Mental retardation is one of the most tragic and
least understood of social problems. In former years the mentally deranged
regarded as beyond help were locked up often under hideously deplorable
conditions, and left to vegetate, out of sight of "respectable"
people. More recently of course gratifying progress has been made in care and
treatment of these unfortunate individuals and a generally more enlightened
public attitude is permitting them increasingly to live as recognized members of
society often operating usefully within their limited range of capabilities.
Such advances however do not remove the
pain felt by parents of a retarded child or the suffering incumbent upon
families of these sadly afflicted individuals. If the cause of mental
retardation were generally known the conflicts and tortures experienced by these
people would be far better understood and mankind could begin to set the stage
for an eventual end to this problem.
When a person is mentally retarded he or
she lacks an instrument with which to reason communicate and fully control the
body. Why does this happen? When viewed from the perspective of one lifetime
mental retardation seems cruel and unfair. However if we remember that human
evolution continues over a series of lives it helps us understand the present
and gives hope for the future.
Law of Cause and Effect
Mental retardation is rightly regarded as
an illness. Just as any other illness it is suffered by an individual engendered
solely by his own behavior during the present or a previous life. Under the Law
of Consequence we reap precisely what we sow and if we engage in excesses or
depraved conduct of any sort a comparable toll will be taken of our ability to
function during a future physical embodiment, and to make consequent
Abuse of the Creative Function
The disabilities which affect humanity are
divisible into two categories: mental and physical. Mental troubles are
particularly traceable to abuse of the creative function. As the Holy Spirit is
the creative energy in Nature, the sex energy is its reflection in man, and
misuse or abuse of that power is the sin that must be expiated in impaired
efficiency of the vehicles, in order thoroughly to teach us the sanctity of the
creative force. Occult science teaches that the sex function should never be
used for sense gratification, but for propagation only. The tremendous amount of
creative force thus saved, then, may be transmuted into spiritual energy and
used on a higher plane as the agent of epigenesis -- the ability to create
Occult science also teaches that the brain
and the larynx were built by the Angels with half of the creative force so that
man who, prior to the acquisition of these organs, was bisexual and able to
create from himself alone, lost that faculty when these organs were created and
is now dependent upon the cooperation of another of the opposite sex in order to
generate a new vehicle for an incoming Spirit. There is, therefore, a close
connection between sexual activity and mental activity, as well as the power of
speech. Proof of this is shown in the case of the sex maniac, who becomes an
idiot, unable to think clearly because he is continually occupied in drawing and
sending out not only that part of the sex force which is normally to be used for
propagation, but also much of the force which should be used to build up the
brain, enabling it to produce thought.
Spiritual sight reveals that when man was
yet in the making there was a desire current wherever there is now a nerve; the
brain and larynx themselves were first made of desire substance. It was desire
that first sent a motive impulse through the brain and created these nerve
currents, that the body might be moved and obtain for the Spirit whatever
gratification was indicated by desire. Speech, also, is used for the purpose of
obtaining a desired object or end. Through these faculties man has obtained a
certain mastery over the world, and if he could just flit from one body to
another, there would be no end to his abuse of his power for gratifying every
whim and desire. Under the Law of Consequence, however, he takes with him into a
new body faculties and organs which are similar to those which he left behind in
the one preceding.
Stamping the Seed Atom
When passion has wrecked the body in one
life, it is stamped upon the seed atom. In the next descent to rebirth it is,
therefore, impossible for the Ego to gather sound material with which to build a
brain of stable construction. He is then usually born under one of the common
signs of the zodiac, and usually, also, the four common signs are on the angles,
for through these signs passionate desire finds it difficult to express itself.
Thus the powerful impulse which formerly ruled in his brain and which might be
used for the purpose of rejuvenescence is absent; he lacks incentive in life and
therefore he becomes helpless -- often insane.
The Spirit, however, is not insane. It
sees, knows, and has a keen desire to use the body, though that may be an
impossibility, for often it cannot even send a correct impulse along the nerves.
The muscles of face and body are therefore not under the control of its will.
This accounts for the lack of coordination which makes the afflicted one such a
pitiable sight. Thus it is that the Spirit learns one of the hardest lessons in
life: that it is worse than death to be tied to a living body and unable to find
expression through it because the desire force necessary to accomplish thought,
speech, and motion has been spent in unrighteous living in a previous life,
leaving the Spirit without the necessary energy to operate its present fleshly
Resisting a Hard Life
There is one notable exception to the
general rule that mental disabilities are traceable to abuse of the creative
function in a past life. When an Ego comes down to rebirth he sees, upon
entering the womb, a panorama of the coming life. If it appears that the life is
to be particularly hard, and the Ego feels unwilling to undergo the experience,
it sometimes tries to run away from the school of life. At this time, the
connection between the vital body and the sense centers of the brain in the
forming fetus already has been made; therefore, the effort of the Spirit to
escape from the mother's womb is frustrated. The wrench that is given by the
Ego, however, deranges the connection between the etheric and physical sense
centers, so that the vital body is not concentric with the physical, causing the
etheric head to extend above the physical cranium. Thus it is impossible for the
Spirit to use the dense vehicle; it is tied to a mindless body which it cannot
use, and the embodiment is practically wasted.
There are also cases where a great shock
later in life causes the Spirit to endeavor to run away with the invisible
vehicles. As a result, a similar wrench is given to the etheric sense centers in
the brain, and the shock deranges the mental expression. Everyone, after being
particularly frightened, has probably felt a similar sensation -- a surging, as
if something were endeavoring to get out of the dense body. This sensation is
caused by the desire and vital bodies, which act so swiftly that an express
train is slow in comparison. They sense the danger, and are frightened before
the scare is transmitted to the inert and slow physical body in which they are
anchored, and which prevents their escape under ordinary strain. Sometimes,
however, the shock is sufficiently severe as to give them such an impulse that
the etheric sense centers are deranged. Just as a ligament that has been
stretched and torn gradually may regain comparative elasticity, however, so
also, in these cases, is it easier to restore the mental faculties than it is in
cases in which congenital insanity, brought over from past lives, has caused
inadequate connection. Thus we see that mental retardation is not the result of
"injustice" on the part of a capricious God, as some have suggested,
nor is it an unfortunate accident. It is the result of the Ego's own conduct
and, as in the case of all ailments, the afflicted individual has brought it
The Value of Encouragement
This is certainly not to say, of course,
that the mentally retarded should be regarded in any way except with deep
sympathy and concern. Every effort should be made to continue and expand the
fine programs of education and self- help now being administered for many of
these individuals. Certainly, the more compassionate help they receive during
the present distressed and disoriented lifetime, and the more they are
encouraged to work with their personal limitations, restricted though these may
be, the more progress they will be able to make in this incarnation.
We can help a person suffering from mental
retardation by respecting his right to grow at his own rate. Try to understand
how he views the world, how he feels, and what he wants to do. However
"inferior" a mentally retarded person seems to be, we do well to
remember that all humanity's present mental development is primitive in
comparison with God-like potential which eventually will be realized.
Transmuting the Creative Force
If mental retardation is to be prevented,
however, it is high time that the relationship between this affliction and the
improper use of the sacred creative force becomes universally recognized. The
generally prevalent modern attitude which condones moral laxity and encourages
sexual indulgence for the sake of pleasure cannot help but result in disastrous
future consequences for many individual members of the human race. Such extreme
behavior will have to be expiated, and it is certain that one who indulges his
passions in this lifetime will reap the painful consequences in another, if not
in the present one.
We already have lived through a mineral-, a
plant-, and an animal-like existence before becoming human as we are today.
Beyond us lie still further steps of evolution where we shall approach the
Divine more and more. Our animal passions restrain us on the path of attainment,
and chastity -- except for purposes of procreation -- is essential to spiritual
progress. It is obvious, too, that very little material progress can be made by
the mentally handicapped.
At our present stage of evolution, all our
vital force -- save that insignificant quantity required to propagate the race
-- should be transmuted by sublimation of the mind and emotions into soul power.
Not until this fact becomes generally known and accepted will the race free
itself from the mental, as well as the physical, limitations which now cause so
much suffering and impede our evolutionary advancement.
If a mentally retarded person sparks within
us a sense of the tremendous growth we ourselves have yet to achieve, we may
thank the person for this spiritual lesson and bless him or her in the struggle
to learn, speak, and direct the body.