Series IV THE FABRIC OF LIFE
Study Set 12
SUMMARY AND EVALUATION
Written Work to be Completed and Mailed
Letter from the Teaching Staff
the rapid foot, and the open eye which sees the light.
SEVEN RAYS Vol. II 270-283
Excerpts from the Tibetan's instructions to a group in training:
In the past and in order to get the idea of initiation into the minds of the people, the Hierarchy chose the mode (now obsolete) of holding out the prospect of initiation before the earnest disciple; upon this They placed an early emphasis of its peculiarity, its rewarding nature, its ritual and ceremonies and its place in the scale of evolution. Since the fact of initiation has been grasped by many and achieved by some, it has become possible today to reveal what has always been implied, that initiation is a group event. If clear thinking had taken the place of a selfish individual aspiration, the fact of group initiation would have been obvious, and, for the following reasons, inherent and implied in the whole situation:
The Soul -- in its own nature -- is group conscious and has no individual interests or individual ambitions and is not at all interested in the aims of its personality. Initiation is a process whereby the spiritual man within the personality becomes aware of himself as the soul, with soul powers, soul relationships, and soul purpose. The moment a man realizes this, even a small measure, it is the group of which he is conscious.
Only the man whose sense of identity is beginning to expand and become inclusive can "take initiation" (as it is erroneously termed). If the initiation was a purely personal achievement, it would throw the man back into the separative consciousness, out of which he is endeavoring to escape.
Initiation admits the aspirant into membership in the Hierarchy. This involves, speaking esoterically, the relinquishing of all separative personality reactions in a series of progressive renunciations.
It dawns on the initiate, as he proceeds from one initiation to another, that each time he moves forward on the path or penetrates into the heart of the Mysteries in company with those who are as he is, who share with him the same point in evolution and are working with him towards the same goal, that he is not alone; it is a joint effort that is being made. This is in fact the keynote of an Ashram, conditioning its formation. It is composed of disciples and initiates at various stages of initiate-unfoldment who have arrived at their point of ashramic consciousness together and who will proceed together until they arrive at that complete liberation which comes when the cosmic physical plane drops below the threshold of consciousness and no longer holds any point of interest.
This is one of the new factors in hierarchical methods and techniques which I have had the responsibility of bringing to public attention and so correcting the erroneous teaching of those trained under orthodox (so called) schools of occultism. One of the prime pre-requisites for initiation is a clear and concise recognition of one's own group, not through a process of wishful thinking but through factual cooperation and work upon the physical plane, I said group, my brother, and not organization, for they are two different things.
Have carefully in mind, therefore, the fact of group initiation and forego the process of considered thought anent your preparation for initiation.
Group initiation cannot be achieved by a group in training until the members, as a group, have developed their particular "spiritual enterprise". It is the law of the spirit that the disciple must appear before the Initiator empty-handed, but that, in group formation, the group members unitedly contribute something to the enrichment of the Ashram. This may take the form of some considered project in line with the Plan, whereby they testify to their comprehension of that Plan and demonstrate to the initiate-company in which they find themselves and those senior disciples to whose contact they are to be admitted that they have already proven their fitness for acceptance and have proven it along the line of service. It has to be a group enterprise, a group service and a group contribution. The specific contribution of the individual does not appear.
WRITTEN WORK TO BE COMPLETED
In the light of the above teaching from the Tibetan, and keeping in mind that the whole group which is Arcana is preparing itself for the next step upon the initiatory way, will you please (in the manner of the Evening Review) write out as clearly, simply, and helpfully as you can, your answers to the following questions:
1) As a result of your work on THE FABRIC OF LIFE Series, what did you gain in real spiritual understanding through group meditation, group study, and your written papers which represented your contribution to group thought?
2) Can you see more definitely than when you started this Series, what is Arcanas "spiritual enterprise" and your part (subjective or objective) in the unfoldment of this enterprise? If so, please explain.
3) What do you see as the immediate next step forward for
Dear Fellow Student:
This is the last study set of Series IV. It is a difficult series, asking a great deal of the student in the way of exposure to new knowledge and real effort to expand understanding along practical lines. By your persistent effort to study Life and its workings, to learn and understand the ways of the world and the ways of the Soul, by your achievement on the plane of consciousness, you are adding to Arcanas growth in consciousness and service potential in the world, as well as to your own spiritual growth.
It may be said, without exaggeration, that most people have a feeling of duty and of responsibility, rather than a knowledge of either. They tend to act in a certain way when a certain situation arises, but they cannot clearly state the principle or the law of life which determines their action. We are told that "the call of duty, and the sense of responsibility are truly subjective in nature for they come from the Soul, and are the response of the Soul to the pull of the form".
In order for the intelligent personality to cooperate intelligently with the Soul we should know the laws that are inherent in the nature and functioning of the Soul on each of the seven planes. As we study the constitution of man and the development of consciousness we realize that this subjective development follows the principle of the Monad: One Life expressing through three vehicles. We are learning to know and differentiate between the purpose of the Monad, or Spirit, seeking expression; the quality of expression of the Soul or the higher Self; and the instrument of expression, the personality or lower self.
The disciple must recognize himself as a spiritual entity, different in nature, objectives and methods of working from the bodies of the personality which he, the Soul and the Observer, temporarily uses as an instrument or mechanism of contact in the worlds of form. He first learns to observe the thinking processes and emotional attitudes of the personality, and notes their effect in his environment and relationships. In time he will consistently hold the position of the Observer, detached from his instruments of contact in the world of form, which are the physical, emotional and mental bodies of the personality.
In his essay THE WISDOM OF LIFE Schopenhauer says: "The greatest of all wonders is not the conqueror of the world, but the subduer of himself. Of ten things that annoy us, nine would not be able to do so if we understood their causes and therefore knew their necessity and true nature ..... What the bridle and bit are to a spirited horse, the mind is for the will of man." Wise men throughout history have known, and tried to explain, that the outer world of human affairs is but a reflection of man's inner state of consciousness.
Man has been called the Son of Mind. The dictionary defines man as "the one who thinks". A proverb universally accepted says, "As a man thinketh, in his heart so is he". To this we add that the Thinker is the Soul. The Soul uses the mind to develop human intellect, reasoning power, perception and the spiritual insight that reveals the cause-producing faculty of thought. We all have heard the slogan "thoughts are things". Man is intended to realize that he is a Soul, the conscious creator in cooperation with other Souls; and this is the purpose of regular meditation, by groups, on the ideas contained in the seed-thoughts. The incarnated Soul uses the mind to think with; then he uses the rest of the form nature (the emotional body and physical vehicles) to express what he thinks. Only when the individual learns to think for himself, can judge what is right by listening to the Soul, and obeys the law of the Soul can he cooperate with the spiritual will and purpose of the Soul.
The mind can serve either the selfish purposes of the personality or the spiritual will of the Soul. Humanity has reached the stage in evolution when right use of the mind is most important. Meditation is becoming popular, and with the spreading of training in meditation techniques it is essential that we know what we are invoking by our thoughts. Every thought is a tendency in a given direction, and once the initial impulse is given it has the tendency to repeat itself in the same direction, and becomes the focus of consciousness through which we view life. Schopenhauer also wrote that "The world in which a man lives shapes itself chiefly by the way in which he looks at it. The most essential thing for man is the constitution of his consciousness".
The Wisdom Teaching expounds the same basic idea, that man's outer environment reflects his inner attitudes, his thoughts and feelings. From. this we can conclude that the most important activity of man is on the mental plane, the plane whereon the Soul makes contact with the personality and gradually refines the quality of thought that leads to speech and action.
Since we live in a universe governed by divine principles and just laws, that are unfolding according to a divine plan, we can readily see that the development of consciousness is an orderly process. Man must accept the fact that nothing "just happens" in the world, and only that which we (individually and collectively) attract by our thoughts and actions, in this life or a past one, can come to us.
In evaluating your past year's experiences. test your ability to recognize the cause of any condition now existing in your environment or elsewhere in the world. This will help to reveal the world of meaning to you, be a strong incentive to greater mental and emotional control, and prepare the way for new adventure in the next series of study.
In steadfast striving toward greater effectiveness on the plane of mind,
The Staff of ARCANA