This realization brings us to the consideration in a little more detail of our fourth point, which is the urge to creative life through the divine use of the imagination. As we have seen, it is necessary for humanity to recognize that there is a world of meaning behind the world of appearances, of form - behind what has been called the "world of seeming." It is the revelation of this world of inner meaning that lies immediately ahead of the race. Hitherto we have - as a race - been occupied with the symbol and not with that for which it stands, and of which it is the outer appearance. But we have today largely exhausted our interest in the tangible symbol, and are searching - again as a race - for that which the outer world of appearance is intended to express.
Much is heard today of the New Age, of the coming revelation, of the imminent leap forward into an intuitive recognition of that which has hitherto been only dimly sensed by the mystics, the seer, the inspired poet, the intuitive scientist and the occult investigator who is not too preoccupied with the technicalities and the academic activities of the lower mind. But one thing is oft forgotten in the great expectancy. There is no need for too great an upward straining or too intense an outward looking, to use terms which the usual limited point of view can grasp. That which is to be revealed lies all around us, and within us. It is the significance of all that is embodied in form, the meaning behind the appearance, the reality veiled by the symbol, the truth expressed in substance.
Only two things will enable man to penetrate into this inner realm of causes and of revelation. These are:
First, the constant effort, based on a subjective impulse, to create those forms which will express some sensed truth; for thereby and through this effort, the emphasis is constantly shifted from the outer world of seeming to the inner side of phenomena. By this means, a focusing of consciousness is produced which eventually becomes stable and withdrawn from its present intense exteriorisation. An initiate is essentially one whose sense of awareness is occupied with subjective contacts and impacts and is not predominantly preoccupied with the world of outer sense perceptions. This cultivated interest in the inner world of meaning will produce not only a pronounced effect upon the spiritual seeker himself but will eventually bring about the emphasis, recognized in the brain consciousness of the race, that the world of meaning is the sole world of reality for humanity. This realization will, in its turn, bring about two subsequent effects:
1. A close adaptation of the form to the significant factors which have brought it into being on the outer plane.
2. The production of a truer beauty in the world and, therefore, a closer approximation in the world of created forms to the inner emerging truth. It might be said that divinity is veiled and hidden in the multiplicity of forms with their infinite detail, and that in the simplicity of forms which eventually will be seen, we shall arrive at a newer beauty, a greater sense of truth and at the revelation of God's meaning and purpose in all that He has accomplished from age to age.
Secondly, the constant effort to render oneself sensitive to the world of significant realities and to produce, therefore, those forms on the outer plane which will run true to the hidden impulse. This is brought about by the cultivation of the creative imagination. As yet, humanity knows little about this faculty, latent in all men. A flash of light breaks through to the aspiring mind; a sense of unveiled splendour for a moment sweeps through the aspirant, tensed for revelation; a sudden realization of a colour, a beauty, a wisdom and a glory beyond words breaks out before the attuned consciousness of the artist, in a high moment of applied attention, and life is then seen for a second as it essentially is. But the vision is gone and the fervour departs and the beauty fades out. The man is left with a sense of bereavement, of loss, and yet with a certainty of knowledge and a desire to express that which he has contacted, such as he has never experienced before. He must recover that which he has seen; he must discover it to those who have not had his secret moment of revelation; he must express it in some form, and reveal to others the realized significance behind the phenomenal appearance. How can he do this? How can he recover that which he has once had and which seems to have disappeared, and to have retired out of his field of consciousness? He must realize that that which he has seen and touched is still there and embodies reality; that it is he who has withdrawn and not the vision. The pain in all moments of intensity must be undergone and lived again and again until the mechanism of contact is accustomed to the heightened vibration and can not only sense and touch, but can hold and contact at will this hidden world of beauty. The cultivation of this power to enter, hold and transmit is dependent upon three things:
1. A willingness to bear the pain of revelation.
2. The power to hold on to the high point of consciousness at which the revelation comes.
3. The focusing of the faculty of the imagination upon the revelation, or upon as much of it as the brain consciousness can bring through into the lighted area of external knowledge. It is the imagination or the picture-making faculty which links the mind and brain together and thus produces the exteriorisation of the veiled splendour.
If the creative artist will ponder upon these three requirements - endurance, meditation, and imagination - he will develop in himself the power to respond to this fourth rule of soul control, and will know the soul eventually as the secret of persistence, the revealer of the rewards of contemplation and the creator of all forms upon the physical plane.
This use of the creative imagination and the fruits of its endeavour will work out into the many fields of human art according to the ray of the creative artist. We must not forget that the artist is found on all rays; there is no particular ray which produces more artists than another. The form will apparently take spontaneous expression when the inner life of the artist is regulated, producing the outer organization of his life forms. True creative art is a soul function; the primary task, therefore, of the artist is alignment, meditation and the focusing of his attention upon the world of meaning. This is followed by the attempt to express divine ideas in adequate forms, according to the innate capacity and the ray tendencies of the artist in any field which he may choose and which is for him the best medium for his endeavour. It is paralleled by the effort, constantly made upon the physical plane, to equip, instruct, and train the mechanism of brain and hand and voice through which the inspiration must flow, so that there may be right expression and a correct externalisation of the inner reality.
The discipline involved is great and it is here that many artists fail. Their failure is based on various things - on a fear that the use of the mind will cripple endeavour, and that spontaneous creative art is, and must be primarily emotional and, intuitive, and must not be crippled and handicapped by too great an attention to mental training. It is based on inertia which finds creative work the line of least resistance and which seeks not to understand the way in which the inspiration comes, or how the externalisation of the vision becomes possible, or the technique of the inner activities, but simply follows an impulse. Again it indicates an uneven, unbalanced development which results from the fact that, through specialization or focused intense interest over a period of lives, there comes a capacity to make a soul contact along owe line of endeavour, but not the capacity to be in contact with the soul. This is facilitated by the fact that the artist for many lives comes under the influence of one particular personality ray. Hence the occult paradox stated above, which warrants the attention of artists. Another factor upon which failure is often based is the supreme conceit and ambition of many artists. There is the ability to excel in some field and, in that one particular, to evidence greater capacity than the average man. But there is not the ability to live as a soul and the vaunted excellence is only in one direction. There is frequently no life discipline or self-control but instead there are flights of genius, stupendous achievement in the chosen line of art, and a life lived in contradiction to the divinity expressed through the artistic achievement. The understanding of the significance and technique of genius is one of the tasks of the new psychology. Genius is ever the expression of the soul in some creative activity, thus revealing the world of meaning, of divinity, and hidden beauty which the phenomenal world usually veils but will some day indicate in truth.
By Alice Bailey