CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX: Group Six – Correlations to Other Bailey Terms
I would like now to address another term found in the Alice Bailey books associated with Group Six, that of Aspirants. This is the first name used by Bailey to describe someone on the spiritual path. There are a number of names Bailey gives to those treading the spiritual path. I first talked about these names in the chapter on Terms. To refresh your memory here they are again: 1) Aspirant. 2) Probationary Disciple. 3) Accepting Disciple. 4) Pledged Disciple. 5) Accepted Disciple. 6) Probationary Initiate. 7) Initiated Disciple. 8) Initiate.
To let the reader know sometimes the Bailey writings can be hugely frustrating as she is not always clear in her use of words. That is why you at times you may see a term like “Aspirant” or “Disciple” getting interchanged. When she does this you will be less confused if you understand that in general the word “disciple” covers all stages from Aspirant up to that of Accepted Disciple. So when she uses the word “disciple” sometimes you have to discern what stage of discipleship she is really referring to in the text (Aspirant, Probationary Disciple, Accepting Disciple, Pledged Disciple, Accepted Disciple). And, at times the word “aspirant” overlaps some of what is spoken about as required at other stages, especially the Probationary Discipleship stage, probably because in some ways we are always aspiring until we have actually accomplished what is required at each stage of spiritual development.
What then is an Aspirant? For starters notice the picture I have chosen for this section. See how the woman is holding her hands in spiritual reverence but has a look of ambivalence in her eyes? An Aspirant is like this woman. An Aspirant aspires to spiritual life, but is not very consistent regarding his or her spiritual practice. The selfish tendencies of the Integrated Personality keep taking them over meaning that they do not possess enough real dedication and persistence in regards to following the more rigorous disciplines of the spiritual path. As an analogy think about someone who wants to lose weight. Though the individual may be enthused at first, his or her initial aspiration (or desire) may quickly burn out because he or she lacks discipline (the words discipline and disciple are connected). Without that discipline he or she no longer goes to the gym, only works out on a rare occasion, and possibly keeps indulging in a lot of sugary and fattening foods. The intention to lose weight is there, but the discipline to do what is required and the consistency in the attempt to lose the weight are not. Progress is always sporadic then. Also, when someone confronts the person about the failure to remain disciplines and consistent, the person tends to come back with a lot of rationalizations and excuses! That is what makes the person an Aspirant, always aspiring, but never really accomplishing much.
Another new term that begins with Group Six is that of Little Chelaship. To let you know with the word “chela” is related to the Hindi word meaning “a disciple of a spiritual teacher.” As mentioned in the chapter on Terms, there are a number of Chela names known as: 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. And, the Little Chelaship stage is correlated with both the names of Aspirant and Probationary Discipleship. Beginning with this first Chela name, what exactly is Little Chelaship according to Alice Bailey? In general, a Little Chela is someone who is just starting the path. Again, he or she is aspirational, but is still “young” and often naive in understanding what the spiritual path is really all about. The picture I placed here is meant to convey that aspect of this stage. (Note: Discipleship and the New Age, Vol. I, pps. 713 – 719 described Little Chelaship in great detail).
Often Little Chelas are full of enthusiasm, but that enthusiasm can quickly burn out. 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 says of this stage that The aspirant at this stage runs from one teacher to another, according to inclination, opportunity and necessity. He is an example of instability but is carefully watched by the disciple who has transcended this particular stage of volatility; his task is to see that the aspirant escapes from this ‘network of futility,’ as it is sometimes called, and that he gradually settles down to the later stage of interior investigation” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. I, p. 716). To let you know this stage overlaps what is said about Group Six and Aspirants. Therefore, in this chapter I have grouped different aspects that seem related to all three of these (Group Six, Aspirant, Little Chelaship) together and have put the main themes into headers to help you get a more rapid sense of what this stage is about. Finally, in the usual nothing is simple style of Bailey, you will learn in the next book to come (Becoming the Soul), that the Little Chelaship stage goes beyond what is explained in this chapter.
EGOIC LOTUS — Love/Knowledge
Before talking about this next petal of the Egoic Lotus, I would like to make a bit of a confession. In Bailey teachings the descriptions for these petals are actually very short and frequently the language is not precise. In my attempt to assign the various petals to the Ten Bailey Groups I discovered that they do not always neatly line up. For example, I thought about keeping the Knowledge/Sacrifice petal associated with this level, since we are still within Group Six (though we are at the end where Group Six may members have some aspiration towards a spiritual life and world service). But, even though we still see at the stage of Little Chelaship how this aspiration is still heavily colored by desire, I decided to associate this level primarily with the Love/Knowledge petal. As I make this association remember that according to my master chart, the stage of Little Chelaship is associated with all levels connected with Aspirants and Probationary Disciples. Here is the official description, ”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 CosmicFire, (p. 540)
Before we go much further let me explain some of the language used in that description. First, we are told that this is the petal for the astral plane. In my mind I believe that this is implying that the Groups or levels associated with this petal are having their emotional and desire natures stimulated for the purpose of shifting them into greater control by the Egoic Lotus or Soul. Next, I would like to clarify what Bailey means by “Hall of Ignorance.” In the Bailey teachings there are said to be three “halls” that are known as: 1) The Hall of Ignorance; 2) The Hall of Knowledge; 3) The Hall of Wisdom. In the Hall of Ignorance you are said to be ignorant of your Ego, Soul, or Spiritual Self. (Note: Remember the word Ego here means soul. It does not mean someone who is selfish). Because you are ignorant of your Soul or Ego, the text says, “from the egoic point of view, he works blindly [or ignorantly] and begins to appreciate the effects of his physical plane life.” In my mind that means you start to understand how the physical plane life did not fully satisfy you. Next, in the Hall of Knowledge, we begin to learn about our Ego or Soul. Bailey says, “by a realisation of his essential duality [as an Integrated Personality and a Soul] he begins to comprehend causes [meaning the person comprehends the cause and effect that living as a soul or a personality has in ones physical life].” Here in the Hall of Knowledge you use the Law of Attraction to attract the causes that will reinforce your ability to live as Soul, and use the Law of Repulse to repel those that feed your personality life. Finally, as this process is accomplished you move into the Hall of Wisdom where you Realize the Self, Ego, or Soul. We are no longer ignorant of it or thinking and learning about it. You are becoming it and living from the Soul’s wisdom.
TECHNIQUE OF INTEGRATION— Alignment
Now we are going to continue with the Technique of Integration, only at this stage we are dealing with the idea of “alignment.” As a reminder the steps involved in the Technique of Integration involve: 1) Integration; 2) Alignment; 3) Crisis; and 4) Light. After these stages are completed the Technique of Fusion is applied, followed by the Technique of Duality, leading eventually to Unity. Previously, we saw how the first step of this technique, “integration” led to the Integrated Personality. That integration involved the integration of the individual’s mind, emotions, vital and etheric energies into a coordinated unit, while also allowing the person to integrate into the world at large allowing him or her to be a much larger player on the world stage. At first all of this was driven by a selfish motivation.
At this next stage the Integrated Personality starts to align with the soul. Looking at the picture of lightning above do you see that tiny electrical charge rising up from one of the buildings? This is how lightning works. First, there has to be this upward spark, which on the spiritual path is equivalent to a “charge” built up and sent upwards due to the beginning effort that we see the Little Chela making as both an Aspirant and a Probationary Disciple. At first this Soul connection is experienced more as an “aha” intuition that intensifies the Little Chela’s desire to discover “something more” than physical plane material existence and the satisfaction of endless desires. But, eventually, when this upward charge is strong enough, it invokes a response from above bringing about an “enlightenment” experience, which is known as the First Initiation. We will talk more about the First Initiation elsewhere. For now, just get the visual image of how alignment involves this upwards thrust of spiritual effort in the hopes of bringing down spiritual illumination.
So how does this “alignment” process proceed? Bailey starts to discuss this process as follows: “The aspirant passes through an intermediate stage in the process of evolution wherein ‘divine attraction’ supersedes the attraction of the three worlds. This stage falls into five parts:
A period wherein duality and lack of control are realised.
A period wherein an assertion of self-control takes place, through the following process:
Comprehension of the task ahead.
An investigation, by the divine Observer of the nature of form life.
Divine expression, through the medium of the form, understandingly practised.
A period wherein alignment takes place, and (through understanding and practice) the form is gradually subordinated to the requirements of the Self, and begins to work in unison with that Self.
A period wherein the forms, aligned at increasingly frequent intervals, are
Integrated into a functioning, active personality;
Swept by the power of their own dominant, integrated, personality life;
Gradually controlled by the Self, and fused into an instrument for effective world service;
Unified, in intent and purpose, with the soul.
A period wherein the personality ray and the soul ray are blended into one united energy, and the personality ray becomes a quality of, and complementary to, that of the soul, making soul purpose in the three worlds possible” (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 342 — 344).
In other words, there is a duality between personality and soul. At first the Soul lacks control over the personality. The Integrated Personality essentially has center stage. But, then that Integrated Personality begins to become decentralized. Spiritual aspiration begins and the Soul (the Observer), begins to investigate the form life (thoughts, emotions, vital and physical bodies) to see how much of it is ready for divine expression. An alignment between the Soul and Integrated Personality takes place. Gradually, through this initial tentative line of light the Integrated Personality subordinates itself to the Soul (or Self). The Integrated Personality attempts to work in unison with that Soul (Self). Some of this happens from time to time when the person is just an Integrated Personality. But, it happens more frequently the more the Soul (Self) controls the Integrated Personality and makes that Integrated Personality an “instrument for effective world service…unified in intent and purpose with the soul.” As we shall see this is a gradual process that is only beginning at this Aspirant stage.
Before we leave this section I would like to bring in a little more information from Bailey regarding how the centers, or chakras, are involved with this process of “alignment.” So far I have not spoken about the center system, known popularly as the chakra system. Essentially, these are vortexes of energy that are said to move into the physical body and anchor themselves into the various physical glands. According to Alice Bailey (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, pp. 339—340) the sacral center relates primarily to Lemurian consciousness, which is associated with Groups One, Two and Three. Here the focus of the life is primarily on sexuality and physical plane survival. (Note: Some would say the base of the spine center is connected to some degree, but Bailey does not mention that one). Next, we have the solar plexus center, which Bailey relates to Atlantean consciousness, which has been associated with Groups Four and Five. Through the solar plexus center the fulfillment of lower desires becomes a dominant focus. Next, we come to the Aryan consciousness that rules Group Six. Here the throat center comes more into play allowing the individual to be creative to a much larger degree than was achieved before. These three centers, the sacral, solar plexus, and throat centers all have to come under the influence of the ajna center. The ajna center allows the individual to coordinate their mental, emotional, vital, and physical bodies so that he or she becomes an Integrated Personality. Once all these centers are “aligned” then the Soul can begin its process of observing the Integrated Personality so that it can slowly become subordinated to the intents and purposes of the Soul.