Everything in the universe is a manifestation of the Universal Mind. Everything is therefore mind itself, and exists in absolute consciousness; but relative consciousness begins when it becomes manifest in the form. The term consciousness signifies realisation of existence.
Consciousness in the absolute is unconsciousness in relation to things. Consciousness means knowledge and life; unconsciousness is ignorance and death. An imperfect knowledge is a state of imperfect consciousness; the highest possible state of consciousness is the full realisation of the truth.
A thing has no existence relatively to ourselves before we become conscious of its existence. A person who does not realise his own existence is unconscious, and, for the time being, to all practical purposes dead.
We cannot actually realise the existence of a power which we do not possess. We see the effects produced by electricity and realise that such effects take place; but we do not realise the existence or the nature of what is called "electricity" if we are not conscious of that same power existing in our own constitution.
In the same sense we can realise the effect of the manifestation of divine wisdom within the universe; we behold the expression of beauty, justice, and truth; but we cannot realise the existence of these principles, unless we become conscious of their presence in us. God's works exist and we see the products of the action of his spirit in nature; but God himself is to us a nonentity if we are not rendered divine by his presence in us; we cannot realise the nature of God, unless his divine nature is present in us and comes to our own consciousness.
A state of existence is incomprehensible unless it is experienced and realised, and it begins to exist from the moment that it is realised. If a person were the legal possessor of millions of money and did not know it, he would have no means to dispose of it or enjoy it. A man is present at the delivery of the most eloquent speech, and, unless he hears what is said, that speech will have no existence for him. Every man is endowed with reason and conscience, but if he never listens to its voice, the relation between him and the voice of wisdom will cease to exist, and it will die for him in proportion as he dies to the power to hear it.
A man may be alive and conscious in relation to one thing, and dead and unconscious relatively to another. One set of his faculties may be active and conscious, while another set is unconscious and its activity suspended. A person who listens attentively to music is conscious of nothing but sound; one who is wrapt in the admiration of form is only conscious of seeing; another, who suffers from pain, may be conscious of nothing but the relation that exists between him and the sensation of pain. A man absorbed in thought believes himself alone in the midst of a crowd. He may be threatened by destruction and be unconscious of the danger. If he has the strength of a lion, it will avail him nothing unless he becomes conscious of it; he cannot be immortal unless he becomes conscious of his own immortal life.
The more a person learns to realise the true state of his existence the more will he become conscious of real existence. If he does not realise his true state he does not know himself. If he fully knows himself, he will be conscious of his own powers, he will know how to exercise them and become strong.
To become conscious of the existence of a thing is to possess it. To perceive its existence means to enter into relation with it, and to realise the existence of that relation. Consciousness begins, therefore, wherever sensation begins, but sensation and perception of a form are only followed by a recognition of the truth if the principle that exists in that form is a conscious power in our own constitution.
If a stranger is introduced to us we perceive his exterior form and see the clothes which he wears, we realise his existence as a living form, but we know nothing of his true character. His appearance may be prepossessing and still he may be untruthful, his clothing may be new and elegant and still his character bad. His body may be healthy, but his soul may be diseased. His certificates and testimonials may be excellent, and yet they may deceive us.
If we want to know the true character of the man, we must be able to realise the nature of his character in ourselves. We may look into his eyes, and when soul speaks to soul, the two will enter into conscious relation with each other, and there will be no deception possible. This recognition of the truth by direct perception is one of the faculties which at the present state of evolution are not yet fully developed in man. It is a sixth sense that as yet exists only as a bud in the tree of life, while the other five senses have been fully developed. Still it exists, and therefore the first impression we receive of a stranger is usually correct, but not always believed, because speculation comes in to mislead.
Perception is the entering into a relation to the object of one's perception. Such a relation is only possible if the perceiver and the object of his perception exist upon the same plane of existence. For this reason physical objects are perceived by the physical senses; the things of the soul by the soul, and that which belongs to the spirit can only be perceived by the power of the self-conscious spirit in man.
Everything that exists, exists within the Universal Mind, and nothing can exist outside of it, because the Universal Mind includes all. Perception is a faculty by which mind learns to know what is going on within itself. To see a thing is to perceive the existence of its appearance within one's own mind; to feel the presence of an invisible power within the soul is to become conscious of its presence by means of the sense of touch that belongs to the mind.
Man can know nothing but what exists within his own mind. Even the most ardent lover has never seen his beloved one, he merely sees the image which the form of the latter produces in his mind. If we pass through the streets of a city the images of men and women pass review in our mind while their bodies meet our own; but for the images which they produce within our consciousness we would know nothing about their existence.
The images produced in the mind come to the consciousness whose workshop is the brain; if man's consciousness were centered in some other part of his body, he would become conscious in that part of the sensations which he receives. He might for instance see with his stomach or hear with his fingers, as has often been proved by scientifically conducted experiments, and the reason of it is that sensation is not a quality belonging to the physical body; but belongs to the astral form, whose senses are not so localised; but which penetrates the physical body and whose senses become localised therein.
A self-conscious power, being universally diffused through space, would have the faculty to realise all that takes place in any portion of it, because it would be in conscious relation with everything. A conscious power being bound to a material form, can only realise that which enters into relationship with that form. All self-consciousness and all perception cannot belong to a limited form; it belongs to the divine nature of man, which is not limited by the limitations of form.
From the influence of the universal power of Mind, and the resistance of the form, physical senses came into existence. If man had originally remained in perfect harmony with the Universal Mind, he would never have become clothed in a material form. There could be no perception without resistance. If our bodies were perfectly transparent to light we could not perceive the light, because light cannot illuminate itself. The Astral Light penetrates our bodies, but we are not able to see it, because the physical body offers no resistance to it.
At the time when we fall asleep, consciousness gradually leaves its seat in the brain and merges into the consciousness of the "inner man." We then begin to realise another state of existence; and if a part of the consciousness still remains with the brain, the perception of the interior consciousness comes to the cognisance of the personal self. It is therefore possible in that half-conscious state, between sleeping and waking, when consciousness is oscillating between two states of existence, to receive important revelations from the higher state and retain them in the personal memory.
The more our consciousness merges in that higher state, the better will we realise the higher existence, but the impressions upon our external self will become dim and not be remembered; but as long as the greatest part of our consciousness is active within the material brain, the perceptions of a higher state will only be dim and mixed up with memories and sensations of the lower state of existence.
The Ether, or Astral Light from Éliphas Lévi
There probably was a time in the development of the body of man, when his form was – so to say – all eye, and his whole surface sensitive to the power of light. The resistance of his form to the influence of light created the eye. Fishes have been found in subterranean lakes which have no eyes; there being no light, they needed no organs to receive it and none to resist it. In tropical countries the intensity of light is stronger. Tropical man needs the dark pigment in his skin to protect his nude body from the influence of the tropical sun.
There are semi-material existences (Elementals) which have no teguments sufficiently solid to protect them from terrestrial light. Such natures are very sensitive to the action of light, they can only continue to live in darkness, and only manifest their powers at night.*
* Adolphe d'Assier, who spent much time in the investigation of occult phenomena, tells of a case, where a person slept in a "haunted house," for the purpose of investigating the spook. He went to bed and left the light burning. At once a dark shadow seemed to rush through the door into his room and went under his bed. Soon a long arm extended from under the bed, reached up to the table and extinguished the light, and immediately the rampage began. Furniture was overthrown and broken, and the noise was so great that it attracted the neighbours, who came with a light, when the dark shadow fled through the door.
If the astral body of man were exposed to the full influence of the astral light, without having acquired the power to resist it, it would be destroyed slowly or quickly according to the intensity of that light. The myths of "hell" and "purgatory" are suggestive of that action of the destructive action of the Astral Light. But this destruction is not necessarily accompanied by sensation, unless that body is conscious. A corpse from which the spirit has withdrawn may be cremated and cannot feel it, an astral corpse may dissolve into its elements and feel no pain. Only when a form becomes associated with spirit, in whatever plane of existence, there will sensation become manifest.
Some of the practices of black magic and necromancy are based upon this fact, and it does not appear impossible that the astral bodies of the dead may be tormented by the living, if they knew how to endow them with spirit, and to reawaken consciousness by infusing some of their own life within these forms.
If our bodies were sufficiently ethereal to pass through others without experiencing any resistance, we would not feel their presence. If the keyboard of the ear were not present to receive the vibrations of sound, hearing would be defective. The power to resist produces sensation.
Man suffers because he resists. If he were to obey the laws of his nature under all circumstances, he would know no bodily disease; if he were to execute in all things the divine will of God, he would incur no suffering.
Life, sensation, perception, and consciousness may be withdrawn from the physical body and become active in the astral body of man. The astral man then becomes conscious of his existence independent of the physical body and can develop faculties of sense. He may then see sights which have no existence for the physical eye, hear sounds that the physical ear cannot hear, feel, taste, and smell things whose existence the physical senses cannot realise, and which consequently have no existence to them.
What an astonishing sight would meet the eyes of a mortal, if the veil that mercifully hides the astral world from his sight were to be suddenly removed ! He would see the space which he inhabits occupied by a different world full of inhabitants, of whose existence he knew nothing. What before appeared to him dense and solid would now seem to be shadowy, and what seemed to him like empty space he would find peopled with life.
Scientifically conducted researches have brought to light many instances of cases in which the astral senses have been rendered more or less active. The Seeress of Prevorst, for instance, perceived many things which for other persons had no existence; the history of the saints gives numerous similar examples, and modern "mediumship" proves the existence of such inner senses by facts which occur every day. If the astral senses of a person are fully alive and active, he is able to perceive things without the use of his physical senses. He will be clairvoyant and clairaudient, he will be able to see, hear, feel, taste, and smell the astral attributes of things existing in or out of corporeal forms.
All houses are "haunted," but not all persons are equally able to see the ghosts that haunt them, because to perceive things on the astral plane requires the development of a sense adapted to such perceptions. Thoughts are "ghosts," and only those that can see images formed of thought can see "ghosts," unless the latter are sufficiently materialised to refract the light and to become visible to the eye.
We may feel the presence of an astral form without being able to see it, and be just as certain of its presence as if we did behold it with our eyes; for the sense of touch is not less reliable than the sense of sight. The presence of a holy, high, and exalted idea that enters the mind fills it with a feeling of happiness, with an exhilarating influence whose vibrations may be perceived long after that thought has gone.
The explanation which material science gives in regard to the process of seeing only explains the formation of a picture on the retina of the physical eye, but gives no explanation whatever how these pictures come to the consciousness of the mind. If the mind of man were enclosed in the physical body of man he could not perceive the size of any exterior thing. In such a case he could at best see the minute picture formed on his retina, and the outside world would appear to him like the microscopic object seen through a reversed telescope.
But the reflections formed in the physical eye only serve to call the attention of the mind to the objects of its perception, or awaken the interior sense of feeling which the mind possesses to a consciousness of its relation to the objects of its perception, which exist within its own sphere. Visible man is the kernel of the invisible man, the sphere of his mind surrounds him in all sides like an invisible pulp, extending far into space, and he can become conscious of the objects existing within that sphere if he recognises his relation with them.
This invisible and ethereal sphere is as essential to constitute a man as the pulp of a peach is essential to constitute a peach, but material science knows only the kernel, and knows nothing about the pulp. Still this soul sphere exists, and intermingles with the spheres of others, producing sympathies, or antipathies, according to the harmony, or disharmony, of their respective elements. A great many events may take place within one's mind and we may not perceive them, unless our attention is attracted to them, and they come to our consciousness.
The mind perceives what is going on in the physical plane by being awakened by physical means to a consciousness of his relationship with physical things; it perceives what is going on in the realm of the soul by being awakened to a consciousness of his relationship with the realm of the soul by influences coming from that realm, and it perceives spiritual truth by being awakened to a recognition of its relationship to truth by the power proceeding from it.
The physical body may be dormant and perceive no external objects; the astral senses are undeveloped; the spiritual power of perception in the majority of mankind is still inactive, and feels the presence of the spirit only by the uncertain reflex of its light, like a man in a semi-conscious condition may see the reflex of light shining through the closed lids and not know what it is. This is the power of intuition that precedes an awakening to spiritual knowledge.
Mind has no conceivable limits, and distance is therefore no impediment to mental perception, because a mind being in solidarity with the whole stands in relation to every part of the whole, and as soon as man recognises his relation to an object in space he becomes conscious of its presence.
The reason why the mind of man does not perceive everything and requires the aid of the physical senses, is that Adam is still sleeping the sleep which came over him while he was an inhabitant of the paradise. He is still unconscious of the fact that his real nature comprises the all; his consciousness has become bound to a material form, and he is now the prisoner of that form.
To see a thing is identical with touching it with the mind. The individual mind of man being one with the universal mind, extends through space; it is therefore not merely the images of things, but the things themselves that exist within the periphery of our mind, however distant from the centre of our consciousness they may be, and if we were able to shift that centre from one place to another within the sphere of the mind, we might in a moment of time approach to the object of our perception.
The mind substance is everywhere, but its consciousness is limited. If the whole sphere of the mind of a man were self-conscious, he would be omnipresent and all-knowing. As the sphere of perception of an individual mind expands, so expands the sphere of his conscious being.
The centre of consciousness in man is located in the brain, and if the mind touches an object the impressions have to travel all the way to the brain. If we look at a distant star our mind is actually there and in contact with it, and if we could transfer our consciousness to that place of contact, we would be ourselves upon that star and perceive the objects thereon as if we were standing personally upon its surface.
This however is an impossibility as long as the centre of our consciousness is in the brain; because that consciousness is an illusion itself, it enables us to roam through space by means of our imagination, but does not reveal the truth. The consciousness of the brain is in regard to our true self-consciousness what the false light of the moon is to the light of the sun. Our true self-consciousness rests in the heart, and therefore the heart can expand in that universal love, which is not imaginary, through the whole of creation. If that love becomes self-conscious in our heart, all the mysteries of the universe will be open before us.
Perception is passive imagination, because if we perceive an object, the relation which it bears to us comes to our consciousness without any active exertion on our part. But there is an active imagination by which we may enter into relation with a distant object in space by a transfer of consciousness. By this power we may act upon a distant object if we succeed in forming a true image of it in our own consciousness. By concentrating our consciousness upon such an object we become conscious in that place of the sphere of our mind where that object exists. Thus we establish a conscious relation between such an object and ourselves, but this requires that spiritual power which resides in the heart.
States of Consciousness
Consciousness is existence, and there are as many states of consciousness as there are states of existence. Every living being has a consciousness of its own, and the state of its consciousness changes every moment of time, as fast as the impressions which it receives change; because its consciousness is the perception of the relation it bears to things, and as this relation changes, consciousness changes its character.
If our whole attention is taken up by animal pleasure, we exist in an animal state of consciousness; if we are aware of the presence of spiritual principles, such as hope, faith, charity, justice, truth, &c., we live in our spiritual consciousness, and between these two extremes there are a great variety of gradations. Consciousness itself does not change, it only moves up and down on the scale of existence.
There is only one kind of consciousness which never changes its place because it is independent of all relation to things. It is the self-consciousness of self-existence, the realisation of the I am. It can be ignored, but once attained it cannot change, because God never changes; its change would involve non-existence or the annihilation of all.
He who has not attained that true self-consciousness, the realisation of the existence of his own real self does not exist. He may be highly developed physically and intellectually; nevertheless he is nothing else but a compound of physical and intellectual elements and his sense of self an ever-changing illusion. He cannot die, because he has never come to life; he does not truly exist, because he does not realise his true existence. There is no one truly alive, except he who can realise his own true divine life.
When Life manifests itself in a form it begins to live relatively to form; but the degree of consciousness of the form depends on the state of its organisation. In a low organised form there is sensation, but no intelligence. An oyster has consciousness, but no intelligence. A man may have a great deal of intellect and no consciousness of spirituality, sublimity, justice, beauty, or truth.
The lowest existences follow implicitly the laws of nature or of Universal Reason; because in them exists no differentiation of mind; they have no will and reason of their own. The highest spiritual beings follow their own reason; but their will and reason is in harmony with the universal law. The difference between the lowest beings and the highest ones is, therefore, that the lowest ones perform the will of "God" unconsciously and unknowingly; while the highest ones do the same thing knowingly and consciously. It is only the reasoning beings who imagine that they are their own law-givers, and may do what they please. All evil is caused by reasoning; the enlightened does not reason; he has Reason itself for his guide.
The muscular system exercises its habitual movements in the act of walking, eating, &c., without being especially guided by a superintending intellect, like a clockwork that, after being once set in motion, continues to run; and a man who is in the habit of doing that which is right and just, will act in accordance with the law of wisdom and justice instinctively, and without any consideration or doubt.
Each state of mind has its own mode of perception, sensation, instinct, and consciousness, and the activity of one may overpower and suppress that of the other. A person being only conscious of the sensations created by some physical act, is at that time unconscious of spiritual influences. One who is under the influence of chloroform loses his external sensation. One in a state of trance is awake on a higher plane of existence, and unconscious of what happens on the physical plane.
The unintelligent muscular system is conscious of nothing else but the attraction of Earth. In it the element of Earth predominates, and unless it is upheld by reason, it acts according to the impulse created in it by that attraction. The astral body is unintelligent, and unless infused with the intelligence coming from the higher principles, it follows the attractions of the astral plane. These attractions are its desires.
As the physical body, if unguided by reason, follows the law of gravitation, so the astral body follows the attractions of desire. The animal consciousness of man is that unreasoning attraction which impels him to seek for the gratification of his instincts.
Correctly speaking, there is no such thing as animal reason, animal intellect, animal consciousness, &c. Consciousness, reason, intelligence, &c., in the absolute, have no qualifications; they are universal principles, that is to say, functions of the Universal One Life, manifesting themselves on various planes in various forms.
The condition of a person whose consciousness is no more illumined by reason, is seen in emotional mania and obsession. In such cases the person acts entirely according to the impulses acting in him, and when he recovers his reason, he is unconscious of his actions during that state. Such states manifest themselves sometimes in only one person, or they affect several persons simultaneously, and even whole countries, as has been experienced in some wholesale "obsessions" occurring during the Middle Ages.*
* "Histoire des diables de Loudin."
Cases of obsession are by no means unfrequent, and many cases of insanity are merely cases of obsession. It is extremely desirable in the interests of humanity that our superintendents and doctors of insane asylums should study the occult laws of nature, and learn to know the causes of insanity, instead of merely studying their external effects.
They are often observed in cases of hysteria, may be witnessed at religious meetings, during theatrical performances, during the attack upon an enemy, or at any other occasion, where the passions of the multitude are excited, inducing them to acts of folly or bravery, and enabling people to perform acts which they would be neither willing nor able to perform if they were guided only by the calculations of their intellect. All such states are the manifestation of unseen powers, acting in and through different forms.
Transfer of Consciousness
There are persons in whom the astral body has become the centre of consciousness, and they may acquire the power to transfer that consciousness to a distant locality. Mind is everywhere, and capable of receiving impressions. If we steadily concentrate our thoughts upon a distant person or a place, a current of mind is created. Our thoughts go to the desired locality, for that locality, however far it may be, is still within the sphere of mind. If we have been there before, or if there is something to attract us, it will not be difficult to find it.
Under ordinary circumstances consciousness remains with the body. But if our astral elements are sufficiently alive, so as not to cling to the body, but to accompany our thoughts, then our consciousness may go with them, being projected there by the power of the will, and the more the will is intense the easier will this be accomplished. We shall then visit the chosen place consciously and know what we are doing, and our astral elements carry the memory back and impress them upon our physical brain.
This is the secret how the thought body may be projected to a distance by those who have acquired that power. It is a power that may be acquired by birth or learned by practice. There are persons in whom, in consequence of either an inherited peculiarity of the constitution or from sickness, such a separation between the physical and astral elements may either voluntarily or involuntarily take place, and the astral form either consciously or unconsciously travel to distant places or persons, and by the assistance of the odic and magnetic emanations even "materialise" into a visible and even tangible form.*
* Adolphe d'Assier cites several instances in which the "double" of a person was seen simultaneously with the physical form. A young lady at college was seen by her mates in the parlour of the school, while at the same time her double was in the garden. The stronger the "double" grew, the more faint became her corporeal form. When she recovered her strength, the double disappeared from sight. In this case, the consciousness of the lady was evidently divided between the room and the garden, and as her thoughts went to the flowers they formed a body there. In studying the law according to which such apparently mysterious things occur, it will be advisable to remember that all forms, whether material or ethereal, consist merely of certain vibrations of primordial matter, manifesting themselves according to the character impressed upon them.
The Kama-rupa is sometimes attracted unconsciously to places while the physical body is asleep. It has been seen by impressible persons on such occasions, but it shows no signs of intelligence or life; it only acts like an automaton and returns when the physical body requires its presence. At the time of death, when the cohesion between the lower and higher principles is loosened, such a projection is of not unfrequent occurrence; it may then be for a short time, conscious, alive, and intelligent, and represent the true man.**
** Numerous instances of such occurrences may be found in E, Gurney, "Phantasms of the Living." [archive.org]
There are a great number of cases on record where, in consequence of a sudden and intense emotion, for instance, the desire to see a certain person, the thought body projecting itself from the physical body has become conscious and visible at a distance. In cases of home-sickness we find some approach to an instance of this. The person separated from home and friends, having an intense yearning to see his native place again, projects his thoughts to that place. He lives – so to say – in that place, while his physical body vegetates in another. He becomes weaker, and finally dies; that is to say, he goes where his thoughts already are, although his gradual going is imperceptible and unrecognisable to physical senses.
In cases of sickness or death a similar process of separation takes place. When, from whatever cause, the union between the physical form and the astral body becomes weakened, the astral form separates itself for a while or permanently from the physical form.
The symptoms of such a beginning of separation is often observed in severe sickness, when the patient has the sensation as if another person were lying in the same bed with him. As recovery takes place, the principles whose cohesion has been loosened become reunited and that sensation disappears.
According to the plane of existence, where a person lives is the state of his consciousness, and each of these planes has its own sensations, perceptions, and memories. What is seen and perceived and remembered in one state, is not remembered in another state, and it is therefore not improbable that a person, entering into a higher state of consciousness after the death of his body, will remember nothing about the conditions of his terrestrial life.*
* A case is cited in Dr Hammond's book on insanity, in which a servant, while in a state of intoxication, carried a package with which he had been entrusted to the wrong house. Having become sober, he could not remember the place, and the package was supposed to be lost; but after he got drunk again he remembered the place, he went there and recovered the package. This goes to show that when he was drunk he was another person than when he was sober; man's individuality continually changes according to the conditions in which he exists, and as his con-ciousness changes he becomes another individual, although he still retains the same outward form.
In the state of intoxication the person is only conscious of his animal existence and entirely unconscious of his higher existence. A somnambule in the lucid condition looks upon her body as a being distinct from her own self, who is, to a certain extent, under her care. She speaks of that being in the third person, prescribes sometimes for it as a physician prescribes for his patient and often shows tastes, inclinations, and opinions entirely opposed to those which she possesses in her normal condition. Persons while in a trance may love another person intensely, because they are then capable to perceive his good interior qualities, and detest him when they are in their normal condition, when they merely behold his external attributes.*
* H. Zschokke: "Verklaerungen" (Transfigurations).
In the state of trance the body is entirely unconscious and unable to realise any physical sensation. It may be burnt or buried. Such a proceeding would not affect the inner man otherwise than to prevent his return to that body. But while his earthly form is unconscious, his spiritual self is conscious, and may be engaged in duties beyond our comprehension, among scenes from which it must be painful to return to the bonds of Earth.
Even while physical consciousness is active the consciousness of the higher principles may be so exalted as to render the body little conscious of pain. History speaks of men and women whose souls rejoiced while their earthly tabernacles were undergoing the tortures of the rack, or devoured by flames at the stake.
Man leads essentially two lives, one while he is fully awake, another while he is fully asleep. Each has its own perceptions, consciousness, and experiences, but the experiences during sleep are not remembered when we are fully "awake." At the borderland between sleep and waking, where the impressions of each state meet and mingle, is the realm of confused dreams, which seldom contain any truth.
This state is, however, favourable to receive impressions from the inner self. The inner man may use symbolical forms and allegorical images to convey ideas to the lower self, and to give it admonitions, forebodings, and warnings in regard to future events.
There are various kinds of dreams. Many a difficult problem has been solved during sleep, and the terrestrial world is not always without any reflex of the light from above. The mind of the sleeper during the sleep of the body comes into contact with other minds, and passes through experiences which one does not remember when awake. Man, in his waking condition, often has experiences which he afterwards does not remember, but which he, nevertheless, enjoyed at the time when they occurred, and which at that time were real to him.*
* One extraordinary case is mentioned in A. P. Sinnett's "Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky." [Wikipedia] [PDF at blavatskyarchives.com] Speaking of her sickness in Tiflis, Madame Blavatsky says, that she had the sensation as if she were two different persons, one being the Madame Blavatsky, whose body was lying sick in bed, the other person an entirely different and superior being. "When I was in my lower state," she says, "I knew who that other person was and what she (or he) had been doing; but when I was that other being myself, I did not know nor care who was that Madame Blavatsky." It is therefore very well possible that Madame Blavatsky's "transcendental Ego," with all its consciousness, faculties, and powers of perception, in fact, her real self, was consciously and really undergoing certain mysterious experiences in Tibet, while the physical instrument, which we call "Madame Blavatsky," was sick at Tiflis.
Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832)
Man feels in himself at least two sets of attractions that come to his consciousness. One set drags him down to earth and makes him cling to material necessities and enjoyments, the other set, lifting him up into the region of the unknown, makes him forget the allurements of matter, and brings him nearer to the realm of immortal beauty. The greatest poets and philosophers have recognised this fact of double consciousness, or the two poles of one, and between those two poles ebbs and floods the normal consciousness of the average human being.
Goethe expresses this in his "Faust" in about the following terms:
"Two souls, alas! are conscious in my breast,
One from the other seeks to separate.
One clings to earth, where all its life is rooted,
The other rises upwards to the gods."
One attraction arises from Wisdom, another from folly. By the power of Knowledge, Man is enabled to choose which way he will follow, and by the power of obedience he is enabled to proceed. He may live on the lower planes of consciousness and become dead to spirituality and immortal life; or in the highest spheres of thought, where his mind expands and where he ultimately will find that spiritual self-consciousness, which is Divine Wisdom, the realisation of eternal truth.
[1. From the 3rd edition: "One attraction arises from Spirt, another from matter."]
Few may be able to reach such a state, and few will be able to comprehend its possibility; but there have been men who, on the threshold of Nirwana, and while their physical bodies continued to live on this planet, could consciously roam through the interplanetary spaces and see the wonders of the material and spiritual worlds. This is the highest form of Adeptship attainable on Earth, and to him who accomplishes it the mysteries of the Universe will be like an open book.
Divine Wisdom for the purpose of manifesting itself requires an organism. In the mineral kingdom it manifests itself as attraction, in plants as life, in animals as instinct, in human beings as reason, in Divine natures as self-knowledge; on every plane the character of its manifestation depends on the character of the organism through which it acts. Without a human organism, even the most intelligent animal cannot become a man; without a spiritual organism even the most pious Christian will be only a dreamer.
Every state of consciousness requires for its expression a suitable organism, and the greater the realm of its manifestation, the more expanded must be the sphere of its activity. There is no realisation of physical existence without a physical body; there is no emotional nature without an organised astral form; no ideation without an organised mind, and no divine existence without an incorruptible body.
Without that spiritual organisation, whose elements are self-conscious immortality, divine justice, eternal beauty and harmony, universal justice and love, knowledge and power, purity and perfection, freedom and glory, even the most devout worshipper can only feel.
Even the most devout worshipper, as long as the divine spirit has not awakened within his soul, will merely feel the beauties of the spiritual realm in the same sense as a blind man may enjoy the warm rays of the sunshine without being able to see the light; only when the process of spiritual regeneration has been accomplished will he be able to see the sun of divine glory within his own soul, and know that he exists as an eternal, self-existent and immortal power in God.
To become a magician requires a perfect man and not merely a being born of a dream; the exercise of spiritual power requires a substantial body as its foundation; to attain true knowledge of all the mysteries of the universe requires an organisation as large as the world. This spiritual body grows out of the elements of the corruptible material body. Without that organism there can be no realisation of one's own divine nature: "Unless a man is reborn in the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God."