This post reviews what the Alice Bailey teachings have to say about contact with a Master so that we can then compare and contrast it in a later post with what the Integral and Transpersonal fields have to say about this kind of “Guru/Disciple” relationship.
Before I begin to share what the Alice Bailey teachings have to say about what contact with a Master looks like, I would like to start with a few brief comments that might sound like an apology, but are really not. As anyone who has read the Alice Bailey teachings knows, at times they can seem amazingly incomprehensible. Frequently, it is hard to discern among many of the books any coherent structure and paragraphs can ramble on seemingly forever. Time and again we are told that we are not going to be told something, only to find out a few pages later, we are being told what we were not going to be told (perhaps as a test to see if we are really serious about learning the topic of discussion or not). As if all of that was not frustrating enough, especially for the modern reader, what can seem particularly annoying is that the books are filled with phrases and words that might as well be written in Latin, causing many people to misinterpret the intention and meaning of the words being used since they don’t really understand the language being used throughout.
The advantage of the books having been written like this, is how they cause people like myself who are intrigued enough, inspired enough, or just crazy enough, to keep reading and re-reading through the labyrinth of books until over time the intuition broadens and deepens helping many pieces of the puzzle fit together in a more coherent way so some light can be shed. The disadvantage to the books having been written in this way, is how even with someone like myself, who has read all of the Alice Bailey books except one at least five times through, is how mistakes can still be made in terms of understanding what these books are trying to say. And, especially in our Twitter 140 character culture, it can be very hard to get someone interested in even a fragment of these teachings. But, perhaps that is how it should be if we are talking about training not just the higher mind and its ability to deal with abstract ideas, but the intuitive and spiritual faculties, which are capable of penetrating into the realms of true understanding, meaning, and insight.
Having finished my prelude and/or rant I am now ready to share what Alice Bailey has to say more specifically about the Master/Disciple (or Chela) relationship and how contact with a Master is established. I will start with Alice Bailey’s understanding of what a Master is. In the previous post I spoke about the difference between the outer Master (guru) and the inner Master (guru). The outer Master is a spiritual teacher you meet in human form in the physical world. The inner Master is very much like encountering your own soul (which would be at first getting in touch with the Egoic Lotus in the Alice Bailey teachings and later with what is known as the Spiritual Triad), which is equivalent to contacting a certain levels of consciousness, more than contacting a person or being. Frequently, however, when most people think of contact with a Master they default to the notion of contact with an outer Master or guru, who they either meet in a physical body in human form, or they imagine they meet on the inner planes somehow. And, it is here where a great deal of clarity is needed, because when it comes to contact with the outer Master, distortion can easily emerge if people do not have a clear understanding or agreement concerning what an authentic Master looks like, or what true contact with one entails.
Keeping this in mind let’s begin with a few definitions of who a Master is taken from Alice Bailey’s book Letters on Occult Meditation starting around page 256), where we immediately run into a those words that might as well be written in Latin such as:
- A Master has found the full chord of the Monad;
- A Master is polarized in the Spiritual Triad;
- A Master has undergone the 5th initiation;
- A Master is in the Hall of Wisdom;
- A Master can “pass—by the line of least resistance—straight to the bosom of His Father in Heaven.”
Though a lot more explanation could be given, I will start by drastically over-simplifying below. In this blog we have been speaking about levels of consciousness (while at the same time understanding there is a great deal of limitation in viewing things in this staircase levels approach). So far I have attempted to draw parallels between the current levels as put forward by the Integral community and the model set forth by Alice Bailey over 100 years ago (see the chart below). At some point in the Alice Bailey model when we come into contact with what is known as the Egoic Lotus (egoic being equivalent here to the word soul and having nothing to do with the common place use of the term today as egotistic or selfish), we likewise start to go through the various stages of chelaship, which I have been attempting to detail in this blog. Again, please remember that the Egoic Lotus is a symbolic representation of twelve petals, or twelve stages of spiritual unfoldment that take place before one reaches what is known as the third initiation. At the time of the third initiation, that individual is now in touch with the Spiritual Triad, which is like a leap to a whole new realm of spiritual awareness, and explains why the third initiation is like a great expansion of consciousness, or even a third enlightenment experience.
This Spiritual Triad, as you can see above, covers a number of levels itself, primarily on what is called the Buddhic and the Atmic planes. It is on these planes (or levels) that the Masters are said to reside. Why? Because their consciousness is polarized within these levels that exist within the Spiritual Triad. rue wisdom is known. Here, in the Spiritual Triad they move into the “Hall of Wisdom.” In a sense these beings are like Buddhas, a word that means the awakened ones, which explains why it is called the “Buddhic” plane. We could also say that people residing within the Spiritual Triad have achieved Christ Consciousness, the word Christ meaning the annointed one, because he or she has been anointed with that same “mind that is in Christ” or Christ consciousness at these levels. In the Alice Bailey model, as one moves through the various levels of the Spiritual Triad, that person goes through what is known as the third, fourth and fifth initiations (again the word initiation means an expansion of consciousness, or enlightenment experience). A Master is someone who is said to have completed the fifth initiation, which means that individual is now making another leap in consciousness. To go back to those Latin sounding words above, he or she is expanding his or her consciousness to even higher levels where the Monadic chord is found, and where the Master can now pass straight to the bosom of the Father in Heaven (which is a reference in part to Monadic consciousness).
So what does all of this mean in regards to contact with a Master as the Alice Bailey system would define it? First of all, anyone who consciously came into contact with such a Master (whether outer or inner), would also, according to the Alice Bailey model, have to at minimum mastered all the stages of conscious development up to the point of the threshold of the third initiation, where contact with the Spiritual Triad levels begins. I use the word consciously because many people may be near such a person and have no idea on a conscious level as to who that individual may really be in terms of that person’s expanded consciousness, mastery, and awareness. Only then is the chela beginning to contact the Master, or move within the “aura” of the Master, which we could also say is similar to contacting the aura of the Spiritual Triad, which is the realm where all Masters consciousnesses abide in. So how does this contact occur?
To begin with it occurs only after you have moved through the various stages of spiritual development described so far in this blog. Having said this many people, especially those at the Chela in the Light stage will be extremely rapid to believe they are much more advanced spiritually than they truly are. They will also be much more inclined to proclaim (especially to others) that they are in contact with Masters. Worse yet, they may even declare that they are Masters themselves, though that is far from the case. Because people at the Chelas in the Light frequently also possess charisma, lack any true sense of proportion and humility, and typically enter spiritual life with a desire to get money, pleasure, and power primarily to benefit themselves, Chelas in the Light frequently experience a fall from grace. And, all too often their followers go with them.
Chelas in the Aura rarely experience these kinds of difficulties. Having moved through the stage of Accepted Discipleship they have done much more work in dispelling various glamours and pitfalls on the spiritual path. They work with greater impersonality and a truer sense of dispassion and real love. Emotionally then they tend to be balanced, grounded, and capable of holding steady emotionally when serving others. While passing through the stage of Chela on the Thread they have learned to not get caught up in various psychic, or siddhi, powers. Rather, they are seeking out the higher spiritual faculties such as wisdom, compassion, discernment, beatitude, active service and so on. At this stage they also have begun the process of knowing how to truly get along with other people, submerging their egos, and moving past the Chela in the Light need to form a group around themselves with them as the notable star in the middle or center point. Instead, Chelas in the Aura are seeking out how to actively harmonize various groups with other groups in group resonance. And, if they are in a leadership position at the center of a group, they lead with humility, and frequently, do not seek the leadership position out, but are handed it by others.
Mastery of these lower stages frees Chelas in the Aura to really focus on solving the major problems of humanity. Maybe they are scientists working with other scientists attempting to find a cure for a major disease. Or, they may be working actively with other political groups to bring about greater freedom for the masses, while also facilitating their conscious evolution. They could also be found working with others to innovate new forms of education, help solve global warming, bringing about greater harmony or understanding among the world’s great religions, or focusing on any other project that humanity desperately needs solved at this time.
Chelas in the Aura know this is not glamorous work. It is far easier to proclaim oneself a guru or an enlightened being and gather followers, than to slug through the mud of every day life trying to innovate and implement practical solutions to humanities problems. Unlike Chelas in the Light, Chelas in the Aura are also willing to solve these problems even if it means they end up broke, go through extreme difficulties or end up unclaimed. What matters most is not their own personal reward, but rather that progress for humanity is being made. To them personal accomplishment and benefit is besides the point (take for example the life of Nicolas Tesla who was at least at this level).
Finally, whereas Chelas in the Light are expert at dodging their personal shadows, and tend to scapegoat, demonize, threaten, and blame anyone who tries to point their shadows out, Chelas in the Aura are much more likely to face the slings and arrows of their own personal shadow with a greater sense of inquiry, humility, and decorum. Chelas in the Aura also are more likely to hold themselves accountable for shadows of the groups they are most frequently associated with. When it comes to taking responsibility, they don’t play “dodge ball.” It might be said then that Chelas in the Aura are learning to become expert janitors willing to regularly mop up the debris left over from not only their own mistakes, but also the mistakes of not only the ill-intentioned, but the well-intentioned, of the not yet fully enlightened people working around them.
In conclusion, though the Alice Bailey teachings have much more to say about what has to take place before one comes in contact with a Master (be it inner or outer), I would like to close with three basic points that come from the book Letters on Occult Meditation, p. 283. Here we are clearly told that contact is said to happen only after the following three qualities are fully in place in any one person.
- Sanctified service.
- Love demonstrating through wisdom.
- Intellectual application.
By sanctified service Alice Bailey states, “The method followed is that of the intensest application to the work of rounding out the bodies and of making them fit instruments for service. It is perhaps the hardest way that a man can tread. It leaves no department of the life untouched.” That means she suggests in the next few paragraphs that they have achieved a certain degree of physical, emotional and mental perfection (specifically in regards to the lower mind). By perfection it is meant physical, emotional, and mental stability and clarity.
Too often this clarity and stability is not present in those who make claims to be in touch with Masters, or worse claim to be Masters. In fact some people who make these claims may have little mastery over their physical bodies, or if they do, they use that mastery for the sake of developing a seductive physical body, or to obtain siddhi powers that can magnetize people to them as followers. Emotionally, we may also find that they possess numerous emotional conflicts expressed as anger, jealousy, fear, depression, insecurity, traumatic reactions, and lusts, which they are often trying to compensate for by inflating themselves as suddenly being vastly superior to others to avoid any feelings of inferiority or insecurity.
And, mentally, we may find they tend to be full of pride either because they have collected a lot of lower mind information (which can even be Theosophical, spiritual and Integral), with very little application. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, that pride prevents them from seeing how ill informed they are about various topics they claim the so-called Masters have communicated to them about. In fact, any well informed person most likely would find the communication from their so-called Master in an average self-help or metaphysical book or beginning psychology class. In summary, they prematurely make claims to contact when it is clear that physically, emotionally, and mentally they are not yet fit, or even when they are attempting to get fit, they are doing so not so much to really serve others, but to impress others so they can serve themselves.
Next, regarding love. In the same book on p. 285, we read the following about love. “[Love] is not the non-discriminating love that sees no limitation, nor concedes a fault. It is not the love that seeks not to correct and that expresses itself in an ill advised attitude to all who live. It is not the love that sweeps all into service, suitable or unsuitable, and that recognises no difference in point of development. Much that is called love,—if logically followed out—would apparently dispense with the ladder of evolution, and rank all as of equal value. So potentially all are, but in present terms of service all are not.” In short, to use Integral terms, to have contact with a Master (or the Spiritual Triad), one has to go beyond the Green levels where we love everyone by mushing them all together in such a way we see no difference between them in development. Just as an infant needs to be loved in very different ways than an adult, we have to cultivate a mature and wise love that sees clearly where people are at. Then with compassion and wisdom we need to know how to love them in such a way we can genuinely help them get from one stage of their spiritual development to the next.
Finally as for contact with a Master involving intellectual application, Alice Bailey illustrates on pps. 286 – 287 how the mind and emotions have to be infused with love. Particularly interesting to me in the quote below is the emphasis on re-learning one might say, the value of the emotions so that they can be receptive to “downpour of illumination from the Triadal levels.” For those of you who are familiar with the writings of Sri Aurobindo this reminds me in part of what he speaks of when he talks about in regards to the descent of the Supramental. Here is the quote from Bailey.
“Here the order is reversed and the student, being frequently polarised in his mental body has to learn through that mind to understand the other two, to dominate and control, and to utilise to the uttermost the powers inherent in the threefold man. The method here is perhaps not so hard in some ways, but the limitations of the fifth principle have to be transcended before real progress can be made. These limitations are largely crystallisation and that which you call pride. Both have to be broken before the student who progresses through intellectual application can serve his race with love and wisdom as the animating cause.
He has to learn the value of the emotions, and in so learning he has to master the effect of fire on water, occultly understood. He has to learn the secret of that plane, which secret (when known) gives him the key to the downpour of illumination from the Triad via the causal and thence to the astral. It holds the key also of the fourth etheric level. This will not as yet be comprehended  by you, but the above hint holds for the student much of value.”
In conclusion, there is a great deal more I intended to say, but this post is rather long so I will leave it here. In the next post, I will draw more from the writings of Transpersonal and Integral writings, especially in regards to problems connected with contact with an outer Master or guru.
This Series Continues Below.
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