With organic tools called the five senses – sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell, we identify what we call the physical plane. The sensations are heat, texture, light , sweet, salt and so on.
With tools of the mind called thought, memory, ideation, we identify what we may call the mental plane. The experiences include knowledge, ideas, direction and so on.
With tools of feelings we are engaged in the emotional plane. The experiences include anger, disgust, joy, calm, agitation and such.
The experiences of each plane may be realised only by the appropriate tools. A steam engine will not operate on the plane of electricity.
The identity of man himself is called consciousness. This is where man is one with God. This unity may be called the plane of the Higher Self, the Christos, the God within. Man experiences this oneness with all good by such tools as intuition, perception, imagination, aspiration. He knows the results as love, will and wisdom, imagination, truth, justice, loyalty and other such principles.
Consciousness contains the power to evaluate happenings on all planes of life. As each spark of God evolves it increases its individual consciousness, as does an atom of inorganic or organic substance as it becomes a plant, animal, man or star, thus partaking more and more of God.
All of this suggests that if the material world can be called outer, it is outer to other worlds that can be called inner. The words should not be misleading. Outer and inner have no special bearing as space or geographical locations. Inner planes and worlds are not isolated layers or areas as are stone or sand, or earth or water or globes or planets or stars. They are all around us and within us.
These terms, inner and outer, should indicate differences but not contradictions. The human body is composed of cells, the cellular plane itself divided into different kinds of matter. The cells are composed of molecules, the molecular plane. The molecules are composed of atoms, the atomic plane. A man’s body is the vehicle and the environment of emotions, thoughts, aspirations. The physical man lives in another environment, in a room filled with air, furniture, light, dark, a mass of radio and television waves, bacteria and people; the room is in a house which is on the face of this earth and in this solar system, a share of all manifestation. Each such division is filled with its appropriate life. Each is related by cause and effect to the total picture.
Because man’s consciousness is centred on this physical plane he regards his physical senses as carrying the most conviction. Yet man is learning that his emotions may be cruel or sublime and his mind may yield thoughts and ideas of irresistible direction; and these experiences match and exceed the realism of sensory perception. In fact, while man’s physical body must eventually dissolve, the ideals of man never die.
No sense operates to the exclusion of all the others. We look at a man and see him with our physical eyes. With inner eyes we see him as friend or foe, great or mean. The Temple teaches that each of these divisions, outer and inner, is an aspect of one life-power called God. That each of these divisions is a modification of God’s power, an unending expression of Himself in a continuous series of steps designed to provide every atom in His manifestation with the opportunity to learn of its relation to God, to partake of those qualities which are God, and to one day become consciously aware of its Divinity.
Today man is learning that his use of earth, air, water and fire bear directly on the survival of the vegetable, animal and mineral kingdoms. Ecology has demonstrated the vast interdependence of every thing that lives on earth, from mineral to man. The ecology of so-called inner planes are not a new and strange concept of man’s life. Today man has probed far into the principles and laws which govern every aspect of his outer life. He has defined and classified much in natural sciences. He is probing the health of his mind and his emotions. Wherever he probes he enters an inner plane, and he discovers an order of life that allows no transgression and that affects intimately some outer plane. Even more, its own source seems to be another realm that is still more subtle.
The interdependence of inner and outer planes may be indicated by simple analogies. Man did not create the definition of a cube, nor can he create out of nothing the material to represent that form. He may take cellular material to represent that form. He may take cellular material like wood, or molecular material like iron and with appropriate tools, extending his senses, he may endow that material with the mental concept of a cube. The mental concept will bear a far greater degree of perfection than its material counterpart. Even more, the man may, with a knowledge of symbolism, invest that cube with the correspondence of Deity in manifestation as the archetypal man in space.
Or as another familiar example, many may, with appropriate tools of the senses, prepare the earth and plant a seed, guide its growth, which results in a specific fruit or blossom. He cannot alter the seed or plant to produce anything outside the laws of family and species in botany. He can only aid and abet its life cycle, and marvel at that seed, which is a doorway to inner planes and powers.
A gelatine mould serves to hold a gelatine in form until that material can sustain the form given to it by the mould. Care must be built into a cement form that , in turn, will give a specific design to the concrete poured into it. The cement form holds the fluid mixture until it solidifies, and is able to retain that form by itself. In photography a light sources fixes a negative surface with an image which, in turn is transferred to a positive surface called a print. Contained in the procedure in the operation of desire, will and mind of the person taking the picture, planting the seed or creating with his chosen material. Always a pattern, formed by laws of impersonal energies, determines the further expression of an idea that exists somewhere. An individual expression is made possible by working the principles governing the plane where the action takes place.
The most everyday occurrences provoke questions and point to inner planes for the answers. Why does any growing thing start from a central cell and proceed by accretion to change in form and shape in an orderly manner indicated by unalterable laws? What guides the human embryo to become an identifiable being who is not be confused with any of the millions of others like him, although he is characterised by family and race? Why does any flower have its specific number of leaves, petals, colour, shape and no other? Why does any metal retain its identity, no matter how it is shaped or mixed with other elements including other metals? What provokes a muscle to contract and bend the arm? What is the difference between the lifeless body of Beethoven and the responsibility for his musical creations? And what decided him to put any one note in relation to any other? What makes one person aware of another although they may be separated by miles of space? What is the power of anger that it will generate poison to destroy the human system? Wha5t is the power of a compassionate act that will lift the depression of human spirit as no medicine will do? And for that matter, how may an act that violates the Golden Rule result in disaster no only of human circumstances but in great turbulence in every kingdom of nature? And, above all, what miracle has brought to mankind in its most desperate hours the leader to guide it through the darkness of whatever walk of life in any age?
The questions are endless. The answers all rest on simple facts that, according to the Teachings of the Temple, have been awaiting man’s realisation since he won his first degrees of self-awareness. No thing or person in the universe is independent of his kind. He/she or it is united by inner lines of supply and communication. There is no accident, no isolation possible. Some of this interdependence may be detected by instruments more sensitive than the physical senses. We know of spectrums of vibrations too subtle for eye or ear. Radio and television change the vibrations so that we can see and hear them. The minds of men are constantly being opened to new vistas of living, a kind of seeing that relates to what must be called inner vision and understanding.
The human heart is a miracle, called a muscle; even its physiological mystery is yet hidden from man’s mind. As an instrument that works on inner planes of creativity, it receives and sends the most powerful force in all manifestation, called by man, love. This love exists, for instance between mother and child, man and fellow man. But it originates with God for all His creatures. Everything in manifestation has a heart, or corresponding centre, on an inner plane of the highest order. All heart centres of Consciousness are in degree of awareness by all creatures with the oneness with God. The Elder Brothers are more aware of their unity with God than are the younger ones who will one day share God ‘s consciousness as will all of His manifestation, be it atom, man or star.
Children learning simple maths may not yet understand calculus or trigonometry. The great Master of the White Lodge, who understand all of God’s manifestation have eternally taught humanity their children, as much as they can understand of the whole Plan at any one time. Called Teachings of the Temple, the Secret Doctrine, the Bibles of all ages, these great records of all planes have ever taught the same Truth.
They teach that all of manifestation consists of seven planes or worlds or degrees of consciousness. These stem from the one Source, a Central Spiritual Son, through Whom infinite God becomes known as finite manifestation. There are three higher planes symbolised in every great religion as a sacred trinity. Children cannot yet understand much about this Divine Trinity. In Sanskrit it is called Atma, Buddhi and Manas. In other languages it translates as Creator, preserver, destroyer; Spirit, soul and matter; Love, will and wisdom; in direct analogies – Father, mother, son, and even in simple measurement – Length, width and height. From the third aspect of mind or manas, there projects a denser reflection, the four lower planes, called kama manas, kama rupa, linga sharira and physical plane. Each one is a vehicle for the others as they become slower and slower. They may be understood by analogy and correspondence. There are as yet no English words equivalent to these Sanskrit names.
As an example, a blue print or computer plan indicates the construction of a building. The building is a materialisation of the blueprint or computer plan, which in turn is a reflection of an idea resulting from specific needs and purposes.
In nature, as another familiar example, a white rose is an expression of Divinity, the Christ. Such sublime power may be totally unrecognised by many men, but as this power flows through to outer or denser planes of form it guides the workings of our familiar garden. Variations may occur within the limits of genetics but the form, a rose, may never be changed to a cabbage. So it is with all things on the physical plane. The inner planes govern the outer.
As another example, a man’s mind may express violence. Enough such expressions may produce a windstorm or war or earthquake or plague or famine.
There are many words to describe the workings of these energies such as patterns, guides, impulses, expansions, accretions, selections etc. Man responds to emotions, ideals, ideas, principles, directions, attractions, desires, thoughts. All exist in the fullness of perfection in the Mind of God. All are subject to the laws of their own planes of manifestation.
The most convincing witness to the fact that all of manifestation is caused, directed and guided by natural laws and principles, called inner planes, is the vast dominion of man’s affairs called Good and Evil. On a purely materialistic basis the efforts of an unknown, unpublicised man named Jesus, with the help of a dozen obscure disciples could not possibly have survived their own time, let alone grown steadily for 2000 years into the most infantile religious concepts of today; and this despite unbelievable persecution and constant suppression. Yet this phenomena has influenced the history of every civilisation as it unfolded.
As with all else in manifestation good or evil cannot ‘just happen’ anywhere. Why does a principle of harmony always dominate every kingdom of nature including man, despite awful transgression of it? What great force overshadows every man, persuading him to help his fellow man, and turning his life into constructive paths for so doing, or into paths of misery and despair for not doing so? These are the literal man-made planes of life today, not heaven and hell of some hereafter. Events may be physical but joy and glory or abject strife are experienced by inner sensibilities of the mind and emotions and spirit. These are the inner planes. Every man is a battleground where tow forces, good and evil struggle to win his consciousness. Each man, as he operates in the mental realm, adds his individual thoughts to the corresponding total of thoughts of all mankind. And he is likewise influenced in his strengths and weaknesses by that same total, just as tiny separate molecules of water will combine to create a gentle rain or torrential flood.
This Consciousness, potential or actual in every atom or manifestation, is the Consciousness of God or Christ. Those entities called Masters and Angels are closer to God. They are the Hierarchy of inner planes. They represent steps in Consciousness from God to man. They guide man constantly and are aware of all planes throughout all ages of time. Theirs’ is one the one life, infinite, sacred, power of suns, stepped down to the finite, but no less sacred light of a candle that each man can use to illumine the path he walks on.