This chapter gives an overview of how Bailey views mental processes including three types of mind given for the Mental Plane (lower concrete mind, son of mind, abstract mind). It also shows how the terms concrete mind and abstract mind are not what most people think they are.
NOTE: This book is now in the process of being edited. Once it is completely edited it will no longer be free online. As of 4/11/20 this chapter has been edited.
What does it mean to be spiritual? That is a profound question and it might surprise some people to see a question about spirituality within a chapter talking about the Mental Plane. Most people, after all, don’t view the mind, or intelligence, as necessarily being connected to spirituality pointing to examples of how the mind can be used to divide and separate us, or justify horrific acts of cruelty. All true. But what then is the mind and how can it be put to more spiritual use? That is what Bailey looks at and though she would agree that the mind divorced from the heart can be a dangerous thing, she asserts that the heart divorced from what she would call the higher mind is often misguided. As for the heart and the mind together? Then the heights of wisdom, love and compassion emerge, which lead us back to the question, what is the mind and its true function in spiritual life?
As a reminder, Bailey talks about six kinds of mind. The first three kinds of mind are considered kāma-manansic and are found on the Emotional Plane. In Bailey’s model most people’s minds operate on this level. The Emotional Plane has three kinds of mind which are: 1) Instinctual Mind, 2) Lower Concrete Mind, 3) Personality Mind. (See Emotional Plane: Three Types of Mind to learn more). That chapter points out how what most people consider to be concrete and abstract thought in regards to Bailey’s model are not accurate, which is why we discover that Bailey talks about “lower concrete mind” on the Emotional Plane and “lower concrete mind” on the Mental Plane.
What are the three levels of mind connected to the Mental Plane? Bailey describes them as: 1) Lower Concrete Mind (which differs from the lower concrete mind found on the Emotional Plane); 2) Son of Mind; and 3) Abstract Mind (which as we will learn shortly is very different than simply the ability to deal with abstract thoughts, which was explained in more detail in the chapter Emotional Plane: Three Types of Mind). Keeping this in mind let’s review these three kinds of mind on the Mental Plane.
Lower Concrete Mind on the Mental Plane
For starters remember that Bailey believes that the majority of human beings have their consciousness focused primarily within the Emotional Plane. On the Emotional Plane humans use their concrete minds almost exclusively to help them obtain facts about the physical world. These concrete facts are then used (often through what is known as inductive reasoning) to help them navigate their way through the manifest world so they can better get their desires for money/security, pleasure/sex, and power met.
For example, someone driving a car may understand when going through an intersection that a red light means stop and a green light means go. Through inductive reasoning she/he may come understand that if she/he doesn’t stop at a red light when entering an intersection there is a higher probability that her/his car may get hit by another car. This kind of understanding is good, but understand that this kind of factual information and inductive reasoning applies to the use of the lower concrete mind on the Emotional Plane and not on the Mental Plane. True, Bailey asserts that origin of lower concrete mind thought (with its ability to describe and produce facts about concrete objects in the material world) is on the lower levels of the Mental Plane. But, she also indicates that this lower concrete mind is filtered down onto the Emotional Plane where most human beings access it. And, that lower concrete mind is then accessed in very different ways.
What does lower concrete mind look like on the Emotional Plane? Primarily it is used to observe the external world. This is the realm of maya, or illusion. And, though it is important to understand the outer world we live in, it is not the most important thing on the spiritual path. Only when we shift out of the focus on the external world do we even begin to access the Mental Plane in Bailey’s model, which only begins when we are in Group Seven and a Little Chela (divided into the stages of Aspirant and Probationary Disciple) on the spiritual path. What then does lower concrete mind on the Mental Plane look like? For starters, on the Mental Plane we are not concerned with obtaining concrete facts about the outer world. Rather, we are trying to gain concrete facts on how the mind itself works so we can understand it, deconstruct it, and manipulate it at will. This is a major distinction.
Also on the Emotional Plane we tend to be overly influenced by “facts” about the external world that in turn influence how we set up our political, cultural, religious and societal systems. These facts are then rarely questioned. Education on the Emotional Plane is then mainly a system of indoctrination to learn the various “facts” of how your political, cultural, religious and societal system believes the world works. Krishnamurti, a philosopher connected to the Theosophical Society at one time, referred to this as one’s conditioning. People on the Emotional Plane are especially locked into their conditioned mindsets. And, though Krishnamurti worked hard to get people to wake up to how their minds have been conditioned to think one way or another, Bailey would argue that is difficult to do unless people have at least evolved to the stage of evolution within her Group Six that she refers to as an Aspirant (see Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 722).
Also, only when the Aspirant becomes a Probationary Disciple (who is shifting onto the lower three subplanes of the mental plane), will you really find a more concerted effort to detach from the lower concrete mind in order to see it more clearly. In fact, when we talk about becoming the “witness” or “observer” of mental processes, in the Bailey model that is what is known as the Soul or Egoic Lotus. And, it is the Soul that is attempting to get what Bailey calls the Integrated Personality (who is immersed in the world of the five senses), to stop the external focus so that we can detach from, observe, and then recreate our own thoughts. The more we go achieve this the further up the Mental Plane we go.
To quote Bailey, “This lower concrete mind is related to the knowledge petals of the egoic lotus and is capable of pronounced soul illumination, proving eventually to be the searchlight of the soul. It can be brought under control through the processes of concentration. It is transient in time and space. Through conscious, creative work, it can be related to the manasic permanent atom or to the abstract mind (Rays and Initiations, p. 460).” In short, the lower concrete mind is used by the soul (using the second kind of mind known as “son of mind”) utilizing conscious creative thought to deconstruct and reconstruct the mind as it is related to the third kind of mind, abstract mind. The process that the soul uses to accomplish this includes concentration. As this lower concrete mind is illuminated by the searchlight of the Soul, the thoughts become “spiritualized” in a way. That means the tendency to be separative, critical, overly absorbed in minute details, and materialistically focused are being minimized. This allows the lower concrete mind to become an instrument that can be used for conscious, creative work to help create a “heaven on Earth” that reflects Soul values in the outer world.
Son of Mind
Next we have what Bailey calls this the “Son of Mind,” which can seem like a curious phrase unless we understand that this “son” is born from the interaction of the higher spiritual planes and the lower material planes. To quote Bailey, “The Son of Mind. This is the soul itself, governed by the second aspect of all the seven rays—a point I would ask you seriously to register. It reflects the lower phase of the love aspect of divinity and summarises in itself the results of all accumulated knowledge which is wisdom, illuminated by the light of the intuition. Another way of expressing this is to describe it as love, availing itself of experience and knowledge. It expresses itself most fully through the love petals of its innate being. Through dedicated and devoted service it brings the divine Plan into activity in the three worlds of human accomplishment. It is therefore related to the second aspect of the Spiritual Triad and is brought into functioning activity through meditation. It then controls and utilises for its own spiritual ends the consecrated personality, via the illumined mind, referred to above. It is eternal in time and space (Rays and Initiations, p. 460 – 461).”
Attempting to restate Bailey’s overly complex language in a more simple way, we might say that when we reach this level of “son of mind,” the mind is focused more on love than on knowledge. That is why we see the association with the second ray (the ray of Love/Wisdom) and the love petals. This love utilizes the intuition (which we will see is equivalent in the Bailey teachings to the capacity to bring about synthesis and understanding of many different ideas), in order to serve the “Divine Plan.” That “Divine Plan” can only be comprehended more clearly if the mind detaches from the lower concrete mind’s tendency to be critical, selfish, materialistic and separative. Though that Divine Plan can never fully be known by any one human being, it can be intuited more clearly by the individual whose mind is comprehensive, full of love, inclusive, intuitive and to use a term from the Integral movement — integral.
Drawing from another quote taken from Bailey we are told that the Son of Mind is “the soul, the product of the thought of the Universal Mind, the thinking, perceiving, discriminating, analysing Identity or spiritual Entity. This aspect of the One Life is characterised by pure mind, pure reason, pure love, and pure will. A “Lord of Sacrifice” Who, through incarnating experience, integration and expression, has undertaken the task of redeeming matter, and of raising substance into Heaven! These are familiar truths and ancient platitudes, but they still remain largely theory to you. You can test their theoretical nature by asking yourself: What am I doing, as a soul (if I function as a soul at all), to raise my matter aspect, my three vehicles and the substance out of which they are made, on to higher planes of expression? (Esoteric Healing, p. 511).
Again to make the above quote more accessible let me help you become familiar with Bailey’s terms. The Son of Mind, or Soul, comes from the Universal mind and has the capacity to think, perceive, discriminate and analyze, but in a spiritual way. This is the major difference between the Son of Mind and the lower concrete mind. Because the Son of Mind is more spiritual, more “integral”, is has more pure mind, pure reason, pure love and pure will. These qualities of pure love and pure reason, help the mind at this level redeem matter, especially the matter of the three vehicles of the Soul (mental, emotional, and physical). As we shall see a major task as we get into the higher levels of the Mental Plane is precisely to purify (redeem) and spiritualize (raise the substance into Heaven) how we think, feel, and keep our physical bodies and world in shape in order to live in a more spiritual way.
Moving now to what Bailey calls the abstract mind we again need to separate what she means by the Abstract Mind and what Piaget means. (Please see Mind on the Emotional Plane: Piaget). Jean Piaget observed that most (but not all) human beings develop abstract thinking (as he defines it) by age 12. Abstract thinking according to Piaget involves the ability to think about non-concrete things and manipulate objects in your mind to view them from various perspectives, or to change them altogether. Abstract ideas might include questions such as: “What would the world look like if it had no light?” “What does God look like?” “What is the best way to learn?”
Though this kind of ability is a step in human mental development and just like the concrete mind probably flows down to humans from higher to lower subplanes and even into the higher levels of the Emotional Plane, this is not what abstract mind is really about according to Bailey. To quote Bailey directly she states, “What you mean when you speak of the abstract mind is not exactly true to the facts; the effort to think abstractly is really an effort to think as far as possible as an initiate thinks who has transcended the concrete mind and thinks, or rather is aware, in terms of life and not of form, of being and not that which anchors being on the physical plane—or even in terms of consciousness, as you understand it (Rays and Initiations, p. 305).”
As I understand the quote above I feel Bailey is saying it is not so much the ability to think abstractly that defines the abstract mind in her system, it is how we think abstractly that defines it. The reason why the abstract mind in her system is associated with the Plane of the Solar Angel is because the “initiate” is beginning to “think” along the lines of what Bailey calls the Spiritual Triad (Atma-Buddhi-Manas). Bailey goes on to say, “The higher abstract mind which is to the soul what the lowest aspect of the soul, embodied in the knowledge petals, is to the concrete mind. This abstract mind is the lowest aspect of the Spiritual Triad (Esoteric Healing, p. 511).”
What does Triadal thought look like? Bailey goes on to say, “The abstract mind. This reveals itself most completely under the influence of the first Ray of Will or Power, reflecting the higher aspect of the will of divinity or of the atmic principles it summarises in itself when fully developed the purpose of Deity, and thus becomes responsible for the emergence of the Plan. It energises the will petals until such time as the eternal life of the soul is absorbed into that which is neither transient nor eternal but which is endless, boundless and unknown. It is brought into conscious functioning through the building of the antahkarana. This “radiant rainbow bridge” unites the illumined personality, focused in the mind body, motivated by the love of the soul, with the Monad or with the One Life, and thus enables the divine manifesting Son of God to express the significance of the words: God is Love and God is a consuming Fire. This fire, energised by love, has burnt out all personality qualities, leaving only a purified instrument, coloured by the soul ray and no longer necessitating the existence of a soul body. The personality has by this time completely absorbed the soul, or to put it perhaps more accurately, both soul and personality have been fused and blended into one instrument for the use of the One Life (Rays and Initiations, p. 461).”
Again for those of you not familiar with Bailey’s terms the above quote may be hard to follow so let me give you some of my impressions about the quote above. To begin with we see that the abstract mind connects us to the Triad through will accessing that will through what Bailey calls the first “Ray of Will or Power” and connects this aspect of will to “atmic principles.” These “atmic principles” reveal the “purpose of Diety” and can be employed to help us “become responsible for the emergence of the Plan.” The more the will petals of the Egoic Lotus (the Soul, which is connected to the Son of Mind), are activated by the abstract mind, the that soul is absorbed into the “endless, boundless and unknown.” The abstract mind is also brought into conscious functioning through the antahkarana (radiant rainbow bridge), that unites the personality with the Monad, or One Life. When this takes place the “significance of the words” God is Love and God is a consuming Fire” are expressed. How? And, here is what interests me the most about this quote and how the abstract mind is used. We learn that “This fire, energized by love, has burnt out the personality qualities, leaving only a purified instrument…no longer necessitating the existence of a soul body…[as] soul and personality have been fused and blended into one instrument for the use of the One Life.” In many ways then the abstract mind is more like a process of abstracting, or absorbing, the personality tendencies into the soul, and into the Monad, or One Life.
Abstract mind on the Emotional Plane is more like imagining what it would look like if we could live on Mars. Abstract mind on the Mental Plane is more like undergoing the process of abstracting, absorbing, or burning up the personality tendencies into the consuming fire of God, so that we can demonstrate that God is Love.
THE MENTAL PLANE OVERALL
Having reviewed the three types of mind on Bailey’s Mental Plane, I want to give you a closeup look of Bailey’s model in regards to what she calls the Mental Plane overall. To begin with I have placed a close up view of the Mental Plane chart taken from the Bailey model. Start by noticing that the Mental Plane is also known as the “Manasic Plane” (“manas” is a Sanskrit name that means mind). And, it is known as the Cosmic Gaseous plane. As a reminder there are Seven Planes total in the Bailey map, the Mental Plane is also known as the 5th Plane counting from the bottom up. By analogy then every 5th subplane (counting from the bottom) of every plane is also viewed as “gaseous” to some degree. The Oxford dictionary defines a gas as “A substance or matter in a state in which it will expand freely to fill the whole of a container, having no fixed shape (unlike a solid) and no fixed volume (unlike a liquid).” Something which is gaseous is also said to be easily flammable and can also become poisonous, revealing already the tendency of thoughts to become negative, poisonous, or inflammatory if we do not learn how to work with them correctly or handle them in a more spiritual way.
Next, take a look at the dotted line at almost the middle. You will see that this dotted line marks the division between the Fourth and Third Subplanes. All the subplanes below this dotted line (Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh) are considered the overall Plane of the Lower Mind. The subplanes above that dotted line (Third, Second, and First) are considered together as the Plane of the Solar Angel. Later I will explain more carefully what the divisions above and below the dotted line are about. For now, simply note they are meant to show a shift regarding two types of mind. Also, you will see more clearly how the “Egoic Lotus” that we spoke about in the chapter on Terms (also known as the “Soul” and “Casual Body”) resides on the part of the Mental Plane known as the Plane of the Solar Angel. The Plane of the Solar Angel covers the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st subplanes of the Mental Plane. As for the Egoic Lotus remember it has twelve overall petals — three central petals, three knowledge petals, three love petals, and three sacrifice petals.
Finally, you will see two phrases in blue right sitting next to two round circles. The first phrase to take note of is the one called Manasic Permanent Atom which also sits on the 1st Subplane of the Mental Plane. The second phrase to take note of is called the Mental Unit, which resides on the Lower Mental Plane on the Fourth Subplane in particular. Near the phrase Mental Unit you will see four circles that represent the chakras and lines moving through the Egoic Lotus the chakra circles and the connecting to the Manasic Permanet Atom and the Mental Unit. Again for now simply note what these phrases are, where they belong, and how they are connected through these lines to various chakras. In chapters to come I will describe all of these terms in more detail.
THE FIFTH RAY & THE MENTAL PLANE
Previously in my book Becoming Human, I introduced Bailey’s notion of what she calls the “Seven Rays.” These are seen by her as being seven streams of divine energy that each make a certain quality become more dominant at the time they emerge. These Seven Rays in general are as follows:
In the chart above you will notice two things. The Rays act as “energies” that affect everyone, like rays of sunshine effect everyone. However, some people have more affinity, or are imbued, with a ray energy more than others. That Ray becomes part of their “type.” This distinction is important because each ray is said to impact one of the Seven Planes in her model. Going from the top down you have Ray One impacting the Divine Plane, Ray Two the Monadic Plane, Ray Three the Spiritual Plane, Ray Four the Intuitional Plane, Ray Five the Mental Plane, Ray Six the Emotional Plane, and Ray Seven the Physical Plane. Other rays can also influence the various planes, which is why one of the quotes in the previous section on the Abstract Mind mentioned how Ray One of Will & Power also influences the Atmic, or Spiritual Plane in the chart to the right here. But, in general there is one major ray influencing each major plane, And, what we want to focus on here is how Ray Five is said to be associated with the Mental Plane. The Fifth Ray in the Bailey books is called a variety of names including the Ray of Concrete Science and Knowledge, Scientific Understanding, Exactitude in Action, and Practical Science. Though Bailey has a lot to say about the Fifth Ray, I am only giving a brief summary about it here.
In general regardless of what ray type you have (a politician, a teacher, a scientist, an artist, a devotional person), if you shift your primary focus of consciousness onto the Mental Plane you will take a more scientific approach to life. Any scientific approach involves the following: 1) an attempt to objectively observe something (be it our physical world or the content of our minds); 2) the creation of certain hypotheses and a desire to test our hypotheses and assumptions; 3) performing certain experiments to see if they do in fact produce the results you expect from your hypotheses; 4) a need to replicate results from the experiments we have performed so that we can verify the probability that the results are accurate.
As we move up the subplanes of the Mental Plane in this book, you will see how this is so. For some “ray types” the method of scientific inquiry will be easy to develop. For other “ray types” it will be more difficult. Also, some subplanes of the Mental Plane will be easier for various types to master than others. For example, here are some of the qualities Bailey attributes to someone who is a Ray Five type: “Special Virtues: Strictly accurate statements, justice (without mercy), perseverance, common-sense, uprightness, independence, keen intellect. Vices of Ray: Harsh criticism, narrowness, arrogance, unforgiving temper, lack of sympathy and reverence, prejudice. Virtues to be acquired: Reverence, devotion, sympathy, love, wide-mindedness. This is the ray of science and of research. The man on this ray will possess keen intellect, great accuracy in detail, and will make unwearied efforts to trace the smallest fact to its source, and to verify every theory. He will generally be extremely truthful, full of lucid explanation of facts, though sometimes pedantic and wearisome from his insistence on trivial and unnecessary verbal minutiae. He will be orderly, punctual, business-like, disliking to receive favours or flattery (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. I, pp. 207—208).” Another quote: “For the fifth ray, the method of approaching the Path is by scientific research, pushed to ultimate conclusions, and by the acceptance of the inferences which follow these. (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. I, p. 208).”
When we apply these keywords to the Mental Plane we can also get a quick overview of some of the benefits of liabilities of development on this plane. The Mental Plane we learn can help us develop our intellects, but can also cause us to lack love, sympathy, and devotion. On the Mental Plane we will have more common-sense and be more accurate in our perceptions and understanding of the world. But, we can also become more narrow and arrogant leading us to think we are being objective, when we are not. We will also see that the vices of the Fifth Ray are more common on the lower subplanes of the Mental Plane, and the virtues are more common on the higher subplanes. Also, once we get to the higher subplanes, we will discover that love, compassion, reverence, devotion and sympathy will be in place.
One final comment, what Bailey is suggesting then in this model is that even when it comes to spiritual development there needs to be a scientific approach. Especially when we reach the Plane of the Solar Angel where the Abstract Mind (as Bailey defines it) is in play more, this scientific approach is needed. A note of caution, however. Just because the words “scientific” and “mind” are used, it does not mean that at the higher subplanes of the Mental Plane we are engaging in thought as most people understand it. We are not “thinking about” these higher realms. But, we are using a scientific approach in regards to certain meditative and spiritual practices to see if we get results, and to prove to ourselves the veracity of the various spiritual techniques and theories we are working with for ourselves. If the methods we are using lead to the transformations in consciousness others claim they do, then our own scientific inquiry has proven it out. That is a vital part of the Mental Plane and proof that someone is on the Mental Plane in their consciousness is evidenced by their interest in a scientific approach.
For example, lets look at a person who is told to chant Hare Krishna, or Hail Mary, Mother of God, sixty-four times on their 108 mala beads every day for 108 days because if they do so their teacher tells them will feel closer to Krishna, Mary, or whoever. Now let’s look at how two ray types, the Sixth Ray devotional type and the Fifth Ray scientific type might approach this statement when they are on the Emotional Plane or the Mental Plane. On the Emotional Plane both the Sixth and Fifth ray types are likely to have difficulty following through with the experiment. For the Sixth Ray devotional type he or she will most likely approach it sporadically and then berate him or herself for being a spiritual “flunkie” for not chanting as told. Now, guilty , sad, angry feelings may arise that lead to all kinds of psychological complications. In the end the person continues to “believe” the chanting works, but has no real knowledge if it does or not. For the Fifth Ray type most likely the chanting will not be pursued at all if his or her skeptical “prove it to me first before I try the experiment on for myself” emotionally reactive mindset kicks in.
On the Mental Plane, it is probably likely that the Sixth Ray type would succeed in going through this kind of spiritual experiment more quickly than the Firth Ray type. The devotional nature of the Sixth Ray person will cause that individual to simply dive in and see what happens. As for the Fifth Ray type, a number of questions may have to be answered first before the experiment is tried on. “Who is Krishna?” “Why should I chant to people, Krishna, Mary, who may not even be real?” “Why 108 mala beads?” “Why 108 days?” “Why sixty-four times, why not thirty-two?” “How many other people have gotten results doing this kind of experiment? Who are they? Where are they? How do I know I can trust what they say or that the results they claim to have gotten are real?” The advantage of the Sixth Ray approach is the person is much more likely to undergo the chanting experiment quicker and know what the results of the experiment were for themselves. The disadvantage is that the Sixth Ray type may have their own personal experience, but not enough thorough knowledge to know how to describe what they experienced or how someone else could get a similar result. The advantage of the Fifth Ray type in their approach to the experiment is that he or she will have a very detailed and thorough knowledge of why and how the experiment of chanting on mala beads worked. For this reason he or she can give a more detailed explanation of what happened and why to others. The disadvantage of the Fifth Ray type is that the endless search to have all questions answered before the chanting experiment is even started, can mean he or she gets way too bogged down delaying the attempt at the chanting experiment for way too long.
In summary, the Bailey model has three types of mind that make up Kāma-Manas (desire-mind) on the Emotional Plane known as instinctual mind, lower concrete mind, and personality mind. On the Emotional Plane the lower concrete mind allows the person to manipulate objects in the material physical world in order to help the individual achieve his or her physical needs and emotional desires. The personality mind helps that person to become the Integrated Personality, which is separative, selfish, and materialistic, but also very capable of integrating into the world in such a way, he or she can get physical needs and emotional desires met to the point of excess.
On the Mental Plane the three types of mind are known as lower concrete mind, son of mind, and abstract mind. Lower concrete mind and abstract mind in the Bailey model do not mean the same thing as they are commonly defined by psychologist Jean Piaget. Concrete mind in Piaget’s systems involves being able to recognize and manipulate external objects. Lower concrete mind on the Mental Plane in Bailey’s system involves the ability to look at internal objects in such a way that the person can begin to detach from them, observe them, and manipulate them eventually at will. As for son of mind, this involves the capacity to take on increasingly multiple perspectives and approach them in an integrated and loving way. Finally, as for abstract mind, again we need to not get Bailey’s idea of abstract mind confused with Piaget’s. Bailey’s abstract mind only comes into play when one is able to think abstractly at minimum from a global level. Also, it is really not “thought” per se. At least not thought as we understand it, since even thoughts are increasingly deconstructed at this level.
Finally, we looked at how the Fifth Ray of Concrete Knowledge and Science is associate with the Mental Plane and how this association orients those on the Mental Plane towards using a scientific approach in regards to mind, consciousness, and spiritual practice. On the lower subplanes of the Mental Plane the negative aspects of the Fifth ray of being critical, separative, skeptical, and devoid of love and compassion are seen more. At the higher subplanes of the Mental Plane this is no longer the case. In coming chapters I will illustrate this more especially as we go each subplane of the Mental Plane.
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