Continuing in the series on the Six Stages of Discipleship from the Ageless Wisdom teachings, we now move into Stage Three: Accepted Discipleship. As we do so a comparison is drawn with how this stage parallels various levels in Integral.
The move from Stage Two: Chela in the Light to Stage Three: Accepted Discipleship is in many ways a shift from en-lighten-ment, to en-love-ment. Though the impulse for light in the way of both knowledge, wisdom and spiritual “experiences” is still present, increasingly this light, wisdom, and knowledge is being applied for the sake of loving and serving others.
In response to this shift, using Ageless Wisdom terms, the sacrifice petals are now opening up more fully, with the sacrifice/knowledge and sacrifice/love petals “blooming” more and more. In the sacrifice/knowledge petals (associated with Bailey’s Group 8) the individual is moving increasingly into what Alice Bailey calls the 2nd Initiation.
Briefly during the 2nd Initiation one has to be “baptised” or “purified” from their selfish motives in a much more thorough way. To use a modern phrase, there is a lot of “shadow work” going on here. Alice Bailey has three primary books that she says are essential at this stage. They are: 1) Glamour: A World Problem that speaks about over 50 distortions that can occur on the spiritual path that have to be confronted at this time. 2) Light of the Soul: The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, which involves her commentary on this ancient yoga classic that speaks increasingly about the training of the mind. 3) A Treatise on White Magic: The Way of the Disciple that reveals the magical process by which the personality can be transformed into the Soul. All of these books deal with the “pairs of opposites.” The opposites spoken of here have to do with the manifest and unmanifest worlds and the personality and the soul. These have to be bridged by way of building the antahkarana (rainbow bridge), which results in continuity of consciousness whereby the “observer and the observed” become One.
I should emphasize here that this process of bridging involves much more than simply being able to know you are the Soul or Self at all times 24/7. It is far more than a knowing. It involves being a “conscious soul incarnate” to use a Lucille Cedercrans phrase who wrote similar text as that of Alice Bailey in the 1950’s to 1960’s before she went into the Tibetan Nyingma Buddhist tradition while living in Colorado. As we move into understanding what Accepted Discipleship is about, we begin to understand that a lot more emphasis is placed on compassion, understanding, wisdom, harmlessness, sacrifice, divine indifference and love (to use just a few qualities elucidated in the compilation of Alice Bailey’s work, The Soul: A Compilation). In her system, it is not enough to simply be aware of what most people refer to as the Observer and the non-dual realms. It is important to transform oneself very skillfully regardless of your “ray type” (or various qualities you may possess), into a vehicle of love. With this premise in mind, let’s look at what her model has to say about moving from the 1st to the 2nd initiation and the very important “Accepted Discipleship” phase.
To begin with a LOT is involved in this phase and the majority of the extensive writings by Alice Bailey (covering 26 books) have to do with this phase of the spiritual path. For those who are familiar with the writings of Lucille Cedercrans (mentioned above), her writings also target mostly this stage. Because so much is said about this stage, I am grouping the major tasks involved into the following headings. I will then do a quick summary of each major task in this blog. Then in blog posts to follow I will do one post on each of the Major Tasks relating them as best I can to Integral’s Turquoise and Indigo stages (though they don’t have a lot to say about these levels in comparison to what Alice Bailey speaks of).
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: Brief Summary
1. Dispel Glamours
In the book Glamour: A World Problem, Alice Bailey conveys over 50 glamours that must be worked through in order to progress on the spiritual path. Briefly put, 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.
2. Develop Impersonality
Accepted Discipleship for the most part is associated with the 2nd Initiation (known as the “baptism” in esoteric Christianity) and involves a very long process of recognizing our selfish motives and cleaning them up so we become more inter-connected with the whole we already are. In order to deal with the many strains at this stage we have to learn “divine indifference”, “detachment,” or cultivate “impersonality.” In short, we learn to de-centralize and no longer put so much emphasis on the drama of our own lives.
3. Cultivate Love
As we saw in the posts on Little Chelaship and Chela in the Light a lot of the spiritual path at those stages is about “my spiritual growth,” “my spiritual status,” “me having spiritual experiences.” It can also involve a big focus on the intellect and “my understanding” of “special esoteric knowledge” or having achieved “high spiritual states.” At this stage of the spiritual path the focus shifts. A greater sense of humility emerges and the personal selfish ego is submerged into a genuine understanding of love and becoming a demonstration of love in the world. (To use a Christian phrase you become more Christ-like. To use a Buddhist phrase you become more of a Bodhisattva).
4. Blend the Mystic and the Occultist
In Letters on Occult Meditation by Alice Bailey much is written about the difference between a mystic and an occultist. The mystic at the lower levels is primarily someone who is more emotionally and devotionally based. With great fervor and longing the mystic strives to know the Divine. The mystic path is also connected mainly to the heart and at the higher levels the mystic is the pure expression of Divine Love. The occult path is a more scientific and mental approach. It is connected mainly to the head. At the lower levels the occultist/scientist knows how to manipulate the forces of nature and the subtle realms, but is separative in doing so (Darth Vadar/Voldermort). At the higher level the occultist/scientist retains a scientific method in manipulate the forces of nature and subtle realms, but has a connection to the whole (Yoda). Whereas the mystic at the lower level can seem too impractical, the occultist at the lower level can seem too cold. During the Little Chelaship stage often the mystical path at the lower impractical level dominates. When we get to the Chela in the Light stage the occult path with its more scientific and intellectual approach starts to take over. At the stage of Accepted Discipleship we must start the process of blending the head/scientific approach with the heart/mystic path.
5. Engage in More Effective Service With a More Humble & Loving Heart
In the Alice Bailey teachings we are told that around the year 2000 (approximately 100 to 200 years before and after that date), two major shifts have been impacting all of humanity. One shift is moving us from the Age of Pisces (with an emphasis more on mystical approaches to reality), to the Age of Aquarius (with the emphasis moving to a more scientific approach to reality). The other shift is moving us from the 6th ray (with the emphasis being mainly on escaping from earth-bound life and moving into the unmanifest realms) to the 7th ray (with an emphasis on bringing “heaven to earth” within the manifest realms). For this reason far from being able to escape the manifest world, increasingly we are being called to remain in it and learn how to serve with a genuine humble and loving heart.
6. Contact the “Master” Within
This contact involves first and foremost learning to make that contact free from glamour or distortion. In Light on the Soul: The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, Alice Bailey gives her understanding of this classic text helps us do just that. The Yoga Sutras talk about how to use the mind to master the emotions so that these distortions no longer prevent us from recognizing the Real. A quarter of Yoga Sutras focuses on the psychic or mind powers that must be understood and unless you are ready, even avoided. In Esoteric Psychology, Vol II, Alice Bailey also talks about the “Diseases of Occultists and Mystics.” Much is said about psychic powers including the phenomenon of channeling. A scientific and rational approach is encouraged as we approach all of this, and until we can master our minds (and emotions) to make such an approach, we cannot really be clear on what is happening when we are contacting the subtle realms. Caution is therefore advised.
Having set all of this up, please look for six posts to follow where I take each of these main tasks, define them more clearly, and relate them to Integral.
Have comments, questions, suggestions? They will be posted so long as they are civil and expand the discussion.
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