This post continues the look at the Six Stages of Discipleship moving into Stage Four, Chela on the Thread. The post gives an introduction as to what the phrase Chela on the Thread means and outlines the major tasks that need to be undergone before this stage is completed. It also lays the groundwork for future posts where this stage is compared more in depth regarding what is talked about in the Integral/Ken Wilber approach.
To orient us let me again remind those of you who are reading these posts of the Six Stages of Discipleship. They are: Little Chelaship, Chela in the Light, Accepted Discipleship, Chela on the Thread, Chela in the Aura, Chela in the Master’s Heart. With Chela on the Thread we get a symbolic understanding that we are being linked up somehow. There is a thread that connects us with something else. As we will come to understand knowing what that something is, and discerning it correctly, is a big part of what the Chela on the Thread stage is all about. Also, when we review again the chart on Levels and Terms you will notice that I have currently assigned this stage to what corresponds to Violet/Indigo in the Integral model and the 2nd Initiation (expansion of consciousness) in the Ageless Wisdom model.
So let me begin by outlining my summary of the major tasks I feel are implied when reading the text from Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I by Alice Bailey. I will then give a brief summary of each task, with posts to follow going into more detail.
Chela on the Thread — Major Tasks: List
- Discern Between Higher and Lower Psychic Powers
- Achieve Group Resonance
- Learn the Science of Impression and Contact
- Establish Continuity of Consciousness
Chela on the Thread — Major Tasks: Brief Summary
1. Discern Between Higher and Lower Psychic Powers
Presently there is a lot of confusion about psychic powers. People or spiritual teachers who claim to have psychic abilities are even given a great deal of status and even money. In the mass culture much is made of being able to see things others cannot see, hear things others cannot hear, so on and so forth. In fact, the largest block busters in our times (2016) typically involve super heroes who possess these abilities. They use the force (Star Wars), come from an alien planet (Superman), are like Gods (Thor), are mutants with supernatural powers (X-Men), and on and on it goes. The point is though these powers and abilities are glorified, they are not really that advanced. They say nothing about coming from a higher level of consciousness as even these popular movies illustrate. The mystery, glamour, and distortions regarding these powers have to be cleared up at this stage. Even the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali (an ancient text that is considered the foundation of yoga practice) has a whole book on the psychic powers attempting to get us to understand what they are all about. Eventually, as we sort all of this out we can use all the psychic powers (so called higher and lower). But, until we do sort it out caution is advised at all levels.
2. Achieve Group Resonance.
I have specifically worded this task this way because for me it better implies what is going on, while discarding the typical glamour that gets associated with this task. That is because from this point on we are heading into tricky terrain, and even Integral is sparse on commentary on this stage, probably for the same reason. We can get into dangerous waters here. Why? Because phrases are used like “getting in touch with the Master.” “Becoming part of the Ashram.” These phrases can lead to a great deal of confusion. For example, my husband was part of a spiritual ashram and in touch with a Master for twenty years. Already you can hear the skepticism and hesitation. The ashram (spiritual community) was called Yogaville and still exists in Virginia (look it up online). His Master was Sri Swami Satchiananda, the guru who showed up at Woodstock. And, my husband spent twenty years helping to build this spiritual community. I am mentioning it here to immediately show how tricky the whole subject is. Are we talking about a physical ashram (spiritual community)? One on the “inner planes?” Is it a real Master? What is a Master? Is the person I believe to be a Master a Master by your terms? Though I will discuss all of this more in an upcoming post, for now I wanting to shift the focus away from contact with a Master or affiliation with an Ashram to group resonance. What I mean by this is how much do we resonant with the spiritual values, intentions, and purpose for existence of the group? This puts the focus back on our own spiritual growth and development. More to follow again in later posts.
3. Learn the Science of Impression and Contact
The “Thread” is essentially a link, but a link to what? Here we have to discern regarding what we are contacting in the subtle, or psychic realms. Is it a figment of our imagination? A projection of our own subconscious? Is it symbolic? Real? A significant amount of training needs to happen along these lines to begin to understand what is going on here. And, if we are not careful we can get quite lost for a substantial amount of time. As for the two words, impression and contact, they have to do with receiving impressions (ideas or inspirations), and being able to send “messages” (contact) who we believe we are getting impressions from in return. To the scientifically minded all of this can immediately cause a feeling of revolt, and rightly so. Yet, that does not mean the topic is not worth serious investigation. After all almost all of us receive impressions or inspirations. Where do these come from? What use do they have for us? What is the source? As for contact, for thousands of years humans have attempted contact with Gods, Goddesses, Masters, Gurus, Saints, Archetypal figures, Devas, Dakinis, Angels, even Aliens. To just dismiss all of this as some sort of delusion seems delusional as well. That is why at this stage a clear investigation and comprehension becomes essential.
4. Establish Continuity of Consciousness.
Technically this phrase in the Ageless Wisdom teachings has to do with building a cable known as the antakarana, where one is able to stabilize one’s consciousness at a higher level. The more we stabilize at higher levels the more we can perceive what level we are on, intuit what levels are above, and what levels lie below. This said, when it comes to the Chela on the Thread we are not just speaking about the antakarana or Rainbow Bridge as it is also sometimes known. That “bridge” helps us perceive what level a point of contact may be coming from, but we are told it is not mechanism of contact. That line of light is something quite different. Again, we need to understand the difference and be able to utilize effectively them both.
Regarding my comparisons with Integral. As we get into the Chela on the Thread stage we do not find these stages really outlined as stages in the Integral model. They do talk about psychic powers and if they are real or not, and have conversations about subtle states. There is mention of continuity of consciousness. They do talk about becoming part of the Integral movement or Integral group. But, they do not mention these things in quite the same ways. They do not relate to them to their level model and see all of this as a stage. That is why the comparison between the two models in terms of levels is breaking down so much from this point forward. Still, since this is meant to be an Ageless Wisdom vs. Integral blog, I will continue to do my best to make comparisons where possible.
In conclusion, I would like to quote directly from the Alice Bailey book, Discipleship in the New Age, Vol I, which remind us of what has to be in place in a person’s life before this stage can even be considered.
“The requirements can be stated as follows:
- The disciple has succeeded in decentralising himself and is no longer the point of dramatic interest on his own little stage. He is no longer preoccupied with his feeling nature and the excessive self-interest, evidenced by so many, no longer controls his thoughts and aspiration.
- The disciple can now work with impersonality, no matter how his own personal nature may be reacting. This means that his own feelings, thoughts, likes, dislikes and desires are no longer the controlling factors; he is conditioned in his daily activities and relationships only by those intentions and activities which are for the good of the group. He will not sacrifice any individual to the group good until after due effort to help that individual understand and demonstrate right relationship; but he will not hesitate to take firm action as need and opportunity arise.
- The disciple has developed a sense of proportion as to the work and the relative value of his contribution to the Master’s work and the Ashram life. He is engrossed in the task and the opportunity and not with the Master and with his individual position in the Master’s thoughts. Most disciples in the early stages of their novitiate never forget that they are disciples. This is what the Master Morya has called the “smug recollection of the self-engrossed mind.” It is a form of veiled pride which beginners find it difficult to avoid. Never for a minute do they forget the fact of their discipleship and the fact of the Master, no matter how active their service; yet—if they were truly working from a point of tension—they would forget His very existence in the work to be done for their fellowmen.
- The chela on the thread has reached a point where the higher correspondence to the so-called “split personality” is to be found, or (to word it otherwise) where that state of consciousness, of which the split personality is the shadow and the distortion, makes its appearance. The disciple is conscious simultaneously of two states of awareness or two points of concentrated activity:
- The point of spiritual tension wherein he is focussed and which he endeavours to preserve inviolate and constant.
- The focussed sphere of activity in the three worlds, through the medium of which he carries out his work and service as a disciple.
These two related points are not in reality two separated activities, except as they emerge in the consciousness of the disciple upon the physical plane and express his objective and his subjective life. They are incident to his having to work in time and space and through the medium of a physical brain. The second point of focus should be in reality an externalisation of the inner point of tension. In these words, you have the key to the true science of discipleship, to the developing relation of the human centre and the hierarchical. It concerns also the work of the Buddha and the Christ, as They represent the point of tension at Shamballa and in the Hierarchy. pp. 743 – 745
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