JUST as there are mental planes which the investigator naturally classifies as “below” the ordinary planes of consciousness—the instinctive plane; the physical-function plane; the habit-plane; and even the plane on which the so-called “automatic thinking,” etc., manifests—so are there many planes which one naturally thinks of as “above” the ordinary plane.
As we have said, not only are there the basements and sub-cellars beneath the floor of the packing and shipping department of the mind, but also many “upper stories” above that floor. Upon these upper floors of the mind rest those things which the world calls Genius; Inspiration; Intuition; Spiritual Power; and other names denoting higher faculties of the mind.
Kay says: “It is in the ultra-conscious region of the mind that all its highest operations are carried on. It is here that genius works.” Carlyle said: “Shakespeare’s intellect is what I call an unconscious intellect; there is more virtue in it than he himself is aware of. The latest generations of men will find new meanings in Shakespeare, new elucidations of their own human being.” Goethe said: “I prefer that the principle from which, and through which, I work shall be hidden from me.”
Ferrier says: “The sublimest works of intelligence are quite possible, and may be easily conceived to be executed, without any consciousness of them on the part of the apparent and immediate agent.” Holmes says: “The creating and informing spirit which is within us and not of us, is recognized everywhere in real life.
It comes to us as a voice that will be heard; it tells us what we must believe; it frames our sentences and we wonder at this visitor who chooses our brain as his dwelling place.” Schofield says: “The supra-conscious mind lies at the other end— all those regions of higher soul and spirit life, of which we are only at times vaguely conscious, but which always exist, and link us on to eternal verities, on the one side, as surely as the sub-conscious mind links us to the body on the other.”
Schofield also says: “The mind, indeed, reaches all the way, and while on the one hand it is inspired by the Almighty, on the other it energizes the body, all whose purposive life it originates. We may call the supra-conscious mind the sphere of the body life, the subconscious mind the sphere of the body life, and the conscious mind the middle region where both meet.”
Schofield also says: “The Spirit of God is said to dwell in believers, and yet, as we have seen, His presence is not the subject of direct consciousness. We would include, therefore, in the supra-conscious, all such spiritual ideas, together with conscience—the voice of God, as Max Muller calls it—which is surely a half-conscious faculty. Moreover the supra-conscious, like the sub-conscious, is, as we have said, best apprehended when the conscious mind is not active.
Visions, meditations, prayers, and even dreams have been undoubtedly occasions of spiritual revelations, and many instances may be adduced as illustrations of the workings of the Spirit apart from the action of reason or mind.
The truth apparently is that the mind as a whole is an unconscious state, by that its middle registers, excluding the highest spiritual and lowest physical manifestations, are fitfully illuminated in varying degrees by consciousness; and that it is to this illuminated part of the dial that the word “mind,” which rightly appertains to the whole, has been limited.”
And as Emerson has said: “Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason. It shall ripen into truth, and you shall know why you believe.”
In the region of the higher planes of the Inner Consciousness are to be found that wonderful aspect or phase of mind which we call “Intuition,” which Webster defines as: “Direct apprehension or cognition; immediate knowledge, as in perception or consciousness involving no reasoning process.” Intuition is a most difficult thing to describe, but yet nearly everyone understands just what is meant by the term.
It is a higher form of that which we know as “Instinct,” the difference being chiefly that Instinct belongs to the phenomena of the “below” conscious planes, and has to do chiefly with that which concerns the physical body and well-being—while Intuition belongs to the “above” conscious planes and has to do with the higher part of the nature of the individual. Instinct sends its messages “up” to the Intellect, while Intuition sends its messages “down” to the Intellect.
Many of the highest form of pleasurable things come from the region of Intuition. Art, Music, Poetry; the love of the Beautiful and the Good; the higher forms of love; intuitive perception of truth; all these come from above—from the region of Intuition.
Genius also comes from that enchanted region. All great writers, poets, painters, musicians, actors, and artists of all kinds and modes of expression have received their “Inspiration” from these higher regions of the mind. All great artists, working through the various mediums of expression noted above, have felt that their best work was rather the result of the labor of some higher power, rather than of their own “everyday self.” The testimony on this point is overwhelming.
And, strange to say, the work that impresses itself most strongly upon the public, is just this kind of work which left upon the mind of the worker the impression that it came “from above”—was the result of “inspiration.” The Greeks, recognizing the wonderful phenomena emanating from this part of the mind, were wont to call it the work of the “daemon,” or “spirit,” which, friendly to the artist, would attach itself to him and “inspire” his work.
Plutarch wrote that Timarchus saw in a vision the spirits which were partly attached to human bodies, and partly over and above them, shining luminously over their heads. In the vision, he was informed by the oracle that the part of the spirit which was immersed in the body was called the “soul,” while the outer or unimmersed portion was called the “daemon” or “spirit.”
The oracle also stated that every man had his daemon, whom he was bound to obey; those who implicitly follow that guidance are the prophetic souls, the favorites of the gods. This idea of the “daemon” was a favorite one with Socrates, and even Goethe was evidently impressed with the idea, for he speaks of the daemon as a power higher than the will, and which inspired certain natures with miraculous energy.
Of course these ideas were merely the attempts of the thinkers of those days attempting to account for and explain the phenomena which was apparent to all. There is no necessity for postulating the existence of these “daemons” or “spirits” to account for the phenomena of Intuition and Genius. The “daemon” is merely the operation of the mind of each of us on its higher planes. We have it all within us—that Something Within which seems almost like a protecting and guiding entity.
In this connection we quote the following from a well-known work: “The advanced occultist knows that in the higher regions of the mind are locked up intuitive perceptions of all truth, and that he who can gain access to these regions will know everything intuitively, and as a matter of clear sight, without reasoning or explanation. The race has not as yet reached the heights of Intuition—it is just beginning to climb the foothills. But it is moving in the right direction.
It will be well for us if we will open ourselves to the higher inner guidance, and be willing to be ‘led by the Spirit.’ This is a far different thing from being led by an outside intelligence, which may, or may not, be qualified to lead. But the Spirit within each of us has our interests at heart, and is desirous of our own best good, and is not only ready but willing to take us by the hand and lead us on.
The Higher Self is doing the best it can for our development and welfare, but is hampered by its confining sheaths. And, alas, many of us glory in these sheaths and consider them the highest part of ourselves. Do not be afraid to let the light of the Spirit pierce through these confining sheaths and dissolve them. The Intuition, however, is not the Spirit, but is one of its channels of communication to us.
There are other and still higher planes of mind, but the Intuition is the one next above the Intellect in the line of unfoldment, and we should open ourselves to its influence and welcome its gradual unfoldment and manifestation within ourselves.”
There are indeed planes of the Inner Consciousness above that which we know as Intuition, but the consideration of these would take us beyond the scope of this little work and on to the great field of what has been called “Spiritual Consciousness,” and which is as yet practically undeveloped in the majority of the race.
In this great field is also included that plane of consciousness which has been called “Cosmic Consciousness,” in which certain highly developed individuals have been able to penetrate, and thus realize in actual consciousness that Oneness of Life and the Unity in the Universe. But, as we have said, this belongs to an entirely different phase of the general subject from that which we are considering in this work.
The purpose of this little work is chiefly to point out to the students the various fields of consciousness common to the whole race, and which may be developed by any individual, together with certain suggestions concerning this work of development and use. Therefore, we must pass by with a mere mention those exalted planes of consciousness which have been penetrated only by certain highly developed individuals.
In fact, these higher planes can scarcely be called “mental planes” at all—they belong to that part of man’s nature which is more properly designated “spiritual.” The possibilities before any man and every man along the lines pointed out in this work are sufficiently great for the majority of individuals, and the development and use of these various mental planes will “keep them busy” for a long time to come.
And when finally they are ready for further progress, the way will open itself out for them, and the book or the teacher will be found ready to give the needed instruction.
While the phase of the subject of Inner Consciousness, known as Spiritual Consciousing—that spiritual “knowing” by means of which one is able to see through and behind the things of the material plane—belongs to another branch of occult science, and can scarcely be touched up in this work, still it would not be just to the reader for us to fail to call his attention to the higher planes of his own being, which are unfolding into conscious realization as he advances in spiritual unfoldment and attainment.
All of us have recognized that “Something Within” which comes to our aid in times of doubt, distress and trouble. Many of us have considered this “Something” to be outside of themselves, but it is really a higher part of the soul awakened into greater activity by the needs of the individual.
This Something Within is always alert and awake to our interests, and tries to send us a warning word or a restraining hand, but alas! we brush these loving admonitions aside as “mere imagination,” “absurd notions,” etc., and refuse to accept the message coming from the higher planes of our own being.
Not only in times of danger does the Something Within send us its messages — it tries to help us even in the little affairs of everyday life.
Did you never feel an earnest desire for some information of a certain kind and, after failing to find it, later be led to some book shelf in a store or in a public library and, picking up a book at random, find either the information you wish or else a reference to some other book containing the information? Many have had these experiences—perhaps you are one of the number.
Have you never had the experience of being “led” to a person or place in order to gain certain information or advantages? Have you never been “led” apparently in the opposite direction from where you thought a desired something might be found, only to find later that in that opposite direction was the thing you desired? Have you never been conscious of the little mental “nudges” in this direction, or the little restraining “pull-back” drawing you away from certain things— afterwards to find that the suggestion of the Something Within had been actually right, whether you followed it or not?
These things are not mere imaginings, but are the manifestations of that Something which is the higher part of ourselves, always striving and trying to guide us aright. The old tales about “Conscience” were founded on true scientific facts—each of us has that which folks have called a “Conscience,” trying to “steer the way true” for each of us.
This Conscience or Something Within is not the “goody-goody” thing that has been taught, but instead is a watchful Something, knowing better and seeing farther than can we in our outer consciousness, and endeavoring to steer us aright. Do not reject these things as “played-out relics of outgrown creeds,” but recognize them for what they are.
Learn to recognize the pressure of the “Unseen Hand”—welcome it when it comes, and bid it welcome. Do not shake it from your shoulder as an alien thing, simply because you fail to understand it and its laws. Trust to its well-meaning and kindliness. It is not an outside thing—it is a part of your very self. It will manifest according to your faith in and expectation its presence.
It is striving to unfold further and further into your conscious life, and you may aid it by bidding it welcome and treating it as a part of yourself instead of as an alien. It is Yourself who is speaking—so do not shut the door of your mind to it.
Let the Light Within you send its rays into your outer consciousness, that it may illumine and make plain the way that your feet must tread. And step out boldly upon the place illumined for your footsteps without fear and with confidence. If you understand these things clearly you will know what good old Newman meant when he wrote the beautiful lines:
“Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,