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Last Letters From The Living Dead Man
want to write about melancholy, not the depression produced by bad digestion
or pressure on the nerves, but that cloud of darkness that sometimes
descends upon the most brilliant mind and the stoutest heart, making them
for a while useless for any purpose—except that of drawing knowledge from
the experience of melancholy itself.
Not all sadness originates in the heart
that is sad, and fear, the basis of melancholy, may be suggested to a soul
on earth by a soul beyond the earth. You do not realize what a cloud of
dissatisfied and fearful souls this holocaust has let loose on the invisible
regions; they flock round the sensitive souls upon the earth, longing to
“tell their troubles,” longing for sympathy and help. They are no more self-
reliant than many in your world whose very presence depresses a stronger
Now whenever you feel that cloud of melancholy, stop and
ascertain the cause. You have observed the workings of suggestion. If you
find nothing in your environment or circumstances to fill you with
hopelessness, would it not be safe to assume—unless you are bilious—that the
cloud gathered elsewhere and merely descended upon you?
The student who hopes someday—though maybe many lives in the
future—to achieve adeptship, may as well begin now to control and direct his
thoughts and feelings.
You need not be melancholy unless you want
to be. There are texts, mantras, adages, even copy-book maxims you can
recall and meditate upon, that will drive away the worst fit of the blues.
Here are a few:
Pleasure and pain are opposite expressions of one force.
I am a part of God, and no harm can overtake God.
What is the truth hidden in this well of discontent?
If I go deep enough into this midnight earth, I shall come out
on the other side where the sun shines.
I was happy yesterday, and I am still I.
A frightened dog will never scare away a robber.
If all these ills befall me, it will be an exercise of power to
− Not very profound, perhaps; but you can write better ones if
you wish. I am merely illustrating one process of shaking off the burden of
Why should you men dread anything? Even
death is only dreadful when you are afraid of it.
The Masters enjoy difficulties. They are the acid that tests the
gold of their mastership.
And speaking from a lower plane, there is pleasure in doing any
difficult thing. Why, in the writing of a big novel there is more actual
work, mental and physical, than in overcoming some great misfortune. It is
less work to go out and overcome a threatened misfortune than it is to write
a short story.
How anybody in good health and with even
ordinary ability can yield to melancholy is a question for a philosopher.
I am not talking now of grief for dead friends, or for false
friends, which grief is far worse; but of the fear of some imaginary
disaster which in all probability will never happen.
The surest way to attract disasters is to imagine them. You can
create almost anything if you imagine it strongly enough—even joy and
A Master once told me that the control and exorcism of
melancholy was a greater test of power than the control of desire.
Both often come from outside, are suggested
to the receptive, passive mind. Now the Master entertains only those
suggestions that can strengthen his purposes. If you have a friend that
makes you courageous by his very presence, cultivate his society. If you
have a friend who makes you melancholy, either teach him better or get rid
of him; send him to a doctor.
What is the use in our talking about occult power if we have not
power over our moods? Practise on moods. As an exercise, some time when you
are active, force yourself to be lazy. When you are lazy and not tired,
force yourself to be active. Natural fatigue should not be pressed too far,
it is a mere reaction; but indolence is not fatigue. It is in the physical
what melancholy is in the mental.
As another exercise, when your mind circles round and round
something, switch it off as you would switch off an electric light. Turn and
think of something else. You can do it.
And, by the way, one of the best cures for
melancholy is an hour of mathematical calculations. I defy anybody to be
melancholy in the arms of geometry or trigonometry. Why? You cannot think in
mathematical terms and of yourself at the same time. People always think of
themselves when they are melancholy.
But you tell me that you became melancholy the other day in
thinking about a friend who had lost her job. Think again. By wondering what
you could do for this friend and whether you could afford it, you began to
fear. . . . Is it not so?
You may be sad because a friend is in trouble, but you cannot be
melancholy for anyone but yourself.
Another can make you melancholy by making you morbid and
Our thoughts are so chained to our ego that
it is difficult for them to escape for long. But are you ever melancholy
when creating imaginatively a scene in a book? Could you be melancholy when
figuring the “polar elevation” of a planet, or computing one of those
converse “primary directions”? I see you smile. When you are engaged with
figures you forget yourself. Now take my advice. When auto-suggestion is
powerless to conquer melancholy, draw up an astrological figure in a low
attitude with that table of oblique ascensions that I saw you using
yesterday, and work out the converse primaries and the longitude of Vulcan.
You remind me that when on earth I had small interest in
astrology. But I am talking about mathematical calculations.