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Much time and thought is given to horizontal travel. But comparitively few are those who embark on its occult sister --vertical travel. These roads are complimentary and add to a whole. Horizontal travelling is exoteric and masculine, and thus easily seen and understood; vertical travel is esoteric and feminine, and requires a deeper understanding wrought from patience and will-power. All travel, of course, is the result of love, or its earthly offspring--enthusiasm.
WHen we leave our homes on the horizontal path, in search of new experiences, we are taking our psychological developement into our own hands. we are saying: "I've learned all i can here but my MIND is far from filled!"
SO we seek out new experiences, sights, cultures, lifestyles, people, groups, philosophies, routines and events. We leave the "Father's house" or the Garden of Eden, and grow thereby. From the perspective of the esoteric traditions this is the first half of the path to intitiation. Mentally, what we are doing is stocking our minds up with new material in the form of memories. To develop the mind, one must first stock it well. The question is what next? When your store is well-stocked with jewels, each linked to an emotion so that you have fully experienced the whole emotional gamut, we find that our travels take on a new aspect.
In particular, nothing feels new anymore. Ever so gradually, the world loses its shine. Although we might travel as widely as before, different places begin to feel the same underneath the surface. We realise that wherever we are we still have to work the same jobs and solve the same problems. We might lose ourselves in parties searching for the elixir of youth, but the feeling of "newness" is all but dissappeared for good. The world loses its wonder, its fairies and seamonsters. It becomes well-mapped and limitted. Now we say: "I've learned all I can here, but my HEART is far from filled!"
And thus begins the vertical Path.
The occultist sees the world as a series of levels, such as physical, emotional, mental or logical, intuitive, illuminative, e.t.c. For example each event can be viewed in different levels of depth and can be ACTED upon in different levels of depth. (Some refuse to view the Twin-towers incident any deeper than the emotional, others only go as deep as the logical.)In the light of this perception, one who travels far horizontally but stays within the first two or three levels throughout their lives, does not travel far at all. To vertical eyes he has stayed put most of his life. The above-mentioned lack of newness is thus accounted for.
The horizontal traveller is used to changing his surroundings, not himself. Of course, he does change at a minimal level as a matter of exposure, but he is dragged behind evolution rather than blazing the way ahead. And, I might add, he does not actually "change" his surroundings -- having not the power -- but instead moves to different surroundings. He might express his frustration at the above impotence by changing what little he can as a consolation: hairstyle, tattooes, car, clothes etc.
The solution, then, is ever to change direction and head for the second road as wilfully as we did in the beginning. Hercules, the quintessential traveler of the vertical road, symbolises this by traversing the twelve constellations, or 'tasks' anticlockwise, the opposite way to the masses.)
We left the simplicity and found diversity. We experienced many factors -- so much in fact, that eventualy there seemed to be no order or purpose to the world. There was only random differences all equalling separaion (loneliness) and death (mortallity). But as the different places began to feel the same, so the different factors and events also seemed to be born out of the same old causes. One cause, in fact: the mind. Prejudice, hatred, fear, love, purpose, emptiness, faith, scepticism, religion and atheism are all produced from mental perceptions shaped from and shaping the phenomenal world. Mental events. No matter what we study objectively, it gets sifted through our mental environments and tainted with the 'stock'.
So the vertical journey begins in understanding how the mind works. Alice A. Bailey, in A Treatise On White Magic says, "Discover that thou hast a mind and learn its dual use." Edward de Bono seems to have done that extremely well in his works on lateral thinking. He says that the mind or "special memory surface" by nature separates information received, into categories. This is usefull for us to study things, and take in things that would be otherwise too large to view all at once. But the same function of the mind also causes much trouble. It creates separations and categories where there need not be any. Our language is a reflection of this, with our insistance on stereo-typing and labelling even when the pigeon hole is incorrect and too simplified. This separating proccess of the mind has created the Right and Left Wings of politics, the split in Churches and religions, between science and religion, the dangerous spirit of Nationalism, racism, war of the sexes, and etc. It is an instinct to separate and stick to our own in times of trouble -- let us make the vertical journey from instinct to intellect, "from intellect to intuition" to quote the title of an Alice A. Bailey book. "Concentrate the thinking principle, and be the master of thy mental world. [...] Learn that the thinker and his thought and that which is the means of thought are diverse in their nature, yet one in ultimate reality." Your mind might tell you that Charles Darwin's way is conflicting with the former, but he agrees with the yogis when he says (to paraphrase): "our highest pssible form of culture will be achieved when we realise the nessecity to control our thoughts."
The horizontal path of Earhtly service and good deeds forms the horizontal line of the cross. The vertical path ("white magic works from above downwards" -- Bailey)forms the vertical line. thus we have the equal-armed cross of the Disciple. We, the travellers, stand poised in the middle, or the Heart, that loving point of joining and unifying (the task of today), and travel outward in all directions.