MANUAL ON GROUP DISCIPLINES
This manual is meant to serve as your gateway into the life of Arcana. Through it we
hope to reveal to you the meaning and function of the disciplines which form the light
body of this group of brothers. The experiences, insights and understandings of many of us
who have lived and worked with these disciplines have gone into the preparation of this
manual. In the eventual mastery of these disciplines you will discover how deeply you have
penetrated into the life of the soul--or from another point of view--how deeply the soul
has penetrated into your life. For it is the SOUL who calls forth a new rhythm from his
instrument. It is always the soul in us who keeps the rhythm of the disciplines, and it is
the soul in each one of us who guarantees our eventual triumph.
Within this manual you will find instructions and suggestions as to the procedures, methods, manners and modes followed by the members of Arcana in the daily observance of these group disciplines.
1) Daily Meditation
2) Noon Recollection
3) Five o'clock Alignment
4) Evening Review
5) Daily Study
We offer these instructions and suggestions to you in the spirit of loving cooperation
which animates any serving group. We are confident that your experiences in working with
these disciplines will eventually give rise to new and useful insights and suggestions,
and we hope that as these insights arise you will share them with us. For this manual is
and will forever be unfinished. We see Arcana as an ongoing and growing experiment in
We suggest that you keep this manual in a handy place. It will be helpful in answering many of your questions. However, if a question arises for which you do not find a satisfactory explanation, please do not hesitate to Email the WebDisciple.
The first step into the group life is to establish the rhythm of regular
daily meditation. While you are acquainting yourself with these disciplines, the
meditation will be producing its intended effects.
Because these meditation outlines are carefully designed with your best interests in mind, it is very important that you use them exactly as they are written. In doing so you will lay the foundation for equipping yourself with a mental body that you can depend on to follow your creative direction.
The lower concrete mind needs to be trained to do two things: (1) follow a set course and (2) respond to the soul's intent. The meditation outlines provide step by step practice in both kinds of training.
Meditation should be regular, every morning, and as early as can be wisely arranged with due consideration for others in the household. Fanatical extremes in any of the group disciplines are not recommended; but steady, continuous, rhythmic practice, persistently imposed (self-imposed, of course) upon the triple personality, is the scientific method for bringing the daily life into creative conformity with the spiritual intent of the soul.
During meditation you should sit in a chair which will accommodate you in a comfortable but alert position. The spine should be upright but without tension or strain. See that the jaw and tongue are relaxed. Cross the hands and feet. See that the breathing is gentle, quiet, rhythmic, natural; then forget about it completely.
An empty mind and a negative-passive-receptive attitude are not the objective. The objective is a controlled mind which you, the soul, can eventually illumine and use to convey information to the physical brain. You will discover that in meditation the physical brain is the receptacle of the knowledge which you gained by using your illumined mind to penetrate the world of meaning. You will learn to differentiate, within your own being, between soul, mind and brain -and between the thinker, the thinking process and that which registers thought impressions.
The approach used in Arcana will help you to train your mind and enable you to use the mind as a sixth sense and as an instrument of illumination. In the one case (the devotional ascent) you have a satisfying time and feel good; in the other you are called upon to work hard on the plane of mind, so that eventually you will be useful to the world because you will be a KNOWER rather than a Seeker.
Each meditation outline used in Arcana is a sequential step in a planned series of meditation forms which are arranged to produce specific unfoldments. Experience has taught us the wisdom of the occult saying, "Make haste slowly." We have discovered that a slow and careful, a thorough, development of each stage in the training process produces the greatest haste in the long run. Therefore, we would hope that you would not expect any short-range results which could be called significant. What you can expect is that once established, these self-chosen rhythms will gradually permeate and harmonize your daily life. Results, if the method is systematically and consistently followed, will be seen by others before you are aware of them. The long-range result will demonstrate in greater efficiency in service, in radiant daily living, and in dependable rather than occasional emotional control and mental poise. Eventually you will be in conscious command of your own destiny. Should you encounter periods wherein you resent bringing your meditations into a set form, please remember that such resentment may be due to a prolonged previous training along the line of devotional practices and of aspiration, and you may long, perhaps subconsciously, for the peace and comfort once enjoyed upon the devotional, emotional approach.
Meditation should be concise. It is important to refrain from indulging in lazy, nebulous, speculative brooding because this will not bring meaningful results. You should follow the meditation outline in a wide awake, alert fashion and not permit your mind to lead you down any by-paths, no matter how interesting or beautiful. Slovenly meditations are always counterproductive and they can be dangerous. A thorough meditation ought to take somewhere between fifteen and thirty minutes.
The method of using and expanding the seed thought during meditation is left largely to your own discretion. Individual minds work differently. Some ideas--some lines of thought--will interest one person more than another. The important thing is to keep your thinking within the clearly delineated ring-pass-not of the seed thought.
A ring-pass-not is the limit of any field of influence. For example, the circumference of the manifested solar system is the periphery of the influence of the sun. By adhering to the form of the meditation outline, the meditator draws a circle in consciousness beyond which he will not let his mind wander and thereby dissipate his thought power. In this sense both the entire meditation form--and especially the seed thought--provide a ring-pass-not around the effort to develop concentration.
Above all, remember that the initial objective of meditation is concentration, and when successfully carried forward it results in the meditator's capacity to hold the mind steady upon a chosen image, idea, or theme. Capacity for sustained concentration upon, and expansion of, a thought or idea is meditation. So, if the mind wanders, keep bringing it back to the intended point in the meditation with tireless patience.
On the other hand, if you can control your mind's attention with ease and precision, recognize the ability and spend no further effort on what already comes naturally. The ability to concentrate your mind shows in the quality and regularity of your work. And as soon as it shows, you will be progressed to the next stage in the meditation work. Each student sets his own pace of growth.
A different seed thought is used each month. The new seed thought will be found in each
study set. Using the seed thought in each study set is encouraged because they have been
designed to be in-tune with each other.
The sacred word, to be sounded during the morning meditation, is spelled OM.
The value of its use lies in the direction of one's thought while sounding it and in the
realization that its sound implements the soul's intent. Every sound produces some effect
or other upon substance.
The OM is the word of the soul. Sounding the OM is partly a symbolic act, reminding the meditator that the highest function of his threefold personality is to express, to sound forth, the nature of the indwelling soul. In addition, correct use of the OM helps to recreate the lower self into a better instrument of expression for the inner god. Further explanation of the value of the sacred word and exercises for its use will be presented in later study material.
The sacred word should be intoned softly, using very little breath. It is pronounced to rhyme with home. The emphasis should be on the 0 rather than the M. In other words, hold the sound of the 0 for most of the time and briefly close with the sound of the M, so that there will not be a prolonged humming sound.
Mantras should be sounded softly, also. If one's meditation is done where other persons are within hearing distance, perhaps in the next room, it is better to sound the OM and the mantras silently.
This is the simplest and easiest of our daily practices. The important thing is to do
it, and aim to do it at exactly high noon. It may seem impossible to do it at the exact
time, at first. However, do it as close to noon as you can, until the rhythm is gradually
Noon is one of the cardinal points in the day. It is the moment most favorable for building a conscious alignment between oneself and the Most High God.
At the moment of noon, recollect that you are a child of God, that you are a unit of life within the One Life. Each student puts this recognition into his own words. Or, he recollects his divinity without the use of words. Probably each individual holds in his consciousness a unique concept or image of his relation to the One God. All these worded statements or mental images comprise one universal recognition: every man knows in his heart that he is a living part of all life. You simply call to mind, in your own way, this recognized truth at noon time.
FIVE O'CLOCK ALIGNMENT
On page 261 of A Treatise on White Magic the following passage occurs:
It would be of value if each student would link up every day at five o'clock by an act of the will with the rapidly integrating group of servers, mystics and brothers. To this end it might be wise to commit to memory the following brief dedication to be said silently at that hour with the attention focused in the head:
May the Power of the One Life pour through the group of all true servers.
May the Love of the One Soul characterize
the lives of all who seek to aid the Great Ones.
May I fulfill my part in the One Work
through self-forgetfulness, harmlessness and right speech.
Then carry the thought forward from the rapidly forming group of world-servers to the
Great Ones who stand back of our world evolution.
This can be done in a few seconds of time wherever one may be and in whatever company, and will not only aid in the magical work of the forces of light, but will serve to stabilize the individual, to increase his group consciousness, and to teach him the process of carrying forward interior subjective activities in the face of and in spite of outer exoteric functioning.
All members of Arcana are asked to perform this brief act of service daily. Students who have done so for many years tell us it has proved to be exceedingly valuable for just the reasons set forth by the Tibetan.
The server in training closes each day with the evening review. The most valuable
evening review is clear, rapid, objective and impartial. As the regular daily practice of
meditation gradually and surely shifts the center of interest away from selfish
personality preoccupation and towards the soul's cooperative intent, there will be less
and less tendency during the evening review to waste time and thought in self
depreciation, self condemnation, self defense or self praise. Excessive self interest
simply fades out when the light of the soul reveals new and beautiful possibilities in the
dimension of relatedness. The server's own characteristics, both good and not so good,
should interest him only insofar as they are a help or a hindrance to what he realizes he
ought to be doing.
There is a certain similarity between a good review and good gardening which it is well to note. In both, one pulls out the weeds again and again; but the major attention is kept on the cultivating of the flowers and vegetables, watering them, protecting the weak shoots, transplanting some for sturdier development, pruning when necessary, and finally harvesting them and putting them to constructive use.
You should arrange a time and place, as close to the day's end as possible, where you can be alone and undisturbed for five to fifteen minutes. After relaxing for a minute, raise the consciousness into the head. Then, using the illumined mind as a searchlight, look backwards over the day's events from evening to that day's beginning. All happenings do not warrant equal attention. Focus on the points outlined in the review being used.
Keep in mind that training oneself to think clearly and deeply is more important than
reading a great deal. And in the reading which you do, remember that not all books require
or merit slow deep deliberation and re-reading. Among the books which do require this kind
of reading are the ones you will be using in this work. Because these books channel such
dynamic energy and are filled with so much new information, the tendency in the beginning
will be for you to read them rapidly. As you penetrate into the mind of the Tibetan, your
appetite for the superficially new and exciting will subside and you will find yourself
not only reading slowly and deeply but also at times actually brooding for days and
perhaps weeks over single paragraphs. Then you will gradually begin to read with more
discrimination, taking up those passages which seem to have meaning in relation to your
current experience and wisely setting aside for future study those passages which seem to
be incomprehensible at the time.