The Teaching Summary, Contents: The Channel Introduction, Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Summary, Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Appendix, Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Conclusion
The Second Refelection
Nothing is more difficult in remembrance than the relating of events in progress in the Thought World, with their place in time. It is true that the emergence of Conscious Minds on earth completed the first cycle or curve of the spiral of evolution on earth, and that now we are somewhere on the curve of the second spiral which began with the Second Reflection, and will be completed with the Third Reflection. This second cycle in the spiral of earth's evolution is the development of Conscious Minds. The three Reflections in time are three stages in that development, in the same way as the three Important Chapters are three stages in the development of individual Conscious Minds.
There is one condition only that controls the progress of the individual, and that is the use of his own free-will. The coming of the Second Reflection was, and the Third Reflection will be, dependent on the average progress of all Conscious Minds, but there is a certain amount of overlapping, as there is in every process of evolution.
During the First Reflection there were Conscious Minds who foreshadowed the coming of Christ. Old faiths, too, sometimes caught a glimpse of the coming Christianity. Then the advent and advance of the Greek and Roman civilisations were a necessary preparation to make possible the spread of Christianity. So, in the ages to come it will be understood that the scientific discoveries of the twentieth century have prepared the way for the Third Reflection.
The period of the First Reflection was that of individual advance in search of the Light, a movement which is continuous, but which was given a new orientation by the Second Reflection. Since there is no limitation restraining personal progress, and because a few Conscious Minds had their three Important Chapters during the period of the First Reflection, it follows that some amongst these, whose progress was outstanding, would develop far beyond any other Mind and would, in fact outdistance time. One of these reached the highest point ever made towards understanding of the Light. He was Gautama (13), the founder of Buddhism. His understanding has in some respects never been equalled, but since his life was lived before the Life of Christ, he could not, in that life, achieve the true conception of human life that Christianity teaches. By the Revelation of Christ's Life, the individual should learn not to disdain or ignore his life on earth, as is the tendency of the followers of Gautama. Buddhism has reached up and caught the glorious truth of unity, but in its desire to transcend mortality and to obtain this unity, Buddhism tends to ignore the value of life on earth. Whereas Christ's Life and Teaching places man's feet firmly on earth, showing earth conditions as a school through which man must pass and human life as the starting point of the Return Journey. Remember that although the scope of the Intention, Progressive Creative Personality, is so vast as to be utterly beyond the compass of this Teaching, the phase with which the Teaching does deal, this transition phase (for that is what the creation of earth and the Thought World really amounts to) is nevertheless a part of that vast whole.
The First Reflection, which is the first stage in the evolution of the Conscious Mind, started the individual in search of the Light, and that Journey continues from the beginning to the end of the History of Mankind. Moreover it is a progressive Journey, and man grows in understanding as he travels on his way. Thus there will be stages at the end, which earlier were beyond his understanding. At present, comprehension of the Third Progression is utterly beyond human understanding, yet it is, as the Teaching shows, a necessary stage of the Journey. Therefore a link between man and the Light which is within man's present understanding, is desirable.
From the beginning this link existed in the Personalities of Azrael and Arrantees. They were Themselves proof of the Intention of the Light to partake of this experiment of personality, not confined to the Thought World, but extending even to the dimension of earth. The dawn of the Second Reflection, made possible by our Eternal Minds' acceptance of the Way of Service, was made manifest by the Life of Jesus, the Conscious Mind of Azrael and the Life of the Virgin Mary, the Conscious Mind of Arrantees. They were born as soon as the average progress of Conscious Minds allowed, to bring this third part of the Split Personality on earth, and to show the meaning of the Way of Service.
Of the Life of Jesus, as the Christ of the Christian religion, I shall say little, for it has been told in many tongues by many people, with a power far beyond anything I possess; but I think history must recognise in Christianity, the foundation from which our present civilisation has arisen. There are so many who, without professing religion of any kind, or calling themselves Christians, appear to be unconscious of the fact that the ethics and principles they hold, rest upon that foundation. That is to say, had there been no Life of Christ, no Christian religion, their own values would have been entirely different. Although now the Christian church stands divided, split by differences of thought and dogma, it can still carry that light to those able to receive it in that form, and this is the lamp which through the past ages has kept burning the faith of Christianity.
Yet it should also be recognised that division leads away from the Light, and that union is a fundamental part of the Return Journey. One church, united over the principles of Christianity and separated only to hold services of whatever religious observances its adherents preferred, might still save our civilisation from disaster. There is the church's own truth pointing that way, "A house that is divided against itself cannot stand." Although earth was created to show that Service is a Way to the Light, equal to Truth and Beauty, those belonging to the Way of Service must accept that same equality towards the Way of Truth and the Way of Beauty, a truth the church does not at present seem willing to admit.
Azrael, being of the Light evinces in Himself the unity of the three Ways. When He was born as Jesus it was to show the Way of Service on earth, to live the Master Pattern that forever reminds every man that at some stage of his Book he must accept and follow this Life of Christ's, and must himself live for others, or find that he cannot continue on his Return Journey to the Light. Every individual must live, as far as he can, a life not for himself but for the Return Journey. The difference between the Life of Christ and any other life, was that He was not Himself seeking for Truth, Beauty or Goodness:
He was these.
His personal progress consisted in living a Life, day by day, in accordance with the Intention, as He was able to interpret it, using only those lines of communication available to all Conscious Minds.
Arrantees, Director of the Thought World, with divine humility, accepted Her Life as the Mother of Jesus, a Life almost unrecognised, for although the Catholic church has felt Her importance, Her equality with Jesus (Conscious Mind of Azrael) is not yet recognised. Her human Life was also given to the Way of Service, thus fulfilling the condition of the Will, that on earth for this Return Journey, mind must follow feeling. The imagination (heart) must lead, although reason cannot be left behind. Jesus and Mary, in common with every other Conscious Mind, kept touch with the Thought World and used the channel of Their Supra-conscious Minds, who of course remained in the Thought World under Their own Sphere of Heart and Mind. Jesus, like all men, changed on earth to the Sphere of the Mind, thus taking the direct and active part in Their joint Lives; and the Virgin Mary, like all women, changed to the Sphere of the Heart to live as the complement of Jesus in that Life.
Arrantees could have fulfilled the complementary personality of either wife or Mother to Jesus, but even to human understanding it is obvious that the relationship of mother filled the greater need. So both accepted a Life on earth, Arrantees as His Mother, and Jesus as Her Son. This denied Jesus a wife, but not human love. Moreover it gave to Him the essential help of the care and understanding of His Unity Conscious Mind during His infancy and childhood. This companionship must have been very wonderful and complete, so that it is not unnatural that almost the only break in its silence should be a record of a breach in Their perfect understanding; the occasion when Jesus as a boy was left behind in the temple at Jerusalem, and to Mary's anguished reproach gives the surprised answer: "How is it You sought Me? Know You not that I must do My Father's Will?" Nevertheless Mary did know what He must do, and He returned to Nazareth with Her to grow up in the ordinary life of a family of that time. Of His growth we have this picture revealed in one sentence "and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man." It is not known to us how much His Life with Mary contributed to His victory over life and death, but since Hers was the complementary Life to His, it must have fulfilled a necessary part of His Pattern.
We know so little of this period of Their Lives, but we do know that His Mother pondered all these things in Her heart. It is significant that the Fourth Gospel, which gives us so many of the thoughts and sayings of Christ which are unrecorded elsewhere, was written by St John, in whose household She dwelt, after the crucifixion.
We also know that the Angel Gabriel (probably the Supra-conscious Mind of Arrantees or Azrael) prepared Mary's Conscious Mind for Her Life on earth. This, like any other privilege used by Jesus or Mary, is not beyond the reach of any other Conscious Mind if sufficient progress has been reached. There are many individuals on earth who become aware of the road they are meant to follow, although they remain perhaps unconscious of the source of their knowledge. It is important to understand that Jesus lived under the same conditions and limitations of the Will as all other Conscious Minds, or the lasting value of His Life is lost. The powers that He used were obtained by the personal progress that He made, and are equally available to others if this stage of progress is reached. Some day there may be born someone to whom the gift of remembrance of that silent part of Their Lives may be given. It is not given to me. I have only the certain and clear remembrance that Azrael, Ruler of the Thought World, lived His Life as Jesus on earth, and that Arrantees, Director of the Thought World, lived Her Life on earth as His Mother, the Virgin Mary, in order that the Way of Service or Goodness might be shown as a necessary Way that all men must follow on their Journey to the Light.
Azrael's Life on earth made Him Master of the Earth. Like all Conscious Minds, His Life had to be one of personal progress, as well as completing the theme of His Book, that theme which led Him to His Crucifixion. This Life, lived in conformity with the Intention, gave Him domination over the warring elements of that dimension, in which, from the beginning, the opposition to the Intention was set and had to be worked out. That is one of the tremendous factors of His human Life, that under the same conditions and under the same limitations as man, He overcame the Force of Evil on its own battlefield on earth. Being of the Light, He was able to complete His Book in one single Life, and so was the first Conscious Mind to gain ascendancy of that Force on earth, an example and a hope for all to follow.
When it is said that Azrael and Arrantees are of the Light, it does not set Them apart from the difficulties of human life. On earth They had to accept the same lines of communication as are open to all Conscious Minds. But it does proclaim that as Azrael and Arrantees, They had accepted a voluntary division from the Light, from that which had been a union of complete understanding; a state towards which our Unity Eternal Minds are progressing, and in which our Supra-conscious Minds and Conscious Minds are involved.
The Life of Azrael did even more than set an example of the Way of Service, and of conquering the Force of Evil on earth. By His Life it was made possible for an opportunity to be given to every Conscious Mind to achieve a personal relationship with Azrael during its earth lives. This personal touch is a difficult and delicate thing to describe because of its individuality. It comes into being, or is recognised, at widely different stages in the Books of Conscious Minds, and in a different manner to each individual. There is in the Book of every individual a special life, or Chapter, in which this relationship reaches a climax. This comes in the shape of a Unique Experience with Azrael, which establishes this relationship, and makes a contact that can both carry thought from that Conscious Mind to Azrael, and on occasions, bring back answering thought. Once the relationship has grown to this reality, that Conscious Mind will never be born again on earth with this contact broken, although it is quite possible that the only conscious remembrance of it may be an inherent recognition of Christ as the central figure of the Return Journey. Generally speaking, although there is no rule, those on the Way of Service reach this special life with its Unique Experience through their religious faith, and it comes to them much earlier in their Books than to those on the Ways of Truth and Beauty. Quite often with them it coincides with, or makes a part of, their First Important Chapters. It comes later to those of Beauty; and to those of Truth it comes latest of all.
It is a relationship gradually built up and slowly unfolded through the many Chapters of each individual Book. It can be created by a series of experiences given to a Conscious Mind which correspond to similar experiences in the Life of Christ. It can grow to completion within the Christian religion, yet can also be constructed outside that faith. But, for the latter relationship there must come a life in which there is a recognition by that Conscious Mind, that the Personalities of Azrael and Christ are one and the same Personality. So it came to me. It is not easy to write of one's own relationship with Azrael. It is so personal a thing, that it seems that even to attempt a delineation is to disfigure the portrait. However the Summary would be less complete without it and this attempt must be made.
Before I was twenty I was an agnostic; an uncomfortable position in the days of my youth, when it was unfashionable not to go to church. I refused to do so as it gave me a real sense of hypocrisy. Many years later in the early stages of this Teaching, one, who was very interested in its development, asked me: if and where Jesus stood in the Thought World. It startled me, as I had never considered the question, but I carried the thought in my mind when I slept, and woke with the clearest remembrance. I had asked the question of Azrael. In the Thought World I had known Azrael as its Ruler, and had often brought back remembrance of Him. I had recognised His unique position there, and had accorded Him love and adoration. But I had never associated Him with Christ.
I have often been questioned about visual remembrance in the Thought World, and I find it very difficult to explain. Take for example any person who has lost a close companion, perhaps his wife. How does he visualise her after death?
- Does he see the young girl he first met?
- The mother in her maturity?
- The companion of his old age?
- The face perhaps altered and wrecked by a last illness?
- I think the answer to that question is the nearest I can get to an explanation.
I have a clear remembrance of Azrael as I saw Him when I asked that question, though even if I possessed the power, yet I still could not paint a portrait. My remembrance was unlike any picture I have ever seen. Even now I hold the expression of His eyes, as the peculiar silence that followed my question made me look up, to find Him looking at me intently eyes of the clearest greyblue with the limpid quality of water, lit by what I knew must be a half smile, waiting.... waiting.... for me to understand. His expectancy was passed to me, till I was thrilled through with it. Then recognition dawned:
"AZRAEL HIMSELF WAS JESUS !"
That was only a remembrance from the Thought World, a personal gift suited to this particular Pattern of mine. In common with all Conscious Minds, it then had to be translated into terms of my own daily life, but it was the beginning of my own Unique Experience.
In the next chapter of this Summary there is an explanation of an Initiation. The example of my Initiation recorded in chapter ten was, for me, a foreshadowing of my Unique Experience with Azrael. This climax, or Special Experience, comes only once in the Book of any Conscious Mind, and through it each individual reaches the same conclusion, though never in quite the same manner. It is an Experience which takes you to the limit of endurance, to where you cannot extricate yourself from a human, partially selfmade position. Your own intelligence, character, force of will, proves not enough and failure reaches out its hand. Then Azrael Himself carries that burden, and does not put it back onto your shoulders until your strength has recovered sufficiently for you to go on. The universal knowledge born of this individual Experience is the knowledge that:
YOUR PATTERN COULD NOT HAVE CONTINUED WITHOUT THE HELP OF AZRAEL.
The vision Saul of Tarsus had on the road to Damascus must have been the prelude to his own Unique Experience.
I will conclude by giving this example of answering thought, thought that comes occasionally after that Experience.
It was during a very difficult period of my life, after I had made a fresh start. I was very lonely and fighting a fear of the future. It was a glorious winter's day in the McKenzie Country, near Mount Cook (New Zealand). Freed from work, I had ridden over to tea with some acquaintances and, riding back, warmed by their unexpected kindness and the beauty around me, I realised suddenly that I was touching happiness again and instinctively thought "Azrael I am happy again. Thank you for a lovely day!" Quick as a light came the answering thought, "I am always here to help in your troubles, but it means so much to Me to share your joys."
This relationship with Azrael is the key to the understanding of every problem and conflict that can come into the life of a Conscious Mind; increasing every interest, heightening every joy. That is why Christianity cannot die, even though its churches should pass away. Perhaps these words better than any I could find, may illustrate my meaning:
"Love is a great thing.........which alone maketh everything that is heavy, light; and beareth equally all that is unequal. Love oftentimes knoweth no measure. Love feeleth no burden, weigheth no pains; attempteth what is beyond its strength, complaineth not of impossibility.......It is therefore able to undertake all things, and completeth many things, and voucheth for their effect; whereas he that doth not love fainteth and lyeth down. Love is watchful, and sleeping, sleepeth not; being weary is not tired, being pressed is not straitened, but like a lively flame and a burning spark, breaketh upwards, it passeth securely through all. If anyone loveth, he knoweth what this voice cryeth." (From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis)
(13) Gautama was the name of Buddha during his life on earth. Back to text.