This post continues to focus on group resonance, which is the second task of the Chela on the Thread stage. In this post we at last take a look at the subject of Who Is the Master I will also look briefly at how Integral, talks about this subject, and take a brief look at how the idea of Masters may be viewed from various levels of development.
Perhaps one of the most controversial parts of the Ageless Wisdom teaching, if not the most controversial, is the notion of Masters. Who is a Master? What does a Master look and act like in the Ageless Wisdom tradition? How is this different than what other spiritual traditions have to say? Is it possible to be open to the notion of a Master without falling into glamour or delusion? This post gives some brief insights with the intention of opening up debate and discussion along these lines.
Before we go into the specific focus of this post, let me once again outline the major tasks (as I have summarized them) regarding the Chela on the Thread.
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
2. Achieve Group Resonance
In the Ageless Wisdom teachings we are told that as we grow spiritually increasingly we resonate with those who likewise have a similar spiritual vibration as we do. We are also told that at this stage we give up the idea of individual enlightenment and embrace what is known as group initiation, or group enlightenment. Each group in its own way is responsible for helping to enlighten and evolve sentient beings in the manifest world. These groups are also known as “ashrams.” At the center of each ashram, or group, enlightened beings are dedicated along various lines to the enlightenment of humanity, as well as of sentient beings in other kingdoms of nature (animal, plant, and mineral), within the manifest world. Chelas on the Thread we are told are attempting to prove through resonance of vibration with these groups (and the enlightened beings who are at the center of these groups known also as Masters), that they themselves are increasingly equipped to carry out effective service in cooperation with others in the world.
Who is the Master?
As I begin to tackle this very tricky question, I would like to begin with a direct quote from Alice Bailey that comes from her book Letters on Occult Meditation. “Everywhere throughout the whole world is felt the urge that drives a man to seek out someone who, for him, embodies the ideal. Even those who do not admit the existence of the Masters seek some ideal, and then visualise that ideal as embodied in some form on the physical plane. They picture themselves, perhaps, as the exponents of ideal action, or visualise some great philanthropist, some superlative scientist, some notable artist or musician, as embodying their supreme conception. The human being,—simply because he is himself fragmentary and incomplete—has always this urge within himself to seek other and greater than himself. It is this that drives him back to the centre of his being, and it is this that forces him to take the path of return to the All-Self. ” pp. 256 – 257
Be they saints, sages, gurus, philanthropists, superlative scientists, notable artists and musicians, forgers of nations, each of us has our own idea and ideal regarding who or what these enlightened beings are like. Sometimes we agree on those ideals, often we do not. And, that is what makes defining the “Master” so difficult.
So who do those in the Ageless Wisdom traditions consider “Masters?” Who do those in Integral consider “Masters.” Does the concept of Masters change as we go up the various groups and levels? Do we related to Masters differently at Group 4/Amber, or Group 6/Orange, or Group 7/Green and so forth? Briefly these are thoughts this blog will attempt to address.
The Masters – Ageless Wisdom
Throughout the writings of Alice Bailey she has a lot to say about Masters. Beginning with her book, Letters on Occult Meditation she actually has an extensive list of characteristics Masters possess. Essentially a Master resides in what she calls the “Spiritual Triad” meaning that his or her consciousness resonates and operates within the planes of Atma/Buddhi/Manas. For those who do not understand what these terms mean, I am referring back to my post on Chela on the Thread, Psychic Powers III regarding how the senses operate on these levels, because I believe they give us clues here as to what residing on these levels is like. Instead of posting the three paragraphs at the bottom of that post here again, I invite you to go to that post and read those last three paragraphs yourself.
We are also told that Masters don’t have anything to do with a Chela’s personal life. That is for the person’s own soul to handle. That soul acts as the “Master” at that point, helping the person to achieve spiritual maturity so that he or she can fit him or herself for entrance into the ashram and contact with the Master at the center of the particular ashram one resonates with depending on the service one is undertaking. This concept is illustrated in Discipleship in the New Age, Vol I by Alice Bailey in the chart below from p. 743.
The Soul * * The Ashram
A final note about the Masters and the Ageless Wisdom teachings. Perhaps more than anywhere else the notion of Masters becomes hugely glamorized and distorted in this teaching. Despite the fact that Alice Bailey starts every book with a quote asking people to forget about the notion of Masters and focus on what the teachings themselves say, people get obsessed with the idea of Masters and contacting Masters in this tradition. Some of this is to be expected. It depends upon the level of consciousness people reside at. We will look at this more in a later section in this post.
The Masters — Integral.
Though the Integral community doesn’t use the phrase Masters, it does talk about saints, sages, and enlightened beings. For a long time they have had their own debates about what constitutes enlightenment. Most of this debate seems to have been about the capacity to enter into subtle states. It has not emphasized service in the same way the Alice Bailey teachings have. Integral also talks much more about entrance into the non-dual. It does not talk about the realization of the non-dual as a beginning stage in the way the Ageless Teachings do. Yes, all is One. And, nothing can never be anything but ONE. It ALWAYS ALREADY AND ALWAYS WILL BE AND CAN NEVER BE ANYTHING BUT ONE. This non-dual truth is a major step. But, in the Ageless Wisdom teachings it is also a minor step. In the Alice Bailey teachings realization of the unmanifest non-dual goes hand in hand with the manifest world and the need for service within it. For further discussion on how the non-dual and dual exist together, I invite you to read Infinitization of Selfhood by Michael Robbins.
The Masters – A Levels Approach
So what might it look like, this approach to Masters, as we go up the various levels? Here is my first faltering attempt to work it out.
Group 4/5 & Amber — Master’s are “up there in the sky” somewhere. They look down on us and guide our every day lives. Sometimes what they do, doesn’t make much sense to us. But, coming from mythical thinking (and also somewhat hung over with magical thinking), we hope we can get these Masters to look down on us favorably somehow. We also hope we are on the right “team,” meaning we have picked the right Master to follow. Be it Jesus, Mohammad, Jehova, Krishna, Shiva, Zeus, or one of the “Masters of the Wisdom”, we hope the Master or (God/Goddess) we have pledged our allegiance to is the right one to give us the goodies on Earth we feel we so rightly deserve.
Group 6 & Orange — Having discovered that we may not have gotten the goodies to make our lives better, having been exposed to secular and scientific thinking, we tend to become highly skeptical. No longer are we inclined to believe in Masters of any kind. They are simply mythological entities made up for fools to follow. Belief in them are for those who don’t know how to “Master” the world themselves. It is time to let the childish notions of Masters go, and to learn about the laws and principles that underlie the world that any of us can master and command if we only learn how.
Group 7 & Green — At the stage of Little Chelaship, once again the belief in Masters rises up like a phoenix from the ashes. Having forsaken them at the level of Orange, once again they seem real. The problem is we may still be limited in our use of the abstract mind meaning we may still take things too literal regarding the notion of Masters leading to confusion. We are not quite sure how to separate the symbolic in regards to these illumined beings, from the real. Because of this overall confusion, we are subject to what Integral calls the “pre-trans” fallacy (which can last until the end of Accepted Discipleship in the Alice Bailey model). Because we are going beyond simply our logical and objective minds, and do not have each understanding of how to navigate the subtle realms, we may enter subjective confusion. Our understanding of Masters and who or what they really are may seem confusing as well.
Group 8 & Green/Teal — Moving into Chela in the Light, Masters may seem real again, but at this phase the tendency is to prematurely assert that you, yourself, are a Master. The tendency towards hype regarding one’s own spiritual standing is big at this stage. That hype is enforced with a subtle (or not so subtle) competition with those who may assert to have greater spiritual standing than you. Using the critical mind (versus the discerning mind), we may be in a game of one-up-mans-ship. If we have not put ourselves prematurely in an exalted state of being a Master, we may still belong to a group that does. The tendency is for followers of particular groups to section off like sports teams to try to determine whose Master (enlightened teacher) is better than the other. All of this represents a level of spiritual immaturity.
Group 8/9 & Turquoise — Humbled, those moving into this stage of Accepted Discipleship are slowly working on dismantling the whole glamour surrounding Masters and enlightened beings. A certain level of discouragement may creep in, which may appear similar to Group 6/Orange. Still, awareness of spiritual realities persist, meaning that unlike at the Orange level, the notion of Masters and enlightened beings cannot be dismissed. There is something to it, the Accepted Disciple is just trying to become more detached, more impersonal, and get a better sense of proportion regarding who Masters and enlightened beings are.
Group 9 & Indigo. Moving towards the Chela on the Thread stage, enlightened beings and Masters once again seem more “real.” Much greater clarity and objectivity exists regarding who they are. There is also more true discipline and humility regarding any assertions of being a Master, or highly enlightened, oneself. Paradoxically, as Masters seem more real, the whole idea of Masters matters less and less, as one becomes part of an enlightened spiritual community seeking to help enlighten the world in a more substantial way. More and more, it is the opportunity to serve that inspires. Even the motive to enter subtler and subtler realms becomes purer. Entering these realms is not for one’s enlightenment alone. How could it be? When all that is IS who you are. I am THAT I AM. Knowing this, personal enlightenment seems unenlightened itself. Still, there are those who inspire in the unmanifest and manifest worlds. As inspirations, as archetypes, they lead one forward. In this way Masters become more real than they ever were before.
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