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The Rays and the Initiations - Part One - Fourteen Rules For Group Initiation
The third quality which must be utterly rooted out and destroyed is that of all reaction towards recognition, whether that recognition is accorded by the world of men, by other disciples, or by the Master. The ability to work without any token of recognition, to see others claim the reward of action taken, and even to be unaware that the results of the good initiated by the individual disciple or [212] his group are claimed by others, are the hallmarks of the hierarchical worker. The Masters get no recognition for the work done by Their disciples, though They initiated the original impulse and have given both guidance and direction; the disciple carries out the Plan; he shoulders the responsibility; he pays the price, either good or bad, or the karmic results of instituted activity, and he is the one who gains the recognition of the crowd. But - until the disciple seeks no recognition, until he fails to think in terms of results and is unaware of the reaction of the world to his work as an individual disciple - he has yet far to go in order to gain the higher initiations. The entire problem becomes increasingly difficult when an entire ashramic group is concerned, for the recognition of the group service seems little to ask from the world which is served; nevertheless, such a demand and such an expectation delay the complete absorption of the group into the inner Ashram.

These are not, however, impossible objectives, or I would not waste your time or mine in their delineation. The group can measure up to the occult necessity if unitedly they recognize the scope of the endeavor and unitedly strive for complete absorption in service - an absorption so deep that it excludes all other recognitions, particularly those of a personal nature. We come back, therefore (as is continually the case), to the fact that when a group can arrive at a suitable point of united tension, non-essential reactions disappear and undesirable qualities are automatically removed.

These three types of work along the lines of destruction merit your careful consideration and - because they are along the line of the destroying aspect - it will be apparent to you that the method employed is that of the utilization of the group Will. It will be equally apparent that the group Will can only make its appearance under the Law of Occult Continuity when, and if, the group is functioning intelligently and demonstrating love adequately.

We now come to the third factor which group initiation involves. This is diversity in unity, consciously recognized [213] and utilized. A group is not composed of disciples all of whom are being prepared for the same initiation. This is oft a hard saying for group members to accept. The significance of my earlier statement, that a group is composed of men and women all of whom are at the same point in evolution, is a generalization and simply means that all of them have reached the point where they are pledged and unalterably committed to the work of the Ashram, under some particular Master.

The work, however, requires a diversity of quality and of potencies in order to be effective in manifestation upon the outer plane. It needs those who are in close contact with the Master, and are therefore initiates of a certain standing; it needs also those who have facility of relationship with the inner Ashram and are therefore senior disciples, though not necessarily high initiates; it needs also those not so advanced upon the Path of Discipleship because they have, or can establish, a close connection with ordinary humanity in the life of everyday. A group of disciples such as this is consequently a miniature hierarchy, and a hierarchy exists in its various degrees in order to Permit of a wide range of effective relationships. Ponder on this statement. You can see now why there is necessity for the elimination of personality reactions, for only thus could the groups function as a coordinated unit with the various members recognizing each other's status and yet not moved to jealousy or belittlement thereby; the work is then carried forward on the basis of inspiration, coordination and practical application. The senior members of the group, and those with the most advanced status (whatever that may be), provide the incentive of the Plan as they receive it from the Master; the more experienced among the disciples then coordinate the Plan within the group, relating it to the Ashram and indicating its approach to the world of men; the neophytes - pledged and dedicated though yet without experience - carry out the Plan upon the physical plane. This entails, as you can see, smooth and effective coordination, a proper attention to the general picture, and an application of the detail of [214] work to the immediate necessity. It is a hard task for a group of intensely individualistic disciples (and all disciples are individual) to begin to take the first steps towards these attitudes and the relationships which distinguish the Hierarchy as a whole.

Still another important factor in the group preparation for initiation is the cultivation of silence. How, we ask ourselves at times when the functioning of the Ashram is under discussion, can we train our disciples to realize that, essentially, silence is not refraining from speech. So many disciples seem to think that it is, and that they have to learn not to talk if they hope to take initiation. Some would do a great deal better if they talked more than they do - along right lines. The silence imposed in an Ashram is refraining from certain lines of thought, the elimination of reverie and the unwholesome use of the creative imagination. Speech is consequently controlled at its source, because speech is the result of certain inner sources of ideas, of thought and of imagination; it is the precipitation (at a certain point of saturation, if I might so express it) of inner reservoirs which overflow on to the physical plane. The retention of speech and the suppression of words, if they are the result of a realization that what is to be said is wrong, or undesirable, or unwise, or wasteful of energy, will simply increase the inner banking up and will lead eventually to a still more violent display of words at a later date; it may also bring about serious and disastrous conditions within the astral body of the disciple. The silence of thought is to be cultivated and, my brothers, I do not mean silent thinking. I mean that certain lines of thought are refused admission; certain habits of thinking are eradicated and certain approaches to ideas are not developed. This is done by a process of substitution, and not by a violent process of suppression. The initiate learns to keep his thought apparatus in a certain effective condition. His thoughts do not intermingle the one with the other, but are contained (if I may thus pictorially word it) in separate compartments or carefully filed for reference and later use. There are certain [215] layers of thought (again speaking symbolically) which are held within the Ashram itself and are never permitted to enter the mind of the disciple or the initiate when not consciously working in the Ashram; others are related to the group and its work and are given free play within the group ring-pass-not; still others are of a more mundane nature and govern the daily life and relationships of the disciple with personalities and with the affairs of civilized living and physical plane events. These are only indications of what I mean, but will suffice to show (if you duly meditate) a little of what is meant by the silence of the initiate. Within the permitted levels of contact, speech is free and unimpeded; outside those levels, no indication is given that the other spheres of thought activity, with their conditioning speech, even exist. Such is the silence of the initiated disciple.

We have therefore considered briefly but suggestively four qualities which a group preparing for initiation needs to develop, to consider and unitedly to achieve. They are:

  1. The achieving of a non-sentimental group interrelation.
  2. Learning how to use the forces of destruction constructively.
  3. Attaining the power to work as a miniature Hierarchy, and as a group to exemplify unity in diversity.
  4. Cultivating the potency of occult silence.
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