Now we move to the 5th Subplane of the Mental Plane, which is again connected with Group Seven. The 5th subplane is analogous to Bailey’s 5th Ray, which is affiliated with scientific knowledge and a more scientific approach. On this subplane the devotional approach connected with the mind dies down more, and a more “scientific” approach to the realm of the mind and spirituality is applied. This more methodical approach helps the Probationary Disciple shift to being an Accepting Disciple, and allows the shift from the Little Chelaship stage to that of Chela in the Light. As for the Egoic Lotus petals, we move to Petal Six, the Love/Love petal. And, the Technique of Integration transitions from the Crisis to the Light phase. Again we will continue with the Rules for individual initiation only this time we will focus on Rules 10 — 14. Finally, we will start the process of talking about the initiations, beginning with the First Initiation.
At last we come to the final chapter explaining the characteristics of Group Seven. To quote Bailey again she states that those in Group Seven 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). As we have seen in the previous chapters, those in Group Seven are torn between what the realm of the five senses has to offer them (in the way of money, pleasure and power), and what the spiritual realm has to offer them (in the way of spiritual values and spiritual powers). As Aspirants they attempt to still have it all seeking to be spiritual, while getting all the money, pleasure and power they want. They also tend to focus on primarily the physical disciplines of Hatha Yoga and vegetarianism for example (which I have associated with the 7th subplane of the Mental Plane), and tend to have a muddled mental approach to realms beyond the five senses.
For this reason Probationer Disciples (on the 6th subplane of the Mental plane) are prone to: glamours as they get caught up in astral light phenomena (channeling, lower psychic powers); spiritual practices that can turn them into impractical mystics; becoming gullible followers of so-called spiritual leaders who emphasize spiritual power over the soul values of love, discernment and spiritual wisdom; and more. Ultimately, Probationer Disciples are making progress often learning from trial and error. But, at the final stage, as Probationers become “Chelas in the Light,” they finally start to get more of a grip on themselves, seeing at long last the value of developing and controlling their minds. That is when they shift from being a Probationer Disciple, who cannot always be trusted to follow spiritual disciplines, to being Accepting Disciples, happily accepting spiritual disciplines as helpful and necessary if they are truly going to learn to stand within the soul’s light.
As a reminder, Bailey uses a lot of terms in regards to the various stages of the spiritual path. You have the Aspirant, the Probationary Disciple, the Accepting Disciple, the Pledged Disciple, the Accepted Disciple, the Pledged Initiate, Initiated Disciples and the Initiate (see chart below).
An Aspirant is someone who aspires to be spiritual, but applies no real discipline. A Probationary Disciple is more likely to apply discipline, but that discipline is often inconsistent. As we saw in the last few chapters, many difficulties can sidetrack them. Plus, the Probationer is more interested in an individual “enlightenment” that culminates at what Bailey calls the “First Initiation.” Though that is a real achievement as we will see, it is still based on a selfish motivation, which has to be overcome as we shift into what Bailey later calls “group enlightenment.” Though Aspirants and the Probationers do have some experiences with groups, they are either superficially associated with groups (like the Aspirant who tends to flit from group to group in a surface way), naïve and prone to being misused in their associations with groups (which many Probationers struggle with), or use groups for their own personal leverage and “spiritual gain,” which Aspirants, Probationers and to a lesser extent Accepting Disciples are inclined to do.
At the stage of Accepting Disciple it appears the susceptibility to what Alice Bailey calls the “problems of guidance” of the 6th subplane of the Mental Plane changes. More discernment seems to exist within the Accepting Disciple, and the notion of group enlightenment over individual enlightenment might exist, but there is no real experience with it, with an emphasis on individual enlightenment still the case.
To let you know in the Alice Bailey writings, very little is actually said about the Accepting Disciple beyond it being listed as a stage between the Probationer Disciple and the Pledged Disciple or Accepted Disciple. (Please see Esoteric Healing p. 344, Discipleship in the New Age p. 45, Externalization of the Hierarchy pp. 529—530, and Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle p. 101). What we can infer is that the Accepting Disciple is finally willingly accepting the disciplines of the spiritual path in a more consistent way. This includes a greater appreciation and likelihood of following the suggested rules that Bailey outlines for Probationary Disciples so that they can become Chelas in the Light and go through the First Initiation, which is like an individual enlightenment, in a successful way with the least amount of difficulty. This said there is one direct statement regarding the Accepting Disciple and what is involved with this stage from the book Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, p. 101 which states that the “confusion, much astral psychism and frequent wrong interpretations” in regards to “astral psychism” is dying down. We will see shortly how this overlaps with what is said in regards to the Chela in the Light stage and is partially why I have connected the Accepting Disciple to that Chela name.
CHELA IN THE LIGHT
At last we set the Little Chelaship stage behind. Enough purification work has happened so that the light of the Soul can start to be seen. Though we have no way of verifying it, Bailey states that the stage of Chela in the Light is relatively short, typically happening in only two lifetimes (Bailey asserts that reincarnation is a fact). That brevity of the Chela in the Light stage Bailey says only happens if one is earnest about consciously developing the higher sensitivity to spiritual realms required (see Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, pp. 726—727). The Chela in the Light stage also marks the completion of the Probationary Discipleship stage, and then progresses into the Accepted Discipleship stage. (Note: In the Alice Bailey books terms are not always clear cut and discernment is required. That is why at times you will see the word aspirant connected to the Chela in the Light stage. I believe when that term is connected to the Chela in the Light stage it is being used in a more generic way as a reference to all those who aspire to the light and are taking what Alice Bailey calls the First Initiation. It is not referring in this context to the Aspirant stage that precedes the Probationary Discipleship stage giving us a reminder to always be discerning in context in regards to the use of words).
What we will see is that it marks the achievement of finally discerning the difference between the astral plane light and the light of the Soul. In addition, the Chela in the Light is far more mental and less devotional in an emotional way. This frees the Chela in the Light up to better comprehend abstract spiritual ideas. We will also see that the Chela in the Light is said to have better control over emotional reactions (see Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 719). Because of these stated tasks and others by Bailey regarding this stage, I have placed it on the 5th subplane of the Mental Plane (something Bailey herself does not state, but I feel it may be implied). Understanding this let’s move now and look at some of the general characteristics that apply to this stage of spiritual development.
EGOIC LOTUS — Love/Love
As we move into the 5th subplane of the Mental Plane, I have decided to place Bailey’s Love/Love Petal of the Egoic Lotus here, though some of what she says about the Love/Sacrifice petal also begins to apply. Still I have chosen to associate the Love/Sacrifice petal more with the stage of Accepted Discipleship that comes next. Having said this, here is what Bailey says about these two petals.
Love/Love Petal. The Petal of Love for the astral plane; unfoldment is brought about through the process of gradually transmuting the love of the subjective nature or of the Self within. This has a dual effect and works through on to the physical plane in many lives of turmoil, of endeavour and of failure as a man strives to turn his attention to the love of the Real.
Love/Sacrifice Petal. The Petal of Sacrifice for the astral plane; unfoldment is brought about by the attitude of man as he consciously endeavours to give up his own desires for the sake of his group. His motive is still somewhat a blind one, and still coloured by the desire for a return of that which he gives and for love from those he seeks to serve, but it is of a much higher order than the blind sacrifice to which a man is driven by circumstances as is the case in the earlier unfoldment.“ Treatise on Cosmic Fire, (p. 540—541). As we are seeing at the 6th subplane of the Mental Plane, the emotional body is becoming less responsive to the Emotional Plane desire nature driven by the need to fulfill desires based upon life in the material realm.
In these two petals we see how the Chela in the Light is focusing more on love and in the light of the Soul truly learning what love is and how to really love others. We also see the growing orientation towards group life for the sake of service and out of desire to love others and not only to achieve some sort of enlightenment for oneself. However, both the love and group orientation are still not fully developed in a “soul-full” way. That is why I have decided to put the Love/Sacrifice petal further up onto the 4th subplane of the Mental Plane where the real genuine and heart-felt sacrifices of the personality life are made so that others can be truly served and loved.
(Note: In his Commentaries on the First Initiation, Part One around 4:35 Michael Robbins likewise associates the Love/Love Petal, or 5th Petal of the Egoic Lotus with the First Initiation).
TECHNIQUE OF INTEGRATION — LIGHT
In many ways I have already said a great deal about the “light” phase of the Technique of Integration. As I hope you understand now it has to do with bringing in the light of the soul primarily through meditation practice, to such a sufficient degree soul contact can happen. That light comes at first in glimpses here and there. Eventually, however that light becomes a steady stream of light until you discover that you not only have a soul, you are the Soul. No one can deter you any more from that realization. The Technique of Integration that helped you integrate your personality so that it could function well in the world of desire, has also led you through a series of crises so you could see the light of who you really are as the Soul. The problem is even though you have come to understand the oneness and unity of all of life at this level, it has all been primarily an individual enlightenment experience. From this point onward that will shift and understanding the notion of group initiation and group enlightenment will become the path you are on next. One last thing I would like to mention about this “light” phase. Bailey says that after the light stage reveals the Plan must be worked with as it is , not as one thinks it is. She says, “As he works, revelation comes, and he sees clearly what he has to do. Usually this entails first of all a disentangling and a release from his own ideas. This process takes much time, being commensurate with the time wasted in building up the agelong glamour Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II. P. 361. Meaning the Chela in the Light finally is able to cooperate with what is really required to help advance human and planetary evolution since one is no longer as full of glamours and selfish inclinations.
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