In this chapter we will look at a number of areas. This will include the discussion of of Little Chelaship and Probationary Discipleship. We will also complete our study of the Love/Knowledge Petal of the Egoic Lotus and the Crisis phase of the Technique of Integration. As we wrap them up they will be related to the 6th subplane of the Mental Plane, which by association I am connecting with Bailey’s Ray Six and its emphasis on idealism and devotion. In a chapter following this one, we will continue with the First Initiation process looking more at the symbolism of this initiation. As for the “rules” that Bailey says are helpful to follow on the spiritual path, I have decided to associate rules 7 — 9 to  this subplane, which will also be in chapter after this one.

LITTLE CHELASHIP — Probationary Disciple

Chela Beginning Stages

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As we spoke of in the chapter on Terms the word “chela” is related to the Sanskrit word meaning “a disciple of a spiritual teacher.” Again in the Bailey books there are a number of Chela names which are: Little Chelaship, Chela in the Light, Accepted Disciple, Chela on the Thread, Chela Within the Master’s Aura, and Chela in the Master’s Heart. The Little Chela is someone who is just starting out on the spiritual path and as mentioned earlier in the Bailey teachings Little Chelaship covers both the Aspirant and Probationary Discipleship stages. Bailey says that “this stage is one of pure mysticism and of selfish spiritual purpose. The recognition of group relationship is missing; the knowledge of group inclination is not present; there is no true, unselfish desire to serve. There is only a vague desire for personal liberation, for personal integrity and for personal lasting happiness” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 715). Bailey also indicates that Little Chelas tend to be unstable, especially at the Aspirant level. As the Little Chela shifts into becoming a Probationary Disciple that instability is still seen, but at least the Probationarly Disciple is settling down more into what Bailey calls the “later stage of interior investigation” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 716).

Because of their need to do a little more serious spiritual work, Probationary Disciples are less likely to burn out on the spiritual path the way Aspirants do, though they still can be inconsistent. Probationers are also more inclined to settle down with a particular spiritual teaching or with one spiritual teacher for a longer period of time. It is as if Probationers understand that the Aspirant tendency to run from one spiritual teacher or teaching to the next in order to “get to heaven” or “get enlightened” as fast as possible, didn’t serve them so well. Still, Probationers very much approach the spiritual path in a highly individualistic way, which is why they remain in the Little Chelaship stage which Bailey says is a phase “of pure mysticism and of selfish spiritual purpose. The recognition of group relationship is missing; the knowledge of group inclination is not present; there is no true, unselfish desire to serve. There is only a vague desire for personal liberation, for personal integrity and for personal lasting happiness” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 715).

With the Aspirant the desire to be a part of spiritual life is present so long as he or she can make money, look good, be healthy, have everything he or she desires, be powerful and have spiritual influence over others. In otherwords, they are like spiritualized, but still selfishly motivated Integrated Personalities focused mainly on money, pleasure, and power under a spiritual gard.  The Probationary Discipleship part of Little Chelaship is no longer so blatantly selfish in spiritual garb because he or she tends to look more disciplined than the Aspirant. Still as a Little Chela, the Probationer is still only into spiritual life so long as it helps to bring about their enlightenment, their personal happiness, their spiritual advancement, and their capacity to spiritually influence others. Meaning whether at the Aspirant or Probationary Discipleship phase of Little Chelaship there is either no or very little motivation to be on the spiritual path as a way to humbly and selfless  serve others, which is why Little Chelaship is seen as only the very first step on the spiritual path.

EGOIC LOTUS — Love/Knowledge

The Egoic Lotus from
the Alice Bailey Model

Just as I felt the Love/Knowledge petal of the Egoic Lotus ruled the Aspirant stage of Little Chelaship, I also feel it rules the Probationary Discipleship stage.  As a reminder here is the description of the Love/Knowledge petal again. ”The Petal of Knowledge, for the astral plane; unfoldment is brought about by the conscious balancing of the pairs of opposites, and the gradual utilisation of the Law of Attraction and Repulsion. The man passes out of the Hall of Ignorance where, from the egoic point of view, he works blindly and begins to appreciate the effects of his physical plane life; by a realisation of his essential duality he begins to comprehend causes“ Treatise on Cosmic Fire, (p. 540). As we have already seen in the book Becoming Human, the Aspirant starts to pass out of the “Hall of Ignorance” as he or she starts to see that the “effects of physical plane life” did not bring them true happiness. This leads the individual to start to become conscious of the two “polarities” of the Integrated Personality and the Soul. But, in regards to balancing these pairs of opposites, the Aspirant makes only sporadic attempts. And, more often than not the Integrated Personality side of the Aspirant wins out over that of the Soul as the Aspirant keeps trying to prove that you can “have it all” while remaining steeped in the material world pretending to be spiritual. For this reason the Aspirant too frequently remains immersed in the delusions of spiritual materialism. As we move onto the Path of Probation awareness of the pairs of opposites intensifies. Slowly the Probationer is seeing that spiritual materialism doesn’t work. Though the Probationer is not working as blindly as the Aspirant, for the most part the Probationer’s vision is not too clear. Unlike the Aspirant, however, the Probationer is more clearly seeing and comprehending “causes” and opening up more to how his or her selfish tendencies have been the true cause of any unhappiness they experience in their lives. For this reason, the Probationer is more motivated than the Aspirant to make real spiritual progress, though as we are seeing the Probationer often fails to do so.

Other reasons I feel the Probationer Disciple is connected to the Love/Knowledge petal comes from quotes I have found in the Bailey teachings that seem to assert that this is so. For example, we are told that as one passes onto the Probationary Path “having unfolded one tier of petals, and organized the second” (Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 842). I believe this refers to the first tier of the three Knowledge Petals having already unfolded, leading us onto the second tier of the Love Petals starting to unfold on the Path of Probation. We are also told that “Aspirants learn, as they proceed upon the Path of Probation, to see the meaning of their physical plane activities in terms of the world of desire, of the astral plane” (Rays & Initiations, p. 261). The text on this page goes on to say how the Aspirant, now a Probationer, discovers how “desire, prompted by the mind and implemented by the personality, loses its hold,” and “as the soul begins to dominate, he learns the meaning of love and slowly, and oft though the mastering of pain, he absorbs the significance or meaning of group activity, group relation, and group initiation” (Rays & Initiations, p. 261). To me this also seems reflective of the Love/Knowledge petal. Finally, there is this quote that talks about the Aspirant (as a “student on the Probationary Path”) whose “emotional body becomes responsive to the principle of buddhi, reaching him via the love petals of the egoic lotus” (Rays & Initiations, p. 362) that also seems to imply some Love/Knowledge petal activation.

However, in the usual nothing is ever simple and things can get overly complex and nuanced style of the Bailey books, I do want to acknowledge two references that may incline people to believe that the Path of Probation is still on the Knowledge petals, when I believe it is not. I refer to a reference that make a connection to the Path of Probation and the Knowledge petals. “On the Path of Probation, the ray of the physical body must become subordinated to the potencies emanating from those soul rays which stream from the outer tier of petals in the egoic lotus. These are the knowledge petals” (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II (pp. 22—23). If you look at the quote carefully, however, it is referring to a recapitulation process that the Probationer has to take up to another level. This recapitulation is of ancient Lemurian tendencies that were overly attached to the physical nature of man because they were attempting to co-ordinate the physical and etheric bodies of early humans. Lemurians have also been connected to beginning activation of the Knowledge petals in the Bailey books, and Bailey also emphasizes that the stage of Little Chelaship “corresponds to the process of individualisation in Lemurian times” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 716). What I believe all of this means is that the Little Chela (as Aspirant and especially as Probationer) is doing is taking the Knowledge Petals up another notch, which is why they tend to be attracted to the physical and etheric disciples of hatha yoga and pranayama. In the Bailey writings these two disciples were originally created to help teach ancient humanity how to co-ordinate their physical and etheric bodies. Now, that process has to be re-visited, but for a different reason. Whereas originally these methods were used to help ancient humanity learn to simply exist physically in the world as human beings, now as Probationers, these methods are used to help Probationers purify their physical and etheric bodies, so that they can better equip their nervous systems to withstand the process of “incarnating” the Soul.

By understanding the different reasons for using hatha yoga and pranayama, I feel we can also reconcile the seeming contradictions in the Bailey teachings where she seems to put down hatha yoga and pranayama, while at the same time (mainly with pranayama) prescribing them. Yes, if hatha yoga is used as a means to just “look good,” become more flexible, and gain notoriety for being able to twist yourself into elaborate poses, then all you have done is regressed back to an ancient Lemurian process of overly focusing on the physical body and have resorted to “bhoga yoga” (to use a phrase from famous hatha yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar). The same could be said for pranayama techniques if they are just used to make you feel high bring you more vitality, and give you special “powers” over others. Then pranayama is just another method to get you more attached to the personality and its desires for money, pleasure and power. However, if hatha yoga and pranayama are used to help bring a new level of stability and flow to the physical and etheric bodies so they can withstand practices that help one incarnate the Soul and be of greater service in the world, then rightfully so they represent a recapitulation to a higher level of the physical disciplines unfolded mainly on the Knowledge Petals. After all who doesn’t want a fit and flexible physical body capable of being able to sit in rigorous meditation for a long period of time to help them serve in the world? Who doesn’t benefit from more energy, vitality, and capacity to work consciously with the etheric body where appropriate? The problem is not so much whether you add a little hatha yoga and pranayama to your life. The problem is if they become over-emphasized and detract you from the higher demands of spiritual life. Then they become regressive and not progressive on the spiritual path, which is a problem many Little Chelas (as Aspirants and Probationers) often seem to face.


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The Technique of Integration process was first explained in my book Becoming Human. The Technique has a number of stages that include: Integration, Alignment, Crisis, Light. The first step of Integration (called Integration) took us to Group Six where we saw the integrated separative personality becoming dominant as they learn to coordinate their minds, emotions, and physical bodies in such a way they can get most of their selfish desires met. Integrated Personalities at this stage usually make it to the top of their fields and are often highly influential over most of humanity for better or worse. The next step of Integration (called Alignment) led us into the Aspirant stage where for the first time a “line of light” is connected between the Integrated Personality and ths Soul pulling the Aspirant into the direction of the Soul.

Now, as we shift into Group Seven and the Probationary Discipleship stage of Little Chelaship, the third step of Integration (called Crisis) emerges. Bailey says. “These crises are produced by the bringing together (oft the clashing together) of the higher forces of the personality and soul energy.  They cannot therefore be produced at a low stage of evolutionary development, in which low grade energies are active and the personality is neither integrated nor of a high grade and character. (Is such a phrase as “low grade energies” permissible?  When all are divine?  It conveys the idea, and that is what is desired).  The forces which are involved in such a crisis are the forces of integration at work in a personality of a very high order, and they are themselves necessarily of a relatively high potency.  It is the integrated personality force, brought into relation with soul energy, which ever produces the type of crisis which is here discussed.  These constitute, consequently, a very difficult moment or moments in the life of the disciple (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p 366).

As I see it that difficult moment (in the life of the Probationary Disciple) happens when there is a conscious realization at this point that the pursuit of happiness in the material world did not give them the happiness they were searching for. This can make them become “sensitive, struggling people, who long for release from failure and from the existence in the world today” (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II p. 206). Again, the failure comes from the realization that material success does not bring them true happiness. Why? Because that true happiness only comes when we understand our true nature as spiritual Beings. So, if true “happiness” or “bliss” is not to be found in the world, maybe it is found “out” of the world,. This generates another crisis of creating an inner dissatisfaction with the world that they now seek to be released from. As we have seen in this chapter this leads to another crisis as the material and spiritual worlds seem at odds with each other. Bailey says of those in Group Seven (of which Probationers belong), “They cannot yet control themselves as they should, and the higher illumination remains as yet a joyous hope and final possibility” (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. ??).

Living in this limbo land of feeling that they no longer belong to the material world, while at the same time not really fitting fully in the spiritual world, intensifies their feeling of not truly belonging, or fitting in, anywhere. At times they may gravitate back to Group Six attempting to play the material success game. As they do so they may struggle inside feeling like a fake and a hypocrite. Something inside about the whole Group Six approach continues to feel off. Or, they may try the “feel good” spiritual approach of the Aspirant and revert back to more sporadic, superficial and spiritually materialistic approaches to spirituality. But, that will remain feeling off too. Moving forward then, Probationers (who are now in Group Seven) will go through many of the difficulties we have described in this chapter, and also in the next chapter to follow.

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