Life – Quality – Appearance
In our study of the rays it must therefore be remembered that we are dealing with life-expression, through the medium of matter-form. The highest unity will be cognized only when this dual relation is perfected. The theory of the One Life may be held, but I deal not basically with theory but with that which may be known, provided there is growth and intelligent application of truth. I deal with possibility and with that which is capable of achievement. Many these days like to talk and think in terms of that One Life, but it remains but speech and thought, whilst the true awareness of that essential Unity remains a dream and an imagining. Whenever this reality is put into words duality is emphasized and the spiritual controversy (using the word in its basic meaning and not in its ordinary warlike connotation) is enhanced. Take for example the words: “I believe in the One Life” or “To me, there is but one Reality,” and note how they are in their phraseology an expression of duality. Life cannot be expressed in words nor can its realized perfection. The process of “becoming,” which leads to “being,” is a cosmic event, involving all forms, and no son of God lies separated from that mutable process as yet. As long as he is in form he cannot know what Life is, though, when he has attained certain steps and can function on the higher planes of the system in full awareness, he can begin to glimpse that awful Reality. Certain great initiates, down the ages, have fulfiled their function of revealers, and have held before the eyes of the pioneering disciples of life the ideal of Oneness and of Unity. It has nevertheless been a matter of shifting the focus of attention progressively out of one form into another, and thus, from a higher standpoint getting a fresh glimpse of a possible truth. Each age (and the present is no exception) has believed its grasp of Reality and its sensitivity to the inner Beauty to be greater and nearer the True than was ever previously possible. The highest realization of what is termed the One Life is the awareness (of the initiate of high degree) of the embodied Logos, of Deity, and his identification with the consciousness of that stupendous Creator Who is seeking expression through the medium of the solar system. No initiate on the planet can identify himself with the consciousness of that Identified Being (in the esoteric sense of the term) Who, speaking in the Bhagavad Gita, says: “Having pervaded the entire universe with a fragment of Myself, I remain.”
These thoughts I commend to your consideration and to your careful pondering, begging you to see to it that there is a steady expansion of your sense of awareness and a growing capacity to make understanding contacts with that emerging Truth, Reality and Beauty which the universe declares. Guard yourself at the same time from mystical rhapsodies anent the One Life, which are apt to be no more than the negation of all mental apprehension and a luxuriating in the sensuous perception of a highly developed and high grade emotional nature.
All our considerations therefore in this Treatise on the Seven Rays will necessarily be held within the realm of thought which involves awareness of duality. I shall employ the language of duality, and this I shall do, not because I seek to emphasize it to the neglect of unity (for this unity is to me somewhat of a reality and I glimpse more than a possibility), but because all aspirants and disciples and all initiates up to the third initiation – as I earlier said – are swinging as a pendulum between the pairs of opposites, spirit and matter. I speak not here of the pairs of opposites of the astral or emotional plane, which are illusory reflections of the true pairs of opposites, but of the basic duality of manifestation. I seek to deal with that material which is of practical value and which can be grasped by the illumined intelligence of the average man. It is necessary for all students who seek illumination and a right apprehension of truth to drop the emphasis so often laid upon certain aspects and presentations of truth being spiritual and others being mental. It is in the realm of so-called mind that the great principle of separateness is found. It is also in the realm of mind that the great at-one-ment is made. The words of the initiate Paul have here a fitting place, wherein he says: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ,” and adds in another place that Christ had made “in himself, of twain, one new man”. It is through the mind that theory is formulated, truth distinguished and Deity apprehended. When we are more advanced upon the Path, we shall see naught but spirit everywhere, and the aphorism, enunciated by that great disciple, H.P.B., that “matter is spirit at the lowest point of its cyclic activity” and “spirit is matter on the seventh plane,” or the highest, will be a realized fact in our consciousness. It is as yet but an intellectual phrase which means little except the enunciation of a truth, incapable of proof. Everything is an expression of a spiritual consciousness, which spiritualizes by its inherent life all matter-forms. A grub or worm working out its little life in a mass of decaying substance is as much a spiritual manifestation as an initiate working out his destiny in a mass of rapidly changing human forms. It is all manifested Deity; it is all divine expression and all a form of sensitive awareness and of response to environment, and therefore a form of conscious expression.
The seven rays are the first differentiation of the divine triplicity of Spirit-Consciousness-Form, and they provide the entire field of expression for the manifested Deity. We are told in the scriptures of the world that the interplay, or the relation between, Father-Spirit and Mother-Matter produces eventually a third, which is the Son, or the consciousness aspect. That Son, the product of the two, is esoterically defined as “the One Who was third but is the second.” The reason for this wording is that there first existed the two divine aspects, Spirit-Matter, or matter impregnated with life, and it was only when these two realized their mutual unity (note the necessary ambiguity of that phrase) that the Son emerged. The esotericist, however, regards Spirit-Matter as the first unity, and the Son therefore is the second factor. This Son, Who is divine Life incarnate in matter, and consequently the producer of the diversity and immensity of forms, is the embodiment of divine quality. We might therefore utilize – for the sake of clarity – the terms Life-Quality-Appearance as interchangeable with the more usual triplicity of Spirit-Soul-Body, or Life-Consciousness-Form.
I shall utilize the word Life when referring to Spirit, to energy, to the Father, to the first aspect of Divinity, and to that essential dynamic electric Fire which produces all that is, and is the sustaining, originating Cause and Source of all manifestation.
I shall use the word Appearance to express that which we call matter, or form, or objective expression; it is that illusory tangible outer appearance which is animated by life. This is the third aspect, the Mother, over-shadowed and fertilized by the Holy Ghost, or Life, united with intelligent substance. This is fire by friction – a friction brought about by life and matter and their interplay, and producing change and constant mutation.
I shall use the word Quality as expressive of the second aspect, the Son of God, the cosmic Christ incarnate in form – a form brought into being by the relation of spirit and matter. This interplay produces that psychological Entity which we call the Christ. This cosmic Christ demonstrated to us His perfection, as far as the human family is concerned, through the medium of the historical Christ. This psychological Entity can bring into functioning activity a quality within all human forms which esoterically can “obliterate the forms” and so engross the attention as to be regarded eventually as the main factor and as constituting all that is. This truth as to life and quality and form is made most clearly apparent to us in the story of the Christ of Galilee. He was constantly reminding the people that He was not what He appeared to be, neither was He the Father in Heaven, and He is ever referred to by those who know and love Him in terms of quality. He demonstrated to us the quality of the love of God, and in Himself He embodied not only that which He had evolved of the seven ray qualities, but also – as do few of the sons of God – a basic principle of the ray of the Solar Logos Himself, the quality of Love. This we shall study more closely when we take up the consideration of the second Ray of Love-wisdom.
The seven rays are therefore embodiments of seven types of force which demonstrate to us the seven qualities of Deity. These seven qualities have consequently a sevenfold effect upon the matter and forms to be found in all parts of the universe, and have also a sevenfold interrelation between themselves.
Life-quality-appearance are brought together into a synthesis in the manifested universe and in man incarnate, and the result of this synthesis is sevenfold, producing seven types of qualified forms which emerge on all planes and in all kingdoms. It must be remembered that all the planes which we, from our little point of view, regard as formless are not really so. Our seven planes are but the seven subplanes of the cosmic physical plane. We shall not deal with the planes, except in their relation to man’s unfoldment, nor shall we deal with the macrocosm, or with the developing life of the Cosmic Christ. We shall confine our attention entirely to man and to his psychological reactions to the qualified forms in three directions: to those in the subhuman kingdoms in nature, to those with whom he associates in the human family, and to the guiding Hierarchy and the world of souls. The seven ray types must be dealt with entirely from the human angle, for this treatise is intended to give the new psychological approach to man through an understanding of the energies, seven in number, with their forty-nine differentiations, which animate him and make him what he is. Later, as we take up each ray type, we shall subject man to a close analysis and study his reactions in these three directions.
These seven rays are the seven streams of force issuing from a central energy after (in point of time) that vortex of energy had been set up. Spirit and matter became mutually interactive and the form or appearance of the solar system began its process of becoming, – a process leading to an eventual being. This idea is ancient and true. We find reference to the seven aeons and the seven emanations and to the life and nature of the seven “Spirits which are before the Throne of God” in the writings of Plato and of all initiates who laid down in ancient times the basic propositions which have guided the human mentality down the ages. These great Lives, functioning within the boundaries of the solar system, gathered to Themselves that substance which They required for manifestation and built it into those forms and appearances through which They could best express Their innate qualities. Within the radius of Their influence, They gathered all that now appears. This aggregated, qualified material constitutes Their body of manifestation, just as the solar system is the body of manifestation of the Trinity of aspects.
This idea can best be apprehended if one remembers that every human being is, in his turn, an aggregate of atoms and cells built into form and having scattered throughout that form organs and centers of differentiated life which function in rhythm and relation, but which have varying influences and differing purposes. These aggregated and animated forms present an appearance of an entity or central life which is characterized by its own quality, and which functions according to the point in evolution, thus making an impress by its radiation and life upon every atom and cell and organism within the radius of immediate influence and also upon every other human being contacted. Man is a psychic entity, a Life Who, through radiatory influence, has built a form, colored it with His own psychic quality and thus presented an appearance to the environing world which will persist for as long a time as He lives in form.
This statement covers also the life story and the qualified appearance of any one of the seven rays. God, Ray, Life, and Man are all psychological entities and builders of forms. Therefore a great psychological life is appearing through the medium of a solar system. Seven psychological lives, qualified by seven types of force, are appearing through the medium of the seven planets. Each planetary life repeats the same technique of manifestation-life-quality – appearance – and in its second aspect of quality demonstrates as a psychological entity. Every human being is a miniature replica of the entire plan. He is also spirit-soul-body, life-quality-appearance. He colors his appearance with his quality and animates it with his life. Because all appearances are expressions of quality and the lesser is included in the greater, every form in nature and every human being is found upon one or other of the seven qualifying rays and his appearance in a phenomenal form is colored by the quality of his basic ray. It is qualified predominantly by the ray of the particular life upon whose emanation he issued forth, but it will include also in a secondary measure the six other ray types.
Let us therefore posit – as a symbolical analogy – the fact of a Central Life (extraneous and outside our solar system yet within it during the process of manifestation) Which decides within Itself to take a material form and to incarnate. A vortex of force is set up as a preliminary step and we then have God immanent and God transcendent at the same time. This vortex, as a result of this initial activity, demonstrates through the medium of what we call substance or (to use a technical term of modern science, which is the best we can do at this time) through the ether of space. The consequence of this active interplay of life and substance is that a basic unity is constituted. Father and mother are at-one. This unity is characterized by quality. Through this triplicity of life-quality-form, the central Life evokes and manifests consciousness, or awareness of response to all that is eventuating, but in a degree which it is impossible for us to cognize, limited as we are by our present relatively undeveloped point in evolution.
Students of this treatise must bear in mind, from the very start of their studies, the necessity for familiarizing themselves with these four conditioning factors – life-quality-appearance – and their result or synthesis which we call Consciousness.
Always, therefore, we predicate that which stands outside of the appearance and which is conscious of that appearance. This involves awareness of its material development and consequent adequacy of expression, and also awareness of its psychic unfoldment. No study of the rays is possible apart from this fourfold recognition. Our grasp of the subject will be much facilitated if we train ourselves to regard ourselves as an accurate (though as yet undeveloped) expression and reflection of this initial creative quaternary. We are lives, making an appearance, expressing quality and slowly becoming aware of the process and the objective, as our consciousness becomes more like that of Divinity Itself.