Part five of our series on the First Initiation (enlightenment experience or expansion of consciousness) as described by Alice Bailey, continues to explore the Assimilation phase of this initiation. This post also concludes the extensive writings on what the First Initiation is all about.
THE FIRST INITIATION — ASSIMILATION PHASE, continued
ORGANIZATION OF LIFE
As if things are not complicated enough in explaining her various stages of spiritual growth, in true Bailey fashion she makes things even more complex by associating one of her seven rays (seven fundamental types of energy that are said to influence our universe) with her various initiations. And, according to Bailey the First Initiation is influenced by the Seventh Ray of Divine Law and Order. Regardless of any individual’s personal ray type (Bailey posits that we all have one of seven ray types influencing our souls, personalities, minds, emotions, and bodies), everyone who is going through her First Initiation is going to feel impacted and shaped by the Seventh Ray that will bring order into all aspects of one’s life. Bailey states, “It is the seventh ray which restores order within the astral consciousness, and (on the mental plane), it is this influence which produces creativity, the organising of the life, and the bringing together ‘within the head’ of the lower and higher energies in such a manner that “the Christ is born.” Rays and Initiations.
What we see then is that at the time of the First Initiation, in part due to this Seventh Ray impact, one puts their lives in order especially along the lines of making the “vessel fit for the Master’s (Soul’s) use. We have already seen that the Little Chela (Aspirant and Probationary Disciple) is attempting to get the physical and emotional aspects of one’s life in order so that one’s emotions and physical body and environment are oriented more along Soul lines. Likewise the Chela in the Light is doing something similar with the attempt to organize the mind. But, once the lower and higher energies (related to the pituitary and pineal glands being inter-related) come together in the “cave/manger” (or brain cavity), then “the Christ (Soul) is born” and after this process this ordering process speeds up in a sense. The purpose behind this is to allow for “Ceremonial Magic” (another name at times given to the Seventh Ray), which is simply the seemingly magical way in which the First Initiate appears to get so much accomplish precisely because one’s life is ordered becoming increasingly efficient and “well-run.” Again, Seventh Ray energy is said to bring “order out of chaos,” and again regardless of what ray type any First Initiate has, this capacity to bring order into one’s life to make it run efficiently so the Soul life can more easily be lived, will be seen.
Continuing with how the seventh ray energy impacts the person going through the First Initiation Assimilation phase Bailey states that it will also “produce a measure of order in the emotional processes of the initiate, thus aiding the preparatory work of the second initiation.” Rays and Initiations??? Another way to express this same sentiment might be to state that as the First Initiation is completing itself in the Assimilation Phase, one witnesses an increased capacity for emotional stability within the individual. The First Degree Initiate is overall able to exhibit a high level of poise, calm, emotional intelligence (E.Q) in the every day life. Rarely do we see any highs or lows in the emotional life. Even if anger, fear, or sorrow surface they are often faced with a sense of calm insight, allowing for a depth of insight into why these emotions are coming about and how to work with them and express them in a more healthy and “soulful” way. Emotions are neither repressed or poorly expressed. Rather, one has become much more intimate and familiar with various emotional triggers and tendencies allowing one to act, and no longer react, in regards to them.
To help us understand how this might look, let’s do a quick comparison of Bailey’s Groups Three to Seven and how they might approach various emotions. Starting with Group Three we would find very little insight into or control of various emotions. Group Three people tend to be very impulsive emotionally. If they are angry, for example, they tend to immediately express that anger often in an escalated fashion. There is little to no thought given to understanding why they are angry or how best to express that anger. They simply feel and act as quickly as possible on that feelings. Groups Four and Five can manage their emotions better, but they tend to rely on outer tools (like commandments of thou shall and thou shalt not), to help them manage their feelings and impulses. If they feel mad or sad, for example, they may tend to suppress that anger or sorrow because they view it as “bad.” Or, they may express their feelings according to what is viewed as culturally acceptable. Men, for example, tend to feel safer expressing anger because in many cultures it makes them “look tough.” Women, on the other hand, are often discouraged culturally from expressing anger because it makes them seem like “bitches.” As for sorrow? Men are often punished, ridiculed, or even bullied in many cultures for feeling sad or shedding tears because it makes them look like “cry-babies, sissies, or girls.” Women, on the other hand, are often encouraged to cry or feel sad, because it makes them appear more feminine, sensitive, or even endearing.
As for Groups Six and Seven, Group Six people will tend to be more strategic with their emotions. They may have more control with their emotions, but not necessarily more insight (though as Aspirants they may finally be attempting to get some through therapy, workshops, or coaching programs). Group Six people will also be much more concerned about manipulating and controlling other people’s emotions, even feeding off the fear, sorrow, awe, passion, or anger they can arouse in those they seek to dominate and influence. As for Group Seven, they tend to be more and more concerned with understanding and learning to master various emotional states within themselves. They still can fall into manipulating others’ emotions for their own selfish gain, but they are likely to feel more pain and angst in doing so. That is because Group Seven people are more aware of the negative impacts of such emotional manipulation both on themselves and the people around them. Increasingly they seek to be harmless, conscious, and to develop greater emotional intelligence. That requires understanding their emotions and emotional triggers better. But, they are still prone to to the highs and lows of various emotional states and are a ways off from the emotional stability that First Degree Initiates (and those beyond the First Initiation) draw much more easily from. That is because those who have gone through the First Initiation (and even moved beyond it), tend to bring more humor, compassion, insight and wisdom into their emotional responses. They listen more to themselves and others. And, even when they exhibit emotion, like anger for example, it tends to be more intentional, skillful in its use and the result is often experienced by others as being helpful as they are lifted into a more conscious level.
GROWTH OF INTELLECT’S SYNTHESIZING CAPACITY
One of the things we find in the Bailey model is how as we move onto the spiritual path it is claimed that there is a similar shift into the realm of the mind. Mental capacity can exist in Groups Four, Five, and Six, but as we saw in the chapters on The Mental Plane, what Bailey means by mental capacity and what most college universities with their “SAT scores” means by mental capacity, are not the same thing. In fact, we often find human beings in Group Five and especially in Group Six who may seem smart and even be considered by the masses to be geniuses. But, perhaps we need to revisit some of the main highlights in The Mental Plane chapter so that we can understand how the intellectual “genius” of someone on, or not on, the spiritual path tends to differ. Let me start by listing the headings I created for The Mental Plane in terms of tasks that we need to increasingly mastered especially as we get into the First Initiation and beyond. As you do a quick review of the headings the differences between human and spiritual intelligence will start to become more clear. headings are:
To begin with most human intelligence is measured by the ability to memorize and manipulate ideas and facts. These ideas and facts are then typically used to further ones ability to succeed in the world especially to help them get their money, pleasure, and power needs met. Going through the categories listed in the chart in this section, we can see that with ordinary humans if the mind is oriented to the higher realms, it lacks a true understanding of how these inner realms work, resorting instead to wishful thinking of fanciful beliefs. One hopes there is a heaven (usually one that looks pretty much like one’s life on Earth), but one never really knows for sure. One can pray and meditate to access higher realms, but usually that is to help them with stress reduction, to gain some emotional calm and comfort, or to use something like the “Law of Attraction” to get their desire needs met. All of this is because the mind is still “kama-manas” or “desire-mind,” dominated by the need to get one’s desires met in the world of the five senses.
We also see with most human intelligence that there is little to no actual control of one’s thoughts. One’s thought life is immersed in conditioning from one’s cultural, religious, and family backgrounds. There is very little capacity to observe, let alone question and rise above this conditioning. Most of this is because the desire for money, pleasure and power dominates mental processes. Even in one’s dream life this is often the case. Even love is equated in the mind with desire because “love” is seen as a way to barter for money/security, get one’s pleasure needs met, and gain power and prestige for oneself and others. This further confines the mental processes into limited spheres as we strive to get money, pleasure and power only for one’s own needs, or just to meet the needs of one’s family or tribal group. As long as others behave and help us get our money, pleasure, power needs met we “love” them. When they don’t the mind turns on them and they become cast out. Separation, isolation, competition, desire — these are the main themes of the overwhelming majority of human minds that are likewise dominated by emotions such as fear, anger, lust, envy and other emotions that cloud any real capacity for thought.
Though the problematic nature of the ordinary human mind starts to be penetrated when one becomes a Little Chela (Aspirant and Probationary Disciple), the true nature of the ordinary human mind is only penetrated more fully when the mind is “blown out” (so to speak) at the First Initiation. After this initiation and in successive initiations to come, we see a growing shift as one makes one’s way up the Mental Plane. Now, the nature of thought and the mind itself is revealed. How thoughts are constructed and destructed is increasingly comprehended. How thought is embedded in and is a part of what you might call Divine thought is seen with increased clarity. And, the seemingly “magical” process of how to construct thoughts for the purpose of revealing the Real is understood. Eventually everything that exists is seen as the manifestation of thought, including one’s very physical nature, which can eventually even be constructed and deconstructed we are told at some point in our spiritual evolution at will.
Finally, as the First Degree Initiate grows in capacity to work within the realm of thought, the ability to synthesize various thoughts together moves along at a faster pace. Some facility for this can already be seen in Group Six. Group Seven (Little Chelas and especially Chelas in the Light) extend upon this ability. But, after the First Initiation the capacity of the mind to work with all levels and kinds of thought (philosophic, academic, practical, scientific, artistic) speeds up. We see the emergence of the truly Renaissance man or woman in the spiritual sense. Unlike those in Group Six who define genius as having a high IQ or breaking ground into new creative forms of expression, a genius after the First Initiation is combined with a greater capacity for love and a deeper understanding of the inner realms then heretofore expressed. Let’s look more in depth then at what it means to really love.
BIRTH OF REAL LOVE
One of the things we just stated in the previous section, was how love is typically associated with money/security, pleasure, and power — meaning as long as someone supplies us with these things so-called love exists. But, when these things are removed from us, love dies or we “fall out of love.” As we move into Group Seven and go through the First Initiation a major shift happens in regards to what we call love because for the first time in our lives real love is finally born. One of the phrases that represents this shift is found in an ancient, and now famous phrase about love from the Christian tradition. The phrase which some readers may recognize goes as follows: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13 Verse 1—13 (Note: Sometimes the word love is replaced by the word charity in certain interpretations).
What is most interesting about the quote above is even though it is thousands of years old, and not directly connected to the Bailey teachings, it connects to the “problems of guidance” that were discussed during the Little Chela Probationary Path stage. These problems must now be outgrown at the First initiation where we shift beyond “speaking with the tongues of men and angels” and put our emphasis more and more on love. But, what exactly is love? Especially after the First Initiation our understanding of love becomes increasingly clear. Again the typical notion of love is primarily transactional in nature. As stated before, so long as one’s needs for security/money, pleasure and power have been met one is “in love.” If these are not met, one is “out of love.” In short, if I get my way I love you. If I don’t get my way, I accuse you of not loving me, or I decide to not love you any more. During the First Initiation and beyond our experience of love changes. Bailey puts it this way, “”At the first great Initiation the Christ is born in the disciple. It is then that he realizes for the first time in himself the outpouring of the divine Love, and experiences that marvelous change which makes him feel himself to be one with all that lives. This is the `Second Birth,’ and at that birth the heavenly ones rejoice, for he is born into `the kingdom of heaven,’ as one of the `little ones,’ as a `little child’—the names ever given to the new Initiates. Such is the meaning of the words of Jesus, that a man must become a little child to enter into the Kingdom.” [xliii] 15 From Bethlehem to Calvary, p. 45. Love then includes an experiential, and not just theoretical, experience of divine love. Suddenly, the isolated and individual sense of “you” is unified with all that is like a drop being dissolved back into an ocean of Divine love.
That immersion into the ocean of Divine love leaves you in a sense reborn, as if you have entered another “kingdom” apart from the human kingdom, where you consciousness knows the existence of divine love. The quest then as the experience recedes is how to become an expression of that Divine love in the world as much as possible. Increasingly you seek to express love through the companion qualities of compassion, wisdom, and understanding. Bailey describes it this way, “Through love and loving practice we prove ourselves initiate in the mysteries. Born into the world of love at Bethlehem, the keynote of our lives from then on must be obedience to the highest that is in us, love to all beings, and complete confidence in the power of the indwelling Christ to demonstrate (through the outer form of our personalities) the life of love. The life of Christ is a life to be lived today, eventually by all. It is a life of joy and happiness, of test and of problems, but its essence is love and its method is love. It leaves us an example that we should follow His steps, and carry on the work which He initiated” From Bethlehem to Calvary, p. 79.
DESIRE TO SERVE INTENSIFIES
Before the First Initiation the spiritual quest focuses primarily on achieving what many would consider a personal enlightenment experience. As we have seen when one becomes an Integrated Personality, that individual reaches the heights of material success. Next, as a Little Chela one struggles to let go of the strong pull of the material world. At times as one attempts to do this they may resort to service and helping others (karma yoga), but it is too often mixed in with one’s own hopes for personal gain in the way of money/security, pleasure and power. Especially at the Aspirant stage of the Little Chela path the individual hopes to have it all by being spiritual and having everything they want in the material world. The motivation to serve others is still too mixed in with one’s selfish motives. When money/security, pleasure and power don’t co-exist with one’s spiritual pursuit, then the pursuit of the spiritual path frequently go by the wayside.
As a Probationer less of this mixed motive exists, but it is still there primarily because the desire to serve others is frequently overtaken by the drive to achieve one’s own spiritual enlightenment. But, at least there is increased drive and initiative even if at first it mostly for one’s own spiritual gain. Bailey puts it this way, “What is the next step, the immediate duty of the man who knows that, in himself, the new birth has not yet taken place, but who feels in himself a readiness to go up to Bethlehem, from Galilee, via Nazareth? It entails, in the first place, effort. It means initiative, the expenditure of energy, the overcoming of inertia, and the will to exert oneself so that the initial journey can be taken. It means listening for and obeying the insistent demand of the soul for a nearer approach to God and a fuller expression of divinity; and yet “every individual is at some point torn between the splendid urge to go on towards understanding, and the craving to go back to safety.” [xciii]65 From Bethlehem to Calvary, p. 81
During the Assimilation phase of the First Initiation, however, the selfishness of the Integrated Personality, the mixed motives of the Aspirant, the desire primarily for a personal enlightenment of the Probationary Disciple — all this changes. Bailey states that those who have taken the First Initiation now are more truly pulled into service and a desire to respond “to the centre called Humanity” Esoteric Astrology, p. 614. Service to humanity will be the increasing keynote of the Second Initiation, but those who are completing the First Initiation feel the pull to do so with an increased intensity. The good person found in Groups 4 & 5 may help humanity with good deeds here and there. The humanitarian in Group 6 may set up a foundation so that some of their wealth may be distributed to the masses. But, the sense of unity, the increased dedication to spiritual life, the growing understanding of the overall Divine Plan in regards to the spiritual evolution of humanity is lacking. Those who are finishing the First Initiation have the dedication, the initiative, the growing understanding and desire to serve. Baily says this service is primarily upon the physical plane where the First Degree Initiate is increasingly enabled “to establish certain service relationships, to learn the practice of elementary white magic, and to demonstrate the first stage of a truly creative life” Esoteric Astrology.
LIVING A TRULY CREATIVE LIFE
The strong desire to be of service in the world because one sees the soul in all living beings, the freedom from the hold of money (either from the lack of it or an excessive attachment to having it), a growing sense of calm due to a hard won emotional stability, the capacity to synthesize many ideas, the ability to be truly productive and efficient due to having a highly organized life, an immersion in the field of love and a desire to reveal that universal love in service to others — these are some of the demonstrations that one has truly gone through the First Initiation, beyond any phenomena that might have occurred in the Expansion phase. What we see then is that the First Degree Initiate has the capacity to become truly creative. That creativity will be evidenced in different ways according to one’s talents and inclinations. But regardless we will see the person capable of accomplishing much more in a life for the benefit of humanity, than any of the other developmental stages before this one have so far produced.
One of the reasons for this increased creativity has to do with the near completion of the transfer from the sacral center energy into the throat center at the First Initiation. Bailey puts it this way, “The first initiation is therefore closely related to this problem [the sacral center shift into the throat center]. The seventh ray [of Law and Order that Bailey associates with the First Initiation] governs the sacral centre and the sublimation of its energy into the throat or into the higher creative centre; this ray is therefore setting in motion a period of tremendous creative activity, both on the material plane through the stimulation of the sex life of all peoples and in the three worlds through the stimulation brought about when soul and form are consciously related. The first major proof that humanity (through the medium of the majority of its advanced people) has undergone the first initiation will be the appearance of a cycle of entirely new creative art. This creative urge will take forms which will express the new incoming energies” Rays and Initiations, p. 572.
What is interesting to note about this quote is how we see that this may in fact have occurred. Sine the 1940’s when the quote was written, we have seen a new form of art emerge that has never existed before in the way of CGI, or computer graphics. In fact, the ability to have art imitate life is now becoming so real on television, in movies, and through video games, that we are not always able to tell if we are looking at an actual captured image of someone, or a fake one that has been generated by a computer. The quote also reveals something else bailey talks about in terms of a sign that this is happening in regards to what she calls seventh ray energy being related to over-stimulating the sacral center that rules the male and female organs. The sacral center is often connected to the sex drive and we see for the masses of humanity the emphasis on sex, and the saturation of sexual imagery everywhere has gone into overdrive.
For the someone who has taken the First Initiation sexuality is no longer a problem. Often the sex drive has been sublimated into some time of creative activity meaning that the sex drive itself no longer dominates the consciousness. Sublimation is different from suppression. Anything that is suppressed is going to emerge in some distorted or unhealthy way. Sublimation simply means that the sex drive is normalized and handled in a healthy way, or that one simply has little to almost no desire for sex because the higher spiritual and creative drives are much more rewarding. That is hard for many people to understand whose lives are so dominated by their hormones. But, for those who have taken the First Initiation and beyond other glands are dominating beyond the sex glands. These are again the pituitary and pineal glands. And, for those who have begun to experience the effect of these awakened glands on their system, the “high” experienced from a typical orgasm, is nothing compared to what one experiences through meditative states (like various levels of samadhi), that bring one a sense of deep joy, ecstasy, bliss, and peace.
The higher creative impulses will continue to dominate as one seeks to be produce things like: elegant ideas of thought that help push humanity forward into a greater sense of unity and perspective; uplifting music, movies, and art that represents the highest and best of humanity, elevates the overall human condition.
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