Transcript of a talk given at the 2011 Arcane School conference in London
The Divine Equation
a talk prepared for the 2011 Annual Arcane SchoolConference
In most people’s minds, the word “equation” alludes to Mathematics. In a sense, this is highly appropriate. Not only because it is in the realm of Mathematics that we most often encounter it, but because it is in this realm that the notion of equating, of making equal, is most directly represented, through the use of symbols.
In the Tibetan’s books, the importance of symbols is often emphasized. They serve as the building blocks of the blueprints for all manifested forms, from the most simple, elementary ones, to the most composite and complex. Each and every symbol is a seed which, given fertile ground, unfolds to its full potency, into yet another one of God’s creations. And just as the totality of all creation known to man compounds into the wonder that is the known universe, so the grand tapestry of symbols, interlocking and inter-related, form the blueprint of that universe.
Expanding on the simple analogy of seed as a symbol, we may not only begin to appreciate the capacity of symbols to hold the very essence of their potential, but also gain some understanding as to the depth and sophistication which lies behind their design.
The former is realized just by the thought that a small acorn eventually unfolds into a majestic oak tree. The latter, by the humbling thought that we, as humans, can only know how the seed will evolve through observation.
For such a tree especially, with a lifespan more than five times that of ours, we, by necessity, depend on observation passed on from generation to generation to form a rudimentary association between the it and the seed which it came from. In fact, it has taken centuries of scientific observation and experimentation for us to gain our present understanding of the mechanics between and among the organic components and elements which combine and interact to eventuate into the wonder that is the evolution of the seed into the tree.
Still, this understanding remains highly mechanistic. We have not, as yet developed to the degree where we have the power to hold an acorn in the palm of our hand and truly realize its potency. And even if we did arrive to such a point, would we be capable of assimilating the essence of its conception? The true intention, purpose, and deep meaning behind its miraculous unfolding?
Scientifically speaking, these questions are just grains of sand in a desert of potential discovery. In a religious context one could say that they inspire in us a much-needed humility, counteracting somewhat the inflammatory arrogance with which much of the human race seeks to selfishly dominate its earthly environment.
The mathematician on the other hand, views such questions as challenges. Not because of some superiority of mathematics over the other arts. But because, in mathematics (from the Greek Mathimatiki Techni - “The Art of Knowledge”) we are given a comprehensive system of symbols that allows us to consistently abstract and thereby explore the unknown.
A perfectly simple example is probably one of the most basic of mathematical equations: y = x
As if by magic, this simple statement allows us to have exact knowledge of an unknown, y, just by virtue of its abstraction into a symbol and its symbolic relationship, in this case signified by the equality symbol, to another, albeit known, symbol, x.
This simple configuration of symbols, unlocks a full range of unknown values. It is a law in and of itself which, within the context of this equation, holds absolutely true. It is as relevant and as accurate when x= 0 as it is when x = infinity or when x = -infinity (if we can imagine such a thing).
Another interesting insight is gained the moment we realize that in an equation, at any given moment, what we are essentially doing is defining one dimension in terms of another:
The equation y = x defines an unknown variable (y) in terms of a known variable (x) where these two variables were previously unrelated dimensions: The horizontal axis of cartesian space, typically represented by the values of x, the vertical axis of that same space, represented by the values of y.
Whereas x = 3 or y = 8 are nothing more than definitions of constants, and occupy nothing more than points in space, the moment they are related to each other through an equation, a series of points, a line, is thereby defined and two-dimensional space is introduced.
Similarly with the introduction of a third variable. For example, x2 + y2 + z2 = 27 defines a sphere, a solid in three-dimensional space.
Hinton, from a mathematical viewpoint, and Ouspensky, from a philosophical one, use this characteristic correspondence between variables and dimensions as the starting point for some realizations that can be quite revealing as to the nature of consciousness in general.
Ouspensky in his book “Tertium Organum” demonstrates this relationship through the following example: If we were beings with a consciousness capable of perceiving only a single dimension, the world around us, regardless of its objective reality, would be perceived as nothing more than a single point. We would only be able to “see” ourselves as moving along this single point. Our entire Universe would be comprised of a series points extending into infinity. Our entire universe would, in fact, for us, consist of nothing more than a single line.
And whatever we came across in our lifetime, regardless of its actual shape, or size could and would only be perceived as a singe point.
Our encounter with objects of different densities and colours and textures would simply be perceived as variations in the quality of the given point being experienced. We would be unable to explain the phenomena which we observed because our perception would not allow it.
Even if we moved in complex motion, or other objects moved so in relation to us, we would still think we were moving in a straight line, because all we would be aware of would be a succession of points. And if we possessed a memory, we would define this succession of qualities of this single point as “time”. And all that we encountered we would simply interpret as emerging out of, and vanishing into, time.
And if we were physicists with such a consciousness, maybe we would even discover mathematical formulae that would allow us to calculate the periodicity of the observed phenomena, and thereby predict their behavior.
But how much closer would we be to knowing their true nature? Would not, creatures capable of perceiving a higher number of dimensions, such as humans, for example, be the equivalent of Gods to us?
Would we not come into contact with them, and by being able to perceive only a point-at-a-time on their three-dimensional body, find them deeply enigmatic and unknowable entities? Would not their ability to see in three dimensions allow them to know, in frightful detail, the universe in which we live in a much more profound sense than we ever could? And, finally, would they not, in their present moment, hold the key to the totality of what time represents for us?
Would not, a dimension which is temporal to us, be simply a spacial one to them? And would we not, had we at some point graduated into a consciousness of higher dimensionality such as theirs, realize that the one-dimensional world as we knew it never really existed? That it was the creation of our own fantasy, an illusion resulting from our limited perception? That what we once thought of as separate is really only one and the same?
Ouspensky goes on to elaborate on this example fully and more or less claim that this is the state human consciousness is in, relative to higher-dimensionality consciousnesses
In our studies we read that there are entities before which we stand as the earthworm stands before us. But at the same time we are also told that all consciousness in our system either has, or will pass through the stage of human consciousness.
That would mean that the key to the unlocking of every higher dimension, is within us. The moment the humble creature living in a one-dimensional world realizes that what it experiences as time and space are not properties of reality but properties of consciousness, the key to the next dimension begins to turn.
And this is so in an infinitely-cascading, kaleidoscopic fashion, in an ever-ascending spiral motion. Each and every one of us holds the blueprint, each and every one of us is a symbol, a seed of divine expression. What we perceive as separate is one and the same.
If we imagine a horizontal plane intersecting the top of a tree, parallel to the surface of the earth, the sections of branches will appear separate, not bound to one another. Yet they are not really separate. They are “sections of branches of one tree, comprising together one top, nourished from one root, casting one shadow.”
Such is the restriction which creates the illusion of separateness. Our consciousness, at present, only allows us to view the cross-sections of the branches which intersect with our plane of consciousness.
But, regardless of the degree to which our present level of consciousness may restrict our ability to perceive reality, that reality remains, nonetheless a function of something that can be known to us: Our mechanism. Our psyche. Our consciousness.
Positive philosophy (philosophy being Greek for “the art of wisdom”) argues that the outer world is a symbolic representation of some reality, but that this representation is far from the original, “source” reality. Obviously, if this is so, the reason for this “distortion” of the “truly” objective stems from our equipment of perception. From the quality of our consciousness.
This is, again, a familiar configuration: A known, a relationship, an unknown. If in the simple equation y = x, the symbol x signifies the single undeniable reality for each and every one of us - our subjective world, and y is the world of appearances, there may lie a clue as to all knowledge.
This thought is consistent with occult teaching. That in the approach towards the divine we, as humans, must begin the journey within ourselves and work our way upwards. “Know thyself.” And, as with any equation we must start by what we know, and work our way outward.
That the more we uncover x, the more y reveals itself to us is mathematically obvious. But, on a more esoteric note, there is one more thing here which is subtly implied and which has enormous implications on our understanding of what it means to approach the divine: That we can also operate on this equation by applying ourselves on the symbol of equality.
That is, that the more we are able to honor the symbol of the equation of the esoteric with the exoteric, the inner with the outer, the closer we arrive to the one, the absolute truth. This is by no means a simple or easy task. It encapsulates, in one symbolism, much of the work of the disciple.
If x symbolizes the full richness of the subjective reality, and y the totality of exoteric manifestation, then y = x stands for all that is, at least as far as human consciousness is concerned.
Therefore, this is not some elementary, linear, one-on-one correspondence that we are describing - the equality is no longer one between two sets of points, but one between all that can be perceived by the human mechanism, at any given point, across space and time.
If we acknowledge the fact that we are only capable of perceiving one small, localized part of the truth, we must proceed as if that were a fact, we must compensate for our state. Like a navigator who draws a course extending far beyond his current horizon, we must employ the occult technique of proceeding as if we are certain that our course will lead to our destination. To the ignorant, navigating “blind”, so to speak, might appear as madness. To the man who has realized the illusory nature of the three worlds it is the only sane thing to do.
For if we admit to the fact that all each one of us can see is his or her own slice of a branch of the tree of life, then we absolutely must redeem ourselves, honor the life that we are part of by acknowledging the fact that we are equal, and that we are one.
This work of redemption begins with the smallest possible fragment of consciousness within ourselves, and through the steady integration of the bodies moves outward to embrace and include an increasingly wider circle of entities. This is a process of identification with that which was once perceived as external to us.
Throughout the long period when this identification is not actually experienced but as an aspiration, it is the First Ray of Aspect, the Ray of Will which applies itself onto the personality. As the Ray of Power, it embodies the dynamic idea of God, and as children of God, we, too create similarly - albeit on an infinitesimal scale compared to the absolute, the all. The will to identify fully with another, the will to fully merge with another, and even more, to love another as we love ourselves, even though we have not, yet, truly identified with them, the will to do so, is the will-to-love, expressed in the personality through the Fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict, but allied nonetheless to the first ray, through its will emphasis. Until that time when the inflow of Shamballa energy through the medium of the soul renders love a spontaneous event, true love in the occult sense remains but an aspiration, a fiery desire kept ablaze by the power of the First Ray.
However, it is mostly the influence on the individual of the second Ray of Aspect, the Ray of Love-Wisdom, the Ray of the Grand Geometrician, responsible for the first formulations of the plan upon which the form is constructed, which has the greatest bearing on this aspiration becoming an actual event. It is the moment when 1 is joined by 1 and becomes 2 that the symbolism of the birth of relationship is at its most potent - and we know by now that this power extends to infinity.
In Esoteric Astrology, we find the following passage:
(Esoteric Astrology - Rays III, pp. 609-635)
“The Transcendent One said: I am alone. I must raise and seek with ceaseless urge, that which produces completion, round out my circle whole, intensity My Life and make Me truly One, and this because I recognize the Two. I must have union with my other self, the self I dimly sense.”
“It is the Lord of Sacrifice Who speaks. The keynote of sacrifice, or the ‘process of making whole’ … becomes beautifully apparent in the activity of the second ray as it is the channel for the will of God.”
“It is the transcending will because behind its expression of cosmic love (attracting, fusing and producing cohesion) lies a synthetic vision of divine intention.”
“… through its means something passes between the pair of opposites which draws them together until eventually they form one blended whole.”
There is no mathematical formula or equation that can solve the mystery of divinity, there is no divine equation in that sense. Level upon level of complexity, throughout the Initiations keys are given to symbols that uncover the power and the beauty of the plan on scales and realms so high that our most revered human intellects in all their grandeur would appear as nothing more than one-dimensional beings, capable of perceiving life only on a point-by-point basis seeing only a minuscule fragment of the truth, thinking that through their sophisticated calculations they have made some stupendous discovery about the universe we live in. And, in a sense, they might have:
The Tibetan says - “A grub, or worm working out its little life in a mass of decaying substance is as much a spiritual manifestation as an initiate working out his destiny in a mass of rapidly changing human forms. It is all manifested Deity; it is all divine expression and all a form of sensitive awareness and of response to environment, and therefore a form of conscious expression.”
But it can be argued that no matter how fast and how long one travels along a single line, no matter how many different points they may experience, or even have the power to predict or explain, all it is, is still a single line, one of innumerable threads in the totality that is the all, the absolute.
And both philosophically, as well as mathematically, apparently the only way available to us in terms of the evolution of our consciousness is to will ourselves into the next stage, into a state of perception where the mysteries of the three worlds, including the problem of the “time equation” to which the Tibetan Master often refers in his letters to his Disciples, are solved, and we find ourselves yet another turn higher on the spiral.
And though the will might cut through fear and doubt and inertia, though it may subjugate the lower tendencies and desires of the personality which draw it off its path of evolution, the magnetic force, the force of cohesion and unity is that of love together coupled with wisdom. It is this second Ray energy which leads to experience all our fellow humans as our brothers and our sisters, as ourselves, to truly know ourselves as an inextricable, essential, unique parts of a totality that is the expression of God. That we, too, are part of the divine Plan. That we are God, and we are the Plan. Not you, not I, but everything that is, together. That is the equation.