This is the final chapter regarding the Physical Plane in Bailey’s model of consciousness and an overview of the subplanes. The chapter covers the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st subplanes. The chapter also takes a look at some of the correlations that can be made to the Integral model.
NOTE: This book is now in the process of being edited. Once it is completely edited it will no longer be free online. As of 4/5/20 this chapter has been edited.
3RD SUBPLANE OF THE PHYSICAL PLANE
As we continue to progress up Bailey’s model, we move next to the 3rd subplane of the Physical Plane, which Bailey associates with the words “third ether” and “super etheric.” Through her Law of Correspondences this 3rd subplane would also be associated with the 3rd Atmic Plane. As we get into Bailey’s etheric subplanes it is more difficult to make assertions regarding what they may represent. Borrowing again from The Tibetan Book of the Dead we do see that after we move through the element of air (or wind) we go into the element of space. This addition of space, or ether, as the fifth element is found in the Ayurveda system, as well as that of Tibetan medicine.
Much debate exists about what happens at these etheric levels. If we are to draw any meaning from the space association there seems to be a sense of vastness and a spacious feeling. People who have had near death experiences (NDE’s) often report that when they cross over they experience having no, or very little, boundaries. Instead, everything seems interconnected to everything else meaning there is no feeling of “space” because things seem to happen instantaneously. It is my theory that when those going through a Near Death Experiences (NDE) claim to be traveling about in a flash of thought and manifesting things as soon as they think it, they are talking about this level. In quantum physics this may connect to the observation of how two objects can suddenly and seemingly simultaneously appear in two or more places at once. Albert Einstein called this “spooky action at a distance” and many people believe the mechanics underlying telepathy and other psi phenomena are connected at this 3rd subplane level for this reason.
In Tibetan Buddhism, we also hear that after the “ether” stage, a person can no longer come back to life, meaning they would have gone beyond the 3rd subplane of the Physical Plane into the 2nd. If a person does return to life, Bailey would say it is because the life thread is still attached to the heart center. This is based upon the notion that we have two “threads” attached to our body — a life thread and a consciousness thread. The consciousness thread is thought to be connected at the top of the head by way of the head center. This consciousness thread withdraws every time we go to sleep, and reattaches when we wake up in the morning. But, the life thread, which is connected to the heart center, attaches while we are in the womb and remains attached until we die. If the heart stops, the life thread can remain attached for a short time. But, once the heart is stopped for too long, the life thread detaches and the consciousness can no longer return to the body through the head. Death occurs. At that point then, the consciousness thread is thought to withdraw into the second and first ethers of the Physical Plane.
Another way we might be able to infer what takes place on this 3rd subplane of the Physical Plane is to pull from Bailey’s association with the sense of sight being connected here. This association flips things around because normally we think of ourselves as losing sight at the time of death. Though we may be losing our sight to the outer worlds that the five senses reveal to us, we might say that as we lose this outer sight we are gaining the increased capacity to have true vision of who we are and what really matters on the inner worlds. That vision gives us a sense of perspective. We see more the forest than the trees. The claims that NDE’s make of how they see the whole of their physical life appear before them at a glance during their near death experience may be connected to this subplane. The purpose of this life review is most likely to determine what life lessons were of most value. Bailey would associate this mental life review process with her Soul, or Egoic Lotus, which interestingly enough is said for most people to exist on the 3rd subplane of the Mental Plane, connecting these two subplanes (the 3rd subplane of the Physical Plane and the 3rd subplane of the Mental Plane) together.
1ST & 2ND SUBPLANES OF THE PHYSICAL PLANE
Now we reach the point where we shift beyond the five elements (earth/dense, water/liquid, fire/gaseous, air/fourth ether, space/third ether). In the Bailey model we see that the second ether is considered to be sub-atomic and the first either is claimed to be atomic. At these very top “subatomic” and “atomic” levels we find the rarest and lightest etheric “matter” (though it might not really be truly matter at this level). This phrasing is quite honestly in my opinion, odd, because sub-atomic particles are thought to be smaller than atomic particles, meaning that typically sub-atomic particles (protons, neutrons, electrons) are thought to be more “etheric” than the atom is. In fact, modern science even claims there are now at least 36 confirmed fundamental particles, including anti-particles that are all less dense than the atom.
Perhaps we need to take another look then at what this atom word meant in the context of Bailey’s model. To begin with Bailey acknowledges the traditional Latin and Greek definition of the atom saying how the “atom was regarded as an indivisible unit of substance,” but then she goes on to say that atom is “now looked upon as a centre of energy, or electric force” The Consciousness of the Atom, p. 18. Then says that when we look at “congeries [i.e. a jumble] of atoms there will open up to us the interesting consideration of forms other than the purely material, forms existing in subtler substance, such as forms of thought, and the racial forms, and the forms of organizations” The Consciousness of the Atom, p. 18.
Later Bailey makes this interesting statement that an atom is “a vortex ring, or centre of force, and not a particle of what we understand as a tangible substance” The Consciousness of the Atom, p. 34. And, she goes on to say the following, “The atom, then, can be predicated as resolving itself into electrons, and can be expressed in terms of force or energy. When you have a centre of energy or activity you are involved in a dual concept; you have that which is the cause of movement or energy, and that which it energizes or actuates. This brings us directly into the field of psychology, because energy or force is ever regarded as a quality, and where you have a quality you are really considering the field of psychic phenomena” The Consciousness of the Atom, p. 36. “This concept of the atom as a positive demonstration of energy, holding within its range of activity its polar opposite, can be extended not only to every type of atom, but also to a human being. We can view each unit of the human family as a human atom. He is a centre of positive force, holding within the periphery of his sphere of influence the cells of his body; he shows discrimination, intelligence, and energy. The difference lies but in degree. He is possessed of a wider consciousness, and vibrates to a larger measure than the little atom of the chemist” The Consciousness of the Atom, p. 42.
What does all this mean? To me some interesting things stand out in Bailey’s definition especially in regards to this “dual concept” of the atom which is both the cause of the movement of energy (the atom itself?) and that which it energizes or actuates (the subatomic particles?). If there is something to my theory then what we see is a unique interplay going on between the 2nd subplane of the Physical Plane and the 1st subplane of the Physical Plane. Looking at the animated picture of the atom to the right, we see that the central nucleus of the atom, both spits out and then reabsorbs subatomic particles. My idea is that the atomic plane (1st subplane of the Physical Plane) has a similar function. The physical permanent atom found on the 1st subplane of the Physical Plane is like the nucleus of the atom. It “appears” in any incarnation and then spits out the sub-atomic particles (or building blocks) that sustain the appearance of that life. But, when it is time to reabsorb the “materials” of that life, these sub-atomic particles are then drawn back into the central nucleus of the atom where they are stored, so to speak, in the physical permanent atom.
Then, I believe what happens is the physical permanent atom “disappears” and makes a “quantum leap” into another realm (or higher plane?). How does it disappear? I would like to borrow an idea from the findings of Nassim Harriman who talks about black holes as essentially vortexes. Bailey herself uses this word vortex when she calls an atom a “vortex ring” The Consciousness of the Atom, p. 34. At death, I believe that physical permanent atom absorbs the subatomic particles and then disappears into that vortex bringing with it the “DNA-like code” that sets up the kind of bodies we are going to have in our next lifetime. I also believe that the secret to creating what is known in Eastern religions as the “mayavirupa” (body of illusion) — known as the resurrection body in the Christian tradition, and the rainbow body in the Tibetan Buddhism — is connected to mastery of these of these higher two subplanes of the Physical Plane.
Regarding the senses connected with these subplanes, Bailey puts taste at the 2nd subplane of the Physical Plane and smell at the 1st subplane of the Physical Plane. These two senses, taste and smell, are not very well developed in most human beings. As for the deeper significance of their association at these levels, we can get some clues if we look at other associations Bailey makes in regards to these two senses. For example, she says that taste is connected to physical taste, imagination, discrimination, intuition and perfection. Smell is connected to physical smell, emotional idealism, spiritual discernment, idealism, and all knowledge.
My theory is that on the 1st subplane of the Physical Plane the “all knowledge” phrase is implying that there is a certain archetype, or intention, for what any life form is “ideally” meant to become or realize in a particular life. As that life enters into manifestation it needs “blueprint” or “image” to follow, to help that life reach a certain level of perfection. If everything goes according to “plan” so to speak, the blueprint will be followed and the intention of the life will bear fruit. The analogy of fruit here connects up with the sense of taste and reminds us that something only successfully bears fruit when others are able to “taste” it, or benefit from it. Other wise the fruit rots on the vine so to speak, and goes to waste. As for the sense of smell, we see metaphorically that when something “blossoms” forth and releases its “smell” (1st subplane of the Physical Plane) then many more people can partake of this smell (all knowledge or perfected understanding), than those who might have been able to only taste the fruit (2nd subplane of the Physical Plane).
I am reminded of the town I live in which is full of orange grove trees. Once a year these trees blossom and the entire town is saturated with the smell of orange blossoms. Even if you don’t want to eat (or taste) the oranges you can’t avoid the smell. Likewise, if a life is able to bear fruit and that fruit was shared with others, it will not have seemed to be a life lived in vain. But, better still, if that life was able to radiate its “smell” and that smell was particularly beautiful, then the life would have accomplished even more in regards to having had a positive impact on all around who were fortunate enough to have indulged in that fragrance.
- Chapter Thirteen: The Physical Plane, Intro, 6th & 7th Subplanes
- Chapter Thirteen: The Physical Plane, 4th & 5th Subplanes
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