Blake: Four Types of Vision



The four types of vision of which Blake speaks are the very experience of us all. He said, “Now I a fourfold vision see and a fourfold vision is given to me; ’tis fourfold in my supreme delight and threefold in soft Beulah’s night, and twofold always. May God us keep from single vision and Newton’s sleep!” Fourfold vision is to single vision as ordinary sight is to blindness, that’s the difference. To me, single vision everyone experiences and threefold we all experience. It’s twofold vision and fourfold vision that you and I will have to work on.

Here is single vision. It’s best expressed in the little poem of Wordsworth, his Peter Bell: “A primrose on a river’s brim, a yellow primrose it was to him and it was nothing more.” That’s all that he could see. You and I will pass a lovely flower and all we see is simply the flower. A man is man, a tree is a tree, a dog is a dog. That’s all that it means to the hardheaded, common sense, sensuous, rational being, and all that I’m saying from this platform to him would be sheer nonsense. To tell such a person that imagining creates reality he wouldn’t listen to you for one moment. He would turn away as though he just heard the voice of someone that is mad. He is the rational being with single vision and he lives in a world where a thing is what it seems to be, and that’s all that it is. So everything can be weighed and measured—a foot, well, twelve inches, a minute, sixty seconds; and you can simply measure everything and weigh everything—that is what he calls Newton’s sleep. “And may God us keep from single vision and Newton’s sleep,” said he.

Now he said, “Double the vision is always with me…twofold always.” Now what is twofold vision? I stand before a fireplace. I have stood before a fireplace unnumbered times, enjoyed it, its warmth, its beauty, but it still is simply wood burning. One day, as I look at it and the flames leap up and suddenly something is happening, it subsides then falls into embers, then into ash, and to all appearances it is gone. I say to myself, “My life is like a fire.” At that moment I achieved a simile. But I m stirred, I don’t stop there. Then I say, “Life is fire. My life is fire” and here I have achieved now a metaphor. I’m still fired…and I drop the “is” and I say life and fire have now become synonyms. I will never again think or see one and not feel the other, or feel one and not imagine the other. And I have achieved now a symbol, some forever image. So fire forever now is simply an image. Before, it was simply fire, now it’s an image…it reminds me of life. That is twofold vision when everything becomes an image. As Goethe said, “All things transient are but images.”

Well, is there anything in this world that isn’t transient? You name one thing that isn’t transient. A child appears, it waxes, it wanes and then it vanishes…no matter how precious it is when it comes in. Last Saturday I was over at my friend’s in the hills of Hollywood. He just got a few birds. Well, he’s had them now I would say three months, and you should have seen him on Saturday. He found three eggs…these little lovebirds. Why you would have thought someone gave him a million dollars. He has three eggs. It takes fourteen days of waiting for them to hatch out. They will come out, he’ll be ecstatically happy, and then they will wax, they will wane, and they will vanish. All things transient are but symbols, if man now turns the thing into a symbol. When Blake went to Felpham as the guest of Haley…Haley thought himself a poet. His poetry has not survived, only the few pieces that Blake illustrated…but not because of the poetry but Blake’s illustrations. But he gave Blake a home for him and his wife and his sister, who lived with Blake, a garden, and enough money to buy all the necessities of life, all the food and all the things that were necessary. He tried to make of Blake a hack illustrating his poetry, and saw nothing in Blake’s poetry.

Well, one day Blake came home and in his garden was stretched out a drunken soldier, and he ordered him out of his garden. The man wouldn’t go, so Blake took him by the elbows and led him out of the garden and down about fifty yards. The man with another soldier agreed to bring the charge of sedition against Blake. Well, a garden is not something that just happens, it’s a creative plot. Man must be present to call any plot a garden— you take care of it, you plant it, and you take care of it or it will go to seed. So here was Blake’s garden and here is a drunken soldier. A soldier is one of authority. Here he saw in the soldier…of course, he was exonerated through Haley’s efforts, but Haley was his friend physically. He was well fed, he had shelter, but he was his spiritual enemy. And Blake said, “I can tolerate my physical enemy, but not my spiritual enemy,” for here he was destroying his creative power. He didn’t want any part of Blake’s poetry or his artistic work; and after three years of a slumber on the banks of Felpham, said he, he returned to London to face poverty but at least to be creative.

So Scofield, the name of the soldier, he used in Jerusalem as a symbol of the one who would be his spiritual enemy, even though a physical friend. So everything in Blake’s life became a symbol…but everything was a symbol. So he saw (??). He never saw a tree, he saw something else. Someone said, “When you see the sun, don’t you see some round disc like a guinea?” He said, “No, I see a host of angels singing ‘Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty!” Another person sees just a round disc and that’s the sun. Not Blake. He saw a tree filled with angels. Everything to him became a symbol and he thought in terms of symbols. That’s double vision.

Now, threefold vision is when these images intertwine, inter-blend, have love affairs, marry, and beget new images. A day dream is threefold vision. A dream of the night is threefold vision, because it’s “soft Beulah’s night.” But you don’t have to wait for night: Your moods are your dreams in daylight. I can capture a mood. If I could sustain a mood, and dream through the day with a mood which would imply the fulfillment of my dream, I am setting something in motion.

If I could become now intense from that three-dimensional or threefold thing and dream intensely and enter my dream, that’s fourfold vision…if I could now start with my images and dream so intensely that I step into the dream. But if I don’t, it doesn’t mean it will not work. If I persist in it so that the dream obliterates what was and becomes the reality, that’s fourfold vision. Now this [world] is fourfold vision. Man has forgotten when he started this dream and he’s entered his dream. As Thoreau said, “The truest life is to be in a dream awake.”

Now we are in a dream awake. And we have forgotten where we laid ourselves down to dream this dream; but it became so intense we awoke in our dream and now we return to single vision for this is taking the place of reality. It was once only a dream and now it’s become the stream of reality. Now man knowing this could start this night with his images and let them inter-play. So let them inter-play that they fall in love…they’re sort of having love affairs…then let them marry and beget a new image, which new image would imply the fulfillment of the dream. So I assemble in my mind’s eye images that if true would imply the fulfillment of my dream. Its potency is in its implication. So they all play together, interweaving, and finally they fall in love, and then comes the fulfillment. Now let me share with you what was given to me this week. This gentleman writes that “For quite a while now I have had a problem, an objective problem. I did nothing about it imaginatively, although I should have, but I allowed it to drift, and it remained a most frustrating thing in my world. For here it confronted me, a problem. I really should have done something about it long ago, but I did nothing about it. So last Tuesday in my office, I simply constructed a scene which if true would imply that the problem had been solved and my dream, my desire had been fulfilled. I went through the scene several times in my mind’s eye, and then I entered into the scene and played it, rehearsed it a couple of times. At the end of the second rehearsal, the voices and the scenery began to become alive…all things began to become alive.

“I went home and that night as I retired I once more rehearsed the scene, entered into it, it was becoming alive. I fell asleep half way through the rehearsal, and this is what I dreamed. I dreamt that here is a party; that I am a disembodied observer, and here a party is in progress to congratulate a young man. The young man had come into some good fortune, something to him most important, a major thing in his life, but those around him had only just learned about it and so they hastily arranged a party to congratulate him. Here I am observing this party and the young man is the star in the drama. Girls are coming in through all the doors, embracing him, kissing him, hugging him, and it’s a most exciting thing. They’re telling him, ‘How on earth did you ever accomplish that?’ Then in a most embarrassed way he blushed and he hemmed and hawed, and then he said, ‘Well, it was so easy, I simply did what I should have done a long time ago.’

Now he said, “As the man said this, I must have entered into the spirit of that young man because I felt the embarrassment. I felt the feeling that this is unworthy…I’m not really worthy of all this because it was so easy. I only did what I ought to have done a long time ago. So I must have entered at one little moment from the disembodied observer to be the star in the drama. But then, I must have gone back to be to being the observer, because I heard him say it. Yet in it, it was not a vicarious thrill…I was actually experiencing the thrill. I entered into the state. So my rehearsal at night went right into the actual act, only it seemed to be that I am observing someone else.” Well, let me tell him, there is no one else. Humanity is a single being…in spite of its myriad forms and faces, and there is only in such seeming separation as we find in our own being when we are dramatically sundered in dream. So he was dramatically sundered and then a seeming other is playing the part that he wrote for himself. He played it. I can only tell him now, wait patiently, it’s done! You entered into a fourfold vision. Brought it right in through your own intensity when you spent the day on Tuesday constructing the scene which would imply the fulfillment of your dream, and rehearsed until the voices began to come alive, and the scenery became alive. Then at night you started it all over again and half-way through you fell asleep…as we are here asleep dreaming this.

Here, we are sundered too. Every being in my world is myself pushed out, made visible. I haven’t catalogued all the individuals and given to myself the image that it represents. But as my friend last Friday night, speaking of his mother, and how many years ago he came to the conclusion she was only an image, an image of the material world. Then came this wonderful mystical experience where he finds himself a young man in a suite of rooms looking out over the sea. He sits down and he writes a letter to his mother. He’s just about to go out to post it when a lady enters through the front door, and he turns to her and says, “I’ve just decided to go post a letter to my mother, but I’ve only just remembered that she’s dead, that she died.” So the lady said, “Yes, she died a long, long time ago,” which surprised him because it didn’t seem that she was gone that long. In our measure of time it was only a few months, but she implied it was a long, long time ago. Then he asked a very simple question, “Well, hasn’t my mother been paying for these rooms?” and she replied, “No, the undertaker has been doing it. He felt it better that you should think that she was providing for you until you came to your senses.” He’s on the verge of completely awakening, because he has already been elected. That short interval between being completely elected and taking office in an entirely different age is just around the corner. I don’t mean to disturb him by saying tonight, tomorrow night, for no one knows the day. He will not go one hour before his time; neither will he delay one hour.

As we are told in scripture today with the new translation, “Who by taking thought could add one hour to his span of time?” It used to be said that “…by taking thought could add one cubit to his stature?” That has now been changed from a measurement of space to a measurement of time. “Who by taking thought or by being anxious could add one hour to his span of life?” You can’t do it, so you need not be anxious because you aren’t going to postpone it. You aren’t in any way going to hasten it, in spite of what all our wise men tell us about transplants and doing this and extending life today, because we know more about the human body and more about diets. You read the obituary columns in the morning and all the dieticians die just as the others, and all the doctors go the same way, and they don’t live one hour more than those they’re treating.

And those that they say will live just about another day if they continue this way… I think of a friend of mine in Barbados. I poured him on the boat during Prohibition, but I mean poured him on. He would drink anything that was alcohol, but anything. Why he didn’t die! Well, here is a man, he is now in his eighties, and they said he will die. I took him aboard that boat….I stopped at every speakeasy from Coney Island to the boat. Got him into a taxi and he knew every speakeasy, “Stop here, Nev, stop here.” Go in, get himself a straight pint in his pocket and there he was in the cab drinking it like water. Another one, another one, and I actually took that man and poured him on the boat. My father promised his father he’d bring him back. So we found him in the gutter and that man is alive today. He’s eighty-odd, and all the doctors who warned him, they’re all dead, all dead. Of course, he only vegetates today because he’s gone blind. He has all the money it takes… his father left him a considerable sum of money, so he has three servants and he’s blind. But there he is vegetating. (??) enormous today…all that money can buy he has it, so he only vegetates.

So he has to learn his lesson this way. The Father in him is dreaming this dream. One day he will come to his senses, and when he comes to his senses, the whole vast world is himself pushed out. But in each the Father awakes—the Father’s only one, not two. So the Father in man is dreaming. He wakes in this gentleman, he wakes in this lady, he wakes in that lady, and he wakes…the same Father who still remains dreaming in all in whom as yet he has not awakened. When he awakes, there is only one being who began the dream and in the end only one who awoke; therefore, “Only one body, one Spirit, one Lord and one God and Father of all” and you are he.

So this fourfold vision is within the experience of us all. Everyone has experienced single vision, where a stone is a stone…all that it is. Everything in this world was once only a dream, everything in the world. This room here was once only imagined, and now to us it has become what we call the fact. It has entered that stream of reality and we see it as real; but it began as a dream in the mind of someone, executed by some architect, and then workers worked. But here it is still a dream. For its origin was a dream, well then, the end is a dream. All things bring forth after their kind. Well, if what I am now bringing forth into this world is going to supplant this and take its place but it started as a dream, though it supplants it, obliterates it and takes its place, it comes into the stream of reality, it’s still a dream. So Imagination is that power that not only has that creative power to cause that which was not to be, it also can cause that which is, not to be. They can take a thing that is and cause it not to be, and they can take that which the world will say is not and cause it to be. Therefore, it not only creates it un-creates. This is the power that is God and that power is your own wonderful human Imagination.

If you are going to do it, as my friend did it, with that same intensity, then you will not postpone it. Now he knows this law, because he’s applied it so beautifully time and time and time again. Yet we’re all careless when it comes to a problem. Here’s a problem…you could do it imaginatively, oh well, it will take care of itself. It will not take care of itself because we are the operant power, it doesn’t operate itself. I either operate it or it remains dormant. And if I don’t practice every day…if I were a great concert pianist and I didn’t practice every day and then suddenly I’m called upon to give a concert, I am not ready. If I expose my playing before those who look forward to something great, I’m going to ruin my career. I must keep it day after day and practice. So when I am faced with a problem, I can’t put it aside and say, oh well, I’ll take care of that in time if it’s a problem. So having postponed it for months, he suddenly decided to do something about it, and he did, and moved from “soft Beulah’s night” into fourfold vision.

So when he said, “And now a fourfold vision is with me…and a fourfold vision is given to me” then he confesses that his greatest ecstasy is always in fourfold vision. So that’s fulfillment in scripture. Blake was a tremendous student of scripture. As you read in the 13th chapter of the Book of Proverbs, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (verse 12). And so if I really want something, well now, don’t just say, well, it will come. It’s not going to come! That’s simply hope deferred and it makes the heart sick. But if I know that imagining does create reality, I’ll do something about it. I will take these lovely images and let them interweave, and so construct them that when I bring that scenery into my mind’s eye it is implying something. Its implication is its power. What does it imply? Well, here in this case the young man is being congratulated because something of a major, of a most important thing has happened in his life. They only just heard about it and they came to congratulate him, and he thought it was so easy to do it that really this is not right. “You’re congratulating me for something that was so easy, so simple and really I only did what I ought to have done a long time ago”…the very thing that he constructed. Because in his letter to me, he said, “I knew it was a frustrating problem, yet I did nothing about it imaginally hoping that it would just go away or solve itself.” Well, it doesn’t.

Like here tonight as I look out, a friend of mine who had a few little skin cancers on his face, and his doctors could give him no more radiation and told him so, “You can do no more about it.” And every day you are confronted with your image as you shave. So he looked into the glass and here is his face staring at him with these skin cancers, and yet as he is looking at it, he has to imagine that they are not there. When they actually disappeared he doesn’t even know, but they left no trace of ever having been present. Well, I have looked at his face as closely as my eye will allow and there isn’t the slightest sign they were ever on his face. Here he has been given all the radiation that the skin could take, and his doctors said we can give you no more, sorry, and the only thing that I really could suggest would be an operation…just to have this thing removed by surgery. Well, he said, “I couldn’t go through it. So every day as I shave I am faced with the actual fact…but it isn’t, just isn’t there.”

So, Imagination cannot only bring things into being, they take things away. It can uncreate whatever it created. So this vast wonderful world of ours that we are creating, so much of it is a nightmare. It can’t endure it forever…it has to be uncreated. That’s why I stress time and again, live nobly that you can simply store your mind with dreams, with ideals worthy of recall, because the day’s going to come you will survive. As told in scripture, if you build on any other foundation than that one foundation, which is Christ, well then, if it doesn’t survive the test, you will suffer loss because it has to be consumed or uncreated, but you will not…but only through fire” (1Cor.3:11-15). And so we bring these things into this world and we have to live with them until one day we discover we don’t have to; we can uncreate them. So looking into the mirror he uncreated it, it just wasn’t there. While he was shaving over these things it just wasn’t, and he cannot tell you when it actually disappeared. One day it wasn’t there. When I looked into his face and looked for the spots supposedly where they were, there isn’t the slightest trace that they were ever present on his face. He’s here tonight. That story was told me years ago when I was at the Ebell.

So I tell you, you have the power to create and the power to uncreate. So you won’t have to live with an unlovely thing that you’ve brought into the world if you are willing to persist in your dream. One day the dream will become four-dimensional…not four-dimensional, I mean fourfold. Because this world is three-dimensional and this is simply a fourfold vision where what was only a dream has now become the stream of reality. So here in this world of ours now I am looking at you (??) and therefore in a fourfold manner. But if I can see you as images in my world so that when I meet you in Beulah’s night you represent to me not just simply Jan and Bill and so and so, but you represent something else…you are images. For all things transient are but images. And so what when I meet you at night what are you in my dream? What are you trying to tell me?

A friend of mine told me at home just about a month ago, he was home this evening, and he said, “Well, as far as you are concerned in my world if I meet you in dream you represent to me power and wisdom”…because he likes what I’m talking about, he accepts it, he has applied it, and it has proved itself in the testing. And so when I appear in his dream, because he conjures me, I don’t come looking, he conjures me because I am in every being. So he conjures me and whenever I appear in his dream then to him here comes the symbol of power, the symbol of wisdom; but “it is speaking through a friend’s voice that I know and like very much, and his name is Neville.” But Neville is only a symbol in his world, as it should be. I am a symbol in your world. So if I appear tonight, don’t think I came rushing in to do this, that and the other. I am in every being, and so everyone could dream of me tonight and see me differently because I am in every being as you are in every being, for God is one. God is fragmented in this world; the whole vast world is God made visible and you are he. His name is I AM, that’s the name of God forever and forever and forever.

So tonight, when you see the fireplace burning…as this friend wrote last week when he went home to listen to my tape…there was the burning of the wood, it was warm. He stretched out on the floor, turned on the tape, and because of the lateness of the hour, and the warmth of the room and having just dined he fell sound asleep and didn’t hear the tape. That’s alright. But here was the fireplace. One day, if he hasn’t already done it, he will liken himself, his life, to fire. He will see it actually blaze up hotly. Everyone at some time must have observed it. What man in the world…in the tropics when it is a hundred-odd you still light a fire to boil water. So everyone is familiar with fire in this world. No matter where you are in the world, fire is known to all people, and you use it to boil water to cook something. And to most of the people in the world it simply is only a means to their end; it doesn’t have a symbol as yet. The day will come, it will be a symbol, a symbol of life, and you will not see either one, either fire or life and not think of the other. You will not feel one and not imagine the other, either one. When you do that, suddenly you’ve achieved a poetic image, a symbol. From then on that’s all that it is in your world. Go in and turn on the gas, use it, you will still not just see gas. The minute you see fire you feel life, and that warmth within you will always be related; they become synonyms from then on. And everything in your world will turn itself into an image. That’s what Blake meant by a twofold vision. He said, “A twofold vision always” — never was he without the twofold vision.

So here, to everyone, start with one and it will become two, then four, then eight, sixteen and so on. Then all the images will form these poetic images in your mind. Then when you read Blake you’ll understand him. They are all images; these are not people. Skofield is simply the one who is his spiritual enemy. In the world, he was only a drunken soldier asleep in his lovely garden. And knowing Blake by his works and his tenderness for everything, he must have had a lovely garden. Didn’t have to be a big one, but how he must have loved that garden and taken care of it. Just a garden… it’s a creative spot. The man was all creation. And a sleeping, drunken soldier in his garden… it’s like coming home and finding him in your wife’s bed. That’s a creative spot too. And so out he took him. Blake was a very small man, but he had the courage of a giant. I do not know how tall he was…I read somewhere that he was about 5’6” or 5’5”, a small man, well built. But he took that drunken soldier by his elbows down the street fifty yards…and then came this false charge of sedition. Blake, with Haley’s help, because he was a man of means, and important person in the neighborhood, and Haley treated Blake’s (??).

Tonight, you take these four types of being and start on this premise: It is within your experience if you want to experience them. You have experienced two, everyone has. Unless you’re blind you can see, well, that’s single vision. If what you see has another meaning than the one it appears to be, you’re beginning to have twofold vision. If you ever had a dream, you’ve had threefold vision. Now take your images…and one day it’s going to happen. May I tell you, it’s the thrill of thrills to sit down and conceive a thing, and as he said, “The words, the voices, and the scenery began to become alive”…began to become alive. At that he fell asleep, and then the whole thing began to project itself and he became fragmented: All the characters, all the girls came to congratulate him, himself now made visible as a youth, for he is young anyway. All things being relative in this world, he’s younger than my son. I call that young. So here, he’s having…it’s just himself. Now persist in it. Don’t think for one moment it was another. Your desire has been fulfilled, but all things have an interval of time between that and their coming through into the stream of life that we call reality. And it’s breaking upon you suddenly…and then you too will be congratulated on this major to you important thing that has happened in your life. It will happen that way.

But practice, practice and still more practice! For you’re moving into a world eventually where all is Imagination, you will create at will…a garden if you love gardens. Yes, you’ll have all the gardens in the world if you love gardens. You don’t have to travel by any means in this world. But if you want to travel…you only now read of the galleons of the past, you want to have the experience of that? You can conjure one and travel in that manner. You want to know what it is to travel in some other manner? You can conjure it, because it’s all within your capacity to do it. That’s where you’re going, into a world of creation, that’s the new age. And so, you’ll create your world just as you want to. That is the joy that is in store for us having come down in dream to this world; for we really haven’t come down, we are now dreaming in our eternal state and we never left it. We never left our eternal home, but we are dreaming and we descend in our dream. We fell seemingly as one man, and so, “I say ye are gods, all of you, sons of the Most High; nevertheless, you will die like men and fall as one man, O princes” (Ps. 82: 1,6 RSV). That’s the best translation of the Hebrew in the 82nd Psalm, and you’ll find, if you have the Revised Standard Version, a footnote giving such a translation, rather than the one that is acceptable in the King James Version.

So, I say ye are gods, all of you—not just a few—all sons of the Most High; nevertheless, this is going to be your experience, you are going to die like men and fall as one man, O princes. Well, if you are princes then your Father is a king—the King of Kings, Lord of Lords—and together you form him; you form one, for God is one. And so, in our dream we dream this. We descend only in dream and in our dreams we made it so real that we entered into the dream and the dream became the reality. Then our eye opened upon it and we had single vision and became locked in the prison of our senses or reason or both, and became a practical, downto-earth, hard-headed man, who knows that life is a battle and he’s going to take advantage of everyone because he’s going to get his. He piles up his millions, then the Father says “It’s time enough to return now.” So he slips off the little garment here where he left the millions to find himself restored to life in a garment same as before—only young, nothing missing, all restored, a healthy wonderful being—to go about his single vision again until he comes to his senses. He will think the world is supporting him, that the earth, the great mother is paying the rent and that the great mother is providing for him. And the undertaker will allow him to think so until he awakes when he comes to his senses.

So tonight, do not postpone your dream. But do you think because you’ve heard what you heard tonight that it will on the hearing come to pass. You’re told in the Book of James, “Do not be a hearer only, but be a doer of the word” (1:22). Not just hearing the word, for we hear it and then postpone the doing. So when he stopped postponing the doing and he did what he ought to have done a long time ago then it came to pass.

Now let us go into the Silence.

* * *

Q: (inaudible)

A:  In Paul’s letter you ought to take it on several different levels. You could take it that he is applying the law. You could take it that he is addressing what is called “the Jew” who believes in the physical act. He’s telling you whether you are or are not, it means nothing. That these mean nothing, for in the end, salvation is not by merit, it is by grace…grace, grace, grace. So whether you abide by these outward beliefs, the traditions of the fathers concerning diets, concerning circumcision…but Paul always speaks of the circumcision of the heart, that the heart which is the mind, well, the mind and the heart are the same in Hebrew and in Greek.

So you unveil or uncover the creative head which is God. The creative power of man is his Imagination that has been veiled and has to be circumcised and so he calls it the circumcision of the heart. Man speaks of my Imagination as something that isn’t real—“just your imagination; it’s all in your imagination”—well, that is a completely uncircumcised mind. When I speak now of Imagination, I instantly cannot use the word without feeling God, so to me God and Imagination are synonymous. These are synonyms in my language. When I speak to your Imagination, I’m speaking to God. I can’t conceive of another God. And so, the mind becomes covered.

If there aren’t any other questions…good night. Thank you.