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 realized only by the appropriate tools. A steam engine will not operate on the plane of electricity.
The identity of humanity itself is called consciousness. This is where we are one with God. This unity may be called the plane of the Higher Self, the Christos, or the God within. We experience this oneness with all good by such tools as intuition, perception, imagination, aspiration. We know 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, human being 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 spatial 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 is 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 person’s body is the vehicle and the environment of emotions, thoughts, aspirations. The physical person lives in another environment, in a room filled with air, furniture, light, dark, a mass of radio and television waves, bacteria and other 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 our consciousness is centered on this physical plane, we regard our physical senses as carrying the most conviction. Yet we are learning that our emotions may be cruel or sublime and our mind may yield thoughts and ideas of irresistible direction; and these experiences match and sometimes exceed the realism of sensory perception. In fact, while our physical body must eventually dissolve, our ideals never die.
No sense operates to the exclusion of all the others. We look at a person and see him or her with our physical eyes. With inner eyes we see that person 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. 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 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 we are learning that our 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 everything that lives on earth, from mineral to mankind. The ecology of so-called inner planes or worlds is even more precise, more an actuality than is that of its denser counterpart of matter. These inner planes are not a new and strange concept of humanity’s life. Today we have probed far into the principles and laws which govern every aspect of our outer life. We have defined and classified much in natural sciences. We are probing the health of our mind and our emotions. Wherever we probe, we enter an inner plane; and we discover 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. Mankind did not create the definition of a cube, nor can we create out of nothing the material to represent that form. We may take cellular material like wood, or molecular material like iron, and with appropriate tools, extending our senses, we 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. With a knowledge of symbolism, we may even invest that cube with the correspondences of Deity in manifestation as the archetypal man in space.
Or as another familiar example, we may, with appropriate tools of the senses, prepare the earth, plant a seed, and guide its growth, which results in a specific fruit or blossom. We cannot alter the seed or plant to produce anything outside the laws of family and species in botany. We can only aid and abet its life cycle, and marvel at that seed, which is a doorway to inner planes and powers.
A gelatin mold serves to hold a gelatin in form until that material can sustain the form given to it by the mold. 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 source fixes a negative surface with an image which in turn is transferred to a positive surface called a print. Contained in the procedure is the operation of desire, will and mind of the person taking the picture, planting the seed or creating with carefully 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 with 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 to be confused with any of the millions of others like him, although he is characterized by family and race? Why does any flower have its specific number of petals, color, 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? What 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 not only of human circumstances but in a 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 our realization since we won our first degrees of self-awareness. No thing or person in the universe is independent of its kind. All are 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 spectra 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 people 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 the human mind. As an instrument that works on inner planes of creativity, it receives and sends the most powerful force in all manifestation, called by us, 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 center, on an inner plane of the highest order. All heart centers of Consciousness manifest some degree of awareness, linking all creatures with the oneness of 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 arithmetic may not yet understand calculus or trigonometry. The great Masters of the White Lodge, who understand all of God’s manifestation, have eternally taught humanity, their children, as much as we can understand of the whole Plan at any one time. Called the Teachings of The Temple, the Secret Doctrine, and 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 symbolized 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 has other expressions: Creator, Preserver, Destroyer; spirit, soul and matter; love, will, wisdom; in direct analogies, father, mother, son; and even in simple measurement, length, width, 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 the 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 blueprint indicates the construction of a building. The building is a materialization of the blueprint, 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 unrecognized by many. 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 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, someone’s mind may express violence. Enough such expressions may produce a windstorm, war, earthquake, plague, or famine.
There are many words to describe the workings of these energies, such as patterns, guides, impulses, expansions, accretions, selections; we respond 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 humanity’s affairs called Good and Evil. On a purely materialistic basis the efforts of an unknown, unpublicized 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 influential religious concepts of today; and this despite unbelievable persecution and constant suppression. Yet this phenomenon has influenced the history of every civilization 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 his 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 inner planes.
Every single person is a battleground where two forces — good and evil — struggle to win his or her consciousness. Each of us, as we operate in the mental realm, adds our individual thoughts to the corresponding total of thoughts of all mankind. And we are likewise influenced in our 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 potential or actual Consciousness in every atom of 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 all of us. They guide us constantly and are aware of all planes throughout all ages of time. Theirs is the one-life, infinite, sacred power of suns, stepped down to the finite but no less sacred light of a candle that each of us can use to illumine the path we walk upon.