"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The soul that rises with us, our life's star Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar; Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God who is our home." - Wordsworth.
"Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies, I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower - but if I could understand What you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is." - Tennyson.
Life is a state of consciousness. The visible world is a mirror of what man has felt and thought and done; but it is not a prophecy of what he shall be, for what he shall be is written into the soul of man, and only as man learns to express what he knows of his own soul-life can he enrich the world in which he lives and prepare himself to receive new mysteries from the kingdom of God that lives within him. Without consciousness there would be no meaning to human existence. Man's objective consciousness consists largely of material things, and his thoughts and emotions in relation to them. Consciousness consists, then, of what a man feels and what he thinks, and from such feeling and thinking there comes the outward expression of himself in what he does; for man's work is a natural expression of both thought and feeling. At times he seems dominated by thought, and again by feeling. In his happiest states he uses both. The force of a man's life is in what he feels. The form which his work takes comes largely through what he thinks. His best work is accomplished when head and heart work together in unison. This holds good regarding all planes of consciousness, and this union makes not only for man's highest good, but also for the truest expression of his work. Now, when man uses love and wisdom in all that he does, the outer form will become as perfect as the inner ideal. All the beauty and the colour of life comes from within, but it is intended to exist as beauty and colour in man's outer world. Man brings to nature all that he sees in it. The kingdom of God lives in the life of man first as power, then as ideals to be externalised, and to become the symbols of beauty and power on earth.
If man lived solely in his objective consciousness, his world would always remain the same, there would be no advancement of any kind, he could bring no new thing into being. The life of a thousand years ago would be the same as it is to-day, and the life of a thousand years hence would differ little, if any, from what it does at the present, were it not for the fact that man has a greater consciousness than that which we call the objective. There is an inner consciousness that has to do with what a man feels and thinks, and, later, these thoughts and feelings become transmuted into ideals. All these ideals, when lived and expressed, go to make a new world for man to live in; thus his world becomes a true expression of his inner feeling and his best thought, and in this way it is constantly being quickened and renewed.
"Build thee more stately mansions, O my Soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past! Let each new temple, nobler than the last, Shut thee from Heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free, Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea."
There are many stages or degrees of consciousness; at first, we might say, the consciousness is of the earth earthy, and we have comparatively little of either love or wisdom in evidence. It is much as in the springtime when the buds begin to swell, and the green things come up out of the earth; for, while in every direction there are indications of an all-pervading life, yet there is an indefiniteness about it all, an indefinable something that leaves you without any sense of permanence. One change follows another in quick succession. What you saw yesterday you see perhaps in a larger way to-day, or possibly you see something that you failed to see before. It is the spring-time of nature, but each day brings with it something that is new. There is a beauty of form which is constantly changing. What the ultimate form of beauty is going to be one cannot see save with a prophetic eye; but we know that with the summer and with the autumn there will come the wholeness, and the completeness, and the beauty of the matured form which is revealed only in the fulness of time. The seasons of the year typify seasons in the life of man. There is a spring-time of consciousness that is just as changing and indefinable as that portrayed by nature. As in nature, there is evidence on every side of exhilarating vibrant life, but only the prophet can foresee what the fruits of this life are going to be. For life at this stage is filled with change, and nothing seems to be permanent. Things come and things go. The good of yesterday seemingly becomes the evil of today; that which at one moment is deemed to be whole and complete, at the next is seen to be partial and incomplete. Man's consciousness, at this stage, is purely of an objective nature. All he needs is to be surrounded with things that are pleasing to the eye, or things that are good for food. His senses seem to him to be the only means through which all knowledge comes. His mind is lost in the objective. Everything that he deems to be necessary, whether it be his mind's happiness or his physical health, he seeks for in the external world. His mind is absorbed in the desire to possess material things, and as fast as he enters into their possession, they bring to him increased worries and anxieties, and through his possession of them they seem to lose their value. In his desire for happiness, he believes it can only be attained through other and greater possessions until, at last, having realised the vanity of mere material things there comes the dawning of a new consciousness wherein intelligence supersedes sense, and reason replaces blind instinct; and the second stage in the evolution of consciousness is reached. We might say of it that it is the tree of life beginning to blossom, for the blossom must al-ways precede the fruit. As this new consciousness develops, man exalts it to the very heavens. The power to think, to reason, to form judgments in mind, to make laws for the regulation of life, all this he looks upon not only as the highest power and possibility of his life, but as the ultimate end and object of life.