The Solar Man, the Spirit of the Solar System, is the One whom we call God. He has seven bodies, which we call the planes of Nature. Every human creature has seven bodies also, and these connect him with the seven bodies of the Solar Man.
Man’s physical body is part of the physical body of Nature; and the physical body of Nature is the physical body of God. (The physical plane).
Man’s etheric body is part of the etheric body of Nature; and the etheric body of Nature is the etheric body of God. (The etheric plane).
Man’s astral body is part of the astral body of Nature; and the astral body of Nature is the astral body of God. (The astral plane). Man’s mental body is part of the mental body of Nature; and the mental body of Nature is the mental body of God. (The mental plane).
Each of the bodies of man functions in the world composed of the substances out of which the body itself is formed. Man, in order to be conscious in these worlds, must evolve each of these bodies so that they will support his conscious function if their respective worlds. For example: we realize the physical body is subject to the laws of the physical world. One of the chief of these laws is gravitation. The physical body can never function anywhere except in the physical world. The oneness of the individual may be awake in the invisible spheres and may travel in the higher worlds, but its physical body must always be left behind.
The chronicles of the life of every individual are recorded and preserved in what are called THE SEED ATOMS. These are the four centers of force around which are built the four vehicles of man. Man’s four bodies are the physical, the vital, the emotional, the mental. Each of these has its own seed atom. Most people think of the seed atoms as tiny granules, but in reality they are vortices of force, twisting, spinning, and whirling. Each of these vortices forms a nucleus around which the four bodies of man are built as he comes into physical incarnation. These four are called in the Mysteries, the Guardian Angels, or the Four Lords of the Records. They were symbolized by the early Jews as the Cherubim. They are the four beasts of Ezekiel, called the man, the bull, the lion, and the eagle. We sometimes speak of them as the writers of the four gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John -the recorders of the life of Christ. Each of these seed atoms has a peculiar faculty which is not that of memory, but that of preserving, in an unbroken chain and in proper sequence, all records of incidents through which the respective bodies have passed. Thus, the physical seed atom, which is located in the heart, preserves a record of all the incidents of physical life; the vital seed atom, in the solar plexus, preserves the records of all uses made of the vital energies; the astral seed atom, in the liver, keeps an unbroken history of all expressions of feeling and emotion; while the mental seed atom, in the brain, keeps tab on our thoughts and preserves them within its own subtle substance whence any information can be brought to light again when it is necessary.
As man’s bodies are built around these seed atoms, these records are carried from lite to life and the sum-total or balance is carried forward in each of these seed atoms and molds the new physical form, or astral form, into a vehicle expressing the debits and credits brought forward in the seed atoms. For example: the monk in his cell spent years illuminating an ancient vellum. Month after month he labored, never stirring from his rough oaken stool. His mind and soul were glorified, but he neglected his physical body. He forgot to exercise it and to strengthen its parts and members. This neglect was recorded in the seed atom, and future bodies built around the atom would express the neglect which the memory of the body centers preserved. In this way, a mystic bookkeeping system serves the records of debits and credits and implants upon the center of each of the bodies the records of the activities of its respective forms. The totals are carried forward, so that man’s physical body, today, in its perfections and imperfections bears witness to the records of previous incidents recorded in the seed atoms. The same is true of his mental body, and as each preserves its own records and grows through the activity of its own particular form, we can understand why some people have a strong mental nature and a weak physical nature. This inequality of function proves that at sometime undue emphasis was laid upon the mental nature and the physical was neglected.
We have told you, already, that the Grand Man, the Spirit of our Solar System, has seven bodies, which are called the planes of Nature. His physical body is called the physical plane; his vital body is called the etheric plane; his astral body is called the astral world; and his mental body is called the mental world. These worlds are spheres of substance, separated from each other by the rates of vibration of their tiny particles. Man, the little universe, has a body that functions in each of these four lower planes. The fourth or highest plane which man can function in is called the mental world. This mental world is the mind body of the solar God. Man has a limited area of Tl mental substance, which he calls his mind. This area is a tiny bit of the great mental area, composed of all minds, which is called the mental body of God. The Mystery Schools, by means of four initiations, teach man how to function consciously in the four worlds of Nature. In the fourth initiation, they teach him how to use the little area of consciousness, which he calls his mind, as a vehicle by which he can function consciously within the mental body of the Grand Man ; in other words, he is taught how to wander around in the mind of Goo.
This may seem a very peculiar idea, and yet, the system of accomplishing this has been taught by the Egyptians, Chinese, Hindus, Chaldeans, and early Christians for thousands of years. Can you imagine yourself a tiny germ of mental plasma, wandering around amid the vaulted arches and spans of universal thought, thinking with the mind of the Eternal Thinker, unhampered by physical brain fallacies ? Let us imagine for a moment that one of the tiny cells in your physical body, by a special series of culture, was given the privilege to wander around in your mind. This little cell would live normally about 15 seconds, during which time it would be born, mature, and grow old. Therefore, its memory, allowing that it has an active one, would probably cover the span of 12 seconds, which would be equivalent to 75 or 80 years of human life. This little cell, if it could read your mind, would know things that happened years ago, while its own age is only 15 seconds; that is, of course, if it could use your memory to look them up with. Now, in comparison to the age of nature, man is 15 seconds old. ‘With his own little mind, he can look back over 50 or 75 years, or if he be a white crested patriarch, he might remember 85 or 90 years; but nature has been building and unfolding this planet for nearly 300, 000,000 years. There is a way by which man, the tiny microbe, may learn to remember things that had ceased to be on this little planet, eternities before he was born. The records in the mind of the planetary man, his house of memories in which the planet remembers that which happened to itself, are called in the mysteries the Akashic Records. It is by means of these records that the history of planets and worlds and races long forgotten in the physical world can be traced and described intelligently and with absolute knowledge of the subject on hand.
These records are not engraved on stone, but are composed of the living, scintillating substances of planetary mind stuff. They are the living records of the history of Nature. With your own mind you can remember back through the important incidents of life ; you can remember where you lived; your joys and sorrows are stored away in the human house of memory. In the same way, the planet remembers; and in the house of planetary memory is stored a vast, living library of thoughts and thought pictures, which a few, because of their special preparation and training, are permitted to read and profit by.
Now, the average individual, not only has his memories, but also has his ideals, and he is making at least a few plans concerning things to come. He has, in a hazy way, the outline of tomorrow. As it is true with the individual, so it is true with Nature ; for this far-seeing power, which molds all things, dwells not only in the past, but also in the unborn tomorrow. So, one who is able to wander about in the world of thought, may pass from the house of yesterday into the creative faculties of tomorrow; and here a plan is formulating in the Divine Mind for things which are to come, and here the tiny figure in the midst of a magnitude of thought may see the plans for God’s tomorrow, which with men may be a hundred million years. So, we repeat, it is a very wonderful thing to wander around in the mind of God with those faculties awake which enable man to cognize the scheme of Divinity, which to most creatures is a sealed book.
To those who are interested in developing some of the latent powers of the mind, we recommend a simple form of exercise which is more far-reaching in its effect than the student realizes. One of the great curses of our modern civilization is its thoughtlessness. Very few people really consider the importance of everyday life. They pay no attention to their own actions, failing to realize that their activity today gives birth to the reactions of tomorrow. Many of these reactions are unfortunate and undesirable, as the causes of them, set in action today, are thoughtless and inconsistent. Life is the great study. Books, manuscripts, and lectures drop out of sight and are of little importance when compared to the greater education which is to be gained from a careful consideration of the problems of everyday existence.
In the Mystery Schools, there is an exercise which is called retrospection. This is performed after the closing of the work of the day, just before the student goes to sleep. It consists of devoting a few minutes to a careful analysis of the day that is done; a weighing and considering of the decisions that have been made, of the viewpoints which have been held. The exercise should consist of an unprejudiced, impersonal, constructive criticism. It should be neither a justification of mistakes, nor an unkind destructive abuse of self. It should be impartial, philosophic, impersonal.
Among people who have faced death by drowning, fire, or other sudden means, it is well known that in those few seconds when it seems that life is done, there flashes before the mind in a panorama the entire life of the individual, back to early childhood. Many people say they have lived fifty years in five seconds. This is, of course, the record implanted in the seed atoms, but it is interesting to note that all of the incidents are reversed; the last things that happened are the first to appear, and instead of living from childhood to maturity, the panorama begins at maturity and leads back to childhood. In the practice of retrospection the same system is used. Instead of beginning the day in the morning, the student begins it with the evening and goes backward incident by incident, including in his exercise even the simplest and most trivial points, such as remembering which door he went out of a room by and which shoe he took off first. These points are trivial, but in the training of the mind the disciple is taught to realize that great things are made up of aggregations of trivia. A great many people, interested along these mystical lines, spend all their time meditating and concentrating, and neglecting their daily responsibilities. I saw in a Northern newspaper an item where a woman was sentenced by the Judge in a very peculiar way. The Court forbade her to go to church more than three times a week. The idea of neglecting responsibilities in an attempt to be a great soul is erroneous and foolish, but most people can afford ten minutes a day to be spent in the training of mind and soul.
Retrospection produces two decided results. The first is the improvement of memory. I have a number of friends who have taken trick memory courses. The system is something like this: if you will learn 10,000 words by memory, they will help you to remember 15 that you will need every day; but as most people forget the memory system, little is attained thereby. The best way to develop memory is by learning to develop the faculty of memory. This is gained by intensifying the subconscious cognition of incidents, through going over them and deeply reasoning out their value. Secondly, from this exercise, there will gradually arise greater care and greater thoughtfulness in everyday life. Consideration will precede action instead of following it, as in all too many cases. If people at the end of the day will live it over again, making right in their own hearts the wrongs of the day, determining to improve where they made mistakes, they can to a certain degree nullify the law of Karma, or compensation as it is more commonly known. By making right their lives as they go along, individuals make it unnecessary to meet the sum of their iniquities at the end of life. In this way two ends are achieved.