The Human Kingdom
~ Life Discovers Itself ~
I Am! No other assertion is as revealing of human existence as this. Such words represent the true mantram of human experience, for it is in the human kingdom that evolving life first develops the capacity to know itself. The evolutionary journey is vast, lasting countless millions of years. Before incarnating as human beings, each of us lived for aeons within the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms of life. These domains of existence were important to us, for they each provided essential substructures for the evolution of consciousness. As such, life within each kingdom confers evolutionary gifts. Amazingly, it is within the human kingdom that the spirit comes to realize its individual identity, and this for the first time. Such is the great blessing, and curse, of life within human form.
When we examine the drama of life, we can see that there are three attributes most important to human evolution. They are:
1. The Emergence of Individualized Mind
2. Self-Realization via Introspection
3. The Vision of Duality
It is well to here keep in mind that the human domain is merely the fourth of seven kingdoms in nature. Though we often think that humanity is at the top of the evolutionary ladder, this is a false assumption. We are given to understand that there are three kingdoms in nature (on this planet) where consciousness is further developed than our own. These higher kingdoms exist subjectively, rather than objectively. We therefore do not see them, but their existence is crucial to the understanding of this subject. For example, the fifth kingdom is called the Kingdom of Souls. It is a field of consciousness that is subtler than normal human consciousness, and in its collectivity, it is understood as the kingdom we eventually must evolve toward. These three attributes, therefore, represent features of consciousness that must be developed before one can truly begin to live life within the fifth kingdom. As such, we will examine each of them, and their implications for the full flowering of human consciousness.
The Emergence of Individualized Mind
Though we (as spirit) spent aeons of time evolving through mineral and plant forms, it is our animal consciousness that is most easily recognized within us. We are all too familiar with our animal nature, its instinctual urges and passions. In truth, this aspect of us is merely a remnant of our developmental achievements when life was lived as animal or beast. During that distant age, the spirit within each of us worked toward the development of instinctive mind. Herd consciousness then emerged, and instinctual response was the driving force of our consciousness. The basic instincts of survival were then shaped in the very fabric of our developing consciousness. Even so, the capacity to individually think, ponder, and to reason were not yet developed. Animal life, then and now, hasn’t the capacity to employ these attributes of consciousness. Instead, an animal is largely governed by the instinctual consciousness of its species. Yet, when life eventually evolves out of the animal kingdom and into the human domain, the development of individualized mind becomes the central evolutionary goal. This is one of the most distinguishing features between animal and human life. One is dependent upon instinct, while the other learns to rise above it, and this through the development of independent thought and reason.
To graduate from human life, each of us needs to learn to think clearly, and to demonstrate independent reasoning. This means that to be human requires that we no longer conform to the consciousness of the masses. Mass consciousness is little more than a residual effect of the herd instinct developed when we lived as animals so long ago. At that time it was a useful and necessary aspect of consciousness to be developed and expressed. Yet to a human being, this is no longer true. Independent thought must eventually replace the instinctual animal urges that still, at times, arise within us.
Self-Realization via Introspection
With the advent of the individualized mind, human beings are able to slowly realize their individualness. That is to say that the self, as a construct within consciousness, begins to emerge in one’s awareness. Unlike prehuman life, people are able to realize their individual identity. We are able to know ourselves, particularly in contrast to others. We see our uniqueness, and learn to prize those attributes that make us stand out as different from the masses (herd). Fundamentally, the discovery of the self is a major development within human consciousness. It occurs via the power of introspection. The capacity to look within is only developed as life enters into the human kingdom. Prior to the human stage, introspection is not possible. For example, an animal is unable to introspect. As such, it cannot examine its feelings and thoughts, and because of this, is unable to arrive at an understanding of itself. Instead, it simply acts and reacts according to its instinctual nature.
More deeply considered, the reason human beings are able to introspect, and therefore realize their unique identity, is that they have individual causal bodies that make such realization possible. The causal body is the vehicle that houses the consciousness of the soul itself. Essentially, it contains those aspects of human awareness related to one’s individualness. By contrast, an animal does not have an individual causal body. Instead, its behavior is governed by the causal body overshadowing the species of which it is a part. This is why animal consciousness is collective and instinctual, for the inner vehicle containing its consciousness is shared by the entire species. Because human beings have individual causal bodies, they are quite different in this regard. As such, humanity’s evolutionary destiny is to realize the value of individualized thought, and through this the self is realized, then actualized.
Though self-realization is a wonderful gift bestowed to humanity, it is not without peril. We need only look at human society, with its selfish tendencies, to see the negative effects that can emerge when the self is realized and asserted. Yet, though such is unquestionably true, the larger truth is that self-discovery is fundamental and essential to continued evolutionary growth. Any attribute of consciousness has the potential of misuse. This is not only possible, but is most often predictable. The first expressions of the self are frequently immature and sometimes destructive. This is so with all newly acquired capacities in consciousness. It should also be stated that this realization of self occurs in two phases over the long evolutionary journey of a human being. For most of the human journey, the identity that is inwardly realized is the personality, or lower self. Yet, toward the later phases of human evolution there is realized a deeper Self, thus indicating that the soul has finally been consciously sensed.
The Vision of Duality
When the higher Self (soul) is beginning to be inwardly felt, then the third attribute of human consciousness becomes operative. This is the realization of the duality inherent in one’s beingness. Specifically, it is the duality of the lower self (personality) in relation to the higher Self (soul) that comes into view. This inner duality, when consciously recognized, gradually becomes a central preoccupation in one’s life. From the esoteric perspective, this is the mark of entrance upon the Spiritual Path. No one is truly living a spiritual life if they are not confronted with this great duality manifest within them. More fundamentally, it is the realization that both the animal and the divine are coexisting within us, and that these two forces are often at odds with each other. Those who are consciously trying to live a spiritual life are all too familiar with this inner duality. For when the radiance of the soul is inwardly sensed, its light is cast upon the personality (lower self). Because of this exposing light, the resisting aspects of the personality are more clearly seen. In occult literature, this aspect of the personality is called the Dweller on the Threshold. Importantly, the realization of this inner Dweller, and its eventual transformation, is central to disciplic life.
In truth, this duality stages an inner conflict that will ultimately lead to enlightenment and liberation. Human spiritual development is rooted in the resolution of this inner duality, and this through the power of soul-infusion. When the soul has fully infused itself into the yielding personality, perfection of human consciousness is then achieved. This is indeed a rare occurrence. It signifies that the inner war is over, for now the personality it completely subservient to the divine soul within. Admittedly, most of us who try to live according to the will of the soul, are partially soul-infused, rather than fully. By way of honest self-appraisal, we can see that our personality desires have, at times, undue influence in our lives. As such, we must remember that spiritual evolution is incremental. The goal is to ever work toward gradually achieving more and more soul infusion into the fabric of our lives. Even so, full infusion is a certainty at some point on the long and arduous Path leading to enlightenment. In some incarnation such an achievement is inevitable. When this is the case, the individual has risen to the summit of human development, and full entrance into the fifth kingdom (Kingdom of Souls) is granted. Then the light of Oneness becomes the dominant theme, for the fully enlightened person has learned to truly live within the field of divine Unity. As such, the urge toward individualism is no more. Prior to this (full soul-infusion), participation in the fifth kingdom is partial, and is considered probationary.
The journey of human evolution follows millions of years of life lived within animal forms. When compared to animal existence, the gains made in human consciousness are truly staggering. Human existence is the first developmental stage where evolving life learns to reason and think independent of animal instinct. In addition, from the power of the individualized human mind emerges the capacity to look within. It is to introspect, and by so doing, learn of our unique and individual nature. Such a realization, though easily misapplied, is nonetheless a sacred gift on this long sojourn of spiritual evolution. Through the continued development of introspection, a human being will eventually realize the higher Self, the soul, hidden deep within. The inner duality (soul and personality) is then clearly seen, and conflict between the two will surely emerge, often with fierceness. Such experience gives indication that one has fully stepped onto the spiritual Path. Gratifying it is to realize that the resolution of this inner conflict leads to eventual enlightenment and liberation from continued human existence.
It has been said that Creation is the out-picturing of Life in search of itself. This is an esoteric notion of major importance. When Life expresses itself within the human domain, then introspection emerges, and the inner search truly begins. Thus makes possible Life’s first real discovery of itself. In truth, Life can only find itself when it inwardly searches — a capacity that begins when evolution reaches the human stage. Such is the privilege and challenge of being human.
© 2002 William Meader