In the symbolism of the Holy Eucharist there are great exercises in yoga for the development of the higher consciousness.
After the Adeste Fideles ("O Come All Ye Faithful" which is sung at most Masses in the Liberal Catholic Church) you offer Godís most precious gift in union with Him who "ever offers Him self as the eternal Sacrifice".
There you identify yourself with that great Sacrifice of the Second Person of the Trinity. You are able to give impulses to your consciousness at various levels of your being beginning with the Atmic, depending on the extent to which you are already awake at each level, and thus increasing the power of response at these levels.
If you work consciously in this way, you can carry out a tremendous improvement at all levels of consciousness. As Archbishop Leadbeater tells us, it is not only symbolical in the superficial sense of the word, but in the real sense. It is not only symbolical in that it symbolizes something true, but in that it transmits the real, because the symbols are true ones.
You not only work at representations of oosmic happenings, but the powers of your own soul, and your own higher nature, are awakened at all levels as you work.
Brotherhood of Adepts
Then we join with the saints, "before Thy great white throne" in worship. There you get the endeavor to unite the consciousness of the celebrant and the consciousness of the congregation with that of the great Brotherhood of Adepts, whose consciousness, we are told, is normally at the Atmic or Nirvanic level.
If you exercise that day after day, you gradually awaken yourself to self-consciousness at that level.
It is the same with the buddhic consciousness.
With the breaking of the Host we symbolize the Divine Life coming into manifestation.
The same symbolical meaning lies behind the story of Osiris, and the scattering of his limbs over the whole earth. Working in that way, you get the activity centered at different aspects of your consciousness, and if you try to work self-consciously at any particular level, you are able after a certain time really to do something at that level.
East Meets West
Thus the Mass is a magnificent exercise in yoga for developing self-consciousness at those higher levels of being. We are none of us so proficient as we might be on the Atmic and buddhic levels and so, in a way, I must confess I am dependent upon such aids myself. I could take up other methods of course and use them; I might work hard at Eastern methods of meditation -- and there are other exercises which I might put into practice.
Until I have exhausted a system, I am to a certain extent dependent upon it. We are all dependent upon some method or other for developing our higher faculties; we are dependent upon the world outside for the experiences that world can give us -- that is why we are in it.
I am thusly dependent upon some system for helping me through my own efforts to reach my higher happiness. We need not be accused of selfishness if we use such methods, though it is certainly necessary to watch that our efforts are not over-governed by selfishness; a boy is not accused of selfishness if he goes to the University to improve himself. But we have got to keep that interest in ourselves within bounds.
Unfolding Of Grace
There is another aspect of the work -- the sending out of spiritual power into the world. I feel there is very much for us to do in the way of shaking ourselves free from outer forms. You must remember that so long as you are in manifestation you have a certain duality of outlook, from the point of view of spirit and matter, of life and form.
You cannot get away from ceremonies any more than you can away from forms, and the only way to do that is to keep out of manifestation. We are all conditioned by form. What is really meant, I think, is that you must get out of forms which are no longer adequate for your work and get into forms which convey the life out into the world.
There is always this duality of outlook.
There is the without and the within, and you cannot do without the one or the other.
You cannot do without eating, or any other of the normal processes of life; you depend on the world for sustenance.
We should increase our contact with the world outside. Those contacts with the world outside call out the powers that are latent within you. You can anticipate experience by the use of your imagination, but you will find that a certain amount of encounter with the outside world is necessary.
In our Church we have the Christ within us, but you have also special intensification of the power of the Christ without us which can awaken and draw out into fuller expression the power of the Christ within us.