When an animal has proceeded so far in its evolution that it is ready to enter upon the next stage, which is the human stage, it does not, when its body dies, pour back its soul into its group-soul as other animals do. Instead it remains separate, and when the time is ripe that soul becomes a kind of vessel or body into which there descends another outpouring of life, this time from the first Aspect of the Deity, or, as He is called in the Christian faith, God the Father. It is as though the soul of the animal becomes a cup or chalice or grail into which is poured the wine of the divine life; it is at this moment that that shaft of life from the spirit, which has already descended two planes, flashes down to the higher levels of the mental plane to join the ascending animal soul; and so the human soul is formed. Thus the animal soul transfers to the human soul all that it has learned in its long evolution upwards, and itself becomes a body for that human soul. This body, which is known as the causal body, must not be confused with the physical body. The causal body is invisible except to clairvoyant sight. It exists on the higher levels of the mental plane, which is the fifth plane of the seven already described.
The creation of the human soul in this manner is no doubt the truth in the scriptural account of creation, where it is said that “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). Perhaps even more meaningful is the illuminated statement of David: “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalms 2:7). This outpouring differs from the other outpourings from the Third and Second Persons of the Trinity, as already described in Chapters Two and Three, in that in this case there is a separate outpouring of the divine life for each separate being on his entry into the human kingdom, whereas in the other outpourings there was a stupendous outrush of life and power affecting and ensouling matter in the mass. When an animal reaches this stage in its growth and, uniting with the descending spirit, forms a human soul, it is said to individualize. The animal now ceases to be an animal and becomes a person, a separate individual soul.
Thus every man is made. You who are reading this has been made in this way long, long ago. In a sense you can say that you have been an animal, and before that a tree or plant, and, still earlier, a precious stone or a mass of rock, because the qualities that you acquired in those early stages were handed over to the human soul, which is you, at the moment when you individualized. But in a sense also it is not true to say that you were once an animal, a plant, or a stone, since the triple spirit from above, the spirit-intuition-intelligence, which is the real you, did not pass through those early stages of lowly life, but descended from above at your individualization.
What We Must Know
To sum up, then, what we have attempted to describe in this and the preceding chapters: it is above all things necessary that we should realize that we human beings are not our bodies, nor our feelings, nor our minds. The real You is the individual spirit, which is a portion of the Divine Spirit. If you need a definition of the spirit, it would perhaps be a true description of him (or it) to say that he (or it) is Will and Love and Wisdom and Activity; or, if you prefer to keep to a Trinity: Will, Wisdom-Love, and Activity. That is the real You. But that spirit dips or projects an arm of himself downwards and forms the human soul. This soul in the same way, in a manner still to be described, dips or projects an arm of himself right down to our material level, and that projection of the soul is what is usually called the soul of a human being. Sometimes, and perhaps more accurately, it is described as the lower personality or lower self; it is what you have usually thought of as yourself. But in reality you who read this are only a portion of your soul, which soul is only a portion of the spirit, which is You. This being so, it is quite true to say that you are a far greater being than you seem to be, and very much older. Your soul began its life ages before your present body was born, and the spirit which is You never had a beginning. It is god within God.
Never the Spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not; end and beginning are dreams.
(Bhagavad Gita 2:20; Edwin Arnold translation)
Before leaving this part of the main subject it will be as well to point out another principle of the divine plan of evolution that emerges in connection with the making of man. It is that at a certain stage of evolution, and perhaps all the way through, the evolution of life at the lower levels is assisted by more highly evolved life at higher levels. Thus the animal, when he reaches the level at which he becomes the human being’s pet or friend, is enormously helped by that close contact with lives higher than itself. The affection that humans pour out upon elephants, horses, dogs, cats, etc., stimulates the affection in them to an enormous extent, and at the same time their intelligence is quickened and stimulated as they try to understand and to please their human friends. So, too, when highly developed human beings are really kind to less developed human beings, the evolution of the latter is very greatly assisted by such kindness. So God does His work. He arranges that at certain stages He shall have this help. But, alas! too often men are unkind to the animals, and generally in the past the more developed men have been indifferent rather than tenderly kind to their less developed human brothers.
Similarly, when human beings reach the later and higher stages of human evolution they are very greatly assisted by Superhuman Beings, or Just Men Made Perfect (Hebrews 12:23), who help Their younger brethren to pass from the human to the superhuman stage of evolution.
A Note on Some of the Terms Used So Far
In view of the popularization of the terms of modern psychology, the terms which in this book are used to describe the human being at different levels of manifestation may be somewhat confusing. It will perhaps remove the confusion to some extent if we attempt to state the corresponding terms of modern psychology side by side with the terms which will be found in these chapters.
In these chapters the “lower self” or “lower personality” is used of that part of the self which is awake and active in our material world. In modern psychology this seems usually to be described as the “conscious self.”
The term “soul” in this book denotes a much larger self or portion of the self than the lower personality. In modern psychology that which is denoted by such terms as the “fore-” or “pre-conscious self,” or the “subliminal consciousness,” seems to come near to the idea which the term “soul” is intended to denote in this book. The term “spirit” denotes that highest or deepest level of life and largest layer of consciousness which rests upon and in God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity. It is the life which Saint Paul describes as being “hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). It is too large and too far within to be explored by the externalized human mind, but those who meditate will in time find that its obscure recesses contain the fountain of that mysterious energy or life-force which penetrates and vitalizes the whole superincumbent structure that we call the human being. Also within it, at a much lower level than that of the “spirit”–somewhere between the levels occupied by the soul and the lower personality respectively–float about what one writer has called “the uneasy and rebellious prisoners known as ‘repressed complexes.’”
The term employed by modern psychologists for the highest level or stratum of human life and consciousness appears to be the “unconscious self.” By that term they mean that it is not fully conscious at this level of material embodiment, though, of course, it is fully and marvelously conscious at its own level.