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Chapter 5
Higher Consciousness
THE transmuted gold of the spiritual alchemist is nothing less than a complete
spiritual body, built by proper states of consciousness toward the various
experiences of life. These experiences are the ores, or unpurified metals. To build a
perfect spiritual body, in which the soul can function immortally, all seven types of
metals, or experiences must be collected. They must be thoroughly purified by
discarding the dross of appearances and retaining for use only the effect upon the
character. Then they are properly fluxed, one against another, and each treated with
an adequate heat for the reverberatory furnace of their relation to cosmic welfare. In
all these processes the mental attitude toward the things which happen is the
important factor, and if at each state it is properly maintained, there results a body
imperishable, a form of spiritual gold.
Because, therefore, this factor of consciousness is so all- essential in the work of the
spiritual alchemist, it warrants a discussion of its various details.
Intelligence, Substance, Motion
--At start we must get rid of the notion that inanimate objects are wholly devoid of
consciousness. Consciousness is everywhere present in degree, as are also motion
and substance. The universe consists of this trinity, and where all three are not
present there is no existence. Wherever there is substance there is also motion, in
fact, a last analysis shows that a given substance is a particular kind of motion. A
solid has one kind of molecular motion, a liquid has another molecular motion, and a
gas has still a third molecular motion. Also the atoms within the molecules of one
type of matter have motions that differ from those of atoms of a different type of
matter; and the electrons and protons of one kind of atom move relative to each other
in different combinations than do the electrons and protons in another kind of atom.
Going still further, astral substance in one kind of motion is a particular kind of
thought; in another kind of motion it gives the appearance of an object. Spiritual
substance, also, has motion, and may through its motion express either thought, or
such conditions as are more related to form.
Yet form itself, whether expressed in spiritual substance, in astral substance, or in
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dense matter, also has some intelligence. That is, unless intelligence is inherent in
substance it springs from nothing. But as we have had no experience of anything
springing into existence from nothing we can not accept this. The other alternative is
that intelligence inheres in substance and expresses itself only when substance
moves in a particular way, just as form is such a particular movement of substance.
But after all, while one particular form or one particular type of intelligence
expresses substance moving in some particular way, we have had no experience of
substance without some kind of form, and experiments carried out by scientific men
warrant us in inferring that there is intelligence in some degree present also.
Bearing this out, the experiments of Professor Bose prove that minerals are alive and
may be poisoned, or put to sleep, or even killed. A degree of intelligence below the
mineral may be too faint for us to discern at present. But just as finer instruments have
detected substances smaller than the atom, so finer instruments have detected
intelligence in some degree in substances long considered non-intelligent. At present
the instruments of material science are not delicate enough to detect substances finer
than field or intelligences simpler than those of the mineral. Yet this does not indicate
that the limit of refinement of substance or simplification of intelligence has been
reached. It merely indicates the present boundary of man's skill in making
instruments of great delicacy.
We are unable to say of something that this is motion and not substance; or of
something else that this is substance and not motion; for we have no experience of the
two apart. Likewise, while the intelligence of a thing may be more difficult to
discover, such investigations as have been made show that as more delicate
apparatus is devised the frontier of intelligence recedes. That which was once
considered dead matter now is shown to exhibit all the responses of life. Where does
intelligence start, and where does it leave off? The line of demarcation can not be
pointed out. However obscure it may appear, our experience indicates that some
degree of intelligence is present in all substance; for given the right conditions it
expresses itself.
If we observe nature closely we are soon convinced of an orderly procession of
changes that lead by gradual steps to more complex expressions of life and mentality.
Such a system could not result by chance. And we can trace intelligence from such
cosmic expression down to a feather-edge, even as we can trace the substance of the
universe to atoms, and these to positrons and electrons sheared out of field. Here we
lose sight of matter, nor do we perceive it again until its electrical components join
out in abysmal space and give rise to the cosmic ray. Yet before so joining to produce
the star-dust of which the material universe is composed, our logic convinces us there
was form and motion of some kind. Thus also, experiments with psychical
phenomena must soon convince any open-minded investigator that there is some
degree of intelligence always ready to express itself whenever there is an organism
capable of permitting such expression.
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Chemical Consciousness
--This intelligence displays itself through the activities of the minerals of which the
earth is composed. They possess a discernable discrimination. Their chemical
changes are not fortuitous, but governed by the same broad law that determines the
alliances between members of the human race. Man is drawn to certain companions,
and repelled from others. The atoms of matter exhibit similar preferences. And as a
man, when he meets someone toward whom there is an unusually vigorous
attraction, forsakes previous companions to join forces with the new ardor, so also
does an atom forsake the group to which it has been attached and form a more durable
partnership with another atom that especially entices it.
Invariably, man's actions are in the direction of his strongest desires. These desires in
man are more complex than those of an atom; but an atom also moves in response to
the same general law, and its actions are always in the direction of the strongest
attraction. Man has had wide experience with different forms and conditions of life
through which he has developed an extensive range of consciousness; and he has a
brain, or specialized instrument, through which he can express his consciousness,
utilizing mental pictures and symbols as thought. The atom has had very limited
experience, and it possesses no specialized instrument of consciousness. Such
consciousness as it has is retained as modes of motion, resulting from its experiences,
in the astral substance associated with it. Nevertheless, its movements, such as they
are, result from the feeling, which in higher life we call pleasure and pain, that is
experienced when in proximity to various other atoms.
This consciousness of attraction and repulsion felt by atoms induces them to join in
the formation of molecules. Then a colony of molecules may combine in a particular
way to form the body through which an impersonal soul that has graduated from the
stages of atomic consciousness can express itself. Such a colony dominated by a
sovereign intelligence is called a crystal.
Crystals that are composed of a given kind of molecules tend always to assume the
same shape. Just as some men are small and some are large, yet retain the human
outline, so also crystals of a certain mineral may be small or large, but tend ever to the
same form. Each is occupied by an impersonal soul with a consciousness far more
extensive than that of an atom. Such a soul, if enough evolved through the mineral
kingdom to do so, may attract about itself a body of singular brilliancy. This we call a
gem.
The subjective intelligence of a gem has considerable scope; and is sensitive enough
to be keenly alive to the personal magnetism of a person wearing it,to astral currents
from the planets, and to approaching conditions that it sense from the astral plane
before they manifest externally. Gems are not the only talismans, and the influence of
some talismans is due rather to strong vibratory rates that they emanate, rather than to
sensitive intelligence. Yet such a gem, when worn by a person whose most
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harmonious vibratory rates are of the same frequency as the vibratory rates of the
gem, not only strengthens the power of the person to attract good fortune, but
perceiving by its interior sensitiveness the approach of conditions beneficial or the
reverse, it is able to impress the wearer to take actions that are of the utmost benefit. It
thus exercises a power as a talismanic gem.
The possibilities of mineral life are restricted, but we find very definite things that
there mst be learned. Assimilation and secretion as found in organic life depend upon
the power of discrimination as exercised by atoms. This selective action, which is
commonly recognized in chemical changes and in the formative processes of
crystallization, is the chief manifestation of life and intelligence in the mineral realm.
And because of its importance to higher life, we are safe in saying the primary
function of life in the mineral kingdom is to confer that form of intelligence known as
SELECTIVITY.
Now the astral brain of man has a scope of consciousness of great breadth, and it is
possible to raise or lower its frequencies to that it enters into rapport with the astral
consciousness of other entities. When a point of contact is established between the
entity and man's astral brain, the rates of motion in the consciousness of the entity
communicate themselves to man and he becomes aware of such consciousness as is
possessed by the entity. This awareness will commonly be entirely subjective, but
through practice it can be brought up into the region of full objective consciousness.
The proper rapport, or contact, is formed by steadily focusing the attention upon the
object, and through the imagination entering into its life and form. By the exercise of
keen sensitiveness one can then become objectively aware of the feelings and
experiences of the entity then contacted.
In this manner it is possible to select a gem or mineral and by focusing the attention
on it to establish a point of contact. Of course it is necessary to shut out all thoughts
and impressions except those that are received from the mineral. But when
successful there will be an awareness of the full consciousness of the mineral, its
attraction and repulsions will be felt, and it is possible to trace its history back
through eons of time. This is called experiencing mineral consciousness.
Next above the mineral realm we have the vegetable kingdom . When the
experiences in the mineral kingdom have been sufficiently extensive to organize an
astral body of ample complexity the impersonal soul builds about itself a simple cell.
Then, as the result of experiences in single cell life, is astral organization becomes
still better organized, each experience adding its energy to the astral form, until it is
capable of dominating a whole colony of cells. Thus to its own consciousness, in a
measure it adds the consciousness of every atom, molecule, and cell of what is now a
multi-celled plant. By virtue of the more highly organized activity of its astral form it
exercises a controlling power over them, and has a distinct kind of consciousness not
possessed by minerals.
This consciousness does not confine itself to feelings of attraction and repulsion,
pleasure and pain, but extends itself to a type of perception which expresses itself as
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intelligent ability to adapt itself to changing environment. Thus a growing plant often
deviates markedly from its common form and shape to be able to get the proper
amount of sunlight. Nor do the tendrils of a vine reach out blindly in all directions,
but possess a consciousness of the direction in which there is a crevice in which they
can secure a firm hold; and they reach to the crevice instead of in the opposite
direction. Some insectivorous varieties such as the sundew, butterwort and
pitcher-plant even devise means to ensnare insects and prey upon them displaying an
acute degree of sensitiveness and a certain subjective cunning to accomplish their
ends. This quality of sensing the conditions present in the environment is the chief
manifestation of intelligence in the vegetable world. Because of its importance in
still higher forms of life we are warranted in the belief that the primary function of
life in the vegetable kingdom is to develop that form of intelligence known as
SENSITIVENESS.
As with a mineral, also with a plant, it is possible to direct the attention fixedly upon it
and through pantomime, or imagining to be in its place, to enter into full possession
of its subjective life and consciousness. All the various moods felt by the plant may
be felt, and these moods may become so impressive that as they rise from the astral
brain into objective consciousness they translate themselves by means of definite
words and sentences as if the vegetable actually talked in the accustomed language of
the human race. Of course, the speech really arises from the habit of the person's
unconscious mind to express its feeling in thoughts. This is called experiencing
organic consciousness.
Such ability to enter into rapport with cell-life has a still more practical application in
diagnosing the conditions that exist within the human body. Through the same
method it is possible to form a point of contact with the consciousness of certain cells,
or enter into the consciousness of a particular organ of the human form. Such
experiments are more easily performed upon oneself, although the same method may
be employed to learn the conditions affecting another. Through the powers of the
imagination, visualizing identity with the part, the vibratory rates are raised or
lowered until there is felt that particular sympathetic relation that permits the feelings
of the organ or part to be received by the astral brain and raised into objective
cognition.
By entering into the consciousness of the various organs, the seats of physical
inharmony quickly becomes painfully apparent. Often this inharmony is really the
call of the cell-life in some particular region for some requisite element, or for the
elimination of superfluous material. The desires of the cell-life, in such instances,
indicate what is required to establish normal condition. The consciousness not only
feels what is wrong, but prescribes the proper remedy. This is called CHEMICAL
CONSCIOUSNESS.
Such a state of higher consciousness is not difficult to cultivate to a stage of great
utility. Only the trained occultist, to be sure, is able to analyze conditions in detail;
but almost anyone with a little practice can learn just what kind of food the system
requires at a given time. But to do this, the habit of eating only certain foods at certain
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times must be discontinued. Hunger should actually be felt before eating. Then, for a
few minutes, the body should be relaxed and the mind centered inwardly with the
expectation that the astral brain will find out just what elements the system requires
and what foods will supply them. Then the mind should be permitted to meander
dreamily over various articles of diet; and those may confidently be selected toward
which there is a strong spontaneous attraction arising from the inner consciousness.
In this manner it is not difficult to learn to select such foods as will supply the very
elements the system requires for perfect health. If the system requires acids, the
desire for certainly fruits will arise from the astral brain into the consciousness, and if
the system requires alkali or protein there will be an inclination, or hunger for such
articles of diet as contain it.
The consciousness of the cell-life or the needs of a given organ is perceived by the
astral brain in proportion as its attention is centered on it; but the astral brain may not
be able to impart more of this consciousness to the physical brain than merely
impress it with the desire for the particular food. More detailed perceptions require
greater training. But when the food enters the thoughts there is felt an assurance that it
is the correct one.
If the astral brain is thus relied upon to furnish information, it soon develops the
ability to direct the attention to the proper things. Even animals, as is well known, in
the natural state, obeying their inner impressions, have the ability to search out
remedies for many of their ailments. But if, instead of following such impressions,
people yield to artificial desires for food and drink these artificial desires gain
dominion over those arising from the more interior consciousness and there is a
conflict of impressions. Then, as ever, action follows the strongest desires. Yet it is
not difficult for most people to acquire chemical consciousness to a very useful
degree if they will but follow their inner impressions rather than the demands of
habit, artificial pleasures, and convention.
Vegetative Consciousness
--As is well known, cut flowers when worn by some persons keep their vitality for a
long time, but when worn by others they fade and almost immediately die. Such
sensitiveness is also shown by pearls, which lose their luster when worn by people
whose magnetism is unsympathetic to them. Because of this, those who possess
valuable pearls often make it a practice periodically to turn them over to be worn by
another whose temperament is especially harmonious to them. This keeps them
alive, and restores their original brilliance.
Growing plants and flowers also thrive under the care of persons of certain
temperaments. The aura of such persons imparts life-giving strength to them, while
the same treatment given by a person of the opposite magnetic temperament causes
them to wither and die. Thus it is that some people can transplant vegetables with
very little care as to weather conditions; and if the plant shows signs of pining they
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talk to it kindly, telling it to brace up, and it responds and immediately begins to
thrive. Yet others, taking every precaution and care, find it difficult to get plants to
grow.
Vegetation is not only sympathetic to auric emanations, but readily responds to the
suggestions of those in vibratory sympathy with it. A plant does not reason about the
matter, but through the rapport established with it, feels the urge, and grows as this
internal feeling prompts. Luther Burbank made constant application of this method
in the improvement of plants; and such suggestions systematically applied by other
gardeners who have the sympathy of their plants, are able to bring about pronounced
changes in the nature and form of growing vegetation.
People also thrive more when in association with those of harmonious magnetic
temperament. Some are more sensitive than others to such influences, and detect the
quality and many salient facts about both people and objects merely through being
brought within the sphere of their auras. This sensitiveness may be cultivated to a
point of high accuracy and real utility by making it a practice to analyze the first
impressions felt when for the first time in the presence of objects or persons, and later
checking the accuracy of these impressions. Because sensitiveness to environmental
conditions is first highly developed in the vegetable kingdom, the exercise of this
ability to sense facts about things from their auras is called VEGETATIVE
CONSCIOUSNESS.
Psychic Consciousness
--In this vegetative consciousness the medium that carries the vibrations is
electromagnetism, and as a rule such impressions are obtained only when within
close physical proximity to the object. That is, the impressions are received chiefly
from its electromagnetic body. But by carrying the experiments to a finer degree of
sensitiveness the impressions perceived are those from the astral form of the person
or thing. In this case distance plays no considerable part; for if the conditions of
rapport are present between the astral bodies, or if the senses of the astral form are
properly focused, accurate impressions may be received from a thousand miles as
easily as from a few feet. Furthermore, the impressions are not confined to beings of
the physical plane, but extend to entities that have no material form, but exist solely
on the astral plane of life. In all such cases the awareness is first present in the astral
brain, from whence, through the medium of electromagnetic motions, it is raised into
the region of objective consciousness. The exercise of this ability to sense the quality
and presence of astral beings is called PSYCHIC CONSCIOUSNESS.
Simple Consciousness
--The range of consciousness common to plants is greatly extended in animals.
Animals are more conscious of their bodies, and in more or less degree have the
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ability to adapt means to an end. The higher forms of animals are just as aware of their
bodies and the objects of their environment as is man. They see, hear, feel, taste and
smell much as man does. They also possibly reason to a limited extent. A dog or a
horse seems to learn some things through observation. But the most pronounced
characteristic of animal life is INSTINCT.
A carrier pigeon will wing its way home straightway from an immense distance with
no perceptible guides as to the direction in which it should fly. A horse will find its
way in a storm under conditions that render the five senses valueless, or on a desert
will find water that baffles the efforts of man to locate. The oriole builds a hanging
nest of woven fabric. The bee builds a cell so economically perfect that an error in
higher mathematical tables was discovered through calculating the angle of a cell
that would theoretical require the least material and finding that this theoretical angle
was not exactly that used by the bee. The great German mathematician, Koenig,
found the bee slightly wrong. But an eminent Scotch mathematician, MacLauren,
working with different tables at a later date found the bee exactly right. Carrying his
investigation further, he found that the work of Koenig was correct, but that the tables
available to Koenig, which were commonly used in higher mathematical work, were
imperfect. Thus did the bee correct the table of logarithms.
Bears and badgers fatten in the autumn and then self-hypnotize themselves and
spend the long winter months, while food is scarce, in trance-like sleep. Waterfowl
seek the reaches of the Arctic seas to rear their broods in summer, then wing their way
unerringly to warmer climes at the approach of winter. Trackless unchartered
regions are crossed, they fly much at night, and young birds often precede their
parents, yet they do not lose their way.
The exercise of such instinct is made possible through the raising into objective
consciousness of information perceived by the astral brain. The perceptive powers of
the astral form have a much vaster range than those of the physical, and thus become
a more competent guide to action. In the case of animals, because reason has not been
developed, the exercise of instinct is largely confined to such conditions as have
habitually confronted the race. Thus, because of its wider perceptive powers, under
usual conditions instinct is more efficient than the reason of man. But, because the
astral brain has had little experience meeting other than certain kinds of problems,
when unusual problems are presented the instinct of the animal often leads it astray.
In spite of the range of its perceptions, the habitual method of meeting conditions is
too strong to be radically changed.
Men also receive the promptings of their astral brains. But their instincts need not be
so restricted by habit as those of the animals, because man has become accustomed to
using reason to adapt himself to new and strange conditions. The more vast scope of
information afforded by the perceptions of the astral brain gives this astral brain
superior material for a process analogous to reasoning. Usually man's instincts are
atrophied, but they may be cultivated to a high degree of usefulness and accuracy by
listening to their promptings. Properly cultivated they are a better guide to action
than reason. Because they are frequently accompanied by thought processes which
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may intrude into the objective mind in the form of words and sentences, in man
instinct is often called THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE. It is the most obvious factor
associated with SIMPLE CONSCIOUSNESS.
It is also possible for man to place himself in rapport with some animal. In this state
there is a temporary blending of the identities, and the astral form of the animal
imparts it rates of motion to the astral form of the man in such a way that he
experiences all its feelings, desires and instincts. He is conscious of its limbs and
organs just as if, for the time being, they were his own.
When such a rapport is established with either a plant or an animal it is also possible,
through the power of the imagination, to organize lines of electromagnetic
communication through which the vital strength may be drawn. In this manner the
physical vitality, called vegetable magnetism or animal magnetism, may be obtained
from other forms of life. Hermits and recluses unconsciously often draw thus upon
the life forms by which they are surrounded so that they require almost no food to
live. People of abnormal temperaments also sometimes thus drain the vitality from
other people, usually being unconscious of the process, except that they feel so much
better after being in the society of others. The yogis understand this process and make
use of it to draw electromagnetic energy from plants and trees, to be converted into
higher modes of motion, which enable them to do the most amazing things.
Animals have a certain capacity for devising the means to attain an end, but in general
seem incapable of considering themselves as distinct creatures unique from the rest
of the universe. It would seem that they are unable to consider their own mental states
as objects to be thought about; nor do they commonly make use of conceptions.
Conceptions imply the use of symbols as counters of thought. The impressions
animals receive no doubt are superimposed, and there is little doubt but that they
recognize similar attributes in all trees, in all stones, and in all other animals. But they
do not give this quality an abstract name and mentally refer to it by this collective
symbol. The ability to do this, to analyze one's own mental processes, and to
communicate the results of such introspection by means of language, indicate the
presence of self-consciousness. Because all normal men possess this ability, we are
safe in assuming that the chief function of life in the human form is to confer
SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS.
Rational Consciousness
--Because they have self-consciousness, and thus the power to reason, most persons
permit the other forms of consciousness to atrophy. They so thoroughly rely upon the
reports of the five physical senses, that they neither heed nor recognize the reports of
the various psychic senses. They so completely rely upon the bringing together in
objective consciousness of the reports of the physical senses that they take no
cognizance of the bringing together of these reports in a more perfect mental process
by the astral brain. Already this process has been mentioned in relation to instinct and
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the voice of the silence. It is the instinct of animals reinforced by the reason of man;
but this reasoning draws its information from both planes of life, and because it takes
place in the astral brain its processes are almost instantaneous. Such reasoning
carried out by the astral brain and then brought up into the region of objective
consciousness is a surer guide to action than the limited perceptions and ponderous
process of the physical brain. It is called INTUITION.
Carrying intuition into the realms of the soul and ego, those religiously inclined often
become enthused with the idea that they are saved. This inward conviction is so
strongly realized that henceforth they can not doubt for a single instant that they are
immortal. The experience usually follows deep meditation upon such matters
accompanied by a state of mind that permits the astral brain to impart its convictions
to the physical consciousness.
More often than not this deep unalterable conviction of immortality is covered by a
cloak of sacerdotal rubbish. Whatever the religion of the individual, it has usually
been so thoroughly impressed upon his astral brain by suggestions during childhood
that all information coming from the inner plane is colored and warped by it. The
ideas impressed upon the astral brain by early religious training stand as censors at
the gate of his objective consciousness, and will only permit such perceptions and
knowledge to pass as clothe themselves in the garments of these earlier convictions.
But underneath all this there is a very sound reality. By turning the attention
resolutely to the soul and ego, shutting out the sensations and thoughts of the external
world, it is possible to train the intuition upon these things and gain knowledge of the
preceding, and the after, life. The intuition, reasoning from an infinitely broader field
of perceptions of both external and internal conditions, and being more efficient in its
processes than conscious reasoning, is able, unless too greatly hampered by the
power of images received in early religious training, to report accurately upon the
truth of things.
The truth is realized within that the spirit is eternal and that the soul is a real and
immortal entity. The conviction is so certain that not a grain of external evidence is
required. In fact, the trained intuition can be relied upon in this as in other things; for
if always whenever the intuition is active its reports and conclusions have proved on
investigation to be true, we have every inducement to trust it also in this most
important thing. This is not a very difficult state of consciousness to attain, and when
once felt, and the assurance of the reality comes flooding in upon the soul, there is
never afterwards any doubt concerning life after death or of the soul's perpetual
progression. Because this state of consciousness comes only to rational beings, the
inward realization and overwhelming conviction of the eternal nature of the spirit
and the reality and immortality of the soul are called RATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS.
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Cosmic Consciousness
--Even as man is a conscious being, so also is the universe. It is not an automaton, but
an organization guided by intelligence.
It is true that each cell in man's body has a consciousness all its own. So also the
various entities comprising the cells, as it were, of the cosmos have an individual
consciousness. But man's consciousness is not merely the collective consciousness
of the cells comprising his body. On the other hand, these cells have been collected
into a complex organism so that man can express the consciousness which is his soul.
And we may be sure, likewise, that the soul of the universe is not merely a collection
of all the separate individual souls of its parts, but that all these separate souls are
organized into the vast and complex organism, a corner only of which we can see, to
permit the expression of that deific consciousness which we call God.
There is, however, a relation between the consciousness of a cell in his body and the
consciousness of a man, through which he influences the conduct of the cell. This
interrelation by which man's astral intelligence guides the cell-life in the various
processes and functions of the body is usually below the threshold of objective
consciousness. Nevertheless, as is demonstrated by the effect of suggestion and
emotion on these functions, the activities of assimilation, circulation, nutrition and
secretion are thus directed by the unconscious mind.
Furthermore, there is also an interchange of consciousness between certain cells and
organs and other cells and organs, as may be inferred from sympathetic symptoms.
Through this interchange of consciousness a pressure or inflammation in one part of
the body may set up a disturbance or inflammation in another and distant part of the
body to which sympathetically related. Or, under more severe conditions, the whole
body may respond adversely to a discord arising from the discomfort of a single
organ.
Now let us consider man in relation to the cosmic whole. He is one particular kind of
cell-life in the body of Deity. Other entities are cells of a different kind, or if still more
complex in function, like our solar system, they may be deemed organs in the
anatomy of the Cosmic Man.
Each cell, however, in the body of man has its own particular work to perform. No
other cell can perform its function quite as well as it can. So, likewise, each person
has some particular work in the cosmic scheme of things to do, and he can carry out
this activity to better advantage than can any other soul. To be sure he is being
educated for the performance of this special function, and every experience he has
ever had has been attracted to him as an essential and needed part of this education.
Now no single step in this process of education advances the soul more than that in
which it becomes aware of its proper relation to other entities, and aware of its real
work in cosmic construction. This step may be taken by establishing a rapport with
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universal life and consciousness.
It has already been explained how, by raising or lowering the vibratory rates through
using the imagination to identify oneself with another entity, it is possible to enter
into the consciousness of a mineral, a plant, or an animal. One may also, by a similar
process, enter into the collective consciousness of an audience. This is what the
inspirational speaker does. He stands before an audience, places himself in
sympathetic vibration with it, and then gives back to the people not merely the
thoughts of their conscious minds, but also the ideas held by their astral brains.
Because he collects, in one consciousness, facts and conclusions drawn from many
minds, he is sometimes able to give them facts and ideas not one of them had been
aware of before. So too, in times of national stress, people in general, as well as those
psychic, unwittingly enter somewhat into the wider consciousness of the nation, and
feel the same things and think the same thoughts, as others from whom distantly
separated. And this same principle of entering into the collective consciousness of a
group, extended to the whole group of intelligences embraced in the universe,
enables one to enter into the consciousness of the entities comprising the separate
parts of the cosmos.
Such a rapport is usually attained through holding the thought, My Soul is One with
the Universe.
This thought, if held persistently under deep concentration, and with
the imagination used to "feel" the universal consciousness, leads the soul to the
realization of its oneness with all other atoms of life, enables it to discern its work in
the universal plan, and reveals to it many fundamental truths regarding the operation
of nature's laws. These experiences are usually of very short duration and
accompanied by an ecstatic state in which there is a feeling of great joy, happiness,
peace, and contentment, for which reason it is often spoken of as the peace that
passeth understanding.
Plotius, speaking of this higher consciousness said: "Knowledge has three degrees;
opinion, science, illumination. The means of instrument of the first is sense; of the
second dialectic; of the third intuition. To the last I subordinate reason. It is absolute
knowledge founded on the identity of the mind knowing with the object known."
Such consciousness is formed through the astral brain of man entering into a
sympathetic relation with the collective astral consciousness of all other entities.
This state which brings to man the realization of the soul's oneness with the universe,
and also the realization of the divine origin of the ego, is called COSMIC
CONSCIOUSNESS.
Divine Consciousness
--Consciousness, however, is not limited in its extent to physical and astral planes.
Thought organizations of the astral plane may be raised in vibratory rate sufficiently
to transmit their energy to, and persist in, spiritual substance. The circumstances
under which they do this have been thoroughly discussed in the preceding chapters of
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this course. Furthermore, if these thought organizations are to form the mentality of a
soul functioning on the spiritual plane, they must attract about themselves a suitable
body of spiritual substance. To gain the experiences of life in proper quantity and
proportion, to purify, flux and transmute them, and thus build up an immortal
spiritual body in which the consciousness can dwell and function, is the object of
spiritual alchemy.
When thus the consciousness has been extended in range to embrace entities and
thoughts existing on the spiritual plane there is a still more vast field of information
and source of energy available to the soul. Such a spiritual source of information and
such spiritual energy is only accessible to those of the highest true spirituality; for
others have not yet advanced far enough in spiritual alchemy to have spiritual forms
from which to draw. They as yet have only astral bodies, or only fragments of
spiritual bodies built up; and will complete the building during their residence on the
astral plane after physical death. But the most advanced of the race, although they
may never have heard of spiritual alchemy, have nevertheless practiced it, and have
well organized spiritual bodies. And to a certain extent they are able to bring the
perceptions, energies, and consciousness of the spiritual plane of life, through the
medium of astral vibrations, into the region of objective consciousness. This results
in ILLUMINATION. It is sometimes called CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS, but a
more precise term is DIVINE CONSCIOUSNESS.
History records many instances of those who have attained this highest of all states of
consciousness attainable by embodied man. Among them may be mentioned:
Apollonius Tyanaeus, Guatama Buddha, Dante, Walt Whitman, Mohammed,
Francis Bacon, Jacob Boehme, Las Casas, Jesus the Nazarene, Paul, Balzac, Wm.
Blake, Edward Carpenter, John Yepes, Socrates, Swedenborg, Thoreau, Emerson
and Plotinus.
Plotinus, who lived in the third century A.D. says of it:
"You ask how we can know the infinite? I answer, not by reason. It is the office of
reason to distinguish and define. The infinite, therefore, can not be ranked among its
objects. You can only apprehend the infinite by a faculty superior to reason, by
entering into a state in which the divine essence is communicated to you. This is
ecstasy. It is the liberation of your mind from its finite consciousness. Like only can
apprehend like; when you thus cease to be finite, you become one with the infinite. In
the reduction of your soul to its simplest self, its divine essence, you realize this
union, this identity.
"But this sublime condition is not of permanent duration. It is only now and then we
can enjoy this elevation (mercifully made possible for us) above the limits of the
body and the world. I myself have but realized it three times as yet, and Porphry
hitherto not once. All that tends to purify and elevate the mind will assist you in this
attainment, and facilitate the approach and recurrence of these happy intervals."
A certain degree of illumination also may accompany cosmic consciousness, and
commonly does so, but it is an illumination springing from the astral rather than from
the spiritual plane. But in the illumination of Divine Consciousness, the ego,
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occupying as it does the spiritual plane of life, is able to communicate the perceptions
and conceptions of the spiritual brain to the brain of the physical body.
Only one who has, though the processes of spiritual alchemy, built up a sound and
vigorous spiritual body can experience Divine Consciousness. This imperishable
form functions on the same plane, and is occupied by, the ego; and because the ego is
at all times connected, by the rays of vitality it sends them, with both its soul-monads,
when either of them has evolved far enough to experience Divine Consciousness, it
can become aware of the existence and whereabouts of the soul-mate. And because
the substance of the spiritual and astral bodies contain, as modes of motion, a
complete record of the experiences of the soul, in this state of consciousness it is
possible to trace backwards and remember any and all of the experiences of the soul
since its first differentiation.
Because the spiritual body is occupied by the ego, when the perceptions and
conceptions of the spiritual brain are raised into the region of objective
consciousness it is common to say that the ego is incarnated in the physical brain. Not
that the consciousness is at all times flooded by the spiritual light in the ecstacy of
intense illumination; but sufficient communication is maintained between the
spiritual brain and the physical brain, so that the activities of life are directed from the
spiritual plane. This perfect and continuous rapport between the soul and the ego is
the object the adept strives to attain.
Because his information is derived from the spiritual plane, where the range of his
perceptions is immensely extended, and where he contacts exalted intelligences of
vast wisdom, he becomes conscious of Divine Intention, and clearly perceives his
own function in the Divine Plan, and just what he can do at any given time to further
cosmic construction.
The spiritual alchemist, therefore, who is able to attain a somewhat continuous
Divine Consciousness, not only has built for himself on the inner plane of life an
immortal spiritual body in which he will consciously function after the passing of
both the physical and the astral body, but he also is so thoroughly in contact with the
spiritual plane of life that his actions are at all times directed by Divine Guidance, and
his efforts at all times are in the direction that provide the greatest benefit for all.