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Esoteric Psychology I - Section One - II. Certain Questions and their Answers
A close study of these ray forces in relation to the creative work and the furthering of the Plan (in so far as we can, at this time, grasp it) will reveal how closely the entire building-wrecking-rebuilding process is tied up with the question of the three qualities of the soul, sentiency, consciousness and awareness, and will demonstrate how the problem of light, with which I have just been dealing, has a definite relation to our ability to interpret and comprehend these three qualities.

Consciousness, in the esoteric teaching, concerns the response of the form aspect in the three subhuman kingdoms:

  1. To the world of living, vibratory and magnetic forms, in which each form is immersed. Every form, through its radiation, affects every other form, and according to the quality of the form and according to its evolutionary status, so will be its response to its environment.
  2. To the subjective world of forces which we call the etheric world. All forms in all four kingdoms thus respond in some degree and manner.
  3. To the world of quality, or of desire intent. All forms in all kingdoms respond, en masse, to the urge or the desire aspect of divinity which lies at the root of the entire evolutionary process. This is recognized as an incentive and is more or less self-directed in the human family; it is blindly followed by the forms in the other kingdoms, who respond according to the nature of their response mechanisms to these varying urges.

When we deal with the inflow of mental energy and with the forces emanating from the fifth plane of mind (higher mind, lower mind and the egoic intelligent entity) we enter more entirely into the domain of human evolution itself, and the vague word "consciousness" could well be superseded by the word "awareness." In varying degrees man is aware, but [136] only man is aware that he is aware. His response apparatus responds to, and is influenced by, all the contacts to which the subhuman forms respond, but he is also aware of himself, and his response mechanism is capable of reacting, not only to external stimuli but to contacts emanating from within himself, from the Self so called, and also from the worlds of introspection and of mystical vision which seem sealed to all subhuman forms of life.

In the larger picture, with which we are not to occupy ourselves in this treatise, the planet constitutes the response apparatus of a superhuman Life, and that Life responds consciously to impacts emanating from the solar system as a whole, and from certain constellations (embodied Lives) with which our solar system is linked. Similarly the solar Logos functions through the medium of that gigantic response apparatus which is bounded by the ring-pass-not of a solar system. Each form, from that of the tiniest atom to that of a vast constellation, is an embodiment of a life, which expresses itself as consciousness, awareness, and responsive sentiency through the medium of some type of response mechanism. Thus we have the establishing of a universe of lives, interacting and interrelated, all of them conscious, some of them self-conscious, and others group-conscious, but all grounded in the universal mind, all possessing souls, and all presenting aspects of the divine Life.

Life, quality, appearance remain thus the primal triplicity. Appearance is objective, and forms have been studied scientifically, analyzed and classified, for ages. Now we are introverting and introspecting, and have the commencement of a cycle wherein the world of quality and of meaning will be subjected to a similar investigation and classification. This will result in the giving of new values to life, to an enriching of our understanding, and will produce, as a result, the growth and substitution of the intuition for the intellect. [137]

May I urge upon all to live more continuously in the world of meaning and less in the world of appearances? It is a truer world and less full of illusion. When the understanding is developed, when men have learnt to see below the surface and have cultivated true vision, then we shall have the steady emergence of the quality of the soul in all forms and the relative subsiding into the background of the power of the form nature. It is this world of meaning which it is the privilege of humanity to reveal, and all true esoteric students should be pioneers in this field. [141]

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