This post continues to explain what initiation is as described by Alice Bailey, but it also compares her ideas to those found in more traditional Theosophy (Helena Blavatsky, Annie Besant, Charles Leadbeater), and also looks at parallels to the initiation process as found in the Integral model by Ken Wilber.
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 3/21/20 this chapter has not been edited.
THE INITIATION PROCESS
Again what is important to understand is that initiation is ultimately a process, even if aspects of it seem sudden and spontaneous. If we are digging a tunnel and suddenly breakthrough to the other side, the breakthrough may appear sudden, but before we make that “sudden breakthrough” that helped us expand into a new realm of consciousness, there was an entire process behind it. In many ways you could say the initiation process has three parts to it: 1) a beginning phase of preparation; 2) the seemingly sudden expansion phase of breakthrough into a new level of consciousness; and 3) an assimilation phase where we have to embody and live according to the new realizations we have been given. To truly complete an initiation then, all three phases have to be undergone (preparation, breakthrough, and assimilation to use my words). Also, I believe that initiations tend to overlap. For example, we may be preparing for the Second Initiation, while still assimilating fully realizations we may have had from the First Initiation.
Though I have given my own terms to these three phases of an initiation process, they are inferred in Bailey’s writings. She states that during initiation there is, “1. An expansion of consciousness that admits the personality into the wisdom attained by the Ego, and in the higher initiations into the consciousness of the Monad. 2. A brief period of enlightenment wherein the initiate sees that portion of the Path that lies ahead to be trodden, and wherein he shares consciously in the great plan of evolution. After initiation, the work to be done consists largely in making that expansion of consciousness part of the equipment for the practical use of the personality, and in mastering that portion of the path that has yet to be traversed (Initiation: Human & Solar, p. 15). Again we see this process of “entering into” by the personality as the consciousness is expanded into the new realms of either Ego (i.e. Soul) or later on Monad. Then the Soul or Monad is able to “enter into” the personality, until like two tunnels digging towards each other there is a breakthrough and they meet. Once this happens, this “connection” that leads to an “expanded horizon” needs to be integrated and made practical in the every day life.
Another important thing about the initiation process that was mentioned earlier is that it is rarely a smooth process. Again, there is too often uneven unfoldment leading to unbalanced conditions. I see this much in a similar light as I explained on my chapter The Problem With Levels. Too often we like to view things as a staircase, or ladder, approach. We take one step, then another, then another. As I tried to illustrate in that chapter it frequently happens in a different manner where we are a mixture of different subplanes (representing developmental stages) with a few subplanes (or stages) dominating. To illustrate, look at the pictures to the left. Imagine that both people in Figures 1 & 2 are going through the same initiation process (let’s say for now it is the First Initiation). To let you know each of these figures has the same number of dots in them. And, each figure has been given the same number of dots (about 60%) using the color I have selected to represent the 3rd subplane of the Mental Plane. However, as you can see th figures look different. Figure 1 has all colors that represent the Mental Plane, with even some green colors that represent the highest levels of the Mental Plane (1st subplane and 2nd subplane). As for Figure 2, the highest level of dots are the colors taken from the 3rd subplane of the Mental Plane, with all the rest of the dots (those that are orange and even orange-red) taken from subplane colors that are found on the Emotional Plane.
So what we have here are two people who technically are at the same “initiatory” level of consciousness (about 60% operating at 3rd subplane Mental Plane), but you can see how different they are. To begin with Figure 1 looks more even, or “smoother,” because the colors appear more the same (yellow), and all the colors come from the Mental Plane. If the person in Figure 1 went through an initiation process, we would expect it to happen in a pretty harmonious way, because the individual does not have as much “lower residue” let’s say, that might disrupt or distort things as the initiation process is undergone. Plus, the fact that the person in Figure 1 has some additional experience with states of consciousness higher than the 3rd subplane of the Mental Plane (represented by the green dots), may help the process of initiation go even smoother since these would help the individual have even more insight and awareness, or “strength and immunity” to any minor disturbances that might happen during the initiation process stirred up by some of the 4th and 5th subplane material from the Mental Plane I gave this person.
With Figure 2, however, the process of initiation we can expect would be quite different because this person did not do the same level of purification work. There is still too much Emotional Plane residue (the orange and orange-red dots). Plus, this person does not have any experience with higher levels of consciousness beyond the 3rd subplane of the Mental Plane, or in simpler language — no great dots. What all this might mean is that as the Figure 2 person goes through the same initiation as the Figure 1 person is, it will be much more uneven because there are “gaps” (Bailey calls them “cleavages”) in development that cause the person to have a much more difficult initiation experience because there was not enough “clean up” work of removing the “orange consciousness,” or tendencies to have emotional distortions and reactions, during the initiation experience. Though my examples are rather crude, they explain why Bailey’s book, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, spends so much time talking about these “cleavages” or gaps in development, which happen as a result of uneven unfoldment.
To avoid this kind of uneven unfoldment a number of Bailey books spend a lot of time discussing how to purify oneself and prepare oneself before any initiation is gone through. For example, in preparing to take the First Initiation, the Path of Probation (or Purification) needs to be gone through, especially emphasizing purifying the body and clarifying the motive. In preparation for the Second Initiation, deeper work is done on examining the “glamours,” or ways our emotional bodies and selfish tendencies distort our understanding of the spiritual path. Greater mastery of our thought processes and how our thoughts have been conditioned along various lines is undergone. And, a deeper understanding of the difference between what Bailey calls “higher and lower psychic powers” needs to be in place. Before the Third Initiation, the training of the mind goes up another notch before the initiation occurs, this time with a greater focus on what Bailey calls “illusion,” that has to do in part with penetrating the way our five senses distort our ability to truly see the Real. The foundation is also being set for creation of the mayavirupa, or “body of illusion,” where we learn to go through a process of conscious dying and “resurrection” that will take place in the two initiations (the Fourth and Fifth) that will follow. If preparation work is done at all of these levels, then again when initiation (expansion of consciousness) takes place, the process tends to be much smoother and less problematic.
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