This is a brief post that shares how nearly 100 years ago the Ageless Wisdom writings of Alice Bailey discussed how levels of conscious development need to be viewed in a way that avoids the step-ladder view of going from one phase to the next.
Both in the models laid out by Alice A Bailey and Integral (even considering their four fold one), we get a visual representation as if we go from one level of consciousness to the next. For example, using the terms of Integral, you go from Red, to Amber, to Orange, to Green and so forth. When you view the model by Alice Bailey it can appear that the same kind of approach happens as you move slowly from one sub-plane onto the next.
Except that isn’t exactly how the Alice Bailey model works. Rather an individual can be on many levels all at once. For example, in the picture below you see the two models side by side with their various levels slowly going one to the next. On top of the picture I have put a blue oval with yellow dots inside. This is a very primitive attempt of mine to convey how the Alice Bailey model really views the evolution of consciousness. The blue oval is meant to show how an individual can have many different levels of consciousness active within them all at the same time. The yellow dots are meant to show the percentage of the time the individual resides in each level of consciousness.
For example, within this individual’s lifetime, her consciousness stretches from Amber/Orange up into Green on the Integral levels. In the Alice Bailey model, this would go from Pumpkin/3rd sub-plane of the Emotional/Astral plane to Corn/6th sub-plane of the Mental plane.
Within the blue oval you will see I have placed a few yellow dots. These are meant to represent the percentage of consciousness focused at each level. For example: Consider the following:
- Integral: Green – Bailey: Corn/6th Sub-Plane Mental Plane: 30%
- Integral: Green – Bailey: Dandelion/7th Sub-Plane Mental Plane: 20%
- Integral: Orange – Bailey: Mustard/1st Sub-Plane Emotional/Astral Plane: 35%
- Integral: Orange – Bailey: Orange/2nd Sub-Plane Emotional/Astral Plane: 5%
- Integral: Amber/Orange – Bailey: Pumpkin/3rd Sub-Plane: 10%
Summing up the percentages according to the Integral system this person is an even split between Green (50%) and Orange (50%). Using the Alice Bailey system the person is 50% on the two lowest sub-planes of the mental plane (Corn, 20%, Dandelion 30%) and then 50% on the three highest levels of the emotional plane (Pumpkin 10%, Orange 5%, Mustard 35%).
So, what might this person be like? To speak in extremely general terms using the Integral model first, this person would recapitulate the lower levels of consciousness early in life and then stabilize on the Orange level by the mid-twenties when the brain is more fully developed. At Orange she would most likely be a rational person maybe even with a scientific or secular point of view. At the same time, we would find that at some point in her life she would start to possess Green ideals that involve more holistic thinking perhaps even leading her into the environmental movement.
Switching to the Alice Bailey model, by the time she reaches the highest sub-planes of the emotional/astral plane (the 2nd and 1st subplanes of Orange and Mustard in my chart), she would be very adept at getting her desires met and most likely would become a major success in her chosen field. She might even be born into a life that helps her achieve it. As she moves into the 7th and 6th subplanes of the Mental plane (which I have called Dandelion and Corn), she would go through a major crisis. Why? Because the 7th sub-plane of the mental plane (Danelion), represents the “death of desire” so to speak. Here she discovers that despite all her material successes, she is still not satisfied. For a time period she is lost, but does not yet know what will replace material fulfillment.
At the 6th sub-plane of the mental plane she starts to gain aspiration for something higher. Like a Hollywood starlet going to an exotic ashram, she might find a spiritual teacher and begin yoga starting a spiritual life of sorts. This would remain heavily mixed with her needs to still have a lot of her desires met in regards for herself (money, sex/pleasure, power/influence). In the Alice Bailey language she will be full of spiritual “glamours” or distortions because her motive to be spiritual is so mixed. She will do some good for others, but it will most likely be sporadic and selfish in orientation. The focus will be too much on making sure her spiritual life benefits her as well. For example, she might wonder if she can leverage her product line and make money, while endorsing some charitable endeavor. Or, she might think about how her superstar status could give her more influence so she could get more of what she wants while doing good.
Though the 6th sub-plane of the mental plane leads one to aspire to the spiritual life, the person here is not really what the Alice Bailey teachings would call mentally developed. That is why glamours (distortions of the spiritual life) can so easily take over. The mind is developed in a way that helps people accomplish desires in the material world (her mind being influenced primarily by the kama-manas, or desire-mind, of the emotional/astral plane). But, the mind is not really oriented towards “higher realms” where abstract ideals and then ideas will become more dominant. And, especially at these lower sub-planes of the mental plane, the mind has difficulty discerning non-material realms very well.
Especially, when we see that our hypothetical female still has a certain percentage of her consciousness at the 3rd sub-plane of the Emotional/Astral plane (Integral Amber/Orange and what I have called Pumpkin), we see that our female has remnants of spirituality that moves along what Integral would call mythical lines. Her spirituality is about getting into heaven somewhere, but that heaven is decidedly materialistic in orientation. Angels fly about with harps, you get to have 1000 virgins, all your desires are getting met because you were so good and fortunately picked the right spiritual group, or set of religious laws, to believe in. This view of heaven is rejected at the Orange level of Integral (Orange and Mustard in my chart). So this person for the most part has rejected these as well. However, parts of her still resonate here. It may be likely then that as she moves into the Integral Green levels (Dandelion and Corn in my chart), she goes through a period of real confusion (what Wilber calls the pre-trans fallacy). Her normal secular and rational mind may be confused as the Orange/Amber (Pumpkin in my chart) level is activated because it is drawing upon the an understanding of spirituality that gets confused with these lower levels.
Though there is much more I could try to say about this hypothetical individual, the point I am trying to make is that in the Alice Bailey model many levels may exist in one person at various percentages and these levels will be activated at various times in the person’s consciousness depending on what is going on in that individual’s life. Stressful times may even cause the individual to “break down” to the lowest levels of consciousness they resonate with. In Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II by Alice Bailey these breaks are known as “cleavages” (a word which implies a break or gap in development and did not have the sexual overtones in the 1920’s and 1930’s that it now has in our modern overly sexualized world). In fact, some time is spent in the book Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II attempting to get the psychologist of the future to understand how to look for and work through these breaks with others should they occur. (Note: For those of you interested in the Enneagram as it was developed by Don Richard Riso, there is a parallel to this idea of breaking down to lower levels when an individual is stressed, though this teaching was developed around forty years after the Bailey model was).
In conclusion, what we see once again is how a supposedly old system of teachings (the Alice Bailey writings), which many people I have known readily discounted and discarding as too archaic, still has progressive ideas that even our cutting edge psychologies have yet to entertain nearly 100 years later. That idea being that an individual can possess many levels of conscious development at that same time. I hope this post continues to show how much the Alice Bailey system still has to offer in our world today.
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