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Discipleship in the New Age I - The Six Stages of Discipleship - Part I

The world today is going through a preparation period and an interlude of adjustment to the new world and the new order which is coming into being. This new world is verily a new creation and with its activities the Masters are today engaged, working as always through the medium of their disciples. In this preparatory period, the Masters are today occupied, among other things, with preparing disciples for constructive work for service and eventually for initiation. They are consequently occupied with forming new groups of disciples who can gradually be integrated into existent groups and be available for world service. It is planned to do this on a large scale because of world need and the willingness of the world aspirants to take the personal risks, incident to this preparatory work.

There are certain very simple rules to which I would refer and which form a foundation of truths which you already accept as necessary to all spiritual advancement. These are the accepted requirements and are recognized as present in all whom the Masters take in hand and weld into their groups for service. They are:

  1. The recognized need to tune in, as far as the individual aspirant can, on world need as it is gradually emerging. It must be borne in mind that the requirements for those who will work at this bringing into being the new world will be of a different nature in many ways from the past. This must be carefully borne in mind. The world need must be approached mentally and spiritually and not emotionally. So many aspirants and would-be disciples are emotional; they shrink from the facing of existent facts and approach problems from their own preconceived ideas of service and their own established idealism.
  2. The achievement of a finer sense of values. Rest, amusement, idleness, argument and criticism have no real place in a disciple's life for the next few years. A sane handling of the physical mechanism will be required, plus a divine indifference to personal feeling and health reactions. Complete dedication to the meeting of human need; [681] utter consecration to the Plan; intelligent cooperation with all whom you recognize to be senior disciples; adequate care to take right action in circumstances so that your efficiency is not impaired; the conservation of energy through silence and through that constant radiation which is based on self-forgetfulness - that is what is asked of the disciple in the world today, this is what the Hierarchy expects and this is what will eventually open the door of initiation. That door has to be opened more widely at this time by the accepted disciples of the world so that more and more of the human race may more easily enter. Self-interest will not open it.
  3. The development of a fluidity of mind and attitude which will recognize the fact that - though the Plan stands - techniques, presentations, idealism and methods must necessarily change. This is not an easy thing to do. The Plan, as I have outlined it to you in the past, was but a skeleton outline and simply an underlying basic structure. It was the steel scaffolding of the new world-to-be as regards that part of it which you could aid in materializing.

It is not easy for the average person to be fluid and to change details and methods in relation to that which has been taught in the past and about which he has evolved definite and distinct ideas. Are you, therefore, prepared to throw these overboard and work in the way which will meet the new world need under the new incoming influences?

The disciple upon whom the Master can most confidently depend is the one who can - in periods of change - preserve that which is good and fundamental while breaking from the past and add to it that which is of immediate service in the present. An attitude of spiritual compromise is right, needed and very rare to find. Most of the things about which there may be argument and contention among disciples concern methods and relative non-essentials; they deal with points of organization. They are not so important as the inner unity of vision and the ability to concede where no wrong is involved and where a fellow worker fails to see the point. Disciples need to see to it that they do not hinder by any form of self-assertion, [682] or by the imposition of their own ideas or by any authoritarianism, based on past procedure. Ponder on this. The disciple who is sure that he is always right and who is confident that his interpretation of what is needed is infallibly correct and that others must be moulded into cooperation with his planned procedures can greatly hinder the good work. The task of the modern disciple is to sense need and then to meet it and this, again, is part of the new emerging technique of invocation and evocation.

The life of a disciple is a gradual but steady moving in towards the center, and accepted disciples are definitely a part of the Hierarchy. The Hierarchy is a place of fusion of all souls upon the higher levels of the mental plane. Just in so far as a person comes under soul impression, then soul control and final identification with the soul, just so far does he move towards the center of fusion. As your love for humanity increases and your interest in yourself decreases, so will you move towards that center of light and love where the Masters stand in spiritual being.

Later, we will consider the various stages of discipleship but in the meantime it is of value for you to focus your attention upon the relation of the Hierarchy to all accepted disciples. It is just because you are beginners that the whole subject evokes your deep interest. The beginner is full of questions upon all sorts of subjects. The trained disciple is so preoccupied with the Plan, so infused with love for his fellowmen that his entire orientation is towards the service of the Plan and not towards his own individual progress or towards the Master. The closer he gets to the center and towards the Master, the less attention the Master pays him and the less he is occupied with thinking about the Master. In the early stages, he perhaps necessarily thinks much about his relation to the Hierarchy, to the Master and to his own soul. In the intermediate stage, he is occupied with the achieving of a sense of proportion and a right inner adjustment so that "he faces two ways and each way sees the same vision." In the final stages when he is the disciple who is also the Master, his consciousness is absorbed into the will of the Creator; his attitude is one of unchanging love and his work is that of radiation - [683] a radiation which evokes activity in others, initiates a response from his fellowmen and carries the Plan the next step forward in meeting the immediate need of humanity.

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