NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE BASICS OF THE BAILEY MODEL? Read The Spiritual Human. It gives a good overview of her entire system.
NOTE: This book is now in the process of being edited. Once it is completely edited it will no longer be free online. As of 3/21/20 this chapter has not been edited.
As we take the first steps into Becoming Soul, where the realms beyond what we perceive with the five senses become more and more real to us, the first step involves dislodging ourselves from believing reality to be only what the five senses reveal to us. At first, this is very hard to do in part because we are not very clear what a spiritual path looks like. Too often we mix it up with trying to be spiritual, while at the same time being able to still enjoy all the money/security, pleasure/sex, and power we want. But, before I move into the more precise explanations of the challenges faced at each step along the way, I want to share with you some of the technical terms Bailey uses to describe our first steps and spend a short time in this chapter talking about them.
In the previous book, Becoming Human, we went through the first six of the ten groups that Bailey mentions in regards to human evolution. Though we see hints of spiritual life emerging at the end of Group Six (where the Aspirant emerges), it is really only as we get to Group Seven that spiritual life really begins starting with the Probationary Path. To quote Bailey directly about Group Seven she says that they are comprised of, “those souls whose sense of awareness on the physical plane is now of such an order that they can pass on to the Probationary Path. They are the mystics, conscious of duality, torn between the pairs of opposites, but who are yet unable to rest until they are polarised in the soul. These are the sensitive, struggling people, who long for release from failure and from existence in the world today. Their mind natures are alive and active but they cannot yet control them as they should and the higher illumination remains as yet a joyous hope and final possibility” Esoteric Psychology, Vol II p. 206).
First of all, when we see the word mystic here, I need to clarify that there are different gradations of “mystic.” In the book Letters on Occult Meditation, Bailey speaks about the mystic and occultist. The mystic tends to be more heart-centered with a focus on devotion or love of the Divine, usually perceiving the Divine as some incarnate, or manifest form. Because the mystic views God “out there” in the world the mystic path is often viewed as a path of duality. At first many mystics tend to be naïve in their approach to the spiritual path. As the text says, they are overly sensitive and do not yet have enough control over their minds to allow them to reach the “higher illumination” (which at this stage refers to the First Initiation). Probationary Disciples are often like this, but as we shall see throughout this book, that is only because they are reflecting the lower levels of the mystic path and have yet to realize the higher forms of mysticism.
As for the occultist, he or she tends to be more head centered and mentally polarized. The word “occult” means essentially that which is hidden. The occultist is seeking to investigate the hidden realms beyond the world that is evident to the perception of our five senses. Just as with the mystic, there are higher and lower versions of the occultist. On the lower level the occultist tends to become overly mental and can even loose the capacity to love. Then the hidden forces of nature are used for selfish purposes. On the higher level the occultist has a strong will aiding them in becoming very disciplined allowing him or her to make rapid progress on the spiritual path. As we shall see in this book, as we move up the Mental Plane we tend to alternate between the mystical and occult (head and heart) approaches. Eventually, on the higher levels of the Mental Plane the two come together allowing for the shift onto the Intuitional (or Buddhic) Plane. As for Group Seven, however, they tend to reflect mainly the lower aspects of both the mystical and occult path primarily due to a lack of experience and the mixture of too much selfish motivation.
Finally, I would like to add something about Group Seven that Michael Robbins (Egoic Lotus Webinar Commentaries 3 Series) speaks about. He states that those in this group want things to be pure and perfect without having to get their hands dirty too much. In my opinion that is also true of Aspirants at the later part of Group Six, but I believe it is even more evident in the Probationary Disciple. I believe one of the reasons for this is because the Probationary Disciple is getting more fixated on a particular spiritual teaching, teacher, or path more rigorously than the Aspirant tends to do. Because the Probationer is investing more in a particular spiritual teaching or tradition, the Probationer is much more concerned with trying to look “pure and perfect,” while at the same time cutting corners spiritually that can lead to greater problems later on. The need to look “pure,” while at the same time making excuses for failings and spiritual short-cuts, makes the Probationary Disciple especially prone to spiritual hypocrisy and the problems of spiritual inflation. Keeping all of this in mind about Group Seven let’s now review some of the characteristics and developmental tasks that are needed for Group Seven, Little Chelas, Probationary Disciples found at this 7th subplane level.
As you are seeing already by the end of this chapter, the shift onto the Mental Plane and into the Probationary Path in the Bailey model is quite involved. In fact, it is so involved we will be looking at even more aspects of the Probationary Discipleship stage in the next chapter. The main take aways in this chapter are seeing how at the Probationary Discipleship stage, the Probationer is shifting from the Emotional Plane onto the Mental Plane. Now the pull of “kama-manas” that traps the mind into desiring only what is revealed to it by the five senses is starting to wane. The desire to obtain money, pleasure, and power for one’s self (as a separated and selfish Integrated Personality) is being more actively challenged. The Probationary Disciple is genuinely beginning to see the value in realms beyond what the five senses reveal. For this reason a more sincere attempt if being made to practice spiritual disciplines. The first steps on this “Path of Purification” involve character building and also a focus on the physical purification involving things like diet, exercise, pranayama, fitness, and hatha yoga exercises.
The Probationer, however, is just that — on probation — precisely because the Probationary Disciple can still easily “break probation” and fall off the spiritual path. The reason the Probationer can slip is because he or she is still too close to the Aspirant and Integrated Personality levels of consciousness, where the drive to gain money, pleasure, and power for oneself is still strong. For this reason many Probationary Disciples are feel torn between the material and spiritual worlds making them unsure of how to put both together in a way that really serves the higher good. As members now of Group Seven, Probationers feel pride in their spiritual advancement, often failing to recognize that they are still beginners on the spiritual path. This can lead them to overly inflate their true spiritual status in comparison to where the spiritual path is meant to lead them far down the road.
Also, even if outwardly Probationers believe they have gone beyond the selfish motivations of Group Six for (money, pleasure/sex, and power), too often they are still indulging in Group Six behaviors. To rationalize their need to still indulge in money, pleasure/sex, and power in a selfish way they tend to dress it up in “spiritual garb” labeling these urges as practicing some sort of “crazy wisdom,” “New Age Aquarius modes of thinking,” “engaging in a Tantrick approach to spirituality,” or (to use a Bailey term) “undergoing a more seventh ray approach to spirituality to counteract the old sixth ray puritanical way of thinking” and so forth. But, as revered yogi Paramanhamsa Yogananda revealed, more often than not, these kinds of statements are merely an excuse. Seeing through this kind of deceptive shadow is something the Probationer finds it difficult to do. Still, steps forward onto the Mental Plane and spiritual path are being made. And, even when mistakes are made they still help the Probationer learn valuable lessons, that will serve the individual either in this lifetime, or the next.
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