This post focuses on the Science of Contact related to the Chela on the Thread stage. Though contact is often glamorized as being in connection with some sort of Master, it is actually more about contacting what is known as the Intuitional or Buddhic plane, which is the plane of At-One-Ment. Here a level of “synthetic understanding” is achieved allowing one to be a agent of loving and effective service in the world.
As a reminder we do not enter the stage of Chela on the Thread until a number of other tasks have been completed. These include: Dispelling Glamours; Developing Impersonality; a deep capacity to Cultivate Love; a blending of the Mystic and the Occult, or head and heart approaches to the Divine; Engaging in More Effective Service With a More Humble & Loving Heart; the ability to Discern Between Higher and Lower Psychic Powers; and the achievement of Group Resonance. The summary of these previous posts related to the stages of Accepted Discipleship and Chela on the Thread are mentioned to help establish a deep sense of humility before we move into further discussion.
One of the biggest glamours about this stage is that it has to do with contact with some Master, which is not at all what the stage is primarily about. Rather, it is about our usefulness in the world, having a humble heart, and our capacity to intelligently and powerfully serve and love. Especially if we are at the stages of Little Chelaship and Chela in the Light, we will tend to distort these truths and make it more about getting in touch with spiritual beings, or asserting ourselves as a spiritual being, when it is not really the case. Keeping this in mind, let’s dive briefly into the subject of contact in this post.
Again here are 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
3. Learn the Science of Impression and Contact
I would like to begin this post with a few direct quotes from the writings of Alice Bailey that reveals that contact of spiritual realms and with those we consider spiritual beings (both on the non-physical and physical realms) frequently takes place before actually reaching the Chela on the Thread stage. Through these glimpses, or what Ken Wilber calls “tastes” in his book One Taste, we feel drawn towards the inner subjective realms, and towards those who have pioneered and understood something about them. These are the saints, sages, gurus, and what some call “Masters” who have achieved a measure of knowledge of the Real that we are striving for. Here is what Alice Bailey says about this process in her book Letters on Occult Meditation, pp. 257 -258. Please note: the word “sheaths” has to do with the physical, emotional, and mental “bodies” or levels of consciousness that must be “trampled on” or pierced through to get to the plane of Intuition, At-one-Ment, or the Buddhic realms.
“‘Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face’; now we catch glimpses through the occasional windows we pass in our ascension of the ladder, of other and greater Beings than ourselves; They hold out to us helping hands, and call to us in clarion tones to struggle bravely on if we hope to stand where They are now standing.
We sense beauties and glories surrounding us that as yet we cannot revel in; they flit into our vision, and we touch the glory at a lofty moment only again to lose the contact and to sink back again into the murky gloom that envelopes. But we know that outside and further on is something to be desired; we learn also the mystery that that external wonder can only be contacted by withdrawing within, till the centre of consciousness is found that vibrates in tune with those dimly realised wonders, and with those radiant Souls Who call Themselves our Elder Brothers. Only by trampling on the external sheaths that veil and hide the inner centre do we achieve the goal, and find the Ones we seek. Only by the domination of all forms, and the bringing of those forms under the rule of the God within, can we find the God in all, for it is only the sheaths in which we move upon the plane of being that hide from us our inner God, and that shut us off from Those in Whom the God transcends all outer forms.”
In the above quote we understand that our ability to contact the Intuitional plane and those who understand these subjective realms at first is not stable. Contact tends to “flit into our vision” and then go out again “back into the murky gloom that envelopes.” The goal is to have these glimpses become more frequent, stable, and constant. This can only happen if we let go focusing on the lower sheaths (mental, emotional, physical) that shut us off from reaching the higher Intutitional/Buddhic realms. Otherwise we continue to remember and then forget who we really are as the SELF over and over again. (Note: the idea of remembering and forgetting is actually taken from Sufism). For the Chela on the Thread more stable contact with the Intuitional/Buddhic realms only becomes possible . when the tasks of Accepted Discipleship have been completed sufficiently well. And, as we need to develop a lot more discernment between higher and lower psychic realms, something I spoke more at length about in the previous Chela on the Thread posts. To continue to deepen our understanding, here is another quote from Alice Bailey’s book Discipleship in the New Age, Vol I.
“This responsive relationship and interplay is only attained after a long cycle of the outer relation of the accepted disciple upon the periphery and finally within the Ashram. It does not come about as the result of any effort to fit oneself for this position of power and of influence in service. It is simply the silent and almost unconsciously achieved result of that self-effacement and self-forgetfulness which distinguishes the accepted disciple; he is decentralised and engrossed in the fulfilment of the divine Plan to the best of his ability. It is the reward, if I might so express it, of the worker who knows what he has come into incarnation to do and who is endeavouring with dedication to do it. The driving urge of his life is the need of humanity and his expanding awareness of the immediate next step that man must take.” pp. 746 – 747
As a side note, the night before writing this post, I was led to re-watch the documentary on the life of Ram Das called Fiery Grace. As I watched it again I was able to see how Ram Das went through the developmental stages of spirituality talked about in this blog. To begin with he was born into a Group 6/Orange type family. Ram Das then became successful as a university professor fulfilling what appeared to be the stage of Group 6/Orange for himself. When Ram Das met Timothy Leary, Leary introduced Ram Das to psychedelics. Ram Das then seemed to go into the stage of Little Chelaship where his first encounter with spiritual life was full of wondrous expansions of consciousness, but was mostly a fun party, and not that focused. After going to India, he appears to have entered the stage of Chela on the Light . He met his guru, but Ram Das still had work to do before he earned the right of more consistent contact both with his guru and within the Buddhic plane of At-One-Ment.
Ram Das’ began to expand his influence in a more spiritual way, something which is common at the Chela on the Light phase. But, something he admitted to at one point, at first he was still full of ego as he did so. Slowly, we see the “spiritual imposter” (a phrase coined by William Meader), started to dissolve and as the Accepted Discipleship stage emerged we see a maturing of his greater capacity for love, insight, humility and service deepen. Especially when he got “stroked” by his teacher and became disabled, Ram Das states he was tested in ways that even at first he felt he failed. By the end of the film, however, as he increasingly deals with his stroke, Ram Das blossoms into an even deeper radiance of the spirit and of love. He ends the documentary emphasizing how the constant remembrance of God (as Ram) and learning at all time to be a karma yogi serving all has become more and more his focus. At the documentary’s end, we also sense how Ram Das has a much stronger connection with his guru on the inner realms. To me, all of this is an indication that Ram Das has reached at least the Chela on the Thread stage of spiritual development. And, he may possibly even be at one of Alice Bailey’s last two stages of Discipleship known as Chela Within the Aura and Chela Within the Master’s Heart.
I mention Ram Das because I feel it illustrates the high degree of love, dedication to service, movement through glamour, impersonality, blending of head and heart, and group resonance (with his own tradition and increasingly all of humanity) that we are talking about in these advanced stages. I also mention the example of his life to help illustrate how the stages found in the Alice Bailey books are real developmental stages that spiritual beings go through regardless of what spiritual tradition is followed.
Which leads me back to the Ageless Wisdom teachings. Long before we are a Chela on the Thread we are told contacts with the inner ashram and the Intuitional/Buddhic realms can occur. In Letters on Occult Meditation we are told contact starts already at the probationary stages of Little Chelaship and Chela in the Light. That contact is often unsteady and highly colored by glamour. Not enough impersonality, genuine love, humility, discernment regarding the higher and lower powers, and group resonance is in place. “But, as time progresses (longer or shorter according to the earnestness of the pupil) the frequency of the times of contact increases; he can hold the vibration somewhat longer, and does not relax back to normal with so much ease. Then the time comes when he can be trusted to hold the contact fairly stably.” Letters on Occult Meditation p. 267
The more the contact becomes stable, the more a “thread” or link that is free from glamour and self-interest is built. The key is to cultivate a genuine loving concern for others and to let go of the ego gratification of being spiritually special. The process is summarized in Letters on Occult Meditation. As you read this quote think of the word Master as being someone who abides within what is also called non-dual reality, or that Buddhic plane of At-One-Ment. “But gradually he purifies himself still more, gradually he develops group consciousness and thinks in group terms of service, gradually his aura takes on more and more the colouring of his Master’s aura, till he blends and has earned the right to be gathered closer to his Master’s Heart. Later I will explain the technical meaning of this phrase, when dealing with the work of the Master with the pupil. Suffice it to say, that as the term of “accepted disciple” progresses (and it varies in different cases) the disciple advances ever closer to the heart of the group, and finds his own place and functional activity in that body corporate. That is the secret: the finding of one’s place,—not so much one’s place upon the ladder of evolution (for that is approximately known), but in service. This is of more importance than is realised, for it covers the period which, at the end, will definitely demonstrate which path a man will follow after the fifth initiation.” p. 270 – 271
This focus on service is interesting. As this is a blog of comparison with Integral, it is important to see that in the Ageless Wisdom teachings the emphasis is not so much realizing non-duality, or even Unity Conciousness. It is learning to become selfless, harmless, with the capacity to enter into service in a loving and effective way, words Integral does not emphasize enough. Again, another quote from Alice Bailey. This one from Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. 1 , showing how the tasks of Accepted Discipleship need to be completed before true contact emerges.
“This fourth stage is only possible to a disciple who has been an accepted disciple for more than one life and who has demonstrated his ability to work with selflessness and pertinacity. 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. pp. 743 – 745
To sum up it is very important that as we progress in an understanding of the Ageless Wisdom teachings, we get very clear that this is not about some “contact with a Master.” Rather, it is about contact with what they call the Intuitional or Buddhic planes, also known as the plane of At-One-Ment and “synthetic understanding.” The parallels with references to “clear light” and “non-dual” in Integral will be easier to see if you keep this in mind. Having set the ground work I will move to a post having to do with “channeling” to again clarify what contact is NOT about. Then I will discuss the Science of Impression and Contact more directly and how it is done.
In conclusion, here again is the chart we are using to attempt to understand where we are as we proceed through this blog.
Have comments, questions, suggestions? They will be posted so long as they are civil and expand the discussion.
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