Journey of a Lifetime: A Group Story is an account of the journey of a group through more than thirty years’ work. From February 2018 a chapter is being posted each month. Here is this month’s chapter. Please Note: Copies of the book are available from Sydney Goodwill.
CHAPTER SEVEN The Subtle Senses
When we work within the subjective or subtle planes of our being, we function through the use of our subtle senses which are the higher counterparts of the external senses we know so well in our everyday lives. Each sense has its counterpart on all planes of expression. . The physical senses can have the powerful grip of habitual use discouraging our mental acceptance of the existence of our subtle senses let alone their facility of use.
Scientific developments in our time ever parallel our human possibilities and extensions of capacities. The Internet or the World Wide Web is a fine example. We have created a virtual world of cyberspace within which we communicate in a flash of speed, across the planet, around the globe. The advantages to human understanding are enormous while at the same time, as with everything we human beings utilise, there can be misuse. This ever-present risk, in whatever field of human involvement, is perhaps unavoidable at this stage of human development in consciousness yet must not be allowed to hold back the forward movement of the whole.
Considering the world-wide web we note that communication within the subtle worlds of ‘ inner space’ operates in very similar fashion. It is directed by the power of thought and functions at the speed of thought.
The scientific community studies our world and its means of expression from within the material dimension. Those interested in the esoteric approach to reality examine and experiment within the subtle worlds of being and expression. These two sciences are not in conflict when they acknowledge the contribution made by each other. And they can have complementary roles.
The Blind Man and the Chair
One evening at an open meeting a co-worker embracing the esoteric approach entered into discussion with a man of material science. He was very interested in the subjective world of life but felt it was necessary to be able to demonstrate the reality of the subjective in some objective way to satisfy the requirements of his field of science and also to convince those who needed empirical proof of the existence of the subtle world.
The esotericist pointed to a chair in the room and invited the scientist to discuss its actual presence and reality. They both of course were in agreement that they could see the chair. It was in fact right there. So the esotericist suggested to the scientist that he should now imagine that he had someone who was blind beside him and proceed to convince this person of the presence of the chair. The blind person of course could not see the chair but it is quite likely he would be willing to accept that one who could see was correct in his statement about the chair’s presence in the room.
Those of us who have normal sight do not question one another’s external observations of objects, or the use of sight. But are we willing to accept that one may have extended perception or developed yet another reliable sense, just as those senses we now use so readily have developed progressively in our vehicles of expression since the very night of time? And will that person be heard and understood when describing the subtle dimension to one who is blind as yet to this realm?
Let us not be like the scientist who dissects a frog in the laboratory to answer the question, “What is a frog?” Science has looked deeply into life’s secrets, from the atom to the universe and yet has not discovered the true nature of being. What we have discovered is how the mechanisms work but nothing about the driver.
Astronomers assess our solar system and say planet Earth is the only planet capable of supporting life. How limiting to consider that intelligent life can only exist on our planet, or that we are the defining form of intelligent life and thus the same environment would be required to support life elsewhere. What telescope can introduce us to the teeming life throughout the universe? Our outer senses question the possibility; our inner senses tell us otherwise.
In our everyday world we observe that from babyhood we learn how to take charge of our physical senses without having to understand the electrical impulses of the brain that drive the bodily system. Similarly, the subtle senses are an inalienable part of our equipment from birth. Have we ever thought we needed to know how electricity worked before we could tum on the light?
The Power of the Eye
There is much to discover about sight and the power of the eye. We all may have noticed that if we are in a room full of people and someone is looking at us, then it is not too long before we turn and meet the eyes upon us. We consider a similar function where we may ‘look towards’ another in the subjective dimension, thus making contact, as difficult of achievement and therefore we make it so. It is not a matter of force or of ‘ trying hard’ any more than if I speak to you, you reply. I speak your name and you respond. There is no effort in that.
The subjective senses work in conjunction with one another just as do our outer or objective senses. As illustrated in the previous paragraph, ‘looking towards’ proceeds to ‘hearing’ and responding. Our failure to hear those ‘ messages ‘ which reach us telepathically is usually due to the fact of our almost entire focus of awareness upon the foreground of life, the outer plane of living.
Within an integrated group telepathy is automatic. Even so, the participants do not always respond to a particular contact until later in group discussion they may find they have overlooked certain thought or information because they were not sure they were accurate in registration. Perhaps also external matters had trapped their attention. However, unless we can act on impression with trust we will never discover or activate our natural capacities that do not need to be developed so much as brought into expression. At the opposite extreme we may try so hard to produce our subjective faculties that we cause blocks to free flow. It is not force that is required but clarity.
A note of caution must be sounded as we consider the various extended faculties or powers which we may use and where they can take us. We will discover much of compelling interest but unless this brings a clearer, deeper perspective upon our service, we may find ourselves side-tracked into an undue focus upon the world of phenomena. This danger is offset while we maintain our spiritual focus in service. The phenomenal world is not something to be eliminated or negated. It is in fact evidence of the creative forces at work and with these energies we are required to work.
When considering the subtle senses, we acknowledge that eventually we will operate with a continuity of awareness on both inner and outer planes at every moment, twenty-four hours a day. Awareness on the inner plane during sleep manifests as yet for most people through the dream life which is ever open to interpretation. Identification with the true being on the inner plane will eventually lead us to that direct knowing hidden by the veil of dreams and the screen of symbols.
Experiments in Group Work
Experiments underway in group work which transfer the consciousness entirely onto the inner or subjective planes of being, reveal to us our true identity. The true spiritual entity is naturally endowed with the faculties or powers that we have been discussing and, being completely immersed within the realisation of Oneness, there is no danger of misappropriation of perceptions or powers for the personal ends of the separated self When a group can function in this way a new vision of life is revealed on the outer plane because of the light thrown upon it and on the inner plane because of the realisation of that far vaster surrounding dimension. The result is a clarification and simplification of living.
Consider for a moment the personal life seen in the light of the spiritual dimension or the group life viewed in the same way. The usual external difficulties of relationship that are played out within the experience of group life, and often consume so much time and attention, fade out and are no longer seen as a major challenge. Wherever we focus attention, there we live our lives. Because everything is seen clearly from the inner plane the smaller personal issues do not loom so large nor do the non-essentials in expression of the work. Each member in the group is seen exactly as they are at any moment in time.
In the personal world of living, people feel uncomfortable about the thought that another can possibly see them inwardly. When working within the inner group focus this is not a concern. The work in hand is the primary point of emphasis. It certainly is noted if there is anything within an individual that could be inhibiting to the work but more important is the recognition of those potentialities ready to burst into expression. In this soul dimension it is the latter that attract notice and receive stimulation.
In this view we are more concerned about what can be brought into useful expression than those things that would appear to prevent it. Such things are irrelevant and everyone has some.
Assessing from this inward position everything is seen as a whole – it just is. From the ‘outside’ people are concerned about how they look or are seen by others. That is a partial picture of our identities. In reality things are just not like that. We understand the whole process of the incarnating cycle and if anything inhibits there is no judgment, only the impulse to set energies in free flow.
One further thought, if there is something manifesting within the group as force it can attract one’s attention. If one is aware of a difficulty that is affecting the group then that draws one’s attention. The group is visible with its every movement, its every thought, without ceasing. One does not have to focus one’s entire attention on the inner plane at every moment. The group is at all times visible to the inner sight.
In the third phase of the Group’s life the above understanding became automatic in expression. The principles of operation being recognised and implemented, it was almost as though this state of being had burst forth of its own accord. All members participated in this experience of Oneness and knew it could never be otherwise. All subsequently understood the freedom that this realisation afforded while at the same time they recognised the necessity to learn to work with the energies thus released.