Introduction to the phenomena of higher psychism
We have agreed to start, in this area, short treatments of subjects that will
be later studied. What follows is a contribution meant to offer a view of a
wider teaching on the phenomena of higher and lower psychism, which can be found
in the Commentaries of the Masters.
Vertical telepathy, in the most orthodox definition, is the phenomenon of communication
between the Ego (superior Self) and the lower mind (personality). This phenomenon
is also called: - Illumination-.
Note from the Commentaries of the Master D. K.:
"Vertical telepathy is possible when the extension of the sense of
hearing becomes such that it interests the Psyche.”TFC 192
The extension of the sense of hearing he refers to is the possibility for
man, during his evolutionary development, to gain awareness (or get hold) of
the so-called superior psychic powers (Siddhi). These ‘powers of the mind’
are the subtle counterparts of the physical senses. It is actually more correct
to say that the latter are the lower counterpart (ethereal-physical) of the
abilities for thought of the Ego. In the instance we are dealing with, the sense
manifested as hearing on the physical plane is present on the astral level as
clear-hearing-, which on a superior mental level is expressed as telepathy.
The old Commentaries define phenomena of ‘lower psychism’ the senses
manifested on the astral planes; those of the ‘higher psychism’,
on the other hand, belong to the most subtle planes of the mind, namely the
closest levels to the Ego.
In one of his Commentaries, Master D.K. presents a table with a comparison
between the higher and lower psychic powers:
Divine, Controlled, Positive (active) Applied with Intelligence, Mediation
Animal, Uncontrolled, Negative (passive) Automatic, Mediumism
As it is defined in the various Commentaries, the telepathic process is a
process of communication between two psychic elements of different quality but
somehow linkable. This link is perceived by the physical brain in the same way
the exterior hearing is. Such elements can be two different and physically separated
individuals; in this case the process is called ‘horizontal telepathy’.
If the two elements are two parts of the same unity of individual conscience
we say it is ‘vertical telepathy’.
The latter is what interests us; we will introduce some of its main aspects
in the Esoterical Psychology.
Whilst for the physical body the distance between itself and another physical
vehicle exists, for the psyche it doesn’t. Try and ‘imagine’
or ‘remember’ a person or an event. Between the act and the image
there isn’t any ‘time’ passing by; this immediacy simply demonstrates
the non-distance between the receptor and the event. When we talk about horizontal
and vertical telepathy, we are describing the same method of communication between
two ‘assonant’ elements (simile but not the same).
With the term ‘horizontal telepathy’ we mean the mental contact
between two individual psychic elements, namely two different persons. By vertical
telepathy we mean the phenomenon of integration (inner communication) between
the psychic element immersed in the physiology of the brain (the conscience
of the personal self, also called lower ego) and its metaphysical counterpart.
The latter is the part of the same conscience free from the limits of the corporal
senses, namely the super-conscience of the Soul expressed in the densest planes
below through the Ego.
The mind of man is usually still separated in two psychic units, because man
is unable to feel like an integrated unit. This disjunction of conscience shows
the (virtual) dualism that is called lower or higher psychism.
Lower psychism originates from the identification of personality (the lower
self) with the passional instincts of the animal nature and the egocentric desire
to ‘own’ and ‘obtain’ something for oneself. The ancients
defined this nature as astralism. Thanks to astralism the so-called
lower mind appeared; it became more and more rational, according to the personal
The lower mind is literally the apex of the physical Triad of man. It is the
psychic element called personality that coordinates what is originated by the
activity of the physical senses; it determines the action of the densest vehicles,
such as the physical body, the energetic-physical (ethereal body) and the energetic-emotional
(astral body). The higher or abstract mind is the bridge between the physical
Triad mentioned above and the Triad of the soul. It is the metaphysical or spiritual
counterpart of man, made of three elements; one of them, the Ego, is what interests
us at the moment. As we’ve already said, these two different levels of
‘self-conscience’ in common man are usually still unconnected; therefore
they are often in conflict because he is so little aware of himself and most
of all of his inner identity.
“The mind is the battlefield of the forces contained
in the microcosm… the stage of evolution that we have reached is the starting
point for the great fight. “ *from ‘Some Thoughts
on the Gita’, TFC 309
From this point of view the first goal that must be achieved by the man who
wants to carry out the ‘Path of Initiation’ is to gain ‘self-consciousness
of himself’, both as a physical existence and as a metaphysical and spiritual
essence. To gain self-consciousness of himself means to let the ‘reminiscence’
of the sense of his own life re-surface in his ordinary conscience. The reminiscence
of the ‘decisions’ at the origins of his descent into the matter
allows to bring back to the surface of memory the answers to: where
am I coming from, where am I going and why does all this happen?
Note from the Commentaries of the Master D.K.
“The deployment of such a process is carried out
by cultivating what is called the ‘attitude of the Observer’. This
attitude, conscious but detached from the events themselves, must be kept by
the scholar. He must assume and keep with firmness the position of Observer,
detached from the apparatus that allows him to observe and be in touch with
the events of the exterior phenomena (his personality). He must acknowledge
himself in essence as a spiritual entity, with different nature, goals and methods
from those of the bodies he is temporarily using: the ethereal-physical body,
the astral body and the lower mental body." * TMB 601-2
And again: "the attitude of the Observer
is developed by practicing detachment, namely the detachment of the Observer
from all the desires of his separated self. The reason that pushes to observing
is the knowledge of what is fair and beautiful; this consciousness determines
the constitution of a pure Aura that can record in itself only what will be
useful to enlighten the understanding of the Divine Plan."
To remember the Sense of the Soul’s life, both as an existence (matter)
and as an essence (energy), repairs the ‘tear’ of conscience that,
because of the inability of abstraction of the material mind, has separated
the two ‘psychic’ levels: the personal and the animic ones. This
process can be accelerated by the constitution of a Point of contact; the ancients
called it ‘Bridge’ (Ars Pontificia), rainbow Bridge or Antahkarana,
the egoic mind. This point of conscience constitutes a particular mental form
that is not only physical (linked to the senses of the animal form); it is not
yet the animic mind either, which is absolutely hyper-physical and it is expressed
through the Ego (the pure thought of the Soul). Otherwise, we can call properly
the constitution of the egoic mind as the densification (concretization) of
a ‘middle point’ between the physical existence, the common man’s
conscience of self and the metaphysical essence, the higher Initiate’s
conscience of Self.
Note from the Commentaries of the Master D.K.:
“We deal with the work of the ‘builders of bridges’.
First of all I can assure you that the building of the Antahkarana only starts
when the Disciple starts being focused in a definite way on the mental levels,
that is when his mind works with intelligence and consciously. “ RI446
“the building of the bridge through which the conscience can work easily,
both in the higher and in the lower worlds, is obtained especially with a tendency
of life addressed in a ‘definite’ way; it constantly directs man
to the direction of the world of spiritual realities. With direct movements
of re-orientation, pre-designed and carefully cadenced." *RI
The progression of the individual mind occurs then through the acknowledgment
of the several planes of consciousness of self, from the lower to the superior
ones of the spiritual nature. The recognition of one’s identity must be
‘acquired’ by man through intellectual work addressed to himself
It is correctly taught that the illumination of the lower mind is the permanent
influence of the animic mind on the slowest (dense) planes of the physical mind.
This density is the physical brain that, made essentially by chemical compounds,
is reactively slower than the nuclear modules that made the Soul. To Initiate
oneself to the method of the ‘vertical telepathic contact’ means
to accelerate the times of integration between the mind of the personality and
that of the Ego; the result is the privileged influence called illumination.
To ‘align’ the lower mind to the subtle planes of the Ego it is
necessary, most of all, to put down the turmoil of the ‘emotional whirls’
of the lower nature. The ‘Rule of Silence’ is very useful to this
purpose. This Rule is indeed a mental attitude that rules the self control of
the constant emotional fluctuations of personality. The Rule of Silence, which
we will deal with later, is an old teaching that tends to inhibit the ‘emotional
thoughts’ considered chaotic, futile or undesirable, namely the thoughts
based on the passion of the astral nature (emotional fogginess). In order to
‘regulate’ one’s lower nature it is not necessary to repress
its emotions. The repression or censorship of emotional impulses used by the
youngsters of many exoterical religious orders leads to mental unbalance, hallucinatory
and obsessive states. To regulate means to carry out an educative process aimed
at re-orienting the sensual energy towards higher goals. Here is the aspirant
(aspiration and desire). The aspiration to know, to elevate interiorly, to improve
one’s own life and most of all to harmonize with life itself are all symptoms
that the forces of the desire are directing outside the darkness of materiality.
Note from the Commentaries of the Master D.K.:
“The beginner must not consider absolute
purity yet… For the majority it is about physical and astral purity; most
of all it is the freedom from desire and emotions. This explains the continuous
repetition of the badly translated principle of: ‘kill the desire’.
Maybe it would be better to say: re-orientate the desire because this is the
key to any transmutation; this must be the usual status of every Disciple’s
mind." *TMB 258
Commentaries associate ‘emotional thoughts’ with ‘mystic
fantasies’ that characterize the devotional aspect of the common aspirant.
Both emotional thoughts and mystic fantasies can have the ‘sympathy’
of wide parts of devotees (see religions and exoterical cults based on idols,
idealizations and myths of other men’s personalities). Nevertheless, they
are the result of a superior and unchangeable reality but they are both interpretations
of an individual kind. Given the little level of knowledge implied in the levels
of aspirantship they are able to obscure considerably the mental abilities of
the neophyte. They can let his determination to carry out a path of inner and
progressive elevation fall into the ‘limbo of good intentions’.
The alternative of emotional astralism from which the dogmas of mystic fantasies
originate, is represented by the various forms of presumptuousness and arrogance
of lesser adepts; despite not being weaned yet they think they know or they
can do something in a field where they don’t belong. They think they have
the right to condition other people’s choices or to determine their path
by playing the spiritual ‘chiefs’ or ‘guides’. These
people are not heated by the Fire of the Soul but by flashes in the pan of rushed
enthusiasms, which are another characteristic of astralism.
The aspirant who wishes to be accepted by a Master and to be introduced as
a Member of the Hierarchy must start his journey by overcoming the ‘elation’
of the instinctive, emotional and astral mind; he must concentrate his attention
(self conscience or conscience of self) in the ‘construction’ of
more rational levels of the personal mind. The constitution of more and more
qualified mental levels, which will go from rationality to logics and to intuition,
will originate what the initiatory Teachings call the magnetic Aura of the Adept.
This is a qualified ‘tank’ of mental energy that constitutes the
‘gift’ of substance-thought of the Initiate. It might happen that
the aspirant, solicited by sudden passion, falls for short periods in the levels
below; with time, determination and practice, though, he will strengthen the
habit to settle on logic and intuitive mental levels, in order to orientate
his attention where ‘he decides’ it is more useful to realize his
purpose and reach his goals.
We will not talk about fortuitous choices any more, then; we will be able
to talk about true Free Will.
Note from the Commentaries of the Master D.K.:
“The ability to live subjectively, to preserve the
contact with the Soul and its world, is an inner attitude of the mind, which
can orientate in any direction as much as it likes. It can synchronize with
the mental world, with the realm of ideas and it can choose amongst those principles
those that help its work. The latter is the Service that an accepted Disciple
or an Initiate is able to offer in favor of the hierarchic Plane to affect the
astrality of the environment where he works; he must disperse illusions, reveal
mistakes and cover ideals with mental substance, suitable to be recognized in
the world of material existence. The attitude to Service (love, dedication,
sacrifice) accelerates in the mind of the Disciple the link with the world of
the Soul." *TMB 603
The aspirant faces the first big crisis of his life when he feels the need
to deny the astral plane that for many cycles of life has been his usual place.
The impossibility to stay any longer on the astral level will originate a kind
of ‘aversion of the conscience’ for the vibration caused by low
passional and emotional experiences; in the esoterical field this is called
‘the sense of detachment’. This will be the sign that there has
been the contact of the material conscience with the most qualified levels of
mind, which are unresponsive to the attraction of the forms of thoughts living
in the emotional plane (unconscious and sub-conscious sub-personalities tend
to be disintegrated by the force of logic and superior intellect). The tank
of substance of thought will expand beyond the usual boundaries of the lower
(astral) mind; it will start forming the superior mind by concretizing it. The
superior mind will strengthen the structure of the individual magnetic Aura
and this will attract the ‘attention of the Ego’. The definition
of the magnetic Aura, which will act as a body for the superior mind and as
a tank of qualified substance of thought, is the only sign that reaches the
Soul from its lower planes.
This sign of ‘maturation’ solicits the action of the Soul towards
its shadow, the personality, and it stirs up its interest to enlighten it, by
starting blending with it. The Aura, like the Soul, is made of magnetic essence.
When man’s Aura will develop and therefore it will emit its first invocative
and magnetic faint note, the evocative answer of the Soul will resound on the
mental planes of the Ego.
Note from the Commentaries of the Master D.K.:
“When the Disciple advances in the work of bringing
the life of personality close to the will of the Soul to pursue its Project,
common to all Souls, the bridge of conscience that links the various natures
of man is defined. The differentiation between physical and metaphysical conscience,
then, which is only virtual, will stop existing. The Disciple becomes a ‘point
of invocative tension’. This tension, or reserve of living energy, which
is the Disciple itself, is activated by the projection of his thought. The result
is that the power developed by him is strong enough to recall an answer from
the animic Triad. The tension of the lower evokes the attention of the higher."
The planes of the abstract mind are the meeting point (the Bridge) between
two psychic levels: the egoic and the personal one. The contacts will be at
first irregular and unstable; therefore they will appear fortuitous or coincidental.
When the relation between personal and egoic mind becomes closer it will be
difficult to perceive any difference between them, their language and their
reasons. This integration will lead the personality, which was separated by
its true Self, to penetrate its Ego so much to lose any attraction for material
This desire to be a Unity with the Soul leads the advanced Disciple to the
decision called Renunciation.
It is the renunciation to any form of fibbing that starts from the so-called
‘sensual way’, the instinct that governs the material world. We
won’t study the Renunciation any further; we can say that through it,
we reach the definitive acquisition of the egoic conscience and this is the
final goal of the linking process called ‘vertical telepathy’.
Short essay on the phenomena of lower psychism.
The clarification of this point should disperse many doubts relating to the
tale of the easy acquisition of psychic abilities that many people keep spreading,
such as the mythic possibility to be chosen as privileged channels or messengers
of unspecified spiritual guides, without having changed anything of ourselves
first and demonstrating our abilities. There is nothing, in other words, that
justifies a different situation from a common profane. The field of unreal is
crowded by alleged ‘invisible guides’ always ready to side with
the most unlikely pupils with passive nature, so much to ‘abandon’
themselves to astral seduction. These unlikely disciples and followers are ‘inspired’
by a world that exists only as a mirage of their astrality. If they studied
the biographies of the people who have actually been used as spiritual ‘spokespersons’,
they wouldn’t find any reference that supports what they think they’ve
understood or what they think they are.
It should also appear obvious the gap (in terms of quality and development)
between telepathy and the so-called lower psychic phenomena. In order to make
this distinction even clearer, we will use the example of a very common manifestation
of astralism: mediumism. Lower psychism is an astral phenomenon especially associated
with phenomena linked to mediumism.
As we will see further on, the medium is not subjected to the development in
any subtle sense; his gift doesn’t have anything to do with telepathy.
The medium is not a telepath; neither is his alleged gift a consequence of
some kind of psychic development. No physical sense in its most subtle manifestation
is involved in the processes of mediumism.
Note from the Commentaries of the Master D.K.:
“The medium and the Disciple are diametrically different.
The Disciple always acts consciously, except in extraordinary circumstances
of his development. It is not necessary to stop and consider these circumstances
now." *ML 424
The medium is a normal person whose only ability consists of allowing that
inside his home (the physical body) live astral entities that constitutes the
energetic remains of dead people. The Commentaries define this psychic dross
as ‘empty shells’.
The Ego, or higher Self, is manifested in the three worlds (mental, astral
and ethereal-physical) through a unity that we have called physical Triad, governed
by personality. In each of the three levels the Ego has a body, or vehicle for
expression. Men are commonly still focused on the astral plane; if they don’t
approach the so called Path, they will stay there during all their life. By
identifying with this plane, they vitalize their astral body and transform it
into a powerful form of thought, dense and concentrated. This is the sum of
all the emotional thoughts produced during a life.
If we add the fear of death and the consequent desire to live, we have a complete
picture of what the Ego leaves when it ‘detaches’ personality from
Itself; it ‘abandons’ it to the vehicles it used for this vital
As it happens for the physical body, the other bodies as well (more subtle
than the material one) take a certain period of time to dissolve; the astral
forms of thought that can’t follow their Ego on the subtle planes where
it sits stop on the threshold of the so-called ‘afterworld’.
Such forms of thought (astral bodies) lack in actual fact of the alleged purity
and venerability that men’s affection attributes to their dead in order
to alleviate the pain for their departure (‘they go and live in a better
world’, they say). Until the moment of their dissolution they will only
be empty shells, lacking of the vital principle but still provided with a form
of ability of thought that emerges from the mnemonic fund of their astrality;
if man was focused on the emotional plane he will have the availability of everything
that he has learnt and understood during his physical experience.
In this instance we will have an astral shell still active and full of desire
to be able to ‘express’ again on the physical-emotional planes of
the material world.
The stronger the attachment of the personality to the material life was, the
stronger will be the impulse for ‘contact’ with the manifested world.
The medium is able to open the doors of his ‘home’ only to this
kind of entity. Mediumism is a completely passive process; it means to set aside
one’s conscience and allow the fatuous astral presences to repeat the
notions learnt during their life. The latter are accompanied by whatever they
can draw from the astral decantation pit of humanity that is collective unconsciousness;
plus what they ‘read’ in the desires of the people attending séances.
Note from the Commentaries of the Master D.K.:
“Mediumism is only a sign of danger. The medium is
an inn where disembodied liars live." *A.Y. 228
H.P.Blavatsky, like the bishop C.W. Leadbeater mentioned by Athos, studied
experimentally and for a long time mediumistic phenomena. Thanks to the faculty
of clearvision (psychic-mental development of the sense of sight) both could
observe how some ‘empty shells’ could charm the medium and the bystanders.
They can easily read the astral body of the people attending; they can therefore
‘play’ the role of dead friends and relatives or some big personality
to impress. They must use, though, the credulousness of the bystanders and most
of all they must be sure that what they say doesn’t undergo a scientific
This is what H.P.B. stated after some time spent in careful researches:
“The more I see mediums – both genuine and artificial
– the more I see the danger around humankind." *CW
XIV / 489
The instinct for survival is also a characteristic of those empty shells,
then. On the purpose to extend their existence, they look for the contact with
the ethereal-physical world that allows them to absorb the energy of other people’s
emotions. The Commentaries call this phenomenon ‘psychic vampirism’.
In other words the medium during a séance acts as a ‘suction channel’
and those who ‘form the chain’ are the tank where the energy comes
The result is the paradox of the indefinite procrastination of the permanence
of an aggregate of ‘elementary’ entities destined to decomposition.
The medium and his followers accomplish a kind of ‘energetic infibulation’
of the astral shells.
Another comment from Blavatsky:
“These types of promiscuous séances with the
mediums in the chain, are a proper vortex, a whirl of negative magnetism; whilst
it happens the so-called ‘spirits’ feed on us, absorb like sponges
our vital powers and pull us towards their plane of existence." *CW
XIV / 489
Master H. hints at “documents about the
disastrous actions of some ethereal forces personified (the empty shells of
the Principle of Life) that can be found on the Kama-rupic plane (Sanskrit for
astral)" and he mentions:
“the obstinate, disobedient disciples of the first
degrees of occultism who mock or disobey the pressing warnings of the Initiates
of the Great White Lodge not to indulge in prohibited practices of black magic,
such as séances, necromancy, magic ceremonials, etc." *IT1
It must be obvious by now how spirituality is totally alien to spiritistic
circles. Mediumism and spiritism are synonyms and they are the updated manifestation
of tribal rites where the genes of Nature, the guiding spirits of the clan,
the spirit of the totem or of the dead, protection and guide of the members
of the tribe. Superstition, ignorance (not knowing) and the consequent fear
and credulousness lead the common man to define any kind of unusual and incomprehensible
manifestation as ‘magic and wonderful’. In this way the copper of
spiritism is irremediably confused with the gold of spirituality; psychic dross
is then acclaimed as a guide of humankind.
The Masters, in the few instances when the needs of their Service impose to
manifest in the lower levels, don’t ‘provide themselves’ with
an astral vehicle. This happens most of all because of the huge waste of energy
that this would cost Them, in order to ‘tolerate’ the troublesome
emanations which that world is full of. In the astral world as well, though,
it is possible to find some golden straw. The ‘best’ contents of
the astral planes are the forms of thought of the humankind’s devotional
thoughts; they are also the reproductions of the Masters in the likeness of
man, like man imagines them, because he is not advanced and tends to picture
fairy-like images of the spiritual reality. They are only distorted reflections
of the reality, but they are so full of pure ingenuity that the devotion becomes
Again from a Commentary of the Master D.K.:
“It is obvious that also on the astral plane there
is a form of thought of myself and many others of your Brothers. All those who
have received my instructions in the degree of Disciple, all those who read
the books I’ve given to the world and all those who work in my personal
Group, have naturally contributed to build this astral form of thought. It is
not me, it is not linked with me and I don’t use it. I am completely separated
from it and I don’t use it to get in touch with those I instruct, because
I work exclusively on the mental levels. In this way I undoubtedly limit the
amount of my contacts by increasing the effect of my work. It is superfluous
to add that this astral form of thought is a deformation of myself and my work;
it looks like an animated and galvanized shell… its validity is such that,
like for all the shells we get in touch with, for example in séances,
it takes my mask. When intuition is awoken, the illusion is real"
Like for any other ‘faculty’ manifested by man, the Commentaries
of the Hierarchy provide a constructive, qualified and advanced use of mediumistic
abilities. The passive attitude of the medium to act as a mediumistic channel
can be transmuted into the active ability to act as a mediating channel. At
first he will be the center of connection between physical and astral world;
later he will introduce the hierarchic Teachings. A proper instruction can lead
the natural medium to definitely close the doors to astralism and open a window
on the mental plane.
The disownment of the mediumistic process as it is carried out, viz. the disownment
of any astral seduction, is the first step to ‘re-orientate the desire’
and move the focus of the conscience on the mental rational and analytical level.
It will then reach the planes of intuitive vision. From here, through the process
we have described, the medium as well can build his own Bridge that makes him
available as a ‘vertical’ reception aerial. In this way he will
become a proper telepath and ‘psychic transmitter’.
Altomonte, Athos A.
Note from the Commentaries of the Master D.K.:
“You might ask which field this instruction should
involve. For the negative (passive) psychic the goal should be the training
of the mind and the closure of the solar plexus (going to the opening of the
cardiac one) until the moment when he will be able to operate as a proper mediator
(between earth and sky)… in this way, we will see gradually arise in the
world a big body of psychics prepared to express the higher psychic powers:
spiritual perception and telepathy." *EG 14-5 “The
mediums should let themselves be instructed to talk under the inspiration of
the Hierarchy whose precognition extends far in the future… they will
be used only under surveillance, though, after a strict training and only twice
a year, in the rituals of May and June plenilunes." *ML