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The Rays and the Initiations - Part One - Fourteen Rules For Group Initiation
Rule Eleven

I would like to speak, at this point in our discussion of the fourteen rules for initiates, upon the theme of group initiation; these rules are those to which groups that are seeking, in unison, a group expansion of consciousness, must learn to conform. It is for this reason that I have hitherto omitted to go into detail in relating these rules to the seven centers or, specifically, to the great seven solar initiations. Of these seven initiations only five concern average humanity. The remaining two initiations concern only those who are willing to meet certain unusual requirements and to produce that special effort which entitles them to the appellation, "Victors, through the clear pure will."

Group initiation is no easy achievement, particularly as it is practically an untried experiment and constitutes essentially a pioneering effort. That such a development was inevitable, if the evolutionary growth of humanity proved in any way satisfactory, was early realized by the Hierarchy. However, it has taken millennia of years to make it seem - as an hypothetical effort - in any way possible, and only tentative experiments have as yet been attempted. The first objective of these experiments (going on quietly in various places all over the world) is to see if a group of disciples can work together in such a manner that an inner fusion can be seen - by the Masters - to be taking place. The results, hitherto, have not been encouraging. It has, for one thing, been difficult to find disciples who are approximately at the same point in evolution, whose rays are "shining through" adequately, and who can evidence some one quality, or some controlling theme (if I may use such a phrase) which they share in unison and which would suffice to hold them together and prove strong enough to offset personality differences, preferences and barriers. It has not been possible, as yet, to do this. Group after group has been tried and tested out by different Masters in various parts of the world, and hitherto all such attempts have proved failures. When I use the word "failure" I mean failure from [209] the angle of the planned objective. From the angle of the individual growth of any particular disciple there has not necessarily been failure; from the angle of the unwitting, general public, the publication of Discipleship in the New Age will prove in years to come an epochal success.

It might be of value to consider briefly what group initiation involves, and to do this factually and not sentimentally and aspirationally.

One of the problems confronting the Hierarchy in this connection is the elimination of sentiment - that curious, emotional reaction and relationship which links all the members of a group together in the bonds of liking or disliking. Where there is liking, then too strong a personality relation is established, as far as the good of the group is concerned. The group equilibrium is disturbed. Where there is disliking, the inner faculty of rebuff works constantly, and cleavages then occur. Is it not true, my brothers, that your relation to each other is frequently subjected to the impact of approval or of disapproval? When that attitude exists, the first steps towards group fusion are absent. This is what we mean by sentiment, and this emotional reaction must disappear as a preliminary stage. I speak not at this time anent impersonality. For some people, impersonality is simply an escape mechanism from responsibility; for others, it connotes suppression and entails such hard labor that the entire time of the disciple is given to the achievement of impersonality, thereby guaranteeing non-success. That at which you strenuously strive and which assumes undue place in your thinking, in due time becomes itself a prison and merits later destruction. Such is the occult law. Impersonality is possible only to the disciple who knows truly how to love, and to him who sees life and its phantasmagoria (including all associated persons) in the light of the Spiritual Triad.

It is to this that Rule XI primarily refers, and it will not be possible for you to comprehend the significance of this rule unless there is a measure of clarity in your minds anent true group relationships. Such relationships are not [210] based upon personality or impersonality, or upon liking or disliking, or on criticism or non-criticism, but upon a real comprehension of "divine indifference," spiritual detachment and deep, persistent, unchanging love. To many earnest aspirants the juxtaposition of these phrases will seem paradoxical; but an understanding of the occult paradoxes tends to liberation. In the comprehension of these basic attitudes lies the first lesson of the aspirant to participation in group initiation.

The second point which the group thus striving has to grasp is the necessity for the utilization of the force of destruction.

A group is brought together under karmic law, ashramic necessity and soul direction. Immediately there is presented to the watching Masters an opportunity for the very definite training of some willing aspirants, but also an equally definite point of tension, indicating real difficulty. There is little, in reality, to link these people except inclination, a joint aspiration and a goal seen and held in unison. The outstanding characteristic of such a group is spiritual selfishness. This statement may surprise you until a close scrutiny of your own heart is undergone, and then I venture to predict that you will discover that it is not divine love of humanity that has enabled you to find your way into the outer group of some Ashram but desire for development, for achievement and for liberation. The first step, therefore, is to recognize this and hence the injunction so oft misunderstood: Kill out desire. This has to be the first destructive activity of the disciple. It is not what the disciple seeks, or wants or desires which should condition him and drive him to what we might call "ashramic acquiescence," but the all-impelling motive of world need. So the disciple begins to rid himself of desire by a process of attrition. He does not positively fight desire with a view to its elimination; he does not seek to transmute it (as should the probationary disciple), but he ceases to give it any recognition; he fails to provide it with the needed stimulation of attention, for as ever, energy follows thought; he is [211] preoccupied with world need and with the service he can render, and - almost inadvertently, as it were - desire dies of attrition.

It will be apparent to you, therefore, that it will take time for all the members of a group to achieve the destruction of individual desire, and that until some measure of this united liberating process is attained, the group cannot go forward together as a unit on the Way of Initiation.

The next step is the destruction of the ties which link the personalities of the group members. These must be severed, and the relation between the group members must be on the basis of soul activity, joint pledge to the Master of the Ashram, and a united service given to humanity. There comes a point of freedom in the group relation which will demonstrate in some definitely planned and united activity, carried forward in the outer world but enriching the life of the Ashram. Until this stage is reached, the activity of the group corresponds to that of the probationary disciple and not to that of the pledged disciple. The spontaneously emerging group work, engendered by the group consciousness and fusing the entire group of disciples at a point of tension in service, is the first indication that the group is ready for further teaching, for an intensification of its group potency and for a closer relation to the Master. This has all been brought about by the group itself, independently of any injunction of the Master, and as a result of the united soul life of the group effectively making its presence felt. These two spiritually destructive processes - the destruction of desire and the severing of all personality ties - are the first two and essential results of true group work.

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