This post is the next in a series taking a look at the spiritual challenges that those at the 5th subplane of the Mental Plane face. Here we discover the “problems of illumination” that take place when one enters into deeper types of meditation practice. Some of these problems include what happens when the Chela in the Light is intensifying the brain and mind with an increased measure of Soul light and how it can imbalance the life and inflate the mind causing one to life in a “thought bubble” or develop problems of mental pride.
CHAPTER TEN: GROUP SEVEN, Chela in the Light, Part Four
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS, cont.
ADVANCED MEDITATION TRAINING
Especially at the time of writing this book there are now so many different kinds of meditation techniques that many people are no longer sure what classifies as meditation. For Bailey meditation is a progressive practice and even at certain stages of spiritual development is meant to become scientific with meditations being prescribed to people depending on their type, disposition, and level of spiritual development. Before the stage of Chela in the Light methods of meditation practice that involve relaxation exercises for the body and visualizations to work with the emotions are useful to lay the groundwork for more advanced meditation practice. As for mindfulness meditation where one learns to take up the attitude of the observer regarding one’s thoughts, feelings and bodily responses, this is also useful, but again seen as a building block to more advanced work.
For the Chela in the Light the meditation process shifts to include two different processes. First, the Chela learns how to quiet and focus the mind through a meditation practice that is better known as Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga has two parts to it known as “meditttion with seed” and later “meditation without seed.” Meditation with seed involves using a seed-thought like a saying or mantra that the mind focuses on. If the mind wanders, which it often does at first, you simply come back to your seed-thought. There are actually different levels of working with a seed-thought. When seed-thoughts are used in a repetitive way they help give the lower kāma-manasic mind something to focus on instead of wandering off to think about what to have for dinner tonight, how one’s relationship or work is going that day etc. Eventually, the seed-thought goes beyond this and aids in the process of focused concentration. After this the seed-thought allows the mind to focus enough so that it can penetrate into the deeper meaning and significance of the seed. For example, if you were using a mantra like Om Mani Padme Om, you would no longer be saying it as a mental distraction, you would enter into the meaning of the mantra and significance for you until it became alive in you.
Another aspect of meditation with seed begun at the Chela in the Light stage is very similar to a form of Vajrayana Buddhism used in Tibetan Buddhism. Here the seed-thought becomes much more elaborate and is more like an intricate visualization upon very elaborate mandalas. The process starts with memorizing all the difference aspects of the mandala and what all the symbolism means. Meditating on all the qualities and aspects of the mandala you next go beyond memorizing, thinking about, and visualizing them to eventually becoming or embodying everything the symbolism represents. We will study this some more shortly.
Before that I want to talk about meditation without seed. Here the mind is awake and alert, but the mind is no longer thinking, visualizing, or concentrating. Instead, you move into states of samadhi where the mind is absorbed in light. Hence one of the reasons this stage is known as Chela in the Light. There are actually different kinds of samadhi, and the Chela has to be careful to avoid meditating in such a way the brain becomes overly passive putting the Chela more into a trance than a samadhi space. But, again this is part of the training that ideally the Chela is getting at this point in his or her spiritual growth and development.
PROBLEMS WITH ILLUMINATION — LIVING IN A THOUGHT BUBBLE
As we have seen the Chela in the Light is increasingly experiencing his or her mind being illuminated by the light of the Soul. Illumination takes place through various forms of meditation work as the mind becomes increasingly concentrated and capable of holding itself steady under the light of the Soul. This leads to an increase in knowledge, wisdom, revelations, and can even lead to states of ecstasy and the capacity to enter into samadhi. Though all of this is positive, Bailey says illumination itself can lead to problems, the major problem being how the individual can be so involved in these illuminative experiences there is a break from the physical world. Bailey states, “We become obsessed with the idea of the soul; we forget its need of a vehicle of expression; we begin to live in an abstracted detached world of being and of feeling, and we fail to keep in contact with the factual life of physical plane expression. We thus repeat—again on a higher turn of the spiral—the condition we considered in which the soul or ego was not present, reversing the condition so that there is no form life really present in the focussed consciousness of the man. There is only the world of souls and a desire for creative activity. The handling of daily living on the physical plane drops below the threshold of consciousness, and the man becomes a vague, impractical, visionary mystic. (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, pp. 467 — 468).
This kind of imbalance is especially seen in the more mental type at the 5th subplane of the Mental Plane level who is not able to practically ground anything. Of this person Bailey states, “Vast plans, widespread schemes, correlations and correspondences, plus the attempt to impose them on others and to invoke their aid (with consequent criticism if this aid is withheld) for the carrying out of the mass of unrelated ideas occupy him. There is no real effort made to carry these plans and ideas through to completion, for them all remain tentative on the mental plane, in their original vague state. The effort to see more and grasp more and apprehend more of the detail and the inter-relation engrosses all the attention, and there is no energy left to carry even one of them down on to the plane of desire, and thus take the first steps towards the physical materialisation of the visioned plan. If this state of mind continues for too long a period, it produces mental strain, nervous breakdown and sometimes permanent difficulty. The cure, however, is simple.
Let the man thus afflicted realise the futility of his mental life as he is living it. Then, choosing one of the many possible methods of work and one of the many channels of service whereby the sensed plan can be developed, let him force himself to bring it through into physical manifestation, letting all other possibilities drop. In this way, he can begin again to regulate and control his mind and to take his place among those who are accomplishing something—no matter how small the contribution may be. He becomes then constructive.” (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, pp. 469). In conclusion, Bailey I believe is emphasizing one of the main problems for those at this 5th subplane of the Mental Plane level, where the person becomes like a brain without a body. There is no sense of balance in the life. The person is all head and no heart. As we shall see later this is a problem that must be balanced out and is remedied especially when we get to the 4th subplane of the Mental Plane.
RE-EXAMINING THE MOTIVE
Before the Chela proceeds to the next steps it is important for him or her to remember that the spiritual path is not something he or she is traveling for the sake of any kind of personal enlightenment or liberation. That will occur, but that is ultimately a minor step, which I will explain especially in the section on the First Initiation. The Chela is also not on the spiritual path to enhance one’s own spiritual powers, psychic or otherwise. The Path of Probation is undergone before advance meditation work is undertaken ideally as a means to purify oneself so that one’s motive becomes increasingly selfless. A selfless motive based upon a desire to serve others, purification, and shadow work are all important precisely because as the Chela engages in advanced meditation practices, distortions can increasingly take place. Only by being constantly aware of these distortions and continually to work on one’s motive will the selfish personality tendencies continue to be diminished.
Bailey discusses how as aspirants and probationary disciples continue to progress (out of being Integrated Personalities and into Chela’s in the Light), and their consciousness orients increasingly towards the soul, the following two factors start to apply. “1) An intensification of the personality life, so that it is developed to its highest individualistic powers. 2) A process of moving forward into the light and of conscious soul contact. This involves the earlier stage of the alignment process, which is a mode of focussed, concentrated effort, according to the ray and life purpose of the soul. This may take the form of a profound application to some scientific endeavour or a deep concentration on the spiritual work of the world, or it may be a complete dedication to humanitarian effort; it matters not. I would call your attention to that statement. In every case the motivating power must be betterment; it must be carried forward by extreme effort; but—given right motive and the effort to develop simultaneously a good character and a stable purpose—the aspirant or probationary disciple will eventually find that he has succeeded in establishing a definite soul relation; he will have discovered that the path of contact between soul and brain, via the mind, has been opened, and that he has mastered the first stage in the needed alignment process” (Rays & Initiations, pp. 500 — 501).
In other words, advanced meditation work increases what Bailey calls the “soul-mind-brain” alignment where the light of the soul is brought into the mind and brain, which in turn heightens the level of spiritual power and appeal the person carries. That increased soul light both brings the residue of selfish personality desires to the surface, and makes the individual even more effective in the world of affairs than they were before. In many ways the Chela poses more of a danger than that of someone with just an Integrated Personality precisely because the motives are now mixed. The spiritual powers mixed in with an increased aptitude for psychic powers can make the Chela seem more “God-like” than before. This will give the Chela (who is still in Group Seven), an increased appeal to those in Groups Three to Six who may be very likely to put the individual on a pedestal that may be very difficult for the Chela to stay off of unless he or she is going through a constant and even more rigorous process of examining motives and doing his or her shadow work.
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