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The Rays and the Initiations - Part Two - Section One - The Aspirant and the Mysteries of Initiation
Some small grasp of the nature of the consciousness of Shamballa will emerge as we study this section of the Treatise, for the higher levels of the cosmic etheric plane are permeated with energies emanating from the cosmic astral plane and the cosmic mental plane; these energies, playing through and directed by the great Lives Who form a permanent nucleus of the Council Chamber at Shamballa, do condition and are the impelling, motivating and relating power behind all the evolutionary processes on lower levels.

Yet, the life and consciousness of the Hierarchy are very different to the life and consciousness of Those Who constitute the great center called Shamballa; the developing sensitivity to increasingly high impression, which is the result of each stage of the final initiatory process, is the only way in which the distinction and the goal become apparent. Just as those who read and study these ideas are occupied with concepts and thoughts totally unrealized and wholly inexplicable and sometimes even senseless, to the ordinary everyday businessman in the street, so there are also ranges of thought and eternal extra-planetary concepts which are equally unknown and temporarily inexplicable to the initiate working in an Ashram under some Master. When the student realizes that the great universal Oneness which he associates with monadic consciousness, is only the registration of impressions localized (and therefore limited) and defined within the etheric levels of the cosmic physical plane, he can perhaps grasp the implications of the wonder which will be revealed to the initiate who can transcend the entire cosmic physical plane (our seven planes of the [364] human, superhuman and the divine worlds) and function upon another cosmic level. This is what the treading of the Way of the Higher Evolution enables a Master eventually to do.

One interesting fact emerges out of all this comparative work and this mode of analogical teaching, and that is that the word "spiritual" refers neither to religious matters (so-called) nor to the Path of Discipleship or the Path of the major or higher initiations, but to the relationships on every level of the cosmic physical plane, to every level from the lowest to the highest. The word "spiritual" relates to attitudes, to relationships, to the moving forward from one level of consciousness (no matter how low or gross, from the point of view of a higher level of contact) to the next; it is related to the power to see the vision, even if that vision is materialistic as seen from the angle of a higher registration of possibility; the word "spiritual" refers to every effect of the evolutionary process as it drives man forward from one range of sensitivity and of responsiveness to impression to another; it relates to the expansion of consciousness, so that the unfoldment of the organs of sensory perception in primitive man or in the awakening infant are just as surely spiritual events as participation in an initiatory process; the development of the so-called irreligious man into a sound and effective businessman, with all the necessary perception and equipment for success, is as much a spiritual unfoldment - in that individual's experience - as the taking of an initiation by a disciple in an Ashram.

The assumption by orthodox church people that the word "spiritual" connotes profound and effective interest in orthodox religion is not borne out by the facts of the spiritual life. Some day, when the world is increasingly led by its initiates, this erroneous assumption will be discarded, and it will be realized that all activity which drives the human being forward towards some form of development (physical, emotional, intuitional, and so forth) is essentially spiritual in nature and is indicative of the livingness of the inner divine entity. [365]

I have felt it necessary to point this out because it will become apparent as we read and study this section of the Treatise that the Master - moving forward into higher areas of impressionability - may not and frequently will not express this development in terms of what is now regarded as "spiritual" by the religious devotee and by the man used to the wording and the terminology of the churchmen of all faiths. The discoveries of science, my brother, or the production of some great work in literature or in the field of art, are just as much an evidence of "spiritual" unfoldment as the rhapsodies of the mystic or the registration by the so-called occultist of a contact with the Hierarchy.

There will, however, come a point in the experience of all those thus making a spiritual approach along some specialized line, where a meeting place will become apparent, where a joint goal will be unitedly recognized, where essential unity under diversity of forms, of methods and of techniques will be acknowledged, and where pilgrims on all ways of approach will know themselves to be one band of demonstrators of the divine.

One such meeting place is upon the periphery of the Hierarchy during the stage immediately prior to acceptance into an Ashram. It is interesting to note that - on a worldwide scale - the world disciple, Humanity, is today on the verge of this major awakening and joint registration of a unity not hitherto reached; the growth of the spirit of internationalism, the inclusiveness of the scientific attitude, and the spread of a universal humanitarian welfare movement are all indicative of this meeting place.

Another such meeting place is recorded and entered (symbolically speaking) when the third initiation is taken, and still another is realized at the time of the seventh initiation. These all register development in group awareness, as well as in the recognition of the individual initiate, as to what is happening within the consciousness aspect of humanity. [366]

The door into the Way of the Higher Evolution simply permits the entrance of the sensitive initiate into "spheres of intimacy" (as they are sometimes called) which are this time cosmic in their implications, planetary in their effects, and which give to the initiate what has been called the "key to the Sun" - as it conditions the solar system - just as the door to initiation gives to the aspirant the "key to the kingdom of God."

We have dealt in the foregoing pages with deep matters and have touched upon topics too high for the understanding of the average student or probationary disciple; dim recognitions, based on past acceptances are, however, possible to some of you. We have seen, among other things, that the so-called "door of initiation" presents obstacles whose purpose is to block entrance and to draw out the latent will of the applicant; an initiate is one who succeeds in penetrating to the further side of the door, where recognition awaits him. We will now concern ourselves with the basic theme of the Ashram itself.

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