Quality in the World of Appearances
From A Treatise on the Seven Rays Vol.1
By Alice A. Bailey
We now take up the definition of the word "quality," which embodies the second ray aspect. This second aspect is the determining ray or the second manifesting aspect of divinity. It is the Christ or Vishnu aspect; it is the sentient consciousness aspect of deity in form. I stated also that we would consider its expression in the world of phenomena, meaning by this the world of external appearance and of tangible forms.
The quality that emerges through the process of manifesting, and under the impulse of the divine Life, is love, which functions through the medium of the Law of Attraction, with the aim of producing an ultimate synthesis in consciousness. Let us not forget that the objective of our present evolutionary process is the unfoldment of conscious awareness. The entire process is directed towards that consummation.
Quality, in the last analysis, is neither more nor less than the nature of that awareness, and the response in terms of quality to sentient contact. Through the gradually unfolding mechanism of contact (itself the result of active quality, determining the life of the unit cells which compose the form) the range of contacts extends indefinitely, and the response of the living entity to contact becomes more vital, more understanding in its capacity, and more synthetically comprehended. This response develops in two directions:
1.It leads to a comprehension of the response apparatus and to a wise use of the mechanism of contact.
2. It leads also to an understanding of the response of the individual consciousness to the consciousness contacted. This is brought about through the medium of the response mechanism. This other response apparatus may be either more developed or less developed than the one that does the contacting.
It is this interplay between the consciousness using the mechanisms that confers an understanding of quality. This interplay confers an understanding of the activity underlying the appearance, and motivating it. Exoteric science enables the activity aspect of the phenomenal forms to be apprehended and studied, and all the many manifestations of the many schools of human thought, which enlarge through their researches the range of human knowledge, have the same objective. At the same time, they increase our capacity to grasp the intense activity of every form in every kingdom in nature, and of every atom and cell within those forms. Science has led us on from pinnacle to pinnacle of achievement, till today we are lost in a world of energies. We have been taught to picture to ourselves a world of vibrating points of force which constitute in the aggregate all forms of life, and which present to our astonished and bewildered intellects a planetary life which is the sum total of all known forms. Each form is a universe in itself, and all forms are alive, vibrating with divine activity. We use the word "energy" to express this activity, and beyond that we are as yet unable to pass. Energy is life, and energy is also death. Activity is to be sensed and known in the organic and in the inorganic, - a vast series of atomic lives built up into structure after structure and found to be in ceaseless motion. A vast series of living structures, built up into still greater and more inclusive forms, are all found, again, to be in equally ceaseless motion. These greater structures, in their turn, are found to be vibrant organisms, and so there unfolds before man's conscious vision nothing but life and activity, naught but motion and energy, and always a coherence, an ordered purpose, a growing synthesis, a Plan, and a Will. To this, science sets its seal, for scientific knowledge is the indication of man's response, through the collective response apparatus of humanity as a whole, to the mechanism of awareness of the great Life in which we live and move and have our being, the planetary Logos of our Earth.
The World of Forces.
The esoteric sciences carry us within the form or forms, and enable us to penetrate to the quality aspect. Students would do well to remember that occultism may be the study of forces, and that the occultist moves in the worlds of force, but these are also the worlds of quality and of those qualifying energies which are seeking to manifest through the world of appearances. As they achieve this, they will dominate the activity of the form units which constitute the phenomenal world. There are energies which lie behind the phenomena produced by the activity of the atomic structures; these are latent and unseen and often unfelt; they are subjective. The esoteric sciences have one purpose in view, and that is to produce the gradual emergence of these energies, so that the skilled occultist can eventually work in a dual yet unified world of force, and be the creative will which guides, blends and utilizes the world of appearances and the realm of qualities. These two types of active creative energies must be controlled by the creating Will or Life aspect so that they function as one.
Therefore the aspirant is taught to turn within; to study motives; to acquaint himself with the qualities which are seeking expression in the outer world through the medium of his outer mechanism. As he learns to do this, the nature of that outer world of mechanisms alters, and he increasingly becomes aware of the qualities struggling for expression behind the outer forms. Thus the range of his conscious contacts extends, and he passes (through scientific research) from an exoteric understanding of the world of phenomenal appearances to an esoteric comprehension of the world of qualities. Never forget, therefore, that this dual apprehension must be emphasized, and that as a man learns to "know himself," he automatically learns to know the quality underlying all appearances. Look therefore for the quality everywhere. This is what we mean when we speak of seeing divinity on every hand, of recognizing the note sounded by all beings, and of registering the hidden motif of all appearing. The unawakened man or woman sees the form, notes its forms of activity, and "judges by appearances." The awakening aspirant begins to sense some of the beauties that lie unrevealed behind all forms; the awakened disciple lays the focus of his attention upon the emerging world of qualities, and becomes steadily aware of colour, of new ranges of sound, of an inner evolving and newer response apparatus which is beginning to enable him to contact the unseen, the intangible, and the unrevealed. He becomes aware of those subjective impulses which condition the quality of the life, and which are slowly and gradually revealing themselves.
It is this unrevealed inner beauty which lies back of the emphasis laid by the churches upon the cultivation of the virtues, and by the occultists upon the use of a seed thought in meditation. These seed thoughts and virtues serve a valuable and constructive purpose. The Biblical truism that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," is based on the same basic realization, and the distinction between the spiritual man and the man of worldly and material purpose consists in the fact that one is attempting to work with the quality aspect of the life, and the other is focusing his attention upon the appearance aspect. He may and does employ certain qualities as he so works, but they are those qualities which have been developed during the evolutionary process of the divine Life as It has cycled through the subhuman and human kingdoms.