The First Day
by Jack Courtis
CRC is by "birth inclined", entitled to participate in the process of integration. That is, he has reincarnated at the correct time and by his karma, is required to proceed. Here is the subtle problem of free will and predeterminism. Can he freely choose to do what he is obliged to do? Can we? After all, it is "of God designed".
Next, the wedding invitation directs him to the mountain (higher level of consciousness) and the 3 temples (spiritual principles), from which he will see the entire process in its full context (from end to end). Thus, karma impels us to action, though we are free to choose to ignore it.
CRC is then warned to "keep watch and ward" his consciousness of self; very much like the Noble Eightfold Way of the Lord Buddha and its strict requirement of "right attention". A crystal clear, focused mind is essential because if not diligently cleansed of impurity (bathed), the process of the marriage will harm him. Personal transformation can hurt as well as save. We must know what to do otherwise our efforts will cause us harm.
Finally, CRC is warned that he will be damaged if he delays and takes the matter too lightly. This is a karmic situation. He has a choice - he can act, or refuse to act. He has been warned. This is a lesson for us. An invitation like this is rare. We must recognise the opportunity and seize it.
And who are the Bridegroom and Bride who have signed the invitation? Remember, Christ is the Bridegroom. Who is His feminine counterpart? Is she the Woman of Apocalypse ch 12 v 1?
As soon as I had read this letter, I nearly fainted away and all my hair stood on end, a cold sweat trickled down my whole body.
A severe emotional reaction is normal when we come down from a higher level of consciousness.
For although I well perceived that this was the appointed marriage, whereof seven years before I was acquainted in a bodily vision, and which for so long time I had waited upon with great earnestness, and which lastly, by the account and calculation of the planets, I had most diligently observed, I found so to be, yet could I never fore-see that it must happen under so grievous perilous conditions. For, whereas I before imagined that to be a welcome and acceptable guest I needed only be ready to appear at the marriage, I was now directed to Divine Providence, of which until this time I was never certain.
CRC has been expecting this marriage for 7 years, from a vision (Above to Below) and his astrological calculation of the 7 planets (Below to Above). The 7 reminds us of the need to reconcile the 7 pairs of opposites. CRC has done so because he has "most diligently observed" during this time. Yet this is not enough. He must orient himself to Divine Providence.
I also found within, the more I examined myself, that in my head there was nothing but gross misunderstanding, and blindness in mysterious things, so that I was not able to comprehend even those things which lay under my feet, and which I daily conversed with, much less that I should be born to the searching out, and understanding of the secrets of Nature, since in my opinion Nature might every where find a more virtuous disciple, to whom to trust her precious, though temporary, and changeable treasures. I found also that my bodily behaviour, and outward good conversation, and brotherly love toward my neighbour, was not duly purged and cleansed; moreover the tickling of the flesh manifested itself, whose affection was bent only to pomp and bravery, and worldly pride, and not to the good of mankind: and I was always contriving how by this art I might in a short time abundantly increase my profit and advantage, rear up stately palaces, make myself an everlasting name in the world, and other like carnal designs.
Now begins the serious introspection. All of the faults that CRC discovers about himself, are the negatives of the 12 Disciplines. He has not cleared them away, even with his 7 years of "diligent observation". The performance of the 12 Disciplines is a necessary, but not sufficient condition, for the successful reconciliation of the 7 pairs of opposites. In turn, that reconciliation is not enough - it requires orientation to Divine Providence. Even then, we are left with a residue of negativity that constitutes our karma. Like CRC, we must be careful to identify an opportunity for spiritual growth when it is offered - and then act on it!
But the obscure words concerning the three temples did particularly afflict me, which I was not able to make out by any after-speculation, and perhaps should not yet, had they not been wonderfully revealed to me. Thus clinging between hope and fear, examining myself again and again, and finding only my own frailty and impotency, not being able to succour myself in any fashion, and exceedingly amazed at the fore-mentioned threatening, at length I took to my usual and most secure course; after I had finished my earnest and most fervent prayer, I laid down in the bed, in hopes my good angel by the Divine permission might appear, and (as it had sometimes formerly happened) instruct me in this doubtful affair, which to the praise of God, my own good, and my neighbours faithful and hearty warning and amendment did now likewise fall out.
The 3 temples clearly refer to the orientation to Divine Providence. This must be 3-fold in its nature. This is reflected in the 3 alternative paths that will be revealed to CRC later. He continues his self examination by clinging to the polarity of hope and fear. When that fails, he performs the Discipline of prayer and lies down on his bed. He does not fall asleep yet. CRC consciously invokes his "good angel", a higher aspect of himself, by Divine permission. He identifies his higher self with the Divine. Perhaps this is a reference to the
Nous of Greek philosophy, or the Divine Spark of Gnosticism?
For I was yet scare fallen asleep, when methought, I, together with a numberless multitude of men, lay fettered with great chains in a dark dungeon. Here without the least glimpse of light, we swarmed like bees one over another, rendering each others affliction more grievous. But although neither I, nor any of the rest could see one jot, yet I continually heard one heaving himself above the other, when his chains or fetters were become ever so little lighter, though none of us had much reason to shove past the other, since we were all captive wretches. With the rest, I had continued a good while in this affliction and each was still reproaching the other with his blindness and captivity.
It is after his deliberate invocation of the Divine Spark, that CRC falls asleep, that is, enters a higher level of consciousness. He finds himself in a situation reminiscent of Plato’s Cave and also, of Dante’s Inferno. The point that Plato makes, is that we are like prisoners chained to the wall of a cave, who cannot see out of it. We see only shadows on the wall as passers by walk outside the entrance. We mistake the shadows for reality. More simply, our objective consciousness of the 5 senses, deceives us. It sees not reality, but illusion. To make this worse for CRC, it is an illusion inside a dream. The illusion is a dreaming. Who is the dreamer, what is the dream? And if the illusion can be discarded and reality can be perceived, does this change the dreaming? And the dreamer? And the dream? Change them to what?
At length we heard many trumpets sounding together and kettle drums beating to their sound, that it even revived and rejoiced us in our calamity. During this noise the cover of the dungeon was from above lifted up, and a little light let down unto us.
Even in the dungeon, we have ears to hear and eyes to see, if only we can understand the higher reality above us. Nevertheless, we see through a glass darkly.
Then first might truly have been discerned the bustle we kept, for all went pesle-mesle, and he who perchance had too much heaved up himself, was forced down again under anothers feet. In brief, each one strove to be uppermost, neither did I linger, but with my weighty fetters slipped up from under the rest, and then heaved myself upon a stone, which I laid hold of.
The prisoners behave exactly as we all behave in our ordinary lives. This is the "normal" world that is being described. Note that CRC slips his fetters. These are the karmic bonds that constrain our free will. We need to have gone a long way on our inner journey, in order to be able to remove the karmic restraints by an act of choice on our part. CRC has done this inside the dream that is inside his illusion. Truly, this is a most significant point. Have you noticed the "stone"? It will be mentioned again. This is a signpost of the inner landscape.
Several times I was grabbed at by others, from whom with all my might I guarded myself with my hands and feet. For we imagined no other but that we should all be set at liberty, which yet fell out quite otherwise. For after the nobles who looked upon us from above through the hole, had a while recreated themselves with this our struggling and lamenting, a certain hoary-headed ancient man called us to be quiet, and having scarce obtained it, began (as I still remember) thus to say on.
Notice the "every man for himself" attitude. This is exactly the way we live. But how else could it be if we mistake the illusion for reality? The old man is clearly an archetypal figure. He is the guardian of the threshold between illusion and reality. We have all met him, but refuse to acknowledge him. He is our conscience. Now, in the misery of the dungeon of our lives, we listen to him because we have no other choice:
If wretched mankind would forbear
Themselves so to uphold,
Then sure on them much good confer,
My righteous Mother would:
But since the same will not ensue,
They must in care and sorrow rue,
And still in prison lie.
Howbeit, my dear Mother will
Their follies over-see,
Her choicest good permitting still
Too much in the light to be.
Though very rarely it may seem
That they may still keep some esteem,
Which else would pass for forgery.
Wherefore in honour of the feast
We this day solemnise,
That so her grace may be increast,
A good deed she will devise.
For now a cord shall be let down,
And whosoever can hang thereon,
Shall freely be released.
Left to our own devices, we shall not change our behaviour. Our karma will keep us in the dungeon of this level of reality. However, grace exists and will be given freely to whoever makes the effort to grasp it. Here is a paradox. Grace is free but we must act in order to receive it. The Mother of the guardian of the threshold shall let down a cord (act of grace from Above to Below) and whoever (from Below) can hang on it (the effort to act), shall be freely released (to the Above). The "release" is obviously the effacement of karma, but it is "free" only if we make the effort to act by hanging on the cord. This is not a something for nothing situation. It is not "free" in that sense. It is free in the sense of the exercise of our free will. Salvation does not come to those who sit in the dungeon and simply complain. What is the cord? Perhaps a stream of consciousness from the Above to the Below. Remember the Emerald Tablet and its processes of descent and ascent. This cord connects our vehicles of consciousness on each of the levels of reality. Ultimately, it is the Divine Spark itself in its beingness. And who is the Mother of the guardian, because she is our Mother. It is the feminine that leads to salvation.