This post continues to share about what Alice Bailey calls the spiritual Aspirant. The post also goes into the Egoic Lotus petal association with the stage, the Technique of Integration — Alignment stage, and the comparisons of this stage of development to Integral Green.
Main Developmental Themes
- Pulled Between Light and Dark
- Spiritual Materialism
- Physical Disciplines Overly Emphasized
- Getting High
- Looking Good Physically
- Overstimulated Sexually
- Spiritually Impatient
Another thing I believe is common at this stage is the tendency to confuse deeper spiritual practice with going into mystical states. When Bailey says that the Little Chelaship stage is one of “pure mysticism and of selfish spiritual purpose” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 715), I believe she if referring to this tendency to want to “get high” through spirituality. Though there is a more mature kind of mysticism, I believe what we find here is not that. The mysticism at the Aspirant stage is still full of selfishness and contains within it the “vague desire for personal liberation, for personal integrity and for personal lasting happiness” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 715). Spirituality is mainly about finding a way to “feel good.” Doing good, disciplining oneself, cultivating equanimity as you move through the highs and lows of life, these are not so much what the Aspirant cares about. That is one reason those at this level seek out ecstatic states.
There are of course many ways to “get high.” Aspirants might use drugs to get there. Or, they may try to “raise the kundalini” to get a buzz. They may seek to go into trance states through dancing, drumming, or chanting. Other ways to get “high” may include whipping themselves into an emotional frenzy, or put themselves into intense circumstances where their emotions go into a catharsis. Again the emphasis is on feeling good, which like wealth is not in and of itself a bad thing. Rather, it becomes a distortion of the spiritual path when all one wants is that which is wonderful, beautiful, attractive, pleasant, easy, and most of all lets you get to a high state quick. This creates a lopsided spirituality, which once again is all about the Aspirant and his or her good mood. Any spiritual practice that does not feel good, involves some shadow work where the Aspirant looks more deeply at him or herself, teaches that life is about pleasure and pain, causes you to confront your spiritual selfishness, or tells you that you can’t “have it all” is mostly ignored.
Looking Good Spiritually
Another thing Aspirants want is for others to notice how spiritual you are. One of the best ways for people to immediately notice this, is to look the part by dressing up in spiritual garb. This helps feed the Group Six tendency to want status. Only now the right clothes, right foods, right jewelry, right look are all attached to looking spiritual, and not just material. Again there is nothing wrong with wearing certain spiritual clothes, jewelry, and so forth. The difficulty is not so much in the clothes, the jewelry, the hair, or overall external appearance. The problem is that the Aspirant does these things primarily for the sake of looking good, getting noticed, or gaining status. Whether one is dressed in luxurious spiritual robes and draped with jewelry, or is running around as a naked yogi if internally the motivation is about other people noticing you and thereby conferring spiritual status on you, again your spiritual practice is all about you, and you alone. Once the spiritual practice shifts and is more about benefitting others and not just yourself, then the spiritual seeker may still be wearing clothing or jewelry that might identify them as being “spiritual.” They just don’t care anymore about that. The clothing or jewelry is simply a reminder of the community of spiritual seekers they are a part of. Or, spiritual attire helps remind one of the spiritual intentions and disciplines that one is engaged. Then it is not so much about wanting to call attention to oneself, as it is meant to strengthen one’s spiritual practice so that the person can be of increasing benefit to others.
Another way the Aspirant can get sidetracked by wanting to look good spiritually can also involve wanting to be surrounded by the “right” spiritual people. On the positive side being in the company of truly spiritual people can be uplifting. But, when we show off because of who we have been around, then it is just the Integrated Personality being selfish. Looking good can also involve dressing well and having the money to stay healthy, fit, and financially secure. Again all of this is positive when its aids our spiritual practice and doesn’t involve so much of our time and energy, it becomes just another form of self-indulgence. The same could be said when we attempt to look good by going on adventurous travels to glamorous spiritual “hot spots.” Pilgrimage and travel to sacred sites can really aid our spiritual practice. But, if we engage in this kind of travel simply for adventure, or with the mindset of being a tourist ticking off boxes of places we have been, then we are engaging in spirituality as a form of entertainment. The end result is that we miss out on the deeper possibilities of spiritual transformation that any pilgrimage or sacred site is meant to offer us.
Another problem faced by those in Group Six (Aspirants and Little Chelas) has to do with learning how to deal with their sexuality in a more conscious and spiritual way. In Groups Four and Five sexuality is controlled by the norms of the culture they are born into. These norms are primarily put into place to regulate uncontrolled sex that could lead to acquiring a disease or having unwanted children. Norms included the type of sexual interactions you could have, which people you could have sex with, how many sexual partners you could have, where you could have sex, how old you could be before you had sex, how soon you had to get married to ensure you would not have sex outside of a sanctioned marriage, and so forth. As people move into Group Six, with its big focus on freedom and independence, they tend to break these cultural norms regarding sex. Though in the classic Group Six manner of lying and being hypocritical, the fact that these norms are being broken is often hidden from the Group Three, Four and Five public.
As we get into the stage of the Aspirant or Little Chela, Group Six people tend to become confused as they try to wed sexuality and spirituality together. They don’t want to just go back to the old norms imposed on them in Groups Four and Five, but they also want to be spiritual. What to do about sex? Typically they approach the wedding of sexuality and spirituality at this stage in three ways. One, they attempt to suppress their sexuality by sublimating it into their spiritual practice and remaining celibate. Two, they go the other extreme and express their sexual natures freely without constraint, while at the same time trying to spiritualize what they are doing. The Western “tantra” movement is an example of this where it has greatly distorted the original meaning of tantra and turned it into hedonism. Neither approach is the healthiest because it does not bring in a more conscious understanding of what really happens when we become sexually intimate with each other. Three, a balance is achieved between sexuality and spirituality.
As this balance is achieved, please understand I am not referring to the Western Tantra practices of trying to blend your “kundalini energy” to balance your male/female aspects together by having sex with another person. These so-called Tantra practices have almost nothing to do with Tantra as it is practiced in Eastern religions (after all the Dalai Lama who is a celibate monk is considered one of the highest practitioners of Tantra around). Too often Tantra in the West, which is mainly about just about having sex, asks you to blend your sexual energy with people you barely know. You may not even know them at all. And, Western Tantra practitioners often do not understand: 1) What really happens energetically when we have sex with someone; 2) How to clearly perceive where the other person is really at in his or her spiritual evolution; 3) How the centers are really awakened in oneself, let alone between two people; 3) Why discernment is important in our selection of a sexual partner; 4) The role of love, and not just desire, during sex. 5) The deeper magical work of using tantra to call in a young soul into the mother’s womb. Because most Aspirants and Little Chelas don’t understand any of these five things, they frequently become confused, deluded, or heartbroken, or even abused after the high of their “Tantra” session is over.
Another reason sex becomes such a big focus at this Aspirant stage is explained by Bailey. She claims “in the course of the mystical life there is often a period of sexual difficulty if the mystic has not previously learnt sexual control and unless it has assumed balanced proportions to his other life activities and natural instincts in his consciousness. Else, as he touches the heights of spiritual contact and brings in the energy of his soul to the personality, that energy will pass straight down to the sacral centre and not be arrested at the throat centre, as it rightly should be.” (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 538) Briefly, the sacral center has to do with sexuality and the pleasure instinct. The throat center has to do with creativity as a means of contacting higher truths and birthing ideas into the world for spiritual upliftment. When this higher throat center is stimulated, but not developed enough, then this extra hit of energy passes down to the sacral center leading to an overstimulation of it. Bailey says when this occurs “an undue importance may be attached to the sex activity, or the sexual imagination can be dangerously stimulated, leading to lack of control… The result is ever an overactivity of the sex life in some form or another“ (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 538). In other words, when the shift from the sacral to the throat center is not happening as intended, then sex, not creativity, may start to dominate the life of the Aspirant at this stage.
As an interesting side note on this topic, though Bailey was writing nearly one hundred years ago, she predicted that during our time there would be a great deal of disruption along sexual lines. The reason for this is in part because we have more Aspirants, but also because sexuality she claims is governed by the Seventh Ray, which is starting to influence humanity in a more significant way. She said, ““The major function of this seventh ray [cycle] is to bring together the negative and positive aspects of the natural processes. It consequently governs the sex relationship of all forms; it is the potency underlying the marriage relation, and hence as this ray comes into manifestation in this world cycle, we have the appearance of fundamental sex problems—license, disturbance in the marriage relation, divorce and the setting in motion of those forces which will eventually produce a new attitude to sex and the establishing of those practices, attitudes and moral perceptions which will govern the relation between the sexes during the coming New Age” (Rays and the Initiations, pp. 571—572). As more and more of humanity wakes up and enters into Group Six, upheavals in our understanding of sex and its right use from a spiritual perspective will be taking place. Eventually, we are told that the human race will find a way to express its sexual nature in a more sane and sound way. This approach will neither lead to suppression or license. Rather, we will come to understand the role of sexuality as a blending of energies and will seek to consciously and rhythmically blend them in a way that helps us all evolve spiritually. And, especially as these energies are blended through spiritual love, we will be able to attract those souls who will help to further the spiritual evolution of the human race.
(INTEGRATE THE BELOW INTO THE ABOVE SECTION)
Eventually, Bailey claims as the ajna center comes into greater control (allowing for more discernment), “there will be no people with a Lemurian consciousness to be found anywhere and the ‘pull’ or the activity of the sacral centre will be greatly lessened and controlled. This can be seen happening today among the intelligentsia of the race” Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 575. Though some might argue that this is hardly the case as we look out into our world in the 21st century, we do at least see some of the following signs of what Bailey is saying in that we now consider things like incest and inter-breeding taboo. With the “MeToo” movement as of 2019, we are beginning to see that sexually accosting people (mainly women) and out-right raping them is no longer something we blame women for, or look the other way on. And, we see it in the fact that in general people who are more educated tend to have fewer children. Eventually, it is true that humans will only have children in a planned way, and that they will understand what is really going on when we have sex with someone (which I have no time to get into here). For now, we are quite there, but supposedly we have come a long way from where we once were.
Not wanting to get too committed to any spiritual path, Group Seven people also have a tendency to “dabble” in new ideas, methods, and concepts regarding spirituality, without approaching any spiritual practice with any sense of discipline or depth. For this reason Robbins calls this tendency to be excited by all kinds religious/spiritual possibilities as going through what is commonly known as a “spiritual smorgasbord.” Robbins also goes on to say how those in this group typically want a quick sense of spiritual liberation. Enlightenment, nondual or unity consciousness once learned about are all viewed as something rapidly attained, and way too often Aspirants believe they have arrived at these states when they really have a long way to go. One of the reasons they feel entitled to get enlightenment fast, is because of the way a number of modern movies tend to portray these experiences. Robbins shares how this tendency makes those in Group Seven especially vulnerable to guides and spiritual teachers who promise to instantly enlighten them. Aspirants will also be prone to confuse the spiritual high they get from being around such a spiritual teacher as proof that they have received some sort of enlightenment from them.
Again all of this is because Aspirants especially confuse spiritual highs (or states) with spiritual realization. The fact is they are not at all the same. But, unfortunately, Aspirants are not very inclined to understand how “states and stages” (as Integral theorist Ken Wilber calls it) are not at all the same. Just as you can feel high after a good meal, a drug experience, or some great sex, it doesn’t mean that you have learned how to maintain that high, or embody the lessons from that experience. And, some of these highs may even lead you to some pretty bad spiritual habits. Addictions to “state experiences” have to be let go of as you move along the spiritual path. That is hard for Aspirants to do. The Alice Bailey teachings tell us that the stage of Little Chelaship often begins when an individual becomes aware of inner subjective realities due to first hand experience of the unseen realms, or due to spiritual state experiences. This is quite different from the religious and literal approaches to spiritual life employed by those in Group 4/Integral Amber. Religious “conversions” at that level are more a result of peer pressure, or an emotional stirring up to join a religious group to be free from emotional pain or to find a way to belong. Though Group Four people may make changes in their outer lives (typically by adopting the dogma, dress codes, eating habits, gender roles, rituals, and social/religious customs of the particular religious group they have converted to), there is no real first hand experience of the inner realms. One is a believer, not a perceiver of inner truths. Aspirants have perceived some of the truth, the problem is they have not yet integrated what it actually means into their lives. For this reason, they tend to jump too far ahead of themselves making claims, especially about their spiritual status, that are not really accurate because they have not really embodied and become the spiritual people they want to be.
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