BASICS OF ESOTERICISM:
Consciousnessby Aart Jurriaanse
The whole of the Infinite Universe, the visible and the invisible, the known and the unknown, the objective and subjective, the physical, astral, mental and spiritual, all constitute part of the ONE, the Supreme Being. All these points of life, whether manifested as single atoms or as countless atoms combined into heavenly constellations, have their own sphere of radiation and therefore their own specific field of influence. Nevertheless they all remain interrelated, being synthesized by divine Rays of Energy which constitute the Etheric Universe, integrating all of creation into the One Whole.
The sphere of influence exerted by these individual lives, whether considered as single or complex forms, will be determined primarily by the nature and stage of development of their indwelling Consciousness. It is the degree of such consciousness evinced which will render these forms sensitive, responsive, receptive, radiating or repudiating.
The state of consciousness displayed will depend on the development achieved by the manifested vehicles, and their ability of recognising, registering and identifying themselves with the energies and impulses to which they are being subjected, and which have been emanating from the environment or are arising from other external sources.
Spiritual evolution may be regarded as a process of progressive awakening of the realms of consciousness, of a fusing and coordinating of the higher and lower, the spiritual and material. It is for this purpose that the Soul avails itself of a human form, which serves as a vehicle by means of which the consciousness is step by step raised to its ultimate objective.
Each human soul, whether incarnated or temporarily abiding in the etheric worlds, forms part of the Divine Consciousness, the One Soul. This individual spark of consciousness while manifested in form, at some stage of its early development becomes aware of something beyond the form, of something that distinguishes itself from the material. The ultimate aim of all development is that man should achieve full Self consciousness, not only on the physical plane but progressively also on the emotional, mental and subsequently also on the successive spiritual planes, until finally the as yet totally incomprehensible stage of cosmic consciousness is attained.
Consciousness is the relation between spirit and matter, and results in the faculty of apprehension. It therefore concerns the relation between the Soul and the personality, of the innate Self and its instrument of manifestation, and therefore involves the principle of duality, representing the product of fusion between these opposite poles of energy. Awareness, knowledge, intelligence, lower mind and Higher Mind are all merely facets of consciousness, reflecting various spheres of development of that inner force manifesting itself as the thinking, discriminating and Self realising principle infusing the human being with Life. Sentient response and consciousness are therefore closely related and both attributes of the Soul.
Although consciousness is as a rule associated with the Self-consciousness which distinguishes man from the units of creation in the lower kingdoms of nature, it should nevertheless be realised that all forms of creation whether an atom occurring in the mineral kingdom, a plant in the vegetable kingdom, or a planetary Being in the subjective spheres, are characterised by Life, and therefore also dispose of some degree of consciousness.
Each atom or body formed by a multiple association of atoms, whether considered small or large, simple or complicated, is surrounded by an electro-magnetic field or etheric body, which is the product of the energies which are constantly being radiated from the relative atom or compounded organism. This etheric surround at the same time constitutes the medium for conducting external influences, and therefore simultaneously serves the dual function of radiation and reception of both the forces emanating from the form, and those external energies which are acting upon it, thus determining the degree of vitality, sensitivity and consciousness reflected by the enclosed life.
The classification into various kingdoms of nature is largely artificial and based on the degree of consciousness displayed. Thus although minerals may not reflect any signs of active life to the casual observer, they do radiate energy and show signs of elementary consciousness by reacting to variations in the environment, such as temperature and moisture. Such response to environmental conditions is usually even more pronounced in the vegetable kingdom, but as a rule is regarded to be purely instinctive and unconscious.
This state of consciousness is, however, of a most relative nature - by means of modern electronic equipment (galvanometers etc.) it has been clearly proved that certain plants will for instance react positively to etheric forces emanating from plant lovers, but will show a negative reaction to those exhibiting no interest in plant life. The consciousness of plants is also reflected by the influence exerted by the environment on the growth, fruiting, colouring and general quality of the plants concerned.
As is the case in all biological populations, a very wide range in measure of consciousness occurs not only amongst different species, but also within a species. Such consciousness must however still mainly be regarded as instinctive.
Consciousness being the product of the interplay between Spirit and matter, is manifested in its broader sense as the soul or life which qualifies every form of creation. It therefore represents the source of awareness and responsiveness to the forces which constitute the surrounding, resulting in attraction and repulsion and the many attributes qualifying each specific form, and determining its position, functions and vibratory activity in the complexity of nature. It represents that factor which reacts to the forces constituting the environment.
This consciousness, to some extent present in all forms, will therefore vary considerably in accordance with the state of development attained by the form concerned. These different stages of awareness might be broadly classified into:
(a) Sentient consciousness, as manifested in the mineral and vegetable kingdoms.
(b) Animal consciousness, still closely related to the sentient aspects, but functioning on a somewhat higher level, and already being increasingly influenced by emotional aspects. In the case of more advanced animals, the first traces of mental unfoldment may already be discerned.
(c) Self-consciousness - this is the state of awareness achieved by human beings. As in the previous instances, the extent to which this form of consciousness is evinced, will vary between wide extremes depending on the degree to which the Soul has succeeded in gaining dominance over the animal nature of the body.
(d) There is, however, no end to spiritual development, and as the individual progresses along his evolutionary path, the stage will be reached where self-concern and self consciousness will no longer remain of primary interest, because the needs of fellow men and of the community as a whole will become of more decisive importance. This phase might be referred to as that of group or race consciousness, and this will in turn and with the course of time be superseded by spiritual - and eventually by what is known as cosmic consciousness. These latter phases are, however, still relatively meaningless to the average person, as these concepts actually range beyond normal human understanding.
In man's early stage of development it is the divine Energy of Love which at first is brought to expression as Self consciousness or love of the Self, and which with the course of time and after many incarnations and the gaining of endless experience, evolves into group consciousness or love of the fellow man. With further progress along the Path of Life, and with the eventual bridging of the gap between the Soul and its more exalted counterpart, the Higher Self, there is a growing awareness of the links of Love uniting every form of creation into the One Whole. This culminating stage may be called God consciousness.
Thread of Consciousness
All human existence is dependent on two vital channels of energy. The first is the Thread of Life which ensures immortality, and which conveys the Energy of Life from its source, the Monad, via the Soul to its temporary vehicle of expression, the individual personality. The Life Thread, anchored in the heart and carried by the bloodstream, is the direct flow of Life uniting the phenomenal aspect with its Source. It therefore serves to vivify the form and to link it with the surrounding Whole.
The second is the Thread of Consciousness, seated in the brain and utilising the nervous system as the medium for providing continuity of existence, embodying the principle of consciousness within the form by reacting to the many stimulants from the environment and the surrounding etheric realm. This thread, also referred to as the "Bridge of Light" performs three main functions:
(a) It brings the lower mind and brain into alignment, thereby eventually leading to the integration of the physical, emotional and mental aspects of the personality.
(b) It serves to bridge the gap between the physical brain, the lower mind and the Soul, thus producing the Soul infused personality.
(c) Eventually it will provide the final "Bridge of Light" between the personality, the Soul and the Higher Mind, thereby furnishing the longed for illumination.
Symbolically speaking divine energy is directed downwards through the Life Thread to its vehicle of manifestation, whereas the Thread of Consciousness, which has its origin in the lower bodies through the interaction between matter and the primary Energy of Life, works upwards constructing the Path of Return from the phenomenal to the subjective. During the early stages of unfoldment the thread of consciousness is used in the first instance for satisfying selfish interests. With the gaining of experience a steady expansion of consciousness will, however, take place, resulting finally in producing the higher forms of consciousness, which will mainly be enlisted for altruistic purposes while man gradually comes to the realisation that the individual merely forms a minute part of the larger corporate whole. The persistent aspirant will eventually reach the stage where he can at will focus his consciousness either in the Soul or in some aspect of the form, depending on the objective to be realised and the act of service to be rendered.
(This theme will be continued in our next issue, when more specific attention will be given to the "Expansion of Consciousness".)
Aart Jurriaanse, wrote a number of compilations from the books of Alice A. Bailey. Among these are: Of Life and other worlds; Prophecies; Ponder on this; Serving Humanity; The Soul; The Quality of Life; and he is also the author of Bridges which is a Commentary on these teachings.
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- Esoteric articles (more by Aart Jurriaanse & others)
- Extract from a Statement by the Tibetan
- The Kingdom of God on Earth
- Meditations for the New Age
- Share International (the source for information about the emergence of Maitreya the World Teacher)
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