This post concludes Chapter Ten by bringing correlations of Group Seven with the Crisis phase of the Technique of Integration, and how Group Seven and the ideas of Alice Bailey match up with the models of spiritual growth and evolution as put forward by both the Theosophical and Integral movements.
THEOSOPHICAL MODEL COMPARISONS
As in the chapter on the 7th subplane of the Mental Plane, we are again looking at the book by Theosophist Arthur Powell and the Theosophical notion of devachan (associated with the “heaven realms.”) Regarding the 6th subplane of the Mental Plane according to Powell he states that “the dominant characteristic of the sixth sub-plane of the of heaven-world may be described as anthropomorphic religious devotion. There appears to be some correspondence between the heaven-world and the second astral sub-plane, the difference being that on the astral there is invariably an element of selfishness, of bargaining, in the religious devotion, whereas in the heaven-world the devotion is of course entirely free from any such taint. On the other hand, this phase of devotion, which consists essentially in the perpetual adoration of a personal deity, must be distinquished from those still higher forms which find their expression in performing some definite work for the deity’s sake” (The Mental Body, A.E. Powell, p. 209).
Powell goes on to give a number of illustrations here saying things like, “a fairly large number of entities on this level are drawn from oriental religions, only those being included whose devotion is pure, but comparatively unreasoning and unintelligent. Worshippers of Vishnu, and a few of Shiva, are found here, each wrapped up in a cocoon of his own thoughts, alone with his god, and oblivious to the rest of mankind except in so far as his affections may associate those whom he loved on earth with his adoration of his deity” (The Mental Body, A.E. Powell, p. 209—210). Powell then goes on to talk about women being predominant here, and lists examples of Buddhists and Christians who are here adoring some great teacher, saint, the Virgin Mary, Buddha or Jesus. And, he states that “even if a man is a materialist and agnostic, he will still have a heaven-life, provided he had been capable of devotion” especially as they are associated with “deep unselfish family affection, as well as earnest philanthropic effort” (The Mental Body, A.E. Powell, p. 210). Finally, Powell emphasizes that on the seventh, sixth and fifth sub-planes of the mental plane the devotion is to “personalities, either to one’s family and friends, or to a personal deity, rather than to the wider devotion to humanity for its own sake” (The Mental Body, A.E. Powell, p. 215).
To begin with Powell’s statements about his perceptions of this sub-plane line up with Bailey’s more consistently than they did with his descriptions of the 7th sub-plane of the Mental Plane and Bailey’s. As we see the emphasis is on devotion, especially how that devotion is still focused on a personality instead of to humanity as a whole. The personality one is devoted to typically conditioned by the culture one is born into and the religious orientation one gravitates towards. As we have seen from what Bailey writes this can lead to a number of problems if one becomes too fixated on a particular teacher or teaching. Powell also attempts some distinctions between devotion on the Astral (Emotional) Plane and the Mental Plane. Bailey does this to some degree in her correlation with Atlantean consciousness on the Emotional Plane and how it is recapitulated to some degree during the Probationary Path. I see that recapitulation happening on the 6th sub-plane of the Mental Plane, though I feel it is between the 5th and 4th sub-planes of the Emotional Plane and the 6th sub-plane of the Mental Plane, not as Powell asserts between the 2nd sub-plane of the Emotional Plane and the 6th of the Mental. Regardless of which sub-planes are involved the point is similar that there is a correlation in the way of devotion.
Finally, I feel a distinction needs to be made in regards to Powell and Bailey. On the Mental Plane I have grouped Bailey’s main areas of focus into the categories of Freedom from Desire, the Evolution of Love, Control of Thought, a Mind Surrendered to Divine Will, Continuity of Consciousness, Unity Consciousness, Cooperation With the Divine Plan, and a Mind Vitalized By Spirit (which includes knowledge of the mayavirupa). (See chart to the right). Powell does refer to some of this in his book The Mental Body in his discussions on thought-forms, meditation, and even the mayavirupa. So there is an overlap between what Bailey and Powell are saying in many respects in regards to what developmental taskes need to happen on the Mental Plane. It is just that Bailey takes it much farther in her books than Powell does, which makes sense since Bailey wrote much more extensively then Powell did on this subject. Also, the emphasis in Bailey’s writings focuses more on how these are developmental processes that need to take place on the Mental Plane while we are both in a physical body, as well as after we are physically dead. Powell may have agreed with this premise, but since he is no longer here to ask that question, all we can do is to infer that he might concur with Bailey here. For now, we are left with the fact that much of his writings on the Mental Plane focused on what takes place primarily when we are in the after-world.
Blavatsky — Besant — Krishnamurti
Fractures Due to Devotion
Switching now to some of the other major early writers in the Theosophical movement, I want to focus not so much on quotations from their various books that might line up with the correlations I am making between what Bailey says and the 6th sub-plane of the Mental Plane, so much as I want to discuss a common process that seems to happen at this level. This process involves fractures and the splintering off of people into various groups due to their narrow devotion to a particular teaching, teacher, or tradition. Bailey tried to address this problem which we discussed in this chapter under the heading Problems of Guidance—People Who Are Living. As Bailey revealed this process happens in all groups and spiritual traditions and Theosophy was no exception.
The devotion that happens on the 6th subplane of the Mental Plane looks a lot like the tribal forms of devotion found on primarily the 4th and 5th subplanes of the Emotional Plane. The difference is on the Emotional Plane that devotion mainly occurs in order to safeguard one’s tribal identity so that one can maintain access to having their basic needs met in order to get more “goodies” for themselves, families, and those associated with their tribal identities. Here on the 6th subplane of the Mental Plane, where people are beginning to shift into a more global identity and often have access to getting their basic needs met, the problems of devotion are more mentally based. Probationers are concerned with knowing the right methods to help them achieve certain spiritual goals and help them arrive at certain spiritual realizations. They are genuinely trying to find the right teacher, teaching, or tradition to help them be a better person. But, their minds are not yet developed, flexible, and discerning enough to handle conflicting opinions and approaches. As Aspirants they already tried the indiscriminate spiritual smorgasbord. Now as Probationer Disciples they are hoping to move beyond that approach so that they can become a bit more disciplined. Frequently this means placing themselves in a kind of protective cocoon or bubble so that they can focus mainly on a particular teaching, teacher, or tradition.
This protective bubble is good in many ways as it keeps the Probationer Disciple from becoming overly confused. But, it frequently means that the Probationer Disciple in their devotion to a particular teacher, teaching or spiritual tradition falls into believing that teacher, teaching or tradition to be the right one, instead of the right one for themselves. When I first got exposed to esoteric teachings, I myself frequently ran into this and over time became dismayed at how much disagreement, name calling, arguing, and division arouse among people who claimed to be spiritually evolved. Time and again I was told that this teacher was the “best” or this spiritual teaching was the “real one” and so forth. Over time all of this left me discouraged and even slightly traumatized. I just couldn’t not understand why this kind of my teacher, teaching, or tradition is “right” and yours are “wrong” happened even among spiritual movement that were meant to be more inclusive like Theosophy and the Integral movement itself. Now, taking a more developmental perspective I see it as a natural phase on the spiritual path. And, that is why even today you see things on the Internet like “Blavatsky is the only way,” or “Besant is the only way,” or “Bailey is the only one who gets it right” and so forth. I almost see it now as a natural protective devotional reflex especially for Probationer Disciples. Ironically, the attempts of various esoteric and spiritual organizations to demonize each other (even going so far as some of the different factions “evil”), is really no different than Christian, Islamic or any other fundamentalist approach that attempts to make angels and demons out of everyone instead of trying to understand them and put others into a more truly integral context. You also see this narrow kind of fundamentalist approach happening in esoteric groups who insist that everything connected to their teacher, teaching, or tradition is entirely correct (usually because their teacher was divine or the teaching is said to be divinely inspired) making Probationers frequently defensive about any insinuations that their teacher, teaching, or tradition might be partial, distorted, misguided, or flat out incorrect.
Again this narrow devotional focus can help Probationer Disciples at one level because by keeping within a more narrow focus they avoid confusion and even danger by mixing too many teachings, spiritual practices, and spiritual traditions together (something as Apirants they were especially prone to do). By keeping a more narrow focus Probationer Disciples also remain more focused helping the go deeper into a particular teaching or spiritual tradition so they are less like to become superficial and take things out of context, (something they may still be prone to do). And, at some point the Probationer will encounter what happens in just about every spiritual group as they disagree, splinter off, and tend to separate themselves from others all the while adhering to claims that they have the best or most perfect teacher, teaching, tradition or spiritual approach. Though this may seem like a bad thing, it is actually a good thing as it sets the stage for Probationer Disciple to make a shift from the 6th subplane to the 5th subplane of the Mental Plane where “blind devotion” is no longer so much the case.
to list those in esoteric groups like the Theosophical Society as struggling with these issues. If, as I am attempting to assert in this book, these are developmental stages, then all human beings at some point will grapple with these problems. Anyone who moves onto the Probationary Path will face the many difficulties that this chapter attempts to list. That includes those who follow Blavatsky, Besant, Bailey, and Krishnamurti. It also includes as Powell suggests Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and atheists. And, it would include Muslims or any human being that exists who has reached this developmental level.
INTEGRAL MODEL COMPARISONS
I would like to return again now to the comparisons with Integral and how it might apply to the various things I am proposing are developmental spiritual processes for the 6th sub-plane of the Mental Plane. As with the 7th subplane I see a mixture of various levels with some of Green still present and more of Teal and Turquoise in place. As I did before let me go through each of these Integral levels briefly and show parallels to themes talked about in this chapter.
We will begin by reviewing some of the Green keywords in the Integral model above followed by quotes directly from An Overview of Developmental Stages of Consciousness compiled by Barrett C. Brown, Integral Institute April 3, 2006. Then we will look at particular themes and draw direct parallels.
Green Values: Bottom line: Community harmony and equality. Basic theme: Seek peace within the inner self and explore, with others, the caring dimensions of community. What’s important: Sensitivity to others and the environment; feelings and caring (in response to the cold rationality of Orange); harmony and equality; reconciliation, consensus, dialogue, participation, relationships, and networking; human development, bonding and spirituality; diversity and multiculturalism; relativism and pluralism; freeing the human spirit from greed, dogma, and divisiveness; distributing the earth’s resources and opportunities equally among all. Where seen: Frequently visible in the helping professions (e.g., health care, education, and feelings-oriented business activities); John Lennon’s Imagine; Netherlands’ idealism; sensitivity training; cooperative inquiry; postmodernism; politically correct; human rights and diversity issues.
Starting with Integral Green the main thing we see emerging at this level is the issue Integral Green has with sensitivity, but at this level we would associate it more with “psychic sensitivity.” That psychic sensitivity connects with something Ken Wilber has called the pre-trans fallacy. We referred to this earlier in this chapter in the section having to do with psychic powers. “Pre” means “pre-rational” and “trans” means “trans-rational.” Or, in the Bailey system “pre” could mean psychic impressions that are developed before one gets to Group Six and starts to develop some level of rational mind. That would take the person back to Group Four and maybe even Group Three, which were equivalent with Wilber’s mythical and even magical levels of consciousness. This “pre-rational” stage is actually a step backwards, not forwards, hence the confusion and the danger for those on the Probationary Path who are not adequately using their minds to discern the difference between what Bailey calls “higher and lower” psychic powers.
This is the tendency found in those at Integral level Green and Bailey’s Probationary stage to jump into embracing the concept of how everything is non-dual or “one” while at the same time throwing out the fact that a true non-dualism contains dualism within it. Like the Yin-Yang symbol, you have the whole (the circle) and the parts (the white and black sections seen here). Also, each section (black and white) contains some of the other within it (represented by the white dot and black dots). This symbol shows the one and the many, the unmanifest and the manifest, the whole and the parts and how they are all interconnected. As mentioned in the section in this chapter titled Intellectually Impatient, Probationers are similar to those at Integral level Green in their failure to become “non-dual dualists” or “dual non-dualists.” By this I mean they affirm the unity of all things, but wash away all distinctions. Anyone like myself who likes who grow plants knows how dangerous that is. Yes, all of my plants are “plants.” But, I neglect the differences between my plants at my peril because each has different needs in regards to soil, light, water, temperature and even different mixes of fertilizer to thrive. Human beings, animals, minerals and in reality manifest life as a whole requires a careful mindfulness of differences in order to thrive. Without this humans, like the rest of life, will frankly not thrive. In Buddhism they call it “skillful means,” which is equivalent to Bailey’s pairing “intelligent activity” with “love” in order to know how to love others in an intelligent way. Some human beings thrive with love expressed as hugs and kisses. Others (especially if they were traumatized by unhealthy touch such as what takes place in molestation) will be repelled and feel unloved by this. Both Integral Green and Bailey’s Probationer are prone to throw out the need for discernment and intelligent activity in their desire to be loving and harmless, making them unwittingly unloving and even harmful in their approach.
Now let’s look at the comparisons between the 6th Subplane of the Mental Plane and Integral Teal. With the Probationer Disciple we do see the capacity to look at multiple perspectives, but they are not yet sufficiently synthesizing these perspectives and may even be overly devoted to one perspective (teaching, teacher) at the expense of others. And, though they are more aware of the interrelatedness and interdependence of all things, this is still more an ideal than an experience. That experience in the Bailey model is yet to come. Certainly the Probationary Disciple is on the leading edge of culture, but so is every one at the level of Integrated Personality and beyond in the Bailey model. From a Psychosynthesis perspective (a model created by one of the main students of Alice Bailey), there is more awareness and integration of subpersonalities and more of a coherent self identity. But, these words in the Integral model really do not convey the same depth of understanding that the Bailey model does. In the Bailey model we have the Integrated Personality “self” that has a “complex self-identity and self-story, but that is not the same as what the “soul-infused self” experiences. And, the point of the Probationary path is the struggle between these two “selves” or levels of coherent and complex self-identity that each “self” reveals. Finally, we do see in the Probationary Disciple a desire to live more responsibly. And, there is the start of more discernment and respect for hierarchy. Some overlap between the Probationary Disciple at this level and Integral Teal is seen therefore. But, many areas of Integral Teal do not quite line up with this 6th subplane of the Mental Plane level, or have not yet emerged.
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