Master Keys of Life & Death by Captain Walter Carey 1920


CHAPTER III - The Improvement of our Bodies and their Aura.


“ The highest way goes he who shuts the gates of all his senses, locks desire safe in his heart.” - Arnold.

In considering the human body the first thing is to get rid of the idea that the physical body is the self, for many identify themselves with and think that they are the body. That is entirely a mistake. One must grasp the fact that the body is only a dwelling place or vehicle inhabited for a life period by the real self, the immortal spirit that could not otherwise come into contact with this world and get the experiences of human life which are necessary for spiritual evolution.

One should think of the body as a machine that is suitable and convenient to enable one to live on this planet; whether it is a piece of machinery in good order, or one that is in a continual state of breaking down and requiring repairs, is naturally a matter that concerns the owner more than any one else.

It is useful to try to understand the laws of health, because every one would like to have as good a body as is possible; and it is astonishing what enormous improvement can be made by a little study and the application of common sense to everyday life.

The particular body that each one is born into depends on the stage of evolution reached by the real self, that is, on the qualities gained by the spirit in previous existences. Each individual being placed at birth in a body that will have the hereditary physical tendencies that are deserved, and that suits these faculties; also in a family and country which,

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besides providing the conditions (and perhaps limitations) required in accordance with the Divine laws of “ Cause and Effect,” will also supply the surroundings where events most suitable will be met for giving opportunities to the individual for further progress.

On these lines the great diversity of the conditions of human life can be rationally explained. Many social reformers make the mistake of thinking that the conditions into which we are born are accidental, “ that all at birth are spiritually, mentally and emotionally equal” ; but it is not so, the immortal spirits that inhabit physical bodies are at widely different stages of evolution, some being far more advanced than others, therefore an infinite variety of conditions are provided in order that each soul may have the very best opportunity for improvement.

It is several years before a child has any influence over its environment, for the spirit, imprisoned or rather gradually becoming absorbed in and learning to function through the physical body, has to accept the physical conditions in which it finds itself, slowly learning by effort and experiment how it may modify and alter them. It seems probable that it is not only the body but also the surroundings of our early years that are “ Cause and Effect” results of past existences. Does not the fact of genius in some children clearly point to the conclusion that the life now entered on has had previous experiences and development?

Later in life (as the body matures), the individual usually becomes gradually freed from these good or bad influences, and passing from the more or less sheltered home-life, takes entire control of his own life and future destiny. It is this full-grown body, which has arrived at the age that it is fully under the direction of the indwelling spirit that I am going to consider.

The everyday life of a human being may be briefly summed up under three headings - Actions, Emotions and Thoughts, which cover the whole of the activities of each of us, and instead of considering these as resulting from, or being controlled by, different parts of the brain, I am going to try and describe the invisible machinery possessed by and more or less controlled by each individual, which is the real cause that sets the matter of the brain in action.

For this purpose I must divide the body into its three parts - the physical body, the body of actions. Next, the invisible, astral or emotional body, which before birth has been shaped to a great extent by prenatal conditions, such as the thoughts and emotions and physical conditions of the mother, and which is much modified during child life by the

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upbringing and surroundings. Whether we are aware of this or not, we continually alter and rebuild the astral body during the whole of earth life. Thirdly, the mental body, the body of thought, that varies so greatly in children, due of course to how much they have previously progressed, and on which each works during the whole of physical and astral life, and afterwards uses as a vehicle in the Heaven life.

During earth life these three bodies form together the temple of the spirit. The physical body grows under the influence of physical conditions, becoming coarse or refined according as we treat and control it. The emotional body, commencing with the tendencies it contains, grows and changes under the influence of the emotions we cultivate and most frequently permit, and so becomes gross and chaotic, or refined and well arranged.

The mental body grows by use, and under the influence of our thoughts, their quality, and how much we select and control them, and during life either becomes greatly improved or stagnates. All through earth life these three bodies act and react on each other. If one is controlled and refined, forces are set in motion that tend to refine and facilitate the control of the other two; if one is allowed to coarsen or get out of control, conditions are provided that damage the others.

To understand how this comes about let us consider these three vehicles separately: First the physical body and the scientific explanation about its growth. Science tells us that the minute particles of which it is composed are always in a state of change, old particles, that is the minute cells, break up and are turned out of the system, new matter being taken in to form fresh cells to replace the waste, so that in seven years every portion of the body is completely renewed.

Now the composition of the stream of material from which the new cells are made rests with the individual, for it obviously depends on what he chooses to put into his body. If he allows only the correct amount of pure food and drink to enter, and offers no obstruction to the riddance of old particles, his body must in time become pure and refined; therefore the source of supply and the selection of the new particles that are allowed to enter is most important. Equally so is the getting rid of old particles, and that we know depends on attention to hygienic laws, such as correct breathing, fresh air, exercise, etc.

Now before examining the source of supply of the different foods, we must settle what sort of a body it is that we wish to possess, just as before building a house plans must be made of what is wanted and a

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supply of suitable material collected. If we wish to have a coarse, insensitive body (thick-skinned expresses the idea) which shall be unrefined, and easily respond to coarse emotions, then we must select materials with these characteristics. But if it is desired to build a beautiful palace, if the body is to be refined and sensitive, a fit dwelling for an evolving spirit, we must select the very best materials obtainable.

The particles composing solid and liquid food vary just as much as do individual men, for the similar reason that some are more evolved than others, and these little specks of matter, though invisible to us, are not by any means dead material, but each is a little life, or rather contains a life, very little progressed, no doubt, but going through its ordered course of evolution in forming a part of physical forms in Nature's kingdoms.

For further illustration I would like to compare the physical body of a man to a regiment of soldiers, each soldier representing one physical particle of the body, the Colonel who commands the regiment repre­senting the immortal spirit that dwells in and controls the body.

Although the regiment is a permanent organization, yet the individuals composing it are always in a state of change, time-expired men being continually discharged, as well as any that are sick or injured, an equal number of fresh recruits being taken in, so that the size or the “ strength of the regiment,” as it is called, remains unaltered. So it is with the body, old particles are discharged and new ones admitted.

The tone of the regiment depends on to what extent the Colonel is able to influence the men under his orders. The tone of the body depends on the spirit that owns it, on the orders he gives, and on how much he sees them carried out. The efficiency of the regiment depends largely in the first place on the type and standard of mental and physical fitness of the recruits. The possibility of building a very refined human body depends on the quality of the particles that are used to build it ; therefore the food and drink are for the body just as important as the supply of good recruits for the regiment.

Suppose that it were possible to get recruits from two sources; first, old soldiers from other but very inferior regiments that are being broken up and disbanded. This at first sight would seem an excellent plan, but if these regiments are known to be ill-disciplined and mutinous, it is certain the Colonel would give orders that under no conditions should a man from them be admitted to his regiment. He would prefer recruits


from the second source of supply, young fellows with a good record, who have not passed through any military training.

These two classes of recruits correspond approximately to the two classes of food materials available for building the human body. The old soldiers represent particles taken from creatures of the animal kingdom slaughtered for food. The other class particles available from the vegetable kingdom.

If the first-mentioned class are admitted to the regiment, it is true that they would save the Colonel and his officers a certain amount of trouble in some ways, as they would be accustomed to the details of regimental life. On the other hand, they would certainly be a source of ill-discipline, always wanting undesirable things on the argument that such things were permitted in their last regiment; it would be a constant source of trouble to break them of their old ways, and the whole tone of the regiment would deteriorate. This corresponds to nourishing the body with particles of food from dead creatures; these have lately formed a part of various animals, who may have been savage, evil tempered, or stupid and sluggish, so the particles have become accustomed to respond easily to these emotions, and when built into the human body cause a very strong tendency to vibrate readily to animal sensations. A body of this kind will be most comfortable when it receives these vibra­tions, and though quite suitable for the expression of animal passions, is not adapted for anything higher. The possibility of the indwelling spirit obtaining control over such incongruous elements is remote, because the particles coming from animals, where during life control from within did not exist, do not at all understand the obedience now required by the spirit, the lord of the body.

The flesh-eater therefore builds for himself a body with strong and undesirable tendencies, and one that is difficult to manage and get under control.

To continue the military argument, men recruited from inferior regiments are often infected with disease germs due to the insanitary conditions to which they have been accustomed. Similarly in admitting animal flesh into the human frame as food, there is very great danger of taking in animal impurities, that is the waste products always present in flesh foods, as well as any disease germs the creature may have harboured during life.

To feed on animal flesh is one of the very best ways of introducing ill­health into the human system. On the whole the Colonel's decision to

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have none of such recruits is a wise one, and we cannot do better than to follow his example, and refuse to have anything to do with food of any sort obtained by slaughter.

The other source of supply of recruits, corresponding to the vegetable kingdom, possesses additional advantages owing to the immense variety, for whatever climate the regiment goes to, there will be found acclimatized recruits, young fellows with no preconceived ideas to be got rid of, healthy and clean livers, who are not saturated with insubordinate ideas, but ready and willing to fall in with the ways of the human organism of which they now find themselves a part.

To sum up the matter, the physical body should not be fed on food composed of animal bodies, because the particles are impure, too much specialized, and would build up a body with tendencies to reproduce animal characteristics. To get the best results the human body must be sustained on pure food and drink. To ensure that the various departments of the body are kept in good working order, care must be taken to select the right quantity, quality and mixture of food; and attention must be paid to hygienic laws. When these matters become a daily routine, things run on as though by clockwork, one finds oneself on the high road to physical rejuvenation, possessing a body in perfect health, a suitable dwelling-place for a spirit who realizes the purpose, and tremendous opportunity offered by the experience of human life for spiritual advancement.

The next of the three vehicles of the Ego is the Astral or Emotional body, made of an invisible and finer grade of matter; it interpenetrates the physical, and is the body of the emotions. This is a more important instrument than the physical, because an unhealthy or damaged physical body does not necessarily cause tendencies to evil living, but a badly constructed emotional body forms a continual pressure or temptation to evil thought, emotion, and wrong action.

To clairvoyant sight this vehicle is seen to be composed of different grades of astral matter, hence it is frequently called the astral body, the densest particles forming a shape similar to the physical, the less dense making a surrounding mist of various colours, which in ordinary people extends in ovoid shape a few feet or inches beyond the astral body and is called the Aura.

People who are not clairvoyant may, I think, get a fair notion of the reality of an aura from the following illustration:- Consider some flower, say a rose; a man with the sense of sight (but none of smell)

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noticing the particulars of colour, number of leaves, their arrangement, and other details, will feel sure that he can observe all that there is to know about it. Yet a person with the sense of smell in addition to sight, knows that this is an error due to the first observer's limitations, for the rose is really much larger than appears by sight alone, since the surrounding space contains something distinctive and inseparable from each flower, in fact what might be called the “ scent aura.”

Again, if you stand near a man under the influence of strong emotion, such as anger, depression or joy, though his emotion may not in any way be directed towards yourself, yet you distinctly feel a pleasant or unpleasant feeling, in fact you sense his aura. It is easy to understand that with keener vision this would become visible.

The brightness or dimness of the colours and their arrangement in the aura correspond with the intensity and quality of the emotions; the regularity of the different bands and definiteness of their outline indi­cates the amount of control the Ego has over them. Thus spirituality shows as a bright band of ultra-violet; intellectuality, golden; pure devotion, a beautiful blue; love and affection, rose colour; anger, dark red; fear and depression, grey; and so on. The more refined the emotions the more delicate the tints, muddy and dark colours indicating coarse emotions and selfishness. If there is little control by the indwelling spirit the colours run one into the other, as is the case in the emotional body of the undeveloped, but when the bands of colour are seen to have distinct and well-defined edges, they indicate that the emotions are well under control.

The particles of the emotional body and its aura are in a constant state of movement, and of change, renewal taking place far more rapidly than in the case of the physical body, because this higher vibratory matter is so very much more active; also new material is taken in with every emotion; so in time the most frequent emotions build up and colour the emotional body and its aura.

The material for this building is obtained from two chief sources, some from the etheric and astral counterparts of food and drink taken into the physical body, others from particles drawn in from the higher world by the power of thought and emotion.

In the physical world if you want any particular sort of material for building you must go and get it, or arrange for some one to bring it to you, since physical matter is without the power of motion. But with astral or higher vibratory particles it is otherwise. To collect this matter

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it is only necessary to set up thought or emotional vibrations which at once attract the corresponding type of particles. So in obtaining materials for building the emotional body, there is neither difficulty nor expense, the very best materials are equally available as the worst, for all obey this law of attraction.

To collect material it is only necessary to permit emotion of the type desired, which draws in a flood of astral particles of corresponding nature and as the emotion continues or is frequently repeated, some of the particles are absorbed and become permanent, making it more easy to again reproduce similar emotion, as well as causing a strong tendency to do so. Then, as the process is continued, that part of the aura becomes full, and as more space is required, other particles that correspond to emotions that are dying from want of exercise are pushed out. If still more space is wanted the aura grows in size, improving or degrading according to the type of emotions cultivated by the Ego.

For instance, imagine the very extreme case of a person who permitted himself to feel only one emotion suppose he chose to be always depressed, then the astral body and aura would be flooded with the grey matter that corresponds to depression, and as time went on the other particles of his astral body, getting no opportunity of vibrating to their particular emotions, would atrophy from want of use, and be shaken out by the repeated waves of depression; soon depression only would be possible, no matter how much the Ego might wish to experience some other emotion. Having built so unpleasant an emotional body and aura, the Ego would have to put up with it and suffer great discomfort until he could, with much trouble and difficulty, alter and rebuild on more sensible lines.

It is therefore necessary before building (and we are building every day of our lives) to consider what sort of an astral body we require. What emotions do we wish it readily to respond to, and what emotions should we like it to be impervious to? The ideal would be an emotional body that responded only to unselfish emotions of the highest sort, such as spirituality, intellect, devotion, truthfulness, sympathy, affection, one in fact which could not respond to lower emotions.

Now when we start intelligently taking charge of the rebuilding operations, we have to deal with the astral body we have already arranged for ourselves, and though we cannot see it, it is easy to get a good idea of what it looks like, by making a list of the emotions which most easily influence it, or which are most frequent. Then in


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imagination paint in an oval with bands of the corresponding auric colours; if the emotions depend largely on outside happenings, or if we know that there is little control over them, the colours must be shown as vague in outline and running into each other. In this way with a little trouble quite a good idea of the appearance of the aura can be obtained; and if the, picture is not satisfactory it is easy to set to work to improve matters.

First the undesirable emotions must be noted and the resolve made that in future these vibrations shall not be allowed. Suppose, for instance, that the aura contains too much of the red colour that indicates anger and facility for becoming angry, the Ego must determine to alter this, and the next time something occurs that tends to cause anger there must be deliberate refusal to allow the emotional body to vibrate with that emotion. It must be compelled to remain cool and collected, no matter how severe the provocation and directed to vibrate only with a selected emotion of an opposite sort, which in this case would be “ kindly feeling.” At the same time the physical body must be kept quiet and restrained; whilst the whole power of the mentality is directed to reviewing the situation from the opponent's point of view and considering the wisest thing to say or do in the circumstances; keeping strongly before it the fact that in any case should the emotional body be allowed to give way to anger matters will be made worse and a friendly solution of the difficulty become more remote.

The result of all this (very difficult at first) is that, the anger particles gradually become less active and then are expelled from the aura altogether to make room for material of better sort. As the individual succeeds he is aware of his success, because he finds it more and more easy to restrain himself in circumstances that previously would have caused great excitement. So that in the end when complete victory is achieved over this emotion he finds himself not only incapable of originating anger, but also impervious to that emotion from the proximity of angry people. In a similar way every other emotion considered undesirable can be taken in hand and eventually starved out, good emotions being built in to replace them.

By practising in this way another valuable quality is gained, namely, control of the emotions. It would be of little use to be overflowing with kindly feelings if they are not under control, for misdirected kindness may do just as much harm as deliberate cruelty.


Self-control is also a most practical and useful quality, for the person who succeeds in any walk of life is one who can remain cool and collected in difficult situations.

It follows that a perfect astral body is such that it is capable only of emotions which are selected by and entirely under the control of the owner; it ensures his comfort in everyday life, even in the worst of astral surroundings, for coarse and evil vibrations from outside cannot affect it. Not only is it a blessing to the owner, but also to his neighbours, for wherever he goes his high vibrations tend to raise the tone of the surrounding astral matter, strongly affecting for good any astral body that may come within range. As an everyday example of this, most of us experience when in the proximity of certain people the feeling of being uplifted or depressed, the result of the infectious action of one astral body on another.

Next there is the action of the emotional body on the physical to be considered; violent emotion of any sort strongly affects the physical, producing wear and tear. We all know how physical exhaustion follows on a fit of anger, and when the body is tired out or unwell how easy it is to give way to bad temper and irritability, So these two vehicles act and react on each other, improvement or deterioration in one causing corresponding change in the other.

It should be noted that though it is true that a perfected astral body is absolutely unaffected by evil surroundings, yet before that high state of perfection is arrived at, bad surroundings are a source of great danger, for if there remains only a little low type astral matter in the aura it will in evil company tend to be stimulated. If the individual purposely goes into bad company to do good, then it will be a matter of which is the strongest; if he is strong enough his high vibrations will carry all before him (one often notices the change in conversation amongst the undeveloped when one of a higher plane joins in), but if his astral body is not strong enough he may do the others little good and himself much harm.

The old saying, “ Evil communications corrupt good manners,” is much to the point, or it might be worded in this connection, “ Evil emotional bodies do much harm to the emotional bodies of other people.”

We now come to the highest, most important, and most difficult to control and improve of our vehicles the mental body, made of still finer material than even astral matter. It surrounds and interpenetrates the physical and astral bodies. It is far the most important of the three,

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because during life it is always acting on the other two, causing tendencies to emotions and actions; if the mental body is evolved on right lines these will be towards good deeds and kindly feelings, but if it be badly organized or composed of inferior materials it not only causes tendencies towards evil, but its owner, the deathless spirit, can have little control over it or any of his vehicles, which therefore run riot and may be the cause of much suffering to himself as well as others.

The mental body with which we are born contains the germs of the concentrated essence of the mental qualities. To clairvoyant sight the mental aura appears as a coloured mist similar to the astral aura but of much more beautiful and delicate colours, which indicate the nature of the predominating thoughts. The particles composing it are made of matter composing the mental plane and are in a constant state of change and movement, for fresh material comes in and passes out even more rapidly and easily than in the case of the lower vehicles; every thought causes vibrations which attract mental matter of the corresponding type and colour, individual thoughts constantly draw in new material, repetition of those of similar nature increasing the quantity of that colour in the aura; hence the mental aura of an individual always corresponds to the sum total or average of the most frequent type of thoughts that are indulged in.

These auric colours arrange themselves in bands whose regularity of outline indicates qualities such as coolness, courage, truthfulness, will power, and others that have no particular distinctive colour, and also show the amount of control the Ego has over the mental body. If the aura were visible, it would be seen to be composed of bands of thought forms, for when we think either an old thought form is strengthened or a new one is created and takes its position in the mental aura according to its vibratory rate, i.e., its colour. Definite and purposeful thought has a further and most important effect, for a duplicate thought form is also produced (built of astral or mental matter according to its nature), which passes out and proceeds to the person thought of, a mission that may be beneficent or evil.

Besides this the original thought acting on the whole mental body causes waves of vibration in the surrounding mental matter (the analogy of ripples in still water when a stone is thrown in is often used to illustrate this), and affects all other people who may be within reach, tending to produce in their mental bodies images of similar nature.


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So thought has four main effects. (1) The formation of the more or less permanent image, which remains in and gives colour to the mental aura. (2) The formation of a travelling thought form, the angel or devil, who goes on its mission to the person thought of and discharges itself into his aura, or waits until an opportunity offers, but if no opportunity occurs of doing so returns and discharges itself on the sender. An illustration may make this clearer: suppose that a person for some reason or other feels anger towards another, instantaneously the duplicate thought form is dispatched to the one thought of. It may there find one of three conditions, for the person in question may be at the moment (a) in a state of anger or irritation; (b) in a state of kindly feeling, though he may be one who occasionally loses his temper; (c) a person so developed that he never allows the emotion of anger.

In case (a) our travelling thought form finds vibrations that synchronize with itself, as well as an attraction, and readily enters the aura and discharges itself.

In case (b) the vibrations at the moment being antagonistic to those of the travelling thought form, no effect is possible until something occurs to cause a loss of temper, which makes an opening and gives an opportunity for entering the aura as in case (a). In case (c) the anger thought form on contacting so highly developed an aura is thrown off and rebounding returns to discharge itself on its creator; which might be compared to a boomerang which, missing its mark, returned to the thrower with damaging force.

Many have proved for themselves the reality of these travelling thought forms by the following experiment. At a certain fixed time every day (early morning is best) in the quiet of one's room, deliberately turn the thoughts towards someone with whom there has been a quarrel, sending kindly and pleasant thoughts of goodwill and the wish to be again on good terms. If this practice is steadily persisted in even by only one of the parties, when they happen to meet later, both will be astonished at how friendly disposed they feel towards each other, and how easy it is to come to a reconciliation.

(3) The waves of sympathetic vibrations that are set up in the surrounding mental matter, which will tend to produce similar sorts of thoughts in any one who may come within reach.

(4) The thought form attracts to its owner similar types of thoughts from other people, which are often mistaken for tempting spirits.


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One realizes that every thought affects the creator of the thought and the person thought of, and improves or coarsens the local mental and astral atmosphere, which makes it easy to understand how very far­reaching are the effects of thought.

Improvement in the mental aura is obtained by taking advantage of the natural law that determines the improvement or otherwise of all the vehicles, namely, that exercise causes growth, whilst disuse produces feebleness and eventually death of the part not used. So if the mental aura is not satisfactory, and it may easily be examined by tabulating the types of thought most used, the method of altering it is in theory extremely simple. One has only to discontinue the production of the classes of thought forms disapproved of, cultivating in their place thoughts of a higher description, and instead of permitting any of the drifting thoughts of other people that are continually met, to enter, one must keep strict guard and censorship, giving admission only to those approved of, all others being severely rejected. In practice this control and selection of thought is extremely difficult, especially at first, but is well worth time and trouble, for success is absolutely certain if the method is persisted in.

Having now considered the three vehicles separately, it will be understood how necessary it is that they should be in harmony and work with each other. Some people imagine that they can control the physical body whilst allowing the emotional or mental bodies to go as they please, which is impossible, for it corresponds to a state of civil war amongst the vehicles, each side being hampered by the others and in the end damage being done to all.

There is truth in more senses than one in the old saying that, “ As a man thinks so he is,” for of all our activities, “ Thought” is the most important. Emotion comes next, and Action last of all.

Consider the three vehicles in everyday life. Suppose one wishes to change some habit, take a very small one as an example; let us say there is the habit of smoking a cigarette at 11 a.m., which we wish to discontinue. The wrong way to go about the business is to consider the physical only, then when 11 a.m. comes the cigarette is refused, the physical body then begins to get uncomfortable and complains, saying, “ What about my usual cigarette?” You say, “ That is off, I do not have a cigarette at 11 now.” The body protests more strongly, and the mental body joins in, and argues, “ Why not? What is the sense of making the physical uncomfortable for so small a matter?” “ How stupid you are to


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fuss about a trifle like that,” etc. Then the emotional body will also be likely to join the rebels, for feeling the inharmony, it will be likely to cause irritability.

The correct way of tackling this small habit would be, first the Ego must examine the matter, and be firmly determined that he is going to be master in his own house, that if he directs the body to discontinue the habit he intends to be obeyed.

The mental body should review the reasons that lead to the order being given, and dwell on the various advantages that will accrue from discontinuing the habit. The emotional body is now considered and is warned in advance that at 11 a.m. there may be some trouble with the physical vehicle, and on no account is the emotional body to become excited if the physical is fool enough to rebel against orders. Now we have two strong allies on the side of law and order, and when 11 a.m. arrives the physical body finds that not only is the customary cigarette stopped, but that both other vehicles are unsympathetic and strongly against rebellion. It will therefore quickly fall into line and after a few days of declining opposition declare that it does not want or take the slightest interest in cigarettes at 11 a.m.; in fact the habit will be broken and overcome for good, this result having been arrived at with the minimum of annoyance.

Thus can the Ego get his way and cure any habit, however firmly fixed, incidentally strengthening the control he has over all the vehicles.

In a similar way defects in character can be dealt with, remembering always before commencing an improvement of either vehicle to enlist the sympathies and co-operation of the other two; as this is done all the vehicles will become more and more controlled, purified and refined­which means that the individual is making progress in evolution, and fitting himself to be of use in the world, which is precisely the purpose for which we are here.

CHAPTER IV - The Power of Thought