“At the beginning of the third millennium, the human race is in the process of forgetting what it means to be human,” writes Charles Upton in a vivid, chilling essay in the current “Future” issue of Parabola. “We don’t know who or what we are; we don’t know what we are supposed to be doing here….Human life is no longer felt to be valuable in the face of eternity.” According to Upton we and the whole universe are caught in a cycle that is sliding inexorably downwards “from the pole of Essence, or Forma–the Hindu Purusha–towards the pole of Substance, or Materia–the Hindu Prakriti. ”
Not to put a damper on your day but we may be more materialistic, denser, heavier, than people in earlier times (those cave artists?) –the very nature of space and time may have changed: “In earlier ages, space dominates; the forms of things are more important, more real, than the changes they undergo; time is ‘relatively eternal.’ As the cycle moves on, however, time begins to take over, melting down space and the forms within it until everything is an accelerating flow of change.”
On it rolls, this compelling downer of an essay, insisting that we are headed towards maximum entropy. Reading it, I want to be on the side of our better angels, battling the Anitchrist (which Upton defines as those forces of obscurity and denial which blind us to the true scale of our human potential). Yes! I definitely want to be on the side of Christ, the Messiah, al-Mahdi, Maitreya Buddha, the Kalki Avatara–the force of consciousness that wants the breakthrough of Eternity, of Space, into time.
But how? I can sometimes experience Space in moments of deep quiet, in meditation. But how can I experience spaciousness in the midst of ordinary life, which is so often spent rushing around captive to that panicky or grinding sense of forward-rushing time? I’ve felt it at moments, when desire and striving fall away. Still, there is this nagging sense that I need to understand more.
What does Jeanne de Salzmann mean when she says (again in the current issue) that we “participate in life with both a divine nature and an animal nature. Man is double; he is not one. And as such, he is only a promise of man until he can live with both natures present in himself and not withdraw into one or the other.”
I feel this must be true. Being conscious has to do being fully present body, heart, and mind. It matters somehow in this great battle of Space and Time that I volunteer to fully inhabit my life. It means not turning away from the animal or getting so mired in my animal life that I forget the angel. But what does it mean to remember ourselves in two directions, to have our two natures always confronted?
2 thoughts on “The Angel and the Animal”
It is by way of Attention that it is possible to See our two natures. We can, maybe for a time in moments only, See the automatic functionings within our body. Thoughts happen, emotions happen, postures happen. These are not necessarily normal functionings of the body. They have come about not of our Doing but of our conditioning and environment. These mechanical manifestations are our animal nature, the involutionary forces at work in and through us. They are our own involutionary current as well as that of the lateral octave originating in the Sun which is itself within the involutionary current of the Ray of Creation pertaining to our solar system. To remember ourselves, in moments, in both directions or in both natures is to see the mechanical functions within the human body. Functions which are of a density of world 48, Earth.
And the other Nature, the other World…and inevitably there is a third factor, for the law of three prevails throughout the universe in everything that exists? The other nature is the higher level of Attention which sees the mechanical within us but also is aware of its self Seeing. When I See I am conscious of the fact that I am Seeing. This is a higher Nature. The materiality of this Attention is finer, quicker, more encompassing than attention which is imprisoned in one or the other of the forms of, emotion, thinking, physical, within the physical body. Here a question arises. The second nature Attention is a different density than the lower nature attention but both are necessary. Without the lower Nature there would be no possibility of evolution. But the question that arises is what is this second Nature Attention? Does it imply a second body or the beginning of a second body. Body always seems to be required. And what of the second nature and indeed the lower nature is born at our physical birth on Earth and what is born because we Work?
Oh, and by the way Man, completely Evolved Man we are told occupies a place above that of the Angels and Angels sometimes make rather horrendous mistakes when attempting to set something aright on Earth because they haven’t the experience of Being Human.
The differentiation between angel and animal is tricky because it can carry with it the perception that animal is bad and angel is good. I think its better to that we should think of ourselves as complex and mysterious, full of surprises and not easily defined. We would not be human without the animal. We would not be human without the angel. I think it’s best to think of ourselves as a whole, the parts of which inform and affirm one another. Wholeness is all the parts doing their part.