This post completes the discussion on the spiritual challenges those on the 5th subplane of the Mental Plane face. Here we see the Chela in the Light beginning the process of consciously cleaning up personal and group karma and at long last contacting the Soul as a fact. This Soul contact produces its own opportunities and difficulties, which are looked at briefly in this post and will be dealt with more extensively in another chapter.
SOUL CONTACT HAPPENS AS FACT
So far getting through the stages of Group Seven has required quite a lot of evolutionary spiritual work. First, we had to get through the stage of Little Chelaship that involved the Aspirant and Probationary Path. Next, we had to get through the Chela in the Light stage and the requirements of the Accepting Disciple. Now after all this monumental work of purification, character building, transferring the centers from the higher to lower centers, re-orientation of motive, and greater dedication to service something amazing is about to happen. Freed from some of the glamours that exist within the “astral light” (or the realm of the Emotional Plane and all its selfish desires), the Soul can at last be contacted leading to the very first experience of “enlightenment” known in the Bailey tradition as the First Initiation. Actually, there is a lot to say about this initiation experience so I will devoting an entire chapter to it. But, here is a brief description starting with Bailey’s words on this matter.
“Then the individual aspirant—after much struggle and effort—suddenly ‘touches’, for one brief moment, the level of the soul, and knows the meaning of the words ‘soul contact.’ That contact is no longer a desire, a vision or a theoretical belief or hope. It is experience and fact. The terms ‘soul contact’ and ‘sensing
the vibratory quality of the soul’ are phrases oft used. It should prove useful to students if they could learn to appreciate the fact that when ‘in meditation deep’ a certain sudden and recognised relationship is established, the personality has responded for the first time in such a manner that the ‘appropriation’ by the soul of its instrument (called individualisation) is duplicated by the appropriation by the personality of the inspiring and overshadowing soul. This experience marks a significant moment in the life of the soul and the personality, and the man is never again the same. He has participated in a soul activity. This great event, when looked at from this angle, should throw new light and a fresh spirit of enterprise into the meditation work of the aspirant. Just as the soul through a planned activity, individualised itself in a human form, so the probationary aspirant, also as a result of a planned activity, takes the first step in individualising himself in a spiritual form, and the shift of consciousness from a body nature into a body ‘not made with hands, eternal in the heavens’ takes place“ (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, pp. 274—275).
Some words may need to be clarified in the quote above. When Bailey says “one brief moment” that moment is not necessarily a second. The experience can actually last for a number of hours. And, when the word appropriation is used, again it means that the soul takes over, or infuses itself, into the personality. In some traditions they call it the “soul-infused personality.” As we shall come to understand when we look more in depth at the first initiation, this results in a sense of one having been reborn, or born again. That birth is not simply an emotional impulse that wakes you up and starts you as an aspirant on a spiritual path. It is literally being birthed into a new level of awareness, where as Bailey says, the soul becomes a fact. The Self has been Realized. To use Bailey’s words you are reborn into the “kingdom of conscious souls.” Actually, the soul is always conscious on its own level. What is really meant here is that the personality, as it is appropriated and infused by the soul, becomes aware of the kingdom of souls of which the personality is now consciously a part of. This soul or Self-Realization is a major event. However, it is just the first enlightenment experience. There are many more enlightenment experiences to come. Bailey mentions nine for example, though I will only attempt to help you understand a few more in this book. For now, simply understand though soul contact is significant, we still have a very long ways to go.
SPIRITUAL EMERGENCE VS. EMERGENCY
You would think that Soul contact would always be a glorious and wonderful thing. But, just like human birth experiences can be experienced as both joyful and harrowing, so can the birth of the Soul into the consciousness of the personality be felt as both wonderful and terrifying. The Alice Bailey book Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II attempts to address this dichotomy. Though I have not covered all of the crises that Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II goes into (such as what happens when the kundalini awakens) in the book you are reading here, I have gone over quite a few in the previous chapters. Fortunately, since the early 1900’s when Alice Bailey wrote her books, more understanding of these crises have been written about, most notably by Transpersonal author Stanislav
Grof who distinguished between an enlightenment experience that was relatively easy (which he called a “spiritual emergence”), and one that could be quite difficult (which he called a “spiritual emergency”). The work of Transpersonal, Integral, and Esoteric Psychologist’s is important because for those having a difficult time undergoing soul contact, or what Bailey calls the First Initiation, this birth experience can be a dangerous time especially if the individual is around people or living in a society that does not understand or support what he or she is going through. For example, people whose consciousness resides mainly in Group Four may become afraid of the Chela, or view the Chela as peculiar or maybe even demonic. Those in Group Five (who tend to reinforce religious and societal norms) may go further and actually persecute them. Those in Group Six who tend to be materialistic will most likely view the Chela as crazy and most likely attempt to drug them, hospitalize them, or both. Aware of these potential consequences many Chelas having a difficult birth experience can go through an agonizing period of trying to adjust to what they are going through, even cutting themselves off from the world around them depriving them of any understanding, compassion, and help.
Other Chelas who do not do a sufficient amount of purificatory work before their enlightenment experience happened, or who have not been exposed to an extensive enough model of spiritual evolution to put their first enlightenment experience into practice, may even run off as mentioned before prematurely making claims about their advanced spiritual status, gather a following around them, and in the end generating negative karma due to their lack of humility or deeper understanding of how the spiritual path unfolds. That is why so many supposedly enlightened spiritual teachers go off the rails. Yes, they are enlightened, and in a very significant way more evolved than most human beings. But, compared to models of spiritual evolution such as Bailey puts forth, they are enlightened to a very small degree. In fact, Bailey claims that this kind of enlightenment experience is in the larger scheme of things a minor experience. Remember in her model the Chela in the Light has only penetrated the periphery of the service Ashram he or she is a part of. He or she cannot be fully trusted yet. Think of it this way, just as it is wonderful to celebrate the birth of a new baby in your household, you wouldn’t automatically let that baby run the entire household or pay the bills. A Chela in the Light is in many regards no different than a small baby here. Though birth into what Bailey calls the “fifth kingdom of conscious souls” is significant, a long period of spiritual maturity awaits the Chela, which we will see in the chapters to come.
SEES MAYA AS FACT
At last the Integrated Personality has contacted the Soul and penetrated the veils that used to make the realm of the Soul seem like a fanciful idea and not a fact. The “keys to the kingdom” have been given to the increasingly Soul-Infused Personality, much in the same way a person first gets the keys to a car. Now more than ever the individual is aware of the fact of two worlds, the world of the Soul and the material world. The only problem is the world of the Soul increasingly can seem more and more REAL, because it is more real! It constitutes the Reality of who you really are! However, if you in the new realm of the Soul. That doesn’t mean that even if you do your best, car crashes won’t happen still.
The temptation to run into a “non-dualistic” escapist mode is still high even after the First Initiation or enlightenment experience. What has to be understood is that true non-dualism includes dualism. We are both in the world and not of the world. We are both yin and yang and the combination of both. To say we are non-dualistic and refute dualism is to create dualism. You can’t say I am this (a non-dualist) and not that (a dualist), without creating a this and a that. You are not either/or, you are both/and. That means there is no running or escaping from the material world, even if it now seems increasingly remote and foreign to us. There is a reason we are still in material physical bodies. That is what the Accepting Disciple needs to accept. That is what the further disciplines that lead to the path of Accepted Discipleship are about. That is why we will shift from the Technique of Integration after this stage to the Technique of Fusion where learning to know unity and the oneness of everything, while living in the realm of multiplicity, becomes the new challenge.
TECHNIQUE OF INTEGRATION — LIGHT
In many ways I have already said a great deal about the “light” phase of the Technique of Integration. As I hope you understand now it has to do with bringing in the light of the soul primarily through meditation practice, to such a sufficient degree soul contact can happen. That light comes at first in glimpses here and there. Eventually, however that light becomes a steady stream of light until you discover that you not only have a soul, you are the Soul. No one can deter you any more from that realization. The Technique of Integration that helped you integrate your personality so that it could function well in the world of desire, has also led you through a series of crises so you could see the light of who you really are as the Soul. The problem is even though you have come to understand the oneness and unity of all of life at this level, it has all been primarily an individual enlightenment experience. From this point onward that will shift and understanding the notion of group initiation and group enlightenment will become the path you are on next.
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