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Discipleship in the New Age I - The Six Stages of Discipleship - Part VI
The will-to-love involves the recognition of limitation, of desire, of the forcing of an issue and of the intense aspiration really to love. It does not indicate the inflow of Shamballa energy through the medium of the soul whose intrinsic nature is spontaneous love. Where there is a determination to be [736] loving, certain attitudes - either natural and belonging to a developed personality or forced through attention to soul behest - emerge. The disciple knows that he lacks love, because he is constantly finding himself isolated from and not identified with others; he is irritated by others: he is critical of his brothers, either feeling superior to them or looking at them and saying: "Here they are wrong and I am right; here they do not understand and I do; I know them but they don't know me; I must be patient with them," etc., etc. Throughout this phase, the attitude is definitely that of the will-to-love, coupled to a deep realization of the handicaps to the expression of love presented by those others and presented also by one's own habits of thought. This is all a form of self-centeredness. The true way to love is to reflect and meditate deeply and constantly upon the significance and the meaning of love, its origin, its expression through the soul, its qualities, goals and objectives. Most of the reflection carried on by the aspirant is based upon his innate realization that he does not really love in the spontaneous, free way of the spirit. The disciple is, therefore, thrown back on a self-centered position in which he feels: "Now I am loving; now I am not loving; now I must try and love." Yet all the time none of these attitudes is really true love nor is their result a loving expression because the disciple is identified with himself and focused in the personality. Love is never worked up, if I might put it so, in the lower nature; it is a free unimpeded inflow from the higher.

Love is spontaneous and carries ever the free spirit of Christ. I would suggest that there has never been a better description of the nature of love than that given by the initiate Paul, even though the translation of his words is faulty at times. Study those passages in the New Testament in which he defines love. Give up emphasizing the will-to-love and emphasize in your own consciousness the need of others for understanding, compassion, interest and help. The usual loneliness of all disciples is frequently incidental to the fact of the self-centeredness of all those whom they contact and the intense preoccupation of the neophyte with his own growth. The cry of the neophyte is: "Tell me. Tell me. Then I will change. I will accept anything that is said but tell me." The cry of the disciple is: "Aid [737] the work. Forget yourself. The world needs you." So many disciples are still shut up within themselves, hidden behind the wall of the personal self and little true outgoing love is present. Until they break through and truly love, their usefulness is impaired.

We have considered briefly the stage of Little Chelaship and that of Chela in the Light. These stages lie behind quite a large number of human beings today. It is necessary, however, to revive the effect of these two experiences and the need to do so lies behind much of the work being done by disciples and teachers at this time. Many other people are today passing through the stage of Accepted Discipleship. The keynote of that stage is, as you know, the establishing of contact with the Master; it is primarily and technically the task of the Master to evoke the direct response and the conscious reaction of the disciple. Along with these reactions, the Master looks for an effort on the part of the disciple to be impersonal in his dealings, both with him and with his co-disciples; impersonality is the first step upon the road to spiritual love and understanding. The effort of most sincere disciples is usually concentrated upon loving each other and in this (to use an old simile) they put the "cart before the horse." Their effort should be to achieve, first of all, impersonality in their dealings for, when that has been achieved, criticism dies out and love can pour in.

The Master also looks for an effort upon the part of his disciples to work on a larger and more generous scale in connection with his work in the world of men; he leaves them free to work as they may choose but he most certainly looks for the effort to take place along the lines of the specific activities which constitute his intention. To achieve this vital and strenuous effort, there must be the ability to focus upon the work and its needs and to develop the power to cooperate with those also engaged in similar work. This, again, involves impersonality and right focus. The Master is today looking for dedication to the needs of humanity in these days of human agony; this involves a sensitivity to world pain as it demonstrates from day to day in world affairs; it requires also a "divine indifference" to outer events in the life of the little self and a sense of proportion which enables the disciple to see his little personal [738] affairs - physical, emotional and mental - in terms of the whole. So again we arrive at impersonality - this time impersonality to a man's own reactions.

The Master has, therefore, necessarily to ask himself whether the expenditure of time and energy which he gives to the members of his group or Ashram is rightly warranted and whether, as a result, the group has "quickened" for increased service, and is more closely knit together in the bonds of the ashramic fellowship and is decentralized and less a group of dedicated personalities and more a group of living souls.

Impersonality has also to be developed in connection with the Master himself. He is not occupied with making his group of disciples satisfied with themselves, their status or their service. He frequently lays the emphasis (in his few and rare contacts with his disciples) upon their failures and limitations. He does not only give them a steady flow of teaching and increased opportunity to serve. His work is primarily to help them detach themselves from the form aspect of life and fit them to undergo certain great expansions of consciousness. He assumes the factual nature of their dedication and desire to serve. This he has shown by receiving them into his group of disciples. When he did that, he assumed also the responsibility of preparing them for initiation. It is no part of the Master's duties to pat disciples upon the back or to congratulate them upon work done and progress made. He has instead the task of watching closely their note or vibration and of indicating where changes must be made in attitude and expression, where intensification of the spiritual life is in order and where personality adjustments could lead to greater freedom and, therefore, to more effective service. If this process, when applied by him evokes resentment and disappointment upon their part, then the indication is that they are still steeped in personal reactions.

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