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Discipleship in the New Age I - The Six Stages of Discipleship - Part III
The acceptance of facts is one of the first duties of a disciple; In the task of aiding humanity, as a part of the Master's group or Ashram, the fact that there are men and women placed in positions of power to carry out the divine plan is one of the first to be faced. This must be done uncritically, avoiding constant recognition of their limitations, with an understanding of their problem, with realization of the call of their souls to yours and the pouring upon them of a constant stream of "loving understanding." They are more advanced disciples than you are - little as this may be realized. They are - consciously or unconsciously - under the "impression" of the Masters; there is little that the average disciple can do for them in molding their thought or in shaping their decisions. I refer of course to the leaders of the Forces of Light upon the outer physical plane. But disciples and aspirants can surround them with a guarding wall of light and love; they can refrain from handicapping them with thoughts of criticism which can swell the tide of criticism which the worldly minded pour out upon them. As to attempting to reach and influence the leaders of the forces of materialism, I would ask you to refrain. It can more easily be done because the personality of the disciple will provide an open door of approach. But they are far stronger than the average disciple and the task would, therefore, be one of extreme danger. [707]

In the Aquarian Age (which is now so near, relatively speaking), there will be an externalization of the inner Ashram upon the outer plane. Disciples, initiates and world disciples will meet for the first time in human history as disciples, recognizing each other and recognizing the Master of their group. The inner Ashram is a focus of souls, free and unlimited; the outer Ashram - under the future Aquarian experiment - will be composed of a focus of personalities and souls. Limitation will, therefore, exist; responsibility will require conscious recognition and there will be a necessary slowing down of both action and perception in the outer space-time world.

The true Ashram (of which the coming outer Ashrams will be but reflections) is not for lower concrete mind discussion. It is a focal point of receptivity; it embraces the effort to establish mutual contact through an united recognition of the vision, of the esoteric basis of life and the laws governing action. It is not a place, however, for long and silent meditation processes, for it is a point of tension where, together, the Ageless Wisdom in its more esoteric aspects is discussed, where the nature of soul relationship is recognized and where the fusion of auras and the interblending of the "Triangles" goes forward consciously. An Ashram is the state of mind of a spiritual group. It is a point of united thought; it is a center for the clarification of the vision and not of physical plane methods of work. As disciples learn to integrate themselves into a Master's Ashram, they discover that the first thing they have to do is to establish a basic harmony between themselves and their fellow disciples and to reinforce the contact between their own souls, the ashramic group and the Master. Then they learn to comprehend - through discussion and experiment - the nature of the energies which are seeking world expression, and the nature of the forces which must be reduced to powerlessness, if these new incoming energies are to prove effective in bringing about the desired changes under the Plan.

They learn also that there is no weakness and no strength in themselves, as individuals, which may not be submitted to the group "gaze"; thus they arrive at the stripping away of all the "veils" which prevent the clear light of the soul from shining [708] forth. The goal of all work done in the Ashram of any of the Masters is Truth - on all levels and at all times. As disciples learn thus to work from the point or center of light, understanding and truth into which they are being steadily integrated, their exoteric usefulness and effective service will be greatly increased; they will - as a group - know what has to be done and find eventually that it is done.

The major task of the Master in the early stages of training his disciple is to bring to an end the period of the disciple's intense preoccupation with himself, with his service, with his reaction to the Master or the promise of future contact with the Master, with his own ideas anent discipleship and his personal interpretations of truth. The Master takes a group of people with fixed ideas (which they are entirely sure are correct, being the best and highest they have been able to grasp to date) and with the conviction that they have reached a point where they have registered certain spiritual values and concepts, where they have evolved their own formulations of truth and where they are eagerly demanding the next step. The first thing, therefore, which he has to do is (using a strong and perhaps a strange phrase) to blast them wide open, give them a deep sense of insecurity as to the formulas and symbols of the lower concrete mind and so prepare them for the reception of newer and higher approaches to truth. This is frequently brought about by forcing them to question all the conclusions of the past.

We have all - disciples and initiates of all degrees - to enter the secret place of initiation with a sense of blindness (or loss of direction) and with a feeling of complete destitution. The disciple needs to bear in mind that he has to become "a moving point and hence a line"; he ascends towards the Hierarchy and assumes the correct spiritual attitude but, at the same time, he descends into what he erroneously regards as the depth of human difficulty and iniquity (if necessary), preserving always his spiritual integrity but learning three important lessons:

  1. The recognition that he shares all human tendencies, good and bad, and hence is able to serve.
  2. The discovery that the thing which he most despises and fears is the thing which exists most strongly in him, but [709] which is as yet unrecognized. He discovers also that he has to explore and know these despised and feared areas of consciousness so that they become eventually an asset, instead of something to be avoided. He learns to fear nothing; he is all things; he is a human being but he is also a mystic, an occultist, a psychic and a disciple. And - because of all these acquired states of consciousness - he becomes eventually a Master. He has "mastered" all stages and states of awareness.
  3. The uselessness of past attitudes and dogmatic ways of looking at life and people (based usually on tradition and circumstance) when they separate him from his fellowmen.

When he has really learnt these three things, he is initiate.

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