Here we continue to introduce the main terms found in Bailey’s books focusing in this post on Chela Stages, Initiations, Techniques, and the Rules.
5. The Chela Stages. As if the Alice Bailey model wasn’t already complicated enough, the next set of terms we have to look at have to do with what is known as the “chela stages” of spiritual growth. The word chela comes from a Sanskrit verb root and essentially means “to serve.” A chela is essentially a spiritual student, or follower, of a particular teaching or spiritual teacher. In classic Hinduism, and also Varjayana Buddhism, the bond between a teacher (guru, lama, master) and student is considered sacred. In many ways the bond between a chela and a teacher is a lot like the bond between a parent and a child, in that the tie is said to be very close and is very hard to break due to the deep ties. Therefore it is the responsibility of the Chela not only to serve the teacher or guru, but for the teacher or guru to serve the Chela. We will explore part of this bond as we go through the Chela stages in this book. For now, simply understand that the Chela stages only start in the Alice Bailey model once someone is more officially entering upon the spiritual path. The Chela stages include Little Chelaship and Chela in the Light, which are beginning stages. Next, come the stages Accepted Discipleship and Chela on the Thread, which are intermediate stages. Finally, there we have Chela in the Aura and Chela in the Master’s Heart that imply a closer association with the spiritual teacher. The names of the Chela stages are again listed below:
6. The Initiations. Another term that we will be using is that of initiation. An initiation in the Bailey system essentially means an “expansion of consciousness.” Each expansion of consciousness is really like an enlightenment experience. Many years ago when I was getting my Master’s in Transpersonal Psychology, I ran into difficulty in the Transpersonal world because of my assertion (drawn from my background in the Bailey model), that there was really no such thing as one enlightenment experience. Unlike what Hollywood movies like to promote where you suddenly wake up and are spiritually realized forever more, the Bailey system asserts that we go through numerous expansions of consciousness, or enlightenments. Since my difficulty with the Transpersonal world attempting to convey this idea, both the Transpersonal and Integral fields are now catching up to this notion put forward by the Bailey books nearly 100 years ago that enlightenment experiences happen over and over again. Though Bailey talks about nine initiations, my writings will focus primarily on the first three, with only brief mention of the fourth and fifth ones.
7. Techniques. Next we come to the listing of various techniques that Bailey states are utilized on the spiritual path. These are known as the Technique of Integration, the Technique of Fusion (also called by Bailey the Technique of Transmutation), the Technique of Duality, and eventually we come to the notion of Unity. The Technique of Integration has to do with first becoming an Integrated Personality. Before we are an Integrated Personality we find it difficult to fulfill most of our desires. Our physical bodies, vital energy, emotional states, and mental thoughts get in the way of our being able to manifest fully whatever we want. Once we are aligned, or integrated, we become the “cream of humanity” as Bailey calls it. Now, we tend to have a relatively fit body, a lot of vital energy, and enough control over our emotions and thoughts so that we can satisfy almost any desire we wish. The problem is we are separative and selfish in the satisfaction of these desires causing us to become dominant and problematic in regards to others. Eventually the Technique of Integration leads us into a Crisis. Despite being able to fulfill all our material desires for money, pleasure, and power, we still remain unhappy. At the Crisis stage we begin to wonder if there is something more to life than desire fulfillment. Typically then here is where most people start on the spiritual path.
Once this crisis is moved through and there has been a growing awareness of the realm of the soul, we begin to work on the Technique of Fusion. Here we go through the various practices that helps us to become the soul-infused personality. Once we have achieved that the Technique of Duality begins. Now, the soul-infused personality is attempting to realize what the Alice Bailey system calls the Monad. This Monad expresses first through three planes of consciousness known as the Spiritual Triad. Again the Spiritual Triad is comprised of Atma-Buddhi-Manas. Through the Technique of Duality both the Triad and the Soul lose their influence. The Monad is now able to establish direct contact with the personality creating the duality of Monad and personality. So that you don’t get confused, please understand that though the Monad, Triad, and Soul can seem like entities, they are really states of consciousness. The difference between a Soul-infused personality and a Monad-infused personality has to do with the degree to which the consciousness has awakened and expanded. We could say that a Soul-infused personality is more planetary in consciousness. Whereas a Monad-infused personality is more universal in consciousness. Though we need to be careful with the term “universal” because in the Bailey model there are many stages to go through before one is truly universal in their conscious awareness.
Beyond the Technique of Duality we move into the Technique of Unity, which we will not speak about too much in this book. What I can say is that when we speak about the Technique of Unity it is not the same thing as what many people today refer to as Unity Consciousness or Nondual consciousness. Ironically, when most people talk about Nondualism, they do so in a dualistic manner. They act as if all that matters is the non-dual realm of the Unmanifest and anything that is manifested in the realm of duality, just doesn’t count. In other words, they set up a duality in their supposed non-dual thinking saying essentially, “Oh, I’m into nonduality and not duality.” The only way to truly be nondual is to have a nondual dualism, or to be both. But, we will not speak too much about that in this book. In the meantime try to remember the Techniques as follows; 1) The Technique of Integration for the Personality, 2) The Technique of Fusion for the Soul, 3) The Technique of Duality for the Monad, 4) The Technique of Unity overall. Finally, here is another chart summarizing these techniques and their substages below.
7. Rules. As one starts on the spiritual path and progresses through the Alice Bailey system, we are also gives a set of “rules” for spiritual growth and development to guide us. The first set of rules is found in her book Initiation: Human and Solar. The fourteen rules listed here are for those who are more at the start of the path and pertain mostly to individuals. When followed they help one achieve the First Initiation, or first expansion of consciousness, that puts one in contact with their Souls, or their own Egoic Lotus. The second set of rules are found in the book Rays and the Initiations. The fourteen rules listed here pertain mainly to groups and not individuals. Yes, individuals can and do benefit from these more advanced rules. But, the reason they pertain mainly to groups, is because by this stage of spiritual development the individual is now said to be entering into “group consciousness.” “Enlightenment” or “initiation” is no longer viewed as an individual process. The reasons for this will again be explained as we move throughout this book. For now simply understand that there are fourteen rules in each book making twenty-eight rules total. Also, the word rules can throw one off a bit, especially if one was raised with the idea of “rules not being meant to be broken.” These rules are not like that. They are not set in stone. Rather, they are meant to seen as guidelines that have been developed over time by others who have been on the spiritual path. The idea is that if these rules are followed you are less likely to get into greater difficulty as you go along, making the spiritual path and expansion of your consciousness that much easier, and that much less of a struggle.
Now that we are aware of the main terms that will be used throughout this book, let’s go into depth on the model itself. As we do so we will progress from the bottom levels where there is the least amount of spiritual development and work our way up. I hope as we go from subplane to subplane in this fashion these teachings will be that much easier for you to follow because you have learned the terms that are used throughout the Bailey books.
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