of your manhood. Take time to think, not in the ordinary way, but deeply, and the laws that govern life will be revealed.

You cannot touch the laws connected with this mighty power, the soul-psychology, without generating wonderful forces — forces that the human eye cannot see, that the mind cannot comprehend, cannot explain, but which bring us into touch with nature and with the laws which govern the lower kingdoms of life.

Truly I believe that birds and flowers know us better than we know ourselves; and when we are on the high plane of mystical knowledge, when our hearts are touched with the spiritual forces of nature and of life, we learn to talk with nature, we learn to work with her.

I never went into the woods but the birds sang better while I was there. Not that I gave them the power, but that they, in their simplicity, being part of the great law, felt the longing of my soul for a touch of sweet nature, and they sang to me. I have had some strange experiences in handling flowers; they have answered the yearnings of my soul with just the answer most needed. The tiniest atoms of the earth have voices, and these voices are even a part of ourselves.

And thus in every department of life we can demonstrate the psychology of the soul.

The psychology of the Christos-spirit ever accompanies true manhood and true womanhood. It is the masculine and the feminine blended into the higher unity. Christ had attained that unity — a mystic and interior state — as had other great Teachers before him. And the whole human family can reach this high point of endeavor if it will place itself under the influence of the soul-psychology in life.

Man's only way to win his great hope and to know the truth is to seize hold on himself, assert and realize his potentially all-dominating soul-existence. Making his mind and memory register beyond all future cavil or doubt what he then knows to be true, holding himself at his true dignity, guiding into right conduct all the elements of his nature — his body, mind, and emotions — he will maintain from that moment strength and joy in life. That once done, could he but stand in that attitude for a few weeks or months, he would have made of his mind a willing instrument of service, harnessed it to the chariot of the soul, and dissolved away its limitations.

I am not taking you to a point in space; I am delving down into your heart, trying to bring out what is best in your nature that you may know the higher law. Let there be no delay. There is no need of preparation in the brain-mind sense. You need not memorize catechisms; you have not to spend years in studying your bibles in order to learn the great truths of life and destiny. Your heart will reveal these to you. Once you have found this knowledge and have commenced to apply it to your conduct, you can turn to the Book of the Ages and interpret it in the light of the higher law. You will know your Christ as you never have known him before.

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