This post, which is Part Four talking about the First Initiation (enlightenment experience or expansion of consciousness) as described by Alice Bailey, takes us into the third of the three stages associated with the First Initiation: the Assimilation phase helping us to see why results are so essential to knowing if we have really gone through the First Initiation, or not.
THE FIRST INITIATION — ASSIMILATION PHASE
We have been through a process of preparation getting our physical bodies, emotions and minds to a point where Soul (Christ, Krishna, Buddha) consciousness can be born. Like all births in many ways this is a remarkable experience. As that Soul consciousness emerges a great deal of phenomena may be associated with it due primarily to the activation of the glands within the brain cavity, or “cave.” But, as any phenomena that might have surfaced dies down, then the third phase of the initiation experience begins, that of assimilation, which is learning to integrate what has happened and embody the experience.
BREAKTHROUGH OR BREAKDOWN — WHY RESULTS MATTER
As the second stage of Expansion for the First Initiation ends, a careful examination of the results that have occurred after the phenomena dies down needs to take place. Though this phenomena may all have been interesting, it is not the point. The true point is has this phenomena birthed Soul consciousness or not? After all phenomena (what Integral calls state experiences) can happen at any stage of spiritual development, and unless we see some of the results Bailey describes as happening after the First Initiation as having taken place, it is good to suspect that the phenomena involved may not have had anything to do with an initiation process. After all much of what people get excited about is really just an process of the five senses extending beyond their normal range of awareness into seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching (aka sensing) beyond what the human five senses normally reveal. ESP then is not really “extra” sensory perception, so much as it is “extended” sensory perception. And, if we remember that many animals possess the capacity to extend their senses (bats hear better than humans, dogs smell better, etc), then we will avoid the tendency to become overly excited when our senses are extended through a drug experience or due to the nerves being over-stimulated through excessive strain.
To use a phrase from the Transpersonal Psychology community if after the phenomena subsides, the person goes back to ways of being that represent previous stages of development, then they may have had more of a “breakdown” than “breakthrough.” In other words, we can say that although the person experienced some phenomena that might have been like what those going through the First Initiation may encounter, most likely they were not going through the First Initiation. Using Bailey’s Groups 3 — 7 as a quick example of this), let’s say someone stimulates the pineal gland through stress or a drug episode. Suddenly, that person may end up see visions or hearing voices. If they are in Groups 3—5, they may assume the experiences come from the “devil” if they seem negative. Or, if they are positive they inflate themselves and believe they are “the chosen one” and become fanatical in their insistence of this. If they are a Group 6—Integrated Personality type, they will tend to believe that they just need a drug to shut off all this crazy “unreal” behavior. If they are a Group 6 — Aspirant type, they may use the experiences to try to convince others of how evolved they are and attempt to get others to give them money, pleasure, and power because of this. Or, if they are in Group 7 they may assume they are much more advanced spiritually than they are and succumb to many of the problems this group deals with (Please see the previous chapters of this book for more information on this). But, if it is truly a breakthrough to a new stage of spiritual development, then what can we expect? Bailey has some very specific ideas about the results that demonstrate someone is now a First Degree Initiate, which we will examine now.
MORE THAN A GOOD PERSON
What is important to remember about the First Initiation is just as with any birth despite the fact that there is something special and magical about it, it is only just a beginning. The Soul is born in us, but it is only in its infancy. That can be hard to remember, especially when so few people are said to exist who are really moved by Soul values and Soul consciousness in their lives. What those Soul values are we are about to discover. And, before we begin to outline them it is important to distinguish between those who live good lives and attempt to be good people, from those who have gone through the First Initiation. Bailey puts it this way, “The initiate is not simply a good man. The world is full of good men who are probably a long way from being initiates. Neither is the initiate a well-meaning devotee. He is a man who has added a sound intellectual understanding to the basic qualifications of a sound moral character and devotion. Through discipline he has coordinated his lower nature, the personality, so that it is a “vessel meet for the master’s use,” [xlii]14 that master being his own soul. He knows that he walks in a world of illusion, but is training himself whilst doing this to walk in the light of the soul, realising that in service to his fellowmen and in forgetfulness of self he prepares himself to stand before the portal of Initiation. Upon that path he meets those who, like himself, are learning to be citizens of the kingdom” From Bethlehem to Calvary, p. 44.
The distinction between a good person and a First Degree Initiate is an important one that Bailey is making, because many people (especially those in Groups Four and Five) are attempting to be good people who also have religious inclinations. How do we know the difference between someone only at ta Group Four or Five level of consciousness and someone who has taken the First Initiation? One way to know the difference is to look at the motivation for being good. Those in Groups Four and Five attempt to be good mainly so they can fit into their communities and get by in life in a relatively peaceful way. They also may be concerned about behaving good enough to be one of the chosen ones who makes it into a special afterlife. But, this is all motivated primarily by their own self-interests. Typically, Group Four and Five people are more tribal in nature, rarely crossing the boundaries of the culture, religion, or society that they belong to, and have difficulty breaking out of that. In regards to religious texts and practices they are more literal in their understanding of what these texts mean. As we saw in the Becoming Human book, when these people finally climb into Group Six and have the means to access all the money, pleasure, and power they want often morality and religion go out the window. Though they still in Group Six may evolve into what Bailey calls an Aspirant where they attempt to be good by participating in humanitarian and philanthropic works.
Bailey also says the “initiate is not a well-meaning devotee.” Good people from Groups Four and Five as well as Little Chelas (Aspirants and especially Probationary Disciples in Group Seven) all may be inclined to acts of devotion. (Groups Three and Six not so much). What is Bailey meaning then when she implies that a First Degree Initiate is more than someone who has well meaning devotion? I believe she is saying that at the First Initiation devotion is increasingly combined with intellect. The problems of Guidance and the glamours of devotion that we found especially with Probationary Disciple phase of the 6th Subplane of the Mental Plane are increasingly let go of. That kind of devotion, though “well-meaning,” typically is filled with distortion and lacks sufficient intelligence and power to really make a difference in the world in a way that truly furthers human evolution. We saw how examples of distortion when Little Chelas get wrapped up on “crazy wisdom” teachings and follow spiritual teachers (dead or alive) who lead them astray, or end up not being truly who they claim to be.
Finally, we see in Bailey’s quote in this section that once we reach the First Initiation we have to possess a “vessel meet for the master’s use.” That means we cannot have our “vessel” (our mental, emotional, and physical bodies) unintegrated making us overly consumed with our mental, emotional, physical and financial preoccupations and difficulties . Nor, can that “vessel” be unfit in terms of our inability to be effective in the outer world. Remember according to Alice Bailey’s model before traveling on the spiritual path we have become an Integrated Personality, which means we can prove that we are effective both in our inner and outer worlds. This is no small feat and a failure to adequately complete this stage shows up when som many Little Chelas (especially Probationary Disciples) as we saw in those chapters, fall into glamour when they claim to be spiritual evolved and yet struggle to even pay their bills. But, the Soul needs a vessel fit for the Master’s (Soul’s) use, so that it can be made manifest in such a way Soul values and Soul consciousness can be “birthed” so that we live for the benefit of others, and not just ourselves.
THE REAL SPIRITUAL PATH BEGINS
Something very important to remember here is that when we talk about birth, we are talking about a something new coming into manifestation. With the First Initiation, what is coming into manifestation is the Soul, which just like the birth of a human infant, can be viewed as a pretty spectacular thing. Often the birth of the Soul, as we talked about on the section of expansion, comes with amazing phenomena. Even with the symbolism things seem extraordinary. As we have seen with the birth of Jesus the symbolism includes animals, shepherds, kings, and even angels paying homage to the infant who has shown up. In the birth of Buddha we see similar spectacular metaphors in various versions of the story. We are told: 1) the gods Indra and Brahma showed up and birthed Buddha painlessly from his mother’s side; 2) Buddha was able to instantly walk. 3) As he took his first seven steps one lotus blossom emerged with each step. (Notice the reference to the seven lotus blossoms found in the seven fold chakra system here).
All this symbolism reveals that something unique and incredible is happening when the Soul is finally born. And, in a way it is incredible for Soul consciousness and Soul values to have finally been “born” into the Integrated Personality, even if ever so slightly. The Soul is no longer totally covered up (in the womb). The Soul is revealed coming into the light of day where even others around us can see that we are being guided by some Soul consciousness and values in our lives. Though it is amazing, it is also not that big a deal. To begin with according to Bailey there are now many First Degree Initiates in the world. She says, “This one, called Little Chelaship, is related to the first initiation. This initiation is connected with the physical plane and, for a very large number of people (as I have several times pointed out) lies far behind” Discipleship in the New Age, ol II, p. 716. She also says this, “These initiates exist in their thousands today [the 1940’s]; they will be present in their millions by the time the year 2025 arrives” Rays and Initiations, p. 571. In essence we need to say, “Who cares if you had an enlightenment experience? You know what? So have a lot of other people. Now get over it and grow up!”
The Soul is now present, but it still has to grow into full maturity. There are many more initiation (or enlightenment) experiences to come. Though most people still like to look for one big “enlightenment” experience to be the end all and be all, increasingly in the spiritual marketplace they are shifting to Bailey’s viewpoint of there being many initiation, or enlightenment, experiences. Books like Halfway Up the Mountain by Mariana Caplan and After the Ecstasy the Laundry by Jack Kornfield, and the shift from “state” experiences to “stage” development in the Integral movement are just a few examples of attempts to make the “enlightenment” experience a little less glamourous. Like Bailey they are encouraging us to move beyond any phenemona in regards to initiation or enlightenment experiences, and focusing more on putting into practice true spiritual realization into our everyday lives.
USE OF MONEY FOR SELFISH PURPOSES IS BROKEN
One of the major signs that someone has taken the First Initiation is that the focus on money and the importance of being dominate over the physical plane is finally losing its hold. Now, the world as revealed through the five physical senses is no longer something to be exploited, it is something to be put to good use for the sake of bringing a “new heaven on Earth.” Bailey refers to this process as follows, “Humanity will pass through this ‘birth’ initiation and manifest the Christ life on a large scale for the first time during a period of economic adjustment of which the word ‘bread’ is but a symbol. This period started in the year 1825 and will continue until the end of this century. The unfoldment of the Christ life—as a result of the presence and activities of the second divine aspect of love—will result in the ending of economic fear, and the ‘house of bread’ will become the ‘house of plenty.’ Bread—as the symbol of material human need—will eventually be controlled by a vast group of initiates of the first initiation—by those whose lives are beginning to be controlled by the Christ-consciousness, which is the consciousness of responsibility and service. Rays and Initiations, pp. 570—571. We see this emerging already in 2020 when I am writing this book, since around the world there is a growing concern for the excessive wealth gap, and how there are those who are looking to ensure that money is not used to just benefit the miniscule few (.01% of the world’s population is said to own 50% of the world’s wealth at this time).
We also see growing concern over consumption of the world’s resources and a move towards living more simply among the world’s youth. Finally, we see Elon Musk (of Tesla company) and others (like Andrew Yang who is running for President in 2020), talking about needing to establish a Universal Basic Income. The reason for this push is in part due to an understanding of how much of human labor will be automated and how therefore humans will have much more leisure time. And, it based on emerging technologies that will be able to satisfy human desire in ways that don’t exploit the Earth’s resources. Examples of emerging technology include being able to 3D print almost anything you want or enjoy it through virtual reality (like the famous Star Trek replicators and holodecks). When humans can then live out their desires in these ways for “free” what then does human life become about apart from an endless fulfillment of desires? The First Initiation reveals what that is about when Soul consciousness and Soul values become the main focus on life instead of the endless focus on, and glorification of, material greed and consumption.
SEES SOUL IN ALL THINGS
As one moves through the First Initiation, the understanding of Divinity begins to change. “God” is not only seen as transcendent (out there somewhere), but as imminent. We are no longer looking for a God, or even a Goddess, out there to save or redeem us. Rather, we are looking for “Christ within the hope of glory” as St. Paul tells us. We are seeking to give birth to, or reveal, that Christ/Krishna/Buddha consciousness that lies within all of us so that it can evolve to the point where we are more Soul than human. As that Soul infant matures increasingly the immanent nature of God, Spirit, “the Force,” is recognized within everything and everyone. This recognition is not simply an idealistic affirmation of how we are all “One.” The First Initiation is not a “state” experience, some momentary “taste” or “high” of “Unity Consciousness” that we get from some ecstatic moment of “flow,” a “drug trip,” or a meditative experience. These may have provided us with some sort of glimpse into the immanent nature of the Divine, but the First Initiation is not about this. These momentary “highs” come and go. Why? Because these experiences still at some level remain outside of us, not inside as us, which is a huge difference. Precisely because these experiences are still outside of us is why so many people (Little Chelas mainly) become addicted to re-creating and repeating these “states.”
The First Initiation is not about “state” experiences or phenomena, even though in the expansion phase phenomena may be present. The First Initiation os about a lasting shift or transformation into a more spiritual way of being. We know the “Christ in us the hope of glory”, or the Soul in us, to be a fact. To refute its reality would seem as strange to us as a pregnant mother refuting that a child was growing within her. The Soul (Christ, Krishna, Buddha nature) now lives inside us and is beginning to take over our very cells. With more fervent adore we dedicate ourselves to ensuring that we become that Soul more and more.
Bailey describes it this way, “Two recognitions must emerge into the thought-world of the aspirant of today. First, the presence of the soul, a living entity which can and must be known through the process of bringing it to the birth upon the plane of daily living; and, secondly, the determination to achieve the re-orientation of the entire nature so that a closer identification with that soul may become possible, until a complete unity has been achieved. We begin to see what must be done, we begin to assume the right attitude which will make it possible. The halves of our essential duality—soul and body, Christ and Mary, over-shadowed by the Holy Ghost, the material and the spiritual—face each other and approach nearer and nearer until complete union is achieved and the Christ is born through the instrumentality of the Mother. But the acceptance of this divine idea and the orientation of the life in order to make the idea a fact are the first and immediate steps.
This, Christ taught, and for this He prayed the Father. ‘Neither pray I for these alone (His disciples), but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they all may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me…. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.’ [xciv] 66. This is the doctrine of the At-one-ment; God, immanent in the universe—the cosmic Christ. God, immanent in humanity, revealed through the historical Christ. God, immanent in the individual, the indwelling Christ, the soul. But the doctrine of Divine Immanence in the human heart never became quite the central truth of theology till the time of the medieval mystics. It is Eckhart who says: `The Father speaks the Word into the soul, and when the Son is born, every soul becomes Mary.’ [xcv] 67. We are summoned to the new birth. Our personalities are now alive with potentiality. The hour is upon us. The human soul must hear the challenge of the Christ soul, and realise that ‘Mary is blessed, not because she bore Christ bodily, but because she bore Him spiritually, and in this everyone can become like her.’ (Eckhart)” From Bethlehem to Calvary, pp. 82—84.
In the above quote we see how the Little Chela (Aspirant and Probationary Disciple) and Chela in the Light (Accepting Disciple) are attempting to birth the Christ (Soul) within the “virginal” Mary of purified body or instrument. Again, this birth process takes place at the First Initiation where Christ (God), Krishna consciousness or Buddha nature is born factually within the instrument. Once more this birth is not theoretical, or an idea. The Soul is literally and factually born into the cellular structure of the body and all those who have experienced this know this truth to be so. Saul becomes Paul in the Christian tradition because he is literally, not just figuratively, transformed into someone else. And, in our modern day times many are going through a similar experience. As Bailey claims by 2025 millions will have gone through this First Initiation.
One well-known person who seems to have gone through this is Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. In a description of his enlightenment (or what we would call the First Initiation or birth process) Sadhguru writes, “One afternoon, I rode up Chamundi Hill in Mysore city and went to a particular rock – a huge rock which was my usual place – and sat there with my eyes open. After a few minutes, I didn’t know where I was. Till that moment, like most people, I always thought this is me and that is someone else. But for the first time I did not know what is me and what is not me. What was me was spread all over the place. I thought this madness lasted for 5 to 10 minutes but when I came back to my normal way of being, four-and-a-half hours had passed. I was sitting right there, fully conscious, eyes open. I sat there at around 3:00 in the afternoon. It was 7:30 in the evening when I came out of it. For the first time in my adult life, tears were flowing to a point where my shirt was completely wet. I was someone who had never allowed a single teardrop to come out of my eyes. But now suddenly, tears were flowing to a point where my shirt became wet.
I had always been happy, that was never an issue for me. I was successful with what I was doing. I was young and had no problems, but now I was bursting with another kind of ecstasy which was indescribable. Every cell in my body was just bursting with ecstasy. I had no words. When I shook my head and tried to ask my skeptical mind, “What’s happening to me,” the only thing that my mind could tell me was, “Maybe you are going off your rocker.” I didn’t care what it was but I didn’t want to lose it because this was the most beautiful thing that I had ever touched. I had never imagined that a human being could ever feel like this within himself.
The next time this happened was very significant because there were people around me. I was sitting with my family at the dinner table. I actually thought 2 minutes had passed but actually seven hours had gone by. I was sitting right there fully alert but I had no sense of time. This happened many times. Once, this experience happened for 13 days. In about six week’s time, it became like a living reality and everything about me changed in those six weeks. My voice changed, the shape of my eyes changed. If you see photos of me during that time, you can clearly see something changed dramatically in the body. I knew I had to do something, but I didn’t know what. All I knew was the blissfulness that was simply bursting within me; and I knew it could happen in every human being. Every human being has the same inner ingredient. This is possible for every human being.” https://isha.sadhguru.org/us/en/wisdom/article/sadhguru-enlightenment-experience
Sadhguru’s example is an interesting one because he fits the developmental criterion Bailey puts forth. He was a successful and happy human being who had integrated his mind, emotions, and body inwardly and had proven through his business expertise that he was integrated into the world outwardly as well. This inward and outward integration are both required to complete Bailey’s Integrated Personality stage successfully without gaps, or difficulties that may lead to regression later on. For those familiar with Sadhguru’s life he had already been a seeker on the spiritual path indicative of the Little Chela (Aspirant and Probationary Discipleship stage). And, he had a well stocked intellect regarding spiritual matters indicative of the Chela in the Light stage. All of this meets the Preparation phase of the First Initiation. In the quote from him above we see the Expansion stage of the First Initiation, and as I am trying to point out we hear him describe the actual change in his not only his consciousness (Christ), but his body (Mary) as well. Christ, the Soul, Krishna, whatever we call it, was born within him. Again, all of this is indicative of the First Initiation, especially because we see the results of this dramatically in his life leading him through Bailey’s Second Initiation (which we will learn about later), and possibly even through Bailey’s Third Initiation at this point in his life. (Note: Bailey’s First Initiation is a personal enlightenment like experience. But, beyond this, her initiations are no longer personal, but group enlightenments. This is an idea that is not found in other systems, at least none others I have encountered to date. The distinctions between a personal enlightenment, and group enlightenment will become more clear in chapters to come in this Becoming Soul book).
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