Man, the Microcosm; Part 6
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The subject of Rays is abstruse and complex. With our limited minds and consciousness we can only perceive and comprehend a general picture. Consciousness play a role in unfolding the knowledge we have of ourselves, or rather SELF. It is for this reason that spirituality is equated with the expansion of consciousness, for the more conscious we are, the more divine our expression; the more we apprehend Cosmic purpose, the more responsive we are to sentient contiguity. The inner differences between one kingdom and another is the quality of the consciousness. Those interested in delving more on the subject of Rays ought to study the works of Alice Bailey.
Now we will discuss the interesting subject of consciousness. Consciousness can be considered as a stream of energy limited in its awareness in the lower planes because of the sheaths that it occupies. This limitation causes an illusory, dualistic sense of fragmentation--of separation from the other elements of the Omniverse. This thread of Ariadne, or the stream of consciousness, is never disconnected or severed as the waking consciousness would have us believe. It is in reality a continuum. There is only one divine consciousness functioning at various levels. These levels are:
1) Waking Consciousness--both the objective and subjective aspect
3) Superconsciousness or Christ Consciousness
4) Cosmic Consciousness
In Hindu philosophy they correspond to:
The first two classifications are the consciousness levels of the Personality; superconsciousness is the state of awareness of the Ego. Turiya is the consciousness-state of the Monad--Buddhism call it Adi Buddha or Alaya Vijnana. Sushupti is the Christ-state that we are immediately concerned with. We are all striving to acquire this state by spiritual living. It is the intermediate state prior to the attainment of Cosmic Consciousness. Sushupti is the "dreamless state," the Christ Consciousness that we are told to form within us by St. Paul:
"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you . . . " (Ga 4:19)
To possess Egoic Consciousness is to dwell in the secret place of the Most High. This secret place is Munsalvaesche, or Mt. Salvation in the Grail Mysteries. Initiates of the Huna teachings of Hawaii, the "Kahunas," refer to superconsciousness as, "Aumakua." Expansion of the consciousness causes a parallel development in the brain, its structure changes to conform to the quality of the operating consciousness.
Swapna, the "dream-state," is our subconsciousness. It is the storehouse of unprocessed impulses that we create and record in the waking state, such as our phobias. Our instincts have their source here too. The subconsciousness is also the channel for psychic contact with other intelligences--disembodied and embodied. Impulses of this "Id," as Freud calls it, often emerge in the form of dreams when the waking consciousness is quiescent. Sometimes it erupts in the waking consciousness, and thus we have the interesting phenomenon of hallucinations, which may occur through the auditory or visual faculty. The subconsciousness runs our involuntary functions such as the pulsations of the heart, the peristaltic movement of the bowels, and the pumping of the lungs. The Swapna-state is very receptive to suggestion. It carries-out commands given to it by the waking mind without question--that is, to a certain degree. Hypnotism is a practice that reaches the subconsciousness by bypassing the awareness of the waking consciousness.
Our waking consciousness is dual in nature: it is objective, and it is subjective. Objective consciousness is the result of external stimuli, the perception of vibrations emanating from the world around us. Our subjective consciousness is related to psychic processes occurring inside the psyche and are within voluntary control, such as reasoning, visualization, and imagination. Here inside the subjective consciousness lies most of the tools of Transcendental Magic. Quantum physics is beginning to realize the principle that consciousness affects that which it observes. This is evident in the atomic level. Occultists have long known of this law and have applied it in the art of transmutation.
Mantras are useful tools in producing an altered state of consciousness. Every initiatic tradition employs its use to further Man's spiritual unfoldment. It is interesting to note that strong emotions such as fear causes an abrupt change and orientation of one's consciousness state. For instance, when a person is in a state of fear or shock, he often faints. the consciousness shifts from Jagrat to Swapna. This occurs similarly, although in reverse, when one experiences fright in the dream state. One is often jolted back into waking consciousness. Between the various levels of consciousness are what we call the borderline state. We are most familiar with the borderline between Jagrat and Swapna. In this state, psychic manifestations occur more readily. Psychology calls the interesting images seen in this consciousness-level "hypnogogic." What really occurs in this state is the thinning of certain etheric webs which facilitates the entrance of impulses and vibrations emanating from the etheric and astral planes.
The brain of man produces waves of electromagnetic energies, and these are recorded in EEG machines. Four primary types of brain waves are recognized and they represent his state of consciousness. These waves are called Alpha, Beta, Theta, and Delta.
In an esoteric sense, the classification of humanity into the caste system by the lawgiver Manu symbolizes the levels of consciousness of Man as he evolves and expands his awareness. Jagrat corresponds to the Sudras--the laborers, the lowest class among mankind. Vaishas are the skilled workers and the merchants--they correspond to Swapna. Ksatriyas, or the ruling class are of the Sushupti-state; while the Brahmans are of Turiya. By evolving his consciousness, Man progresses from one state to the next.
Man's Purpose on Earth
Ever since the fires of the mind began to grow, several profound questions have vexed Mankind, such as , where and how did we originate? who are we? why are we here? Such questions caused Man to formulate hundreds of philosophies and dogmas designed to provide him with a meaning to his existence. Sometimes Man experiences pain, suffering, and struggle in his life--and then asks "why." If one's philosophy does not adequately answer the query or offer solace, then the philosophy itself has to be looked into as to what intrinsic value it contains, and whether it is wise to hold on to it, to modify or to replace it altogether.
The subject of Man's origin and true nature has been discussed previously in a succinct manner; and although our presentation was just the tip of the iceberg, they do provide food for thought. In this section we will concentrate on Man's purpose here on earth, for this gives us some insight on Man's collective destiny.
There is a clue to man's purpose here on earth if we consider what Man takes along with him at the time of so-called death; for if we acknowledge the existence of the higher worlds and the continuity of consciousness through the change called death, then Man's descent into this physical plane of coarse matter has a definite purpose which is normally forgotten as soon as incarnation takes place. A newly-developed brain does not contain the soul-knowledge acquired in previous lives and in heavenly planes. It is only by the attunement and alignment of brain-consciousness with the Soul that will bring this state of knowingness to the fore-consciousness.
It is evident when we look at the great change called "death" that Man is unable to carry his earthly goods or material things along with him when he passes away from this earthly scene; what he does reap and is able to take along with him from his earthly sojourn are immaterial treasures--things which are often considered valueless by the materialist and in most cases only realized as of great worth in the higher worlds when a greater perspective of life is perceived. The apostle Paul said:
"For the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (II Cor 4:18)
As we analyze the situation, we can only conclude that the immaterial essence, the "things which are not seen" that Man benefits from being in this world and takes along with him when the mortal body is shed, are the practical experiences that he gains from manipulating matter and the conditions of space and time; also his relating to sentient beings while encumbered in a form made out of clay. The resistence of matter tries the mettle of the soul. It is this resistance of matter that evolves soul-consciousness. The interaction between consciousness and dense matter creates the illusion of time and space. these factors, although unreal, play a part in the evolution of Man's consciousness. As we can see from this, spiritual evolution is expressively the main purpose of Man's presence here on Earth.
Evolution can be said to be the law of the expansion of consciousness of a life-unit. It is the principle of becoming aware--aware of the All, of the total expression and essence of the Cosmos. From another point of view, it is simply to be--to be our True SELF. This is a state that transcends space and time. Abiding in the SELF is the perception of God "face to face." In case someone of a Christian persuasion thinks this as impossible just refer to the incident where Jacob wrestled with some force and ended up by saying:
" . . . for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." (Gen 32:30)
An individual who lives in such a spiritual condition constantly, no longer lives as a Personality, or Soul, but lives as Spirit. St. Paul knew of this higher state of Be-ness. He wrote concerning it in one of his epistles:
"The first Man Adam, was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." (I Cor 15:45)
Evolution is the process of manifesting the qualities of God inherent within the consciousness. Heretofore, evolution was worked upon Man by external agencies; now, at our present evolutionary stage of self-consciousness, we are to participate in our own soul-progress. It is said in Genesis, in the Pentateuch, that God rested on the seventh day. The "seventh day" is a symbolical term expressing the inception of Man's personal involvement with his own soul culture, for where God's works ends, Man's labour begins. The twelve tasks of Hercules are the tasks of the soul as it acquires the immortal qualities of the signs of the zodiac. Mortal concepts and behaviour caused the fall of Man. So long as our belief-structure contains ideations and feelings of unworthiness and mortality, we will continue to live in the abyss and not feel the light of the Sun. As Man climbs the steep slopes of the abyss, he learns more and more of the laws of the Cosmos governing his being. Obedience to those laws aligns Man with the Tao.
At each step of the way, evolving Man earns certain symbolical appellations which indicate his spiritual status. In ancient writings these stages of Man's unfolding consciousness are described as "the darkened spark," the "flickering light," and "the radiant son of God." Relating these stages to the rays, we may say that each stage is influenced by one of the Rays of the triune aspect of Man's being; for instance, the individual with a "darkened spark," may be said to be ruled by the Personality Ray; one who is spiritually awakened, who is described as a "flickering light"--such a person is ruled by the Ray of the Ego; and so it goes with the monadic Ray and the person of the third classification. Oriental mystics have their own unique manner of describing these stages based on the condition of discipleship. Buddhism classifies them in the following:
1) Srotopati--"he who has entered the stream."
2) Sakridagamin--"he who will receive birth only once more."
3) Anagamin--"he who will be reincarnated no more."
4) Arhat--"he who sees Nirvana during his life."
There are higher classifications based on the bhumis of the Bodhisattva.
The steps in the growth of Man's consciousness are also delineated in that esoteric "book" called the tarot. Each card of the major arcana denotes a certain stage of Man's spiritual unfoldment. Evolution is God's Plan. The formulation of this divine idea had its inception in archetypal worlds--in Kether, the first emanation of Ain Soph in the Qaballistic "Tree of Life." According to this magickal system, to evolve, Man has to balance and embrace the polarities, the various opposites that we experience in life such as, love/hate, wealth/poverty, thinking/feeling, etc. These dualities are symbolised by Boaz and Jachin, the two pillars in King Solomon's Temple. Man is pulled into entirely different directions by these two conditions; it is Man's task to harmonize them and walk the central path. The middle way is the Royal Road home.
Man is endowed with several different faculties that assist him in determining and in creating his destiny and reality. Reason, imagination, free-will, are all tools that should be used to realize the true nature of things, the essence of life. Man's belief-framework determines to a large extent his reality--the environment is a reflection of the contents of the mind and emotions. Replacement of beliefs with a direct knowing of the Spirit liberates man from all conditions that binds and limits divine expression. The Orphics of ancient Greece called the body "the prison house of the soul"--and Man can only free himself from such a dungeon by widening the cracks that emit light. In order for Man to know eternal verities and manifestations of Cosmic life in celestial spheres he would have to develop the necessary apparatuses, the spiritual mechanisms that would aid in the reception of impressions and cognizance of higher vibratory activity. "As above so below" is a truism that Man has to prove for himself; for if the macrocosm creates, and is limitless in its nature and creativity, so likewise is the microcosmic being of Man. At present humanity is patterning and expressing very little of what lies above in the Kingdom of Souls. The potentiality to manifest God's Kingdom is present, however. Mastery of the elements of our being leads us to management of the cosmos.
Life is a Mystery School. Each day Man faces trials and tribulations--the overcoming of which gives him a greater strength and understanding. Man's manifold experiences disciplines his mind, body, and soul. Man's philosophy and attitudes towards life are tested as to their wholesomeness and truthfulness. Revisions to his philosophy are made when they fail to provide him with the peace and energy to grow through life. The search for one's SELF is the search for enlightenment that is already part of the Spirit. Vajrayana Buddhism teaches the practice of knowing, feeling and imagining that the enlightened state were a part of the consciousness level in the "now," in the eternal present. This they call the divine pride of being a Buddha. The whole subject of Man can be complex in its simplicity, or simple in its complexity. It all depends upon our understanding and the perspective that we hold, whether we desire to "become" or just "to be," or perhaps both?