This post is the last in the series on Six Stages of Discipleship in regards to Stage Four, Chela on the Thread. The post talks about continuity of consciousness, which is the ability to remain aware of who we really are spiritually at all times.
In the Integral model continuity of consciousness might best be explained as remaining continually aware of Suchness, Emptiness, the Void, Nonduality and so forth. In the Ageless Wisdom teachings one becomes aware of what is known as “the Monad,” which is your essential spiritual essence. The secret is to become consistently aware of both your non-dual nature (the unmanifest) and at the same time deepen your understanding of the dual (the manifest world). The end result is I AM That I AM, which is both non-dual/dual simultaneously existent in your consciousness at all times.
Establish Continuity of Consciousness.
In the Ageless Wisdom teachings continuity of consciousness is most often referred to as building the cable known as the antakarana, where one first contacts the Monad (non-duality) and then stabilizes one’s consciousness at the higher levels of first the buddhic and then atmic planes. (Higher levels beyond the atmic plane we are told cannot be reached while one remains in a human body). The more we stabilize at higher levels the more we can perceive what level we are on, and thereby more accurately intuit what levels are above, and what levels lie below.
Though you can find references to continuity of consciousness and the buddhic and atmic planes in the works of Integral, for the most part they do not emphasize these terms. Their model (as I have been showing in these posts) is also much more simplified than the one the Ageless Wisdom teachings use. (Note: while writing this I received an advertisement from the Integral community about their new Superhuman Operating System, which they are charging nearly $1000 for. I may bite the bullet and pay it out at the discount $777 rate by the end of today to see what their latest evolution is, but I am pretty certain it will be very similar to the previous Integral Operating System I already purchased awhile back. If I buy the supposedly new and improved version, I will let you know if there is anything truly new that emerges, or if I just wasted my money).
As a slight digression, to let you know the phrases buddhic and atmic exist within the models of Hinduism and Buddhism. As Alice Bailey relates it, Christianity in its esoteric form could also be said to have buddhic and atmic components. The “buddhic” plane is also known as the Intuitional plane in the Ageless Wisdom teachings, which is analogous to what is known as Christ consciousness. Christ consciousness is said to resonate to the principle of planetary love. On the buddhic plane, the “Christ” represents love, while the the Buddha, is said to relate more to the wisdom aspect of divinity. On the intuitional, or buddhic, plane we could say that we are able to embody and demonstrate a high degree of planetary love and wisdom for the benefit of all.
The goal of spiritual evolution in the Ageless Wisdom model is to bridge from the lower preoccupations and focus that obsess one’s consciousness, to higher ones. Lower preoccupations have to do with the personality with it’s physical, emotional, and everyday mental preoccupations. Using the chakras as an analogy, one’s everyday life is dominated primarily with thoughts of money/survival, sex/pleasure, and power all predominanatly for the benefit of oneself, and maybe one’s family and those people who help feed one’s ability to get and maintain more money/survival, sex/pleasure, and power for oneself. In the Integral model the levels of Infrared to Orange all illustrate these stages of development. In the Ageless Wisdom model we could say this stage goes from Group One to Group 6. As I have shown on these posts, the cutting edge of Integral (Teal and Turquoise) takes us mostly through what the Ageless Wisdom teachings call the 1st Initiation (or first major expansion of consciousness). Integral’s Violet and Indigo intersect somewhat with what the Ageless Wisdom teachings call the 2nd Initiation, though the correlations are incomplete.
The 1st and 2nd Initiations in the Alice Bailey system also takes us through the unfoldment of what is known as the sacrifice petals in the egoic lotus. As these petals are opened what is known as the “spiritual triad” is beginning to be sensed as well. The bridge, or antakarana, leading to the spiritual triad is being built. In general the “triad” consists of three aspects: 1) higher abstract/symbolic mind, 2) buddhic consciousness, and 3) atmic awareness/beingness. In other words, your everyday contents of consciousness shift from money/security, sex/pleasure, and power, to abstract and symbolic ideas, compassionate embrace of all sentient beings, and the use of the will for the sake of bringing the lower will into alignment with the good of the whole. On a practical level, if you want to know how much you have built the bridge yourself, simply log your everyday preoccupations and examine what they are really comprised of.
Also, to clarify there is a disagreement between Buddhism and Hinduism about the “Atma”, or notion of their being a lasting permanent self known as the Atma. Hinduism says that there is. Buddhism says there is not. The Ageless Wisdom teachings fall into alignment with Buddhism. There is an apparent self known as the personality, an apparent self known as the soul (egoic lotus), an apparent self known as the atman, but each of these seemingly real selves are not lasting. They seem to last for a period of time, the way a movie lasts and we think the characters on the screen are real until the film is shut off and the characters dissolve into the essential unreality that they are in the manifest (projected) world.
Part of what happens with continuity of consciousness is that we keep shifting our identities, or understanding of who we are. Eventually, we know ourselves to be the most essential self (called now in the Ageless Wisdom teachings the Monad, which goes beyond Atma). And, we simultaneously know ourselves to be the image that is projected in the physical world (in my case as Lisa). And, we are to begin to consciously lift the vibration of that projected image (Lisa) into the spiritual triad where the everyday consciousness of Lisa is preoccupied with spiritual triad themes. To summarize we have three tasks.
- Know the REAL that you Always Already Are (Non-dual).
- Understand the Purpose (the play, lila, story line) for being in the manifest world.
- Life that which is in the manifest world into higher (broader, more inclusive, more integral) levels of awareness.
Again, it is not enough to just discover the non-dual. Non-duality includes duality. If you excluded the dual from the non-dual, you would not have non-duality; you would have duality. The best symbol to represent the non-dual/dual is the Yin/Yang symbol. Here you have the dual world of existence included in the whole of the non-dual.
Ways to Establish Continuity of Consciousness
Continuity of conciousness implies that we are continually conscious or aware of the non-dual/dual. To repeat that means we are also conscious of what is attempting to unfold in the manifest realms. And, we are lifting ourselves into having our everyday focus be along triadal themes. In many ways, I have already done a good description of what triadal consciusness is like in my post on Chela on the Thread: Psychic Powers, III. Instead of reposting all of that here, I invite you to read that post and then come back to this one if you need a refresher. One way to establish triadal awareness is simply to allow yourself to focus mainly on the triadal themes listed in that post that include cultivating the abstract mind, developing the capacity for synthetic (integral) understanding, developing a heart of compassion and practicing embracing compassion for all living beings, and through the technique of the will come into greater alignment with what is good for the whole to generate more goodwill in the world. This summary is an over-simplification, but it will suffice for now. Another method is to take up dream yoga as it is known in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, which is also called lucid dreaming in the West.
Meditation is another excellent approach, though simply doing mindfulness meditation, where you rehash the contents of your thoughts, feelings, and physical processes won’t necessarily lift you out of the the “three lower realms” of mind, emotion, and physical body into the higher triadal realms of atma, buddhi, and the higher mind. Different meditation approaches are needed to get here, such as focusing on abstract symbols, generating bodhichitta (compassion for everyone), and asserting you Be-Ness through a mantra. Recently, I saw a video on YouTube about Tibetan Buddhism. They talked about a nun who had been meditating consistently for decades. She stated that at this point, her meditation now consisted only of a few mantras, the main one being “Om Mani Padme Hum”, which some interpret as “Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus.” That interpretation fits with the Alice Bailey teachings, since the jewel at the heart of the egoic lotus is the Monad.
Finally, coming back to the Chela on the Thread notion, you can consciously attempt in meditation and as you go to sleep to contact the “Master” and the “Ashram.” Again, a lot of distortion and glamour can happen around those words, which is why I wrote numerous posts on cleaning up glamours, understanding the difference between lower and higher psychic powers, and the whole channeling phenomena. One can get quite lost and move out into what is known as the “astral realms”, which are really just fantasies created mainly by one’s own wish life and a desire to be somebody special spiritually. Until all of this is discerned and cleaned up, it is impossible to know for certain if you are in touch with higher levels, which are all about a truly intelligent mind, compassionate heart, and active will that is capable along with others of creating a better world.
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