This means that until I’m in touch with the organic parts of my Being—intellect, sensation, feeling—absolutely all of my understanding about life and the world is a function of my lower parts: mind, body and emotion.
They form very good pictures of the world, it’s true; but they have inherent limitations. Their activity, as is graphically illustrated in the previous post, is entirely separated from the understandings from the level above them.
There’s a point of contact, which is called consciousness — our awareness. That awareness occupies the gap between higher understanding and the lower understanding of the ordinary world.
This difference in understanding is so profound that it's nearly impossible to explain or describe. The understanding from the higher level is an understanding from the planetary level, which marks the beginning of the angelic kingdoms. Understanding from that level is quite different in every center than it is from within the centers that exist on the lower level. Both understandings, of course, are absolutely necessary in order to understand the world: because the world is composed of levels, and in order to understand "the" world, one must understand not a single world, but worlds, that is, two worlds and how they come into contact with one another.
To be more precise and entirely accurate, one must actually understand three worlds, because the understanding must include the world or level below us as well; and that’s an equally new understanding. It is just as separate from us as the level above us; yet it exists at a much finer level of detail than the one we live in and understand at present. The organic sensation of Being is one of the tools that helps to connect us to that level; yet, it belongs to the higher level of the minds, not the lower one.
In a certain sense, imparting this information is futile; although one thinks one can understand this with this part or that part on this level—for example, as it’s imparted here— one can't. Only the inward flow of material substances from a higher level — the "finer energy" that we hear about in some spiritual works — can bring about the transformation of understanding. The transformation of understanding represents a different order of Being; and of that order consists of intelligence of a different nature, substance, and attitude than my ordinary nature, substance, and attitude.
To say that this understanding has a different nature is to say that it has different essential qualities and properties.
To say that it has a different substance is to say that it has different underlying properties, is made of a different tissue and material.
To say that it has a different attitude means that it is pointed in another direction.
We associate this new understanding, in metaphysical terms, with the astral body because of these three things. It is a different tissue (sensory body), with different essential properties (intellect), directed towards God (feeling), not the outer world.
Perhaps this is the most important point one could make, because everything we understand from this level is always pointed towards the outside world and the world of appearances. We constantly mistake our inner work and what it takes to conduct it as a part of this lower level, this material world we live in; and we see dependencies within that world, as though reciprocities produced by our interaction with it could somehow stimulate our higher being. Yet that’s impossible; in fact, only the much finer substances of active relationship — exchanges between various aspects of Being, which we also call impressions — can stimulate higher Being, because only they lie at the level of vibration that higher Being can relate to properly.
There’s a stubborn insistence on everything in us to rely on what we know and understand from this level in order to conduct our inward and spiritual work. This is materialism is treacherous, because it presumes that lower materials and higher materials can directly influence one another; whereas, actually, they belong to different realms and must be treated that way.
This, in a nutshell, is why I actually have to forget everything I know and understand in order to work. There is no other place to begin.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.