When we have attained the spiritual development necessary consciously to enter the World of Thought and leave the Desire World, which is the realm of light and color, we pass through a condition which the occult investigator calls The Great Silence.
As previously stated, the higher regions of the Desire World exhibit the marked peculiarity of blending form and sound, but when one passes through the Great Silence, all the world seems to disappear and the Spirit has the feeling of floating in an ocean of intense light, utterly alone, yet absolutely fearless, because imbued with a sense of its impregnable security, no longer subject to form or sound, past or future; all is one eternal now. There seems to be neither pleasure nor pain and yet there is no absense of feeling but it all seems to center in the one idea: "I am!" The human Ego, stands face to face with itself, as it were, and for the time being all else is shut out. This is the experience of anyone who passes that breach between the Desire World and the World of Thought, whether involuntarily, in the course of an ordinary cyclic pilgrimage of the Spirit, which we shall later elucidate when speaking of the post-mortem existence, or by an act of the will, as in the case of the trained occult investigator; all have the same experience in transition.
There are two main divisions in the Physical World: the Chemical Region and the Etheric Region. The World of Thought also has two great subdivisions: The Region of Concrete Thought and the Region of Abstract Thought.
As we specialize the material of the Physical World and shape it into a dense body, and as we form the force-matter of the Desire World into a desire body, so also do we appropriate a certain amount of mind-stuff from the Region of Concrete Thought; but we, as Spirits, clothe ourselves in spirit-substance from the Region of Abstract Thought and thereby we become individual, separate Egos.
The Region of Concrete Thought is neither shadowy nor illusory. It is the acme of reality, and this world which we mistakenly regard as the only verity, is but an evanescent replica of that region.
A little reflection will show the reasonableness of this statement and prove our contention that all we see here is really crystallized thought. Our houses, our machinery, our chairs and tables, all that has been made by the hand of man is the embodiment of a thought. As the juices in the soft body of the snail gradually crystallize into the hard and flinty shell which it carries upon its back and which hides it, so everything used in our civilization is a concretion of invisible, intangible mind-stuff. The thought of James Watt in time congealed into a steam engine and revolutionized the world. Edison's thought was condensed into an electric generator which has turned night to day, and had it not been for the thought of Morse and Marconi, the telegraph would not have annihilated distances as it does today. An earthquake may wreck a city and demolish the lighting plant and telegraph station, but the thoughts of Watt, Edison, and Morse remain, and upon the basis of their indestructible ideas new machinery may be constructed and operations resumed. Thus thoughts are more permanent than things.
The sensitive ear of the musician detects a certain musical note in every city which is different from that of another city. He hears in each little brook a new melody, and to him the sough of wind in the treetops of different forests gives a varying sound. In the Desire World we noted the existence of forms similar to the shapes of things gere, also that seemingly sound proceeds from form. But in the Region of Concrete Thought it is different, for while each form occupies and obscures a certain space here, form is nonexistent when viewed from the standpoint of the Region of Concrete Thought. Where the form was, a transparent vacuous space is observable. From that empty void comes a sound which is the "keynote" that creates and maintains the form whence it appears to come, as the almost invisible core of a gas-flame is the source of the light we perceive.
Sound from a vacuum cannot be heard in the Physical World, but the harmony which proceeds from the vacuous cavity of a celestial archetype is "the Voice of the Silence," and it becomes audible when all earthly sounds have ceased. Elijah heard it not while the storm was raging; nor was it in evidence during the turbulence of the earthquake, nor in the crackling and roaring fire, but when the destructive and inharmonious sounds of this world had melted into silence, "the still small voice" issued its commands to save Elijah's life.
That "keynote" is a direct manifestation of the Higher Self which uses it to impress and govern the personality it has created. But, alas, part of its life has been infused into the material side of its being, which has thus obtained a certain will of its own and only too often are the two sides of our nature at war.
At last there comes a time when the Spirit is too weary to strive with the recalcitrant flesh; when "the Voice of the Silence" ceases. No matter how much earthly nourishment we may seek to give, it will not avail to sustain a form when this harmonious sound, this "word from heaven" no longer reverberates through the empty void of the celestial archetype. "Man lives not by bread alone," but by the Word, and the last sound-vibration of the "keynote" is the death-knell of the physical body.
In this world we are compelled to investigate and to study a thing before we know about it, and although the facilities for gaining information are in some respects much greater in the Desire World, a certain amount of investigation is necessary, nevertheless, to acquire knowledge. In the World of Thought, on the contrary, it is different. When we wish to know about any certain thing there, and we turn our attention thereto, then that thing speaks to us, as it were. The sound it emits at once gives us a most luminous comprehension of every phase of its nature. We attain to a realization of its past history; the whole story of its unfoldment is laid bare and we seem to have lived through all of those experiences together with the thing we are investigating.
Were it not for one enormous difficulty, the story thus obtained would be exceedingly valuable; but all this information, this life-picture, flows in upon us with an enormous rapidity, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, so that it has neither beginning nor end, for, as said, in the World of Thought, all is one great now; time does not exist.
Therefore, when we want to use the archetypal information in the Physical World, we must disentangle and arrange it in chronological order with beginning and ending before it becomes intelligible to beings living in a realm where time is a prime factor. That rearrangement is a most difficult task as all words are coined with relation to the three dimensions of space and the evanescent unit of time, the fleeting moment, hence much of that information remains unavailable.
Among the denizens of this Region of Concrete Thought we may note particularly two classes. One is called the Powers of Darkness by Paul, and the mystic investigator of the Western World knows them as Lords of Mind. They were human at the time when the Earth was in a condition of darkness such as worlds-in-the-making go through before they become luminous and reach the firemist-stage. At that time we were in our mineral evolution. That is to say: the human Spirit which has now awakened was encrusted in the ball of mind- stuff, which was then the Earth. At that time the present human Spirits were as much asleep as is the life which ensouls our minerals of today, and as we are working with the mineral chemical constituents of the earth, molding them into houses, railways, steamboats, chairs, etc., etc., so those Beings, who are now Lords of Mind, worked with us when we were mineral-like. They have since advanced three steps, through stages similar to that of the Angels and Archangels, before they attained their present position and became creative Intelligences. They are expert builders of mind-stuff, as we are builders of the present mineral substances, and therefore they have given us necessary help to acquire a mind which is the highest development of the human being.
According to the foregoing explanation it seems to be an anomaly when Paul speaks of them as evil and exhorts us to withstand them. The difficulty disappears, however, when we understand that good and evil are but relative qualities. An illustration will make the point clear: Let us suppose that an expert organ builder has constructed a wonderful organ, a masterpiece. Then he has followed his vocation in the proper manner, and is therefore to be commended for the good which he has done. But if he is not satisfied to leave well enough alone, if he refuses to give up his product to the musician who understands how to play upon the instrument, if he intrudes his presence into the concert hall, he is out of place and to be censured as evil. Similarly the Lords of Mind did the greatest possible service to humanity when they helped us to acquire our mind, but many subtle thought influences come from them, and are to be resisted, as Paul very properly emphasizes.
The other class of beings which must be mentioned are called Archetypal Forces by the Western School of occultism. They direct the energies of the creative archetypes native to this realm. They are a composite class of beings of many different grades of intelligence, and there is one stage in the cyclic journey of the human Spirit when that also labors in, and is part of, that great host of beings. For the human Spirit is also destined to become a great creative Intelligence at some future time, and if there were no school wherein it could gradually learn to create, it would not be able to advance, for nothing in nature is done suddenly. An acorn planted in the soil does not become a majestic oak overnight, but many years of slow, persistent growth are required before it attains to the stature of a giant of the forest. A man does not become an Angel by the mere fact of dying and entering a new world any more than an animal advances to be a man by the same process. But in time all that lives, mounts the ladder of Being from the clod to the God. There is no limitation possible to the Spirit, and so at various stages in its unfoldment the human Spirit works with the other nature forces, according to the stage of intelligence which it has attained. It creates, changes, and remodels the Earth upon which it is to live. Thus, under the great Law of Cause and Effect, which we observe in every realm of nature, it reaps upon earth what it has sown in heaven, and vice versa. It grows slowly but peristently and advances continually.
Various religious systems have been given to humanity at different times, each suited to meet the spiritual needs of the people among whom it was promulgated, and, coming from the same divine source: God; all religions exhibit similar fundamentals of first principles.
All systems teach that there was a time when darkness reigned supreme. Everything which we now perceive was then non-existent. Earth, sky, and the heavenly bodies were uncreate, so were the multitudinous forms which live and move upon the various planets. All, all, was yet in a fluidic condition and the Universal Spirit brooded quiescent in limitless Space as the One Existence.
The Greeks called that condition of homogeneity "Chaos," and the state of orderly segregation which we now see: the marching orbs which illumine the vaulted canopy of heaven, the stately procession of planets around a central light, the majestic Sun, the unbroken sequence of the seasons and the unvarying alternation of tidal ebb and flow--all this aggregate of systematic order was called "Cosmos," and was supposed to have proceeded from Chaos.
The Christian Mystic obtains a deeper comprehension when he opens his Bible and ponders the first five verses of that brightest gem of all spiritual ore: the gospel of St. John.
As he reverently opens his aspiring heart to acquire understanding of those sublime mystical teachings he transcends the form-side of nature, comprising various realms of which we have been speaking, and finds himself "in the spirit," as did the prophets in olden times. He is then in the Region of Abstract Thought and sees the eternal verities which also Paul beheld in this, the Third Heaven.
For those among us who are unable to obtain knowledge save by reasoning upon the matter, however, it will be necessary to examine the fundamental meaning of words used by St. John to clothe his wonderful teachings. It was originally given in the Greek language, a much simpler matter than is commonly supposed, for Greek words have been freely introduced into our modern languages, particularly in scientific terms, and we shall show how this ancient teaching is supported by the latest discoveries of modern science.
The opening verse of the Gospel of St. John is as follows: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." We will examine the words: "beginning," "Word," and "God." We may also note that in the Greek version the concluding sentence reads: "and God was the Word," a difference which makes a great distinction.
It is an axiomatic truth that "out of nothing, nothing comes," and it has often been asserted by scoffers that the Bible teaches generation "from nothing." We readily agree that translations into the modern languages promulgate this erroneous doctrine, but we have shown in "The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception" (chapter on "The Occult Analysis of Genesis"), that the Hebrew text speaks of an ever-existing essence, as the basis whence all forms, the Earth and the heavenly lights included, were first created, and John also gives the same teaching.
The Greek word "arche," in the opening sentence of the Gospel of St. John has been translated "the beginning," and it may be said to have meaning, but it also has other valid interpretations, vastly more significant of the idea John wished to convey. It means: an elementary condition, a chief source, a first principle, primordial matter.
It is that basic principle which John called "arche:" primordial matter, and the dictionary defines archeology as: "the science of the origin (arche) of things." Masons style God the "Grand Architect," for the Greek word tekton means builder, and God is the Chief Builder (tekton) of arche, the primordial virgin matter which is also the chief source of all things.
Thus we see that when the opening sentence of St. John's Gospel is pro perly translated, our Christian religion teaches that once a virgin substance enfolded the divine Thinker: God.
That is the identical condition which the earlier Greeks called Chaos. A little thought will make it evident that we are not arbitrary in finding fault with the translation of the gospel, for it is self-evident that a word cannot be the beginning, a thought must precede the word, and a thinker must originate thought before it can be expressed as a word. When properly translated the teaching of John fully embodies that idea, for the Greek term "logos" means both the reasonable thought (we also say logic) and the word which expresses this (logical) thought. 1) In the primordial substance was thought, and the thought was with God, And God was the word, 2) That (The Word), also was with God in the primal state.
Later the divine Word, the Creative Fiat, reverberates through space and segregates the homogeneous virgin substance into spearate forms. 3) Every thing has come into existence because of that prime fact, (The Word of God), and no thing exists apart from that fact. 4) In that was Life.
In the alphabet we have a few elementary sounds from which words may be constructed. They are basic elements of expression, as bricks, iron, and lumber are raw materials of architecture, music, literature, or poetry, but the contour of the finished product and the purpose it will serve depends upon the arrangement of the raw materials, which is subject to the constructor's design. Building materials may be formed into prison or palace; notes may be arranged as fanfare or funeral dirge; words may be indicted to inspire passion or peace, all according to the will of the designer. So also the majestic rhythm of the Word of God has wrought the primal substance, "arche," into the multitudinous forms which comprise the phenomenal world, according to His will.
Did the reader ever stop to consider the wonderful power of the human word? Coming to us in the sweet accents of love, it may lure us from paths of rectitude to shameful ignominy and wreck our life with sorrow and remorse, or it may spur us on in noblest efforts to acquire glory and honor, here or hereafter. According to the inflection of the voice a word may strike terror into the bravest heart or lull a timid child to peaceful slumber. The word of an agitator may rouse the passions of a mob and impel it to awful bloodshed, as in the French Revolution, where dictatorial mandates of mob-rule killed and exiled at pleasure, or, the strain of "Home, Sweet Home" may cement the setting of a family-circle beyond possibility of rupture.
Right words are true and therefore free; they are never bound or fettered by time or space; they go to farthest corners of earth, and when the lips that spoke them first have long since mouldered in the grave, other voices take up with unwearying enthusiasm their message of life and love, as for instance, the mystical "Come unto me" which has sounded from unnumbered tongues and brought oceans of balm to troubled hearts.
Words of peace have been victorious where war would have meant defeat, and no talent is more to be desired than ability always to say the right word at the auspicious time.
Considering thus the immense power and potency of the human word, we may perhaps dimly apprehend the potential magnitude of the Word of God, the Creative Fiat, when, as a mighty dynamic force it first reverberated through space and commenced to form primordial matter into worlds, as sound from a violin bow molds sand into geometrical figures. Moreover, the Word of God still sounds to sustain the marching orbs and impel them onwards in their circle paths; the Creative Word continues to produce forms of gradually increasing efficiency, as media expressing life and consciousness. The harmonious enunciation of consecutive syllables in the Divine Creative Word mark successive stages in the evolution of the world and man. When the last syllable has been spoken and the complete word has sounded, we shall have reached perfection as human beings. Then TIME will be at an end, and with the last vibration of the Word of God, the worlds will be resolved into their original elements. Our life will then be "hid with Christ in God," until the Cosmic Night, Chaos, is over, and we wake to do "greater things" in a "new heaven and a new earth."
According to the general idea Chaos and Cosmos are superlative antitheses of each other. Chaos being regarded as a past condition of confusion and disorder which has long since been entirely superseded by the cosmic order which now prevails.
As a matter of fact, Chaos is the seed-ground of Cosmos, the basis of all progress, for thence come all ideas which later materialize as railways, computers, telephones, etc.
We speak of thoughts as being "conceived by the mind," but as both father and mother are necessary in the generation of a child, so also there must be both idea and mind before a thought can be conceived. As semen germinated in the positive male organ is projected into the negative uterus at conception, so ideas are generated by a positive human Ego in the spirit-substance of the Region of Abstract Thought. This idea is projected upon the receptive mind, and a conception takes place. Then, as the spermatozoic nucleus draws upon the maternal body for material to shape a body appropriate to its individual expression, so does each idea clothe itself in a peculiar form of mindstuff. It is then a thought, as visible to the inner vision of composite man as a child is to its parent.
Thus we see that ideas are embryonic thoughts, nuclei of spirit-substance from the Region of Abstract Thought. Improperly conceived in a diseased mind they become vagaries and delusions, but when gestated in a sound mind and formed into rational thoughts they are the basis of all the material, moral, and mental progress. The closer our touch with Chaos, the better will be our Cosmos, for in that realm of abstract realities truth is not obscured by matter, it is self-evident.
Pilate asked "What is Truth?" but no answer is recorded. We are incapable of cognizing truth in the abstract while we live in the phenomenal world, for the inherent nature of matter is illusion and delusion, and we are constantly making allowances and corrections whether we are conscious of the fact or not. The sunbeam which proceeds for 90 millions of miles in a straight line is refracted or bent as soon as it strikes our dense atmosphere, and according to the angle of its refraction, it appears to have one color or another. The straightest stick appears crooked when partly immersed in water, and the truths which are so self-evident in the higher worlds are likewise obscured, refracted or twisted out of all semblance under the illusory conditions of this material world.
"The truth shall set you free," said Christ, and the more we turn our aspirations from material acquisitiveness and seek to lay up treasure above, the more we aim to rise, the oftener we "get in the spirit," the more readily we "shall know truth" and reach liberation from the fetter of flesh which binds us to a limited environment, and attain to a sphere of greater usefulness.
Study of philosophy and science has a tendency to further perception of truth, and as science has progressed it has gradually receded from its erstwhile crude materialism. The day is not far off when it will be more reverently religious than the church itself. Mathematics is said to be "dry," for it does not stir the emotions. When it is taught that ''the sum of the angles of a triangle is 180 degrees,'' the dictum is at once accepted, because its truth is self-evident and no feeling is involved in the matter. But when a doctrine such as the Immaculate Conception is promulgated and our emotions are stirred, bloody war, or heated argument, may result, and still leave the matter in doubt. Pythagoras demanded that his pupils study mathematics, because he knew the elevating effect of raising their minds above the sphere of feeling, where it is subject to delusion, and elevating it towards the Region of Abstract Thought which is the prime reality.
In this place we are dealing with worlds in particular, and will therefore defer comment upon the remainder of the first five verse of St. John's Gospel: And Life became Light in man, 5) and Light shines in Darkness.
We have now seen that the Earth is composed of three worlds which interpenetrate one another so that it is perfectly true when Christ said that "heaven is within you" or, as the translation should rather have been, "among you." We have also seen that of these three realms two are subdivided. It has also been explained that each division serves a great purpose in the unfoldment of various forms of life which dwell in each of these worlds, and we may note in conclusion, that the lower regions of the Desire World constitute what the Catholic religion calls "Purgatory," a place where the evil of a past life is transmuted to good, usable by the Spirit as conscience in later lives. The higher regions of the Desire World are the "First Heaven" where all the good a man has done is assimilated by the Spirit as "soul" power. The Region of Concrete Thought is the "Second Heaven," where, as already said, the Spirit prepares its future environment on Earth, and the Region of Abstract Thought is the "Third Heaven," but as Paul said, it is scarcely lawful to speak about that. Some will ask: Is there then no hell? No! The mercy of God tends as greatly towards the principle of good as the inhumanity of man towards cruelty, so that he would consign his brother men to flames of hell during eternity for the puerile mistakes committed during a few years, or perhaps for a slight difference in belief. The writer has heard of a minister who wished to impress his "flock" with the reality of an eternity of hell flames, and to demonstrate the fallacy of a heretical notion entertained by some of his parishioners: that when sinners go to hell they burn to ashes and that is the end. He took with him an alcohol lamp and some asbestoes into the pulpit and told his audience that God would turn their souls into a substance resembling asbestos. He showed them that thought the asbestos were heated red hot it did not decompose into ashes. Fortunately, the day of the hell preacher has gone by, and if we believe the Bible which says that "in God we live and move and have our being," we can readily undestand that a lost soul would be an impossibility, for were one single soul (Spirit) lost, then logically a part of God Himself would be lost. No matter what our color, our race, or our creed, we are all equally the children of God and in our various ways we shall obtain satisfaction.
This article was adapted from "The Rosicrucian Mysteries," by Max Heindel.