Imelda Shanklin: Indwelling Intelligence

Intelligence is consciousness of self and surroundings. It is common to all things, to inorganic and to organic forms, to the five-sensed life and to infinite Mind. It is the specification of life on the visible plane and on the invisible plane. The larger the range of ideas apprehended, the closer is the approach to that state of unrestricted intelligence which we indicate when we speak of infinite Mind.

Speech is a manner of expressing intelligence. It is not wholly a privilege of human kind, for all levels of intelligence have their characteristic means of communication. The subordinate creatures speak understandingly to one another by voice and by sign, and some of their messages can be interpreted by man.

How far down the scale of life into the world of so-called insentience runs the gift of speech, no one can say in the hope of convincing those who have not the sympathy that opens the ears to the universal language of life. How far above our present level of understanding distinct vocabularies operate, we cannot say. It is one of the most inspiring beliefs of life that the higher spiritual entities, saints, angels, and archangels, intentionally direct their addresses to man, and it is said among us that God himself imparts commendation, warning, and advice, in words of distinct speech. If our faith aspires to the highest our charity must descend to the lowest. If we as comparatively lower can touch that which is above, so also that which is under our level can join to us. We are the point of union with two opposing influences. To maintain our stabilization we should remember that while inspiration of the lofty produces spiritual levitation, the tug of the lower levels at our souls is responsible for tendencies toward that which is the antithesis of the spiritual.

The soul is not inherently sinful. If in one thing it departs from its natural correspondence with God, it must return to that correspondence before it again finds rest. Memories of the sublevels through which it has traveled, the struggles for emancipation by those now traversing its former zones of activity, touch the soul with an appeal irresistible at times. Until it learns what these demands are and how to meet them, the soul is sympathetically led into transgression, "a going across," in an effort to return to what has been left behind. The punishment for transgression is the work of having to regain the vantage point reached before the soul yielded to the impulse to go back to what it had formerly accomplished. The trend of the soul is upward, and nothing can defeat its complete reunion with God. Indwelling intelligence guides us in the way by which this union will be permanently established, even though our consciousness may not grasp the logic of many events while we are undergoing them.

Each level has symbols by which it speaks and understands. With us, the chief symbol is the word, signified, printed, or orally expressed. The subordinate creatures speak mostly by signs; the levels higher than humanity speak by means of thought, idea, knowing. But intelligence speaks a universal tongue, employed and understood from highest to lowest, and it interprets its messages on each level in the language that belongs to the level.

Each life speaks intelligently to its own level. The classical scholar may not understand the language of the Hottentot [TruthUnity note: I apologize for the use of this term, which is now considered derogatory]; the Hottentot does not understand the speech of the scholar . They signal with hand and body, they distort the face in an effort to communicate, but such words as they know convey no intelligence to each other. In his own circle of association each may be fluent, brilliant to the degree that brilliancy is possible with the mental and the verbal equipments of his separate level. If these two should be cast into exclusive association, on an otherwise uninhabited, isolated island, or if they should be coupled in the perils of a besiegement by an unfriendly force, they would soon arrive at a compromise language sufficient for the purposes of their mutual well-being. Should the association continue they would eventually come into a speech that would admit of social and intimate usages.

Prisoners in the solitariness of dungeon cells have learned how to communicate with fellow prisoners likewise guarded against human intercourse. Such is the resourcefulness of the indwelling intelligence that it will find ways of speaking within each level. Such is its nature to declare itself that between the different levels there runs a tender call, a half speech, saying: "Hear me; I would know you better." The mimosa on the plain trembles, and shrinks toward its center at the approach of a galloping horse. The notes of the bird betray uneasiness at the presence of a supposed enemy; they thrill with gladness at the sight of spring skies and reviving verdure. By all the strength of its deep-grown roots, the tree protests against the wrenchings of the tempest. Stones, waters, winds, and space are not insensate, except as we measure sentiency by our level of intelligence. All things are of a kind, but not of the same degree. Unless we deal with the forces of life as intelligent we set up barriers amounting to enmity between ourselves and the elements which we must understand if we would consciously use and be used in the divine evolution.

By closing ourselves about by the walls of our own level, we bar ourselves from the free joys of the universe and confine ourselves to a hampered communication with those who have similarly environed themselves. This is to become an inmate of the cell of ignorance. Outside are men and women, moving with the liberty of the law-abiding; but the prisoner sits against his wall. Outside are light and sweet air; but the prisoner lives in gloom and stagnant atmosphere. Outside gay speech and happy laughter pass from lip to lip, but the prisoner listens for the muffled tappings of the prisoner in another cell, in slow, cautious effort to express a single word. Intelligence runs through all the levels, and its benefits are for those who impose no hindrances on its omnipresence and speech. The imprisoned man shuts his ears to all speech save that which comes to him from the wall that links him to other prisoners. The free man speaks to whom he will and listens to whom he will.

Intelligence makes and perpetuates the universe, and it is not solely metaphysics that argues that even the clod has a mind of its own. Intelligence is the cement that causes atoms to cleave together, to assume shape, to grow, and to transmute into occupants of higher levels. Intelligence presupposes mind, and the activities of a planet are as reasonably ascribed to a planetary mind as the movements of a man are accredited to a human mind.

Where we are at a loss to comprehend the methods of mind in levels other than our own, we cover the situation by saying that law governs, or that instinct prompts. Dealing with space and its inhabitants, we name the moving force law. But, without mind there could be no law, and it comes short of the whole truth to say that a sphere, acting in rhythmically perfect order, is under law but devoid of mind. It takes mind to conceive law, to formulate law, to execute law, and to obey law. Wherever law is, there also is mind as a necessary antecedent and contemporary of law. Law is both the intrinsic and the extrinsic operation of mind.

Everything answers back to the mind that addresses it, answers in the spirit of the original remark. There is a steady give and take within the levels, and there is a reaching for exchange from one level to another. More delicate than speech, more eloquent than entreaty, more adroit than signs, is the mental emanation which all grades of intelligence give off. In speaking of persons we call this emanation atmosphere, or presence. The emanation is the brain soul, the medium which communicates and which receives communications. Hot metal radiates heat; an iceberg radiates chill; the sage radiates wisdom; the saint radiates holiness. A characteristic radiation envelops animals, and objects on all levels. The radiation is a form of intelligence; it speaks unmistakably in its own level of intelligence, and it also furnishes a zone of union with the higher perceptions.

The intelligence that gives and takes, level with level, produces a federation of sympathy which binds all life together. Through these unions man is on the one side constrained to be humane, and on the other he is prompted to aspirations. All levels of intelligence flow upward. The upward strain connects the lower with the higher, and this higher connects with the next higher. The blending process is carried out until the highest is contacted, making the lowest in the highest and the highest in the lowest. In the lowest the perception of unity with the highest is most vague, being not even an impression but rather a yearning toward the highest. Along this route of yearning we trace the evolutionary path. In the highest the perception of unity is complete, and differences of manifest stages are counted as steps and not as conditions. This is the union which Jesus Christ besought for our conscious intelligence when he prayed: "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one."

There are levels within all levels, such as may be seen in the variations that are clearly marked in vegetable, animal, and human classes. All levels have connecting links with the level next below and the one next above. The connecting link is the transition of the lower to the higher. The intrinsic connection is the development of intelligence; the extrinsic connection is the form which partakes of both levels but which is not distinctively a type of either level. An illustration of the blending process is seen in the relation of teacher and pupil. An idea is presented by the teacher; the arguments, illustrations, comparisons given, and the groping receptivity of the pupil, finally unite. The pupil says: "I understand; I have the idea." In this one idea there is no longer a separation between these two minds. In an extreme case, if a man of lofty ideals is teaching one of base ideals, the latter in losing part of his mental grossness also loses part of his physical grossness; the face takes on a nobler expression, the body becomes more dignified. The man is reaching toward the higher, and along the path of his refined desires he will pass through the no-man's land that blends the two levels, and he will become a citizen of the higher. What is true in extreme cases is true in less extreme cases.

When considering the animal level, the intrinsic connection is called instinct, as is also named the faculty of knowing which prompts to actions of self-preservation. Instinct produces those extrinsic movements and devotions explicable only on the ground of an intelligence that cannot express itself in terms wholly comprehensible to us. In the human level there is a similar mentation. It unpremeditatedly defends the body against sudden, unexpected dangers; it yearns toward the higher in what may be called the religious instinct. " We would be what we know ourselves to be," is the slogan of its upward efforts.

To demonstrate a level as lower or higher is to express comparatively the development of the level. Man is the highest of the physical levels, and he reaches upward in a conscious blending with that to which he desires to be united. The less developed levels aspire, also, but they do this in terms which we do not comprehend. Man is to the lower levels what Jesus Christ is to man—the link of union with the highest conceivable at the present level. "Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me," implored blind Bartimaeus. "Man, thou son of my hopes, have mercy on me," pleads the horse yoked to a too heavy load. The rose that blooms restrictedly in the hard prairie sod prays for a more favorable environment; when transplanted to richer soil and tender ministrations, it flushes into richer foliage and lovelier flower. So, all levels pray to their gods, and the gods of all levels are as benign as they are intelligent.

We ascend from level to level, not by abruptly breaking with what has been but by sympathetic encouragement to that which struggles up the way in our wake. We pray to powers higher than ourselves; to give our prayers the virtue of consistency we must be eager to answer the prayers of those who on the under levels lift up hands of entreaty to us. "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me." As the angels are high above man, so is man high above all other visible life forms on this planet. As man shows kindness to weaker men and to all things from his own level down into the beginning of phenomena, so may he expect the higher and the Highest to be kind to him.

To ascribe intelligence to macrocosm and to minutia sets the seal of majesty on the soul. There were no incentive, no hope, no triumph, no companionship in a universe of insensate matter. A great mind addresses itself to greatness: " And Jehovah God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us." As the soul develops intelligence it learns that intelligence is the soul of existent things. It perceives that there are degrees of intelligence operating, and that the degree gives character to the form. It finds itself moving in a throng of intelligent forces, all of them responsive, all helpful, when they are addressed in a spirit of cooperative appeal.

The intelligence of the earth is credibly attested in these facts: "And God said, Let the earth put forth grass ... and it was so." The response to the omnipotent remark could not have been on only one side of a dual condition to manifestation. The intelligence in the seed is met by the intelligence in the soil. The seed reaches, the soil meets the seed, and all agencies of growth lend their intelligent force to the consummation of the process. And so it is, ever. Intelligence speaks and intelligence responds, along all the levels, from Most High God to lowliest dust atom.

The Song of Moses takes as its opening theme the ability of heaven and earth to sympathize with the singer's spirit of worship-prophecy.

Give ear, ye heavens, and I will speak;
And let the earth hear the words of my mouth. (Deut. 32:1)

When Joshua made a covenant with the tribes of Israel, "he took a great stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of Jehovah. And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it hath heard all the words of Jehovah which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness against you, lest ye deny your God."

The words of our lips are but one form of that many-mannered speech by which the intelligence in us appeals to the intelligence in which we are immersed. Life speaks by all things which take shelter in the mind. Speaking to cosmic environment as to friend and coworker, arranges the cosmic elements into loyal supporters in our master work of gaining appropriate supremacy over them. To speak to the Deity as to our sure friend, lifts us from level to level in an approach to the perfect. To speak cheerily to the under levels is to do by their occupants as we would that God should do by us.

Man is coextensive with the universe. In his earthly level he is a little lower than the angels; in those moments when intelligence divests him of sense impedimenta, he finds it not incompatible with logic to think of himself as a detail of God; absolved from the longings that compiled the earth and tied him to sensation, he feels the force of the Divine Appraisal, which thinks it not robbery to be equal with God.

The Divine Appraisal is the final emancipation. It is worked out by reversing the process by which the soul builds about itself the prison from which it longs to be free. What has been made, along all the levels below the Deity, must be unmade, that original existence may resume undisturbed tranquillity within itself, that it may return to unhampered correspondence with the Highest.

The indwelling intelligence opens our way into whatever sphere we desire to occupy. Out of words, shaped by a divergence of intelligence, came matter, worlds, traditions, prejudices, ignorance. Back through words of unmodified intelligence, creation will be resolved into the Primal Quiet. Indwelling intelligence looks forward and assures us this; it pushes forward, and gives sufficient entrance into the unremembered original. The levels blend and cease, consumed in the undifferentiated, and the Only Begotten in the bosom of Perfectness comes again to a consciousness of himself and of the Father.

All-knowing intelligence of God, speak thyself into an unbounded consciousness in me.