Continuing to compare the Alice Bailey/Wisdom levels with those of Integral/Wilber, we move on to Group Eight in the Bailey model and how it relates to a combination of the Green and Teal levels in Integral.
In the Ageless Wisdom teachings entrance into Group Eight is quite significant because it is here that we “enter the kingdom of Heaven” meaning we take the first initiation (undergo that first serious expansion of consciousness, which is often experienced as an enlightenment), and begin to radically reorient our sense of who we are. In connecting this stage of spiritual development with Integral, the Integral levels no longer seem to line up as neatly as before. For this reason Group Eight seems to be more of a mixture, perhaps between what Integral calls Green and Teal.
Integral Levels of Development
As always in these posts I start with the Integral Map and its seven to ten levels.
And, here is another chart zooming in on what is emphasized above
And, here is the Ageless Wisdom map, with its 61 levels, 12 of which are found within the Egoic Lotus..
10 Soul Groups of Alice Bailey & Integral Connections.
Again, a reminder that in Esoteric Psychology II, (EP II) pp. 203 – 207, 10 groups of evolving humanity are presented. We will now examine Group Seven. Another reminder, EP II was written nearly 80 years ago.
Esoteric Psychology, Vol II, (EP II) p. 207, lets us know that Group Eight is composed primarily of “practical mystics.” We are told in EP II that their “intelligence and love nature is becoming so awakened and integrated that they can begin to tread the Path of Discipleship.” The word discipleship implies that they are willingly undergoing the “disciplines” of spiritual life. They no longer aspire, and often don’t do very much, as aspirants. They are no longer probationary disciples (where they will typically only undergo disciplines that feel good to them and bring them immediate rewards, especially in the way of having prestige, power, access to pleasure and money). Rather, they are ready to do the nitty/gritty, often unpleasant and not very rewarding work, of spiritual life. We are told that at this point people in Group Eight also undergo what is called the “First Initiation” (or first expansion of consciousness that makes them factually and substantially aware of the Real), moving them at last into the Sacrifice petals (especially the Sacrifice/Knowledge petal) of the Egoic Lotus.
Looking at what Michael Robbins has to say on Group Eight in his Egoic Lotus Webinar Commentaries 4 Series starting around 34:00, we learn that here the mystic (found in Group Seven) starts to become the occultist (the person who is more practical, mental, and investigative in a more rigorous and systematic way regarding the inner subjective worlds). Robbins emphasizes that at this stage there is a lot less wishful, glamorized and fanciful thinking about the spiritual realms. Beyond this when drawing on EP II and Robbins commentaries the information gets sparse. For this reason I will start to draw a bit from other Ageless Wisdom texts.
To start with here is a brief statement from A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 541, about the Sacrifice/Knowledge petal, which is associated with Group Eight. It reads…
- Sacrifice/Knowledge: The Petal of Knowledge for the mental plane; its unfoldment marks the period wherein the man consciously utilizes all that he has gained or is gaining under the law for the definite benefit of humanity.
What leaps out to me the most regarding the above is the basic reorientation in motive. In Group Six you are using all you have gained in life mainly to benefit yourself. Even if you are charitable to others, the need to be recognized for your charitable work, or to gain personal benefit out of it (tax write-offs or your name on a building for example) is still strong. In Group Seven you are “kind of” using all you have gained in life in service to humanity, so long as it doesn’t get too much in the way of you still maintaining a lot of prestige, power, admiration from others, money, sex, mystical experiences to get you high, and whatever else feels good to your personal ego.
Then we get to Group Eight and all of this doesn’t seem to matter as much. And, especially as we get to Group Nine (the next stage that involves the Sacrifice/Love petal), you don’t care at all about the personal goodies you get. In fact, the more you get, the more you give. Maybe that is why in EP II, when it speaks about sacrifice it describes it as a joyful giving. You are not giving spiritually to be a good religious person or get into heaven the way Group Five and the Integral Amber levels do. Nor, are you approaching giving as described above with Groups Six and Seven. Rather, you begin to give in a generous way precisely because as KNOW you are “Oneness,” the “Real,” or “Unity Consciousness.” And, the more you know this the more difficult it is for you to conceive of doing anything else but give, since paradoxically giving to others is really giving to yourself.
At this stage as well the motivation underlying life seems to radically shift. For example, we are told in Rays and Initiations, p. 667 regarding those who take the first initiation the following: Those “who truly love their fellowmen, who are interested in the esoteric teaching, and who seek to discipline themselves in order to attain greater beauty of life, are initiate and have undergone the first initiation.” For me, this quote seems to indicate how the motivation of life increasingly is about fitting oneself to be a vehicle of love using esoteric teaching to help discipline oneself accordingly in order to be able to really serve and therefore not only attain greater beauty in life, but to beautify life as well.
Another perhaps more startling revelation about this stage comes from Discipleship in the New Age, Vol II (under the conversation about “Little Chelaship” which begins with Group Seven and Probationary Discipleship and then enters into Group Eight of Accepted Discipleship), where we are told that part of the goal at this stage is to “break the person of a materialistic orientation and free him [or her] from the hold of of physical world and the physical appetites.” In other words, it seems the fixation on money, sex, pleasure, power and influence that are so important in Groups Six and even Group Seven are meant to go by the wayside. Relinquishing the attachment to these things is hardly appealing to almost everyone. Images of nuns and monks living in cloistered spaces come to mind who seem solemn and repressed (emotionally and sexually). Yet, these images do not accurately reflect what is going on. True, this “breaking of the materialistic orientation” may result in some traumatic events being endured leading to some desperate, lonely, and confusing times. Having come out of Group Seven one might think, “Isn’t the spiritual path supposed to give you everything you want? Can’t you have it all?” Group Seven certainly believes so. So, the shock of this not coming true might be a bit jarring at best. Regardless, it is a radical wake-up call to get more practical, and less idealistic, which is a big part of what this stage is about.
Another not so popular thing to wrap one’s head around coming out of Group Seven into Group Eight is the emphasis on reorientation regarding sex. For example, we are told the following in Rays and Initiations, p. 668-669. After the first initiation, the entire sex relationship shifts gradually and steadily into its proper place as simply a natural phase of existence in the three worlds and as one of the normal and correct appetites, but the emphasis changes. The higher experience and correspondence, that of which physical sex is only the symbol, becomes apparent. Maybe this is part of the Sacrifice/Knowledge process where we are in a sense gaining “knowledge of how sacrifice” (perhaps defined for a moment as willing limitation) can help stabilize us. The approach to sexuality (and also money, power, and influence) is not meant to be repressive the way it often is with Group Five and the Amber level. Nor is it meant to be excessive as it might be with Group Six and the Orange level (with numerous sexual partners that one often indiscriminately has relations with). And, it is not meant to be glamorized as some “high” you can get and still be spiritual as it is with Group Seven and the lower part of the Integral Green level. (Take Tantra for example, which has been popularized into sex with with spiritual overtones, something true Tantra in the East rarely involves. After all, the Dalai Lama, a life long celibate, is said to be one of the highest Tantric practitioners in Tibetan Buddhism).
Rather it seems that sex (as well as money, pleasure and power) become more regulated and controlled. Not by some religious group out there dictating what you should do. (Again reminiscent of Group Five and Amber), but rather because it becomes more natural, rythymic and regulated. And, to summarize from the writings of Robert Augustus Masters in his book Transformation Through Intimacy, sex becomes a more truly loving and intimate experience. To draw upon another book by psychologist Robert Augustus Masters, Spiritual Bypassing, it also seems that in general from a psycho-spiritual level, a lot of deep inner transformative work is starting to happen at this level. Gone are the cravings for material highs found in Group Six and even spiritual highs found in Group Seven. Now, one is confronted with something more ordinary, but paradoxically much more REAL. That reality is tied a great deal into the reality of love. And, in fact as we move from Group Eight to Group Nine and head into the Sacrifice/Love petals, the experience of love as it really is only increases all the more.
Another quote related to this phase reinforces what Robbins says about Group Eight earlier. Again from Rays and Initiations, p. 664, The mystical Way leads to the first initiation. Having achieved its purpose, it is then renounced, and the “lighted Way” of occultism is then followed, leading to the lighted areas of the higher states of consciousness. Here the emphasis is on being grounded and practical, but I also think it represents a dedication of oneself to a spiritual methodology that leads to transformative results that take one away from a mostly selfish and egotistical life to one of true love of humanity, dedication, and service. In many ways I am reminded of the spiritual approach of Buddhism. Whether it is the laborious sitting practices of mindfulness meditation utilized in the Theraveda Buddhist path, or the equally laborious and technical techniques of true tantra (that involves extensive visualizations, deity yoga, the chanting of mantras, use of color and sound and very involved meditation practices) of the Mahayana path of Tibetan Buddhism, there is something quite technical and rigorous to these deeper spiritual approaches. In Group Eight and at the First Initiation as the hold of the material world and a kind of psuedo spirituality is increasingly broken, the allure of these deeper spiritual approaches and a willingness to discipline oneself along one of these spiritual paths more clearly emerges.
Another thing important for Group Eight to develop is the use of what is called the Technique of Indifference. From Glamour: A World Problem, p. 172 we read that in between the Probationary Path (undergone with Group Seven) and the Path of Discipleship (undergone with Group Eight) the following technique applies. The Technique of Indifference. By means of this technique, maya is ended; for the control of the purified astral vehicle is consciously and technically brought into activity, producing the freeing of the energies of the etheric body from the control of matter or force-substance, and bringing men in large numbers on to the Probationary Path. Where there is “divine indifference” to the call or pull of matter, then inspiration becomes possible. This technique is related to Karma Yoga in its most practical form and the use of matter with complete impersonality. The goal of this technique is the first initiation, which enables man to “live a life, inspired by God.” Inspiration is the applied power of transmission.
As we become indifferent as to whether we have money, pleasure, or power and learn to regulate these in our lives through karma yoga, we also become open for the first time to what is known as Buddhic energy. In Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, p. 161 we are told, The first initiation is purely the concern of the man’s own soul, and the moment that that initiation has been taken, a measure of buddhic energy can enter and the process of transference of the higher ethers and their substitution for the lower can go forward. This, as you may well imagine, produces conflict; the personality etheric body rejects the incoming higher ether, and thus crises are produced in the initiate’s life. In other words as we stand open to the inspiration from the higher buddhic levels of intuition, love, compassion, and understanding, the personality attachments to the material world and our selfish tendencies are greatly disrupted. Again, that breaking of the bonds to the material world is thrust at us and the only way out seems to be again that “divine indifference” that willing stands in the fire to purify our selfish motives into increasingly unselfish ones.
Finally, a note about kundalini, known as the serpent fire, the fire of matter, and the latent fire that resides at the base of the spine. Group Seven in their rush to become instantly enlightened is always tempted to take short-cuts, including finding ways to “raise the kundalini” in their rush to enlightenment. Also, because Group Seven is so easily over-stimulated in their over intensity in engaging in spiritual practice, they may be inclined to accidentally get the process of kundalini going. At the same time the raising of the kundalini starts in earnest at the First Initiation. For this reason I thought I would close with this quote from Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 139. No more can be imparted concerning this subject. He who directs his efforts to the control of the fires of matter, is (with a dangerous certainty) playing with a fire that may literally destroy him. He should not cast his eyes backwards, but should lift them to the plane where dwells his immortal Spirit, and then by self-discipline, mind-control and a definite refining of his material bodies, whether subtle or physical, fit himself to be a vehicle for the divine birth, and participate in the first Initiation. When the Christ-child (as the Christian so beautifully expresses it) has been born in the cave of the heart, then that divine guest can consciously control the lower material bodies by means of consecrated mind. Only when buddhi has assumed an ever-increasing control [Page 140] of the personality, via the mental plane (hence the need of building the antaskarana), will the personality respond to that which is above, and the lower fires mount and blend with the two higher. Only when Spirit, by the power of thought, controls the material vehicles, does the subjective life assume its rightful place, does the God within shine and blaze forth till the form is lost from sight, and “the path of the just shine ever more and more until the day be with us.”
As this kundalini process occurs a dramatic shift takes place in the person’s consciousness. No longer is the individual concerned with the pairs of opposites or duality (in terms of a Higher Self and lower self). Now, non-dualistic approaches are engaged in part because the reality of “I and the Father are One,” or “I Am That I Am” emerge as a living experience and not just an interesting platitude.
Integral and Green
Values: Bottom line: Community harmony and equality. Basic theme: Seek peace within the inner self and explore, with others, the caring dimensions of community. What’s important: Sensitivity to others and the environment; feelings and caring (in response to the cold rationality of Orange); harmony and equality; reconciliation, consensus, dialogue, participation, relationships, and networking; human development, bonding and spirituality; diversity and multiculturalism; relativism and pluralism; freeing the human spirit from greed, dogma, and divisiveness; distributing the earth’s resources and opportunities equally among all. Where seen: Frequently visible in the helping professions (e.g., health care, education, and feelings-oriented business activities); John Lennon’s Imagine; Netherlands’ idealism; sensitivity training; cooperative inquiry; postmodernism; politically correct; human rights and diversity issues
Self-Identity: Main focus: Self in relation to the system and in interaction with the system. Qualities: Makes decisions based upon their own view of reality; aware that interpreting reality “always depends on the position of the observer”; more tolerant of oneself and others due to awareness of life’s complexity and individual differences; questions old identities; more interested in personal accomplishments independent of socially sanctioned rewards; increased understanding of complexity, systemic connections, and unintended effects of actions; begins to question own assumptions and those of others; talks of interpretations rather than truth; systematic problem solving; begins to seek out and value feedback How influences others: Adapts (ignores) rules when needed, or invents new ones; discusses issues and airs differences
Group Eight and the Higher Levels of Green
Group Eight we are told is moving away from mysticism. This also means it is moving away from an idealistic approach and is far less idealist, and much more realistic, than the Green level of Integral tends to be. Getting together to sing John Lennon’s Imagine song is no longer enough. Just being a nice and sensitive person is no longer enough. Talking about human rights and diversity is no longer enough. It is time to walk the talk. Yes, we want to free ourselves from human greed, dogma and divisiveness. Yes, we want to be more open to pluralism. Yes, it is a good thing to discuss issues and air differences. And, it is very good to question our assumptions and those of others, to talk of interpretations rather than truth (aka Byron Katie’s The Work and Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements). All of this represents a higher level of Integral Green than talked about in the previous post on Group Seven and Integral Green where I mostly focused on Wilber’s idea of Boomeritis. As I mentioned in the post, and will mention again here, it almost seems as if the Integral model of Green needs to be broken into two levels, much in the same way they broke Orange into two levels.
Perhaps we could say that the beginning stage of Green is more idealistic and naive in regards to their Integral approach. They are also more a mixture of Orange and Green values, meaning they are interested in spiritual practices so long as they don’t have to lose too much money, prestige and access to pleasure (including access to sex). And, even though they are much more inclined to appreciate and want what is for the greater good, they are less inclined to really sacrifice too much for it. Thus, they don’t often walk the idealistic talk.
However, at the later stages of the Integral Green, we may actually see more genuine tapping into what is known as he Buddhic plane and its pull to keep moving higher in the use of intuition, compassion, inspiration, and synthetic understanding for the good of all. There is still a naive confusion here about how unity and diversity need to come together. A four year old and a forty year old are different developmentally. That doesn’t make them better or worse than each other. But, it does mean they have different needs and vastly different understandings of the world. If we don’t truly understand diversity as knowing how to help others grow spiritually with “skillful means” as the Buddhists tend to call it, then we are truly being of use. Only as we understand this do we go farther and get into what Integral calls “Teal.” Because Integral does not break up the Green level clearly enough it is not as easy a fit as the other levels are with the Bailey model. For now, I am placing Integral Green then somewhere between what Group Seven and Group Eight (or the Love/Sacrifice and Sacrifice/Knowledge petals) are about.
Group Eight and Teal.
Which leads me to the Integral Teal level, which follows their Green. To begin with it is interesting to note that in the Integral model they state that movement into Teal represents a quantum leap. They call it moving into Tier Two (with all other stages being a part of Tier One). The notion of moving into a whole new level and way of being pretty much matches what the Ageless Wisdom teachings have to say about undergoing the First Initiation, or first expansion of consciousness into a whole new “kingdom” beyond the human kingdom, something they call the “kingdom of conscious souls.” Again this is the shift away from dualism to non-dualism. Yes, there is unity in diversity as the Integral Green level suggests. Only there is also something more. Let’s briefly look at how Integral attempts to convey this in their Teal level.
Once again I will begin by typing what is in the chart above on Teal to make it easier to read. “Higher principles rule relativism. Aware of system interrelatedness, interdependence. 4th person perspective expanded in historical time. Experience of enduring core self integrating multiple subpersonalities into coherent complex self identity and self story. Aware of current self as culmination of prior development.”
And, here again are quotes directly from An Overview of Developmental Stages of Consciousness compiled by Barrett C. Brown, Integral Institute April 3, 2006.
Values: Bottom line: Qualities and responsibilities of being. Basic theme: Live fully and responsibly as what you are and learn to become. What’s important: The magnificence of existence (over material possessions); flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality; knowledge and competency (over rank, power, status); the integration of differences into interdependent, natural flows; complementing egalitarianism with natural degrees of ranking and excellence; recognition of overlapping dynamic systems and natural hierarchies in any context. Where seen: Peter Senge’s organizations; W. Edward Deming’s objectives; Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time; chaos and complexity theories; eco-industrial parks (using each other’s outflows as raw materials)
Self-Identity: Main focus: Linking theory and principles with practice; dynamic systems interactions Qualities: Comprehends multiple interconnected systems of relationships and processes; able to deal with conflicting needs and duties in constantly shifting contexts; recognizes the need for autonomy while parts of a system are interdependent; recognizes higher principles, social construction of reality, complexity and interrelationships; problem finding not just creative problem solving; aware of paradox and contradiction in system and self; sensitive to unique market niches, historical moment, larger social movements; creates “positive-sum” games; aware of own power (and perhaps tempted by it); seeks feedback from others and environment as vital for growth and making sense of world. How influences others: Leads in reframing, reinterpreting situation so that decisions support overall principle, strategy, integrity, and foresight
Two Models Compared.
Again, these two models at this point don’t line up as easily anymore. Keeping this in mind let me point out some places of seeming correlation. To begin with, higher principles do start to rule relativism in Group Eight as they become more aware of what the higher principles are, primarily as they learn more about the higher worlds using a more occult method of approach. Becoming aware of system interrelatedness and interdependence also starts to occur especially in regards to historical time. In fact, the whole movement into studying the large scope of time (especially in regards to cyclic time) is a big part of occult training. And, at the First Initiation the direct experience of an enduring core self is a big part of the process. As for “integrating multiple subpersonalities into coherent complex self identity and self story”, it is interesting to note that the entire idea of subpersonalities was developed by Roberto Assagioli, who was directly involved with Alice Bailey and her work. In the writings of Lucille Cedercrans (and possibly other traditions), these “subpersonalities” actually represent constellations of dominant incarnations we have had over many lives. In her advanced training we learn to not only integrate our personality in this life, but we start to integrate our many personalities from a lot of lives as well. This process goes beyond what Cedercrans defines as the first initiation, however. In fact, she puts it more along the time of the third initiation (possibly even between the second and third). So, in this way, the Integral Teal is moving steps ahead of the Bailey and Cedercrans models here.
Looking at the quotes from Brown, some of the points of agreement between Teal and Group Eight include things like, “Live fully and responsibly as what you are and learn to become” and “linking theory and principles with practice.” These statements fit directly with the notion of having to become the “practical mystic” or “occultist.” As for this, “The magnificence of existence (over material possessions)”, that fits nicely with the whole breaking of the bonds to the material world notion Group Eight and first degree initiates face as well. “Complementing egalitarianism with natural degrees of ranking and excellence; recognition of overlapping dynamic systems and natural hierarchies in any context,” also fits with Group Eight and the first initiation precisely because occult training involves study along these lines. Here we no longer react to the word hierarchy. We see these as being more akin to what Wilber calls “holarchies.” They are whole, integral, inclusive systems. They are not what Wilber calls, “dominator hierarchies” designed to abuse, control and suppress various groups (something Group Six and even Group Two is more prone to do).
We also see the above in a quote from the chart at the top of this post. Teal “sees natural hierarchy and system of systems. Holds multiple perspectives. Flexible, creative, and effective. Leading edge of consciousness and culture.” What is key in this quote from Integral is the notion that there is a valuing of what they call the “natural hierarchy” of systems or wholes.
The only areas where I am not as certain in these comparisons have to do with these statements from Brown, “Where seen: Peter Senge’s organizations; W. Edward Deming’s objectives; Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time; chaos and complexity theories; eco-industrial parks (using each other’s outflows as raw materials).” To my knowledge Stephen Hawking’s is an atheist. And, his Brief History of Time represents a more materialistic approach to interpreting the Universe. All of this seems more related to Integral Orange and Alice Bailey’s Group Six! As for Senge, Deming, chaos and complexity theories, and eco-industrial parks, I am not sure how they fit in either. For now, I will just leave them alone.
Again below is a map of terms that we use throughout the rest of this blog.
Have comments, questions, suggestions? They will be posted so long as they are civil and expand the discussion.
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