The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field,
which a man finds and hides. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has,
and buys that field.
- Matthew 13:44
For now I see through a glass, darkly; but then shall I know face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.
- 1 Corinthians 13:12
Higher Emotional and Intellectual Centers …
timeless … instruments of the soul …
Higher Emotional Center is the seat of conscience
and the organ of individuality.
Higher Intellectual Center puts one in touch
with cosmic principles.
- Beryl Pogson, Brighton Work Talks
The Work beautifully describes a Universe created on the principle of scale; its energetic levels range from unimaginably fine in the upper parts of the Ray of Creation to profoundly dense in the lower parts. As we've been exploring, human beings also have scale. We've been endowed with seemingly endless potential from personality to balanced human beingto Real Iand beyond.
In the last two weeks, we have seen that we were created "an unfinished house," with unexplored rooms and undiscovered possibilities. We explored the Work concept of centers, our three primary brains or minds that carry out basic functions and processes of body, thinking and feeling. We learned also that each center is divided into three parts of centers – outer (mechanical), middle (emotional) and inner (intellectual). Much of humankind occupies the outer rooms of their house, unaware of the treasures within. The Work gives us the keys to open the doors to inner, higher parts of centers, which, when illuminated and cleared of non-essentials, will enable us to tune into the elevated energetic influences of the Higher Centers.
What are Higher Centers?
"Higher Emotional Center and Higher Intellectual Center … are distinct from the lower emotional and intellectual centers… [They are] fully developed and constantly working, but we do not hear them. Their vibrations are too fine.
"The lower centers, unless developed, are not tuned in to them. That is to say, we cannot hear the messages that come through them from higher levels of consciousness … what is at a higher level perceives and comprehends what is at a lower level, but what is at a lower level cannot perceive or comprehend what is at a higher level. …
"We can understand that to be 'born of the Spirit' has to do with being born of another neutralizing force than life. Now a Conscious Man can 'hear' Higher Centers, and so can follow their unusual intimations and directions. He will not be predictable as is the life of a mechanical man. No longer a machine, we have a psychology."
- Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "Notes on Lower and Higher Centers," Apr. 11, 1953, Vol. 5, pp. 1692-3
How does the Work help us open lower centers to Higher Centers?
Intellectual Parts of Centers – Metanoia
Asleep in outer parts of centers, most of what has passed for thinking is actually recordings that we acquired. In the Work, we learn to question beliefs and assumptions by dropping into a wondering space. Can I absolutely know that is true? Who would I be without this thought? Over time, this disposition transforms the inner (intellectual) parts of centers into a receptive instrument that links us with Higher Centers.
"[One] must start thinking quietly and internally about, say, one or two of the ideas that belong to this system of teaching and follow a train of thought about them and make connections between them tentatively. People are so busy that very few do this. They are so much in external things. To listen is one thing: to think another. One is external, the other internal. Now the Work is made up of many different ideas, some of greater and some of less density of meaning. If one thinks about them, they open out their meaning to the mind. Meaning comes by thinking." (Ibid, p. 1568)
"To become conscious in the intelligence of, say, the Higher Mental Center, would be to be penetrated with forms of insight, knowledge and understanding that are utterly extraordinary and quite contradictory to what we experience ordinarily, and so it would be dangerous. The lower centers must be prepared and developed for a long time first of all. For instance, we must learn to think in new ways and to separate from certain kinds of emotion."
- Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "The Intelligence of Centers," Feb. 12, 1944, Vol. 2, pp. 392 - 397
Emotional Center – Making Space
As the intellectual parts (processes) of centers begin to see new truth about self, others and the meaning of life on Earth, the emotional center begins to let go of the accumulated low-vibration debris that is no longer useful. This emptying allows us to begin to receive spiritual gifts and direction from Greater Mind, including strength, courage, positive emotions, and broader understanding – Real Conscience.
"Now let us talk once more about why the Work speaks so much about the purification of the emotional center. The reason is that when the emotional center is altered or purified from negative emotions you can begin to get help, you can begin to receive influences of a new kind, which help you to understand much that you did not understand before. When the emotional center is made better more or less by your own work on it, you may be given strength from these Higher Centers in you which are always awake and always speaking to you. In other words, you may be helped by them. I really mean helped."
– Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "Note on the State of Our Emotional Center When We Are Asleep in the Work-Sense," May 5, 1951, Vol. 4, p. 1474
The beginning, middle and end of this inward/upward journey toward receiving influences from Higher Centers lies first in the capacity to observe ourselves with non-identification. As we employ directed attention, we engage a neutral inner sense – the inner movie camera of Observing I – to observe both the outer world and our inner lives (reactive patterns, conditioned beliefs, "shoulds," "if-onlys"). This detached stance begins to change our position in ourselves and open a mind above the level of the sensual (outer) mind.
"[Self-observation] is a marvelous gift. And if you employ it, the results are marvelous. But you must keep awake in order to do this. Once you know and then understand this secret, you have something comparable to the pearl spoken of in the Gospels."
– Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "A Note on External and Internal Attention," Mar. 27, 1948, Vol. 3, p. 1144
Through our Work, we gain force and equilibrium, both by appropriate engagement with the functions of our three main centers and by our attention to optimal use of the inner and outer parts or processes of centers. In becoming balanced horizontally and vertically, we are moving toward becoming number 4 humans or balanced humans, who "begin to be able to understand one another and begin to overcome violence in themselves. Then comes the Conscious Circle of Humanity formed by No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7 [beings] who understand one another, who are not based on violence, and who are not only developed in the ordinary centers but who have the power of being conscious from a lesser to a greater extent in Higher Emotional and Higher Mental Centers."
– Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "On A, B and C Influences," Jun. 24, 1941, Vol. 1, p. 34
Through participation with a community of Work students like The Journey School, higher influences from the Conscious Circle of Humanitycan be kept alive and transmitted.
"In these schools, C influences can exist and be transmitted orally – that is, by oral teaching – from one person who understands, to another, who begins to understand, and so to another who does not yet understand. This chain must exist. And in such a case, these influences can be transmitted orally as C influences, handed on from one person to another." (Ibid, p. 34)
A Field of Light
The Work, with its myriad of seemingly disparate ideas, is actually a unity – a living whole, evolving with our understanding. Maurice Nicoll often reminds us that our attitude toward it matters. If we approach the Work with a sense of beauty, wonder, appreciation, and a deep wish for what it has to offer, if we persevere in allowing ourselves to be nourished by the teachings with openness and goodwill, if we try to connect the ideas for ourselves through memory and thought, the Work becomes an energetic light skeleton – a field – within our being.
"I remember G. saying one night: 'Remember, remember, remember, remember why you are in the Work.' Why are you in the Work? Why are you here? I have often thought about this and … I realized that one could get nothing of the Work save by wanting it quite genuinely."
- Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, "Commentary on Memory," Jan. 7, 1945, Vol. 2, p. 594
"You are not IN the universe,
you ARE the universe – an intrinsic part of it.
Ultimately you are not a person,
but a focal point where the universe
is becoming conscious of itself.
What an amazing miracle."
- Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
From a sense of beauty and valuation, let us:
think quietly and internally about one or two of the ideas that belong to this system of teaching and follow a train of thought about them and make connections between them.
try to know and understand that Higher Emotional Center and Higher Intellectual are always there, always transmitting their influences. We only have to allow them to be heard. Our Work is principally to remove the obstacles – or allow them to be removed by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Remember, remember, remember, remember why we are in the Work.
All are encouraged and welcome to attend tonight's class for a review of these teachings and how they are landing in you: 7pm Central Time via Zoom only.