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Esoteric Psychology II - Chapter II - The Ray of Personality - The Appropriation of the Bodies
In the first stage of appropriation, we have the soul or the conscious thinker (the divine son of God, or manasaputra) doing three things:
  1. Consciously registering the desire to incarnate. This is the will to exist or the will-to-be upon the physical plane.
  2. Consciously focusing attention on the processes involved in the decision to "make an appearance".
  3. Consciously taking the necessary steps to appropriate the needed substance through which to appear and thereby satisfy the demand for existence.

With these processes, formulated as theories, we are familiar. The speculations and pronouncements of teachers [329] everywhere, and down the ages, have familiarized us with the many symbolic ways of dealing with these matters. Upon them there is no need to enlarge. The whole series of events involved in the decision are to be considered here only from the angle of consciousness and of a defined involutionary procedure.

The second stage of aspiration concerns the aspiration or the desire of the soul to appear, and brings the consciousness down on to what we call the astral plane. The inclination of the soul is towards that which is material. We must not forget this fact. We have been apt to regard aspiration as the consummation or the transmutation of desire. However, in the last analysis, it might be said that aspiration is the basis or root of all desire and that we have only used the word "desire" to signify aspiration which has a natural object in the consciousness of man, confining the word "aspiration" to that transmuted desire which makes the soul the fixed objective in the life of the man in incarnation. But all phases of desire are essentially forms of aspiration and, on the involutionary arc, aspiration shows itself as the desire of the soul to experience in consciousness those processes which will make it conscious and dynamic in the world of human affairs.

When this conscious realization is established and the soul has appropriated a form upon the mental plane through the will to exist, and one also upon the astral plane through aspiration, then the third stage of approach takes place upon etheric levels. The consciousness becomes focused there, preparatory to the intense crisis of "appearing", and there takes place what might be regarded as a ranging or a gathering of all the forces of the consciousness in order to force the issue and thus emerge into manifestation. This is a vital moment in consciousness; it is a period of vital preparation for a great spiritual event - the coming into incarnation of a son of God. [330] This involves the taking of a dense physical body which will act either as a complete prison for the soul or as a "form for revelation", as it has been called, in the cases of those advanced men whom we regard as the revealed sons of God.

The crisis of approach is one of the most important and one of the least understood of the various stages. Students should find it of interest to make a comparative study of the approaches which have previously been mentioned in connection with such episodes in human history as those occurring at the time of the Wesak Full Moon. There is a close underlying relationship between the approaches upon the path of involution and those upon the path of evolution, and also between those taken by an individual and those by a group.

Then, when the gathering of forces during the stage of approach is consummated, the fourth stage takes place, that of appearance, and the man emerges into the light of day and runs his little cycle upon the physical plane, developing increased sensitivity in consciousness, through the medium of experience gained through the processes of life in a physical body. After appearing in form, he becomes (with each new appearance) increasingly active and alive and awake, and the stage of activity grows in intensity until the consciousness of the man is swept by ambition.

The two final stages of activity and of ambition are those covered by the ordinary man and dealt with by the ordinary psychologist. This is itself of interest, because it shows how very little of the life of the real man, of the conscious thinking Being is touched by the orthodox, exoteric psychologist. The four stages of man's development which lie behind his active appearance upon the physical plane are not considered at all. The intensity of the process of approach which preceded that appearance is not dealt with, yet it is basically a determining factor. But this activity upon the physical plane [331] and the nature of his desire life (which is only translated into terms of ambition later on in his life experience) are the dominant factors to be considered. It is, of course, exceedingly difficult for there to be a true understanding of man until the theory of rebirth is admitted and man is accounted for in terms of a long preceding history. In this age of intensest separative thinking and attitudes, it is the individual life of the individual man, separate in time and space from all that has gone before, and from all that surrounds him in the present, which is considered as of importance and as constituting a man. Man, as an expression of a soul process, is not dealt with in any way.

Thus we have the stages succeeding each other from the initial appropriation upon the mental plane until the man, in consciousness, has worked his way down through the planes and back again to the mental plane, which brings him to the stage of the coordination of the personality, and the emergence into full expression of what we call the personality ray. Life after life takes place. Again and again, the soul incarnates and, in consciousness, passes through the stages outlined above. But gradually a higher sense of values supervenes; there comes a period when desire for material experience and for ambitious personality satisfactions begins to fade out; newer and better values and higher standards of thought and desire begin slowly to appear.

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