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The Destiny of the Nations - Spiritual Life in the New Age
Because of the potency of the sixth ray activity, owing to the long period wherein it has been expressing itself, the reaction of the average human being is one of an intense devotion to his own particular ideal, plus the effort, fanatically, to impose his idealistic dream (for that is all it potentially is) upon his fellowmen and to do so in such a form that unfortunately the original idea is lost, the primal ideal is destroyed and the devotee becomes much more occupied by the method of applying his ideal than by the ideal itself. Thus the idea is lost in the ideal and the ideal, in its turn, in the method of its application. The man becomes the devotee of an ideal which may or may not be embodied in an individual expression; this controls his thoughts, foreordains his activities and leads him frequently to merciless excesses in the interest of his peculiar and formulated idea.

Under the immediate expression of the sixth ray, the divine principle of desire has shifted potently away from the desire for material form into the realm of higher desire. Though materialism is still rampant, there are few people who are not animated by certain definite idealistic aspirations for which they are ready, when needed, to make sacrifices. This is a relatively new phenomenon and one that should be carefully noted. Down the ages, great sons of God have ever been ready to die for an idea; today, whole masses of men are equally ready and have done so, whether it is the idea of a superhuman state, empire or nation, or some response to a major world need, or some potent adherence to some current ideology. This indicates phenomenal racial achievement and the pronounced success of [114] the Hierarchy to shift human attention into the world from whence ideas emerge and on to the higher and the less material values.

The instinct which has characterized this passing sixth ray period and which has been noticeably fostered under its influence is that of taste - taste in food, in human intercourse, in color, in form, in art and architecture and in all branches of human knowledge. This discriminating taste has reached a relatively high stage of development during the past two thousand years and "good taste" is a highly cherished mass virtue and objective today. This is a totally new thing and one which has been hitherto the prerogative of the highly cultured few. Ponder on this. It connotes evolutionary achievement. For the disciples of the world, this sense of taste has to be transmuted into its higher correspondence - a discriminating sense of values. Hence the clear emphasis laid in all textbooks on discipleship upon the need to develop discrimination. Desire - taste - discrimination; these are the values, under the sixth ray, for all evolutionary unfoldment and peculiarly the goal of all disciples. The methods whereby the activity of the sixth ray and its objectives have been imposed upon the race are three in number:

  1. The development of instinct. This is followed by intelligently recognized desire and thus there is a steady expansion of requirements, of realization and then of reorientation.
  2. The consequent stimulation of the human consciousness towards expansion, leading finally to spiritual aspiration.
  3. The reflection of reality in the mind consciousness follows next and this is sensed, demanded and sought through the medium of group work. [115]

The apparatus of the human being, which is the mechanism whereby the soul contacts the three worlds which would be otherwise (under the present plan) sealed and hidden to the experience and experiment of the soul, has been more acutely sensitized and developed during the past two thousand years than in any previous period of ten thousand years. The reason for this is that the mind of man has been consciously aiding in the process of coordinating the instincts and transmuting instinctual reaction, translating it into intelligent perception. In the case of the world disciples, this process has been carried forward into the next stage of unfoldment to which we give the name of intuitional knowledge. The counterparts of the five senses and their higher correspondences upon the subtler planes are being rapidly unfolded, organized and recognized and it is by means of these inner senses that spiritual discovery becomes possible as well as the more familiar psychic discoveries. In the three phases:

  1. Instinct to aspiration
  2. Stimulation of divine desire
  3. The reflection of reality

you have the history of the activity of the sixth ray and of its relation during the past few centuries to its major field of expression, the astral plane.

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