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We shall now trace the way in which the sevenfold division already described in the previous chapter relates to Man. We shall see how it produces the seven levels of his consciousness and his seven centers of vital force - the chakras. In man the essential polarity which we have discussed in Chapter One has its axis along the spinal column so that spirit has its manifestation at the crown of the head while matter (in its densest form) manifests at the root of the spine.
Between these poles there are intermediate stages of consciousness, each denser than the preceding one as the life force descends down the spine in its involution into matter.
One may compare this process of gradual densification with the vibratory effects which are produced in music from the string of an instrument. The deeper notes are produced as the result of the string vibrating more slowly; when the string of the instrument vibrates more quickly it produces a higher note. So it is also that the finer levels of our consciousness are the Life Force vibrating at a higher frequency and the lower frequencies are the grosser or more material levels within ourselves.
The seven chakras in man therefore correspond to a seven-note musical scale, the lower chakras having a slower vibration and corresponding to the deeper notes of the scale and the higher chakras to the finer notes.
St Paul defined Man as 'Spirit, Soul and Body' and one can readily see that this definition is based upon the three principles of the Trinity which we have discussed in Chapter One. Spirit and body are the bask polarities and thought is the relationship between the two. St Paul was using the Greek word psyche implying the mental and emotional level which we will now term mind instead of Soul.
Let us see how this definition fits in with the chakras in Man: Spirit we have already noted manifests at the crown of the head and the next chakra to appear in order of density is the force centre between the eyebrows, which St Paul refers to as soul (but which we may now call mind) being the seat of mental activity. Next in order is the throat centre and this, as St Paul said, is the body in essence because it is the seat of the ether. The ether is the substratum from which the four lower elements, air, fire, water and earth, are derived.
Each of these elements is merely a modification of the basic ether so that the ether may rightly be regarded as the basic material body. The four elements of air, fire, water and earth have their seats respectively at the heart, solar plexus, sacral and root chakras. In this way we see that the higher triplicity and lower quaternary appear in Man strictly in accordance with the numerical laws of manifestation and the seven chakras are an exact working out of these laws.
Alchemists referred to the ether as the quintessence or fifth level of vibration and we shall see later how the four lower elements are both produced from and return to this etheric substratum or latency. The more advanced alchemists also realized that since the various levels of consciousness are merely the life force vibrating at different frequencies, it follows that one level may be transmuted into another merely by changing the rate of vibration, and hence the transformation of one element into another is a perfectly natural possibility.
This also applies to the transmutation of our grosser vibrations into our finer ones. The esoteric alchemy dealt with the refinement of man's consciousness by purification until the dross of the lower self was entirely transmuted and the pure gold of spiritual consciousness was attained. This process of attainment is known under various names to all true mystics of whatever religion.
In more modern times, Einstein and other well-known physicists have noted the fact that matter is thought, vibrating at a lower frequency. In earlier times alchemists performed their transmutations of one metal into another using the same principles. In fact all manifestation is merely the life force working at differing rates of vibration and the difference between one element and another is merely its different frequency of vibration.
The body, as we have seen, is really the third or objective aspect of the trinity - that is the ether. Its four modifications comprise air, fire, water and earth. The sequence of involution may be expressed in the following way:
For an objective manifestation to occur there must first be space within which it can do so. Therefore ether is the element of pure space alone.
Next there must be locomotion within that space and this is the element of air which is motion alone within that space.
Next there must come into being the principle of expansion which is the element of fire. This is followed by the principle of contraction which is the element of water.
Finally the principle of solidity or cohesiveness manifests which is the element of earth. These principles or elements are often referred to by the Sanskrit term tattwas meaning 'thatness' or 'suchness'. This means the essence of any quality. These elements are all that there is, in fact there is nothing else except them in the world of name or form. They are the bricks of which our total experience is built and the world of manifestation is composed solely of the elements.
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