Seedtime and Harvest
THE SCALE OF BEING
"And he dreamed, and behold a ladder
set up on the earth, and the top of it
reached to heaven: and behold the
angels of God ascending and descending
on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it. . ."
- Genesis 28:12, 13
In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep fell upon Jacob, his inner eye was opened and he beheld the world as a series of ascending and descending levels of awareness. It was a revelation of the deepest insight into the mysteries of the world. Jacob saw a vertical scale of ascending and descending values, or states of consciousness. This gave meaning to everything in the outer world, for without such a scale of values there would be no meaning to life.
At every moment of time, man stands upon the eternal scale of meaning. There is no object or event that has ever taken place or is taking place now that is without significance. The significance of an object or event for the individual is a direct index to the level of his consciousness.
You are holding this book, for example. On one level of consciousness, it is an object in space.
On a higher level, it is a series of letters on paper, arranged according to certain rules. On a still higher level, it is an expression of meaning.
Looking outwardly, you see the book first, but actually, the meaning comes first. It occupies a higher grade of significance than the letter arrangement on paper or the book as an object in space. Meaning determined the arrangement of letters; the arrangement of letters only expresses the meaning. The meaning is invisible and above the level of the visible arrangement of letters. If there had been no meaning to be expressed, no book would have been written and published.
"And, behold, the Lord stood above it."
The Lord and meaning are one - the Creator, the cause of the phenomena of life.
"In the beginning was the Word, and
the Word was with God, and the Word
was God." - John 1:1
In the beginning was the intention - the meaning - and the intention was with the intender, and the intention was the intender. The objects and events in time and space occupy a lower level of significance than the level of meaning which produced them. All things were made by meaning, and without meaning was not anything made that was made. The fact that everything seen can be regarded as the effect, on a lower level of significance, of an unseen higher order of significance is a very important one to grasp.
Our usual mode of procedure is to attempt to explain the higher levels of significance - why things happen - in terms of the lower - what and how things happen. For example, let us take an actual accident and try to explain it.
Most of us live on the level of what happened - the accident was an event in space - one automobile struck another and practically demolished it. Some of us live on the higher level of "how" the accident happened - it was a rainy night, the roads were slippery and the second car skidded into the first. On rare occasions, a few of us reach the highest or causal level of "why" such an accident occurs. Then we become aware of the invisible, the state of consciousness which produced the visible event.
In this case, the ruined car was driven by a widow, who, though she felt she could not afford to, greatly desired to change her environment. Having heard that, by the proper use of her imagination, she could do and be all she wished to be, this widow had been imagining herself actually living in the city of her desire. At the same time, she was living in a consciousness of loss, both personal and financial. Therefore, she brought upon herself an event which was seemingly another loss, but the sum of money the insurance company paid her allowed her to make the desired change in her life.
When we see the "why" behind the seeming accident, the state of consciousness that produced the accident, we are led to the conclusion that there is no accident. Everything in life has its in-visible meaning.
The man who learns of an accident, the man who knows "how" it happened, and the man who knows "why" it happened are on three different levels of awareness in regard to that accident. On the ascending scale, each higher level carries us a step in advance towards the truth of the accident.
We should strive constantly to lift ourselves to the higher level of meaning, the meaning that is always invisible and above the physical event. But, remember, the meaning or cause of the phenomena of life can be found only within the consciousness of man.
Man is so engrossed in the visible side of the drama of life - the side of "what" has happened, and "how" it happened - that he rarely rises to the invisible side of "why" it happened. He refuses to accept the Prophet's warning that:
"Things which are seen were not made of
things that do appear."
- Hebrews 11:3
His descriptions of "what" has happened and "how" it happened are true in terms of his corresponding level of thought, but when he asks "why" it happened, all physical explanations break down and he is forced to seek the "why", or meaning of it, on the invisible and higher level. The mechanical analysis of events deals only with external relationships of things. Such a course will never reach the level which holds the secret of why the events happen. Man must recognize that the lower and visible sides flow from the invisible and higher level of meaning.
Intuition is needed to lift us up to the level of meaning - to the level of why things happen. Let us follow the advice of the Hebrew prophet of old and "lift up our eyes unto the hills" within ourselves, and observe what is taking place there. See what ideas we have accepted as true, what states we have consented to, what dreams, what desires - and, above all, what intentions. It is from these hills that all things come to reveal our stature - our height - on the vertical scale of meaning. If we lift our eyes to "the Thee in Me who works behind the Veil", we will see the meaning of the phenomena of life.
Events appear on the screen of space to express the different levels of consciousness of man. A change in the level of his consciousness automatically results in a change of the phenomena of his life. To attempt to change conditions before he changes the level of consciousness from whence they came, is to struggle in vain. Man redeems the world as he ascends the vertical scale of meaning.
We saw, in the analogy of the book, that as consciousness was lifted up to the level where man could see meaning expressed in the arrangement of its letters, it also included the knowledge that the letters were arranged according to certain rules, and that such arrangements, when printed on paper and bound together, formed a book. What is true of the book is true of every event in the world.
"They shall not hurt or destroy in all
my holy mountain: for the earth shall
be full of the knowledge of the Lord,
as the waters cover the sea."
- Isaiah 11:9
Nothing is to be discarded; all is to be redeemed. Our lives, ascending the vertical scale of meaning towards an ever increasing awareness - an awareness of things of higher significance - are the process whereby this redemption is brought to pass.
As man arranges letters into words, and words into sentences to express meaning, in like manner, life arranges circumstances, conditions and events to express the unseen meanings or attitudes of men. Nothing is without significance. But man, not knowing the higher level of inner meaning, looks out upon a moving panorama of events and sees no meaning to life. There is always a level of meaning determining events and their essential relationship to our lives.
Here is a story that will enable us to seize the good in things seeming evil; to withhold judgment, and to act aright amid unsolved problems.
Just a few years ago, our country was shocked by a seeming injustice in our midst. The story was told on radio and television, as well as in the newspapers. You may recall the incident. The body of a young American soldier killed in Korea was returned to his home for burial. Just before the service, his wife was asked a routine question: Was her husband a Caucasian? When she replied that he was an Indian, burial was refused. This refusal was in accordance with the laws of that community, but it aroused the entire nation. We felt incensed that anyone who had been killed in the service of his country should be denied burial anywhere in his country. The story reached the attention of the President of the United States, and he offered burial with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. After the service, the wife told reporters that her husband had always dreamed of dying a hero, and having a hero's burial service with full military honors.
When, we in America, had to explain why progressive, intelligent people like ourselves, not only enacted but supported such laws in our great land of the free and the brave, we were hard put for an explanation. We, as observers, had seen only "what" happened, and "how" it happened. We failed to see "why" it happened.
That burial had to be refused if that lad was to realize his dream. We tried to explain the drama in terms of the lower level of "how" it happened, which explanation could not satisfy the one who had asked "why" it happened.
The true answer, viewed from the level of higher meaning, would be such a reversal of our common habits of thinking that it would be instantly rejected. The truth is that future states are causative of present facts - the Indian boy dreaming of a hero's death, with full military honors, was like Lady Macbeth transported "beyond this ignorant present", and could "feel now the future in the instant."
". . . and by it he being dead yet
- Hebrews 11:4