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Spirituality. More than ever people use that word even calling themselves “spiritual but not religious.” Yet few who use that word ever stop to consider what the word spiritual means. Between 2000—2005, while working on a dissertation for a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology (a form of spiritual psychology), I was asked to define the word spiritual and was surprised to see how many different meanings of the word might apply. For some being spiritual simply means believing in anything that belongs in the realm of the unseen. Others define being spiritual as having certain psychic powers or paranormal gifts. Then there are those who only feel they are spiritual if they subscribe to a certain set of moral precepts. Then there are those who see being spiritual as following the teachings of a particular religious text that either belongs to a major faith tradition, or even some New Age type channeled teaching. Being spiritual can also mean trying to be inclusive and accept anyone and everyone because that person believes in the Oneness of all things.
In a way all of these definitions work, but if we really dive deeper we will see that the path to being spiritual is really much more complex than any of the above definitions state. The purpose of this book then is to help reveal in much more detail what it really means to become spiritual in our world. To aid us in that understanding I am drawing heavily from the teachings of a woman who wrote primarily in the 1910’s into the 1940’s when she left her physical form — Alice Bailey. Alice Bailey was an English woman who was exposed early on to the teachings of Theosophy, an organization that was co-founded by a woman named Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (or HPB as she liked to be referred to) in 1875. Born into Russian aristocracy in 1831, HPB set out at a young age to travel all around the then known world heading into the Eastern countries of China, India, and some claim even Tibet. She also traveled to the Middle East, throughout Europe, and into the African continent. She even went to North and South America. Her travels were for the specific purpose of trying to understand religious and spiritual teachings, studying both their exoteric and esoteric (more hidden and symbolic) forms. To attempt this kind of travel at a time when women did not even have the right to vote and were often considered the property of men is astonishing. To travel so widely at a time when even few men had accomplished such a feat is even more incredible. More importantly, to have collected such an extensive knowledge of spiritual teachings and matters at a time when even few still today have done so is just short of miraculous. A prodigious author on spiritual matters, HPB is perhaps the first person in our modern day world to have undergone and written extensively about a comparative view of religious and spiritual matters. Today most people still barely understand the deep spiritual and philosophical concepts Blavatsky wrote about.
Then there was Alice Bailey, an English woman born in 1880. Bailey joined the Theosophical Society in 1917 when she was 37 years old. Later she branched out from the Theosophical Society to develop her own views particularly along the lines of Esoteric Psychology, Esoteric Healing, and Esoteric Astrology. Today all three of these fields are still just starting to incorporate her progressive ideas that claim in order to truly understand or heal anyone we need to know what level of consciousness they are functioning at and how consciousness evolves over time. Today, the idea that there are many levels (or a spectrum) of consciousness is gaining more ground. But, compared to the model Bailey put forward on spiritual evolution, as we shall see, other models still have a ways to go. Bailey also claimed that at certain points of our evolution quantum leaps in our spiritual evolution are made known as “initiations.” Each “initiation” represents an enlightenment experience that jumps your consciousness to a whole new level of awareness. Bailey’s model of spiritual evolution was put forward in a series of twenty-four books, which are all available today, most of them for free even online through her parent organization Lucis Trust.
I first became aware of Bailey’s writings in my mid-twenties. Throughout my 30’s I became obsessed with her teachings, reading and re-reading her books until I read every book at least five times. Though my pioneering spirit loved this journey, I frequently doubted, felt frustrated with, and often grew exhausted with trying to figure her books out. One reason was her writing style. Many of her books are awkwardly written with numerous run-on sentences. Often they seem to lack coherence and too often seem to contradict each other. Frequently the content itself left me feeling lost. I would go from feeling in awe of it, to thinking it was absurd, to feeling in awe again. Still, I persisted. When I got too frustrated, skeptical, or exhausted, I would set her teachings down and branch out to see what teachers from different religious and esoteric traditions were saying about the evolution of consciousness and spirituality. Though I gained many fruitful insights from what others had to say, I kept coming back to Alice Bailey. Why? As I believe you will see in my books, I feel Bailey’s writings are still, over 100 years later, pioneering works.
Yet few of Bailey’s ideas have been mainstreamed and some people even consider them archaic and even passé. Why is this the case? It could be because of how some people view the source of her teachings. You see Bailey believed that she was telepathically receiving her ideas from a man she called the Tibetan. Now, channeled teachings are not uncommon. The Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Course in Miracles are channeled texts yet billions of people find great value in these teachings. Why have more people not found value in the writings of Alice Bailey? Maybe it is because for most people Bailey is almost impossible to understand. As I see it Bailey’s twenty-four books are a lot like a massive jigsaw puzzle. You are given the pieces, but no picture to look at to give you an idea of what the puzzle will eventually look like. That makes it hard to sort the pieces out and figure out where they should all go.
The good thing about this approach is it forces anyone who reads her works to keep an open mind, cultivate the spiritual intuition, and keep investigating on your own. And, though it is true that some people want to swallow Bailey’s writings whole as having come from some enlightened being, that is not how Bailey wanted you to approach her works. They are meant to be critically analyzed, applied, and followed if they are of value. But, how do you do that when you can’t even figure out what her spiritual model and writings are even about? How do you know what to adhere to, practice, value or just plain throw out if you can’t even understand what she is saying in the first place? This book is an attempt to remedy that situation giving you the benefit of my own understanding. Even then, be careful. My understanding of her model has evolved numerous times over the years. I am sure it will continue to evolve as it is further comprehended. Mistakes in my presentation of her writings may exist then. Regardless, I have done my best to organize her teachings and present them in a more coherent and user friendly way so that people can follow and practice her model more easily, spot mistakes in how I have put forward her model more readily, and most of all I hope find value in what she has to say. In that spirit then I hope you enjoy this book.
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