We find from the experience of transcending our body, emotions and thought, that who we truly are is the pure consciousness or pure experiencer, the pure I-consciousness which is known in the mind as soul. We also find in this consciousness a spiritual will or motivation to know thyself, that is, to make thoughtful reflection of who I am, to understand my soul qualities, and to eventually feel these qualities in my emotional life and through my manifestation. Thus, one of the aspects of soul is will or intention. But for now, let us focus consideration on the aspect of consciousness-in-itself.
Consciousness, which is a kind of energy, and which can simply be called spirit, animates the three bodies, to some degree. A soul, being a consciousness, is a partial fragment of the Universal, Ever-Present Consciousness. All souls are like drops of water within the universal ocean; each is not the whole of the water and yet each is wholly water. Thus, the fact that consciousness pervades the person, to some degree, means that the One Great Spirit animates the person. Yet we say it is a soul which animates because this consciousness is only a fragment of the greater Whole of consciousness. It is true, then, that the personality, or three bodies, are animated by a soul, a partial fragment of the Absolute One Consciousness. That is, the mind, the emotions and physical body are all somewhat conscious, or pervaded by a consciousness - which we call the soul. And yet, the mind of the average person is not usually conscious of the soul, or soul-conscious.
A degree of consciousness pervades the mind, and thus mind may be conscious of thinking, feeling and sensing, but this consciousness of mind has not transcended its usual focus on thought, emotions and sensation, and thus consciousness has not freed itself in the mind so that mind can know consciousness-in-itself. We can say, then, that consciousness is there already in the mind, to some extent, but trapped in habitual patterns of thinking and in recurring thought-forms or beliefs. At a lower level, consciousness is trapped in emotional reactions and at a still lower level it is trapped in physical sensations and mechanical activity.
Only when the consciousness has transcended these three 'bodies' is it free to know thyself, in its pure essence, in its soul-consciousness. In this transcendence or freedom from the conditioned and reactive beliefs and emotions, the soul can be known in its true qualities and from here the spiritual will of the soul becomes active and effective. Here we find our true self, our true spiritual qualities and powers.
A confusion often arises in regards to consciousness, because people experience themselves as being conscious, without necessarily experiencing consciousness itself. How is it that their consciousness is trapped in the events of their three bodies but they nonetheless experience a consciousness?
First of all, consciousness is a kind of energy, having different possible frequencies and intensities. Second, a person may think they are conscious, but they cannot know how conscious they are because they have no experience of any other intensity from which to compare. Also, the average person does not recognize different possible levels of consciousness because they have not taken any time to study this in their own experience.
Thus, we can admit that the average person has some consciousness, or that consciousness is somewhat functioning, but the intensity and level of this is questionable. So, consciousness is quite little in the average person, even though they experience themselves as being conscious. Their consciousness is quite small, and often flickering like a weak light-bulb, while most activities take place by a hypnotic and robotic habit alone. The person may think themselves as being conscious, but they have no experience of a greater and more stable consciousness for which to make a comparison.
There are differing levels of consciousness, higher and lower frequencies, and the higher the frequency the more encompassing is the consciousness. A very low level of consciousness, for instance, would be only capable of realizing one particular object at any time, only capable of focusing here then there, etc. While a higher level or frequency of consciousness would be capable of realizing a much larger fragment of world events, more universal patterns and ideas, and more of one's self-reality.
These levels are about frequency and about inclusive realization within the whole world of Soul-consciousness. The greater levels of consciousness are synonymous with a more realized or expansive soul, within the One Great Soul which is The Spirit-Mystery or Absolute Divine Being. Also, at any level the consciousness can have greater or lesser intensities. This can simply be understood in our ordinary experience, as we know it is possible to be more or less 'awake' at any one moment and in any given occurrence or activity.
It is important to know that this intensity and frequency can be increased by the personal will, by using energies from the physical, emotional and mental bodies. This follows the esoteric law that energies can be transmuted and transformed for different uses, and that consciousness is a field of energy which can be increased, strengthened and stabilized by intentionally applied energies.
Consciousness is a different type of energy from, say, the vital energy needed by the organic body. The soul-body is made of consciousness energy, while the physical is made of vital and chemical energies. The higher energy of consciousness cannot directly feed the physical, and the vital of the physical is not what expands the soul-body. Each type of energy is only useful for its corresponding body or 'world'. Yet, because all these energies can be transmuted and transformed into other types of energy, each type can be used for any of the bodies when transmuted or transformed. So, for instance, the soul-body can gain from the vital energy of the physical body or physical planet, if this type of energy can be transmuted into the higher form of energy, consciousness. As well, the physical can gain from the energy of consciousness when this higher energy is transformed through its intentional permeation into the physical body or into the physical world. More will be explained of this practical spiritual work.
It is a basic law of this world that some spark or energy of spirit, which we can call the soul, incarnates (or transforms) into the physical at the point of conception. This organically growing physical body is animated with a sentient feeling and a guiding intelligence, all given by the soul transforming its energy and incarnating its power. Because of the infancy and as-yet-inadequate development of the three bodies, these bodies cannot maintain any soul-consciousness but rather are animated by the transformed soul-energy, the energy transformed into mental, emotional and vital energies.
Thus, there is no soul-consciousness in this body, or even in the intelligence guiding the infant development, for the soul energy has been transformed into the three different types of energy from which the three bodies can grow. We say that the soul has sacrificed itself into the physical body, for the soul loses itself in these growing three bodies, in order to feed them, while those bodies are incapable of feeding the soul. Thus the sacrifice, in the hope that someday the mental body will reconnect with and make sacrifice back to the soul, where upon the soul may use these bodies for its expression and further expansion.
So, the three bodies of a person are, from their beginning, animated by a soul-light, by spirit, to some limited degree. In other words, the three bodies are soul-infused, or infused with consciousness, to some extent. They have within their livingness a seed, or pervading energy, which is soul-energy or soul-consciousness. This primary energy is actually what makes life and experience possible in those three bodies of the person. That primary energy, as spirit or consciousness, is transformed into 'lower energies' to feed the life of the three bodies. For the mental body this spirit transforms into thinking energy, or mental energy. For the emotional body it transforms into emotions, or emotional energy. And for the physical body it transforms into vital energy, the basic energy which gives life to organic cells. So without spirit-energy, our life as we know it could not exist.
We can also make note that this planet is also animated by spirit and also has three bodies of physical, emotional and mental energy. The planet organic material life of the planet is animated by a vital energy. There is also an emotional sphere and a mental sphere permeating the physical planet, and each person lives within and draws from the these three energies of the planet. We will elaborate on this later.
So it is true that a degree or fragment of consciousness, of soul-light, is already pervading each of the three bodies of a person. Even the physical body is somewhat 'conscious'. So some degree of consciousness is already in the personal mind or mental body. Even some degree of the soul's motivating force is within each mental and emotional body, but it is usually too small of degree to be effective in proportion to other conditioning factors.
It is true that a person who is simply experiencing the three aspects of personality, though unaware of soul-in-itself, is conscious to some degree, because a fragment of consciousness, which is soul, already pervades the mental body. We could say, in other words, that the person is experiencing the effect of consciousness but not the cause or source. It is like someone being conscious of things in a room, which is only possible because of some light in the room, but this person is un-conscious and un-acknowledging of there being some necessary light which makes possible the consciousness of these things. Those things could be material things or emotions or thoughts. The soul-light, or soul-consciousness, makes this effect of ordinary awareness regarding the things of experience, and this is possible without any recognition of the light-source or soul consciousness in-itself.
Yet without consciousness-in-itself, the gnosis of soul-light, the person is merely experiencing a continuous reaction to things around them or to particular circumstances of life, according to a mechanical conditioning. We should remember that there really is no necessary need to be soul-conscious, or even conscious at all, in order to behave and manifest as a human being, in the ordinary sense. Conditioned robots, or hypnotically possessed persons, could succeed rather well in the world and could appear rather normal. This is factual more than you might think.
Consciousness, or soul-light, is ordinarily "lost" in the experience of many things. In other words, the primary energy of consciousness is all consumed in the experience of just things and circumstances, of associative thought-processes, and habitual or reactive emotions. Soul has been consumed in the three bodies, and the soul-energy transformed into mental, emotional and physical energies, which each go on from their own inertia. Thus, teachings speak of the fall of spirit. We might say that the three bodies are feeding on soul-energy, for their conditioned purposes, rather than the soul using energies of the three bodies for its divine purposes.
The esoteric teachings tell us that spirit, or consciousness, is trapped in matter, or lost in the three bodies. Some have called this the "Fall of Man". This is true, regarding both the person and the planet. And because of this, various teachings have evolved to free the spirit from matter or from the three bodies. Mistakes have arisen from these teachings, which will be explained shortly. When it is said that spirit is trapped in the three bodies, this has two related meanings. One is that the spiritual life, the spirit or soul, is unconscious in the three bodies. It still permeates, to some degree, but is 'unawakened' in the bodies. Going back to what was said about transformation of spiritual energy, the spirit-consciousness has been reduced to vital, emotional and thinking energies, and these 'lower energies' begin to function on their own inertia. They have disconnected, so to speak, from their essence or permeating spirit, whereby the spiritual motivation and soul-consciousness has been lost or forgotten.
This brings us to the second related meaning of spirit being trapped, or spirit fallen from its grace, which is that there is no more pure soul-consciousness, that is, an end to pure spirit being conscious. Spirit, of course, remains conscious in its own universal dimension, or in its own Being, but is not conscious in the three bodies of personal experience. In other words, the person is, at most, only aware of their three lower energies, the vital, the emotional and the thinking. We can say that these three energies are sensitively active or functioning, but consciousness-in-itself is not. Only the vital-physical, emotions and thinking energies make up the experience of the person.
Thus, from the perspective experience of the person, or in this experience of being a person or in this experience of life; soul is lost, because there is no soul-consciousness, no consciousness of soul-in-itself. There is only an experience of the physical, emotional, and mental energies, that is... only an experience of the spiritual energies already transformed into the lower energies. The soul-consciousness is, truly then, trapped in the lower energies and events of the three bodies. There is experience in the three bodies, but not much consciousness, and whatever consciousness there is is rarely known directly even though it generally pervades experience.
So if consciousness is not directly known in itself, then there is no soul-consciousness. Instead, the energy of soul-consciousness filters into the ordinary experiences of the mental, emotional and physical life, and there it pervades personal experience, to some extent. Yet though it pervades, there is no conscious experience of the pervading light, but only experience of the continuing stream of thought-forms, the reactionary outbursts of emotion, or the pleasures and pains of the body. Thus, the higher soul-energy is trapped in the lower energy forms of ordinary experience. Remember that psychic and spiritual energies can transform from higher to lower and transmute from lower to higher.
The teachings make a general distinction between consciousness and sensitivity and mechanical energies. These three sometimes mix or converge, but distinguishing these is very useful. In one sense, these are three kinds of energy; yet they can also be understood as three kinds of experience. All experience has some degree of consciousness energy in it; otherwise, there would be no 'experience', as it were. But mechanical experience has the least amount of consciousness in it. Thus, it is known as a lower form of energy, lower that the other two. Consciousness is recognized as the highest energy, then sensitive energy, and finally mechanical energy. Lower that this would be the various forms of physical energy, such as chemical, electric, and atomic; but are concern here is with the energies of our actual experience of oneself.
As already stated, there is some (but not much) consciousness energy in any mechanical energy, and there is more in sensitive energy. Yet it is useful to distinguish sensitive energy (or sensitivity) from consciousness energy; since only in the later form is consciousness pure and in itself. Whereas sensitive energy will always involve feelings or other aspects of the mind/emotion/physical triad of a person. Consciousness, on the other hand, can be experienced in itself and free from any emotional and physical influence, and even free from the influence of thought. Yet understand that one major goal in 'self-work' is to increase the energy of consciousness into all aspects of our sensitive life; in other words, the goal is to bring more consciousness into sensitivity. (because people's usual sensitivity is quite often lacking in real consciousness; but rather is closer really to mechanical experience, automatic or reactive experience.)
Sensitivity is often confused with consciousness, but this may be unavoidable since the two energies often converge and transform back and forth. Yet the distinction can be noted and is important in spiritual self-work. Sensitivity is the general energy of the three bodies which can be transmuted into consciousness energy. Consciousness is the energy of the soul which can be transformed into sensitive energies. In transformational work, as discussed later on, consciousness can be increased by feeding on sensitivity and sensitivity can be increased by transformed consciousness.
The three sensitive energies are the vital, the emotional and the thought energies. These three are all known as sensitive energies because of how they are experienced. The physical body is sensitive to vital energies, especially those vital energies found in good air and power places on the planet, and the our vitality is an energy we can be sensitive to. The emotional body is sensitive to emotions or feelings, as we often find in relations with other persons. And the mental body is sensitive to thoughts or ideas, as for example the inquisitive or philosophical mind. Thus, persons experience themselves and others and the natural environment, and these are sensitive experiences.
Thus, what is ordinarily called experience is the functioning of sensitive energy, or the sensitive registering in the brain of sensations, feelings and thoughts. When the thinking, the emotions, or the sensations are going strong and "filling experience", then this is sensitive energy at work. Consciousness, in contrast, will "feed the light" of these experiences in the three bodies, such that there is a pervading quality of consciousness in the experiences, but this pervading consciousness is un-noticed in the experience. One could say that consciousness is "taken for granted" in ordinary sensitive experience, since although it is pervading the experience the sensitivity (or awareness) is completely wrapped up in sensations, emotions or thoughts.
It is like when you spend an hour involved in some conversation or activity, and you are never reflective on the fact of being conscious in this duration, but you would not say that you were unconscious. We say that you were in the experience of sensitive energy. Some degree of consciousness pervades the experience, like a light making events seen, but there is no actual experience or recognition of consciousness. In the experience there is just sensitivity to things, events, sensations, emotions, or thoughts, and the registering of this in memory according to its intensity or importance. But there is no direct experience of, or sensitivity to, consciousness. If there is, then the sensitive energy is being transmuted, and the sensitive-reflective mind is directly experiencing the higher energy of consciousness.
There is another kind of energy that can be found in the three bodies. This is known as mechanical energy. It is a lower form than sensitive energy. It is found in processes which are basically unconscious and un-sensitive. In other words, the mechanical energy is found in the experience of routine and habit patterns, when there really isn't any awareness at all and very little sensitivity. A part of the mind and body may be at work, but there isn't any sensitive awareness. The work or activity is just automatic. Like when you drive a car while having an intense conversation. There is sensitive energy in the conversation but only mechanical energy in the driving. Mechanical energy is a general term for all the energies involved in subconscious processes, and much that goes on in the physical body, the emotions and the mind is under-conscious.
So in one moment one could be fully conscious, while in another moment one could be unconsciously mechanical. This is a very important distinction to understand, to possible observe in oneself, and to know the difference. Sensitivity is a level in in between; often we are mechanically sensitive and then perhaps reactive, but we can be consciously sensitive which in involves a more controlled emotion guided by conscious intelligence.
When sensitive energy becomes very routine or habitual in its activity, it will tend to transform into mechanical energy. Then there is nothing new found in the experience because there is no sensitivity. This can be very useful, as it allows new sensitive energy to be generated and the mind is free to focus sensitivity on other things and activities. Yet it is possible to regain sensitivity in those mechanical processes, making possible the change of routine or habit. This is accomplished by simply being sensitive or aware of what is going on in the body, emotions or mind, that is, being aware of what you are not usually aware of, regarding yourself.
It can also be noted that the patterns of the mechanical are very often guiding the sensitive experience. We call this lower guidance, or guidance by conditioning and habit. It has its use but is often an obstacle to personal growth and right balance. It is much better if the sensitivity is guided by true consciousness, when possible. This we call higher-guidance or soul-guidance.
Higher guidance is accomplished in two possible ways. One way is from the perspective of the soul, whereby the soul intentionally guides experience and transmutes lower energies. This will soon be more explained. The second way, which is how we must begin, is from the perspective of the mental intention. This way is to be sensitive, in the heart and mind, to either a deeper conscience and sincerity of the heart or to a greater understanding and consciousness of the mind. In this way, one directs some sensitivity to an inner knowing or wider consciousness, becoming sensitively receptive to your soul-consciousness and deeper feelings. This re-directs some of the sensitive energy to the higher consciousness and frees the sensitivity from mechanical influences. Very significantly, this redirected sensitivity to the inward or higher produces a transmutation of energy, from the lower to the higher, and this actually feeds the soul-life, intensifying and expanding the soul energy-body of light. This transmutation is from the mechanical to the consciousness via the sensitive. The effect is that the sensitive takes back energy from the mechanical and offers this to the consciousness or soul. This is merely a rough description.
What is practically important is to free your mind and emotion from mechanical habit and recurring patterns, by using will or intention, and becoming sensitively aware of an unconditioned consciousness and deeper feeling which is ready to pervade and guide experience. It is essentially a two-fold intentional activity: a freeing of the mechanical strings and inertia involved in ordinary experience and a reorientation of sensitivity and awareness towards a deeper or greater reality of oneself. This frees energy trapped in mechanical inertia and gives energy to the soul. Energy is effectively transmuted to consciousness energy, such that consciousness strengthens and expands, and thus the soul grows stronger and more permanent in the realm of experience.
Through this, the sensitive life, the experience in the three bodies is pervaded with more consciousness, more soul. The soul-life becomes stronger, and the connection is widened between soul and the three bodies, which allows for more permeation of the soul-consciousness through experience. And as the soul-light becomes stronger and more connected, the soul-will is able to be effective in transmuting energy. The soul begins to intentionally pervade the life of experience and draw into itself the sensitive energies of the vital, emotional and mental bodies. The roots of the soul, so to speak, dig down into the soil of the three bodies and draw forth nourishment for its expansive growth.
Ordinary transformations of energy can occur automatically, depending on needs and circumstances, but transmutations of energy from lower to higher levels do not automatically occur. These changes in energy-kind must be made consciously and intentionally. We need to learn how to do this and develop the ability, -- unless we are satisfied to remain as an automatism, like a mechanical or programed machine.
Transmutations of energy from lower to higher do not automatically occur, so the soul energy will remain trapped in ordinary experience unless it is consciously discovered and intentionally freed. The freeing of soul-energy, spiritual energy or the spiritual self, from the lower forms of experience is known as the purification process in alchemy. Some kind of purification process, or some kind of freeing process, is found in various systems of spiritual work. The work, as it is sometimes called, is to transcend the ordinary and automatic experiences of the three bodies, the mental, emotional and physical life. This transcendence must be made with conscious intent, whereby the working energies of the three bodies are intentionally sacrificed to a higher purpose, so that the soul or the Divine can work through these three bodies of self.
We can think of this as thought sacrificing itself to the one who transcends mind. Others may experience this as emotions surrendering to the essential heart presence, to just being in the presence of self. This sacrificing or surrendering is a transmutation of energies back to the soul or spiritual essence, which is accomplished through the medium of conscious breath.
This transmutation of energies produces two very important effects. One is that the connection and attunement between the soul and the three bodies is increased and refined. And two, the soul-energy is increased, whereby the soul-body of conscious light is further expanded and stabilized Only this soul-body can be said to have a stable identity and eternal life, either expanding or contracting, while the mental, emotional and physical bodies are each temporal and most often dependent on external conditions and conditioning.
It is your soul which re-incarnates into three new bodies, rather than your present mental beliefs or emotional habits. Although our beliefs and emotional patterns do carry on for at least some while in the planetary spheres and will still circulate through the lives of other persons. When we contemplate on the self we find that the materials, the emotions and thoughts, which comprise our experience of self, are not really unique but transpersonal, and it is only the peculiar combinations which can be rightly called unique. And the death of a personal body is the start of a process of dissolution and disintegration of these unique combinations, whereby their composed elements are gradually released back to the planetary life for their re-assimilation by other personal bodies. Only the soul-body can remain stable as an integrated unity, for it is a completely unitive consciousness, unitive will and unitive being.
The soul is immediately conscious, unconditioned and un-distracted, and the soul is conscious of its immediate power to direct or transmute mental energy, as well as other energies, by its conscious will. The soul knows its purpose, or is seeking to clarify its inner purpose via the mind and thought. Remember that the soul can only achieve its purposes through the three bodies, so all must come into cooperation. In our mind we need to know our true purpose. A mind that is seeking spiritual knowledge and purpose is really the soul seeking to "know thyself" through the mind. The mind, in this quest, may not yet realize that this is the soul' quest, but really it is our soul who is pervading and motivating our mind with this quest.
These alchemical descriptions are no substitute for practical work which should be experiential rather than theoretical. The key is conscious intention, the way is conscious meditation, and the catalyst is conscious breath.
The mental body needs to accumulate and concentrate enough consciousness energy (without simply using it) to make a transformational leap into the next potential energy level of mind, or what can be a called a higher state. But this can only happen if the energy of consciousness does not simply get used up in habitual patterns of thinking or emotion. Normally, and probably habitually, our consciousness energy does really get used up in these repeating sequences of mental or emotional activity; and therefore, there is no consciousness energy left to be used for higher levels of experience. So our consciousness energy needs to get free from regular kinds of thinking and from repetitious emotional moods, in order to work in a higher way and mentally experience in a higher way.
Thus, higher spiritual consciousness and experiences require a
surplus of available energy, which can only become available if we do
not simply spend all of the energy in ordinary thinking or in
emotional moods. This is part of cosmic natural law, that higher
states of consciousness, and even higher levels of being, require an
available extra energy, which can only become available if we
purposefully conserve, accumulate and concentrate
mental-consciousness energy in a given segment of time -- which
requires that we not allow our thinking and emotions to carry on as
the usually do. It is sort of like diverting how the consciousness
energy is being used, that is, taking it away from one kind of
activity (such as regular thinking about this or that) and instead
using it for some higher activity (such as contemplation of one's