This post continues to share about what Alice Bailey calls the spiritual Aspirant. The post also goes into the Egoic Lotus petal association with the stage, the Technique of Integration — Alignment stage, and the comparisons of this stage of development to Integral Green.
Another problem faced by those in Group Six (Aspirants and Little Chelas) has to do with learning how to deal with their sexuality in a more conscious and spiritual way. In Groups Four and Five sexuality is controlled by the norms of the culture they are born into. These norms are primarily put into place to regulate uncontrolled sex that could lead to acquiring a disease or having unwanted children. Norms included the type of sexual interactions you could have, which people you could have sex with, how many sexual partners you could have, where you could have sex, how old you could be before you had sex, how soon you had to get married to ensure you would not have sex outside of a sanctioned marriage, and so forth. As people move into Group Six, with its big focus on freedom and independence, they tend to break these cultural norms regarding sex. Though in the classic Group Six manner of lying and being hypocritical, the fact that these norms are being broken is often hidden from the Group Three, Four and Five public.
As we get into the stage of the Aspirant or Little Chela, Group Six people tend to become confused as they try to wed sexuality and spirituality together. They don’t want to just go back to the old norms imposed on them in Groups Four and Five, but they also want to be spiritual. What to do about sex? Typically they approach the wedding of sexuality and spirituality at this stage in three ways. One, they attempt to suppress their sexuality by sublimating it into their spiritual practice and remaining celibate. Two, they go the other extreme and express their sexual natures freely without constraint, while at the same time trying to spiritualize what they are doing. The Western “tantra” movement is an example of this where it has greatly distorted the original meaning of tantra and turned it into hedonism. Neither approach is the healthiest because it does not bring in a more conscious understanding of what really happens when we become sexually intimate with each other. Three, a balance is achieved between sexuality and spirituality.
As this balance is achieved, please understand I am not referring to the Western Tantra practices of trying to blend your “kundalini energy” to balance your male/female aspects together by having sex with another person. These so-called Tantra practices have almost nothing to do with Tantra as it is practiced in Eastern religions (after all the Dalai Lama who is a celibate monk is considered one of the highest practitioners of Tantra around). Too often Tantra in the West, which is mainly about just about having sex, asks you to blend your sexual energy with people you barely know. You may not even know them at all. And, Western Tantra practitioners often do not understand: 1) What really happens energetically when we have sex with someone; 2) How to clearly perceive where the other person is really at in his or her spiritual evolution; 3) How the centers are really awakened in oneself, let alone between two people; 3) Why discernment is important in our selection of a sexual partner; 4) The role of love, and not just desire, during sex. 5) The deeper magical work of using tantra to call in a young soul into the mother’s womb. Because most Aspirants and Little Chelas don’t understand any of these five things, they frequently become confused, deluded, or heartbroken, or even abused after the high of their “Tantra” session is over.
Another reason sex becomes such a big focus at this Aspirant stage is explained by Bailey. She claims “in the course of the mystical life there is often a period of sexual difficulty if the mystic has not previously learnt sexual control and unless it has assumed balanced proportions to his other life activities and natural instincts in his consciousness. Else, as he touches the heights of spiritual contact and brings in the energy of his soul to the personality, that energy will pass straight down to the sacral centre and not be arrested at the throat centre, as it rightly should be.” (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 538) Briefly, the sacral center has to do with sexuality and the pleasure instinct. The throat center has to do with creativity as a means of contacting higher truths and birthing ideas into the world for spiritual upliftment. When this higher throat center is stimulated, but not developed enough, then this extra hit of energy passes down to the sacral center leading to an overstimulation of it. Bailey says when this occurs “an undue importance may be attached to the sex activity, or the sexual imagination can be dangerously stimulated, leading to lack of control… The result is ever an overactivity of the sex life in some form or another“ (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 538). In other words, when the shift from the sacral to the throat center is not happening as intended, then sex, not creativity, may start to dominate the life of the Aspirant at this stage.
As an interesting side note on this topic, though Bailey was writing nearly one hundred years ago, she predicted that during our time there would be a great deal of disruption along sexual lines. The reason for this is in part because we have more Aspirants, but also because sexuality she claims is governed by the Seventh Ray, which is starting to influence humanity in a more significant way. She said, ““The major function of this seventh ray [cycle] is to bring together the negative and positive aspects of the natural processes. It consequently governs the sex relationship of all forms; it is the potency underlying the marriage relation, and hence as this ray comes into manifestation in this world cycle, we have the appearance of fundamental sex problems—license, disturbance in the marriage relation, divorce and the setting in motion of those forces which will eventually produce a new attitude to sex and the establishing of those practices, attitudes and moral perceptions which will govern the relation between the sexes during the coming New Age” (Rays and the Initiations, pp. 571—572). As more and more of humanity wakes up and enters into Group Six, upheavals in our understanding of sex and its right use from a spiritual perspective will be taking place. Eventually, we are told that the human race will find a way to express its sexual nature in a more sane and sound way. This approach will neither lead to suppression or license. Rather, we will come to understand the role of sexuality as a blending of energies and will seek to consciously and rhythmically blend them in a way that helps us all evolve spiritually. And, especially as these energies are blended through spiritual love, we will be able to attract those souls who will help to further the spiritual evolution of the human race.
Not wanting to get too committed to any spiritual path, Group Seven people also have a tendency to “dabble” in new ideas, methods, and concepts regarding spirituality, without approaching any spiritual practice with any sense of discipline or depth. For this reason Robbins calls this tendency to be excited by all kinds religious/spiritual possibilities as going through what is commonly known as a “spiritual smorgasbord.” Robbins also goes on to say how those in this group typically want a quick sense of spiritual liberation. Enlightenment, nondual or unity consciousness once learned about are all viewed as something rapidly attained, and way too often Aspirants believe they have arrived at these states when they really have a long way to go. One of the reasons they feel entitled to get enlightenment fast, is because of the way a number of modern movies tend to portray these experiences. Robbins shares how this tendency makes those in Group Seven especially vulnerable to guides and spiritual teachers who promise to instantly enlighten them. Aspirants will also be prone to confuse the spiritual high they get from being around such a spiritual teacher as proof that they have received some sort of enlightenment from them.
Again all of this is because Aspirants especially confuse spiritual highs (or states) with spiritual realization. The fact is they are not at all the same. But, unfortunately, Aspirants are not very inclined to understand how “states and stages” (as Integral theorist Ken Wilber calls it) are not at all the same. Just as you can feel high after a good meal, a drug experience, or some great sex, it doesn’t mean that you have learned how to maintain that high, or embody the lessons from that experience. And, some of these highs may even lead you to some pretty bad spiritual habits. Addictions to “state experiences” have to be let go of as you move along the spiritual path. That is hard for Aspirants to do. The Alice Bailey teachings tell us that the stage of Little Chelaship often begins when an individual becomes aware of inner subjective realities due to first hand experience of the unseen realms, or due to spiritual state experiences. This is quite different from the religious and literal approaches to spiritual life employed by those in Group 4/Integral Amber. Religious “conversions” at that level are more a result of peer pressure, or an emotional stirring up to join a religious group to be free from emotional pain or to find a way to belong. Though Group Four people may make changes in their outer lives (typically by adopting the dogma, dress codes, eating habits, gender roles, rituals, and social/religious customs of the particular religious group they have converted to), there is no real first hand experience of the inner realms. One is a believer, not a perceiver of inner truths. Aspirants have perceived some of the truth, the problem is they have not yet integrated what it actually means into their lives. For this reason, they tend to jump too far ahead of themselves making claims, especially about their spiritual status, that are not really accurate because they have not really embodied and become the spiritual people they want to be.
EGOIC LOTUS — Love/Knowledge
Before talking about this next petal of the Egoic Lotus, I would like to make a bit of a confession. In Bailey teachings the descriptions for these petals are actually very short and frequently the language is not precise. In my attempt to assign the various petals to the Ten Bailey Groups I discovered that they do not always neatly line up. For example, I thought about keeping the Knowledge/Sacrifice petal associated with this level, since we are still within Group Six (though we are at the end where Group Six may members have some aspiration towards a spiritual life and world service). But, even though we still see at the stage of Little Chelaship how this aspiration is still heavily colored by desire, I decided to associate this level primarily with the Love/Knowledge petal. As I make this association remember that according to my master chart, the stage of Little Chelaship is associated with all levels connected with Aspirants and Probationary Disciples. Here is the official description, ”The Petal of Knowledge, for the astral plane; unfoldment is brought about by the conscious balancing of the pairs of opposites, and the gradual utilisation of the Law of Attraction and Repulsion. The man passes out of the Hall of Ignorance where, from the egoic point of view, he works blindly and begins to appreciate the effects of his physical plane life; by a realisation of his essential duality he begins to comprehend causes. “ Treatise on CosmicFire, (p. 540)
Before we go much further let me explain some of the language used in that description. First, we are told that this is the petal for the astral plane. In my mind I believe that this is implying that the Groups or levels associated with this petal are having their emotional and desire natures stimulated for the purpose of shifting them into greater control by the Egoic Lotus or Soul. Next, I would like to clarify what Bailey means by “Hall of Ignorance.” In the Bailey teachings there are said to be three “halls” that are known as: 1) The Hall of Ignorance; 2) The Hall of Knowledge; 3) The Hall of Wisdom. In the Hall of Ignorance you are said to be ignorant of your Ego, Soul, or Spiritual Self. (Note: Remember the word Ego here means soul. It does not mean someone who is selfish). Because you are ignorant of your Soul or Ego, the text says, “from the egoic point of view, he works blindly [or ignorantly] and begins to appreciate the effects of his physical plane life.” In my mind that means you start to understand how the physical plane life did not fully satisfy you. Next, in the Hall of Knowledge, we begin to learn about our Ego or Soul. Bailey says, “by a realisation of his essential duality [as an Integrated Personality and a Soul] he begins to comprehend causes [meaning the person comprehends the cause and effect that living as a soul or a personality has in ones physical life].” Here in the Hall of Knowledge you use the Law of Attraction to attract the causes that will reinforce your ability to live as Soul, and use the Law of Repulse to repel those that feed your personality life. Finally, as this process is accomplished you move into the Hall of Wisdom where you Realize the Self, Ego, or Soul. We are no longer ignorant of it or thinking and learning about it. You are becoming it and living from the Soul’s wisdom.
TECHNIQUE OF INTEGRATION— ALIGNMENT
Now we are going to continue with the Technique of Integration, only at this stage we are dealing with the idea of “alignment.” As a reminder the steps involved in the Technique of Integration involve: 1) Integration; 2) Alignment; 3) Crisis; and 4) Light. After these stages are completed the Technique of Fusion is applied, followed by the Technique of Duality, leading eventually to Unity. Previously, we saw how the first step of this technique, “integration” led to the Integrated Personality. That integration involved the integration of the individual’s mind, emotions, vital and etheric energies into a coordinated unit, while also allowing the person to integrate into the world at large allowing him or her to be a much larger player on the world stage. At first all of this was driven by a selfish motivation.
At this next stage the Integrated Personality starts to align with the soul. Looking at the picture of lightning above do you see that tiny electrical charge rising up from one of the buildings? This is how lightning works. First, there has to be this upward spark, which on the spiritual path is equivalent to a “charge” built up and sent upwards due to the beginning effort that we see the Little Chela making as both an Aspirant and a Probationary Disciple. At first this Soul connection is experienced more as an “aha” intuition that intensifies the Little Chela’s desire to discover “something more” than physical plane material existence and the satisfaction of endless desires. But, eventually, when this upward charge is strong enough, it invokes a response from above bringing about an “enlightenment” experience, which is known as the First Initiation. We will talk more about the First Initiation elsewhere. For now, just get the visual image of how alignment involves this upwards thrust of spiritual effort in the hopes of bringing down spiritual illumination.
So how does this “alignment” process proceed? Bailey starts to discuss this process as follows: “The aspirant passes through an intermediate stage in the process of evolution wherein ‘divine attraction’ supersedes the attraction of the three worlds. This stage falls into five parts:
- A period wherein duality and lack of control are realised.
- A period wherein an assertion of self-control takes place, through the following process:
- Comprehension of the task ahead.
- An investigation, by the divine Observer of the nature of form life.
- Divine expression, through the medium of the form, understandingly practised.
- A period wherein alignment takes place, and (through understanding and practice) the form is gradually subordinated to the requirements of the Self, and begins to work in unison with that Self.
- A period wherein the forms, aligned at increasingly frequent intervals, are
- Integrated into a functioning, active personality;
- Swept by the power of their own dominant, integrated, personality life;
- Gradually controlled by the Self, and fused into an instrument for effective world service;
- Unified, in intent and purpose, with the soul.
- A period wherein the personality ray and the soul ray are blended into one united energy, and the personality ray becomes a quality of, and complementary to, that of the soul, making soul purpose in the three worlds possible” (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 342 — 344).
In other words, there is a duality between personality and soul. At first the Soul lacks control over the personality. The Integrated Personality essentially has center stage. But, then that Integrated Personality begins to become decentralized. Spiritual aspiration begins and the Soul (the Observer), begins to investigate the form life (thoughts, emotions, vital and physical bodies) to see how much of it is ready for divine expression. An alignment between the Soul and Integrated Personality takes place. Gradually, through this initial tentative line of light the Integrated Personality subordinates itself to the Soul (or Self). The Integrated Personality attempts to work in unison with that Soul (Self). Some of this happens from time to time when the person is just an Integrated Personality. But, it happens more frequently the more the Soul (Self) controls the Integrated Personality and makes that Integrated Personality an “instrument for effective world service…unified in intent and purpose with the soul.” As we shall see this is a gradual process that is only beginning at this Aspirant stage.
Before we leave this section I would like to bring in a little more information from Bailey regarding how the centers, or chakras, are involved with this process of “alignment.” So far I have not spoken about the center system, known popularly as the chakra system. Essentially, these are vortexes of energy that are said to move into the physical body and anchor themselves into the various physical glands. According to Alice Bailey (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, pp. 339—340) the sacral center relates primarily to Lemurian consciousness, which is associated with Groups One, Two and Three. Here the focus of the life is primarily on sexuality and physical plane survival. (Note: Some would say the base of the spine center is connected to some degree, but Bailey does not mention that one). Next, we have the solar plexus center, which Bailey relates to Atlantean consciousness, which has been associated with Groups Four and Five. Through the solar plexus center the fulfillment of lower desires becomes a dominant focus. Next, we come to the Aryan consciousness that rules Group Six. Here the throat center comes more into play allowing the individual to be creative to a much larger degree than was achieved before. These three centers, the sacral, solar plexus, and throat centers all have to come under the influence of the ajna center. The ajna center allows the individual to coordinate their mental, emotional, vital, and physical bodies so that he or she becomes an Integrated Personality. Once all these centers are “aligned” then the Soul can begin its process of observing the Integrated Personality so that it can slowly become subordinated to the intents and purposes of the Soul.
INTEGRAL MODEL COMPARISONS
As we move into the comparisons that this stage has with certain ideas in Integral, I will mainly see Aspirants as connected to Integral Green, especially in regards to what Ken Wilber has called Boomeritis, and with what another person associated at times with the Integral world, Robert Augustus Masters, has to say about “Eros Undressed.”
Boomeritis is word coined by Ken Wilber who spearheaded the Integral movement. The phrase essentially talks about the problems that emerged when the “Boomer” generation of mainly the 1960’s, took control and their kind of consciousness started to impact the world. “Boomers” (according to Wilber) tend to be more spiritual than religious, meaning they do not tend to follow the rules and regulations handed down to them by the religious establishments that especially their parents grew up with. Boomers rather, tend to go on a spiritual quest designed to help them get in touch with their Higher Selves (or whatever you want to call it). Also, most Boomers approach the spiritual path with a sense of dualism (seeing themselves here and the Soul, Spirit, God as “out there”). This is similar to what we just spoke about in regards to the Love/Knowledge petal of the Egoic Lotus.
Boomers also may speak of “Oneness” and may accept all paths as equal, but Wilber says they often making a mess of everything because they put everyone on an equal level (Mother Teresa and Hitler being the same for example). This tendency to make everyone equal is very similar to what we see with Group Seven types where the mind tends to become rejected, leading to an emotional idealism (let’s just love everybody), that is wonderful in its idealism, but not in its realism because of having thrown out the capacity for mental discernment. The fear of using the mind, or the rejection of it altogether, can also lead Boomers to run around telling people not to judge others or be judgmental, when in fact, they are constantly judging others themselves for being too judgmental.
The anxiety over being judgmental also causes Boomers, Wilber says, to frequently dislike any mention of levels and hierarchy because they feel that all hierarchical systems are only designed to judge, ostracize, belittle, and repress people, especially marginalized groups. Wilber says they fail to understand that the word hierarchy itself means something whole or holy, especially since the root word hiero means sacred or holy. As for archy? Arch essentially means the rule of, and when associated with the word hiero, hierarchy means the rule of that which is holy or whole. To quote Wilber exactly, “’Hierarchy’ and ’wholeness,’ in other words, are two names for the same thing, and if you destroy one, you completely destroy the other. It is ironic, to say the least, that the social champions of the web of life deny hierarchy in any form while the sciences of the web of life insist on it.” (Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality p. 16) For those who are familiar with the Alice Bailey teachings they of course know that the word hierarchy is used in her books all the time. She even talks about a “spiritual hierarchy,” which many Group Seven people may equally react to because they immediately think Alice Bailey types are all talking about a group of people who are secretly trying to dominate the rest of the world, and are likely to be especially suspicious that as usual, this group will be comprised primarily of white males. Wilber goes on to say, however, that true hierarchies (like the Hierarchies of Archangels and Angels he is speaking about in regards to the sentence from him that follows), “were ranked because each successive order was more inclusive and more encompassing and in that sense ‘higher.’ ‘Hierarchy’ thus meant, in the final analysis, ‘sacred governance,’ or ‘governing one’s life by spiritual powers.’” (Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality p. 17). The Alice Bailey teachings are very much in accord with this. (Note: For a deeper understanding of what Wilber has to say about this topic you might want to read the following from a follower of his, Kaisa Puhakka, summarizing his thoughts that he placed on his website. Here is the link. http://www.kenwilber.com/Writings/PDF/SES–Kaisa-p.pdf The main points are on pages 3—6).
Finally, Wilber talks about how Boomers, in their desire to escape this realm and the trappings of the gross world and gross physical body, want to hang out more in the subtle body and subtle realms. In the subtle realms they spend more time focusing on dream state, astral travel, drug experiences, mystical states, raising the kundalini to obtain high states psychic powers, and other highs that come from intense emotional and even sexual experiences. There is nothing wrong with experiencing any of these states. But, as Wilber loves to emphasize, there is a big difference between states and stages, and just because you can get yourself into all kinds of states (or spiritual highs), from a stage (or levels) approach, it doesn’t prove very much as you still may have a long way to go. Notice again, how this same tendency is to get high is very much like what I have talked about in this chapter).
On another note before I leave this section on comparisons of Group Seven with some of the ideas of Integral, I want to mention an article on the Internet from psychologist and author, Robert Augustus Masters. The name of the article is Eros Undressed: Freeing Our Sexuality from the Obligation to Make Us Feel Better or More Secure. To entice you to read Master’s thoughts directly on this subject, I am going to put the introduction to the article he wrote here. “Sex is, in many ways, still in the dark. Yes, it’s wearing much less and showing a lot more than it was fifty years ago, but it’s still not truly out in the open, except in mostly superficial ways. Its ubiquitous exposure, graphic highlighting, and relentless pornification simply camouflage its deeper workings. However brazenly explicit or conversationally undressed sex now is, it still remains largely hidden, its depths mostly untouched, its heartland still largely unknown, obscured by the tasks to which we commonly assign it, especially those of making us feel better or more manly. Just as being openly angry doesn’t necessarily bring us any closer to truly knowing our anger, being openly sexual doesn’t necessarily bring us any closer to truly knowing our sexuality. An essential step to bringing sex fully out of the closet is realizing—and not just intellectually—that the greater our investment is in distracting ourselves from our suffering, the greater our craving for sexual arousal and release may tend to be.” To read the rest of this brilliant article and the solutions to the current problem of sex that we are all immersed in, read Robert Augustus Masters full article here. http://robertmasters.com/writings/eros-undressed-into-the-heart-of-sex/
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