Telepathy & The Etheric Vehicle
Section One: Teaching on Telepathy
including Basic Technique
to page 31, plus excerpts from later in the book
Freely adapted (even paraphrased in parts) by VSK
all guilt assumed 2004; please refer to the original.
The focus of this piece is to emphasize the basics for the experimenter
I. THE FIELD OF TELEPATHIC INTERPLAY
One of the characteristics, distinguishing the group of world servers and knowers, is that the outer organisation which holds them integrated is practically non-existent. They are held together by the inner structure of thought and by a telepathic medium of inter-relation. …
In new groups are people who of very diverse natures, upon differing rays, of different nationalities, and who come from various environments and heredity. …
… When, therefore, one dwells on the barriers and difficulties supervening upon such diverse conditions, the question arises at once:
What provides the common meeting ground, and what makes it possible to have an interplay between the minds involved?
When the Biblical words are used: "In Him we live and move and have our being," we have the statement of a fundamental law in nature and the enunciated basis of the fact which we cover by the rather meaningless word: Omnipresence.
Omnipresence has its basis in the substance of the universe …
… the word "ether" is a generic term covering the ocean of energies which are all inter-related and which constitute that one synthetic energy body of our planet.
In approaching, therefore, the subject of telepathy, bear in mind that the etheric body of every form in nature is an integral part of the substantial form of God Himself …
… The etheric or energy body, therefore, of every human being is an integral part of the etheric body of the planet itself and consequently of the solar system. …
… The function of the etheric body is to receive energy impulses and to be swept into activity by these impulses, or streams of force, emanating from some originating source or other. The etheric body is in reality naught but energy. It is composed of myriads of threads of force or tiny streams of energy, held in relation to the emotional and mental bodies and to the soul by their coordinating effect. …
Through the etheric body, therefore, circulates energy emanating from some mind.
With mass humanity … this is complicated by growing responsiveness to mass ideas—or public opinion …
Within the human family are also those who respond to that inner group of Thinkers Who, working in mental matter, control from the subjective side of life the emergence of the great plan and the manifestation of divine purpose.
This group of Thinkers falls into seven main divisions and is presided over by three great Lives or super-conscious Entities [Manu, Christ, Mahachohan].
These three work primarily through the method of influencing the minds of the adepts and the initiates.
These latter in their turn influence the disciples of the world, and these disciples, each in his own place and on his own responsibility, work out their concept of the plan and seek to give expression to it as far as possible.
It is, therefore, as you can surmise, a process of stepping down rates of vibration until they are sufficiently heavy to affect physical plane matter and thus make possible the building of organised effects on the physical plane. …
It is … possible to establish … telepathic relation between disciples on the physical plane.
… For example, a … some new revelation of truth is suddenly recognised by many and finds expression simultaneously through the medium of many minds. No one person can claim individual right to the enunciated principle or truth. Several minds have registered it. …
Laws governing telepathic communication.
The first law is:
1. The power to communicate is to be found in the very nature of substance itself. It lies potentially within the ether, and the significance of telepathy is to be found in the word omnipresence.
The second law is:
2. The interplay of many minds produces a unity of thought which is powerful enough to be recognised by the brain.
… When each member of the group can function in his mind-consciousness, untrammelled by the brain or the emotional nature, he will discover the universality of the mental principle which is the first exoteric expression of the soul consciousness. He will then enter into the world of ideas, becoming aware of them through the sensitive receiving plate of the mind. He then seeks to find those who respond to the same type of ideas and who react to the same mental impulse, simultaneously with himself. Uniting himself to them he discovers himself to be en rapport with them.
1. The understanding of the first law produces results in the mind or mental body.
2. The understanding of the second law produces results in a lesser receiving station, the brain.
This is possible through the strengthening of a man's own mental reaction by the mental reaction of others, similarly receptive. …
Only those who know something of the meaning of concentration and meditation and who can hold the mind steady in the light will be able to understand the first law and comprehend that interplay of thought-directed energies, which finds one terminal of expression in the mind of some inspired Thinker, and the other terminal in the mind of the attentive world server who seeks to tune in on those mind processes which hold the clue to ultimate world salvation. …
In connection with disciples and aspirants to discipleship, it is presumed that their minds are somewhat attuned to the soul; that they are also so aligned that the soul, mind and brain are coordinated and are beginning to function as a unit. This is the individual responsibility.
The undeveloped human being and the unthinking, non-mental man or woman can be and often are telepathic, but the centre through which they work is the solar plexus.
The line of communication is, therefore, from solar plexus to solar plexus. This is therefore instinctual telepathy and concerns feeling in every case. It involves, invariably, radiations from the solar plexus, which in the case of the animal world serves usually as the instinctual brain.
This type of telepathic communication is definitely a characteristic of the animal body of man, and one of the best illustrations of this telepathic rapport is that existing between a mother and her child.
It is this type of telepathy which is predominantly present in the average spiritualistic seance. There the medium, quite unconsciously, sets up a telepathic rapport with the people in the circle. Their feelings, worries, sorrows, and desires become apparent and form part of the reading, so called. Both the sitters and the medium are functioning through the same centre. With this class of medium, and in this type of seance, the highly intelligent and mentally polarised man or woman will learn nothing, and will probably receive no messages, unless faked.
This form of telepathic communication is therefore of two kinds, with the solar plexus always involved:
a. It will be from solar plexus to solar plexus between two people who are ordinary, emotional, governed by desire, and primarily centred in the astral and animal bodies.
b. It will be between such a "solar plexus" person, if I may so call him, and a higher type whose solar plexus centre is functioning actively but whose throat centre is also alive. This type of person registers in two places—provided that the thought sensed and sent out by the solar plexus person has in it something of mental substance or energy. Pure feeling and entirely emotional emanations between people necessitate only solar plexus contact.
Later, when group work in telepathy is undertaken, the centres of transmission wherein high and consecrated feeling, devotion, aspiration and love are concerned and where the groups work with pure love, communication will be from heart to heart, and from a group heart to another group heart. The phrase "heart to heart talk," so often used, is usually a misnomer at this time, but will some day be true. At present it is usually a solar plexus conversation!
The second form of telepathic work is that of mind to mind, and it is with this form of communication that the highest investigation is at this time concerned.
Only mental types are involved, and the more that emotion and feeling and strong desire can be eliminated, the more accurate will be the work accomplished.
The strong desire to achieve success in telepathic work, and the fear of failure, are the surest ways to offset fruitful effort. In all such work as this, an attitude of non-attachment and a spirit of `don't care' are of real assistance.
Experimenters along this line need to give more time and thought to the recognition of types of force. They need to realise that emotion, and desire for anything, on the part of the receiving agent create streams of emanating energy which rebuff or repulse that which seeks to make contact, such as the directed thought of someone seeking rapport. When these streams are adequately strong, they act like a boomerang and return to the emanating centre, being attracted back there by the power of the vibration which sent them forth. In this thought lies hid the cause of:
a. The failure on the part of the broadcasting or transmitting agent. Intense desire to make a satisfactory impression will attract the outgoing thought back again to the transmitter.
b. The failure on the part of the receiving agent whose own intense desire to be successful sends out such a stream of outgoing energy that the stream of incoming energy is met, blocked and driven back whence it came; or, if the receiver is aware of this and seeks to stem the tide of his desire, he frequently succeeds in surrounding himself with a wall of inhibited desire through which naught can penetrate.
II. TELEPATHIC WORK
Telepathy and the allied powers will only be understood when the nature of force, of emanations and radiations, and of energy currents, is better grasped. …
It should also be borne in mind that it is only as the centres employed are consciously used that we have that carefully directed work which will be fruitful of results.
For instance, an emotional person, using primarily the solar plexus centre, will be endeavouring to enter into rapport with a mental type. From this will result only confusion. The two parties concerned are using different centres and are sensitive to certain types of force and closed to others. Again, some people, even if mentally polarised and therefore sensitive to similar vibrations attempt to make a telepathic contact when one party is under emotional strain and therefore not responsive, or one party is intensively occupied with some mental problem and is encased in a wall of thoughtforms and therefore impervious to impressions. You can see, therefore, how a cultivation of detachment is a necessary qualification for success in telepathic work.
All who seek to tread the Path of Discipleship are endeavouring to live in the head centre, and—through meditation—to bring in the power of the soul. The problem which you face, as disciples learning telepathic sensitivity, is founded on two things:
a. Upon which of your three bodies is the most active; thereby is indicated where you live subjectively most of the time.
b. Upon which centre is the most expressive in your equipment, and through which you contact most easily modern living conditions. I mean by these words: where, literally speaking, your life energy is predominantly focussed and your sentient energy expresses itself the most.
An understanding of this will make you better able to work and to make intelligent experiment. Therefore, watch yourselves with care yet impersonally, and work out the why and the wherefore of the effects produced, for by this means you will learn.
The third type of telepathic work is that from soul to soul.
This is the highest type of telepathic work possible to humanity and is that form of communication which has been responsible for all the inspirational writings of real power, the world Scriptures, the illumined utterances, the inspired speakers, and the language of symbolism. It only becomes possible where there is an integrated personality, and, at the same time, the power to focus oneself in the soul consciousness. The mind and the brain have, at the same time, to be brought into perfect rapport and alignment.
It is my intention to elucidate further this science of communication, which started through the sense of touch and developed through sound, symbols, words and sentences, languages, writing, art, and on again to the stage of higher symbols, vibratory contact, telepathy, inspiration and illumination.
… The work of the telepathic communicators is one of the most important in the coming new age, and it will be of value to gain some idea of its significance and techniques.
… in summarising the above instruction … in connection with individuals:
1. Telepathic communication is
a. Between soul and mind.
b. Between soul, mind and brain.
This is as far as interior individual development is concerned.
2. When it is found between individuals, telepathic communication is
a. Between soul and soul.
b. Between mind and mind.
c. Between solar plexus and solar plexus, and therefore purely emotional.
d. Between all these three aspects of energy simultaneously, in the case of very advanced people.
3. Telepathic communication is also:
a. Between a Master and His disciples or disciple.
b. Between a Master and His group and a group or groups of sensitives and aspirants on the physical plane.
c. Between subjective and objective groups.
d. Between the occult Hierarchy and groups of disciples on the physical plane.
e. Between the Hierarchy and the New Group of World Servers in order to reach humanity and lift it nearer the goal.
This concerns the new science of group telepathic communication, of which herd or mass telepathy (so well known) is the lowest known expression. This instinctual telepathy which is shown by a flight of birds, acting as a unit, or that animal telepathy which serves to govern so mysteriously the movements of herds of animals, and the rapid transmission of information among the savage races and non-intelligent peoples—these are all instances of that lower externalisation of an inner spiritual reality.
An intermediate stage of this instinctual activity, based largely on solar plexus reactions, can be seen in modern mass psychology and public opinion. It is, as you know, predominantly emotional, unintelligent, astral and fluidic in its expression. This is changing rapidly and shifting into the realm of what is called "intelligent public opinion," but this is, as yet, slow. It involves the activity of the throat and ajna centres.
We have, therefore:
1. Instinctual telepathy.
2. Mental telepathy.
3. Intuitional telepathy.
… there are three major factors which must be considered:
1. The initiating agent. I use this word with deliberate intent, as the power to work telepathically, both as initiating agent and as recipient, is closely connected with initiation, and is one of the indications that a man is ready for that process.
2. The recipient of that which is conveyed to him on the "wings of thought."
3. The medium through which it is intended to convey the transfer of thought, of idea, of wish, of imprint, and therefore of some form of knowledge.
This is the simplest statement of the elementary mechanics of the process. …
III. THREE TYPES OF TELEPATHY
Let us now discuss in some detail the three types of telepathy enumerated above: instinctual telepathy, mental telepathy, and intuitional telepathy.
These three produce differing modes of activity and tap (to use a familiar word) differing areas of communication.
1. Instinctual telepathy is based upon those impacts of energy which come from one etheric body and make an impression upon another.
The medium of communication employed is, as we have seen, the etheric substance of all bodies, which is necessarily one with the etheric substance of the planet. The area around the solar plexus … is sensitive to the impact of etheric energy, for this area in the etheric body is in direct "touch" with the astral body, the feeling body.
Also, close to the solar plexus is found that centre near the spleen which is the direct instrument for the entrance of prana into the human mechanism. … This instinctual response to etheric contact was the mode of communication in [ancient] times, and took the place of thought and of speech … concerned primarily with … self-preservation and self-reproduction.
A higher form of this instinctual telepathy has been preserved for us in the expression we so frequently use, "I have a feeling that...," and allied phrases. These are more definitely astral in their implications and work through the astral substance, using the solar plexus area as a sensitive plate for impact and impression.
… It is this process when, for instance, some mother "feels" that some danger threatens her child, or that some happening is taking place in connection with her child. She is thus sometimes enabled to send, by the medium of instinctual love, a most definite warning. The solar plexus is involved where the recipient is concerned; the area around the diaphragm is involved where the communicator is concerned.
2. … we have today a mixture of instinctual telepathy and the beginning of mental telepathy.
This manifests, however, very seldom, and then only in the educated classes. With the masses, instinctual telepathy is still the mode of contact.
The throat centre is primarily involved where mental telepathy is concerned; there is also sometimes a little heart activity and always a measure of solar plexus reaction. Hence our problem. Frequently the communicator will send a message via the throat centre, and the recipient will still use the solar plexus. This is the most frequent method, and I would ask you to remember this. The sending out of a message may involve, and frequently does in connection with disciples, the throat centre, but the recipient will probably use the solar plexus centre.
The throat centre is the centre, par excellence, or the medium, of all creative work. The heart and the throat, however, must eventually be used in synthesis …
3. Intuitional telepathy is one of the developments upon the Path of Discipleship.
It is one of the fruits of true meditation. The area involved is the head and throat, and the three centres which will be rendered active in the process are the head centre, which is receptive to impression from higher sources, and the ajna centre which is the recipient of the idealistic intuitional impressions; this ajna centre can then "broadcast" that which is received and recognised, using the throat centre as the creative formulator of thought, and the factor which embodies the sensed or intuited idea.
It will be apparent to you, therefore, how necessary it is to have a better recognition of the activity of the centres, as they are detailed in the Hindu philosophy; and until there is some real understanding of the part the vital body plays as the broadcaster and as the recipient of feelings, thoughts and ideas, there will be little progress made in the right understanding of modes of communication.
… … …
IV. THREE TYPES OF ENERGY INVOLVED
Telepathic inter-relation between the members of a group grows through the medium of a constant attitude of reflective thought and a steadfast love for each other. …
Essentially, energy is active substance. These two types of force are of a vitality, potency and substance so subtle and fine that they can work through and "force into activity" the pranic fluids which constitute the substance of the etheric body …
The telepathic work, therefore, is concerned with three types of energy which demonstrate as forces with the power to motivate:
1. The force of love with its negative quality which
a. Attracts the needed material with which to clothe the idea, the thought or concept to be transmitted; it is also the attractive agency utilised by the recipient. Therefore both transmitter and recipient work with the same agency, but the transmitter uses the love energy of the larger whole whilst the recipient concentrates, upon the transmitter, the love energy of his own nature. …
b. Constitutes the coherent quality which links together the transmitter and the recipient, and which also produces the coherency of that which is transmitted.
… Love (not sentiment) is the clue to successful telepathic work. Therefore love one another with a fresh enthusiasm and devotion; seek to express that love in every possible way …
2. The force of mind.
This is the illuminating energy which "lights the way" of an idea or form to be transmitted and received. Forget not that light is subtle substance. Upon a beam of light can the energy of the mind materialise. This is one of the most important statements made in connection with the science of telepathy.
The success of this is dependent upon the alignment of the bodies of the transmitter and the recipient. The double line of contact must be that of mental energy and brain electrical energy. The magnetic power of love to attract attention, to produce alignment, and to call forth rapport and understanding is not all that is necessary in the new telepathy which will distinguish the new age. There must also be mental development and mental control.
This form is … telepathic rapport and response is a characteristic of the human soul working from mind to mind and from brain to brain. It is literally a state of consciousness which is sufficiently conditioned by the integrated mental person so that he is aware of and inclusive of the mental state and thought processes of another person.
3. The energy of prana, or the etheric force of the vital body.
This energy, by an act of the will and under the pressure of the magnetic power of love, responds to or is receptive to the dual energies mentioned above.
The idea, thoughtform or mental impression which must be recorded in the brain consciousness of the recipient opens a way in the pranic fluids and so controls their activity … that the brain becomes responsive in two ways:
a. It is rendered passive by the impact of the three types of energy, blended and fused into one stream of force.
b. It becomes actively responsive to the idea, impression, thoughtform, symbol, words, etc., which are being swept into the area of its conscious activity.
Let me attempt to reduce the above information to practical simplicity, thus showing how these three types of energy can be used in practical work:
1. By the use of the energy of love in three ways:
a. By sending out love (not sentiment) to your brothers at the time of transmission or reception.
b. By capitalising on the inherent power of love to attract the material or the substance, and thus to "clothe" in the occult sense that which you send out.
c. By sending forth the "clothed" idea, impression, etc., on a stream of love which your brother—alert, receptive and waiting—will attract to himself by the means of his conscious love for you.
2. By the use of mental energy through the effort to polarise yourself upon the mental levels of consciousness.
By a definite act of the will you lift your consciousness onto the mental plane and hold it there. This action is a reflection upon a lower plane, and in the brain consciousness, of the mind's ability to hold itself in the light. The success of all telepathic work you do, as a group or as individuals, will be dependent upon your capacity to "hold yourselves steady in the light" mentally. The difference is that this time you do it for the purpose of the planned work, and attempt to hold the mind steady in the light of the group, or in each other's light, and not so specifically in the light of your own soul.
3. By the conscious organised use of the energy of the etheric ajna centre, and sometimes of the head centre, when receiving, and of the throat centre, when transmitting.
This swings etheric force into activity when engaged in telepathic work, but entails its conscious subordination to the power of the other two energies.
Practically, you will observe that this involves on the part of the disciple the power to do three things at once … and upon active outgoing energy when you are occupied with the task of transmission, and with active receptivity when you are functioning as a receiver.
I would like to point out that successful telepathic work is dependent upon the following factors:
First, that there are no barriers existing between the receiver and the broadcaster. Such barriers would be lack of love or of sympathy, criticism and suspicion.
Secondly, that the broadcaster is mainly occupied with the clarity of his symbol, with the word or thought, and not with the receiver. A quick glance toward the receiver, a momentary sending forth of love and understanding is sufficient to set up the rapport, and then attention must be paid to the clarity of the symbol.
Thirdly, let the receivers think with love and affection of the broadcaster for a minute or two. Then let them forget the personality. A thread of energy, linking receiver and broadcaster, has been established and exists. Then forget it.
Fourthly, let the receivers work with detachment. Most receivers are so anxious to receive correctly that through their very intensity they counteract their own efforts. A casual and "don't care" spirit and a close attentiveness to the inner "picturing faculty" will net better results than any violent and strong desire and effort to see the symbol and to contact the mind of the sender. … Therefore a quiet spirit and well regulated thoughts will aid much, and the cultivation of that dispassion which desires nothing for the separated self ...
The need of sensitive receivers is great. Train yourselves. Forget yourselves and your own petty little affairs—so petty and unimportant when viewed in relation to the momentous issues of the present time. Keep an attentive ear to the voices which issue forth from the world of spiritual Being, and love each other with loyalty and steadfastness.
V. THE GROWTH OF TELEPATHIC RAPPORT
continued in subsequent document ...
Meanwhile, [VSK here] Before moving into the next Section and “the subject of united group telepathic work …” I’m including these paragraphs for motivational review – and because of possible relevance to the work on the planetary centres which is under our consideration …
from Section XII, p. 83:
XII. Relation of the Human to the Hierarchical Center
… The whole planetary system is in reality a vast interlocking, interdependent and interrelated complexity of vehicles communicating or responsive to communication.
The moment that this interrelated and communicating system is studied from the angle of relationships, then the processes of evolution and the goal of the spirit of man (which is in reality the Spirit of the planetary Logos) become of vital and supreme importance …
Humanity is, however, outstripping telepathic development in the rapid responsiveness of entire groups, and of human beings en masse, to group impression and to group impartation of ideas. The sudden response of groups and nations to mass ideologies has been both unexpected and difficult to handle wisely and constructively. It was not anticipated by either Shamballa or the Hierarchy that mass impression would develop more quickly than that of individual sensitivity, but it has happened that way.
The individual within a group and working within a group is far  more correctly sensitive than is the man struggling alone to render himself sensitive to impression.
… The moment, however, that man tries to be telepathic, he is immediately swept into a vortex of abstract energies which condition him for spiritual impression far more than they fit him for personal relationships telepathically established.
This surprising development freed the supervising Masters for some of Their plans and led Them to abandon the training of individual disciples in telepathic rapport and to recognize the opportunity to train and develop invocative groups. Instead of working in lower mental substance with picked aspirants, They changed the medium of contact to that of the soul and launched the relatively new Science of Invocation and Evocation. The lower mind then became simply an interpreter of impressions with the emphasis upon the group mind, the group purpose and the group will. This developing system of trained invocatives made the mind a positive acting factor and tuned out all tendency to negativity.
This hierarchical decision then necessarily led to the instituting of the processes of group initiation, thus shifting the area of training and the whole of the teaching process and of preparation for initiation on to higher levels. …
It might be said, therefore, that the four requirements which are needed to aid the disciple to meet the demands of  the initiatory process are "the ability to be impressed, the capacity accurately to register the impression, the power to record what has been given, and then to give it word forms in the mind consciousness." … My earlier statement a few pages back …
“... In these present instructions I am dealing with group possibilities, with groups which can be trained to record, register and be impressed by the Hierarchy. Such a group can be in the position of being able to invoke the Hierarchy with power if it so choose. …
… If a major world test were to be made, those receptive to impression would be found to fall into two groups: 
1.Those possessing unconscious receptivity to telepathic impression. They at present constitute a majority wherein the impression is received via the solar plexus, and the thought-forms thus generated are dispatched from the throat center of the one who is the impressing agent.
2.Those who are developing or have developed a conscious receptivity wherein the impression is, first of all, received by the mind and then imparted to and registered by the brain. The one who is the impressing agent in this case works via the center between the eyebrows, the ajna center.
… Never does the geometrical pattern, the numerical progression or the Law of Correspondences break down in the understanding of the purpose and the plans of the planetary Logos …
Nevertheless, there is on man's part a steadily growing responsiveness to an expanding environment, as for instance man's recognition of the distinction between nationalism and internationalism. This responsiveness is naturally conditioned by human free will, effective peculiarly in the timing process. … This integration into his environment, his absorption of its atmosphere and his potency in progression are all related to the fact that he is created to receive impression and that he possesses a mechanism of response to all  the facets of the divine expression in manifestation. It is for that reason that the truly illumined man and all who have taken the three highest initiations are always referred to as "the diamond soled"; they, in their totality constitute the "jewel in the lotus" - that twelve-petalled lotus which is the symbol and expression of the potency of the planetary Logos.
… The Science of Impression is in reality the technique whereby Humanity has been taught by the Spiritual Hierarchy from the moment of its first appearance upon Earth; it is the technique which all disciples have to learn … it is also the sublime art which every Master practices on inspiration from Shamballa; it is a technique which is implemented by the Will, and its consummation is the complete assimilation of the "little wills of men" into the divine Purpose; it is the acceptance on their part of the promotion of that Purpose through right impression on all forms of life at any particular point of evolution. Disciples then become agents of the divine will and are entrusted with the direction of energies, with the plan and with the secrets and the inspiration which are hidden in the Mind of God.
… This power to use the ray energies to attract and impress the constantly expanding revelation is the clue to all the work going forward today, and to this activity we give the name of the Science of Impression. It involves the constant opening up of a new environment … At that point he becomes capable of being more sensitive to a higher range of impression and – at the same time – he himself begins to learn the art of impressing the minds of others, to master the understanding of the level from which he works as an impressing agent, and to know who are the sons of men he can impress. He has to master also the secondary lesson of adapting his environment in such a manner that he can impress others and the impression can find its way through his environing circumstances and into the usually inattentive minds for whom he feels a responsibility.
This he does through a growing knowledge of himself and through learning the art of registering. The clearer and the more deeply apprehending is his capacity to register the impression to which he is subjected and to which he is sensitive, the more easily will he reach those he must aid towards a wider and deeper insight. …
The first step then is the fact of recording and of reducing into correct and available concepts, ideas and thought-forms, that which he has registered.
This marks the first stage in his truly occult service, and to this new type of service he will be increasingly dedicated.
From the reservoir of thought-substance he learns to project those forms, those magnetic ideas, which will invoke the attention of those he seeks to help; this is called the stage of resultant invocation.
It is an invocative act, an invocative way of living, which will find its way into the minds of men, and which will call forth or evoke from them a response and a widening consciousness; the processes of spiritual impression are thereby set up; it is also an invocation - on the part of the disciple - for further and greater impression and inspiration in order to increase his ability to serve.