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Esoteric Psychology II - Chapter I - The Egoic Ray - The Growth of Soul Influence
It was earlier pointed out that we can profitably use the words, - Life, Quality, Appearance - in lieu of Spirit, Soul and Body, for they express the same truth. The quality of matter, built up into human form and indwelt by the soul or solar angel, is that which normally colors the appearance. Later, this inherent quality of the appearance changes, [22] and it is the quality nature of Deity (as expressed in the soul) which obliterates the quality of the forms. During the stage wherein it is the quality of matter which is the paramount influence, that material radiance makes itself felt in a triple form. These - from the angle of the entire sweep of the evolutionary process, and as far as the human personality is concerned - appear sequentially, and qualify the matter aspect with its three major presentations:
  1. The quality of physical substance. During this stage of development, the man is almost entirely physical in his reactions and completely under the ray of his physical body. This is the correspondence in man to the Lemurian epoch and to the period of pure infancy.
  2. The quality of the astral body. This governs the individual for a very long period, and still governs, more or less, the masses of men. It corresponds to the Atlantean period and to the stage of adolescence. The ray of the astral body is of very great power.
  3. The quality of the mental body. This, as far as the race is concerned, is just beginning to wax in power in this Aryan race to which this era belongs. It corresponds to the stage of maturity in the individual. The ray of the mind has a very close relation to the solar angel, and there is a peculiar affiliation between the Angel of the Presence and the mental man. It is this deep seated, though oft unrecognized, interplay and cultivated intercourse, which produces the at-one-ment between the soul and its mechanism, man in the three worlds.

From the angle of these three ray influences, we have (in the life of the aspirant) a recapitulation of the triple process which we could call the "processes of unfoldment of the Lemurian, Atlantean, and Aryan consciousness." On the Path [23] of Probation, the ray of the physical body must become subordinated to the potencies emanating from those soul rays which stream forth from the outer tier of petals in the egoic lotus. (See A Treatise on Cosmic Fire.) These are the knowledge petals. On the Path of Discipleship, the astral body is brought into subjection by the ray of the soul as it pours through the second tier of petals, the love petals. Upon the Path of Initiation, until the third initiation, the ray of the mental body is subdued by the force of the petals of sacrifice, found in the third tier of petals. Thus the three aspects of the personality are brought into subjection by the energy emanating from the nine petals of the egoic lotus. After the third initiation, the whole personality, composed of the three aspects, becomes sensitive to the energy of pure electric fire or life, as it pours through the "closed bud at the heart of the egoic lotus."

The value of the above information consists in the fact that it gives, symbolically, a synthetic picture of man's unfoldment and higher relations. Its danger consists in the capacity of the human intellect to separate and divide, so that the process is regarded as proceeding in successive stages, whereas in reality there is often a paralleling activity going on, and much overlapping, fusing and interrelating of aspects, of rays and of processes, within the time cycle.

Such is the program for humanity, as it concerns the unfoldment of the human consciousness. The whole emphasis of the entire evolutionary process is, in the last analysis, placed upon the development of conscious, intelligent awareness in the life animating the various forms. The exact state of awareness is contingent upon the age of the soul. Yet the soul has no age from the standpoint of time, as humanity understand it. It is timeless and eternal. Before the soul there passes the kaleidoscope of the senses, and the recurring [24] drama of outer phenomenal existence; but throughout all these occurrences in time and space, the soul ever preserves the attitude of the Onlooker and of the perceiving Observer. It beholds and interprets. In the early stages, when the "Lemurian consciousness" characterizes the phenomenal man, that fragmentary aspect of the soul which indwells and informs the human form, and which gives to the man any real human consciousness which may be present, is inert, inchoate and unorganized; it is devoid of mind as we understand it, and is distinguished only by a complete identification with the physical form and its activities. This is the period of slow tamasic reactions to suffering, joy, pain, to the urge and satisfaction of desire, and to a heavy subconscious urge to betterment. Life after life passes, and slowly the capacity for conscious identification increases, with a growing desire for a larger range of satisfactions; the indwelling and animating soul becomes ever more deeply hidden, the prisoner of the form nature. The entire forces of the life are concentrated in the physical body, and the desires then expressed are physical desires; at the same time there is a growing tendency towards more subtle desires, such as the astral body evokes. Gradually, the identification of the soul with the form shifts from the physical to the astral form. There is nothing present at this time which could be called a personality. There is simply a living, active physical body, with its wants and desires, its needs and its appetites, accompanied by a very slow yet steadily increasing shift of the consciousness out of the physical into the astral vehicle.

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