(Note: Since its inception in January 2016 I have kept these writings available for free as a service to pioneer the field of spiritual psychology. The writings will remain free until the second book, Becoming Soul, is completed. Then the books will be more thoroughly edited and no longer be free for viewing except for excerpts. Until then please feel free to enjoy what I have done and comment, so long as your comments remain respectful. Thank you.)
ABOUT DR. LISA LOVE
The original purpose of this site was to bridge the writings of Ken Wilber and the Integral movement with the writings that come from the Ageless Wisdom tradition, specifically along the lines of Alice Bailey, Lucille Cedercrans and some authors from the Theosophical tradition. The site continues along these lines, but as it has evolved it is increasingly bringing in my understandings from various spiritual traditions as well.
To give you a general background on me (Lisa Love), for starters I was raised in the Christian tradition and found myself to be a natural mystic. In my teens, I became interested in psychology and parapsychology. That led me to attend college in 1978 where I furthered my studies in psychology and also took a number of classes in comparative religions. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in psychology in 1982.
Between 1982 to 1984 I furthered my education in psychology, receiving my first Masters in Marriage, Family, Child Counseling. In 1984, I became aware of the Ageless Wisdom teachings as put forth by two women — Lucille Cedercrans and Alice Bailey. Since that time a majority of my life has been spent seeking to understand what their teachings have to say attempting to apply them in my life in a practical and not just a theoretical way.
In 1989, I went through a series of mystical experiences after I completed two years of rigorous meditation work. To help me understand these experiences I found the book Transformations of Consciousness by Ken Wilber. That led me to read his other books out at that time (Spectrum of Consciousness, Up From Eden). Over the decades since then I have gone on to read the majority of the books he has continued to produce.
In the early 1990’s I received an MSE in Esoteric Psychology that focused on Alice Bailey’s approach to spiritual psychology. I also received extensive training in Psychosynthesis, based on the teachings of Roberto Asssagioli, a student of Alice Bailey’s work. I then went on to teach classes in Esoteric Psychology attempting to pioneer the field. Next, I completed a PhDE is Esoteric Philosophy based on the teachings of Alice Bailey, Theosophy, and the esoteric side of various religious traditions such as the Kabbalah. As a side note, during the 1990’s I also began leading people on meditation retreats. And, I began working for a small start-up company called America Online (obviously it didn’t stay small) attempting to teach of all things meditation through their emerging online campus. That was no small feat and my frustration with trying to teach meditation and other classes online caused me to innovate a number of online teaching techniques. Seeing what I had done America Online asked me to teach 200 of their teachers what I had learned. Those techniques went on to become mainstream and now with technology continuing to advance, have become out-moded.
Between 2000 and 2005, I launched a website called Soul to Spirit that focused on comparative religious study, spiritual teachers and practices of various faiths, and more. During that same time period I went on to receive an M.S. in Transpersonal Psychology. And, I completed all but the very tail end of my Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology where literally a few months before completing it, I went broke during a divorce and was no longer able to pay the high price of finishing that degree. I am therefore a Ph.D. (abd) or “all but dissertation,” meaning all the necessary college programs were completed, but the dissertation was completed except for the very end of it.
To get these degrees I went to ITP, or the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now known as Sophia) primarily because I thought they would be open to the Alice Bailey teachings (at least in a minimal way). I also chose ITP over Pacifica, which focused on the works of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung (whose writings I was familiar with), because I thought ITP would be much more open to the writings of Ken Wilber, whose books I found invaluable.
While completing my Master’s at ITP I discovered that the openness to the Ageless Wisdom teachings was limited. After submitting my Masters thesis I experienced a clash of views with a certain faculty member. I argued in my Masters’ thesis that there was more than one enlightenment experience. My thesis also challenged the popular version of “unity consciousness” claiming that it was not the last step in spiritual evolution. In fact, I cited many references, primarily from Alice Bailey, stating that what most people considered “enlightenment experiences” or having reached an apex known as “unity consciousness’ was actually just the very first step regarding a series of enlightenments, or initiation experiences to use Bailey’s term) to come. My thesis also argued that the Transpersonal community and even Ken Wilber (someone I still greatly respect) could benefit from some of what the Ageless Wisdom teachings had to offer. Sadly, I ran into a great deal of difficulty in regards to my views.
In fact because of my “radical views” I almost did not get to complete my Master’s degree, because one professor objected to them finding my assertions to be ridiculous. Fortunately, the head of ITP intervened (thank you Robert Frager), and I made it through. Ironically, years after I received my Masters from ITP in 2002, books like After the Ecstasy, the Laundry and Halfway up the Mountain emerged beginning to argue the same points I had asserted. Later, the magazine What Is Enlightenment? (which I had a subscription to) also started drifting towards my (or Bailey’s) views.
While getting my education at ITP the Integral movement started to emerge and some of my professors from ITP even became part of Integral. Because I still loved what Ken Wilber had to say, I became a member of the Integral online community early on and deepened my understanding of Wilber’s evolving model into AQAL by keeping abreast of his other books and especially his audio/video teachings on this topic (of which I have listened to and watched extensively).
Still, though I in my life I had at this point dedicated decades to understanding various models of spiritual evolution (Psychosynthesis, Transpersonal, Integral approaches from Ken Wilber, Sri Aurobindo, Paul Bruton, Swami Satchidandna, and more recently Yogananda and more traditional teachings from Theosophy), I felt hugely frustrated with all these models. Having been exposed so young to the Ageless Wisdom teachings, and having spent literally decades (and even at times years non-stop everyday) immersed in reading and re-reading what these books had to offer I just felt I had to find a way to show in a more clear, organized and lucid manner precisely what primarily the teachings of Alice Bailey have to offer.
In a way the majority of my life has been a struggle to bridge Bailey’s work more into the mainstream. Personally, I get why this has been so hard. One of my professors at ITP, Arthur Hastings, gave his view of the Bailey teachings in his book With the Tongues of Men and Angels: A Study of Channeling. In that book Alice Bailey didn’t come out looking to well. Hastings mentioned how difficult her writing is to follow (it is) even making it a point to talk about how many run-on sentences she has (she does). Ken Wilber I later discovered didn’t have too much positive to say about Alice Bailey in an audio I heard where he mainly talked with a woman who was once part of the Arcane School, who had now “grown out of Bailey’s teachings” and now preferred Integral.
Fortunately, I am someone who resonates with their struggles. As a writer I find Bailey’s books maddeningly difficult! They lack organization and to really understand her system quite frankly you have to do what I have done. You need to read and re-read and re-read her books over and over again. (I have read each book now except one at least five times). Even then you can get things wrong. Everywhere you can find one sentence that seems to throw the organization of the entire model off. That is one reason those who have followed my blog over the years have seem me throw up numerous charts as I have attempted to correlate Bailey’s terms. It is also personally maddening to me why we have to have so many terms and groupings to simply reveal what these stages are. So, yes, Bailey’s model seems even to me way too complex. Regardless if you want to know where my understanding on all of this currently is please see these posts.
The Main Terms
- Part One: Colors, Ten Groups, Evolutionary Names, Egoic Lotus
- Part Two: Chela Stages, Initiations, Techniques, Rules
And, please understand that despite the fact that I believe my understanding and organization of her model is now pretty good, because Bailey’s model is so complex it still may change. (By the way if you feel you have a Bailey reference that might throw my current understanding of her model off, feel free to email me about it. I do not see my ideas as final. This is still a work in progress).
Another reason so many people have had difficulty with Bailey’s writings is because they are considered even by Bailey to be a channeled teaching. One of Ken Wilber’s complaints about the Bailey writings seems to be attached to this whole “channeled by DK and Masters” bit associated with her writings. This is unfortunate especially since the forward to every Bailey book states that the author has no interest in them being seen as teachings from some Master. Instead, those who read the books are encouraged to understand and apply what the books say without considering where they may have come from. And, if the model for spiritual evolution and ideas shared have validity in your life experience, accept them. If not, reject them. That is the only way to prove whether they are valid or not.
But, I get it, Ken Wilber. I understand why you want to associate your saying “myth of the given” with those who follow the Bailey teachings. There is a tendency for those involved in the Bailey teachings to say they come from some advanced being and therefore the truth of every word they say “is a given.” In fact, I have personally had people from various Bailey groups tell me that “every word is the truth right down to every period in every book.” (Yes, that really did come out of the mouth of one of the main followers of Bailey’s writings). I countered this statement by asserting my right to think for myself and quoted how Bailey herself said we should keep an open mind. Instead, I was basically told to ignore that opening to all her books. These writings were from a Master, and who am I to question a Master? Myth of the given, indeed!
In fact because I have personally complained to myself that among certain Bailey circles I am having not just one book thumped on my head (the Christian Bible I grew up with), I am now having twenty-four books thumped on my head in a fundamentalist way, I have chosen in this blog and in my books to ignore the idea that these books were written in some special way and just read them on their own terms. From my own experience I consider this an invaluable approach. This is also the main reason throughout the blog you will find that I do not say D.K. or the Tibetan says or wrote (D.K. or the Tibetan was said to have telepathically conveyed the writings to Bailey), I simply state Bailey says or wrote. For those devoted to D.K. or the Tibetan, I know my approach to omit his name may upset them. But, I am doing this precisely because I want to stop focusing on who supposedly wrote the teachings and focus on the teachings themselves.
And, by the way Ken Wilber, yes there may be those who are prone to the “myth of the given” in the Bailey world, but the “myth of the given” also exists in the Integral world with those who want to run around and say “Ken Wilber says” as if your word is now gospel. Even you know Ken, that the tendency to resort to “D.K says” or “Bailey says” or “Wilber says” is connected to a certain stage of spiritual development (Integral Green for example, or Bailey’s Little Chelaship stage), so perhaps you might throw a little more heart into Ken and view these things as connected to a stage of development and not to a particular group of people. That way we all avoid the “myth of assumption” where we assume we understand something more fully than we do making the assume means “ass out of u and me saying more than applicable. (Note: To see how Bailey felt about people wanting to accept her teachings without criticism or question, or to see how she felt about people wanting to say “D.K. says” go to this page on my blog. You will see how she was not in favor of it at all).
Finally, I want to point something interesting going on between the Integral and the Ageless Wisdom teachings, and that is how very similar they are. Why is this? Have Integral writers and researchers actually borrowed from what the Ageless Wisdom teachings have had to say without giving them credit? After all, they have been around for over 100 years now. I have even put up a video on this blog, showing the links between Alice Bailey and some of the early influencers of the Transpersonal and Integral fields. So borrowing from Bailey without giving her credit is perhaps not only possible, but probable.
If there was a tendency to borrow from Bailey and omit giving her credit, maybe that is partially due to the fact is due to a few things. One, Bailey is a woman. She even started her work (1919) before women even had a legal right to vote. And, like many women she may have struggled to have men around her give her fair credit. As they preferred to simply take her ideas and turn them into their own (Jean Gebser who Ken Wilber drew a lot of his own Integral inspirations from may have been one of these for example. Watch my video. Another reason Bailey’s ideas may not have been credited is that they not only came from a woman, but from a “channeled source” making them too threatening to mention in academic circles. Roberto Assagioli, was one of Bailey’s main students. He created Psychosynthesis and we know for a fact many of his ideas were inspired by Bailey. He most likely hid his connection with Bailey precisely because the spiritual psychology field was so new. It was difficult enough to his own simplified version of Bailey’s model accepted by academia accepted by just using his own credentials. Why complicate things by throwing some “channeled” teaching into the mix.
Regardless of whether there was a direct borrowing from Bailey’s works without crediting her for it, something valuable is occurring. Mainly various models of spiritual evolution are all reaching similar conclusions, I hope because the different approaches are discovering actual observable timeless truths about spiritual evolution! To me that is far more valuable than whether Bailey was borrowed from and credited, or not.
On the flip side, along with being frustrated at times with Integral’s failure to look more carefully at the Ageless Wisdom teachings, I have felt annoyed with how those often associated with the Ageless Wisdom teachings fail to take the responsibility to integrate these teachings more into the mainstream. I also get irritated with how little Bailey’s ideas are actually investigated or tested to see if they are actually true or not, something Bailey herself said we needed to do.
Maybe that is why despite my bias towards the Ageless Wisdom teachings, I keep running back to Integral (and also Transpersonal) time and again. To me they just seem more practical. They care about getting integrated into our academic university system. They care about testing out their theories. Heck, even though the one professor at ITP didn’t want me to pass my Master’s Thesis because she couldn’t relate to what I was asserting, I had tremendous respect for her desire to test out theories. Maybe that is why I volunteered as her research at one point. I still love how she took on a cherished notion of how group work should be done at ITP to see if it really got the results they claimed it was getting over the years. She had the gumption to actually interview students from over the years to see if this model of group work has actually gotten the results ITP group leaders claimed it did. The end result? It didn’t.
At one point I was trying hard to get the Bailey teachings more mainstream by trying to set up an actual accredited university program. I wanted to do this because I valued academia, having gotten an accredited Bachelor’s in Psychology and two accredited Master’s degrees as a Marriage, Family, Child Counselor and Transpersonal Psychology. I value my fifteen years of mainstream academic training (which included years of additional training to get the Ph.D. (abd) I talked about. My academic training taught me to be more discerning and to value the need for actual research. That is why I still like to kick around so much in Integral circles.
Also, when I actually went through a series of “spiritual emergence/emergencies” (to quote Stansilov Grof’s terms), I was dismayed to see how I got next to no help or understanding from those in Ageless Wisdom circles. They simply seemed to have no interest or desire to actually learn how to help people going through the very experiences Bailey was writing about. Fortunately, I did get the help I needed to finally understand what the heck had happened to me and how to get through it all more sanely, when I approached those in Transpersonal and Integral circles. Why? Because those in the Integral and Transpersonal areas tended (and still tend) to focus more on the application of ideas to see how theories actually work out when applied to actual situations and people, especially for the purposes of helping them move through these stages with less trauma and difficulty. Considering that so much of Bailey’s writings were designed to do the same thing, it is sad for me to see how too many people associated with the Bailey teachings continue to be immersed more in her theory than the application of it.
Fast forward into today and sadly, I still find a gap between these two approaches. I sincerely hope this blog, and the books emerging from it, help to bridge this gap. I still believe that the fields of Psychosynthesis, Transpersonal and Integral can benefit a great deal by understanding more about what Bailey’s model has to say about stages of human and spiritual evolution. And, I still believe those associated with the Ageless Wisdom teachings (Cedercrans, Bailey, Theosophy) could benefit from the more academic and research oriented approach of Integral and Transpersonal Psychology that tends to want to apply ideas more than just study them. Together I believe the field of Spiritual Psychology will be vastly improved if this bridge is built. These fields have a lot to offer each other a lot in my opinion. That is why I started this blog. I hope you enjoy it and participate in dialogue.
UPDATE: 11/26/18 Since starting this blog in 2016 I have continued to refine and change many of my ideas based on a deeper understanding of both the Bailey and Wilber models. I have even removed a number of old blogs because they no longer fit with my more updated views that I have put forward on this blog now in book form. I have still left some old blogs up, but honestly, I find them a bit outmoded and they will be changed as my understanding continues to improve.
Finally, I want to stress that I do not see myself as an “expert” on either the Ageless Wisdom or the Integral approaches. I am primarily what I would call a seeker. Like probably most of you, I am trying to find a way to be a good human being and answer some profound questions about life. I hope this blog helps to stimulate your own understanding in such a way you take what is useful and apply it to your life. As for what is not useful? May you happily discard it and go on your way! And, if you feel you have something useful to share with me about your own thoughts, please feel free to comment. I would enjoy hearing from you.
Peace – Love – Light,