This post reflects the shift from being what Alice Bailey calls an Integrated Personality with its selfish nature dominating into starting on the spiritual path as what she calls an Aspirant. The post outlines some of the main areas of focus regarding the spiritual path, which is still primarily approached in a selfish way.
We come now to the final subplane of the Emotional Plane, the 1st. Here we finish off our look at Group Six. As we do so the new associations of Aspirant and Little Chelaship will be examined. We will also discuss the next petal of the Egoic Lotus, the Love/Knowledge petal. And, we will move to the next step in the Technique of Integration — Alignment.
I would like now to address another term found in the Alice Bailey books associated with Group Six, that of Aspirants. This is the first name used by Bailey to describe someone on the spiritual path. There are a number of names Bailey gives to those treading the spiritual path. I first talked about these names in the chapter on Terms. To refresh your memory here they are again: 1) Aspirant. 2) Probationary Disciple. 3) Accepting Disciple. 4) Pledged Disciple. 5) Accepted Disciple. 6) Probationary Initiate. 7) Initiated Disciple. 8) Initiate.
To let the reader know sometimes the Bailey writings can be hugely frustrating as she is not always clear in her use of words. That is why you at times you may see a term like “Aspirant” or “Disciple” getting interchanged. When she does this you will be less confused if you understand that in general the word “disciple” covers all stages from Aspirant up to that of Accepted Disciple. So when she uses the word “disciple” sometimes you have to discern what stage of discipleship she is really referring to in the text (Aspirant, Probationary Disciple, Accepting Disciple, Pledged Disciple, Accepted Disciple). And, at times the word “aspirant” overlaps some of what is spoken about as required at other stages, especially the Probationary Discipleship stage, probably because in some ways we are always aspiring until we have actually accomplished what is required at each stage of spiritual development.
What then is an Aspirant? For starters notice the picture I have chosen for this section. See how the woman is holding her hands in spiritual reverence but has a look of ambivalence in her eyes? An Aspirant is like this woman. An Aspirant aspires to spiritual life, but is not very consistent regarding his or her spiritual practice. The selfish tendencies of the Integrated Personality keep taking them over meaning that they do not possess enough real dedication and persistence in regards to following the more rigorous disciplines of the spiritual path. As an analogy think about someone who wants to lose weight. Though the individual may be enthused at first, his or her initial aspiration (or desire) may quickly burn out because he or she lacks discipline (the words discipline and disciple are connected). Without that discipline he or she no longer goes to the gym, only works out on a rare occasion, and possibly keeps indulging in a lot of sugary and fattening foods. The intention to lose weight is there, but the discipline to do what is required and the consistency in the attempt to lose the weight are not. Progress is always sporadic then. Also, when someone confronts the person about the failure to remain disciplines and consistent, the person tends to come back with a lot of rationalizations and excuses! That is what makes the person an Aspirant, always aspiring, but never really accomplishing much.
Another new term that begins with Group Six is that of Little Chelaship. To let you know with the word “chela” is related to the Hindi word meaning “a disciple of a spiritual teacher.” As mentioned in the chapter on Terms, there are a number of Chela names known as: Little Chelaship, Chela in the Light, Accepted Disciple, Chela on the Thread, Chela Within the Master’s Aura, and Chela in the Master’s Heart. And, the Little Chelaship stage is correlated with both the names of Aspirant and Probationary Discipleship. Beginning with this first Chela name, what exactly is Little Chelaship according to Alice Bailey? In general, a Little Chela is someone who is just starting the path. Again, he or she is aspirational, but is still “young” and often naive in understanding what the spiritual path is really all about. The picture I placed here is meant to convey that aspect of this stage. (Note: Discipleship and the New Age, Vol. I, pps. 713 – 719 described Little Chelaship in great detail).
Often Little Chelas are full of enthusiasm, but that enthusiasm can quickly burn out. Bailey says that “this stage is one of pure mysticism and of selfish spiritual purpose. The recognition of group relationship is missing; the knowledge of group inclination is not present; there is no true, unselfish desire to serve. There is only a vague desire for personal liberation, for personal integrity and for personal lasting happiness” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 715). Bailey also says of this stage that The aspirant at this stage runs from one teacher to another, according to inclination, opportunity and necessity. He is an example of instability but is carefully watched by the disciple who has transcended this particular stage of volatility; his task is to see that the aspirant escapes from this ‘network of futility,’ as it is sometimes called, and that he gradually settles down to the later stage of interior investigation” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 716). To let you know this stage overlaps what is said about Group Six and Aspirants. Therefore, in this chapter I have grouped different aspects that seem related to all three of these (Group Six, Aspirant, Little Chelaship) together and have put the main themes into headers to help you get a more rapid sense of what this stage is about. Finally, in the usual nothing is simple style of Bailey, you will learn in the next book to come (Becoming the Soul), that the Little Chelaship stage goes beyond what is explained in this chapter.
GROUP SIX — 1st Subplane
As a reminder, Group Six starts with the idea of Integrated Personalities who can be very selfish, materialistic, and selfish in nature. But, it ends by mentioning how eventually Integrated Personalities become “world aspirants, and those who are beginning to get the ideal of service into their consciousness” (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 206). As I see it then, the 1st subplane of the Emotional Plane represents struggling within two directions. I shared a little bit about these two directions in the previous chapter when I stated that Integrated Personality types, when faced with the masses, could either react by tightening their grip on the masses or loosening their grip on them. If they decide to keep tightening their grip, then I see this 1st subplane as putting them in touch with Ray One energy where will and power are used with selfish motivation. This moves them increasingly into the direction of what Bailey calls the “Dark Brotherhood.” To use a much more modern term borrowed from the popular Star Wars movie series, they go to the “dark side of the force.” What does the “Dark Brotherhood” (which can be made of women as well by the way) look like? To answer they I will put Bailey’s direct quotes here.
“The Dark Brothers are—remember this always—brothers, erring and misguided yet still sons of the one Father though straying far, very far, into the land of distances. The way back for them will be long, but the mercy of evolution inevitably forces them back along the path of return in cycles far ahead… The dark brother recognises no unity with his species, only seeing in them people to be exploited for the furtherance of his own ends. This then, on a small scale, is the mark of those who are being used by them wittingly or unwittingly. They respect no person, they regard all men as fair prey, they use everyone to get their own way enforced, and by fair means or foul they seek to break down all opposition and for the personal self acquire that which they desire. The dark brother considers not what suffering he may cause; he cares not what agony of mind he brings upon an opponent; he persists in his intention and desists not from the hurt of any man, woman or child, provided that in the process his own ends are furthered. Expect absolutely no mercy from those opposing the Brotherhood of Light. Oft too the Dark Brother masquerades as an agent of the light, oft he poses as a messenger of the gods, but for your assurance I would say that he who acts under the guidance of the Ego [i.e. Soul, or Egoic Lotus] will have clear vision, and will escape deception. At this time their power is ofttimes mighty. Why? Because so much exists as yet in the Personalities of all men that respond to their vibration, and so it is easy for them to affect the bodies of men” (Letters on Occult Meditation, pp. 134—136).
When we hear words like “Dark Brotherhood” it is easy for us to want to imagine them as spirits. We forget that these are mostly human beings. Especially those who are Integrated Personalities who “tighten the grip” due to their fears and ambitions will go this direction. Though they often show up as dictators they can also be scientists, religious leaders and so forth. But, they will behave in the ways Bailey describes above. If Bailey’s notion that we are just now becoming Integrated Personalities is true, then it will become even more essential that people are educated regarding what their negative behaviors and beliefs look like. Then perhaps sooner than later we will reach the stage where “the dictator will some day be an anachronism, for when the many are at the stage of individual self-awareness and potency and seeking the full expression of their powers, he will be lost from sight in the assertion of the many (Esoteric Psychology, Vol II, p. 11).
Having looked at some of the negative tendencies of Mustard, let us now consider the other side where the person “loosens the grip” and starts the process of destroying the Integrated Personality so that it can merge into the soul. As you will see in this chapter, that process starts slowly where the Aspirant at this level approaches spirituality in primarily the selfish way where “there is no true, unselfish desire to serve. There is only a vague desire for personal liberation, for personal integrity and for personal lasting happiness” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 715).
Though there are many ways I could start this section, I am going to begin with the idea presented by Bailey that those in Group Six often become humanitarians. Again, I see this as related to the ending cycle of this particular Group Six stage. I am starting off with the humanitarian urge here because I believe it may, or may not, be attached to a spiritual quest to discover the Soul or Self. It does, however, reflect the Soul beginning to be felt by the individual. But, the person may have no conscious awareness of the Soul. In fact, the individual here may still hold up agnostic and even atheistic beliefs. Beyond these beliefs is a growing awareness of the plight of the masses who are suffering in comparison to oneself. There may also be a growing inner anxiety that the individual feels can only be satisfied by doing something to help ameliorate the suffering of those around one.
Just as the humanitarian urge may still be attached to agnostic and atheistic beliefs at this Mustard level, as Bailey point out this help is still attached to selfish motives. Selfish motives can include: 1) Helping others mainly to remove your own anxiety and to help you feel better, than because you have a true motive of service. 2) Helping others to make yourself “look good” in the eyes of people around you. 3) Helping others with expectation of some sort of personal gain like getting a tax write-offs for your efforts, or in exchange for your help wanting to be sure you have your name on a building or a statue so others will know for sure it was you that was responsible for engaging in good works. 4) Helping others for political reasons where the aid is primarily a public relations, or public management, stunt designed to get a restless or unhappy public to calm down. 5) Helping others as a publicity stunt because what you are giving to others (your art, your money, your product) calls attention to yourself and helps to promote you, your business, or your brand somehow. 6) Helping others as a way to get close to people you feel are important, or to get in their favor, because now they view you in a more favorable light. 7) Making sure that when you do help others it doesn’t hinder in any significant way your ability to continue to indulge your own desires.
For those who do start on a spiritual path, typically they gravitate towards spiritual philosophies that involve what is known as in our modern times as “spiritual materialism.” Remember the Aspirant is at the tail end of Group Six. He or she has typically reached the heights of being able to satisfy their desires for money, pleasure and power. Though they are becoming interested in being spiritual (versus religious as Groups Four and Five tend to be), they mainly gravitate towards spiritual teachings where they can still pretty much live as they used to live. Only now they can put a spiritual covering on top of their selfish desires alleviating their anxieties because they feel less selfish about what they are doing.
Examples of the kinds of “spiritual philosophies” they will seek out include anything that tells them that they have “a right to get rich and stay rich.” Some Western teachings even declare that wealth is a sign of God favoring you because you were such a good person compared to others. The New Thought and New Age movements echo this idea only it is not God who gave you your wealth. Rather, you got rich because you thought correctly or used the Law of Attraction in the right way. Even some Eastern religions could interpret their philosophies in a spiritually materialistic way by stating that you are wealthy because of your good karma. The truth is there is nothing wrong with money or even wealth. The problem is the Aspirant is a long ways from using things like money in a truly unselfish way. The Aspirant also lacks the spiritual vision for understanding the best ways to put money to use for the good of all humanity. Still, positive steps are at least being made in that there is some thought regarding how to help others, and not just themselves, or their immediate families. Overall then, this is a positive step.
Another thing I believe is common at this stage is the tendency to confuse deeper spiritual practice with going into mystical states. When Bailey says that the Little Chelaship stage is one of “pure mysticism and of selfish spiritual purpose” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 715), I believe she if referring to this tendency to want to “get high” through spirituality. Though there is a more mature kind of mysticism, I believe what we find here is not that. The mysticism at the Aspirant stage is still full of selfishness and contains within it the “vague desire for personal liberation, for personal integrity and for personal lasting happiness” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 715). Spirituality is mainly about finding a way to “feel good.” Doing good, disciplining oneself, cultivating equanimity as you move through the highs and lows of life, these are not so much what the Aspirant cares about. That is one reason those at this level seek out ecstatic states.
There are of course many ways to “get high.” Aspirants might use drugs to get there. Or, they may try to “raise the kundalini” to get a buzz. They may seek to go into trance states through dancing, drumming, or chanting. Other ways to get “high” may include whipping themselves into an emotional frenzy, or put themselves into intense circumstances where their emotions go into a catharsis. Again the emphasis is on feeling good, which like wealth is not in and of itself a bad thing. Rather, it becomes a distortion of the spiritual path when all one wants is that which is wonderful, beautiful, attractive, pleasant, easy, and most of all lets you get to a high state quick. This creates a lopsided spirituality, which once again is all about the Aspirant and his or her good mood. Any spiritual practice that does not feel good, involves some shadow work where the Aspirant looks more deeply at him or herself, teaches that life is about pleasure and pain, causes you to confront your spiritual selfishness, or tells you that you can’t “have it all” is mostly ignored.
Looking Good Spiritually
Another thing Aspirants want is for others to notice how spiritual you are. One of the best ways for people to immediately notice this, is to look the part by dressing up in spiritual garb. This helps feed the Group Six tendency to want status. Only now the right clothes, right foods, right jewelry, right look are all attached to looking spiritual, and not just material. Again there is nothing wrong with wearing certain spiritual clothes, jewelry, and so forth. The difficulty is not so much in the clothes, the jewelry, the hair, or overall external appearance. The problem is that the Aspirant does these things primarily for the sake of looking good, getting noticed, or gaining status. Whether one is dressed in luxurious spiritual robes and draped with jewelry, or is running around as a naked yogi if internally the motivation is about other people noticing you and thereby conferring spiritual status on you, again your spiritual practice is all about you, and you alone. Once the spiritual practice shifts and is more about benefitting others and not just yourself, then the spiritual seeker may still be wearing clothing or jewelry that might identify them as being “spiritual.” They just don’t care anymore about that. The clothing or jewelry is simply a reminder of the community of spiritual seekers they are a part of. Or, spiritual attire helps remind one of the spiritual intentions and disciplines that one is engaged. Then it is not so much about wanting to call attention to oneself, as it is meant to strengthen one’s spiritual practice so that the person can be of increasing benefit to others.
Another way the Aspirant can get sidetracked by wanting to look good spiritually can also involve wanting to be surrounded by the “right” spiritual people. On the positive side being in the company of truly spiritual people can be uplifting. But, when we show off because of who we have been around, then it is just the Integrated Personality being selfish. Looking good can also involve dressing well and having the money to stay healthy, fit, and financially secure. Again all of this is positive when its aids our spiritual practice and doesn’t involve so much of our time and energy, it becomes just another form of self-indulgence. The same could be said when we attempt to look good by going on adventurous travels to glamorous spiritual “hot spots.” Pilgrimage and travel to sacred sites can really aid our spiritual practice. But, if we engage in this kind of travel simply for adventure, or with the mindset of being a tourist ticking off boxes of places we have been, then we are engaging in spirituality as a form of entertainment. The end result is that we miss out on the deeper possibilities of spiritual transformation that any pilgrimage or sacred site is meant to offer us.
Physical Disciplines Over-Emphasized
Another issue connected with Group Six (Aspirants and Little Chelas) at this level is the over-emphasis on the physical body in regards to spiritual practice. Today, healthy eating lifestyles, staying in shape and especially doing Hatha Yoga postures seem more popular than ever. Certainly there is a benefit in having a healthy body with energy, flexibility, stamina, and strength. But, there is much more to the spiritual path than this, which is something Little Chelas may ignore. Interestingly enough, Bailey claims that Little Chelas may be drawn to these practices because they are going through a recapitulation process of older forms of Lemurian consciousness, when the physical realm was over-emphasized. Bailey says, “This stage is a correspondence to the process of individualisation in Lemurian times and the stage of Little Chelaship is sometimes referred to as the ‘period of the Lemurian consciousness’” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 716). I find this quote interesting because it is indicating that growing popularity of these physical disciplines is to be expected. And, as more Little Chelas step on to the spiritual path, we can see these physical disciplines becoming even more emphasized..
Regarding Hatha Yoga itself, modern scholars believe these practices are actually not that old placing the origin of these practices any where from five hundred to a few thousand years ago. In the Bailey teachigns they are said to be much older and were originally said to have come into existence to “teach primitive man the uses and purpose of the physical body and its intelligent control; the man who mastered the body and was in control of it as a machinist is a machine, was then in was then regarded as an initiate. Celibacy, careful modes of eating, and bodily cleanliness, plus the rudiments of Hatha Yoga (embryonic physical, athletic control—muscular control primarily) were strictly emphasized” (Esoteric Healing p. 578). Bailey goes on to say, “These drastic physical disciplines are often attempted today by well-intentioned aspirants; they practice celibacy, strict vegetarianism, relaxation exercises and many kinds of physical exercises, in the hope of bringing the body under control. These forms of discipline would be very good for the undeveloped and the lowest type of human being, but they are not the methods which should be employed by the average man or the practicing aspirant. Concentration upon the physical body only serves to enhance its potency and to feed its appetites and bring to the surface of consciousness that which should be securely secluded below the threshold of consciousness. The true aspirant should be occupied with emotional, not physical, control and with the effort to focus himself upon the mental plane prior to achieving a stabilized contact with the soul” (Esoteric Healing, p. 579).
Bailey has a point in that Little Chelas do tend to put way too much emphasis on physical disciplines at the expense of other types of spiritual practice. Though they may excel at contorting the body into various poses, or have become strict vegetarians or vegans, they still have a long way to go towards Self-Realization. Again physical disciplines can be good, but if they are the main focus than no one is really benefiting from the practice apart from the individual. Even some famous modern day teachers, such as B.K.S. Iyengar (who was one of the main people responsible for bringing Hatha Yoga to the West), become concerned with Westerners over-emphasizing Hatha Yoga at the expense of other types of yoga practice. That is why more and more teachers (Sri Aurobindo, Swami Satchidananda, Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev) are focusing on an Integral Yoga that teaches us to become more emotional calm, more mentally kind, less arrogant and condensing personally, and more engaged in selfless and joyful service to others. At the Aspirant stage too often this balanced and well-rounded approach is missing. Though all of this begins to be adjusted as the Aspirant moves into what is known as the Probationary Discipleship phase (which is part of Little Chelaship as well).
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