On day in a suburban Christian school science laboratory, the science teacher prepared an experiment for us students who were all sitting attentively in our drab brown uniforms. The teacher filled a jar with different liquids of varying viscosity-honey, treacle, detergent, water, etc. The liquids remained separate, some being denser and more translucent than others. The science teacher then dropped a bright copper coin from above into the layer-jar to demonstrate that the different densities of the liquids slow the sinking coin at different rates. The coin gradually sank through those different layers, gaining a coating of each liquid on its way down to the bottom of the jar.

After class, I knew that the teacher would have to reach down to the very bottom of the jar to retrieve the coin with its new coating of all the liquids it had passed through on the way down. In return, the liquids would have received some of the essence of the substance of the coin.  But if the teacher had not reached down to retrieve it, the coin would have languished at the bottom of the jar forever leaving its essence all through the various liquid layers through which it had descended.

Much later at our Bible study class, we learned about the baptism of Christ and how the Holy Spirit descended from above in the form of a dove, enlightening Him. Thence He went out into the desert for forty days and forty nights where He was subjected to temptation by His material nature (symbolized as the Devil). He returned triumphant to spend the rest of His days preaching and awakening the Holy Spirit in those people receptive to His words. Then, as the Bible story relates, Christ died on a cross, eventually returning to Earth to reassure the apostles of his resurrection, and then returning to his Father in Heaven.

Sitting in the Bible study class and thinking over the layer jar experiment with its different thicknesses of liquids put me in mind of the seven energy centres in the human body – the ‘Chakras’ (and their equivalent parts of our inner sevenfold constitution, from the spiritual downwards: Spirit (Atman), Compassion (Buddhi), Mind – both Compassionate and Desire Minds (Manas), Energetic Body (Prana), Desire Body (Kama), Astral Body (Linga Sarira), and Physical Body (Sthula Sarira)) – or levels of increasing lightness the further up our inner constitution as one arose from the material to the more spiritual aspects of our being. Another student in the class pondering on the same image said the levels of the layer jar could possibly symbolize the Seven Seals referred to in the Bible’s Book of Revelation remarking that the only person worthy to open these seals was the Lamb of God, the Crucified Christ.  Any attempt to do this by less spiritualised people wouldn’t work as the Seven Seals could only be opened from above. Someone else offered an analogy from Scandinavian mythology of the Tree of Life, Yggdrasil, whose roots are in heaven with the trunk and branches reaching down to earth imparting its holy influence on those below. Another student spoke up remembering an oceanic myth of the dead climbing this tree whilst assailed by wind and rain on their way back to their heavenly home.

As indicated in the Bible, the gift of the Source which lies behind all manifestation came through the Christ whose pure influence enlightened many lesser beings around him at the time of his ministry and on into the future by the radiant influence of His teachings. Those who listen to His message even now become somewhat like him, being uplifted whilst yet dwelling below in this material world. In like manner, the inner Christos within every human heart can be enlightened in such a way from Above.

We must overcome our inertia and unwillingness to progress so as to go the upward way on the spiritual path. If you sink into the lower emotions, you will never rise out of the abyss. Hate corrodes and destroys, so leave it aside. Shine some love like a ray of light into the dark places of the soul and brighten yourself as well as the one who “wronged” you, and those around you. Perhaps this why Christ advised us to love your neighbour as yourself. The sinking of the ‘coin’ actually made a pathway for our re-ascent from lowly beings to fulfil our inner potential as essentially spiritual beings. Identifying with the Higher Self is a bit like the science teacher reaching down for the coin at the bottom of the layer jar. We rise by our own efforts to reach upwards towards the spiritual whilst meeting with the grace of the divinity within which is constantly reaching down to bring the ‘coin’ up from the bottom of the jar. Just like we’re lifted up by the Holy Spirit within. As the Indian spiritual teacher Siddhima put it in response to a question from a student who asked whether Salvation was by Grace alone or through our own efforts said: “It is by Grace alone, but act like it isn’t!” The “falling into death” of the ‘Christos’ within us all meant the Christos’s intermeshing into the human mortal condition. The Christos itself becomes subject to death, but in doing so creates the awakened inner Christos in each of us reminded of its eternal nature, and reassures the more material aspects of us that there IS eternal life, ‘the Kingdom of the Father’, where the Higher Self dwells – not in isolation, but guiding us from its abode, both above, and within us all.