In this post I explain in more detail how the sub-planes of the Mental Plane are viewed by the Ageless Wisdom teachings as derived from Theosophy and Alice Bailey. I also more directly make ties in to the Integral Model.
As a summary as we dive into the Mental Plane we need to understand that from the Theosophical literature we are shifting from the emphasis on the material world and desire for material goods (money, pleasure/sex especially with power to some degree), into the spiritual realms. As I say this I need to explain a little more by what is meant by the world “spiritual” here.
To begin with “spiritual” can mean many things. When I was working on my Ph.D. dissertation on Wealth and Spirituality I was asked to describe the word “spiritual.” After reviewing the literature I came up with a number of definitions. From what I understand the word “spiritual” is used to imply a few things by the Theosophists as we move onto the Mental Plane. Primarily, it means that we no longer view things as material. Now, this is much more than the secular and material scientist view that we are nothing more than our brains. In that view all phenomena is a by-product of the brain. There is no after life. When we die that is it, we are simply worm food. And, it is more than the popular view by many religions (spiritual) people of an after life. The Theosophists believe in an after life, but it is not motivated by the desires of the Emotional/Astral realms.
So a shift on the Mental Plane in the Theosophical view (of Annie Besant, Charles Leadbetter, and A.E. Powell) implies that there is an after life. We are not just the brains. And, no matter whether we are alive or dead we vibrate to a different level. Our concerns, our desires, are very different than if we are living on the Emotional/Astral sub-planes or realms. They are more spiritualized, even in the realms of the Lower Mind. That was quite a surprise for me. Let’s look at this chart once more.
If you look to the far right you will see the word Personality. For those who are not aware of it personality is the word this system uses that is synonymous with the now popularized word ego. Ego as we use it now, is a self-centered person, concerned mainly with one’s own needs and desires. (To let you know in the Ageless Wisdom tradition Ego means something quite different and is more synonymous with the popular use of the word Soul!). Because the bracket of Personality growth goes from the lowest (dense) level of the physical plane all the way up to the fourth sub-plane of the mental plane, I had always thought that spiritual aspiration started as you moved into the “Egoic Lotus” (Soul or Casual Body — please note those words in the chart above). If you are not familiar with the chart above the flower like symbol is the “Egoic Lotus” or “Soul Flower.” This “soul body” is what causes what happens in the sub-planes below. Kind of like the person who is causing things to happen in the virtual reality computer game world, you are outside the game and can turn it on and off at will. The personality then is a lot like a video game “avatar.” It is a creation of the Soul.
Without getting into more detail on the Egoic Lotus, let me just go back and say, I used to think that we were mostly selfish until we got above the dotted line and entered the realm of the Egoic Lotus or Soul. After reading the Theosophical literature, I feel a bit different. Let me show you what I have learned from them and draw correlations now. I will also put up the new charts I have created of colors I have associated with the Mental Plane once more.
7th Sub-Plane of the Mental Plane. Dandelion. Integral (slight movement into Green) – Ageless Wisdom Group 7 – Some Connection with Egoic Lotus Love/Sacrifice petal. In the Theosophical teachings just as we have a physical body we each have an astral body. And, yes this is an actual “body.”We are told that if we live on the sub-planes of the Emotional/Astral plane, we will go back and forth from a physical body to an astral body over many life times. And, whether in or out of a physical body we will be obsessed with the themes of whatever Emotional/Astral sub-planes we mostly reside on.
But, at some point, just as the physical body dies, the astral body dies. Much as we have a physical body that dies and slowly decays, we have an emotional or astral body that dies and decays. According to Theosophists the “astral shells” of these “astral bodies” are dropped once we move into the Mental Plane. Theosophist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky even states that these “astral shells” can be inhabited. In fact, mediums who are into channeling are often tapping into the astral shells of people and not the people themselves in the astral realms. Setting that most interesting topic aside, the point is that on this sub-plane a death process is said to be taking place that is just as major as the death of the physical body. In many ways it is the death of desire and the attachment to the material realms. This is also said to be at times a disorienting shock, and at other times a feeling of ecstatic relief. Draw an analogy to letting go of the physical body and you might get a sense of why both of these are correct. Just as a physical body can seem limiting, the emotional/astral body can seem limiting. Think about it. Recall all the effort that goes into attracting material money/goods and pleasure/sex and trying to hold on to all. It is exhausting. At first it would be a shock to have it all gone (or to have the focus and obsession on it all dropped). Then, it might also seem like a huge relief. Like a heavy weight being dropped from your life, all that freed up energy may very well feel ecstatic.
When we get to the next sub-plane we will see what starts to fill up the void that has been created by no longer focusing on emotional desires and obsessions. For now, I would like to draw some parallels to this level from the writings I created on the post Green/Group 7 some time ago. (Green refers to the Integral level by that name. Group 7 comes from the Ageless Wisdom teachings as described by Alice Bailey). In that post I said, EP II (Esoteric Psychology II) also says that those in this group, “are the sensitive, struggling people, who long for release from failure and from the existence in the world today.” To start with, let’s put this sentence in context. Again Group Seven comes out of Group Six. In Group Six we have individuals who were the “cream of humanity” (at least in the physical and material sense). They reached great heights of mastery over the physical world and were often rewarded highly for their efforts putting them in the forefront as the intelligentsia, financiers, political rulers, and heads of corporations. In short, they reaped all the physical rewards this world has to offer. Yet, these rewards were often built on a foundation of selfishness.
Even if they were generous somewhat (as noble patrons), that generosity (as mentioned in the post on Group Six) was still fairly limited compared to what they really had to offer, keeping much of their wealth and power still to themselves. However, as they continue to evolve spiritually, they see that all this material success still does not bring them to the Real. They fall short of understanding their true nature. In this way, despite having achieved all, they remain failures. The physical world did not give them what they longed for. So, if true “happiness” or “bliss” is not to be found in the world, maybe it is found “out” of the world, causing that inner dissatisfaction with the world that pushes one to want to be released from it. In many ways these individuals are torn between two worlds — the physical world which they were once masters of, and the spiritual worlds, which they are just beginning to truly comprehend. EP II says, “They cannot yet control themselves as they should, and the higher illumination remains as yet a joyous hope and final possibility.”
You can see the parallels to what Theosophy is saying here to these ideas found in the Alice Bailey teachings. Like the beginning of any death process we are neither here or there. Slowly as we come out of this phase we go to the next sub-plane and start to find our way once more.
6th Sub-Plane of the Mental Plane. Corn. Integral (Green) – Ageless Wisdom Group 7 – Some Connection with Egoic Lotus Love/Sacrifice petal. In the Theosophical literature here is where a new level of spirituality begins. But, first let’s clarify how spirituality at this level of the Mental Plane differs from what was found on Emotional/Astral plane. On the Emotional/Astral plane that spirituality was more Magical and Mythic (to use Integral terms). The idea was to somehow use magical charms or call upon one’s ideas of Gods or Goddesses to help one get their desires (money, pleasure/sex, power over others so you can get more money, pleasure/sex) met in the world. Now, those desires are shifting. Somewhere in the conscious, sub-conscious, or unconscious mind a disillusionment with the pursuit of money, pleasure/sex, and power over others to get these things, exists. The quest for these things didn’t bring about the true happiness/joy one hoped for. So what will? Slowly the idea sets in that maybe being spiritual isn’t about picking the right God or getting into the right club (religious group) so you can get all the money and pleasure/sex in life you feel you deserve. Maybe it is about being a good person for the sake of being a good person. And, here is where the Theosophical idea of Devachan is born.
Devachan is different kind of heaven and it covers the 6th, 5th, and 4th sub-planes of the Mental Plane. In Devachan you increasingly learn to drop the selfish nature of the personality through a more genuine motivation to give more than you get in the world. This notion of Devachan fits in with other descriptions of Group Seven as found in the Alice Bailey writings. Again, I invite you read my post titled Green/Group 7 so I don’t simply repeat everything I wrote there here. In summary, these people are driven by spiritual impulses but they are not practical (the 6th sub-plane of the mental plane being ruled by the 6th ray of idealism and devotion?). They may even be highly successful and “mentally colossal”, but their spiritual approach is overly driven by a desire to be a spiritual “somebody.” I said in the previous post (summarizing thoughts from Michael Robbins on Group 7), “Instead of having the humility to acknowledge that maybe they don’t know much, they still might have a tendency to place themselves in the forefront as instantly enlightened spiritual leaders, with grand schemes and plans that again put them in the forefront (as super advanced) and allow them to retain all the goodies they got when they were in Group Six (in the way of lots of money, sex, and powerful influence over others).” In short, the emotional/astral tendencies are still hanging on some what. There is a lot more shared in that Green/Group 7 post so I encourage you at this point to just click over and read it. That way I can be freed from repetition and will just move on to the next sub-planes on the Mental Level in my next post.