The central theme of ECH's consciousness is the over-riding command: "Look unto Me, for I am God, and there is none beside me." Is devotion to this commandment an escapist approach to life? Or might the fulfillment of this mystical looking be a spiro-circular movement in consciousness which brings us to a more truly divine involvement in life? See SCMP 68.
1. What is the major discipline and prime delight of the Keeper of the High Watch?
In ancient times the spear, the stick, the staff, the sword, the sceptre, were used to knight the commoner, or to transform the sick man into the sound man, the timid man into the bold man, the common man into the titled peer.... Jesus did not take a visible stick or sceptre to touch the beautiful Judah Self of the Joseph self of the corpse body of Nain, to make the Judah beauty glow and gleam and glorify through rosy lips and sparkling eyes and stirring blood as living widow's son at the city gates. He laid His hand on the Joseph self while steadfastly looking toward the ever-waiting Angel of the Presence, flying swiftly, mighty in strength, ministering Spirit, doing wondrously; and He told His disciples to thus lay hands on the sick that they might recover their seemingly lost immortal Judah Self, the ever-near Angel of the Presence. He drew the waiting glow and glory of man's Angel of Life ever present, to gleam and gladden him as living strength, even when he seemed dead. "I drew them with cords....with bands of love and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws."
"If I keep looking to a gazelle leaping from rock to rock, I dance the gazelle dance so that people clap their hands," says the child dancer of the New Age .... Aristoxanus ... taught to dance according to soul prompting and inward visioning.
"Keep your eye on the Eternal, and your intellect will grow." "Honor and fortune exist for him who remembers that he is in the presence of the High Cause." Therefore, "Unto thee, 0 my Strength, will I sing, animating my particular Self with Thy Universal Energy! 0 Thou I, and I Thou!" (HM 244-5.)
With vision cast downward, Mary was accusing some gardener of hiding her Lord; with upward vision she beheld the Lord, and no guilty gardener. She brought forth the Angel out of the heavenly spaces, and forgot that the guilty gardener ever existed. They shall "forget misery as waters that pass away."
Thus with upward vision does the delusional age end, and the Reality age appear. Upward vision draws up from our native root of sincerity. By upward vision oft practiced every human being starts anew from his Sincerity Root, and drops the dry branches of lower attention, which have formulated into nervous prostration, decreptitude, poverty, discouragement, apprehension, and flourishes forth from his Sincerity Root of Vigor Everlasting; his Healing Joy-Fountain; his Winning Bosom-Spark; gathering the Angelhood of the universe to companionship. Is it not written, "Ruling all nations with rod of iron," or with the irresistible pulling strength of magnetic iron? "I, if I be lifted up ... will draw all men unto me."
So with divine allurements, again at the alphabet of Mysticism, we are brought with David to "lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens." (HM 256.)
2. (a) Why does ECH refer to Deity as "the Vast, Vast Countenance," as "Ain Soph," and as "Ain Soph Aur"? include quotations from classic Qabalistic sources in your answer.
From the Sephira Zohar:
"When the concealed of the Concealed wished to reveal Himself He first made a single point: the Infinite was entirely unknown, and diffused no light before this luminous point violently broke through into vision.
"When the will of the King began to take effect, he engraved signs into the heavenly sphere that surrounded him. Within the most hidden recess a dark flame issued from the mystery of Ain Soph (The Limitless, The Boundless), like a fog forming in the unformed -- enclosed in the ring of that sphere, neither white nor black, neither red nor green, of no color whatsoever. Only after this flame began to assume size and dimension, did it produce radiant colors. From the innermost center of the flame sprang forth a well out of which colors issued and spread upon everything beneath, hidden in the mysterious hiddenness of Ain Soph.
“The Holy One, be blessed, saw that it was necessary to put into the world all of these things so as to make sure of permanence, and of having, so to speak, a brain surrounded by numerous membranes. The whole world, upper and lower, is organized on this principle, from the primary mystic center (also called the Vast, Vast Countenance, and as the Primal Point) to the very outermost of all the layers. All are coverings, the one to the other, brain within brain, spirit inside of spirit, shell within shell.
"The primal center (Vast or Greater Countenance) is the innermost light, of a translucence, subtlety, and purity beyond comprehension. That inner point extended becomes a palace which acts as an enclosure for the center, and is also of a radiance translucent beyond the power to know it.... The palace extends into a vestment for itself.... From then outward there is extension upon extension, each constituting a vesture to the one before."
From the Sepher Yetzirah:
"The first path (Kether, the Vast, Vast Countenance) is called the Admirable or Wonderful Consciousness, The Supreme Crown. It is the light of the Primordial Consciousness, and this is the Primary Glory. Among all created beings, none may attain to its essential reality."
"Inquire into the mystery and ponder it. Examine all things by means of the ten Sephiroth (emanations of God). Restore the Word to Its Creator and lead the Creator back to His throne again. He is the only Formator and beside Him there is no other.... The appearance of the ten spheres out of No-Thing (Ain) is as a flash of lightning or a sparkling flame, and they are without beginning or end. The Word of God is in them when they go forth and when they return...The Lord is superlatively One and to Him there is no second. Before One what can you count?"
2. (b) How is this related to "rending the veil"? (See SCM, Chapter Vili; and Gospel of Matthew 27:51; and Hebrews 6:19, 9:3, and 10:20; and II Corinthians 3:15-18.)
"People, have gotten mixed up with old delusions. They think they must look forward to old age. This is getting crystallized into the future. They think of a history in matter. This is getting crystallized into the past. This lesson is about the light. It is about freedom. On the material plane light is the freest process of nature. You cannot bottle it up. It will shed itself to the farthest that its nature tells it to. If you hide it under a bushel, it burns the bushel and makes a greater light than ever. If you hide it in iron vaults, it heats things red hot and melts and destroys them. While it lasts you may hide it behind some screen, but you cannot quench it by confinement. So of the eternal, unquenchable light of the reasoning based on the truth that there is one God, above you all, and through you all, and in you all--it cannot be spoken without shedding its light...streaming through the mind." (SCMP 156-157.)
"Omnipresence is but the garment of the Highest. None can find the Tao by way of discoursing of Omnipresence, Omnipotence, Omniscience. By the uplift of the inner eye toward the countenance of Him that weareth these garments, the two outer eyes are baptized with high altar fires to see the glowing land of splendor through which we ever walk, the finished work of One who saith, "Behold Who hath created." (HM 13.)
3. Give a line-by-line paraphrase of the ECH "Prayer of Steadfastness'' quoted below.
Steadfastly facing Thee, there is no evil on my pathway.
(Constantly conscious of the Good, error cannot hold me.)
Steadfastly facing Thee, there is no matter with its laws.
(Constantly conscious of Mind, matter cannot divert me, for it has no power to create, compel, or sustain consciousness. )
Steadfastly facing Thee, there is no loss, no lack, no absence, no deprivation.
(Constantly conscious of Life's fullness, abundant success is always with me.)
Steadfastly facing Thee, there is nothing to fear, for there shall be no power to hurt.
(Constantly conscious of High Aid, I fear nothing, for I am invincible.)
Steadfastly facing Thee, there is neither sin, nor sickness, nor death.
(Constantly conscious of Wholeness, I discover no separation in the All.)
(From HM 32 except material in parentheses by John D. Rankin.)
4. Give a line-by-line paraphrase of the ECH Prayer of Consecration given below.
Here is my mind, I spread it out before Thee. Forgive Thou its foolishenss and ignorance with Thy bright wisdom.
(I give over my mind to Thee. All its forms and contents, rearrange according to Wisdom.)
Here is my life impulsion, I offer it to Thee. Forgive Thou all it contrariness to Thee.
(I give over my survival instinct, that I may know the grace of endlessness of all Being.)
Here is my heart; it is Thine only. Forgive Thou its dissatisfactions; forgive its restlessness. Forgive its discouragements; forgive its elations. Forgive its hopes and its fears; its loves and its hates.
(I give over my heart, and release and renounce all false dissatisfaction, restlessness, discouragement and elation; that no slight impulse shall arise save the Highest, the All-Uniting.)
Here is my body, I cast it down before Thee. Forgive Thou its imperfections with Thy perfection.
(I give over my body, that its original perfection be conscious.)
Forgive me altogether with Thyself. So only can I be the life and inspiration of the five bold words of Truth.
(I give over my self -- that Thy High Identity may be my only identity.)
(Quoted from HM except John D. Rankin material in parentheses.)
5. The "five lamps" of Truth (HM 64):
Thou art and there is none beside Thee, in Thine own Omni presence, Omnipotence, Omniscience.
I am Thine only and in Thee I live, move, and have being.
I am Thine own Substance, Power and Light, and I shed abroad wisdom, strength, holiness from Thee.
Thou art now working through me to will and to do that which ought to be done by me.
I am forgiven and governed by Thee alone, and I cannot sin, I cannot suffer for sin, nor fear sin, sickness, or death.
My soul, doing obeisance unto the Wonder of Thee, wakes again these hymns of the Morning Stars in praise of Thee!