Continuing to examine Stage Three: Accepted Discipleship from the Ageless Wisdom teachings, this post examines more closely the need to “dispel glamours” and how this might relate to certain things taught in the Integral approach by Ken Wilber.
As a reminder I a putting up the list again of the primary tasks I have identified in reading the books by Alice Bailey regarding what needs to be accomplished during her stage of Accepted Discipleship. I am also reposting the chart I have been putting on these posts related to the Six Stages of Discipleship. As this is a comparative series between Ageless Wisdom and Integral, I will follow the same process I have been doing in most of my other posts, listing the Ageless Wisdom view and then trying to show the parallels where they can be found in the Integral method first put forward by Ken Wilber.
Accepted Discipleship — Major Tasks: List
- Dispel Glamours
- Develop Impersonality
- Cultivate Love
- Blend the Mystic and the Occultist
- Engage in More Effective Service With a More Humble & Loving Heart
- Contact the “Master” Within
Accepted Discipleship — Major Tasks: Dispel Glamours
1. Dispel Glamours
Before I speak more extensively about glamour, let me re-insert the following chart.
This chart is central to understanding the Ageless Wisdom teachings as presented by Alice Bailey. As you can see the chart has seven main sections (planes) that are each titled in bold with a Roman numeral. We are primarily concerned with the first four of VII Physical, VI Emotional, V Mental, and IV Intuitional. Each section (or plane) is further divided into seven sub-sections, maing 49 in all (7 x 7). On the mental plane you see what looks like a flower. This is known as the Egoic Lotus. It has twelve petals with a “jewel at the heart of the lotus.” The stages of unfolding these twelve petals are mostly what we are covering in the posts on this blog. The chart “Levels and Terms” above attempts to list these petals and when they are first opened to a small degree.
As one unfolds the Egoic Lotus more and more (petal by petal) the end result is greater resonance on the plane of Intuition (also known as the Buddhic plane, the plane of Buddhi, which is found in Hinduism and Buddhism. The Buddhic plane in the Ageless Wisdom and Esoteric Christianity traditions is also known as the plane of the Christ, Christ being a title meaning “Anointed One” much as Buddha is a title meaning “Enlightened One”). The “goal” is to learn to embody the qualities of the Intuitional, Buddhic, Christ-like plane.
The problem with the chart above is that it is linear in nature. In the Integral world they speak more about holons, or wholes within wholes within wholes. Each whole encompasses and builds on each other. Ken Wilber has indicated in his Kosmic Consciousness series (audio version) that this is analogous to writing. First we have to know our letters before we can construct words. Then we have to know words before we can construct sentences. We needs to know how to put together sentences before we can write paragraphs and so forth. Each stage has to integrate what is learned at the level before you can continue to build on it.
Having said all this let me now get to the book Glamour: A World Problem by Alice Bailey. Her book starts out by attempting to define once again what “residing” on the Intuitional plane looks like. (She does this as well in another book called From Intellect to Intuition). In short she says that intuition involves “synthetic understanding.” (p. 2). In many ways Integral is saying the same thing. Intuition lets us see how all the parts fit together. As Ken Wilber indicates we see the value in every truth. Alice Bailey says this leads to an illumined mind that can be held steady in the light where greater truths can be reflected and seen. (p. 3) This produces understanding she says, that involves “love for all beings” and “avoids at the same time the sense of separateness, of isolation and of superiority.” p. 4. At the same time this understanding includes the light in the mind. It involves knowing how to love through wise action and discernment. That love she says also includes “a synthetic, inclusive grasp of the life and needs of all beings.” p. 5. Please note the word ‘needs’ as it indicates understanding what is needed and how to fulfill that need through skillful means or in the right way.
Glamours, on the contrary, block or ability to reach the Intuitional plane. I wrote in the previous blog that, “Glamours are distortions take place when we are too focused on a separated personal consciousness and cannot fully perceive and identify with the “Real.” That “Reality” involves at-one-ment with all that IS, because we are THAT. (I Am That I Am). As we identify with who we really are we become group conscious (or to use a Buddhist phrase we understand that all things are interdependent or “dependent arising.”) During the phase of Accepted Discipleship we are pulled between the manifest and unmanifest worlds and struggle with the pairs of opposites (seeing ourselves as sometimes a separated personality and at other times a group soul). As glamours are worked through, this dual pull lessens.”
To use direct quotes from Alice Bailey in Glamour: A World Problem, we are told that glamour is broken into illusion as well as glamour. Illusion is more a problem of a highly developed mind that grabs hold in a fanatical way to ideas that are essentially incorrect. Glamour “is found when the mental illusion is intensified by desire. What the Theosophists calls ‘kama-manas’ produces glamour. It is illusion on the astral plane.” p. 21. (The astral plane is the same as the emotional plane in the chart above). What this means is there is an emotional component to it that prevents thought. Glamour at this level is best dispelled by intensifying the light in the mind so that the person can think more clearly. (The Buddhist idea of analytical meditation helps here). Illusion is best dispelled by the intuition and a more clear understanding of Self-Realization.
Glamour (with the emotional component) also seems to have a lot of reactivity and attachment involved in it. (In modern day language we would call these triggers or buttons). It tends to emphasize the individual separate self and its needs. Or, it tends to confuse and cloud a deeper understanding of the Real because of an inability to think along the right lines, or hold the “mind steady in the light” to contact the higher ideas without illusion or distortion. Interestingly enough in Glamour: A World Problem, we are told that “The Bhagavad Gita can be read entirely form the standpoint of the disciple’s combat with glamour and students would be well advised to study it.” p.116
As I have mentioned before there are well over 50 glamours listed in this book. Let me speak of just a few to give you a better understanding.
- The glamour of the Messiah complex — in politics and religion especially. (You could also call this the guru complex).
- The glamour of “God in the machine” (which is a problem of materialists especially who negate the unmanifest realms).
- The glamour of conflict, with the objective of imposing righteousness or peace. (Of course this is one’s own idea of the peace and rightness that should be imposed, to the exclusion often of what the other person needs or thinks).
- The glamour of the outer appearance (being deceived by the outer trappings of anyone or anything and not perceiving the deeper soul qualities within).
Plenty more glamours exist. All must be worked through by: 1) Emphasizing the capacity of the mind to think correctly so it can better handle emotional reactions; 2) Growing a true sense of humility and a better understanding of at-one-ment (dependent arising); 3) Examining one’s tendencies to be special or superior and working through these; 4) Also, looking at how one’s fears keep one from really rising to the occasion leaving one to feel too inferior and move into inaction or misguided action; and methods not mentioned here.
Comparison to Integral.
Surely anyone who has attempted to read any of the writings by Ken Wilber can already see that parallels exist here. Though Integral doesn’t have a specific list of glamours, a training of the mind and its capacity to discern between states, levels, and lines definitely exists, especially starting with people who are at the Teal level and are ready for this kind of more rigorous work.
Coming as it does out of psychology and the Transpersonal Psychology movement, Integral also does a lot of work at helping people do “shadow work.” Typically this involves doing work on one’s emotional triggers. On a more spiritual level when people are asked to look at what they call the tendency to “spiritual bypass” you see something similar to overcoming glamours as well. (Note: the writings of Robert Masters Johnson and of Mariana Caplan I have found especially helpful here).
Along a different line, Integral does a lot of work attempting to use the mind to more scientifically verify subjective realities in a more objective way. Again, this fits with what is talked about in Bailey’s writings. (She would call this using the occult/scientific approach as well as the mystic/more emotional approach. Both are needed).
Though Integral does not provide us with a specific list of glamours the way Bailey does, and does not list these glamours according to types so you can see which type has a propensity to which glamours the most, you do see some of this in what is known as the Enneagram, especially as elucidated in the books by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson. And, although Integral does not use the Enneagram types in its list of types (Integral uses only Male/Female), people involved with the Enneagram are within their circles.
For those who are not aware the Enneagram speaks of nine types. In the writings by Alice Bailey, she speaks of seven types called “ray” types. To let the reader know the following parallels can be drawn between Enneagram types and ray types. Enneagram Types 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are very similar to Ray Types 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. The Enneagram Type 1 is similar to Ray Type 7. The Enneagram Type 8 is similar to Enneagram Type 1. The Enneagram Type 7 is actually a combination between Ray Types 3 & 4. And, the Enneagram Type 9 is like a combination of Ray types 2 & 4. As for the Enneagram “wings” (sub-types of each of their nine types), a similar thing was developed by Michael Robbins with the rays, following a hint found in one of the Alice Bailey books that each ray type had what Robbins determined to be an “A” and “B” side to it. So, even there overlaps exist.
The reason I have chosen to focus on the Enneagram books by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson (and not on books written on the Enneagram by Helen Palmer), is that Riso and Hudson created a developmental process of various levels, and this level approach is found in the Alice Bailey teachings as well. In relation to glamours, if you read Riso and Hudson’s books you can see as the Enneagram types go from Average to Healthy expressions of their nine types, it is mostly due to the fact that emotional complexes and triggers (I.e. glamours) that lead to selfishness are being overcome.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier in this post, Alice Bailey is attempting to get us to the Intuitional plane which is comprised of “synthetic understanding.” And, as I also stated earlier Integral is attempting to get us there too. Overall, even though these two approaches (Ageless Wisdom and Integral) come at the idea of glamour in different ways they do both attempt to get “glamours” removed. The only main difference here is how in the Alice Bailey model the focus on this is given a specific placement, especially as intensifying at the stage of Accepted Discipleship. As mentioned some of this begins at Integral Teal, and even to a greater degree in Integral Turquoise and Indigo, though the removal of glamour is not as specifically mentioned in their model.
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