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Twelfth Mansion - TO TRANSCEND

. . . And now we turn to the last phase of the cycle of selfhood: the phase which seals the book of the past and which may open a greater book for the soul to decipher . . . or perhaps it will be the same old book once more to be read, because the soul failed to grasp the meaning of the twelve chapters. This phase finds its positive keynote in the word: transcendence. More precisely, it refers to the ecstatic union of the far and the near, of the universal and the particular, in the great sea of spirit-born Light. It brings to the transfigured mind the bliss, the pure joy of the true mystic state.

The personality which, after having reached achievement as a cell of an organic whole, became "trans-formed" by the downflow of the Waters of Inspiration, finds itself now "beyond the pale" of mere cell-life. The cell enters the bloodstream — there to find in a mysterious manner its divine counterpart; and both swim now in utter bliss within the tides of this cosmic Blood which is light, ecstasy, Samadhi, Nirvana-liberation from the need for being rooted in one particular place and being the product of a particular set of conditions.

This is the transcendental life — which men so often misinterpret by calling it "formless" being. It is the life of the mystic Wanderers who move from place to place, linking races and continents with the subtle threads they weave by the magic of their mere presence. Of such men there has been none greater than Gautama, the Buddha — the great planetary prototype, for our humanity, of the transcendent life.

His life is shown to us as a great mystery-ritual of overcoming. The perfect and radiant fruition of a culture which glorified the most beautiful aspects of earth-life, the young Hindu prince, moved by compassion and by the need to solve the poignant enigma of suffering, left behind all this perfection, social power and achievement. He "transformed" himself into a wandering seeker after Reality, received from Teachers and Yogis all the inspiration they could bestow; then at last, after meeting the simple heart of a woman who gave his starved body food and the treasure of child-like wisdom, he reached the transcendental state which he named Nirvana: life within the "Blood" of the Universal Whole; that is, life not in terms of a particular condition but as an agent of universal wholeness.

Such a life may appear "formless" to the cell which is utterly defined structurally by the fact of its being a cell of the liver or a cell of the kidneys — in other words, by the place it occupies in the organic whole. It appears so because it is a life of ceaseless adaptation to the needs of the particular and structurally rigid organs and cells of the whole; a life of protean service conditioned only by the will of the whole. Yet this whole has form, and the tides of blood have rhythm. Therefore formlessness is only a relative term. What is spiritually formless to the lesser entity is formed through its activity within the formed greater being of which the lesser entity is a part.

To transcend is to pierce through nature and nature-born conditions. It requires an act of will and spiritual courage. Thus the twelfth mansion, if it is seen in its positive aspect, brings to man the message of heroic effort — but an effort which does not mean the kind of work and devotional self-surrender characterizing the sixth mansion. It is an effort which does not manifest as the personal ego doing some definite particular type of work, but rather as a still and steady, almost effortless, gathering of psychic energies around certain Images or Symbols held fixed within the consciousness of soul and body.

In a sense, one might say that the process is one of creative imaging. The image of the universal whole (or some potent symbol of its activity) is held steadily within the consciousness of the fulfilled personality. This image or symbol has come to this personality by inspiration or through the teachings of some true spiritual Brotherhood during the span of development of the eleventh mansion. Of such images or symbols the true living Civilization is made. The personality, transfigured by the vision and the dream experienced in the eleventh mansion, must now transcend its entire cycle of particular earth-born selfhood. And it does so by becoming the likeness of the image or symbol.

This requires, if not effort in the ordinary sense of the term, at least a deliberate steadiness of mind and emotions which might be defined as "meditation", provided this much-abused word is well understood. Meditation is the process by means of which a particular earth-born personality turns away from the sense of being in bondage to the conditions of its earthly birth, and re-polarizes the energies derived from heredity and environment, so that they serve to energize a universal or archetypal image with which the transfigured personality wills to identify itself.

This image can be said to be the "Father that is in Heaven" of whom Jesus spoke when, having reached the transcendental stage, he said "I and my Father are one." Meditation is then a process aiming at a transcendental union with one's spiritual Archetype.

It is, however, a union which occurs within the sea of universal Light, and during the first stages of the final process the personal consciousness may be so blinded by the intensity of this ubiquitous, intoxicating Light that even the archetypal form is lost in it, together with all the familiar appearances of this world. Thus there is a "piercing through" the Light — just as there is a "piercing through" the moving phantasms of that darkness which closes in upon the man who, having seen the supernal Vision, dares to become that very Vision. And for both there is need of will and courage; need of steadiness, poise — and faith.

Transfiguration and transcendence — these two last stages of the cycle of selfhood are transitional stages which lead from the perfect personality which has achieved in the tenth mansion, to the "new birth" as a "babe in Christ" — if the cycle has proven wholly successful. This "new birth" is the first mansion of a greater or higher cycle; and Life moves on, and ever on, from birth to re-birth through self-organization (IV), love (VII), and achievement (X).

Alas! Very few are those born of the earth who, having perfectly achieved, reach the glory of rebirth in the Light. The vast majority of men, having failed to attain complete fulfillment, dream dreams that are but of the earth, reach for ideals which are destructive of spiritual integrity — and thus find in the twelfth mansion but more or less potent forms of bondage; bondage which means the necessity for a new birth in the blind embrace of material elements.

Thus the commonly understood idea of karma. Where there is lack of perfect fulfillment there is karma. The unfulfilled selfhood, the imperfect action, leave residua ("karmic deposits") which become the inchoate substance of a new cycle of manifestation — at more or less the same level of being. The deed left undone forces him who should have been the doer to face a similar need for accomplishing a similar deed. Life, instead of becoming a spirallic ascent, becomes under the fateful pressure of karma a monotonous wheel of birthing and dying — meaningless, in the sense that perfect meaning arises only out of perfect fulfillment.

In the twelfth mansion the man who does not pierce through the shadows and into the beyond must witness the onsurge of all that has been unfulfilled, inhibited, repressed, thwarted in his life. Thus it is the symbol of what Freud calls the "unconscious — what Jung more accurately terms the "personal unconscious", to differentiate it from the "collective unconscious". Yet in a sense, both personal and collective unconscious are aspects of the mysterious something which we name "memory". It is the whole of a cycle gathering its energies and its experiences into a last moment, either of perfect remembrance (in the case of a "buddha") or of haunted obsession by the unachieved and the repressed.

Now, in this last mansion, memory is not the foundation or inspirer of new ideals. It is the past to be transcended, overcome — this through meditation in understanding — or else it is the past which rises to force the consciousness into a new birth in the world of suffering and crucifixion.

This confrontation with the past may take many and varied forms. It may be deliberately faced by the perfect soul who has naught to witness but the light of his noble deeds, or by the daring soul who, though his failures be many, has grown through all and never lost the realization of his cyclic Identity or archetypal essence. It may be forced upon man by life itself in the form of a fateful confinement — as in a hospital. It may also be forced by society upon the individual who either has broken collective laws or has tried to bring forth ideals and reforms which were too far beyond the inertial stability of his community.

In this last sentence the often tragic conflict between individual and collectivity is briefly outlined: a conflict which makes criminals and anarchists; and which also may cause great geniuses to starve and suffer, only to be glorified after their death by a new generation.

This conflict is born in the tenth mansion, develops in the eleventh, and comes to a culmination in the twelfth — the symbol of imprisonment and retribution, the place of expiation and repentance, the place of martyrdom and of serene acceptance of a fate to which only the future can give full significance.

These last two mansions are full of mysteries and of complexities, because they tell tales as varied as the individual lives which here succeed or do not succeed in their attempts either to adjust themselves to the requirements of society, or to fecundate the collectivity with the Vision which it is only the individual's privilege to behold. No collectivity ever steps into the "new life" as a collectivity. It is always impregnated by the Vision and the Dream of one or of several individuals. And, as is the case in many species of insects, to fecundate is for the male often to meet death.

The criminal rapes society. The genius fecundates society and gives to humankind a radiant progeny. The former is a throwback, a resurgent image of past social and individual failures. The latter is the agency through which the future calls to the present, urging it to transcend itself. Both suffer. Both, in a broad sense, are maladjusted.

As to the difference between the perfect adept or mystic and the creative genius, it lies in this — that the former overcomes the pull of collective pressures within himself and makes of his whole personality a work of transcendent significance, whereas the creative genius does not usually bother much about overcoming the genetic and collectives pulls within his personality, but instead projects into the consciousness of his generation a plan, a model, significant forms, colors, or tones which reveal the archetypal structure or power of the cycle-to-be.

According as man operates at one level of being or at another, the twelfth mansion presents one task or another. In the cycle of the first birth man transcends the race and the soil which conditioned his physio-psychological development. Later, man, become truly an individual, finds that at the close of that cycle of individual selfhood there comes a moment when individualism must be transcended. Then he emerges into the realm of the third birth, which is the realm of Light.

But even that Light which man may reach in his highest culminations is but a pale reflection of a Reality more sublime and more transcendent. The greater whole is not a static God whose boundaries are marked by the stars' orbits or the tides of expanding and contracting space. It is that timeless and spaceless "More" which ever urges on toward more transcendent bliss and more ultimate unions.

And yet — all these mansions, and all these stages of the eternal journey toward that which ever eludes the quest, are but phantasms of our scattered being. Wholeness is absolute in every moment and every point of space. It dwells in the fullness of every whole. To experience this is to know that there is no "lesser" and no "greater"; that in the individual alone can there ever be perfection and truth; that it matters little whether it be man or God, if man or God be fulfilled and made perfect in the ineffable NOW.

This edition copyright © 2008 Michael R. Meyer
All Rights Reserved.

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